Monday, October 16, 2017
Friday, October 13, 2017
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Sunday, October 8, 2017
“It’s a picture from the top of this mountain, where it’s eternally twilight, death is there. I really thought there were angels near me. I was hearing things, seeing things. It was a very bad, sad time.” - R-L-J
“‘Traces of the Western Slopes’ was like West Side Story, I was drawing you into a scene. That was my reference, not songwriting – the scene when Riff and Tony are killed under the freeway was the fear of my own life at the time. The other influence was Rimbaud, who I was reading constantly. Steely Dan was a big influence in general: those chords in the chorus are certainly inspired by their dark patterns.” R-L-J
"Ambiences and Images are remarkable for how mysterious they sound – sonic transmogrifies, through which Knud Viktor elegantly folded avant-garde practice back onto itself, presenting an incongruous and unexpected link between the synthetic and the natural world. During the 1970’s he turned his house into one large mixing desk with a myriad of home-built microphones and cables spiraling into the surrounding landscape. He meticulously record everything – the sounds of snoring rabbits, cicadas, termites in his house. While far from the first utilize field recordings as an elemental material, there its a sensitively and attachment to point of origin in this work, which has been rarely produced. Nature is as source, but in Viktor’s hands, so much more. A writhing, bubbling abstract world of intrigue and depth – at once subtle, while possessing the power of hammer’s blow"
- The Hum Blog on the reissue of Knud Victor's Ambiences and Images
a life well spent
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Friday, October 6, 2017
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Saturday, September 30, 2017
"Christian Clozier (Compiègne, France, 25 Aug 1945) is a French composer who studied at the Groupe de recherches musicales (GRM). Then he joined with Alain Savouret to found Electro-acoustic Improv. Ensemble Opus N.
In 1970 he and Françoise Barrière created the Groupe de musique expérimentale de Bourges (GMEB) which became in 1994 the Institut international de musique électroacoustique de Bourges (IMEB). In 1971, They founded the Bourges yearly festival of electro-acoustic music named Synthèse.
Clozier defined the experimental musical teaching technique and conceived the electroacoustic instrument known as Gmebogosse (for children) as well as the Cybernéphone (previously named Gmebaphone), original sound spatialization and broadcasting tools, plus new instruments for electroacoustic interpretation"
Friday, September 29, 2017
"Mandara was composed by Somei Satoh in 1986 as a response to an exhibition of Tibetan mandalas. He created it by over layering his own voice, sometimes up to 250 times. This music can be wonderful for meditation if you can allow it to absorb you, especially while viewing the mandalas in the video."
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
First commissioned by the French Government in 1981, the LP Rose Des Vents. Action Musicale evolved out of a six year project by Swiss composer Pierre Mariétan to document and musicalise the sound environment of urban landscapes within France, creating an inter-geographical auditory map of cities and townships located in the suburban reaches of Paris, including Bezons, Herblay, Montmagny and l’Isle Adam.
Through a mix of field recording, interviews, vegetable market catcalls, braying animals and urban hubbub, Mariétan paints a broad, psycho-acoustically vivid and decentralised profile of metropolitan life from the period; carried to the ear through a coupling with musical studio performance and serialist compositional technique. Over an hour and forty minutes, the recording provides an intersectional and ambient passage through environmental and urban narratives, the radiophonic voice of Ana de Carvalho offering fleeting, poetic orientation with announcements of each titled scene, divining and evoking the sonorous qualities of each landscape as it comes into focus. Each scene tangible yet non-specific, the artist arranging and signalling the possibility of civic and pastoral space as a musical container for spontaneous, sonorous interactions.
