Few Traces surveys Mark Renner's scarcely released and unreleased material recorded from 1982 to 1990, embracing and evoking wordless translations of the individual's musical experience, and the poetic expression of being here. Something of a rust-belt Brian Eno, Few Traces places the Baltimore artist's ambient explorations, composed as soundtracks to guide his visual work, alongside his guitar-centric, vocal driven songs traversing terrains similar to Cocteau Twins or The Durutti Column.
Visible Cloaks' Lex proposes a utopian dream language and its accompanying sound, a limitless, delicate space developed by fluid musical techniques and subconscious voices. The six pieces comprising Lex simulate a more peaceful future, their mysteries telling a new tale in an unknown but imaginable melodic language. Visible Cloaks are the Portland-based musicians Spencer Doran and Ryan Carlile. Utilizing software-based composition rooted in randomization, MIDI-translation and chance operations, the duo has established an improbable humanist mode of music from esoteric processes. Following their self-titled debut album, Visible Cloaks offered Reassemblage, an album simultaneously honoring the post-Yellow Magic Orchestra school of avant musical adventure and diverging from it. Veering from the paths cleared by Japanese and Italian electronic pop and ambient artists of the mid-80s / early-90s, Reassemblage established Visible Cloaks' own camp in a forest of deep sound canopied by trees grown from synthetic seeds. The sound represented on Lex is webbed with sculptural arrangements and interpolated by the sounds of alien speech. These strange and serene utterances were created by Doran feeding a chain of multiple dialects and accents through a language translation software to create an auditory poetry of an evolved place and time. Lex features both the final version of this process and earlier, simplified experiments with it ("Keys"). "The idea - building on 'fourth world' or 'global village' type concepts - was to create a projected language that was a fusion of many," Doran explains. "The result was a very disorienting form of non-language that amplifies the lapses in meaning that occur with the inaccuracy of auto-translation software." Permutate Lex, a companion short film to Lex made by Visible Cloaks in collaboration with artist Brenna Murphy (who also created the artwork for Reassemblage and several virtualist videos for the album), is an integral counterpart, both visualizing an aesthetic alive with human form and guiding the sonic experience of the first five pieces: "Wheel," "Frame," "Transient," "Keys," and title track "Lex." "World," the longest piece presented on Lex, is redrawn from a generative composition originally produced for an installation Doran made with Murphy. The original work incorporates LFOs and randomized MIDI-information, and was intended to variate indefinitely. In this 'fixed' version, "World" provides a more conclusive view into the impossible musical environments Visible Cloaks make real. Longer than any track on Reassemblage, "World" expresses the deepening, patient intimations suggested by Lex. Doran says the Lex "attempts to communicate the essence of a world distant enough that it can’t be captured or comprehended from the present, appearing only surreal and inscrutable." The statement reveals a broader musical philosophy fueling this new moment; an awakened voice woven through complex melodic shapes and phrases establishes communication between listeners and the unknown, here presented by Visible Cloaks as sounds coloring the very edge of the envisionable. Visible Cloaks' Lex is available December 8 in LP and digital formats. An exclusive CD version of Lex featuring the audio of Permutate Lex will be available around Visible Cloaks Japanese November / December 2017 tour with Sugai Ken.
Otherworldly and anomalous, hushed and hallucinatory, Pauline Anna Strom's unique style of inner space music reaches across time to futures and pasts far from our own. Trans-Millenia Music compiles 80 minutes of Strom's most evocative work, composed and recorded between 1982 and 1988 across seven albums released in minimal vinyl and cassette editions. Strom's heightened sensitivity to sound and spirited sensibility with the primal synthesizer tools of her trade elevates this music beyond the catch-all containers of New Age and ambient music into a realm of its own. RVNG's double LP and CD collections feature original artwork by visionary Karma Moffett, printed inner sleeves and booklet with extensive liner notes scribed by Britt Brown.
