FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Posts Tagged ‘Mark Renner

Mixtape: Fractured Air – July 2019

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fracturedair_july19

We’re honoured to be premiering an exclusive new piece of music from Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Thomas Bartlett. The fiddler and pianist from legendary supergroup The Gloaming, are due to release their debut album as a duo later this year via Real World Records. ‘Kestrel’ is such an incredibly beautiful sonic exploration wherein the inner dialogue between the fiddle and piano inhabits a deep and sacred space, which feels so natural and free. The duo have already announced shows in Cork and London during September 2019.

Also featured this month is the gifted Stockholm-based composer Kali Malone’s new organ recordings: ‘The Sacrificial Code’ is an exceptional new body of work from this special artist. London-based solo artist Sarathy Korwar’s forthcoming sophomore full length ‘More Arriving’ is an exceptional genre-bending and deeply affecting journey, incorporating rappers from Mumbai and New Delhi, spoken word and his own Indian classical and jazz performances. Also featuring: sublime new ambient releases courtesy of Kyle Bobby Dunn, Loscil, Christina Vantzou and Benoit Pioulard (via his Viul guise). Radiohead’s Thom Yorke’s latest studio album and UK folk singer Sophie Crawford are some more of this month’s essential music. Treasured Icelandic group Múm’s debut album gets a richly deserved 20th anniversary re-issue treatment (including reworks from Kronos Quartet and Hauschka).



 

Fractured Air – July 2019

01. Mark Renner‘The Gold and the Mud’ (Self-released)
02. Sophie Crawford ‘A Miner’s Life’ (feat. Oliver Coates) (Self-released)
03. Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh And Thomas Bartlett‘Kestrel’ (Real World Records)
04. Ordnance Survey‘Adaptation’ (Scintilla Recordings)
05. Sage Caswell – ‘Way Out West’ (2MR)
06. Viul‘Decem’ (Disques d’Honoré)
07. Loscil‘Equivalents 7’ (feat. Secret Pyramid) (Kranky)
08. Jane Weaver‘Arrows’ (Loops Variations) (Fire Records)
09. TRjj‘Phob’ (Stroom)
10. Arthur Lyman‘Return To Paradise’ (HiFi Records)
11. Greg Foat ‘Of My Hands’ (Athens Of The North)
12. Kely Et Basth‘Andosy Mora’ (Strut)
13. Dr. John‘Mama Roux’ (ATCO Records)
14. Sarathy Korwar‘Bol’ (Leaf Label)
15. Shabaka and the Ancestors‘Joyous’ (feat. Shabaka Hutchings) (Brownswood Recordings)
16. Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky – ‘Watch the Time’ (Sacred Bones)
17. Kyle Bobby Dunn‘Infinite Escalators’ (Past Inside The Present)
18. Doxa Sinistra‘The Other Stranger’ (Enfant Terrible, Trumpett)
19. The System‘Find It In Your Eyes’ (Music From Memory)
20. Yutaka Hirose‘Taiko’ (wrwtfww)
21. Múm‘Smell Memory’ (Kronos Quartet Rework) (Morr Music)
22. Minor Pieces‘Rothko’ (FatCat)
23. Christina Vantzou‘Lava’ (Ken Camden Remix) (Self-released)
24. Thom Yorke‘Runwayaway’ (XL)
25. Coil‘Fire of the Mind’ (Threshold House)
26. Kali Malone‘Sacrificial Code I’ (iDEAL Recordings)

Mixtape: Fractured Air – December 2018

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fracturedair_dec18

As the dusk light begins to fade on the year, we have a chance to both reflect on these past twelve months and look forward to what awaits us in 2019…Needless to say, music shapes pretty much everything that has taken place – and what moments are about to occur – from memorable, transcendent live shows (Low, Julia Holter and Nils Frahm’s shows will forever stay with me); making new musical discoveries (for instance, first hearing the illuminating voice of Penelope Trappes’ latest record or the myriad of timbres and textures contained on the Actress & LCO collaborative release ‘LAGEOS’); revisiting bands from previous decades (This Mortal Coil’s discography immediately comes to mind) or just simply having a cherished record (or playlist) as the soundtrack to your day (as you walk around in the pools of your mind or take in a nice scenic road-trip).

