Show of the Week: Infinity III: Supreme Peak

dj ian mccolm (r) playing with his band, nagual, in studio b.
when i met ian as a freshman in dascomb, i was immediately impressed with his breadth of musical knowledge and passion. three years later, ian’s show infinity iii: supreme peak is among my favorite shows at wobc. tune in tuesday nights @ 11pm for an eclectic mix of mindblowingly lush transcendental jams.
-arielle, program director

Hi Ian! Tell me about your show. What kind of music do you play? Are there any salient themes? 
My show is centered around music that I consider transcendental or of a spiritual nature. Not necessarily religious music, but music defined by its ability to inspire ecstatic states. A large portion of this is, what some would call, world music (Indian Classical music, African ceremonial music i.e. Gnawa healing music and East African “witchcraft” music). However, there are American and European performers that figure heavily into this definition for me; many of whom would be considered ambient or “drone” music. Terry Riley, Pelt, LaMonte Young, Charlemagne Palestine, and some of Brian Eno’s work all come to mind. The rest of the music for the show is comprised of pieces by musicians I’ve met on my travels who have evoked that same ecstatic state in their performances. In this category, I would include Sun God and Thousand Foot Whale Claw from Austin, TX and Diamond Terrifier from Brooklyn. Also, I primarily try to rely on my collection of analog recordings (cassettes & LPs) for material in order to assure myself that the majority of the music I play is new to the listening audience.

What’s one song or album you’re super into right now?
I have been listening to a lot of different music recently but I’ve only been stuck on a few records recently. My buddy Dan turned me onto a record called Don’t Forget to Boogie by the Japanese guitarist Tetuzi Akiyama which is really amazing. Akiyama is primarily known for his acoustic material and on this record he goes electric. The album is all fuzzed-out solo guitar with the exception of one acoustic track. The majority of material on the record is Akiyama alternating between pentatonic blues shredding and heavy boogie riffs. The first track “It’s a Boogie Thing,” is introduced by licks that sound like B.B. King on speed. The track eventually settles in a blues shuffle vibe on one chord that never changes for the rest of the song. I really love this record because the riffs take on new meaning when repeated for these extended lengths of time. The listener starts hearing all the upper harmonics that are being expressed due to the fuzz and the rhythm of the riffs takes on a hypnotic quality that really appeals to me.

What’s your favorite show on WOBC?
It’s pretty hard for me to name a favorite show. I really love Chuck Ryals show, “Chameleon Radio.” He’s such a great person with amazing taste is music that I love to tune in and hear new stuff. I have to give a shout-out to “The Real Nitty Gritty” with Tania and Thomas. Those guys have had the show before me two semesters in a row. They always have a killer playlist and they spin off of wax 100% of the time.

How do you see yourself/your show fitting into the broader context of community and independent radio and its importance?
Honestly, I try not to think about how much show fits into the broader context of community radio. I’d rather relate to that on an individual level. In my own life, the radio has always served the purpose of broadening my musical horizons and surprising me with quality music when I least expected it from the rest of society. Fundamentally, the most I can hope for, in terms of my relationship with the community & community radio, is that my show brightens someones day, makes them think differently about music and/or life, or transports them to another mental plane. In the simplest possible terms, if I communicate with one person through the airwaves, I have given back what radio has given me.

Do you have a favorite WOBC memory?
I have some great memories at WOBC. However, I have to say that one sticks out as my personal favorite. I had just started doing my first show freshman year and was looking through the vault for some British punk that I hadn’t heard yet. The station manager, Jesse Montgomery, came up to me and asked what I was looking for specifically. I told him and he took me through the whole compilation section of the CD room pulling out stuff that fit my description. That was when I realized how welcoming the environment at the station was and how serious everyone was about music. I think this was a seriously formative experience for me. It was good to see that there was a community in the college that was so musically invested but didn’t have all the academic baggage and jargon that the conservatory has. It was loving music for the sake of music. I don’t know why I react to that memory the way I do, but that’s a reason that I have tried to stay a member of WOBC since then.

Do you have anything else you want to add? Are you working on any interesting projects?
Right now I’m involved in a multitude of projects. I have 3 or 4 cassette releases coming out this Spring/Summer on my tape label, Pidgin Records. One of my bands, Nagual, is recording a full-length LP over Spring Break. I am completing an extended work for solo percussion and electronics which I toured on selections of over January. My friend Ross and I will be performing freely improvised accompaniment to silent films at Mahall’s in Lakewood on Saturday. After graduation, we will be doing a short tour of that material. In addition to all of this, I have to make sure I graduate and pass my classes.

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