"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Half-crazed Caradog

Exclusive: TVO deploys that rapacious magpie ear to channel Susan Cooper into a suitably brooding & vast - you might even say kosmische, given its krautish tinge - Celtic landscape. The Brenin Llwyd version of his Grey King, both part of a newly revealed Dark Is Rising bonus package that streams in full below, improbably but persuasively blends ambient billow, dub techno vamps, pads & trills, & metallic abrasion (could've used a bit more of that, in truth) with Gottsching pings & Popol swells. Result: a 13-1/2 minute epic of deferred gratification, a misty roundabout ascent through melting, blurring peaks...

Ruaridh isn't only polishing his back catalogue, though. Lately his Broken20-ness has expanded his already gargantuan mnml ssgs mix with a frisky pair of edits originally slipped in among the Steve Reich/Oren Ambarchi/Caretaker/Coil riches (tracklist).

Meanwhile, B20's exemplary podcast series is up to 15 after recent instalments from NAEKED, Dextro, Kone-R & Smear.

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

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Mistress of Atemporality

Music that, even as it presents, recalls days of futuristic past, from electronic apparat-chick Laurel Halo. Her breakthrough release came last year with the King Felix ep, a set of textured futuristic art-pop songs that elicited a riot of refs from Kate Bush and Bjork to Oneohtrix Point Never, Animal Collective and Pet Shop Boys. Boomkat had it that “Her music is suspended in an ethereal alter zone equally informed by 4AD dreamspaces, immersive video game soundtracks and hypnagogic Pop, essentially three elements which form much of the best Knew-Pop around and makes for the most deliriously effective form of Pop escapism we've encountered in a long time.” Her latest, Hour Logic, though, is a quite different (techno) animal, with the pop dropped in favour of a sound with more of a 90s ambient techno revenant quality.

Hour Logic by Hippos In Tanks

Head by Hippos In Tanks


Simon Reynolds recently wrote of 21st century pop music’s strange “atemporality” - a term appropriated from techno-crits like William Gibson and Bruce Sterling used in a NY Times piece to point “the disconcerting absence of contemporaneity” in today’s popular culture. Not the first time Intelligent Poststructuralist Musico-criticism (IPM) has taken and tweaked concepts from cultural theory, cf. the play with the recontextualising of Derrida’s ‘hauntology’ and all that jazz. Reynolds’ concern is that there seems to be nothing unique about popular music today driving the tradition forward, that it's stuck in stylistics, rehashing past sounds lately rendered ubiquitously present via technology like YouTube and iTunes, where much of popular music history is on instant/constant stream; the best music has been able to do in the first decade of the 21st century is indulge that technology to ramp up pop that we already knew musically.

Now your LMYE scribe here comes not to praise Reynolds nor to bury him, but to hang Laurel Halo’s music on this handy conceptual hook with accompanying agent-provocation: if this 'ere atemporality malarkey results in music this ramped up with energy and ideas, then frankly, my dear, do we give a damn about originality*? (*a dubious construct anyway - see Benjamin and Barthes, if you can be academically arsed). And Reynolds himself has succumbed to the Halo effect anyway, as this, from August 2011’s The Wire will testify:

More or less simultaneously comes Antenna, on NNA Tapes: “This cassette-only release is something of a sidestep for already diverse New York-based producer Laurel Halo. The seven tracks on offer are stripped completely of the haunting vocals that characterised last year’s King Felix EP, and are far more freeform than anything on this month’s beat-driven follow-up, Hour Logic. The tape is, essentially, Laurel indulging and exploring the more ambient ends of her influences, composing tracks entirely out of churning atmospherics, lo-fi synth drones and heavy reverb effects.”





Moving on, the artist known to her Mum as Ina Cube has had a deal of exposure around some of the more thinking musico-cultural sites, e.g. The Guardian and The Quietus). Ms Cube certainly isn’t in the business of resting on her Laurels, or relying on the Halo effect, as can be seen by the number of mixes she’s been putting out, like this one for FACT magazine.

Then there’s this recent assemblage in the oki-ni Mix Series.

