Monday, December 13, 2010

Podcast : DJ Walkman - Varpa

You know DJ Walkman, don't you? He is one half of the Lithuanian netlabel team, Sutemos, that brought us some of our favorite artists through the critically acclaimed Intelligent Toys series! Today, DJ Walkman takes off his managing hat, and puts on a pair of DJ headphones to bring you one of the finest mixes featuring all of our favorite releases from Warp Records!

This is a wonderful listen, spanning some of our favorite Warp releases in just over an hour. The transitions are flawless, mashing up the beats and sounds from all of your favorites! I hope you enjoy! If you like this, be sure to grab DJ Walkman's first mix for Sutemos, Milk Und Herring, which we have profiled back in 2008! Be sure to also check out our past review of Intelligent Toys 5.

See full track listing, plus stream or download the mix on Headphone Commute

Sound Bytes : riverrun, The Boats, Asher, and Fabrizio Paterlini

It's early on a Sunday morning and I sit down in my studio to go over the latest promos I have received. Sometimes I look around my desk, piled with unopened packages and press releases, scratch my head, and wonder how I'm going to get through all of this, let alone pick out the gems that I want to share. The truth is, I listen to each album at least three or four times before I write about it, and I want to fall in love with each one! And with over a hundred in the queue, I don't know if I'll ever catch up! Oh well, not a bad problem to have, I suppose! Thankfully, I've got this Sound Bytes section, where I can share a few mini-reviews of the music that has recently graced my rotations. Today I'm also helped by Elizabeth Klisiewicz who covers the latest from riverrun, while I dust off submissions from The Boats, Asher, and Fabrizio Paterlini.

riverrun - Pentimento (Saint Cecilia)
Listening to the latest album from Pentimento from riverrun is an ambient project from Daniel Land (Modern Painters, Engineers) that was stitched together over a decade, revealing itself slowly in dense layers of sound. The project takes its name from the famous opening line of James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake. In artistic terms, pentimento is the reappearance in a painting of an underlying image that has been painted over. Pentimento drenches you in a profound sense of place. Furtive animal and machine noises waft in and out, but they fade away as you continue to move through this release. From small Somerset villages to the Irish seaside, Land has captured snippets and woven them into an impenetrable tapestry, twining places from his childhood with abandoned song fragments. Warm but visceral tones paint images of sailboats, buoys, and empty stretches of sand. Fragile melodies occasionally pierce through the haze and uplift your spirit before diving deep into the musical depths. Fans of Brian Eno, Tim Hecker, and Fennesz will definitely appreciate the exquisite care taken with this painstaking work. Highly recommended. Available as a CD from Big Cartel or digital download from Bandcamp.

The Boats - Sleepy Insect Music (Home Normal / flau)
Come on in, but please watch your step. The Boats take you on a journey through their version of the Modern Classics compilation entitled Sleepy Insect Music. With sixteen tracks recorded "at various times and places between 2003-2010", the music fluctuates between purely instrumental modern classical composition to folktronica to lo-fi downtempo pieces to songs with vocals by Chris Stewart and Elaine Reynolds. Sleepy Insect Music is a collaborative release between Ian Hawgood's Home Normal label (read our Label Profile) and Yasuhiko Fukuzono's Tokyo-based flau. Oh, and this time, The Boats duo, originally comprised of Craig Tattersall (aka The Archivist and The Remote Viewer) and Andrew Hargreaves (co-owner of Lacies with his partner Alice), have been joined by the talented Danny Norbury (also a member of Le Lendemain with David Wenngren [aka Library Tapes])! Whew! A lot of name dropping! So we've got quite an artistic gathering here, which cultivates into a wonderful album, as expected. Originally conceived as a companion release to The Boats' tour of Japan, this little gem collects some of the group's past off-shoots, B-sides, and unreleased tracks. As usual, lo-fi electronics, tiny glitchy percussion, and fuzzy samples dominate the minimal compositions, except this time they are complimented by Norbury's singing cello. Recommended for the followers of all of the above mentioned artists. I'm looking forward to more output from this newly revitalized trio!

