FRACTURED AIR

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Posts Tagged ‘Nico Muhly

First Listen: ‘Cycles_1’ by James McVinnie (Bedroom Community)

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We are thrilled to premiere the new remix album ‘Cycles_1’ – a collection of remixes of London-based organist and composer James Mc Vinnie’s ‘Cycles’ opus – which comes out this Friday, 24th March 2017 via the prestigious Icelandic label Bedroom Community.

‘Cycles_1’ features Remixes by Sam Slater, Matt Huxley, Scanner, Talos, Paul Evans, Liam Byrne and Alex Groves. Taken from James McVinnie’s debut Bedroom Community album, ‘Cycles’ (music composed by Nico Muhly). 

This is the fifth release on Bedroom Community’s HVALREKI digital series.

cycles_1

 

 

 

James Mcvinnie

‘Cycles_1’  is available this Friday 24th March 2017 as part of Bedroom Community’s HVALREKI digital series. ‘Cycles_1’ can be purchased HERE.

Alex Groves:

“I wanted to take one of the shortest and most frenetic pieces on the album and flip it on it’s head, turning it into this extremely slow and very spacious piece. There are just a few tiny fragments that repeat and layer and gradually build up into this big wall of noise. It kinda feels like the original got stretched beyond recognition and all these other sounds came into view.”

Talos:

“The track itself is this beautiful, stirring set of motifs that speak to each other but never really touch. In a way I saw the remix as the aftermath of that conversation… Something ponderous and tactile.”

Scanner:

“I was looking towards expanding upon the original piece, whilst retaining its elegance and grandeur. It explores a form of cinematic expression with pulsing light and dark, with a series of repetitive motifs that gradually develop into a percussive workout that continues to envelop a skeletal adaptation of the original Prelude throughout. Most of the string and keyboard parts I added were played live with no computer trickery to improve the timing. It closes in a very intimate way with additional vocal and guitar parts. I always enjoy the flow and tension of performing live to tape.”

Sam Slater:

“My idea was to use as little as possible. I broke a plate in the kitchen, sampled it and mangled a single loop of Nadia’s breath, violin and a single organ chord from Jamie. Everything else is just processing and kick drums, all placed inside some kind of ceramic texture world. It’s meant to sound like rocks underwater, or cracking knuckles or something.”

Paul Evans:

“I have had a longstanding love for liturgical music and the interaction between sound and architecture. With this remix I wanted to explore the space between notes and to build a sonic temple to religious ecstasy.”

Matt Huxley:

“This remix was mostly made back in 2013, as a way to pass the time on the plane back from having visited Nico in New York. I wanted it to be a pure collage, so there are no extra bits added in, with everything coming from the original track. I think this was the first of all these remixes to be made, so I’m very happy to see it released.”

‘Cycles_1’  is available this Friday 24th March 2017 as part of Bedroom Community’s HVALREKI digital series. ‘Cycles_1’ can be purchased HERE.

https://jamesmcvinnie.bandcamp.com/
http://www.bedroomcommunity.net/

Written by admin

March 23, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Whatever You Love You Are: Nadia Sirota

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In celebration of the prestigious Icelandic label Bedroom Community’s tenth anniversary year, we are delighted to present the second in a series of features where the artists share their musical influences, memories and most cherished recordings. Following on from label co-founder Valgeir Sigurðsson, it’s New York’s renowned violist and composer, Nadia Sirota.

Words: Nadia Sirota

 

nadia1b-samanthawest-1-e1340049854490

Bedroom Community is an Icelandic record label/collective formed in 2006 by Valgeir Sigurðsson, with Nico Muhly and Ben Frost, later adding Sam Amidon, Daníel Bjarnason, Puzzle Muteson, Paul Corley, Nadia Sirota and James McVinnie to the intimate roster. 2015 saw two new additions to the family being: Emily Hall & Jodie Landau and wild Up.

Like-minded, yet diverse individuals from different corners of the globe all creatively orbit around an inconspicuous building and its inhabitants on the outskirts of Reykjavík Iceland – Greenhouse Studios – where the music is mostly created.

In celebration of the influential record label’s 10th Anniversary in 2016, members of the collective come together in a series of live performances known as the Whale Watching Tour. The inspirational tour is an unusual and ambitious premise. The artists, who are friends and colleagues, present what is more like a musical conversation with aspects of a show-and-tell than a formal concert.

Nadia Sirota, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Nico Muhly, Sam Amidon, Daníel Bjarnason & Jodie Landau are going for several dates on both side of the Atlantic to keep going this Whale Watching Tour 2016, celebrating the tenth anniversary of Bedroom Community. They will also deliver during Iceland Airwaves a very special performance together with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra in Harpa, Reykjavik.

The first piece of classical music you fell in love with?

When I was very little I was OBSESSED with the Overture from Bernstein’s Candide. Obsessed.

A recording whose arrangements floored you?

David Bowie ‘Blackstar’ sounds so bonkers-good.

A masterful composition which made a huge impact on you?

Olivier Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time

An unforgettable live performance you have been part of?

My very first BedCom performance at Airwaves, of KIT, in 2006. It was also the first time I’d played a long-ass viola piece for a bunch of drunk and sweaty festival-goers and and I became addicted to it.

