FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Posts Tagged ‘A Winged Victory For The Sullen

Mixtape: Fractured Air – April 2020

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It’s been a while. The beautiful light of spring has finally descended upon us; filling the void (of current circumstance) with birdsong, blooming flowers, blue skies and all signs of glittering life. Even though nature does not mirror the dark surface that permeates all of our lives at this present moment; remember all things must pass. These days offer moments of introspection and quiet: to be at peace with your own self during this slowed down, prolonged period.

The art of music remains a trusted constant. Light In The Attic’s lovingly assembled compilation of Seattle-based recording engineer Kearney Barton is an exceptional document of divine pop, soul and R&B spanning the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. ‘Architect of the Northwest Sound’ is filled with a seamless array of timeless musical discoveries.
Another essential compilation is Morr Music’s soon-to-be-released ‘Minna Miteru’: collection of hard to find music from the Japanese independent scene, compiled by Saya, who plays in the iconic duo Tenniscoats. We have an exclusive track (peformed by Takako Minekawa and Dustin Wong) on this month’s mix.

The L.A-based composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s shape-shifting sonic explorations continue to evolve on her Ghostly debut ‘Expanding Electricity’: an epic and enriching foray into visionary fourth world dimensions. Essential. Russian electronic musician Kate NV’s forthcoming full-length ‘Room for the Moon’ on Brooklyn music institution RVNG Intl represents another singular voice in the contemporary musical landscape of today.

The debut collaboration of Australian drummer Jim White (Dirty Three/Xylouris White) and renowned guitarist Marisa Anderson arrives soon on the legendary Chicago label Thrill Jockey (and first single ‘The Lucky’ offers the first glimpses into this enchanting body of work). Cellist Helen Money’s new Thrill Jockey full-length and Rebecca Foon’s latest Constellation solo release are things of beauty and boundless magnitude.

Inventions is the immense collaborative duo of Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions In The Sky). Their new single ‘Outlook for the Future’ is a joyous, uplifting sonic voyage. “What is your outlook for the future?” is asked beneath colourful woodwind patterns and rhythmic pulses, before an elderly female voice responds: “I don’t worry about the future”. Live in the present: in the here and now. Music never ceases to surprise and awaken something deep inside of us all.

 

Fractured Air – April 2020 Mix

01. Ann Wilson & The Daybreaks ‘Through Eyes and Glass’ (Light In The Attic)
02. Maki Asakawa ‘No Ga Kowai’ (Honest Jon’s)
03. Takako Minekawa & Dustin Wong ‘Party On A Floating Cake’ (Morr Music)
04. Kate NV ‘Sayonara’ (RVNG Intl)
05. Inventions ‘Outlook for the Future’ (Temporary Residence)
06. Group Listening ‘A Little Lost’ (PRAH)
07. Cate Le Bon & Group Listening ‘Here It Comes Again’ (Mexican Summer)
08. Hamish Kilgour ‘Crazy Radiance’ (Ba Da Bing!)
09. Arthur Russell ‘You Did It Yourself’ (Audika)
10. Yves Tumor ‘Gospel For A New Future’ (Warp)
11. El Michel’s Affair ‘Rubix’ (Big Crown Records)
12. MF Doom ‘Ninjarous’ (30th Century Records)
13. Four Tet ‘Something in the Sadness’ (Text)
14. Cucina Povera ‘Saniaiset’ (Night School)
15. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith ‘Expanding Electricity’ (Ghostly)
16. Laraaji ‘Hare Jaya Jaya Rama II’ (Numero Group)
17. Drab City ‘Working For The Men’ (Bella Union)
18. 24 Carat Black ‘You’re Slipping Away’ (Numero Group)
19. Pentangle ‘Light Flight’ (Sanctuary)
20. Jim White and Marisa Anderson ‘The Lucky’ (Thrill Jockey)
21. Enablers ‘Even Its Lies’ (Lancashire And Somerset)
22. Helen Money ‘One Year One Ring’ (Thrill Jockey)
23. Rebecca Foon ‘Ocean Song’ (Constellation)
24. A Winged Victory For The Sullen ‘Adios, Florida’ (Ninja Tune)
25. Brian Eno ‘Deep Blue Day’ (Editions EG)
26. Tropical Rainstorm ‘Flying Bird’ (Light In The Attic)
27. Aoife Nessa Frances ‘Less Is More’ (Basin Rock)
28. Dark Arts ‘The More Things Stay The Same’ (STROOM)
29. Windy & Carl ‘Crossing Over’ (Kranky)
30. Colin Self ‘Once More’ (RVNG Intl)

