FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Albums & Reissues Of The Year: 2014

with 13 comments

The following is a selection of the albums and re-issues that had the greatest impact on us for a wide range of different reasons. As difficult as it proved to settle on a final (and very concise) selection, we both turned to these special albums most often throughout the year. 2014 has been a year which has produced so many absolutely wonderful and truly special albums, here’s our personal selection of some of these (with a selection of ten albums and five re-issues).

Words: Mark & Craig Carry, All artwork: Craig Carry

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Albums of the year:

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Grouper ‘Ruins’ (Kranky)

‘Ruins’ was made while U.S. musician and artist Liz Harris was on an artist residency (set up by Galeria Zé dos Bois) during 2011 in Portugal’s Aljezur region. The location would provide a striking influence to Harris’s subsequent recordings (recorded in typically minimal fashion: a portable 4-track, Sony stereo mic and an upright piano) while the sense of both departure and a new-found freedom flow throughout ‘Ruins’ and its majestic and dreamlike eight tracks. During her Aljezur residency, Harris would embark on daily hikes to the nearest beach where she would encounter the ruins of several old estates and a small village. As Harris has said: “The album is a document. A nod to that daily walk. Failed structures. Living in the remains of love. I left the songs the way they came (microwave beep from when power went out after a storm); I hope that the album bears some resemblance to the place that I was in.”

‘Ruins’ is a stunning achievement which proves all the more astonishing considering the already extensive (and consistently breathtaking) recorded output of Grouper since the mid 00’s. ‘Clearing’ is arguably Harris’s most singularly beautiful song conceived to date. As Harris sings: “What has been done / Can never be undone” over a gorgeously delicate piano line we embark on yet another wholly unique and deeply personal odyssey under the stewardship of Harris’s very heart. Like a silent witness we hold our breath as we remain under Harris’s spell throughout (from the timeless ballad ‘Holding’ to the closing epic drone-heavy tour-de-force ‘Made of Air’). ‘Ruins’ is a quietly breathtaking force of nature: an album made as much by Harris’s own hands as by the moonlight’s illumination in the night sky or the evening sun’s last rays of faded half-light.

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‘Ruins’ is available now on Kranky.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grouper/
http://www.kranky.net/

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Caribou ‘Our Love’ (City Slang/Merge)

One of my most memorable moments of this past year was undoubtedly witnessing Caribou’s storming live set at 2014’s Body & Soul festival. A euphoric feeling ascended into the summer evening skyline as each transcendent beat and luminous pop-laden hook flooded our senses. The majority of 2010’s glorious LP ‘Swim’ was revisited, from the tropicalia-infused ‘Odessa’ to the hypnotic ‘Sun’ and all points in between. Dan Snaith & co’s set further confirmed the legendary status of Caribou; whose innovative and utterly compelling sonic creations (where elements of krautrock, dance, jazz, soul, hip-hop, and electronic soundscapes form one irresistible, mind-blowing sound spectrum) have long served a trusted companion for the independent music collector.

This year marked the highly anticipated fifth Caribou studio album, ‘Our Love’, which, in many ways, nestles beautifully between its predecessor ‘Swim’ and Snaith’s more techno-oriented project of Daphni. Lead single ‘Can’t Do Without You’ is an instant classic with a seamless array of melodic patterns and soulful vocals that evokes the soul-stirring songbook of Al Green as much as it spans the history of the dance floor. Several of the songs were co-written by gifted Canadian composer/violinist Owen Pallett (whose own solo record ‘In Conflict’ has been one of the most original, daring and innovative records of 2014) and Pallett’s distinctive violin-led melodies coalesce effortlessly with Snaith’s visionary dance structures.

Numerous remixes have since seen the light of day (where new perspectives and insights are drawn and re-configured) with the latest example being Carl Craig’s techno mix of ‘Your Love Will Set You Free’. Much in the same way as ‘Swim’, I know (and firmly believe) ‘Our Love’ will remain as vital and significant for many more years and decades to come.

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‘Our Love’ is available now on City Slang (EU) and Merge (USA).

http://www.caribou.fm

http://cityslang.com
http://www.mergerecords.com

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Sharon Van Etten ‘Are We There’ (Jagjaguwar)

When Jersey-native and New York-based songwriter Sharon Van Etten first announced the arrival of ‘Are We There’, Van Etten’s fourth full-length and follow-up to her 2011 seminal work ‘Tramp’, she had these words to share: “I really hope that when someone puts my record on that they hear me.” Of course, Van Etten’s wishes have clearly been fulfilled. If there’s one thing we can firmly establish by now it is this: Van Etten makes music from the real world; a world of real events and real people with real feelings. Subsequently, steeped in a sometimes harsh reality, Van Etten’s songs are imbued with fears, struggles and (often) much pain. Much like Chan Marshall’s pre ‘The Greatest’ recorded output, Van Etten bravely examines her own life’s immediate surroundings and relationships to share her most innermost confessions and feelings for us all to bear witness. Through Van Etten’s songs we too can find our own deepest feelings long hidden in the shadows of some forgotten, distant dream.

‘Are We There’ is Van Etten’s first self-produced album (The National’s Aaron Dessner produced its predecessor ‘Tramp’) and features a host of wonderful musicians, including: Torres’s Mackenzie Scott on vocals (who toured extensively supporting Van Etten); Heather Woods-Broderick (on strings and vocals); Mary Lattimore (harp) as well as Van Etten’s trusted and formidable rhythm section (Zeke Hutchins on drums and David Hartley on bass). The use of vocal harmonies (Van Etten, Scott and Woods-Broderick) is a pure joy to witness. The resultant musical arrangements are stunningly cohesive and yet genuinely innovative, providing for many moments of challenging and divine musicianship — at times wonderfully dense and strikingly tactile (‘Our Love’ or ‘Every Time The Sun Coms Up’) — other times remain starkly sparse (‘I Know’) but, importantly, such intricacies of musicianship and arrangements only ever serve the song.

“Everybody needs to feel” sings Van Etten on ‘Your Love Is Killing Me’. It’s a sentiment that best serves the phenomenal and beloved artist that is Sharon Van Etten and ‘Are We There’. It’s another step to becoming your own true self. It’s a destination no one is ever likely to realistically reach but striving for it is proving to be Van Etten (and her sacred songbook)’s true towering achievement.

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‘Are We There’ is available now on Jagjaguwar.

http://www.sharonvanetten.com/
http://www.jagjaguwar.com/

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Clark ‘Clark’ (Warp)

‘I Dream Of Wires’ is a documentary based on the phenomenal resurgence of the modular synthesizer; exploring the passions and dreams of people who have dedicated part of their lives to this electronic music machine. The splendid documentary — released earlier this year — features interviews with Ghostly’s Solvent (who co-wrote the film in addition to composing the film score), Carl Craig, Jeremy Greenspan (Junior Boys) and Warp’s Clark. Reflecting on this particular film now, I feel it is precisely this exploration of passions and dreams that filters into the dazzling music of  UK’s Chris Clark. The unique blend of utterly transcendent electronic creations is forever steeped in a rare beauty, filled with endless moments of divine transcendence.