The importance of music never fades and isn’t that the most amazing thing? There is a science behind it: the reaction as your ears first hears a note and how you feel as a result. And whatever year we find ourselves in (2019, 2020 or beyond), new discoveries will always await us. As a listener, there is some comfort in this simple fact…
Lots of our favourite albums from 2018 are dotted across this December mixtape (and so many left out, as always is the way). The fresh and dynamic ambient sounds of Kranky debut signees (Less Bells and Saloli); Mary Jane Leach’s incredible flute compositions; two tracks from Julia Holter’s epic masterwork ‘Aviary’ and a recent discovery of the incredible Carola Baer (a retrospective compilation is lovingly compiled by Concentric Circles).

Also present is one of the late great composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s last recorded works: the deeply moving and transporting ‘Mandy’ score, such transformative guitar-based compositions. This year we lost a true voice in today’s music world. I can only imagine the unbearable loss it has been for all those close to this remarkable human being. I remember shaking Jóhann’s hand after a concert of his and just saying how amazing his music is. He smiled graciously and replied softly, “thank you”. Well, thank you Jóhann for the eternal gift your stunningly beautiful music forever brings.

 

Fractured Air – December 2018

01. Tom Waits“Alice” (Epitaph)
02. Actress & LCO“Voodoo Posse, Chronic Illusion” (Ninja Tune)
03. Phase II“Words From” (Definitive Jux)
04. Squarepusher“Lambic Poetry 5” (Warp)
05. Low“Fly” (Sub Pop)
06. Penelope Trappes“Connector” (Houndstooth)
07. Jóhann Jóhannsson“Mandy Love Theme” (Mandy OST, Lakeshore/Invada)
08. Tomita“Dawn Chorus” (RCA)
09. Julia Holter“Voce Simul” (Domino)
10. Alice Coltrane“Keshawa Murahara” (Luaka Bop)
11. Saloli“Anthem” (Kranky)
12. Carola Baer“Maker of Me” (Concentric Circles)
13. Mark Renner“It Might Have Been” (RVNG Intl)
14. Die Haut“Der Karbische Western” (Strut)
15. Paul de Jong“Johnny No Cash” (Temporary Residence)
16. Michele Mercure“A Little Piece” (Freedom To Spend)
17. Carla dal Forno“Blue Morning” (self-released)
18. Less Bells“Valentine” (Kranky)
19. Jessica Moss“Fractals (Truth 3)” (Constellation)
20. Villagers“A Trick of the Light” (Bibio Remix) (Domino)
21. Nils Frahm“A Place” (Erased Tapes)
22. The Gentleman Losers“Fish Roam in Winter Water” (Sound In Silence)
23. Mary Jane Leach“Downland’s Tears” (Modern Love)
24. Julia Holter“I Would Rather See” (Domino)
25. Mary Lattimore“Hello From the Edge of the Earth” (Ghostly)

Wishing our readers a very happy Christmas and best wishes for the new year.

 

 

Time Has Told Me: Mark Renner

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I think that as an overall survey, it’s always been more interesting to me to see an artist’s sketchbook than the actual finished work.”

—Mark Renner 

Words: Mark Carry

RERVNG11 - Mark Renner - Press Photo - Web - 05 - Photo Credit - Charles Freeman

Dream like ambient odysseys traverse the human space on the utterly compelling RVNG Intl compilation “Few Traces”, which effectively surveys a near decade of Maryland native Mark Renner’s solo material from 1982 to 1990. Delicate reverb, lo-fi warmth and immaculate instrumentation of synthesizer and electric guitar are beautifully captured to tape, feeling at once immediately familiar yet steeped in depths of the unknown. Several of the vocal-based recordings recall the timeless spirit of The Durutti Column, Felt and Cocteau Twins with Renner’s highly emotive vocal delivery and gorgeous haze of blissful guitar chords.

