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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » Labels


Let’s talk craft and vision in live audiovisual performance, media art

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Labels,Scene | Wed 18 Oct 2017 2:23 pm

We’re gathering with top digital media artists this week – and you can tune in. Here’s a preview of their work, on the eve of Lunchmeat Festival, Prague.

Transmedia work and live visual performance exist at sometimes awkward intersections, caught between economies of the art world and music industry, between academia and festivals. They mix techniques and histories that aren’t always entirely compatible – or at least that can be demanding in combination. But the fields of media art and live visuals also represent areas of tremendous potential for innovation – where artists can explore immersive media, saturate senses, and apply buzzword-friendly technologies from AI to VR in experimental, surprising ways.

Our goal: bring together some artists for some deep discussion. And we have a great venue in which to do it. Prague’s Lunchmeat Festival has exploded on the international scene. Even sandwiched against Unsound Festival in Krakow and ADE in Amsterdam, it’s started to earn attention and big lineups, thanks to the intrepid work of an underground Czech collective. (The rest of the year, the Lunchmeat crew can usually be found doing installations and live visual club work of their own.)

Heck, even the fact that I’m stumbling over how to word this says something about the hybrid forms we’re describing, from live cinema to machine learning-infused art.

Since most of you won’t be in Prague this week, we’ll livestream and archive those conversations for the whole world.

Follow the event on Facebook for the schedule and add CDM to your Facebook likes to get a notification when our video starts, and stay tuned to CDM for the latest updates.

To whet your appetite (hopefully), here’s a look at the cast of characters involved:

Katerina Blahutova [DVDJ NNS]

Let’s start for a change with the home Prague team. Katerina is a great example of a new generation of artists coming from outside conventional pathways as far as discipline. She graduated in architecture and urbanism, then shifted that interest (consciously or otherwise) to transforming whole club and performance environments. She’s been a VJ and curator with Lunchmeat, designed releases and videos for Genot Centre (as well as graphic design for bands), then went on to co-found LOLLAB collective and tour with MIDI LIDI.

Don’t miss her poppy, saturated, post-Internet surrealism – hyperreality with concoctions of slime and object, opaque luminosities and lushly-colored, fragmented textures. (I can rip off this bit of the program; I wrote it originally!)

Oh yeah, and she made this nice teaser loop for this week’s festivities:

teaser loop from upcoming vj set for @malumzkole at @lunchmeat_cz #dvdjnns #wip

A post shared by Katla / DVDJ NNS (@katlanns) on

Ignazio Mortellaro [Stroboscopic Artefacts, Roots in Heaven]

Turn that saturation knob all the way down again, and step into the world of Stroboscopic Artefacts. Ignazio is the visual imagination behind all of that label’s distinctive look, from album design (as beautifully exhibited) to videos. He’ll be talking to us about that ongoing collaboration.

In addition, Ignazio is doing live visuals for a fresh project. Allow me to quote myself:

Roots in Heaven, a label owner and accomplished solo artist hidden behind a mesh mask and feathers, joins visualist Ignazio Mortellaro to present a new live audiovisual work. This comes on the heals of this year’s Roots in Heaven debut record “Petites Madeleines” (a Proust reference), out on K7! offshoot Zehnin. The result is a journey into “concentrated sensory impression” in sound, light, and sensation.

Gregory Eden [Clark]

One of the goals Lunchmeat’s curators and I discussed was elevating the visibility of people working on visual materials. But unlike the ‘front man’/’front woman’ role of a lot of the music artists, the position some of these people fill goes beyond just sole artist to broader management and production. Maybe that’s even more reason to pay attention to who they are and how they work.

Greg Eden, who’s at Lunchmeat with Clark, is a great example. With a university physics degree, he went on to Warp, where he developed Clark and Boards of Canada. He’s now full-time managing Clark, and in addition to that … uh, full time job … manages Nathan Fake (with visuals by Flat-e) and Gajek and Finn McNicholas.

Visuals are often synonymous with just “something on a projector,” live cinema-style. But Clark’s show is full-on stage show. For the stage adaptation of Death Peak, the artist works with choreographer Melanie Lane, dancers Kiani Del Valle and Sophia Ndaba, and lights from London’s Flat-E. Think of it as rave theater. That makes Greg’s role doubly interesting, as someone has to pull all of this together:

Novi_sad [with Ryoichi Kurokawa, SIRENS]

The collaboration between Novi_sad and Ryoichi Kurokawa is one of the more important ones of the moment, its nervous, quivering economic data visualization a fitting expression of our anxious zeitgeist. Here’s a glimpse of that work:

Ryoichi Kurokawa and Novi_sad have worked together to produce an audiovisual show in five etudes that produces a dramaturgy of data, weaving the numbers of the economic downturn into poignant, emotional narrative. Data and sound quiver and dematerialize in eerie, mournful tableaus, re-imagining the sound works of Richard Chartier, CM von Hausswolff, Jacob Kirkegaard, Helge Sten, and Rebecca Foon. Novi_sad is self-taught composer Thanasis Kaproulias, himself coming not only from the nation that has borne the brunt of Europe’s crisis, but holding a degree in economics. As a perfect foil to his sonic landscapes, Japan’s Ryoichi Kurokawa has made a name in expressive, exposed digital minimalism.

Marcel Weber (MFO) [Ben Frost] / Theresa Baumgartner [Jlin]

Ben Frost is already interesting from a collaborative standpoint, having worked with media like dance (Chunky Move, Wayne McGregor). The collaboration with MFO brings him together with one of Europe’s leading visual practitioners; Marcel will join us to talk about that but hopefully about his work for the likes of Berlin Atonal Festival, as well.

MFO has also designed the visuals for the sensational Jlin, but Theresa Baumgartner is touring with it – as well as working on production for Boiler Room. So, we have Theresa joining us from something of the in-the-trenches production perspective, as well.

Gene Kogan

VJing and live cinema are rooted in conventional compositing and processing. Even when they’re digital, we’re talking techniques mostly developed decades ago.

For something further afield, Gene Kogan will take us on a journey into deep generative work, machine learning and the new aesthetics that become possible with it. As AI begins to infuse itself with digital media, artists are indeed grappling with its potential. Gene is offering talks and workshops both here at Lunchmeat and at Ableton Loop next month, so now is a great time to check in with him. A bit about him:

Gene Kogan is an artist and a programmer who is interested in generative systems, artificial intelligence, and software for creativity and self-expression. He is a collaborator within numerous open-source software projects, and leads workshops and demonstrations on topics at the intersection of code and art. Gene initiated and contributes to ml4a, a free book about machine learning for artists, activists, and citizen scientists. He regularly publishes video lectures, writings, and tutorials to facilitate a greater public understanding of the topic.

I’ll be reviewing the resources he has for artists soon, too, so do stay tuned.

Gabriela Prochazka

Also coming from Prague, Gabriela has been guiding the INPUT program for Lunchmeat this fall, as well as being one of my collaborators (our installation is part of the exhibition this week). Its contents are mysterious so far, but a live AV work with Gabriela and Dné is also on tap.

See you in Prague or on the Internet, everyone!

Follow the event on Facebook for the schedule and add CDM to your Facebook likes to get a notification when our video starts, and stay tuned to CDM for the latest updates.

http://lunchmeatfestival.cz/2017/

The post Let’s talk craft and vision in live audiovisual performance, media art appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Jimmy Edgar’s Ultramajic label gets its own sound pack

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Tue 15 Aug 2017 10:57 pm

The California-fresh mystic futurism of Jimmy Edgar now finds itself in sound pack form, by way of Web subscription service Splice.

I’m normally loathe to write about soundware, but this one gets a particularly synth-y good flair. It’s interesting to hear a label identity that might work as a sound pack, but Ultramajic has enough of a sonic signature to work. (Actually, the weirdness of the labels – something is techno and minimal and tech house – kind of speaks to that.) And there’s some nice gear. It strikes me as the rare sound pack that might help jolt me out of a rut.

Their description covers the gear; you had me at Serge.

Ultramajic Sounds Vol. 1 is the first pack from Jimmy Edgar’s innovating electronic label, Ultramajic. The label brings its artists’ together with samples from 90s digital hardware, including a TR808, vocoder and the renowned Serge Modular. All sounds were recorded through top end equipment such as Neve preamps, vintage Lexicon reverb, and API eq/compression.

More:
https://splice.com/sounds/splice/ultramajic-sounds-vol-1

The post Jimmy Edgar’s Ultramajic label gets its own sound pack appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Listen to some gorgeous ambient music coming out on tapes

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Wed 31 May 2017 12:07 am

Okay, let’s try to put aside any hipster jokes for a moment. Maybe it’s a sign of the times that cassette tapes are becoming a scene for beautiful ambient and experimental music. It’s gotten to the point that you might find yourself paying to have a tape shipped to you, even if only to thank an artist for a download code.

