FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Posts Tagged ‘Martyn Heyne

Mixtape: Fractured Air – April 2018 Mix

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Our April mix contains brand new tracks from Rotterdam-based electronic artist Nadia Struiwigh (taken from her sublime Denovali full-length ‘WHRRu’; Grouper’s achingly beautiful and powerful studio album ‘Grid Of Points’; more new Kranky releases from the peerless Brussels-based ambient composer Christina Vantzou and California-based Dedekind Cut; the shape-shifting self-titled studio album from Bolivian American electronic composer Elysia Crampton; Inga Copeland’s latest musical venture under the alias of Lolina and Strut artist Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids.

Also featured is the renowned Brooklyn music institution RVNG Intl: London-based cellist and composer Oliver Coates’ brand new techno-fuelled single – and first for RVNG Intl – ‘Charlev’ with a full-length due out later this year. Another new RVNG release is renowned Colombian-born composer Lucrecia Dalt’s bewitching new record ‘Anticlines’, containing immaculate contemporary electronic compositions interwoven with cinematic spoken word passages (released this Friday, May 4th).

Irish artists include: Cork-based trio Crevice who creates hypnotic darkwave infused ambient song cycles and renowned Dublin-based composer Seán Mac Erlaine’s essential third solo full-length ‘Music for Empty Ears’ (recently released on the Ergodos label).

 

Fractured Air – April 2018 Mix

01. The Books“Group Autogenics 1” (Tomlab)
02. Japan Blues “The Sun Goddess Steps Out In Old Asasuka” (Japan Blues)
03. Nadia Struiwigh“Bldrnner” (Denovali)
04. Flame 1“Fog” (Pressure)
05. Solid Space“A Darkness In My Soul” (Dark Entries)
06. Dedekind Cut“De-Civilization” (Kranky)
07. Cindy Lee“Power And Possession” (W. 25TH)
08. Martyn Heyne“Patina” (7K!)
09. Broadcast“Come On Let’s Go” (Warp)
10. Yo La Tengo“You Are Here” (Matador)
11. The Ace Of Cups“Music” (Ace Records)
12. Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids“Tinogue” (Strut)
13. Count Ossie & The Mystic Revelation of Rastafari“Sam’s Intro” (Soul Jazz)
14. Gloria Ann Taylor“What’s Your World” (Luv N’ Haight)
15. Ms. Jade“She’s A Gangsta” (Beat Club Records)
16. Elysia Crampton“Nativity” (Break World Records)
17. Walter Verdin“A Million Miles” (Stroom)
18. Oliver Coates“Charlev” (RVNG Intl)
19. Matt Karmil“Sloshy” (Smalltown Supersound)
20. Lolina“Betrayal” (Bandcamp)
21. Christina Vantzou“Garden of Forking Paths” (Kranky)
22. Lucrecia Dalt“Tar” (RVNG Intl)
23. Harry Belafonte “Dark As A Dungeon” (RCA Victor)
24. Rauelsson & Erik K Skodvin“The Return” (Sonic Pieces)
25. Seán Mac Erlaine“The Melting Song” (Ergodos)
26. F Ingers“All Rolled Up” (Blackest Ever Black)
27. Crevice“Endless Bliss” (Fort Evil Fruit)
28. Sarah Davachi“At Hand” (Recital Program)
29. Grouper“Breathing” (Kranky)
30. Coil“Going Up” (Important Records)

 

Step Right Up: Martyn Heyne

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“…recording doesn’t capture music; recording creates a recording.”

—Martyn Heyne

Words: Mark Carry

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Transcendence fills the space of Hamburg-born Martyn Heyne’s singular guitar-based compositions. The remarkable debut solo album ‘Electric Intervals’ – and follow-up to 2016’s achingly beautiful mini-album ‘Shady & Light’ – gently unleashes a hypnotic spell with each swirling ambient pulse and divine tones of piano and guitar.

Glorious album opener – and lead single – ‘Carry’ orbits the ether of faded dreams as sublime electric guitar soundscapes reverberate the human heart. Only mere moments into the German composer’s full-length, it is as if we are plunged into an ‘in between’ state, somehow capturing the quiet bliss of this universe that surrounds us. As the title suggests, Heyne’s echo drenched guitar tones transport you to the furthest reaches of one’s inner self, feeling beautifully lost in the pools of your mind.

Dawn light gradually fades in throughout the windswept beauty of sparse piano lament ‘Luxury’. The reflective piano notes unfolds a deeply immersive experience. The striking intimacy of ‘Patina’ with its magical tapestry of electric guitar tones radiates a shimmering warmth, particularly on the piece’s heavenly rise. ‘Faro’s soft beat and drifting guitar patterns serves one of the album’s defining moments. Magical guitar lines that belong at once to age-old folk song cycles or future post- classical overtures. The lyrical quality of a guitar melody such as this illustrates just how unique the sound world captured on ‘Electric Intervals’ truly is.

A Piano Day highlight from last year, ‘2400’ is built upon joyously uplifting piano motifs that meld together effortlessly, emitting a catharsis within the ambient swells. The album’s mystical centrepiece. The dynamics change on the luminescent beats of ‘Come On’ with a seductive guitar groove that inhabits a minimal wave sphere of enchanting sounds. Heavenly sustained piano chords of ‘Wilde Wide’ navigates the human space before the epic album closer ‘Curium’ dazzles with a flurry of delay, drum machines and invigorating guitar lines. The horizon is upon us.

Electric Intervals’ is a truly remarkable debut album from a gifted composer whose musical path is only just beginning.

‘Electric Intervals’ is out now on 7K! Records.

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Interview with Martyn Heyne.

 

Congratulations on your debut solo album ‘Electric Intervals’; it’s a very special experience. I’d love for you to go back to the making of the album itself? In line with the gorgeous debut ‘Shady & Light’, some of these songs were probably in your head for a long time?

Martyn Heyne: It is true that the ‘Shady & Light’ material and this material overlap a little bit in time, like some of the pieces on this one like ‘Faro’ and ‘Afar’ I’ve been playing them in concerts for a very long time and some are totally new like ‘Carry’ and ‘Come On’. And it’s just a mix of what I’ve gotten around to producing or what I wanted to make fresh. So in a way, I always have a big bucket of stuff that’s either an idea or it’s composed or I have some recordings and when I wanted to make the record I just started producing some things and making recordings of things I had. At the end, you look at the lot and think well, I love this composition but I don’t think it came out right so I don’t use that one or other stuff where you feel like I always thought this was never going to make it but now when it’s compared to everything, it fits just right in so I’ll pick that one.

And it’s quite surprising what takes and what compositions eventually I thought fitting for the record. Like for example this piece ‘Wilde Wide’ is one where I got up one morning – like often when I have the time after I get up I just play the piano for a little bit, just to have the first thing in the day to put you on track for the day – and that’s one of those things, I never really thought anything about it because there’s barely any musical content or anything in that piece but somehow it always remained something that I can relate to and that fits the narrative of the album very well (like at a certain position where it is now). I just watch myself from the outside a little bit when I decide what goes on the album and what I sequence so there’s a mix of stuff that’s maybe eight years old compositionally and stuff that was brand new at the time (like just made for this album).

I love how the piano pieces are interspersed among the guitar instrumentals. It works very well and as you say, the placing of certain pieces really compliment each other too or the contrasts to one another too.

MH: Well thank you. I guess I don’t really make any distinction between the piano or the guitar pieces, it’s just going from vibes, like the track ‘Carry’ is very long and then it’s nice to have something short afterwards and so forth. I think it’s easy to simplify why you do things when you try to explain the length or the instrument (or whatever), I just look at it and see and try to find a narrative so that it feels nice to listen through the whole thing as an album. It’s very much sequenced just as an album rather than a collection of pieces.

With the whole production element and your home studio and being involved with so many great records, would you have certain philosophies or your approach to sound as a whole?

MH: What I thought was interesting with this album, looking back is I didn’t really set out to make an album and then thought I’m going to write some pieces for it and then I’m going to produce them in such and such a way and so forth; I didn’t really have a master plan for it from that perspective at all. But rather, like I said I looked a little bit into the bucket of music that was there and developed some things and then saw what came out of it. And surprisingly to me, a lot of these pieces that end up on the album are recorded to cassette tape – most of them – and in a pretty lo-fi sound almost which is really OK for electric guitar and drum machines because they are not particularly fussy instruments to start with (they’re not very pristine, an electric guitar is not a harp). I’m surprised when I read reviews like it’s this pristine sound and very much figured out and people have different ideas about what eventually comes out of the sound but it rather just happens. Like the second song ‘Luxury’ I just read that it has beats or something but it’s just a piano take and it’s one microphone and that’s all there is and it’s just recorded to a really lousy mono joop recorder, you know that made it sound that way and I liked it and I kept it that way. Like I said, I probably tried to re-record it in a pristine and nice way but then eventually somehow this take was the one that I liked best. And a lot of the pieces are like that.

Also, for example the last track ‘Curium’ – the very long one – is always recorded on cassette tape, all running live through a mixing desk so I had the drum machine set up and I play them next to playing the guitar (so every once in a while I would just reach over and like add a snare drum or change the beat a little or put a delay with it or something) and play the guitar next to it. And all the beats, it had six tape echoes running and amplifiers for the guitar and drum machines and just everything went to a board and the reverb’s running and the whole thing of balancing and juggling it live, it just goes into a cassette tape recorder [laughs]. And then this two-track cassette tape (that’s what I used for the whole production) so then I put that into the computer and I edited it down a little bit because it was even longer when I made it. And then I took this down edit into a church and played it back there to record more reverb and make it more pristine and I overdubbed the rhodes on it. It’s almost anti-production in a way. I certainly wasn’t looking for the pristine sound or for the best way to do it but somehow these versions are the ones that were to me the most convincing. I know for example from ‘Curium’ doing like a proper studio production where everything sounds proper and it just couldn’t beat this one somehow and that’s how it goes sometimes.

And maybe also interestingly with the first track ‘Carry’ that’s also just one electric guitar so it’s just a guitar and there’s an echo (and that’s all that’s playing). But I think I must have recorded about a hundred takes of it over a period of about half a year and I just recorded it over and over again, mostly to a quarter-inch tape machine with the reverb and everything going. At the end of that time, I just picked my favourite version so the arrangement changed and the sound changed and it was different every time. So, instead of recording it once or three times and then just working on that sound, I just recorded it over and over again – they were all different – and then I just took one at the end that I liked the best. It’s not my philosophy but that’s how this album happened.

I love how ‘Curium’ has that live performance feel where you feel like you’re in the room as you listen to it.

MH: There is just a bunch of delay pedals that run after the drum machine and this electro part in the middle is just playing with delay machines and making it crazy. And again, I think the original version must have been something like twenty-five minutes so I cut out a huge guitar solo and probably some of the delay dubbing but it’s all from that one performance (it’s not from several takes). The craziness and the distortion and the congruence of it somehow at the end won over [laughs] the technical perfections that are clearly there.

I’m always fascinated when a musician has so many takes – and as you say how each one is different – would you feel a certain fear or anxiety that you are going to pick the right one in the sense that you have so many moments to choose from?

MH: That’s an interesting point that you mention because that is actually something that is part of my recording philosophy or maybe something that I learned about recording that is always very difficult to pass onto the people who I work with especially when they are working on like their first or second album when they have little experience is that people tend to finish a record and after they are done, there’s a few aspects of it that they don’t really like or they wish that they could change. And this is inevitable in a way, this is one of the things that is inherent in recording because I think this is one of the things that many people don’t understand about recording: recording doesn’t capture music, recording creates a recording. If I had a piece of music (like a composition) and I play it for you now ; it’s sunshine and it’s the afternoon and I’ll play it in a certain way. And if I played it to you at one o’ clock in the night chances are I’ll play it in a slower tempo, maybe with a different timbre and if I played it to you at seven in the morning it would again be different. If it’s the summertime I would play it different and if it’s the wintertime I would play it different, you know what I mean. So, things make sense differently in different circumstances. If you play it in front of fifty people you’ll play it in a more intimate fashion than if you play it in front of five thousand and so forth.

Therefore, when you listen to music or when you perform music or when music is just music, this stuff always just falls into place by itself because it is part of how the performer feels and part of how the audience feels just by itself so they don’t really recognize that they are making these choices. But then in a recording these things are trapped, the microphone is the point where this stuff gets lost. So, it’s simply impossible to pick the right tempo for a recording or to pick the right mood for a recording, rather I advise people to say to find a moment in your life when you’re not too drunk or you’re not too tired and not too angry – or maybe completely tired, drunk and angry – and then you make a decision of the moment that you are convinced that it is a good decision and that is your recording, regardless of what you record later on, in a different day time, in a different mindset, you will want to change things, always forever (that’s just how it is). That doesn’t mean that in the later stage you’re smarter than before or more musical or you have a better view on it, it simply doesn’t mean that, it’s just one of the shortcomings of recording. Recording is not a recording of music; it is a recording. It’s a different animal and therefore this feeling of not having captured everything that the song means to a listener or a performer is inevitable and everybody with every production has to live with this. But this is very difficult to tell people and it’s often the reason why once a mix or a master is done people will call you up every day and want minute changes, hoping to chase this little thing that they want to get perfect, which is simply not possible. So, I love the take that is the take, I play it different now but that’s what it is.

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One of my favourite pieces is ‘Faro’ with its beautiful melody but also how the rise comes in, and the way it’s melded with a soft beat as well.

MH: Again with that one, this is a take that I recorded I think in 2013 really shortly between Efterklang tours so I was just home for a few days and I had this piece that I’ve been already performing in 2012 when I was touring with Nils Frahm I played this piece. And then for the first time in between these tour breaks I played it on electric guitar and I thought this sounds crazy, this is cool so I just quickly recorded a demo take of it to remember what it sounds like on an electric guitar so then I would remember that is an option with this piece. And then later for this record I tried to produce it and make a ton of recordings of it and none of them sounded like this one (so I kept this one). It’s the same story basically. So, this is the original demo of it.

What are your memories of music as you were growing up or even at point did you start recording like that first moment when you discovered recording sounds yourself?I presume you started playing the guitar and piano from a young age?

MH: To be honest I played for much longer than I started to record. I only started to record like for fun when I was fourteen or something (I didn’t really do that before). By that time I had already played for much much longer so that came as a second idea and maybe that’s also what shapes my views so much on it that a recording is not a recording of what happens when you play but it is the production of something else entirely. And when you start out with cassette tape – and as I did also by the way with the Atari computer – then it’s much more obvious that what you capture is something very different and you start to play with that. You see like if I put this in this is what comes out so if I change what I put in, regardless of how that sounds, what comes out? What is it that then comes out? I think I was always very aware that they are different animals.

The guitar itself and the sounds you create it has a whole world of sound that you are able to create with this instrument. I can imagine there’s been different sorts of experiments that are ongoing with you and the guitar?

MH: Absolutely, I think that the guitar is in an unusual position among instruments in that it came very late. I’m talking about electric and electric sounds now although it’s not much difficult with classical because that’s not much older and it has a similar problem (but slightly different). The electric guitar came about in the 50’s and then there’s 60’s and 70’s rock and it kind of stops. Even today, a lot of people when they play the guitar they learn that music that’s been played in that time and try to recreate that sound that’s been done in that time. And similarly on classical guitar people play Villa_Lobos or Bach and try to do it in the sound of these handful – and really a handful – of guitarists that popularised the original classical guitar sound. I don’t know, I feel like the attempt to move it away from that are not too many or not too successful in comparison to I find much broader scope of other instruments. I don’t know if that’s the reason but I could imagine the reason is that it’s simply a pretty recent, pretty young thing, you know and it just doesn’t have the same kind of history as orchestral music or keyboard-based music or vocal music. For me it’s always been a very odd aspect of composing and playing and find sounds that are really exciting and it’s great to crank up a loud amplifier and play a Led Zeppelin riff but it doesn’t provide any of the electricity to me that I get when I find a sound that I feel a personal connection with becauseit’s coming from my own world.

Your voice is heard in so many great records of so many people’s music. You have worked with many musicians on different albums, I wonder how does the collaborative process work for you?

MH: I work with many people but I wouldn’t say I collaborate. I have to say there’s barely any collaboration going on. Most of the time I work to facilitate their music. When I work in my studio with other people it’s mostly about seeing what they want to achieve and hearing what they want to achieve and seeing what they have done and helping them to move that further to a more finished place basically. In that capacity, that’s different from a collaboration where I would at some point say no but I want it like this, let’s go there and that’s sometimes not so clear for people to see maybe where the cut-off is between what I do as a studio job with my studio and my own music. For my own stuff basically so far you can only get these two albums. Of course in Efterklang I was also pretty much left to my own devices as to what I do with the music and stuff but that’s different. Studio work for me is really studio work. I am very honoured and happy that many people come to the studio because they like sounds of what they’ve heard or stuff that I have made and they say like ‘oh can you make it sound a little bit like that?’ or ‘how did you get that sound?’ or we come with such and such with certain reference. That’s the only reason why people come I guess, I only get requests based on other work that I’ve done before basically. But still I don’t  interfere with what they’re trying to do, I just try to give them some of what they’re looking for if I can. And for that reason also sometimes I get requests for studio stuff where people ask for something and I don’t think I can give them or I just have no clue what they’re on about [laughs] and I just say sorry I can’t help you there.

You have a big European tour coming up. This must be exciting to see how the songs change and mutate depending on location and time and different things like that? And also how these songs off the latest album are translated to the live setting?

MH: Absolutely, I’m curious to find out about that too. I’m very happy on this tour that Balmorhea are taking me with them and I’m opening for them every night and they are a great band, I’m sure you know that because I think that they play for an audience who could be interested in the general field of music that I’m also involved with and their last record ‘Clear Language’ is really fantastic so I’m looking very much forward to that tour. It’s four weeks of shows. Playing shows for me is one of the best things of the whole job you know. I think it’s almost a bit underrated how important concerts are for this kind of music and I’m very happy to be able to do some. I will play some from ‘Electric Intervals’ of course and also from ‘Shady & Light’ and also some new things and so I think it will be a good mix and we’ll see how some of them will change over the course of the tour.The last concert fortunately is in Berlin so at the moment that it is most mixed up it is nice to do a home show at the very end.

In contrast to playing as a duo or in groups, playing solo must be like a completely different beast?

MH: Performing solo is very different from playing with a group, it has advantages and disadvantages. The great thing is that you can change direction on the go whenever you feel like it and you can switch the set-list around, you can play songs longer and shorter, you can change the mood and the vibe and take a turn at any point. And it’s also not too complicated a set-up so that is all great. Sometimes it’s a little less fun because if you go onstage with a band you have these moments where you can just sit back and watch what people are doing; what the other people in the band are doing and the audience and you can take a little bit of a break whereas as a solo performer you are always the thing, the entire time, you have to stay on the ball much more. From that perspective it can be a lot of fun to play with a band too and you share a bit more but luckily in this case I am also touring with Balmorhea the whole time so they are six people and then we’ll have a great team for technical side of things so I think it will be much more fun altogether than if I was actually on my own (which I will be only on the stage).

Are there certain albums you’ve been listening to a lot lately?

MH: The Bill Callahan ‘Apocalypse’ record. I started listening to it when it came out maybe four years ago and it just gets better, I really like that one. And also recently I very much enjoyed listening – maybe because it’s winter – to Wagner opera overtures. I’m not so into the singing bits but the orchestral beginnings I think it’s really worthwhile to give that a spin as well.

‘Electric Intervals’ is out now on 7K! Records.

https://www.facebook.com/everynoteisapillow/

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March 20, 2018 at 3:48 pm

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S02E07 | July mix

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July saw the highly-anticipated return of world-renowned French composer Colleen (aka Cécile Schott) with her achingly beautiful new single “Separating”, taken from the forthcoming “A flame my love, a frequency” out October 20th via Thrill Jockey. On her new album, Schott’s viola da gamba – used on her last two records “Captain of None” and “The Weighing Of The Heart” – is replaced by solely electronic instrumentation: Moog pedals and Critter and Guitari synthesizers. The result is yet another otherworldly, far-reaching sonic odyssey from this visionary solo artist.

Following on from last year’s exceptional debut mini-album “Shady & Light”, Hamburg-born and Berlin-based multi-instrumentalist and producer Martyn Heyne has unveiled his stunning new single “Carry”, taken from the forthcoming solo debut album (coming out later this year on the neo-classical imprint 7K!). The divine guitar-based compositions crafted by Heyne carves out a ceaselessly rich listening experience for the here-and-now.

Elsewhere on July’s mix we have new releases from Montreal composer Kara-Lis Coverdale (Boomkat Editions), Four Tet’s new single “Two Thousand And Seventeen” (Text), Daphni’s new fabric live set, Los Angeles composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s lead single “An Intention” (taken from the forthcoming Western Vinyl release “The Kid”), Jane Weaver’s krautrock-flavoured latest opus (Fire Records), Snake Eyes (the current house band in the new Twin Peaks) and UK psychedelia courtesy of Ulrika Spacek.

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S02E07 | July mix

 

To listen on Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-x-blogothèque-s02e07-july-mix/

 

01. Gil Scott-Heron“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (BGP)
02. Shabazz Palaces“Welcome to Quazarz” (Sub Pop)
03. Danger Doom“Mad Nice” (feat. Black Thought & Vinny Price) (Lex)
04. Robert Wyatt“Shipbuilding” (Rough Trade)
05. Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland “2” (Hyperdub)
06. Patricia“I Know The Face, But Not The Name” (Spectral Sound)
07. Barbara Morgenstern + Werkstatt“Grow” (Monika Enterprise)
08. Four Tet“Two Thousand and Seventeen” (Text)
09. Daphni “Poly” (Fabric)
10. Om Alec Khaoli“Enjoy It” (Awesome Tapes From Africa)
11. Marijata – “I Walk Alone” (excerpt) (Mr Bongo)
12. Visible Cloaks“Terrazzo” (feat. Motion Graphics) (RVNG Intl)
13. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith“An Intention” (Western Vinyl)
14. Avey Tare“Season High” (Domino)
15. Deru“1979” (Friends Of Friends)
16. Brumes“Backward Hands” (Dauw)
17. Ulrika Spacek“Mimi Pretend” (Tough Love)
18. Jane Weaver“Did You See Butterflies?” (Fire)
19. Trouble“Snake Eyes” (Sacred Bones)
20. Donnie & Joe Emerson“Baby” (LateNightTales)
21. Balmorhea“Clear Language” (Western Vinyl)
22. Mary Ocher“To the Light” (Piano Version) (Klangbad)
23. Marcus Fjellström “Aunchron” (Miasmah)
24. The Durutti Column“Sketch For Dawn (I)” (Factory)
25. Martyn Heyne“Carry” (7K!)
26. Kara-Lis Coverdale“Grafts” (excerpt) (Boomkat Editions)
27. Colleen“Separating” (Thrill Jockey)

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

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

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S02E04 | April mix

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fracturedair_april17April’s mixtape opens with “I Can’t Find Water”, album opener for Hauschka’s latest full-length “What If”, yet another monumental and sprawling opus courtesy of the Dusseldorf-based artist Volker Bertelmann. Recorded mainly in Berlin with Francesco Donadello, “What If” gloriously mirrors Hauschka’s own transcendental live performances, where worlds of both analogue and digital (a mixture of various synthesisers, grand pianos, player pianos and percussive instruments) effortlessly interweave in scintillating long-form compositions. “What If” is the sound of a producer as much as a pianist, confirming Hauschka as one of brightest burning jewels in independent music today.

Berlin-based and Stockholm-born songwriter Molly Nilsson releases her much-anticipated new full-length “Imaginations” this May, the follow-up to 2015’s stunning “Zenith” LP. Night School Records have also been busy re-issuing Nilsson’s back catalogue in recent times, most recently with the re-issue of her breakthrough second LP “Follow The Light”.

One of the year’s most staggering releases comes (once again) courtesy of James Leyland Kirkby’s The Caretaker project. “Everywhere at the end of time” is the epic six-album odyssey (April saw the release of “stage two”) which will take three years to conclude. The series draws upon the conceptual framework of dementia, and how the disease impacts the mind and memory. In the words of Kirkby: “The second stage is the self realisation and awareness that something is wrong with a refusal to accept that. More effort is made to remember so memories can be more long form with a little more deterioration in quality. The overall personal mood is generally lower than the first stage and at a point before confusion starts setting in.”
April’s mixtape also features a selection of new releases from: Clark’s “Death Peak” (Warp); Forest Swords’ “Compassion” (Ninja Tune); Nan Kolè’s “Malumz” EP (Black Acre); Mary Lattimore’s “Collected Pieces” (Ghostly International); Homeboy Sandman’s “Veins” (Stones Throw) and Mount Eerie’s “A Crow Looked At Me” (P.W. Elverum & Sun).

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S02E04 | April mix

 

To listen on La Blogothèque:

http://www.blogotheque.net/2017/04/27/fractured-air-x-blogotheque-s02e04-april-mix/

 

01. Hauschka“I Can’t Find Water” (City Slang / Temporary Residence)
02. Forest Swords“Arms Out” (Ninja Tune)
03. John Hassell“Miracle Steps” (Optimo Music)
04. Clark“Catastrophe Anthem” (Warp)
05. The xx“A Violent Noise” (Four Tet Remix) (Young Turks)
06. Talaboman“Samsa” (R&S)
07. Nan Kolè“Bayefal” (Black Acre)
08. Vex Ruffin“Front” (Stones Throw)
09. Homeboy Sandman“Bamboo” (Stones Throw)
10. Chromatics“Circled Sun” (Italians Do It Better)
11. Bibio“Feeling” (Knx Remix) (Warp)
12. Dunkelziffer“Colours and Soul” (Emotional Rescue)
13. Lewis Furey“Lewis is Crazy” (Aquarius)
14. Scott Walker“Montague Terrace (In Blue)” (Philips)
15. Angelo Badalamenti“Love Theme” (Mulholland Drive OST, Milan)
16. Mount Eerie“Toothbrush / Trash” (P.W. Elverum & Sun)
17. Dinah Washington & Max Richter“This Bitter Earth / On the Nature of Daylight” (La French OST, Gaumont, Légende Films)
18. Vashti Bunyan“If I Were” (FatCat)
19. Mary Lattimore“We Just Found Out She Died” (Ghostly International)
20. Leandro Fresco and Rafael Anton Irisarri“Cuando El Misterio Es Demasiado Impresionante, Es Imposible Desobedecer” (A Strangely Isolated Place)
21. Orcas (with Martyn Heyne)“Into the Night” (Soundcloud)
22. Molly Nilsson“A Song They Won’t Be Playing On the Radio” (Dark Skies Association / Night School)
23. Helado Negro“Runaround” (Alternate Mix) (RVNG Intl)
24. Julia Holter“Lucette Stranded On the Island” (Live at RAK) (Domino)
25. The Caretaker“The way ahead feels lonely” (History Always Favours The Winners)

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

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

Chosen One: Nonkeen

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Interview with Frederic Gmeiner & Sepp Singwald (Nonkeen).

“I think these are the moments which we are searching for where you dissolve in the music with the others.”

—Frederic Gmeiner

Words: Mark Carry

nonkeen_portrait_1

In the liner notes of 2011’s ‘Felt’ full-length, Nils Frahm describes how “the music becomes a contingence, a chance, an accident within all this rustling.” It is precisely this important factor – the role of chance – that lies at the heart of the many monumental works of the Berlin-based composer, not least the latest awe-inspiring project, dubbed Nonkeen – unveiled at the beginning of 2016 – with his childhood friends, Frederic Gmeiner and Sepp Singwald.

The trio’s shared fascination with the powerful possibilities of sound would mean their childhood days were spent experimenting with tape machines, whose inception was the birth of a playground radio show in the suburbs of Hamburg. The utterly beguiling debut full length release, ‘The Gamble’ – released on the prestigious R&S label – unfolds a divine pathway to notions of space and the cosmos. The hypnotic lead single ’Chasing God Through Palmyra’’s looped electronic beat offered the first glimpses into the other-worldly sound world of Nonkeen. The dazzling cut could have been taken from Scottish duo Boards of Canada’s ‘Geogaddi’ LP such is its eternal magical bliss.

A parallel that bridges Nonkeen and the renowned electronic producers is their (shared) compulsion to “uncover the past inside the present”. An entire spectrum of sounds – jazz improvisation, pop hooks, electronic mastery, ambient flourishes and post-rock euphoria – awakens from the very compositions captured on ‘The Gamble’ and its eagerly awaited (and appropriately titled) follow-up, ‘The Oddments of the Gamble’.

The shimmering seas of summer are somehow transplanted across the sprawling canvas of ‘Diving Platform’, one of the band’s crowning jewels (taken from ‘The Oddments of the Gamble’). A gorgeous haze of reverb-soaked Rhodes and pristine electric guitar tones (supplied by special guest guitarist Martyn Heyne) dissolves into a myriad of fleeting moments as waves of transcendence washes over you. The pulsating ‘Glow’ contains a deep groove and shape-shifting rhythms that feel like remnants of a faded dream. Elsewhere on the record, trusted friends & collaborators, Andrea Belfi, Peter Broderick and Martyn Heyne each add their distinctive musical hand-print to the trio’s scintillating odysseys.

Nils Frahm’s sold-out Barbican show earlier this month – as part of the captivating ‘Possibly Colliding’ marathon weekend, curated by Frahm – felt not only like a celebration of the visionary artist’s cherished songbook (thus far) but rather a distillation of the most ground-breaking moments of today’s contemporary music scene. The angelic, hushed solo piano pieces were interwoven with the sprawling and sublime synthesizer-led pieces and many live collaborations – cellist Anne Müller, Nonkeen with the addition of gifted drummer Andrea Belfi, London-based vocal ensemble Shards, and the André de Ridder-led stargaze ensemble – rendered new versions of Frahm’s towering body of work and offered new insights into the gifted composer’s sonic sphere. Nonkeen is one vital part to this sphere wherein Frahm and his close friends continue to blur the boundaries of what is attainable. Perfecting sound forever.

 

‘The Oddments of the Gamble’ is out on 15th July 2016 via R&S Records.

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

nonkeen_portrait_2

Interview with Frederic Gmeiner & Sepp Singwald (Nonkeen).

I’d love for you to discuss the wonderful story behind Nonkeen – and how you’re all childhood friends – and your experiments with sound using tape recorders and your shared fascination with sound?

Frederic Gmeiner: From the material on ‘Oddments of the Gamble’ and ‘The Gamble’, the oldest tape is maybe eight years old that we used for the albums now. But before we were also playing together but very loose – just in the rehearsal space when we had time to play together. So in the evening somebody would call, ‘do you have time tomorrow? So let’s meet. Is the room available? Yes, it is, so let’s go there and play’. So, over the years the rehearsal spaces changed because we had to leave one in a hurry because the owner wanted to do something in the building and stuff like that. So you might call it also accidents that happens which you have to deal with but we always kept on being inspired by this band. But we didn’t even call it a band because it wasn’t such a thing; we never organized a concert for example – friends were inviting us and I don’t know how old we were, we were very young – when we were playing together from time to time and people knew you were playing in a band so they asked ‘do you want to play here and there?’ and so it happened.

I could see also how when we were younger, we were maybe not fearless but we didn’t think much about it. We were playing the stuff that we were inspired by or listening to anyhow and since it was a Fender Rhodes, 70’s amp and electric bass and 90’s drums with the 70’s sound – drum set drums [laughs] – and we were playing music that when we were listening to it, you could pretty much tell what the influence was straight away like this sounds like Soft Cell for example. We found it like crazy music and automatically we were eager trying this out and topping each other you know and trying to show off in a way. But over time by listening to the stuff that we recorded – I mean at the beginning we never recorded rehearsals we were just recording when we were playing live – and then listening back to it, it was always nice but you could always tell like “oh, this sounds like this, for example” and so over the years we got more and more defined in finding your own sound.

