Our latest podcast! Warmer n fuller than Thanksgiving dinner, more powerful than tryptophan! Here’s some new ambient/dub/noise/techno etc.
Clinic – Miss You (Peaking Lights Remix)
Roll The Dice meets Pole – The Skull is Built Into the Version
The Faint – Evil Voices
Heat Stroke – There It Is
Emeralds – Adrenochrome
Halls – Roses For the Dead (Max Cooper Remix)
Philip Glass & Dan Deacon – Alight Spiral Snip
Umberto – The Investigation
John Talabot & Pional – Braves
The Crystal Ark - Morir Soñando
Horace Andy – Skylarking (Oliver Frost Remix)
Bee Mask – The Story of Keys and Locks
Loops Haunt – Mun Rhul
Sigha – Aokigahara
Andy Stott – Numb
Tropic of Cancer – Temporary Vessels
Skudge – Man on Wire (Marcel Dettmann Low Key Version)
Bee Mask – Frozen Falls
There is a great piece over at the guardian in which Bernie Krause (of pioneering 60’s/70’s electronic music duo Beaver and Krause) discusses the loss of biodiversity and its effects on his work as a recorder and archivist of natural sounds.
“A great silence is spreading over the natural world even as the sound of man is becoming deafening,” he writes in a new book, The Great Animal Orchestra. “Little by little the vast orchestra of life, the chorus of the natural world, is in the process of being quietened. There has been a massive decrease in the density and diversity of key vocal creatures, both large and small. The sense of desolation extends beyond mere silence.”
The article also includes sample recordings Krause has taken in various places at different times which, when compared, display the stark changes underway better than Mr. Krause’s words ever could.
HOLY OTHER - U Now
(from the new album HELD on Tri Angle Records)
I’ve been breathlessly awaiting a Holy Other full-length ever since I first heard his debut 7” WE OVER back in 2010. Somewhat erroneously tagged in the witch house movement which was at the time still emerging, Holy Other’s music ascends to gorgeous, majestic and deeply emotional heights that artists like White Ring and Salem have still yet to reach.
For the uninitiated, I’d describe his style as more like what would happen if Burial ditched the dubstep rhythms in favor of some R&B grooves. Clipped and heavily-effected vocal samples loop and weave in a deep, introspective sea of reverb amid truly dreamlike synth melodies and rhythmic touches reminiscent of all your favorite ’90s slow jams. It’s perfect chillout music… I’m talking sit back, light up a joint, close your eyes and nod your head stuff.
Held will be released via Tri Angle Records on August 27th. In the meantime, you can stream the entire album via soundcloud. It’s already on the short list for my favorite records of 2012, so check it out. You won’t be disappointed.
Ruby Ridge has just released our best, darkest, most mnml EP to date. It is our first release since ditching guitars and bass in favor of a full-on electronic approach and I really, really think you’ll like it. Click the above link to visit our bandcamp page and you can pay whatever you like… or not pay at all! And hey, if bandcamp is not your cup of tea, go snag it on Soundcloud!
PERIDOTS - NO WATER
Among the new releases I’ve obtained recently, one of the best is a compilation entitled Strange Passion: Explorations in Irish Post-Punk, DIY and Electronic Music 1980-83. As a person of German and Irish ancestry, I have always found it much easier to explore the weird, interesting and dark recesses of my German heritage than the side from the emerald isle.
Sure, Ireland has a few mainstream anomalies like U2, Sinead O’Connor and the Cranberries… some classic punk bands like Stiff Little Fingers and the Undertones… a handful of anarcho-punk and crust bands… one or two good modern producers (Boxcutter comes to mind)… But compared to the German legacy of komische, techno, ndw, industrial, psych and modern classical, there is very little I know about challenging, experimental music from Ireland. This comp changes all of that: with the exception of the Virgin Prunes, it is comprised entirely of artists and groups I have never had the pleasure of hearing before. There are a ton of hidden gems on this record!
I’ve included “No Water” by PERIDOTS here for your listening pleasure. It’s a delectable slice of Joy Division-influenced minimal synth, but it only just scratches the surface of the wonderful sounds this compilation has to offer. Track it down as soon as you can. You will not be disappointed.
The Soviet Synthesizer that Bridged Occultism and Electronic Music
written by Klint Finley
You don’t play the ANS synthesizer with a keyboard. Instead you etch images onto glass sheets covered in black putty and feed them into a machine that shines light through the etchings, trigging a wide range of tones. Etchings made low on the sheets make low tones. High etchings make high tones. The sound is generated in real-time and the tempo depends on how fast you insert the sheets.
