Our Deep Listening Station has literally changed the way customers can listen to music at our store in Amsterdam. We offer use of the turntable to those who want to get stuck into records on real HiFi sound. Recently we began making regular store selections of titles we recommend giving the long listen. We'll be sharing them with you, monthly, here.
July has been a great month for new experimental music. This is the main focus of this month's selection (with a couple of great re-issues in there too)- twelve records featuring some of the Deep Listening division's absolute favourite artists and labels...
THE TRILOGY TAPES
Metasplice's 3rd. Breaking away further into zones unknown, this Philly duo (featuring one member of _moonraker) prove again, that one of the finest machine bands out there. A meticulous and often sinister crank-out of the highest order. Gatefold sleeve. Don't sleep on this beast...TIP!
A site-specific recording sporting a straightforward approach that i’ve grown to love in the works of Gonçalo Cardoso. An album of modern day exotica, a genre i usually pretty much dislike, yet Cardoso steers his vehicle easily aside the trapdoors and potholes.
Combining found sounds, sparse playing and field recordings he creates a world that both invokes Treasure Island, and An Essay On Exoticism. Indeed questions are raised. But especially sincere emotions are shared. Cardoso acts both like the journalist and the aesthetic. Sometimes he just registers, as being the observer at the sideline, sometimes he alters and collages the material into new worlds.
The isle of Unguja is the great scene of this album. We hear the sound of water, suddenly interrupted by beautiful chorals or the strumming of string instruments, a drum beat. We hear the local fisherman talk while the shortwave radio becomes the symbol of the white man seeking truth and direction in the tropics. Its dial as a tool to reflect. This album invokes a certain nostalgia for age-old enthnographies, like a romantic letter from the tropics. A hymn of solitude, in awe of the nonhuman and human elements. Like photography, through various compositions - stills from a moment - to shed light upon the unique - universal process of a place.
"All the recordings were made during our month long stay in a beach hut in the main island of the Zanzibar archipelago, Unguja aka Zanzibar island. Unlike other beach/island locations the scenery there was very dynamic and ever changing. The colours would change with every tide creating a new washed out landscape everyday.
There are a lot of recordings of tides (they have 3km tides everyday!), of walking around in low tide, of the tidal waves banging against our hut at night, of sailing in wooden dhows, fishermen talking and sand washing their dhows, of walking at night in the village as well as some FM/AM radio improvs. A lot of what you hear was done on the spot with some minor adjustments done later. (G F Cardoso)"
Gonçalo Cardoso is the man behind the prolific Discrepant record label and composes under his own name and the moniker Gonzo. He recently traveled in Middle and Southern America.
Regis’ Downwards label presents an album of heavy hearted industrial songs from Ora Iso, making a kind of windswept, slowed-down and gothic pop variant that’s essential listening if yr into HTRK, Tropic of Cancer or Clay Rendering.. Clear vinyl edition of 200 copies
Ora Iso are an NYC-hailing band revolving around Indonesian-Australian, Kathleen Malay and New Yorker, Jason Kudo. Building on the rubbly ground of their Bathcat debut for Ba Da Bing!, the duo’s mutual sense of entropy and ennui results in a classically scorched sound in Image Certifies, one laced with scornful sarcasm and a general dissatisfaction with the world, and yet somehow bolstered by the slightest promise of hope.
Weighing in their heavy, bleeding hearts on 10 brittle dirges described by the band as “A love letter to a society dying of its own self-induced cancers”, Ora Iso play to Downwards’ most maudlin aspects with a sound that clearly resonates with their previous releases by Eyeless In Gaza or Tropic Of Cancer, but here blessed with a strung-out, unyielding and lugubrious quality they can surely call their own.
GROWING BIN RECORDS
An underwater adventure by young Parisian Shelter. Where previous releases have seen the synth-obsessed Frenchman take his inspiration from Caribbean rhythms or Balearic attitudes, this marine missive sees Shelter turn to the lavish world of the library,creating his an alternate score to Jean Faurez’ 1960 documentary short.
