los-angeles

View of “Beneath the Valley of the Lowest Form of Music: The Los Angeles Free Music Society (1972–2012),” 2012.

Los Angeles Free Music Society

The Box

View of “Beneath the Valley of the Lowest Form of Music: The Los Angeles Free Music Society (1972–2012),” 2012.

Legendary among connoisseurs of weird records and mutant sounds for their woozy, hypnotic tape manipulations and free-form freak-outs, the Los Angeles Free Music Society (LAFMS) may be obscure but it hasn’t been entirely overlooked. In fact, having attracted a frenzied cult following, this coterie of self-described “bands without musicians” is probably now as “popular” as it could ever hope to be—and these noise-icians have always seemed more at home on the fringes of pop music than anywhere in the institutionally sanctioned world of the “experimental.” After all, the group formed in the early ’70s through after-hours jams and backroom recording experiments at a Pasadena record store where several core members worked and many more shopped. Their self-released home recordings and live albums (typically manually dubbed cassettes or hand-packaged vinyl) wed aleatoricism, extended

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the April 2012 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.