Somi

Somi is the new full-length from Taylor Deupree following 2014’s Faint (12k1073/12k2025).

The release comes packaged as a CD inside a 20-page hardbound book of Deupree’s photographs that inspired the creation of the music. For the music, made with a small number of instruments (electric piano, glockenspiel, DX7, handheld cassette recorder) Deupree originally set out to create a follow-up to his classic album Stil.. Steeped in subtle repetition and soft electronic sound, Stil. explored themes of time and change. However, Stil. was created with purely electronic means – software synthesizers and looping algorithms which explored the then-novel frontier of DSP based “microsound.” With a strong desire to bring the aesthetics of Stil. to his current way of working Deupree used no software or automatic looping, instead opting for the imperfections of creating “loops” by hand. The result is warm and quietly decayed work of spare, discreet tones and dozens of interwoven slow polyrhythms that create repetitions that constantly fall apart and shuffle themselves back together. While these ideas of phase relationships are not new in music, nor to Deupree’s catalogue of work, it was the way he approached the composing that was different, and more challenging, than his work in the past. Wrapped up warmly in the sonics of cassette players and cheap built-in speakers, Somi’s dusty melodies sit quietly, but uneasily, and question the passing of time and present one of Deupree’s most alluring albums to date.

The process used to create Somi is discussed here as excerpted from Deupree’s writing inside the book:

In my early experiments with repetition I used a host of software-based looping tools which allowed me microscopic control over timing and repetitions. As my aesthetics and work veered toward the more natural and organic I began to incorporate acoustic and found sounds into my compositions. I found the natural variation and irregularities of acoustic instrumentation gave my loops a fragile subtlety that wasn’t available in software. Likewise, moving from software to hardware-based looping devices, and eventually tape loops, introduced a whole universe of beautiful imperfections that only made the repetition more varied and alive.

When I was conceiving the ideas for a new album, that would become Somi, I wanted to take the looping another step further into the imperfect and started experimenting with “hand-made” or manually created loops. With this technique, instead of using any looping devices at all, software or hardware, I would simply play phrases over and over, at a specified temporal division, for the length of the composition. What I found was that my “loops” still remained repetitive but now had the added irregularity of slight timing and timbral variations, because every note and every cycle was played by hand.

The further I explored this technique the more I found that the fewer notes I played during each cycle the better multiple passes and tracks would layer with each other. Each layer, each manual “loop” would also have different lengths. Perhaps the first would repeat every 19 seconds, and then the second every 12 seconds, and another at 64 seconds, and so on. I found as I stuck to a strict looping timer (as much as I could by watching it and playing by hand) notes from each layer would fall on top or in between previous tracks at random locations and create interesting relationships and phrases. Each layer would repeat at different intervals, the equivalent of having a dozen different time signatures in one piece of music.
– Taylor Deupree, April, 2016

KonneKted

The Stick Men are releasing a free digital download companion album to the limited edition promotional CD “KOLLEKTED” (Blue), which is currently available KonneKtedexclusively at King Crimson concerts. For this download version we’ve assembled some other favorites under the name “KONNEKTED” (Red), and included are also some rather odd tracks from the catalogue.

Enter “0” (zero) to download for free. And please tell your friends!

The Ambient Landscape mixological studio crew (Semi-Red) is hard at work remixing this KOLLEKTION as the track selections, though stellar, were not well segued and are merely a kollektion of kompositions…not a well thought out mix.
Thus, we’ve have dragged the composite tracks into our secret studio & have remixed it (and it sounds so much cleaner & smoother without the gaps) and have added a bonus track at the end, Sus_Tayn_Z (ProjeKct Four).