This year marked the eagerly awaited release of new self-titled full-length (and seventh for Warp), following up 2012’s magical ‘Iradelphic’. The gifted producer’s meticulous touch can be felt throughout, from the cold-cut classic ‘Unfurla’ to the blissful synth-laden ‘The Grit In The Pearl’. Dance music for the here-and-now that breathes life and meaning into music’s endless possibilities.

As Clark has said: “Music is like sculpture. It’s like trying to capture a moment of ultimate momentum, and distill it forever”.

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‘Clark’ is available now on Warp.

http://throttleclark.com/
http://warp.net/

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Hauschka ‘Abandoned City’ (City Slang/Temporary Residence Ltd)

Witnessing Hauschka’s Volker Bertelmann — whether in live setting during his renowned concert performances or in recorded contexts — a certain sense of magic fills the air. Sylvain Chomet’s 2010 animated marvel ‘The Illusionist’ comes to mind, as we are left in wonderment to observe the artist’s vast collection of skills and unlimited wells of talent. Known worldwide as one of the most recognizable 21st Century proponents of what is known as Prepared Piano, Bertelmann has amassed a considerable body of work over the last decade, ceaselessly weaving his own singular path — and on his own terms — to wondrous effect (much like fellow modern composers and restless souls Nils Frahm and Max Richter or such Twentieth Century masters as Eric Satie, John Cage and Steve Reich). Importantly, the album itself draws from research Bertelmann made (after the discovery of a series of photographic prints depicting the subject of abandoned cities) on the number of actual vacated cities in existence (each track title references a particular city). As Bertelmann has said: “I was interested in finding a metaphor for the inner tension I feel when I’m composing music, a state of mind where I’m lonely and happy at the same time.”

‘Abandoned City’ proves a certain milestone in Hauschka’s recorded output to date. An intriguing sense of both adventure and discovery seeps through every pore of the album’s ten compositions. Like all of Hauschka’s art, nothing is as it first seems. As we delve further into this abandoned city Hauschka has built for us we begin to lose all sense of what we initially thought was important in the process. We lose all traces of ourselves for that beautiful instant we are under Bertelmann’s sacred spell and that is what Hauschka’s divine art forever manages to do.

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‘Abandoned City’ is available now on City Slang (EU) and Temporary Residence Ltd (USA).

http://hauschka-net.de/

http://cityslang.com/
http://temporaryresidence.com/

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Steve Gunn ‘Way Out Weather’ (Paradise Of Bachelors)

The flawless North Carolina-based independent label Paradise of Bachelors has yet again been responsible for a string of modern-day Americana masterpieces, not least the latest tour-de-force from the ever-prolific, Brooklyn-based guitar prodigy and songsmith, Steve Gunn. This year’s ‘Way Out Weather’ feels like a natural culmination where every aspect of Gunn’s deeply-affecting songs — poignant story-telling quality, immaculate instrumentation and intricate musical arrangements — is heightened as the towering eight creations hits you profoundly and stirs your soul. 2013’s ‘Time Off’ was the starting point of Gunn’s song-writing path, having collaborated closely with Kurt Vile, Michael Chapman, Mike Cooper, The Black Twig Pickers and a host of others in recent times.

A timeless feel permeates every corner of the record. The recording sessions took place at Black Dirt Studio in Westtown, New York, featuring a formidable cast of musicians (and Gunn’s long-term collaborators) further adding to the widescreen, cinematic sound to ‘Way Out Weather’s sprawling sonic canvas. Longtime musical brothers and kindred spirits Jason Meagher (bass, drones, engineering), Justin Tripp (bass, guitar, keys, production), and John Truscinski (drums), in addition to newcomers Nathan Bowles (drums, banjo, keys: Black Twig Pickers, Pelt); James Elkington (guitar, lap steel, dobro: Freakwater, Jeff Tweedy); Mary Lattimore (harp, keys: Thurston Moore, Kurt Vile); and Jimy SeiTang (synths, electronics: Stygian Stride, Rhyton.)

On the utterly transcendent album closer, ‘Tommy’s Congo’, shades of Sonny Sharrock beautifully surfaces beneath the artefacts of time. The deep groove and rhythm interwoven with this vivid catharsis is nothing short of staggering. The cosmic spirit captured on the closing cut — and each of these sublime recordings — permanently occupies a state of transcendence. As each song-cycle unfolds, the shimmering worlds of Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue or the Stones’ ‘Exile On Main St.’ fades into focus. ‘Way Out Weather’ is dotted with captivating moments from the ways of a true master.

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

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

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Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Dan Trueman ‘Laghdú’ (Irishmusic.net)

2014 has been a remarkable year for Ireland-based composer Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh. Firstly, January saw the release of contemporary quintet The Gloaming’s stunning self-titled debut album via Real World Records. Subsequent concerts would be performed across the globe (including Sydney’s Opera House) to mass celebration and widespread critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. As well as touring with his other band, the Irish/Swedish quartet This Is How We Fly, across both Ireland and Europe, Ó Raghallaigh also performed a series of truly special solo concerts (entitled “In My Mind”, a solo fiddle and film show) across the length of Ireland for the month of October. Despite the hectic touring schedules, Ó Raghallaigh also released two stunning works: the solo album ‘Music For An Elliptical Orbit’ (via Dublin-based label Diatribe Records) and the mesmerizing ‘Laghdú’, a collaboration with U.S. fiddle player Dan Trueman.

‘Laghdú’ (an Irish word which translates as: a lessening, a decrease, a reduction) is a hugely significant work for many reasons. Most notably, it was Trueman who first introduced Ó Raghallaigh to his beloved ten-string hardanger d’amore fiddle (custom-made in Norway by Salve Håkedal) during September 2000. It is the simple dialogue and deep connection which exists between the pair (both performing identical instruments and identical baroque bows) which is a pure joy to savor. Two traditional pieces are performed by the pair (‘The Jack of Diamonds Three’ and ‘Fead an Iolair’) while the remainder of ‘Laghdú’ comprises original compositions written and arranged by Trueman and Ó Raghallaigh. The dynamic range is nothing short of staggering — from the near-silent to the nigh-on orchestral, at times exploding joyously from their hybrid 10-string fiddles, at times barely there — holding time still in the process. The resultant eleven heavenly tracks occupy both the realms populated by the most ancient forms of traditional music as well as those thrillingly in-between spaces carved out and inhabited in modern neoclassical composition of the most utterly enchanting and truly sacred kind.

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‘Laghdú’ is available now via Irishmusic.net HERE.

http://www.caoimhinoraghallaigh.com/
http://www.manyarrowsmusic.com/
http://irishmusic.net/

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Christina Vantzou ‘N°2’ (Kranky)

‘N°2’ is the second solo album by the Brussels-based artist and Kansas-born composer Christina Vantzou and, like its predecessor, ‘N°1’, was issued by the formidable Chicago-based independent label Kranky. Written over a period of four years, ‘N°2’ finds Vantzou reunited with Minna Choi — of the San Francisco-based Magik*Magik Orchestra — and regular contributor Adam Wiltzie (A Winged Victory For The Sullen, Stars Of The Lid) who Vantzou effectively began her musical career with when the duo made music as The Dead Texan (Vantzou was keyboardist as well as film-maker, illustrator and animator). A wide 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 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.

