Ulla and I started Wiggle Room only a handful of months after we met and became close friends right around the end of 2014. Deeply inspired by the experimental spirit of our midwestern surroundings, we found a connection, and Wiggle Room instantly flourished as a way for us to express our shared love for sound. As soon as we started to collaborate we began to make music that was out of our control, that was coming from something beyond either of us, summoned from the chaotic play between us. We found strong frenetic energy from improvisation and the live arrangement of cassettes. This world is a place where anyone can do anything, even at the same time. A union of play and contemplation. It is fun, intense, insane, and magical.
We played our inaugural show in early 2015 at Giron—a psychichly important space for Chicago music on 21st street—on a bill with Final POV (shy) and DeMaio, a cosmically charged line up for a show attended by a spiritually lifting arrangement of people. (Generally, this was the course for any time I ever spent at Giron.) From the beginning, Wiggle Room truly felt like a project made from a shared existence between the two of us. Shortly after this initiation, the space I was living in burst into flame, along with the intense energy of the summer of 2015, and most of the gear that I used in the project. Wiggle Room became reborn from what equipment was available, and an even stronger desire to find and share the feelings that keep us going through hardship.
For nearly a year we used samplers and CDs, and we recorded the album Temple, a fever dream journey of discovery. After that was complete and we played out the material a few times, we quickly found ourselves playing with cassettes and CD players, revisiting where we started. I made a trip to Kentucky and found a box of 100 blank cassettes I had bought years ago for a release that never came to pass, and these became the basis for Wiggle Room for nearly 2 years of recordings and live performances. Early on in this era we were asked to play a festival in Ohio. The day we were supposed to play we missed our bus, and though at first upset we actually felt a sense of relief, not knowing what was going to happen and a sense of possible missbooking. Instead we headed to Sam’s Cabana with our equipment and eventually made this recording.
The Megabus was early in the morning, and we as we groggily returned to the cabana, a film crew was shooting an episode of one of those Chicago crime shows at the end the block. On 23rd and Damen there was the original police station for the west side of chicago. It had long been empty, boarded up and graffiti’d, but a crew, to my alarm, had been cleaning up the building for weeks prior. I thought the station was being fully restored, the crew had been replacing windows and putting in electricity, but at the last minute the crew replaced the boarded windows with new boards and freshly painted wood covers, resembling the way you might illustrate boarded windows in a cartoon, a facade unlike the way windows are actually boarded with cheap plywood. And they had replaced the graffiti of known locals with simulated graffiti tags that not only represented nothing, but were unbelievably generic-looking and uninteresting. The entire street was shut down to accommodate the mass of filming crew trucks and etc. It was all too surreal and absurd to see this simulated and washed out version of our neighborhood begin to be lit by industrial lighting and populated with actors and security.
Ulla and , now going through two emotional sequences began to set up camp for the evening at the cabana. Shortly after, a close friend Mikey came by for a while and we had a lot of fun discussing the absurdity of what was going on in our neighborhood. Mikey was an inspiring person and I felt so glad to hear what he felt any time he shared it. It was calming and reassuring just to see him. An exceptional musician and writer who deeply inspired a great mass of amazing people in the scene, and one of the most genuine people in it. After he left Ulla and I recorded the track Camo. It flowed out of us after a long session of recording new tapes. We played it back a few times, and I will say it felt like we found something important. It set a new bar for us, we played out and continued to elaborate on what happened in this recording for almost 2 years. This era saw many live recordings, but this iteration remains one of the most pristine, and one of our favorite examples of what we do. That, combined with that fact it was made on such a cosmic evening is why we are now presenting it to you. We lost Mikey in 2017 and I can never stop thinking about the day we recorded this session, and I want to dedicate this recording to the memory of Mikey. The most appropriate platform for this session is my own Sam’s Cabana label, representing the place it was recorded and where I will always think of this insane day. Maybe, hopefully this will share a brief glimpse of our lives. Of people living to the best of our ability, to manage and maneuver through the chaos of this world. Never forget Fake Culture.
PLUR+ACAB 420, I LOVE YOU.
released February 12, 2018
Ulla - 4 cassette players
Sam - 2 four track cassette players