The universe is making music all the time

Posts Tagged ‘Drag City

First Listen: “Black Fly” by Circuit des Yeux

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We are delighted to host the mesmerizing new single “Black Fly” by the singular Chicago-based artist Circuit des Yeux. This cathartic tour-de-force is taken from Haley Fohr’s eagerly awaited fifth studio album “Reaching For Indigo” available on 20th October 2017 via Drag City.


On the meditative and mesmerizing new single ‘Black Fly’, Haley Fohr’s empowering voice unleashes a kind of catharsis like no other (a trusted constant which has only heightened with each of Fohr’s five spellbinding full-length albums under the Circuit des Yeux moniker). Beginning with angelic, hushed tones – soft strum of acoustic guitar and Fohr’s fragile, whisper-like voice – Fohr sings “Nobody said it was easy”.  The timeless spirit of Leonard Cohen radiates throughout these opening verses as intricate arrangements of immaculate instrumentation is gradually interwoven beneath Fohr’s singular voice. The song’s glorious rise – as Fohr’s achingly beautiful falsetto soars majestically beneath gorgeous strings – creates a purging of the rawest of human emotions as a catharsis is emitted like rays of shimmering light. “You’re not the dark star they want you to be/You’re just a black dot in the sky” Fohr cries over distorted noise and thundering drums signalling the dichotomy of worlds the listener becomes beautifully engulfed by; the radiant light of hope and depths of darkness.




Song from “Reaching for Indigo” LP/CD, available on October 20, 2017 from Drag City.

Imagery by Julia Dratel
Processing by Nick Ciontea

Pre-order “Reaching for Indigo”:
Drag City
Apple iTunes

“Reaching for Indigo” LP/CD, is available on October 20, 2017 from Drag City.

Written by admin

September 18, 2017 at 3:29 pm

Chosen One: Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble

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I always loved music even as a very young child I was very fascinated by it. I always thought it was miraculous somehow, it was divine and otherworldly.”

Laetitia Sadier

Words: Mark Carry


French artist Laetitia Sadier has continually evolved along her rich musical path, from the early 90’s inception of legendary indie outfit Stereolab – who released several vital musical documents, encompassing French new wave, krautrock rhythms, film music with an irresistible punk DIY ethos – and later, her own mesmerising solo works (under the moniker of Monade and under her own name) while this year presented yet another of the French chanteuse’s artistic reinventions: Ladier Sadier Source Ensemble.

Source Ensemble represents several of Sadier’s close collaborators, including Brazilian bassist Xavi Munoz and French drummer Emanuel Mario as the trusted rhythm section. The scintillating new record, ‘Find Me Finding You’ sees an ever-evolving spectrum of life-affirming music shine brightly across the sun-lit horizon. The radiant light of Sadier’s artistic vision burns brightly as a deeply empowering energy permeates this new musical space.

The lead single ‘Undying Love For Humanity’ contains infectious melodies and warm polyrhythms amidst Sadier’s undying hope for humanity. The vivid light and colours of ‘Galactic Emergence’ is beautifully embedded in psychedelic flourishes where instrumentation of organ and flute dance a majestic, slow dance. ‘Love Captive’ is a gorgeous duet with Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor. Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble represents the latest chapter in the renowned French artist’s canon of work, crafting an otherworldly, divine sound-world, portraying new extended versions of an intriguing artist.

‘Find Me Finding You’ is out now on Drag City.

For forthcoming UK & European tour dates (kicking off in Dublin THIS Thursday), visit HERE



Interview with Laetitia Sadier.


Congratulations on your new album ‘Find Me Finding You’. Even though it’s a new solo album, I love even how there is a new band name of Source Ensemble for this record. Please discuss this new chapter?

Laetitia Sadier: Yeah, I mean it’s always a new chapter in the continuity of a journey I guess, of a self-exploration in a complex world and in a world of relationships to others.

I’d love for you to take me back to the making of the new album in the sense of your approach to writing the songs?

LS: Well, the songs are written according to my usual formula of just collecting ideas as they arrive and as they are magically delivered by the universe. And then, when it comes to actually writing songs I refer to these ideas and develop on certain things and knock them into songs. It’s always a process of just being guided by what the songs need or require and asking certain friends to contribute like Emanuel Mario or have Rob Mazurek play a part on such a song or asking Alexis Taylor to do a duet with me. I mean these things just fall into place as the songs develop and you know there is a place for everything. It’s an organic process really.