Credits:

  • Released June 13, 2017
  • Written by Tony Levin, Markus Reuter, Pat Mastelotto, except “Breathless” (Fripp) and “Sailor’s Tale” (King Crimson)
  • Personel:
    • Tony Levin: Stick and Voice
    • Markus Reuter: U8 and AU8 Touch Guitars and Voice
    • Pat Mastelotto: Acoustic and Electronic Drums and Percussion
    • Guests:
      • David Cross (on “Shades of Starless”)
      • Mel Collins (on “Sailor’s Tale”)
      • Artwork/illustration by Maria Picassó i Piquer

Produced by Stick Men

Swept to Only Skye

I could almost see the mix

It began as 2 separate projects, made for personal listening via phone + ear-buds, neither of which would have achieved mix status – but they were similar enough that, to save space on my phone’s hard-drive, the 2 halves were combined.

Then a request for review from John Reedy (the lead off track) compelled me to add one of his compositions to the front of that combined project. I then added the Dreissk piece (thanks to Mike @ n5MD) to the end (post Torn) &, after a Tweet from Dave over @ low light mixes, decided to insert the High Plains composition at the mid-section and…I realized that I could almost see the Room*   uhm…mix!

The cover art was morphed from the Dirk Serries release, the mix title a reference to same plus David Torn‘s excellent album – have a peek into the windows & see if you’re reminded of something…long ago!
;- )
70:40

01 John Reedy – Lost Dog
02 Ambient Landscape -Washed & Treated Twine
03 Taylor Deupree & Marcus Fischer – Buoy
04 Fictions and Poetics – A Cure for Sorrow
05 Last Days – Fading Shore
06 Kloob – Haunted
07 Mathieu Lomantagne – Tanto Loin Tanto Pres
08 High Plains – Hypoxia
09 36 – Saphron
10 I am Esper & Mystified – Disintegration 3
11 Svarte Greiner – The Marble (glass eye  remix;
interpolating Metro, Pt. 3A Winged Victory for the Sullen)
12 Dirk Serries – I Communicate Silence
13 David Torn – I Could Almost See The Room*
14 Dreissk – Find and Lose Again

D/L:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/lr1p0vixjwddjij/Swept%20to%20Only%20Skye_.zip?dl=0

micro_MDX2

[window treatments courtesy of Physical Graffiti]

Falling For Ascension

by Markus Reuter featuring SONAR and Tobias Reber

Falling For Ascension is the latest album from Germany-based composer and Touch Guitarist, Markus Reuter featuring SONAR & Tobias Reber.

Since the late 1990s Markus Reuter has steadily made a name for himself as a formidable player, a gifted improviser and a a composer for both rock and classical music ensembles. As one third of Stick Men, since 2010 Reuter has toured extensively across Europe, Asia, Australia, and in North and South America alongside with King Crimson’s Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto. In 2013 his large-scale composition for orchestra, Todmorden 513 received its world premiere performed by the Colorado Chamber Orchestra.

Falling For Ascension finds Markus Reuter working with Switzerland’s post-minimal quartet, SONAR and live electronics specialist, Tobias Reber.

Reuter leads this acclaimed ensemble through a series of compositions that are amongst his earliest, having all been written between 1985 and 1987. “For me the striking thing about this album is that the themes and melodies and rhythms that you’re hearing were written when I was 14 years old,” explains Reuter. “I had these little motifs set aside for such a long time and I never knew what to do with them.”

When the opportunity arose to work with SONAR in 2014 these pieces seemed the perfect fit. “I rediscovered the beauty and power in them and also a kind of timelessness in them. It doesn’t matter that I wrote them when I was 14. I would still write the same thing now. Falling For Ascension has this openness to it which is a new discovery for me. It’s interesting that I’m discovering this on very old material,” Reuter explains.

Perhaps sharing similar strands of the kind of polymetrical DNA that informed the interweaving knot-work of King Crimson’s Discipline, the pointillist components with Reuter’s pieces, interacting across the group, resembles a series of interlocking constellations whose orbits and traversals connect to create new variations and associations. Hypnotic and beguiling, the music comes with a guttural punch that’s felt as much as heard.

Recorded in just one day under Reuter’s direction, the pieces were prepared as modules, most of which contain a 12-tone row and assigned to an individual player. “They had the freedom to decide when to move to the next stage within the module, independent of each other,” says Reuter. Within each module a finite number of choices are available. “The choice is limited to the ‘when’, not the ‘what’. There’s a specific thing asked of you but you can decide when to move to the next element in the series.”