Guest Mixtape: Adam Wiltzie (A Winged Victory For The Sullen)

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We are honoured to present a special guest mix compiled by the world-renowned New York-born and Brussels-based composer Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie (A Winged Victory/Stars Of The Lid). Last year saw the eagerly awaited return of A Winged Victory For The Sullen – the cherished collaboration with piano composer Dustin O’ Halloran – with their sublime Ninja Tune debut ‘The Undivided Five’.

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Photo credit: Jonatan Gretarsson

Late last year saw the highly anticipated return of the cherished duo A Winged Victory For The Sullen with their latest singular expedition, ‘The Undivided Five’.  Their recorded output – beginning with the seminal eponymous debut from almost a decade ago – continues to push the sonic envelope and navigate new seas of wonder and inspiration; each one a time capsule beautifully captured.

On their latest full-length – and Ninja Tune debut – it is clear a rejuvenated spirit and renewed togetherness (through the tragic loss of their close friend Jóhann Jóhannsson) seeps into every pore of this captivating, far-reaching sonic odyssey. The signature sound of Adam Wiltzie’s otherworldly ambient guitar drone and Dustin O’ Halloran’s poignant, sparse piano is combined to unleash a spectrum of raw emotion; that is at once healing and transformative.

The album opener ‘Our Lord Debussy’ begins with heartfelt solo piano notes, which reverberate into the further reaches of one’s mind and subconscious being. Majestic strings (supplied as ever by the band’s trusted string quartet, Echo Collective) fades into the mix while Wiltzie’s guitar drone soars beneath. These elements fuse amidst a crescendo of pulsating waves wherein the soul stirring piano motif soon returns. Standing as the longest piece on the album, this piece of music illustrates just how far the duo’s musical path has taken us, the devoted listener, by the boundless nature of their singular sonic oeuvre.

Angelic beauty ascends on ‘The Slow Descent Has Begun’; another timeless gem whose DNA strands undeniably overlap with Jóhannsson’s similarly empowering classical works. Catharsis. An unwavering beauty that can’t help but lift your heart. Darker piano tones and haze of shimmering drone drifts across the sprawling canvas of ‘Aqualung, Motherfucker’ which finally resolves into a post-classical realm of hope and light.

Francesco Donadello’s trademark flourishes are found throughout. The album’s title-track is masterfully built upon the Italian maestro’s sublime analogue synthesizer soundscapes. Timeless ambient drone bliss are emitted as Wiltzie’s guitar haze weaves in and out. O’ Halloran’s heartfelt piano lament ‘Keep It Dark, Deutschland’ serves the album’s fitting close. Music from deep within. We are in debt to this unrivaled pair.

‘The Undivided Five’ is out now on Ninja Tune.

http://www.awvfts.com/

https://ninjatune.net/home

This mix is dedicated to all the ‘Sad Dads’ out there who have been suddenly thrust into the position of autodidacticism. Here in Belgium, the failure of humanity and the rascality of this lockdown has entered the 4th week, which has now become a Spring Break / Easter Holiday of immense complexity. The belief here in this tiny kingdom is school will not be coming back this year, so hold on tight, the Scaramouch in question is not going anywhere fast. This is gonna be a long summer….

Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie

 

‘The Undivided Five’ is out now on Ninja Tune.

http://www.awvfts.com/

https://ninjatune.net/home

Written by admin

April 14, 2020 at 1:56 pm

Guest Mixtape: Echo Collective

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Founded by Margaret Hermant and Neil Leiter in Brussels only little more than five years ago, Echo Collective are one of the true shining lights of the contemporary modern classical scene. Echo Collective consist of classically trained and professionally active musicians based in the Belgian capital (Margaret Hermant, Neil Leiter, Yann Lecollaire, Hélène Elst, Charlotte Danhier, Gary De Cart and Antoine Dandoy). The group have collaborated closely with many of today’s most singularly unique artists including: A Winged Victory for the Sullen; Stars of the Lid; the late Jóhann Jóhannsson; Laniakea and Christina Vantzou. Earlier this year, Echo Collective released “Echo Collective Plays Amnesiac” via the 7K! label, a breathtaking reinterpretation of the 2001 Radiohead classic, which stemmed from a residency at Ancienne Belgique in Brussels during the 2016-2017 season, culminating in a live performance at the inaugural BRDCST festival in April 2017. Recently, Echo Collective performed their seminal live show at Primavera Sound, Barcelona to widespread acclaim. Compiled by Margaret Hermant (violinist and harpist for Echo Collective), she is also a member of the groups Bow and Quatuor Mp4.

