FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Mixtape: Just Like Anything

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Just Like Anything [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/just-like-anything-a-fractured-air-mix/

 

Tracklisting:

01. We Like We ‘I Began To Fall Apart’ [The Being Music]
02. Sufjan Stevens ‘No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross’ [Asthmatic Kitty]
03. William Ryan Fritch ‘_a renewed sense’ [Lost Tribe Sound]
04. Mute Forest ‘Volcanoes Flowing’ [Lost Tribe Sound]
05. Kenny Burrell ‘Chitlins Con Carne’ [Blue Note]
06. Bert Jansch ‘The Blacksmith’ [Charisma]
07. Ryley Walker ‘Primrose Garden’ [Dead Oceans]
08. Jackson C. Frank ‘Just Like Anything’ [Columbia/Castle Music]
09. Peter Broderick ‘Red Earth’ [Bella Union]
10. Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld ‘The sun roars into view’ [Constellation]
11. Colleen ‘Captain Of None’ [Thrill Jockey]
12. Sebastian Mullaert ‘Lat Björkarna Vissna’ [Mule Electronic]
13. Hauschka ‘Pripyat’ [City Slang/Temporary Residence]
14. Noel Ellis ‘Dance With Me’ [Summer/Light In The Attic]
15. Augustus Pablo ‘Dub Organizer’ [Kaya/Tropical]
16. Calexico ‘Cumbia De Donde’ [City Slang/Anti-]
17. Batha Gèbrè-Heywèt ‘Ewnet Yet Lagegnesh’ [Manteca]
18. Tape & Bill Wells ‘Fugue 3’ [Immune]
19. Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat ‘We’re Still Here’ [Chemikal Underground]

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.

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

 

Step Right Up: Mute Forest

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Interview with Kael Smith, Mute Forest.

Lately I’ve really been striving to make every sound original.

—Kael Smith

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Lost Tribe Sound is a record label that specializes in organic, gentle, and exploratory music that transcends genre, technique, or trend. The label’s forthcoming release is Mute Forest’s sublime debut ‘Infinity Pools’ EP. A companion piece to Kael Smith’s expansive debut full-length, ‘Deforestation’, due out this Autumn.

The opener ‘Crypt’ begins with warm, scintillating rhythms before a wave of masterfully crafted layers of electronic and acoustic elements converge. Soft guitar tones ripple gently into the forefront of the mix. Smith’s luminous vocals lie somewhere between the Notwist’s Markus Acher and Kranky artist Benoît Pioulard: at once Mute Forest’s beguiling sound feels familiar and immediately vital. The highly promising EP combines elements of folk, found sound and ambient soundscapes that conjures up the timeless sounds of Helios, Benoît Pioulard and a host of other electro-acoustic milestones that have graced the atmosphere these past few years.

The cover artwork by Gregory Eulicide (Bon Iver, Erased Tapes) serves the perfect embodiment to ‘Infinity Pools’’s desolate journey, depicting faded city skyscrapers as a vivid sense of searching and yearning traverses the human space. ‘Volcanoes Flowing’ contains a myriad of enchanting sounds; keys, synths, percussion and manipulated field recordings serve the gorgeous ebb and flow to Smith’s heartfelt lament. A darker mood falls on the title-track as Smith’s brooding vocals melt into the slipstream of hypnotic beats and swirling electronics (also featuring vocals from Kelly O’ Brien), reminiscent of Thom Yorke’s solo works. ‘Eat The Skin’ is built on a warm acoustic guitar chord progression that pushes the sonic envelope while being rooted in an age-old tradition. ‘Infinity Pools’ is the first chapter in Mute Forest’s striking narrative. Later this year, Smith’s debut full-length ‘Deforestation’ will forge another compelling journey via the Lost Tribe Sound imprint.

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‘Infinity Pools’ is out 07 April 15 on Lost Tribe Sound.

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Interview with Kael Smith, Mute Forest.