Indeed, the most appropriate analogy to imagine while attempting to surmise the sheer magic of ‘N°2’ is the act of making those frame-by-frame animations Vantzou has so patiently and laboriously created in the past: while they are meticulously worked on, over such a long and painfully slow process, the results yielded are both stunningly imperfect and remarkably pure. It’s a characteristic which runs through all of Vantzou’s breathtaking art (from her drawings and sleeve artwork to her dreamlike slow motion film works) which truly heightens all that surrounds you.

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‘N°2’ is available now on Kranky.

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

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Birds Of Passage ‘This Kindly Slumber’ (Denovali)

New Zealand-based composer Alicia Merz has been quietly amassing a soul-stirring collection of albums under her Birds Of Passage moniker over the past five years or so. ‘This Kindly Slumber’ — released by German independent label Denovali Records — is Merz’s third solo full-length album and features Merz’s spellbinding lyricism (at times recalling Mark Linkous or Daniel Johnston in their open honesty and raw emotion). Like Grouper’s Liz Harris, Birds Of Passage’s power emanates from minimal musical arrangements (vocal takes are often first takes) where a sense of both purity and intimacy is conjured by Merz throughout, providing for an unforgettable listening experience. As we delve into the innermost caverns of ‘This Kindly Slumber’s mysterious and complex maze of real and imagined landscapes; the sensation one feels is akin to the finest of Murakami’s fictional prose or the most ancient of children’s nursery rhymes and folklore tales. Interestingly, Merz holds a deep fascination with nursery rhymes since a very young age and ‘Ladybird, Ladybird’ is combined with ‘And All Of Your Dreams’ to powerful effect. Elsewhere, the deeply personal ‘Yesterday’s Stains’ contains an openness and honesty rare in music.

‘This Kindly Slumber’ is a life-affirming journey which finds Merz navigating the darkest of nights while facing her gravest of fears. On the other side of this kindly slumber we realize that even the darkest of shadows lie closest to light: through the sacred and secret songs of Birds Of Passage we learn that in every moment of hopelessness exists hope. For that, we can be eternally grateful.

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‘This Kindly Slumber’ is available now on Denovali.

http://birdsofpassagemusic.com/
http://www.denovali.com/

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Marissa Nadler ‘July’ (Bella Union/Sacred Bones)

‘July’ (which documents Nadler’s life events from one July to the next) is the ever-prolific U.S. songwriter’s latest opus of longing and hope. The album can be read and interpreted autobiographically but, crucially, like all of Nadler’s songbook, songs are masterfully left open to the listener’s interpretation. Interestingly, Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))), is at the helm of production duties on ‘July’; providing a first-time collaboration for the pair. Accompanying Nadler is Eyvind Kang (strings), Steve Moore (synths) and Phil Wandscher (Jesse Sykes, Whiskeytown) on lead guitar. However, as is always the case with such a truly unique songwriter, it is Nadler’s breathtaking voice and impeccable lyricism which quietly dominate proceedings. Like such kindred spirits as Missourri songwriter Angel Olsen or British folk legends Vashti Bunyan and Bridget St. John, Nadler’s music captivates the mind (and heart) of each and every listener fortunate enough to cross paths with her. From album opener ‘Drive’ to the forlorn closing piano ballad ‘Nothing In my Heart’, immediacy and directness prevails throughout ‘July’. Transcendental moments abound, from the poetic lyricism to ‘We Are Coming Back’ (“Still I live many miles away / So I can miss you a little everyday”) to the brooding tour-de-force ‘Dead City Emily’ which combines both gut-wrenching honesty (“I was coming apart those days”) and heart-stopping beauty as, ultimately, the prevailing sense of hope outlasts all struggle and inner-conflict (“Oh I saw the light today / Opened up the door”).

As the lyrics of ‘Drive’ return to my mind: “Still remember all the words to every song you ever heard”; I feel those very words reflect the empowering feeling in which the cherished songbook of Marissa Nadler ceaselessly awakens (and continues to re-awaken) in me.

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‘July’ is available now on Bella Union (EU) and Sacred Bones (USA).

http://www.marissanadler.com/

http://bellaunion.com/
http://www.sacredbonesrecords.com/

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Reissues of the year:

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The Moles ‘Flashbacks And Dream Sequences: The Story Of The Moles’ (Fire)

Looking back on 2014, the first sounds which come to my mind is Australian band The Moles and the magical first-time discovery of their music in the form of their first retrospective ‘Flashbacks And Dream Sequences: The Story Of The Moles’, released via Fire Records. The double-album is packed to the brim with impeccably constructed pop songs, heart-breaking love songs and just about every shade and nuance in between (spanning punk, shoe gaze and indie rock). ‘Flashbacks and Dream Sequences: The Story of The Moles’ contains the band’s two studio albums; debut full-length ‘Untune The Sky’ (originally released in 1991) and follow-up ‘Instinct’ (the latter was heralded by The Sea And Cake’s Archer Prewitt as being “as close to perfection as any Beatles or Beach Boys record and it stands on its own as a classic in my book”) and a whole plethora of b-sides and rarities, culled from various EP’s and singles. Led by Richard Davies (who later would join Eric Mathews and form Cardinal), The Moles were formed in Sydney in the late 80’s and unleashed a resolutely unique songbook which would prove hugely influential on a whole host of diverse bands (The Flaming Lips, The Sea And Cake). The original band line-up consisted of Glenn Fredericks, Richard Davies, Warren Armstrong and Carl Zadra, friends from law school who were fans of Flying Nun, The Fall and The Go Betweens, drawing their name from a reference to ‘Wind In The Willows’ and spy novels (John Le Carré and Graham Greene).

What’s most apparent on this defining release is that the truly unique vision (in both Davies’s songwriting and The Moles’ music) deserves to be known — and embraced — the world over. “It’s always an adventure. There’s an element of a well that never runs dry,” Richard Davies told us earlier in the year, on discussing The Moles. It’s a sentiment which could not be more true for The Moles and their utterly visionary and absolutely essential music.

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‘Flashbacks And Dream Sequences: The Story Of The Moles’ is available now on Fire Records.

[Richard Davies Facebook Page]
http://www.firerecords.com/

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Lewis ‘L’Amour’ (Light In The Attic)

When Light In The Attic Records reissued the much-fabled, timeless cult-classic ‘L’Amour’ by Lewis (originally released in 1983 on the unknown label R.A.W.) not much was known about the whereabouts of its esteemed author, not least the actual identity of “Lewis”, for that matter. The sense of mystery only deepened when consulting the album’s liner notes: Was Lewis still alive? What has he been doing in the intervening years? What other musical treasures are lying around only awaiting to be discovered written by this elusive figure? Crucially, without even beginning to dig any further into biographical detail (or absence thereof), it’s clear that, on listening to ‘L’Amour’, Lewis created nothing short of a bona-fide masterpiece. Heartbreak is immediately evident from Lewis’s lonesome, brooding, ghostly baritone from album opener ‘Things Just Happen That Way’ (“I took her hand / She took my heart”) while a sparse set-up of whispered voice together with only piano, synthesizer (or an occasional plucked guitar) remains throughout — recalling Waits or Springsteen at their most hushed and introspective best — creating a defining album of heartbreak — and love — in the process.

