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Processes of Other Artists

Sunday, 03 March 2011

The large compilation on Vuzh Music called “The More Unknown C. Reider” has been a very revealing way for me to observe the processes of some of the composers and artists that I count among my peers and comrades in the musical underground. How does a composer approach and utilize a sound? This question is very interesting to me. Each of the artists who contributed their work to the compilation were tasked with selecting sounds that I had authored over the course of my creative life and assembling them into new shapes & forms. Since the original sounds were so familiar to me, I had a unique perspective for attempting to understand how each artist chose which sounds to use and how to use them. This kind of analysis is fascinating to me, and is part of the way I listen to music in general, aside from pure holistic enjoyment.

A few of the contributing composers have made this analysis more accessible by having written some descriptions of their processes and thoughts about their own work. I’ve read each of these with consideration, and I recommend reading them!

Steve Burnett of Subscape Annex talks about working with the entire Drone Forest album .Point, on his cleverly titled “Qutub” which appears on part 3 of the compilation. He includes a screenshot of his multitracker during his working process at his LiveJournal post.

Perennial internet pal LokiLokust of Keziah Mason talks about how he forged that swirling electronic maelstrom that appears on part 3 of the compilation by extracting sounds from the run-in & run-out grooves and physical manipulation of my vinyl release “Amy’s Arms / metacollage” in his tumblr post.

Dave Seidel of Mysterybear described his use of a tiny fragment of Noam Chomsky’s voice from my 2008 release “Linguism” at a CSound forum.

John Ingram from Intelligent Machinery suggests that he secretly and pseudonymously contributed to the comp at his blog.

Comrade & peer Robert Nunnally, a.k.a. Gurdonark provides a thoughtful and accurate analysis of my music before discussing his own music and his piece “Where” on his blog.

A few quotes from that last one:

Perhaps the unifying thread of his varying music is that rather than being “music-as-sound” in the ambient formulation, it is “sound-as-music”. The sounds are interesting, and somehow, a bit improbably, they add up to music. His pieces rarely cause one to float away on a sea of melody, nor do they paste one against the wall in the way of noise. They happen in their own little created universe, aware of but not entombed in anyone else’s universe, and they are their own thing. I listen to C. Reider music for some of the same reasons I read science fiction–it offers me a kind of escape into different ideas, all served up with a kind of unpretentious earnest grace.

From his vantage point as a listener, Robert has gleaned some of my own working processes and goals and summarized them very astutely in this paragraph.

This kind of listening can be very rewarding. Are you listening?

The More Unknown

Saturday, 03 March 2011

The More Unknown C. Reider
20 Years of Strange Sounds Reworked by the Netlabel Underground

Twenty four respected sound artists from Germany, Japan, Greece, Saint Martin, Portugal, Ireland, Canada and USA took sounds from C. Reider’s body of work and transubstantiated them into new living tissues. Amazing compilation in three hour-long parts!

20 Years of Strange Sounds

Sunday, 11 November 2010

The year 2011 will be my 20th year composing strange music and releasing it mostly for free (previously I released on cassettes, now on the internet).

To mark this milestone, I kinda thought it’d be a fun thing to do to ask my comrades in underground music (whether you’re familiar with my music or not — whether we know each other or are not yet total BFFs) to extract sound samples from any of my releases over the last twenty years and tweak them however you like and re-assemble them into a musical work of your own invention. I’m looking less for “remixes” and more for imaginative and individual expressions made with collaged bits and chunks of my work (whether recognizable as such or not — in fact, manipulation, editing & effecting of source sounds is to be encouraged).

Most of my downloadable releases are CC licensed allowing derivative work, so you’re only limited by what you can think up. You can find links to almost everything I’ve ever done on my netlabel’s front page: A more comprehensive discography (including links to my work with Drone Forest) can be found on my bio page.

I guess this project is a bit like tooting my own horn, but what the hell? No one else will toot the damn thing. I may even just name the compilation “An All-Star Gala Tribute to the Enduring Genius of C. Reider” 🙂

I haven’t yet decided if that threat is a joke or not.