The music offers deep explorations between tension and release, between the gravitational pull of grooves and floating freefall in space. There’s contrast between stillness and grace next to the ever-changing motion.

Falling For Ascension appears on Ronin Rhythm Records, the label owned by internationally renowned zen-groove pioneer, pianist, Nik Bärtsch. Working with Reuter is something he’s been looking forward to and perhaps inevitable given the overlapping nature of their respective work.

Of this release Bärtsch comments, “We can hear a sensual performance of the high art of abstract creative thinking played by a real working band like SONAR and by Tobias Reber, a close companion of Markus, and a mastermind himself,” says the ECM recording artist, adding ”What we hear is a mystic materialisation of a visionary abstract mind that can dance.”

Across the 70-minute album these pieces possesses the same metronomic intensity of groups such as Can in full-flight, in which intense, pulsating grooves are strafed by Reuter’s smouldering solos or wreathed in luminous clouds of soundscapes. Without recourse to showy grandstanding, his playing possesses a remarkable, unerring accuracy when it comes to finding the emotional heart of this music. Much like the sparse acuity of a haiku poem, when he plays Reuter understands that less is so often very much more.

The hypnotic quality dominating many of the pieces opens the possibility of trance states, of surrender, of losing yourself in the maze of interconnecting corridors and spaces. That’s as it should be Reuter is careful to leave room for listeners to be able to fill in the both rhythmic and harmonic spaces for themselves. “As you listen you kind of get drawn into it but what is actually happening is that you draw the music into yourself.”

“Reuter institutes Robert Fripp-like steel shredding leads with the Touch Guitar methodology…”
–All About Jazz

“Amazing! One is instantly reminded of Frippertronics…nice one Mr. Reuter!”
–Ambient Landscape

elements eleganté . 2

Part 2 of 2 & comprising softer, kinder-gentler Jazz, Ether-Jazz & Experimental/Ambient sound…crimped, smashed & treated so as to fit the ‘elements‘ mix moniker & brand. Aural Jazz tapestry!

Presented for your listening pleasure.
85:06

01 Arve Henriksen, Eivind Aarset, Jan Bang & Tigran Hamasyan – Traces X
02 Travis Theo & Robert Fripp – The Silence Beneath
03 Bersarin Quartett – Einsame Wandeln Still Im Sternensaal
04 Otto Lindholm – Isophare [excerpt]
05 Tomasz Stanko Quartet – Suspended Variations VII
06 Wolfert Brederode Trio – Black Ice
07 Otto Lindholm – Nilindigo [excerpt]
08 Eberhard Weber – Delirium
09 David Torn – So Much What
10 Lyle Mays, Marc Johnson & Jack Dejohnette – Lincoln Reviews His Notes
11 Marcin Wasilewski – Oz Guizos
12 Jan Garbarek Group – Gautes-Margjit
13 Jack DeJohnette, Matt Garrison & Ravi Coltrane – Serpentine Fire
14 Nik Bärtsch’s Mobile – Modul 5

Download 

elements_elegante_rider__2

Polarity, by Focal

 

This look like a great & fun new release; a a double-sided collection of remixes by Focal, on Ultimae:

Presenting ambient & techno recycled workings by artists such as Deadbeat, Claudio PRC, AES Dana, Zzzzra and original art designs by French artists Suzy Lelièvre and Raphaël Kuntz, the tracks are each mixed as a “techno” (or in some cases, “house”) side and as an “ambient” side – making for a wonderful variety of sculpted sound.

I already have 2 of the ambient-side tracks made into mixes (‘mute space‘ as well as an upcoming mix).

 

Hyacinth (preview)

Hyacinth

Mixes are the New Albums

I can’t remember the last time I listened to an entire album from start to finish.

