Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Contemporary Obfuscation

'Hauntological House: From Sturm to Stott' appeared in radio form on RRR 102.7FM Thursday 2 May, 7.00pm Melbourne time under the title Contemporary Obfuscation:
Despite advances in technology enabling easy manipulation of sonic data in high fidelity audio, a number of contemporary electronic musicians opt to intentionally obscure their music into a dirty, hazy, slowed down moire of low-fi noise. Contemporary Obfuscation looks at the work of a number of contemporary UK artists working in this manner - Burial, Actress, Andy Stott, The Caretaker - tracing their roots back to 1990s glitch. Contemporary Obfuscation examines some of the moods and effects this music evokes and looks at possible motivations behind this approach.

Here's what was played:
Burial - 'Forgive' Burial (Hyperdub 2006)
Pole - 'Berlin' 1 (Kiff SM 1998)
Andy Stott - 'Intermittent' Passed Me By (Modern Love 2011)
Actress - 'I Can't Forgive You' Hazyville (Werk Discs 2008)
Sturm - 'Untitled' Sturm (Mille Plateaux 1999)
Miles - 'Rejoice' Faint Hearted (Modern Love 2013)
Samuel Kerridge - 'Auditory System' Auris Interna (Horizontal Ground 2012)
Lee Gamble - 'M25 Echo' Diversions 1994-1996 (PAN 2012)
Tuff Sherm - 'Claw Worlds' Canal Cloaking (Reckno 2012)
Rechenzentrum - 'Parabolid' The John Peel Session (Kitty Yo 2001)
Anthony Child - 'The Space Between People and Things Part 2 (excerpt)' The Space Between People and Things (NNA Tapes 2013)
The Caretaker - 'Persistent Repetition of Phrases' Persistent Repetition of Phrases (Install 2008)

It can be streamed here.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Listening: 24 April 2013

Quickly checked the Krake compilation this morning. Started with Thomas Koner's 'The Weary Seer', originally from 2010 and typical Koner - all amorphous grey mist. Then my first hearing of Dadub so no idea whether the Koner-esque drone of 'Synchronic Pattern' is representative of his sound, imagined he was a techno producer. Pole's 'Wipfel Dub' was the most pleasing, from the first of his Waldgeschichten 12"s on his own Pole label (a rebranding of Scape?), which I'd missed until recently hearing Waldgeschichten 3. These show a real return to original form, crisp and spacious dub patterns which could have come out on Scape 10 years ago but they're unusually well crafted and effortlessly enjoyable:

Given the appearance of Kid606 too, Krake seems a real throwback to the glitch era where compilations like this were rampant. Its status as an accompaniment to a festival reveals modest aims: a take-home souvenir of sorts. However parent label Killekill describe Krake's aim as presenting 'strictly challenging artists, no bullshit, no boredom.' In which case their decision to release as their first product a compilation of many old artists and recent offcuts is problematic.

After this played all of Lubomyr Melnyk's Corollaries. Melnyk's been around since the 1970s and is famed for his 'continuous music', ceaseless arpeggios and rapid flurries played by human hands. Given the reviews and blurbs I'd expected something more jaw-droppingly frenetic a la Nancarrow, Mazulis or even Charlemagne Palestine but it's rather subdued, bucolic even, certainly more 'musical':

Most pieces spring from Glass/Reich like patterns before branching out into lush emotional vistas. In this sense Melnyk seems more influenced by Franz Liszt and the virtuosic romantic tradition.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Listening: Sandwell District Fabric 69

I don't listen to much Techno these days but the Sandwell District Fabric mix is hugely enjoyable. Played in near entirety on the commute to work (still have the closing minutes to hear), with the listening situation - in motion on public transport, Autumn sun intermittently peering through the windows, listening crisply on headphones to which techno is well suited - worked in its favour. Not too much of the dull grey Berghain-post-Basic Channel sound - which tends to bore me - but it's definitely represented, and well, with strong linear chug from Mary Velo, JPLS (sounding very Basic Channel), Rrose and Markus Suckut.

But these work best due to timbral detours via Untold, Mark Ernestus doing BBC, and Plastikman, these strung together beautifully.