  • Compilation will be a free-to-download release on Vuzh Music netlabel. It will be CC licensed (probably Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike)
  • Submissions should be in high bitrate mp3 files (DON’T FORGET ID3 TAGS)
  • Send me a link to where I can download the file when you’ve got one ready. My email address can be found at the contact link at the Vuzh Music website. You could also direct message me on Twitter, you can find me there as vuzhmusic.
  • Keep your track(s?) under 10 minutes in length.
  • Hoping to release in early 2011. Deadline maybe February 1??? EXTENDED to February 11.
  • Everything is negotiable, including this sentence.
  • Leave me a comment here if you want to participate… unless you like surprises, in which case just get the track to me before the deadline!
  • Guys! I’m already thinking of extending the deadline, and no one’s even asked me yet!

White Cube Drone

Thursday, 12 December 2009

Embedded in this post is new track hosted by SoundCloud called “White Cube Drone” It was recorded for the White Cube project, and for it I used sound sources from my friend and peer Gurdonark, who is one half of the team curating the sound portion of an art installation at the RAM Gallery in Wisconsin. Enjoy!

White cube drone by vuzhmusic

Dark Planet, by ‘kirchenkampf’

Sunday, 12 December 2009

John Gore’s ‘kirchenkampf’ project has long been known and admired by me for producing consistent, high-quality conceptual electronic space music. The characteristic ‘kirchenkampf’ release draws on influences from early electronic pioneers such as Subotnik, Parmegiani, the Barrons and Tangerine Dream, composing vast experimental sound-paintings with a strong central theme. His releases often follow a story structure hinted by the song titles and fleshed out with abstract, yet evocative electronic sounds. He is in top form on the new ‘kirchenkampf’ release “Dark Planet”

The CD opens quietly with a long drifting drone titled “In Transit”, suggesting an awakening ship coasting through open space, and by the second track “Homesick”, a human element is introduced suggesting a deep melancholy in the crew after a long, cold voyage.

The mood changes considerably on the title track. It seems that they’ve drifted into the orbit of an extraordinary planet, one that demands to be explored. The remainder of the CD explores the planet’s mysterious and frightening geography, its hungry caverns, its hissing fumaroles, its monoliths and volcanoes, “Terrorform” finally suggesting that they are not alone in this world. Serpentine figures lash out of the fog, etching curlicues in the air. As the story resolves, Gore describes, “The moon rises and bathes the planet with reflected light. Now they sit and wait for the first sunrise.”

Another accomplished release from this venerable artist. I highly recommend it.

It is available through Cohort Records as a physical CD, or a download.

Mystified – Collusion

Sunday, 11 November 2009

One of my favorite releases of the year has been put out by Mystified on the Clinical Archives netlabel.

Mystified’s “Collusion” collects the work of three of my friends and peers into one densely packed work of abstract quietnoise. I could be subjected to criticism for being biased in this recommendation, because my much admired friends and collaborators Phillip from PBK and Anthony from the Implicit Order, and Patrick from Kwalijk (also known as Desohll, with whom I collaborated on a recent release of darkambient) have contributed some remixes of music by my equally admired friend Thomas from Mystified for this release. Given the participants, one could almost expect nothing but the finest of challenging soundwork that exists on the quiet and calming edge of noise, that weird hybrid area that has been described elsewhere as “noiseambient”. Perhaps I am biased, or perhaps I have managed to make the acquaintances of several extremely talented composers on the outskirts of musical exploration. I tend to think the latter is more the case.

On “Collusion” you will find an admirably cohesive set of gritty, yet calming collection of music that treads the border between ambient music, with its calming background qualities, and noise music with it’s upfront challenging qualities.

Also contributing some remixes to this collection is KR-Ohm whom I don’t know personally, but who holds their own in very respectable company. For that she/he gains my respect.

It’s nearly a perfect music, this.
I could not recommend it more.

Gurdonark and I

Sunday, 08 August 2009

I had a chance to meet the underground musician Gurdonark in person last weekend. Here’s a photo of us hanging out at night in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado!

Gurdonark, in case you’ve forgotten, was a contributor to the popular Vuzh Music ambient release by C. Reider and Friends Long Defeat Variations.

You should also check out his really great solo release “Seven Virtues“, which I reviewed on this blog in January.