 

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“Tribute”
compiled by Margaret Hermant, Echo Collective (Belgium)

Tribute to close friends and musicians whom I have had the chance to meet, to work with, or see on stage along my musical journey.

Echo Collective is a group that I founded with Neil Leiter in Brussels Belgium. Though we have our own musical projects, most of our work is collaborative. We have had the privilege to collaborate with artists like A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Adam Wiltze, Dustin O’Halloran, Christina Vantzou, Erasure, MAPS, Daniel O’Sullivan, Laniakea, to name a few. Through these collaborations, we are able to bring our background as classical musicians to bear in this new landscape of Neoclassical music. And often times, through the collaborations, we meet fantastic other musicians on the road. It really is an amazing gift to be surrounded by and working with such beautiful music and musicians.

This is the first time that I have been asked to make a published playlist. I chose to take the opportunity to share music by people we collaborate with, have met along the journey, or had the chance to see perform. And because I am a violin player, I really wanted to share music that was string based, and showed all the wonderful atmospheres that strings combined in different settings can make.

“This playlist is perfect for a good whiskey, a warm bath, or even a long drive. A companion to the beautifully simple moments in life.”
*Thanks to Neil Leiter, Steven De Vliegher

—Margaret Hermant, summer 2018


Echo  Collective – “Tribute” (Fractured Air Guest Mix)

01. Aphex Twin – “Aussois” (from Drukqs, Warp 2001)
02. Christina Vantzou – “At Dawn” (from No 4, Kranky 2018)
03. Jóhann Jóhannsson – “Odi Et Amo” (from Englabörn, Touch 2002)
04. Otto Lindholm – “Cain” (from In Death’s Dream Kingdom, Houndstooth 2018)
05. Echo Collective – “Hunting Bears / Like Spinning Plates” (from Echo Collective Plays Amnesiac, 7k 2018)
06. James Heather – “Ruqia” (from Stories From Far Away On Piano, Ahead Of Our Time 2018)
07. Jens Maurits Bouttery – “The Day The Dogs Disappeared” OST
08. Mau Loseto – “Hologram Intro”
09. Peter Baert – “Verdriet / Titels” (from Facades OST)
10. Adam Wiltzie – “Bring This Place To Life” (from Salero OST, Erased Tapes 2016)
11. Simon Lenski – “I Like This” (from Oh City, self-released 2016)
12. Mica Levi – “Love” (from Under The Skin, Rough Trade, Milan 2014 )
13. Hildur Guðnadóttir & Jóhann Jóhannsson – “Leaving Home” (from Mary Magdalene, OST)
14. Mica Levi & Oliver Coates – “Barok Main” (from Remain Calm, Slip 2016)
15. Prairie – “Elephants Will Rise Again” (from After The Flash Flood, Denovali 2018)
16. Piloot – “B1” (Radio Edit) (from Piloot, Piloot 2017)
17. Laurent Plumhans – “After” (from In Memoriam, Cypres 2018)
18. BOW – “Bryanbaum”
19. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – “I Am Consumed” (from The Kid, Western Vinyl 2017)

“Echo Collective Plays Amnesiac” is available now on 7K! Records.

https://echo-collective.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/collectiveecho/

Mixtape: Fractured Air – March 2018 Mix

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This April marks the beloved U.S. band Mercury Rev’s 20th Anniversary tour of their classic “Deserter’s Songs” album (including an extensive Irish tour, UK and Belgium shows). We had the honour to recently interview Mercury Rev frontman Jonathan Donahue (soon-to-be-published) and an excerpt of this interview is featured in this month’s mix.

Our March mix contains two exclusive tracks from the compelling German independent label Denovali Records.

