FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Posts Tagged ‘Lubomyr Melnyk

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S1E2| February mix

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Part Two of our mix series for La Blogothèque. We’ve tried to include something here from as many of our favourite labels as possible. Also included is a short excerpt from an interview we did with the legendary Los Angeles-based folk singer Linda Perhacs (to coincide with the release of her second solo LP “The Soul Of All Natural Things” on Asthmatic Kitty in 2014). February’s mix also comprises a few original scores to films (“Belladonna of Sadness”, “#HORROR”, “Mistress America” and “Mustang”) where each soundtrack certainly conveys a very singular mood and spirit for their respective subjects (and films). While it’s a little foolish to single out a particular song/artist (isn’t that the complete opposite of what a mixtape is supposed to be?) we would like to conclude by mentioning someone very special whom we only recently discovered: Tia Blake (thanks to Josh Rosenthal’s gorgeous book “The Record Store of the Mind”); her sole album was 1971’s “Folksongs And Ballads” (by “Tia Blake and her folk-group”), a most beautiful and precious thing indeed.

fracturedairmix_feb16

 

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S1E2 | February mix

To Read/listen on La Blogothèque:

 english: http://en.blogotheque.net/2016/02/23/fractured-air-x-blogotheque-s01e02-february-mix/

 

Tracklisting:

01. Fire!“She Bid a Meaningless Farewell” (Rune Grammofon)
02. Dawn of Midi“Ijiraq” (Erased Tapes)
03. nonkeen“chasing god through palmyra” (R&S)
04. 1115“The Drowned World I” (Alien Transistor)
05. Julia Holter“Vasquez” (Domino)
06. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – “Arthropoda” (Western Vinyl)
07. Cool Maritime“Spring” (Leaving)
08. Linda PerhacsInterview (excerpt) (Fractured Air)
09. Linda Perhacs“Parallelograms” (Kapp/Sunbeam)
10. Jóhann Jóhannsson with Hildur Guðnadóttir & Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe“End of Summer Part 4” (excerpt) (Sonic Pieces)
11. Bob Dylan“Father Of Night” (Columbia)
12. Lubomyr Melnyk “Sunshimmers” (Erased Tapes)
13. Lee Hazlewood“Hands” (MGM, Ace)
14. Masahiko Sato“Valle Incantata” (Belladonna of Sadness OST, Finders Keepers)
15. The Fabulous Luckett Brothers“Help Me to Carry On” (Honest Jon’s)
16. A Hawk And A Hacksaw“Wedding Theme (Ukraine)” (LM Dupli-Cation)
17. Calexico“When Only The Ashes Are Left” (Our Soil, Our Strength)
18. Thomas Köner“Tiento de la Luz 4” (excerpt) (Denovali)
19. Ricardo Donoso“Morning Criminal” (Denovali)
20. EMA“Amnesia Haze (Vox & Guitar Only)” (#HORROR OST, City Slang)
21. Dean Wareham & Britta Phillips“Mistress America” (Mistress America OST, Milan)
22. Alex Smoke“Fair Is Foul” (R&S)
23. Lord RAJA“Footwork” (Ghostly International)
24. Roly Porter“In System” (Tri Angle)
25. Warren Ellis“Mustang” (Mustang OST, Milan)
26. Tia Blake “The Rising of the Moon” (Water)
27. Langley Schools Music Project“Space Oddity” (Bar/None)
28. Qluster“In deinen Händen” (Bureau B)

Compiled by Fractured Air, February 2016. 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.

http://www.blogotheque.net/
https://fracturedair.com/

 

Mixtape: For Peter (A Mixtape by Fractured Air)

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For Peter [A Fractured Air Mix]

A selection of music based on (and inspired by) the music of American-born multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Peter Broderick.

To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/for-peter-a-fractured-air-mix/

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Tracklisting:

01. Peter Broderick ‘A Beginning’ [Erased Tapes]
02. Peter Broderick ‘Walking/Thinking’ [Type]
03. Talk Talk ‘Eden’ [Parlophone]
04. Oliveray ‘The Book She Wrote And In The Time’ [Erased Tapes]
05. Nils Frahm ‘Interview Excerpt, November 2012’ [Fractured Air]
06. Nils Frahm ‘Peter’ [Erased Tapes]
07. Rival Consoles ‘Daddy (feat. Peter Broderick)’ [Erased Tapes]
08. Greg Gives Peter Space ‘The Drive’ [Erased Tapes]
09. Efterklang & The Danish National Chamber Orchestra ‘Mirador’ (Live) [Leaf, Rumraket]
10. Peter Broderick ‘The Path to Recovery’ [Erased Tapes]
11. Lubomyr Melnyk ‘Interview Excerpt, March 2013’ [Fractured Air]
12. Lubomyr Melnyk ‘Pockets Of Light’ (Excerpt) [Erased Tapes]
13. The Album Leaf ‘Never Held a Baby’ (feat. Peter Broderick) [Not On Label]
14. Tiny Vipers ‘Dreamer’ [Sub Pop]
15. Peter Broderick ‘An Ending’ [Erased Tapes]

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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.


 

Peter Broderick (plus band) with special guest Loch Lomond performs at the Half Moon Theatre, Cork on Sunday 19 October 2014. Tickets are €15, available now from Cork Opera House box office, Emmet Place, Cork and online from the link below.

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE:
http://www.corkoperahouse.ie/events/peter-broderick-plus-band

 

For full European tour dates please visit:

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

 


 

Written by admin

July 29, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Label Of Love: Erased Tapes

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2013 marked the fifth anniversary of the London-based record label Erased Tapes. For the last five years the label have introduced to the world some of the most innovative and original artists making music today. To mark their fifth anniversary, the label released a very special limited edition vinyl box-set last year – the ‘Erased Tapes V Collection’ – which includes previously unreleased recordings by it’s extensive roster of musicians.

Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry
With contributions by: Ólafur Arnalds, Peter Broderick, Nils Frahm

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Last year marked the fifth anniversary of the hugely influential record label Erased Tapes. It is amazing to think that in such a short space of time the label has released some of the most ground-breaking and vital music of recent times, with recordings by artists such as Peter Broderick, Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds and A Winged Victory For The Sullen, amongst many others. Fittingly, on their anniversary year, the label released ‘Corollaries’, the new album by legendary pianist Lubomyr Melnyk, whose pioneering Continuous Music has inspired a generation of musicians. In the same year, Frahm’s highly-anticipated live record ‘Spaces’ documents and effectively captures the pulsating energy of the Berlin composer’s utterly transcendent live shows. 2013 also saw the release of London-based singer-songwriter Douglas Dare’s debut E.P. ‘Seven Hours’ and Peter Broderick’s ‘Float 2013’, newly remastered by Nils Frahm. The box set features exclusive, previously unreleased recordings made by the label’s incredible roster of artists. What makes it all the more exclusive is the fact that the compilation wouldn’t be digitally available until the end of the year (24th December, 2013 to be precise). A must have for music-lovers everywhere. The lovingly assembled and designed box-set (designed by Torsten Posselt at FELD Berlin) is dedicated to its beloved audience – the early Erased Tapes music explorer. I look forward immensely to the next five years as the roster of gifted talents continue to journey into new and unknown horizons of possibilities and wonderment.