And what about the biographical gaps? Indeed Lewis was, as it turned out, a pseudonym. Lewis’s true identity has proved to be that of Randall Wulff (as confirmed by famed L.A. photographer Ed Colver, who had shot the über-cool cover-shoot for L’Amour’s album sleeve). However, for the purposes of the Light In The Attic liner notes, the mystery remained unsolved (after a long two-and-a-half year search). That is, until August 2014, when the real-life Randall Wulff was found (read Light In The Attic’s amazing article HERE) — alive and well and still quietly making his own masterful music — in what must have been the year’s most enchanting and heart-warming of stories.

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L’Amour’ is available now on Light In The Attic.

http://lightintheattic.net/artists/691-lewis
http://lightintheattic.net/

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One Of You ‘One Of You’ (Little Axe)

One of the most stunning re-issues of recent times came this year via the Portland, Oregon-based label Little Axe Records (a label founded when Mississippi Records split into two labels in 2011), with it’s issuing of a self-titled LP by One Of You. The author’s name and identity remains anonymous but we do know this startling collection was made by a Czech immigrant to Canada who set up her own Scarab label in the early ‘80’s, releasing music under the pseudonyms One of You and The Triffids. Having fled her homeland in the late sixties to emigrate to Canada for hopes of a better future and life there, One Of You’s music would be imbued with a prevailing sense of loss, regret and much hardships. The music itself, written in both Czech and English, and arranged in typically minimal fashion (synthesizer, guitar, organ) touches upon outsider folk, folk-psych, Eastern European folk and minimalist music traditions. One Of You’s deeply affecting, timeless music yields moments of powerful intensity while a whole spectrum of emotions, images and textures are unleashed beautifully upon the listener all at once.

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‘One Of You’ is available now on Little Axe.

http://littleaxerecords.bandcamp.com/album/one-of-you-s-t
http://www.littleaxerecords.com/

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K. Leimer ‘A Period of Review (Original Recordings: 1975-1983)’ (RVNG Intl)

RVNG Intl. is a Brooklyn-based music institution that operates on few but heavily fortified principles, dealing with forward-reaching artists that ceaselessly push the sonic envelope. From visionary luminaries such as Julia Holter, Holly Herndon, Blondes, Maxmillion Dunbar et al, RVNG Intl. has consistently delivered some of the most adventurous, enthralling and breathtaking records this past decade. One of the label’s cornerstones has become the awe-inspiring archival series which has featured (and celebrated) musical pioneers Craig Leon, Ariel Kalma and K. Leimer. The third installment of the archival series — released earlier this year — was Seattle-based sound sculptor, K. Leimer and a vast treasure of ambient voyages entitled ‘A Period of Review (Original Recordings: 1975-1983)’. I simply cannot think of a more special musical document to have graced my life this past year than Kerry Leimer’s resolutely unique and deeply human canon of pioneering ambient music.

A glimpse into Leimer’s creative process is touched upon on the compilation’s liner notes: “The loop provided an instant structure – a sort of fatalism – the participation of the tape machine in shaping and extending the music was a key to setting self-deterministic systems in motion and held clear relationship to my interests in fine art.”

‘A Period of Review (Original Recordings: 1975-1983)’ offers the perfect entry point (across an exhaustive double-album and thirty spellbinding tracks) into the beautifully enthralling and ever-revolving world inhabited by the special soul of Mr. Kerry Leimer.

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‘A Period of Review (Original Recordings: 1975-1983)’  is available now on RVNG Intl.

http://www.palaceoflights.com/
http://igetrvng.com/

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Fikret Kızılok ‘Anadolu’yum’ (Pharaway Sounds)

Although technically issued at the tail end of 2013, legendary Turkish folk singer Fikret Kızılok (1947-2001)’s exquisite collection of singles from 1971-75 (compiled into a 14-track set entitled ‘Anadolu’yum’ and issued by Pharaway Sounds, a subsidiary label of Light In The Attic Records) proved — like the many equally formidable Pharaway Sounds releases — a true haven for music lovers. Merging genres and fuzing styles almost at will (as evidenced by the immense musical arrangements drawing from such diverse sources as Western influences, India and his own native Turkey), Kızılok’s diverse appetite and deep appreciation for music shines through in every one of this magical compilation’s fourteen tracks. From the heavenly and beautifully forlorn Anatolian folk masterpiece ‘Anadolu’yum (1972&1975)’ to the irresistible sitar-aided ‘Gün Ola Devran Döne’ (1971), Kızılok’s musical path would be dictated by numerous external obstacles of the day (namely, the political unrest of his native Turkey throughout the 1970’s) while a pressure to conform to audience’s expectations (Kızılok was a pop phenomenon in Turkey, regularly charting instant hits) proved immense in the intervening years, while he would become most often associated with his best known love ballads from his considerable 1970’s output.

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‘Anadolu’yum’  is available now on Pharaway Sounds.

http://lightintheattic.net/

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All designs and artwork by Craig Carry: http://craigcarry.net

With very special thanks to all the wonderful musicians and labels for the true gift of their music. And a special thank you to all our readers for reading during the year.

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Web: http://fracturedair.com

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/Fractured_Air
Mixcloud: http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/

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Mixtape: Flashlight Seasons [A Fractured Air Mix]

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Flashlight Seasons [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/mixtape-flashlight-seasons-a-fractured-air-mix/

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01. Washington Phillips ‘What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?’ [JSP]
02. The Dead Texan ‘A Chronicle of Early Failures, Pt. 1’ [Kranky]
03. Sparklehorse ‘Box Of Stars (Part Two)’ [Parlophone]
04. Sun Kil Moon ‘Jim Wise’ [Caldo Verde]
05. Young Marble Giants ‘The Taxi’ [Rough Trade]
06. The Space Lady ‘Major Tom’ [NightSchool]
07. Rodion G.A. ‘Zephyr’ [Strut]
08. Panda Bear ‘Mr Noah’ [Paw Tracks]
09. Clark ‘Herzog’ [Warp]
10. clipping ‘Work Work’ (Featuring Cocc Pistol Cree) [Sub Pop]
11. Clap! Clap! ‘Sailing in the Seas of Wood’ [Black Acre]
12. Francis Bebey ‘Akwaaba’ [Original Music]
13. The Boats ‘And There Are Stars That Fell From The Sky’ [Moteer]
14. Gravenhurst ‘The Diver’ [Warp]
15. The Gentleman Losers ‘Pebble Beach’ [City Centre Offices]
16. Bernard Herrmann ‘Thank God for the Rain’ [‘Taxi Driver’ OST/Arista]
17. Etta James ‘My Heart Cries’ [Chess]
18. Bob Dylan ‘I Threw It All Away’ [Columbia]

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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 / Facebook / Twitter

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Whatever You Love You Are: Willy Vlautin

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This year marked the eagerly awaited release of ‘Colfax’, the debut album from The Delines, a country-soul group featuring stalwarts of the Portland, Oregon music scene, featuring novelist and Richmond Fontaine frontman, Willy Vlautin. The Delines are led by vocalist Amy Boone (The Damnations), alongside the keyboard work of The Decemberists’ Jenny Conlee, fellow Portlanders Sean Oldham and Willy Vlautin (Richmond Fontaine) and pedal steel player Tucker Jackson (Minus 5). 2014 also marked the publication of Vlautin’s fourth novel, ‘The Free’, published by Faber & Faber. Born in Reno, Vlautin is currently based in Scappoose, Oregon.

Words: Craig Carry

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The LP that most affected you growing up in Reno?