Here are a couple of mixes that might just hook you on the medium all over again.

First , there’s Hainbach, whose YouTube channel full of live experiments and mixes is one of my favorite video subscriptions at the moment.

This mix unapologetically employs the aesthetics of lo-fi tape, and then mangles a bit more – with loops, with a delay, and with Koma Elektronik’s Field Kit instrument.

And that says something about what tape is – it’s not just a physical delivery mechanism, but a statement of aesthetics. The truth is, when tapes were new we had the opposite, glass-is-half-full approach. We were constantly worrying about degradation of sound and stressing over dirt and wear. It’s not just nostalgia that motivates the lo-fi approach; it’s hindsight. Now we can hear those sounds as independent from the medium, because we’ve heard the content (in digital) independently, too. And we also have easy access to techniques via the Internet that used to be the domain of a few specialists.

Anyway, you can also ignore the previous paragraph’s rambling and just listen to this great music:

A grungy, half-speed lofi mix I made in one take with two cassette recorders, the Koma Electronics Fieldkit and a delay. Among tape loops from me I mangle tapes by these fantastic artists:

Bus Gas – Live on Leave Us
r beny – Full Blossom of the Evening
Interlaken – Versaux
Benjamin Flesser – Funktionen
Me, Claudius – Reasons for Balloons
Billy Gomberg – Transitions
Item Caligo – Rest in Oblivion
Hainbach – Cello Pattern
Hainbach – The Evening Hopefuls

Cassettes are becoming a magnet for dark aesthetics and underground sounds, a new experiment in rarity and a rebellion against music’s recent disposable tendencies.

The Abyssal podcast takes this on with a deep dive into Night Gaunt Recordings out of Los Angeles. The medium’s aesthetic matches the sounds.

It’s not just obscure sounds here, either, with the likes of Helena Hauff and Silent Servant.

We proudly present you L.A.’s finest Do It Yourself cassette label called Night Gaunt Recordings. Night Gaunt Recordings is run by Ori and Chloe, both based in L.A.
Together they try to push a specific sound which is focused on experimental electronics. They had several releases with artists such as, Lower Tar, Worker/Parasite, J. de Sosa and many more. Their latest winter batch release with Adios Mundo Cruel (Pablo Dodero Carrillo’s moniker) with the title “Sombra de Cadenas, Cadena de Sombras” and Luiso Ponce with the title “Ultimo” has more EBM influences compared with some other releases. Those two releases contains strong, low and distorted synths. The first track on the tape by Adios Mundo Cruel called “Amensalismo” brings a trippy vibe with it which will make u move, a strong ebm loop strictly for the dancefloors!

Please enjoy this perfect compilation with tracks from their own releases including the Amensalismo track from their latest winter batch. and of course their most favourite records.

Visit their Bandcamp and make sure you cop one of their tapes.
nightgauntrecordings.bandcamp.com/

Tracklist:
Scott Walker- See You Don’t Bump His Head (4AD)
Adios Mundo Cruel- Amensalismo (Night Gaunt Recordings)
Silent Servant- Speed and Violence (Cititrax)
Vapauteen- Weld (L.I.E.S.)
The Chicago Shags- Streetgang
Sean Pierce- Battery (Clan Destine Records)
Worker/Parasite- Vermin (Night Gaunt Recordings)
Helena Hauff- Rupture (Solar One Music)
Oil Thief – Acquiesce (Chondritic Sound)
ADMX-71 – Disentangle Me (L.I.E.S.)
J. De Sosa- Lined, Separated and Marked (Night Gaunt Recordings)
A Thunder Orchestra – Shall I Do It? [Mick Wills Reconstruction #2] (Bio Rhythm)
Speaking Parts – Uninvinted Guest (No-Tech)
TV.OUT – Untitled (Parallax)
Vainio / Väisänen / Vega – Incredible Criminals (Blast First)
Pod Blotz – Flesh and Knives (Nostilevo)

LA’s darkness often has to be imagined; Berlin has the weather for it much of the year. AMOK Tapes, the cassette imprint from aforementioned Koma Elektronik, fits in perfectly with that manufacturer’s new Field Kit hardware – and has some terrific releases, to boot. Their newest compilation is a who’s who of the Berlin-centered electronic underground at the moment, a reasonable field guide to that scene.

Out today physically and digitally: over one hour’s worth of mutant industrial and techno by friends, allies and strangers to AMOK Tapes. C71 cassettes are professionally duplicated and vacuum-sealed with download code included.
Preview: https://goo.gl/VEw6zm
Purchase: https://goo.gl/FDqTw3
Tracklist:
A1. Cryptic Mantra – Less Is For Losers
A2. Alexey Volkov – Sadist GmbH
A3. Drvg Cvltvre – Devils With Dead Eyes And Shark Smiles
A4. Vittorio Di Mango – Dream
A5. 3.14 – Stomach
A6. tot – Smile And Distrust
B1. Human Performance Lab – Realms
B2. BLUSH_RESPONSE vs. Bakunin Commando – Neon Blood Goddess
B3. Unhuman – Nezilla
B4. Ontal – Expanding Symmetry
B5. Verset Zero – Baal

There are many ways in which it matters that these are on tapes. There’s also some part of me that says it doesn’t matter. If we have to put tape on a Zip drive, then gaffer tape that Zip drive and a USB adapter to a brick, then write a set of riddles for finding the brick – for great music, at this point, it may be worth it.

The post Listen to some gorgeous ambient music coming out on tapes appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

This music video generates landscapes from a wild alien duo’s music

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Tue 2 May 2017 6:32 pm

If you haven’t seen it already, Meier & Erdmann absolutely nailed it with their video for the tune “Howler Monkey.” First, it doesn’t hurt that this is a crisp, funky, uncluttered earworm gem. Second, the video is dazzling.

Here’s the thing: there’s absolutely no reason why sound visualization needs to be so boring and familiar.

There’s a lot to learn here.

Even just change the colors goes a long way. Here, the familiar spectral view over time is carefully tuned to form fantastical landscapes, the camera panning around lazily. I keep re-watching the video partly because so much was carefully tuned (either intentionally or through happy accidents – I suspect some combination). Mapping surreal buildings or alien flower growths to particular frequencies highlights particular musical features. Persisting the landscape for a while after sounds occur more neatly mimics how we seem to hear music – the memory of what has just happened layering on top of our perception of what’s happening now.

And it’s all brought together into a compelling, coherent scene – a 290-second day-to-dusk-to-night cycle giving the track’s visualization a sense of real progression. Processing is a favorite tool.

The video side is the work of Víctor Doval, a prolific artist with a particular knack for generative work based in Valencia, Spain. See his generative work here – often made into Tumblr-friendly GIFs:

http://blog.lightprocesses.com/show

And his full project work here:

http://www.produccionesluminosas.com/

That includes some Processing.js stuff you can play in browser.

He writes about the process:

The whole sequence has been created in a procedural way where the definition of every part has been based on mathematical integrations.
To manage all this data flow I worked with Processing and Blender. The Blender add-on Sverchok has been the cornerstone in the creation and transformation of the geometry.
The initial idea came from the understanding of music as a temporal journey, a changing landscape that is perceived via the ears. The track Howler Monkey written and performed by Meier & Erdmann invites the listener to travel through the subjective/individual and the abstract.

Motion nerds: Sverchok is an amazing parametric tool, built in Python. Basically, it gives you the ability to bring in data easily, visualize that data, and otherwise modify geometry in some incredibly powerful ways. (It gets deeper than that from there.)

So, great music, dazzling video, getting lots of deserved attention, and the whole LP is brilli–

WAIT A MINUTE. Why did no one buy this LP? Please go buy this LP. (I don’t need vinyl, but I’m happy to cherish a download. Going to put my money where my mouth is.) The single sounds as such, but elsewhere there are eerie soundscapes that seem to have emerged from the vegetation in a Salvador Dalí landscape, perhaps as retold by a Japanese video game that fell through a wormhole from the future. Atop those are layered manic, weirdo synth lines.

The fact that the genius video and utterly original sound design and composition didn’t net album sales depresses me, but if you feel the same, you can help turn that around.

More music:

And here’s some extra news – the label will show you how to make delicious eggplant dishes, Pakistani-style.

https://monikereggplant.wordpress.com/recipes/

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In Czech, instruments and music releases are all about extended family

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Sat 1 Apr 2017 1:05 am

It’s a wonderful thing to find kindred spirits. It doesn’t matter if they look like you, if you share a gender or an age, or if they come from down the street or around the globe.