The first 7″ contains the electronic wizardry of Rival Consoles (‘Daddy’ feat. Peter Broderick) and Kiasmos’ euphoric minimal techno soundscapes (‘Driven’). Ryan Lee West AKA Rival Consoles creates beguiling electronic creations that encloses an organic sound within the artist’s minimal analogue framework. ‘Daddy’ is a haven of electronic bleeps and glitches that conjures up the sound of German electronic music and the indie-electronic sounds of B. Fleichsmann’s Morr Music output. The opening notes of lazer-guided synths drives the moonlight ballad into a late-night tale of inner-contemplation and reflection. The addition of Broderick’s vocals heightens the track’s exploratory dimension. The vocal shifts in register and loops in layers across West’s similarly evolving synth melodies. Towards the song’s close, Broderick’s fragile voice asks “Daddy, can I call myself a man now?” where the organic and synthetic are combined that traverses directly into the human space.

Kiasmos is the brainchild of Ólafur Arnalds and Bloodgroup mastermind Janus Rasmussen from the Faroe Islands. The starting point usually is an electronic beat supplied by Rasmussen, that would, in turn be dissected by Arnalds and before long, a timeless melody is constructed that perfectly compliments the electronic voyage. ‘Driven’ is a killer-track that loops forever and is allowed to live and breathe, as the layers float majestically into the atmosphere. Think Holden’s ‘The Inheritors’ record as a reference point. The latest release, ‘Thrown’ E.P. contains the two stunning tracks ‘Thrown’ and ‘Wrecked’ with exclusive remixes by FaltyDL and 65daysofstatic.

Berlin composer and cellist Anne Müller’s enchanting ‘Walzer für Robert’ opens up a whole new world of joyous sound that is nothing short of captivating. The intricate arrangements of cello strings is blended effortlessly with Frahm’s healing piano notes. The dancing melodies is reminiscent of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Take This Waltz’ where the listener is taken to the streets of Vienna and left to “yield to the flood” of the composition’s beauty. This piece of music represents the first glimpses of sunlight as a new day slowly unfolds with the promises of hopes, dreams and happiness. An essential record to own (and one of Erased Tapes many hidden treasures) is ‘7 fingers’ – the collaboration between the like-minded souls of Nils Frahm and Anne Müller. Having seen both artists live in various incarnations – Müller’s central presence to singer-songwriter Agnes Obel’s deeply affecting songbook, and Frahm’s solo shows – I long to witness both artists on stage together. With a new record currently being worked on in the trusted surrounds of Frahm’s Durton Studios, a follow-up will soon see the light of day.

On the flip-side is new signing New World’s End Girlfriend. Hailing from Nagasaki, Kyushu, Japan, the Japanese composer creates music that seems to contain all myriads of samples and fascinating sounds. The cut ‘Bohemian Purgatory Part 2’ (N.S.K.G. version) moves between house, techno and mish-mash of doo-wop/funk, breakbeat free-jazz and classical. It’s unlike anything you have heard ever before. The Erased Tapes album ‘Seven Idiots’ represents a new and unique voice in avant-garde/contemporary music that defies categorization. World’s End Girlfriend further highlights the label’s continual strive to push the sonic envelope and explore vast plains of sound.

The third 7″ represents the centerpiece to the Erased Tapes V collection. An exclusive new track by Portland-Oregon born artist, songwriter and composer, Peter Broderick is a joy to behold. ‘Give Me A Smile In 5’ offers a snapshot of Broderick’s beguiling songbook that has graced us with its presence these past several years. The opening lyrics evokes a foreboding mood, sung beneath swirling piano notes: “A fight was fought off the battlefield / Oh where is my brother, where is my brother?” The poignancy of Broderick’s songcraft and sheer emotional depth thus created leaves me endlessly dumbfounded. ‘Give Me A Smile In 5’ evolves into a dub-infused odyssey of vintage Burning Spear that adds a new dimension to the Mark Hollis-esque soundscapes (affecting harmonies, layered strings and subtle electronics) that creates an utterly timeless artistic creation. A profound sadness and openness of honesty permeates throughout the achingly beautiful lament.

“But when I face my loving mother
I feel ashamed, I feel the shame
I think about the end of thinking
With a smile, with a smile”

The gorgeous piano music of Nils Frahm is next. The previously unreleased ‘Little Boy In A Space Suit’ is delicately beautiful like a flower blooming in spring. Listen closely and you hear many found sounds hidden deep beneath. The soft touch of fallen leaves, sunlight pouring through a forest of trees. I’m transported to Virgina Astley’s first studio album ‘In The Gardens Where We Feel Secure’ such is the composition’s powerful magic to seep into the pools of one’s mind, and linger there, now and forever-more. One of my favourite Erased Tapes release comes from Oliveray – the collaboration between Nils and Peter – with the appropriately titled, ‘Wonder’. Released in 2011, the record has become a trusted companion and daily soundtrack for me. A wonderful sense of magic fills the space as the instrumentation of piano, violin, celeste, pump organ, guitar, voice and whistles unleashes heart-warming emotion into the surrounding stratosphere. I remember Nils one time telling me how his favourite thing in the world is the Bill Wells and Tape 12″ collaboration, entitled ‘Fugue’ (that I think was introduced to him by Peter!) It’s clearly evident upon listening to ‘Wonder’ that a similarly breathtaking sense of journey is attained here. A couple of glorious cover versions are dotted across the album; an acoustic guitar-based version of Efterklang’s ‘Harmonics’, and the Tiny Vipers song ‘Dreamer’ (written by Jesy Fortino). ‘Wonder’ is a sonic marvel that ceaselessly reveals hidden details of divine beauty.

The fourth 7″ comprises ‘Hanau Bridge’ by Codes In The Clouds and The British Expeditionary Force’s ‘End Of The New End’. Hailing from Dartford, England, Codes In The Cloud create enthralling guitar-based post-rock creations, reminiscent of Scotland’s Mogwai and Texans Explosions In The Sky. The intensity of the band’s guitar instrumentals stops you immediately in your tracks. On the flip-side, The British Expeditionary Force’s ‘End Of The New End’ is a piano-based heartfelt pop voyage that recalls the experimental pop of Why? and Casiotone For The Painfully Alone. “I try to swim out the mess I’m in, I try to swim but I’m wading further in” is a lyric of the final verse that brings the indie-electronica infused ballad to a delicate close.

The closing 7″ is a timeless exploration into the heart of contemporary neoclassical music. Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds provides a formidable creation in the form of ‘Happiness Does Not Wait’. The piano-based melody forms the central theme that soon is joined by an uplifting string section that forms the ideal counterpoint. Having released a plethora of shape-shifting records on the London-based label (much like Peter Broderick), Arnalds represents one of the most compelling and distinctive voices in modern-classical music today. Arnalds’ debut album ‘Euology For Evolution’ was released back in 2007 and since then an array of indispensable efforts have seen the light of day, from ‘Found Songs’ and ‘Living Room Songs’ to 2010’s   ‘…And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness’ and ‘Another Happy Day’ O.S.T.

