Tag Archives: Helicopter

Sissy Spacek “Pitched Intervention” CD (Helicopter)
Recorded in Los Angeles in February 2018 and consists of two sessions with Don Bolles (The Germs, Ariel Pink) and Mitchell Brown (Gasp), and one session with Mitchell Brown and Joseph Hammer (Solid Eye, Joe & Joe, LAFMS).

Sissy Spacek “L/L” CD (Helicopter)
Recorded on Sissy Spacek’s ensemble tour in January 2018, combining sets from Louisville with Tim Barnes, Bret Barry, and Margo Morley, and Lexington with Robert Beatty.


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Out mid-July 2018.

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Sissy Spacek
Helicopter, H 58
4xCS + 7-inch
Release Date: July 25, 2017

Helicopter is very relieved to announce this box set, which has taken about nine years and many anxiety attacks to come together.

In April 2008, Sissy Spacek embarked on a west coast tour. We didn’t really have much material at that time, so we played mostly a weird collage of electronics and tape. At some of the shows we played songs intermingled, but mostly it was exploratory and experimental.

When the tour was finished the recordings were meant to become this box set: 4 cassettes and a 7-inch with inserts. This endeavor was faced with many obstacles, and after only a couple of years, I was so frustrated that I decided to just edit the material into a simpler album, Rip, which came out on Gilgongo in December 2011. I never quite gave up on the box set version, but the universe, through endless blunders, just kept telling me it wasn’t the time for it.

Some of the catastrophes along the way:

I bought 400 tapes and had them sent to my friend’s house in Los Angeles, only to realize that I would then have to re-send them to Greh, who was dubbing them in Detroit.

I pressed 100 copies of the 7-inch at Bill Smith, along with a few other records. Putting out records when you’re on the road/couch surfing is pretty much impossible. You don’t have any space to deal with anything and the anxiety of trying to assemble and ship and organize hundreds of copies of multiple records is enough to drive anyone insane.

I ordered 100 reel boxes and had them sent to Los Angeles. On another tour I drove them up to Portland to have my friend Cody Brant hand-draw each cover.

The tapes were then shipped to me in New York, where I was staying at the time. This was around 2009 or 2010. I thought for some reason I could get the release going from there, despite having basically no resources at my disposal.

I asked Cody to ship the boxes to me in New York, which he did. I think I had suggested sending them media mail, which he confirmed with the post office was ok. They arrived with $100 postage due, so after conferring with the NY post office, I had them returned to sender thinking they would be sent back to the Portland post office that OK’d it and they would be understanding. No such luck.

When leaving NY, I had to then ship the tapes back to Los Angeles again, 400 tapes’ fourth trip through the mail.

A couple years later I was in Los Angeles, looking through my storage space, tearing the entire thing apart, looking for the 7-inches, thinking maybe I’d try to get this project going again. No luck. I asked everyone I could think of if I had anything stashed or left at their house, specifically a box of 100 unpackaged 7-inches. No. Somehow I managed to lose the entire pressing. (To this day never found.)

The boxes stayed in Cody’s basement for many years, developing a bit of mold, cobwebs, and age by the time I picked them up. Later most fell into even worse condition while in storage (again) and most ended up unsuitable to be used at all and I had to buy more.

A bit of luck later, I was on the phone with Bill Smith looking for some pressing plates, and they told me they had H 58 on the shelf. I immediately knew that these were the plates for the Rip 7-inch and after a moment of astonishment, asked them to press another hundred.

After driving all the pieces across country yet again, they finally were all in one accessible place. I looked for the files of the originals, but it they seem to be completely lost. I asked Greh if he still had them. No luck. I listened to the tapes and figured out what was what and then labeled them all. I got the rest of the material printed and assembled the boxes and finally got everything finished.

The recordings in this set differ greatly from the Rip CD. These recordings were essentially the source for that album, but here the material is presented more as concrète events with less intervention. Since the original files are lost, it’s doubtful there will be any digital or second edition of this version, aside from the Rip album.