New Zealand’s Alicia Merz (under her Birds Of Passage moniker) unveils her fourth full-length “The Death of Our Invention” with a beguiling collection of dark pop song cycles embedded deep within a lattice of mimimal ambient soundscapes (released on 6th April 2018). The prestigious Rotterdam-based electronic producer Nadia Struiwigh has carved out a shape shifting ambient techno voyage with her Denovali debut full-length “WHRRu” (Where are you) which will be released on 27th April 2018.

Also featured on our latest mix is new music from the peerless Belgian re-issue label Stroom; Jonny Greenwood’s “You Were Never Really Here” score; Grouper’s Liz Harris; A Winged Victory For The Sullen and Paul de Jong (The Books).

 

Fractured Air – March 2018 Mix

01. Birds Of Passage“Wake to the Dream” (Denovali)
02. A.A.L.“This Old House Is All I Have” (Other People)
03. Sudan Archives“Come Meh Way” (Stones Throw)
04. Dabrye“Culture Shuffle” (feat. Kadence Intricate Dialect & Silas Green) (Ghostly)
05. Tomaga“Greetings From The Bitter End” (Kaya Kaya)
06. Aphex Twin“We Are the Music Makers” (Warp)
07. Nils Frahm“All Melody” (Erased Tapes)
08. Nadia Struiwigh“WHRRu” (Denovali)
09. Pablo’s Eye“Double Language” (Stroom)
10. Dorothy Ashby“Soul Vibrations” (Soul Jazz)
11. Maximum Joy“Silent Street/Silent Dub” (Y)
12. Ben Morris“Gissningsleken” (Original Mix) (Music For Dreams)
13. Sonoko“Danse Avec La Tristesse” (Stroom)
14. B. Fleischmann “Here Comes the a Train” (Morr Music)
15. The Fall“Lost In Music” (Cherry Red)
16. Shinichi Atobe“Regret” (excerpt) (DDS)
17. DJ Koze (feat. Róisín Murphy)“Illumination” (Pampa)
18. U.S. Girls“Rosebud” (4AD)
19. Balmorhea“Sky Could Undress” (Western Vinyl)
20. Normil Hawaiians“Yellow Rain” (Upset The Rhythm)
21. The Gentleman Losers“Wintergreen” (Grainy)
22. Beautify Junkyards“Ghost Dance” (Ghost Box)
23. Paul de Jong“It’s Only About Sex” (Temporary Residence)
24. Hatis Noit“Illogical Lullaby” (excerpt) (Erased Tapes)
25. Valiska“Forever” (Trouble In Utopia)
26. Grouper“Parking Lot” (Kranky)
27. A Winged Victory For The Sullen“Long May It Sustain” (Erased Tapes)
28. Jonny Greenwood – “Tree Synthesisers” (“You Were Never Really Here” OST) (Invada)
29. Jonathan Donahue – [interview excerpt] (Fractured Air)
30. Mercury Rev“Holes” (V2)

Chosen One: Justin Walter

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The music itself comes to light more like finding sea shells on the ocean floor with your eyes closed.”

—Justin Walter

Words: Mark Carry

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Angelic piano tones reverberate softly into the ether on the album’s glorious title-track. Gradually, synth bass elements coalesce together: a diffusion of sumptuous layers before heavenly trumpet passages form ripples in the pools of your mind. The immense sonic journey of  ‘Unseen Forces’ is encapsulated in some otherworldly realm; lost to the constraints of time that ceaselessly grows in meaning and significance. Michigan trumpeter Justin Walter has forged another timeless sound world  with his sophomore full length ‘Unseen Forces’ – and follow-up to the sublime debut ‘Lullabies & Nightmares’ – released on the ever-dependable Chicago-based Kranky label.

Divine sonic tapestries are masterfully forged across the album’s nine exceptional tracks, with intricate layers of electronics and trumpet. Walter’s trusted EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument) is a rare wind-controlled analog synthesizer from the 70’s that forms an integral foundation to the music’s visionary dimension. The opener ‘1001’ reveals the delicate beauty of these drifting synthesizer melodies that lies somewhere between Boards of Canada and the ECM’s rich discography. Bass notes are masterfully added two minutes in, creating a powerful, unequivocal force, reminiscent of Kranky alumni Tim Hecker or A Winged Victory For The Sullen.

