Slow Music w/ The Humans
Slow Music was formed in 2005 as a way to create live ambient/textural/environmental music in a live context. Rieflin describes how, “openness and stillness become a part of the musical vocabulary, as well as density and activity. It can be both beautiful and surprisingly intense. And, being improvisational in nature, you never know what will happen next, which makes it all the more exciting.” Innovators to the core, Slow Music has no website, no band photos, nor commercially available music. The best way to listen is to show up. It’ll be worth it.
“moments of glacial beauty…Fripp’s quicksilver tone could be heard weeping underneath the crescendos and toward the end…Buck added his trademark ringing guitar arpeggios…” Variety
“The improvisational and experimental concept of Slow Music…was oddly calming, meditative and a true sound alternative.” Hollywood Reporter
“The climax of the final improvisation at Seattle’s Showbox is superb: a frenetic tangle of howling notes, ascending arco bass and shimmering cymbals provide a devastating conclusion.” Sid Smith, DGMLive
“This Zen supergroup…offered a chance to feel music differently… The listening…offered subtle, oddly soothing rewards.” Ann Powers, L.A. Times
Bill Rieflin keyboards & percussion (Bill has played drums w/ R.E.M., Swans, and is a member of the newly reformed King Crimson)
Robert Fripp guitar, guitar-like things, soundscapes (Robert’s guitaring is legendary, and is a founder of King Crimson)
Peter Buck guitar and things (Peter’s guitaring in R.E.M. is singular; he’ll probably play some of these shows with a butter knife)
Matt Chamberlain drums and drum-like things (Matt has played with almost everyone in the world, such as Pearl Jam, Edie Brickell, Critters Buggin, SNL house band; look him up – it’s impressive)
Fred Chalenor upright bass (Fred is at home with both Hughscore & Hans Eisler)
The Humans making their first ever west coast performances!
The Humans are:
Toyah Willcox – voice, voice loops
Chris Wong – bass, and occasional guitar
Bill Rieflin – bass, and loopy percussion stuff
Toyah – a hugely successful English pop singer, film & stage actress, and writer – formed The Humans in 2007 after being invited by the Estonian ambassador to tour Estonia and to perform for the president. With both a strong pop sensibility and playful experimental streak, this creative formation marked a radical departure for Toyah. Eschewing the conventional rock band line-up, the core of The Humans focuses on her voice flanked by two bass players. Although the records & live shows include a wider range of instrumentation, Humans music centers around singing and bass. Their third CD, to be released later this year, is the most catchy and danceable record yet.
The twin bass players, occasionally complemented by programmed beats, played sinewy, rumbling rhythms, a kind of twisted funk. Financial Times
Zeitgeber is a German word that, loosely translated, means “synchronizer.” It’s also the new project of Electric Deluxe head Speedy J and Stroboscopic Artefacts’ boss Lucy. Both artists make some of the most forward-thinking techno around, but Zeitgeber sees them pushing together even further into uncharted territories. Freed of dancefloorconsiderations, the duo have constructed an album that breathes with life and rewards close listening.
That’s no surprise when you consider the artists involved. Speedy J has been around from techno’s very beginnings. Based in Rotterdam, his Electric Deluxe label has consistently released techno that has gleefully tugged at the constraints of the genre. Lucy, on the other hand, is a newer name to most techno fans, but his Stroboscopic Artefacts label has quickly made a name for itself as one of the leading purveyors of the stuff.Unpredictable and exciting are two words for much of what you get on SA. And that most definitely applies to Zeitgeber the album as well. The album kicks into life slowly with “Closely Related,” a track that sounds like a motor unsuccessfully revving up, its attempts extinguished every so often by a plate of molten glass. “These Rhythms” lives up to its name – as long as the “these” of its title is pronounced in an incredulous way. “Skin” devolves into white noise by its fourth minute, pulls itself together (barely) and then slithers onward like a snake that’s stuck in a desert looking for someone to poison.
It should be mentioned (if you weren’t sure already) that none of these tracks sound like conventional techno. They’re typified by the careful and exacting sound design of much of Speedy J and Lucy’s work but it employed to almost completely abstract ends. It’s only on “None of Their Defects” that a beat proudly comes to the forefront. True to form, though, it’s heavily swung and eventually gives way to one of the most emotional melodies of the album. “From Here” follows a similar path, building from a few simple elements to a chittering and complex finale. “Now Imagine” shudders and quakes across its ten minute length, every single one of them completely necessary to make its point. “Before They Wake” is a gentle lullaby that hides multitudes under the calm surface. The album concludes with “Display 24” a track which seems to have taken a choir from Popul Vuh and stretched it out to epic lengths underneath a clanking, industrial-sized rhythm. It’s a terrifying ending to an album that doesn’t often let the light in.
That’s by design, however. Because when Zeitgeber do let the light in, it’s all the brighter. You’d expect nothing less from two of the most talented producers in the techno world. The culmination of 18 months of work, Zeitgeber is an album that is a collaboration in the best sense. Two artists urging other to new heights and new sounds.
Words: Todd L. Burns
Though a bit late to the party, I grabbed parts 5, 7 & 8 from EnoShop & then turned then into something…better!
A private entrance into a personal fortress of mental solitude amidst a topsy-turvy world doing its best to destroy meaning, morality, truth & that which is sacred. Attain a moments respite then…before you unlock the gun cabinet & make those postmodern bastards pay!
01. Brian Eno – Compact Forest Proposal_Condition 5
02. Brian Eno – Compact Forest Proposal_Condition 7
03. Brian Eno – The Real
04. Brian Eno – LUX, part 3
05. Steve Roach & Loren Nerell – Paraterra
Dennis Huddleston’s ‘Lithea’ revved up for the new year.
01. Plastikman – In-Side
02. Zero Ohms – 2-6
(interpolating Ligeti_ String Quartet No. 2, Radio36 & No. 7 Galerie Des Anciennes)
03. Fripp & Eno – Hopeful Timean
04. Red Clouds – Far Away Time
05. 36 – Susumus
06. The Green Kingdom – The Dust of Divinity
07. 36 – Dayasan
08. O Yuki Conjugate – Estuary
09. Henry Frayne – Dawn
10. 36 – Broken Toy
11. Steve Roach/Robert Rich – Remembrance
12. Marconi Union – Slow Collapse
13. 36 – Levitate
14. Periskop – Submerge 1. VI
15. 36 – Another World
16. Nordlys – October
17. Marsen Jules – BeautyFearVI
18. Jeff Pearce – The Last Secret
Update [1.2.14] Added in Brian Eno’s Compact Forest Proposal (Condition 8) as track 18, bumping ‘The Last Secret’ to track 19. Contact me via the comments section for any wishing an upload of this version.