El Paso Music Scene

Disemboweled Radio

It was around 12:36 in the morning. From out of the darkness rang strange music, odd music that was hard to place. We heard Radiohead, Solex, Tortoise, Transam in the mix. Even though the bands were announced every once in a while, I can't remember them ever mattering. The music could, and would, engulf if given the chance. Back then, it was possible to get a minimalistic ten minute song on the radio. It was possible. Real radio waves. I miss the 11th hour, big time.

Before that show and ending at 11pm was the Ska Show. Straight up punk, old school ska and local music penetrated the air. Remember Skanking Pickle and Skatallites? That show left a lasting impression on this town's musicians. The live interviews of local bands defiantly left others wanting the same. How many bands were formed from the simple opportunity to get their sound on air? Augustus also had a Reggae show on Sundays. In the final weeks he played many of my early experimental sound collage songs that would sometimes stretch 12 minutes. Some, I never thought would get on air, such as El Pazo and TRANSMIT's religious textured song.

Little did we know that our beloved station would fall.

How long has it been since the 11th hour, The Ska Show, and The Reggae Show disappeared from the airwaves? I miss the contrast between the shows. I miss the pure music and the sheer power of the true punk music. Since then, a new breed of fighters have stepped up to the battle the dark side. We need more !!! Is air radio really the best way to go nowadays? Corporate asses that need the buck overpower radio's simplicity. Satellite radio? Webcasts? What else is there? Soon the simple dreams of playing music that we damn well please will force themselves again, as gentle as soft waves.

nicholas matta

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