We were curious about these moments that we kept on tape where we were saying like “I don’t remember us playing that actually” and “I don’t know, when was it? Five years ago?What instrument is it? Who’s playing that?” And also the music and these moments, somehow I can’t get it out of my head and you’re listening to it back and back. We never took it out with us home, we always just listening all three of us together when we were meeting. I mean sometimes there might have been a month in between when we were listening to the stuff but we were then picking again these passages up when we were all saying “From the last session I remember this” and “Yes me too, and it was somehow stuck in my head” so it all came together somehow.

It’s cool how it was almost like a listening exercise where you build a library and subconsciously in a way, you’re agreeing on a certain direction or type of sound. I can imagine that was either the most difficult part of perhaps most exciting? Also, I wonder would you be adding counterpoint sections present-day to recordings that you had made previously?

FG: It is hard in a way to come to a mutual agreement, it is true but we had time and there was no target; none of us were even thinking of making an album while doing that. It was just out of curiosity so that was easy in a way. But of course if you’re going to have a record contract back then which would say ‘next year you have to do an album’ that would be problematic of course. It would be much more like ‘OK guys, I know you don’t like this but let’s go for it, you know’ but it wasn’t like that.

Sepp Singwald: We didn’t analyse it so far that we’d have to find a counterpoint to this or to that. We always played what we wanted to play and in the very, very end after eight years we combined it.

‘Chasing God Through Palmyra’ is a very special recording of yours [from ‘The Gamble’]. Deconstructing it, is that a sample that is looped continually throughout?

FG: Yes, it’s all from the rehearsal space and from the tapes. We were playing around with the material in a way that we were more sequencing stuff. There was a drum machine running in the rehearsal space, it was just there and so we were plugging it in and trying it out.

SS: So we had a Gretsch and made it loud.

FG: Then putting it on a big tape machine to basically use it as just a compressor but we pitched it down so it became this wobbling, moogy, tribal-ish, techno-ish thing which we were inspired by. But all of these things coming together was a real coincidence and we could never re-do this. That’s also why on tour it was problematic to play this. For us we were really confronted with a decision, shall we play it or not.

SS: Should we try best to be as a computer?

FG: Exactly because without the drum track – without the electronic drums – it would lose its preciseness and none of us are playing like a machine so we had to compete with a machine basically. It was very frustrating for us to put on a beat and just play synthesizers so we said ‘we’re not playing it’. But we were thinking it’s a nice track, people know it so we should somehow play it. So then we came up with the idea to put it on a record onstage so in the middle of the set in the front of the stage there was a record player and we were setting up the record and serving drinks to the audience and making maybe a few foolish jokes but then we would continue to play the songs [afterwards]. I mean it’s unconventional – you might also say why are you doing this? – but it’s exactly the reason why we did it because we wanted to play it but we didn’t want to compete with a machine onstage and lose [laughs]. And being so over-concentrated on following it and being precise because it is the preciseness that makes electronic music is just one example.

It must have been a totally new perspective for you when it came to touring and playing live shows? And also how the trio was joined by Andrea Belfi on drums, it must have added new elements and perspectives when the group were now a four-piece?

FG: I mean for the first time in playing together, we were confronted with a situation that we had to practice, that we had to prepare something for playing and not just for a single evening but for twenty evenings in a row. So we couldn’t use our method that we used before saying like OK let’s maybe define a little bit and go onstage and play together because it would be way too intense to – and way too long also – to come up every night with this uncertainty and play with it. Maybe it’s also possible, I don’t know. On the other hand, if we were to completely streamline it and plan it until the last sound and note and moment, maybe it would become boring for us and also for the audience, it’s always like that.

So we were looking at it because we knew the songs also so well after working with them for such a long time – not playing them but just listening to them, editing them and making overdubs – they were inside us already, we could just make interpretations of them. That worked very well I think and it also helped us as a band to deal with more diverse situations because every night is different, every room is different, the spirit, the mood of the audience: are they sitting or are they standing, are they more reserved, it makes something with you. Also does it feel like in a rehearsal space on a small stage or is it a huge hall where you have big reverb and you don’t hear each other very well. Things like that and all these situations helped us a lot I think. Now I am very curious to go back to the rehearsal space after that experience and that learning process.

I love also with these two albums is the wide range of sounds and influences, there’s jazz, post-rock, electronic, ambient, krautrock that all really effortlessly ebbs and flows into one another. The sequencing of the albums was also an important factor I imagine?

FG: Also what I think developed from the live set was exactly these counterpoints and to sometimes let loose and have moments where you don’t know really yourself where you are and you just have to let yourself fall down and trust that all will turn out good in the end. And there are more parts that are more defined and precisely arranged. But I think it is right – I see it as well – I think a single track doesn’t make much sense but it’s always the combination of them and how you put them together which makes it interesting.

I love how the new album represents an entirely new chapter too. It doesn’t feel like a sister album but rather it feels like a new point in time. For example, the lead track ‘Diving Platform’ with the gorgeous guitar parts, it feels more direct and immediate.

FG: It’s more easy-going I would say. We always have this vision of a perfect summer day, driving a nice car or a bicycle in the countryside and the wind is coming and you just want to dive.

SS: It was with the first bass drum you see someone jumping from a diving platform into a lake.

FG: I think most of the sessions we had because when we went into the rehearsal space we didn’t know what would happen and often I mean you have other things in life and sometimes you have a good day and sometimes there are bad days, sometimes you are more energetic and sometimes you are a bit more tired, sometimes you’re patient to listen to something, sometimes you’re not. It was like a meditation thing and often sessions were sounding more like the music I think on ‘The Gamble’ but there were some sessions that were more like on ‘Diving Platform’ for example. This is like an excerpt; we were playing it for like thirty to forty minutes and there was this thing developing. And it always starts like that; someone is playing a beat or on the Rhodes or on the synthesizer or the bass and you all just start.

