About Ricardo Wang

I began doing Public/Community/College radio at KUGS FM in Bellingham, WA in 1985 and was there until 1987. I spent 10 years at KAOS FM in Olympia, WA from 1993-2003 including a one year stint as Music Director. During that entire time, I did the What's This Called? program, at times for as long as 6 hours in a single night! The show ran at KPSU in Portland, from 2005 to 2018. I've been happily at Freeform Portland since October of 2018 and loving every second at this exciting freeform station! I started the Olympia Experimental Music Festival in 1995 and have been playing music off and on in the Dead Air Fresheners since 1997. I'm thrilled to be on the air and the internet at KPSU and part of such an exciting community of creative folks.

100 Favorite What’s This Called? Albums for 2019!

While the program has featured end of year shows and lists off and on through the 25+ years What’s This Called? has been going, it has not been an annual tradition. Simply put, some years the show has been more focused on experimental musics in general than on the sounds of the current moment. Oftentimes that is because a given years didn’t feature enough new releases to fill a show or the interest of your host.

This was NOT the case with 2019. Your host Ricardo Wang set out to do a top ten for the year and found quickly that ten was not a reasonable number to list even the most played and enjoyed 2019 album releases from the show. Twenty quickly was not enough either and when it became clear that a list of 100 albums was imminent, research ensued into as many records that had been missed as possible. Perhaps it was because artists wanted to get a great album done for the end of the decade. Perhaps the insane global political climate has made artists want to do something in the only way they know how. Perhaps 2019 was the year artists started to realize that technology and crumbling economics had now made them able to produce and share “professional” quality albums without having to kow-tow to the dying music industry.

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What follows is a list or albums that your host Ricardo Wang has listened to and ranked arbitrarily. The ranking is not based upon airplay or popularity or anything other than DJ preference. The order would probably change tomorrow and would certainly do so in another week. Any record on this list is a great listen, and believe it or not, keeping it at 100!

