FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Mixtape: I Found A Reason [A Fractured Air Mix]

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ifoundareason_front

I Found A Reason [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/i-found-a-reason-a-fractured-air-mix/

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Tracklisting:

01. Leonard Bernstein & New York Philharmonic ‘The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34: Themes a-F’ [‘Moonrise Kingdom’ OST]
02. Sufjan Stevens ‘Jacksonville’ [Asthmatic Kitty]
03. Lewis ‘My Whole Life’ [Light In The Attic]
04. Slowdive ‘The Sadman’ [SBK]
05. Julia Holter ‘Don’t Make Me Over’ [Domino]
06. Owen Pallett ‘On A Path’ [Domino]
07. Jack Nitzsche ‘I’m The Loneliest Fool’ [Ace]
08. Randy Newman ‘Sandman’s Coming’ [Nonesuch]
09. Calexico ‘Departure in F minor’ [Our Soil, Our Strength]
10. Cat Power ‘I Found A Reason’ [Matador]
11. Bob Dylan ‘Not Dark Yet’ [Columbia]
12. The Teddy Bears ‘To Know Him Is To Love Him’ [ABKCO]
13. The Tornados ‘Telstar’ [Decca]
14. Françoise Hardy ‘Le Temps De L’amour’ [Moonrise Kingdom’ OST]
15. Agnes Obel ‘The Curse’ [PIAS]
16. Georges Delerue ‘Ouverture’ [Emarcy, Universal]
17. Leonard Bernstein & New York Philharmonic ‘The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34: Fugue. Allegro molto’ [‘Moonrise Kingdom’ OST]

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The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or their respective record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.

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Fractured Air. The universe is making music all the time.

Mixcloud / Soundcloud

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Ten Mile Stereo

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goat_commune

GOAT ‘Commune’ (Sub Pop)
“Music is everything. The biggest secret of humanity,” as said by GOAT’s leader Mr. Stonegoat. ‘Commune’ is the hugely anticipated follow-up to reclusive Sweden psychedelic maestros masterful and otherworldly debut album ‘World Music’, released in 2012 via Rocket Recordings. Originally from Korpilombolo, Northern Sweden, GOAT have been self-described as a musical tradition as opposed to a band in the classic sense. The band fuse psychedelia, Nigerian afro beat, funk and soul to disco, rock, garage, blues and German krautrock to soul-stirring effect. GOAT’s second LP ‘Commune’ will be released by Seattle-based independent label Sub Pop this Autumn.

‘Commune’ will be available on 23 September via Sub Pop.

www.facebook.com/goatsweden
www.subpop.com/artists/goat

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Craft Spells ‘Nausea’ (Captured Tracks)
Released earlier this Summer, ‘Nausea’ is the wonderful second full-length by Craft Spells’ Justin Vallesteros. Preceded by lead single ‘Breaking The Angle Against The Tide’, ‘Nausea’ is the follow-up to 2010’s debut LP ‘Idle Labor’ and 2012’s subsequent ‘Gallery’ EP. Crucially, the album stems from a bout of writer’s block for Vallesteros; who subsequently put down the guitar for a year while studying the piano which provides the basis for all the tracks on ‘Nausea’. Released on the ever-formidable Brooklyn independent label Captured Tracks (DIIV, Mac Demarco, The Soft Moon), ‘Nausea’ confirm Craft Spells as a hugely exciting and promising artist for the present and the future alike.

‘Nausea’ is available now on Captured Tracks.

http://www.craftspells.com
http://www.capturedtracks.com

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The Bluebells ‘Exile On Twee Street’ (Cherry Red)
The Scottish independent music scene has always been one of the richest sources for innovative, timeless and endearing indie/pop music. The likes of Camera Obscura, Teenage Fanclub and The Pastels have consistently made the kind of perfectly crafted and yet highly individual strand of pop music during the nineties and noughties, while before them, the early 1980s was a golden age for Scottish pop, with such bands as The Bluebells, Orange Juice, Altered Images and Lloyd Cole & The Commotions all making their own beautiful indelible on the music scene of both Scotland and the world. ‘Exile On Twee Street’ is a particular treasure (to be released by London’s Cherry Red at the end of the month) as the vast majority of this twenty-track compilation (with the exception of ‘Happy Birthday’) has yet to see a release previously.

‘Exile On Twee Street’ will be available on July 28 on Cherry Red Records.

https://www.facebook.com/bluebellsofficial
http://www.cherryred.co.uk/

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jamesblackshaw

James Blackshaw ‘Fantomas: Le Faux Magistrat’ (Tompkins Square)
The genesis for this special release by Hastings-based English guitarist and pianist James Blackshaw stemmed from a personal invitation by renowned French composer Yann Tiersen to partake in a special centenary celebration of Louis Feuillade’s Fantômas silent film series at the Théâtre de Châtelet, Paris on October 31st 2013. On the night Blackshaw performed an original score for the fifth and final film in the series, ‘Le Faux Magistrat’. Blackshaw is joined for his set by Duane Pitre and Simon Scott (Slowdive) contributed drums, electronics, synth, bowed guitar, bass and more to Blackshaw’s nylon string guitar and grand piano; Charlotte Glasson contributes violin, vibraphone and several wind instruments to the truly stunning 75-minute score.

‘Fantomas : Le Faux Magistrat’ is available now on Tompkins Square.

http://www.jamesblackshaw.com
http://www.tompkinssquare.com

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Steve Gunn ‘Way Out Weather’ (Paradise Of Bachelors)
The last few years have been remarkably productive for the Brooklyn-based guitarist and songwriter Steve Gunn (Gunn-Truscinski Duo, Kurt Vile’s The Violators). Only this summer, RVNG Intl issued the splendid ‘Cantos de Lisboa’ as part of their ongoing FRKWYS series (where contemporary artists are paired with their influential predecessors), where Gunn performs alongside the inspirational British folk legend Mike Cooper in Lisbon, Portugal. Last year saw Gunn release his timeless classic ‘Time Off’ album, showcasing not only Gunn’s mastery and versatility as a highly distinctive guitarist but also a hugely talented songwriter and lyricist. ‘Way Out Weather’ expands significantly on Gunn’s previously recorded output; most notably where a newfound lush and panoramic wall of sound is created by a gifted artist (and band) in gloriously full stride.