With a melodic cluster dripping into a pool of dark water, UkabazUmorezU's arrival ripples as an apex in Sugai Ken's continued construction of a deeply resonant, enveloping sound world. Upon contact, UkabazUmorezU gently and generously unfurls across aural alleys and streets mundanely but mystically detailed with recontextualized Japanese rituals and tradition.
A lived experience of traditional Japanese music's conversation with environment, and vice versa, forms the melodic make-up and metaphysical philosophy conditioning UkabazUmorezU. Upon imagining a landscape, Sugai decomposes the image (and the images within the image) and replaces it with a sound representation - an artifactual terrain, tethered to but abstracted from the natural world.
The eleven pieces which form UkabazUmorezU dovetail meaningfully with the invented album title, roughly translating to "slow and steady wins the race." Made up of recordings sourced and appropriated from the local performing arts of Kanagawa, Japan (where Sugai lives), his daily surroundings, and Sugai’s tool kit of electronic synthesis, UkabazUmorezU evokes tranquil patience while never settling into a single style or still of sound for too long.
The Gradual Progression is a transformative collection of new music by Greg Fox. The seven pieces of The Gradual Progression activate spiritual states through physical means, Fox's rigorous inner rhythms the mandalic vessel for unbound expression and arrangement. TGP signals both a reconciliation of disparate musical ventures and a new nirvanic stage in the artist's oeuvre.
Kai Hugo works in two guises. Palmbomen is a group-oriented collaboration suited for live dynamics and instrumentation, while Palmbomen II is geared toward solitary production with an austere toolset: classic sequencers, time-tested drum machines and their contemporary counterparts. Hugo's foray as Palmbomen II makes its debut on Beats In Space Records with the eponymous full-length Palmbomen II.
Poiemusia La Nau Dels Argonautes offers a Mediterranean journey, one that Ulysses, Aeneas, and Jason with his Argonauts charted first and Valencian artist, Pep Llopis, retraced and retread from the islands of Menorca to Santorini. All of his experiences are aboard this vessel of sound: no format in mind, no course but the chasm within self. Poiemusia La Nau Dels Argonautes offers a musical language that any listener can understand. Untethered to the meaning of words, one is set adrift and free in minimalist sound and traditional music.
Exploring the expressivity within intense states of being, Latinx identity, and pluralistic sensibilities, Helado Negro's Private Energy is an engrossing statement achieved through lyrically personal and political avant pop music. Private Energy will be re-introduced to the public via RVNG Intl. in expanded form on May 5, 2017, appearing on vinyl for the first time alongside new CD and digital editions. Supplemented with three brand new "versions," this iteration of Private Energy will continue the strong narrative of Helado Negro's spectral opus.
Marc Barreca's Music Works for Industry is a layered assertion. An economic mantra for the mind to spin, like the many loops on this recording, or churn, as gears of some godhead machine. From the pool of playful compositions, a social subtext appears - a somewhat sardonic riposte to the commercial and cynical abuse of music and musicians. Favoring musicians, performance artists, and a bespoke instrument maker over an assembly line, Barreca combines multiple disciplines into a collective, industrious whole for this consumable work.
Visible Cloaks' Reassemblage is a collection of delicately rendered passages of silence and sound that invokes - and invites - consciousness. The foundation of the duo's second album could be described as translingual or polyglottal, working within an eastern / western feedback loop of influence, Fourth World ambiguity, and the universality of human emotion. Vinyl includes high-quality, multi-format download with bonus tracks.
You can see the sounds her voice makes. The literal depiction of this, a photograph of Michele Mercure with an eyeball in her mouth, is removed in the updated album art. The original graphic elements are left to suspend, speak, and sing across time. In the absence of the decade-specific portraits, the redesigned edition is dislocated from a particular or linear history. Our initial point of encounter is artifactual; a trace in place of a scar.
Accordingly, Michele's true image and body is sound. Eye Chant, as a whole, offers meditations of sound as material. Her instruments are voice and synthesizer, the former following the machine’s lead and language of patterns. Machine sounds become abstract words. The human voice is pulled apart, dislodged from context; a tactile, textured quality appears to reconfigure the body and machine presently or permanently.