The idea with the Source Ensemble was to have an insistence on the collective aspect of doing things and of making sense of the world and that always inscribes itself in a wider political world of human existence. I like the parallel between doing something – in this case artistic – but making it a collective process as well, we’re not alone in this and we need to establish connections with others, to make sense of the world.

I loved the first single – and first taste of the new album – ‘Undying Love For Humanity’ because like you said, this song really touches on the themes and the message of the album, in terms of the lyrics.

LS: I came up with this title after watching a documentary on the Black Panthers and how they organized their struggle to be properly respected and accepted as full members of American society and to what extent they had to go. It wasn’t just about fighting off the opression, it was also about them organizing themselves in a revolutionary organization; they organized schools and they organized breakfasts in the morning for children who didn’t have breakfasts in the morning. And how revolutionary it all was; of how people gathered to organize a society that was viable for them and taking their destiny into their own hands, which they actually achieved but then of course it was all destroyed by outside forces who didn’t want the people organizing themselves autonomously and successfully and so it was a rather tragic end for that movement but still they did do it.

It also reminds me of the French Communes, the Communards at the end of the nineteenth century and how they organized also their schools and how everything was distributed and they even had an army because they needed to defend themselves. It was really democratically organized for the best of anyone and how that was truly revolutionary, it was a revolutionary struggle to self-organize. It also ended up tragically because there are forces out there that don’t want us to organize – to organize for our best needs – but it is still possible to organize in that way. And I find that very inspiring and I see how it’s feasible and how we can achieve that as a human society.

I love how your music is almost like a platform where there is a powerful commentary carefully placed inside the music. Your music always belongs to this very unique sound world where there’s always new directions which you explore.

LS: In every album I want to be new [laughs] and in the end it’s still always me, always the same person making this music and so it’s kind of recognizable. But indeed I see life as an evolutionary process whereby I want to venture into new versions of myself, new extended versions of myself and of course that should reflect in the music and I hope it does and sometimes I feel it doesn’t do it enough, you know [laughs]. Of course I want a more mature expression of myself through my songs and thank you for saying that this is a new direction because this is how I wished it to be.

I love ‘Galactic Emergence’ and the beautiful video that accompanied it. The visuals match the music so well, I suppose it shows your love of nature and the universe as a whole.

LS: Yeah, of course, whenever I can I will honour nature and art as much as I can. When it comes to videos, I mean to me video is a very tricky art form whereby it has to serve the music and enhance the music through image. I find it’s a difficult thing to really achieve and again thank you for saying that it matches the image. I see us as natural beings living in a natural environment that more and more perceivedly, it’s being spoilt or exploited and tragically because we are cutting the branch on which we are all dwelling and it’s the tragedy of our time.

We are faced now with a choice of carrying on the way we’re going or breaking away from our ways and maybe calling ourselves into question and reorganizing life on earth in different ways so that we can sustain ourselves and sustain what sustains us, living more harmoniously with the forces of nature. At the moment we are not doing that – well some people are – some people are realizing that. We’re currently staying with friends here [in LA] and they work on an organic farm and they host schools to teach young people to pass on a certain knowledge of how best to harmoniously cultivate the land and the products that come out of this land are really beautiful, tasty and nutritious. So, some people are quite active or proactive. We just need to have a shift in human consciousness, to shift our ways of living towards something more harmonious with nature. I quite intimately know this now and I guess more and more people are and lets see if the shift is important enough that it can prevail or not.

You mentioned the Black Panthers documentary, was there other sources of inspiration that you drew from on the rest of the album?

LS: For instance, in ‘Psychology Active’ I usually observe myself [laughs] and I see how for instance, I will tend to not want to do the hard things or the unpleasant things. Like how we as a species want to eliminate any effort, any hardship and in fact in the end it’s quite punishing. In fact, we should always face our hardships and try to also live with them and develop our own strength. I feel we are weakening ourselves. I feel that the system by creating all of these desires and thekind of sit down in front of the telly and forget about it is aggravating our situation and the narcissistic thing of how to please ourselves all the time and have everything on demand now and the idea of instant gratification and all that. And how in fact it is disservicing us quite profoundly and how there is value in patience and  facing up to hardship. So, I explore this theme in ‘Psychology Active’ for instance.

