Q: With a moniker like “Ambient Landscape”, how can a Jazz series make any sense?
‘elements_windows’ began as a trilogy – to be sure. And upon what I thought was completion . . . [there it was: signed, sealed delivered] – the scattered remnants of the project began to cry out for another set.
And, ironically, the fourth might just be my favorite within the series. And, if I had to submit just one elements series/mix by which the entire brand would be represented . . . it’d be the ‘windows’ edition.
R E V O
Re-craft. Rework. Re-vision. Repurpose.
I’m all about tearing it apart & rebuilding from . . . ashes. If I don’t like a mix, the thought of its existence lingers like Morpheus’ “splinter in the mind”. It irritates & annoys – until I reformulate the sequence, add treatments or import different audio components.
Thus 3 begat 4 . . . and [finally] all is well with my universe.
I take my penchant for causticity [weird-guitar sounds, dilapidated saxophone, seemingly off-key piano, & unorthodox compositions] & transmogrify it into nuanced slabs of sound (formerly called ‘mixes’). What’s intriguing to me is that other folks like them too (@ least that’s what my Dropbox download metrics tell me)!
It (mixes), is almost exclusively the method via which I access my music. I rarely listen to albums, save a new ECM album (Nik Bartsch‘s ‘Awase‘ for example, or the about to be released Sun of Goldfinger). But, as the tracks get moved onto mix projects, I delete them on my phone menu & file the digital album into the ever expanding ethereal catalog.
This Jazz / Ether-Jazz series is slated for release beginning in March, 2019.
More, more . . . and then some more.
More eclectic, nuanced experimentation & improvisation from the creative Belgium mastermind, avant-garde Jazz collective:
Utilizing tracks from TONUS’ “Ear Duration”, “Puncture Cycle” & “Zeitweise Leichter Schneefall” (At Times, Light Snowfall) this follows an #EtherJazz, #Noise, Avant-Garde & #Experimental Ambient pathway . . . with the entire mix resting atop a ghosted/layered backdrop, itself excerpted from Ear Duration (giving the project a subtle ambient feel). This was worked on in 2 sections (A & B). Then we tinkered, tweaked & tailored until the two halves were ready to be retro-stitched together.
Many thanks to Mr. Dirk Serries for slipping us the codes for the downloads just prior to Christmas so the previewing, audiological tinkering & mixological machinations could begin!
Granted – this is a new way of crafting compositions within the Jazz genre. As such, it can be a difficult listen at first. However, if things go according to Dirk’s master plan of worldwide genre domination, the style should begin to grow on you and it has been invigorating to be even marginally part of this Jazz excursion!
🎷 🎸 🎻 🎧 🙂
As I began listening to the new tracks between Christmas & New Year’s, I crafted a diagram of what I had in mind for this project prior to beginning work on the actual mix. The new mix model revolves around a long-form piece: ghosting & stretching the original piece & then breaking it up into intersectional slabs of sound. Other compositions are then inserted between the fragmented sections, layered on top of the ghosted edit & then rendered/mixed down into the final deliverable. This creates an echo of the original work within the mix, with the actual composition playing on top of its own subdued echo.
The next project from our studio will utilize this model within the Ambient genre.
Mixing, for our engineering crew must push the envelope & break new ground . . . or it ceases to be a creative effort & merely a functional/productional one (time to make the, uhm . . . donuts, er . . . yet another mix 😉)
The cover art was discovered during an online search & then “massaged” via iPad using Paper by Fifty Three.
A New Wave of Jazz | 61:06
01 Iceland Symphony Orchestra – BD (excerpt)
02 TONUS – Ear Duration – Set 1A
03 Benedict Taylor & Dirk Serries – Puncture Cycle, II
04 Christoph Schiller & Anouck Genthon – Zeitweise Leichter Schneefall
05 TONUS – Ear Duration – Set 1B
06 Christoph Schiller & Anouck Genthon – der Meidingersche Fullofen
07 Benedict Taylor & Dirk Serries – Puncture Cycle, VII
08 Dirk Serries & Benedict Taylor – Puncture Cycle, VI
09 Christoph Schiller & Anouck Genthon – Flaschenpost
10 TONUS – Ear Duration – Set 1D
11 Heiner Goebbels – The Fog
12 Christoph Schiller & Anouck Genthon – die Stille
. . . .(sampling excerpts from ‘HISS’, by Colin Webster & ‘Aequora’ by Icelandic Symphony Orchestra)
13 Dirk Serries – In the Beckoning Rust (overlap/fade w/ track 12)
A New Wave of Mix
Based upon the available track, I’m really looking forward to this release! 🎻🎼
Markus Reuter’s String Quartet No.1 ‘Heartland’ is now available for pre-order as a high-res download or luxurious CD-Edition inside an ECM-style slipcase with an expansive booklet featuring expansive liner notes, exclusive photography and contributions by Tony Levin and Frank Schätzing.
After years of preparation and planning, Solaire Records is proud and excited to present ‘Heartland’, Markus Reuter’s first string quartet. The album sees Markus further explore his algorithmically-supported composing technique to create a sonic language that will surprise even long-standing supporters.