There’s also Laurel Halo’s Warmer Climes (mixtape). And you can also listen to a Laurel Halo remix by Actress via The Wire.

And for those who fancy some visuals...

Before blogpost closedown, One Very Important Thought occurred to your LMYE correspondent in a Reynolds Returnal in re: his Retromania thesis. You’ll recall the book explores a crucial question not just for pop kidz but for popular culture, and for our society in general, viz. are we already living in the "future" and just endlessly recycling the past? There are many who will concur, being inclined, for all the speed-things-go net-fuelled techno-ramping up, to see the last 10-15 years of music as lacking genuine innovation and new paradigms. That said, our critical cultural hipster seems ambivalent, as, for all that he documents it as if it were a form of malaise, he seems pretty enthusiastic about (even a fan of) the musical fall-out of atemporality (cf. his musings on Old New Age, as well as many others on his blog).

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

Monday, 18 July 2011

Tradition & reinvention

Striking that one of the musicians of the past 15 years whose work is most likely to endure for another 15 & beyond, Vladislav Delay, also feels a deep need to make immediate, almost disposable sounds - & insists on the inter-connectedness of the two. We can't have the textured depths of Delay or his stunning new(ish) quartet without the gleaming pulse of Luomo.

With a new album imminent in this friskiest of his many restless guises & participations (Uusitalo, Sistol, Moritz von Oswald Trio, Conoco, Bright People, The Only Copy, Kinovida, AGF/Delay, I hired a contract killer, The Dolls...), Sasu Ripatti talked to LMYE recently about tradition & reinvention.

"i push myself quite hard with what i'm working on and after that i feel quite empty and need to recharge myself by doing something quite different.
i also have quite an urge and interest to various types of music and i enjoy having it all. one at a time though."

He's currently lying fallow for a while, having followed up working as Luomo by moving to the other end of his spectrum. Last week he completed his twelfth Delay album (at LMYE's count) - & his first for Raster-Noton.

Ripatti is fairly dismissive of the bulk of new releases ("most new music can handle few times of listening and it's done, all said there is to say in a quick one"). He mostly listens to older jazz or reggae/dub - "also hiphop a lot".

He touches too on the differing dynamics of his quartet & MvOT - "it's very much a group thing whereas MVOT is Moritz's thing to big extent". While he has no plans to spawn further groups or even take on the odd remix, regrettably, he's open to following his collaborators von Oswald & Loderbauer into ReComposed/Re: ECM reconstruction territory - labels please note!

Do you see yourself as working in any kind of tradition (or traditions)?
not at all. i change my path quite constantly, my points of view changes, i get bored easily.
i might have background in jazz or percussion tradition but that all is long gone, and i certainly don't follow any tradition other than my own thing which i can't specify at all. or don't want to restrict it by analysis.

How would you characterise the ways in which your music has changed since you began recording?
i see it as a continuous path i'm on with peaks and valleys and whatnot.
main thing i'm happy about is that my music has changed during the years, otherwise i should not do it anymore; i really don't believe in repeating myself.
when i look at the changes i can see smaller and bigger cycles that do repeat but i think there's growth and progression in those cycles when they appear again and again.
i really do try to be conscious about what i do and try to pay attention to push things to new directions and not allowing myself to become comfortable with what or how i'm doing music.

How do you see your recording personas influencing each other? Which, if any, has the greatest influence on Luomo? Do you need Luomo in any way to be able to make VDQ or your other musics?
i do need one to make the other for sure.
the whole thing is that i push myself quite hard with what i'm working on and after that i feel quite empty and need to recharge myself by doing something quite different.
i also have quite an urge and interest to various types of music and i enjoy having it all. one at a time though.

How has the experience of playing in MvOT influenced what VDQ does (& how it does it), if at all?
influences are quite minor and subconscious because i play so different role in each group.
not meaning though that i'm a leader in VDQ except for managing and producing it.
when we make music live it's very much a group thing whereas MVOT is Moritz's thing to big extent although luckily i'm allowed lots of freedom in my part.

Do you expect to work in new groups in the future - either as leader or a player?
not thinking about it at least.
for sure as long as these two groups are active i won't expand more, it's really time consuming and sometimes exhausting to manage or run a group. two is definitely enough!