Asher - Miniatures (Sourdine)
Asher Thar-Nil weaves barely familiar melancholic piano pieces into phrased loops and repetitive passages, spread over a blanket of white fuzzy noise, digital imperfection and analog hiss. Out of an abandoned, distorted and dusty radio, a once forgotten favorite melody slowly drifts and revolves on the peripheral boundaries of hearing, evoking a nostalgic feeling over memories that we never had. Weaving piano loops that fade in and out of silence in twenty six Untitled tracks, split across two volumes of this double-disk album, Asher's limited edition release is an exploration of modern and contemporary classical composition through an entirely different spectrum. Miniatures reminds me a lot of The Caretaker's Theoretically Pure Anterograde Amnesia (V/Vm Test, 2005), in which Jim Kirby explores faded memories and ghostly sounds of our long forgotten songs. Previously collaborating with a variety of artists, Asher has released numerous albums across a roster of experimental and sound art labels, such as Room40, and/OAR, Homophoni, and Leerraum []. Asher's album is excellent as background head cleaner, or a fuzzy silence filler, on buzzing days and rainy nights... Pick this up directly from Sourdine. Fans of William Basinski will surely appreciate!

Fabrizio Paterlini - Fragments Found (self)
Sometimes the simplest melodies awaken the most evocative of emotions... Listening to neo-classical piano compositions by Fabrizio Paterlini is like being cradled in the depths of nostalgia, holding back the eyes from tearing. It all depends on the current state of mind. And if you are already vulnerable, Paterlini will take you just a bit further. His ten piano pieces, originally recorded and left undisturbed for years, tell a story with a soundtrack to your life. Born in Manuta, Italy, Fabrizio has been playing piano since the age of 6. "When I sit in front of my piano and start playing, melodies come to find me and I immediately record them..." And it feels like some of these pieces are fragments of familiar melodies, heard in movies of your childhood, or perhaps in lullabies of your past. It is not until the second or third rotation of this album, that you realize that the beauty within, is not to be without. Pick up this disk directly from Paterlini or download a digital edition. While you're there, don't forget to grab his 2009 Viandanze, available as a download along with sheet music [something I've been begging other musicians to do!]. Fans of Library Tapes, Max Richter, Hauschka, Peter Broderick and Nils Frahm will absolutely enjoy! Really liked this, and I'm sure that you will too!

Be sure to read this entry directly on Headphone Commute for audio track samples.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thomas Fehlmann - Gute Luft (Kompakt)

Thomas Fehlmann has long been a towering figure in electronic music. He was producer on The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld and executive producer for Sun Electric. He and Palais Schaumburg bandmate Moritz von Oswald (of Basic Channel fame) famously collaborated with Juan Atkins in the early nineties as 3MB. More recently he’s been producing solo work for Plug Research and Kompakt. Gute Luft is Fehlmann's original soundtrack from "24H BERLIN" - a 24 hour television event, billed as the world’s longest documentary. Eighty camera teams filmed Berliners over the course of a day. Fehlmann provided a portion of the score, which he reworked here into album format. The title translates to “Good Air”. My favorite tracks are the most rhythmic. Some of the more cinematic pieces strike me as too museum-y. To that end, I enjoy the deep bass and cascading textures of “Alles, Immer”. In fact, it reminds me of Moritz von Oswald Trio. “Wasser im Fluss” falls into a nice, breezy groove. Crisp chord changes contrast reverberating string notes. “Schwerelos” is similarly lively, with bouncy bass and the occasional airy harp glissando. On “Speeding”, Fehlmann’s music takes on a darker tone with muted, tapped percussion and long, droning chords. “In the Wind II” has a bassline that is almost electro, while flutes play what seem like traces of “Londonderry Air”. It’s better than my description would have you believe. “Soft Park” is funkier, but woefully short. Dubby chords splatter over deep bass and percussion snaps. “Permanent Touch”, “Von Oben,” and “Cityscape” are all upbeat, but they sink into the background for me. For a soundtrack, that’s probably not a bad thing. “Fluss im Wasser”, on the other hand, is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The bass is lush and dynamic. A guitar slides, beats pound, and the sun shines. “Berliner Luftikus” follows with a deep dub techno vibe, the sounds of falling rain, and a pretty four-note pattern played on bells. “Darkspark” is an immediate attention-grabber, with an orchestral palette of strings and horns. Two-note chords pulse and change. I wish Fehlmann had extended this over a full ten minutes or so. “Im Überblick” is another tune that is over way too soon. It morphs from dub techno to bass-heavy minimalism to ambiance. The album ends with panning white noise and decaying piano tones on “Scheiben”. Gute Luft is released by the Köln (Germany) based Kompakt, run and operated to Wolfgang Voigt. The label's recent output includes the 11th installment in the Total series featuring an excellent roster of artists, such as DJ Koze, The Field, Gus Gus, and of course Voigt and Fehlmann. There's also a 12" Gute Luft Remixe edition, with three tracks reworked by Soulphiction (Michel Baumann) and Move D.