The enriching Erased Tapes V collection culminates in a live performance of ‘String Quartet No. 2: III’ by A Winged Victory For The Sullen Chamber Orchestra. The Michael Nyman piece (originally taken from his recordings with The Balanescu Quartet) is wonderfully interpreted here as a gorgeous haven of windswept strings float to the surface. This performance was taken from the band’s concert in Brussels’ Ancienne Belgique as part of the label’s anniversary tour. Certainly, a piece of music as moving as this is a joyous celebration of the Erased Tapes journey so far. A Winged Victory For The Sullen is the stunning collaborative project between Stars Of The Lid founder Adam Wiltzie and L.A. composer Dustin O’Halloran. The band’s current self-titled album is one of the label’s crowning jewels and later this year will see the long-awaited follow-up.

The closing note on the inner sleeve of the ‘Erased Tapes V Collection’ reads: “At the end of all music happiness will be erased.” Over these past five years, the listener and early Erased Tapes music explorer alike, are blessed to have come across such a gifted family of music-makers that have served a trusted companion to each of our endless numbered days.

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The limited edition box-set ‘Erased Tapes V Collection’ is available now on Erased Tapes.

http://www.erasedtapes.com

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Quotations.

“I can still remember the first song I ever wrote. My fingers were so small I could only do one chord on the guitar and I had to lay it on the floor to be able to play it because I couldn’t reach around it. I made a song out of that one chord and played it for hours on end, driving my whole family crazy. I guess from that point on I just kept exploring.”

—Ólafur Arnalds (taken from our interview in April 2013)

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“In Continuous Music, the piano is your lover, the piano is your slave, the piano is your glorious friend, it is your angelic friend. The piano is sort of like your breathing and it is a beautiful thing. I want every pianist to know that every piano on the face of this earth is their friend, so they do not fear the piano, but come to it with joy and say: “My dear friend, let’s make this music.”

—Lubomyr Melnyk (taken from our interview in March 2013)

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“That’s all I want to do, it’s not really about the musical concept but what it does to the listener. So throughout the album, it’s mostly about that, it’s a little bit like translating music into psychology and the other way around and to see how to structure that where people feel they can’t escape the experience, they want to be part of it and really want to know what’s coming next. They feel like anything’s possible. I’m working on that basically.”

—Nils Frahm (taken from our interview in January 2014)

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“When me and Nils play music together something magical happens. There is this energy in the air … a kind of energy that makes you think that anything is possible.”

—Peter Broderick (taken from our interview in October 2012)

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Five Questions with Ólafur Arnalds.

(i) Favourite moment from the last 5 years?
OA: It’s hard to pick one. But I think premiering ‘For Now I am Winter’ for a sold out Barbican Hall earlier this year was pretty close to the top! Not just because how great the show was for me but also because my family traveled to London for the show and it was an emotional moment for us.

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(ii) Most proud work to date?
OA: Must not one always be proudest of his latest work? I am pretty proud of the new album anyway!

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(iii) A dream collaboration for you?
OA: Jon Hopkins, Imogen Heap.

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(iv) An ambition for next 5 years?
OA: Balance life and music. Or combine the two better in a way that can provide for a healthy lifestyle. And of course to make like 7 more albums and 10 more soundtracks!

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(v) Five words to describe Erased Tapes?
OA: Love, compassion, ambition, selection and friends!

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Five Questions with Peter Broderick.

(i) Favourite moment from the last 5 years?
PB: There are too many to pick one! My tour in europe with Nils Frahm in 2009 was a special one …

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(ii) Most proud work to date?
PB: An unreleased collection of songs based on some very vivid dreams I had in 2009-2010.

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(iii) A dream collaboration for you?
PB: Scoring Miranda July’s next film.

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(iv) An ambition for next 5 years?
PB: Spreading the love through music! Practicing my instruments, working hard to become a better musician and person.

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(v) Five words to describe Erased Tapes?
PB: dedicated, organized, visionary, passionate, loving.

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Five Questions with Nils Frahm.

(i) Favourite moment from the last 5 years?
NF: My first big tour with Peter Broderick in 2009.

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(ii) Most proud work to date?
NF: It is always an artists recent work, so: ‘Spaces’.

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(iii) A dream collaboration for you?
NF: Put me in a room with these ladies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZ4LCejQg8o

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(iv) An ambition for next 5 years?
NF: I will work hard on keep surprising myself.

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(v) Five words to describe Erased Tapes?
NF: All tapes will be erased.

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The limited edition box-set ‘Erased Tapes V Collection’ is available now on Erased Tapes.

http://www.erasedtapes.com

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Chosen One: Nils Frahm

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Interview with Nils Frahm.

“And what is the purpose of writing music? One is, of course, not dealing with purposes but dealing with sounds. Or the answer must take the form of a paradox: a purposeful purposeless or a purposeless play. This play, however, is an affirmation of life—not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we’re living, which is so excellent once one gets one’s desires out of its way and lets it act of its own accord.”

—John Cage (Taken from ‘Silence: Lectures and Writings’, 1968)

Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry

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Having had the good fortune of speaking to Ukrainian pianist Lubomyr Melnyk last Spring, much of the inspiring topics (Continuous Music, Eastern philosophy, the piano and sources of inspiration) he spoke of resonates powerfully for the latest Erased Tapes release by label-mate, Nils Frahm. ‘Spaces’ is a special document of the Berlin-based composer’s other-worldly live performance that feels closer to a vast treasure of field recordings than the typical live concert album. Frahm’s singular vision and immaculate craftsmanship is etched across the sonic canvas of these stunningly beautiful twelve live recordings – culled from over thirty concerts over the last two years – creating yet another work of indispensable art.

I recall Melnyk describing the art of his unique blend of ambient sound as he explained: “the space that as a musician, we go into a certain space where this music happens.” This becomes the essence of what ‘Spaces’ means for me, where Frahm’s piano and synthesizer-based compositions takes the listener on a wholly life-affirming voyage. With each delicate note of piano or ripple of synthesizer, time stands still as one feels beautifully lost in the sacred music. A moment in time is captured within the recordings of ‘Spaces’ that beautifully captures the energy and raw emotion of Frahm’s concerts. For those who have witnessed any of these remarkable shows, it is a universal fact that needs not be explained, for it is this unspoken connection between the performer and audience that permeates throughout the narrative of ‘Spaces’. Indeed, isn’t a concert a shared experience between the performer and his/her audience? As the ambient flourishes of the tour de force ‘Says’ and the utterly timeless and hypnotic ‘Said And Done’ effortlessly flow in and out of focus, the impossible becomes attainable that sees Frahm’s sonic creations effectively translated into the human space. The audience and performer become one.

A central question was posed from the outset: “Is it possible or not to isolate sound recording from live concerts, put it out of context, where it has happened, and then put it in a medium where people can listen to it.” Undeniably, ‘Spaces’ conveys Frahm’s fascination with sound and love for experimentation that truly reflects what audiences have witnessed during his resolutely unique concerts. Similar to his previous solo piano works from 2009’s ‘Wintermusik’ and ‘The Bells’ to 2011’s critically-acclaimed ‘Felt’ and last year’s opus ‘Screws’ – the aesthetics of ‘Spaces’ forms the expansive sonic terrain from which the layers of tracks are built from. The dynamic range of these live recordings is something to behold, as the short interlude of dub-based odyssey ‘An Aborted Beginning’ and pulsating ‘Hammers’ are interwoven with reflective pieces such as the fragile lament ‘Went Missing’ and the windswept beauty of ‘Over There, It’s Raining’.