Do you make all of your solo music, including Luomo, in the same place & with the same tools?
same place, yes. mostly same tools as well but used in quite a different way.

Anyone you'd like to collaborate with? Or remix?
there are lots of interesting people i'd like to work with of course but it's too hard to make it happen when you are not commercially potential.
i don't have a wish list and i'm also happy to work with people i already work with.
remixing is something i don't want to be involved in much.

Can you see yourself making a Re: ECM or ReComposed? Whose music would you be interested in reshaping in a similar way (if anyone's)?
if someone offered me to work on some music i really like i'd love to do it.
ECM for sure if i could pick up the music. jazz, African, Jamaican, hiphop, i'd be happy with lots of stuff....

Who else do you listen to (for pleasure, for inspiration, for a change)? What are some of this year's crucial releases for you? What are some releases you couldn't/wouldn't be without?
i go for extreme range of music and have also periods where i stick to certain music for a long time. not so much any more but for example i listened only Frank Zappa for about two years when i was about 16-18. before that i only listened jazz from 50s and 60s. then was the dub period..
nowadays i mainly listen older jazz or reggae/dub for music pleasure.
i also entertain myself with hiphop a lot.
Kanye West's last album is the only one i really thought was a special one since a long while in any genre.
most new music can handle few times of listening and it's done, all said there is to say in a quick one.

Best thing anyone's said/written about your music? Worst?
i don't keep that info i guess as nothing comes to mind.
well, there was really stupid review of VDQ on the Wire which i thought was embarrasing for the magazine, pure ignorance and misunderstanding.
but i try to stay away from it all and just focus on doing what i think i should do.

What's next for you?
hm... i'm right now on vacation since yesterday when i finished new VladislavDelay album for Raster Noton release late this year.
i'm planning to spend some time in the studio next and reconfigure it and try out new things without aiming to finish anything.

Luomo - Plus (Exclusive Track Preview)

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

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

"years that have yet to happen"

The sheer sensuality of Le Berger's textures, which the project's shepherd (sorry) summons despite "primitive means and scarce source material", & their languid, looped unfurling hardly prepare you for an elaborate metaphysical conceit.

But in a new interview, Sam Landry reveals the Tron-invoking concept behind his luxuriant recent Expeditions on the Grayscale & riffs on a host of other topics - tradition, genre, collaboration, other musical outlets & a rare physical release ahead ("something very cinematic, theatrical drone if you will").

Also featuring: Sam's 'generative' aScapist sideline, including a stripped-down edit of 2A - the self-described "aerial feel" of Clouds.

Oh, & a fine mix (Stephan Mathieu + Taylor Deupree - Largo > Terry Riley - Poppy Nogood & The Phantom Band > Le Berger - Gnascor Encore & Core à Corps > Terry Riley - Poppy Nogood & The Phantom Band > Roger Eno & Peter Hammill - Wise Men > Shakti - Mind Ecology > Chihei Hatakeyama - Voices II > Loscil - Nautilus)...

What's the concept behind Expeditions?
Let me start this one with a bit of a disclaimer: all this is done rather unassumingly and candidly, the last thing I would want is for the concepts surrounding an album to supersede the music. I personally think there's much more to imagination than meets the eye, but if you don't like the conceptual mumbo jumbo, ditch it.

It is a fair bet that most readers have seen Tron. (or you know, the new Tron...) Well, the Grayscale is similar to that - a world outside the world answering to its own rules and parameters, yet we have access to it.

It is a meeting or gathering place for creative minds. It is where duality vanishes, not because it is transcended or engulfed in unity, but because polarity ceases to exist. Everything in shades of gray to approximate your location on the gazeous - liquid spectrum. Always a blend of sea and air, no solid land.

It thrives on the very creativity of the minds involved, is nourished by it. The only pre-requisite to enter this arena is to shed your ego, even if just for a short while. You can wander long and wide, none of which will be recorded or traceable. But once you come into contact with the mind of another a coordinate is created and the events that take place can now be shared with the myriads of other worlds. As if the frontier between our world and the Grayscale became thinner upon that meeting.