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Original review posted by Jacob Arnold on Gridface.
Republished with permission of the author. | |

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Label Profile : Temporary Residence Limited

Interview with Jeremy deVine

Hey Jeremy, how are you? What did you do this past weekend?
I’m fine, thank you. This weekend I worked, as usual. I don’t spend much time doing otherwise these days, it seems, but it hardly feels like work compared to every other job I’ve ever had.

Temporary Residence Limited has been in existence since 1996, but let's go back to the beginning. Growing up, how did you get involved in music?
I grew up listening to stuff like Simon & Garfunkel, Traveling Wilburys, Tom Petty, Bon Jovi, AC/DC and Poison. Then around age 13 I got into Nirvana and almost immediately into local Louisville punk bands. As with most teenagers, the timetable of events in my life moved much faster back then, so the leap from classic and modern rock radio to Endpoint, Slint and Seam was maybe 6-8 months. From there I just became more and more embedded in underground and experimental music.

At what point did you decide that you wanted to run your own label?
There was a Louisville label called Slamdek that worked almost exclusively with local artists. Along with Touch and Go Records they were a big beacon for getting our town’s music heard by the outside world. Discovering that record companies could be made up of only a handful of friends – or merely one person, as in Slamdek’s case – introduced an alternate reality to me
for sure.

How was the label first formed?
I had the idea to start a label while still living in Louisville, but I didn’t want to be a “local label,” and also didn’t want to compete with or be considered an alternative or competitor to Slamdek. So I waited until I moved to Baltimore to really begin. It was officially started it in late 1995 with my college roommate at the time. He and I parted ways soon after, and I ran solo from my bedroom.

[ - s n i p - ]

Read the entire label profile on Headphone Commute

Sound Bytes : Temporary Residence Limited

We've been loyal followers of Brooklyn based Temporary Residence Limited for a while now... It seems that every year, the label manages to push our listening boundaries and introduce us to new music, that inevitably makes it on to our "best of the year" lists. In 2006, we were devastated (in a good way) by a collaboration between MONO and World's End Girlfriend,  In 2007, we fell in love with releases from Explosions In The Sky, Tarentel, and Eluvium. The next year brought us more gems from The Drift and Grails. And last year, the label made it on our Best of 2009, Music For Walking And Not Crying In The Autumn Rain, with another instant classic from MONO. We're into November of 2010 now, and it seems that there are more than a few contenders from the label once again... Hope you enjoy this installment of Sound Bytes, in which we highlight some of our favorite releases from Temporary Residence Limited.

The Books - The Way Out
Listening to the latest album from The Books is like absorbing a dose of lysergic acid diethylamide, while Ram Dass reads excerpts from a book he never had the time to write. Full of inner depth on the reflection of oneself, and kaleidoscopic hysterical psychedelia, The Way Out is a musical trip through genres, time and space between the microscopic atoms that make up your eyes. Nick Zammuto and Paul De Jong have been producing since their debut, Thought For Food (Tomlab, 2002). After two more albums on Tomlab, a split EP and a collaboration with Prefuse 73, Prefuse 73 reads the Books EP (Warp, 2005), the duo lands a release on none other than Temporary Residence Limited. At times playful, funky, and contemplative, The Books create a collage of found sound, abandoned recordings, and unclassified pieces that retain my listening attention for many consecutive listens. Like an instructional album on becoming awakened in this world of random rules and borrowed ideas, the music by The Books forces the listener to reflect on everything that is absurd around them... and then let one choose his own way out... Can't stop listening to this one. Be sure to also pickup their self released Music for a French Elevator.

