FRACTURED AIR

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Posts Tagged ‘Paul de Jong

Guest Mixtape: Paul de Jong

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We are thrilled to present to you a special guest mix compiled by Paul de Jong (The Books), entitled “A Pond That Knows When To Ripple”.

pauldejong_mixtape

Last month marked the eagerly awaited release of Dutch composer – and co-founder of the beloved collage pop duo The Books – Paul de Jong’s sophomore solo full-length “You Fucken Sucker” (via U.S. independent label Temporary Residence). As ever, a myriad of ideas, inventive pop structures, electronic instrumental excursions, and poetic prose are masterfully etched across a sprawling canvas of genre-bending sounds.

 

A mantra of “almost doomed” is repeated beneath a meditative acoustic guitar line on the short interlude of ‘Almost Doomed’, reflecting the darkness that envelops the sound world of the Dutch artist’s latest solo work. The deeply personal songs envelop the rawest of emotions. The soft guitar tapestries fade into ‘Doomed’, with echoes of guitar noise and a garage drumbeat before a hypnotic guitar line ascends beneath a poignant vocal refrain: “I can do anything I want/It’s up to me”. The song develops into frenzied rhythms amidst a fury of rage, highlighting the entire spectrum of moods that engulfs the music’s headspace. These songs become more like coping mechanisms – the source of survival and hope – as the outro of gospel-like voices rejoice “you can be anything you want to be”.

 

The frantic screams that ascend on album opener ‘Embowelment’ reflects the anger and confusion that permeates within “You Fucken Sucker”s rich tapestry. More lyric-based songs are masterfully created: the soul-stirring americana lament ‘Johnny No Cash’ sings of lonesome blues and the empowering psychedelic pop sphere of ‘Dimples’ is yet another crowning jewel. “I think that all you have to do is do whatever you can do” is spoken beneath a haze of psych pop harmonies and jazz piano inflections.

 

One of the album’s lead singles ‘It’s Only About Sex’ shares vintage Books-esque pop collage spheres as gorgeous pop motifs, electronica and celestial harmonies blend with divine spoken word passages. Timeless pop music for the 21st century. “You Fucken Sucker” is the latest master work from the peerless Dutch composer.

 

paul de jong i

Paul de Jong – “A Pond That Knows When To Ripple” (Fractured Air Guest Mix)

  1. Abdul Wadud – “Oasis” (By Myself)
  2. Aphex Twin – “Cliffs” (Selected Ambient Works Vol 2)
  3. The Soft Machine – “Carol Ann” (Seven)
  4. Butthole Surfers – “Kuntz” (Locust Abortion Technician)
  5. Casiotone For The Painfully Alone – “The Subway Home” (Young Sheilds)
  6. Loren Connors – “Here, I’ll Whisper It To You” (Sails)
  7. Sun Ra Arkestra – “A House Of Beauty” (Heliocentric Worlds Vol 1 and 2)
  8. Es – “Surullisill, Onnettomille…” (Keikkeuden Kauneus Ja Käsittämättömyys)
  9. Flim – “Hell” (Given You Nothing)
  10. Otto Luening – “Low Speed” (OHM: The Early Gurus Of Electronic Music, Disc 1)
  11. Fred Frith – “Domaine De Planousset” (Speechless)
  12. Paul de Jong – “It’s Only About Sex” (You Fucken Sucker)
  13. Califone – “Sunday Noises” (Roots & Crowns)
  14. Moondog – “Fog On The Hudson (425 W 57th Street)” (The Viking Of Sixth Avenue)
  15. Paul de Jong – “Age Of The Sea” (IF)
  16. Paul Wirkus – “Déformation Professionelle” (Déformation Professionelle)
  17. Pierre Henry, Pierre Schaeffer – “Symphonie… – 4. Erotica” (Pierre Schaeffer, L’Œuvre musicale (Volume 2)
  18. Popol Vuh – “Aguirre I” (Perlenklänge – The Best Of)
  19. Paul de Jong – “You Fucken Sucker” (You Fucken Sucker)
  20. Little Willie John – “Fever” (All 15 Of His Chart Hits (1953-1962)
  21. Ry Cooder – “Paris-Texas” (Paris, Texas)
  22. Vladimir Ussachevsky – “Wireless Fantasy” (OHM: The Early Gurus Of Electronic Music, Disc 1)
  23. 23 Skidoo – “G-3 Insemination” (The Culling Is Coming)

‘You Fucken Sucker’ is out now on Temporary Residence.

https://www.facebook.com/TheBooksMusic/

https://www.facebook.com/temporaryresidence/

Written by admin

May 23, 2018 at 9:01 pm

Chosen One: Paul de Jong

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I have to somehow be able to put the door ajar for the listener to step into that world and if it’s impenetrable that would never happen.”