Mariétan’s profile is of a rigorous yet open and exploratory composer, utilising principles of chance and curiosity in organising found sound and often negotiating or encouraging encounters with improvisatory gesture or incidental and occurring sound. In 1966 he established the outfit GERM, grouping composers and musicians dedicated to developing new meeting points between composition and improvisation. Members assist in contributing recordings and performances throughout Rose Des Vents, including musical passages on piano, synthesizer, horn and saxophone. These studio pieces, played on saxophone by Daniel Kientzy or piano by Gerard Fremy, recall and redeploy techniques developed over the lifespan of the project, where site specific actions and concerts were performed within each of the towns.
In many ways, the album is a folding of each facet of the author’s life and work into a single representative culmination. A sympathy towards radiophonic or documentary production values is recognisable—Mariétan produced two iterations of Rose Des Vents. Action Musicale for Alain Trutat and Jean Tardieu’s ground-breaking Atelier De Création Radiophonique on Radio France Culture ahead of this LP release—alongside the influence of his work in urban acoustics and research into forms of sound ecology. So too is the obvious pleasure taken in introducing the sweetness of music to children, with notable samples from his educational workshops and sound installations helping to internalise and evoke a sense of inquisitive delight.
It’s these components, combined with themes and concerns about the acoustic environment that resonate 30 years later and establish Rose Des Vents as such an approachable, listenable and lovely piece of experimental sound art. The conjuration of an emotional or psychological plane through musical and metaphorical synthesis allows the listener to situate themselves within the montage in a near cinematic manner, discovering an underlying sonority embedded in the psychic atmospheres of communal life.
[via Continuo's Documents]
eighties revival (and pieces on eighties revival) has gone on longer now than the actual Eighties lasted
a chap called Ryan Britt asked me some questions recently about Eighties revivalism for a piece he was doing...
on the endless Eighties revival(s)
Eighties-referencing in music (in fashion it started earlier, almost as soon as the Nineties was over) first stirred in the later years of the Nineties. You had certain techno artists reactivating ideas from electro and from synthpop - Drexciya, Dopplereffekt, Adult., others. And then separately there was this short-lived and unsuccessful attempt in the UK to launch a New Romantic revival around 1995-96 - the journalists behind it called it Romo, and claimed it was a renaissance of glammy early Eighties ideas, rather than a revival. That puttered out, in part I think because it was way too premature. Not enough time had elapsed from the original period for it to seem charming or mysterious.
But then it just gradually built, you had Electroclash in the early 2000s, you had Daft Punk, then Gaga, Little Boots, La Roux taking it mainstream. So to answer to your question I would say it’s the 2000-20009 phase that is the prime and peak of Eighties retro. BUT it has obviously carried on all through this decade as well. Just when you think it’s finally gone away someone else crops up reviving
The one thing I wish I had thought to say and put in the book - a friend of mine made the observation to me and I recycled in various pieces around the book, but didn’t have it in time to put in the book itself – is that the Eighties revival has gone on longer than the actual Eighties did. By the time Retromania came about in 2011, it was about 14 years since Eighties-retro first kicked off. And even now in 2017 it’s still going on - you have the whole synth-wave / outrun style of electronic instrumental music inspired by action-movie soundtracks of the era and early videogame music. Or Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars imitating early 80s funk like the Gap Band on “Uptown Funk”. Or Haim with their strange obsessive recreation of the sound of Fleetwood Mac circa Tango in the Night, the very precise simulation of mid-late Eighties reverb and drum sounds and Yamaha DX7 synth and other production hallmarks.
I think the Eighties have proved to be a bit like the Sixties – it’s now a perennial fixture of retro culture, and there’s a lot of material, fads and micro-phases that people can draw on. The same thing happened in the actual 1980s with Sixties revivalism – there was no one “Sixties revival”, there was a series of revivals of different phases of the Sixties, different styles. You had concurrent revivals of Sixties soul / the Motown sound, of Byrdsy jangly psychedelia, of the more British Pink Floyd / “Hole in my Shoe” type Swinging England / Carnaby Street psychedelia... and then a bit later people started being influenced by the late sixties when things got heavy and guitar solos starting to get extended and cosmic.