After spending months listening to most of music history’s major string quartets, Markus ultimately decided to break with tradition and approach things from an entirely unique angle. Working closely with Oval’s Markus Popp, the tracks were built using a pool of self-referential musical fractals. By combining them into deeply layered structures, every single bar of music is related to what precedes and follows it, even though there is not a single mechanical repetition in these pieces.
Performed by the prestigious Matangi Quartet and recorded by award-winning producer Dirk Fischer, Heartland is a journey to the borders of melody and harmony: Driving, sensual, serene and moving.
Releases April 12, 2019
Written by Markus Reuter, Summer 2018
Maria-Paula Majoor, violin I
Daniel Torrico Menacho, violin II
Karsten Kleijer, viola
Arno van der Vuurst, violoncello
Recorded 17 & 18 October 2018
Kirche Zum Heiligen Kreuz, Berlin
Recording producer, balance engineer, editing: Dirk Fischer
Technical equipment: EvenFlow
Liner notes concept: Equinox Embassy
Photography: Dutch Rall
Design and layout: Rutger Zuydervelt
Cover design: Rutger Zuydervelt
Executive producers: Wolfgang Gruner, Peter Smith, Dirk Fischer
Releases January 19, 2019
Graham Dunning : snaredrum, objects
Dirk Serries : accordeon, acoustic guitar
Benedict Taylor : viola
Martina Verhoeven : piano
Colin Webster : flute, alto sax
Performed at Hackney Road Studios, London (UK) on October 26th 2018. Recorded by Tim Cedar. Mixed by Dirk Serries. Mastered by Sunny Side Inc. studio (Anderlecht, Belgium).
Sleeve notes : Guy Peters.
Layout : Rutger Zuydervelt
Executive label director : Dirk Serries.
We finally caught up with the elusive ether-jazz collaborator, Mr. Dirk Serries – who’s riding so many new waves these days that it virtually took a crew on surfboards to catch him! 😄
We’ve been listening to his latest musical offerings, preparing the release (part 3 of 3) of a TONUS series, had a few questions for the man & wanted to clarify a thing or two about this “new” venture of his (& the talented, collaborative & improvisational league of crafty TONUS, et al musicians).
From YODOK III, to TONUS to various duos, trios & quintets – he’s amassing quite a deft, avant-garde & glitchy (albeit obscure & envelope-pushing) musical “Jazz” catalog.
Here’s what Mr. Serries had to tell us:
- What was the driving force behind a departure from the Ambient genera & striking out into the domain of “new” Jazz?
I always have been on the edge with experimenting and blending genres. Never satisfied or at ease with what I achieved and constantly fascinated by the fusion of elements, bridging different styles and pushing myself to discover and re-search music that inspires me. It was, though, when YODOK III’s members Kristoffer Lo and Tomas Järmyr invited to record a session with them in Norway that I got infected with the magic of improvising – an ability I didn’t know I had but was cleverly boosted by the enthusiasm and belief of Kristoffer and Tomas.
That session brought me not only to my favorite band YODOK III
but also boosted my confidence and made me pursue improvisation with fierce interest.
2. Does your Ambient background come into play in this new arena & from where are you drawing your inspiration?
Every background or learning experience counts, despite I frequently ignored my past in order to make room for the new and fresh recordings. But I surely discovered that it’s that expertise which helps you to expand your own knowledge and way of interacting. I absolutely had to do some personal purification, forcing myself to step away from that safety zone I was in. Shedding off some of the technical baggage as well, limiting myself to rely purely on my instinct and own sound-design.
You see, improvisations succeed when you do play together with kindred spirits. Speaking a mutual musical language is the secret that helps you to communicate and create on the spot, foremost because how the other musician(s) motivate or even push you to step out of the comfort zone*.
[editor’s note – *“Comfort zones are usually not that comfortable, just familiar.” 😉]
It’s that kind of inspiration that elevates you into different and undiscovered terrain, playing with different techniques or just forces you to let go of any control.
3. Are the compositions written, are they improvisation . . . or is it all a hybrid?
It’s indeed a bit of a hybrid. The full heavy interaction performances and recordings are completely improvised, for TONUS I map out some guidelines or even some very basic graphic scores but here too the choice of which musicians is vital to the success of the music. The TONUS music is never strict or hermetic to the scores, I do rely on the “intuitivism” of my fellow musicians to fill in the blanks and paint with their own collection of sounds along the path the TONUS piece takes us. It’s foremost the discipline of the participating musicians that is the core of every TONUS piece. The anticipation, the patience and the respect for air and silence are key elements in creating this kind of music.
4. How has the audience response been to this “new wave of Jazz”?
Quite good, although I’ve to admit I don’t make it easy for my listeners. Especially the contrast between my ambient music and what I’m pursuing now is quite stark. Luckily it’s actually the ideal scenario, some of my listeners have been following me in this change of course. Listeners who are equally adventurous and willing to expose themselves to this more difficult style of music. I also believe that my label A New Wave Of Jazz is a matter of persistency, slowly building up a catalog that tries to bridge genres and accentuate that there’s way more common between the figurative minimalism of TONUS and the full-on improvisation. Unfortunately up till now both musical worlds ha ve been quite separated from each other but I hope with giving this music a unified platform that people will become aware of how interesting and connected this music is.