Congratulations Kael on the gorgeous debut EP, ‘Infinity Pools’. The immaculate instrumentation and production are one of the striking aspects of this batch of four compelling songs. Can you talk me through the recording of these songs? What does the studio set-up consist of?

Kael Smith: Wow, thanks Mark. I appreciate that a lot. Everything is written and recorded in my home studio. I’m still kind of finding my way in regards to home recording and mixing. A lot of trial and error is involved. I record everything into Ableton on my laptop, which I have sitting alone in a sound proofed closet to eliminate fan noise. A couple of new pieces of gear that are featured on these tracks are a Roland RE-301 Chorus Tape Echo and Maestro Rhythm King drum machine. There are also a lot of manipulated field recordings in these songs. ‘Crypt’ in particular has samples of sizzling meat used for snare hits. Lately I’ve really been striving to make every sound original. As in no packs, no soft synths etc.

It’s very interesting to think ‘Infinity Pools’ serves the prequel to the forthcoming debut LP, ‘Deforestation’. How do you see the relationship between ‘Infinity Pools’ and ‘Deforestation’? I can imagine it’s more a case that one serves as a companion piece to the other; what is the narrative running through these songs? 

KS: It’s actually more of a reverse narrative, so to speak. The EP was written after Deforestation but we’re releasing it first. Because, why not confuse people on your first release?! But really though Infinity Pools is a direct response to Deforestation. Deforestation is more of a holding pattern whereas Infinity Pools is the first step forward.

At the heart of ‘Infinity Pools’ are deeply affecting folk laments, reminiscent of the captivating sounds sculpted by Benoît Pioulard, Keith Kenniff, Peter Broderick et al. My current favourite is the stunning tour-de-force, ‘Volcanoes Flowing’. The lyric “this is a window/it stays open/for how long/let it go” resonates powerfully; a sense of searching is beautifully etched across the sonic canvas. The vocal delivery is also immense. I would love for you to talk me through the construction of ‘Volcanoes Flowing’ please?

KS: Again thank you. I respect and listen to all the artists you mentioned above. It’s interesting you bring up the word folk with a song like “Volcanoes Flowing”. The version on the EP is largely electronic but the original demo was just acoustic guitar, piano and vocals. So the original did contain folky elements. It kind of sat like that for a while before I dug it up and reworked the entire thing. The only element that stayed from the original demo was the vocals.

The stripped back ‘Eat The Skin’ serves the fitting close to the EP. I was very interested to read how the seeds of this song was sewn as the starting point to A Winged Victory For The Sullen remix of a piece from their ‘Atomos’ LP. In terms of remixing an artist’s work, what was the starting point for you? Also, I would love to know which particular ‘Atomos’ piece (I to  XI) did you cover? At what point did you decide ‘Eat The Skin’ would evolve into an original composition?

KS: A few years back I did a remix of the Nils Frahm track ‘Me’ off of his album Screws. This was for my other project, Mombi. I ended up adding vocals to the remix which for me was kind of scary as I didn’t want to spoil or undermine Nils’ instrumental aesthetic. But I wrote sincere lyrics that were inspired by his piano and they came from an honest place. So I decided to release it. The response I got from the remix was positive and I wanted to see if I could catch lightning in a bottle again with AWVFTS. I really love their work and I decided to take a crack at Atomos VII. It just never quite turned out the way I wanted and it wasn’t until I subtracted the strings and replaced it with acoustic guitar and organ that it kind of became its own thing. It’s funny, AWVFTS are not on ‘Eat the Skin’, but that song would not exist without Atomos VII. Their ghost is in it somewhere.

Can you shed some light please Kael on the forthcoming ‘Deforestation’ LP?