Also, in ‘Undying Love For Humanity’ it is a song about replacing the power onto us, onto the people who really have the power by just voting every four or five years, going here you have the political power and displacing the power onto other bodies. The professional politicians are also doing us a disservice because we know that this displaced type of power only leads to corruption, 99% of the time. It’s also about learning from that; historically we’ve seen it happen time and time again and how it doesn’t work like that like we have to dig deeper into the structures of power and how to really empower ourselves. And already that’s difficult enough but it leads to more successful ways of interacting and organizing. To remember that we’re impactful as a societal body, as individuals we impact society and society impacts us in return. We’re not powerless but we are in fact quite responsible in our ways of being, we’re very powerful.

There’s of course ‘Love Captive’, the song about free love and how we could look at reinventing love and our rapport to love and ownership of the partner in wanting to belong. And how it’s not completely realistic to how we’re built as a human being that inevitably it leads to conflict and deflation of desire. What’s the way around that also like do we need to seal the deal through marriageand through the idea of living together for eternity. I mean they are all subjects that we are being faced with and either we really embrace them – and seriously and honestly look at them – or do we sweep it under the carpet and then have to learn to deal with these things in more brutal ways.

Of course I am thinking of the political situation like Brexit and over here it’s Donald Trump, how the refusal of a system that is not working and that is not bringing about satisfaction and how there is a vote of revolt of saying ‘no’, which I think is healthy but how it’s also misplaced because these things will send us to a collapse, I mean quicker because we’re heading anyway towards a collapse. How we’re organized now is not sustainable; the capitalist forces or the neoliberalists are not sustainable of course. It’s like do we want a soft collapse or a hard one? It looks like we’re heading towards the hard one and I guess that’s how people learn when there’s something really hard happening. Do they go ‘So what do we do now? Where do we turn to next?’ in terms of reorganizing. I don’t know if it’s desirable but that’s what people chose, you know, the hard collapse.

And it’s repeating itself across the world in different countries.

LS: Yes, it’s a general thing. I think we are becoming more and more aware of our unitedness here; that planet Earth is rather small and we’re all interconnected. I mean that’s a good thing to realize, I think to best organize in the future. It sounds paradoxical but we have to organize more locally. I think that’s what Buckminster Fuller was saying,  ‘Act locally, think globally’; be aware and be conscious of the global aspect and this goes even beyond the realm of our planet, the earth and our cosmic connections. If we could organize ourselves around this principle, I think we would be more successful at living harmoniously and happily. And of course there will still be conflict but we could accomodate human life much better.

I particularly love towards the end of the album ‘The Woman With The Invisible Necklace’, there’s something very intriguing about the song-title.

LS: Yeah I mean I followed the footsteps of the Stereolab legacy of having strange titles that don’t neccessarily immediately match the song. Here we have a text about tyranny and how tyrants only exist in as far as we confer certain power to them. If we don’t feed them energetically, the tyrants and through our beliefs they are nothing, they’re just like thin air. To a large degree, we also as a collective also create our own tyrants – again people voted for Brexit and people voted for Donald Trump – and also the whole mediatic realm fed these feelings and fed these votes. Trump, even in the Guardian every day they talk about him, sometimes in two or three articles, it’s like there’s a fascination for him, which confers him power. So we have to be careful also what we feed with our intentions and our energies and that we could be looking at feeding other things, more positive things but we’re morbidly fascinated by these people.

Growing up in France, there must have been a wealth of music surrounding you and great records that made a really big impression on you?

LS: I always loved music even as a very young child I was very fascinated by music. I always thought it was miraculous somehow, it was divine and otherworldly. I mean I think music really saved my life and was like my best companion; it just transported me, it gave me the confidence I needed, it gave me ideas, it motivated me. I used to go to concerts alone as a teenager and it was my raison d’être. I was really into all the after punk era of do it yourself, you don’t need to go to school, you don’t need to have a degree in music, if you want to do it get some amps, get some guitars and get a band together, do it and be in the act of it.

