Nautical Alamanac

Initially, Nautical Alamanac were a Michigan based duo consisting of James Twig Harper and the seemingly omnipresent Nate Young (Wolf Eyes, etc). Owing much to the Michigan noise scene, they started out as a rouge 'crash and smash' terror band, playing anywhere possible using confrontational tactics. With the addition of Sol Meltzer on percussion they realigned under a non-traditional "rock" motif. In 2001, James and partner Carly Ptak relocated to Baltimore and from this point the (floating) membership centred around the duo with the addition of Max Eisenberg on percussion. In Baltimore, they refurbished a three-storey building themselves and dubbed it Tarantula Hill. It quickly became an essential lynchpin for art, music performance, and the backbone for Baltimore's experimental scene and clubhouse for all traveling noise artists and experimentalists passing through the area. They spent years constructing and hot-wiring countless pieces of found materials and creating fantastic recycled homemade instruments: gutted electronics, rewired circuitry, name it, it was all thrown into the mix.

In March 2006, whilst Nautical Alamanac were in New York for the No Fun Fest, Tarantula Hill burnt down. In a crushing blow, James and Carly lost years of work and instrumentation, but more importantly, their cats died as well. Their musical community ralleyed around in impressive style, raising funds to help get the couple back on their feet. From here, apart from occasional live performances, I'd thought that the Almanac had folded. James and Carly started putting out solo works...Twig in particular is busy building up a substantial body of excellent releases. Recently, I realised that in the past year or two, Nautical Almanac had been putting out a series of sneakily released lathe-cuts in editions of about 15. I say sneakily because, I was sleeping and missed the lot. Here's hoping for some cdr rereleases!

Nautical Almanac’s sound is somewhere between analog improv and improv comedy. What results from these colliding philosophies is a carefully considered chaos born of technological refinement and cannibalism. In gradually becoming more accessible in form, it seems that the ideas had to be pushed further so the focus of the band was on creating an unpretentiously fucked-up and poetically damaged sensibility.

With Harper and Ptak constantly wiring gear in new configurations and adding new devices to its arsenal, each release is different. They may tinker strictly with machines, but aside from the hardware, Nautical Almanac have far more in common with the free-folk movement than the anti-music industrialists of the noise scene. Beneath the tinnitus tones, broken pitch bursts and malfunctioning oscillator currents, it's the same freeform flux as The Sunburned Hand of the Man, No Neck Blues Band or even Sun City Girls. Only it’s been corroded beyond recognition.

1996 - Nautical Almanac - Nautical Almanac (lp) [hanson records]
1999 - Nautical Almanac & Wolf Eyes & Rubber O Cement (tour cdr).rar
2000 - Nautical Almanac - Transcriptedivisions (lp) [hanson records]
2002 - Nautical Almanac - Rejerks Vol. 1 [heresee]
2003 - Dead Machines & Nautical Almanac - The Twilight Zone (C69) [american tapes]
2003 - Jessica Rylan & James Twig Harper - Rejerks Vol. 2 [heresee]
2003 - Nautical Almanac - Cisum (lp) [heresee]
2003 - Nautical Almanac - We Want War (tour cdr) [heresee]
2003 - Nautical Kites - Herculoids (C30) [unskilled labor]
2004 - Nautical Almanac - Handcut Record Transfers [heresee]
2004 - Nautical Almanac - Live @ No Fun Fest
2004 - Nautical Almanac - Rejerks Vol. 3 [heresee]
2004 - Nautical Almanac - Rooting For The Microbes [load records]
2004 - Nautical Almanac & Vertonen - Split (12'')
2005 - Nautical Almanac - Cover The Earth [heresee]
2005 - Nautical Almanac - Live @ WFMU on Brian Turner's Show 10.25.05
2005 - Nautical Almanac - Rejerks Volume 4 [heresee]
2005 - Nautical Almanac - Something (Euro Tour) [8mm records]

Nautical Almanac - Live In Montreal (2 shows_2 bars_2 nights)

Live @ Santo's NYC 09/21/09


Liberation Sans 26 February 2011 at 04:32  

holy shit i owe you one -- if yr into early nautical my blog focuses on another seed of michigan noise THANSSS!

J.H.M. 17 October 2012 at 21:45  

If you re-upload these files, I swear that I will throw myself at your feet and weep with gratitude.

By the way, your blog is amazing and I think I'm in love.

dbbrown 16 October 2017 at 22:52  

Second on the re-uploading. Especially the Nautical Kites Cassette. I hope to hear that someday.