FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

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Fractured Air 22: My Time (A Mixtape by Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa)

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‘My Time’ is a mixtape compiled by the world renowned Japanese composers Dustin Wong and Takako Minekawa (Wong was born in the US while spent his childhood in Japan). The vibrant and diverse selection (spanning scores for motion pictures to  video game scores and featuring musicians from their native Japan as well as Western influences such as German New Wave, Punk and Synth Pop) mirrors the pair’s eclectic influences and a constant willingness to expand and broaden their sound palettes while infusing their own music with a delightful sense of inventiveness and imagination. The duo released their debut collaborative full length, ‘Toropical Circle’, in 2013 via Thrill Jockey; while this September sees its much anticipated follow-up, ‘Savage Imagination’, to be released by Chicago-based independent label Thrill Jockey this Autumn.

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Fractured Air 22: My Time (A Mixtape by Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa)

Best known as guitarist to Baltimore, USA-based rock band Ponytail (who released three albums in the mid 2000’s), Dustin Wong has also released solo albums to international acclaim; most recently 2013’s ‘Mediation of Ecstatic Energy’ which saw Wong continue his pursuit of deeply personal and highly charged works composed of looped solo electric guitar to spellbinding effect. Takako Minekawa first rose to international prominence as a Shibuya-kei singer in the mid-90s with the song ‘Fantastic Cat‘ and her albums ‘Roomic Cube‘ and ‘Cloudy Cloud Calculator‘. She has collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Cornelius, Buffalo Daughter, Dymaxion, and others. Dustin and Takako will tour Asia and North America this fall as a duo. ‘Savage Imagination’ by Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa will be available on 22nd September via Thrill Jockey Records.

To listen on Mixcloud:
http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-22-my-time-a-mixtape-by-dustin-wong-takako-minekawa/

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Tracklisting:

01. Yasuaki Shimizu ‘Tachikawa’ [Crammed Discs]
02. Mariah ‘Shonen’ [Shan-Shan]
03. Stewart Copeland ‘Music Box’ [IRS]
04. Pyrolator ‘Im Zoo’ [Wave (Japan) / Ata Tak]
05. Malcolm Mclaren ‘Aria on Air’ [Virgin]
06. Ann Steel ‘My Time’ [Barclay / WEA International Inc.]
07. Hannah Diamond ‘Pink and Blue’ [PC Music]
08. Ja Ja Ja ‘I am an Animal’ [Ata Tak]
09. Steve Vai ‘Little Green Men’ [Urantia / Food For Thought]
10. Kazumi Totaka ‘Yoshi’s Story’ [Pony Canyon Inc.]
11. Jean Michel Jarre ‘Zoolookologie’ [Polydor]
12. Miharu Koshi ‘Yube no Inori’ [Non-Standard / Pick Up]
13. Eiichi Ohtaki ‘Peppermint Blue’ [CBS/Sony]

 


 

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‘Savage Imagination’ by Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa will be available via Thrill Jockey on 22nd September 2014.

http://thrilljockey.com/thrill/Takako-Minekawa-and-Dustin-Wong/
http://www.thrilljockey.com

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

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Written by admin

August 27, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Step Right Up: Klara Lewis

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Interview with Klara Lewis.

“I didn’t know what ‘Ett’ – the debut album – would sound like. It just feels like there is an ongoing mood that you can sense throughout and I mean that was really exciting for me to notice as well that my own sound was taking shape at the same time that I was working.”

—Klara Lewis

Words: Mark Carry

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Last Spring marked the release of one of 2014’s most formidable (and unique) electronic creations, in the shape of debut full-length, ‘Ett’  from Swedish electronic artist Klara Lewis. The debut release on Editions Mego is Lewis’ highly anticipated follow-up to the stunning three track E.P. (released in 2012) that is also present on ‘Ett’ in re-worked forms. The masterfully assembled sonic textures (the album’s ten tracks feels more like a sound collage consisting of a seamless array of fleeting moments, beautifully suspended in time and space) unfold new possibilities and meaning upon each re-visit. ‘Ett’s mixture of found sounds, field recordings and electronic layers is a haven for the senses that forges an entire universe of enchanting and bewildering sounds.

