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Guest Mixtape: Julia Kent (Canada/The Leaf Label)

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To coincide with the release of “Temporal”, the world-renowned Canadian cellist and composer Julia Kent’s majestic fifth studio album, we are excited to present a very special guest mix compiled by one of independent music’s true treasures. The New York-based composer – originally best known as cellist for Antony and the Johnsons and member of the cello-driven group Rasputina – has quietly amassed a monumental body of solo work since “Delay”, her 2007 debut full-length. Each subsequent recording never ceases to amaze in it’s immense artistic vision and graceful execution, all the while revealing Kent as one of the most consistently fascinating artists making music today. 

Spanning a breathtaking spectrum of some of the world’s most innovative contemporary composers, Julia Kent’s guest mix beautifully blends modern classical, electronic, ambient and experimental spheres to wondrous effect. “Temporal” is available now on The Leaf Label.




01. Jessica Moss“Fractals (Truth 4)” (Constellation)
02. Sarah Davachi“Third Hour” (Ba Da Bing!)
03. Resina“Procession” (130701)
04. Kelly Moran“Halogen” (Warp)
05. Galya Bisengalieva“Tulpar” (NOMAD Music Productions)
06. Helena Hauff“Entropy Created You And Me” (Ninja Tune)
07. Barbara Morgenstern “Brainfuck” (Staatsakt)
08. Fatima Al Qadiri“Breach” (Hyperdub)
09. Jlin “The Abyss of Doubt” (Planet Mu)
10. Zora Jones“Too Many Tears” (Fractal Fantasy)
11. Holly Herndon & Jlin“Godmother” (feat. Spawn) (4AD)
12. Gudrun Gut“Boys Keep Swinging” (Monika Enterprise)
13. Kali Malone“Arched in Hysteria” (Hallow Ground)
14. Félicia Atkinson & Jefre Cantu-Ledesma“Indefatigable Purple” (Shelter Press)
15. Christina Vantzou“Sound House” (Kranky)

‘Temporal’ is out now on The Leaf Label.

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S02E05 | May mix

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May’s mixtape features selections from a pair of the year’s most essential compilations: Alice Coltrane’s “Turiyasangitananda” (Luaka Bop) and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ retrospective set “Lovely Creatures” (Mute).

“Lovely Creatures: The Best of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds 1984-2014” comprises a gorgeous meticulously assembled archive – spanning music, previously unseen photographs, memorabilia and extensive archival footage – of Cave’s first three decades as frontman to the world’s most revered and significant bands: The Bad Seeds. “Lovely Creatures” is compiled by Cave and founding Bad Seeds member Mick Harvey, with additional help from the current Bad Seeds. On the announcement of its release, Cave issued the following statement via his website:

“There are some people out there who just don’t know where to start with The Bad Seeds. Others know the catalogue better than I do! This release is designed to be a way into three decades of music making. That’s a lot of songs. The songs we have chosen are the ones that have stuck around, for whatever reason. Some songs are those that demand to be played live. Others are lesser songs that are personal favourites of ours. Others are just too big and have too much history to leave out. And there are those that didn’t make it, poor things. They are the ones you must discover by yourselves.”

“World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda” is the spellbinding compilation of music made by the legendary composer, pianist and spiritualist Alice Coltrane with members of Sai Anantam Ashram in California during the eighties ad nineties. Much of the music here is culled from self-released tape cassettes released from the period. As Luaka Bop have said, the music from “Turiyasangitananda” is “inspired by the gospel music of the Detroit churches she grew up in, mixed together with the Indian devotional music of her religious practice, and even finds Alice singing for the first time in her recorded catalog. Originally only made available through her ashram, they are her most obscure body of work and possibly the greatest reflection of her soul.”

May’s mixtape also features new releases from: A Hawk And A Hacksaw’s Heather Trost who releases her sublime solo debut “Agistri” on June 2nd via LM Duplication; Animal Collective’s “The Painters” EP (Domino); Stockholm-based electronic duo Roll The Dice’s “Born To Ruin” (The New Black); “Wade In” by Julianna Barwick (part of the extensive “Our First 100 Days” benefit compilation); Wolfgang Voigt releases “Narkopop” via Kompakt, his latest ambient opus under his GAS guise and first for twenty years; Heather Woods Broderick’s gorgeous new 7″ single “Home Winds” (recorded in response to the photographs of Benjamin Swett and published as a collaborative project between both artists by Planthouse Inc).