‘Way Out Weather’ will be available on 7 October via Paradise Of Bachelors.

http://steve-gunn.com
http://www.paradiseofbachelors.com

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The Chills ‘Molten Gold’ (Fire Records)
Originally formed in 1980 in Dunedin, New Zealand, The Chills are today regarded as one of the country’s most legendary of bands. Fronted by Martin Phillipps, the band lineup would change over the course of the following decades; the band would enjoy significant critical acclaim early on releasing a string of classic records via the legendary NZ label Flying Nun (‘Kaleidoscope World’, ‘Brave Words’). The band later re-located to London (while subsequently the band signed to Warner’s subsidiary label Slash in ’88) before returning to their homeland of NZ as national treasures. With the announcement that US indie label Fire Records have partnered with The Chills and their label Far South, expect a treasure chest to be unleashed in the coming months and years.

‘Molten Gold’ EP available 28th July on Fire Records.

https://www.facebook.com/thechills
http://www.firerecords.com

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Kölsch ‘Papageno/Cassiopeia’ (Kompakt)
As part of the indispensable SPEICHER record series by revered Cologne-based independent label Kompakt, installment number 79 welcomes back the peerless producer and electronic artist Kölsch, whose most recent full-length, the monumental ‘1977’, has been hailed as one of the most defining modern electronic records. For SPEICHER 79, Kölsch has created a two-track gem with side A’s ‘Papageno’ (featuring Nikolaj Manuel Vorsild of When Saints go Machine on vocals) and the heavenly ‘Cassiopeia’ on the flip-side (where Kölsch is joined by classical composer Gregor Schwellenbach).

‘Papageno/Cassiopeia’ is available now from Beatport HERE.

https://www.facebook.com/kolschofficial
http://www.kompakt.fm

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Deaf Center ‘Recount’ (Sonic Pieces)
This August marks the long-awaited and much-anticipated return of beloved Norwegian duo Deaf Center (comprising the hugely acclaimed duo of school friends Erik Skodvin and Otto Totland). Three years on from their landmark LP ‘Owl Splinters’, a darkly textured, ambient modern masterpiece; ‘Recount’ comes at a time when both Skodvin and Totland have been immersed in numerous side projects of their own (including Totland’s debut solo full-length and Erik K. Skodvin’s stunning 2014 LP ‘Flame’, the follow-up to 2010’s ‘Flare’). ‘Recount’ features two  longform pieces recorded in 2008 and 2012.

‘Recount’ will be issued by Sonic Pieces on 29 August.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Deaf-Center
http://www.sonicpieces.com

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Broken Twin ‘May’ (Anti-)
Broken Twin’s ‘May’ is one of 2014’s most intimately personal and utterly timeless albums by Danish songwriter Majke Voss Romme. ‘May’ is the gorgeous first full-length LP by Romme, who has previously released last year’s ‘Hold On To Nothing’ and ‘Sun Has Gone’ EP’s. An innate ability for song craft combine with constantly gripping, beautifully open-ended lyricism which quietly yields truly moving songs in the process. As Romme has said: “I wanted to get back to basics, seeking a sound that was warm and lo-fi; minimal and spacious and focused on the songs”.

‘May’ is available now on Anti-.

http://brokentwin.com
http://www.anti.com

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Max Richter ‘Retrospective’  & ‘Recomposed’ (Deutsche Grammophon)
This summer Deutsche Grammophon issued the 4-cd box set comprising German neoclassical composer Max Richter’s albums ‘The Blue Notebooks’ (2004); ‘Songs from Before’ (2006); ‘24 Postcards in Full Colour’ (2008) and ‘Infra’ (2010). Only this year, the ever-prolific Richter released his spectacular re-interpretation of Antonio Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons’; simply entitled ‘Recomposed’, Deutsche Grammophon’s wonderful package also includes a host of remixes and a stunning live concert from Berlin as a bonus DVD.

Both ‘Retrospective’ and ‘Recomposed’ are available now on Deutsche Grammophon.

http://www.maxrichtermusic.com
http://www.deutschegrammophon.com

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Written by admin

July 18, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Chosen One: Dean Wareham

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Interview with Dean Wareham.

“Writing a song is a long road. Or it can be.”

—Dean Wareham

Words: Mark Carry, Photographs: Dean Wareham

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Last Spring marked the long-awaited release of the legendary Galaxie 500/Luna frontman, Dean Wareham’s solo debut full-length on the London-based independent label, Sonic Cathedral. The self-titled album showcases Wareham’s immaculate song-craft and peerless musicianship; traits we have come to know (and cherish) from the American musician’s storied career (from the reverb-drenched, indie-rock gems of Galaxie 500 to Luna’s utterly transcendent dream-pop opuses). Following on from last year’s beguiling solo mini-album, ‘Emancipated Hearts’, a marked immediacy and directness is inherent in Wareham’s songbook as a rejuvenated spirit burns brightly across the debut album’s rich sonic canvas.

The debut record was produced by Jim James of My Morning Jacket at his home studios in Louisville, Kentucky. “I bought My Morning Jacket’s first album, ‘The Tennessee Fire’ back in 1999 and loved it,” recounts Wareham, “perhaps on account of the generous amounts of reverb on his voice, or the fact that he would belt things out loud and high”. The recording sessions comprised the formidable line-up of Britta Phillips on bass and Anthony LaMarca on drums. Album opener ‘The Dancer Disappears’ contains Wareham’s pristine baritone washed across a sky of sun-blissed guitar tones and an infectious groove. A vivid sense of nostalgia, memory and new beginnings unfolds before your very eyes (and ears) as an illuminating new chapter is forged in Wareham’s sacred songbook. A crystalline pop gem is masterfully crafted (sharing the glorious shades of Phil Spector and Jim James’ own solo material), which is inter-woven with Wareham’s poignant lyrics: “Now that we’re here / I’m ready to leave / The whole wide world behind.” An undying spark of optimism flickers like rays of sunlight, perhaps reflected on the album’s stunning front-cover artwork, which was beautifully designed by Sharon Lock (whose work similarly adorns the sleeve of label-mate, Cheval Sombre’s ‘Mad Love’ record). A few moments later, Wareham sings “Bring back the magic and light the match / There is a train that I’m hoping to catch” that brings to mind Tindersticks’ frontman Stuart A. Stalples’ solo album ‘Leaving Songs’ and particularly the Lhasa de Sela duet, ‘That Leaving Feeling’.