And there was a really vibrant scene in the mid-80’s and late 80’s that I was totally into. In France too there were some really good bands going on and they were unapologetic or uncomprimising like there was a vision and they were serving that vision. And often that vision was a political one in the sense of transforming society; transforming oneself and to lead a more exciting and full life; a life that you create and not be a victim but be an active participating member of this world, of expressing and manifesting your visions and your ideas. And I loved that, it made sense to me – it made so much sense – it was complete, you know because it was about the self and it was about society and about the self within that society. I was very elated by the music of the mid to late 80’s and I wanted to serve that. I really wanted to be part of that.

I met Tim [Gane] and we started Stereolab together and that was where I wanted to be. And there were no expectations of becoming big stars or anything, that was not the goal but doing it and we were very lucky. We grew very organically – there was no big hype or nothing – and somehow the people responded to the music. We had a great run of making albums, touring and having a very thriving band life all this time. And I carried on, after Stereolab stopped I thought ‘maybe I’ll get a job’ but no, I signed up to facebook and I had invitations to go and play in Greece, in Belgium, in Portugal, in Brazil and I was like ‘Oh right, I’m taking on board for another run here’ [laughs] and I went along with it because it was there, like the path was opening and I’m going, I’m going [laughs] and so it was really exciting.

That’s the great thing, like you said about the DIY ethos that has been – and continues to be – so inspiring where there was something so organic and fresh about all your albums, with Stereolab and after.And there is always a natural connection and development with them all.

LS: To me that’s how it should be; that’s what I want in a band, I want a true expression and not some kind of formula where they think they should be projecting so that they are better liked. But just the real thing, the real singularity of an artist is what I’m after; of an artist and of people I meet and I want to sense that; the deeper insights can resonate with me.

Are there certain albums or books you have been inspired by lately?

LS: As I grow more mature, it’s true I feel there is a more spiritual connection being established with my environment and coincidentally I was offered a book at Christmas called ‘To Believe In The Forces of Spirit’ (a French book) and it’s about a woman, she’s a psychologist and she started in the 80’s and she was appointed in the role of end-of-life care, it’s when people are about to die and maybe have one month or a few weeks to live and how to better make them live those last few moments, to accompany them towards their death but within a life affirming situation and environment. It’s a really nice book, it’s very unassuming – it’s not hippie or anything – it’s very down-to-earth experience of this woman how to better bring people to that moment. Also, she had a spiritual relationship with François Mitterrand in the last twelve years of his life and so he was the President at the time and very erudite and it’s relating their conversations around the subject of spirituality and how it manifests through the body, how it manifests through land, how it manifests through trees and through certain stones. It’s a very nice book and I’m happy to be reading it at this moment.

In terms of albums, there’s an album that I love at the moment, the Aquaserge album, which is on Crammed Discs, it’s called ‘Laisse ca etre’ (to translate the French version to ‘Let It Be’). It’s a fantastic album, both moving and invigorating, it’s really a perfect album. And listen to it fully because what you first hear is not necessarily where you end up, it’s a journey.

‘Find Me Finding You’ is out now on Drag City.

For forthcoming UK & European tour dates (kicking off in Dublin THIS Thursday), visit HERE

Written by admin

April 5, 2017 at 11:07 pm

Chosen One: Alasdair Roberts

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Interview with Alasdair Roberts.

“It’s always really fascinating to me how different individuals can have such different ideas about the making of music and the making of art and it’s exciting when you bring those different ideas together in the same space and see what happens.”

— Alasdair Roberts

Words: Mark Carry


Earlier this year saw the eagerly awaited return of revered Scottish singer-songwriter Alasdair Roberts with the arrival of the splendid self-titled full-length on Drag City. The Glasgow-based songwriter’s latest collection of folk gems exude a warm, sparse feel with wonderfully minimal arrangements –mainly Roberts’ voice and guitar which is augmented with gorgeous woodwind and percussion in places – that reveals a song-writing master-class with each turn of phrase and aching note. Songs such as the touching ballad ‘Hurricane Brown’, the deeply personal ‘This Uneven Thing’ and gorgeous folk lament ‘The Final Diviner’ represent some of the finest solo works of Roberts’ treasured songbook.