KS: Certainly. Deforestation is a very isolated and bucolic record that I wrote largely around field recordings taken in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. It was a very introverted writing process that I’m not sure I’ll ever attempt again. Thematically the record largely focuses on a middle-aged couple I met at a dinner party one night that were dating again after something like 30 years apart. I found that quite fascinating. It led me to explore themes of ageing, love, identity, growth and complacency. The title, Deforestation, came to me while recording parts of the forest ravaged by the mountain pine beetle. These forests are dead, rotted and devoid of most activity and span thousands of acres here in my home state. The record itself is 9 songs and was mastered by Taylor Deupree. We’re shooting for a fall release on vinyl via Lost Tribe Sound.


 

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‘Infinity Pools’ is out 07 April 15 on Lost Tribe Sound.

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https://muteforest.bandcamp.com/
http://www.losttribesound.com/

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Written by markcarry

March 31, 2015 at 4:28 pm

Chosen One: Steve Gunn

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Interview with Steve Gunn.

‘Way Out Weather’ is available now on Paradise Of Bachelors.

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

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Fractured Air 35: New Hiking Boots Mix (A Mixtape by Sunken Foal)

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Sunken Foal — the alias for Ireland-based electronic producer and composer Dunk Murphy — released the third installment of his acclaimed ‘Friday Syndrome’ series this year via Murphy’s own label, Countersunk. ‘Friday Syndrome Vol​.​3’ is once again another typically diverse and disparate collection of enduring and innovative sounds and styles (the album’s genesis stems from Murphy emailing sonic sketches to friends on Friday evenings over the last three years), restlessly spanning electronic, folk, lo-fi, dance, pop and funk. Volume 3’s 18-track song-cycle odyssey — written, performed, arranged and produced by Sunken Foal — also features guest vocals from Irish artists Si Schroeder and Rupert Morris (Bats).

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Fractured Air 35: New Hiking Boots Mix (A Mixtape by Sunken Foal)

To listen on Mixcloud:
https://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-35-new-hiking-boots-mix-a-mixtape-by-sunken-foal/

 

Tracklisting:

01. Debashish Bhattacharya ‘Prema Chakor’ [Riverboat]
02. Judee Sill ‘Lopin’ Along Thru The Cosmos’ [Asylum]
03. Aphex Twin ‘piano un10 it happened’ [Warp]
04. Andy Irvine ‘The Blind Harper’ [Mulligan/Compass]
05. Animal Collective ‘Doggy’ [Catsup Plate, Paw Tracks]
06. Somadrone ‘Eye On Nature’ [Scintilla Recordings]
07. Sunken Foal ‘Settler’s Debt’ [Countersunk]
08. Fennesz ‘Grey Scale’ [Touch]
09. Sibylle Baier ‘Forgett’ [Orange Twin]
10. Erik Satie ‘Avec Conviction Et Avec Une Tristesse Rigoureuse’ [EMI Classics]
11. Ennio Morricone ‘Quelle Foto’ [Dagored]
12. Thom Yorke ‘Truth Ray’ [Self-Released]
13. Lasry Baschet ‘Manège’ [BAM]
14. Glenn Jones ‘My Garden State’ [Thrill Jockey]
15. Vashti Bunyan ‘Where I Like to Stand’ [Philips]
16. Teebs ‘The Endless’ [Brainfeeder]
17. Nilsson ‘Life Line’ [MCA]
18. The Gasman ‘Non’ [Planet Mu]
19. Pajo ‘Ten More Days’ [Drag City, Domino]
20. Tim Hecker ‘Stigmata II’ [Kranky]
21. Ryan Francesconi ‘With Hands’ [Sweet Dreams]
22. Graham Coxon ‘Where’d You Go?’ [Transcopic]
23. Emakousma ‘Mid Season’ [Fallow]
24. Leafcutter John ‘Dream I’ [Staubgold]
25. Grouper ‘Being Her Shadow’ [Kranky]
26. Nico ‘All That Is My Own’ [Reprise]
27. Leonard Cohen ‘Love Calls You By Your Name’ [Columbia]

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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‘Friday Syndrome Vol​.​3’ is available now on Countersunk.

http://www.countersunk.org/
https://soundcloud.com/sunken_foal

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Written by admin

March 11, 2015 at 3:15 pm

Track Premiere: Charlie Cocksedge (Money)

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It wasn’t long after I started playing guitar as a teenager that I got my first delay pedal. My brother then gave me a copy of ‘Loveless’ by My Bloody Valentine, and a whole world of guitar noise was opened up to me!”