More submersible than snorkel, our journey begins in the very dark of the deep, mystical harp trills echoing through the inky blackness, picking up the bioluminescent shimmer of an Abraliopsis Squid. Gradually we make our way into the light, cruising past shoals of silver scales and underwater forests. ‚Immersion’ offers a placid, percolating rhythm and billowing pads, providing sonic symmetry for the dancing leaves, while the spheric soundscape of ‘La Vie A L’Ombre’ bubbles away like an underwater volcano. The optimistic ambience of ‘Plenitude Azotee’, brimming with delicate melody and glistening sequences, perfectly captures the wide-eyed wonder of a reef dive, before drifting into the serenity of ‘Parade’, an aquatic acquaintance of A.R.T. Wilson’s ‘Overworld’. A brief foray into shark fin funk sees out the A-side, before we’re back amid the beauty of the ocean floor; ‘Variation Abyssale II’ echoing the album opener but with even more poetry. The exotic and otherworldly sine waves of ‘Dans La Jungle De Varech’ simultaneously sound like a rainforest canopy, alien landscape and coral microcosm, expanding our horizons nicely ahead of the adrenaline rush of ‘Hors D’Haleine’. Shelter then sets us at ease with the tidal tonality and subtle shuffle of ‘Fumeurs Noirs’, a sublime synthetic suite, then leaves us to marvel at the soft focus splendour of ‘Synthii Outro’.
MUSIC FROM MEMORY
The subject of Music From Memory’s latest compilation focuses on Suso Saiz’s output as part of the group Orquesta De Las Nubes, formed by Suso Saiz and percussionist Pedro Estevan when the two met whilst studying a course on ‘Techniques of Contemporary Composition’ in Madrid.
Following on from a retrospective compilation of solo work and an album of recent work in 2016, Music From Memory continue to explore the work of Spanish ambient and experimental pioneer Suso Saiz.
Sharing a curiosity for American minimalist and Non-Western music, the pair began to share music through many listening sessions, during which the idea slowly evolved to try and make music together. Pedro’s partner at the time, soprano singer María Villa, would later join the two on vocals. With Suso’s sparse use of guitar loops, synthesizers, and drum computers in combination with the hypnotic percussion of Pedro Estevan and the wordless drifting vocals of María Villa, Orquesta De La Nubes would evolve as a group with a truly unique musical language; an ethereal and almost otherworldly musical realm.
Developing at first as a live act, through a number of performances in Madrid and beyond, Orquesta De Las Nubes was very much connected with, and inspired by, the avant-garde arts scene in Madrid at the time. Throughout their shows, a close circle of friends, including a number of painters, sculptors and designers, would collaborate with the trio to create unique imagery and elaborate stage sets for the group’s performances.
Yet, despite the growing fascination surrounding Orquesta De Las Nubes’ live performances, the trio would however find it extremely difficult to find a label willing to release their music on record. The group’s then manager Silvia Lovosevic therefore decided to set up her own label ‘Linterna Música’ in order to make the work available. The group would release three albums between 1983-1987, two on the Linterna Musica label as well as an album and CD compilation of live tracks on the cult Spanish label ‘Grabacionnes Accidentales’.
Between this period the trio would also team up with American percussionist Glen Velez to record as the group ‘Musica Esporadica’; a one-off project in which they recorded a single album of the same name in 1985. ‘Musica Esporadica’ will be released on Music From Memory in 2019.
Since its release in 1988, Dreamtime Return has earned its reputation as a genuine classic. The two-CD magnum opus is one of the most important, widely known and highly respected release in Steve Roach’s vast body of work. It serves as an essential benchmark within the Electronic-Ethno-Atmospheric genre.
Roach’s travels in the Australian outback, along with studies of the Aboriginal Dreamtime, and his desert walkabouts in California were the lifeblood for this recording which even today sounds like a transmission from the near future and the very distant past.
“Musically Dreamtime Return richly deserves its classic status, but Roach also deserves credit for leading electronic musicians out of their sheltered studios and into an active relationship with the landscape, the wider world, and deep cultural history. The whole genre is stronger and more relevant for his example.” – Stephen Hill, Hearts of Space Radio
Three decades after its release, the true expansive depth of this iconic masterpiece has been meticulously unveiled, revealing an entirely new listening experience. With this 30th Anniversary remastered edition, mastering engineer Howard Givens utilizes his years of technical knowledge with electronic music, an extensive array of analog and digital tools, and his passion for this seminal work, to restore the original sonic nature and visionary intention, taking the listener deeper into the dreamtime.
It’s taken 14 years for these extravagant Icelandic artist troubadours to follow up their last (untitled) album. (At least they managed to give this one a name ; imagine what else they’d be capable of if we’ d waited another five years. ) Beach Jolanda transposes their classic calipso - beach - bar - laptop - organ g ibberish to the unmanned terrain of public lavatories in the dead of night. But i t wouldn’t be a party without guests: BJ Nilsen, Oren Ambarchi, Porsteinn Eyfjörd, Gerard Herman and Kristin Anna all turn up here, wielding bottles and other unlikely instruments.