One of the most striking aspects of the debut record is the resultant mood captured through sound that permeates throughout ‘Ett’s sprawling canvas of sound. The ambient opus ‘Shine’ – part B’s tour de force – drifts magnificently by a myriad of subtle electronic beats, field recordings and a central synth-led melody. A deeply immersive and reflective feel unfolds as the soothing synths conjures up the timeless sound of Harold Budd (particularly the pedal steel-based L.P. ‘The Serpent (In Quicksilver)’ ) or Daniel Lopitan’s Oneohtrix Point Never. Layers upon layers of stunningly beautiful textures are masterfully interwoven here that reflects the organic quality and deeply affecting nature of the gifted artist’s electronic works.

The album was recorded, sampled, edited, manipulated, mixed, produced and arranged by Lewis. As described previously by Editions Mego, ‘Ett’  is “an electronically charged reconstruction of organic sound matter.” A wholly unique landscape is thus created that inhabits a similarly magical realm as the New York-native Ezekiel Honig and his warmly emotive music. Undoubtedly, ‘Ett’ can be seen as a lovely parallel alongside Honig or indeed the Editions Mego roster of talented sound sculptures.

A plethora of samples, found sounds and field recordings are dotted across the ten towering creations; most notably, a prayer call is beautifully placed in the forefront of ‘Muezzin’s mix of techno beats and hypnotic choral voices. The stunning track could be the sound of Modern Love’s Andy Stott remixing U.S. songwriter Julia Holter such is its illuminating brilliance. ‘Ett’ represents the arrival of an immense new talent in electronic music.

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Ett’ is available now on Editions Mego. 

http://klaralewis.bandcamp.com
http://editionsmego.com

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Interview with Klara Lewis.

Congratulations on your amazing debut album, I’ve been listening to it a lot these past few weeks. One aspect I love about the album is how you combine so many different elements; there’s lovely found sounds and field recordings interwoven in the mix. I imagine it took a long time for each piece of music to fully form?

Klara Lewis: Well it does vary quite a lot. There are tons of layers on every song, absolutely, but I mean some of the songs were relatively quick. It’s difficult to know when it’s like, what could you compare it to. But I think most of the time I just start by collecting sounds and then I just open up a new project and add the sounds I would like to look at and then manipulate them and start building. So it can vary quite a lot with how much time it takes.

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My favourite song at the moment is ‘Shine’. I love the organic feel that runs throughout and how it’s more ambient. In terms of the album itself, Klara, was it recorded at home and what material did you have at your disposal?

KL: I basically tried to have my portable recording device with me at all times and I mean there’s a real mix of stuff. Some tracks are based on what the dishwasher sounds like or when I’ve been traveling, I’ve brought it along some train sounds and waves and things, or prayer calls in Istanbul, birdsong: It’s very mixed. But I use small pieces from the field recordings so I mean most of the time you can’t tell, you know, what the original field recording was. So they do change quite a bit after I’ve been at them.

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Is it the track ‘49th Hour’ that might have the prayer call, I love how there is a vocal/choral element to it?

KL: No, I think it’s ‘Muezzin’ that has the prayer call and then ‘49th Hour’ has a lot of train sounds. But sometimes I might have a field recording that I really, really like that has so much potential but it may not be that field recording that makes it onto the album. It could be one that seems it has to be less special and can seem boring at first. Then it’s all about how the sounds are processed and how it completely changes into new sounds.

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In a way Klara, is it the field recording itself that almost forms the song or gives you the spark to create one?

KL: I think it’s more that it gives the spark to create one, not so much that the field recording will create the track. It’s more like they inspire me to start working and I never know where a track will end up. So I just basically start working on the sounds and then you know, see where it goes. I just try and listen to the sounds and see what kind of moods I think this sound could create. And it’s all about how I combine different small pieces. It’s mostly a mood and atmosphere kind of thing.

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That’s certainly true, you certainly create a certain mood on the album. Also, the ten tracks feel like one large cohesive whole where it works so well.