WV: Willie Nelson’s ‘Greatest Hits (& Some That Will Be)’.

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Your most precious Country record?

WV: (The same).

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The best Punk album?

WV: Ha, if you call X punk it would be: X ‘Under The Big Black Sun’.

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Favourite Dead Moon album?

WV: I’d have to say ‘Unknown Passage’.

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The ultimate songwriter’s album?

WV: ‘Small Change’ by Tom Waits.

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The greatest story-telling song?

WV: ‘Ode To Billie Jo’ by Bobbie Gentry.

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Favourite Willie Nelson song?

WV: ‘Bloody Mary Morning’.

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The Bruce Springsteen album you most identified with?

WV: ‘The River’.

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Your personal favorite Calexico record?

WV: ‘Feast of Wire’.

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Your favorite Richmond Fontaine song to perform live?

WV: ‘Two Alone’.

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Your favorite Soul singer?

WV: Candi Staton.

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The album that you always return to?

WV: Dolorean ‘You Can’t Win’.

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The song or album that would best soundtrack ‘The Free’?

WV: The song ‘Fawn’ by Tom Waits.

 


 

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‘Colfax’ by The Delines is available now on Decor (UK/EU) and El Cortez (USA).

https://www.facebook.com/thedelines
http://decorrecords.com
http://elcortezrecords.us

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thefree_web

Willy Vlautin’s fourth novel ‘The Free’ is available now, published by Faber & Faber.

http://willyvlautin.com
http://www.faber.co.uk

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Written by admin

December 15, 2014 at 11:47 am

Fractured Air 31: Australian Double-Triple (A Mixtape by Christina Vantzou)

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2014 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’.

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Fractured Air 31: Australian Double-Triple (A Mixtape by Christina Vantzou)

“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’.”

—Christina Vantzou

 

To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-31-australian-double-triple-a-mixtape-by-christina-vantzou/

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Tracklisting:

01. Grouper ‘Made of Metal’ (excerpt) [Kranky]
02. The Dead Texan ‘The Adversary of Evil Budd’ [N°1 DVD & Remixes / Self-Released]
03. Popul Vuh ‘Aguirre I, from ‘Aguirre, the Wrath of God’ (excerpts) [PDU]
04. Daniel Lanois ‘Oaxaca’ [Anti-]
05. Animal Collective (feat. Vashti Bunyan) ‘It’s You’ [FatCat]
06. Grouper ‘6’ [Kranky]
07. This Mortal Coil ‘The Lacemaker’ (excerpt) [4AD]
08. C. Young ‘Shereen’ [Jj funhouse]
09. Earl Sweatshirt (feat. RZA) ‘Molasses’ [Columbia]
10. Grimes ‘Dream Fortress’ [Lo Recordings]
11. The Caretaker ‘False Memory Syndrome’ [History Always Favours The Winners]
12. Arvo Pärt ‘Antifone al Magnificat – 07 – O Immanuel’
13. Eleni Karaindrou ‘Voices’ [ECM]
14. This Mortal Coil ‘Song to the Siren’ [4AD]
15. Eleni Karaindrou ‘The Weeping Meadow I’ [ECM]
16. Jacaszek ‘What Wind – Walks Up Above!’ [Ghostly International]
17. This Mortal Coil ‘Fond Affections’ [4AD]
18. Giacinto Scelsi ‘Anahit’ (excerpt) [CP² Recordings]
19. Moebius ‘Ay Juz Doh No’ [Joseph C Montanaro]
20. C. Young ‘Big Choice’ [Jj funhouse]
21. Animal Collective (feat. Vashti Bunyan) ‘Prospect Hummer’ [FatCat]

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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.

 


 

no2_kranky_web

“N°2” is available now on Kranky.

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

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Written by admin

December 11, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Chosen One: Nils Frahm

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Interview with Nils Frahm.

“And this is just the start of new concepts and new conceptions of what I could do as a performer.”

—Nils Frahm

Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry

nilsfrahm_metronome

I first heard the music of Nils Frahm sometime during 2010. Even though the precise time is unclear; the source of this special musical discovery remains entrusted in my memory. Portland, Oregon’s Peter Broderick helped craft Nils’ solo album ‘The Bells’ – a spellbinding collection of recordings that served my starting point to the vital works of the gifted German composer – and it was through Peter that stunningly beautiful sonic creations such as ‘Said and Done’ and  ‘Small Me’ came into my life. The pair rented a beautiful, old church in Berlin for two nights which would provide the magical setting for ‘The Bells’ (an album originally recorded as ‘Solo Piano Series – Vol. 2’ for Kning Disk, Sweden and later released by Erased Tapes in 2009).

On the liner notes, Peter recounts first listening to Frahm’s piano recordings: “It was absolutely breathtaking…I remember thinking to myself as I lay there stunned, that I could spend ten years trying to write an amazing piece of piano music, and still it would never be half as good as these improvisations.” Tracks such as ‘Said And Done’ and ‘Over There, It’s Raining’ would later be captured live and documented on 2013’s utterly transcendent full-length release, ‘Spaces’. The live recordings captured on ‘Spaces’ were culled from over thirty shows that feels closer to a vast treasure of field recordings from a future we have not yet arrived upon. The ‘Spaces’ tour has continued throughout 2014, playing sold-out venues across Europe, the U.S, Japan and Australia. Listening to ‘Spaces’ or any array of Frahm’s singular works, the impossible becomes attainable as a deeply moving, cognitive experience unfolds between the remarkable artist and his awe-struck audience.

For any artist, his or her personality can’t help but shine through on their resultant works (of art) and this is certainly the case for the Berlin-based composer. It’s the vast seas of sincerity, determination, curiosity, and enthusiasm that becomes immediately apparent when I’ve been fortunate enough to be in Nils’ company, with which ceaselessly radiates from the mesmerising waves of sound of the composer’s compelling compositions. I recall a sound-check in Dublin’s Unitarian church on an early winter’s evening in 2012. As the faded sun-light shone through the glass windows, Nils raced up and down the narrow aisle, pin-pointing the tone and identifying the acoustics of the surrounding space as the glorious piano notes filled the sacred space. As I stood dumbfounded in the background, the piano’s unique tone and touch effectively traversed the human space that felt nothing short of staggering. I feel this very same reaction when the vinyl of ‘Felt’ or ‘Screws’ comes on: the sound waves inscribed in the grooves of these records (or any of Frahm’s works) truly heightens all that surrounds you.

New tracks have been performed live throughout the year, including the monumental tour-de-force, ‘All Melody/#2’ which feels like the natural progression (and a distant companion) to the similarly captivating ‘Says’. The transcendent opus sees Frahm continue to push the sonic envelope as new and exciting possibilities of sound is forged. ‘All Melody’ is based on a gorgeous ambient synth loop that gradually fades in and out of focus. Moments later, electronic glitches and percussive tones of the piano serves the perfect counterpoint. It’s the sum of these parts that form a deeply affecting spectrum of human emotion through sound. As Nils mentioned in a previous interview, his ongoing mission to “translate music into psychology” is reaching new heights. The unreleased track ‘#2’ is closer to the ‘Juno’ synthesizer-based works where anything feels possible. The wide dynamic range makes for an astonishing experience as the crescendo of towering synthesizer harmonies ascend like ripples of ocean waves. Gentle and heartfelt pulses permeate throughout the softer sections resulting in a soulful and deeply human exploration in electronic sound.