The fulfilling journey continues on ‘Beat The Devil’ as Wareham sings on the opening verse, “Take the high road to the sea / On the lost coast is where we’ll be” that recalls the tender ballads of ‘Deserter Songs’ era Mercury Rev, Daniel Johnston and Sparklehorse; while lyrically the spirit of The Byrds song — and Dylan-penned — ‘Ballad Of Easy Rider’ comes to mind. The song’s closing guitar interlude serves the perfect prelude to what follows, namely the only cover version on the album, ‘Heartless People’, written by Michael Holland. A song of immense power and emotional depth seeps into your consciousness. Sonically, a gorgeous ebb and flow of warm percussion and clean guitar tones flows effortlessly beneath Wareham’s endearing voice. A love song filled with pain, loss, longing and regret is created as a seamless array of poetic prose makes its swift dance to the forefront of one’s heart and mind: “But you / You and I / Hate to see a flower die / Somebody tell me / Which way the power lies”. An achingly beautiful lapsteel appears on a later verse as a darkness permeates the headspace: “No one ever really knew/The trouble in my heart / She had a way with me / Right from the very start”. ‘Heartless People’ could belong on Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s ‘I See A Darkness’ or any of Johnny Cash’s ‘American Recordings’ such is the deeply affecting ballad’s brilliance.

‘My Eyes Are Blue’ beautifully depicts a father’s everlasting love for his son. A sublime country pop gem radiates throughout with Wareham’s pristine vocal delivery providing the song’s glimmering spark: “I don’t know my eyes are blue / I only know they’re following you”. The perfect pop song contains gorgeous backing harmonies and soaring guitar licks, that in turn, creates something of a symphony. A song of love and rejoice is wonderfully brought into full-focus as Wareham asks: “But how can we lose when we already won?” ‘Love Is Not A Roof Against The Rain’ conjures up the timeless sound of Gram Parsons (particularly, ‘Love Hurts’) as an intimacy descends upon the listener. The sparse folk song is a tour-de-force in songwriting, revealed in a later verse: “I can hold the midnight in my hand / Spoken like a singer in a band / Everyone remembers what they want / Stories told to give their life a font”. An honesty and directness prevails as a torn heart is laid bare, particularly on the chorus refrain as Wareham asks: “What have I done with my life”.

Part B evolves into psychedelic guitar-based pop gems, from the hypnotic groove of ‘Holding Pattern’ to the Velvets-esque ‘Babes In The Wood’. The latter transforms into an uplifting psych haze as the chorus refrain of “Take care of the babes in the wood” shares glorious shades of Galaxie 500. The star of Wareham continues to rise but this well-known fact has been written in stone ever since the turn of the 90’s, of course.

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‘Dean Wareham’ is available now on Sonic Cathedral (Europe) and Double Feature (USA).

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http://deanwareham.com
http://www.soniccathedral.co.uk

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Interview with Dean Wareham.

Congratulations Dean on your utterly beautiful new solo album. I love the immediacy and directness of these songs and indeed, the gorgeous flow of music throughout. Can you please take me back to the recording sessions with Jim James and what the experience was like recording in his Kentucky home studio? 

Dean Wareham: Thank you Mark. Let’s turn back the clock to the summer of 2012. Jim James invited me to play a summer festival that he was curating in Louisville; I played a set of Galaxie 500 songs. After the festival, my band (my wife Britta on bass, Anthony LaMarca on drums, and me) retired to Jim’s house in the suburbs of Louisville. It’s a home studio but frankly it had nicer equipment than a lot of studios I’ve recorded in. We set up the drums in the living room, vocal microphone in Jim’s den, and guitar amps in the garage. We spent two days, walked out of there with four songs, including “The Dancer Disappears,” “Heartless People” and “Babes in the Wood” and decided right away that we would come back in December and finish a whole record.

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I was interested to read that ‘The Dancer Disappears’ and the Michael Holland cover ‘Heartless People’ were some of the first songs recorded for the album. I feel both those songs really shape the album. I love the beautiful arrangements of ‘The Dancer Disappears’ and lyrics such as “Now that we’re here / I’m ready to leave the whole wide world behind” evokes a vivid sense of journey that marks a new chapter. Can you talk me through ‘The Dancer Disappears’ please, Dean? 

DW: I will try. It’s really two different processes — the music and the lyrics I mean — working separately and then hopefully working together. Often a song starts as someone else’s song; in this case I was strumming Glen Campbell’s “Mary in the Morning” and then we started playing around with those chords but set to a disco beat. When we got into the studio Jim James had a different idea for the drums; he set up a heavy slapback delay and that forced our drummer Anthony to change what he was doing. Lyrically I wanted to write about a last hurrah, the idea that as you get older you will have one last big party and then leave it all behind. And also during this time I was aware that I was about to leave New York City after thirty years and move to the west coast, which I certainly had mixed feelings about.

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The cover song ‘Heartless People’ fits so perfectly alongside your own songs. Can you shed some light on this song please and its inclusion on the album? It’s such a gorgeous, tender song with deeply affecting song-writing. Thank you for introducing me to the music of Michael Holland.

DW: Yeah, this is the second Michael Holland song I have recorded. Michael and his identical-twin brother Mark were in a band called Jennyanykind in the 1990s, and I like that band but I like their side projects even more; Mark Holland recorded a few albums as Jule Brown (and I worked with him on those) and Michael Holland made a really great bluegrass album called “Tomorrow’s American Treasures”. I don’t even like bluegrass much but really loved the album he made. But back to your question, Michael sent me a home demo of this unreleased song he wrote — “Heartless People” — and I have been waiting to record it for a couple of years. It is a devastating song — the one lyric “You can hope for the best / But what is written in stone?” gets me every time I sing it. I think back to how we recorded that one, and to tell you the truth we almost gave up on it while we were rehearsing — it just wasn’t working. But Jim James set up this great vintage ribbon microphone into a plate reverb and all of a sudden my vocal sounded really silky, and so did Britta’s bass, and Britta and Anthony played a really fantastic rhythm track and then Jim James added a strange jazzy guitar lick and Anthony the pedal steel, and it all happened so quickly.