The poignant, melancholic pop gem ‘More Or Less’ begins with charged guitars and drum machine, which an array of the current Captured Tracks roster could be found floating in the song’s slipstream. “There’s too much to reveal this time” are the opening words, sung with pain and heartache; a torch-lit ballad you have known your entire life. The song’s glorious rise emits an undeniable catharsis as the seductive groove is a truly immense force.

Many guitar-based instrumentals are dotted throughout this captivating 21-track compilation. The lyrical quality of the reverb-laden guitar instrumental ‘Autumn Calls You By Name’ is a joy to behold, recalling early New Order and Felt’s pristine indie pop gems. The range of sounds is quite staggering. Album opener ‘Riverside’ is a scintillating ambient excursion with a sumptuous ebb and flow of soothing synthesizers. Glorious shades and textures are carved out on the deeply reflective ambient gem ‘Few Traces’ while the electronic wizardry of ‘The Dyer’s Hand’ orbits the sonic trajectory of Antena’s ‘Camino Del Sol’ or Carla Dal Forno’s compelling songbook.

Some of the vocal-based songs serve perhaps the record’s defining moments. The poetic expression of ‘Saints and Sages’ hits you deeply with its hypnotic undercurrent of guitar drone. ‘Half A Heart’ is a crystalline pop gem as Renner’s heartfelt lament transcends both space and time. The charged immediacy of these songs makes you fully realize the endless possibilities that the sacred art of music truly possesses.

The closing swathes of synthesizer captured on ‘Wounds’ reflects the otherworldly nature of the American musician’s solo works. The origins of these recordings may have come to the surface several decades ago but ‘Few Traces’ most certainly belongs to the here and now. Another essential document from the peerless Brooklyn-based imprint RVNG Intl.

‘Few Traces’ is out now on RVNG Intl.

https://www.markrenner.net/

https://igetrvng.com/

RERVNG11 - Mark Renner - Press Photo - Web - 07 - Photo Credit - William Flayhart

Interview with Mark Renner.

The recently released “Few Traces” compilation on RVNG was a wonderful discovery of your music for me. Can you take me back to the lovely process it must have been in going back through these recordings and deciding what tracks to compile and assembling it all together?

Mark Renner: Well, it’s been a great experience. I think that one of the things I like the best is that it’s a warts-and-all package; they didn’t just do this like a greatest hits record. They weren’t only interested in some of the newer material but some of the more skeletal structures of early songs, and one of the songs was actually done on a hand-held cassette recorder during practice in my apartment many years ago. I think that as an overall survey, it’s always been more interesting to me to see an artist’s sketchbook than the actual finished work. They were patient with me because it took a while to pull it together; it took a while to gather all these recordings from old cassette tapes and old masters and old tape reels. I’m sure you are familiar for the old tape, the reels needed to be baked before we extracted music from them. I think that it’s interesting in terms of just being a footprint from that era, and obviously there are things here that I didn’t hear for years and I hadn’t thought about for years and it’s nice having them contained in one package like that.

I love the aesthetic flow that effortlessly runs throughout ‘Few Traces’ and also the wonderful instrumental tracks that are dotted throughout.

MR: I think I may have once aspired to do film soundtracks and of course I started small but that was an aspiration that I think I may have had back then.  Some of those pieces might lend themselves to an atmospheric backing that may have been suitable for it. It was also – and probably to my advantage – an extremely impoverished situation so I don’t think I could have afforded to record a vocal song back then anyway, so a lot of the material was recorded on a home 4-track cassette player so the songs would invariably remain without words. Once I obtained a 4-track cassette player it became a musical sketchbook and some of those songs would be put together in sketch stages.  I think, by then I had a small sequencer and did the programming in step time, so I suppose there is a certain charm in the lo-fidelity quality of these recordings as well.

As a painter, you must find that painting and music almost goes hand in hand with each other because I saw your documentary and it showed a lot of your beautiful linocuts?