—Paul de Jong 

Words: Mark Carry

 pauldejong_700x

This week marks the eagerly awaited release of Dutch composer – and co-founder of the beloved collage pop duo The Books – Paul de Jong’s sophomore solo full-length “You Fucken Sucker” (via U.S. independent label Temporary Residence). As ever, a myriad of ideas, inventive pop structures, electronic instrumental excursions, and poetic prose are masterfully etched across a sprawling canvas of genre-bending sounds.

A mantra of “almost doomed” is repeated beneath a meditative acoustic guitar line on the short interlude of ‘Almost Doomed’, reflecting the darkness that envelops the sound world of the Dutch artist’s latest solo work. The deeply personal songs envelop the rawest of emotions. The soft guitar tapestries fade into ‘Doomed’, with echoes of guitar noise and a garage drumbeat before a hypnotic guitar line ascends beneath a poignant vocal refrain: “I can do anything I want/It’s up to me”. The song develops into frenzied rhythms amidst a fury of rage, highlighting the entire spectrum of moods that engulfs the music’s headspace. These songs become more like coping mechanisms – the source of survival and hope – as the outro of gospel-like voices rejoice “you can be anything you want to be”.

The album’s title-track reveals the frustration inherent throughout the record’s striking narrative. A nursery rhyme turned inside out, sung beneath soft electronic beats and angelic guitar notes. The gorgeous electronic instrumental voyage of ‘Wavehoven’ exudes a soothing, healing force as the ambient swells drift into the ether. It is as if the light of hope is shone on the depths of despair throughout these unfolding electronic passages.

The frantic screams that ascend on album opener ‘Embowelment’ reflects the anger and confusion that permeates within “You Fucken Sucker”s rich tapestry. More lyric-based songs are masterfully created: the soul-stirring americana lament ‘Johnny No Cash’ sings of lonesome blues and the empowering psychedelic pop sphere of ‘Dimples’ is yet another crowning jewel. “I think that all you have to do is do whatever you can do” is spoken beneath a haze of psych pop harmonies and jazz piano inflections.

One of the album’s lead singles ‘It’s Only About Sex’ shares vintage Books-esque pop collage spheres as gorgeous pop motifs, electronica and celestial harmonies blend with divine spoken word passages. Timeless pop music for the 21st century. “You Fucken Sucker” is the latest master work from the peerless Dutch composer.

‘You Fucken Sucker’ is out on Friday 6th April 2018 via Temporary Residence.

https://pauldejong.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/temporaryresidence/

paul de jong i

Interview with Paul de Jong.

Congratulations on your new solo full length. I’d love for you to take me back to the making of ‘You Fucken Sucker’? One aspect I found very interesting is how the tracklist itself is laid out as it was conceived; I wonder was there a starting point that sewed the seeds for the album and its ultimate creation? In terms of assembling the tracks, you always have this magical ability to combine the various found sounds, instrumentation and the voices you hear throughout the album.

Paul de Jong:  It’s mostly true that the record is presented in the order that the tracks were conceived. The final track [‘Breaking Up’] I put together from takes that I actually recorded for the opening track [‘Embowelment’]. It didn’t become the capstone of the record until indeed the last moment where it is almost the uncut take which I decided to use in its entirety, adding two instrumental parts which are absolutely unrelated to each other or to the original vocal take. Although the instrumental takes are also two raw takes that I did for the first song on the record, I just used a few elements from those recordings. Other than that really the record pretty much came together in the sequence you’re hearing. There is no artistic concept behind that particular decision: I presented the tracks as such to my record label and gave as usual the director of my record label Jeremy deVine full liberty to put an effective sequence together (with his experience as someone who is putting out records). We traded several sequences back and forth and it really turned out that the original sequence was the only one that made much sense, a somewhat rocky but plausible emotional trip.