Here’s the story of the Vancouver BC show that was the description for the Rip CD when it came out:

We played this show in Vancouver BC that was definitely in my top three. Sissy Spacek caravanned up there with Yellow Swans and arrived late afternoon right between the venue and Gabe’s girlfriend’s house. It was probably about two blocks in between. We hung out there for a little while and I had needed to pee for a really long time, so I took a few steps over to this alley and took a piss and then reconvened with everybody hanging out and waiting for the promoter and Gabe’s girlfriend to arrive. After a couple minutes we noticed these two women in the alley checking us out. After a skeptical, then dismissive look, they squatted directly in my piss and started smoking crack.

Previous to this, we thought everything in Canada had been hilarious. The accents at the border, the 70′s strut of the “walk” light, road signs … pretty much everything. This was something different. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for a long time, and I’m not used to seeing stuff like this in broad daylight off what seemed to be a main drag.

Eventually we hung out a bit at the house and then headed over to the venue once the promoter showed up. I parked and he warned we should take everything out of the car. “Everything.” Don’t leave a single insignificant thing in view or it will definitely get broken into. We unloaded into a white room, kind of cold and dank. The walls and ceiling were literally dripping. It reeked of beer. “Oh, we had a party here last night, we just hosed it down.” “With beer?” I asked as a joke, but not really. He explained it used to be a fish factory and that they had shows there and bands practiced there. They never had any problems with cops because of the neighborhood.

“How many bands are playing?” “Six, I think.” “What time does the show start?” “Probably around midnight.”

We left back for the house to check out their half pipe and hear stories about the view from their second story window. Just walking back and forth a few times between the house and the venue, we saw a lot of stuff — weird stuff. Zombies milling about, prostitutes hanging around, people with bad things or no thing to do. I can’t say how we looked, but I can say that I did not see anyone that looked like they had a normal agenda.

Around 11pm we headed back over. I set up the record table and checked to make sure everything was ok. In the back storage room there was a tower of around 50 cases of beer. Jesse and I were baffled by everything at this point. We decided we should just take a walk up and down the street and see what was about. Just crossing the road had shown us quite a bit. Corydon refused our invitation to join us in no uncertain terms.

We head out to the street. I had noticed this big rig parked on the corner all day. It was just the front cab of a big semi truck. It was the kind that was elongated and probably had a small apartment behind the seats. As we passed it, being night time now, I looked back over my shoulder through the windshield as we walked by and saw a white, doughy, mid-50′s man, standing completely naked, staring back at me from behind/between the seats. We made solid eye contact. I turned immediately and told Jesse, “Don’t look back” as I slowly turned my head around to look again, only this time the light was now off and I could only imagine he was now standing there still looking at me, completely naked, now in darkness. We passed two more crumbling prostitutes who were barely able to stand before we managed to get to the corner. We took a right and noted the street name, Hastings, and walked about six blocks up the street.

Passed 11 pm, things looked much uglier than during the day. Everyone was some kind of walking dead, zombie, prostitute, unconscious and sprawled out, people literally in the gutter, everything looked like absolute bad news. There were many notable sights. We saw a convenience store whose neon sign read, “Open 23 Hours”. We saw drug addicts freaking out, prostitutes getting into cars, people shaking, yelling, etc. Jesse looks fucked up, so I think that’s why, between the two of us, a guy chose his spit for me (but missed). Suddenly we realized we were now far from the venue. Pretty far. We should turn around. We crossed at the intersection at Gore Street and came back on the other side. Unscathed except for an empty box of Goobers thrown at me (again the victim!)

As we stroll up to the venue, probably around 11:30 or so at this point, we have to wade through people to get to the door. Miraculously it is completely packed. $5 to get in, $5 per beer. The promoter explains that underage kids know this is a place they can drink no problem, so they always do well. We play a set alternating between grindcore and full-on noise. People were rowdy during both. Six bands is never something you want to hear, but somehow it went fine, crowded until it ended around 6 am and turned into a sloppy sock hop. All the beer was gone.

The next day Jesse was sick enough to go to the hospital and bow out of the rest of the tour.


Recorded up and down the West Coast by Jesse Jackson, Corydon Ronnau, and John Wiese and featuring appearances by Yellow Swans, Peter Kolovos (Open City), and Paul Costuros (Death Sentence: Panda!).

Numbered edition of 100.


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Arcata, California pirate radio program “Hypocrisy Now!” 2.5 hour feature on Helicopter with interview.

