"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Fluttering collisions

Burial versus Four Tet > Moth Extracts (from Moth/Wolf Cub 12", forthcoming shortly on Text - though may already be sold out...)

"A collaborative release shrouded in darkness (hence the artwork, no sales notes, no audio, no promos). Just a solitary twelve, two sides crafted by two of the most innovative producers of the last twenty years" is Bleep's take. Ours? 

Two fluttering collisions - the first exactly as you'd expect B4T to be, a sort of quavering harp & warble over that clunk-click beat; the second more KH than WB, a piece of breathy, four to the floor prettiness...

@joemuggs indicates album to follow: please, yes. 

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Erupting Light

Icelanders may have to down their Blackberrys and get back on the trawlers to pay off that hefty debt but they can still produce some fine tunes in the meantime. First up, an austere cello piece entitled Erupting Light from new album Without Sinking by Hildur Gudnadottir. The second offering is a minimal dubby techno track Coconut Rice from Icelandic producer Yagya. The track is available on the Intellingent Toys 5 compilation at net label Sutemos. Yagya's new release Rigning is out now and thanks go to blog Headphone Commute for featuring both artists recently.

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Moody noise noodle

After the LMYE-friendly Helvetica (see here), Gary Hustwit's no doubt equally smart but over-long new Objectified documentary also offers soundtrack comforts - from a host of credible & incredible participants (full list below). But its plundering of James Rutledge's ravishing, shimmeringly warped The Great Ecstacy Of (Loaf cassette (!) & download, out this week) is a special blessing. 

&, exclusively (not sure that anyone else would bother, but anyway - it gives a fuller, richer sense of this fine, shuddering album...), all four together > Ecstatic Extractions

"The sound of a young man lost in a sea of moody noise noodle, in over his head and almost drowning in a dense musical trope." Thanks, Loaf - "moody noise noodle" is unarguable, spot on... 

& why's it on a tape? "because it sounds SO lush compared to mp3s or compact discs. Just buy yourself an old tape deck or Walkman, pop on some headphones and be cast adrift on analogue bliss."

LMYE has yet to road-test this startling claim (can see the case for the vinyl revival, of course, but tapes?! That takes a leap of faith). Still, having grown up in the analogue era - our two halves were making each other mix cassettes as far back as the, ahem, mid-80s - we've at least still got the equipment around if Loaf want to sort us out.  

Objectified OST contributors: 

Alva Noto
El Ten Eleven
Expanding Head Band
Matthew Dear
Midwest Product
James Rutledge
Telefon Tel Aviv

Acclaimed for his single-copy, charity-auctioned 4-hour Radiohead remix on VHS, Rutledge is also the frisky Four Tet-remixed Pedro. Bonus tracks: I Am Keeping Up (from You, Me & Everyone, Mush)/Fear & Resilience (from Pedro, Mush)

Earlier Mush coverage on LMYE here.  

Finally, Rutledge's new "group-based project", Vowels, has an album out on Loaf in September. 

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Seven songs

Olafur Arnalds completed his ground-breaking week of Twittered neo-classical vamps & micro-chamber mood pieces - all created & released free online within 24 hours (though some reworked older ideas...) - this morning. Previously featured here.  

"Now i'm going to go out of my apartment and meet some people for the first time in a week! what an amazing week this was though.."

Here's all seven lovely & often moving (particularly those with strings, for these ears anyway) Found Songs, separately & together in an LMYE, er, mega-mix...

Day 7 > Ljosid

"Need some positive stuff at the end of this.."

Day 6 > Faun

"This song is made from the oldest idea in the series, started writing it over a year ago.. we even played some version of it live once....but i was never happy with it - so i put it on the shelf. Found it again this week and finished it last night!"

Day 5 > Lost Song

"my personal favorite so far. trying to finish up this song in time... need to make the ambience sound warmer, but still have that muddy distortion.. something like 'everything became silent'"

Day 3 > Romance

"reminds me of 19th century opera..."

Day 2 > Raein

"Having real problems here rendering this song.. using way too many heavy plugins.."

Day 1 > Elsa's Waltz

"if you are wondering who Erla is, she is an old friend who jokingly asked me to write her a song..bet she didn't think i'd actually do it :)"

> Seven Found Songs (in chronological order)/lo-res version 

Found Songs-inspired images by HibouCaillou (top), LitlaStulkan (middle) & inmost_light (bottom). Many more here

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Utopian fictions

Yearning & rage, brilliantly & subtly orchestrated at 120bpm - DJ Sprinkles' Midtown 120 Blues (Comatonse) will doubtless be recognised eventually as the masterpiece it so clearly is. 

