Houston Music

Artist Of The Week: Wall With One Side's Alpha-Centaurian... Oh Hell, Just Read It

Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to [email protected].

We're certain that a bunch of people are going to hate, deride, make smarmy remarks about and/or disregard this week's pick for Artist of the Week. And that's totally cool. Everything ain't for everybody, except maybe cheese in a can. That shit is delicious.

And we suppose the criticism isn't without its merits. To say that Wall With One Side's music is a little nonlinear or a little chaotic is like saying that R. Kelly's facial hair is just a little icky-looking. The man - yes, it's one guy performing under a band's name - skirts all around the edges of noisy static. He blasts away on homemade instruments and the like. And his shows are periodically accompanied by projection shows of more apparent nonsense.

But something about it is interesting, and that can not be ignored. Also, we've noticed a clear pattern that whenever people are parts of acts like this, they are almost always very intelligent, very crazy or very a-holeish. Whichever, they usually make for good interviews.

So we tagged up with Wall With One Side to cut it up about a few things, namely what the hell is going on, Isaac Asimov and the greatest obscure live show in history.

Rocks Off: Okay, first question: What the hell?

Wall With One Side: I prefer the German idiom "Was zum Teufel?" or the Australian phrase "WTF, mate?" Assuming this is some line of inquiry as to the nature and mission of Wall With One Side, I'll paraphrase my own press on the subject: Wall With One Side is the outlet for my percusso-centric self to approach music through the prisms of timbre, texture and harmony rather than rhythm. It is also an exercise in just how much I can accomplish as a one-man endeavor, both in performance and all the other duties making music for public consumption entails.

RO: Second question: We think, hands down, you have the best song titles in the city. "Asimov Proposes a Toast," "The Sinking of the Lusitania," "Walsingham Second Eve Edit." Those are just great. How do you come up with something like "Asimov Proposes a Toast"?

Wall With One Side, "Walsingham Second Eve Edit"

Wall With One Side, "Walsingham Second Eve Edit"

WWOS: Thanks for the kind words. Being a literary dork, I take a lot of delight in classical allusion, verbal irony and unrepentant puns. "Asimov Proposes a Toast" resulted from the collision of sci-fi author Isaac Asimov, who wrote a commentary on the Bible from a secular perspective, which I found kind of funny, with the satirical essay "Screwtape Proposes A Toast" from the author C.S. Lewis.

So on one level, it is a swipe at the fallout from the mid-20th century period when people were taking the secularization narrative (the notion that science and technology would inevitably supplant all forms of religious belief) as [clears throat] gospel, an article of faith I think is being disproven in every place except Europe and North America.

But it also sounds like a one-sentence synopsis of some story that you then have to fill in with your own story. The listener/reader gets to collaborate with me on what exactly is represented in the piece, which I think sounds a bit like something happening out around Alpha Centauri, so there's another connection to Asimov. I think that makes for a more enjoyable listening experience.

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Shea Serrano