The crowning jewel of ‘Spaces’ for me is ‘For Peter-Toilet Brushes-More’ – a gorgeous fusion of three of Frahm’s works – that are inspired by songs from ‘Juno’ and ‘Felt’. The opening section comprises a rich ebb and flow of brooding synthesizers, conjuring up the lost sounds of Laurie Spiegel, Mountains and Stars Of The Lid. The whole sense of the ambient flow of sound is distilled into the sixteen minutes of enchanting sounds. Seven minutes in, as the synths slowly drift away, the piano is utilized as a percussion instrument. African rhythms and an infectious groove is created (I fondly remember Nils opening one of his shows with this precise piece – immediately casting a spell upon his transfixed audience) forming the ideal backdrop for Frahm’s piano. The soft notes ascends into the atmosphere, building upon layers of breathtaking sounds where a beguiling tapestry is gradually constructed before your very eyes and ears. Thirteen minutes in, a crescendo is reached as the momentum of swirling piano notes reaches new summits, as something powerful and deeply profound is unleashed into the surrounding space.

Different recording mediums were employed by Frahm to capture his many live performances; old portable reel-to-reel recorders, some recorded on simple cassette tape decks, others roughy recorded on the house engineer’s mixing desks, and others with more advanced multi-tracking recordings. As the needle is spun and ‘Spaces’ is played, the listener is left to truly appreciate Frahm’s unconventional approach to an age-old instrument, as the liner notes of Frahm reads: “imagining you were in one room with me, where I play for you.”

In addition to extensive touring and the release of ‘Spaces’ – representing the latest chapter in Frahm’s treasured songbook – 2013 also saw the release of several records in which the German composer was responsible for producing in his trusted Durton home studio in Berlin. The first of these was Montreal-based composer and violinist Sarah Neufeld’s sprawling debut album, ‘Hero Brother’ released on Constellation Records. Next came the Dutch-born singer-songwriter Chantal Acda’s latest set of intimate torch-lit songs ‘Let Your Hands Be My Guide’ (Gizeh Records) and last but not least, the Bella Union release of Sumie’s self-titled debut album of (primarily) voice and acoustic guitar (to be released in January 2014). With all these records, a sacred dimension is tapped into, which could only be forged by Frahm’s deft touch of hand.

As ‘Says’ – the second track on ‘Spaces’ – culminates in a haven of sounds where piano, synths and electronics effortlessly coalesce together, I am reminded of of the album artwork of a certain pioneering composer, Laurie Spiegel. The album in question is her 1980 debut ‘The Expanding Universe’ (a title that perfectly embodies the interstellar journey of Frahm’s ‘Spaces’). On the front and back cover, an interview with Spiegel is printed where she discusses music. The following quote I feel mirrors perfectly the twelve sublime creations contained on ‘Spaces’:

“Every piece is different, and I suspect that every good piece has all the aspects of being human in it which are integrated into its creator, probably in the same balance.”

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‘Spaces’ is available now on Erased Tapes.

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Interview with Nils Frahm.

Welcome back home from your tour.

Thanks.

How was Japan? You were there recently.

Yeah, first New York and then Japan. And now we’re on our way to Copenhagen.

Congratulations on ‘Spaces’, it’s an amazing album. It’s a really special document of your concerts.

Thanks a lot. We were really happy with it.

The one thing that stands out first is how the original versions, how the songs live evolve and change from the actual versions on the albums itself. It’s lovely to hear how they must be changing over time.

Yeah, I think that’s the really, really interesting part to it actually.

Is there a particular song you included on the album that is the one you’re most proud of?

Well, I think we’re all really happy with how the second track turned out, ‘Says’. That’s a good take I think.

Yeah, it’s amazing. And I love how all the instruments that you have at your disposal – the syntheziser, the piano – it blends together so amazingly too. It develops so well.

Yeah, I think it’s a nice way to include some more electronics to the music and people really respond well to that.

You know the synthesizer itself, Nils, is that an instrument you got into after the piano?

I have that particular synthesizer since I was 14 years old so it’s always been in my collection. I made a lot of electronic music before I started working on the piano. I think I’ve been touring with the synth for 2 years now. Maybe sometimes when I was playing Ireland, I didn’t bring it because it was always too heavy but now I found a way how to bring that stuff on the plane so it became a part of the show.

My favourite at the moment is the eighth song, ‘For Peter-Toilet Brushes-More’. I suppose it’s a fusion of the three tracks and I love how it’s contained in the one flow of music. It works really amazingly.

Yeah, that’s an epic song for sure. That’s usually the song I’m closing the set with. Yeah, it’s kind of developed over time.

You know ‘Ross’s Harmonium’ as well, I love the liner notes with your essay on the sleeve of ‘Spaces’, where you outline all the variables – depending on the space, the environment you find yourself in on that day. For example, ‘Ross’s Harmonium’, I love how you mention it’s an artist who welcomed you to play on his harmonium. So I guess that was an improvisation?

Yeah, exactly. I try to include as many happy accidents as possible and record it on tape. That was my little piece, I thought it would be nice to add a bit of colour to the album.

And I love the dub song, the opener to the album.

That was more like a happy accident.

Is that something you might do more of?

I don’t know. It’s just a way to start the album, to confuse everyone a little bit. Also to make sure people set their volume right for the record because the second song starts at low volume because people would have to turn up their stereo too much. So I needed a very loud short bit to open the record with so people would have the record on with nice volume and that was the purpose of that song.

It was really interesting to read how there were different recording mediums you were using to capture all your concerts. The variation from the more professional set-up to a simple cassette deck. That must have been a nice process. I mean you had 30 or so shows, so it must have been quite a process to pick out the right ones from these sources?

Yeah, sometimes I recorded the shows with different recorders simultaneously and I choose the right tone or the right sound or the right medium for the take and it was hard to make a running order out of all the different media because sometimes when you have a tape recorder there is a lot of hiss without people noticing it cut, so the transition is something I had to work on a lot. It was a nice puzzle, for sure.

For any fan that has seen you live and for the people who have not had the fortune to see you in concert yet, it’s a lovely way to bring you back to one of your shows. You really feel that energy as you listen to the record itself.

Yeah, that was one of the hardest parts to translate the energy from a room where all the people are in the room – to record and capture something little more than just music where you feel you’re part of something. And yeah, it worked out, I’m happy. That’s good to hear.

Again, on your liner notes, it was cool to read how you see it more like a field recording. It’s obvious it’s not a typical live record, for example you know where 80% of the record is the new album. For this, it’s more an experiment than anything.

It was, definitely. I had the feeling I wanted to try to make something special out of this live set and then to not only record one show and go with that because I feel like if I had done it more like putting it online for free, you know like film one concert and label it as a feature or gimmick. In order to make it like a real album and to give it a feel of an album rather than just to record a concert. Because one recorded concert feels like we’re selling out already, like there is no more albums to come so put out the live record or something like that. The world’s not crazy about that but more about recording all these pieces live which I love to have part of the album. The concert is an ideal situation to record them, to include the audience energy you were talking about into the recording, something you can’t really create in a studio.

