First of all, thank you for accepting the invitation to hear sounds that may not have passed your way or that may give you pause to revisit warm, old haunts from sessions past. I know you probably won’t love everything you hear on these posts, but hopefully one or more of the following links will help lead you on your own sonic exploration. Because for me, music is a series of transits with neither beginning or end… just an unsatisfied sense that the sounds you’re truly looking for are just around the next corner, sounds heard in an unconventional way, under unique circumstances for no other reason than the sense of discovery.
But how does one express the first tentative steps to someone who has never taken that quest? Would a brief overview of personal favorites provide the necessary signposts for journeys to come, or should there be a linear delving into the individual genres hinted at above in this blog’s tag-line, and should it be necessary to provide the technical specifications that composers use to fashion their visions? After long and deliberate deliberation, I’ve decided to approach this endeavor in much the same manner with which I’ve come to appreciate the great interactive community of musical composers and the network of promoters and labels that help it take flight, by following the threads that tie many of these experimental artists together and to allow room for each reader to interpret their own sounds. Less review and more an offer to listen, each post will be a brief hint at what has recently been released within the reach of my gravitational pull and, more often than not, being freely offered by those creating and releasing it. As many of you know, I’ve long been an advocate of Creative Commons licensing and the countless netlabels that release astonishing music under those terms and this journey will feature many of those labels, as well as band and composers’ personal websites, Soundcloud and/or Bandcamp pages and maybe an occasional link to one of the many blogs I follow that paints a more poetic portrait of the aural experience in question than I ever could.
Okay, so how does this work? Simple. One of the netlabels I’ve recently come across is etched traumas; an impressive new netlabel from Athens that have been releasing material since October ’11. In January they released Nicholas Fair‘s How to Get Lost in Your Bedroom, a laconic, hypnotic suite of 3 instrumental tracks layering treated guitar runs over decaying vocal echoes. Stemming from older recordings, they carry the warmth and noise of time past, of days hazy in memory.
The reason I follow this label and found Nicholas’ wonderful release is etched tramumas’ earlier, back to back release of Red Clouds‘ The Introduction of a New Species, in April of ’12, and IOK-1‘s That Which Remains is Silence, a month later in May of ’12. Both are projects which I’ve followed avidly through their Soundcloud pages for quite awhile now. Right, I think you’re beginning to see how this works…
James Hoehl, aka Red Clouds, followed “The Introduction of a New Species” with the brooding, droning “Mythology”, 3 soundscapes which continue his dive deeper and deeper into the hypnotic hum of engines yet invented, of an overarching industrial ambience which the future will thrum with night and day. Released in November of ’12 on “Petroglyph Music”, a new Norwegian netlabel launched in the earlier that summer by Rune Martinsen and Oystein Jorgensen, it proved to be a very fortuitous find for me as they would include one of my recent compositions on their extensive, end-of-year holiday compilation, The X-Mas Compilation (sorry, shameless plug, but an amazing compilation featuring more new sounds and musicians for you to discover than there are hours in a day to listen to them all.) And as is often the case with netlabels, those who run them are also artists in their own right. A case in point is Oystein’s new release on Petroglyph Music, “Winter EP”, a blend of crystalline Aurora Borealis shimmers bracingly arcing across the night sky as the cold tones of barren, snowswept tundras howl across the landscape. Rarely does a release’s title match the feelings it evokes, but this truly is the sound of cold Nordic winters slowly passing to their own rhythms and time.
Petroglyph Music continues to impress with their roster of artists, also releasing new material from the Greek producer (who has recently relocated to Manchester, England, I believe) John Ov3rblast. Veteran of several of the more influential netlabels, I first came across his music through DeepinDub. One of the elder soapboxes for Creative Common releases, DeepinDub has a long history of releasing some of the most influential music in the dub and dub techno communities. Although started way back in 2006, it wasn’t until 2008 and their releases from Zzzzra, Upwellings, Idealist and, in particular, the amazing Fingers in the Noise, that I become an advocate of DiD. Like many of the netlabels struggling to cover the costs of production and release, DeepinDub have recently crossed over into the realm of physical releases with another new favorite of mine, Textural Being, having just released his latest collection of tracks, Dreams of Falling, as the second CD to be offered with the DeepinDub imprint.
Another young veteran of the netlabel release circut, Textural Being’s Sage Taylor has released material on basic_sound, which I will feature in-depth in later posts, the influential Monokrak, as well as one of the most promising new labels, Cold Tear Records. In roughly 3 years, Cold Tear has gone from a small Lithuanian upstart to having released material by Textural Being, Brickman, who is currently one of my favorite artists, slow noise and Moonwalker. In addition to all those wonderful releases on Cold Tear, they’ve also just released a new series of tracks from Brazilian born Cesar “M1A1” Alexandre, aka Iminazole, who, while vacationing in Japan, created 10 tracks of sonic space that continue his exploration of the frequencies and tempos that inform and define minimal ambient techno.
And so there it is, the first tentative steps on this epic voyage of discovery. From Nicholas Fair’s haunting sounds of moments slipping into memory to Oystein Jorgensen’s hyperboreal Arctic ambience to Iminazole’s dubbed out clash of modulated loops and distant, hissing Oriental rains, all in one easy journey. And this is only the beginning…