Dark, menacing electronics are fused with radiant light of trumpet melodies on the utterly compelling ‘Sixty’, an exploration into the heart of darkness. The dichotomy of light and dark is forever inherent across Walter’s shape-shifting works where the radiant light of hope glows like stars dotted across night skies. An inner dialogue is created between the electronic and organic components, forming a deeply-affecting experience in the process. Take for example, ‘It’s Not What You Think’. The striking intensity unleashed by hypnotic swells of synthesizers is contrasted with ethereal ambient soundscapes of faded dreams. Music, like the brush strokes of a painter, is constructed by masterful use of texture and colour. As the track builds, the frenetic energy of Colin Stetson and Ben Frost is emitted amidst a dark, repeating pattern.

The album’s penultimate track ‘Soft Illness’ bears the sound of a producer more so than anything else: swirls of noise crafts a captivating electronic sphere of sound. The length of the individual tracks in part B are significantly shortened, further adding to the nearness of the approaching horizon. ‘Following’ is a soul-stirring lament that feels like a lost synth pop gem from another space and time. ‘Red Cabin’ encapsulates the rich textures of dreams, in one aching gradual pulse.

‘Unseen Forces’ is out now on Kranky.

http://www.justinwalter.net/

http://www.kranky.net/

justin

 

Interview with Justin Walter.

Congratulations Justin on the stunningly beautiful new sophomore release ‘Unseen Forces’, a collection of music that truly transports the listener to another realm. I’d love for you to discuss the making of the new record and particularly how your approach may have developed or changed from that of the remarkable 2013 debut ‘Lullabies & Nightmares’?

Justin Walter: Well first off, thank you. The biggest factor that changed was time. With ‘Lullabies & Nightmares‘ I just went full in and recorded the album in a few months. The process was a continuous push from start to finish that took about 9 months. It should also be noted that I didn’t really have any set voice or aesthetic that I was attached to at that time. Almost all of the work I had been doing with the EVI and trumpet sat as one offs or groupings of songs that happened within a short period of time, sort of like free form journal entries. When ‘Dream Weaving‘ was recorded, which was fairly early on, I decided to try and stick with material that felt along those lines, but it was all still very new to me. I think that ‘Mind Shapes‘ was the last piece I put together and in that there was a strong intent to make something that spoke to the rest of the material on the album. With ‘Unseen Forces‘ though, I spent a lot more time considering the overall meaning of the record. The process for coming up with the material was very much the same, but I wanted to find a cohesive musical language that would be the same throughout, and a more focused emotional message. So it took a lot longer to put together. Mostly because I don’t actually write any of the music.

Please discuss the art of improvisation and the mindset and methodologies you have developed over the years when it comes to creating these otherworldly ambient explorations?

JW: I suppose improvisation isn’t what most people think it is. It’s more like talking. So you have this musical language which you spend years learning and refining, and within itself there can be dialog, but the overall message is just emotional. It happens in real time, and so it’s a journey from one statement to the next and so on and by travelling along you can tell a story of sorts. But if you were to just pull out one piece from the middle it would probably lose all of its meaning. So the language that I have is mostly based in jazz, but over time I’ve also been developing this other language which is based on texture and sequencing. It’s about feel and spacing more than it is about notes and harmony.

Creating these recordings has mostly been the same process over and over. It involves improvisation, but more importantly it requires a strong sense of emotion. And not like crying emotion or anything like that, but just the feeling of yourself in a total way. So it’s always key to be in touch and have an intense sense of yourself when you spend time doing these things. After all, the idea here is to convey through music this story of yourself. So that’s a part of the methodology. The music itself comes to light more like finding sea shells on the ocean floor with your eyes closed. I’m just trying to feel for the good ones and after I collect a bunch I bring them up and see if I actually got anything worth saving. So the feeling and collecting process is very important and after a while you get a little bit better at it, but you still can’t see what you’re doing.

The sonic palette utilized on ‘Unseen Forces’ is your trusted EVI, wind-controlled analog synthesizer combined with electronics and trumpet tapestries that coalesce together forming sprawling soundscapes of utterly transcendent moments. As this new record is even more of a solo effort than its predecessor (with added percussion/drums in places), I’d love for you to discuss the starting points or genesis of these new solo works? Did you have certain reference points in mind? Also, it feels as if there’s this chain reaction of inner dialogue (of the deepest kind) as one listens to the unfolding of the seamless array of patterns inherent in these compositions. Would these tracks be first takes, so to speak? 