A defining record that led you onto your own musical path?

Kim Kashkashian’s Brahms Viola Sonatas

Nadia will perform along with Nico Muhly on the album launch concert on September 27th, and during Bedroom Community’s Whale Watching Tour.

 

WHALE WATCHING TOUR

27.09.2016 New-York, Subculture**

01.10.16 Krakow, Sacrum Profanum **

03.10.16 Copenhagen, Bremen Teater *

04.10.16 Leipzig, UT Connewitz*

05.10.16 Amsterdam, Paradiso*

06.10.16 Bristol, Colston Hall*

07.10.16 London, Barbican **

03.11.16 Reykjavík, Iceland Airwaves **

Nadia Sirota*

Nico Muhly & Nadia Sirota**

Over the past decade, Sirota has been involved with unique interpretations of new scores and for commissioning and premiering works by some of the most talented composers. The New York Times has heralded Sirota as “a bold new-wave music interpreter and the violist of choice among downtown ensembles these days.” Sirota has been an integral part to luminaries of both the modern-classical scene (Stars Of The Lid, Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson) and indie giants such as Arcade Fire, The National and Grizzly Bear, to name but a few. Similar to her close friend and colleague, Nico Muhly, Sirota graduated from the Juilliard School where she created the Juilliard Plays Juilliard programme for student composers and performers. Furthermore, Sirota is also a founding member of ACME (the American Contemporary Music Ensemble).

Keep In Touch’ is the new album from Nico Muhly & Nadia Sirota and features The Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Alarm Will Sound. ‘Keep In Touch’, especially in its original version, was premised on the fear of never quite managing to make that connection. Its two soloists—violist Nadia Sirota and vocalist Anohni, of Antony and the Johnsons—were recorded separately, so that Anohni was virtually present, her part constructed from pass after pass of vocal improvisations, while Nadia’s was added later, all in one long, live take.

Every dimension of the piece accentuates what Muhly calls the “in-betweenness” of these two strange voices: Antony’s singing and the equally sweet falsetto of the viola. The solo part, with its bow-scrapes and awkward passagework, affectionately emphasises the instrument’s flaws, its unevenness’s of tone, and its idiosyncratic character as the neglected middle child of the fiddle family. (Even the percussion on the electronic track is constructed from the little noises a violist usually makes only by accident.) And Antony’s voice, so stately on his own records, is here reduced to abrupt, extemporaneous gestures” mirroring, not alleviating, the viola’s isolation.

– Program Notes, Daniel Johnson (2007)

‘Keep In Touch’ is released via Bedroom Community on 30th September.

https://bedroomcommunity.bandcamp.com/album/keep-in-touch

http://www.nadiasirota.com/

http://www.bedroomcommunity.net/

 

Written by admin

September 12, 2016 at 6:13 pm

Whatever You Love You Are: Valgeir Sigurðsson

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In celebration of the prestigious Icelandic label Bedroom Community’s tenth anniversary year, we are delighted to present the first in a series of features where the artists share their musical influences, memories and most cherished recordings. First up is label co-founder Valgeir Sigurðsson.

Words: Valgeir Sigurðsson

valgeir

Bedroom Community is an Icelandic record label/collective formed in 2006 by Valgeir Sigurðsson, with Nico Muhly and Ben Frost, later adding Sam Amidon, Daníel Bjarnason, Puzzle Muteson, Paul Corley, Nadia Sirota and James McVinnie to the intimate roster. 2015 saw two new additions to the family being: Emily Hall & Jodie Landau and wild Up.

Like-minded, yet diverse individuals from different corners of the globe all creatively orbit around an inconspicuous building and its inhabitants on the outskirts of Reykjavík Iceland – Greenhouse Studios – where the music is mostly created.

In celebration of the influential record label’s 10th Anniversary in 2016, members of the collective come together in a series of live performances known as the Whale Watching Tour. The inspirational tour is an unusual and ambitious premise. The artists, who are friends and colleagues, present what is more like a musical conversation with aspects of a show-and-tell than a formal concert.

The Whale Watching Tour is an opportunity to manifest what we, as a record label and a collective of disparate musical personalities, do behind the closed doors of the studio. To create something uniquely belonging to the live experience from source material that is very familiar to us. These shows are fuelled by joyful energy and appreciation for each other but also tension, blood and sweat that makes it all the more rewarding at the end of the day.”

– Valgeir Sigurðsson

Valgeir Sigurðsson, Nico Muhly, Nadia Sirota, Sam Amidon, Daníel Bjarnason & Jodie Landau are going for several dates on both side of the Atlantic to keep going this Whale Watching Tour 2016, celebrating the tenth anniversary of Bedroom Community. They will also deliver during Iceland Airwaves a very special performance together with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra in Harpa, Reykjavik.

Running alongside this, though, is a commitment to releasing new music. The label has launched the Hvalreki series, a platform for inquisitive producers to group together and focus on fresh innovation. The title means ‘beach whale’ in Icelandic, and it aims to become a regular showcase for ideas that sit outside the norm. The Hvalreki series launches with material from Nico Muhly and Valgeir Sigurðsson. ‘Scent Opera‘ owes its origins to a project at the Guggenheim back in 2009, and it’s a lengthy, hypnotic work.