Syrinx's path veered from the dominant modes of '70s subculture, their version of chamber pop hybridized with wild, whimsical electronic experimentation charting new territory in the under and overground. Formed by composer John Mills-Cockell after the dissolution of Intersystems, Syrinx's two adventurous albums, Syrinx and Long Lost Relatives, endorsed the poetic potential of the avant-garde, subverting a turn of the '60s trend toward technological pageantry. Tumblers From The Vault presents these two albums alongside the trio's unheard music, revisiting the Syrinx story and sharing their memorable, mind-bending melodies. Triple LP version comes with printed inner sleeves, 20 page booklet with extensive liner notes, and a high-quality digital download.
Sunergy brings together synthesists Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Suzanne Ciani for the thirteenth installment of FRKWYS, RVNG Intl.'s intergenerational collaboration series. For this edition, a panorama of the Pacific Coast provides the place and head space for exploratory Buchla synthesizer passages that meditate on a life-giving form vast and volatile with change. LP version includes printed inner sleeve and high-quality digital download of album with bonus track "Retrograde."
BIS001-020 is a compilation surveying the first twenty Beats In Space Records releases. In keeping with the sensibility coveted by Sweeney during his time on air, it's clear what makes these releases harmonious. There's an attitude a little bit rude, but softened with sensitivity. There is a sense of motion narrative and duration; a dedication to crescendo, a theatricality that never yawns. An appreciate for melody, but not at the expense of propulsive percussive textures.
Mikael Seifu's Zelalem is an ode to - and a fearless break from - the storied lineage of Ethiopian music.
The literal Amharic translation of Zelalem is "eternity," and through Seifu's conceptual frame it becomes a "vector of light." Seifu shines this light on the music of his home country while guiding us through an uncharted "Ethiopiyawi Electronic" - a coinage Seifu uses to describe the music he and his peers are producing in Ethiopia's capital city of Addis-Ababa.
Zelalem spotlights the music of Ethiopia's past as well its future. Mikael Seifu illustrates the potential for reinterpreting sacred and proud sources through energized palettes. His latest effort heralds the future of this new music and signals the genesis of Ethiopian Electronic, where the known and unknown commune.
Breadwoman & Other Tales are the collected recordings of a language arising. It is the sound and document of Anna Homler divining speech, lyrical fragments, and melody for music composed, mixed, and engineered by Steve Moshier. It's 1982 and Anna is driving an ocean blue classic Cadillac to meet renowned poet and playwright Deena Metzger in Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles. Passing a non-descript desert patch where tall wheat and mustard flowers grow, Anna opens her mouth and sings in a salient stream of rhythmic, melodic sound.
Breadwoman is born, but not by immaculate conception. For Homler, performance art had recently become "a form big enough to contain everything happening" during her studies with Rachel Rosenthal at Otis College of Art and Design. As this performative freedom fed into the enchanted vocalese,the character of Breadwoman emerged. Homler tread the same multi-disciplinary waters where Steve Moshier and the Cartesian Reunion Memorial Orchestra (CRMO), a communal avant-garde urban chamber music ensemble formed in LA in 1979, floated. When their currents connected, it was clear Homler and Moshier were kin, crossing genres through intensely physical de-significations of music: quasi-theatrical, fully mythic, ritualistic performances.
Instead of confining Anna as "a vocalist," Moshier recognized Anna's voice as a sonic element. To accomplish the recordings of this collection, Moshier chose the least song-like material from Homler's handheld cassette transcriptions and composed music considerately. Anna would then record chants and song variations which Steve would tweak for final touches through his arsenal of analog equipment.
Although Breadwoman stands outside of time, she is is rich in the ingredients of 1980s Los Angeles performance art, renegade DIY punk, gallery culture, galvanized jazz, underground cassette-trading culture, drag extravaganzas, and esoteric meaning-making mysticism. Breadwoman is a storyteller - she's so very old she's turned into bread. Breadwoman says: If you don't try to understand, you will. She is the voice, and the voice is cosmic reality's musicality. Through Breadwoman & Other Tales, we hear material meet mythos.
