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Who Wants To Be An MT6 Recording Artist?

March 5, 2009
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The taut, tense guitars lash out with gut jabs and, with the drums slamming along in time, it’s as though the instruments have been coiled and waiting forever for their chance to strike. Yet now that they’re free to do so, they’re determined to unfurl in as surgical a manner as possible: gray-black polygraph peaks streaking an ocean of white space.

No, this isn’t a Minor Threat demo or an outtake from Sonic Youth’s Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star. This is the instrumental version of “Idiocracies,” a poli-punk bromide courtesy of local anti-pop architect Newagehillbilly. The original, released as a split 7-inch single with Human Host, brims with tear-down-the-system invective: “Administrations/ Idiocracies/ Control our fate/ With their monopolies.”

“The music was written and recorded sometime in 2000 on 4-track cassette at the trailer I used to live in up in Harford County,” MT6 Records head/Newagehillbilly principle Alex Strama explains via e-mail. “I actually ‘lost’ the recording until about 2006, and then added the vocals then. It wasn’t meant to be political, but it came out that way in the end. I would imagine it has to do with life during the Bush Administration, and all the frustration and fear that I was feeling.”

Now that we’re living in less heavy-handed but no less uncertain times, Strama is inviting listeners and musicians to reinvent or re-imagine the track. “I’d like to take the vocals back out and see if anyone would like to be part of an experiment to see what would happen if other people recorded new music, vocals, whatever over the instrumental,” he wrote in a Jan. 30 mass e-mail message. “Let’s create something.” Thus far, Strama has received several expressions of interest, though no expounded-upon versions of “Idiocracies” found their way to his inbox.

The stark, wide-open structure of “Idiocracies” nearly begs for sonic ornamentation or affected vocals. Listen close, and you can almost hear DayGlo daubs of synth paint, all manner of distressed grumblings, a totally inappropriate accordion jam, violin strokes ringing in opposition to the massed compressions of fret and kit. It’s like a fat, juicy target. Submissions will be accepted until May 15. A collection of remakes will be released in a yet-to-be determined format.

To hear a stream of “Idiocracies,” visit www.myspace.com/newagehillbilly. To participate, contact Strama at newagehillbilly@hotmail.com.

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