MR: Yes, I’ve had the chance over the years to integrate both in exhibitions and have always enjoy that opportunity. I think there are similarities to the approach to both of them. I can’t speak for others, but I sense that a lot of times approaching music in terms of sound and texture is comparable to developing a painting, where you bring out colours and shade and light and perhaps emotion  in the same way. At times it feels difficult to decide where I want to concentrate my energy, but I’m fortunate in this period of my life where I have the freedom to stop one and start on the other as I will. I have some deadlines at the moment: I’m finishing a recording that I’m hoping to have completed by April; it’s based almost entirely on vocal songs. Then early in the summer I have a visual exhibition. So I do have some time constraints, but by and large I currently have the freedom to stop one discipline and to put my energy and efforts into another.

RERVNG11 - Mark Renner - Press Photo - Web - 08 - Photo Credit - James Matis

I’d love for you to go back to when you were growing up and at what point in your life did you realize the importance of music and when you started playing music and the different bands and movements that were going on during that time (that made you want to pursue it yourself)?

MR: Well I think that the area where I was raised – in an isolated manner, although I had brothers and sisters,  I was left alone to myself and  lived many of those years from inside the imagination. I was very fortunate to have the room to roam. My father had a large farm and on the surrounding properties close to his were streams and hills and woods and hundreds and hundreds of acres to traverse and to explore and enjoy. I think that the isolation of the area contributed to, from the time I was old enough to remember, an inward desire to express myself in some manner. My mother had a guitar in the house and so I picked it up and put it down and picked it up again. I always enjoyed opportunities in Sunday school and Church where I could mess around on a piano. I did love music and I did love sounds in that sense. It’s hard to say how much of that was integral to the development of my history, but it certainly was inspirational. And I still to this day, feel that both my visual work and some of the musical work is nourished by the area where I grew up.

I’m working on a visual exhibition called ‘The Arcadians’; which is a small town in the middle of the sprawling area where my Dad’s farm remains, and the paintings have a lot to do with the characters of growing up in an arcadian world, there are the farmers and the people who I either worked for or knew as a kid. So it is a place that still affects much of what I do and I think that as far as my work and my initiation into the world of music and self-expression and imagination  that this  freedom that I enjoyed, and as I said, having the room to roam, contributed a great deal to expanding the mind and sensibilities .

And it’s this space that is in all these recordings and not just the instrumental work. I love the lyric-based songs too, I wonder for reference points or inspiration as a songwriter, do you have a certain technique when it comes to writing words and matching this to music?

MR: I think it’s always a difficult task to marry music and song: a lot of times you actually come up with an interesting tune and trying to adapt words to the meter and the rhythm of words which is challenging.  I’m in a dilemma on the album I’m working on right now in that I wrote the music first to one important piece and I’ve been trying to adapt some lyrics to it, but rhythmically, I’m almost at the point where I’m ready to abandon words and keep it as an instrumental. I’m not sure how many writers do this, I’ve often read  of those who keep notebooks, and I remember when I was younger I used to (before the proliferation of cellular phones and having it all at your fingertips)  call home and leave a melodic idea on my answering machine at home. If I was at out working and a melody came to mind or a musical or lyrical idea, the micro cassette players which were really small and portable, I used those for a while. I am a listener, I enjoy hearing bits of conversation without context and am fortunate enough to have frequent exposure to that. In the airport or in a bookstore or public places, it may just be a very simple phrase or depending on where you are, it might be the manner in which things are spoken, it might have some future relevance. I do collect a lot of phrases and more often than not I have an idea for a song and it may be useful for the one line that I need to articulate. I know there are people like Paddy McAloon  or Jimmy Webb that are essentially craftsmen with the big melody, the obscure chord structures  – I am unable to work that way. I think that the very unorthodox approach to music somehow works for some, and I sense that my current work will show growth, and I will be excited to finish the album that I’m working on. It may be the best work that I’ve done in terms of the lyrical songs on the record.

And this new album is out soon?

MR: Well, it must be completed first. I began last spring in Baltimore and then I moved on to Texas, where I’m currently living. Last summer I was recording a lot in a studio housed in a horse trailer out in a field with. And then I moved on to Glasgow in November working with Malcolm Lindsay, a film composer who has written for opera, classical, jazz and chamber works. He’s a gifted musician and I felt fortunate to have been able to work with him. I took him some material and he completely deconstructed my arrangements and put an entirely new spin on some pieces that had confounded me, truly a great experience.  He brought an orchestral approach to one of the songs that I had done and on another he played some piano and steel guitar, so it will be really exciting for others to hear this new material. I am finishing the final recording here in Texas at my home studio. I have two more pieces that I would like to include and then I’ll be finished and hopefully release it later in the year, or early 2019.