—Charlie Cocksedge

 

 

MONEY comprise Jamie Lee, Charlie Cocksedge, Billy Byron and Scott Beaman. They formed in Manchester and embody the passion, creativity and optimism of a new generation of artists and musicians from there. “It’s an extraordinary, poetic city,” frontman Jamie says, “You feel like you can do anything here”.

The exclusive track premiere of ‘Corrour’ displays the guitar-based, solo instrumental work of Money guitarist Charlie Cocksedge. Having performed a live score for a short film last summer, the next step was to record these multi-layered, ethereal musical compositions to tape, which thankfully took place in a Liverpool recording studio a short time later.

Corrour’ opens with warm fuzz of guitar noise, sharing the shimmering beauty of an ocean’s irresistible glaze during first light. Some moments later, soft clean guitar notes serve the vital pulse to the composition’s aching core. Beauty – unimaginable and divine – unfolds as endless layers of sublime sonic bliss ascends into the surrounding atmosphere.

A rich tapestry of enthralling soundscapes is masterfully crafted by Coscksedge; the dreamy shoegaze sound of My Bloody Valentine is inter-woven with the ambient touchstones of the Kranky and Thrill Jockey back-catalogue amidst indie luminaries such as Yo La Tengo and Tortoise’s Doug McCombs. Towards the song’s euphoric crescendo – some six minutes in – a wall of soaring guitar melodies ebb and flow into one glorious cohesive whole, reminiscent of Slowdive’s ’91 debut ‘Just for a Day’. Money frontman Jamie Lee has previously explained how Money’s desire “is to create the world afresh on our own terms”. This is precisely what ‘Corrour’ achieves with its stunning beauty and captivating spell.

 

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Interview with Charlie Cocksedge (Money).

As part of the incredible quartet of Money, the deeply affecting debut album ‘The Shadow Of Heaven’ is a very special and enlightening record. Please discuss the creative process involved and indeed the collaborative process between you, frontman Jamie Lee and Billy and Scott? It must have been an enriching space in time to have witnessed these songs bloom into their finished entities during the course of the band’s recording sessions?

Charlie Cocksedge: ‘The Shadow of Heaven’ evolved over quite a long time. One of the first songs we wrote was ‘Letter to Yesterday’, but that is pretty much the only song that we’ve kept from those early periods, the rest were heavily worked and reworked over time through gigging and demoing. However there was also a lot of experimentation in the studio. In the end, the collaborative and creative process was different for almost every song on the album, but at the same time we worked hard to ensure the songs didn’t sound disparate, and that it flowed and progressed as a whole record.

Congratulations on the stunning guitar-based instrumentals. The compositions possess an ethereal dimension as a rare beauty unfolds with each and every note and sculpted sound. Please discuss this solo venture of yours and the period of time in which these new tracks emerged from?

CS: Thanks very much. These tracks mainly came about in between touring with the band during 2014. I’ve always been doing little compositions for fun aside from Money, and in the summer I got to perform one of them as a score for a short film for an event at Manchester Art Gallery, and shortly after that I had my first solo show. So those things pretty much forced me to actually finish these tracks and work out how to play them live, which I really enjoyed. The natural step then, after putting a live set together, was to record.

How do you see the correlation between Money (and particularly the live tour of ‘The Shadow Of Heaven’) and these solo works? I can imagine you have been crafting gorgeous guitar melodies such as these for a significant part of your life (as it’s something that feels so organic, rich and highly emotive)?

