FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Posts Tagged ‘Balmorhea

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: Balmorhea

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We make the music that comes to us based on the unique and pooled amalgam of memories, experiences, dreams, lands and people that surround us.”

—Michael Muller

Words: Mark Carry

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Last year’s gorgeous ‘Clear Language’ full length marked the eagerly awaited return of the beloved instrumental/post-classical Texas duo Balmorhea. As a follow-up to 2012’s ‘Stranger’, the gifted duo of Rob Lowe and Michael Muller have carved out a richly poignant set of stunningly beautiful compositions: spacious, exquisite and immaculate sonic explorations for the heart and mind.

As the title suggests, ‘Clear  Language’s musical landscape is built upon simplicity and returning to one’s roots (bringing it all back home, if you will). It is precisely the crystalline immediacy of these ten otherworldly odysseys that forever reveal more insights and unraveling truths from deep within. Co-produced and engineered by David Boyle in Austin’s Church House Studios, the instrumentation consists of analog synthesizers, piano, vibraphone, electric and bass guitar, violin, viola, field recordings and –for the first time – trumpet (played by Tedeschi Trucks’ Ephraim Owens).

The ethereal trumpet lines on ‘Slow  Stone’ creates a jazz infused neo-classical exploration (as the gradual piano ripples forges a Necks-esque dreamscape). The joyously uplifting Americana lament ‘Sky Could  Undress’ (later reworked by ambient luminaries Christina Vantzou and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma on this year’s ‘Clear Language: Reworked’) with the highly emotive strings serving one of the record’s pinnacles. The infectious guitar groove could have originated from a jam in Woodstock’s Big Pink house from another time and place.

If ever a piece embodies the soulful, immersive nature of the duo’s shape shifting works it is the glorious album-title – and opening track – with empowering piano lines and crescendo of soul-stirring strings, unfolding a pavilion of dreams.

‘Clear Language’ is out now on Western Vinyl.

For Balmorhea’s European and U.S. tour dates, visit HERE

https://balmorheamusic.com/

http://westernvinyl.com/

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Interview with Michael Muller (Balmorhea).

 

Please take me back to Clear Language’s inception; what were the concerns and primary aims you both shared for this latest record? I just love how – at once – there is a warmth of familiarity and shimmering depths of the unknown also. I can imagine the process of creating this latest record must have felt like a liberating experience, and one you may have felt you were starting afresh (considering the gap from the previous LP)?

Michael Muller: The beginning processes of Clear Language started in the spring of 2016. We would meet everyday in our studio and experiment on a single idea, each day. Sometimes it was based on a loop, a sample or just a few loose chords. Over the span of a couple months we whittled down many ideas into about 12 “songs” that we recorded as demos. We didn’t have any touring during this process, nor in the forecast until after this album would eventually release, so we took our good time in the recording and mixing process. This happened in October and November of 2016 at Church House Studios in Austin, Texas with co-producer and engineer David Boyle. We didn’t rule out any idea or instrument choice until it was clearly not right for whatever track we were working on. We were assisted on all the string parts throughout the record by our amazing and long-time companion and collaborator Aisha Burns. Overall, our goal at this point in our sonic trajectory, was to take a step back, complexity-wise, and focus on space, breath and to lasso the best tones we could. Contrasting to our earlier releases, where a precise narrative was drawn from, between night sky, vast seas or the expansive nature of western America, Clear Language seemed to require a more solemn and inner peering; one that loosely harnessed perhaps the liquidity of a dream-like state or of vague memories half-forgotten. It was really enjoyable throughout the making of the record to not be shuffled along too hurriedly by the constraints of time. We are really please with how it all ended up.

I’d love to gain an insight into the studio set-up and this deep connection between you as a duo? This collaborative partnership must be built on such a powerful force of intuition and the resulting sound worlds captured on Clear Language emit such sublime beauty and timeless radiance. I get the impression that some of these compositions feel almost like happy accidents, so to speak?