"While the world celebrates the revial of New York House Music, constructing utopian fictions about the genre as it goes along, DJ Sprinkles retreats deep into the bowels of house. This is the rhythm of empty midtown dancefloors resonating with the difficulties of transgendered sex work, black market hormones, drug & alcohol addiction, racism, gender & sexual crises, unemployment, and censorship"

Previously featured here, but the fan-boy exercise of stitching together Comatonse's giveaway extracts into a somewhat sequenced patchwork whole inspires a revisit. However ham-fisted my hack, the stand-alone intro & Ball'r show off the deftness & lightness with which M120B reclaims & recontextualises house - "[not] so much a sound as a situation". 

NB: turn it up - "To preserve the full dynamic range of the original recordings this album was mastered without compression and is intentionally quieter than some. "

Bonus - You Speak What I Feel a.k.a SND & Terre Thaemlitz > Singles collection [Remixed by SND] (from Below code, Comatonse 10th anniversary compilation)

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Inaugural waltz

"The songs will be different from what's on my albums, they will be short, mostly just made up from piano. Something to keep me going."

Olafur Arnalds > Elsa's Waltz - the delicate, stately opening instalment of Found Songs: one track created & released within 24 hours every day for a week, via web & Twitter...

"If you are wondering who Erla is, she is an old friend who jokingly asked me to write her a song..bet she didn't think i'd actually do it :)"

Also see this Flickr group & the Erased Tapes compilation At the end of all music happiness will be erased (which includes Arnalds' lovely Fok [from Variations of Static] & 3055 [from Eulogy for Evolution]; giveaway requires code from the Found Songs site, plus an email address).

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Crunchy seam

Obviously enough, Highpoint Lowlife's fine 10-20 (previously here) is far from alone in managing to still mine plenty of value out of the crunchy seam no longer called IDM - not with a straight face, anyway... Take Craque & Robert Logan.

Craque's Navfrakure (from the forthcoming Supple, Audiobulb - mastered by Anticipate/Ghostly/HPLL/Kranky cohort Twerk, by the way) exemplifies the busy intelligence in his extensive body of netlabel releases. Check out earlier work like Density Operator (Stadtgruen) & Gamma (Test Tube), & read a wide-ranging interview with Matt below.

From Gamma, the nicely dense sketch Penetrarette

Logan's Inscape (out tomorrow on Slowfoot), meanwhile, is murky, brooding & not averse to bombast. At its best, though, as on Jehova Rapha, it musters powerful atmospherics.  

Previously here

Sincere thanks to Matt for participating so fully. 

> Do you see yourself as working in any kind of tradition?

   I'd say no, but maybe that needs a disclaimer.

    Debussy, Satie, and Stravinsky all mesmerized me as a kid, but at the same time Led Zeppelin and Bob Marley were constants in my teens. My college composition teacher, Jon Polifrone, studied with Nadia Boulanger, and I think both their approaches and attitudes have been important to the way I think about writing music.

   Live improvisation became a very important part of my life early on, especially free jazz and noise. John Zorn, Ikue Mori, Bill Frisell, Derek Bailey - all those who incorporate free improv alongside structured composition really impacted me. Complex theoretical analysis intrigued me at the time too: Hindemith, Schoenberg, and Mozart especially.

   So it's not surprising I eventually ended up studying John Cage very heavily in grad school (while I was singing opera, natch!). Pretty soon I met and got to know Pauline Oliveros, and though I haven't participated in any of the Deep Listening Retreats, I have done a good deal of work with her and others in that tradition. I had the pleasure of speaking with Joan La Barbara once while studying experimental vocal works, her activity with Morton Feldman was very important for me as a student.

    I actually feel more aligned with these "traditions" than any dance music genre, because I was only really exposed to ‘non-abstract’ electronic music well after music school was over. I have my proclivities of course, the soulfulness and tempo of House and Dub Techno matched up with my love of reggae very nicely. I think I am a fan of breakbeats because I played percussion in high school band.

> How has your music changed since you began?

   Well I have done a LOT of different styles of music. It was only after my trio "Comma" - a three-man vocal improv unit - eventually widened to five members as "Gray Code" that I was experimentally including dance beats in our shows. A lot of what I did back then was very free jazz oriented. Stuff I did in college was more traditional, which is probably expected (Polifrone once commented on my 12-tone cello suite as something I "had to do to get it out of me").

   The graphic scores and structured improv pieces during grad school were where I think I started to break out of ‘traditions’ but it wasn't until after I was exposed to Dance Music proper that I really started to develop my own electronica-based sound. People tell me I have a sound, I don't know what it is!

> Do you use anything besides a laptop to make your music?