KL: That’s great that you think so because I mean it’s difficult to know how it will end up when it’s your first release. I started off by making an E.P when I was still at school and those three tracks ended up on the album, reworked. I mean I didn’t have a clue what music I would be making but I did want to work with found sounds because I started doing that at a very early age. When I got my first digital camera and I started filming things – I started filming things because of how they sounded. So then I took these sounds from the digital films that I shot and started making tracks. And my first track, I made it when I was thirteen and then I made the E.P when I was seventeen. I didn’t know what ‘Ett’ – the debut album – would sound like. It just feels like there is an ongoing mood that you can sense throughout and I mean that was really exciting for me to notice as well that my own sound was taking shape at the same time that I was working. All of the tracks that I have ever made are out there – I mean I don’t have any tracks that are on the shelf – so the tracks that are on ‘Ett’ are the tracks that I have made.

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As you say Klara too, in the sense that there are so many layers and you can obviously forget what started it and things like that, I can imagine is it a challenge too of adding or removing layers to capture that spark you wanted from the start?

KL: Yeah absolutely, it’s always about adding and subtracting. I mean it’s easy just to build things up and they’re too complicated and you now try to work backwards for to capture the mood that you wanted to capture from the very beginning.

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I’m interested with the digital camera area, were you immersed in music beforehand when you were a child and growing up?

KL: Yes, I started playing bass when I was twelve because I really liked James Brown so I wanted to play funk on the bass, and I liked Joy Division and that kind of stuff. And then when I was thirteen or fourteen, I was really into film but I wanted to make my own film as a school project. But the stuff I enjoyed filming, it was difficult to create a narrative. So I thought I should make music that you know, binds all of this material together so I had to make my own soundtrack. But then I thought, well why don’t I use the sounds from the film clips to make it more united. So that’s where it started.

My first biggest interest was in film when I was very young but it’s now developed into the music thing and now I’m studying Audio Visual Production so I’m studying both film and music. I mean those possibilities are so exciting; what happens when you combine the two, I mean you can do anything it feels like.

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Well the album itself sounds like it could be a soundtrack to a certain film, as well.

KL: Well, I listen to a lot of film music, I’ve done since I was very young. So I think that has affected how I make things. A lot of people do think that the tracks are very cinematic and that they have an inner-movie going on when they listen to the music. I think that’s really interesting and it’s an aspect that I really like and enjoy in a lot of music. I don’t have that thing where images appear when you listen to music. That doesn’t happen to me but I think maybe because that doesn’t happen to me when I listen to music means that I can focus more on the mood thing. It doesn’t have to be connected to a narrative, you know in a more conventional way, and more about moods and that kind of thing.

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I would be curious to know what would be the films, directors and composers that you’d have most fascination with?

KL: Well, I think David Lynch has been a very important influence. Since I was thirteen, that’s when I saw “Twin Peaks” for the first time. It was interesting because I read an interview with The Knife – you know the Swedish duo because I really got into their stuff – and they mentioned David Lynch and Aphex Twin in this interview and that really kicked things off. There was a description of the scene in ‘Blue Velvet’ where they find the ear in the field, and I was like: “Oh yeah, yeah mom and dad have talked about that, I recognize that” – I started checking it out and I came home one day and asked my Dad: “Oh do you know about this Aphex Twin?” and he was like, “Oh sure, Richard”, and pointed to the record shelf. And so at home I could just pick stuff up and get going, basically.

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It’s amazing with ‘Twin Peaks’ how the music creates such an atmosphere with the characters.

KL: Oh absolutely. I love the way they use the soundtrack and the music in almost all of Lynch’s films and ‘Twin Peaks’ too, of course. But I also think it’s how he uses mood and how he can let things be unsolved and there doesn’t always have to be an obvious answer to things. I mean people can have their own versions of what the films are about; I think that’s something I really appreciate and not a lot of film-makers dare to do that. I really appreciate that and how they try to work in that way with the music as well. I mean I don’t feel the need to overstate things and I really like it that different people can interpret things in different ways and that’s something that should be appreciated.

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You are based in Sweden. I wonder is it a rural part?

KL: It is more urban, I mean it’s only forty-five minutes on the train from Stockholm. So it’s pretty urban.

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Did the landscape around Sweden, well needless to say, did it shape the music in some way?

KL: Well I think it could have. I think maybe the biggest influence would be at home because my Dad being a musician, artist and my mother being really interested in film and music. So I’ve always had strange sounds around me since I was born, so being born into it, basically. And understanding that anything can be music. When you learn that from a very young age that does change how you listen to things and you start listening to your surroundings and tones that you like in everyday sounds and stuff.