Top 2019 Albums

  1.       Negativland – True False (Seeland)
  2.       Kim Gordon – No Home Record (Matador)
  3.       Nick Cave – Ghosteen (Ghosteen Ltd.)
  4.       Thurston Moore – Spirit Counsel (Daydream Library)      
  5.        Iggy Pop – Free (Loma Vista)
  6.        Keiji Haino & Charles Hayward – A loss permitted to open its eyes for but three hours And there glimpsed, finally in focus a mystery That begs earnestly, “ask me nothing” Now, once more the problem is yours alone (33 33)
  7.        Glenn Branca – The Third Ascension (Systems Neutralizers)
  8.        Fennesz – Agora (Touch)
  9.        Sin: Ned & Uneasy Chairs – 時代精神 Zeitgeist (self released)
  10.        The Caretaker – Everywhere At The End Of Time: Stage 6 (History Always Favours the Winners)
  11.        Kronos Quartet – Terry Riley: Sun Rings (Nonesuch)
  12.        Sunn O))) – Life Metal (Southern Lord)
  13.        Legendary Pink Dots – Angel in the Details (Metropolis)
  14.        John Zorn – Tractatus Musico-Philosophicus (Tzadik)
  15.        Future Sounds of London – Yage 2019 (FSOLdigital)
  16.        Various Artists – Stain, Crack, and Break: Music from the Nurse With Wound List Volume 1 (Finders Keepers)
  17.         Disxiple 113 – Sidraw (Obsolete Staircases)
  18.          Lee Ranaldo, Jim Jarmusch, Marc Urselli, Balazs Pandi – Self Titled (Trost Records)
  19.          Bill Callahan – Shephed in a Sheepskin Vest (Drag City)
  20.          Amy Denio – Eureka (Spoot Music)
  21.         Ashtoreth & Grey Malkin – Hermit (Reverb Worship)
  22.         Sudan Archives – Athena (Stones Throw)
  23.         Mecca Normal – Brave New Waves Session (Brave New Waves)
  24.         Flying Lotus – Flamagra (Warp)
  25.         Amon Tobin – Fear in a Handful of Dust (NoMark)
  26.         Fischkopf Sinfoniker – To the Bone (self released)
  27.         Somsurprises – Some Candy (Crash Symbols)
  28.         Various Artists – Anthology of contemporary music from Africa continent
  29.         Floating Points – Crush (Ninjatune)
  30.         Clark – Kiri Variations (Throttle Records)
  31.         Juniana – Ordinary Devotions (self released)
  32.         Galactic Protector – Evening (Burning Witches Records)
  33.         Taraban – How the East Was Lost (self released)
  34.         Yann Tierson – Portrait (Mute)
  35.         ISON – Inner-Space (Avantgarde Music)  
  36.         Diploducus – Slow and Heavy (self released)
  37.         Weird Owl – Wet Telepathy (Little Cloud Records)
  38.         Laura Cannell & Polly Wright – Sing As the Crow Flies (Brawl Records)
  39.         Blake DeGraw – Music for Hollow Voices (self released)
  40.         William Henry Meung – Anagrams of Love (self released)
  41.         The Utopia Strong – Transition to the Afterlife (Rocket Recordings)
  42.         Like a Villain – What Makes Vulnerability Good (Accidental)
  43.         Ras G & the Afrikan Space Program – Raw Fruit Vol. 3 & 4 (Leaving)
  44.         SONOLOGYST – Phantoms (Unexplained Sounds Group)
  45.         Neil Campbell – CLOUD DRAG 1979 (self released)
  46.         Lightning Bolt – Sonic Citadel (Thrill Jockey) 
  47.         Noriko Kadama – Abyss (Accretions)
  48.         Erin Jane Laroue – CHALANT (Trail of Breadcrumbs)
  49.         Nonconnah – Dead Roses, Digged Up Zombies, Broken Pieces of Diamonds, Live Cats (Hickory Withe)
  50.         Goh Lee Kwang – Avalanche Herbal Concrete Disc 1902-1 ((Herbal Records)
  51.         Zan Hoffmann & Hubert Heathertoes -“The facets of serendipitous occurence (Boiro saga​)​” (Astipalea)
  52.         Misanthrop – Analog (Neosignal Recordings) 
  53.         International Experimental Music Compilation Volume 2 (Broken Tape)
  54.         Bios+a+ic – This Jazz Not Is (self released)
  55.         Otoboke Beaver – ITEKOMA HITS (Damnably)
  56.         Stuart McLeod – neuropera (self released)
  57.         Abronia – The Whole of Each Eye (Feeding Tube)
  58.         Black Midi – Schlagenheim (Rough Trade)
  59.         Buildings – Negative Sound (Gilead Media)
  60.         Feedbacker – XII (self-released cassette)
  61.         Noisepoetnobody – Arson is Always an Option (self released)
  62.         Telefon Tel Aviv – Dreams Are Not Enough (Ghostly International)
  63.         We Free Kings – Live at Avant Vespers (Comprovise Records)
  64.         Lazerkaat – Electric Scratches (self released)
  65.         Monikaze – Chicken Wings (self released)
  66.         Temples – Hot Motion (ATO)
  67.         Various Artists – Anthology of contemporary music from Middle East (Unexplained Sounds Group)
  68.         My Burning Bush – Sublimation (self released)
  69.         Tearpalm – To the Happy Few, Volume 1 (93 dot 93)
  70.         Forrest Friends – choc.429 (Chocolate Monk)
  71.         Various Artists – Witchcraft & Black Magic In The United Kingdom (Eighth Tower)
  72.          Spirit Duplicator – Duplex Cremes (Tape Mountain)
  73.          Majestic Horses – Away from the Sun (Kasumen)
  74.           Reality Cyst – At One With Nothing (Automation Records)
  75.           Production Unit Xero – Hedge Magic (Aether Tapes)
  76.           Search Ensembles – Prescient / Legend (either/OAR)
  77.           Rosalie Cunningham – Rosalie Cunningham (Spinefarm Records)
  78.           Dominik Eulberg – Mannifaltig (K7 Records)
  79.           Column Shifter – Congregation (Shift)
  80.           Taylorshit – Orion (self released)
  81.           Serpent Worship – Serpent Worship (self released)
  82.           Bob Bucko Jr. – Junior Nuclear (Lurker Bias)
  83.           Kadaver – For The Dead Travel Fast (Nuclear Blast)
  84.           Greg Segal – Ahead/WISPREVI (self released)
  85.            Lance Austin Olsen – Look at the Mouth That Is Looking at You (Infrequency Editions)
  86.            Tom Dyer – 1+1=? (Green Monkey)
  87.            Various Artists – Om Unit Presents: Cosmology – Dark Matter (Boomkat)
  88.            Portico Quartet – Memory Streams (Gondwana Records)
  89.            Tipper – Jettison Mind (Tipper Music)
  90.            Jesse Koolhaas – Organized (Urban Waves Records)
  91.            Skekz – Bokeh (Kwai Music)
  92.            The Lord Weird Slough Feigh – New Organon (Cruz del Sur Music)
  93.            Neuroq – Spacephoria (Beatport)
  94.            Brunt – Ataraxy (self released)
  95.            A Winged Victory for the Sullen – The Undivided Five (Zen CD)
  96.           Under Nihilo – Tropical/Mall.Exe (self released)
  97.           Spaceslug – Reign of the Orion (BSFD Records)
  98.           Leth – Kalergi Aquarius (self released)
  99.           Stone Rebel – Apocalypse (self released)
  100.           Bryce Miller – Monochrome Daydream (Spun Out of Control)

