When the Los Angeles Free Music Society 10 CD set came out I eagerly flipped through the contents to see what treasures had finally been made available again. Much to my surprise the early compilation I.D. Art #2 was not included in this otherwise major overview of the LAFMS. I.D. Art #2 was the second LP release on their label, coming after Le Forte Four’s ‘Bikini tennis shoes’ LP, and before the 2LP ‘Live at the Brand’, a split album between Le 44 and The Doo-Dooettes. It dates from 1976. It is also probably the most difficult LP on their catalogue to find. Originally released in an edition of just 200 copies, most of which were given out to the 44 artists and groups who appeared on this extraordinary LP. The deal was that each track was paid for by the contributor at a rate of $8 per minute in exchange for 4 copies of the disc. Consequently very few copies were ever made available via the LAFMS mail order service.
With a running time of 66 minutes and the sheer variety of contributions, I.D. Art #2 remained for most people a mysterious and tantalising item.
Most of the contributors came from the students at Otis Art Institute in LA, and many make their only ever recordings for this disc. Among the known names from the LAFMS scene are: Le Forte Four, Joe Potts, Fredrick Nilsen, Mr Foon, Ace & Duce, Dennis Mehaffey as well as 6 tracks by Smegma. Other artists include the painter Miles Forst, violinist Josie Roth, film makers Doug Henry and Gary Beydler, mail artist and dog portrait painter Irene Dogmatic, Otis librarian Joan Hugo, graphic designer Kathe Schreyer and many other creative artists and designers at the start of their careers who submitted their audio idea, be it via telephone, in subways, recontextualising old vinyl, philosophising, story telling, being abstract, joking, rehearsing and lo even playing instruments. This exhilerating journey, bursting with ideas was compiled by Joe Potts and Waynna Kato.