There are quite a lot of everyday sounds that I make use of but I also think it’s easier to be more active in the recording part when you are on a trip somewhere because you are more aware of your surroundings when you’re travelling and stuff. I think you appreciate new inputs more so I think I’d like to be better at recording actively at home but it seems to be easier for me to actually do that when I am travelling.

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And the act of travelling too Klara, I wonder would this be mainly around Europe?

KL: Yeah, Europe mostly. I think on the album there are sounds from different parts of Sweden, and Istanbul, and Germany. I mean it’s a mix. And I guess ‘Muezzin’ is perhaps the most obvious one, it’s almost like the theme track because of the prayer-call and that kind of thing, whilst others are less obvious, perhaps what place they’re set in.

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I love that too how it’s so abstract and all the detail is very much open to your own interpretation. And away from the found sounds, I love the electronic manipulation or addition to the songs too. There’s a lovely variation too because some are more ambient pulses and others more techno. Was this a case again of layering different tracks?

KL: Yeah, I think that’s always the way I work and it doesn’t really matter if I am working with found sounds or sampling or synthetic sounds, it’s always the same process. I think I often treat the synthetic sounds and the sampling exactly the same way as I treat the field recording; I listen to them in the same way. And I think a lot of the sounds that sound more electronic or more synthetic on the album are in fact found sounds just that have been changed to that kind of realm. I mean they have a clearer function perhaps to build the beat and kind of synthy thing. A lot of that is also built on field recording that I put into a sampler and play it off a keyboard or a launch pad or whatever.

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And looking back on the album recording, I wonder what aspect of the music-making process did you find the most challenging?

KL: Well, I think I found a process that I really enjoy because it is so organic and you cannot foresee how things will go. I guess that’s a risk because I never know where something is going to end up so I guess sometimes in the middle of the process of a track, it’s like will this become anything because you don’t know what’s going on, really. But I think most of the time there is one period where this is a big threshold and it might be you know, a couple of different layers that I have looped with and how do I take this to the next step. And I think one of the key parts for me is the transition within tracks when one part turns into another part of the track. That’s something that I really find fascinating how people work about that area because it’s easy to have the main focus on the big beats or the verse or the refrain but it’s getting over between the different parts, I find that really fascinating.

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That’s exactly what happens on the album too, you know as you say in the middle of a song it evolves very much so or crosses over, maybe many times.

Is there a live tour coming up for you?

KL: There are a couple of concerts coming up. I’m also collaborating with Simon Fischer Turner right now and we’re working towards some live shows at the end of this year and the beginning of next year.

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Are there particular albums you’ve been listening to a lot in the last while?

KL: I really like Inga Copeland’s latest, her first solo album, who was in Hype Williams. I like that kind of lo-fi, very simple but strong material, I think. I also got the Oram/Walls and I thought it was a really interesting concept to apply her sounds into a modern context ad it’s a great way to get more people informed about how fantastic her work was and I think a lot of her material sounds very modern when you listen to it now. But it’s such a shame how she hasn’t really been acknowledged enough.

Right now I am listening to a lot of the Editions Mego releases and you know, the other people on the label. I hadn’t listened that much to the other acts or the other releases but now I’ve been getting these fantastic packages with tons of LP’s so I’m discovering tons of new fascinating music on the Editions Mego label so that’s taking up a lot of my time.

 


 

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‘Ett’ is available now on Editions Mego. 

http://klaralewis.bandcamp.com
http://editionsmego.com

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Written by markcarry

August 25, 2014 at 11:03 am

Colleen with Seti The First & Áine O’Dwyer

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The following is our account of Colleen’s first visit to Cork, Ireland, for her performance at Triskel Christchurch, on Saturday 2nd November 2013. Colleen was supported by the immense talents of Seti The First and Áine O’Dwyer.

Words: Mark & Craig Carry, Photographs: Izabela Szczutkowska

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“Raven, why stare at me with those eyes?
Don’t you know I love you
Just as you are?”