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It’s interesting too, Nils, I had the pleasure to interview Lubomyr Melnyk earlier in the year and obviously you collaborated closely with him on his latest record. But you know, from what he was saying about the continuous music and I remember he was talking about music as much as Zen and philosophy in the sense of you know, being in that right moment. It’s obvious listening to your music, it must be the same situation?

Some people say it’s a little like taking drugs. Maybe they mean there’s a certain almost…maybe some people call it like a spiritual element to the music where people kind of get lost in it and think it’s something and they go on a journey while listening to it. And that’s why some of the pieces are sometimes really long, you have time to get into that certain state of mind where you can listen distantly you know, come from a different perspective.

I was reading recently a book you’re probably already familiar with, by John Cage. It’s a book on lectures and essays called ‘Silence’. He talks about music but also philosophy and the mental aspect of music and performance. But you know, after seeing you live it’s fascinating when I see how many dates – you’re playing so many concerts – the energy, both physical and mental – it must take a lot out of you.

Yeah, it’s a little bit like that but it also gives the energy in the same way, as much as it is exhausting, it is also something which you gain in the same time.

Another thing that’s fascinating is that for the performance itself, you use what you have at your disposal and it’s all in real time. It’s beautiful, you know like what you said that accidents can happen during the show itself as well. Can you recall a moment where you have created something new or an older song where you realize now it’s going in a new direction or following a new path?

Yeah, I mean I feel like there are so many different ideas. Some songs are connected – for example, the solo piano song – they follow a certain ideal and there are other songs, for example, the more synthesizer driven ones which go in a total different direction but I feel like they are still connected because they appear different when they, for example the piano songs are in contrast to the more loud songs of synthesizer. The contrast helps both to stand out more. The solo piano songs feel even quieter and the loud songs feel even louder or more powerful. I contrast them like that so it’s about pretty much creating a certain dynamic in my live set and it always maintains a certain energy where people feel they’re totally sucked into something and they can’t escape it. When there’s like ten minutes of really, really quietness, it’s good to play something really loud to refreshen your ears and brain. I mean I feel it even when I play certain times with a long beginning with one note repeating, it usually is a good way to make everyone really curious, like what the hell is going on – people who have heard the song don’t know what I’m doing there – and they get so maybe upset, annoyed or at least they wonder, you know. That’s all I want to do, it’s not really about the musical concept but what it does to the listener. So throughout the album, it’s mostly about that, it’s a little bit like translating music into psychology and the other way around and to see how to structure that where people feel they can’t escape the experience, they want to be part of it and really want to know what’s coming next. They feel like anything’s possible. I’m working on that basically.

That’s exactly how I’d describe it if I could. You do definitely get lost in the music like it’s very much a journey.

Yeah, that’s exactly what I want.

One other thing Nils that you were touching on earlier, the whole thing of releases. For yourself and any important artists, you know each release is a very special document as well. For example, to have it on vinyl and you know it’s going to be there for years to come, you know it’s not something you just throw out haphazardly. Even, you know having your essay inside and the artwork and photography, you know it’s very special, like a new chapter. I’m sure this aspect and seeing your music now – there’s a few great albums under your belt – it must be nice to think that you have a series of special records to your name.

I think that each record tells a little story beside the concert, they all document, they all have a narrative element to them. ‘Screws’ tells the story about an injury, ‘Felt’ tells the story about the recording process and chance, and my neighbours basically, ‘The Bells’ was a recording about two friends improvising two nights in a church, and ‘Wintermusik’ was a gift for my family.

I wonder Nils do you have any ideas or thoughts on the next chapters in terms of the narrative?

I’m working on all kinds of different ideas right now. I’m still recording solo piano material but I’m also working more with synthesizer and I’m also interested in doing something with a conductor named Andre De Ridder, that’s something I’m doing some sketches for now. Ideally, I work on three different albums at the same time and which one feels the strongest and which one is the most exciting. There are a lot of recordings in my hard drive which aren’t released and usually I feel they don’t really have strong enough of a story to it, you know the music is interesting. But usually when I’m working on a record there is a point where I feel like this is something I want to do now and until that point, I’m just working, working on the music, recording, recording more until I can see the bigger picture.

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Even as you say, Nils, outside of your own releases this year alone, I love the albums that you were involved on the production. For example the Chantal Acda album ‘Let Your Hands Be My Guide’ was amazing.

Oh thank you, yeah that’s a great album.

I wonder is this in your Durton studio when you’re producing this music?

That was Durton studio, yeah. That was my place.

I love how this album and Sarah Neufeld and also the Sumie record, I love how it’s obviously their own sound but at the same time, there is a lovely kind of hidden dimension in all of them, there’s a similar ambience and intimacy, it’s really quite something.

Yeah, I think that’s my handwriting probably. It’s not to over do it because originality of the artist I’m working with should be in the focus but it’s just the way the sound turns out when I work on it.

Do you have any techniques you would use almost religiously, like that you would have some rules nearly that would guide you or does it not really work like that?

Well, usually I want to work in a certain tempo. The recordings you mentioned were done in not more than seven days. But I think a good album needs to be done rather fast. It needs to be prepared well. You shouldn’t be tired of the songs by the point when you’re finishing them. And I worked on other albums that took many more days to make them and then something gets lost – the exhausting process of fiddling too much – so I’d like to kind of work fast.

As you say, you always have multiple things going on at the same time, even as I read the track list to ‘Spaces’ it’s lovely to see how all the different projects feed into one other. It must be healthy to have all these projects on the go at the same time.

I mean at the end it’s all one. For me it’s quite connected but there could also be different elements joining in the future. For example, like I said that I want to work with other players to go away from just solo playing and share a stage and studio with other musicians and that could be a whole different chapter again. Now, there’s so many solo albums of mine and I would like to see what would happen if I played with other musicians, for example. That could be something.

That sounds amazing. Would you have people in mind?

I mean it’s weird if they read about it before I talk to them but I have a long list of musicians I’m listening to at the moment who I think could be interesting. But it could also more be people from the classical music world. Right now I’m really interested more in choir music and vocal music. So maybe I will work on something like that. But it’s too early to really say this is a plan, it’s just ideas floating around.

I loved your release a few years ago with Anne Müller.

Oh yeah, we’re working on a second album right now.

Oh wow, is that cello and piano being the main focus?

The main focus and added there is also some singing and more electronic elements to it. It’s really promising material. So I hope I can finish it in the next year sometime.

I remember you were telling me before about the new piano you got at the time, you were saying how you never came across one before like it.

Yeah, it’s fantastic, really fantastic. I just hadn’t much time to record on it but I’ve got a couple of pieces recorded on this which is beautiful, it’s more like sophisticated felt sound. It goes in a similar direction but it sounds almost more polished in a more interesting way. It sounds like a cross between a harp and a piano and the guitar sometimes. Yeah, it’s a fantastic instrument.

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Well thanks so much for talking to me. Well done again on ‘Spaces’, it’s amazing to hear all your related releases from this year.

Oh thanks so much, it’s good to hear. That means a lot.

I hope to see you on tour next year.

Yeah, we definitely need to come to Ireland again.

It’s funny, I remember the Unitarian Church and being in the background for your soundcheck, it was really quite something.

We need to make a proper show because I haven’t really played a full set in Ireland yet and we’re definitely coming back with a full set-up.

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‘Spaces’ is available now on Erased Tapes.