MM: Happy accidents is a fitting way to phrase it. Several of the tracks on the record literally sort of appeared, really. Rob would sit at the Rhodes or I at a guitar and the tones and melody would slowly spill out. We usually realized something great was occurring so we were sure to always have the mics on and recording while we wrote and recorded the demos. The more fully-realized songs were usually stemmed from a specific loop or progression that was added to and then eventually subtracted from until the right balance presented itself. There were, though, certain instruments and techniques that we knew we were interested in trying, as well. The track ‘Ecco’, for instance, employs a Rhodes organ going through a series of fuzz pedals and a Space Echo tape delay. This recipe coupled nicely, we thought, with the more crystalline guitar tones and skeletal piano pieces bordering the rest of the album. In other pieces, like ‘All Flowers’, we experimented with recording guitar into a cassette deck and re-amping through a PA.

The title-track and gorgeous album opener feels like a gateway into the rest of the record. Can you talk me through the construction and layering of this uplifting piece? The title too conveys the clarity and directness of the music captured on this latest batch of songs.

MM: The title track, in our minds, was meant to serve as an intro, of sorts, to the record; a palette-cleanser, if you will. This track began with the opening piano line and was lightly built-upon from there. It’s restrained in a way, as it never fully gets too demonstrative or bombastic as it hints at grandiosity that may be forthcoming that never perhaps fully arrives. The track and record title, Clear Language, seemed the only logical choice. It’s instrumental music that is there to score whatever reality each listener applies it to.

The shimmering ambient odyssey ‘Slow Stone’ forms the vital core to the record’s first half. As ever, this sense of a journey unfolds before your very ears. The added trumpet instrumentation (which I believe is a first for Balmorhea, on record at least?) further heightens the textured sound world that breathes deeply throughout. For a piece like this, would the piano melody have provided you the starting point for all else to form?

MM: ‘Slow Stone’ was a track that in the writing process was truly developed out of nothing. The intro is a sample we recorded of the Australian avant-minimalist composer Lawrence English walking through tall grass in cowboy boots during a field recording workshop he gave in Austin. The tandem of the track is a pure collaboration between the guitars and undulating over a soft bed of Rhodes organ. After that initial bedrock was laid we knew another and a different voice needed to pull it all together. We agreed it couldn’t be a string part, which we didn’t want to overplay and we both liked the idea of brass. In the end, the thing we all wanted to hear was a muffled trumpet. We called Ephraim Owens, a local Austin jazz trumpeter and touring member of Tedeschi Trucks, to step in and add his magic. I think he only took three, short takes before nailing it after only hearing the song a few times in the control room. The track eventually flows out into a delta and ends with an interplay between the sparse piano and hazy waves of a fuzzed-out guitar. If you listen closely at the crescendo, you’ll hear a subtle sputtering under the surface. This is a blast beat from our friend and Belgian black metal drummer Wim Coppers.

Balmorhea’s pop sensibility is a trait that remains at the heart of the band’s special records. Needless to say, the lyrical quality of these instrumentals is quite staggering. For instance, ‘Behind The World’ orbits the avant pop sphere with the irresistible bass groove and crystallized guitar/piano patterns. What do you feel may be the defining records for you that you find inspirational for the musical path you find yourselves on? 

MM: During the creation of Clear Language it was a wild smattering of records from all over the musical map. Rob was listening to a lot of jazz, classical and world music whereas I was listening to a see-saw of minimal, avant and ambient music. One record that was on heavy rotation during the process was Daniel Lanois’ ‘Belladonna’ (2006, Anti). This record marries a strange blend of ambient americana throughout its reverberous pedal steel guitar next to deep synth and avant-jazz drumming. It really opens a total unique, sonic world unto itself. Highly recommended if you haven’t heard.

It must be a thrill to translate ‘Clear Language’ to the live setting when touring? As a larger ensemble onstage, do the songs further change or mutate as they are emitted into the atmosphere each night, in different places, different time zones, different moments?

MM: The songs of Clear Language were written and largely recored as a duo but the live iteration is a full, 6-piece ensemble. Every player has a role for each song, which rotates based on the arrangement. It was a fun but long process to comb through these songs and arrange them for the live stage. The songs are mostly compatible with the original instrumentation and played live, save the programmed beats on ‘Sky Could Undress’ and ‘Behind the World’, respectfully. It’s really enjoyable to play live and our current set has over 1/2 of the new album mixed throughout.

‘First Light’ is that perfect meditative closing gem. A haven of celestial sounds unfold. Can you recount your memories of writing, composing and arranging this song? The added vocals makes for such a vital moment. Do you find the arranging and blending of the various instrumentation a challenge? Or this sense of keeping restraint in the music and having the minimal framework as your guide? Is there a musical philosophy that you feel has guided you through your songbook thus far?