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The stunning front-cover is beautifully designed by Sharon Lock, whose work I first came across through Cheval Sombre’s ‘Mad Love’ album, released on Sonic Cathedral a couple of years ago. The artwork is a perfect embodiment of the uplifting music contained on the record. 

DW: It is just possible that the artwork is better than the album. And I am not dissatisfied with the album — it’s just that the LP cover is, as you say, stunning. It is glowing, effulgent, colorful, mysterious. Mind you, I haven’t yet seen it with the yellow translucent vinyl, the UK vinyl is out but we had a problem here.

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I love that sense of musicianship and joy of playing that is clearly present on these special recordings. I would love to gain an insight into the writing process of your songs? Is it a case that you have the songs written beforehand and then bringing them to the table, so to speak? Your trusted ensemble of Britta Phillips (bass) and Anthony La Marca (drums) and Jim James have such a deep understanding of the music, it’s lovely to witness while listening to the record.

DW: I don’t generally bring finished songs to the table; I bring ideas, chords, riffs and then we sit down (we in this case being Anthony and Britta) and try them different ways and do this for a couple of months. And then when the recording session is booked the panic sets in and I realize I had better write the lyrics or else I will look like a fool standing there with nothing to sing. This time I was a little bit lucky because my voice completely gave out during our December sessions, which gave me an extra couple of weeks to finish the words.

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Were there particular production techniques used by Jim James on these recording sessions that set them apart from previous releases? It’s cool too to think that clearly, the music of My Morning Jacket owes a lot to the unique reverb-filled sonic creations of Galaxie 500. It’s a wonderful combination that works so well.

DW: This record sounds very different to last year’s “Emancipated Hearts” EP, which was produced by Jason Quever of Papercuts. That one was a wall of sound. This LP is more hi-fi. Jim James has made some really massive sounding records, and he does not shy away from bold statements. That is perhaps what is different here — he pushed me out of my comfort zone at times. I tend to keep things pretty restrained (not always, but that is my default), while he goes for it. That was a good dynamic on this album.

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‘My Eyes Are Blue’ is another truly captivating song. I love the intricate arrangements of sun-blissed harmonies, clean guitar tones, and enlightening feel. I really do get a sense that the songs are just pouring from you and it’s all so effortless. How has your song-writing changed over the course of your career across the various incarnations?

DW: Good that it sounds that way, but I promise you it is not effortless. Writing a song is a long road. Or it can be. Some things come quickly (for example, “Happy & Free”). But “My Eyes Are Blue” was very different in demo form. When we started playing it for Jim, he immediately suggested that we start with the chorus instead of the verse, a clever idea, and I’m not sure why I’ve never done that before. And then all kinds of pretty things were added; pedal steel, Jim’s beautiful backing vocals, and an nylon-acoustic guitar solo that I played straight into my computer over the Christmas holidays. Lyrically I had about three pages of potential verses; ideas pulled from here and there. One review suggested that I was singing this one to Britta but in truth I wrote it for my 12-year-old son. Perhaps this is too much information, I know it’s not very rock and roll to write a song for your kid. And yet there are some good songs in that vein — “Kooks” by David Bowie comes to mind.

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Are there certain records you feel proved influential in making this solo record, Dean? 

DW: Particular songs have their influences. So I know that certain songs take initial inspiration from other songs by Glen Campbell, Kaleidoscope, the Seekers, the Bee Gees, Brian Jones-era Rolling Stones, and Donovan. That can be how a song gets its start — but the final result doesn’t sound remotely like any of those artists, because sonically you start heading in different directions. Instead it sounds more like Dean Wareham as produced by Jim James.

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Lastly, my current favourite is the sparse ballad “Love Is Not A Roof Against The Rain”. A song of redemption that possesses such power and intensity. “What have I done with my life” resonates so powerfully. I would for you to discuss your memories of writing this song, and indeed the title of the song itself?

DW: “Love is not a roof against the rain” is a line from a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay (an American poet who was wildly popular in the 1920s) titled “Love is Not All.” Lately I’ve used this trick of taking one line from someone else’s poem and then writing my own song around it, so that’s what I did here. Her poem, about the power of love, starts:

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;

She concludes that love may not be food or drink but she wouldn’t trade the memory of love (“the memory of this night” she writes) for anything else.

And again, this song was very spare indeed till we got into the studio, and we kept the first two verses that way but then Jim suggested it should explode at the end in a supernova of pedal steel and synthesizers. It is fun to play live.

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‘Dean Wareham’ is available now on Sonic Cathedral (Europe) and Double Feature (USA).

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http://deanwareham.com
http://www.soniccathedral.co.uk

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Written by admin

July 17, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Fractured Air 20: Contemporary Classical Composers (A Mixtape by Carlos Cipa)

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The Munich, Germany-based pianist and composer Carlos Cipa has released two records to date: the stunning debut solo full-length LP ‘The Monarch And The Viceroy’ (2012, Denovali Records) and ‘Relive’ (2014, Denovali Records), an EP recorded in collaboration with partner Sophia Jani. ‘Relive’ contain the side-length tracks ‘Anouk’s Dream’ and ‘Whatever A Sun Will Always Sing’; both written specially for the pair’s performance at the Denovali Swingfest 2013 in Essen. The resultant compositions were played exactly as in the live situation with no electronic manipulation. Both classical and modern artists provide inspiration for Cipa’s work as a composer: Cipa has cited the great composers such as Mozart, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky; while the works of modern bands such as The National, Mogwai, Sigur Rós and Nick Cave have also influenced Cipa’s outlook as an artist.