7 December 2019 (2019 The Year Music Broke Back Part 1)

There are two What’s This Called? programs left for 2019 on Freeform Portland, Saturday December 7th (fragments of which are listenable below), and Saturday December 21st which will be a special from Noon until 4 PM Pacific Standard Time.

In honor for what your host Ricardo Wang sincerely believes to be the best year in recorded music since he began DJing some 35 years ago, both programs will focus on music from the What’s This Called? soon to be released Favorite 100 Albums of 2019. The past few years, your host has had a hard time coming up with a top ten albums, but 2019 has seen many, many artists old and new at the top of their respective games.

Unfortunately, this episode featured technical difficulties with the Freeform server that led to interruptions in the live stream and gaps in the digital archive. Bleh. Everything below sounds great, it’s just not as much as people listening on terrestrial radio got to hear. Let this be a lesson to all who put total faith in little zeros and ones. Sometimes the ones go away and you are left with the zeros. Thankfully we saved the great samples below at least.

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HEAR SOME OF THE FIRST HOUR HERE!

HEAR THE END OF THE SHOW HERE!: 

PLAYLIST:

  • Search Ensembles “AC DC CP SK” [Prescient/Legend]
  • Juniana “Opening Thread in Room” [Ordinary Devotions]
  • Neil Campbell “Cloud Drag 1979 (1-4)” [Cloud Drag 1979]
  • Tom Dyer “Everything in the World is Returning to a State of Nature” [1+1 = ?]
  • Column Shifter “Let Us Now Praise the Dust” [Congregation]
  • Mecca Normal “Man Thinks Woman / Strong White Male / I Walk Alone – Live” [Brave New Waves Session]
  • Taylorshit “DietLad” [Taylorshit.net]
  • Tearpalm “Wake Up and Smell the Coffin” [To the Happy Few]
  • Disxiple 113 “No Curtains” [Sidraw]
  • Noispoetnobody “Concrete Vitalist Part 3” [Concrete Vitalist]
  • Spirit Duplicator “Goat Boy Goes to Tacobell” [Duplex Cremes]
  • Erin Jane Laroue “The Future is Au Revoir” [Chalant]
  • Goh Lee Kwang “2-4 Avalanche II” [Avalanche Herbal Concrete Disc 1902-2]
  • Blake DeGraw “pity this busy monster, manukind” [Music for Hollow Voices]
  • Stuart McCleod “neuropera 4” [neuropera]
  • SONOLOGYST “Memorex” [Phantoms]
  • Amy Denio “Race Along the River” [Eureka]