The electronic-oriented sounds brings the German sound sculptor closer to fellow-luminaries, Jon Hopkins and Clark et al, as a resolutely unique path is forged. As the striking narrative continues, the spirit of invention forever lies at the heart of Frahm’s indispensable art. What comes next is a prospect to savour with each anticipated breath of air.

 


 

nils-frahm_spaces

‘Spaces’ is available now on all formats via Erased Tapes. For more information on Nils Frahm’s new projects and upcoming concert dates please visit:

http://www.nilsfrahm.com
http://www.erasedtapes.com

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nilsfrahm_web

Interview with Nils Frahm.

Hi Nils, it’s great to talk to you again.

Nils Frahm: It’s my pleasure.

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How has the tour been going for you?

NF: It’s been really fantastic. We just played the Barbican [last night], sold out and everything. Wow, it was absolutely gorgeous.

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I love the new music, Nils. ‘All Melody/#2’ is really amazing.

NF: Thank you. I’m happy you like it.

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I love how you are always developing in the sense that the ‘All Melody’ track in particular, how there is this gorgeous ambient synth loop running throughout but then there is a contrast with the electronic elements and the piano that comes in later. It’s amazing how there are all these layers happening.

NF: Cool, I’m happy you like it. I mean for people who only know my piano stuff and for the older people who like the ‘Wintermusik’ and things like that, it can be a little shocking but it’s so much fun I need to do something like that.

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I imagine too Nils in the way you’ve been touring so much this year – it’s obvious I suppose – but with the live performance; it must really filter into your writing when you’re recording your own music at home?

NF: Yeah, exactly. At the moment I am going to the rehearsal room a lot and the rehearsal room looks a lot like a stage, basically and it’s really great to have the possibility to rehearse things before I go onstage. Earlier I just basically improvised more; now I’m taking the chance and all that to shape new ideas and maybe make the songs first and later go to record them, you know. Before I was always going to the studio and making a new track and then maybe playing it live. But now I’m not recording much of these new things because first I want to make good live versions so I can have something to develop on tour.

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Another cool thing too, your recent hometown show with Jon Hopkins. Even that in itself, you know in a way looking at your music, there are more parallels with someone like Jon Hopkins and all these producers in the sense of what you’re doing. As you say, if you only look at your solo piano, that’s only one aspect.

NF: Exactly, exactly. This is so true. I like the more colour it gives me and that really drives my boat.

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The Una Corda which is the new instrument that has recently been unveiled, I can imagine for a musician it must be this whole new gateway in the sense that it is this new instrument for you. What is it like to be composing and performing on it?

NF: I feel like I am a trained pianist but I also have so much expertise with studio work; there’s cables and there’s all these details of making electronics work as musical instruments and so I realize, actually I know my Juno synthesizer almost as good as I know the piano. I’ve had it since I was thirteen or fourteen, I used it for almost twenty years now. And it’s very intuitive for me; I can play in the dark, you know.

I think it’s really nice to make use of that because not so many people really know how to use all these old and classic machines which sound so musically and all of them act like musical instruments because they have this soul, you know it’s not like a plug-in that is the same every night. They always feed back something into your performance which is so exciting; it’s like taming the beast. You got to be really fast and be trained and skilled to synchronize all these machines in a way, and you have to have the nerve to do that in front of two thousand people.

I think that’s what impresses people also is that there’s a sense of intuition to it like the sense of, you have to set the delay to the tempo of the modulator at the beginning for maybe two or three things where you have to make times and then all the settings and remember all the knobs you have to change and there are no pre-sets – it’s not like you know the session and everything is set – but with the Juno synthesizer, you’ve got to do this, this, this, this… like fifteen, sixteen, seventeen little changes before the song is there. This is really thrilling you know, it’s so much fun and the rewarding bit of it when it all works, it sounds like real electronica; it sounds like something people don’t really hear so much these days. When they listen to electronic music it’s mostly coming from the computer or pre-recorded material; it can feel a little static at times.

But when people watch the electronica I am doing, even if they’re not really super into the details of how it works, they understand what they hear is what I’m doing in the moment. There’s all this movement I’m doing and they’re totally connected with the sounds which happen so everybody understands, oh Nils live. People come and talk to me like, oh it’s like Jean Michelle Jarre or Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze because that was the last time when people really had to do it that way. They had to bring all these big crazy machines onstage and pray that they would work and I think you have the right to think that because it’s not really common anymore that people play analogue synthesizer onstage.

I think that all analogue synthesizers; the sounds they produce are so nice that I want to explore it more and also use it as a contrast to the really quiet piano moments and have this bigger sound and alien kind of sounds and then contrast it with really mellow piano tones and all that. And it’s just becoming this wonderland of acoustics the show I am doing now and I’m so happy that people seem to just follow me; it’s like “Hey! That’s cool” and I’m really surprised that almost nobody complains about it, of course some people say, “Do like a nice solo piano record” and I will at some point. But now I think is the time to explore new territory and do something quite unique.

And this is just the start of new concepts and new conceptions of what I could do as a performer. It’s more about exploring what is Nils like as a live performer and not what Nils as a pianist is or as a studio producer but what is my speciality just as a real-time performing artist. And the shows I have played so far, I’ve really got a lot of experience I have to say and I have developed enough skill apart from composing and practising piano and improvisation that it is another skill to be able to make a complicated show happen in different venues, night by night and always make it as good as the night before; you’ve just got to learn how it works and it’s a really exciting time.

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That sounds amazing. And it’s always about surprising yourself and I suppose this kind of approach you have; you keep on exploring new avenues.

NF: Yeah, exactly.

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You said before how the music follows the story in the sense that you are always recording music but I wonder is the next narrative in the story so this whole concept of in the moment and live performance as opposed to, like you said with the studio?

NF: Yeah, I thought about it and I thought well I would like to not record my next album so much in my comfortable studio where I have my coffee machine and all my stuff you know where I usually work, like on ‘Felt’ and ‘Screws’ and stuff. But to work in a rehearsal room with all the things connected like I have onstage. It’s basically ‘Spaces’ without the audience. So I’m like in this mad professor/scientific room where all the instruments are connected as I have them onstage, I would just play live performances with all the sequencers and synthesizers because I feel like this is the way how electronic music makes so much fun; it’s so much fun to play that way. It’s not so much fun to program the snare drum and fiddle with the mouse and move objects from left to right and then group something. It can get kind of boring and this is how I was working when I was younger but now I am working in this more like, everything together and togetherness and how all these could be one.

It’s a really exciting limitation also. So I’m not using all these things, I’m processing and fiddling and all that. I think this is how a lot of bedroom producers work in electronic music but to just make it more like a performance and then there are all those little things that are not perfect but maybe they show some excitement or show some human touch in this electronic world and that I think is a good direction to explore.

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That sounds wonderful. And I think as you say, if electronic music works or is successful, it’s because you feel that human emotion or touch in the music and that’s very true on ‘Spaces’ or indeed any of your electronic music.