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“Contemporary Classical Composers”

To listen on Mixcloud:
http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-20-contemporary-classical-composers-a-mixtape-by-carlos-cipa/

“This is a compilation of some of my favourite pieces of 20th century classical composers. It’s always hard to fit classical music into a mixtape, especially to separate pieces/movements out of their context. I tried my best, but most of the pieces are part of a greater work, so I encourage you to listen to the complete opus and enjoy it as a whole.”

—Carlos Cipa

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Tracklisting:

01. Igor Stravinsky – Symphony in 3 Movements, I. Allegro (9:41)
02. Steve Reich – Double Sextet, III. Fast (6:43)
03. Maurice Ravel – String Quartet in F Major, I. Moderato, très doux (7:38)
04. Charles Ives – The Unanswered Question (4:35)
05. Erkki-Sven Tüür – Insula Deserta (9:10)
06. Nico Muhly – Revd Mustard his Installation Prelude (3:35)
07. David Lang – The Little Match Girl Passion, I. Come, Daughter (3:41)
08. Olivier Messiaen – Oraison (7:45)
09. György Ligeti – Nonsense Madrigals, III. The Alphabet (3:33)
10. Krzysztof Penderecki – Chaconne (6:47)
11. Dmitri Shostakovich – String Quartet No. 8, II. Allegro Molto (2:38)
12. George Crumb – Black Angels, I. Departure (5:37)
13. Hans Otte – Das Buch der Klänge, Part X (5:57)
14. Thomas Adès – Arcadiana, op. 12, VI. O Albion (3:07)
15. John Adams – Hallelujah Junction, Part I (7:14)
16. Claude Vivier – Zipangu (14:06)
17. György Kurtag – Stele, op. 33, III. Molto sostenuto (05:55)

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Notes on selection by Carlos Cipa:

01. Igor Stravinsky – Symphony in 3 Movements, I. Allegro (9:41)
He is the master. The sense for rhythm and pulse is just incredible. He was one of the most innovative voices of all time. You can learn so much from Stravinsky, regardless what music you create.

02. Steve Reich – Double Sextet, III. Fast (6:43)
You don’t need to say something about Steve Reich. Definitely one of the most influential composers of the second part of the 20th century. This piece is a rather new one, that won him the Pulitzer prize. The whole piece is amazing!

03. Maurice Ravel – String Quartet in F Major, I. Moderato, très doux (7:38)
One of the most beautiful pieces ever written. I deeply love string quartet as instrumentation, it will never sound antique, always timeless. And Ravel’s String Quartet is one of the best.

04. Charles Ives – The Unanswered Question (4:35)
A classic piece. But still, Ives is an underrated composer; what he thought of and did in his music was always much more experimental and much more modern than a lot of his contemporaries. This piece is from 1908!!! True beauty and innovation.

05. Erkki-Sven Tüür – Insula Deserta (9:10)
Written in 1989, this is one of the most interesting pieces of the last twenty-odd years. Tüür has an incredible unique voice, that always touches me deeply.

06. Nico Muhly – Revd Mustard his Installation Prelude (3:35)
Fantastically played on the album ‘Cycles’ by James McVinnie, this is an amazingly beautiful piece. And the sound and the colour of this instrument is incredible.

07. David Lang – The Little Match Girl Passion, I. Come, Daughter (3:41)
David Lang is a master in terms of voices and singing. It’s very encouraging to write for voice, when you listen to his beautiful music.

08. Olivier Messiaen – Oraison (7:45)
The beautiful sound of this instrument (Ondes Martenot), such a beautiful piece of music.

09. György Ligeti – Nonsense Madrigals, III. The Alphabet (3:33)
His output is so versatile, so colourful, and regardless what he touches, he creates something unique, something new, but always in the most musical sense. That’s a very rare gift in contemporary classical music.

10. Krzysztof Penderecki – Chaconne (6:47)
Last year he was in Munich for a concert with our chamber orchestra and they played this and a lot of other beautiful pieces he wrote in the last 15 years. Before the concert he was being interviewed by the conductor and just told funny stories about his work. Very inspiring and friendly person.

11. Dmitri Shostakovich – String Quartet No. 8, II. Allegro Molto (2:38)
Probably, his most famous piece, but the energy in this music is unmatched. This is only four instruments, but you feel a group of a hundred running over you. Very hard to get this movement out of it’s context, all the movements are fantastic.

12. George Crumb – Black Angels, I. Departure (5:37)
You have to look at his scores. Everything is written by hand, he was a master of calligraphy and to see the relation between notation and how it sounds is just amazing.

13. Hans Otte – Das Buch der Klänge, Part X (5:57)
Rather unknown German composer, one of the few who were inspired by american minimal composers and made a beautiful piano cycle called “Das Buch der Klänge”.

14. Thomas Adès – Arcadiana, op. 12, VI. O Albion (3:07)
And again a String Quartet, this is very unusual for Adès, but I believe it’s the most beautiful 3 minutes he ever wrote.

15. John Adams – Hallelujah Junction, Part I (7:14)
A minimal classic. I recently saw this piece performed live, and it was really an amazing experience.

16. Claude Vivier – Zipangu (14:06)
I had to include this piece, despite its length, it’s just too beautiful. String Orchestra is another beautiful instrumentation, and Vivier is an underrated master when it comes to it.

17. György Kurtag – Stele, op. 33, III. Molto sostenuto (05:55)
This might be the piece that impressed me the most lately. The use of the orchestra is incredible, (it has 12 double basses!!). Kurtag is a master in saying so much in such a short time. Impressive. It’s hard to separate the movements, go check out the whole piece, it’s incredible!

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‘The Monarch And The Viceroy’ LP and ‘Relive’ EP are available now on Denovali.

http://www.carloscipa.com/
http://denovali.com/

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Interview with Carlos Cipa HERE.
To follow Fractured Air you can do so on Facebook HERE, & Twitter HERE.

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Written by admin

July 14, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Fractured Air 19: Fractured Fragments and Interludes (A Date Palms Mix)

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Date Palms are the core duo of Gregg Kowalsky (keyboards, electronics) and Marielle Jakobsons (violin, flute, electronics) who have released three full length albums to date: ‘Of Psalms’ (Root Strata, 2010); ‘Honey Devash’ (Mexican Summer, 2011); ‘The Dusted Sessions’ (Thrill Jockey, 2013). Date Palms’ latest LP ‘The Dusted Sessions’ has been described by Kowalsky as a road trip album; drawing inspiration from Death Valley and the Yuba River; dry desert heat and the imagery of the Dust Bowl and the American West.