In retrospect it all makes sense to me since the record came together while I was dealing with several unforeseeable circumstances in my life somewhat radically interfering with an otherwise very steady musical productivity. These were things that could happen to any human being at any time throughout their lives. We bought a house and in the second week that we had it, I was sound proofing my studio, fell off a ladder and I broke my heel which was a long and painful recovery from  extensive surgery to my foot, so I was in bed for three months. And then as soon as I was more or less back on my feet, my wife fell ill with lymphoma for the second time in eight years, which made my fracture look like a mosquito bite in comparison. During this period, my mother fell ill across the Atlantic and it was very frustrating and aggravating not to be able to go and care for  her (luckily I have a dear brother and a sister who could, and did). All this made my daily existence and all the practicalities of life – we have three young children – rather complicated yet my composing (when I broke my heel I was almost halfway through this record) proved to be the thing that kept my course steady. It was a refuge and an intellectual and emotional anchor that proved to be very valuable to me in unexpected ways. The individual tracks on the record were influenced by these circumstances in that I often only had time to spend working in the studio in a fragmented schedule, five minutes here, an hour there, odd times of day, lots of hiatus in between and so forth. I constantly had to adjust my approaches, goals and methods of composing and recording of individual tracks according to that schedule. I learned to adapt in beneficial ways, conceptualizing the compositional structures and manual work to far greater detail that I used to before I found the time to sit down and actually execute the piece. Not really that much time for sketching, improvising or ‘stream of consciousness’ composing, although I managed to still build in plenty of opportunity for unrestricted exploration within the framework of developed form and method. In retrospect it seems like a marvelous mental exercise borne out of necessity.

It’s funny to realize that the style of the Books and even where I found myself starting out in my post-Books solo work seems already quite vintage; it’s an approach to collage music that we developed in the early 2000’s which seems somewhat of a historic practice by now. Actually, putting it in that perspective I doubt if there was much of anything new to it at all… maybe it just happened to successfully connect with a fresh generation of listeners. So as always feel the need to surge forward and chart new territory which generally seems to happen through a combination of slow crystallization of development in style and ideas combined with radical changes that come after the realization that you can’t repeat yourself. And this is all guided by intuition which is quite an important ingredient in composing: you don’t know where you’re going to end up but you’ve got to trust what you can’t always intellectualize. I find it hard to explain how a new piece gets started. It has to do with a vague emotional response which I sense should be what the effect of the yet unwritten music should generate. I will try to identify that response by running sonic experiments, electronic and instrumental, until some sound, some element no matter how seemingly insignificant relates to that feeling. It’s as if I try to identify where this universal background noise comes from by sending out signals and waiting for a positive response. How’s that for vague. And then every piece from there follows its own path of development: it writes its own laws, there is no overarching concept to it like a method of composing, it charts its own universe so to speak. I’m unconcerned with looking for a particular signature or a style – that’s not for me to identify in the first place. Sometimes a piece will start sounding like an established genre, and then I am humoured by it because it’s mostly unintentional, like inventing country & western by complete chance… on the moon.  As long as I’ve created it I’m sure that I am in there somewhere, no style necessary.

I started out as a cellist and more of a writer, a poet. These were the things I was already dedicated to before my tenth year. So, as a creative artist I started out rather in composing language than in music. As I moved to the United States in ‘91 or ‘92, I still mostly wrote in Dutch (I never really wrote in English until I moved to the US) but I lost my touch with writing poetry because I was no longer surrounded by Dutch language day in day out . Music composing started to substitute for poetry and writing in English actually came about because I started my recorded sample library in earnest when I moved to the United States. I was attending the University of Illinois back then as a cellist and I had access to this wonderful bottomless library and I started recording all these spoken word LP’s and editing and  recombining whatever attractive words and phrases I found and creating poetry out of those elements. And this is really how I came to writing lyrics and writing in English, through this circumstantial method. This wasn’t at all a preconceived idea of how to go about something, I just found a plausible way to have an outlet for that literary desire.