(“Raven”, taken from Colleen’s “The Weighing Of The Heart”)

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Saturday 2nd November 2013. Today is the day we have the joy and pleasure of bringing Colleen (aka French musician Cécile Schott) over to County Cork, Ireland, for her first performance here. The concert is to be held at Triskel Christchurch, Tobin Street, Cork. It’s been ten years since we both first picked up Colleen’s debut album “Everyone Alive Wants Answers”, a record which seemed to open up a whole new world of sound when we first heard it (we would have been eighteen years old, anxious to discover what music beyond the “norm” sounded like). We purchased the CD from our beloved local record store, Plugd Records, at its then location on Washington Street in Cork City. A decade later – and a string of much cherished Colleen albums later – the special soul of Cécile Schott would conclude her “The Weighing Of The Heart” tour (comprising her first live shows in almost five years) in the environs of our own hometown.

A new departure in Colleen’s ever-expanding sound could be witnessed by Schott’s new material on the night (“Lighthouse”, “Captain Of None” and “I’m Kin”) where the influence from the rich musical landscape of Jamaica (through a new dub-like treatment to her compositions) can be heard. “Lighthouse”, already premiered earlier in the year on Colleen’s European tour, contains a repeated mantra-like vocal, where Schott’s voice is at it’s most sumptuous and enchanting to date. Both the lullaby-like vocal delivery of the central lyric “Lights on the ocean” and a short passage on the viola da gamba are looped repeatedly while Schott layers the tapestry-like composition to it’s richly nuanced and beautifully intricate climax. Elsewhere, the new focus on rhythm and percussion are richly evident – augmented by the use of a floor tom drum and an octabass octaver pedal – the latter adding a dynamic, bass-heavy sound to the rhythm – revealing both the boundless possibilities and the forever-expanding inventiveness of Colleen’s most sacred and precious sounds.

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“Be still, don’t do that
I wanted to be here alone
Who are you, I only know
You’re not the person I wanted to
look like What’s up with you
look like you’ve seen a ghost”

(“Hyperbolia”, taken from Áine O’Dwyer’s “Anything bright or startling?”)

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“I’ve always experimented with and enjoyed using extended techniques more so than using additional technology. It’s really lovely to bow the lower base steel strings of a harp. A lengthy piece of rubber cable also creates a nice drone. Playing on dampened strings comes in handy. (excuse the pun) Drum brushes work beautifully. I like to lay the harp down flat and play it as a hammer dulcimer too, given the chance. Metal or glass slides work very well along the strings. If I want a guitar or lute sound, I pluck the string closer to the sound board rather than in the center. Playing it backwards is fun! After that, there’s plectrums, harmonics, tremors, string bending……So, plenty of possibilities there before I ever think of plugging it in.”

(Áine O’Dwyer, on discussing the harp’s possibilities)

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“Musically, it represents a bit of a departure from our first record Melting Cavalry so we are both nervous and excited at the same time. It will be still cello driven but Thomas’s Marxophone is set to take a very prominent position also.”

(Kevin Murphy, Seti The First, on the forthcoming second album by Seti The First)

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“O you my heart be feather-light!”

(Taken from Colleen’s “The Weighing Of The Heart”)

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“Once Upon a Time There Was a Pretty Fly (Lullaby)”

Once upon a time
There was a pretty fly
He had a pretty wife
This pretty fly
But one day
She flew away
Flew away

She had two pretty children
But one night these two pretty children
Flew away
Flew away
Into the sky
Into the moon

(Taken from the 1955 film “The Night Of The Hunter”)

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“At the time of making the album, I just wanted my music to reflect a sense of joy and movement in a way. So I think getting into percussion and into rhythm, it really helped me approach my instruments differently and to step out of my usual patterns.

So, definitely when I started to learn percussion, it mostly started with learning the frame drum. Then all of a sudden, I finally understood how the basic rhythms are put together, and then when I took my other instruments, it just felt immediately natural to play in a more accented rhythmic way.

So I think it’s definitely a big step forward and I’m really looking forward to keeping on working in that direction. It’s what I really want to explore further is the rhythm and the use of the voice, that’s definitely the step forward for me I think.”