Since 1997, firstly releasing three albums of self-written material under the name Appendix Out and then several albums under his own name. His work mainly consists of two parallel strands: self-written song material (which can be heard on albums such as Farewell SorrowThe Amber GatherersSpoils and A Wonder Working Stone) and interpretations of traditional songs and ballads from Scotland and beyond (which can be heard on albums such as The Crook of My Arm, No Earthly Man and Too Long In This Condition). Other collaborative projects include The Furrow Collective (consisting of UK folk luminaries Rachel Newton, Lucy Farrell, Emily Portman and Alasdair Roberts); the wonderful collaboration between Isle of Lewis native Mairi Morrison and Roberts whose collection of Gaelic songs was released on Drag City and Roberts’ larger musical ensemble of Alasdair Roberts & Friends.

‘Alasdair Roberts’ is out now on Drag City.

For Alasdair’s upcoming UK and European tour dates, please click HERE

Interview with Alasdair Roberts.

I’d love for you to discuss Alasdair the making of the latest self-titled album. I love how there is a more stripped back feel and a departure from some of your previous records from the more recent past.

Alasdair Roberts: Well I suppose what happened was I made this record, ‘A Wonder Working Stone’ a couple of years ago and that was made with a core band of five musicians: me, my friends Stevie, Riff, Shane and Ben so this is like a core group that I’ve been playing with live, so we made a record together. And there was a total of thirteen musicians on that record, it’s quite a big thing with big arrangements and long songs. And with this new one, that group hasn’t been playing much together for various reasons, they’ve been busy with their own projects and I had these two days booked in the studio and I had these songs so I thought I will get some demos of these. I recorded them and it turned out to be the record.

Wow, that’s very fast. So it only took a couple of days to record to tape?

AR: What actually happened was I had this studio booked for another project and then the person I was going to be working with couldn’t do it – they were ill – so I had these two days booked and I couldn’t cancel so I thought I’ll just record these new songs and see how they turn out so that’s what happened.

My favourite song is ‘Hurricane Brown’ and it feels like the centrepiece of the album. I wonder did the songs themselves slowly form over the last year or so or would it be a case that the songs come quite quickly in a concentrated period of time?

AR: Well funnily enough, ‘Hurricane Brown’ is actually the oldest of the songs; that’s like three years old at this point. I’d say about half of the record is maybe two to three years old and the other half is written in the few months just before recording. Some of these songs like ‘Hurricane Brown’ is a song we played live as a band a few times. I mean I’m continually writing and I’m trying to write a new record at the moment as well. The other songs are quite personal I think so this is a thing that’s different about this record. On the previous record, the songs were a bit more universal and sometimes topical, political and those kind of things but these new songs sound more personal. There’s a couple of love songs and I think the ethos for me was simplicity, you know I was trying to make a more simple record than some of the previous ones.

You are always involved in a diverse array of projects. I loved your collaboration with the Gaelic singer Mairi Morrison and the collection of Gaelic songs you released. I can imagine a lot of research and work goes into all these projects before you even begin any recording?

AR: Yeah that is a part of it. I mean the thing with Mairi is that she is a Gaelic singer and I’m not. She was born and raised on the Isle of Lewis and speaking Gaelic was her first language so she was immersed in that musical culture in a way that I am not. So I find it very interesting and very appealing but I’m not in that culture so I had to learn about it. There was a lot of research, a lot of reading, archives and libraries and that kind of thing.

The Furrow Collective too, it was lovely to hear your voice alongside three other wonderful voices, it was a beautiful album.

AR: Thanks. We just got back from a tour in Germany with Emily, Lucy and Rachel and we just did four gigs in Germany so that was good and we’re going to be recording our new album later this year. We started working on some new songs – well new old songs – and so hopefully we’ll record the new album very soon.


And with your solo tour then, I suppose it must be nice to go back to your roots in one way and playing solo must also bring something different again?

AR: I do a lot of solo gigs but I tend to enjoy playing with other musicians more because a lot of my reason for being involved in music is social and to do with community and that sort of thing. It sometimes it feels a bit weird to be touring, playing solo but other people do tend to respond well to the performances. But I think I would tour more with a band if it was more financially viable and also if musicians that I know in Glasgow that I play with regularly were less busy with their own things, our opportunity to get together is rare.

You have done plenty interpretations of traditional songs as well as your own. Would you have personal favourite traditional music, from Scotland particularly that you think were very important for you?

AR: I suppose when I’m working with traditional material, I regard myself primarily as a ballad singer so when it comes to traditional song it’s my main interest; the sonatas, the ballads and so on and there is a lot of great traveller singers – historically a lot of great Scottish traveller singers – I suppose it’s the same in Ireland. A lot of the Scottish traveller singers are some of my favourites, people like Jeannie Robertson, Duncan Williamson, Stanley Robertson and the late Sheila Stewart. Most of these singers are either dead or dying out – these kinds of singers – but these are voices that resonate really strongly with me when it comes to traditional music from Scotland.

On the new album, the added instrumentation of woodwind; I love how those elements add a lot to your guitar-based songs. Did you know from the outset that it would be so pared back?

AR: It was a case of not trying to filling it in so much. I mean I could have spent a lot of time doing quite a bit of overdubs and things but I didn’t. It was in my mind that it would be quite minimal, for example there is some percussion on there and some snare drum rim shots on a couple of songs. My thought was that when those elements happen, they should be very noticeable moments, it should be a major incident even though it’s just the side of a snare drum being hit it should feel like a major incident in the context of this quite sparse record. And with Alex South, the clarinet player – I’ve known Alex for a while – he’s been playing clarinet for most of his life and it’s not an instrument I’m particularly knowledgeable about but it’s the range of sounds and tones the clarinet is capable of might add an interesting dimension to these songs, so that’s why I approached him.

Also, the tin whistle is another beautiful addition that works so well with your voice and guitar.

AR: The tin whistle is by an old friend of mine, Donald who I’ve known since I was sixteen, an old friend.

‘The Final Diviner’ is another gorgeous song on the album.

AR: Yeah it’s a funny one. I think it’s like a pop song; it’s the pop song on the record it feels like to me.

I’m already thinking of what the next record might be and I want to try something different again as I don’t want to make the same record over and over again. The next thing is going to be quite different, I think I want to go back to a bit more full arrangements. I started doing this with earlier records like scoring parts for brass or for strings. Normally just like two players, so I would have a cello and a violin or a couple of violins in mind or a trumpet and a trombone playing together. But I’m interested in the idea of writing for bigger and bigger ensembles, you know maybe bigger string sections or combinations of strings and woodwind and brass and things, trying to get some more compositionally complex with what I’m doing.

What have you been listening to a lot lately, Alasdair?

AR: A couple of Irish things actually. I’ve been listening to this band Lynched from Dublin, a folk band and their album is really great I think. I think this afternoon I’ll go into the record store here in Glasgow and maybe pick some things up. I’ve been listening quite a bit to Jimmy Crowley’s ‘The Boys of Fairhill’ from the early seventies, it was actually in my father’s collection and I’ve been digging it out on the turntable. There’s some great songs on there, most of them seem to be about Cork actually.

One last thing, this idea of community and collaboration that comes across so many of your albums where there is this feeling of sharing and sharing ideas with all these interesting people.

AR: Yeah I mean sharing ideas is a really important thing for me. The only way to really learn is by working with others and taking their ideas on board and learning from them. It’s always really fascinating to me how different individuals can have such different ideas about the making of music and the making of art and it’s exciting when you bring those different ideas together in the same space and see what happens. Often for me making a record is like creating a temporary community: you bring together this group of people for a period and it’s like creating this community for a while.





‘Alasdair Roberts’ is available now on Drag City.

For Alasdair’s upcoming UK and European tour dates, please click HERE


Written by markcarry

August 11, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Mixtape: This Uneven Thing [A Fractured Air Mix]

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This Uneven Thing [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:



01. Antonio Sanchez ‘Get Ready’ [‘Birdman’ OST/Warner Jazz]
02. A Winged Victory For The Sullen ‘ATOMOS I’ [Erased Tapes/Kranky]
03. Ariel Kalma ‘Almora Sunrise’ [RVNG Intl]
04. Alasdair Roberts ‘This Uneven Thing’ [Drag City]
05. Teho Teardo ‘The Outside Force’ [‘Ballyturk’ OST/Specula]
06. Erik K Skodvin ‘Shining, Burning’ [Sonic Pieces]
07. Black to Comm ‘Hands’ [Type]
08. A New Line (Related) ‘The Slow Sound of Your Life’ [Home Assembly Music]
09. Kiasmos ‘Bent’ [Erased Tapes]
10. Thom Yorke ‘Guess Again!’ [Self-Released]
11. Antonio Sanchez ‘Doors and Distance’ [‘Birdman’ OST/Warner Jazz]
12. Charles Mingus ‘Slop’ [Columbia]
13. Mogwai ‘The Lord Is Out of Control’ (Nils Frahm Remix) [Rock Action]
14. Peter Broderick ‘Colours of the Night (Satellite)’ (Greg Haines Dub Mix) [Bella Union]
15. Noel Ellis ‘Memories’ [Summer/Light In The Attic]

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

Fractured Air. The universe is making music all the time.

Mixcloud / Facebook / Twitter



Ten Mile Stereo

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Mick Turner “Don’t Tell The Driver” (Drag City)
The latest work by the ever-prolific Melbourne-based artist and Dirty Three guitarist Mick Turner is a magnificently sprawling affair – comprising an expansive cast of musicians – and is perhaps his most accessible work to date. Equally renowned for his worldwide status as an internationally renowned painter as well as musician, Turner is best known as being one-third member (alongside drummer Jim White and violinist Warren Ellis) of the cult Australian trio Dirty Three. As well as Dirty Three’s considerable output (culminating in last year’s sublime “Toward The Low Sun”), Turner has also released records under the Tren Brothers guise (effectively Turner and White recording as a duo), as well as “solo” works (‘Don’t Tell The Driver’ is Turner’s fourth such record). The record – released by Chicago’s Drag City – is arguably Turner’s most expansive yet, featuring french horn, trumpets, piano, melodica, bass and the vocals (lyrics by Turner) are beautifully sung by Caroline Kennedy McCracken.


Tim Hecker “Virgins” (Kranky)
One of the year’s most eagerly awaited albums came from the Montreal-based composer and sound artist Tim Hecker. “Virgins”, released by Chicago-based independent label Kranky, is yet another masterful recording by the Canadian musician, producing an album of staggering scope and beauty. Hecker’s work has been described as: “focused on exploring the intersection of noise, dissonance and melody, fostering an approach to songcraft which is both physical and emotive.” One of the finest of todays modern composers, Hecker is here joined by an impressive cast of musicians from the Icelandic-based Bedroom Community label; Valgeir Sigurðsson performs and mixes (alongside Hecker) and Paul Corley takes part in the performing and engineering, while the album was recorded at Greenhouse Studios, Reykjavík (as well as Avast, Seattle and Empac Concert Hall, Troy).


Moonface “Julia with Blue Jeans On” (Jagjaguwar)
Spencer Krug’s fourth album under the Moonface moniker, “Julia With Blue Jeans On” is a highly personal, quietly affecting and truly moving album which will prove to be one of the year’s most masterful hidden gems. The album’s genesis came from Krug’s time creating 2012’s “Heartbreaking Bravery” – a despair-laden album written after a difficult break-up – while in Helsinki and recording with Finnish band Siinai. During the same period, the highly prolific Krug set off on another creative journey, inspired by “a rediscovery of love and a reconsideration of the Moonface persona he’d created for himself.”


Laurel Halo “Chance Of Rain” (Hyperdub)
Released at the end of October on the Hyperdub label, “Chance of Rain” is the striking and sublime second album by American electronic musician Laurel Halo (aka Ina Cube) and follow-up to her debut 2012 LP “Quarantine”. The nine tracks which comprise “Chance Of Rain” showcases Halo (who is a classically trained musician)’s wonderful talents as both composer and producer where a breathtaking spectrum of sounds – industrial, electronic, techno, club, house – effortlessly form a cohesive and organic whole, producing a wholly unique and compelling album in the process. An album as striking and engrossing (much due to the breathtaking vocals as well as the distinctive production) as the grimly evocative sleeve cover art (by Halo’s father, the artist Arthur Chartow).


Wooden Shjips “Back to Land” (Thrill Jockey)
The Ripley Johnson-led psychedelic quartet Wooden Shjips’ follow-up to their 2011 “West” LP is their most immersive and engrossing work yet. Recorded in Portland, Oregon in May 2013 over a period of an 11-day session at Jackpot! Recording Studio, ‘Back To Land’ mark’s the band’s first record to be conceived outside of their native San Francisco. From the opening title-track, a blissful, wonderfully melodic guitar-led song to the stunningly forlorn album closer (recalling Beck’s “Sea Change”), the engrossing soundscapes of Wooden Shjips are a joy to journey through (bands such as Pavement, Sonic Youth, Crazy Horse and Spacemen 3 come to mind). Album art (with multiple circular die-cuts) by Oliver Hibert (and layout by the wonderful Sheila Sachs) ensures the vinyl edition is a must have.


Ghost Maps The Ocean From The River “S/T” (Casino Gravity)
Released on November 15th, Ghost Maps The Ocean From The River’s self-titled debut album comprises the new musical chapter in Jeff Martin (Halfset)’s hugely impressive career to date. The album features legendary multi-instrumentalist and indie-giant John McEntire (Tortoise/The Sea and Cake) as well as a special contribution by the immensely gifted pianist Tony Crow, long-term player in the legendary Kurt Wagner-led Nashville-based collective Lambchop. From the opening gorgeous minute-long piano and violin “Intro”, we are treated to a stunning meandering journey across oceans of heavenly sounds and unknown beauty. Current personal highlight is the majestic instrumental opus “If I knew Where I Was I’d Be There”, a piece that could belong on Lambchop’s Double LP “Aw C’mon / No You C’mon” or Efterklang’s “Piramida”.


Omar Souleyman “Wenu Wenu” (Ribbon Music)
One of the most surprising albums of the year thus far came courtesy of “Wenu Wenu” (meaning “Where Is She?”) – aided by Kieran Hebdan’s production prowess – via the latest record by Syrian musician Omar Souleyman. Prior to his homeland’s civil war crisis hit, Souleyman crossed the Syrian border into Turkey. Souleyman was formerly a wedding singer in his native Syria, a position – as described in an interview with NPR – as “important for experimenting in different kinds of music. In the region where I’m from, weddings have been really important in mixing different kinds of musical heritage.” Souleyman has released a plethora of material – mainly comprising live recordings of his wedding performances and spanning hundreds of cassette tapes – and his stature only grew when he collaborated with Bjork and subsequently appeared in numerous festivals in both the US and Europe.


Dean Wareham “Emancipated Hearts” (Sonic Cathedral)
Dean Wareham (ex Galaxie 500 and Luna frontman) released his debut solo record “Emancipated Hearts” via Sonic Cathedral earlier this month. The resultant mini-album (the record contains six tracks) is a treasure of a record, produced by Papercuts’ Jason Quever and features a beautifully fragile and understated set of songs, including five original Wareham compositions (featuring the politically-charged “The Deadliest Day Since The Invasion Began” and “The Ticking Is The Bomb”) plus a cover of “Air” by The Incredible String Band. Also available on gorgeous limited edition orange 10″ vinyl.


Recondite “Hinterland” (Ghostly International)
Berlin-based producer Recondite’s first album for Ghostly International is the gorgeous “Hinterland”, an album inspired by Recondite’s homeland of Lower Bavaria (indeed, much field recordings spanning various times of the year are included across the album’s ten tracks). Like the poetic tree-lined and light-filled monochromatic landscape photograph depicted on the cover, “Hinterland” proves a lush, near-spiritual listening experience and proves a landmark release for the hugely talented producer. As Recondite has said of “Hinterland”: “I tried to capture the area’s mentality and natural environment within the album. Particularly the moods that behold the emotions of the four seasons, which differ a lot in this region.”


The Velvet Underground “Loaded” (Cotillion/Atlantic)
“I found a reason to keep living / Oh and the reason, dear, is you / I found a reason to keep singing / Oh and the reason, dear, is you” sings Lou Reed on “I Found A Reason”, taken from The Velvet Underground’s fourth album, “Loaded”, released in 1970 on Atlantic Records’ subsidiary label, Cotillion. The song, like any one from Reed’s considerable output – both as a solo artist and as principal songwriter with The Velvet Underground – confirms Reed as one of the finest and most gifted (and certainly most influential) songwriters of the last fifty years. Despite The Velvet Underground’s modest commercial success during their all-too-brief lifespan – from the late sixties until the early seventies – the band’s influence on new generations of musicians is as strong today as it ever was. Brian Eno’s famous and much-repeated quote (in reference to The Velvet Underground’s beloved, classic 1967 debut “The Velvet Underground And Nico” only selling a mere 30,000 copies) stated: “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.”