Ask Radio Resistance: Forgetting Other Galaxies

Ask Radio Resistance is a non-advice column, offering mixes of music in response to life’s challenging questions. If you’d like to submit a question to receive a mix in return, write to

dear radio resistance,

when i consider the collective scope of all of the lifetimes that I’ve lived, and in particular the lifetimes that have ended abruptly and with little remaining connection (through loss of friends and lovers), i am left with an immense sorrow for of the loss of shared memories. I can watch the fog slowly roll in and remove my life, but I’m powerless to stop it. I’m disappearing and soon there will be nothing left where there was once connectivity, humanity, and joy. What music do you recommend for my current thought patterns?

with regret,

forgetting other galaxies


Dear Forgetting Other Galaxies,

Your message about existential crisis and request for music to accompany this journey made my day. Music can be a way to anchor in time, hold tight, savor and remember, to offset the sheer terror of being ALIVE, which implicitly means loss. All music is about that, or sex.

Here is a mix for you. One that hides many secrets in the fog, ready to be loved, forgotten, remembered again. A thousand tiny lifetimes and their receding.

And as you are mourning the loss of shared memories, this mix follows the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. See if you can pinpoint the changes…

With love from the fog,

Radio Resistance

Susan Alcorn & Rodger Coleman :: FMRL January 20th, Porltand Brew, Nashville, TN

Rodger Coleman

((cough// door slam // the click of a pen // shuffle cough// a couple whispers in ears))

This is what we contribute and Rodger Coleman makes the soundscape hum hum… a study in how to build a swell.  how to build a circle of noise // not a wall // a 360-degree installation around us and we are the installed.   The second study:  how to deconstruct this circle in a way that causes no pain, no empty feeling of loss when it recedes, to gently, lovingly place us back where we started before the wave & its inverse.  back to the beginning of what would you call that, a journey / a micro-lifetime

look at all the boxes on the board…

And oh, here we are in outer space.  hey this tops pop charts on Mars, absolute.  Riff on over Martian chatter at Martian bar.  Or! maybe this is an electrified arcade sparked bright & insane.  a buzzing cirque-arcade drowning in signal and bells.  the dying wish of each sound: your careful attention.  that’s all.  just listen as I fade away.

Each composition brought to us with feedback served on loops on loops and Coleman is just cruising along.  driving. yea we are going somewhere. we have an agenda:  must tinker wavelengths and make them do our bidding.  Coleman is the bossman of so many waveforms.  He puts them all to work.  Coleman for sonic president:  let no sound go unemployed!

A quiet body sewing multi-layered sonic universes.  On every level,  a world.  Come closer.  Zoom in:  look there’s a lonely someone.  and there’s a fire truck & siren.  and there’s the scratch of the Sahara and the hum of the sun.  Layered on layered on…   Zoom out and you feel the whole pool of it.  I guess “it” is what // the cross-section // transverse cut of a second, alive.

Susan Alcorn

And I await the resurrection of the pedal steel guitar….

Low tones so freakish & comforting, psychedelic den.  you can disappear.  a comfortable place to cease to exist, if you fancy, if only for a minute.  dissolve into this sound.  dusty haze of opium in old west.  it’s ok.   Yes yes, we must live all days in a row… the crux of the gig, unsolicited… but we can duck out.  for a little while.  And what better cover than the confidence & depth of drone.

How many lifetimes did Susan sit alone with strings and silver mallet, to listen and let them play her.  How many additional lifetimes did she spend in talks with the transcendent, to get the nod to channel, to be a vessel of something greater.  And what does it mean to be a master.   She breathes when the instrument breathes.  Watching them feels like a glimpse into a love affair - voyeur I am - permission to witness an otherworldly connection between two creatures. 

I guess what I’m saying is, the pedal steel guitar was alive...

((morning light // gentle evening // beehive))

Alcorn played her pedal steel arrangement of Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla’s “Adios Nonino”.   Piazzolla wrote this song immediately upon learning his father, Vicente “Nonino” had died in a bicycle accident.  Astor Piazzolla was on tour in Central America when he learned the news of his father’s death.  As Alcorn explained, Piazzolla went into a room, in silence, and began to compose.   A thought, not fully formed, on art as the only coping mechanism for unfathomable sadness. 

Dad asked us to leave him alone for a few hours. We went into the kitchen. First there was absolute silence. After a while, we heard dad playing the bandoneon. It was a very sad, terribly sad melody. Adiós Nonino was composing.

— Daniel Piazzolla, his son. Astor, Diana Piazzolla, 1986

Nu-Depth, Cole, Night Auditor @ Charlie Bob's :: January 13th, 2016

Charlie Bob’s diner. Drinks for $4. Two undercover cops in a corner.  One with shirt that says “POLICE,” not so very undercover. What did they expect to find? Naw naw, they’re just getting food.  

Nu-Depth is a skinny body pummeling around the room // I EXIST. I AM NOT A FANTASY// screamed as he pummeled into people. his back to us.  hunched over a microphone. chin lift up over shoulder. hit the light.   I AM AFRAID OF LOVE.  (He is writhing on the floor of Charlie Bob’s diner now.) Microphone cable snaking.  // I AM FAMOUS ON THE INSIDE// he screamed.  pain or he wants to dance.  stepped on pushed on everyone, lovingly.  And then, then the best// CRYING ALONE WITH NETFLIX //   “I exist.  I am crying alone with Netflix!”  Two sentences // spirit of the age.  But yea let’s dance. 

Cole now.  Cole on diner table in the florescent sun. Cole gently kicks glowing light fixture then stands, slowly and shakes// whole body shakes. Couple eating stares & stares. The lady at the booth takes out her phone. The lady is in love with Cole’s crop top. The lady is in love with his shaved eyebrows. 

Then to close the night :: Night Auditor for the win.  So much fun.  Beat beat on the tamborine.  Sweat and sweetness. 

The 13th was also Bela & Abigail's photoshoot with Jim McGuire.  Big open space.  You can drive the car right in.  Hang black and white portraits.  His work.  His beautiful work.  Everywhere.  He lives here too.  All out.  There are no drawers.  No bits of paper squirreled away.  Just McGuire and camera. Just black boxes of “Good 11x17” and “Good 8x10”.  Capturing spirit.  Capturing presence.  And art and art of it.   He would take time and look at a shot.  Think think.  Slow.  Then bursts of shutter,  then the scope on the viewfinder.  In Mali there’s a photographer who only takes one photo of you.  One picture / click / and there you are.   Jim McGuire :: a lifetime of capturing beauty in beautiful people… adding your own beauty //  keep it.  it’s yours now.