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T. Mikawa/John Wiese
Oblique No Strategy
Helicopter, H 78
Release Date: November 1, 2016

1. Cryptic Number
2. Camouflage
3. World of Other Stuff
4. Lung Capacity

Helicopter is proud to present the first ever collaboration between T. Mikawa (Incapacitants, Hijokaidan) and John Wiese (Sissy Spacek, LHD). Since their first meeting in Tokyo in August 2000, readers may remember Mikawa’s liner notes on Wiese’s 2005 Troniks release “Teenage Hallucination: 1992–1999″, but it took a full fifteen years before the two had the opportunity to sit down and record together. Recorded in Tokyo at Ochiai Soup in 2015, the pair’s electronics bleed into one another to form an immersive and astounding energy. Mixed and mastered by Wiese during a residency at the studio of Ina/GRM in Paris, 2016.


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Sissy Spacek — Disfathom LP/CD/CS (Helicopter)

Sissy Spacek — Reversed Normalization CD (Helicopter)

Sissy Spacek — Duration Groups CD (Helicopter)


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Tabloid – Music For Tape And Voice LP (Helicopter)
Edition of 100


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GX Jupitter-Larsen
Nihil Ad Rem 2016
One-Sided 7-inch Lathe
Signed, numbered, and stamped
Packaged in a press sheet
with postcard
Edition of 22
Available at Hesse Press’s table
at the LA Art Book Fair,
Feb 11–14, 2016
Helicopter, HEL 96021

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Live At Mark Moore Gallery
Helicopter, CD
HEL 95121
Release Date: December 15, 2015

Airway began as a solo project of Los Angeles Free Music Society member Joe Potts. The first release was the Airway 7-inch, which featured subliminal messages to coincide with an art exhibition in Tokyo. Since their August 1978 live debut at the LACE Gallery, the group has performed many concerts with different large lineups, always with Joe Potts’ subliminal message experiments as a central feature. Airway’s “Live At LACE” LP, first released in 1978, and introduced to Japan by Takuya Sakaguchi, was a direct influence on the projects Hijokaidan and Merzbow. Airway’s discography to date includes the albums “Live At LACE”, “Beyond The Pink Live”, a split LP with Hijokaidan, and now Helicopter is very pleased to present “Live At Mark Moore Gallery”.

“Live At Mark Moore Gallery” was recorded June 21, 2014 in Culver City, California. The line-up includes: Don Bolles, Ted Byrnes, Dennis Duck, Ace Farren Ford, Michael Foster, Juan Gomez, Fredrik Nilsen, Joseph Hammer, Kevin Laffey, Jorge Martin, Joe Potts, Rick Potts, Dani Tull, John Wiese, and Vetza. The multi-channel recording was engineered by Jorge Martin and Greg Lenczycki, and was mixed by John Wiese. The cover was designed by Tinytown with photographs by Don Lewis.

This release continues a series by the label documenting West Coast artists. Other editions so far include The Haters, Damion Romero, Hive Mind, Smegma, John Wiese, and Sissy Spacek.


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Sissy Spacek
Helicopter, CD
H 73
Release Date: December 15, 2015

This release represents recordings which document the transition of the band into the current duo line-up of Charlie Mumma and John Wiese. It includes two 7-inches recorded in the same session, “Gate” and “Incomprehensible Dehumanization”, originally released by A Dear Girl Called Wendy (Italy) and Gilgongo, respectively. Uncompromisingly bleak and harsh noisecore made from drums/vocals and bass/electronics. A 6-minute bonus track is included.


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Hive Mind
Under Old Earth They Made Me The Keeper Of The Vineyards But Mine Own Vineyard I Have Not Kept CD
Helicopter, HEL 95091
Shipping September 28, 2015

Available to order now!


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Sissy Spacek/K2 review
Boston Hassle

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Sissy Spacek
First Four 2xCD + DVD
Helicopter, H 68
Shipping April 15, 2015

Sissy Spacek celebrates it’s 15 year anniversary with a boxset compiling their long out-of-print first four albums (s/t, Remote Whale Control, Scissors, Devils Cone and Palm), as well as an exclusive full-length (Coast To Coast) and DVD documenting live footage, exclusive videos and a tour documentary—all housed in a printed hinged box. From its blur-grind conception, through concrète experiments, finally coming full circle and re-emerging as a live grindcore band, Sissy Spacek’s unprecedented results are well catalogued in this crucial release.