JW: One of the shifts I’ve made over the last few years is to see myself as more of a producer, if that’s the right term. I produce myself. Which is weird. So I set out to create and collect all of these sounds, and then I bring them to myself, and I say this one stays and these go. And so for that part of myself that is deciding how to place these things, there was a process of growth and refinement that is still taking place. When A Winged Victory for the Sullen came out with ATOMOS I remember listening to that every day and thinking to myself holly shit. And I realize I’m fairly ignorant when it comes to contemporary music, so I’m not really hip to all that is out there, but I love that record. And so I sat with it for a long time. It was sort of a pointer for me. I’m not sure what process Adam and Dustin use to write music, but it’s spot on and I wanted to bring as much of that language into myself as possible. So that was one starting point in terms of spacing, texture and colour.

Another starting point was Tim Hecker, who creates music that just pisses me off in the best way. These are guys I had never heard of before L&N and they, along with a few others, helped shape my decision making process when it came to the production side of things. In terms of inner dialogue, yes. I spent a lot of time sitting with these songs as they developed and it was very important to me that they told a continuous story. These are first takes and layered first takes. I didn’t re-record anything for this album, it’s all just live recordings. It’s one of the reasons it took me so long to make this record – most of what I do doesn’t work out.

The album’s title-track is one of the pinnacles of this enriching journey. It’s the space and dimension a track such as this permeates and orbits, for me is the towering essence of this beautiful music. Can you recount your memories of creating ‘Unseen Forces’ and indeed how the piece evolved and bloomed into its final entity? The sonic canvas and various components of your sound are wonderfully utilized and expressed here, it’s such a captivating experience. The title too embodies the music so perfectly, is there a story or background to choosing of this particular (song/album) title?

JW: I had gone to Chicago to my friend Erik Hall’s place. He’s helped in recording and mixing this, and almost all of my records. He had just inherited his families Steinway grand piano and we were both fairly excited to be in the presence of such an incredible instrument. It seems ridiculous, but the title track was recorded in three passes, basically back to back with no planning what so ever. I played some open chords, which is what you hear at the beginning of the song. Then sampled and sequenced those chords in a way that was extremely random. We recorded a pass of that sequence and I decided to add a synth bass part with the EVI. That ended up being mostly in 4/4 time because, well that’s what I do. So after that I did a pass with the trumpet. That was it in terms of recording. Now there was a lot of time spent mixing and I did record the sequenced piano track through a tape delay a few months later to have that in the mix as well. I also spent a bit of time adding parts to it and then taking them away, and finally just decided that the best thing to do would be to just leave it as it is. I think that in recording the way we did, there just wasn’t time to think about what to do, and so even though it was three separate passes, it still had the spontaneity of a live performance. There’s playfulness in that that you just can’t write out.

You are part of the immense Sorrow Ensemble, Colin Stetson’s latest project. As you tour on this record and play with these musicians, I can only imagine how inspiring and fulfilling this experience must be? Can you shed some light on the dynamics of this group and what you feel you are learning from Colin Stetson, someone obviously who has served as a long-term inspirational figure?

JW: Well, being a part of this group has been a dream come true. Throughout the span of this project it has always been extremely clear that Colin has had a vision and sense of purpose in choosing to recreate this amazing piece of music. He’s lead the group like general on the battlefield. All of the members are amazing musicians in their own right and there was always an openness to the way we formed and contributed to the orchestration as it developed, but it’s really been a pleasure to work with someone who sees clearly what the final outcome should be. In working with large groups like this it can be easy to sway in the wind a bit in terms of direction, everyone having their own ideas about what should be what, and Stetson has managed this in amazing form and with the best leadership imaginable. It also helps that everyone chosen to be a part of this group has a huge sense of selflessness and are just interested in making great music. So we work together and listen to each other and make it happen.

In the nature of improvisation and the “first thought add ons” (you previously described to me) inherent in your trumpet-based works, I presume quite a significant of happy accidents occur as the album is being made/recorded? I would love to know more about your studio set-up and indeed the challenges you face when it comes to capturing these takes onto the final recordings? Is mixing a part of the process that takes you longer to complete?

