FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Posts Tagged ‘Lee Noble

Fractured Air 04: Secret Speed (A Mixtape by Lee Noble)

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To listen on Soundcloud:

https://soundcloud.com/fractured_air/fractured-air-04-secret-speed

Lee Noble is an L.A based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. Earlier this year saw the release of his new album, ‘Ruiner’ on the ever-dependable Bathetic Records and is undeniably one of the hidden gems of 2013. The eerie atmosphere of the lo-fi folk haze of ambient swirls and Noble’s drifting vocals immerses the listener into an otherworldly dimension. The songs serve as one organic whole, where a gorgeous ebb and flow of enchanting sounds beautifully heightens all that surrounds you.
Lee Noble describing his mix: “It’s sort of a weird mix, but all tracks I can’t stop listening to. Going from lots of analog synth music to some slightly psychedelic folk/lo-fi, then a couple epic moments before a Pere Ubu denouement. It’s a pretty random list, some non-sequiturs in there but all stuff I love.”
Lee Noble also runs the No Kings record label, based in Echo Park, Los Angeles.

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Fractured Air 04: Secret Speed (A Mixtape by Lee Noble)

Tracklist:

01 Main Title from “Zombi 2” – Fabio Frizzi
02 Cherish – Ike Yard
03 Toho Picture – Xeno & Oaklander
04 Westbound – Pretty How Town
05 Winona – Drop Nineteens
06 Got to Be Certain – Kylie Minogue
07 Secret Speech – Horsehair Everywhere
08 Washing – Sparkling Wide Pressure
09 For Kate I Wait – Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
10 Wand in the Beak of the Yellow Bird #3 – Kane Pour
11 Franny – Félicia Atkinson
12 Making of Cyborg from “Ghost in the Shell” – Kenji Kawai
13 Sentionauts from “Beyond the Black Rainbow” – Jeremy Schmidt
14 Untitled 2 “Manhunter” – James Rushford and Joe Talia
15 Corpse – Live Skull
16 Humor Me – Pere Ubu

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Track-by-track Guide:

01 Main Title from “Zombi 2” – Fabio Frizzi
Italian horror soundtrack music at it’s finest. I just recently got into this score, which has lots of warm synths and stoic drum machines like this track and will also go into passages of kind of like Haitian drumming. A good mix!

02 Cherish – Ike Yard
Keeping things synthy and getting really stark. Ike Yard has some amazing tracks, I like this one for that sheet of guitar noise that comes in.

03 Toho Picture – Xeno & Oaklander
All analog all the time. I love the chord progression on this song, one of the few X&O tracks with none of their distinctive vocals. Thinking of lots of movie soundtracks on this mix, and the title fits, could be the rejected opening credits soundtrack to Toho Studios’ Inframan or some Godzilla flick.

04 Westbound – Pretty How Town
A guy in San Diego posted this on a modular synth forum as a demo of some of the patching techniques he was using. All modular with no midi and no sequencer. Magic! Really nice melody.

05 Winona – Drop Nineteens
Never mind any of the above, must remember 90s shoe-gazy guitar bands, like Drop Nineteens, who you may recognize for their amazing song “Delaware” which was featured on the Nickelodeon show Pete and Pete. This song is about Winona Rider.

06 Got to Be Certain – Kylie Minogue
I love old Kylie Minogue. This is from her first album, which is super synthy.

07 Secret Speech – Horsehair Everywhere
Switching gears here, I thought it would be funny to follow Kylie with this. This is an improv group I’m in with friends from Tennessee. We just have parties and record unconscious freak-out music. This was on an LP that was released by La Station Radar in France.

08 Washing – Sparkling Wide Pressure
My friend Frank Baugh’s (also in Horsehair Everywhere) long time solo project. Every track is great. This one’s from a tape called “I Think I Feel Clear Now” released by Maggot Valley in 2009.

09 For Kate I Wait – Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
Even more psych lo-fi. From “The Doldrums” I get this song stuck in my head a lot. It also has a great music video of Ariel in a sequined shirt talking on the phone.

10 Wand in the Beak of the Yellow Bird #3 – Kane Pour
Track from tape of the same name. I don’t know who this guy is or what’s going on besides he used to put tapes out on Housecraft and Rotifer, two of the best labels. Beautiful, damaged music.

11 Franny – Félicia Atkinson
Sparse, beautiful, haunting… a perfect song.

12 Making of Cyborg from “Ghost in the Shell” – Kenji Kawai
Bookends with the last track, keeping it sparse and then adding the whole choir. I love those bells. From the opening credits of the classic(?) anime. I guess I really like opening credits music.

13 Sentionauts from “Beyond the Black Rainbow” – Jeremy Schmidt
From the recent movie, which was somewhat coma-inducing. Score is ace though, and this organ riff is huge!