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S02E05 | May mix


To listen on La Blogothèque:


01. Steve Reich“Come Out” (excerpt) (Nonesuch)
02. Daniel Brandt“Eternal Something” (Erased Tapes)
03. Forest Swords“Panic” (Ninja Tune)
04. Roll The Dice“Cannonball” (The New Black)
05. Everything Is Recorded“Washed Up on the Shore” (feat. Obongjayar and Warren Ellis) (XL Recordings)
06. Dirty Three “Furnace Skies” (Bella Union, Anchor & Hope)
07. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds “Tupelo” (Mute, BMG)
08. Tom Armstrong“Thunder Clouds” (Tompkins Square)
09. Slowdive“Sugar for the Pill” (Dead Oceans)
10. GAS“Narkopop 5” (Kompakt)
11. Biosphere“Black Mesa” (Biophon)
12. Mount Kimbie“Marilyn” (feat. Micachu) (Warp)
13. Mamman Sani“Samari Da Yan Matan” (Sahel Sounds)
14. Umoja“707” (Awesome Tapes From Africa)
15. Molly Nilsson“About Somebody” (Dark Skies Association / Night School)
16. Heather Trost“Agina” (LM Duplication)
17. Lukács István & Burka Sándor“Szállj Le Hattyú” (Hungaroton)
18. Carla dal Forno“Fast Moving Cars” (Blackest Ever Black)
19. Laurel Halo“Jelly” (Hyperdub)
20. Jlin“Black Origami” (Planet Mu)
21. Alice Coltrane “Om Rama” (Luaka Bop)
22. Shabazz Palaces“Shine a Light” (feat. Thaddillac) (Sub Pop)
23. Bobe Gáspár Ernő és Zenekara“Becskereki Pipagyújtó” (Hungaroton)
24. Animal Collective“Man of Oil” (Domino)
25. Julianna Barwick“Wade In” (Our First 100 Days, Bandcamp)
26. Heather Woods Broderick“Home Winds” (Planthouse Inc, Yebo Music)
27. Saltland “Forward Eyes II” (Constellation)

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


Step Right Up: Holly Herndon

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Interview with Holly Herndon.

“I think my sound is a combination of my home in Tennessee, with vocal harmonies, Berlin, with an appreciation of electronic music and the avant-garde tradition, and the Bay Area with a focus on custom software and technology.”

—Holly Herndon

Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry


Holly Herndon’s debut full-length, ‘Movement’ – released at the tail end of last year on Brooklyn-based music institution, RVNG Intl – heralds a new voice in electronic music, and indeed contemporary music as a whole. The San Francisco-based sound artist/musician has created an utterly innovative and ground-breaking work, across a dazzling collection of seven sonic creations that comprises ‘Movement’. The myriad of influences shared by Herndon are diffused wonderfully throughout the musical compositions that in turn, creates a genre-defying opus, existing at the interface between human and technology. Terms such as avant-guard or futuristic would only lightly suggest the significance of Herndon’s masterful skill and unique vision, inherent in this special debut record.

Growing up in Tennessee, Herndon moved to Berlin during her teenage years, and would be deeply drawn to the techno culture, resulting in an appreciation of electronic music. Herndon studied at Berlin University, and later returned to the U.S and completed a Masters in Electronic Music and Recording Media at Mills College, California. In 2011, the Tennessee-native earned the prestigious Elizabeth Mills Crothers award for Best Composer. Indeed, Herndon’s modern composition training and undying devotion to techno music is very much imprinted on the sonic canvas of ‘Movement’. Currently, Herndon is taking up a doctoral study in Electronic Music at Stanford. This marked devotion to her chosen discipline and gifted talents are clear to witness upon listening to the works of Herndon.

The pieces on ‘Movement’ revolve around a vocal idea, which is then processed using custom instruments and vocal processes, developed in the programming language Max/MSP. The vocal processing is immaculately conveyed on the track ‘Fade’ with sensual voice harmonies utilized throughout, often with long moments of silence as the counterpoint. Soon, the process begins to unfurl and many intriguing elements gradually come to the surface. The singular focus on custom software and technology is clearly demonstrated on songs such as ‘Breathe’ and the epic album opener ‘Terminal’, showcasing utterly transfixing compositions in experimental computer music. ‘Terminal’ in many ways, is the ideal beginning of ‘Movement”s visionary journey, as the meditative and the discord elements collide. The slow-burning techno beats creates a sprawling, expansive sound, where Herndon’s central vocal idea interwoven throughout the sonic envelope. It’s simply electronic music belonging to a space and time, we have not yet arrived upon.