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Fractured Air 19: Fractured Fragments and Interludes (A Date Palms Mix)

To listen on Mixcloud:
http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-19-fractured-fragments-and-interludes-a-date-palms-mix/

“This mix’s focus is on fragments and interludes, which sometimes listener’s may feel are filler. But, I’m a fan of the interlude. In fact, the interlude can be the glue holding an album together. Pretty sure we have one or two between the 3 Date Palms LPs. The main criteria for the mix was each track had to be under 2:30 seconds’ish.

I included the earliest Date Palms demo from around 2008 or 2009 of Marielle and I recorded directly to cassette w. violin, mixer feedback and tape loops. The other material is from Date Palms influences or has special meaning to me and the project. The mix closes with “Leaving del Norte” from Bruce Langhorn’s OST from ‘The Hired Hand’. I am also leaving from the North of California to settle in Southern California, more specifically L.A. in August.”

—Gregg Kowalsky, Summer, 2014

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Tracklisting:

01. Bobby Callender ‘Drone/Going Back’ [Iris Music Group]
02. Grateful Dead ‘Space’ [Live at Pauley Pavilion, UCLA on 1978-12-30]
03. Henry Flynt ‘Full Telsat’ [Recorded]
04. Bruce Palmer ‘Interlude’ [Verve Forecast]
05. Don Cherry ‘Sidhartha’ [Caprice]
06. People ‘Prayer Part 1’ [P-Vine]
07. Woo ‘With Bass’ [The Sunshine Series / Emotional Rescue]
08. Date Palms ‘Early Demo’ [Demo]
09. Bobby Callender ‘Interlude 2’ [Iris Music Group]
10. Master Wilburn Burchette ‘Cosmic Celebration’ [Burchette Brothers]
11. Codona ‘Godumaduma’ [ECM]
12. Lewis ‘My Whole Life’ [R.A.W. / Light In The Attic]
13. Stan Hubbs ‘Young Saint Augustine’ [Golden Rose / Companion, Gloriette]
14. Lou Reed ‘The Kids II’ [Berlin Acetate Bootleg]
15. David Crosby ‘Déjà Vu’ (Demo) [Atlantic / Rhino]
16. Ilk ‘Of Souls (A Pantomime)’ [VHF]
17. Luciano Cilio ‘Terzo Quadro- Trascrizione E Pf G.D.S.’ [Die Schachtel]
18. William Eaton ‘Untitled’ [EM]
19. Buddy Emmons ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ [Sonet / Flying Fish]
20. Sandy Bull ‘Last Date’ [Vanguard]
21. Bruce Langhorne ‘Leaving del Norte’ [Blast First Petite / Scissor Tail]

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‘The Dusted Sessions’ is available now on Thrill Jockey.

http://www.datepalmsofpsalms.com/
http://www.thrilljockey.com/

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Interview with Gregg Kowalsky HERE.

To follow Fractured Air you can do so on Facebook HERE, & Twitter HERE.

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Written by admin

July 10, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Chosen One: Christina Vantzou

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Interview with Christina Vantzou.

This year marked the hugely anticipated release of Kansas-born composer Christina Vantzou’s breathtaking second album ‘N°2’, featuring, once again, Minna Choi of the San Francisco-based Magik*Magik Orchestra and Adam Wiltzie (Stars Of The Lid, A Winged Victory For The Sullen). Since its February 2014 album release on the Chicago-based Kranky label, Vantzou has also filmed and directed a film for each of the eleven pieces from ‘N°2’, as well as inviting a host of artists to remix and re-interpret the material from ‘N°2’. We’re delighted to premiere the videos (directed by Christina Vantzou) for both ‘Anna Mae’ (opener to ‘N°2’) and Ken Camden’s exclusive remix for Christina Vantzou’s ‘The Magic of the Autodidact’. All films are made in 100% slow motion using a Phantom Miro 320S slow motion camera. ‘N°2’ is available on all formats via the Kranky label.

Words: Mark Carry

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The Kansas-born and Brussels-based composer, Christina Vantzou is one of those rare treasures in the 21st Century Neoclassical realm whose music has graced the world with her stunningly beautiful compositions. The latest album, ‘N°2’ is the appropriately titled follow-up to 2011’s utterly transcendent opus ‘N°1’ released on the formidable Chicago based label, Kranky. What remains vividly present on Vantzou’s newest masterwork is the infinite beauty and unlimited emotion that pours from the intricately layered compositions. Similar to its predecessor, ‘N°2’ bloomed into vital life over a long period of time (over a four-year period to be precise) and it is the composer’s meticulous detail and sheer musical capabilities that lies at the heart of these truly captivating artistic works.

‘N°2’ was composed using synthesizers and a wide array of unidentified samples that were manipulated beyond recognition. Although similar patterns can be traced on ‘N°2’s gradual ambient flourishes (akin to Vantzou’s beautifully constructed frame-by-frame animation work), compositionally, the record shows a more daring approach with added instrumentation and the presence of a 15-piece string section. New addition of bassoon and oboe adds gorgeous colour and texture to the densely layered strings that enriches and heightens the musical journey unearthed by the U.S. composer. A wider sonic palette is used throughout, from the gentle ripple-flow of piano notes on the album’s penultimate track, ‘Vostok’ and prominence of harp on the achingly beautiful ‘VHS’ to the rapturous crescendo of strings of ‘Going Backwards To Recover What Was Left Behind’ where an emotion-filled sadness engulfs your every pore. Elsewhere, slowly shifting layers of brass and woodwind drifts majestically in ‘Brain Fog’ before brooding strings come to the fore, resulting in a cathartic release of energy. Layers of angelic voices appear and disappear throughout, forming not only a monumental symphonic movement but also an other-worldly choral work. ‘Vancouver Island Quartet’ could be the record’s pinnacle as a seamless array of fragments (celestial voices, empowering strings, tranquil harp notes) coalesce together forming a deeply affecting and cohesive whole.