‘Scent Opera’ by Nico Muhly & Valgeir Sigurðsson is available now:

For full dates of Bedroom Community’s forthcoming Whale Watching European Tour, visit HERE

First piece of classical music you fell in love with?

Air on G string – Johann Sebastian Bach

 

A recording whose arrangements floored you?

Talk Talk Spirit of Eden

 

A masterful composition which made a huge impact on you?

Piano & String Quartet – Morton Feldman

 

An unforgettable live performance you have been part of?

A disastrous gig in Magdeburg on a joint tour with Ben Frost in the early days.

A defining record that led you onto your own musical path?
The Clash London Calling

 

Composers/records/musical voices you feel you have learned the most from?

Nico Muhly / Selmasongs / Mark Bell

Most cherished moment(s) from Bedroom Community’s first ten years?

WhaleWatching Tour 2010

Favourite film score(s)

Bernard Herrmann Vertigo

 

One musical philosophy that has always remained true for you?

“It doesn’t matter what you can, only what you do” – Einar Örn Benediktsson 1982

A piece of music / recording / song that speaks to you like no other
Nick Drake River Man

 

‘Scent Opera’ by Nico Muhly & Valgeir Sigurðsson is available now:

For full dates of Bedroom Community’s forthcoming Whale Watching European Tour, visit HERE

 

 

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S1E4 | April mix

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fracturedairmix_april16

 

We’re delighted to present an exclusive unreleased track by U.S. composer and songwriter Peter Broderick (Bella Union, Erased Tapes) in April’s mixtape. For well over a decade now, the world-renowned Portland Oregon-born artist has been to the forefront of the thriving independent music scene, amassing a considerable body of work across a multitude of labels and platforms in the process. While originally a member of both Efterklang and Horse Feathers, Broderick’s reputation as a gifted solo composer would be heralded by the release of both folk-based “Home” (Bella Union) and the piano-based “Float” (Type) in 2008. Since then, Broderick has released a plethora of records for labels such as Erased Tapes and Bella Union, highlights including: 2009’s “Music For Falling From Trees”, 2011’s “Music For Confluence”, 2012’s “These Walls Of Mine” and 2015’s “Colours Of The Night” albums. Collaboration has also been of vital importance to Broderick’s artistic output to date. Duos have been formed with U.K.’S Greg Haines (Greg Gives Peter Space) and France’s Félicia Atkinson (La Nuit) while other collaborations have featured: Nils Frahm, Machinefabriek, Gabriel Solomon, Heather Woods Broderick and The Beacon Sound Choir. In recent years, Broderick has produced, recorded, and guested on many musicians’ works from his home-based studio, “The Sparkle” (Corrina Repp, Brumes, David Allred).
Here is how Peter describes his track, “Boom”:

“It’s a thing I call Boom, and it’s basically just some effected casio loops with live drums over the top… I’ve enjoyed listening to it several times and don’t really have any plans to do anything with it.”

Also appearing on April’s mixtape is Irish composer and pianist Conor Walsh. Born in County Mayo, Conor Walsh released his debut E.P. (“The Front”, via Ensemble Music) last year to widespread critical acclaim. Despite it being Walsh’s debut recorded release, Walsh was a firmly established artist who had toured regularly across Ireland and additionally composed for both film and television to date. It was with such great sadness to learn of Conor’s sudden and untimely death in March. We’d both like to take this opportunity to dedicate this month’s mixtape to the memory of Conor Walsh, such an inspiring and beautiful composer and person who has touched many people’s lives with his music.

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S1E4 | April mix

To Read/listen on La Blogothèque:

http://en.blogotheque.net/2016/04/26/fractured-air-x-blogotheque-s01e04-april-mix/

 

Tracklisting:

01. Days Of Heaven“You’d give him a flower…” (Paramount Pictures)
02. HKE“Awake” (Olde English Spelling Bee)
03. Nico Muhly/Sam Amidon“The Only Tune: I. the Two Sisters” (Bedroom Community)
04. Nonkeen“The Invention Mother” (R&S)
05. Peter Broderick“Boom” (Unreleased)
06. Micachu & The Shapes“Oh Baby” (Rough Trade)
07. Babyfather“God Hour” (feat. Micachu) (Hyperdub)
08. Samiyam“Animals Have Feelings” (Stones Throw)
09. Mo Kolours“A Soul’s Journey” (One-Handed Music)
10. John Forbes, Teach, Earth, Roots & Water“Awakening” (Summer)
11. Van Dyke Parks“Occapella” (Warner Bros.)
12. Tindersticks“How He Entered” (City Slang/Lucky Dog)
13. Ravel“Pavane Pour Une Infante Défunte” (Decca)
14. Pantha du Prince“The Winter Hymn” (feat. Queens) (Rough Trade)
15. Solar Bears“Wild Flowers” (Sunday Best Recordings)
16. The Field“Pink Sun” (Kompakt)
17. DJ Koze“Marilyn Whirlwind” (Victoria OST, Erased Tapes)
18. Grizzly Bear“A Simple Answer” (Liars Remix) (Warp)
19. Lindstrøm“Closing Shot” (Feedelity/Smalltown Supersound)
20. Tropic of Cancer “Stop Suffering” (Blackest Ever Black)
21. Linda Buckley“Haunt” (The Wake OST, Soundcloud)
22. Bonnie “Prince” Billy“When Thy Song Flows Through Me” (Drag City/Domino)
23. Colin Stetson, Megan Stetson & The Sorrow Ensemble“Sorrow – A Reimagining of Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony: II” (extract) (52Hz)
24. Conor Walsh“K Theory” (Ensemble Music)
25. Hauschka“Stromness” (Eluvium Remix) (City Slang)
26. Peter Broderick “And Its Alright” (Nils Frahm RMX) (LateNightTales)
27. Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Noto“The Revenant Theme” (Alva Noto Remodel) (The Revenant OST, Milan)
28. Nils Frahm“Our Own Roof” (Victoria OST, Erased Tapes)