Periods in culture and music are constructs, they are produced by discourse and opinion, people agree to believe that there’s this unitary thing called “The Sixties” or “The Eighties”. But any given alleged Zeitgeist is unlikely to follow the calendar punctually; it’s also going to be the case that a lot of the population are barely involved in these supposed mass confluence of belief or excitement, their minds are occupied with other things, or their mentality is effectively stuck in earlier decades. And people carried on living in the Sixties long after that decade came to an end – look at the Deadhead phenomenon, or groups in the UK like Hawkwind and Gong and that whole free festival circuit in the UK, which ran through the whole Seventies and even into the Eighties with the same kind of music, long hair, drugs etc.
Decades in calendrical reality comprise a whole set of phases; you could call them micro-decades. The Sixties that involved Beatlemania and “Help!” is radically different from the Sixties of the White Album and Abbey Road and the first two albums by The Band. That particular Sixties – mustaches, beards, rock gets mature and worthy and earthy - then carries on a good way into the Seventies. It makes sense to think of a block of pop time that goes from 1968-1972 maybe.
At the same time it’s all a game and it’s all for grabs – endlessly arguable over - subject to revisionism and counter-views. Things blur and overlap. Even as a new bloc of pop time (glam 72 – 74) takes over and appears to be the new dominant thing, the earlier bloc is carrying on – those bearded artists are in fact selling shitloads of albums, playing huge tours. Another example is prog – the official history says that punk took over in 77 and that was the end of prog. But all the major prog artists – Pink Floyd, Genesis, yes, etc – were never more commercially successful than during the New Wave era, if you think of things like The Wall.
And the periodization is different for each art form or area of popular culture.
Oh there are links and synchronization - fashion and music are very close, and there are links between music and film. If you look at say Scorsese and that generation of directors, they are very much counterculture rock era figures, doing for the movies what the bands they worshipped did – and the links are very clear with Scorsese doing The Last Waltz movie with the Band.
But when that whole golden age of maverick movie making (Coppola, Scorsese, Pakula et al) is eclipsed by the Jaws / Star Wars blockbuster mentality (as you say, in some ways the beginnings of the Eighties – all those action / child-mentality type movies like ET and Raiders of the Lost Ark etc), you can’t synch that to what’s happening in music I don’t think. In music, rock is having a renewal of edge and politics and commitment and realism (and low-budget DIY) with punk. But the opposite is happening in movies – they’re becoming ever more big-budget, escapist, regressive, and in that sense building towards the kind of mass entertainment of the Reagan era.
on the lameness of Eighties retro and other matters
Yeah I think Eighties retro is lame really, deep down. (As is all retro). At the same time I really enjoyed the first Haim record and various other Eighties-reproduction records. I enjoyed the Stranger Things soundtrack. I just think it’s odd that people go back to sounds or styles that in their original time and context were modern and new and often futuristic. (All the Fleetwood Mac/Tango in the Night production hallmarks were actually new, at the time).
I’m not sure whether Stranger Things needs to be set in the Eighties or what that adds to the story. Perhaps it would be just as good a story if it was set in the present, or in the 90s, or in the Fifties.
Certainly TV productions seem to love setting things in an era and really going to town with the period reconstruction, making sure there are no anachronisms for the nerds out there to spot. It seems to be something that TV people – set designers, costumers, hair and make-up – just love to do. (As do film people). However I don’t know if that is “retro” in itself – for instance Mad Men is really a period drama - it’s as much a costume drama as Downtown Abbey. So that seems to be a perfectly valid reason to do the time travel thing, even though you could say it’s done to such an excessive degree that there is a sort of retro-fetish element to it.
In Stranger Things case though it does seem possibly somewhat arbitrary. I can’t remember much about the plot, but maybe for dramatic reasons it needed to be in a period when kids werent’ able to tell their mother’s where they were using their phones?