MM: ‘First Light’ was actually the first song we wrote in the demoing process. But in the end, it fit most squarely as the album’s closer. We titled it ‘First Light’ as a way to invoke or invite a return or a cycle, of sorts. The record as a whole (to us, anyway) seems to slide from one track to the next and can play in some way as a singular, weaving journey. There isn’t a specific doctrine or credo we are adhering to, really. And we’ve never set out to specifically not have lyrics. On some tracks we’ll sort of agree that a different voice is needed. Sometimes it ends up that a human voice being used as an instrument rather than communicating a direct language is the most apt choice. We make the music that comes to us based on the unique and pooled amalgam of memories, experiences, dreams, lands and people that surround us. We are so lucky to make music; to record it and to play it around the world. It means everything that people spend time listening to it and even more-so if they are moved in some way by it. It’s a dream come true.

‘Clear Language’ is out now on Western Vinyl.

For Balmorhea’s European and U.S. tour dates, visit HERE

https://balmorheamusic.com/

http://westernvinyl.com/

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March 27, 2018 at 6:20 pm

Step Right Up: Martyn Heyne

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“…recording doesn’t capture music; recording creates a recording.”

—Martyn Heyne

Words: Mark Carry

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Transcendence fills the space of Hamburg-born Martyn Heyne’s singular guitar-based compositions. The remarkable debut solo album ‘Electric Intervals’ – and follow-up to 2016’s achingly beautiful mini-album ‘Shady & Light’ – gently unleashes a hypnotic spell with each swirling ambient pulse and divine tones of piano and guitar.

Glorious album opener – and lead single – ‘Carry’ orbits the ether of faded dreams as sublime electric guitar soundscapes reverberate the human heart. Only mere moments into the German composer’s full-length, it is as if we are plunged into an ‘in between’ state, somehow capturing the quiet bliss of this universe that surrounds us. As the title suggests, Heyne’s echo drenched guitar tones transport you to the furthest reaches of one’s inner self, feeling beautifully lost in the pools of your mind.

Dawn light gradually fades in throughout the windswept beauty of sparse piano lament ‘Luxury’. The reflective piano notes unfolds a deeply immersive experience. The striking intimacy of ‘Patina’ with its magical tapestry of electric guitar tones radiates a shimmering warmth, particularly on the piece’s heavenly rise. ‘Faro’s soft beat and drifting guitar patterns serves one of the album’s defining moments. Magical guitar lines that belong at once to age-old folk song cycles or future post- classical overtures. The lyrical quality of a guitar melody such as this illustrates just how unique the sound world captured on ‘Electric Intervals’ truly is.

A Piano Day highlight from last year, ‘2400’ is built upon joyously uplifting piano motifs that meld together effortlessly, emitting a catharsis within the ambient swells. The album’s mystical centrepiece. The dynamics change on the luminescent beats of ‘Come On’ with a seductive guitar groove that inhabits a minimal wave sphere of enchanting sounds. Heavenly sustained piano chords of ‘Wilde Wide’ navigates the human space before the epic album closer ‘Curium’ dazzles with a flurry of delay, drum machines and invigorating guitar lines. The horizon is upon us.

Electric Intervals’ is a truly remarkable debut album from a gifted composer whose musical path is only just beginning.

‘Electric Intervals’ is out now on 7K! Records.

https://www.facebook.com/everynoteisapillow/

https://www.facebook.com/7Klassik/

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Interview with Martyn Heyne.

 

Congratulations on your debut solo album ‘Electric Intervals’; it’s a very special experience. I’d love for you to go back to the making of the album itself? In line with the gorgeous debut ‘Shady & Light’, some of these songs were probably in your head for a long time?

Martyn Heyne: It is true that the ‘Shady & Light’ material and this material overlap a little bit in time, like some of the pieces on this one like ‘Faro’ and ‘Afar’ I’ve been playing them in concerts for a very long time and some are totally new like ‘Carry’ and ‘Come On’. And it’s just a mix of what I’ve gotten around to producing or what I wanted to make fresh. So in a way, I always have a big bucket of stuff that’s either an idea or it’s composed or I have some recordings and when I wanted to make the record I just started producing some things and making recordings of things I had. At the end, you look at the lot and think well, I love this composition but I don’t think it came out right so I don’t use that one or other stuff where you feel like I always thought this was never going to make it but now when it’s compared to everything, it fits just right in so I’ll pick that one.

And it’s quite surprising what takes and what compositions eventually I thought fitting for the record. Like for example this piece ‘Wilde Wide’ is one where I got up one morning – like often when I have the time after I get up I just play the piano for a little bit, just to have the first thing in the day to put you on track for the day – and that’s one of those things, I never really thought anything about it because there’s barely any musical content or anything in that piece but somehow it always remained something that I can relate to and that fits the narrative of the album very well (like at a certain position where it is now). I just watch myself from the outside a little bit when I decide what goes on the album and what I sequence so there’s a mix of stuff that’s maybe eight years old compositionally and stuff that was brand new at the time (like just made for this album).

I love how the piano pieces are interspersed among the guitar instrumentals. It works very well and as you say, the placing of certain pieces really compliment each other too or the contrasts to one another too.

MH: Well thank you. I guess I don’t really make any distinction between the piano or the guitar pieces, it’s just going from vibes, like the track ‘Carry’ is very long and then it’s nice to have something short afterwards and so forth. I think it’s easy to simplify why you do things when you try to explain the length or the instrument (or whatever), I just look at it and see and try to find a narrative so that it feels nice to listen through the whole thing as an album. It’s very much sequenced just as an album rather than a collection of pieces.

With the whole production element and your home studio and being involved with so many great records, would you have certain philosophies or your approach to sound as a whole?

MH: What I thought was interesting with this album, looking back is I didn’t really set out to make an album and then thought I’m going to write some pieces for it and then I’m going to produce them in such and such a way and so forth; I didn’t really have a master plan for it from that perspective at all. But rather, like I said I looked a little bit into the bucket of music that was there and developed some things and then saw what came out of it. And surprisingly to me, a lot of these pieces that end up on the album are recorded to cassette tape – most of them – and in a pretty lo-fi sound almost which is really OK for electric guitar and drum machines because they are not particularly fussy instruments to start with (they’re not very pristine, an electric guitar is not a harp). I’m surprised when I read reviews like it’s this pristine sound and very much figured out and people have different ideas about what eventually comes out of the sound but it rather just happens. Like the second song ‘Luxury’ I just read that it has beats or something but it’s just a piano take and it’s one microphone and that’s all there is and it’s just recorded to a really lousy mono joop recorder, you know that made it sound that way and I liked it and I kept it that way. Like I said, I probably tried to re-record it in a pristine and nice way but then eventually somehow this take was the one that I liked best. And a lot of the pieces are like that.

Also, for example the last track ‘Curium’ – the very long one – is always recorded on cassette tape, all running live through a mixing desk so I had the drum machine set up and I play them next to playing the guitar (so every once in a while I would just reach over and like add a snare drum or change the beat a little or put a delay with it or something) and play the guitar next to it. And all the beats, it had six tape echoes running and amplifiers for the guitar and drum machines and just everything went to a board and the reverb’s running and the whole thing of balancing and juggling it live, it just goes into a cassette tape recorder [laughs]. And then this two-track cassette tape (that’s what I used for the whole production) so then I put that into the computer and I edited it down a little bit because it was even longer when I made it. And then I took this down edit into a church and played it back there to record more reverb and make it more pristine and I overdubbed the rhodes on it. It’s almost anti-production in a way. I certainly wasn’t looking for the pristine sound or for the best way to do it but somehow these versions are the ones that were to me the most convincing. I know for example from ‘Curium’ doing like a proper studio production where everything sounds proper and it just couldn’t beat this one somehow and that’s how it goes sometimes.

And maybe also interestingly with the first track ‘Carry’ that’s also just one electric guitar so it’s just a guitar and there’s an echo (and that’s all that’s playing). But I think I must have recorded about a hundred takes of it over a period of about half a year and I just recorded it over and over again, mostly to a quarter-inch tape machine with the reverb and everything going. At the end of that time, I just picked my favourite version so the arrangement changed and the sound changed and it was different every time. So, instead of recording it once or three times and then just working on that sound, I just recorded it over and over again – they were all different – and then I just took one at the end that I liked the best. It’s not my philosophy but that’s how this album happened.

I love how ‘Curium’ has that live performance feel where you feel like you’re in the room as you listen to it.

MH: There is just a bunch of delay pedals that run after the drum machine and this electro part in the middle is just playing with delay machines and making it crazy. And again, I think the original version must have been something like twenty-five minutes so I cut out a huge guitar solo and probably some of the delay dubbing but it’s all from that one performance (it’s not from several takes). The craziness and the distortion and the congruence of it somehow at the end won over [laughs] the technical perfections that are clearly there.

I’m always fascinated when a musician has so many takes – and as you say how each one is different – would you feel a certain fear or anxiety that you are going to pick the right one in the sense that you have so many moments to choose from?

MH: That’s an interesting point that you mention because that is actually something that is part of my recording philosophy or maybe something that I learned about recording that is always very difficult to pass onto the people who I work with especially when they are working on like their first or second album when they have little experience is that people tend to finish a record and after they are done, there’s a few aspects of it that they don’t really like or they wish that they could change. And this is inevitable in a way, this is one of the things that is inherent in recording because I think this is one of the things that many people don’t understand about recording: recording doesn’t capture music, recording creates a recording. If I had a piece of music (like a composition) and I play it for you now ; it’s sunshine and it’s the afternoon and I’ll play it in a certain way. And if I played it to you at one o’ clock in the night chances are I’ll play it in a slower tempo, maybe with a different timbre and if I played it to you at seven in the morning it would again be different. If it’s the summertime I would play it different and if it’s the wintertime I would play it different, you know what I mean. So, things make sense differently in different circumstances. If you play it in front of fifty people you’ll play it in a more intimate fashion than if you play it in front of five thousand and so forth.

Therefore, when you listen to music or when you perform music or when music is just music, this stuff always just falls into place by itself because it is part of how the performer feels and part of how the audience feels just by itself so they don’t really recognize that they are making these choices. But then in a recording these things are trapped, the microphone is the point where this stuff gets lost. So, it’s simply impossible to pick the right tempo for a recording or to pick the right mood for a recording, rather I advise people to say to find a moment in your life when you’re not too drunk or you’re not too tired and not too angry – or maybe completely tired, drunk and angry – and then you make a decision of the moment that you are convinced that it is a good decision and that is your recording, regardless of what you record later on, in a different day time, in a different mindset, you will want to change things, always forever (that’s just how it is). That doesn’t mean that in the later stage you’re smarter than before or more musical or you have a better view on it, it simply doesn’t mean that, it’s just one of the shortcomings of recording. Recording is not a recording of music; it is a recording. It’s a different animal and therefore this feeling of not having captured everything that the song means to a listener or a performer is inevitable and everybody with every production has to live with this. But this is very difficult to tell people and it’s often the reason why once a mix or a master is done people will call you up every day and want minute changes, hoping to chase this little thing that they want to get perfect, which is simply not possible. So, I love the take that is the take, I play it different now but that’s what it is.

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One of my favourite pieces is ‘Faro’ with its beautiful melody but also how the rise comes in, and the way it’s melded with a soft beat as well.

MH: Again with that one, this is a take that I recorded I think in 2013 really shortly between Efterklang tours so I was just home for a few days and I had this piece that I’ve been already performing in 2012 when I was touring with Nils Frahm I played this piece. And then for the first time in between these tour breaks I played it on electric guitar and I thought this sounds crazy, this is cool so I just quickly recorded a demo take of it to remember what it sounds like on an electric guitar so then I would remember that is an option with this piece. And then later for this record I tried to produce it and make a ton of recordings of it and none of them sounded like this one (so I kept this one). It’s the same story basically. So, this is the original demo of it.

What are your memories of music as you were growing up or even at point did you start recording like that first moment when you discovered recording sounds yourself?I presume you started playing the guitar and piano from a young age?

MH: To be honest I played for much longer than I started to record. I only started to record like for fun when I was fourteen or something (I didn’t really do that before). By that time I had already played for much much longer so that came as a second idea and maybe that’s also what shapes my views so much on it that a recording is not a recording of what happens when you play but it is the production of something else entirely. And when you start out with cassette tape – and as I did also by the way with the Atari computer – then it’s much more obvious that what you capture is something very different and you start to play with that. You see like if I put this in this is what comes out so if I change what I put in, regardless of how that sounds, what comes out? What is it that then comes out? I think I was always very aware that they are different animals.

The guitar itself and the sounds you create it has a whole world of sound that you are able to create with this instrument. I can imagine there’s been different sorts of experiments that are ongoing with you and the guitar?

MH: Absolutely, I think that the guitar is in an unusual position among instruments in that it came very late. I’m talking about electric and electric sounds now although it’s not much difficult with classical because that’s not much older and it has a similar problem (but slightly different). The electric guitar came about in the 50’s and then there’s 60’s and 70’s rock and it kind of stops. Even today, a lot of people when they play the guitar they learn that music that’s been played in that time and try to recreate that sound that’s been done in that time. And similarly on classical guitar people play Villa_Lobos or Bach and try to do it in the sound of these handful – and really a handful – of guitarists that popularised the original classical guitar sound. I don’t know, I feel like the attempt to move it away from that are not too many or not too successful in comparison to I find much broader scope of other instruments. I don’t know if that’s the reason but I could imagine the reason is that it’s simply a pretty recent, pretty young thing, you know and it just doesn’t have the same kind of history as orchestral music or keyboard-based music or vocal music. For me it’s always been a very odd aspect of composing and playing and find sounds that are really exciting and it’s great to crank up a loud amplifier and play a Led Zeppelin riff but it doesn’t provide any of the electricity to me that I get when I find a sound that I feel a personal connection with becauseit’s coming from my own world.

Your voice is heard in so many great records of so many people’s music. You have worked with many musicians on different albums, I wonder how does the collaborative process work for you?

MH: I work with many people but I wouldn’t say I collaborate. I have to say there’s barely any collaboration going on. Most of the time I work to facilitate their music. When I work in my studio with other people it’s mostly about seeing what they want to achieve and hearing what they want to achieve and seeing what they have done and helping them to move that further to a more finished place basically. In that capacity, that’s different from a collaboration where I would at some point say no but I want it like this, let’s go there and that’s sometimes not so clear for people to see maybe where the cut-off is between what I do as a studio job with my studio and my own music. For my own stuff basically so far you can only get these two albums. Of course in Efterklang I was also pretty much left to my own devices as to what I do with the music and stuff but that’s different. Studio work for me is really studio work. I am very honoured and happy that many people come to the studio because they like sounds of what they’ve heard or stuff that I have made and they say like ‘oh can you make it sound a little bit like that?’ or ‘how did you get that sound?’ or we come with such and such with certain reference. That’s the only reason why people come I guess, I only get requests based on other work that I’ve done before basically. But still I don’t  interfere with what they’re trying to do, I just try to give them some of what they’re looking for if I can. And for that reason also sometimes I get requests for studio stuff where people ask for something and I don’t think I can give them or I just have no clue what they’re on about [laughs] and I just say sorry I can’t help you there.

You have a big European tour coming up. This must be exciting to see how the songs change and mutate depending on location and time and different things like that? And also how these songs off the latest album are translated to the live setting?

MH: Absolutely, I’m curious to find out about that too. I’m very happy on this tour that Balmorhea are taking me with them and I’m opening for them every night and they are a great band, I’m sure you know that because I think that they play for an audience who could be interested in the general field of music that I’m also involved with and their last record ‘Clear Language’ is really fantastic so I’m looking very much forward to that tour. It’s four weeks of shows. Playing shows for me is one of the best things of the whole job you know. I think it’s almost a bit underrated how important concerts are for this kind of music and I’m very happy to be able to do some. I will play some from ‘Electric Intervals’ of course and also from ‘Shady & Light’ and also some new things and so I think it will be a good mix and we’ll see how some of them will change over the course of the tour.The last concert fortunately is in Berlin so at the moment that it is most mixed up it is nice to do a home show at the very end.

In contrast to playing as a duo or in groups, playing solo must be like a completely different beast?

MH: Performing solo is very different from playing with a group, it has advantages and disadvantages. The great thing is that you can change direction on the go whenever you feel like it and you can switch the set-list around, you can play songs longer and shorter, you can change the mood and the vibe and take a turn at any point. And it’s also not too complicated a set-up so that is all great. Sometimes it’s a little less fun because if you go onstage with a band you have these moments where you can just sit back and watch what people are doing; what the other people in the band are doing and the audience and you can take a little bit of a break whereas as a solo performer you are always the thing, the entire time, you have to stay on the ball much more. From that perspective it can be a lot of fun to play with a band too and you share a bit more but luckily in this case I am also touring with Balmorhea the whole time so they are six people and then we’ll have a great team for technical side of things so I think it will be much more fun altogether than if I was actually on my own (which I will be only on the stage).

Are there certain albums you’ve been listening to a lot lately?

MH: The Bill Callahan ‘Apocalypse’ record. I started listening to it when it came out maybe four years ago and it just gets better, I really like that one. And also recently I very much enjoyed listening – maybe because it’s winter – to Wagner opera overtures. I’m not so into the singing bits but the orchestral beginnings I think it’s really worthwhile to give that a spin as well.

‘Electric Intervals’ is out now on 7K! Records.

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March 20, 2018 at 3:48 pm

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S02E07 | July mix

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fracturedair_july17

July saw the highly-anticipated return of world-renowned French composer Colleen (aka Cécile Schott) with her achingly beautiful new single “Separating”, taken from the forthcoming “A flame my love, a frequency” out October 20th via Thrill Jockey. On her new album, Schott’s viola da gamba – used on her last two records “Captain of None” and “The Weighing Of The Heart” – is replaced by solely electronic instrumentation: Moog pedals and Critter and Guitari synthesizers. The result is yet another otherworldly, far-reaching sonic odyssey from this visionary solo artist.

Following on from last year’s exceptional debut mini-album “Shady & Light”, Hamburg-born and Berlin-based multi-instrumentalist and producer Martyn Heyne has unveiled his stunning new single “Carry”, taken from the forthcoming solo debut album (coming out later this year on the neo-classical imprint 7K!). The divine guitar-based compositions crafted by Heyne carves out a ceaselessly rich listening experience for the here-and-now.

Elsewhere on July’s mix we have new releases from Montreal composer Kara-Lis Coverdale (Boomkat Editions), Four Tet’s new single “Two Thousand And Seventeen” (Text), Daphni’s new fabric live set, Los Angeles composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s lead single “An Intention” (taken from the forthcoming Western Vinyl release “The Kid”), Jane Weaver’s krautrock-flavoured latest opus (Fire Records), Snake Eyes (the current house band in the new Twin Peaks) and UK psychedelia courtesy of Ulrika Spacek.

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S02E07 | July mix

 

To listen on Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-x-blogothèque-s02e07-july-mix/

 

01. Gil Scott-Heron“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (BGP)
02. Shabazz Palaces“Welcome to Quazarz” (Sub Pop)
03. Danger Doom“Mad Nice” (feat. Black Thought & Vinny Price) (Lex)
04. Robert Wyatt“Shipbuilding” (Rough Trade)
05. Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland “2” (Hyperdub)
06. Patricia“I Know The Face, But Not The Name” (Spectral Sound)
07. Barbara Morgenstern + Werkstatt“Grow” (Monika Enterprise)
08. Four Tet“Two Thousand and Seventeen” (Text)
09. Daphni “Poly” (Fabric)
10. Om Alec Khaoli“Enjoy It” (Awesome Tapes From Africa)
11. Marijata – “I Walk Alone” (excerpt) (Mr Bongo)
12. Visible Cloaks“Terrazzo” (feat. Motion Graphics) (RVNG Intl)
13. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith“An Intention” (Western Vinyl)
14. Avey Tare“Season High” (Domino)
15. Deru“1979” (Friends Of Friends)
16. Brumes“Backward Hands” (Dauw)
17. Ulrika Spacek“Mimi Pretend” (Tough Love)
18. Jane Weaver“Did You See Butterflies?” (Fire)
19. Trouble“Snake Eyes” (Sacred Bones)
20. Donnie & Joe Emerson“Baby” (LateNightTales)
21. Balmorhea“Clear Language” (Western Vinyl)
22. Mary Ocher“To the Light” (Piano Version) (Klangbad)
23. Marcus Fjellström “Aunchron” (Miasmah)
24. The Durutti Column“Sketch For Dawn (I)” (Factory)
25. Martyn Heyne“Carry” (7K!)
26. Kara-Lis Coverdale“Grafts” (excerpt) (Boomkat Editions)
27. Colleen“Separating” (Thrill Jockey)

Compiled by Fractured Air, July 2017. The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.

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