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

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Written by admin

January 2, 2014 at 11:44 am

Chosen One: Lubomyr Melnyk

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Interview with Lubomyr Melnyk.

“In Continuous Music, the piano is your lover, the piano is your slave, the piano is your glorious friend, it is your angelic friend. The piano is sort of like your breathing and it is a beautiful thing. I want every pianist to know that every piano on the face of this earth is their friend, so they do not fear the piano, but come to it with joy and say “My dear friend, let’s make this music.

—Lubomyr Melnyk

Words: Mark Carry (with foreword by Peter Broderick), Illustration: Craig Carry

lubomyrmelnyk_craigcarry

“just a quick note on this song . . . this was the very first thing we ever played together . . . Lubomyr was tuning up my piano, making a ruckus, boing, boing! and i was setting up my violin with some pedals and effects, and at one point i asked him if he would mind if i sang over his piano playing . . . and he said sure! so i sat there with a pen and paper and slowly wrote out these lines as he fiddled around with the piano until satisfied. i showed him the words and said, how about if i sing these words? and he took a minute to read them and then looked at me and said, those are really good peter! so then we started recording, and on the album you can hear me say, let’s just see what happens… and then we played that music . . . it was a magical moment, and very encouraging for the days to come with all of our plans at various recording studios.”

—Peter Broderick, describing the recording session for ‘Pockets of Light’, the opener to ‘Corollaries’.

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between two floors
my dreams and yours
 
following a friend
foregoing the end
 

‘Corollaries’ occurred in a sense, by accident. Ukrainian pianist and composer, Lubomyr Melnyk met Peter Broderick and Nils Frahm last year in Cologne, Germany at an ambient music festival. It was destiny that these special souls would cross paths and soon, light was shone on a dream collaboration. This project was given a name – ‘Corollaries’ – and represents a truly beautiful moment in contemporary music. As ever, the Erased Tapes label is responsible for a truly innovative and imaginative work of art. The five pieces of music contained in ‘Corollaries’ is steeped in unerring beauty and human emotion. ‘Corollaries’ is one organic whole-piano music so pure and divine. My heart was immediately taken by Melnyk’s piano compositions, as you become immersed in a sacred dimension, where space and time stands still. This album becomes the very air you breathe; each and every piano note becomes the first and last drop of water on this earth.

In the words of Melnyk: “Nils and Peter really have a beautiful sense of the music. They have an inner vision of things, that suits the music beautifully.” These gifted composers and musicians share a common vision and effortlessly tap into the ambient flow of the sound and space. ‘Corollaries’ was recorded and produced by Peter Broderick with the additional help of Nils Frahm and Martyn Heyne. Each musician adds a new dimension to the sound. A deep connection is formed that resonates beautifully throughout the compelling pieces of music. A musical telepathy exists between Melnyk and Broderick-two gifted composers from different generations, who become one. This is a collaboration in the truest sense. The supreme divinity of Melnyk’s Continuous Music, which he has developed over thirty years, has evolved yet again, exploring new directions and sonic terrain. Melnyk’s sheer joy and unwavering devotion to the piano instrument breathes endless inspiration. As I listen to ‘Corollaries’ I feel the composer’s sacred devotion, and with the touch of his hand on each key of the piano-I have fallen for each and every note.

from the hammers to the ears
we invite our fears

to sing outside
little spaces turn wide

Lubomyr Melnyk is a true innovator. The Ukrainian pianist and composer is the pioneer of Continuous Piano Music, which he has developed and mastered over the past thirty years. In essence, Melnyk has developed a new language for the piano, named after the principle of maintaining a continuous unbroken stream of sound. The Continuous Music is a miracle and is an eternal gift to all who witnesses this remarkable world of sound. He says: “It’s in a sense a tiny little miracle, this seed of a concept of music that actually grew and became what it was.” An array of different elements have led to the development of Melnyk’s Continuous Music. Composers such as Steve Reich and Terry Riley provided huge inspiration that opened up a whole new language in music for the young composer in the late 60′s/early 70′s. As well, being part of the hippie movement in the 70′s, the music of John Maclaughlin, witnessing Jimi Hendrix and realizing this is what a pianist should be able to do. Spiritual techniques, and the martial arts, the Zen and eastern philosophy – these are all just some of the multi-faceted elements that form the foundations to the workings of Melnyk’s Continuous Music technique.

Describing Continuous Music, Melnyk explains: “In continuous music, the music is the slave of the pianist; the pianist reigns supreme”. On ‘Corollaries’, this lies at the heart of the music. A love supreme. The opening ‘Pockets Of Light’ is the distillation of all light’s colours and its beautiful shades and textures. The piano swirls magnificently amidst a gorgeous violin accompaniment. The piano rises and falls, flowing endlessly into your heart’s chamber. The music is so natural. It becomes a part of you. Each movement is a new corner of the world. I think it’s the touch of the pianist that seeps into your consciousness. Melnyk is in fact, the Zen master. As his hand touches the piano he is walking above the ground; standing still in the hurricane. This is a truly magical piece of music that forms a tower of song. Several minutes in, Peter Broderick’s heartfelt vocals melt into the mix of Melnyk’s drifting piano. The ambient flow is so clearly evident. This piece of music amazes me. The lyrics are sheer poetry.


from the hammers to the ears
we invite our fears

to sing outside
little spaces turn wide

The closing section to ‘Pockets Of Light’ contains some gorgeous violin and piano duo work. A fitting close. ‘The Six Day Moment’ is next, which widens the dynamic range. A new world is calling you upon listening to the interwoven piano melodies that ascend into the atmosphere. I feel the composer’s beating heart in every bar of this stunningly beautiful piece of piano music. The piano instrument and Melnyk are one. Let the grace of each note soothe your every aching pore. ‘A Warmer Place’ is a cinematic delight. Soft piano notes are sustained that remain hanging majestically in the air. I am reminded of Peter Broderick’s ‘Float’ album upon this piece’s heart wrenching violin and meandering piano. Film score music, music for the soundtrack to your life. The emotional depth and spiritual realm therein is quite staggering. The piece slowly builds into an outpour of emotion. I feel a sadness, tenderness, and beauty radiating across the strings and piano. A vast ocean of hope breathes beneath the soaring strings, as the piano notes come in slow and soft.

‘Nightrail From The Sun’ is a gorgeous Reich-esque piece, with pulses of urgent piano and found sounds seeping into the slipstream. This music belongs to a new dawn. The instrumentation here is utterly innovative and compelling. Timeless music. Album closer ‘Le Miroir D’Amour’ is achingly beautiful. The dynamic has changed dramatically and a touching lament is beautifully upon us. The piano and violin duet forms one life-affirming whole. The ground upon my feet moves upon listening to the heart wrenching strings and endearing piano. Does music get more powerful than this? A crescendo of swirling piano notes is the sound of the hurricane happening all around you, yet you, the listener remain still and overcome by the beauty. Infinite and divine.

and on the first try
when the keys don’t cry

we find a place
time’s only race

with pockets of light
chasing the night


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(all lyrical excerpts are taken from ‘Pockets of Light’, opener to ‘Corollaries’, lyrics by Peter Broderick)

I wrote to Peter asking if he could send me the lyrics he wrote for the opening song ‘Pockets Of Light’. In addition to the lyrics (which are dispersed throughout this article), Peter kindly wrote a note on this song. That “quick note” is presented here in the ‘Foreword’.