23 November 2019

Only two hours of sunlight after the fog finally lifted in Portland today, and I was blessed to spend them in the Freeform Portland dj booth!

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HEAR THE 1st HOUR HERE:

HEAR THE 2nd HOUR HERE: 

PLAYLIST:

  • Wire “40 Versions – 2006 Remastered Version” [154]
  • Astrid Sonne “Strong, Calm, Slow” [Cliodynamics]
  • Edward Ka-Spel “Laughing Gas” [Dream Logik 1]
  • Ute Lemper sings Elvis Costello “Punishing Kiss” [Punishing Kiss]
  • The Beach Boys “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times – Remastered” [Pet Sounds (Original Mono & Stereo Mix Versions)]
  • Sonic Youth “Antenna” [The Eternal]
  • Qweerteest “Clouds” [Anthology of Persian Experimental Music]
  • Arthur Russell “You Have Did The Right Thing When You Put That Skylight In” [Springfield]
  • almost automatic landscapes “leave your reality aside” [International Experimental Music Compilation Volume II]
  • Dave Phillips “Categorical thinking doesn’t do justice to the complexity of life” [INTERACTIONS A Guide to Swiss Underground Experimental Music]
  • Earthmonkey “Descent Into Basecloud” [Be That Charge]
  • Bark Psychosis “Nothing Feels” [Independency]
  • Bill Horist “Requiem for Endless Days” [Covalent Lodge]
  • Clara! y Maoupa “Truenos” [Luna Nueva]
  • Sharkbait “Mr. Fernando” [The Big One]
  • The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown “I Put a Spell on You” [The Crazy World of Arthur Brown]
  • The Pink Fairies “Uncle Harry’s Last Freakout” [Never-Neverland]
  • Lou Reed “She’s My Best Friend” [Coney Island Baby]
  • bullfinch “audio voluntary” [International Experimental Music Compilation Volume II]
  • Amy Denio/Pale Nudes “Axis” [Tutto Bene]
  • Daevid Allen “Fastfather” [Divided Alien Playbax 80]
  • Moodring “Mixer” [phoolan devi]

 

9 November 2019 (Give Until It Hurts…)

What’s This Called? is proud to be moving into our second year at Freeform Portland, which we honestly believe to be the coolest station the program has ever lived at. It’s that time of year where we implore you that come to WTC for the most obscure and independently produced experimental audio work around to help keep the station where we make the shows afloat! https://www.freeformportland.org/donate/

Your host Ricardo Wang was joined by frequent cohost DJ Victrola of Guitar Shop to make the case for why Freeform Portland is doing revolutionary work fighting the culture wars on behalf of diversity and free creativity. Much great experimental music was shared in the process.

HEAR THE FIRST HOUR HERE:

HEAR THE SECOND HOUR HERE:

PLAYLIST:

  • Savage Republic “Next to Nothing” [Tragic Figures]
  • Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 “The Piston and the Shaft” [Strangers from the Universe]
  • Bardo Pond “White Turban (The Traveller) “ [All Tomorrow’s Parties 1.1]
  • Nate Trier “Palehound” [Palehound in a Sea of Color]
  • Marlo Eggplant “Tandem” [Exercises]
  • George & Caplin “Horse Fair When I’m 32” [He Really Got Through to Advertising]
  • Iggy Pop “We Are The People” [Free]
  • Whirling Hall of Knives “2-Bar Heater and Smoke” [Electic Lava]
  • Somesurprises “High Rise” [somesurprises]
  • The Continental Cousins “Kana Kapila” [60s Jungle Garage Teen Beat]
  • Miss Murgatroid “Ballad of the Panatonic” [Myoclyonic Melodies]
  • Nyctalllz “The Humanity Demise” [The Humanity Demise]
  • Rhys Chatham “Hard Edge (the Wire Editions)” [The Wire Tapper 2]
  • Sonic’s Rendezvous Band “Electrophonic Tonic – The Best Stuff You Havent Heard” [Sonic’s Rendezvous Band]
  • Negativland “True False” [True False]
  • Kim Gordon “Get Yr Life Back” [No Home Record]

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2 November 2019 (What’s This Space Between Called?)

Yolo on a pilgrimage we’re at Freeform Portland an extra week. So between two What’s This Called? is this space that is also but not entirely the same. Go to your mirror and turn it upside down. Watch carefully.

HEAR THE FIRST HOUR HERE:

HEAR THE SECOND HOUR HERE:

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PLAYLIST:

  • Ennio Morricone “The desert – Il deserto” [The good, the bad and the ugly]
  • 헤이스트링 “A bottomless pit” [Salto]
  • Between “Devotion” [Soul Jazz Records Presents DEUTSCHE ELEKTRONISCHE MUSIK: Experimental German Rock and Electronic Music 1972-83]
  • Jen Morris “Auterepart” [Interactions A Guide to Swiss Underground Experimental Music]
  • Staruha Mha “Tar B Tymahe” [Unknown Files]
  • Surya “Serenade Upgrade” [Music to Watch]
  • Amy Denio “Wolf Moon” [Eureka]
  • Lixo “Writer’s Block (feat. Trim)” [Writer’s Block]
  • Flying Lotus “Takashi” [Flamagra]
  • The Idealist “Bad Things Happen Dub (Wire Tapper edit)” [The Wire Tapper 51]
  • The Soft Moon “Primal Eyes” [The Soft Moon]
  • Spectral Bazaar “Neptune” [The Planets]
  • Sky High Diamonds “The Discoverer” [Witchcraft & Black Magic in the United Kingdom]
  • Adrian Belew “She Is Not Dead” [Desire Of The Rhino King]
  • Lightning Bolt “Halloween 3” [Sonic Citadel]
  • Kim Gordon “Air BnB” [No Home Record]
  • Negativland “Destroying Anything” [True False]
  • Lene Lovich “Writing on the Wall” [Stateless]
  • Hans Castrup “Full of Used Notes” [The world is all that is…]
  • Kollectiv “Rambo Zambo” [Deutsche Elektronische Musik (Experimental German Rock And Electronic Musik 1972-83)]
  • Farouk Adil “Surface Crack” [Anthology of contemporary music from Middle East]
  • Buck Young “Bell Jar of Whiskey” [Buck II: Where Do You Want It?]
  • The Caretaker “Stage 6: Place in the World fades away” [Everywhere at the end of Time]

26 October 2019 (Joshua Ploeg Live!)

Featuring acapella folk jams and classic noisecore/queercore recordings by Joshua Ploeg/Plague who is the author of 11 cookbooks, was the lead vocalist/lyricist in Mukilteo Fairies and Behead the Prophet No Lord Shall Live as well as playing in Kiss Me Kill Me, Lords of Lightspeed, and The Special Friend. In addition to both noise and acoustic folk solo sets he currently performs in Select Sex and Sanctuary of Sound.

Ricardo and Joshua have know each other since Ricardo procured a zine from Joshua outside the Capitol Theater in Olympia in 1993. Tune in to hear the story of what the zine was about.