And that’s the experience a lot of people have had when coming in contact with Bastl Instruments and the underground music and instrument enclave of Brno, Czech. Bastl are known for their cute compact desktop synth hardware and quirky modular line. And small builders are themselves tight-knit, but there’s more to it than just what Bastl Instruments as a maker provides. There’s a sense that this is a platform, a collective – a family. And that family can broaden and encompass all kinds of other makers and artists.

The prolific YouTuber Cuckoo took a trip in February to Brno in the Czech Republic to go behind-the-scenes with Bastl. It’s an expansive video, sprawling in the same way that Bastl itself does. There’s founder Václav Peloušek, artist HRTL, builder Pete Edwards, and many more:

I think it’s worth considering how much younger – and how much, you know, more Czech – this gang are, relative to what had bee norms in the synth creation business. Bastl are then a link, between a new generation and the old, between Czech Republic and the rest of the world, and in doing their own research into Czechoslovakia’s own music technology legacy, one that had previously been hidden behind the Iron Curtain and Cold War bias.

synthPop makes a sneak appearance: Pay particular attention to the appearance by Pete, because sneaked in at around the 34-minute mark is a revelation of his new synth prototype, dubbed synthPop. That’s the first real glimpse we’ve gotten of that new creation; I’m suspecting we’ll get the full picture when the crew visit Berlin’s Superbooth synth gathering later this month.

The Thyme effects processor also makes a cameo in advance of its public Superbooth appearance.

Cuckoo also played a live set, at the cozy, hip venue in town, Kabinet Muz. Less you think this is all about showing off a lot of gear, just one Elektron Octatrack makes up the whole rig – but the jam is great:

Looking beyond the picture of the boxes they make, Bastl are branching out into starting a record label, dubbed Nona. (For an example of builders doing music releases on the side, see also: Koma Elektronik’s AMOK Tapes.)

Vaclev has told CDM a bit about the releases to check out on their label, Nona Rec.

From the mission statement:

Nona records is a label founded by the people from Bastl with a main focus on releasing music of people from Bastl and beyond. It is about establishing communication between the crew and musicians worldwide with the goal of making awesome music! The main interest is to bring all sorts of open minded electronic music/experiments to open minded people.

Vaclev elaborates on what they’re doing and why – the project is a little like an electronic music startup rendition of Google’s 20% time. It’s about achieving some creative life / work balance. Vaclev tells CDM:

What we actually do is that we pay people from Bastl for making releases on Nona – so they can take time off and they can make music. It is a way of providing security for the people to focus more on the music they want to make. The people already built their instruments, they started to perform on the Bastl Jam [live event] series, and now, the last missing piece is making releases. It’s a funny attempt to build the music scene from ground up. 🙂

Once we have the releases we want to promote the people to play abroad.

That is the plan, sort of. It really comes from the Bastl Jam series when we really saw that performing monthly gives the people so much push that the music got super interesting lately.

There are two new releases, too. Family Matter is a compilation of Bastl’s own crew and friends.

The boys and girls featured include three people from Bastl (Outin, Tom DJambo, and Paseka ) and more friends and musicians from around the world, including Myako, “a great DJ and producer from Paris,” and hiT͟Hərˈto͞o, Czech-born and Berlin-based producer (and as it happens, friend and collaborator of mine).

Also new is a collaborative album by two Sardinian musicians, Stefano Marconi and Emanual Balia, “who explore the abstract side of techno,” Vaclev explains. “They’re active in the field of experimental music and they recorded their first album 607f/s during their artistic residency at Bastl for the Nona label.”

There’s also Czech up-and-comer Kadaver:

Check out, as well, the EP of Hanz Tisch, who Vaclev describes as a “local bedroom producer who is exploring the childish universe through the style inspired by Aphex Twin.”

Superbooth is the banner event from legendary Berlin synth shop Schneidersladen, but the Bastl kids have their own event series going, too. Noise Kitchen Synth Fest will return to their hometown Brno, Czech, but will Europe tour, as well, reaching Berlin, Prague, and Vienna.

https://www.facebook.com/events/608650832660994/

For more:

http://www.bastl-instruments.com/

http://www.nona-rec.com/

The post In Czech, instruments and music releases are all about extended family appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

When a record label gets into making cool, weird instruments

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Labels,Scene | Fri 24 Mar 2017 7:57 pm

Streaming revenue may be hit or miss, but record labels can always make their own boutique sound hardware.

Ghostly International have long pioneered new ideas in the category of “selling stuff that isn’t vinyl.” There was the Matthew Dear Totem, for instance – though that served zero practical function and didn’t make sound. Their store feels as much a trendy boutique for design fetishists as a record outlet.

But I think it’s their musical instrument collaborations that are most interesting. Yeah, okay, you could say this is getting a bit hipster-y. But remember that it’s really musical instruments that have since the dawn of civilization been the norm. Recorded music is the aberration.

kalimba_main_copy_1024x1024

The latest such offering is Ghostly Zoots – a custom-designed kalimba and looper rolled all in one. (I find this personally amusing, as just a couple weeks ago I did an impromptu live performance of a kalimba with the iPad app Samplr, before I saw this. Building the two into a single piece of hardware is a great idea!)

This being a Ghostly product, it features a dark ebony finish and Ghostly logo.

The design is the product of Brandnewnoise and designer/builder Richard Upchurch, who make their stuff in Brooklyn.

He’s made two other interesting creations for Ghostly. There’s a xylophone/looper:

xylophone_main_1024x1024

Phone-Home: Ghostly Edition

Also in the looped category, Looped Visions combines a simple looper with design work by Brandon Locher.

Check out the builder:

http://brandnewnoise.com/

The post When a record label gets into making cool, weird instruments appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

DU-VHS = what TV would be if it were glitchy, nerdy, and underground

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Thu 23 Feb 2017 7:51 pm

Our friends at the hypergeeky, futuristic Detroit Underground have built an app. And it’s full of videos, layered in a VHS-style retro video interface.

DU-VHS is available now for iOS (iPad and iPhone both), and as a Web app accessible through any browser, all for free.

Step inside, and you’re treated to an explosion of electronic sound and image – burbling, bleeping hyperactive musical textures, and degraded retro-videocorder lo-fi renditions of videos. There are music videos, loads of live performances, and even interviews and synthesizer odds and ends.

If you’re wondering why all of this is festooned with enormous VHS camcorder text from the 80s and glitched out to look like it was overdubbed from your 1980s video collection, that’s because DU are planning a VHS release series. Yes, because compact cassettes have gotten way too mainstream (sellouts!), DU will do some album releases on VHS tape from your favorite artists.

The interface is a little confusing, true to form, so let me explain. The iOS version I find a bit frustrating, actually, in that tapping anywhere advances to the next video. But other than that, you’ve actually got two fairly straightforward modes.

duiphone

If you want to queue up something specific – like from your favorite artist – click/tap the hamburger menu at the top right-hand corner. Then scroll down past the acknowledgements/credits, and you’ll see the videos. You can then swap between thumbnail and list views. This mode is best if you’re lying in bed and want to treat yourself to some DU video action on your iPad/iPhone – you know, for bedtime / as an aphrodisiac / whatever.

Or, you can just leave the whole thing running and it’ll randomly load stuff up, which makes for a nice Detroit Underground radio station playing away in a spare browser tab.

But there’s loads of stuff in there – Adam Jay, Alexandra Atnif, Annie Hall, Kero, Kyle Hall, Housemeister, Jay Haze, Jimmy Edgar, Modeselektor, Noncompliant (aka DJ Shiva), Oscar Mulero, Phoenecia, Richard Devine, and tehn (of monome fame) are just a few reminders of just how many wonderful artists have been on this label over the years, from beautiful gems from obscure artists to obscure gems from famous artists. Add to that the more recent DU series of fine Eurorack gear, and you have basically a nerd singularity.

Naturally, this app will continue to fill with news and videos as DU keeps on goin’.

So even a few minutes on the Web app should convince you to check out the label if you haven’t already listened to me prattle on about them.

The Web app:

http://detroitunderground.net/du-vhs/

The label’s Bandcamp:

https://detund.bandcamp.com/

The iOS app on the App Store:

DU-VHS

16930927_10158350420690046_1526874463_o

duvhs_richarddevine

duvhs

dubhs_noncompliant

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raster-noton’s elusive Grischa Lichtenberger on creative sound

Delivered... Zuzana Friday Prikrylova | Artists,Labels,Scene | Fri 30 Dec 2016 7:15 am

Grischa Lichtenberger is working with felt and stencils as well as sound. He’s speaking in hyperlinks, and misusing gear and feeding computers into other computers to form feedback loops. In short, he’s finding a unique and creative materialism in everything he does – and that means we really have to talk to him. So we sent Zuzana Friday to join in a delightfully esoteric conversation with the raster-noton artist. -Ed.