CS: It might not be immediately obvious, but yes there’s definitely a correlation between the two. I’ve always been a bit of a collector of effects pedals, and have used them subtly within Money to enhance our sound, both on record and live – making loops, drones etc – but with this solo work I really get to expand on that, and a lot of the music comes from just playing around with different sounds. It wasn’t long after I started playing guitar as a teenager that I got my first delay pedal. My brother then gave me a copy of ‘Loveless’ by My Bloody Valentine, and a whole world of guitar noise was opened up to me!

Please talk me through the spellbinding ‘Corrour’. What is the recording and layering process utilized when recording these beautifully soothing soundscapes?

CS: The track came from just playing around with a loop pedal in my bedroom at my old house (the house was called Corrour). I came up with the main melodies there, working out how they would intertwine, and then developed the track as a whole in our practice room in Manchester. I recorded it in a studio in Liverpool with a guy called Tom Roach, which was really good fun. I’d only ever been in a studio with the band, so it was a bit scary but also exciting. The recording process itself was fairly easy; I’d already worked out how to play everything live, so Tom and I just worked on how to separate the layers and different ideas in the most effective way for recording, and then tried out different instruments for certain parts so it wasn’t entirely guitar. I love playing live, but at the same time this music is really suited to headphones and home listening, so that is always in the back of my mind while recording.

What composers and artists do you feel have inspired your guitar-based solo works? 

CS: I’ve always been a fan of Steve Reich and Philip Glass, I love their different styles, and the different nature of their music has certainly had an effect on me. I recently got to see Jonny Greenwood perform Reich’s Electric Counterpoint, which was truly inspiring. Jonny’s film scores have influenced me a lot as well, particularly the way he uses instruments in an unconventional way – scratching the violin strings or using cellos as percussion for instance. More recently I’ve been listening to Dan Deacon and Nils Frahm – two amazing performers who both create huge soundscapes onstage, while also having moments of quiet beauty.

 


 

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‘The Shadow of Heaven’ by Money is out now on Bella Union. Charlie Cocksedge’s solo guitar works is a forthcoming release.

https://www.facebook.com/moneybandofficial
http://moneybandofficial.com/

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Written by markcarry

March 10, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Fractured Air 34: In This Place (A Mixtape by We Like We)

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Copenhagen-based quartet We Like We comprise the gifted talents of Katrine Grarup Elbo (violin) Josefine Opsahl (cello) Sara Nigard Rosendal (percussion) and Katinka Fogh Vindelev (voice). All four members are classically trained, but each share a desire for exploring, experimenting and shaping a unique sound of their own, as reflected in their diverse musical influences. The group’s first live performance took place at FROST festival in Copenhagen in February 2013: a unique double-bill concert with Efterklang. We Like We have collaborated with an array of musicians and projects in the past: Efterklang; Julia Holter; Mew; Sofia Gubaidulina; The Danish National Symphony Orchestra, to name but a few. We Like We’s debut album ‘A New Age of Sensibility’ is available now on The Being Music.

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Fractured Air 34: In This Place (A Mixtape by We Like We)

To listen on Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-34-in-this-place-a-mixtape-by-we-like-we/

 

Tracklisting:

01. Gustav Mahler ‘Symphony #5, 4th Movement, Adagietto, Sehr Langsam (with The Berlin Philharmonic and Simon Rattle) [EMI Classics]
02. Jordi Savall ‘Ductia’ [Astrée Auvidis]
03. Ligeti György ‘Hungarian Rock’, Barrel organ performed by Pierre Charial [Sony Classical]
04. Joni Mitchell ‘The Last Time I Saw Richard’ [Reprise]
05. Martin Lohse ‘In Liquid’ 1. movement [Dacapo]
06. Feist ‘The Bad in Each Other’ [Arts & Crafts]
07. Marius Neset ‘Birds’ [The ACT Company]
08. Dmitri Shostakovich ‘Song of Ophelia’ from Seven Romances on Poems by Alexander Blok Op. 127
09. Stravinsky ‘Concertino for String Quartet’ [Sony Classical]
10. Per Nørgård ‘The Gentle, The Penetrating’ from I Ching [BIS]
11. Julia Holter ‘City Appearing’ [Domino]
12. Hans Abrahamsen ‘Schnee, Canon 2a: ‘Lustig spielend, aber nicht zu lustig, immer ein bisschen melankolisch’ [Winter & Winter]
13. Quadron ‘Jeans’ [Plug Research]
14. Leonard Cohen ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ [Columbia]
15. Maurice Ravel ‘La Valse’ [Columbia Masterworks]
16. Tenniscoats ‘End Of The Day, Slight Hunger’ [Room40]
17. Maria Callas ‘Tu Che Di Gel Sei Cinta’ (Turandot) [EMI, Columbia]
18. Franz Schubert ‘String Quintet in C Major’ D. 956, 2nd Movement, Adagio [Deutsche Grammophon]
19. Kuku Sebsebe ‘Feqreh Beretabenye’
20. Tys Tys ‘In This Place’ [Loretta Records]
21. Isao Tomita ‘Clair De Lune No. 3’ [RCA]

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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‘A New Age of Sensibility’ is out now on The Being Music.

http://welikewe.com/
http://thebeingmusic.bandcamp.com/

 

 

Written by admin

March 4, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Chosen One: Carlos Cipa

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Interview with Carlos Cipa.

“The examination of musical form, harmony or mostly rhythm is an ongoing stimulation for my thinking about writing music and expressing yourself through music.”

—Carlos Cipa

Words: Mark Carry

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Last November marked the highly anticipated sophomore full-length release from the gifted Munich-based composer and multi-instrumentalist, Carlos Cipa. ‘All Your Life You Walk’ is a collection of stunningly beautiful piano-based compositions; representing an artist at the height of his powers. The latest offering – and follow-up to Cipa’s mesmerising debut ‘The Monarch and the Viceroy’ (both albums released on the prestigious German-based Denovali imprint) – features an array of rare instruments, found sounds, atmospheric touches and gentle beats that evokes an utterly timeless and deeply affecting experience.

Over the last two years, the German composer amassed a treasure of musical instruments that were no longer in use: a very rare instrument built by Hohner in the 1960’s, primarily played by musicians like Warren Ellis, Leo Abraham and Mum; an old radio receiver that belonged to Cipa’s grandparents (serving the magical opening tones of ‘All Your Life You Walk’); an old Framus bass guitar from the 60’s among several others. Above all, the Cipa’s deft touch of hand and resolutely unique sounds generated from the piano instrument becomes the vital pulse to the record’s rich sonic tapestry. A series of fragments are wonderfully embedded in the album’s striking narrative that further adds to the ethereal dimension the music effortlessly taps into. The album was self-recorded, performed and produced by the German composer in his very own “Beatschappen Studio.”

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‘All Your Life You Walk’ is available now on Denovali.

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

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Interview with Carlos Cipa.

Congratulations Carlos on the incredible new album, ‘All Your Life You Walk’. It’s a real pleasure to talk to you again and discuss this very special record. Firstly, I love how the musical compositions are deeply embedded in this entirely other space and dimension. For example, the inclusion of several fragment pieces – dotted throughout the record – adds to this sense of journey and how ‘All Your Life You Walk’ is a captivating and cohesive whole. Please discuss the making of this new record, Carlos and please shed some light on the album-title and the ideas you wanted to explore on ‘All Your Life You Walk’?

Carlos Cipa: Thanks a lot for all your interest in my work and these kind words, it’s a pleasure to speak with you again and talk about my new album with you. I’ve been working on the compositions, musical ideas and the whole concept of “All Your Life You Walk” over the last two years but the main part of the work has been done in the summer from June to September (2014). First, I finished composing all the piano parts and piano solo songs and then recorded everything on piano only. After that I continued working on writing and recording the fragments and the different colours I wanted to add to the certain songs. Every sound and instrument is carefully chosen. It’s just the exact amount of instrumental facets I wanted to add to the songs.