I simply don’t do that…anymore. I used to – when I was 16 & had just bought a new Bowie or Robert Fripp album – I’d listen to the whole album – but then one track would remindRecord Albums3 me of the guitar riff by another artist…or the bass line would be similar to another song…and I began making cassette mixes (non-segued @ that time) on my TEAC double cassette deck. At the time, I’d hand draw the mix cover-art & passengers in my car would marvel at the creativity it took to put everything together in an enjoyable music mix for the road trip we were on.

And I’ve been making mixes, on & off, ever since (Round 1: 1974 ~ 1990). I had taken a break for a few years – when out of the blue, my 10 years younger brother sent me a cassette mix he had made as a way of thanking me for “saving” him from a Village People fate in which his peer group was immersed. That mix, made with a dual turntable & a mixing board, contained songs from his generation (The PhonographCure, Depeche Mode, The Sugar Cubes, Pixies) & mine (David Bowie, Adrian Belew, Robert Fripp, Ian Hunter) and we labeled it P.H.A.C.Progressive Hits / Alternative Classics. The series went on for 11 more editions (and, as a side note, I’m restoring a few of them by recording the tape to a digital source). Then Eric enrolled in the Peace Corps and shipped off to Nepal (where he eventually met his wife) and I shipped him 3-4 more editions of ‘After the P.H.A.C.’ – adding acts like Monty Python into the music stream as well as narrated portions using a microphone.

That brings us to, roughly, the year 2000…when I mixed one of my all-time favorites, ‘Lanterna‘ (a tribute mix to the Henry Frayne album by the same name): initially onto cassette, then CD-R in 2004 and digitally in 2014. And I’ve never listened to the entire Lanterna album in toto – only by way of its mixed iteration.

Lanterna can be downloaded free here: Ambient Landscape’s Bandcamp, & will give you an entree into my mixing style.

That mixed reignited the art of making mixes within me, purely as a pastime, (Round 2: 2000 ~ Present) and I stumbled across the Art of the Mix website & joined their online community – posting under the moniker ‘g.a.b. l@bs‘. The site got glitchy after several years (though is still up & running), but the core group of elite mixers to which I palled around with began to fall apart. But I had had a nice run of things from 2000 through 2010 & resigned mysRecord Albums2elf to posting purely on my blog & cross posting to Facebook (our FB account is no longer).

In 2015 I found Mixcloud, a streamlined version of Art of the Mix with better  categorization & a worldwide membership of world-class mixers…within all the genres I participated & a lot more – and have been posting there ever since.

Mixes are, for me, the ONLY way to listen to music. When I purchase or download a new album – it goes on my phone only long enough to determine what songs I like & which ones I’ll utilize to craft a new mix…usually within the same genre – but not always (my ‘elements‘ series (Jazz) is a border-crossing mixed bag of classic Jazz, European Jazz (a la ECM) & Ambient…even Classical.

Albums are categorized into folders on my hard-drive, from whence I derive my mix play-lists & the final deliverable which is then rendered with cover art & uploaded to my phone & Mixcloud.

To my ears albums are boring – too much of one artist & not enough derivation. In fact, when shopping for music, one requirement is that it be different enough to warrant my listening attention…yet similar enough to garner inclusion for the next mix project. Thus albums, CD’s & digital collections sit idle until the master (that’s, uhm…me ; D ) hand selects compositions from same as the new mix is crafted.

There are, however, 2 albums which do reside on my phone’s hard-drive & will probably never be deleted:

…just because I consider them near perfection (within their respective genres).
Bottom line is: I love these 2 albums in the entirety! And I’m sure the reader also has his or her favorite.

So there you have it. The plastic & waxed shape of one man’s opinion on the topic of listenable forms of music. The miplastic + waxx is the thing: taking the creative input of artists & reshaping them into something better, something finer, something able to be shared without violating the artist’s creative world…AND, at least within the genres I mix…a final product that actually grants increased exposure of the artist & their work.

Thanks for reading and, if you have a differing opinion…please share it with me. I’ll read it…when I’m not tilting my head sideways to peruse the spines of stacks like these; in search of the perfect tune.

Record Albums