Sound-art collage of field recordings, voicemails and improvisations collected and curated by LAMFS founder member Joe Potts.
“Los Angeles Free Music Society (LAFMS) formed in the mid-1970s as a loose-knit experimental music collective and multimedia publishing vehicle. Founded by teenage Le Forte Four members Chip Chapman, Joe Potts and Rick Potts and soon joined by Tom Recchion of Doo-Dooettes, LAFMS incorporated free improvisation, modular synthesizers, tape music, sampling, musique concrète, homemade instruments, noise, mail art and avant-rock in permissive and anarchic sessions at the Raymond Building and Poo-Bah Record Shop in old Pasadena. Inspired by The Residents, LAFMS self-released records and periodicals, organized performances and connected with fellow outsiders via post in the years before punk. Their uninhibited, egalitarian ideal of music-making and DIY distribution would influence generations of underground artists.
LAFMS primarily reached outside Los Angeles via word-of-mouth and the United States Postal Service, foreshadowing the self-publishing and cassette trading networks of post-punk and industrial subcultures. In 1976, Joe Potts solicited recordings from LAFMS affiliates and admirers to edit and compile I.D. Art #2, utilizing correspondence art’s technique of “assemblings.” (The first installment in this series was a magazine, and the third was a coloring book.) Potts received dozens of pieces by members of Le Forte Four, Doo-Dooettes, Smegma and Ace & Duce as well as painters, filmmakers and non-artists with few recording credits to their name, creating a delirious, winking sound-art collage of field recordings, voicemails and improvisations. Participants purchased time on the record and received one copy each of the finished LP, realizing the philosophy contained in LAFMS’ motto: “The music is free, but you have to pay for the plastic, paper, ink, glue and stamps.”