Until my twenty-fifth year I was primarily a writer involved in theatre, I wrote poetry, I wrote plays and I can’t say I was very good at it, I mean there are only very few things that I wish to keep from that period. But language was in my creative life much more central than composing music. I frankly didn’t have really much of a clue about composing music until much later in my life.
Ever since my twenties I have been attempting to master a meaningful and effective way to reconcile cello playing, music composing, language, movement, film, theatre…: all those things always had my deep interest rooted in my a cultural and intellectual wealthy upbringing, but they existed as mostly separate entities in my life at first. My cello playing was very much classical and contemporary classical with some free improvisation thrown in but it didn’t really have all that much to do with my formal composing attempts and sampling attempts. Those things really started coming together right around the time that I met Nick Zammuto and we started the Books. Video entered the mix when we started translating our albums to the stage. I think, or at least I hope my latest album pulls in my theatrical background and my social interests in an effective way…

The rawness in the album is really quite hard-hitting and particularly the elements of the female voice and the screams that you hear throughout the record. Did you find these vocal segments as a trigger to compose the rest of the pieces because the album centers very much on these particular moments?

PdJ: Those voices are not found sound. In this album I really sourced some old roots in my life, and I made use of my theatrical past in writing for and directing others. And that is really how these tracks that you’re talking about came about: I wrote – well I can’t say lyrics, I call them really texts because there are also lyrics in the record which are more song poetry as one might expect them; what I’m talking about are texts that have a theatrical quality, written to be not musically interpreted but re-enacted, to be lived. So what I would do is I wrote these fragments or texts, often derived from transcribed recorded samples and I’m very lucky to have a pool of young people who are very multi-talented around me, who can sing and act and they can play music. I would from time to time ask them to come over and run texts by them in the studio and not so much give them musical directions but give them acting directions. It’s a way of creating sample material in a much more controlled environment. It’s almost like creating a libretto, but it would make a miserable operetta. Well maybe it did.

There is this theatrical world  your music seems to be steeped in. In one way, you never know what’s going to happen next.

PdJ: But at the same time, I surely would hope that it doesn’t only give you a feeling of unsettlement but also there is something reassuring in exactly that: that you can live your life expecting the unexpected without fear.

I love how some of these short tracks (like for example ‘Doings’) so much happens in a short moment and for instance how ‘Doings’ fades into ‘Dimples’ with the piano, there is always this flow to the music and a narrative that ties everything together?

PdJ: Well that worked out well for me then [laughs]. That of course is exactly what I hope: no matter what the effort or struggle that goes into it, the work should be able to, for the listener, to give an impression of effortlessness which is of course about the only thing that can open the door for the listener. I have to somehow be able to put the door ajar for the listener to step into that world and if it’s impenetrable that would never happen.

Looking back over The Books – who are truly one of those most cherished bands – and the band’s discography, you must have a real sense of pride of these artistic works but also the solo works that you’ve both been undertaking since then? I suppose you must feel that the Books material and your solo works are all inter-connected in some way?

PdJ: Most certainly, I could not ever have made these solo albums without the experiences that I’ve had with Nick in creating our albums together. I think we were both lucky and privileged to have met and to have created all this music for such a long time and find an appreciative audience. I think that we created a substantial catalog, and I’m definitely proud of it. And I feel also very confident in my solo work because I do have that behind me and it’s not like I’m composing into an unknown world, I know there are listeners out there who have grown with me in this context of all this other music which makes me feel reassured to say the least. However, I still honestly feel that I have to earn my stripes with every artistic decision I take, no matter how tiny. Keeps me sharp.

How do you set about trying to translate an album like ‘You Fucken Sucker’ into the live setting as a performance?

PdJ: It’s pretty challenging. There are a good few pieces that I can’t really quite wrap my brain around yet how to translate them onstage. I’m at a point where I’m starting to bring in much more improvised elements into my shows to widen and maybe break a little the concept of  how I used to perform with the Books for years and also how I performed ‘If’ for a good while. Nick and I used to joke we were really doing glorified karaoke. I’d  strip the songs off whatever I could perform live onstage and whatever was left remained pre-recorded and the whole thing was accompanied by a synchronized video. The instrumentation in my solo work becomes a little bit more complex and especially since I work more with vocalists now. I am playing mostly solo but I will also have one of my vocalists Jennifer Cavanaugh guesting wherever I can.  The more traditional song forms (‘Dimples’, ‘Johnny No Cash’ and the title track of the album) can actually be performed with either solo keyboard or  bass guitar accompanying and also I’m learning to perform those all by myself. Terrifying, but I think it really can gain enormously in impact onstage to treat them as just simple performable songs, not the more lavish electronic studio pieces which they really were in the first place. Then there are the more ambient electronic tracks that are purely instrumental which  treat in a much more loose and broad way: I’m taking elements from different tracks, create ambient moods by mixing them up and play them along live instrumental improvisations. So I will be playing my cello with samplers and there will be more improvised pieces in the show that will be interspersed with quite meticulously executed songs from either of my two records. Something that I have always been dealing with is the question of how to represent a studio piece without its original sonic environment ans find a musical way that is as effective and relevant in a concert setting, which circumstances are much more uncontrollable. Back to the uncontrollable circumstances. Story of my life.