Sissy Spacek made its first recording in June 1999. I had just finished my first year at CalArts and Corydon was visiting from St. Louis during summer break. We recorded four songs in the second year design studio, running bass, drum machine, and vocals through a Radio Shack mixer into an amp, and the RCA output ran into my tape deck. We did many test mixes, walking out to my car each time to listen to the mix on the car stereo. I was eager to release a demo tape of these tracks, but the lyrics weren’t quite finished. Corydon recorded rough vocals and we also recorded an instrumental version to finish later. But unfortunately in the end we still didn’t have something that we could release.

Corydon returned to St. Louis. By December I was visiting for the holiday and we played our first show on Xmas day, 1999. Our friend Paul Staples performed as “The Baby Jesus” and we played our four songs plus an improvised noisecore batch with Danny McClain on drums. A recording of this was made behind the amps using a karaoke machine. It’s the worst quality recording I have ever heard, with a suffocating amount of hiss burying a thin, anti-fidelity approximation of our set. It was later released as an 8-minute side of the “Nice Gems” double 7-inch.

When I came back to California I started using the demo recording and the live set as source material, making tracks and experiments with it out of frustration that it wasn’t finished, and to mask the unfinished vocal version. The next December we played another show at the same venue, Centro Sociale. The venue was a theater on the ground floor, and it had a massive basement, basically the same plot line, and apartments above. Our first show was in the basement and the second in the theater. It was the last show they had there because the space cost $250 a month and they didn’t figure it was worth it. (That’s St. Louis for you.)

At that point, with the demo and two live shows, I had enough source material to generate what I considered an album. 78 tracks in under 20 minutes, but a reasonable intensity to duration ratio. This ended up being the first self-titled CD. I still thought of the project as a grindcore band, despite working well outside the conventions, so I designed the packaging (in my mind at least) to try to look like a hardcore album, using Corydon’s linoleum block print as the front cover and some photos our friend Kate took on the back and inside.

The next time I found myself in St. Louis in March of 2001, we didn’t play a show, but we did have a recording session at Grand Ulena’s practice space. Danny played drums and I played electronics and guitar. Corydon was there but didn’t feel like playing, so mostly Danny and I kept switching, recording duo and solo takes that were used to make the “Remote Whale Control” album. It’s basically a duo record, except for the trio take we managed with Corydon that ended up being the 3 minute centerpiece. These recordings were edited, processed and mixed into a series of tracks that had a totally different vibe than the first CD. Danny was a great drummer. He could shift between tumbling free improv and blasting in a way that’s rare. He really came from both places. His solo takes in this session were great, and showed what a talent he had.

2001 turned out to be a fairly busy year considering our pace up to that point. When I was invited to play on Bret Berg’s radio show on KXLU, I played in the studio and for one part we mic’d a speakerphone with Corydon calling in from St. Louis, ad hoc’ing vocals blindly over improvisations, and even doing vocals over one of our songs, starting on cue from a countdown established before switching over the phone. A few months later I returned to St. Louis for Xmas, as was tradition, and we played a show with Wolf Eyes at Lemp Arts Center.  

I was always working on recycling the rare recordings we were able to make. I was still developing my Max/MSP patches and sometimes even extraordinarily simple adjustments could really change the way I would look at things. The session with Danny (Remote Whale Control) was still unreleased, and I spent some time experimenting with processing it in different ways, using more hard cuts and juxtaposition rather than layering. With the RWC session I finally had much clearer separated elements to work with, and started combining them with older sounds and other things that I had recorded that were non-band related.

By this time things were getting a bit confusing—the band was becoming established as a remix project of itself, with no “original” material actually being released; the listening experience being far from anything made as a band-collective. The next batch of tracks became the Scissors album. It was comprised primarily of that RWC session of Danny and me, and was full of bits and scraps from non-Spacek sources, but still made in the spirit and trajectory of what had been going on. I still wanted to release the demo, but it would be about nine years before the vocals were finished. Instead, the band’s output became almost exclusively cut-ups and collages. Scissors was released before Remote Whale Control, but chronologically, the tracks were produced after. It came out on CD and sold out immediately, then released as a gatefold LP, 100 of which came with a bonus LP of the KXLU session stuffed through into the sealed side of the cover. 