Compiled by Fractured Air, April 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/

 

Chosen One: Sam Amidon

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Interview with Sam Amidon.

“Any of the music that I really love myself comes from that; coming from the clashes and confusions that happen when people come together.”

— Sam Amidon

Words: Mark Carry, Artwork: Craig Carry

samamidon_poster_fin

Born in 1981 and raised in Vermont by folk-musician parents, Sam Amidon sings and plays fiddle, banjo, and guitar. As a teenager, Amidon rose to acclaim as a fiddler, releasing five albums with his band Popcorn Behavior. A musician who glides through unlikely set of genres from traditional folk to free jazz, Amidon has released four solo albums, and also plays in the New York-based indie-rock bands Doveman and Stars Like Fleas. After a seven-year stint in New York City, Amidon has been fully itinerant since 2008 as he tours and collaborates with a roster of renowned musicians, including: Shahzad Ismaily, Nico Muhly, Thomas Bartlett, Ben Frost, and Valgeir Sigurðsson.

‘Lily-O’, a new album of reimagined folk songs by the gifted Vermont-multi-instrumentalist was released last year by Nonesuch Records. The album was produced by Valgeir Sigurðsson (Björk, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Feist) and features the innovative jazz guitarist and composer Bill Frisell, along with Amidon’s other frequent collaborators, bassist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Chris Vatalaro.

‘Lily-O’ is out now on Nonesuch.

http://www.samamidon.com/
http://www.nonesuch.com/

Interview with Sam Amidon.

You’re always so involved with collaborating with other people with the likes of the wonderful Bedroom Community artists and more recently, Bill Frisell on the new record, which is absolutely amazing. I’d love for you to discuss this whole idea of collaboration?

Sam Amidon: Well the thing is I grew up playing tunes. I grew up in New England playing the fiddle and I got really into Irish tunes and then I got into free jazz and more like free improvisation and all that kind of stuff. And in those worlds you don’t even use the word collaboration because everything is collaboration in that world. I mean traditional fiddle tunes consist of going into a pub and there’s someone playing in the corner and you play with them and you’re playing Irish tunes or French Canadian tunes or fiddle tunes and the idea of your solo music isn’t even a thing [laughs], you know what I mean. And same with free jazz and that spirit of just meeting people and getting to play. Any of the music that I really love myself comes from that; coming from the clashes and confusions that happen when people come together. Of course, I love The Beatles, I love Dylan and all that stuff but I’m not really into that idea of the lone singer-songwriter creating their music. I mean obviously art also comes from a deep internal space of course as well but the important thing is just playing with people, it’s a social form you know, it’s not like painting, it’s a social form.

I’d be curious too Sam, obviously you play so many instruments and it’s always amazing to witness the different instrumentation on your records themselves, I wonder which instruments came first?

SA: I really only played the fiddle until I was about twenty, I started the banjo when I was a teenager casually but not really until I was like nineteen or twenty. So really actually the multi-instrumentalist thing is much more the last fifteen years. From when I was three, I started the fiddle and that was the only thing that I played. So really my thing as a teenager was much more about just the whole idea of the mastery of an instrument and spending your whole life completely focused on that instrument. And my heroes were like Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, you know people who are not multi-instrumentalists; I was never really attracted to that idea, it was more about the idea of the mastery of the player who speaks through their instrument.

But I guess I changed from that in the last ten years because I just got curious about the guitar. I found that I went so deep on the fiddle in a specific direction – like the fiddle for me was fiddle tunes; Irish tunes and Kentucky tunes – and so when I started as a teenager there would have been a big difference in my listening and in my playing. As a listener, I listened to everything: indie rock, free jazz, new music, everything whereas as a player I really only played the tunes. So when I came to New York in my early twenties, I really wanted to break away from that and just get to play with different kinds of musicians and improvise. The problem with the fiddle was that I had such deep, specific attachments to it and so the banjo and the guitar I didn’t play as well and I still don’t play as well and I’m still really only learning to play the guitar, I’m not an expert guitarist, I’m a learner. But in a way it sometimes is easier to compose on an instrument you play badly because you can’t just flick your fingers all over it, you have limitations that cause you to write stuff. And still I wrote all my best stuff on the guitar when I was first figuring out what the deal was, what it was, you know what I mean. I’ve never written music on a violin because when I pick it up I can play any melody that I hear and I find that actually keeps you from being able to compose anything. But the banjo and the guitar, there is really strong limitations in terms of the instrument and my own abilities which cause me to write and compose.

As you say too Sam, a very special album – it was the album that introduced me to your music – was ‘All Is Well’ like all your albums, there are really gorgeous arrangements and your voice and everything about it is just so rich.

SA: Thank you. Well that album was very special for me too because it’s an album totally of discovery. I came to Iceland and I put the songs down solo first in a couple of hours late at night with Valgeir [Sigurðsson] and we barely knew each other at that time. As I said, I hadn’t really been singing for that long as a solo singer and I wasn’t that confident on the guitar. I mean the whole thing was just so new, you know and I feel like Valgeir’s strengths as a producer was to allow that to exist in the record. He didn’t cover that up, you can hear the tentativeness in the playing and you can hear the shyness in the vocals, he preserved those qualities and that maybe part of the reason why people connect especially deeply with that record I think of all my albums. ‘All Is Well’ is probably the one people connect most deeply with and I suppose part of that is because they can reach and connect to that vulnerability that was very real in that moment.

That’s the wonderful thing when you look across someone’s work is how each record tells its own unique story and something different from each one.

SA: Yeah I’ve tried to approach each one in a new way and because I was aware of the journey of those albums, you do have to create a space where you’re uncertain what’s going to happen. I’m very fearful of competence, you don’t want to come in and do it well, I mean nobody responds to that. There is a reason that it’s very compelling, you have to set up some situation where there’s going to be something you’re a little bit scared about or some element of real discovery which gets captured on tape.

On the new album ‘Lily-O’ it’s quite wonderful that it was all recorded live and very little overdubs?

SA: Yeah that was the fun thing about this one. All of the previous albums had been very much built up in a certain way like I put things down solo, people over-dub and that’s been a fun way to sculpt the albums because you can have someone really just focus on their own discovery in that moment and see what happens whether it’s Nico [Muhly]’s arrangements or Shahzad Ismaily playing electric guitar. But on this album that was the new thing for this album, it was us literally just playing together and the song structures were intact but basically everybody else was hearing them for the first time. I would teach the song to the musicians, I didn’t send anybody the music before walking into the studio and they hadn’t heard any of the songs. What the process was I would teach the songs to Bill [Frisell] and Shahzad [Ismaily], they would make some notes and would learn the structure and then we would just all start playing and once we had a moment Valgeir would press record and we’d put down two takes and then we would move on. The album that you hear is very, very close to that moment. Sometimes I re-did a vocal or just a couple of very subtle shifts after but basically what you are hearing is what those musicians discovered in that process.

I must say I love – and even the way it’s placed as well – the album’s title-track, it’s a really lovely space on the album too.

SA: Yes, to have that long story that you can kind of live in that world for a while.

— 

10-11-sam-amidon

 

I didn’t realize but you actually met Bill Frisell a long time ago?

SA: One thing about growing up in Vermont and playing traditional music as a kid was that many of my heroes were people that I got to play with, my heroes were people that were in my neighbourhood and they were my favourite musicians. One of my heroes was Tommy Peoples, the Irish fiddler who I then, when I was fifteen I came to Ireland and I went and I found him and played a session with him, I sat in a pub and played tunes with him. So, I had this idea of whoever your heroes are, just find them and for Bill it took longer [laughs] because it was a more distant thing but it was almost similar where I would just go up and say hi after a gig and I just listened to his music all of the time and he was very inspiring to me frequently.

Eventually I got to play with some musicians who were in his world, who play with him like Eyvind Kang and Shahzad Ismaily and Eyvind introduced us properly and I gave him one of my CDs and he wrote me what was almost like a fan email like ‘Hey I’m listening to your music, maybe we can jam sometime’ and that was like a hugely exciting moment just to see that email was amazing for me. But I didn’t record with him then –well I’m sure I could have hired him sooner – but we work together on different projects; I played on some things of his and we did some duo concerts that were much more like a little duo kind of thing. I waited to record with him until I wasn’t scared of him, you know, I didn’t want to come in feeling intimidated. I’m still in awe of him, he’s still one of my heroes but we’re friends enough so that when we go out to the studio I really felt like equals with him and Shahzad and Chris [Vatalaro] who did incredible work on the drums on that album. The thing about Bill which is cool is that he is this legend but at the same time he’s still very innocent in his love for music and so he was just as much getting turned on by what Chris and Shahzad was doing as we were by being in the room with him.

And to witness the chemistry between you and Bill, it’s like you’re in close dialogue with your instruments.

SA: He has so much experience with singers you know, playing around singers and working with that, it’s beautiful.

I wonder looking ahead, would you have ideas for other records and projects?

SA: Yeah, I’m definitely starting to work on something else but I’m not sure how it’s going to grow yet so I can’t say much about it because I don’t really know much about it. But I have a list of other musicians who I’m curious to get into a room with and see what happens and we’ll see where it goes.

I’m sure when you released that first album, ‘Solo Fiddle’, that must have been a very important album too because that was obviously all the music I presume you grew up with from a very young age?

SA: It was kind of a farewell album in a way because I made that album when I was eighteen or so and it was just solo traditional fiddle tunes and it really reflected on my teenage years of living in that world of those kind of tunes and those melodies and those styles. The thing is I knew at that point that I was going to start learning different kinds of music and learning to play different kinds of songs like on the guitar and violin and I had an awareness that that would affect my playing: my fiddle playing had a purity at that time because I really only did that until that point. So I wanted to capture my fiddle playing in that pure state where it didn’t have any influence on jazz or whatever. My listening was very broad but my playing at that time was so limited, I knew that I was going to start studying different things  and learning different techniques, I wanted to capture where it was in that state of purity.

A lot of them are Irish tunes which is lovely too in the sense that there is that connection to Ireland too.

SA: Yeah certainly, I mean it’s funny because you know I’m not Irish at all, ethnically or whatever but the New England fiddle style, the style of fiddle playing that is in Vermont which was the style that I was born into and then when I was around ten I realized that the New England fiddle style was just a mix of Irish, French Canadian and old-time tunes and I was just so drawn to the traditional Irish style because it’s so ornate and beautiful and developed and the repertoire is amazing. There are so many great players: Tommy Peoples springs to mind, Kathleen Collins, so many wonderful musicians and it’s just a whole world. And so I just got lost inside that world as a teenager for sure and I still am and so hopefully I’ll grab some tunes when I come visiting.

Are there certain albums that you’ve been hugely enjoying lately?

SA: There is a trumpet player Kenny Wheeler who played on ‘Bright Sunny South’ – he plays trumpet on the album ‘Bright Sunny South’- and he died last winter and he’d been on my album, he was very old when he played on it. He has a bunch of amazing records, he’s definitely a jazz trumpet player but he’s just an amazing composer and powerful musician. I listen to a lot of old jazz like a lot of Don Cherry and Sonny Rollins. I love all that improvised music you know, all that stuff.

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Another thing I love is your collaboration with Thomas Bartlett, your longtime friend.

SA: Yeah it’ll be really fun when I come to Ireland this time, I’ll be doing two projects with Thomas. Thomas is curating an evening celebrating Yeats’s 150th birthday in the National Concert Hall and so we’re putting some of his poems to music, which I’m sure a lot of people have done but I’d like to do our own little crack of doing it and there will be some other musicians, Anna Calvi, Robert Forester from The Go Betweens. And then a week later we’ll be back in the National Concert Hall, I’m hosting a celebration of Pete Seeger. A lot of great Irish musicians will be there, Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh, Paul Noonan, Beth Orton from the UK, and the new band Lynched who are great and so that’s going to be really fun to have some adventures with Thomas, my old buddy.

One last thing, you’re obviously from a very musical family and stuff but would you have certain moments – when looking back – that were very important for you in order for you to pursue your own musical path?

SA: Well my parents were very influential, not just folk music but just because even though they were very specific in their thing – they only played folk music – both of them were very adventurous listeners. So when my brother and I started bringing back stuff like you know, Nirvana and Beck, I mean I remember Beck especially and you know bringing stuff back to the house, I started bringing back free jazz, Marc Ribot. They were really interested in the music, just like in an analytical way; they would have interesting comments about the music. So my Dad and I would listen to music on long car rides –we’d often have long car rides to gigs and stuff – I put on the band Morphine or Beck or whatever and we would talk about it and analyse it and debate things. He really loved ‘Bitches Brew’, the Miles Davis album, he gave me that album when I was fourteen and I didn’t really like it at first – you know I listened to it a lot and of course I love it now – it was an almost scary album but that whole thing of just being a very curious listener but still critical but curious.

 


 

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‘Lily-O’ is out now on Nonesuch.

http://www.samamidon.com/
http://www.nonesuch.com/

Written by markcarry

September 10, 2015 at 6:24 pm

Fractured Air 40: Music for Travel (A Mixtape by James McVinnie)

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James McVinnie is a highly prolific organist and keyboardist who released ‘Cycles’ – an album comprising organ pieces written by his Bedroom Community labelmate Nico Muhly – and also features Nadia Sirota, Chris Thompson and Simon Wall. McVinnie’s musical career to date has been a fascinating one; he was Assistant Organist of Westminster Abbey between 2008 and 2011 and he previously held Organ Scholarships at St Albans Cathedral, and at Clare College, Cambridge. McVinnie has also collaborated with many contemporary musicians – including Valgeir Sigurðsson, Bryce Dessner, Sufjan Stevens, Sam Amidon, Ben Frost, Oneohtrix Point Never and Beth Orton – demonstrating his immense musicianship and impressive versatility as a composer. ‘Cycles’ is available now on prestigious Icelandic independent label Bedroom Community.

