Homebrew | MUSIC: Homebrew | Indy Week

Born as an unplanned, grassroots activity in people's homes, American popular music was once a highly expressive new art form that visionaries like Harry Smith went into the field to collect. In this spirit, The Poncho Holly Bullfight Party recorded Blood on the Moon. Poncho is an improvisational quartet composed of Ron Liberti (PIPE), Jamie McPhail (Barisol Guns), Groves Willer (Shark Quest) and Tom Laney (Benjamin Davis Conspiracy) that has been creating free-form sounds and rhythms on Wednesday nights in Pittsboro since the mid-'90s.

The eclectic songs range from space-echo drenched ambiance to hard-driving sonic dissonance, and are never written down or played twice. The album was released as part of a "launch-box" set that contains 14 slices of deep space experimentation heavily influenced by Can and early Pink Floyd. A few of the songs are available from the mp3.com Web site.

In the lobotomized state of contemporary American popular music, where labels and artists focus more on the quantity of units moved than in expressing the varied textures of the human spirit, four people having fun in their living room, jamming live into a field recorder is an epiphany. Technology has created an opportunity for musicians to record and share their musical revelations for next to nothing. In much the same way the Gutenburg press made the written exchange of ideas widely accessible, thereby lifting Western civilization out of the Middle Ages, CD-burners and the Internet may save the fate of recorded music from the hands of soulless record executives. In the meantime, The Poncho Holly Bullfight Party reveals one way to wed the spirit of music's past to the technological liberation of its future.

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