This isn’t a new Dorkbot or Maker Faire oddity. It’s a nearly forgotten Russian synthesizer designed by Evgeny Murzin in 1938. The synth was named after and dedicated to the Russian experimental composer and occultist Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin (1872–1915). The name might not mean much to you, but it illuminates a long running connection between electronic music and the occult.
You can find traces of the occult throughout the history of electronic music. The occult obsessed Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo built his own mechanical instruments around 1917. The famous Moog synthesizer made an early appearance in Mick Jagger’s soundtrack to Kenneth Anger’s occult film Invocation of My Demon Brother in 1969. And in the late 1970s Throbbing Gristle built their own electronic instruments for their occult sound experiments, setting the stage for many of the occult themed industrial bands who followed. The witch house genre keeps this tradition alive today.
It’s little the surprise otherworldly sounds and limitless possibilities of synthesizers and samplers would evoke the luminous. But there’s more to the connection. The aim of the alchemist is not just the literal synthesis of chemicals, but also synthesis in the Hegelian sense: the combination of ideas. Solve et Coagula. From the Hermetic magi of antiquity, to Aleister Crowley’s OTO to modern chaos magicians, western occultists have sought to combine traditions and customs into a single universal system of thought and practice.
Electronic music grew from similar intellectual ground, and it all started with Scriabin.
(Read more at Boingboing. It’s great stuff!)
Fact Magazine is currently streaming Laurel Halo’s new LP Quarantine (coming soon from Hyperdub) and I recommend you check it out post haste. The hazy synths and sultry vocals found in her previous output are refined and polished here. They sound less showy than they did on earlier releases like Hour Logic, but also much more laid-back and pop orientated than the music on her more recent releases under the King Felix moniker. On the whole, it’s the record I’ve been waiting for her to make. Simple and brilliant.
From my ancestral homeland of Massachusetts comes the annual free compilation from the folks at Compound 440R. This year’s collection features as diverse and ass-kicking a lineup as ever, including standouts like party rap faves Big Digits, synth wizard Andre Obin, garage fiends Thick Shakes, art pop weirdos The Needy Visions and many more. An excellent primer for those interested in what’s going on in Massachusetts, or just for discerning underground music fans anywhere.
Below, find the first of three short pieces I did on the history of electronic music in New England. They were written as online copy for the 2011 Together Festival blog on Posterous last year, but they remain quite informative.
1967: ELECTRONIC MUSIC STUDIO OPENS AT NEC
Composer Robert Ceely founded the Electronic Music Studio at New England Conservatory in 1967, with a $10,000 start up budget from then-President Gunther Schuller, and strong support from composers Donald Martino and Daniel Pinkham. He used the funds to purchase modular synthesizers from Moog, Electrocomp, Buchla and later Arp.
These devices, alongside Revox tape machines, facilitated the beginning of experimentation with electronic and concrète sound sources at NEC. Ceely curated concerts of electronic music at NEC for many years as part of the Electric Wednesday and Electric Pumpkin series. Karlheinz Stockhausen visited the conservatory in 1967 and played tapes of his recent electronic works for students, faculty, and local new music enthusiasts. Ceely had been a composer-in-residence at Italian Broadcasting Company’s (RAI Milan) Studio di Fonologia Musicale (Electronic Music Studio) in the early ’60s, where Bruno Maderna and Luigi Nono were working at the time.
Ceely remembers meeting the studio engineer Marino Zuccheri upon his arrival, the widely-respected technician holding up a patch cable, and politely asking him “where would you like this Maestro?”
Like many of the early studios designed for work in experimental music composition, the facility was without keyboard interfaces and a technician was on hand to assist composers in navigating the complex patching systems utilized to produce their work.
Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), founded by Robert Rauschenberg and other artists and engineers in New York in the late sixties to encourage collaborations between artists and engineers, had a Boston chapter. Ceely was an active member, as was Harris Barron, founder of the Massachusetts College of Art’s <ahref=”http://sim.massart.edu/”>Studio for Interrelated Media (SIM), and together they proposed concerts of electronic music and graphics, utilizing the latest available technologies. In 1980, Otto Laske, an NEC alumnus, known for his work with Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Musicology, and Algorithmic Music co-founded and directed (with Curtis Roads) the New England Computer Music Association (NEWCOMP) and, in ten years, produced more than 60 events.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20: NEC OPEN HOUSE The New England Conservatory opens the doors of their electronic production studios. Featuring an octophonic sound diffusion system, software, some alternative controllers and a variety of old analog synths, this open studio allows for a unique investigation of electronic music. [New England Conservatory, 241 St. Botolph St., Room G11A. all ages/free]