Portland based experimentalist Jackie Stewart (a.k.a Oblivia) started working with sound as a medium in 1979. After early experiments involving electric guitar and vocals, Jackie Stewart found her voice on the turntables when she discovered the link between her visual collages and her sound work. Usually found performing with avant/psych/folk pioneers Smegma, her recent solo project entitled “uncracked” reveals a playfully disturbed sound world where toys and turntables are manipulated to conjure sound as faded memory, familiar to all, yet just beyond the far side of recognition.
In 1979, Stewart started performing live improv pieces, inspired by the so-called “punk” music” scene, joining Gumby Antichrist with X.J.Elliot and Jerry A. (later known as Poison Idea), where she played guitar and performed experimental vocals. In 1983 she joined joined Smegma where she also played guitar, saxophone, cow bell, tape loops, Casio, electronics, Drums, Bass, turntables and vocals and has been known under such assumed names as, “rock and roll Jackie” and “Oblivia.”
As a member of Smegma, Stewart has performed live with the Dead Kennedys, the Butthole Surfers, Perry Robinson, 1/2 Japanese, Merzbow, the Boredoms, Wolf Eyes, Tom Recchion, Steve Mackay, Aaron Dilloway and Joe McPhee/Chris Corsano with many performances resulting in recorded collaborations.
Smegma is a frequent headliner at international festivals recently appearing at K(RAA)K3 Fest (Hasselt, Belgium,2005), Subcurrent Festival (Glasgow, Scotland,2006) and No Fun Fest (New York, 2006) as well as being feature at End Times Festival (Minneapolis, MN, 2006) and Three Million Tongues Festival (Chicago, 2006).
As a member of Smegma, Stewart has appeared on more than sixty recordings including Wolf Eyes/Smegma (De Stijl Records, 2003) Smegma with Steve Mackay – Thirty Years of Service (Radon, 2004) and Rumbings (Hanson Records, 2005). Recent years have seen the re-release of several early Smegma cassettes and Lps on CD including Pigs for Lepers (Pigface, 1982/Harbinger Sound, 2006) and Live 1991-1993 (Pigface Mojo 1994/ Resipiscent, 2006).
Working solo, Stewart recently performed as Helen Blazes 1904 at the Color Out of Space Festival in Brighton, UK (November 2006). She also appeared at the 7th annual High Zero Festival in Baltimore, performing alongside Jenny Graff (US) and Fuyuki Yamakawa (Japan) as well as performing solo. Other live collaborators have included The Beast, Replicock, Alessandro Bosetti, Dave Smollen, Joseph Hammer and Caroliner among others.
Her current projects include compositions for Smegma, Replicock and Rodney Forest and collaborations with Nate Young of Wolf Eyes and John Weise.
Stewart was recently featured on the cover of modern music magazine The Wire in conjunction with a feature article on Smegma.
Leticia Castaneda is an audio engineer and sound artist living in Los Angeles, California. Recent compositions examine the ability to abandon personal inhibitions while simultaneously reacting to acoustical interference. The quality or the protean nature of amplification has a direct affect upon Castaneda’s composition. Her live work combines extreme external confusion with deep innate clarity to build a dramatic pause of time and sound.
Notable performances have included Wooden Octopus Festival, Seattle, WA; An Audible Instigation Toward the Discovery of Instant Confession, Ausland, Berlin; Beyond Music Festival, Beyond Baroque, Venice, CA; Center for Experiments in Art, Information, and Technology CEAIT Festival, Cal Arts, Valencia, CA; Sound Shift, Big Sur, CA; American Composer’s Forum Salon 15, Los Angeles, CA; Line Space Line Festival of Improvised and Experimental Music, Los Angeles, CA and SOLIDS present MOMENTUM-A Sculptural Arts Exhibition, Los Angeles, CA. These events encompassed solo improvisation, solo composition exhibition, playback and discussion, audio environments to accompany sculpture, collaborative improvisation. direction of an audio drama with actors and site-specific installation.
Collaborative partners have included Lionel Marchetti, Jerome Noetinger, Jessica Catron, Mitchell Brown, Bob Bellerue, Aaron Ximm, Rick Potts, Joseph Hammer, Smegma, Bryan Eubanks, Reynols and Albert Ortega among others. Castaneda sees her practice as aligned with the seminal noise collective the Los Angeles Free Music Society and Fluxus.
Castaneda’s debut CD, On the Verge of Redundance, was released by Chicago-based CIP in 2004. Dan Warburton writing in the Paris Transatlantic Review wrote that the CD possess a richness and warmth that recalls an earlier generation of analogue pioneers; while Jim Haynes in The Wire commented that Castaneda’s compositions revel in a thrift store brutism that engages the aesthetic of musique concrete with a lo-fi sensibility. Her work is featured on several compilations including Influenced by Intensity (Quintessential, 2002), String of Artifacts (Fish Pics/Resipiscent, 2005) L.A. Noisescape (Bastardised, 2006) and Field Recording All-Stars (Dielectric Records, 2007).