(Cécile Schott, in conversation about adding percussion to her music, May 2013)

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“Actually, it’s the most common combination, you know, in popular music in the wide sense: It’s someone singing and they’re playing some kind of instrument at the same time. And obviously that’s been going on for the longest time in history and I thought, well, if I am going to use my voice now, I have to make sure it’s really, really special and I have to keep the thing I did have which was special in my instrumental music. So I did work very hard in trying to achieve that.”

(Cécile Schott, in conversation about adding vocals to her music, May 2013)

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“I rise like the sun above olive trees, like the moon above date palms. Where there is light, I shall be. Where there is darkness, there is none of me. I rise like the moon above date palms. I am counted as one among stars.”

(Excerpt taken from The Egyptian Book of the Dead)

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“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.”

―Carl Sagan, “Cosmos”

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“Moon be bright and shine”

(Taken from Colleen’s “The Moon Like A Bell”)

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

(The complete series of photographs can be see HERE.)

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Very special thanks to: Cécile, Áine, Seti The First, Lawrence, Triskel Arts Centre, Izabela and everybody in the audience. 

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Written by admin

November 25, 2013 at 10:03 am

The Graceless Age

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“I detested virtuosity and its attendant features from the very beginning, I detested above all appearing before the populace, I absolutely detested the applause, I couldn’t stand it, for years I didn’t know, is it the bad air of concert halls or the applause I can’t stand, or both, until I realized that I couldn’t stand virtuosity per se and especially not piano virtuosity. For I absolutely detested the public and everything that had to do with this public…”

(Thomas Bernhard, ‘The Loser’)

Words & Illustration: Craig Carry

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“We’re all in this shit together”, John Murry tells his disciples at Whelans, asking us to move forward towards the stage. It is Sunday 27th January 2013. The setting is the upstairs venue at Whelans, on 25 Wexford Street, Dublin, Ireland.

This is John Murry’s first Irish show on his European tour promoting his debut solo album ‘The Graceless Age’, the heartbreaking masterpiece released last year on Bucketfull Of Brains. For the assembled fans, this was no ordinary gig though. We were gathered here to witness the mythical John Murry, the man behind this awe-inspiring record. In short, we were here to witness history.

Poignantly, on looking at the stage, the first thing to be noticed – on Murry’s fine array of guitars – was the name ‘Tim’ printed large, in black, on his electric guitar. Tim, of course, being the late great Tim Mooney (American Music Club), whose presence was clearly felt on this magical night. Mooney – John’s dear friend and compatriot – recorded and co-produced ‘The Graceless Age’, and was hugely influential in realizing the stunning arrangements and immaculate recording of the finished album.

To say, the evening in question was “highly anticipated” would be a gross understatement. This is the man who has previously “died”, only to survive, write an album about it, and create one of the most defining albums of recent times (and of all time) in the process. This is no false prophet. A wolf in sheep’s clothing Mr. John Murry certainly is not. The man – and the music – is as blood-red as the Mississippi clay itself. Amidst the (many) false prophets, John Murry is the true saviour.

Tonight, the stage was set for a piece of musical history. Onstage, Murry and band form a quartet, with keyboards, guitar and drums accompanying Murry’s haunting songs, each one dripping with emotion. From the opening ‘The Ballad Of The Pajama Kid’ we know we’re in for a magical night. The set, as well as drawing largely from ‘The Graceless Age’, would also feature two stunning new compositions (the latter performed on the encore with John solo on a twelve string acoustic), several of Murry and Bob Frank’s collaborative recordings, and incredible covers of both Sparklehorse and Townes Van Zandt.

“The air is filled with lead / lights are going down / they told me to forget you / they never told me how” Murry sings on ‘The Ballad Of The Pajama Kid’, drawing his audience into his incredible songbook. The songs on the night were performed as immaculately as one would expect. If one thing is absolutely certain about John Murry; it is the fact that he does not do things in half-measures; if things are going to be done, they’ll be done in all their glory – blood-spilled and all.

This was a performance highlighting the fine art of deconstruction. The intricate songs from ‘The Graceless Age’ would be taken apart (as if Murry was seeing what put them together in the first place) only before putting them back together with his own bare hands before our very eyes. ‘Southern Sky’ would be played in an almost funk or reggae fashion, the rhythm’s irresistible groove would never hide those fragile lyrics though: “I’ve got no past / there is no future / this sickness follows me around”. ‘California’ is played with even more charged feelings than on record; Both electric guitars form a field of reverb akin to Neil Young and Crazy Horse while Murry’s vocal delivery is reminiscent of Tom Waits at his most visceral as he snarls: “My soul has been bled / Don’t know for sure / if my heart is breaking / Is your’s breaking too?”