The last few of those meetings to have been recorded are the following:

Don't go away J (#c2c2c2) - Surfing (oh so succinctly) with a tragic French poet.
Pam Pam some'n wild (#a0a0a0) - Sailing (with such balance) with a post-modern composer and a noiselifer.
Dust it begun (#dbdbdb) - Floating (oh so aimlessly) with the very creator of the Grayscale.
Bern deep'n'bub (#5c5c5c) - Sinking (oh so steadily) with an acclaimed film composer.

The coordinates are indeed in HTML color codes (a few asked...)
The name of the pieces give a (vague) indication as to who took part in the meeting.
And the timing of the pieces is a play upon unity and trinity, as well as the fact that I turn 33 on 11-11-11.

Et, comme on dit, voilà!

Le Berger - Dust it begun (#dbdbdb) [re-up]

Is there usually a concept behind your music?
Depending, for "Sounds of..." or "The Holiday Drones" there was no particular idea linking the pieces together. There can be a general theme (insomnia and charity respectively) and specific pieces can bring about a particular imagery for me which is usually quite self explanatory within the title. Think 0007 [Thanks to Bobby the Navigator] which is about seafaring or After The Bombings which deals with devastation. But I would not refer to those as conceptual works per se.

If we're speaking about other releases, then most definitely.

How do concepts help you make music?
They rarely do!

I don't set out to work around any particular preconceived notions or concepts. It's usually either amidst the work in process or after I have a few things that fit together that a pattern seems to emerge. There is a lot of trials and errors in my work, so sometimes before I choose to keep or discard certain things I can listen to a piece or a group of pieces for days on end. This way I can get into a state of immersion somewhat, and also gain a new perspective on the piece(s) away from the work. It's how I assess if that first enthusiastic impression I had while working with it really translates upon listening. That's usually when the music starts being evocative for me and images start to spark, and then it snowballs!

And then this type of material, compared to others like blues, folk, pop, etc., gravely lacks in narrative and then even compared to other instrumental genres it still has very few (if at all) events occurring in the length of a piece. Some artists chose to embrace this and go the abstract route (bless them). I simply opted a more impressionist way.

Do you see yourself as working in any kind of tradition?
"I would not join any club that would have someone like me for a member."- Groucho Marx

With that said, I don't have the vanity to think "here I am breaking grounds that no one ever threaded". I enjoy being a part of this long line of breeders we call humanity and can't deny being influenced by some of them. It's just this thing where it's hard to have the detachment to know where you belong as a creator in the midst of it all. Time will tell?

I think one of the marvelous liberties we have today is to mingle with so much content coming from different eras and currents, then how it incorporates into the work is often times more or less conscious in my opinion.

How has your music changed since you began?
Essentially, not at all! Guess I just know a little bit more what I'm doing, not sure if it's a curse or a blessing...

Do you consider your music 'drone'? If so, why drone? Is drone something you just recognize when you hear it or does it have specific ingredients?
Let me put it this way: I had no clue I was doing 'drone' music until people told me.

The making of music is the making of music. Labels and genres and nomenclatures and currents and so on are only sticker we apply on top of it to help discern which is which. In that sense, sure it's drone, it's whatever anyone wants to call it if it helps associating it with other creators that do something similar.

Though it's quite fascinating how much plurality and eccentricities can be found in something labeled thus.

Do you use anything besides a laptop to make your music?
I use a desktop actually. ;)

Best thing anyone's said/written about your music? Worst?
"i see my children playing...and i see my children watching their children playing...i feel the span of years that have yet to happen..."- Tom, a fellow dronist (aka Lattice) about 0003 [No thanks to you]

Worst probably was something like "ugh, annoying" or such. Not very exciting I'm afraid. Fingers crossed!

What's your goal with aScapist?
I never perceived the aScapist sideline as something 'to pursue'. Think of it like Eno's generative bits, not that I'm comparing talents here, not by a long shot. It's just something that I do with a similar intent or process, I put a few things together and set a few parameters in place to make them interact and then I let things go and happen in sequence. To put it simply, it's a creative process that is probably more interesting for the person involved in it than anyone else.