The title is a reference to a favourite poem of mine by Kurt Tucholsky called “Augen in der Großstadt” (engl. “Eyes in the Big City”). One of the lines has been translated in English; also all the song titles are references to different things that inspire me, films, song lyrics, poems, etc.

My current favourite is the sublime ‘Hang On To Your Lights’, I particularly love the rhythmic and percussive elements to your piano playing. Are there certain techniques or processes you have expanded on this record? In terms of writing, I wonder is a piece like ‘Hang On To Your Lights’ quite a gradual unfolding before the music is given its wings, and in full-bloom, so to speak?

CC: That’s great, it might also be my favourite. For this piece I really took long time to develop the composition. I worked strictly with scores for the piano part, so everything was written down before recording. The pattern in the right hand is developing throughout the whole piece, but the bar is always changing so you never get a feeling of rest (the piece has nearly 80 bar changes and several different tempi). The rhythmic elements are sounds from the inside of the piano; I created the beat with felt beaters on the cast iron frame and then processed it a bit with the computer. The drone/ambient sounds are piano strings plucked, bowed, picked recorded and cut, processed and layered in the computer. For a piece of that length, that’s based on a little loop pattern, I believe it’s really important to be absolutely precise with every bar in the piece and to create a million little details so it never gets boring and you’re always able to explore something new in every second of the piece.

You collected a wide array of fabulous instruments that have found their way on ‘All Your Life You Walk’, further heightening the deeply personal sound of the creations. I would love for you to discuss these instruments and the beautiful stories that are behind each and every one of these special instruments. For example, are the first notes heard on the album the sound of the radio receiver belonging to your grandparents? Also, the very rare instrument built by Hohner in the 60’s must have been a miracle of a discovery for you?

CC: I’d love to talk you through them. Let’s start with the “Hohner Guitaret”; it’s been built in the 60’s only for a very short period of time. It was meant for use in a Jazz combo but never really found its place there. It’s a “kalimba-phone” instrument but with electroacoustic pick-ups, so it can be used similar to a guitar, but has a totally different, very unique sound. You can hear it on tracks 3, 4, 9 and 11. I processed it with a variety of effects.

Then there’s the “Marimba” (heard on songs 3, 4, 5, 9, 11), it belonged to a childhood friend, and he stopped playing at a certain age and the instrument was getting all dusty in their attic until I asked him if can use it for recording and now it has it’s own space in my studio. The same goes for the “Hackbrett” (heard at the beginning and throughout song 11) but this was actually the instrument of his brother, another childhood friend of mine.

The radio receiver is as you say the beginning and ending of the album. I’ve the great luck to live and work in the house my grandparents built by them in the 50s after the war and I wanted to make a connection to them and to the space. This radio receiver was in their possession for a very long time and even if it doesn’t sound “perfect”, I am very happy that it has found its way on the record. The E-bass (also on tracks 3,4,9 and 11) is a very rare jazz bass built by Framus in the 60s, I discovered in a vintage music store here in Munich. I just love the wooden sound and how it melts with the piano and all the other instruments.

Then there are a variety of percussion instruments I collected over the years, a glockenspiel, a sansula, an ocean harp and some African instruments. I also added a second piano sound to my music; it’s coming from an upright piano, played with the felt pedal. I bought this beautiful instrument from an old lady who stopped playing and I really love how the mellow sound melts with my grand piano. All other sounds are piano inside sounds, plucked strings, bowed strings, e-bowed strings, muted notes, harmonics, layered and processed in the computer.

I would love to gain an insight please onto the space of your very own “Beatschuppen Studio”? What is the set-up in the studio itself, Carlos?

CC: As said before, I am living and working in the house of my grandparents, it’s an old house from the 50s and I built my little studio in the basement over the last few years. I work in two rooms and my grand piano is upstairs in the living room, so most of the time recording means running up and down stairs… it keeps you fit, though. At the moment I am working with RME interfaces and pre-amps and mostly Neumann microphones, I prefer to keep it simple and this setup is working out just fine for the moment.