Grischa Lichtenberger is a German musician and sound and installation artist, known for his releases on raster-noton. His immersive live performances oscillate between abrasive, aggressive compositions and intricate structures of beat and melody. Recently, he has released a new triple-EP ‘Spielraum | Allgegenwart | Strahlung’ on raster-noton as a limited-edition vinyl with hand-printed sleeves. The three EPs question the connection between intimacy and the public sphere, but each of them has layers of their own meaning.

I find myself uniquely moved by Grischa Lichtenberger’s work. It’s not only the choice of sounds, their combinations and permutations, but the sense of emotion behind them that strikes me. There’s also playfulness, even cheekiness at moments. Other times, I find beauty, or anxiety, or drama, or a language we’re only learning to understand.

The music is often very physical, with the beats collapsing like detonated structures. Silence and space will swell up, stagger — carve their way to your ears. Melody in turn hastily gushes in percussive patterns, breaks down in waves, or becomes narrative. Grischa does all of this on his new triple-EP consisting of three chapters. We tried to tackle all of them in over a hour long interview.

Grischa speaks in complex, branching sentences, navigating topics and poetic descriptions in a way that mirrors his own process for bringing together his thoughts on a work, whether for a music or an installation. We talked to him about his own work and process, including the triple-EP, but also ranged to topics like Joseph Beuys.

Friday: In ‘Allgegenwart’, you write about the ubiquity of technology and feelings of guilt and a threatening sense of over-complexity. Where do you see humans and technology going?

Grischa: We like to see technology as this tool that fulfills our desires. But of course there’s more and more consciousness about us being overly immersed in the virtual world. Then we have a problem not only with communicating in real life, but also on all these social platforms. Our relationship with them has changed from the early 2000s to now. At the beginning, you had this romantic idea of being able to reach out to people you would never reach. Nowadays, the approach is more cynical and more and more people feel overwhelmed. It’s a trouble that wasn’t there before.

Plus, regarding social platforms, people are concerned about their personal data being misused.

I’d say that the totalitarian discussion of the 20s Century has shifted to the … anonymous or virtual. It’s like an invisible totality.

The first part of your trilogy is called ‘Spielraum’. In the accompanying text, you describe the Spielraum with words like hope and experiment. Do you have your Spielraum, is it your studio?

Sure, the studio is like a playground, where you have things gathered like toys. And more than that, every home is still connected to when I was little and I’d build little shelters from cushions. It’s also about intimacy and what your … private intimate space is like.

If I consider Spielraum as a space where one can be free to play around, at the same time, how do you deal with distractions? Do you turn off your phone when entering the studio?

Through desirable factors. Most of the times, I have my phone on vibration and I don’t push mail and Facebook. But there isn’t a specific preparation in the studio to shut the world out. When I started making music, I used to have internet on one PC and the music and all artworks on another PC. But then the internet became a bigger part of my daily process and it actually can even be a part of the flow. If you have a loop running and you want to let it run for a while and quickly check what’s next with Trump or whatever and go back to the music, there’s no clear boundary that needs to be there for having that flow.

The Spielraum … can address some stuff that is invisible or unspeakable. In doing art, you have a secret space to do whatever you feel like doing, a track without a snare or any silly idea. Even now, when talking about it, it seems almost impossible to defend that idea. But if you just sit there and do the track, you have the feeling that you can try things out and you don’t have to write it down and prove [it].

The sounds of the triptych are very diverse. Which devices and instruments have you used for this record? And is there a difference in terms of used instruments and processes between the three parts of the album?

Yes, there is. For ‘Spielraum’, I used a lot of “incestuous” recording methods, so to speak. I recorded from one computer to another. I recorded with a lot of feedback systems, where one program feeds into the other and also outputs to the other.

For ‘Strahlung’, I used synthesizers more excessively that I used to. I didn’t grow up with them and I don’t really know much about them. I still don’t have any hardware synthesizers, mainly because I don’t have much clue about them and I don’t have a good ear to appreciate the analog quality, even though there is a special materiality to it. But I think all synthesizers have a specific sound, and software synthesizers are still very appealing to me. Also, I once wanted to make a record that could play in the background, which always failed for me [laughs]. So with ‘Strahlung’, I wanted to make one record which I could imagine playing in the living room. And it also corresponds with the idea of the invisible force.

r-n168-2 Artwork. Courtesy the label.

r-n168-2 Artwork. Courtesy the label.

From all three EPs, ‘Strahlung’ is definitely the most friendly; it has these nice melodies, for instance. Actually, the strongest impact on me was the closing track (r-n173 – 8 – 004_1115_26_lv_1_brecs) from ‘Strahlung’, probably because of the contradictory nature of its emotional and melancholic melody and abrasive, mechanical sounds piercing through. Do you remember how you made this track? What was your intention there?

I don’t remember exactly. But this track was actually meant to reconnect the listening circle of the record, its end and the beginning. So I imagined that a listener would listen to it and then start playing the first track of Spielraum again.

Apart from the digital synthesizers, what else have you used for the album — which software, for example?

I used Reason, including its Subtractor synthesizer, which is a really nice one, plus Ableton for most parts of the sequencing. I used [Celemony] Melodyne, for its nice algorithm, where you can manually slide through a polyphonic source without boundaries and divide the material in voices. Although it’s quite complex and I can’t get my head around it, it’s really fascinating.

For ‘Allgegenwart’, I used a noise suppressor. If you raise the level of a noise suppressor… you can just feed it with the background noise and it will generate a very eerie, ghostly sound, because it tries to find a tonal signal in it. It’s like a synthesizer which isn’t meant to be a synthesizer.

What are other ways for you to generate sound, do you use field recordings or sound banks?

I have an always-extending archive of sounds I use. I don’t use sound banks so much, only sometimes when I want to make a joke about a clap or something, and for instance I just use an 808 clap to have it as a symbolic reference. But normally, I like to live with sounds. I have an old track and many sounds in there, so I just put the track in the sampler, pull a bit out of there and … rework it over and over again. It’s kind of like a collage out of my own productions. I also use field recordings and synthesized sounds. I like this process where you go back to yourself and involve yourself in what you did, not only try to have the best kick drum of all times, but try to find out what the kick drum from 5 years ago means to you. Sometimes, you see ‘Oh, this is much nicer than anything I could have made up!’ and sometimes, you go, ‘what was I thinking? It’s trash!’

Photo: Sebastian Moitrot.

Photo: Sebastian Moitrot.

How do you decide which sounds will be composed together, since they range in timbre, texture, and character? How do you choose which sounds fit together in your musical universe?

It’s not accidental; I think about it very much, but I can’t tell any general method. When I have something I want to go on with, like a melody from a synth, then I listen to it and I think about what’s missing until it’s finished. Maybe it’s a bass drum – then I add it so it complements the rest, then I move on to another sound, add it and try if it all fits together.

It’s like painting for me. When you paint something new, you do it regarding what’s already in the painting. For me, the music making process is linear. Most of the time, when I do a track, I go forward, I add EQs, dynamics, plug-ins in massive chains, and I add sounds, and only in moments when I think about it and stop for a while, I can go back, re-evaluate, and correct. But in the creative flow, I tend to add and add, so the context is building itself organically and everything is connected to each other.

Your website resembles a body of work of an inventor with its precise sketches, complex descriptions, photographs and installations. Where do your ideas for installations come from?

Often, there is a room or a context that’s already there. Because mostly, I am approached to contribute to an exhibition or an event. Like this year, I did an installation for a conference about genomes. So at first I try to conceptualize, which means looking into my archive and finding a drawing, painting, or a ready-made object, which fits to the general idea or a context. Then I deal with the room, like I would deal with paintings or levels in a track. Then there are strategies about materials I use – I look into the constructions I have done in the past and look for what could I use for recycling the sculptural elements. Then, if it’s a construction, I make a drawing of how it’s going to be built together. It also depends on my time and resources. The result can be an intense reaction to the room or something spontaneous.

grischa_installation

In all my installations, there’s also a very strong reaction to works by Joseph Beuys, because my parents were his students, so I knew his work since I was a kid – I saw his piece ‘I like America and America Likes Me’ – where he imprisoned himself with a coyote in a gallery – when I was five years old. And because Beuys reached me so early in my life, I see him differently than most of the critics. It’s like music, I really liked it and felt the emotional content in there. So since I was 5, I thought ‘Doing art is really nice, you can have this sort of communication’. And when you’re so young, you still have this very present thin line of how language is built and you try to get through to people very clearly. You aren’t sure whether you understand people or whether they understand you. And you can perceive art and music like some sort of solution of this communication problem.

genographies_1

http://www.grischa-lichtenberger.com/installations/2015%20Genographies/

But the way I work with installations is not only homage to Beuys — it’s also a joke. Especially regarding the materials I use. For example, I use a sort of felt, which for Beuys was a mythical and poverty-stricken material. But he used a really high-quality felt. I use a material that looks the same, but it’s actually moving blankets, so they’re more industrial and cheap. I connected with this material because it was permanently laying around in my father workshop, so it’s more natural for me than felt. that felt. And besides this joke, what I also like about the material, is that it looks grey, but when you look closely, it’s actually super colorful, because it’s made of recycled plastic bags. I cling on to it, I know how it behaves, and I often use it for covering up wood constructions or making bigger spatial interventions. These things work like favorite pens or plug-ins.

genographies_2

You printed, stamped and signed all the 500 copies of a special edition of this triple-EP by yourself. Is this personal approach of creating a unique piece of art something you cherish?