14 Untitled 2 “Manhunter” – James Rushford and Joe Talia
My friend Gher from Turin played this album for me when I was on tour. It came out on Graham Lambkin’s KYE label this year. Two side-long tracks culminate in this segment. It’s so slow and heavy.

15 Corpse – Live Skull
I put this on just about every mix I’ve ever made. So cool. It’s from the first issue of Tellus cassette magazine in 1983, before Thalia Zedek joined the band. This is what a band should sound like.

16 Humor Me – Pere Ubu
Such a memorable song. Dave Thomas is making crazy choices. It’s a joke!

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To listen on Soundcloud:

https://soundcloud.com/fractured_air/fractured-air-04-secret-speed

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http://leenoble.bandcamp.com
http://nokingsrecord.co
http://batheticrecords.com

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Fractured Air 04. The universe is making music all the time.

To follow Fractured Air, you can do so on Facebook here, and on Twitter here

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Written by admin

October 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Chosen One: Lee Noble

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Interview with Lee Noble.

“I record in my room in Los Angeles on a digital 8-track mixer. The way I tend to work is by first making small improvised recordings on battery-powered tape recorders with acoustic instruments like banjo, guitar, mbira, or on my casio sk-1 or another small keyboard. Then after a while I have a little collection of tapes to build from. This is the first album where I’ve also done a lot of editing and collage after most recording is done. I don’t mind leaving in all the audio artifacts of this process. So often you’ll hear the sound of tape recorders being turned on, or the record buttons being pressed on the 8-track, chairs moving around, background noises. I’m not interested in cleanliness of sound.”

—Lee Noble

Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry

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Lee Noble is an L.A based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. Earlier this year saw the release of his new album, ‘Ruiner’ on the ever-dependable Bathetic Records and is undeniably one of the hidden gems of 2013. The eerie atmosphere of the lo-fi folk haze of ambient swirls and Noble’s drifting vocals immerses the listener into an otherworldly dimension. The mood that is captured is what is most striking about ‘Ruiner’, where I feel a desolate landscape dotted across the sonic terrain. Beneath the depth of darkness, lies an illumination of hope and solace, such is the magic of Noble’s sonic explorations. The songs serve as one organic whole, where a gorgeous ebb and flow of enchanting sounds beautifully heightens all that surrounds you.

The instrumentation of guitar, banjo, church organ, vocals and samples are masterfully employed by Noble throughout the album’s soundscapes. The songs themselves – some worked on as far back as 2011 – originated from Noble’s L.A bedroom, equipped with the musician’s sacred digital 8-track mixer. An infinite array of possibilities are attained. I feel there is a remarkable closeness to Noble’s experimentation with sound as artists such as Benoît Pioulard and Grouper. A similar ethereal dimension is formed by the fusion of the organic and synthetic, creating in turn, a beguiling sonic tapestry that unleashes fragile emotion.

‘Ruiner’ comprises of gradual music, in all its power and beauty. One moment, vintage analog drones serves a pulse to the song’s bloodflow, while the next, a meditative swell of harmonium seeps into the slipstream. Deeply affecting music is created. A passage from the essay “Music As A Gradual process” by Steve Reich, I feel captures the essence of ‘Ruiner’:

“While performing and listening to gradual musical processes one can participate in a particular liberating and impersonal kind of ritual. Focusing in on the musical process makes possible that shift of attention away from he and she and you and me outwards towards it.”

Album opener ‘Covers’ begins with cleansing mbira notes, before dream-like organ synthesizer fades into the foreground. A delicate lullaby, which serves the ideal prologue for the sonic voyage ‘Ruiner’ takes you on. Noble’s heartfelt vocals coalesce with the music, forming a beautiful sea of cinematic wonder. The outro of church organ notes effortlessly flows into ‘December’. This ambient gem is drenched in gorgeous reverb and swells of organ, amidst the electric guitar strum of minor chords and a drum machine’s winter beats. The brooding vocals are reminiscent of Thom Yorke that resonates into the captivating atmosphere.

‘Demon Pond’ is all about building on layers of sound. A sweeping harmonium provides a haunting backdrop to the song’s opening sections. I feel the sonic artifacts come to light from the recorded improvisations. The song cycle encompasses all stratosphere of sound from ambient, drone to folk music. The vocals and banjo accompaniment that unfolds six minutes in, is perhaps ‘Ruiner”s defining moment. Heavenly harmonies and stirring tones of field recordings and background noise, creates a wholly fulfilling experience. Noble’s voice is like a prayer for forgiveness from the depths of despair. ‘Rewilding’ closes Side A, with an uptempo organ-led instrumental and drum machine. A bright sun rises on the horizon, as the irresistible pop hooks form a compelling groove. ‘Remind Me’ is a slowed down re-working of ‘Rewilding’ that perfectly flows into one another. ‘Remind Me’ is another gem that finds Noble at the interface of the organic and synthetic.