Next Xmas, December 2002, we played a show at Radio Cherokee in St. Louis, this time as a trio with Danny, with the intention of playing an all-electronics set. It ended up a painful 45-minutes of no one listening to each other and no one stopping. It was at this point that I decided the project was not something I wanted to put a lot of effort into anymore, it simply didn’t work as a band, so at that point it just stopped. 

Eventually Corydon moved to Los Angeles, but we didn’t record or play any shows. In 2005 Phil Blankenship invited us to play his birthday show at Il Corral (a crucial experimental-only venue off Melrose during this era). We agreed and asked Jesse to join on guitar, which seemed natural. Because of Phil’s birthday the atmosphere was great, and the show was a good one. We just played our original four tracks, which was pretty much what we used to do. We made 150 copies of the double 7-inch “Nice Gems” for the show—that was our first release in a long while. When I look at our discography, I usually see this record as a turning point for the band, a time when we became active again. It included an alternate take of a track off Scissors, the demo at half speed, and that recording of our first show at Centro. After the Il Corral show, the project really seemed like something that we should revive, despite a formidable build up of baggage. It took us almost a year to play another show, in Oakland this time, and we still had no recordings as a band. As was the tradition, I took recordings of both shows and our rehearsals and turned it into the Devils Cone And Palm album. I think that one is effective in adding fidelity as a collaging element, going from walkman, to hard disk recorder, and open-air to direct sounds within short blasts. At the end you can hear the Il Corral set as recorded on walkman by our screaming pal Katie.

The first CD in the boxset has our first four albums on one disc (they fit), and includes a track off the Psychic Facts LP, which was the KXLU session as hidden-LP in Scissors. That takes you from 1999 to 2006. We only played 8 shows over that period. People sometimes think of us a functioning band, but up until that point we never really were (up to that point at least). I never really wanted to be in a band and looking back I think Sissy Spacek’s take on being a “band” was truly bizarre, and rarely worked. We didn’t do our first tour until 2008, which was up the west coast. Our goal was to double the amount of shows we’d ever played. The second tour we did was the full-US tour from 2010 where we tried to double the amount of shows we’d ever played again. That tour was a real nightmare. 

As you can see from the DVD, we eventually came full circle when Charlie Mumma joined the band playing drums. We wrote new material that came back to our roots as blur/grindcore and started to focus on this as our consistent live mode. Our first 7-inch of grindcore as a band, thirteen years after recording our first demo, was Contretemps. It was released on PPM by Dean Spunt—a kid in a Locust shirt that we met by chance in the CalArts parking lot and invited to join us in the car to listen to rough mixes while recording the original demo. Despite moving back to “band” territory, we’ve managed to keep a significant question-mark present in the recordings. In a sense it’s great that the music industry tanked—if people “don’t buy records anymore”, then all the more reason to make them experimental without fear. It makes sense to me to keep the live experience more dependable, and make the recordings experimental—both rewarding in their own way. The people that are interested will still be the ones who are interested. 

A few quick notes about the DVD. It starts with the Il Corral show in 2005 and takes you up to 2013, in a sense passing the baton chronologically from the First Four CD—as I previously said, the Il Corral show was a re-ignition and made us want to play more again as a band. The No Fun Fest video was made using only clips found online, which informs the strange edit. At the ATA show in San Francisco, Paul Costuros joined us on clarinet due to Jesse’s illness post-Vancouver show (read the full story in the description for the RIP CD on Gilgongo). The show at Paegent Soloveev was on our full US tour in which we played primarily electronics sets. The Experimental Half Hour segment was filmed in Portland for one of their episodes. They started as a public access show, using a local studio and facilities, now relocated to Los Angeles. All the episodes can be viewed online. The DVD that came with the Window Hammer 7-inch is also included as a bonus, featuring the 2011 tour documentary filmed on the west coast at shows and a recording session with Smegma. Our friend Matt Purse edited it together from a pile of raw material. The two extra live sets were from our next west coast tour, filmed in Olympia and Portland. The Portland show at Valentines ends with Aaron Montaigne delivering the lyrics to We Bite (Misfits) before our only live rendition.

John Wiese, December 2014


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