In the words of Herndon: “The laptop is the most intimate instrument we have at our disposal, engaging and absorbing our confessions and inspirations. Its influence has both devastated and invigorated music as we know it. We’ve only just begun unlocking the possibilities at our fingertips. Those possibilities are what I work towards and against.”

The more techno-based songs such as ‘Fade’ and title-track (and lead single) ‘Movement’ are the immediate highlights on ‘Movement’. ‘Fade’ is sublime. In many ways, the techno gem shares the trance-dance odyssies of Brooklyn-based duo, and label-mates Blondes – whose latest LP ‘Swisher’ was recently released by RVNG Intl – forming a pulsating synth-led dance opus. ‘Fade’ operates on an entirely ‘other’ dimension of sound, inhabiting an entire new realm of possibility. The drum details were provided by Beau Wanzer of Streetwalker, completing the sonic layers required to form such a momentous techno exploration. Title-track ‘Movement’ is the album’s centerpiece, depicting the human-computer symbiosis, which is Laurie Anderson and Pan Sonic in equal amounts. The music video to ‘Movement’, directed by Matt Dryhurst (and photographic direction by Tolleson) is a beautiful representation – and embodiment-of Herndon’s visceral music. The closing cuts, ‘Interlude’ and ‘Dialto’ are gorgeously rooted in minimalism – as Herndon’s vocals are transformed by digital means – that conjures up the sound of early music a la Tallis, Pärt and beyond.

Herndon has collaborated with Iranian philosopher Reza Negarestani, Chicago house explorer, Jamal Moss AKA Hieroglyphic Being, NHK and Chicago footwork producer Jlin in the recent past. ‘Movement’ represents a significant body of work from this highly gifted artist and producer. Similar to RVNG Intl’s ‘Ekstasis’ by Julia Holter last year, ‘Movement’ is one of those unclassifiable albums that provides endless inspiration.


Interview with Holly Herndon.

Congratulations Holly on your wonderful debut album, ‘Movement’. At the heart of the album are stunning modern compositions, where your vocal experiments are infused with innovative techno music. Please discuss for me the creative process involved in your work, and the custom instruments and vocal processes inherent in ‘Movement’?

My pieces usually revolve around a vocal idea, which is usually a digital process. I will workshop this in my studio and in concert until it takes a more composed form.


My favourite song on ‘Movement’ is the sublime ‘Fade’. A swirling dance odyssey that builds gradually throughout. The mix of vocals and laptop wizardry is something to truly behold. Please outline the construction of this song please?

This track was built around the “swirling” vocals, to use your term. I worked with a patch for a long time to get that epic building, moving sound. Once they were in place, the track was built around them, including the main vocal lines. The rave-y synth lines and overall movement were built up combining soft synths and a 101. The drum details came last. I knew I wanted a heavy drum sound, so I asked a friend of mine, Beau Wanzer of Streetwalker, to record his 808 for me. He sent me some amazing lines, which I then chopped up and arranged to fit the song.


You left your Tennessee home for Berlin as a teenager. This must have awakened your love for the arts, and particularly your love of music. Recount for me please your memories of Berlin, and how this city has shaped your music?

I think the environment always has an effect on the art that is made there or after being there. To quote the Dutch composer, Andriesson:
“Many composers view the act of composing as, somehow, above social conditioning. I contest that. How you arrange your musical material, the techniques you use and the instruments you score for, are largely determined by your own social circumstances and listening experience, and the availability of financial support.”
I think my sound is a combination of my home in Tennessee, with vocal harmonies, Berlin, with an appreciation of electronic music and the avant-garde tradition, and the Bay Area with a focus on custom software and technology.


You are currently a doctoral candidate in composition at Stanford University. I would love to gain an insight into this whole study area of composition and what specific aspects of composition fascinates you the most?

It is hard to distill that into a single statement. I was drawn to Stanford because of the long history of experimentation at CCRMA in computer music. There are so many amazing minds there that are all doing fascinating work! This is nicely balanced with a music program based in traditional musical pedagogy mixed with heavy influence from avant-garde art music. Brian Ferneyhough, one of the professors, is a well-known new complexity composer, coming out of the European art music tradition.


What records have inspired you the most, and have made the most impact on your life?

Again, it is difficult to distill this into one statement. When I was making Movement, I was listening to Meredith Monk, Mika Vainio, Byrd and Feldman. These days I’m revisiting Missy Elliot, Ablinger, Ives, & Marclay, along with early electronic pioneers Chowning, Lansky, early music a la Tallis and UK Grime.


‘Movement’ is out now on RVNG Intl.


Written by admin

August 19, 2013 at 10:15 am