‘Disintegrate Ideas’ is a swirling organ-based instrumental, that creates a wonderful sense of space to the music. The acoustic-based ‘Wring The Rag’ is a sparse lament of tortured souls. The intimacy is immediately evident. The organ/synthesizer is at the heart of album closer, ‘I Don’t Blame You, We’re Having The Same Dream’ that brings Lee Noble’s latest sonic exploration to a fitting close.

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Interview with Lee Noble.

Congratulations on the latest opus, ‘Ruiner’. The album is an utterly transcendent tour de force. I love how your songs possess that magical spark, forever inhabiting a cosmic space. Please discuss the recording of this album and the inception of the songs that make up this incredible record?

Thanks very much! That is very kind. I started working on pieces that appear on the album as far back as 2011. I record in my room in Los Angeles on a digital 8-track mixer. The way I tend to work is by first making small improvised recordings on battery-powered tape recorders with acoustic instruments like banjo, guitar, mbira, or on my casio sk-1 or another small keyboard. Then after a while I have a little collection of tapes to build from. This is the first album where I’ve also done a lot of editing and collage after most recording is done. I don’t mind leaving in all the audio artifacts of this process. So often you’ll hear the sound of tape recorders being turned on, or the record buttons being pressed on the 8-track, chairs moving around, background noises. I’m not interested in cleanliness of sound.

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The instrumentation of guitar, banjo, church organ, vocals and samples blend so effortlessly together that creates one large cohesive and organic sound. The songs are reminiscent of other luminaries such as Grouper and Benoît Pioulard. I would love to gain an insight into the process of assembling the various layers to your sound and the creative process at the heart of your unique sonic creations?

Not too long ago I got this great organ synth, a Yamaha sk10, and it has a beautiful warble that seems to go along well with everything, from synthesizer to banjo. I can’t seem to specialize or focus on one instrument, so I end up with many. My skills are half realized with all of them. I see some correlation between folk music and older synthesizer music, the edge where those two things touch is a great place to explore. There’s a way to manipulate an organ or guitar or synth tone so that at the end you can’t tell what you’re listening to – it’s just this warm sound. I supposed if I was technically better at mixing there might be more separation, but it’s not something I aspire to at the moment.

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My favourite song is the epic ‘Demon Pond’. A song cycle that seems to flow through all stratospheres from ambient, drone to lo-fi folk. The moment the banjo comes into the mix is one of the defining moments on ‘Ruiner’. I would love to hear how this song was born and the various stages in which the song bloomed into its final entity?

I wrote the banjo piece at the end first, and recorded it. Then later thought it needed a lead-up, so I added the harmonium. I had these other pieces laying around from other recording experiments and I just ended up throwing them all together, taking the pieces that stood out. They were all much longer pieces initially, mostly made with a pedal that does long looped delays. But they are more efficient together.

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As a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, I would love to gain an insight into your fascination with sound? What are your memories of first experimenting with sound?

My dad is a musician, a guitar player, so there were lots of them lying around the house growing up. I wanted to play piano when I was a kid, and started taking lessons, but I hated learning songs so I quit. Just wanted to make stuff up and not study. Just wanted to bang on everything.

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The songs on ‘Ruiner’ feel an amalgam of many discrete ideas that forms one cohesive whole. I’d like to think the songs are akin to a gorgeous abstract painting that reveals more hidden truths the more you immerse yourself into the artist’s world. What are the guiding influences behind your work and that has shaped ‘Ruiner’?

I don’t know what I’m doing. It seems like I worked on the songs on the album for so long, I’m not sure what they are. Just what I’ve worked on. Mixing field recordings with songs. Soundtracks. Textures. Anything with analog push-button drum machines.

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Please discuss the vintage analog drones that you have collected over the years? What is your most preferred instrument at the moment?

I have a Moog synth called The Source, and a Korg MS10. Lots of little battery keyboards like Casio sk-1, sk-5. And a couple of these organ synths. Trying to find the perfect instrument. I have been playing nylon-string guitar more. It’s really hard to string up, and I broke the high E string, so it only has 5. I’ve been playing it like that, tuned to B F# B E B. I also got a really tiny euro-rack modular set-up I’m trying to learn.

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What records are you listening to lately?

This Japanese band Mariah made an album called Utakata no Hibi in 1983 that I’ve been really into lately.
Check this song out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67c_PyzUXUk

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Do you plan to tour Europe? I sincerely hope so.

I did a tour in March but didn’t go to the UK. I was in Germany / Austria / Czech / France / Italy / Switzerland. I want to go everywhere. I just need to figure out a new set. And of course save up for the trip.