NF: Exactly. And I felt like I was treating the piano at times like a synthesizer; I was processing the piano, I was hitting it like a drum machine, I was trying to treat the piano more like a synthesizer almost. Now, I’m playing the synthesizer almost like a piano. And I like this image that it’s basically the same curiosity that drives me which is just to explore interesting sounds or sounds which resonate and I think with the track ‘Says’ I started something with that song which now I have to start to tape. It was the first bite and now I’m starving for more. I’m curious what else can be achieved that way. ‘Says’ was basically a very simple idea based around an arpeggiator from a synthesizer – so minimal – and now it’s so natural to see what else is there if I would lift up that curtain more and more and see what is underneath.

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‘Says’ really blows you away. Again it’s nearly like separate movements; it’s like one flow really and there are so many moments that happen within the piece. But another thing it’s amazing even listening to it now – and I’m sure it’s for you playing it too –you can always get something different or something new from the music each time you listen to it.

NF: Yeah, that’s I think the wonderful aspect of having analogue equipment because the track ‘Says’ is basically a loop but it’s a real loop – it’s not like a loop in the computer that’s exactly the same over and over again – but it’s like slightly different because the delay that’s connected to it is wobbling a little bit, it’s imperfect and all of these changes throughout the song. And everything is done manually and every change in the song is done with your hands and nothing is done by machine. The sounds come from the machines but the controlling the machines is still with my hands and it’s only what I can do with my ten fingers so it’s kind of the same approach as playing the piano because the natural limit of the piano with ten fingers is that you can only do things with ten fingers. And this is kind of the same thing I apply to the treatment of electronic things.

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I think you said this before but it’s how you bend the possibilities of the instrument in the sense that is this unconventional way and how you are on your own path really.

NF: Yes and for me it’s exciting to use generic machines – what I mean is that it’s nothing very special and it’s basically a very common instrument – so trying to find your own language by using very common tools is actually very liberating. And to kind of make them your own and not just use them for things you may not intended to but in a way that if you like, oh I made these things; I made them and I think this is a concept which could take me to interesting places.

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It was very exciting to read the news about your mobile pipe organ and that you’re designing and building it at the moment. That sounds very special.

NF: It is, it is. I’m so curious and the pipe organ again is really like a very traditional instrument, it’s around for many many hundreds of years and I can’t wait to see what the organ could do when I control it. Just because it’s another interface – I know it’s a keyboard interfaced instrument – so I have the keyboard interface which I know but the sounds that come out of it is not a piano and basically I’m interested in different sounds so I’m excited to have the organ sound but controlled with my fingers. I don’t even know what exactly I should do with that but I will find out once it is done and I got pictures from the organ builder now and then and it’s progressing and I think that it will be done in January and then I can start composing and trying things and record some stuff. So I hope I will bring that thing on tour, it would be very exciting.

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It’s amazing too to see not only the quantity of projects you are doing but how varied they are and you have so many going on at the one time; it’s inspiring in itself.

NF: Yeah it’s because I can do this for a living and my fans have enabled me to make music and when you can do it every day then the consequence is a lot of things happen. This is wonderful.

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It’s wonderful to think – and it’s something I only found out recently – how your father designed a lot of the covers for ECM records?

NF: Yeah that’s true. He did that in the early 80’s.

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You’re obviously someone who started playing music so young, this idea of creating art and things must have been everywhere when you were growing up at home?

NF: Yeah. For me it’s just like a path and it’s so long that I don’t know where it actually started. I think it was around all the time and will be also around for a long time and I am really curious what will happen in the next ten, twenty, thirty years, you know just thinking longer term and you possibly have so much time to explore these things. And so the future is very exciting and I am curious what will happen.

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It’s exciting to look ahead and as you say if ‘Says’ is like the starting point, it’s very exciting to see what will follow.

NF: [laughs] Yeah for me too, for me too. You’re imagining certain things and in the end it will be replaced by the reality and this is the most fun thing about making records like imagining what they could be like and then in the end, see what they actually are like. So, this by itself is always thrilling.

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One last thing Nils, have you been listening to any good records lately?

NF: I just bought the new Aphex Twin album which I think is fantastic and really exciting. And I bought the Simeon ten Holt record that’s just out on vinyl, called ‘Canto Ostinato’ and that’s a really special piece of music for me that I just re-discovered, it’s just wonderful.

 

 


 

 

nils-frahm_spaces

‘Spaces’ is available now on all formats via Erased Tapes. For more information on Nils Frahm’s new projects and upcoming concert dates please visit:

http://www.nilsfrahm.com
http://www.erasedtapes.com

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Written by markcarry

December 9, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Fractured Air 30: Incandescent Innocent (A Mixtape by Cheval Sombre)

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New York-based artist Christopher Porpora – who creates music via his Cheval Sombre guise – has earned his reputation in recent times as one of independent music’s true treasures. Cheval Sombre has released two full length albums to date; 2008’s self-titled debut album (Double Feature Records) and 2012’s moving opus ‘Mad Love’ (Sonic Cathedral Recordings). Last year, Sonic Cathedral issued the limited cassette comprising Cheval Sombre & Sonic Boom’s celebrated live performance recorded at London’s St. Pancras Old Church. This year Cheval Sombre’s ‘Madder Love’ 12″ EP was released by London-based independent label Sonic Cathedral, comprising three exclusive remixes plus a special slowed-down re-interpretation of ‘Someplace Else’, entitled ‘Someplace Slow’. The EP is dedicated to the memory of Porpora’s dear friend Matthew Lyndon Wells, who recently passed away (Matthew played some early Cheval Sombre shows with Porpora).

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Fractured Air 30: Incandescent Innocent (A Mixtape by Cheval Sombre)

“Once we admit our humanity, the experience of this life becomes tinged with authenticity. And the flicker of what is authentic illuminates – always.”

—Christopher Porpora

 

To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-30-incandescent-innocent-a-mixtape-by-cheval-sombre/

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Tracklisting:

01. Cornelius Cardew ‘Father Murphy’ [Cramps]
02. KZA ‘Vous Dansez’ [Endless Flight]
03. Selda ‘Gesi Baglari’ [Bird / B-Music]
04. Dean & Britta ‘Incandescent Innocent’ [Double Feature]
05. Felt ‘Sempiternal Darkness’ [Cherry Red]
06. Amen Dunes ‘Lonely Richard’ [Sacred Bones]
07. The Limiñanas ‘La Melancolie’ [Trouble In Mind]
08. The Stone Roses ‘Don’t Stop’ [Silvertone]
09. Jacobites ‘Kissed You Twice’ [Glass, Regency Sound / Mammoth]
10. The English Beat ‘Save it for Later’ [I.R.S. / Go-Feet]
11. Gatto Fritto ‘The Curse’ [International Feel Recordings]
12. Sebastien Tellier ‘Le Long De La Rivière Tendre’ [Lucky Number / V2]
13. Spacemen 3 ‘Transparent Radiation (Violin Mix)’ [Forced Exposure]
14. Paul O’Dette, The King’s Noyse & David Douglass ‘Mr. John Langtons Pavan’ [Harmonia Mundi]
15. The Pogues ‘I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day’ [Stiff / MCA]
16. John Fahey ‘In Christ There Is No East or West’ [Takoma]
17. Zbigniew Preisner ‘Tu Viendras’ [‘La Double Vie De Véronique’ OST / Sideral, Virgin]

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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.