SS: It came up by fooling around and just make some fun but then OK we’re really playing this kind of track so let’s go for that and I had a big moustache in my mind and we are all smiling.

Do you think it was a difficult decision to release the second album so quickly after the first one and to decide on what goes onto it?

FG: As I said, we didn’t plan to release an album for such a long time – we didn’t even have a name – and then this all happened and we were all wowed by this warm reception and the feedback and now with this live tour that we thought let’s also share this other album basically and not to wait. And of course strategically or marketing-wise, I don’t know maybe you should wait or whatever and no one told us that so it was more like it’s great, I might like it even a bit more than ‘The Gamble’ [laughs] so let’s release it and so that’s basically how it was, nothing more or less. But I think that’s also good not having something in the drawer to hold back and you’re always waiting until this gets out. You put it out and then you have no cards left, you have to make new cards that you can play.

SS: And even to wait another seventeen days feels long. Actually because it is there, it’s got a cover, I want everybody to listen to it and get the feedback.

FG: It is strange because back then we didn’t have anything on vinyl or cd or to download or to sell, if someone was interested, we would just give them some music for friends, so now there’s a release date and it’s all interesting. But this is also new for us because it makes it more a band of course, this process like doing interviews and preparing for a tour, touring and doing band photos and stuff like that and thinking about music videos. It’s all great and fun but it’s not making music [laughs], it’s something else, you know. It’s new for us in that context, I mean everyone has their other projects. Seeing it also sometimes a bit sceptically, thinking will our innocence be gone afterwards? But I think going back to the rehearsal space and taking time because that is what it is; it’s a gift for all of us, we all have other things in life where we make a living out of it but Nonkeen is not about that. Luckily we have all the time in the world, if it takes ten years now for the next album and to go on the next tour but you don’t know, chance will tell.

I love how there is that DIY ethos at the heart of Nonkeen too where there is nothing pre-conceived or anything like that. And as you said, it’s completely music you’re just making for yourself without ever considering the audience?

FG: I mean it’s really like that. When we had the tracks and we were saying: “Oh this is finished and we don’t have anything to add” but really we had no idea if other people would like it or not. It’s different to say oh it’s OK to like something, it’s really interesting. It took so long like distilling alcohol again and again just to get the essence which was for us because it was so close to our heart always, we were taking our time and working on it as long as it needs without any rush. But you don’t know how others would perceive it and for us I think the most wonderful thing was and is, what people hear in it because I would always love to listen to that music without having heard it before. For the first time if someone played this to me and said, here have you heard this, listen to it but that’s not possible because you know that stuff but that must be great somehow.

SS: It’s like standing onstage and playing, I would often like to ‘snap’ and sit in the audience and see everything and listen.

FG: It’s really, really great and we’re really happy about it that there is so many people listening to it and also come up with so many references and often also very true. And often people say Boards of Canada, it’s a huge influence on us but it’s other instruments and stuff. Of course it’s maybe inherent in the music because we are so inspired by them but if someone had asked us ‘how does your music sound’, we would never say ‘yeah like Boards of Canada’, we would never think about this association. For me of course, it is so far away somehow but it is a great honour and it is what it is, we are all inspired by things.

There’s something special about a trio. I wonder would you ever individually come up with something like a sketch or idea and then come to the rehearsal space where the three-piece would flesh it out?

FG: I think that when we go to the rehearsal space – I mean except now preparing the tour but all the years before – it’s really interesting that we never really talked about music, I mean we didn’t talk about our music. It was never like ‘hey guys, I have this song, let’s play this’ or ‘I think we should sound more like this’. It never happened because I think we would have failed [laughs]. It’s more I think of finding a style in the way of making music together that we all feel comfortable with, technically and emotionally and seeing it as a whole thing basically. I think these are the moments which we are searching for where you dissolve in the music with the others. In that moment you don’t think anymore, it’s just this and you’re completely enjoying it. And then when you listen back to it a year later, you couldn’t even remember that moment where we’re like, is it us playing this?

It’s a very intimate thing but I think these moments you can’t plan, it’s as simple as that and I think we realized that from a very early stage. For all of us it is the most important thing that we will have is continuing these moments, no matter what. No matter if we release any albums or going on tour because this is the most important thing, to play together and Nils has so many other projects and you [Sepp] also, it’s not about not being able to play. But I think what we are always curious about is finding these moments where you dissolve and where it’s not about you, it all has to work as a whole thing, it becomes its own creature somehow.

And that’s the thing too where it’s not the first album in isolation. Suddenly you have a body of work now quite quickly, there’s a narrative now flowing and where you can see down the line nearly. I loved the 12″ vinyl release too where you can pick the desired speed to play the tracks on.

FG: I mean in the end again like with that decision why would you put both tracks on a single but it’s because of that; it happened by playing around with a tape machine and by pitching it and this is something you can also do with a turntable or record player, so why not using the medium and giving it out to everyone to try it out. It is really about always deciding on what makes sense. And now with these two albums we made a trajectory that we have to follow because that is a style that everyone is expecting. I don’t know but maybe the next album will be something completely different. Let’s see.

‘The Oddments of the Gamble’ is out on 15th July 2016 via R&S Records.

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

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July 14, 2016 at 2:17 pm