Things We Love: Mike Shiflet’s picks

From the January 16, 2014 edition

Mike Shiflet’s a busy man, but mostly by necessity. He once said in an interview that he’s not comfortable unless he’s overwhelmed. Aside from his full-time job, Shiflet has plenty to overwhelm him these days. When he’s not working with Two Dollar Radio, the Clintonville-based alternative book publisher, he’s usually recording, writing or playing his own music or Asurya’s, the noise drone band that’s playing Friday at Kobo. When he’s not doing all that, he likes to run long distances (like ultramarathon long). These are a few of his favorite things.

Everton FC

I got into soccer about a decade ago and slowly got into the Premier League. I wanted to pick a team that reflected what I see in Ohio sports teams: Working class nature, but at the same time I didn’t want to root for a perpetual loser, the way Ohio sports teams tend to be. I was also looking for a team that wasn’t a mega club, but still had a chance to do something impressive. Eventually I settled on Everton because they fit the bill to a ‘T’ and at the time they had Americans Landon Donovan and Tim Howard on the squad.

Wrekmeister Harmonies

They put out my favorite album of last year, You’ve Always Meant So Much to Me. It’s just an amazing piece of music. The album is one 38-minute piece. It starts with some drone and some bass notes and slowly evolves to the 22-minute mark, where it becomes this full-on metal blast. It’s really overwhelming and goes on for 10 minutes and then goes back to its initial state. It’s got this dual nature to it because if you’re focusing and paying attention, it reveals itself in really beautiful ways; there’s harmonium and strings and electronics on top of each other that you might not pick out if you’re casually listening. But when you are casually listening, you catch this big reveal of this band coming out of nowhere. I find that equally rewarding.

It's a website run by Dr. Michael Greger. He’s a cool personality; his videos are hilarious. I like the website for two reasons: The first is that they show a lot of hidden benefits of natural foods and, alternatively, they kind of take down sort of industry-sponsored studies that tell you you don’t need to eat natural foods. For me, everything started with running. I was a junk food vegetarian and I had already been running, but was starting to take it more seriously when I read “Born to Run.” About a year after reading “Born to Run,” a guy featured in it, Scott Jurek, came out with a book called “Eat & Run.” Along with Scott, I started finding more vegan athletes and through all of them became more aware of these nutrition resources.

Orange amps

I got my first Orange amp last year on Craigslist after trying a couple brands of amplifiers and not being satisfied. There was a guy selling an entry model. I bought it and was immediately floored by it. In the past year I’ve since upgraded it to a bigger model in that line and also bought a bigger 100-watt Orange amp. I now have two amplifiers and three cabinets that I’ve splurged on in the last year. The sound is amazing. They’re typically used by stoner rock sludge bands, but the sound is really vintage ’70s guitar tone. I like playing it at experimental music shows. It’s not a place you’d normally see them. I like bringing that tone into this other world in which I perform.

Cornelius Cardew's treatise 

Treatise is one of the most popular graphic scores, which is a kind of invention of 20th Century composers in which you don’t have typical music notation. It can be any sort of visual representation to inform the music. So you might just have everything from traditional sheet music with scribbles to a print-out of a couple circles. A graphic score can be anything. The treatise is one of the most popular. It’s 193 pages long; it’s a series of lines and shapes that kind of flow from one into the next, and there are no instructions whatsoever on how to perform or read it. That’s what I like most about it. The only real instruction is you can’t just make it up as you go along. It doesn’t matter what any of the shapes represent, but they have to represent something. You have to decide what they mean to you and interpret that in your playing. That’s what appeals to me most. I’ve performed it — never the whole thing though. People have performed the whole thing, but it isn’t doing the treatise justice. I’ve performed segments a handful of times. It’s always different and I usually try to pick a few out.