When [raster-noton’s] Olaf [Bender] suggested to do this triple-EP and a limited edition, I was super happy, because I like vinyl and because I like having physical objects and not only a digital, ghostly trace. And I liked working on silkscreen very much, as well. I made the designs for the prints by hand and had a very nice day helping printing them. And as we layered the stencils a bit differently for each of the copies; each one is unique. It would be actually interesting to buy two of the vinyls to recognize the differences [laughs].

How would you like to push your work further in the future?

My future plan since I started with raster-noton is to find a way to [better] connect all the different aspects of art. I see that this is still a big difficulty for me, because I have all these ideas and accompanying texts. But many people despise these texts for being too long and overly complex. Of course, I have to learn how to write better, how to make music better or how to paint better, but I would also love to learn how to write better in relation to music and how to make music in relation to painting and have this all connected with one another.

It’s also important that the disciplines aren’t connected too much, because I often find refuge in one discipline when I’m sick of the other for the moment. But just for the communication, I would want different parts of my work to seem to be all more clearly coming from one particular person.

http://grischa-lichtenberger.com

Releases, artist info via raster-noton

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Celebrate Sludgemas with some free Detroit Underground groove

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Wed 28 Dec 2016 6:52 pm

There are things that make your butt wiggle. There are things that make your brain tickle. There are things that get glitched and grungy. Well, here’s something that does all those things at once – it’s a glitchy good time, and it’s free. Merry Sludgemas.

And for anyone bored with overly-shiny, overly-restrained, dark fashion-label sound-alike techno – meet “sludge,” which is totally none of that.

Our parade of year-end music queuing continues with some goodness from one of our favorite labels of the year, Detroit Underground. They’ve been experimental and glitchy and groovy and IDM and weirdo and excellent. They’ve done hardware. They’ve put out some of the best releases of the year (more on that general attitude soon).

And this brings a lot of those threads together.

You see, it starts with DetUnd’s excellent “Circuit-Bent Digital Waveguide™” DU-KRPLS module. (You know you’re nerdy when you see the character “KRPLS” and say “oh, yeah, of course, Karplus-Strong Waveguide hey where did everybody go?” If you didn’t think that, don’t worry, have your daily dose of CDM and you’ll soon be as incompatible with normal society as the rest of us.)

Then, you add Marshall Applewhite and The Friend.

What?

Didn’t follow any of that?

Download this, and you’ll be dancing to glitches anyway.

Their explanation:

While not much about the DU-KRPLS is very conventional, the pairing of Marshall Applewhite and The Friend have found a few ways to take it to another level of non-conventional soundscaping. The two songs included show a nice variation of using the module in a melodic sense and a more glitched out percussive sense. Building upon their brand of techno, known as sludge, the pair have kept it slow and heavy, yet funky and danceable.

Free. As in Beer. As in sludge, too.

https://detund.bandcamp.com/album/krpls-stuff

Stylish graphics by the singular eBoy – accept no substitutes.

Though, fair warning, if you’re into this stuff your credit card might go crazy here:

https://detund.bandcamp.com/

Enjoy.

If edm is drug music, Marshall Applewhite is the anti drug. He said that, not us, but - cool. :) I'll take a BIG dose of his stuff.

If edm is drug music, Marshall Applewhite is the anti drug. He said that, not us, but – cool. ? I’ll take a BIG dose of his stuff.

Glitchy video action:

DU™ MERRY SLUDGEMAS – FREE DOWNLOAD ???@marshall.applewhite X @__thefriend__ – KRPLS STUFF EP cat#dboy18 ?? While not much about the DU-KRPLS is very conventional, the pairing of Marshall Applewhite and The Friend have found a few ways to take it to another level of non-conventional soundscaping. The two songs included show a nice variation of using the module in a melodic sense and a more glitched out percussive sense. Building upon their brand of techno, known as sludge, the pair have kept it slow and heavy, yet funky and danceable. https://detund.bandcamp.com/album/krpls-stuff DESIGN BY @eboyarts – DU-KRPLS MODULE AVAILABLE HERE: detroitunderground.net/archives/modular/du-krpls ??? #detund #sludge #krpls #detroit #detroitunderground #313 #eboy #eurorack #glitche

A video posted by Detund™ デトロイト ? アンダーグラウンド (@detroitunderground) on

DU™ MERRY SLUDGEMAS – FREE DOWNLOAD ???@marshall.applewhite X @__thefriend__ – KRPLS STUFF EP cat#dboy18 ?? While not much about the DU-KRPLS is very conventional, the pairing of Marshall Applewhite and The Friend have found a few ways to take it to another level of non-conventional soundscaping. The two songs included show a nice variation of using the module in a melodic sense and a more glitched out percussive sense. Building upon their brand of techno, known as sludge, the pair have kept it slow and heavy, yet funky and danceable. https://detund.bandcamp.com/album/krpls-stuff DESIGN BY @eboyarts – DU-KRPLS MODULE AVAILABLE HERE: detroitunderground.net/archives/modular/du-krpls ??? #detund #sludge #krpls #detroit #detroitunderground #313 #eboy #eurorack #glitche

A video posted by Detund™ デトロイト ? アンダーグラウンド (@detroitunderground) on

Previously on CDM:
This Eurorack module was coded wrong – and you’ll like it

The post Celebrate Sludgemas with some free Detroit Underground groove appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Adult Swim has a free noise album you don’t want to miss

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Tue 27 Dec 2016 7:48 pm

It’s that time of the year again: weeks of hearing Christmas songs on repeat plus the untimely death of George Michael, and your ears are probably oozing peppermint goo while you cry yourself to sleep. This calls for some seriously aggressive noise album. You know – like a palette cleanser.

Well, here’s one, and it’s free – from Adult Swim.

“Noise” album? Cartoon Network? Okay, the combination sounds unlikely.

But if you were expecting some lame hipster compilation that sounds like “noise music” just means someone fell asleep on their guitar pedalboard, think again.

It’s actually damned good. And it’s nicely diverse, too – some post-punk, some electronic, some shouting — really every angry, loud, dirty, grungy, weirdo sound you might desire. It’s like a big, varied vindaloo that burns your mouth and gut and satisfies your hungry in just the right way.

There’s Perc and Prurient. But there’s also some folks called Melt-Banana. There’s great titles like “You’ve Got Rabies on Your Breath.”

And there’s actually a lot of timbre and musical invention – which is good, because if you do just fall asleep on a distortion pedal, you get this big “BOSS” logo backwards across your face, and who wants that?

Enjoy. Download or stream.

http://www.adultswim.com/music/noise/

Tracklist, which I’ve copied ever so carefully from their Web streaming interface:

Clipping: Body for the Pile (Ft. Sickness)
Melt-Banana: Case D in the Test Tube
Eye: Mega Equipment for Popsicle
Vessel: Prihatin
Sadaf: The Clinic
Arca: Bussy
Pharmakon: Squall
Tanya Tagaq: Erie Changys
Beast: You’ve Got Rabies on Your Breath
Dreamcrusher: Sick World
Perc: Porthia
Noveller: Processional
Merzbow: For Adult
Prurient: Everything You Know is Wrong
Hassan Khan: Casiotone Gigantja
Wolf Eyes: Subterranean Life

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EQUALITY NOW, a raucous Peder Mannerfelt anthem at the right time

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Wed 23 Nov 2016 2:24 am

Good timing. Sweden’s Peder Mannerfelt delivers a triumphant single, “EQUALITY NOW” as the opening salvo of a 3-track vinyl/digital coming beginning of December. And it’s splendidly forceful.