MONO - Holy Ground: NYC Live With The Wordless Music Orchestra
Not many live sets are covered on here... But then again, not many artists we cover release their music as live sets. Thanks to Temporary Residence Limited for organizing a concert in New York City for MONO, celebrating their 10th anniversary as a band. Here is a collection of some of our favorite MONO tracks, as well as selections from their latest album, Hymn to the Immortal Wind, performed live with a 24-piece orchestra, featuring excellent recording and quality mixing by Matt Bayles (Mastadon, ISIS, Minus The Bear). The Tokyo based instrumental post-rock group, in collaboration with the esteemed Wordless Music Orchestra, captured all of my favorite moments, compiling a "best of MONO" album, if you will, into a stunning performance, with all of its soaring, moody, and dramatic quality. The only thing that's missing from this album is the sound of my own applause. I really wish I was there! To make up for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the label has published this release with a bonus DVD, documenting the entire 90-minute performance. In addition, you may obtain this album as a limited 3xLP release (DVD included as well). This is an absolute must for all MONO fans.

Systems Officer - Underslept
To loyal readers of these pages it should be no surprise that I am a bit partial towards instrumental music. I tend to steer clear of male driven vocals, pop rock accompaniment, and a template structure of the song. So why is it that I keep returning to the album by Systems Officer? Could I possibly be hypnotized by the melody or the lyrics? It is only when I find myself playing the album full blast in the car, singing along with every word, wondering in which memory bank of my mind the lyrics are stored, that I accept that the answer to that earlier question is 'yes'. Every track has been worked out to turn the pop concept inside out, and present the listener with a song with incredibly high replay value. Five years in the making, Underslept is the solo creation of Armistead Burwell Smith IV (aka Zach),who is a multi-instrumentalist, a song writer, and a founding member of Pinback and Three Mile Pilot. I don't claim to be knowledgeable when it comes to progressive or indie-rock, but I do know a good track when I hear it. I hope that you'll agree. Thanks to Temporary Residence Limited once again, for pushing my comfort listening boundaries.

The Black Heart Procession - Blood Bunny / Black Rabbit
The Black Heart Procession is another new band to me. Although in existence since their self titled 1999 debut, this indie rock band from San Diego is introduced to me, once again, through Temporary Residence Limited. Having recently released their latest, Six (2009), this mini-album collects three new tracks, and five remixes of previously released, by Mr. Tube, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Jamuel Saxon and Eluvium. With two of members of the band, Pall Jenkins and Tobias Nathaniel also making up Three Mile Pilot, this collection of tracks and remixes truly feels like "one continuous composition, sounding every bit like an LSD-influenced DJ set in the kind of terrifying but strangely alluring vampire sex den commonly seen in True Blood." Being a true remix album, the music traverses more than a few genres, climaxing somewhere around psychedelic beats, and down into the beautiful piano abyss of Eluvium, treating us to a ten minute modern classical interpretation of BHP's "Drugs". Although on my first listen I attributed the stylistic departures to the experimentation of the band, I am not disappointed to learn that this is a remix project, and will pick up their previous full length releases as well. If you haven't heard of this band, I recommend you do the same!

Eluvium - Similes
In this last entry on this Sound Bytes label special featuring Temporary Residence Limited we cover an album from Eluvium. Matthew Cooper has been on our playlist since his 2003 debut, Lambent Material, and remained a top artist among the modern classical composers with An Accidental Memory In The Case Of Death (2004), Talk Amongs The Trees (2005), Copia (2007) and his 7xLP box set, collecting all of the above plus a few more EPs, Life Through Bombardment (2009), all released by the beloved Temporary Residence Limited. On this long awaited return since Copia, Cooper introduces the Eluvium followers to something completely new: his voice. "Written, performed and recorded as always by Matthew Cooper in his own Watership Sounds studio, Similes marries Eluvium's trademark dream-like aura with Cooper's unique, laconic vocals, akin to an especially contemplative Ian Curtis with trace reflections of Magnetic Fields and Brian Eno." Not all the tracks include this song structure, and a few all instrumental pieces are sprinkled around the album. The execution reminds me a bit of a similar attempt by Keith Kenniff, who introduced the voice of Helios (and I suppose Goldmund) on Ayres (Type, 2007). The reception of such brave departure could be mixed. You either love it, or you don't... Let's hope the fans will follow through!