Later, Murry’s “Things We Lost In The Fire” – like on record – begins as a beautifully delicate lap-steel-accompanied country song (where Murry sings “I don’t need nobody / I’ll tear down this machine”) and later further electric guitars layer together to a stunning climax. The storming ‘Photograph’ concludes with an earth-shattering finale where crashing drums and feedback-heavy guitars recalls American Music Club at their brilliant best. To witness Murry and band perform Mark Linkous’s ‘Maria’s Little Elbows’ was a truly special and touching tribute to one of Murry’s musical heroes. Mark Linkous would indeed be a proud man. Who better to sing Linkous’s painful words of alienation than Murry:

“Loneliness
Loneliness
Loneliness
Oh
Came kicking at my door”

(—’Maria’s Little Elbows’, taken from the Sparklehorse album, ‘Good Morning Spider’, 1998)

The closer to the set (prior to a three-song encore) was ‘Little Colored Balloons’, a song so personal it feels almost wrong to listen to on record, not to mind in person. As Murry realizes that the audience knows what is in store, he says – reassuringly – “We’ll get through it okay” before launching into one of the most life-affirming songs ever conceived, a song which reveals more and more pain with every single listen; a song written about Murry’s overdose when he was found clinically dead:

“Nightmares in daylight! I’m stealing the birthright! Off 16th and Mission! I took an ambulance ride: they said I should’ve died, right there on 16th and Mission.”

Tonight the man behind the legend stepped onto the stage to prove to us that he does, in fact, exist – that these songs were in fact penned by the hand of a mortal. On ‘Little Colored Balloons’ Murry sings: “I know you don’t believe in magic / Nobody does anymore.” Well, on the night of Sunday 27th January 2013, we can both safely say that magic indeed does exist. In the form of Mr. John Murry’s music.

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This was also our first time meeting John Murry in person, having been in contact with him since the release of ‘The Graceless Age’ last July. Too shy to meet him beforehand, our simple wish was to hand him a gift (a framed portrait, the scanned version accompanies this piece). Our intention was to leave the parcel at the merchandise table afterwards. But as fate would have it, John Murry walks across both our paths, he is now standing a couple feet away. We shyly introduce ourselves. He has indeed remembered us, we hug and hand him our picture; he opens it right there and then and hugs us once more; and amidst the following conversation we do indeed get to say what we wished most of all to tell him:

“Thank you. Thank you for your music.”

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“… Whatever condition we are in, we must always do what we want to do, and if we want to go on a journey, then we must do so and not worry about our condition, even if it’s the worst possible condition, because, if it is, we’re finished anyway, whether we go on the journey or not, and it’s better to die having made the journey we’re been longing for than to be stifled by our longing.” 

(―Thomas Bernhard, ‘Concrete’)

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‘The Graceless Age’ is out now on Bucketfull Of Brains (EU). In the U.S. Evangeline Recording Co. will release ‘The Graceless Age’ on March 5, 2013.  

For tour dates and further information please visit:

http://www.johnmurry.com/

Written by admin

January 29, 2013 at 9:15 am

“The Failings and Failures of Current “Art” – One Song and Dance Man’s Philosophical Observations”-John Murry

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We are delighted to begin our series of posts written for us by John Murry. The following introduces the series and is part one of a twelve-part series. 2012 saw the release of ‘The Graceless Age’, an album full of pain and struggle, yet also an album of enduring hope and beauty. An album as timeless and breath-taking as they come.

Words: John Murry, Illustration: Craig Carry

thegracelessage1_web

Part One of Twelve:

An Introduction to “The Failings and Failures of Current “Art” – One Song and Dance Man’s Philosophical Observations”

(Typed From Handwritten)

12:21 P.M PMT

Oakland, CA, U.S.A.

In Bed

Why I feel I must, in order to be transparent and honest, still write first with a pen, I do not know. Please forgive the neurosis.