But wait, there’s more. Mannerfelt is a prolific producer and artist, solo under his own name, as The Subliminal Kid, or working alongside Van Rivers on production. That’s included collabs with the likes of Fever Ray, plus output on Digitalis, Avian, and his Peder Mannerfelt Produktion label, when he isn’t recapturing the sounds of central Congo (really).

Okay, blah, blah. Here’s what I’ll tell you about seeing Peter Mannerfelt in person: every single time, it rattles your body and splatters your mind. I had the fortune of playing early ahead of a live set of his at Berlin’s Ohm in May. He has some ability to loose wild energy, but direct that power in some sort of sense of form and line through the course of his slot.

You don’t get quite that strange magic through headphones, but you can appreciate some of it here:

For instance, here’s a highlight from TodaysArt fest live:

It’s insane, it’s violent, but it’s smart, too. There’s a bit of Reich’s Come Out in EQUALITY NOW’s insistent repetition, and he shows his sonic education in a mix for mighty FACT also from back in May:

I mean, I can’t think of many other people who can artfully mix this particular selection. (Shout out to the terrific Machine Woman.)

He’s a focused, 9-to-5er studio musician and parent, and that discipline shows. He’s post-punk, but can also show restraint and discipline, in an age when some kids treat distortion pedals cheaply as calling cards.

And beneath it, there’s a reason for being. As he tells the SHAPE Network platform earlier this year:

Maybe it’s been a bit subdued but the stuff that I have coming up is a bit more upfront about it. You don’t need to have something specific to say but at least say something when you have the space. People listen to what you’re saying – for instance in interviews, etc – and that comes with responsibility attached to it. I try to not only do it in words, but also in actions: how I live my life, how I conduct my way of doing things. – See more at: http://shapeplatform.eu/2016/peder-mannerfelt-on-appropriation-appreciation-and-restraint/#sthash.DnMvilNZ.dpuf

Peder Mannerfelt on appropriation, appreciation and restraint – See more at: http://shapeplatform.eu/2016/peder-mannerfelt-on-appropriation-appreciation-and-restraint/#sthash.DnMvilNZ.dpuf [shapeplatform.eu]

So, yes, we’re with you Peder.

Equality now.

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Voyage into Dasha Rush’s inspiring ambient sonic worlds

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Fri 18 Nov 2016 9:58 pm

Assemble, cosmonauts: Dasha Rush is an artist whose musical worlds merit repeat visits. She represents the best of what an artist straddling techno and ambient can be – with ambient sets that pulse and live, with timbral and structural freedom rather than resorting to dreary droning grays.

So let’s take a break from her better-known techno side and get to experience some of her ambient personality.

Now, just in the past months, I’ve watched her hold down the cavernous abandoned Kraftwerk power plant for Tresor’s birthday with a techno set, but also explore imaginative techno on Boiler Room alongside Dino Sabatini, and join with Lars Hemmerling in the inventive LADA. So that makes me like these more.

Most notable is this wonderful, whirling dervish set from Dommune Tokyo, where she joined a beautiful raster-noton lineup. (Dasha I think best represents, alongside kyoka and Grischa Lichtenberger, the liberated sound raster-noton has brought to the label.)

dasha2

dasha1

It’s at times even danceable and fluid – you might even hear it as a place where techno, increasingly becoming locked in certain modes, might go.

Whether that new Ghost in the Shell or the (gasp) Blade Runner remake are any good, I can just close my eyes and listen to this.

For a weirder, murkier time, check out her 2015 set for studio r°:

Dasha Rush 12 01 2015 from studio r° on Vimeo.

RBMA has a live set from MUTEK Montreal, too, full of “abstract machine grooves”:

https://www.rbmaradio.com/shows/main-stage/episodes/dasha-rush-mutek-2016

But the boldest new project comes from deep in the literal depths of the cosmos.

Dasha has been collaborating on visuals with fellow Russians Stanislav Glazov and Margo Kudrina (the latter with surprisingly organic, improvisational visuals during Dasha’s raster-noton outing). With Stanislav at Canada’s famed BANFF, she developed a work plunging into the mysteries of black holes – complete with a TouchDesigner-powered visualization of the space object. And it was a highlight for many of this year’s MUTEK Montreal and later Unsound Festival in Krakow. (Sadly, I had to miss these.)

It’s a work I hope we review in detail soon, but here’s a teaser:

Dark Hearts of Space – AV Performance from Licht.Pfad Studio on Vimeo.

There’s a nice story on the piece at The Creators Project:
[Premiere] Experience Singularity Inside a Holographic Black Hole

And look how nice that black hole looks:

blackhole

But if you like this sort of music, no reason to stop there. Don’t miss Dasha’s underground label Full Panda, which carries all sorts of gems (and now handsome t-shirts in stock, too, yes I need a Christmas present):

https://fullpandarecords.bandcamp.com/

That includes releases from Dasha’s circle, as well as music like this tough-to-categorize abstract ambient experimental techno outing from 2013:

It’s good stuff for diggers – and space explorers.

Now go enjoy:

https://www.facebook.com/dasha.rush.music/

Dasha Rush at Futurum.

Dasha Rush at Futurum.

Having spent some time getting Dasha’s take on deception and dystopia and the future, I can think of no better time to look to her music for real solace and inspiration – as a musician and fellow human and space lover. So thanks, Dasha. I think I’ve wound up finding certain people because I can pick up their resonant wavelengths myself.

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We’ve started a record label – here’s the first release

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Thu 13 Oct 2016 9:58 pm

I’m lucky to be part of a community of people who both make things and share things, who learn by doing but also learn by teaching. CDM is of course about creating music as it is about creating tools for music. So, this year I’m extending what we do to sharing music.

We live in an age of growing populations of music producers and expanding access to more music than ever before. Running something like a record label thus becomes even more insane — if also more essential.

So just as I understand how a DAW or DJ app works by using it along with the rest of you, I’m now diving head first into the operation of labels and distribution with you, too.

Establishment Records is a serious effort at finding a space for something new. Looking at what we have coming in the rest of 2016, there’s music that hasn’t found homes elsewhere. There’s music that lets us open up conversations with other labels and artists I think are really valuable.

And most importantly, Establishment lets us do two things that we can only do by doing. One, it’s a chance to explore and test some of the tools for distribution now becoming available – hopefully to find innovation and utility there just as with music creation software. Two, and maybe more importantly, each release will focus on not just the musical object, but inter-disciplinary connections with visuals and other fields. That intermedia connection is something I want to find with every release, partly because it’s the mission of CDM.

"Sisters." Anna Maria Olech.

“Sisters.” Anna Maria Olech.

I’m motivated creatively and personally here, not just doing this for the sake of doing it. And the first release of mine, which hit distribution over the summer, was inspired by a collaborator. I had already gotten to work with photographer/filmmaker Anna Maria Olech of Wroclaw, Poland. Anna Maria’s brightly-colored videos she describes as being a way of processing female identity. “Sisters” has as its subject two real sisters – whatever tenderness you see comes from their real-life connection. In “Don’t think of me,” she and the model played with clichés of image in a half-mocking game. The music for me was a response to Anna Maria’s color palette and visual imagination, even as we live in different cities, and texts that I wrote — two in the middle of some sleepless nights, one after hearing a lecture on hyperloop transportation (in case that wasn’t obvious).

Imaski – Don't think of me from Peter Kirn on Vimeo.

Imaski – Sisters from Peter Kirn on Vimeo.

Imaski also meant an opportunity to work together with Jamaica Suk and Missy Livingston (aka Moderna), and there’s a lot more to share from these artists and their technique, plus the labels they’re working with. Here are their premieres, on two rather fine outlets.

Imaski was the way to prime the pump with some of my own music. Now, we’ve got more music coming. There’s new experimental music and audiovisual work from Zeno van den Broek. Dr. Nicolas Bougaïeff has a fanciful techno album, with remixes by hiTHertoo, Mallone, and Mateo Murphy. Arielle Esther, an emerging talent, is coming onboard. More should follow after that.

Nicolas-Bougaïef

Zeno

We all face the same challenges in post-Internet music making and distribution. We all want to be heard. And what I’ve found perhaps a bit surprising is some of the people most optimistic about that are those who have become active in distribution. I think that’s telling – and so looking at how labels and distribution can work will be a theme we’ll cover on CDM, both inside and outside this label.

Find us on Facebook, or keep watching CDM.

https://www.facebook.com/establishmentlabel/

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Digging the Asian and African undergrounds with C-drík Kirdec

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Wed 24 Aug 2016 8:02 pm

It’s time to get beyond the geographic bubble – without resorting to narrow expectations of “world music” – and really appreciate the wide-open world of music making in which we now live. To take us there, CDM’s Zuzana Friday talks to Cedrik Fermont, who is evangelical when it comes to breaking apart old stereotypes and digging deep into the underground. -Ed.