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Fractured Air 40: Music for Travel (A Mixtape by James McVinnie)

To listen on Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-40-music-for-travel-a-mixtape-by-james-mcvinnie/

 

Tracklisting:

01. Oliver Coates ‘The Room is the Resonator’ [PRAH]
02. Sarah Neufeld ‘Dirt’ [Constellation]
03. Keith Jarrett ‘Spheres (1st Movement)’ [ECM]
04. Peter Phillips & The Tallis Scholars ‘Stabat mater’ (John Browne: Music from the Eton Choirbook) [Gimmel]
05. J.S. Bach ‘Vergnügte Ruh, Beliebte Seelenlust’ (Bernarda Fink, Petra Mullejan & Freiburger Barockorchester) [Harmonia Mundi]
06. Steve Reich ‘The Desert Music: V. Fast’ (Alarm Will Sound, Alan Pierson & Ossia) [Nonesuch]
07. Philip Glass ‘Trial 2 / Prison Ensemble’ [Nonesuch]
08. Pat Metheny ‘Last Train Home’ [Geffen]
09. Jónsi ‘Hengilás’ [Parlophone, XL]
10. John Tavener ‘Eternity’s Sunrise’ [Harmonia Mundi]
11. Clare Wilkinson and Fretwork ‘Michael Nyman: If’ [Bandcamp]

Compiled by James McVinnie. 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.

 


 

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‘Cycles’ is available now on Bedroom Community.

http://www.jamesmcvinnie.co.uk/
http://bedroomcommunity.net/

 

Written by admin

August 13, 2015 at 6:43 pm

Chosen One: Puzzle Muteson

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Interview with Terry Magson, Puzzle Muteson.

“The title ‘Theatrics’ comes from a weight of the songs being hugely strung by a dramatic, intimate emotion, sometimes real but sometimes fable. It felt right.”

—Terry Magson

Words: Mark Carry

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Earlier this autumn marked the eagerly-awaited sophomore full-length release from Bedroom Community’s prized singer-songwriter, Puzzle Muteson. From the Isle of Wight, Terry Magson’s unique blend of sound – where the singer’s tremulous tenor coalesces effortlessly with beautiful patterns of finger-picked guitar – continues to develop and further evolve on ‘Theatrics’ as a more stripped-back feel permeates the surrounding space. With contributions from Magson’s trusted collaborators (and label-mates) Valgeir Sigurðsson and Nico Muhly, the resultant eleven sonic creations seep into your consciousness and linger there like a faded dream or fragments of a distant memory.

Since Puzzle Muteson’s 2011 debut record ‘En Garde’, an unerring emotional depth prevails the song-writer’s tower of songs; evoking at once a vivid sense of loss, longing, pain, and hurt but also hope, survival and desire that radiates like “the shade of the morning sun.” The compelling songs contained on ‘Theatrics’ reveals the magical spell cast by a luminous song-writer- with gorgeous shades of Robbie Bashoe’s similarly other-worldly sound that is steeped in an exponential state of oblivion. The immaculate instrumentation of Magson’s voice, guitar, piano and glockenspiel is further heightened with the presence of Muhly’s piano, synthesizer, harmonium; Sigurðsson’s electronic wizardry; percussion supplied by Rob Holmes; Jon McMullen’s added piano and harmonium parts, and Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek)’s synthesizer and programming.

By Night’ is a stunningly beautiful duet between Magson and Dutch-born (and Belgium-based) songstress Chantal Acda that represents one of the album’s (many) defining moments. A fragile beauty floats majestically in the air where an intimacy and striking intensity unfolds before your very eyes. The fragile ballad feels like a distant companion to the album’s penultimate song – and only cover version – of New Order’s ‘True Faith’. The cover version takes you to the special place of Cat Power’s ‘Covers Record’ as the listener becomes unknowingly immersed in a song’s divine web of enchanting sound. I’d like to see Magson’s interpretation akin to Chan Marshall’s rendition of ‘I Found A Reason’ where a profound impact is created with each note and achingly beautiful vocal delivery.

‘City Teeth’ is built on a slow melodic pattern of gentle guitar and piano notes, beneath Magson’s mesmerizing voice. The song’s rise provides a luminous crescendo of hypnotic piano segments that is reminiscent of Geman pianist Hauschka such is its sublime brilliance. The chorus refrain introduces an imaginary realm; stemming it would seem from a dark fable, as Magson sings “For a while his teeth would tear you up and half your hands”. A wonderful rhythmic pulse serves the backdrop to the dark tale. Gorgeously clean guitar tones drift beneath Magson’s captivating vocals on the sparse lament of ‘Into & Opened’. The refrain of “Old parts have gone” resonates powerfully.

As ever, a soaring sonic backdrop is masterfully choreographed beneath Magson’s deeply-affecting songs; from the compelling electronic loops of opener ‘We Are, We Own’ to the warm percussion of ‘In Circles’ and majestic harmonies of ‘River Women’. The closing piano-led ballad of ‘Chair’ serves the album’s fitting close as a striking immediacy and cinematic atmosphere comes to the fore, where Magson sings “There’s still a reason to believe” that seamlessly penetrates the human space. ‘Chair’ evolves into a synthesizer-laden, blissful wall of sound, before the closing refrain of “But you are locked in and I am out of time” strikes each and every aching heart pore.

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‘Theatrics’ is out now on Bedroom Community.

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Interview with Terry Magson, Puzzle Muteson.

It’s a pleasure to ask you some questions about the gorgeous new album, ‘Theatrics’. I would love for you to first discuss the album-title and how you see this collection of beguiling songs fit next to your previous full length, ‘En Garde’? 