A Heart From Your Shadow is the debut collaborative album from Michael Beharie (New York) and Teddy Rankin-Parker (Chicago). Since graduating together from Oberlin College, Beharie and Rankin-Parker each veered into markedly different avenues. Beharie joined up with the ever-confounding New York ensemble Zs (Northern Spy, The Social Registry). Rankin-Parker became an on-demand cellist for his prowess in the work of improvisation and avant-garde music, lending his talents to a wide array of collaborators such as Primus, Iron & Wine, Steve Reich, and Pauline Oliveros. Rather than jump into stream-of-concious improvisation, Beharie and Rankin-Parker chose to focus the album's themes via intricately composed pieces. A Heart From Your Shadow could be described as protest music, brimming with intense energy, harrowing anxiety, and steadfast optimism. Produced by Michael Beharie, mixed carefully by Jim O'Rourke & mastered by James Plotkin.
R. Girardin – Emotional Music is a collaborative release from Palto Flats and Zero Grow, a contemporary rendering of synthetic midi-fusion and DAW experimentalism. Drawing links between Rashad Becker’s textured compositional approach and the multicultural electro-fetishism of Benjamin Lew, Emotional Music uses known palettes in non-traditional methods.
In Emotional Music we are treated to Girardin’s tooling of the synthesizer as a spiritual instrument, one where the typical motifs of musicality and style degrade in favor of poetic modulation matrices and breath controlled hopefuls. Synthesizers occupy a special place in sonic energy, dependent on electricity for physical sound creation, void of voice without human intellect and touch. Emotional Music is a synthesis of both the human and synthesizer’s expressive logics; one of internal architectures capable only through external inlets and outlets.
R. Girardin is a Hollywood location scout living in Los Angeles. Recent work includes contributions to the score of Invernomuto’s film "Vers L'Europa Deserta, Terra Incognita", and lectures on the aesthetics of decentered spatiality in Southern California at ECAL in Lausanne, Switzerland and UC Irvine. Girardin has previously released music on Italian label Hundebiss.
The artwork features a cover photo by Girardin and blind drawings by artist Roee Rosen.
Pionneering production from the Düsseldorf mid 80s electronic underground world. Transferred for the first ever time from the original cassette to vinyl..
Konrad Kraft (Detlef Funder) is one of the still overlooked producers of Düsseldorfs fertile electronic music scene. Arctica was originally released on Cassette on Funder's imprint SDV Tontrager in 1987 in a handmade edition of about 50 copies only.
Reduced to its essential musical elements, Arctica certainly contains some of the most uncategorizable and bewildering pieces of mid-eighties electronic music. Set between the areas of post punk and early techno, the album undulates between analogue as well as digital instrumentation. After Konrad Kraft's appearance on the enthusiastically received compilation Sammlung - Elektronische Kassettenmusik, Düsseldorf 1982 - 1989 (compiled by Stefan Schneider for bureau-b in 2017) TAL presents his full-length album for the first ever time on vinyl, CD and digital formats.
In the mid-eighties synthesizers had become increasingly affordable due to digital electronics, allowing more and more people to produce music. It was also a 'post - band' period. People now had projects, often being musician, producer, engineer and label manager all at once. Since most electronic records of the 1970s Krautrock scene were not widely available in Germany and also somewhat out of fashion, it is not irrelevant to know that the prime sources of inspiration were records by Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, Dome or Nocturnal Emissions. Record shops like Heartbeat, which existed in Düsseldorf between 1985 and 1987, offered a wide range of experimental music and served as an umbrella for the disparate strands of the electronic side of post punk. Heartbeat also attracted a loosely connected scene of young musicians who shared a deep seated passion for electronic sounds. Cassettes were the medium of choice for self produced recordings.
At the time of the Arctica sessions, the newly set up SDV studio consisted of a Tascam 38, an eight-track tape recorder, and only a handful of synthesizers such as a Roland JX3P and a Korg Monopoly. The style of Konrad Kraf'ts productions displayed (ever since and up until today), a strong adherence to an idea of continual self-creation and a quality of wanting to be responsible for one's own identity. Even three decades after its recording, Arctica still evokes images of an expedition into an edgy cold place which has strange wonders, polar lights, structures of ice and innumerable worlds and creatures in store.
Konrad Kraft (who today runs Paraschall mastering studios): "In the early 70's I got a transistor radio as a gift and immediately fell in love with the shortwaves. So many different sounds that was truly fascinating. I can imagine that nowadays as music is endlessly compressed to fit into mobile phones and as music on the radio sounds dreadfully the same, there might be a renewed interest by a young generation in discovering electronic sounds. I can listen to Arctica much better now than when it originally came out, because there is a distance which allows me to approach the recordings on a more neutral plane.
Even though more than 30 years have passed I know the tracks and the prevalent mood of the time captured in these recordings is still very much with me. Arctica seems to sound even more contemporary today than it did in 1987."