A collaboration between Vantzou and Minna Choi of the San Francisco-based Magik*Magik Orchestra took place once again for ‘N°2’s recording sessions. Prior to recording at Tiny Telephone studios, Vantzou and Choi worked on the notation and arrangements. Later, the Brussels-based artist spent four months pre-mixing the album before close friend and colleague, Adam Wiltzie (Stars Of The Lid, A Winged Victory For The Sullen) engineered the final mixes, in addition to adding his signature sound texture at his studio in Brussels, Belgium. As Vantzou previously described of the mixing process in our interview from last year: “Adam Wiltzie is now doing the final mixes and it’s a mammoth effort. He’s peeling back layers and adding a few special touches. There are so many layers. I’m not exaggerating, it’s a bit of a monster.”

The results are nothing short of staggering where a ground-breaking work of immense power and cascading emotion heightens all that surrounds you. As the drone embellishes of ‘The Magic Of The Autodidact’ blurs in and out of focus, a magical spell is cast upon all those fortunate enough to witness such unfathomable beauty.

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‘N°2’ is available now on Kranky.

http://www.christinavantzou.com
http://www.kranky.net

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“Anna Mae”

From the album “Nº2” out now on all formats via Kranky.

Directed & Produced by Christina Vantzou
Cinematography: Léo Lefèvre
Assistant Camera: Elvis Fontaine-Garant

Featuring: Stefanie De Regel & Marcus Doverud
Gaffer: Denis Antheunissens
Key Grip: Artur Castro Freire
Assistant Director: Adrien Monfleur
Color Grade: Florian Berutti
Shot with a Phantom MIRO M320S

Special Thanks to: Perrine Wens and BFC, Julie Calbert, Eye Light & KGS

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Ken Camden Remix: “The Magic of the Autodidact”

Directed & Produced by Christina Vantzou
Cinematography: Léo Lefèvre
Assistant Camera: Elvis Fontaine-Garant

Actress: Stefanie De Regel
Gaffer: Denis Antheunissens
Key Grip: Artur Castro Freire
Assistant Director: Adrien Monfleur
Color Grade: Florian Berutti
Shot with a Phantom MIRO M320S

Special Thanks to: Perrine Wens and BFC, Marcus Doverud, Julie Calbert, Eye Light & KGS

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Interview with Christina Vantzou.

Congratulations Christina on your truly stunning ‘N°2’ album. You must feel deeply proud of this mesmerizing and beautiful work of art. It’s a real pleasure to ask you some questions about your latest masterpiece. Please discuss the four-year period where you worked on composing and recording ‘N°2’ please and the creative process that ensued?

Christina Vantzou: Thank you. It’s difficult to encapsulate a four-year period in a few words. I remember a lot of composing time and then long listening sessions. Sometimes I would listen to rough draft portions of the record while I cleaned my apartment. I had too much raw material at first, so the decision-making process, as far as what would go into the studio, was long and arduous. It’s both meditative and maddening.

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It is clear upon listening to ‘N°2’, your compositions are more adventurous than ever before, with use of added instrumentation and heightened layers of immaculate sounds. For example, I love the use of woodwind instruments and the prominence of solo instruments on particular pieces. Can you please discuss your main priorities from the outset, in what you wanted to achieve on ‘N°2’ and the direction you were moving towards from ‘N°1’?

CV: I was sure I wanted an oboe in the sound. Adding a bassoon was second priority together with a bassier string section. There was one track that was intended for woodwinds only – a woodwind quintet. I had put together 15 tracks for N°2’s recording session, and 11 tracks made it on the final album. I made sure to keep some room for experimentation and failure. Leaving room for failure was very important to the overall process of ‘N°2’.

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Since the last time we spoke, it feels that the process of making ‘N°2’ follows a similar pattern to that of its predecessor, ‘N°1’, in terms of collaborating with Minna Choi, Telephone Studios in Francisco and indeed, your trusted collaborator Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie. Can you please recount for me your memories of working again with these gifted people and the collaborative process between you and Mina and Adam?

CV: Yes, like ‘N°1’ ‘N°2’ involves close collaboration with Minna Choi in the early stages and Adam Wiltzie in the final stages. Minna and I have built an interesting working relationship together: I think the work we do is special because of her excellence and my naïveté.

For both ‘N°1’ and ‘N°2’, I composed some tracks that were more or less finished in their midi stage, without much transformation, but a lot of tracks were quite sketchy and some were just weird ideas, like a drone-y audio file with a list of instructions on paper and a few images for inspiration. Minna has a way of attacking everything, no matter what stage, leaving nothing untouched or unconsidered.

Although mixing took several months, there’s an efficiency to working with Adam because we have done so for a very long time. Both Adam and Minna were very generous towards ‘N°2’. When the record was passed to Jason Ward at Chicago Mastering service, I felt he took special care of the record too. Jay Pellicci at Tiny Telephone is very much a part of the sound as well. Everyone’s time and care had an influence.

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What stage of the process is the most challenging, Christina? I’m always amazed to think of the time, emotion, artistic input and energy that pours into a record such as ‘N°1’ or ‘N°2’ but one can feel that space and time embedded in your heavenly music. For example, working on the notation part of the music with Minna or finalizing arrangements, mixing stages towards the end, are just some of the stages of the creative pathway. What stage comprises the moments you cherish the most?

CV: Every stage has its challenges. Composing is challenging because it’s done in isolation. It takes a lot of time, and most of that time is in front of a computer. When I passed the record to Minna it felt like Christmas. She sent me mock ups for each track — samples transformed into midi arrangements that would then be turned into notation for the ensemble at Tiny Telephone. The recording session was like triple-Christmas, the pre-mixing phase was terrifying at first because the record was a monster. Some tracks consisted of more than 20 layers. The tracks were still forming in the pre-mixing. Hearing the final mixes was like Christmas again, and then I still had to see if anyone was interested in releasing it.

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I was intrigued to read about your work as a SAT university entrance exam mathematics tutor that entirely funded the making of your album. I must ask you please about this aspect of your work: is there a correlation between mathematics and music for you, as I imagine there must be some sort of parallel between both worlds?