Be sure to read this entry directly on Headphone Commute for audio track samples.

Make sure you also read our Temporary Residence Limited Label Profile

Two and a Half Questions with Eluvium

I guess the first obvious question is, what prompted you to take this brave leap forward and put your own vocals on the record?
- it's really as simple as feeling a need to, or an interest - it can be quite easy to get caught up doing the same thing over and over again- but i still consider music, and "albums" to be about being artistic, and following your heart wherever it may lead you - sometimes this means making statements that other people may not like, or even be able to relate to, or want to relate to - but creating isn't always about that - it can also be about trying to better oneself or exorcising ghosts - some would consider the move brave - but i really just did what i felt like doing at the time - and it was a wonderful relief

Are you responsible for all the instrument playing, including the drums, on the album?
- yes -

What is the main theme behind Similies?
- sorry to firstly correct you - but the spelling is actually similes - i know it sounds like it should be the other way
-but to answer your question - it's sort of a lot to talk about - but a simplified way to explain it might be "emptiness" -

[ - s n i p - ]

Read the entire interview on Headphone Commute

Be sure to read Headphone Commute's review of Similes from our Sound Bytes Label Special coverage of Temporary Residence Limited.

Her Name is Calla - The Quiet Lamb (Denovali)

Her Name is Calla hail from Leicester, Leeds and York in England, and create a splendid mix of quiet, loud, and expansive music that is rarely heard anymore. They describe themselves as a post-rock band striving to make music that reaches the listener's emotional core. With The Quiet Lamb, they have far exceeded those expectations. The opener, "Moss Giant", unfolds like a flower slowly unfurling itself to dawn warmth. It draws you in with eerie sounds that fly past you with stealthy intent, morphing into spare piano notes that strike at your heart with a plaintive air. As you move through this forest of sound webbing your senses, a far distant call of monks twists and turns you until the track's end. By the time "A Blood Promise" starts up, you are treated to a slightly more conventional tune laced with perfectly twining vocals, trumpet, and electric guitar brought high into the mix. The song just as quickly drops to a slumber-like pace and sets you back down gently. "Pour More Oil" is a folky, reflective piece whose musical structure starts with beautifully harmonized vocals and softly strummed guitar. The hushed singing serves the deeply recessed music well. Sophie Green's mournful violin appears and pushes the guitar and trumpet to center stage. What starts as a soundtrack for a gray autumn day transforms into a deeply felt emotional piece that wouldn't be out of place on a Frames album. In the lengthy "Condor and River", you sense the power building up behind the quiet opening progression. The music ascends before receding to a single piano and voice. Trumpet and violin are added to the mix, and another wave of sound washes over you. "Long Grass" is a simple framework of guitar, banjo, and Tom Morris's voice. Further layers of chiming keyboards, organ, and strings appear before subsiding back to stillness. "Homecoming" follows up with slightly warbled vocals and plunks of banjo, marrying bits of Shearwater and Grizzly Bear with a completely original spin on a well-worn genre. "Thief" is utter gorgeousness with its lovely washes of violin, unusual percussion, and organ. Try to imagine Asian chamber folk and you'll be in the ball park. "The Union: I Worship a Golden Sun" is part of the album's final trio of songs. The organic scree of keyboards distinctly resembles a squeaky fan belt, and it tumbles into "The Union: Recidivist", a furious swirl of violin dueling with a maelstrom of feedback. "The Union: Into the West" is the album's coda, an unusual instrumental blend that mashes mariachi styled trumpet with loping guitar that gallops off into the sunset of a Spaghetti western. From quiet spaces to dark places, The Quiet Lamb is cinematic in scope, and veers from storm-crashing guitar down to sparse, dusty piano motes. It is a challenging yet uplifting journey from a seasoned group of talented musicians, and will reward listeners with its multifaceted sonic hues.

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Review prepared by Elizabeth Klisiewicz for Headphone Commute. | |