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‘Corollaries’ by Lubomyr Melnyk will be released by Erased Tapes on April 15, 2013.

lubomyr_2_craigcarry

Lubomyr Melnyk Interview. 

Thank you very much for the interview. It’s an honour to talk to you.

Thanks for thinking about me and my music.

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I’d love for you to talk about your new album ‘Corollaries’ ; what you set out in the first place, and the theme to the album itself?

Well, ‘Corollaries’ occurred in a sense, accidently; it wasn’t sort of planned, directly not by me anyway. I met Peter Broderick and Nils Frahm back in Cologne, Germany more than a year ago at this ambient music festival; this glorious festival of ambient music. That was the first time we met personally, and then Peter wrote to me and suggested that I come and we do some collaboration. So, I went to Berlin and we recorded a whole bunch of rather short pieces-that I would call short anyway, and that was the creation of the album. But the actual concept of the album is very different from what I have done before. Usually, well all the earlier albums were of very large pieces; often a whole album would be one piece and so this was different because it had a lot of small little pieces in it, and each one is different.

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It’s great because I love all the Erased Tapes artists, and you know, when I found out last year, when it was announced that you had a new album coming out with Peter Broderick. It really sounded really like quite something-even in writing, before ever hearing anything.

Yeah, and for me too, it was a kind of exciting event because I usually don’t play with other people. I have not played and didn’t play with other people. I would do my multi-piano pieces by multi-tracking, so I would do all the piano parts. So, this was a wonderful chance-it was great for me to be able to hear the music with other elements happening into it, and they seemed all very natural. Nils and Peter really have a beautiful sense of this music. They have an inner vision of things that suits the music beautifully, and everything worked together really nicely.

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Yes, I can imagine. It must have been very organic and natural. You probably felt like you have always known each other; just so natural.

Well, actually that’s to their credit because both of them really have a good sense of my music and the dimension of where it’s happening and that whole sense of the ambient flow of the sound and the space that as a musician, we go into a certain space where this music happens. We would immediately go there and be a part of the music. As it seems, totally effortless; it’s like they always belong to that music. For me it was wonderful to work with musicians who contribute things without destroying anything in the music; they simply add new dimensions. That’s really important because sometimes musicians can actually interfere with the music. Peter had suggested one time that there be a whole bunch of musicians coming to play, and you know I thought, I don’t know these people and what’s going to happen. I was worried, because sometimes you have a situation where musicians would interfere with the music. These two guys, and Martyn who also played on one of the tracks, they all just flowed directly in and it all becomes just one organic whole.

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I’d love for you to discuss the Continuous Music; the form you have been developing over the years? 

Well, it’s rather many-sided. Its actual growth and development has many different elements, and I think if you took any of them away then the music would not have existed. It’s in a sense a tiny little miracle, this seed of a concept of music that actually grew and became what it was. When you ask the question, I immediately think of all the elements that went into it; besides me. I’m not talking about elements of myself. I’m thinking about external things that brought something in there. It’s really important and it would not have generated this. People have asked me this and I always think after, I forgot to mention this, so now when you ask, I’m going to say something that probably was missed many times. The obvious things I have not missed: One is the continuous music wave that opened into North America and into Europe as well, during the late 60’s. Steve Reich and Terry Riley; that for me was the opening of a whole new language for music. I know that a lot of people started doing that kind of music. The thing that I think differed for me, right from the outset was that I respected musical technique and mastery as a VERY important element of music. This was evident, I think, when I experienced Philip Glass. I was at a couple of his concerts. This would have been in the early 1970’s. I did not like the level of musicianship for the musicians. It seemed far too simple. It wasn’t challenging enough. That was the reaction that happened for me. I haven’t really mentioned this much before.

It was because of being a hippie always from the very start, that made me aspire to something greater than before…I’m a classical music person; I’m not a rock ‘n’ roll artist. However, the hippies movement opened up that world to me, and that world was multi-faceted. Western musicians lack awareness of the aspect of the master musician who truly mastered their own body and the instrument he is playing, and this connected both in western music and in the east. So there were people like the guitarist, John Maclaughlin who started up the Maharishi band. I was totally, truly amazed by his incredible musicianship, which was very much based on the Indian musicians, like the raga players and things like that. All of that became a very important element in my music because for me, it was very important that I develop my fingers and my mind, and be able to do more and more complex things and go past what piano music is normally considered to be. To go beyond “the Norm” is beautiful, and so these elements were very important for me. When I was in my early 20’s this was a really important element in musicianship for me, and from there, that laid the ground for me to go and develop the Continuous Technique. Without the influence of those hippie years, and John Maclaughlin, and the Eastern raga musicians, I don’t think I would have arrived where I am, as pianist.  But there are more elements of Eastern thought that I just don’t manage to bring in here.

I guess another example of this would be Jimi Hendrix. It wasn’t Jimi Hendrix’s music that affected me but it was his unmatched mastery of the guitar…his touch to the guitar was exactly what a pianist should be able to do. With Jimi Hendrix, when he touches a guitar, it’s no longer a guitar, it’s simply a part of his body and his mind just races off with it. And that’s what I wanted the pianist to be able to do, and in a way it became a secret goal. It wasn’t a sort of flagship in front of my eyes… “Oh that’s my goal”. However I realize in looking back, that yes, that was the inspiration that said: What he can do on guitar, you should be able to do on the piano. But I didn’t think consciously how I could do that, it simply seemed to all come together. Like in our life, we seem to get little nudges, as we’re walking down the road of life, something that just gives us a little push this way and another little push that way. We end up on this road we would never of taken had it not been for all these little nudges. It’s just these little puffs of wind that blew me in the right direction.

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It was lovely to hear that; it was just this natural path that you found yourself on. Something that you said before, that I’ve always remembered, about your mindset – “standing still in the hurricane”.

That is the actual sensation of when you reach, after several years, and you reach a higher level of technique. Then you actually perceive your body being motionless. There is no movement…even though everything is happening very fast. I just want to qualify this. It’s not that every time you touch the piano, this is how it is. This is always the risk when you are describing something. You may isolate a moment and describe it to people and people think: “that’s the way it is all the time”. It’s not. So what I describe is simply things that do occur (and they do occur often) but it’s not like a permanent state. Although in a way it does become semi-permanent because when you start playing the piano; the continuous piano at high level and at high-speed, you must always achieve that state of being perfectly still in this incredible whirlwind. This hurricane is whirling around you but you are in a spot where there’s nothing moving at all. When I play, sometimes I achieve the sense that my arms and fingers are moving but I am not in that movement. My whole body is standing still in another dimension, and the sound is simply happening.

