Further: how does cognitive dissonance, as regards genre selection, play into the mix-making process?
Further: how does cognitive dissonance, as regards genre selection, play into the mix-making process?
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!
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. 3 – A 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
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!”
Where does the dividing line between cognitive clarity (as a time/space/emotional issue), & cognitive dissonance reside?
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.
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
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 remind 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 Cure, 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 myself 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 mix 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.
Since we began running Whitelabrecs in January 2016 we’ve managed to put out 20 albums covering the varied ground of the Ambient scene and featuring artists both new and established. Usually by the time that this many releases have amassed, most labels will have created at least one compilation or sampler but rest assured, we’ve been working behind the scenes for several months on our very own ‘Whitelabsounds’.
Our very first compilation album features a CDr full of top drawer Ambient and Experimental music featuring well known artists in the scene such as Offthesky, Maps and Diagrams, The Green Kingdom, Wil Bolton and Darkroom as well as contributors to our discography and other friends.
The album is presented as a small-scale fine-art vinyl LP imitation package, with a printed outer photographic/graphic sleeve, white card inner sleeve and a printed vinyl-effect CDr. There’s not a rubber stamp or white label in sight, as we wanted to present something truly special and hopefully, the start of a series.
The sounds contained within the disk are to be seen as a mood board of the various shades of modern Ambient music, with darker drones concocted from electronics and light noise sitting alongside beautiful electro-acoustic pieces, framed as a sort of mosaic. Every tile tells a story as each artist’s environment, experience and influence helps shape their sound. Somehow, the whole body of work becomes greater than the sum of its parts and that brings us to the artwork, a photograph of tessellating mosaic tiles taken in Pompeii, Italy.
Some tiles are worn and disintegrated whereas some are smooth and clear, perfectly reflecting the tones that can be heard on this inaugural Whitelabsounds compilation.
…your air guitar and the bright blue wainscoting: these are the Cotswold Gnomes.
So yes…guilty as charged…a fripp-a-holic! The tunes herein are from Robert Fripp, Brian Eno (together & separately) AND compositions from artists that filled in the blanks; the spaces in-between the embedded Frippertronics.
Track 1 is a custom, in-house amalgamation of blended sound & the rest flows from there. The title was crafted with James Joyce’s ‘The Dead‘ in mind:
[73:49 – part 1 of 2]
01 Ambient Landscape –
Robert Fripp, Si Begg, Slow Music Project
02 Robert Fripp & Brian Eno – Deep Indian Long
03 Markus Reuter – Mundo Nuevo, Part 2
04 Dwight Ashley – Behold the Trampled Wheat
05 Brian Eno – Slip, Dip
06 Brian Eno – Innocenti
07 Bill Nelson – Her Presence In Flowers
08 Theo Travis – October Night
09 The Cotswold Gnomes – Gasp
10 Brian Eno – Lantern Marsh
11 Jeff Greinke – Deep Inside
12 The Cotswold Gnomes – Hopeful Timean
13 Deaf Center – Thread
14 Lutz Thuns & Wolfgang Gsell – Tirawa
15 Fripp & Eno – Timean Sparkles
16 O Yuki Conjugate – In Dreams, Perhaps
17 Robert Fripp – Water Music II + Postscript
–listened to this earlier in the week – fabulous (earning a permanent spot on my automobile’s memory-stick play-list!)!
On Naim Records (to be released on 12, May 2017)
Yazz Ahmed has been making serious waves in the Jazz world after storming onto the scene with a commanding performance at Ronnie Scott’s with her quintet in 2010. With her next release ‘La Saboteuse’ Yazz looks set to join an pioneering group of artists such as The Comet is Coming (Leaf Label), Kamasi Washington (BRAINFEEDER), Yussef Kamaal (Brownswood) and Naim Records’ Sons Of Kemet who are flipping the jazz world on its head and breaking through to the forefront of the UK music scene with a vibrant and exciting approach to their art.
Yazz has performed with creative goliaths including Lee “Scratch” Perry and Max Romeo as well as touring worldwide with These New Puritans and laying down the Flugelhorn on Radiohead’s ground-breaking ‘King of Limbs’. Her second full length release ‘La Saboteuse’ explores the creative process and the demons that can exist within. Yazz’s transformation of this into a unique blend of psychedelic Arabic jazz is intoxicating, compelling and sonically outstanding.
Naim Records have teamed up with emerging Bristol illustrator Sophie Bass Illustration to craft a stunning visual aesthetic for ‘La Saboteuse’. Sophie’s work explores human nature and our sensual relationship with the world we occupy. Through an exploration of her Trinidad heritage Sophie developed an appetite for native art and the mythology and symbolism encompassed within, these themes are beautifully displayed in Sophie’s unique, culturally rich and symbolic style.
With La Saboteuse Naim Records will break away from the traditional model of release with the album being dropped as four chapters across streaming services in early 2017. Each chapter will have an individual cover crafted by Sophie which when combined will form the gatefold cover housing the heavyweight double LP. The vinyl and CD will be released concurrently with Chapter Four and the digital release of the full album, all landing in May 2017.
Yazz Ahmed – flugelhorn, trumpet, quarter-tone flugelhorn & Kaoss Pad
Lewis Wright – vibraphone
Shabaka Hutchings – bass clarinet
Samuel Hällkvist – electric guitars
Naadia Sheriff – Fender Rhodes & Wurlitzer pianos
Dudley Phillips – bass guitar
Dave Manington – bass guitar (sponge bass on Bloom)
Martin France – drums
Corrina Silvester – bucket, bendir, darbuka, krakab, riqq, pins, gongs, waterphone, sagat, frame drum, ankle bells & drum kit
This classical-music based mix was built upon the skeletal structure of
burned out Chevrolets an unreleased mix from 2012, entitled ‘another fripp’ (which was a Robert Fripp inspired mix revolving around his release ‘The Wine of Silence‘). I was never fully enthralled with the final deliverable and would pop it on & off my phone for listening now & again.
Then, this past March, I received a promotional copy of Izumi Kuremoto‘s Late Chrysanthemums, which I very much enjoyed. And in April, I tripped across Daníel Bjarnason‘s ‘Recurrence’ while on Twitter; and the mixological wheels began to churn…
It is one of the more aggressive projects I’ve undertaken in awhile: segmenting tracks, using portions of material or bits of compositions & layering tracks to construct an entirely new & reconstructed f-l-o-w of sound.
The cover art is a nod to an old & strange fiancé of mine, named g.a.b. l@bs – ;- )
Part 1 | 81:11
01 Leonardo Rosado – The Blue Nature of Everyday Var. in Blue #1- Dusk
02 Ambient Landscape – Intro 2 [custom wash]
03 Daníel Bjarnason – BD (excerpt)
04 Robert Fripp – Glass & Breath (excerpt)
05 Izumi Kuremoto – Three Movements for Harp & Strings (1; excerpt)
06 Yo-Yo Ma, David Zinman, Baltimore Symphony Orch – The Dormition of the Mother of God (excerpt)
07 Iceland Symphony Orchestra – Flow & Fusion
08 Ralph Vaughan Williams – In the Fen Country
09 Daníel Bjarnason – Emergence I. Silence
10 Andrew Keeling/Robert Fripp – Miserere Mei
11 Iceland Symphony Orchestra – Emergence II. Black Breathing