JW: Yep. Fail, fail, and fail again. But actually one of the things I’ve come to accept is that I can’t do this every day. You really do need to be in the right space to sit down and get an amazing first take, or be able to see that what you have is something you want to keep working on. Mixing is something I’ve spent a ton of time on. I went from knowing how to record in garage band in 2011 to feeling like there wasn’t that much left for me to discover in protools in 2016. So there was a huge amount of learning that happened over these past few years. I do have a “studio” at home which serves my needs just fine. I have a walk up attic that is very dead in terms of sound bouncing around and so I use that space to mix in. It gets me to about 95%, and the rest I can do in a real studio. Mixing and also sequencing of material is time consuming, you’re making decisions and putting things together that can sometimes feel like you’re playing 6 games of Tetris at the same time. How the side chain compression is working, how the tracks are duplicated and spit up for eq, and how all of the layers are interacting with each other. It’s is a fun game.

The spirit of Arthur Russell and Boards of Canada beautifully drift by on the sublime ‘It’s Not What You Think’, a piece that epitomizes the adventurous spirit of the album but also the sense of new ground and departures from the debut. Please also discuss the sequencing of the record, it works very well how there are several much shorter pieces – or crystallized gems – interspersed with the sprawling ambient cuts. 

JW: I wanted the opening to set the mood for the whole record, to let the listener know that this would be a slower journey. ‘It’s Not What You Think‘ formed over the summer of 2016. It was the final piece of music I put together for this record and yes, BoC. Love those guys. I do love Arthur Russell but honestly it’s been a long time for me. I think I was mostly focused on having this dark and repetitive line that was strong and forceful. Again, when the bass line comes in on ATOMOS it’s like, hell yes. Love that. And so for me this was my reflection of that. It’s less frills and more meat. I also wanted to speak to the vinyl record format, and so bookended each side with two halves of the same piece. “End of Six” and “Red Cabin” originally were one continuous recording that took place at the very end of a 45 improvisation, the Sixth one of that day. The sequencing of songs took a while. There’s room to breathe after the intense cuts, but not in a way that kills the forward momentum. The overall shape of the record is from low to high and back in a gradual way that hopefully lets you listen to the album on repeat without getting burnt out. That was one of my goals.

What do you feel has been the most invaluable lesson you have learned or that previous experiences have taught you? Can you recall your memories of first being given the trumpet and how you feel you have developed your own distinct musical language with the EVI instrumentation that is integral to your solo works?

JW: Definitely that taking time is totally OK. I’ve never really made a living as a musician, I mean there have been stretches were I’m making great money and then it’s all over. So I’ve grown to be OK with that and actually cherish the fact that I don’t have to do this. In no way is it covering the cost of time put in, it’s just about the art. So if it takes forever, it’s worth it. In the end it’s about trying to make something that you yourself find value in, and hopefully other people will find value in it as well. So it’s super important to take as much time as you need. Once it’s out, it’s done forever.

Louis Smith gave me my first trumpet. I was 10. It was actually a cornet. I’ve always been involved in the jazz community as a trumpeter. Currently I play a few nights a week with different groups here in Ann Arbor, it’s great. Everything from new music, free jazz, Joe Henderson, Coltrane, all the way back to Bix and Morton. We cover the whole lineage. With that, I think I’ve settled down into feeling more secure with who I am and were I sit within the community. The music itself is always new and its very nature is exploratory, so there’s always anticipation for me. As far as this project goes, the trumpet has drifted between being something more akin to a layer of sound, and at times a melodic voice. I really don’t think about it too much, it’s just what comes to mind. It wouldn’t make any sense to just start playing bebop lines, I mean, maybe? Not what I’m hearing though. The EVI is a totally different beast and its language and the way I use it to create soundscapes is one that mostly exists here in my house. It seems that over time I’ve become less interested in what the EVI can do and more interested in how I can use what it does to convey emotion. It’s always fun to sit down and play the instrument, but I’ve been spending less and less time just messing around with it in a random way.

‘Unseen Forces’ is out now on Kranky.

http://www.justinwalter.net/

http://www.kranky.net/

Written by admin

August 3, 2017 at 10:09 pm