‘Few Traces’ is out now on RVNG Intl.

https://www.markrenner.net/

https://igetrvng.com/

 

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May 9, 2018 at 1:50 pm

Mixtape: Fractured Air – February 2018 Mix

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fracturedair_feb18

This month’s mix is dedicated in loving memory of Jóhann Jóhannsson. The gifted Icelandic composer was responsible for some of the most vital and captivating musical works of the 21st Century (across his rich body of solo albums and seminal scorework).

My first introduction to Jóhann Jóhannsson’s music was his sublime masterwork “IBM 1401, A User’s Manual”. An entire new world unfolded before my very ears – “I hear a new world calling me”, to coin a Joe Meek creation – as the modern classical sphere became beautifully merged with utterly compelling electronic elements. In many ways, the Icelandic composer represented the visionary luminary figures of Steve Reich, Philip Glass or Gavin Bryars (from a previous generation) but importantly, Jóhann’s music belonged to my generation. His music is an eternal gift that forever shines light upon your path.

I fondly recall witnessing the Icelandic composer’s live show circa 2012 (during the “Miners’ Hymns” tour). His gentle presence on stage right, oftentimes at the piano. The sea of raw emotion that ascended into the night’s atmosphere: the sheer force of which penetrated the pores of the human heart. How an immense beauty filled the air; magic floated throughout the venue like a kaleidoscope of beautiful butterflies. I remember how Georges Delerue’s “Camille” came on the speakers just before the show. Thinking back on it now, how fitting this choice of music was, for Jóhann’s breathtaking creations (for instance, think of the immense beauty captured in a composition like “A Song For Europe”) shared the visionary spirit of Delerue’s most celebrated works. In a word: timeless.

Indeed, the sun’s gone dim and the sky’s turned black in your departure from this world. Rest in peace.

 

Fractured Air – February 2018 Mix

01. Jóhann Jóhannsson with Hildur Guðnadóttir & Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe“End of Summer Part 2” (Sonic Pieces)
02. Björk“Unravel” (One Little Indian)
03. Greg Fox“Earth Center Possessing Stream” (RVNG Intl)
04. Nightmares On Wax“Back To Nature” (Warp)
05. Deutsche Wertarbeit “Deutscher Wald” (Soul Jazz)
06. Paper Dollhouse“4 Moons” (Moondome)
07. Silvia Kastel“Target” (Blackest Ever Black)
08. The Gentleman Losers“Swimming After Dark” (Grainy)
09. CosBV“Night Drifting” (100% Silk)
10. Mark Renner“Autumn Calls You By Name” (RVNG Intl)
11. Amen Dunes“Blue Rose” (Sacred Bones)
12. Khruangbin“Cómo Me Quieres” (Night Time Stories)
13. Moon Duo“Jukebox Babe” (Sacred Bones)
14. James Holden & The Animal Spirits“The Animal Spirits” (Border Community)
15. Nina Simone“Freedom” (excerpt) (YouTube)
16. Nils Frahm“Sunson” (Erased Tapes)
17. Dedekind Cut“Equity” (Kranky)
18. Jóhann Jóhannsson“Flight From The City” (Deutsche Gramophone)
19. June 11“Who Is Still Dreaming?” (STROOM)
20. Nick Cave & Warren Ellis“Symphony of the Dead” (Mars OST, Milan)
21. Xylouris White“In Media Res” (Bella Union)
22. Baba Zula“Cecom” (Glitterbeat)
23. Colleen“Summer night (Bat song)” (Thrill Jockey)
24. Jóhann Jóhannsson“Part 5/The Sun’s Gone Dim And The Sky’s Turned Black” (4AD)
25. Georges Delerue“Camille” (Le Mepris OST) (EmArcy)