Is it not to be expected, though?

Please:

Do read what I’m asking Fractured Air to allow me the space to write about. For twelve weeks. For even considering it, may they be thanked deeply (and if they do choose to post this as-is and go with the idea, may they be beatified!). I say post it as-is, just to ask Fractured Air that, if they do choose to allow me this, in order to properly write it as a cohesive twelve part piece (and unfortunately that’s the minimum number of parts I could envision), I would like all my “proposed rants”, as well as actual ones, be published so nothing is “hidden” from the reader’s eye.

I hope you will remember, dear reader, that while I’ve perhaps read a great deal, just like my famous relation, I never graduated from high school, though did attend college. I am untrained. In everything I do. I have chosen to extensively read some things and ignore others all together. What does that make me? An expert? In what? Well, what every one is an “expert” in: whatever degree in whatever subject matter  to which they understand that singular subject and it’s correspondence with the rest of the world-at-large and all other information.

It is in this concept that I intend to show why Heidegger and Freud were misunderstood due to simple semiotic errors and logical (albeit talling) mis-readings of their works by using both their thought and a few others’ to examine the decline of what has been, I believe, grossly deemed “post-modern art” when it is not, for the most part “art” at all. I propose the vast majority of what is deemed “art” is utter rubbish – almost by logical default. In addition, I propose innumerable reasons for its’ decline in music since the early post-punk era in rock and roll and it’s rise in hip hop at the subsequent time. I’d argue two things, just for the sake of positing meaningless-but-terribly-meaningful-to-me-subjectively arguments:

This is one of the finest live rock and roll guitar solos of the last 30 + years, and it’s Prince:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zByqXu6nGYA

This is one of the best rock and roll songs of the last 30 + years, and it’s Outkast:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZHyijx3L1Q

I posit these two to point out a reality not being faced: rock and roll – it’s “Saviors” are wolves in sheep’s clothing – is dying and, as it does, we must thank God hip hop exists to keep it alive (along with a cavalcade of great “rock and roll” artists whose numbers, in my very personal and limited opinion, are quickly and sharply dwindling).

Tonight begins my (for lack of greater personal integrity, I suppose, but the curse of knowing that one must fight in life for beliefs in order to lead anything resembling a moral existence in this current era of utter ethical confusion and societal narcissism). I believe I justifiably now can, for reasons of commerce and not true valuation of the art I create in any measurable manner, write down in good faith what I am capable of offering as purely written word – without sound – as I wanted to at one point in life when I thought I might enjoy teaching (that time was brief).

Commerce, sadly, is all that we know to value anything by as a culture today. I feel that, as what I think can now be reasonably called the standpoint of one making money (though to an incredibly small degree – you’d be shocked, I promise…) by creating and engaging my own “art”, I have a perspective I was not allowed before. It’s these observations and opinions I’ve formed that I’d like to share.

I’d like to ask Fractured Air, over the course of this and the subsequent 11 installments, for the space to discuss, using primarily Continental Philosophy and Psychoanalytic Theory, the decline of art in our modern western society and who’s to blame for it.

What gives me the nerve, you ask?

At this point, having seen the music business for what it is: my dignity. And the realization that, by making money – or appearing to – solely by artistic means, the art necessarily suffers. Sometimes I feel I know why; that we all do, but refuse to face it.

The next piece, if Fractured Air is interested in allowing me this, will introduce the concept ultimately in question ( and why): The art of the thing itself as about myself in relation to it. The grammar is intentional. I will attempt to further elements of Nietzsche’s argument in his “Case of Wagner”, Terence Malick’s succinct examination of Heidegger’s “Essence Of Reasons”, and a few of Montaigne’s and Unamuno’s essays as starting points.

Ultimately, the only rightful critique granted me under God is that of myself and, by default, my art and, by extension, art-at-large (though subjectivity will always reign as we are not automatons, though many may act as if we are).

-John Murry

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Illustration based on ‘Thorntree in the Garden’, taken from ‘The Graceless Age.’

If you would like to read our original review of ‘The Graceless Age’, see here. 

‘The Graceless Age’ is out now on Bucketfull of Brains. 

http://johnmurry.com

http://www.bucketfullofbrains.com

Written by admin

December 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm