FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Posts Tagged ‘Erased Tapes

Mixtape: A Call For Distance

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A Call For Distance [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/a-call-for-distance-a-fractured-air-mix/

 

Tracklisting:

01. Steve Reich ‘It’s Gonna Rain, Part I’ (excerpt) [Nonesuch]
02. Colin Stetson And Sarah Neufeld ‘Won’t be a thing to become’ [Constellation]
03. So Percussion ‘Music for Wood and Strings: Section 1’ [Brassland]
04. Nils Frahm ‘Wall’ [Erased Tapes]
05. Dawn of Midi ‘Nix’ [Erased Tapes]
06. Craig Leon ‘She Wears A Hemispherical Skullcap’ [RVNG Intl]
07. Holly Herndon ‘Morning Sun’ [4AD]
08. Severed Heads ‘Dead Eyes Opened’ [Dark Entries]
09. Lower Dens ‘Your Heart Still Beating’ [Ribbon Music]
10. Heather Woods Broderick ‘A Call For Distance’ [Western Vinyl]
11. Chris Isaac ‘Wicked Game’ [Reprise]
12. Julia Holter ‘My Love My Love’ [Tompkins Square]
13. John Bence ‘Disquiet, Pt. 1’ [Other People]
14. Nick Cave & Warren Ellis ‘Far from Men 2’ [Goliath Entertainment]
15. Edan ‘Beauty’ [Lewis Recordings]
16. Richard Strauss ‘Vier letzte Lieder: IV. Im Abendrot’ (excerpt) [CBS]
17. Tom Waits ‘You Can Never Hold Back Spring’ [Anti-]
18. The Beach Boys ‘Look (Stereo Mix Of Take 20)’ [Capitol]
19. The Books ‘“Ah…, I See”’ [Temporary Residence Limited]
20. Glen Campbell ‘Guess I’m Dumb’ [Ace]

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.

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

 

 

Chosen One: Peter Broderick

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Interview with Peter Broderick.

“As for the gift of music . . . I honestly don’t know what I would do without music. That’s impossible to imagine.”

—Peter Broderick

Words: Mark Carry

Peter-Broderick

Ukrainian pianist Lubomyr Melnyk once described to me how Nils Frahm and Peter Broderick – his Erased Tapes label-mates who collaborated closely with the legendary composer on his enchanting album ‘Corollaries’ – have an “inner vision” of the music he was creating. This inner vision and deep musical understanding has formed the cornerstone to Broderick’s sacred songbook (and indeed for Berlin-based composer Frahm) these past few years. This particular conversation with Lubomyr ascended to the forefront of my mind as I witnessed Broderick’s solo concert last November in Cork, Ireland. A fleeting magic and ceaseless wave of transcendence flooded the human space: from the opening a cappella verse of ‘Sideline’ to the achingly beautiful solo piano of ‘Pulling The Rain’. In the heart of the early winter’s night arrived the deeply affecting lament, ‘Rainy Day’ – a song written by Peter’s mother, which she would sing to her beloved children on many occasions – evoking the timeless spirit of Townes Van Zandt and Jackson C Frank that would form a lovely parallel with ‘Pop’s Song’ – an utterly transcendent moment from a previous Broderick live performance – built on a gorgeous guitar melody composed by Peter’s own father.

Elsewhere in the set, songs from the new record ‘Colours Of The Night’ ascended into the atmosphere. The album’s glorious and uplifting title-track ‘Colours Of The Night’ (the studio version shares the illuminating spark of Peter’s dub-inspired collaboration with Greg Haines–Greg Gives Peter Space), the timeless folk gem of ‘More And More’ (where the mouth trumpet conjures up the sound of an entire orchestra and sea of sadness),  and the striking intimacy of organ-based ballad ‘If I Sinned’ (which undeniably forms one of the album’s defining moments).

The unique artistry of American composer and multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick continues to enlighten and inspire on the latest full length, ‘Colours Of The Night’, which was recently released on Bella Union. Following on from last year’s sublime ‘(Colours Of The Night) Satellite’ EP – which served as a fitting prelude to the Oregon-native’s eagerly awaited album – the new record is another collection of shape-shifting sonic creations that came to light when invited for a so-called “recording residency” in the small Swiss town of Lucerne. Broderick developed a friendship with some of the locals who eventually got the idea of inviting the American musician to be a guest of the city for three weeks while recording an album with a backing band of local musicians. At the helm of the studio was Timo Keller, a local producer and engineer known primarily for his involvement in the Swiss hip-hop scene. A richly diverse sonic palette of sounds is masterfully crafted: the celestial harmonies of endearing pop gem ‘The Reconnection’; the psychedelic groove of ‘Get On With Your Life’; the wonderfully Afrobeat-tinged ‘One Way’ and towering folk opus ‘Red Earth’ with its warm percussion, scintillating melodies and poetic prose.

If ever a lyric epitomised the spirit of an album it would be the revelatory Americana torch-lit ballad ‘Our Best’ with Broderick’s empowering message to “give it your best now”. For Broderick’s music, the personality of the artist ceaselessly shines through. ‘Colours Of The Night’ becomes a source of strength, solace and hope.

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‘Colours Of The Night’ is out now on Bella Union.

http://www.peterbroderick.net/
http://bellaunion.com/

 

Interview with Peter Broderick.

It’s a real pleasure to ask you some questions in relation to the gorgeous new album, ‘Colours of the Night’. Firstly congratulations on creating (yet another) truly shape-shifting and deeply affecting collection of songs. This record is significant in more ways than one, not least the fact that ‘Colours of the Night’ was recorded with a backing band. Can you please take me back to the Swiss town of Lucerne where the recording sessions took place? Introduce please the formidable cast of musicians who contributed so much to your unique songbook?

Peter Broderick: Lucerne is a beautiful little city just a little bit southwest of Zurich. I first went there in 2009 while on tour with Nils Frahm, and we had a wonderful evening at a venue called Treibhaus, complete with middle of the night lake swimming after the concert. After that I went back several more times to play there, and slowly established a relationship with some of the locals. One thing led to another, and eventually I got an email from Silvio Zeder (who was a booker at the Treibhaus for a while), inviting me to come to Lucerne and stay for a few weeks. The idea was that he would find a studio and backing band for me to play with, and I would record an album there. I thought this sounding like a fabulous idea, to spend a longer stretch of time in this town I always loved, and make music with a bunch of strangers. So I arrived there in May 2014 having never met any of the musicians and three weeks later I left with a finished album. We did all the recording at Studio Vom Dach, run by Timo Keller, who produced the album and found all the musicians for the band. I had met Timo once before briefly, and I knew we had a good vibe together. The main characters in the band were Nick Furrer on bass, Roland Wäspe on guitar, and Mario Hänni on drums. All of these guys had worked with Timo on different projects at one time or another, but they had never played all together. They also all play in a variety of different bands and projects in Switzerland. And then there are also some guest appearances from several other local musicians. A few different ladies came in to record vocals, and on a few songs there is a horn section consisting of four players who all recorded together live.

In huge contrast to recording music alone and being in a sort of insular world – developing ideas and recording them to tape – how was the experience of bringing songs to the table (so to speak) and allowing the songs travel in a direction that is (at times, at least) out of your control? In terms of the recording sessions, I would love for you to discuss the routine of these particular sessions and any particularly memorable moments that occurred (that in turn found its way on the final album)?

PB: I arrived in Lucerne feeling very open about the whole project. I was curious about the process of sending these songs of mine through the filter of these other people. My goal was to let everyone involved be as free as possible. I didn’t want to be too controlling. And once I heard the musicians play, it was really easy to trust them all. They’re all such great players. And since I’d never tried working with a band like that before, I was in awe of how it felt to have all these other people playing along on my songs. That said, there were definitely moments when I wanted to hear something specific and had to give a little direction, but I really tried to do it in a suggestive manner rather than saying it had to be a certain way. For most of the songs I simply started playing my guitar parts and singing and the guys would just start playing along. I remember when I played them the song ‘Colours Of The Night’, and Mario immediately jumped in with this shuffling African-style rhythm, and I just yelled out, “Yes!!!” What he did immediately changed the way I heard the song, in a really awesome way. I had to adapt the way I played the guitar part in order to fit his rhythm, and I found the whole process super exciting. For the most part we recorded all the basic tracks (drums, guitars and bass) live, playing all together, and on the last song, “More And More” we actually did the whole thing live, with the horns and everything.

I must ask you about the producer and engineer, Timo Keller who was at the helm for the ‘Colours of the Night’ sessions. This experience must have been very rewarding. Were there certain techniques or processes utilized by Timo that struck you? Looking over the album’s ten songs, I wonder did some songs undergo significant changes from the original sketches you first brought to the studio?

PB: I’ve been in countless different studios and worked with a lot of different engineers and producers, and it really is fascinating to witness all the different approaches. When Timo set me up to record vocals, he put a microphone in front of me and said, “Christina Aguilera sings into this same mic.” Haha! I wasn’t sure how to feel about that. But I really came to admire his production style. Certainly different from my own or someone like Nils Frahm who I worked with on my last album. Timo has spent most of his studio time working on hip-hop, so he spends a lot of time finessing drum sounds and likes things to sound really crisp and tight. There are a couple of songs on the album which Timo changed completely, most notably “On Time“, which began as a shuffling guitar-based song, and evolved into this strange cinematic synthy thing. One day Timo just completely changed the structure of it before I got to the studio. I was never quite sure how I felt about his version of the song, and actually the bass player thought the song had been ruined, but in my effort of giving up control and letting the songs turn into something else, I trusted Timo and went with his version.

The album’s title-track, ‘Colours of the Night’ is an old song, I recall you mentioning in the past. I love the various versions of this song, for example Greg Haines’ dub remix and indeed your own solo version in the recent past. Can you reminisce for me please your memories of writing this song and how it developed over the passing seasons and subsequent years? The final version is a truly uplifting and powerful tour-de-force, which really embodies the entire album.

PB: Indeed, that song has been around for a while, and perhaps that’s why I found it so refreshing when it changed so much during the recording process in Lucerne. I like to think of songs as entities that are alive, which grow and mutate through time and place. And this song in particular is one that never got old to me. I always enjoyed playing it, and I think that’s a really good sign. As for the writing of it, it’s all kind of jumble in my mind. It was kind of pieced together over time, so I can’t quite remember how and when some of the lyrics came about. The main guitar part is really old. I wrote that when I was 17 or 18. But at that time it was a completely different song with different words and vocal melodies. I always loved that guitar part though, and I was happy to be able to recycle it into a different song that I enjoy performing.

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Being back home in America and your hometown of Oregon, it must be a lovely feeling to finally return to your roots. I feel themes such as perseverance through difficult times where an inner flame radiates throughout with this strength to overcome and indeed, to get on with your life. I would love for you to discuss the importance of home and indeed the invaluable meaning and significance the eternal gift of music gives you, Peter?

PB: Moving back to Oregon was so necessary for me. When I first moved to Europe in 2007, I thought I would never return to the states, but over time I really started to feel something was wrong, and it took me a long time to admit to myself that maybe I needed to go home for a while. And being back home hasn’t been all sunshine . . . there have been some difficult things I’ve had to face . . . but I really needed to face those things so that I could start to feel that real sense of home again. I really cherish my community of friends and family in Oregon, and I love being able to speak my mother-tongue freely and talk with strangers. It’s amazing how much more often I meet new people since I’ve moved back here. As for the gift of music . . . I honestly don’t know what I would do without music. That’s impossible to imagine. Yet at the same time, I’ve worked on broadening my interests over the last years. There are other great things in life too! Like making fires and cooking, walking around in nature, letting your inner child come out and being in awe of everything around you.

I feel ‘Red Earth’ is one of the most stunningly beautiful songs you have recorded to tape. The heavenly harmonies, poetic prose, rich instrumentation, and sheer emotional depth leaves you dumbfounded. Please talk me through the construction of ‘Red Earth’ please, and it’s meaning for you? I feel it’s the fitting prologue to ‘Colours of the Night’’s striking narrative.

PB: I’m so happy you like that song! That was one of the last songs we recorded, and it was the only song that I wrote while I was there in Switzerland. I spent several nights up at an old farmhouse called Rotebode (which translates to ‘red earth’ or ‘red ground’) about 30 minutes outside of Lucerne, and that song was written there. The first sound you hear on the album is the sound of the creek that runs outside of that farmhouse, which I was hearing as I wrote the song. One of guys who lives up there is a painter, and the second time I stayed there he gave me a painting he made with a character looking out over a landscape, seemingly about to take flight. I asked him if the character was a dragon, and he said, “Yeah, or a bird, or a man, or something…” So that’s how those first lines of the song came about. (Got a picture of a dragon bird man / Guess it was waiting for me.) I know Timo was especially happy with that song too. From a production standpoint, that song encapsulates a lot of what he was aiming for with this project.

As ever, a myriad of ideas is effortlessly embedded in the music. I love the wide range of compelling sounds: recalling the vocal experiments of ‘These Walls Of Mine’, the endearing warmth of ‘Home’, the dub-infused grooves of Greg Gives Peter Space and beyond. What lies next in the musical narrative, Peter? Please shed some light on any forthcoming projects and plans.

PB: Well, I do plan to play some concerts this year in support of the album. Mostly in Europe, but also a few in America and maybe also Asia later in the year. These days I am primarily busy running a little studio called The Sparkle out of my home in a tiny little town on the Oregon coast. There will be a lot of records coming out this year which were produced here, including a new album by my sister, Heather Woods Broderick, an album by one of my new favourite musicians named David Allred, a collaboration between myself and one of my most beloved artists in the world, Félicia Atkinson. Our project together is called La Nuit and I’m incredibly excited about that! Other artists with albums that I recently worked on which will be out relatively soon include Chantal Acda, Corrina Repp, Shelley Short, Maymay, and a 7″ by Rauelsson. Another thing I’d like to mention is that I recently started a choir in Portland. We rehearse on Sunday mornings, and it’s very loose. We do a lot of improvisation and also try to write songs all together. We are slowly collecting recordings with the aim of releasing and album one day. That’s been a really invigorating project.

I generally only work with people I get a good feeling from on a personal level. I’m less concerned about what kind of music we’ll be making and more concerned about whether we’ll have a good time together. It’s truly rewarding to work on music with a vast array of different musicians. Everyone has a different approach, and I always learn something new from each different artist.


 

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‘Colours Of The Night’ is out now on Bella Union.

http://www.peterbroderick.net/
http://bellaunion.com/

Written by markcarry

April 29, 2015 at 11:10 pm

Fractured Air 33: Saccade (A Mixtape by Loscil)

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Loscil’s Scott Morgan has been responsible for some of the most captivating and stunningly beautiful ambient creations over the past fifteen years. Across a compelling body of work (beginning with the 2001 classic ‘Triple Point’) – the majority of which has been released on the immense Chicago-based imprint Kranky – Vancouver-based Morgan has developed his own unique style of textural rhythms that ceaselessly blur the lines of ambient, techno, drone and modern-classical. The recently released ‘Sea Island’ marks the latest chapter in Loscil’s explorations through sound that lies at the intersect between nature and humanity.

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Fractured Air 33: Saccade (A Mixtape by Loscil)

To listen on Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-33-saccade-a-mixtape-by-loscil/

 

Tracklisting:

01. Mica Levi ‘Love’ [‘Under the Skin’ OST/Milan]
02. Rafael Anton Irisarri ‘Will Her Heart Burn Anymore_00’ [Room40]
03. Simon Scott ‘Spring Stars’ [Miasmah]
04. Lawrence English ‘Hapless Gatherer’ [Room40]
05. Hildur Guðnadóttir ‘Strokur’ [Touch]
06. Jon Hopkins ‘Breathe This Air (Asleep version)’ [Domino]
07. A Winged Victory for the Sullen ‘ATOMOS VI’ [Erased Tapes, Kranky]
08. Kyle Bobby Dunn ‘Spem in Alium and Her Unable’ [Students Of Decay]

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

 


 

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‘Sea Island’ is available now on Kranky.

http://www.loscil.ca/
http://www.kranky.net/

 

Chosen One: A Winged Victory For The Sullen

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Interview with Adam Wiltzie & Dustin O’Halloran.

“I think that a big element in our music is stretching time and using the element of space.”

—Dustin O’Halloran

Words: Mark Carry

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A Winged Victory For The Sullen is the collaborative project of like-minded artists and musical luminaries, Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie (Stars Of The Lid) and composer Dustin O’Halloran. Last year marked the highly anticipated return of A Winged Victory For The Sullen’s stunningly beautiful and deeply affecting neo-classical based compositions in the form of the duo’s sophomore effort, ‘Atomos’. First glimpses of the pair’s new material – and follow-up to the mesmerizing eponymous debut, released in 2011 – was beautifully captured in ‘Atomos VII’ EP; comprising two original compositions recorded in the summer of 2013 in Brussels, Berlin and Reykjavik. This stunning release also featured Icelandic composer Ben Frost’s rework – appropriately dubbed ‘Greenhouse Re-Interpretation’ – of ‘Atomos VI’. What remains vividly present on the pair’s newest masterwork of ‘Atomos’ is the infinite beauty and unlimited emotion that pours from the intricately layered compositions of piano, strings, drone sounds and modular synthesizers. A haven of celestial sounds and heart-wrenching emotion unfolds with each and every beguiling piano tone and ambient pulse of heart-wrenching strings. As ever, the gifted duo explore new possibilities through sound with results nothing short of staggering.

Wayne McGregor, founder of Random Dance Company and resident choreographer at the Royal Ballet, approached Adam and Dustin to see if they could write the score for his new oeuvre as part of the Random Dance Company. The duo were given complete artistic freedom and would record more than sixty minutes of music over a four-month period during the summer of 2013 with the assistance of their long-term sound engineer Francesco Donadello. In contrast to the group’s debut full-length, ‘Atomos’ was sculpted in a very short time-period, resulting in a broadened sonic palette containing elements of electronics, harp and synthesizers. In the words of Adam Wiltzie: “We tried to balance the discordance between being creative, and fulfilling our duties for a commissioned soundtrack with a very strict deadline, and all the while staying true to our collective melancholy.”

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For upcoming European/US tour dates click HERE.

‘Atomos’ is out now on Erased Tapes (Europe) and Kranky (USA).

http://www.awvfts.com/
https://www.facebook.com/awvfts

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Interview with Adam Wiltzie & Dustin O’Halloran.

It’s lovely to speak to you about your incredible and very special music. Congratulations on the latest album ‘Atomos’, it’s such an amazing album. The one thing that really striked me initially is the broadened sonic palette where there is new textures and nuances in the music itself. I’d love for you to discuss the different ideas and elements you had envisioned for the album from the outset?

Adam Wiltzie: Yeah I mean I don’t know if there was a really grand scheme because we had such a limited time. I mean the process leading up to it was a little bit slow but once we got everything agreed contractually, we really had four months to do the whole score which is not a lot of time to do anything. So we weren’t consciously thinking this to be totally different from our first record because Wayne [McGregor] approached us because he loved the first record, that’s what brought him to us. But we had a limited amount of time so we were just coming up with ideas and writing so we went into some new keyboard sounds and I think if anything it wasn’t so conscious, it just happened very naturally and in a really quick way. We didn’t have time to second guess ourselves either: we would throw a palette of sound up and start writing and go with it. And you know, it was really as simple as that.

Dustin O’Halloran: Also, I think because Adam and I have our own projects -we’ve only had one record – we were really happy with that first record and you know, we don’t want to repeat ourselves; it was good timing that we had this sort of third influence in the group because I think it helped us understand what are the limits of our sound and where can we grow. The first record in some ways came really easily to us because it was very natural to what we both do so I think that it was nice to see where we can expand in our own palettes.

As you just mentioned there, it must be a lovely feeling to be thinking back on the making of the music in the sense that it took relatively so quickly. It must be this inspiration that you get so easily and quickly when you are both together.

AW: It’s definitely satisfying: satisfying in different ways for each record. I think the satisfaction was different with ‘Atomos‘ – and maybe for Dustin it’s the same – we were working on it and didn’t have much time so it wasn’t until we actually performed live that we realized, oh this actually is a really nice record. We were just trying to finish this score that would work for this dance piece where we were thinking more about Wayne and what he needed, obviously we didn’t want it to sound bad. It wasn’t until we were there, really playing it live where we realized, oh this sounds like a record and now it’s even more satisfying for me that the record really sits on its own completely separate from it: it can sit completely separate from the dance because I think most people that listen to it have never seen the dance and maybe never will see the dance. So it’s satisfying because it’s a beautiful thing that exists on its own.

Exactly and I think that’s a true testament to the music, you know with the different contexts. I would love to see the dance but I haven’t but with the music itself there is such a visual element of movement as you’re listening it feels like you are witnessing it even though on a physical level you’re not.

DO’H: I think the one nice thing about working with dance is that music really comes first so you have a lot of space and time to work with where other collaborations are not as free in the sense of the time-lines. But I think that a big element in our music is stretching time and using the element of space. In film it’s much harder because you’re dealing with stories and edits. It was nice because we were really able to draw out passages and Wayne really gave us a lot of freedom in that sense; he didn’t really try to constrict that way we work.

I love too how the album itself really feels like a number of movements but there is so much variation- there is so many different elements happening and different layers – so you can always hear something new from the music.

AW: Oh, thank you. That’s what we were hoping.

I remember Christina Vantzou saying how the process of composing was both a maddening and meditative experience. What would you feel?

DO’H: I think it depends on how you work but I think the moments that were difficult were more just based on the time. Our first record when we had all time that we needed and we took all the time we needed, it never felt stressful in any way and was really a great pleasure. Punching all that in a much shorter period of time had its challenges but I think if you let it come it comes to you at some point.

I’d be curious to know if you’re influenced particularly by Steve Reich and his gradual music philosophy?

AW: Not really. We were asked this question I think by a woman in Australia – someone recently asked us – I mean obviously I’ve known about Steve Reich but I never really listened to him; he was never much of an influence me; I was always much more into Eno- that was more of my influences for minimalism when I was young but he makes beautiful music, he’s a super-friendly guy but I never really had a signature emotional moment with Steve’s music. But saying that, art is strangely subjective in ways that I’m telling you this and you’re probably saying ‘this guy is totally fooled, he must have listened to Reich‘ you know, it seems so obvious but that’s the funny thing, at this point in history maybe I’m influenced by someone else who was influenced by him maybe; it’s all so cross-pollinating at this point it’s hard to tell where your musical history comes from.

DO’H: And you know also there is an artist named Hans Otte who was working with a lot of similar ideas that Steve Reich worked with later but he was doing it I think like in the 60’s so I think a lot of people were dealing with similar ideas. I mean it’s the same for me I wouldn’t say that was an obvious influence for me as well.

I’d be curious was there a certain Brian Eno record that triggered your love for his music?

AW: Oh I mean there is so many of them. His pop records, ‘Here Come The Warm Jets’, ‘Another Green World’, ‘Before and After Science’ and his ambient records obviously, I love ‘Discreet Music‘ and ‘Thursday Afternoon’, there are so many. Even some Roxy Music I can get into.

When you find yourself in the live setting and you have the wonderful orchestra and everything with you, it must be a real thrill for you just going on tour and witnessing obviously the music you have made in this live context?

AW: Yeah it’s been great. We have a really great set of string players that worked with us on the record and we’ve been playing with for a while now. We’re still playing the music from the piece but it has developed in a way because we’ve been playing it so much together, we really feel more like a band now so it’s been really rewarding and great to really bond and connect with string players we’ve had so we feel really lucky.

DO’H: Instead of working with them on our first record when we had the new material it was the first time that we were able to bring string players in and that were more invested than just being session players; they really understood how we were working and they recorded all the string parts with us. It was nice because we were able to work with them on how to make it better and usually with string players you get that sort of personal investment so it was really nice to feel like we could all make it better and craft it together and it really helped make these pieces work.

I wonder what kind of plans and ideas you may have for your next projects?

DO’H: Well I think Adam’s going to be working on some of his music and I’m going to be working on some of my own music now.

AW: Yeah we’re going to take a little break and work on our own things for a little while. We’ll be back, we’ll do it again- don’t you worry.

In terms of music or film, was there something you’ve been obsessed with in recent months?

DO’H: Well recently I was in Los Angeles and I saw the composer Mica Levi and she had a twenty-piece ensemble and she performed the score for ‘Under The Skin‘. Actually when I saw the film I thought the music was good but when I saw it live and saw how she was creating her sound live, it was definitely one of the coolest things I’ve seen for a really long time and I really appreciated how she created all of the sounds.

AW: What was she playing?

DO’H: She was conducting and she had the Wordless Orchestra playing and they were great. She’s just dealing with more textures than melodic lines and there was a few melodic parts but the way she creates them and doubles the instruments, it was definitely like one of the most interesting things I have seen in a long time, it was pretty cool.

What about you Adam?

AW: I’m really into gardening at the moment. Although I still love music and film and art, I’ve really just become obsessed with plants lately; they seem to speak to me more loudly than anything else.

That sounds cool because I’m sure you get enough inspiration from the world outside as much as anything else.

DO’H: I think you always have to give yourself a break from music sometimes, it’s always seeking influence within music itself is like a snake eating its own tail and sometimes you just need to step away and you know, spend time in the ocean, garden or just listen to other sounds and just get outside this world of music. And I think that’s what brings fresh ideas too, you need to just step out of it, go to a museum and see art, just read [laughs] and just step away from it.

Especially when you have so much stuff always hapening – even away from A Winged Victory – as your work builds up there’s a sort of challenge to create something new. Actually it reminds me of a recent interview with Hauschka where Volker explained how he needs to “reset his mind” and having a blank canvas to start from.

AW: I mean Volker is so good at that. He’s also really good at improvisation which I struggle with a bit, I don’t trust myself enough, I don’t think. He’s very inspiring especially his tour he’s been doing lately. I don’t know if you’ve seen it? I mean it’s super beautiful where he’s going lately and I love his recent live set. It’s pretty special.

 


 

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For upcoming European/US tour dates click HERE.

‘Atomos’ is out now on Erased Tapes (Europe) and Kranky (USA).

http://www.awvfts.com/
https://www.facebook.com/awvfts

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Written by markcarry

February 13, 2015 at 11:59 am

Mixtape: This Uneven Thing [A Fractured Air Mix]

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This Uneven Thing [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/this-uneven-thing-a-fractured-air-mix/

 

Tracklisting:

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

 

 

Chosen One: Nils Frahm

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Interview with Nils Frahm.

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

—Nils Frahm

Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

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

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

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Interview with Nils Frahm.

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

Nils Frahm: It’s my pleasure.

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How has the tour been going for you?

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

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

NF: Thank you. I’m happy you like it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NF: Yeah, exactly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


 

 

nils-frahm_spaces

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

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

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Written by markcarry

December 9, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Mixtape: I Used To Dream [A Fractured Air Mix]

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iusedtodream_front

I Used To Dream [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/i-used-to-dream-a-fractured-air-mix/

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Tracklisting:

01. Nicolas Jaar ‘Être’ [Circus Company]
02. Kiasmos ‘Looped’ [Erased Tapes]
03. Jon Hopkins ‘Abandon Window’ (Moderat Remix) [Domino]
04. Rival Consoles ‘Recovery’ [Erased Tapes]
05. Clark ‘There’s A Distance In You’ [Warp]
06. Junior Boys ‘You’ll Improve Me’ (Caribou Remix) [Domino]
07. Caribou ‘Mars’ [City Slang / Merge]
08. Sun Ra ‘Angels And Demons At Play’ [Strut]
09. Alfonso Lovo ‘Sinfonia Del Espacio De Do Menor’ [Numero Group]
10. Les Sins ‘Why’ (feat. Nate Salman) [Company]
11. Andy Stott ‘Faith In Strangers’ [Modern Love]
12. Glissandro 70 ‘Portugal Rua Rua’ [Constellation]
13. Ariel Pink ‘Dayzed Inn Daydreams’ [4AD]

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

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

Mixcloud / Facebook / Twitter

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