FOAM. The record label that put out ARKM FOAM‘s recently released TAPE/NO TAPE tape has this to say about him on their bandcamp site: “famous, Boston-area, Whitehaus-living, independant music stalwart”. Cape Cod’s CONFETTI HELLGATE was the label that released this micro noise filled product of Foam. And who could disagree with any of that? Famous? Duh. Boston-area? You better believe it. Whitehaus-living? Well he did move out, but let’s just say that the essence of FOAM continues to be quite strong in that fabled home to much and many. Independant music stalwart? Who could be more stalwart? This guy is one of the founding fathers of what one day may be known as something like Boston’s modern music and performance scene/community. An OG Whitehaus fellow, and overall brilliant sometimes bearded sound artist, he along with his family gave birth to a vibrant, nurturing, artistically free idea of community and individual expression that has reverberated out to touch every pocket of Boston area performers, New England regional performers, and beyond.
And all along through during these periods of individual, ensemble, and community growth Foam (when solo these days known as ARKM FOAM), has unleashed his being via the paths of experimental music making, tape manipulation, organization, live performance, releasing of tapes/ CD-Rs/ records, etc., improvisation, rock music making, art creation and certainly via a few other paths that I cannot as a mortal conceive of. It’s alarming how good Adam’s solo stuff is, and this in the context of a sound making life of a guy who also performs in one of my favorite active noise making crews BANG! BROS, as well as (sporadically) in one of the great Boston ensembles of all time PEACE, LOVING (not to mention the myriad other groups and ensembles he performs with). I saw him do a guitar duo with MORGAN SHAKER @ (I think) the last Blastfest(?) that was just incredible. And what about those mad performances at the Bear Cages!?!
Late last year ARKM FOAM released a tape on the WHITEHAUS FAMILY RECORD called THE FOAM DOESN’T FALL FAR FROM THE SHORE. A favorite Hassle label, HOT RELEASES (East Coast, baby), will soon re-release the tape as an LP and hopefully garner some much deserved attention for a singular New England performer that you need to know about if you do not already! Criminally I haven’t heard this entire tape (possibly because there are only 30 in existence). But I was able to pull together some streams on the ol’ web, and what I have heard is amazing. “Summer Sumac” arrives as if some ambient African urban field recording. The presence of mbira tones appear and disappear amidst the sounds of passing cars, wildlife, snippets of samples, electronic fuckery, and percussive sounds. This is a gentle, small, and noisy lullaby which unnerves and puts at ease in equal amounts. Very strange. “Toucan Lunch” veers into BANG! BROS. territory as drum machines are battered to the sounds of their electronic companion slowly dying. The hyper-spastic onslaught of rhythm obliterated my senses, leaving virgin nerve endings to feel anew. And do I love the ephemeral female folk singer that enters late and concludes the piece? I do.
This is fresh, straight up experimental flow from a long time honer of odd musical talents. Check his stuff out, and for gawd’s sake go see him perform!! Here’s the WFR info about the original tape release, and it’s malleable future: “Some tracks include jams with Andy Allen (saxophone) and Morgan Shaker (guitar). A deeper exploration in cassette scrubbing, but stay on your toes cause there’s genre hopping to be done all the way down this winding river.
1 sided cassette mailed with instructions for the receiver to record anything, for any amount of time, anywhere on the ‘blank side’ and then mail/pass the cassette to the next participant. edition of 30 in large manila envelope with a 8.5×11 directions/record log sheet.” Amazing.
PS – Following this writing I learned that the LP release of THE FOAM DOESN’T FALL FAR FROM THE SHORE is “a little different” from the tape release. As with all things Foam more adventure awaits!