There’s a scene in a film. If people want to see what it is like to actually play in the higher levels of continuous piano. There is a film called ‘Hero’ by a Chinese director. It was made ten years ago, perhaps more. It is part of that wave of films focusing on Kung Fu and the martial arts. The film is remarkable, truly remarkable. The cinematography: it’s a masterpiece as cinema. However, philosophically it is the only film that actually presents true nature of the martial arts and what the Master is actually about. It is very connected to the Zen, eastern philosophy and everything of that nature…that what happens in the real world is happening in your mind. There is a scene there which shows the True Masters (a man and a woman), they are mythical masters but they are real. We westerners must understand that this is not fantasy. This is actually reality. What the film is showing is real. It is not like the stupid Hollywood fantasies like the X-Men etc. These masters are true and the film describes them where they climb to the roof of the temple school where they live. The temple where the students are studying is under siege by the army of the emperor, literally surrounded by thousands of soldiers and archers who start to kill every one with their arrows, infiltrating everything. These two masters go to the roof and there they start to spin, in one spot and yet through this moment they transcend time and space. They enter Hyper-Time, twirling faster than our normal time is functioning at. Also the actual space dimension is altered, they suck all the three-dimensional space into a new fourth dimensional one located where they are standing and they simply destroy the arrows coming at the temple. Arrows that are sucked into an invisible vortex!

Were I not involved with Continuous Music as a pianist I would like it as an interesting fantasy thing. But I understand that this is true because this is what actually happens when you start playing, like fourteen or fifteen notes per second in each hand, that the brain and the soul stop and starts standing still. You can control it with another dimension and it’s a glorious feeling. It’s so beautiful. If I give the world anything; that is if I can give anything (which is the question mark I admit), this is what I want to give; this joy of life, this joy of being. To be able to stand still in the middle of the hurricane, and make the hurricane happen around you, and yet you are still. But to be able to do that, there is a certain power. A physical dimension and muscular things you have to develop and grow. You can’t just think, “Oh I am going to do this”. You have to actually work, your body has to work, you have to discover things, you have to discover new dimensions inside your own physical flesh.

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I can only imagine how the martial arts and these spiritual techniques have an influence on you, on your mind when you are playing.

It’s a profound element because people who are pianists; I would say there are three levels of piano playing. The first, ground level is the rock and jazz which has its own virtuosity, you know. However there is the touch to the piano which is at one level, which is at a very basic level-kind of slam bang. The fingers just slam the keys, that’s it. Sometimes, on occasion they would slam faster and that’s it. Either a slam or just a bang. Then you go to the classical musicians who have a little bit more gradation. I guess a lot more. Then, the highest level is the Continuous Player, where there are not millions but an immeasurable variety of touches. The touch to the keys as you are playing Continuous Music is in another total, different world, another dimension. The classical musician has no idea it exists, you know. Your brain and body are united with this sound of the piano in such a way that your touch…I can’t describe it, but it’s like your body becomes the piano. It is a great joy! I wish pianists could grow into that. I think in classical music you can’t do this, just because of the nature of the pieces you are playing. I mean that is not a defect-I am not saying this as a criticism, you know classical music is supreme, it’s magnificent. I’m just saying there is an element there that it cannot perceive of in music, because, in the classical world, the pianist is the slave of the music. If you’re playing Grieg’s piano concerto or any other piano concerto, you are the slave of that piano concerto: you have to play it the way it is, because it is perfection, it’s glorious beauty. The beauty will collapse if you don’t play it the right way.

But in Continuous Music, the music is the slave of the pianist. The pianist reigns supreme; he reigns supreme over the music and over the instrument. In Continuous Music, the piano is your lover, the piano is your slave, the piano is your glorious friend, it is your angelic friend. The piano is sort of like your breathing and it is a beautiful thing. I want every pianist to know that every piano on the face of this earth is their friend, so they do not fear the piano, but come to it with joy and say “My dear friend, let’s make this music.”

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As you talk about this continuous music, I can imagine it’s a sense of oblivion.

It is. You’re talking to me now after working on this technique for over thirty years. So, it is a physical technique, like the martial arts that continues to grow the body and the mind. What you hear me doing now is not what I did, let’s say twenty-five years ago. I did not play in the same way. I did not have the palette of touches that has opened up. Or in fact, as recently as a few months ago some strange things happened in my knuckles as I was playing that seems to have opened up another dimension of the piano. The thing is that now, in the last few years, I have realized that the music is controlled more by the pianist’s mind and that my body has less and less to do, and I feel less and less of it (my body) as I play the concert. The amazing thing regarding the touch is that, for example when I play the audience will see the hand movement as I am doing this music and they will see all of this stuff happening really really fast. But for me, it is happening excruciatingly slowly, that when I touch the piano (for example to pull out a melodic note) it takes, let’s say, a fifteenth of a second to move the whole arm as I’m moving the hand about one and a half feet from the keyboard into the key, touching the melodic note and then pulling the arm away. For the audience, this goes by like a flash, like a single frame in cinema. One frame is what they see. Whereas for me it’s a whole universe. My mind actually perceives the whole path, every millimetre of the hand coming down. In the midst of all this note-activity, I am actually planning how I am going to touch the one note and this is what the mind does when doing Continuous Music.

There is everything happening all around you, it’s like you split your mind in many different dimensions and one of them is thinking, “OK this note is going to be touched that way”, the other hand is doing all this other stuff. It is a transition of space and time. It’s glorious. It’s beautiful. It’s not strange; If people see me, I’m just this normal guy walking down the street, right, (laughs). As John Cage says, the Zen master; he’s still walking, it’s just that you’re above the ground but no one can see it, and you don’t even think about it yourself, it’s just part of something you can do. It’s beautiful. I think the thing that I’m worried about is that, the more I talk about this technique and the wonderful things, the joyous things that happen as a pianist, that maybe it sounds so crazy, so far away for other people or “Oh boy, I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be able to play the piano like Lubomyr Melnyk (laughs). That’s too hard, you know!” But it’s not: It’s wonderful, it’s a joy. It’s as easy as sitting down and eating something. It’s simply natural.

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Do you have a source of inspiration above all else?

I think the musician must accept God as the supreme ruler and must accept the obvious. I think Continuous Music is inspired by the Divine, because I think it’s from a sense of the Logical and Perfection; that it’s simply the logical step by step conclusion as you perceive things around you. I realize (and perhaps in a way this is something negative) that what you ask as my main inspiration, was actually the fact that I finally became free from the tyranny of scientific thought/scientists. I hear and see programs by so-called scientists, that are so absurd; they are lying, literally lying every time they open their mouths! Everything they say today; these stupid lies that they shout in your ear and in your face that “This is what we discovered…; It’s all true and all new and I’m standing on the rooftop shouting it to you.” Five months down the line, someone will stand up and say, “Oh we have just today discovered that that guy was lying all the time”. This is happening all the time. It is constant. Everything that the scientists said for the last fifty years has been a lie and it was this freedom, of suddenly understanding that science has become a Religion of Deception, a lie and falsehood. That released me into the obvious, that, you know, God and the supreme divinity, is obvious. It’s staring you in the face, and that perhaps is part of it, because you feel it so intensely when you do art, when you reach levels beyond the day-to-day life levels. Then it becomes so obvious. In a way, that in itself is an inspiration.

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Do you plan to tour Europe, Lubomyr?

Yes, I’ll be doing a tour in May. There are still venues and dates that have to be booked and finalised. But I’ve never been to Ireland, if I could one day come…like St Patrick bring something new (laughs).

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‘Corollaries’ by Lubomyr Melnyk will be released by Erased Tapes on April 15, 2013.

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For more information on Lubomyr Melnyk, continuous piano and the other artists on Erased Tapes please visit:

http://www.erasedtapes.com

https://soundcloud.com/erasedtapes

http://www.lubomyr.com

http://www.continuouspiano.com