I share the end result of those 'experiments in generative music' in the hopes that some people might enjoy them, but since I'm not actually paying attention to the end result or trying to make it pleasant or beautiful, it becomes something that doesn't quite belong to me. Sort of 'happenstance' music that is a collateral damage of trials and essays if you will.

Besides aScapist, do you make any other non-Le Berger music?
I sure do. A lot of acoustic guitar, piano on hiatus for now (lacking a piano!), modular synths, etc. But a lot of these things, to be arranged, recorded and delivered or released properly require means that are not at my disposal at the moment. And some of those things I actually cannot wait to record and put out there, it's sometimes miles away from Le Berger type of material. Make it funky now!

Do you make music with anyone else or always solo? Anyone you'd like to collaborate with? Or remix?
I used to play in different outfits when I was younger, jam bands, jazz funk, prog rock, etc. and I still play with friends on rather seldom occasions but this is not something I'm actively pursuing at the moment. I do have a band-like project on the backburner but until it solidifies I'd rather not jinx it by blathering about it.

There are LOTS of artists out there who are awe inspiring nowadays, and a few I can already imagine collaborating with because we're like-minded and on friendly terms, plus I respect the work they do. But if you're looking for a scoop, nothing in the works at the present time.

No remixes.

Who else do you listen to (for pleasure, for inspiration, for a change)? What are some of this year's crucial releases for you? What are some releases you couldn't/wouldn't be without?
I listen to a lot of elses! (12 000 albums to choose from or so). So I'll just answer the last question, quelques incontournables: Loscil -Submers | Return to Forever - Light as a Feather | Guy Clark - Old #1 | The Herbaliser - Very mercenary | Gentle Giant - Octopus

I very much could go on, if you buy me a beer!

What's next for you after the physical release (& what can you say about that)?
Well, for the Le Berger project I have about 3 hrs worth of stuff on the shelves. Not all ready and done with, but close. So you can expect a somewhat steady flow of releases, both digitally and short runs of physical CD-Rs when I think the material calls for it.

For the next physical release there's actually been a change of plan. All for the better I think, what I initially wanted to get printed a netlabel has shown interest for, so it might find a home somewhere before the end of the year. Fear not, I have a few other tricks up my sleeve... so I chose another EP to print instead.

You can expect something very cinematic, theatrical drone if you will. It came about when I was doing these essays with blues as source material for drones. Something like a honky tonk piano in a decaying cathedral painting four different canvases on a main theme. Definitely not cheer up music, but incredibly evocative.

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

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Dalliance #2

Dalliance #2 is the second in a mix series under the curatorship of LMYE for dalliers with an oblique alliance to dance forms - compiled by MixCzar 'al'. The Dalliance mission continues a caliginous trajectory across the periphery of dance-related genres, taking in ambient techno, bass, and IDM. Some of the plays and players in Dalliance #2 are sampleable below. Lend those ears now!

sven schienhammer - altostratus translucidus (album preview) by experimedia

Tadeo Winds of glory Dettman rmx by b4bookings

OCS002 Sigha - Over The Edge (Shifted remix) by Sigha

Inna Daze by pangaea

The Mess And The Magic by Kompakt

02 8.4.2006 by sideb0ard

Dalliance #2
channels Emptyset, Sven Schienhammer, Claudio PRC, Tadeo, Marcel Dettmann, Sigha, Pangaea, Mokira, Terence Fixmer & Claudio PRC, Sigha, John Tejada, Obtane & Giorgio Gigli, and Dalglish.

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

Return to the fold

Eno, eat your heart out. Ezekiel Honig's reworking & opening out of his recent Folding In On Itself goes far beyond a couple of remixes & a 'special edition' boxed set. Rather, he has re-engaged with the Type release at a profound level - or two levels, indeed, since his follow-up includes both a kind of live deconstruction/reconstruction & a series of paintings & collages.

Both responses - "a music release with new art made for each iteration, a painting with accompanying sound" - add new blurrings & further layers to the original's drowsy, sedimented qualities. Each rethinks its host in some way - Folding's somewhat submerged feel played up & refracted across the space of an aquatic hour, themes & tones allowed to drift like flotsam & jetsam on water, & this idea of spreading, bleached driftwood extended on into the muted, smeary paintings, & even their host material - & invites us to as well, of course.