I met Cedrik Fermont, alias C-drík Kirdec, for the first time about six years ago in Brno, where he performed at a local experimental night I used to work for. We, a group of crazy young creatives behind the event, decided to take the party upstairs with our usual routine of drinks and an improvised snack baked in a roasting pan. (Said snack had a few events earlier served as a musical instrument — my friend played it with a hammer.) Sober Cedrik politely refused a cup of tea with honey, saying that the bees suffer when the honey is taken from them. Distracted by music, party, and friends, I couldn’t entirely process this information. But that was the first time I saw past his chosen appearance (mohawk, tattoos, piercings, and head-to-toe black), to his caring, uncompromising devotion to what’s important to him.

The next day, we took Cedrik to Zbrojovka, an old remote factory complex where guns were produced years ago and a handful of artists were at the timing living on the cheap. He made some field recordings of us, banging some metal junk on a construction of some kind, improvising musical instruments from found materials. In his next gig in Brno, he used these recordings in live set, which added a very personal character to the performance.

C-drik. Photo: Felix Xifel.

C-drik. Photo: Felix Xifel.

Since then, we met several times for interviews or on events, including a visit in a house project, where he resides when in Berlin – which seems to be about only half a year, the remainder spent touring Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Apart from defining himself as an anti-sexist, anti-racist, and anti-fascist straight-edge vegan, Cedrik is also an artist, show organizer, founder of the Syrphe record label, a member of approximately fifteen bands, a solo producer and field recording enthusiast, and an avid expert on independent, industrial, punk, hardcore, ambient, noise and various electronic music genres, particularly in Asia and Africa. You can explore that musical web in his compilations, in a vast database on Syrphe website, and soon in a book called Not Your World Music which Cedrik co-wrote with his colleague Dimitri della Faill. The book focuses on independent music scenes of Southeast Asia and will be published in September this year together with a CD.

At a time when the line between independent and commercial music is disappearing and the Western world is starting to turn its gaze to places it had previously neglected, Cedrik’s 20-plus years of activity seem more relevant than ever. I spoke to him about his life and work, as well as Western perception of African and Asian music, gender (in)equality in local scenes, and contemporary and historical gems from those landscapes.

Zuzana: Where does your interest in non-Western independent, electronic, punk and extreme music originate?

Cedrik: I suppose that it’s connected to where I come from and where I grew up. My family is partly from the DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo], where I was born (when it was still called Zaire). I only lived two years in the Congo and then grew up in Belgium. When I was a teenager, I faced the fact that I was one of the only non-white persons in my circle. That was in the 1980s. From the second half of the 80s, I started to trade electronic, industrial, and experimental music cassettes through the mail art network, started my first band Crno Klank in 1989, and then a tape label in 1991 where I published some of my projects and other international artists.

I quickly noticed that I would find a lot of music from North America and Western Europe, and a little from Eastern Europe (partly due to the fact that the world was divided between the capitalist West and the pseudo-communist East), or Australia and Japan. I was convinced that this music existed in many other places and I started to buy some fanzines, write letters to whoever could help, and step by step, I discovered electronic, noise, and experimental music artists mostly in places like Chile, Brazil, South Africa, Yugoslavia, the USSR, Czechoslovakia… I published a compilation cassette in 1996 which included several artists from South Africa, Brazil, Chile, Japan, and many others from other continents.

The difficulties I had to go through to find artists in let’s say the non-Western circuit were frustrating to me, as well as seeing a mostly white scene. I couldn’t believe that no one would do this kind of music in the non-Western world. I became totally obsessed and told myself that I would discover musicians and composers who do noise, experimental, electroacoustic, and similar genres in as many countries as possible. Many told me they didn’t believe I would find anything in Africa or Asia… But I started performing outside of the traditional circuits: in Turkey in 2003, Thailand in 2004, and a then I had a six month-long tour in far and Southeast Asia in 2005 where I was performing and collecting music and contacts in Singapore, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Laos, etc.

Now I can say that I published several compilations and albums of artists mostly coming from a lot of Asian countries, including the Middle East and to a lesser extent Africa, I wrote several essays, gave plenty of lectures and concerts in more than fifty countries, developed a database dedicated to Asia and Africa and some networks.

Zuzana: Do you think you would be interested in African and Asian music as much as you are if you hadn’t been born in the Congo and faced racism growing up in Belgium? (I remember that once when we talked, you explained that being the only mix-raced kid in the class wasn’t really a piece of cake.)

Cedrik: I cannot really say for sure, but obviously my life would have been different if I hadn’t been part of a sort of minority. But too many factors shape one’s character and paths. I’ve been rebelling all my life at some points, against my parents, schools, society… Not particularly because of my origins. So maybe I would have ended up doing more or less what I do now anyway. I’ll never be able to tell.

Belgium was full of electronic musicians and experimentalists back then. We were bathing in electronic music — whatever it was, from disco to electro-pop, electronic body music, new beat, techno or industrial. You couldn’t escape it.

I didn’t face racism daily. It was more at school with a handful of kids, nothing more, but it could be violent, and I suffered, of course. And there had been some racism inside my family too. I was indeed one of the very few non-white kids at school – something that’s almost impossible to see these days in Belgium. So I would not say that I grew up in a racist environment, but I often had to face racism and intolerance. Now, an adult, brown man wearing skirts, piercings, tattoos and a mohawk, I still am confronted to what I call racism, but not especially in Berlin. All this shaped me and I like most of what I am.

You co-wrote the book with Dimitri della Faille, a Belgian-Canadian sociologist and also musician. Where did you meet and how did he come to share your interest in Asian independent music?

Dimitri and I met when I lived in Brussels or perhaps even a few years before I moved there. He had and still has a music project called Szkieve and started a label, Hushush, where he published some of the projects I was involved in, in the early 2000s: Ambre, Moonsanto, and my first solo CD. Thanks to his work at the university, Dimitri travels quite a lot, across the Americas and also in Asia, sometimes Europe and Africa. He would now and then ask me for contacts in Asia to perform, knowing that I’m very well connected all over the continent.

We have a different approach when we travel there. As you mention it, Dimitri is a sociologist, so not only does he play, but he also analyses the scenes there from a sociological viewpoint. On my side, I above all do research and dig in the past to collect music and information about the local scenes, all of which has unfortunately not been written yet, or which hasn’t been told loudly enough. I try to understand how those scenes and artists are interconnected, how all this is developing, from where, and when.

Which topics and countries will the book cover and how is it structured?

We speak about the noise scene or scenes in ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian] countries, so to speak Southeast Asia: Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines. It’s divided in several chapters: history, discography, interviews of local artists or organizers, definitions (of noise music, of a genre), sociological analyses, bibliography of popular music (from traditional to pop, dangdut [Indonesian music genre], noise, metal or electronica and so on), etc.

We try to cover many aspects — also gender issues. The historical part is not only limited to noise per se, as noise music is connected to other genres like electroacoustic music, improvised music or rock, grindcore and punk and politics — we also take account of those topics. The interviewees include women, men and one transgender artists, local artists and organizers but also some who’ve lived in the region for many years.

Do you also provide historical and socio-political context of each country?

We do. The historical chapter is divided by countries and starts with a small introduction about the past and present, the censorship (or freedom) the citizens and artists had to face, some cultural connections via politics. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and somehow Myanmar by way of socialism; Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia due to the culture and languages, for example. I think it would be hard to understand why noise music exists or not somewhere without historical and socio-political and sometimes religious or philosophical context.

For how long have you been working on the book? And do you have any idea of how many hours of listening you’ve spent during your research?

It is hard for me to answer this question. Dimitri proposed that I write this book as I had been touring Southeast [Asia] and a bit the Far East in 2014 — 18 Asian countries. And I was working on a book I never finished, more global, about Asia and Africa, focusing on alternative electronic music such as electronica or breakcore and “experimental” like noise, electroacoustic, etc. But I am terribly slow because I think I never collect enough data, hence I tend to read more than I write and gather more and more information… I had plenty of documentation, some of it already written. Then Dimitri initiated the project which I’m really thankful for.

So we really started to work on that specific book in the summer 2015. As I’m writing this answer, we’re making some updates and corrections. We are reaching the end and it feels good. I don’t know how many hours I spent listening to music, not only to music but to what musicians and composers have to say — their opinions, their feelings, their knowledge. I have been to an incredible amount of concerts too when I didn’t organize them by myself. And I do radio shows… I think it would be easier to calculate how many hours I spent without listening to any music!

The book will also be accompanied by a compilation. In which format will it be and which artists will be featured on it?