 


 

SCR052_front

“Madder Love” EP is available now on Sonic Cathedral HERE.

https://www.facebook.com/chevalsombremadlove
http://www.soniccathedral.co.uk

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Written by admin

December 3, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Chosen One: Goat

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Interview with Mr Stonegoat, Goat.

“We follow our own path within the path of evolution we all follow.”

—Mr Stonegoat

Words: Mark Carry

Goat promo photo

A spoken word segment rises to the surface on the intro of the beguiling instrumental cut ‘To Travel The Path Unknown’; resonating powerfully across the trance-inducing rhythms of the Swedish collective’s latest, sophomore full-length, ‘Commune’: “There is only one true meaning in life/And that is to be a positive force/In the constant creation of evolution.” is uttered meaningfully before gorgeous guitar tones and warm percussion fade gradually into the mix. The title of the guitar-led instrumental (reminiscent of The Allah-Las or The Byrds) serves the perfect embodiment to Goat’s spiritual journey thus far. A path steeped in a cosmic spirit.

The album opener ‘Talk To God’ sees the band immediately arrive upon the transcendental state of mind. Majestic guitar lines and shape-shifting rhythms ascend into the atmosphere. The journey’s starting point is closely connected to its predecessor ‘World Music’ as similarly transcendent moments fill the space. Themes of life and death flicker beneath the intense vocal delivery and sublime guitar lines. A Tropicalia feel permeates ‘The Light Within’ as raging guitars (wah effects dazzle like the burning sun) and chant-like vocals takes you to another place. ‘Commune’ is undeniably the lost brother to Goat’s enchanting debut of ‘World Music’.

Goatchild’ contains an irresistible bass-line groove and psychedelic guitar haze with an utterly compelling vocal inter-change between the Goat lead-vocalists (think Nancy & Lee inter-woven with The Doors). The bewitching track was featured on the band’s live album, ‘Ballroom Ritual’; a live concert that took place in Camden’s Electric Ballroom on the eve of their Glastonbury performance back in 2013. Elsewhere, lead single ‘Hide From The Sun’ is a pristine cut of psych bliss that delves magnificently into Afro Beat rhythms and 60’s psychedelia. The closing tracks of ‘Bondye’ (a supreme instrumental that is built on hypnotic rhythms and Jimmy Page-esque guitar) and tribal delights of ‘Gathering Of Ancient Tribes’ bring ‘Commune’ to a fitting close.

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‘Commune’ is out now on Sub Pop Records (USA) and Rocket Recordings (UK & EU).

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GOAT promo photo

Interview with Mr Stonegoat, Goat.

Congratulations on the stunning new record, ‘Commune’. It’s such a pleasure to ask you some questions about the latest spiritual journey of Goat, following on from the mesmerising debut of ‘World Music’. What is immediately striking is how both albums effectively occupy the transcendental state of mind, where the songs capture a sense of togetherness, love and age-old traditions of life. How do you see ‘Commune’ fits alongside ‘World Music’? Also, I can imagine the extensive tours this past year (and the embracing audiences from the world over) must have tapped into the new music in some way, particularly the energy of the shows?

Mr Stonegoat: I can honestly say that I don’t know. I guess that everything that happens in our lives affects how we make music but in what way I can’t say now. Maybe its too early. And how Commune fits with WM? For me the albums are similar. We have developed our skills in the studio so I think that the sound is better. And I also think we found a more spiritual approach in the lyrics this time. But they feel like sister or brother, or maybe mother and father. So we gonna have to give them a kid. 

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One of the great hallmarks of the Goat sound is the earth-shifting rhythms the collective unleash. I would love to gain an insight into this aspect of the music, and indeed the spiritual element inherent in your songs. Psychedelia is one sphere of sound that Goat gravitates naturally towards. Can you please discuss the meaning and importance of this world of music and what path do you see Goat belonging to?

Mr Stonegoat: We just find rhythms interesting to explore in music. There are so many rhythms the world to try out. And we love to play with drums so our music naturally circulates around rhythms. And the spiritualness I guess partly come from our past and also our openness and curiosity towards religions and spiritual philosophy. But I don’t think Goat belongs to anything else than itself. We follow our own path within the path of evolution we all follow.

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Can you talk me through the studio-set up for the recording sessions of ‘Commune’? Is it the very same Analog studio in which you recorded ‘World Music’? Have any techniques or processes changed in any way from the predecessor?

Mr Stonegoat: It’s the same studio with the same equipment. More or less. But we have become better in handling the stuff we got.

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I love the element of spoken word found on the record, particularly on ‘To Travel The Path Unknown’, which is a title that I feel embodies the power and glory of Goat. Can you discuss your outlook on life and what hopes and values you hold dear? One of the aspects I love about Goat is this spiritual realm the songs inhabit, for example the following line resonates powerfully: “One true meaning in life/And that is to be a positive force in the constant creation of evolution.”

Mr Stonegoat: I guess that sentence says most of it. Everyone needs to understand that we are all part of many various collectives. To make your life meaningful you need to play a positive role in them. That is what drives everything forward. We value togetherness between all people of all cultures. Let everything enrich each other. And we hope for the world to soon make a spiritual leap forward. It will come but I hope it comes soon. We are pretty close I think.  

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One of my current favourites is the glorious ‘Goatchild’ that has wonderful shades of Allah-Las with the majestic harmonies. I love the dialogue that flows between the various singers that feels akin to Sun Ra and his ensemble of musicians. Please recount your memories of recording this song to tape? It feels the songs simply flow out of you – at once it’s an effortless process – were these songs written while on tour? Is a song given its wings, so to speak, in a relatively short period of time? It feels that once a spark of an idea or inspiration comes to light that the rest follows very naturally and rapidly.

Mr Stonegoat: You are right about that when an idea comes we jump on it and finishes it very quickly, often within hours. But I have no memory of this one since I don’t recall being part of its recording. I think it was just written from a jam as most of our songs are.

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The collective identity rather than the identity of the individual is what the essence of the band is, and always has been. Please trace the collective’s inception to first creating music and the importance of traditions and beliefs from your commune and how this feeds into the music you create?

Mr Stonegoat: I can’t do this really, it’s too much to ask for. I don’t wanna analyze it this far. It feels destructive to dig too much in it. I wanna keep my thoughts and mind out of our music as much as possible. Lets just say that everyone’s past always is with them and effects all that you do.

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What bands and records have you been obsessed with of late? It must be very special for the collective to be playing concerts around the world to rapturous applause and adoration. What is next for Goat? Where do you see the music exploring to next?

Mr Stonegoat: I don’t know and I prefer not to think of it at all. Its better to let it float freely. But wich bands we have been listening to lately..? I guess we have been rehearsing and playing so much lately so we havent had time to get into anything new. But soon we will have time off and can start build on creativity again. I just got some Cds sent to us from Sub Pop so that is what I’m listening to right now. Nice with some music I have never heard of before. It was j Maskis solo album, Mirel Wagner, King Tuff, Shabazz Palaces, and Lee Bains so this is what I am gonna try and dig for the next couple of weeks.

 


 

JMascis_TiedToAStar_LPJacket

‘Commune’ is out now on Sub Pop Records (USA) and Rocket Recordings (UK & EU).

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https://www.facebook.com/goatsweden
https://www.subpop.com
http://rocketrecordings.blogspot.ie

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Written by markcarry

December 2, 2014 at 1:09 pm

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