This post features two extracts from the live performance (together, about a quarter of it, which Honig delivers as a high-res 500MB+ AIFF file) & the first three pieces in what he intends to be a "continuum" of 99 unique but linked paintings.

"I'm releasing a live performance, from the release party for Folding In On Itself, recorded in New York City on May 12, 2011. The set is very much connected to the album in scope and feel, warm electroacoustic settings with muted kick drums and spacious melodic fragments, but it is a disassembly and reassembly of those pieces, an improvised arrangement based on loops and individual sounds, which also makes liberal use of elements from other material, both finished and in-process. In comparison to the album, or any of my albums, it is more open-ended and creates different relationships among sounds, coaxing them into one new fluid piece. The hope is that it retains a narrative sense, and perhaps more so because of the extended and continuous nature of it.

In this instance I wanted to make something that is as much about the visual, physical art object as it is about the sound. Instead of a package per se, I'm making textural paintings and collages on wood, which come with a code that can be used to download a full resolution file of the music. Rather than tack on a CD to the object, I wanted to call attention to the lack of need for a physical delivery device for the audio, allow it to break free of packaging constraints of any sort, and go a step further than cover art.

Each piece is one in this series of 99, but is essentially on its own at the same time. The aim is to follow a guideline based on the first piece but each one is quite different in texture, stroke, color, and all the subtleties of the hand, as opposed to printing replication of any kind. Each is part of a continuum, so that one leads to an idea about the next, and connects to it, but does not restrain where it can go. It is a music release with new art made for each iteration, a painting with accompanying sound."

More of Honig's arresting thoughtfulness in this recent post & this mnml ssgs interview from a few years back...


Concrete economics - ezekiel honig [live edit from Le Placard set - Montreal, 2008; re-up]

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

Friday, 8 July 2011

Finer to coarser

Something for the weekend, sir? An exclusive treat following yesterday's Pollen Trio post - for a limited time only, download the Australian post-jazz explorers' 13-minute epic p e a k s. Higher-res & CD-R still available via Bandcamp (ditto the group's earlier releases - both as PT & the Austin Benjamin Trio - & fine solo work on hellosQuare)...

Pollen Trio - p e a k s (self-released)

Forthcoming: a new PT album later this year, following Austin Buckett's extraordinary Stuttershine (extract below)...

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

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Fine to coarse

Pollen Trio marks a rewarding point of collision or, er, cross-pollination between two Australian lineages that LMYE (this half, anyway...) is deeply invested in - the extraordinary post-jazz trio tradition of The Necks, Triosk & 3ofmillions meeting the broader experimental church of Shoeb Ahmad's hellosQuare (our neglected label of 2010) & Ahmad/Evan Dorrian (PT)'s Spartak.

PT metamorphosed out of the Austin Benjamin Trio a while back - a transition covered in this Fluid Radio interview. Quiet for nearly two years, the trio returns in a knottier, more overtly experimental guise on the newly self-released p e a k s (full stream below) - a 13-minute epic that rattles & tinkles its loping way to a sudden intense summoning of classical PT lyricism, niftily offset by filthy synth squirts & Dorian's percussive monsoon. "We like the idea of it possesing these conflicting momentums as if alva noto, morton feldman and madvillain were being recorded improvising in soundproof rooms filtered into a PA outside," pianist Austin Buckett says.

The shift is underlined by Miroslav Bukovsky coming in for the travelling Chris Pound - an angklung an unexpected part of his armoury.

The new piece precedes an album later this year. If that can harness Peaks' distinctiveness & invention, expect to see it in LMYE's Festive 50 (the 50 releases that meant most to us during the year) for 2011 - last year's version, including several blinding hellosQuare releases, here.

Hear earlier PT/ABT highlights (including a ravishing collaboration with Seaworthy's Cam Webb), plus some great solo Buckett/Dorrian:

NB: p e a k s cover art by Elena Papanikolakis.

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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