 

‘You Fucken Sucker’ is out on Friday 6th April 2018 via Temporary Residence.

https://pauldejong.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/temporaryresidence/

 

 

Written by admin

April 5, 2018 at 2:49 pm

Mixtape: Fractured Air – March 2018 Mix

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fracturedair_march18

This April marks the beloved U.S. band Mercury Rev’s 20th Anniversary tour of their classic “Deserter’s Songs” album (including an extensive Irish tour, UK and Belgium shows). We had the honour to recently interview Mercury Rev frontman Jonathan Donahue (soon-to-be-published) and an excerpt of this interview is featured in this month’s mix.

Our March mix contains two exclusive tracks from the compelling German independent label Denovali Records.

New Zealand’s Alicia Merz (under her Birds Of Passage moniker) unveils her fourth full-length “The Death of Our Invention” with a beguiling collection of dark pop song cycles embedded deep within a lattice of mimimal ambient soundscapes (released on 6th April 2018). The prestigious Rotterdam-based electronic producer Nadia Struiwigh has carved out a shape shifting ambient techno voyage with her Denovali debut full-length “WHRRu” (Where are you) which will be released on 27th April 2018.

Also featured on our latest mix is new music from the peerless Belgian re-issue label Stroom; Jonny Greenwood’s “You Were Never Really Here” score; Grouper’s Liz Harris; A Winged Victory For The Sullen and Paul de Jong (The Books).

 

Fractured Air – March 2018 Mix

01. Birds Of Passage“Wake to the Dream” (Denovali)
02. A.A.L.“This Old House Is All I Have” (Other People)
03. Sudan Archives“Come Meh Way” (Stones Throw)
04. Dabrye“Culture Shuffle” (feat. Kadence Intricate Dialect & Silas Green) (Ghostly)
05. Tomaga“Greetings From The Bitter End” (Kaya Kaya)
06. Aphex Twin“We Are the Music Makers” (Warp)
07. Nils Frahm“All Melody” (Erased Tapes)
08. Nadia Struiwigh“WHRRu” (Denovali)
09. Pablo’s Eye“Double Language” (Stroom)
10. Dorothy Ashby“Soul Vibrations” (Soul Jazz)
11. Maximum Joy“Silent Street/Silent Dub” (Y)
12. Ben Morris“Gissningsleken” (Original Mix) (Music For Dreams)
13. Sonoko“Danse Avec La Tristesse” (Stroom)
14. B. Fleischmann “Here Comes the a Train” (Morr Music)
15. The Fall“Lost In Music” (Cherry Red)
16. Shinichi Atobe“Regret” (excerpt) (DDS)
17. DJ Koze (feat. Róisín Murphy)“Illumination” (Pampa)
18. U.S. Girls“Rosebud” (4AD)
19. Balmorhea“Sky Could Undress” (Western Vinyl)
20. Normil Hawaiians“Yellow Rain” (Upset The Rhythm)
21. The Gentleman Losers“Wintergreen” (Grainy)
22. Beautify Junkyards“Ghost Dance” (Ghost Box)
23. Paul de Jong“It’s Only About Sex” (Temporary Residence)
24. Hatis Noit“Illogical Lullaby” (excerpt) (Erased Tapes)
25. Valiska“Forever” (Trouble In Utopia)
26. Grouper“Parking Lot” (Kranky)
27. A Winged Victory For The Sullen“Long May It Sustain” (Erased Tapes)
28. Jonny Greenwood – “Tree Synthesisers” (“You Were Never Really Here” OST) (Invada)
29. Jonathan Donahue – [interview excerpt] (Fractured Air)
30. Mercury Rev“Holes” (V2)