Terry Magson: The title ‘Theatrics’ comes from a weight of the songs being hugely strung by a dramatic, intimate emotion, sometimes real but sometimes fable. It felt right. I think if ‘Theatrics’ was sat on a train and ‘En Garde’ went and sat next to him they would make a fetching couple, miserable but fetching. I went through a solid period of writing in which half of ‘Theatrics’ was written around the same time I made ‘En Garde’. The beauty and difference is now the starkness of ‘Theatrics’ songs, ‘En Garde’ was flooded with Nico Muhly’s prepossessing arrangements which I love, but now we have a bunch of half-dressed tracks with more space and breath.

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As ever, there is a rich sonic tapestry embedded in each of the heart-wrenching songs. What I love most is how the intricate layers of instrumentation (piano, harmonium, guitar, synthesizer, percussion) coalesce so beautifully with your distinct baritone voice. As a song-writer, it must be a special feeling to witness these songs metamorphose into their final entities, so to speak. Can you talk me through this process in which the spark of a song is gradually transformed into a fully-realized composition?

TM: Thank you! I’m not sure it’s ever fully – realized, not fully, but there is a distinctive moment when each added idea makes total sense. As an artist (does that sound pretentious?) as a professional bullshitter, I usually rely on my intuitive voice to take the reins when a new added part is working or needs to be there. It does feel special though when things start to grow especially because I have friends playing on this album and with none to little guidance, they add subtle magic, so by the time we’ve finished up in the studio I’m already doing a private conga dance.

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A wonderful cast of musicians are present on ‘Theatrics’, including your Bedroom Community label-mates Nico Muhly and Valgeir Sigurdsson. Please recount for me the recording sessions of ‘Theatrics’ and the special collaborative aspect of your work that is inherent between you, Nico and Valgeir?

TM: Right then.. So I went over to Greenhouse studio in Iceland to get the bulk of ‘Theatrics’ down but the sessions were a little disjointed. Next to the studio they were renovating Valgeir’s flat, which through the head phones when delicately recording a song say like ‘Bells’ it literally sounded like they were knocking down Hallgrímskirkj (awesome church in Reykjavík) with those balls that Miley Cyrus likes to swing about on with her vagina half hanging out.

Basically I had to re-do most of the songs, so I went to my friends (Boe Weaver) studio on the Isle of Wight and re-recorded vocals, guitars, some harmonium and some piano there. Once everything was flowing from those sessions we sent over the files to Greenhouse and Nico and Valgeir popped their little wizard hats on and brought ‘Theatrics’ to life. I wasn’t there and I didn’t need to be.

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I feel the cover version of New Order’s ‘True Faith’ is such an ideal penultimate track for the album, and a song you truly make your own (Cat Power’s ‘Covers Record’ comes to mind). Can you discuss for me please the reasoning for the selection of this particular song and your memories of first hearing ‘True Faith’?

TM: Thanks again! This was a little strange as for some reason this song started invading my head space for a few days uncontrollably. I hadn’t heard it for a long long time so it seemed slightly formidable and plausible to try and do a cover of it. It has a solid nostalgic connection with me. I remember probably first hearing it on Top of the Pops show mid 80’s, I used to get a tennis racket; turn it the wrong way round and run up and down the front room pretending to play it like a guitar. It’s the synthesizers that has given it that nostalgic haunting feeling.

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Can you take me back to your earliest musical memories? Also, I would love to know what folk records and indeed song-writing records do you feel have served sources of inspiration for your own music (and more precisely, leading you down the music path)?

TM: I’m not sure about my earliest? I’m guessing it would have been some monotonous baby toy that I’ve blocked out as it was so fucking horrid. I could tell you about when music started consciously making an impact and that would of been through John Williams scored Spielberg films, and 80s radio chart shows. The first tape I ever bought myself was N.W.A and first record 7″ was Snap – The Power.

There was a lot of Neil Young and Leonard Cohen records being played through the house growing up so I have a connection to those guys and in later years I would say Elliott Smith I connected with and Sparklehorse comes to mind.

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Two stunning duets are present on ‘Theatrics’ with Chantal Acda’s mesmerising vocals on ‘By Night’ and Lidwine De Royer Dupre guesting on ‘Belly’. One of my favourites must be ‘By Night’; a song whose sheer beauty unfolds gracefully before your very eyes and ears. It must have been lovely to have had these guests present on the recording sessions? 

TM: Chantal and Lidwine came about by the strength of an email. I had toured with both of them previously and knew their capabilities. I think me and Chantal sing from a similar depth, it’s very sensitive, and very real so I wanted to get her on ‘By Night’ to see how both voices would sound together.

Lidwine has a colossal voice and I knew she would be perfect for the chorus of ‘Belly’. Initially I was going to try a whole bunch of vocal layers but I thought the dynamic would be more interesting getting Lidwine in. Both sent the recordings back in just over a day of asking and both were flawless.

 


 

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‘Theatrics’ is out now on Bedroom Community.

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https://www.facebook.com/Puzzle.Muteson
http://www.bedroomcommunity.net/artists/puzzle_muteson/

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Written by markcarry

November 19, 2014 at 1:27 pm