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“Ruiner” is out now on Bathetic Records. 

http://leenoble.bandcamp.com
http://batheticrecords.com
http://nokingsrecord.co

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Written by admin

July 19, 2013 at 10:51 am

Ten Mile Stereo

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Holden “The Inheritors” (Border Community)
James Holden’s incredible follow-up to his debut LP “The Idiots Are Winning” has been some seven years in the making. Heralded by both Four Tet’s Kieran Hebdon and Caribou/Daphni’s Dan Snaith of late, the album comprises a set of genre-defying tracks and is destined to remain at “classic” status for a long, long time to come.

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Jon Hopkins “Immunity” (Domino)
“Immunity” is the fourth solo album from Jon Hopkins and is destined to catapult the Eno collaborator to international recognition. The final epic title-track features King Creosote (who collaborated with Hopkins on the sublime “Diamond Mine”) and leaves the listener marvel at what Hopkins has created here.

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Lee Noble “Ruiner” (Bathetic)
My first time coming across the wonderful Bathetic label – based in Asheville, NC – was through Angel Olsen’s classic LP “Half Way Home”. Lee Noble’s “Ruiner” is another classic belonging to the label, comprising unique ambient/pop songs recalling Radiohead, Grouper’s Liz Harris and richly evocative ambient textures as found on pioneering labels such as Chicago’s Kranky label.

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Camera Obscura “Desire Lines” (4AD)
Glasgow’s beloved Camera Obscura released yet another classic indie-pop album this year – lead by the singularly beautiful voice of Tracyanne Campbell – ‘Desire Lines’ is the band’s eagerly awaited follow-up to gorgeous “My Maudlin Career” (also on 4AD). As always, Campbell’s songwriting is pitch-perfect, while the song arrangements are sumptuously layered echoing Spector’s wall of sound (pristine production by Tucker Martine). Features guests Paul Brainard (Richmond Fontaine) on pedal steel, Neko Case and Jim James on backing vocals.

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Denseland “Like Likes Like” (m=minimal)
Berlin-based electronic label m=minimal have been quietly releasing an intriguing string of albums over the past year. “Like Likes Like” by Denseland (featuring Hanno Leichtmann, Hannes Strobl and David Moss) is a strangely compelling array of darkly textured, minimal compositions featuring the singular vocals of David Moss.

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Califone “Stitches” (Dead Oceans)
Indie favourites Califone return with the hugely anticipated “Stitches” LP this Autumn on the Dead Oceans label. The title-track has so far been uploaded – a beautifully fragmented and fragile song – as always lead by Tim Rutili’s stunning voice and masterful lyrics. The album was written and recorded across Southern California, Arizona and Texas and is available on 3 September.

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Hiss Golden Messenger “Haw” (Paradise of Bachelors)
‘Haw’ is one of the year’s finest albums and another milestone release in Hiss Golden Messenger’s stellar discography to date. As always, the songwriting by M.C. Taylor (encompassing songs of both struggle and pain as well as songs of joy and hope) is to the forefront while songs effortlessly fuse traditions of folk, blues, soul and gospel. Follow-up to the equally sublime “Poor Moon”, “Haw” is HGM’s fourth album.

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Colin Stetson “New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light” (Constellation)
Part three in the “New History Warfare” series, gifted composer Colin Stetson is fast-becoming independent music’s crowning jewel. Long-known and admired for his astonishing array of collaborative work (Tom Waits, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, TV on the Radio to name only a few), Stetson’s reputation as a solo composer has quickly earned himself the reputation for one of contemporary music’s true leading artists.

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Laurie Spiegel “The Expanding Universe” (Unseen Worlds / Philo)
While we had the great honour of co-presenting Thrill Jockey’s Mountains for their concert in Cork, one of our highlights was listening to Koen Holtkamp talk so fondly about Spiegel’s seminal masterwork “The Expanding Universe”. It’s hard to imagine these recordings were made in 1980 as they sound as fresh and as innovative today. The lovingly expanded reissue from last year is a work of true beauty and confirms “The Expanding Universe” as one of the finest (and most influential) records ever made.

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Julianna Barwick “Nepenthe” (Dead Oceans)
The wait is finally nearly over for Julianna Barwick’s follow-up to her much-celebrated “The Magic Place”, released in 2011 on Asthmatic Kitty. So far, “Pacing” (released as a limited edition 7″) and “One Half” have been made available, whetting the appetite for what will surely be one of the year’s most defining albums. Whereas Barwick’s “The Magic Place” was recorded in her Brooklyn bedroom studio, “Nepenthe” was recorded in Iceland with Alex Somers (Sigur Rós, Jónsi). “One Half” is arguably Barwick’s most beautiful work yet. LP available 20 August.

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