  Yes, quite a lot. The real source of what I do comes from electro-acoustic improvisation with amplified objects, homebuilt instruments, and an array of looping and delay devices, and other hardware effects. At times my tracks are directly off the live recorded session; the track 'Conductive Plate' on "Material" (Kahvi #249) is a raw improvisation, no post-editing except for levels and mastering. Because I am very in-touch with my performer side and creating sound with my own hands (and throat), live use of a laptop has been very limited in my experience. The computer for me is a post-production and editing tool, above all else. I don't use it as my primary way of artistic expression. I also own three guitars, a cello, and I studied trumpet in school as well. In fact, any place you hear what sounds like an acoustic instrument is me playing it, I am not a sampler when it comes to source material, I'd rather make the sound myself. A big part of my philosophy is "original sound", and is one reason I've recently opted to build my own analog synth and noisemaking devices. Very rarely do I ever use actual synthesized sound, and usually it's for something particular like bass tones or organ notes (neither of which I own nor have room for).

> Best thing anyone's said/written about your music? Worst?

    I've had comments that my pieces are "timeless" and I've been called a musical genius, which is very flattering and I love my fans for their support and listening. One of my favorite comments by a friend at a live show was that it was like "tripping on acid without the acid!"

  The worst is when I get compared to artists that don't approach things the way I do, but the nature of the sonic language automatically places me in the hot seat. I don't feel like an innovator, I am only a musician attempting to express himself through a language of sound. If the end result is an amalgamation of experience, then so be it.

> Do you make any non-Craque music?

   I have written intuitive pieces and graphic scores for both instruments and voices, full suites for solo instruments like cello and clarinet, both a string and vocal quartet, arrangements for brass quintet, a fully scored work for wind ensemble, and recently uncovered my college notes for a experimental opera.

  In fact, I only first got into "electronic" music because I wanted a way to hear the traditionally notated works I was doing in college (1990-94), I think my first uniquely "electronic" works were improvisations based on patches I created on my Emu Proteus synth.

  Right now I am concentrating on Craque as an outlet for musical expression, but that's not to say I won't sit down and write another notated piece for a soloist some time. For the most part anything I do in the realm of experimental electronica comes with a Craque tag.

> Do you make music with anyone else or always solo? Anyone you'd like to collaborate with? Or remix?

    Naturally I love collaboration, it's where I came from. In fact I am the least involved with collaboration now than I have ever been, due mostly to the lack of an organized scene around where we live (southern CA). While in Chicago I recorded many events with other players, including a wonderful experience with Quantazelle on WLUW's "Something Else" and other group improv shows. I've already mentioned Comma and Gray Code, and actually the name "Craque" came from a band formed in college (I played guitar and sang) that did some originals but also covers of Naked City and arrangements of standards from the real book. More recently I remixed a Proswell track, and have been doing some things back and forth with Ilkae too. I'm always up for suggestions, I'd really love to do more.

> Who else do you listen to (for pleasure, for inspiration, for a change)?

   There has been an explosion of electronic music around the globe, and I am a voracious listener and detective of unique approaches to sound. Sometimes I do nothing but listen to the sonic atmosphere around me, other times I am hunting through netlabels for new artists and connections. I have a bad habit of obtaining music, listening to it once, and forgetting about it because something else appears in my cognitive queue. I love digging through used record bins and finding whatever presents itself, so my online music hunting follows a similar pattern. Last.fm is one of my favorite sites because of the way I can correlate and discover new things. I love listening to new jazz like Dave Douglas and MMW as much as I do glitchy textures or fragile downtempo electronica from Raster-Noton, 12K and Audiobulb. The act of listening never stops, and it has helped me through some difficult times too.

> What's next for you/Craque?

  Try to take things one day at a time, get more involved in local shows the same way I have in Chicago and DC communities, and continue building homemade noise. Getting into circuit design has opened doors: I've finished a 2-oscillator tabletop synth and am currently working on an Arduino + WaveShield design for triggering my own composed samples, and have ideas for sound mangling boxes. I've been inspired by a lot of the DIY electronics folks have been putting together, I like that sense of working directly with electricity and original vibration of materials to create a unique sonic palette. Sitting on a computer arranging stuff in software is not fulfilling music making for me, so I suppose most of all I want to keep playing, and I'm considering more vocal work on my next album (when or where ever that may be).

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


Scratchy/pretty piano-soaked melancholy & reflection - 

Scanner > Sleepless City [Stephen Vitiello remix] (from NightJam, self-released); thanks to disquiet for the reminder

Bonus: Scanner/Vitiello > SoundSurface (background);  Miwon > Making Moves (from Intelligent Toys 5, Sutemos); & Wildach Sonnerkraut > Calypso (from Intelligent Toys 5, Sutemos). 

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.
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