There will be a CD and a digital version. The artists on the CD are: Cheryl Ong & Vivian Wang (Singapore), Menstrual Synthdrone (Indonesia), Nguyễn Hong Giang (Vietnam), Sodadosa (Indonesia), Dharma (Sigapore), Sound Awakener (Vietnam), Bergegas Mati (Indonesia), GAMNAD737 (Thailand), Goh Lee Kwang (Malaysia), Yandsen (Malaysia), Teresa Barrozo (the Philippines), Musica Htet (Myanmar).

The name of the book Not Your World Music reminds me something which you pointed out during your lecture at CTM 2016: that usually, Western people expect the music from Asia and Africa to have traditional elements, even when we’re talking about experimental music. How far are they from the truth? Is the book a way to disprove this assumption?

The book — just as my essays and talks — is partly there to disprove this myth. And the title is clear about it. Most noise artists don’t use traditional elements in their music, wherever they live on Earth, so why would Asians or Africans break the rule to fit their ex-colonizers’ expectations? Of course, some experiment with traditional elements such as Senyawa from Indonesia and many improvisers and electroacoustic composers such as Taiwanese pipa player Luo Chao Yun who collaborates with electronic musicians. It is interesting and important, but it should not be a mandatory rule or obvious expectation. We speak about noise (and experimental) music – it has to surprise us, not to fall in some kind of clichés.

Senyawa, Jogjakarta, Indonesia 2014 by C-dr¡k

Breaking another stereotype, you introduced Egyptian composer Halim El-Dabh as one of the electronic music pioneers. I also have to admit that even when studying electroacoustic music history at a university, I have never heard of him. Do you also cover his work in the book, and are there other composers or collaborations between Western and Non-Western artists which happened until the 1970s?

I don’t talk about El-Dabh in this book as we focus on South East Asia only. But I speak about some ASEAN pioneers in the field of experimental, electroacoustic and tape music from the late 1950s until the 1970s, like Filipino artists David Medalla and José Maceda, Indonesian composers Slamet Abdul Sjukur, Yose Haryo Suyoto, Harry Ruesli, Otto Sidharta, Adhi Susanto and so on.

How is the situation with female and queer scene in countries of South East Asia, where does it blossom and female artist play often and where is it still male-dominated?
The scene there is mostly male-dominated and only Vietnam, for several reasons I try to explain in the book, has a scene which is not too uneven, followed by the Singaporean scene.
Nevertheless, some movements are growing and raise awareness – in Indonesia for example, some women, like noise musician Indonesian Rega Ayundya Putri (of the noise duo Mati Gabah Jasus) or Vietnamese musician Nguyễn Nhung (Sound Awakener) are well aware of it. Singapore has got some active queer or non-heteronormative artists such as X’Ho and Tara Transitory. Indonesia and Malaysia, such as Singapore have a huge punk hardcore scene, hence gender issues aren’t put aside there.

In 2014, in Yangon (Myanmar), I attended a discussion panel about women, gay and lesbian and minority rights during a biennial. We were a small group to attend the event but it’s a good step. Recently, Indonesian film maker Hera Maryani made a documentary about women in the punk hardcore scene in Java: Ini Scene Kami Juga! (roughly translated: We are part of this scene too!). It is of course not always easy for women or queer people to openly express themselves in conservative societies but the situation has improved in the past decade.

What about noise music? It’s apparently big in Indonesia, there is Psychomedusa magazine, or video by Noisey documenting it. Why would you say that noise and improvisation found their listeners and creators specifically there?

Indonesia has got the biggest noise scene of Southast Asia. It’s blooming and full of experiments. The punk, metal and grindcore scenes are enormous too, some of the biggest on Earth, I think. There are a lot of netlabels and some publish physical releases. There are many fanzines, too, and an interesting media library in Surabaya (c2o Library), where one can attend concerts, talks, buy fanzines, music, books… Mostly from local underground artists.

Some musicians in Indonesia say they reject the way a part of the punk scene which became too “mainstream”, for example, Balinese punk band Superman Is Dead (S.I.D.) signed years ago to Sony/BMG and it frustrated some. So you find a lot of artists coming from the punk, metal, grindcore scene who do noise now as they want something more radical and free. I’m not sure of the answer I can give about why it is like that, as I still try to understand it myself.

Do you see any breaking points in the evolution of experimental or electronic music of countries of South East Asia? For example the time when synthesizers became more accessible, or later computers, laptops…?

Yes, there are some important events that shaped that landscape: access to the internet, the political changes (fall or change of dictatorship) and of course economic progress, mostly for young urban people. In some countries, smartphones, internet communities and platforms such as MySpace, Soundclick, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Facebook have helped to spread this knowledge. For example, many people in Indonesia cannot afford to have a computer, but they have a cheap smartphone or go to internet cafés where they can surf the net. One can make noise or experimental music without any computer, and many artists in Indonesia build their own instruments, electronic or not.

What are the most valuable or hidden gems of these countries which you found throughout the years? Some artist, collective, cassette or a record, a concert…?

New Music China, a compilation published in 1988. It contains a bit of everything from dull pop to classical and folk but above all a piece by one of the pioneers of Chinese experimental music and musique concrete: Jing Jing Luo. I was looking for her composition Monologue Part 1 (Excerpt) for a while and finally managed to get the tape.

The collective Jogja Noise Bombing, doing harsh noise performances in public spaces, like parks, streets, restaurants. And their concept is spreading across Indonesia.

The first mini-festival for noise, improve, and experimental music in Myanmar in 2014. It was not only great to play there but also meet all the musicians, hear them and see all the people of the neighbourhood attending with their children who were dancing on noise music.

I should stop here… In the past 13 years, I’ve seen so many concerts in Asia and a bit in Africa and collected so many recordings and books, it’s hard to make a short selection.

Since you also dig the African and East-European (as far as I remember) music scene, can we look forward to more books in the future?

I guess so and I wish, but I will need to put some limits and not try to condense everything at once and I will have to face the fact that some information will always be missing, as frustrating as it is. I can’t tell exactly what a next hypothetical book will be about, but it will be connected to Asia and or Africa. There is a lot to be written about sound art, noise, and industrial music in China/Hong Kong/Macau/Taiwan, electroacoustic and ambient music in Iran (I will write an essay about it to be published in autumn if all goes well), improvised and experimental music in Turkey, electronic music in North Africa, electronica in India/Pakistan/Bangladesh or search deeper in the underground scenes of Indonesia… We first need to publish our book, relax a bit and see what will come next.

And last but not least, how and when will ‘Not Your World Music’ be available for purchase? How many exemplars will you have in the first edition?

We are very late and I have to apologize for that. The book will be out in September; the compilation has already been sent to the pressing plant, there will be 500 copies of the CD, but not all of them will be for sale as we offer many copies to the artists and some cultural centers. As for the book, it will not be a limited edition and for those who prefer or cannot afford it, there will be a free online version.

A version of this interview was originally published in HIS Voice in Czech. Edited for CDM.

The post Digging the Asian and African undergrounds with C-drík Kirdec appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

A new hope to reissue lost Discogs records on vinyl

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Artists,Labels,Scene | Thu 18 Aug 2016 8:39 pm

A funny thing happened on the way to supposedly all inclusive on-demand libraries of music. A lot of the music simply disappeared. Well, Qrates wants to bring it back – and in physical form, too.

All of this depends on whether Qrates themselves can deliver on the promise of making small batch vinyl issues easier and quicker. The notion here is that a minimum order would start small (100), get wide distribution (with a built-in network), and do it quick. The speed thing matters – Qrates is promising to reduce turnaround time without diminish quality, just as vinyl labels have been struggling under the weight of delays.

But Discogs integration is interesting for two reasons. One, the catalog. This is a play by Qrates to get loads of content. You can pick any release of yours you want to repress out of the Discogs catalog and launch right away.

Two, Discogs is as much a community as a catalog. So there’s a chance to notify anyone with a release in their wishlist that the reissue is coming, and to take orders directly from the site.

If you’re rich, you’re already sold on the idea. If you’re broke, you might wonder how you’re going to fund this. Qrates claims to have a solution here. They offer crowdfunding or simple preorders that allow you to make sure you’ve got enough orders to justify the run. And there, I think, sites like Kickstarter are really overkill. I don’t need an entire crowd funding campaign just for a 7″ I want to buy – I just want to hand over a few bucks and then get my record later on, and I’m okay with waiting. I suspect I’m not alone.

Qrates is nothing if not tantalizing. The model seems great. The need is unquestionably there. Now we just need the service to deliver. For now, you can sign up to get an email when this launches – I sure will.

http://repress.qrates.com

Thanks to Alan Oldham (a great DJ as well as a great guy) for pointing this out.

The post A new hope to reissue lost Discogs records on vinyl appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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