Before the actualization of Bing & Ruth's halcyonic opus Tomorrow Was the Golden Age, there was City Lake. This newly remastered version of the 2010 limited edition album features David Moore leading an eleven piece ensemble through a greater gamut of rhythmic materials while tracing the ambient tract that appeared in tomorrow's horizon.
Double album includes printed inner sleeves and a multi-format download code featuring three bonus tracks. CD version includes three bonus tracks.
We Are Not The First features the interstellar ensemble of Marshall Allen, Daniel Carter, Greg Fox, Shelley Hirsch, Shahzad Ismaily, Elliott Levin, Rafael Sanchez, and Ben Vida directed in deep dialogue through humans' hidden sound history by Jamal Moss aka Hieroglyphic Being. Hieroglyphic Being & the J.I.T.U. Ahn-Sahm-Bul demonstrate that vitality lives in its collectivity and a sonic-consciousness exists somewhere in the primordial ooze.
Artificial Dance chronicles K. Leimer's complete collaborative venture as Savant and explores the unpredictable alchemy of music made in chance environments. For fans of Brian Eno & David Byrne's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Artificial Dance is a revelatory document of tape spliced funk, fourth-world foraging, and nonconformist musical ethos colliding.
Persuasion is a trio of new tracks by Blondes. The duo's first offering since Swisher, Persuasion furthers the extemporized themes explored on that album but reveal Sam Haar and Zach Steinman to be as dexterous in the studio as they are at motivating live, primal techno.
With Haar and Steinman no longer living within earshot of each other, the distance has inspired a new work ethic. In the creative incubation since Swisher's release, the duo's improvisational practice honed live in club settings has evolved from excursive to immediate and exacted.
The engine of Persuasion is fueled by kinetic textures and decisions. Melodies follow unpredictable paths and flare into spiraling percussion. Soundssimultaneously rise and crash entering and exiting the different track environments. Still, the groove remains true, a grounding technique.
Space and time have refined Blondes blend of live dynamics and studio discovery. What sets Persuasion apart from their prior records is the sense of Haar and Steinman's maturation behind the controls, yielding more propulsive, assertive, and persuasive forces than ever.
Nite-Glo is the new offering from Stellar OM Source, the outrÃ©-minded music venture of Christelle Gauldi. Tempering the freneticism unleashed on Stellar OM Source's 2013 album Joy One Mile, Nite-Glo guides Gauldi's rhythms to unexpected places of emotive and meditative power.
The four tracks of Nite-Glo were written during a transient time for Gauldi. Loss and processing the associated emotions informed those moments in which Gualdi could escape to her mobile studio set up. Recorded solely with her live hardware, Nite-Glo tears down any ornamental tapestry to uncover a core of luminescent synths, glowing 303 lines, and a burning awareness.
Nite-Glo continues an off-script musical journey informed by Gualdi's formal training in electro-acoustic composition at the Conservatoire de Paris and an ascent from the DIY synth scene of the mid-aughts to a global dancefloor. Rewarding listeners keen on conscious listening, the passages of Nite-Glo crystalize as tracks unfurl and sequences reveal an absolute power over time.
Transcending its cathartic context, Nite-Glo finds Christelle Gauldi abstracting the ebullience of Stellar OM Source's sound in favor of remote spaces and roiling tempos. A snapshot of Gualdi's personal and creative transition, Nite-Glo beams through a mournful context, visible only as eyes have adjusted in the shadows.
For the twelfth volume of FRKWYS, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe and Ariel Kalma offer We Know Each Other Somehow. Recorded outside of Mullimbimby, a remote community on the eastern Australian coast, the album pairs two synth voyagers for six extended evocations of environmental ambience and entrancing naturalism. Accompanied by Sunshine Soup, a feature length documentary based on the intergenerational collaboration, We Know Each Other Somehow summons another world in an otherworldly part of the planet.