LISTEN TO THE FIRST HOUR HERE:

LISTEN TO THE SECOND HOUR HERE:

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PLAYLIST:

  • Negativland “This Is Not Normal” [True False]
  • Art Ensemble of Chicago “We Are on the Edge (radio edit)” [We Are On the Edge: a 50th Anniversary Celebration]
  • Thurston Moore “Galaxies (edit)” [Spirit Counsel]
  • Select Sex “Strategies Against Ameteurs” [Strategies Against Ameteurs]
  • Sanctuary of Sound “The Merry Witches” [Hymns & Conjurations]
  • Tarot Twilight “Tarot One” [Tarot One]
  • Joshua Ploeg “Tam Lin” [Live on What’s This Called?]
  • WaqWaq Kingdom “Doggy Bag” [Doggy Bag]
  • Kim Gordon “Don’t Play It” [No Home Record]
  • The Fall “Eat Y’Self Fitter” [Perverted By Language (Expanded Edition)]
  • Lords of Lightspeed “White Chocolate and Brimstone” [Lords of Lightspeed]
  • Behead the Prophet, No Lord Shall Live “Clenching the Veil” [Behead the Prophet, No Lord Shall Live]
  • Richard Skelton “Altar Valley” [Border Ballads]
  • Grey Frequency “Elegy for Vinegar Tom” [Witchcraft & Black Magic in the United Kingdom]
  • Joshua Ploeg “Ditties Live” [Live on What’s This Called?]
  • Pharoah Chromium “Gaza Requiem” [Anthology of contemporary music from Middle East]
  • Parliament “Mothership Connection (Star Child)” [Mothership Connection]
  • Joshua Ploeg “Americana Ditties” [Live on What’s This Called?]
  • Pan Sonic “Urania” [Vakio]
  • Daft Punk “Rollin’ & Scratchin'” [Homework]
  • Mukilteo Fairies “Closet Check” [Closet Check]
  • Sun Ra “Somebody Else’s World – a.k.a. Somebody Else’s Idea” [My Brother the Wind, Vol. 2]

12 OctoberAllOver 2019

Weekend comes and now you feel
Like your afterlife

HEAR THE FIRST HOUR HERE:

HEAR THE SECOND HOUR HERE:

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PLAYLIST:

  • Psanck “Dau Cant Un Deg Wyth” [Psanck II]
  • Noijzu “Invisible” [INTERACTIONS A Guide to Swiss Underground Experimental Music]
  • Spectral Bazaar “Neptune” [The Planets]
  • Purpura “Cruel” [INTERACTIONS A Guide to Swiss Underground Experimental Music]
  • Unwound “October All Over” [Leaves Turn Inside You]
  • Guapo “Obscure Knowledge (Wire Tapper Edit)” [The Wire Tapper 38]
  • Satori “Hag of Hair” [Witchcraft & Black Magic in the United Kingdom]
  • Oneohtrix Point Never “Sleep Dealer” [Replica]
  • Violent Vickie “The Wolf” [Monster Alley]
  • Therminal C “Sputnik Crash” [INTERACTIONS A Guide to Swiss Underground Experimental Music]
  • Daniel Williams “Do You Believe in Witches?” [Witchcraft & Black Magic in the United Kingdom]
  • Tarkamt “Death Takes a Vacation” [Live at the Necropolis]
  • Joan Baez “Diamonds And Rust” [Diamonds & Rust]
  • Crystal Cortez “Samhain” [Soundcloud]
  • Lelani “Floating” [Fantastic Planet]
  • Sonologyst “Phantoms” [Phantoms]
  • John 3:16 “Into The Abyss” [Ten]
  • David Bowie “Lazarus” [Blackstar]
  • Cream “SWLABR” [Disraeli Gears]
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds “Ghosteen” [Ghosteen]
  • rarescale “Apparition and Release” [Apparition and Release – Rarescale Plays Michael Oliva]
  • Howlround “Crypt of Saint John” [Witchcraft & Black Magic in the United Kingdom]
  • Vanilla Fudge “Season of the Witch – 2006 Remaster” [Renaissance]