I can also shed some light on the name of the studio; one of the basement rooms was the child room of my mother when she was growing up in this house and she used to be a big fan of the Beatles (like me) and so she used to call her room like that (in English kind of like “beat music shed”). I thought it’s a funny name for a studio.

I love the cinematic feel that permeates the cathartic ‘Step Out From Time’. Can you talk me through this piece of music please?

CC: I think you get this feeling because this piece might be the one that has the least solo-piano feel to it. This might originate mostly in the instrumentation/production. I divided left and right hand into two different instruments (the right hand plays the melody on the clear and brilliant grand piano, the left hand plays accompanying figures on the mellow and soft felt muted upright). All the other sounds (bowed Hackbrett, Guitaret, bass guitar, marimba) are interwoven with both these piano elements to create a levitating atmosphere around it. The whole piece is based on the little fifth-based melody that spins around throughout the whole piece, until the piece finds rest in those choral-like upright chords in the end. In November, I rearranged the piece for a dance performance for a little ensemble, piano, flute, violin and cello and it worked out really great. I hope I can upload a proper recording in the near future.

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You are currently studying contemporary classical composition. I would love to know more about this area of study and indeed what contemporary classical compositions have served (and continue to serve) the biggest influence on you? You are involved in every aspect of the music-making process, from recording to producing; I wonder do you see these various stages as same thing?

CC: Even though I am studying classical composition at the moment, I think my work for the records is something totally different. To include the aspect of recording and producing (which means I indeed totally equate these two things with the process of composing, which opens yourself doors that otherwise would be shut), the aspect of sound in the compositions (and also even the aspect of writing music for an audience), means distancing yourself from existing methods in the contemporary classical scene. Also, of course, my musical language draws equally from popular music and classical music, which also separates me from that particular scene.

But despite that, I learned so much from contemporary music, not only from the usual suspects (like Reich or the minimalists) but also from a lot of other totally different composers. The examination of musical form, harmony or mostly rhythm is an ongoing stimulation for my thinking about writing music and expressing yourself through music. I included most of these recent influences in the mixtape I compiled for your site a while ago. Of course all those wonderful composers wrote a hell lot more amazing pieces that are equally worth checking out. Contemporary classical music is a very difficult field of music to get into, especially in Germany, but once you start discovering some of the rare diamonds, you are able to comb through the jungle of terrible stuff that seems to be everywhere you look.

You must be very excited to play shows across Europe this December. Forgive the generalization (in advance) but discuss the magical moments and emotions that you, as a composer must experience when performing these piano compositions live to an audience?

CC: The tour has been amazing. It’s always great to be on the road with my fellow label friend Poppy Ackroyd, but this tour was even more fun then before. I am very happy with my live set at the moment, playing the new pieces is really special and I got great responses from all the audiences about the concerts and the new album. I am also doing a little more improvisation than before, which makes it also more interesting and joy for me to play, because you never know what will happen and you get a chance to explore the different pianos and the different responses from audiences every night in a better way than if you’re just performing the songs. That’s something I really love about touring.

What records have you been enjoying the most these past few months, Carlos?

CC: The new Björk album. I can’t wait for the vinyl. This album is just so beautiful and amazing, I can’t stop listening and loving it. From the wonderful production to the amazing string arrangements, of course her always fascinating voice and the incredible beautiful and challenging songs/compositions. It’s just perfect.

Brian Reitzell’s score for TV series “Hannibal”, very recently released on vinyl. I adored the score in the series, but this collection for the records is even more rewarding!!

Alfred Schnittke – Concerto grosso No. I, a wonderful piece by one of the best composers of the 20th century. Even if it is a famous piece, it’s still totally underrated in contemporary classical music.

 


 

aylyw200

‘All Your Life You Walk’ is available now on Denovali.

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

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Written by markcarry

March 3, 2015 at 3:12 pm

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