CV: Math is in music, but in my case the two worlds have not quite unified. That might change…but to date I haven’t composed along to a click track, so the Math goes out the window right there.

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My favourite piece at the moment is the gorgeous sonic creation ‘Sister’. The moment the crescendo of strings arrive is one of the many defining moments of this captivating album. I love the layer of ethereal voices that flows beneath and also, the woodwind re-occurring motifs present. Can you please talk me through this piece of music, Christina?

CV: Sure. ‘Sister’ was one of those monster-tracks. The original composition was made in Reason, with a beginning and a middle like what you hear on the final version. Minna added a crazy ending with voices, piano, and winds. I ended up re-working her idea in post production and changing the part she intended as piano to pulsing strings. I also found an instrument line in her midi mock-up that was muted and discarded. I turned that melody into a harp part. All of these additions lead to more and more tracks and big mess in Pro Tools. I color coded the instrument sections to make it easier to navigate. But it was still ghastly. So ‘Sister’ is the only track that Adam did not mix. He refused on account of too many layers.

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In terms of samples, can you please shed some light on the various sources these audio recordings originate from? Similar to ‘N°1’, I love the plethora of voices that combines with the synthesizer lines, it works so beautifully.

CV: I used synth samples found on YouTube from early synthesizer instructional videos. I also used some Stravinsky samples (from The Nightingale), Snow White samples (from The Original Disney soundtrack), and there are some John Carpenter soundtrack samples…

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Listening to ‘N°2’ almost religiously these past few weeks, the works of Jóhann Jóhannsson (particularly, The Miner’s Hymns) comes to the forefront of my mind, such is the sheer beauty and spellbinding magic unleashed by your music. I can imagine he must serve an influence on your music, Christina? I would love to know what records, gigs, artists you have been most obsessed with of late?

CV: Jóhann is a big influence. As far as I’m concerned in new classical music there’s Jóhann Jóhannsson and then there’s everyone else.

I saw ‘The Miner’s Hymns’ performed in Kortrijk last Spring. My mom was there with me. I played the same festival. I remember it was a stressful week getting ready for the show, but the Johann concert just sucked all the anxiety out of me and put me in a good place for the rest of the evening.

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I am a huge fan of your video work that accompanies your own music and indeed the videos of Dead Texan’s music. I would love to learn more about this area of your artistic work and the processes and tools you utilize to create such human and affecting visuals? It’s clear that the frame-by-frame animations — a slow, gradual process — must act as a close companion to the gradual music of your own musical compositions?

CV: The slowness and gradualness of animation and maybe its simplicity as a medium / technology does relate well to the music. Making animations cultivates patience like nothing else. The slow pacing is a big factor in ‘Nº1’ and ‘Nº2’…I’ve tried to make faster music. I started a dance album two summers ago, but everything I make ends up slow and weird.

I’m pretty much attracted to anything slow and weird so for ‘Nº2’ I grew obsessed with a slow motion camera. It took over a year to figure out a way to work with the camera (I used a Phantom Miro 320S) and finally I decided to transfer my SAT teacher earnings into time with the camera. BFC, a rental house in Brussels, also decided to support the project so eventually I got 3 days to work with the camera. These experiments will become the videos for ‘Nº2’. 100% slow motion.

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It’s really cool to see both your album and A Winged Victory For The Sullen’s new record enter into the world during the same general time-frame. I love the cover artwork you did for their first record. Can you please discuss this aspect of your work and your drawings — something that has been a constant for you most of your life — and how this feeds into your music? Any other projects in the pipeline, Christina?

CV: I’ve been drawing all my life — my mom is an artist so art supplies filled the house and it was just a part of everyday life. I remember writing an essay to enter art school about drawing. I said it was the only thing I’d done my whole life that I’d never got bored of. My most recent drawings were of young girls and old people. I have years of drawings in my apartment in Brussels and in Kansas City. The drawings are kept inside boxes that are inside drawers, so not many people know about that work. Adam became a huge fan of my drawings and prints at one point so he chose that particular nude drawing for the Winged Victory album. I hear that a lot of people liked it as a record cover.

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‘N°2’ is available now on Kranky.

http://www.christinavantzou.com
http://www.kranky.net

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The Space Lady w/ School Tour/ April 2014 / Photo Essay by Izabela Szczutkowska

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Last April, we had the pleasure to host (alongside our friends Plugd Records) U.S. pop visionary, The Space Lady (AKA Susan Schneider) in the T.D.C, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork (with special guest School Tour). The tour was the very first time The Space Lady (Night School Records) embarked on a tour of venues, having performed on the streets of San Francisco during the 70’s and generating a near-mythical status from transfixed audiences and passers-by. “The Space Lady’s Greatest Hits” is out now on Night School Records.

All photographs: Izabela Szczutkowska

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“Now I inhabit the role of The Space Lady more enthusiastically than ever, and with more intentionality – that is, to inspire people toward self-expression, love, peace, and harmony here on our very fragile planet.”

—Susan Schneider

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“At night I would sit down at the kitchen table, listen to a song on our boom box, and scrawl out the lyrics and chords as best as I could make them out. Then the next morning I would work out arrangements on the subway platform, trying hard to recall what the song sounded like the night before. People began telling me how “different” and “original” my interpretations were, when I was actually trying my best to recreate what the original artists had done. At any rate, I instinctively knew to keep my arrangements simple and slightly unorthodox”.

—Susan Schneider

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“4, 3, 2, 1
Earth below us, drifting, falling
Floating, weightless, calling, calling, home”

—lyrics taken from ‘Major Tom’

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“Last night your shadow fell upon my lonely room
I touched your golden hair and tasted your perfume
Your eyes were filled with love the way they used to be
Your gentle hand reached out to comfort me
Then came the dawn
And you were gone”

—lyrics taken from ‘I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)’

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All photographs by Izabela Szczutkowska. (http://www.izyandthesunshines.blogspot.ie)

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‘The Space Lady’s Greatest Hits’ is available now on Night School Records.

http://thespacelady.net
http://nightschoolrecords.com

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Written by admin

July 7, 2014 at 8:12 pm

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