Friday, 08 August 2009

The milestone 4 CD-length compilation of music from netlabel underground artists put together by the Just Not Normal netlabel is now available for free download. It’s HUGE in every way. It promises to be an extremely useful introduction to a large amount of unknown artists.

I appear on CD#3 with an exclusive track called “Captcha upgrade stickyglands“, which samples from various captcha scripts found around the internet.

Also on CD#3 are a few friends and colleagues, such as Gurdonark and Mystified, who both appear on Long Defeat Variations

I encourage you to download No-R-Mal, the fiftieth release on the Just Not Normal netlabel.

Music recommendations

Sunday, 02 February 2009

A few quick nods to some things I’ve heard around the ‘net lately:

C.P. McDill – Introspection
This venerable underground artist has put out a lot of good work, this one is striking for its character. This Eno-esque ambient piece presents a continuously rolling tone cloud which constantly shifts between tension and release and often drifting into really serious dissonance. The choices of tones occasionally seems completely random, and at others it’s more composed. The piece seems to sit very uneasily with itself, and that makes listening to it a very curious and captivating experience… not something one can always say about an explicitly ambient work.

Zieltogend – Myst II
More deep, dark drones from the man behind Desohll and Norss. This particular piece remixes some works by Mystified. I really love this kind of thing, when one underground artist pays tribute to another by remixing, especially in this case where the artist clearly has a love for the work he is appropriating. This guy’s drones are quality stuff.

Shoeb AhmadPiano Music
Originally released as a 3″ CD that appears to now be sold out, you can still listen to this very enjoyable bunch of experimental piano music through Last.FM, so I’ve linked to the release’s page at that site. Ahmad runs his piano through Max/MSP, yielding a mixed sound palette, sometimes stark and pretty sound fields to accompany his minimalist playing, and at other times, the piano is seemingly lost in milky resonant distortion. I’d like to see Markus Brösel move in this kind of direction.

Word of Mouth

Sunday, 12 December 2008

Although there is a little bit of info to pass on regarding new Vuzh Music stuff, I wanted first to delve into something I think is important about underground music. I was commenting recently to Thomas Park about how I find it odd that underground musicians don’t talk each other up very much. Everyone always talks about ‘me, me, me’. This is understandable on a certain level: underground musicians, or as we used to call them “hometapers” don’t have an advertising budget, and so many people will only ever hear about them through word of mouth, and since underground musicians rarely talk about other underground musicians, they all have to talk themselves up to an annoying degree.

This post, and this blog on the whole will occasionally point out some things I have found around the internet that I enjoyed, and maybe you will also. Clearly this will not stop me from talking about ‘me, me, me’ but it’s a start.

  • Petal – the Pharisee, I heard a track from this album on Stillstream radio, otherwise I don’t know anything about this artist. The album is a fine work of pulsing drone ambient, quite pretty indeed. There seemed to be something wrong with the last two tracks and with the .zip file, but the rest of the files downloaded alright.
  • Siegmar Fricke – Atemkalk. I don’t know anything about this artist, I found it via a promotional post on the ‘Experimentals’ LiveJournal community. The album is a fine, pleasant bit of gritty, swirling drone music.
  • Delicious Dragon. This is a MySpace page set up by friend and peer John Gore of Cohort Records. He’s recorded ambient, avant-garde, experimental and space music for decades… and now steps out tentatively into making music with beats and melody, and… it’s pretty cool stuff.
  • Velveeta Heartbreak – Future Grot. Michael J. Bowman, a friend of mine and co-member of Drone Forest, has posted on his blog a free download of “Future Grot”, a collage-like compilation of previously released musical weirdness, pop music and skronky instrumentals. Very enjoyable stuff.
  • Subscape Annex – Singing Glasses. Steve Burnett, a.k.a. Subscape Annex, has posted a new thirteen minute long work where he tries to imitate the sound of the glass armonica using a Chapman Stick fed through several processors. The effect is convincing, and the piece is very calming.
  • Martin Taxt – Various Improvisations. My wife found this piece while digging around the internet. I like it quite a bit. The three short pieces utilize the tuba as a sound source, but the artist plays the de-constructed bits of the instrument, blowing through them and hitting them together.

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