Many thanks, Dirk, for taking a bit of time, in-between half-notes, to visit with us & explain this bold, new, eclectic Jazz-hybridized frontier.
May the pioneering force ever be with you!
~ Ambient Landscape, 2019
Post interview note: Dirk’s collaborative work will be further represented in our mini series ‘Spartan Mettle Softens the Blow‘ – a ‘Sun of Goldfinger’ tribute within which the TONUS sound is right at home.
TONUS Tributes 1 & 2 + ‘A New Wave of Jazz’ mix (2.22.19 release)
ambient | experimental | drone | min_tech | 85:22
How do we process remaining space? The pauses? The interstices? The fragments & slices of unoccupied aural texture which, quite frequently, remain unfilled?
When encountered on-project (or otherwise) I attempt to make the best possible use of the aforementioned space (& spaces) remaining.
01 Phaenon -Quantum Silence
02 Steve Roach – Darkest Before Dawn (excerpt)
03 Sébastien Wright – The Grey Towers
04 Arash Akbari – Haze Pt. 2
05 Stephen Philips – Down Deep
06 Austere – Cristil
07 Christopher Bissonette – le jour et la nuit
08 Subradial – Diaphotonic Sunrise
09 David Lee Myers – Feedback Music ee 58
10 The Winterhouse – Inside & Out
11 Synthetic Block – 030109_1 (edit)
12 Viridian Sun – In Peril (Visium)
13 Martin Nonstatic – Innermost-Structure
14 Joachim Spieth – Iliachtides
Sonagrama magazine published a very introspective article on my online friend (and mix-making diva) Laima Lisauskienė. I’ve copied a portion of it below – please see the link @ the bottom for the entire article.
I’m Laima Lisauskienė from Lithuania’s capital city, Vilnius. I studied Fine Art during my secondary education at the National M. K. Čiurlionis School of Art and went on to attain degrees in visual design at Vilnius Academy of Arts. Visual communication has been a key component throughout my education and professional career and remains central to my work in areas such as graphic design, corporate branding and advertising. Since 2010, I’ve been a member of the Lithuanian Graphic Design Association (LGDA). In addition, I have a long-standing interest in music and sound culture, which is the primary focus of this article.
I love exploring the ways in which different media platforms can be used not only to distribute music, but also enhance communication between musicians and audiences in fresh and exhilarating ways. I am proud of my Lithuanian heritage and greatly enjoy visiting other countries and collaborating with musicians and other creative people from different cultures. In the past, I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively in countries such as Egypt, Germany, Spain and the UK. I had a wonderful time living in Bilbao, whilst working as a design consultant for an international conference on art and technology Technarte 2015. Consulting on Technarte was both a stimulating project in itself – combining art, technology and science – as well as an ideal opportunity to explore and expand my fascination with sound and music.
After working on Technarte, I returned to Vilnius in late 2015 and was invited to create radio programmes for an innovative online music streaming project Radio Kaos Caribou (RKC), based in Ermont, France. Creating my fortnightly radio show Dimensions involved investing a considerable amount of time, energy and resources into discovering and acquiring music created by talented artists working, for the most part, under the radar of the mainstream music industry. I consulted professional audio design engineers and learned new skills, using technical expertise and resources of a well equipped sound studio to create my own Dimensions mixes. As a result, the compilation audio file for each show was specifically designed and engineered for my regular one hour slot on RKC. The inaugural Dimensions #1 show was first broadcast online 26 March 2016.
Whilst crafting Dimensions radio shows for RKC, I also worked on a four-day sonic arts event Music Tech Fest (MTF) Berlin 2016 and this further enhanced my appreciation of experimental music and sound culture more generally. During MTF Berlin, I was inspired by a number of artists, notably the talented electronic musician and multimedia artist Robin Rimbaud (aka Scanner) after attending an exclusive preview described as ‘sketches’ of his permanent sound installation ‘Water Drops’ for Rijeka airport, Croatia.
It was a joy to meet Robin and speak with him backstage at the festival. He kindly agreed to contribute a selection of his unique experimental music to include in my shows, such as the composition ‘Middlesex Voices Interlude’ featured in Dimensions #7 and, more recently, one of his latest albums ‘Mass Observation (Expanded)’. I am grateful to Robin for supporting Dimensions over the years and our continued collaboration.
Overall, my positive experience of MTF included previews of work by contemporary artists – such as Benjamin Heidersberger, Bernd Deckers, David Fernandez, Greg Beller, Johannes Wernicke, Rikard Vilhelm Lindell, Robin Rimbaud and others – using the latest technologies in the sonic arts showcased at the festival, and this had a huge impact on Dimensions.
The growing experience and creative potential, discussions with practitioners and theorists in the sonic arts and design world, the expanding library of compositional works (audio, images, video and text), and the desire to reveal new music and narratives led me to realize my personal endeavour to transform Dimensions into a multifaceted, independently curated transmedia project.