I can't help but find far more time for Rrose than others of their ilk due solely to the name. It retains enough 'concept' to provide faceless Techno with a hint of face, and it being Duchamp's, it's a cheeky, playful one.

But one needs an 'in', anything, to make choices in today's music marketplace.

And Rrose's work with Bob Ostertag provides further interest:

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Listening: 13 April 2013 - Mille Plateaux

I came of age with Mille Plateaux, discovering it as a recently converted former electrophobe, turned on through the usual club means, but craving an exploratory angle I'd missed through the indie-alt-country twee I'd hitherto enjoyed and the banging UK Hard House I'd been introduced to (and didn't much care for). Mille Plateaux, and their functional brethren Force Inc and Force Tracks, did the trick, bringing invention, rhetoric and experimentalism to the - for me - new field of electronic and dance music.

I was going to write more on this but no time, so will stick to what I've recently revisited. None of this fueled by a specific nostalgia, but somehow was curious to hear how Random Inc's Walking In Jerusalem sounded. It was one of the late Mille Plateaux releases I never properly heard, also coincidentally among the first records I bought through the internet. Could be a factor, lacking the in-person connection of buying in real shops (a petty plug for Saturday's Record Store Day). Anyways, its patchy now but by no means irrevocably dated, couple of pretty good tracks which could work in today's deep house environment. Walking In Jerusalem was released in two versions, I got the more rhythmic vinyl but there was the more abstract CD release (which I've never heard), with some cross over but generally distinct tracks and agenda. (This multiple versions-multiple aims release strategy seems to be quite unique, and doesn't happen much today.)

Only audio link to it I could find available is this, using a track I can only assume is CD only as I don't have it, for a video I know nothing about:

The vinyl release comprises mixes of sorts, each track titled 'Random Inc meets...' so and so '... in ...', location in Jerusalem, based around wherever Random Inc's Sebastien Meissner did the field recording. Collaborators are mostly the glitch-Microhouse artists of the day, of which the 'Random_Inc Meets Anton Kubikov @ Moscovia' track is pretty good, a glitched up version of Kubikov's 'Erusalem' off his Move Your Body Boogie' EP on the forgotten Freizeitglaubben label.

That track is now credited to SCSI-9:

Also great is 'Random_Inc Meets Greenhouse Fx @ King David', but of Greenhouse FX there is nada.

So it's an internet void for listening to Walking in Jerusalem aside from unhelpful Last FM links, like much of the lesser glitch bulk of the day. Random Inc's Sebastian Meissner does more as Klimek these days but not since 2009's Movies is Magic (which was magic).

Also DLed and listened to Vladislav Delay's Entain. I'd only had it on a copied Mini Disk before but its worth hearing again; like all V Delay's work it holds up. Mournful dubby trails with trademark bass pulses. Youtube is kind:

Something of Slowdive's Souvlaki in this:

Now have a hankering to hear Tim Hecker's Jetone album again, something I dig out more often than most Mille Plateaux releases. I've spoken before of my boredom with Hecker's own-name work, even the acclaimed Ravedeath and Piano Drop were mere updates on a decade-old sound, good as that is. Now he's touring with Oneohtrix Point Never which would be fun...:

... But I'd like to hear him revisit rhythms:

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Listening: 1 April 2013, Giegling

Spent the early hours of the beginning of April playing records, primarily the Giegling Futur II collection and various records in a similar guise. Mnmlssgs raved about the label, especially Kettenkarussell and their outstanding long mix (that seems no longer to be available...?), and Giegling remains incredibly consistent, not rocking any boats but doing a steady thing very well indeed. There seems to be a few sides to their sound (granular-ambient hip-hop, granular-ambient techno) but what I favour most is the granular-ambient house, an early-Dial-esque subdued minimal deep hazy thing typified by Kettenkarussell, and of which there's great examples on Futur II:

Traumprinz aka Prince of Denmark is a Geigling regular and just put out Say or Do, his third 12" for his own Traumprinz label, and it's a doozy. The title track is fine, indeed they all are, but none better than 'Changes', which would have me gloriously melting if heard in discotheques:

He's doing similar things on 'Freedom' from Traumprinz 1 though not quite so euphorically:

And here's a fine mix from Traumprinz as Prince of Denmark from the Giegling website:

Monday, 1 April 2013

Listening: 30 March 2013

I loved shoegaze as a teenager and recent re-discovery reveals I still do. Slowdive especially, almost nothing sounds quite as sad. Played Souvlaki in the shed through the tinny little portable CD player I keep out there and it sounded amazing:

Listening: 26 March 2013

The home stereo plays more ambient than most forms of music. Recently enjoyed the following:

Sawako (pictured): 'Tsubomi, Saku'

Northerner: 'The End of December'

Brian McBride: 'Several Tries in an Unelevated Style'

Akira Rabelais: 'With the Gift of Your Small Breath'

Listening: John Cage

Reading two books on Cage presently so have been playing as much of his music through the stereo as possible. He is not at all conducive to portable headphone listening. Not always conducive to the strict demands of the home stereo either but there's been sufficient time and place to hear the following:


John Cage: Perilous Night and Four Walls, Margaret Leng Tan

Perilous Night is, as the title hints at, rather rackety, while Four Walls, apparently depicting Cage's fraught emotional state before settling down with Merce, is gloomy, with less use of vocals than I expected. Typically with Cage moods are hardly straightforward and 'gloomy' is quite freely drawn. An old Harold Moores relic, pleasantly listened through from start to finish.

John Cage: Early Piano Music, Herbert Henck

Bought cheap off the HMR rep, restricted to playing The Seasons and In A Landscape, the latter more for comparison with Lubimov's version below. Ophelia which follows provides a shocking contrast and is far from Cage-does-Satie.

Alexei Lubimov: Der Bote

A home stereo staple from Wesley Classics, bought for In A Landscape which is how I always hear it.

John Cage by Zeitkratzer

Promo and features great sustained droning chamber orchestra performances. Only listened to in part.

John Cage: Thirteen

HMR relic sans case (stolen), features two versions of Thirteen, like the above but even better. Again played only in part.

John Cage: Short Pieces for Prepared Piano

I love the sound of the prepared piano. DLed recently, burnt to CD and heard only in small part.

Victoria Looseleaf: Harpnosis

DLed and burnt to CD, now a home staple. Cage's In A Landscape sits comfortably alongside Satie's Gymnopedies (of course), Claire de Lune and Pachelbel's Canon, all played on harp. Featured on this blog before and just read that a sequel Beyond Harpnosis is available, on casette only but the original you'll find easily on the web and in fine shape.

All these In A Landscape's have prompted me to try and play it on the piano, which is proceeding slowly. Not very difficult but long, and my reading is crap. I first heard the piece on a Mini Disk given me in Japan by Velvet Hands, in the pre-download MD trading days, and was a sucker immediately. It was aural balm between all the Autechre and Skam discoveries.


John Cage Shock

Doubtless these sound and look great on vinyl but music is lost on mp3 through headphones. Not quite all, there's some delightful and very live setting recordings here, where the novelty and 'shock' does translate and is audible, but the grubbiness and chaotic sense of space is poorly suited to commute listening. I ought to whack it through the mixer and hear it proper like but time and energy will prevent it. Good review in The Wire and elsewhere.

Music For Merce

Mammoth set of recordings by mostly Cage associates but again, plenty of haze and fluff and misses the extensive notes, images, packaging etc. that came with the proper release. Great Wire review for this too and worth spending much time with, but not on headphones commuting.

John Cage: Ryoanji

Odd music this, defined by a repeated percussive bang which persists throughout, around which other elements dart about, very Japanese-like. Very interesting and the restricted tonal palette works just fine through headphones. Fourteen appears on the Zeitkratzer CD and not yet played Ten.

John Cage: 12‘55.6078

Wonderful box set this, 12 CDs covering the Donaueschingen Festival - 75 Years: 1921-1996, picked up gratis sans cases. A regular Dead and Alive staple, I played this early recording on the portable digital device, a piece for piano and trinkets (?) filled with humorous whirrs and pings, with good input from audience in the form of laughter and jovial heckling, which Cage doubtless enjoyed. The old recording does no wonders but the mirth is palpable.