Post Tagged other musicians

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?

Best of 2010 PLUS: Christopher McFall

Saturday, 01 January 2011

My post detailing my favorite netlabel releases of 2010 was quite popular, and led to a lot of people discovering some cool music, which is one of my main goals, aside from promoting my own music. It is my humble opinion that all netlabel artists ought to have the same goal: namely to promote the stuff in the netlabel underground that they think is really great at the same time as they promote their own stuff. That way ALL of us benefit, both listeners and producers. Right? Right.

With this in mind, I am going to be focusing on each artist (hopefully-this will depend on if they want to participate or not) whom I reviewed in the best of 2010 post, re-running the review I originally wrote, but I’m ALSO going to ask each of the artists reviewed to recommend a few completely FREE netlabel albums that THEY have enjoyed recently.

Previously we’ve had recommendations from 1.) Mystified and 2.) Marc Weidenbaum.

This time we’ll get Christopher McFall’s recommendations. Here’s what I had to say about his new release:

Christopher McFall – A Long Time Running for the Suicide Strays
Sepia loops of tones & textures clustering and spreading apart. Unmissable.

Now then, here’s Christopher’s recommendations:

I’ve a few recommendations that I’ve listed below:

1. Coeval – Distante 3: This is my favorite release of 2010, period. Coeval is even more stunning with this release than in previous releases in the series. The rendered field recordings/music composition on Distante 3 convey an amazing sense of dark cinema. It’s hard to believe how under exposed Coeval’s music is because Coeval one of the best things happening out there on the field recording/ambient music circuit.

2. Alessio Ballerini – Blanc: It’s my understanding that this music was created for a video installation. The music for this release is lush with layered textures of sound and music. Static and distortion characterizes some instances and then parts emerge exhibiting ambient soundscapes coupled with guitar, piano played in a modern classical style and field recordings. It’s an exceptional release and one not to be missed.

Those are the two big ones that I have for 2010. Great stuff to be found with both of these.

Best regards,

Thanks Christopher!

Best of 2010 PLUS: Mystified

Thursday, 01 January 2011

My post detailing my favorite netlabel releases of 2010 was quite popular, and led to a lot of people discovering some cool music, which is one of my main goals, aside from promoting my own music. It is my humble opinion that all netlabel artists ought to have the same goal: namely to promote the stuff in the netlabel underground that they think is really great at the same time as they promote their own stuff. That way ALL of us benefit, both listeners and producers. Right? Right.

With this in mind, I am going to be focusing on each artist (hopefully-this will depend on if they want to participate or not) whom I reviewed in the best of 2010 post, re-running the review I originally wrote, but I’m ALSO going to ask each of the artists reviewed to recommend a few completely FREE netlabel albums that THEY have enjoyed recently.

We’ll start off with Mystified!

The original post read:

Mystified – A Pale But Lasting Hope
Mystified puts out a lot of good stuff, and then he puts out some fucking great stuff. This release falls into the latter category. Rattling percussion elements and zigzagging synthetics form imaginary sonic structures. Loops that fall out of sync. Among my top favorite things I’ve ever heard from this artist. Please note that this release is on Magnatune, and so it streams freely, but you need to pay a $15 fee before you can download (but then you can also download everything else in their catalog).

I asked Thomas Park of Mystified to recommend a few albums that are completely free that you can download right now.
Here’s what he gave us:

Saluki Regicide– “The Shades To Appease”
Musician extraordinaire C.P. McDill brings back his project “Saluki Regicide” in a totally awesome way with lots of samples and science fiction-ey touches.

Rivers of Ashes – “Breaching the Fabric”
Superb instrumental dronescapes with lots of emphasis on mood and texture.

Altocumulus– “Household Apocalypse”
A mature musical mind makes mayhem with ordinary household objects and a touch of synth.

Tribe Of Astronauts– “Musick For Aerodromes”
Weird and varied pieces with a connecting theme of desert mysticism. The tribe continue their eccentric journey.

Fosel– “The Left Hand Of Darkness”
The excellent Fosel continues to evolve before our very ears with this great dark ambient / experimental release.

Also, if you’d like, you are welcome to note that “A Pale But Lasting Hope” is now available on ITunes and all major services:

There you have it!
Thanks, Thomas!

Favorite Net Releases 2009.

Tuesday, 01 January 2010

You know how you’re like a netlabel and stuff, and you release some new recording, and you can see from your stats that only one guy listened to it? I might have been that guy!

Here were my favorite netlabel releases of 2009, all are freely downloadable, so maybe YOU can be hit number TWO on someone’s statcounter!

1. Gurdonark – Seven Virtues
At a time when it would have been much more fashionable to put out an album dedicated to the seven deadly sins featuring dark and gloomy doom sounds, this charming collection of light musical fancies celebrates what’s to be admired about the human spirit. (some of Gurdonark’s thoughts on making this album)

2. Hannah M.G. Shapero (a.k.a. Altocumulus)My Name is Marietta Cashman
Not many of us can claim to have recorded experimental music on a Buchla modular synthesizer in the late sixties when merely an adventurous teenager, but Hannah Shapero can. Culled from forgotten tape reels, unheard for 40 years, this treasure of naive noodling sounds fresh and innocent, a stark contrast to modern noodles by hipster cognoscenti. At the moment the accompanying photo of Hannah was taken in 1970, in her futuristic silver jumpsuit and glasses in front of the synth modules, she looks like she may have been the coolest nerdy girl in the universe. Modern Noodles by Hipster Cognoscenti would make a damned fine band name.

3. Mystified – Collusion (with PBK, the Implicit Order, KR-Ohm & Kwalijk) – A collection of guys I admire working with sound sources provided by another guy I admire. This is a collection of the kinds of sounds I love, loopy and squiggly and gritty and crunchy. Quietnoise of the highest order!

4. Various Artists – No-R-Mal
Oh, hullo! What’s this? FIVE FUCKING HOURS of top notch weirdness from 50 underground artists? I keep coming back to this and finding new gems all the time. Stunning.

5. Chubby Wolf – Meandering Pupa
A brief collection of smooth ambience, dancing slowly, exactly in-between light and dark. The prolific artist behind Chubby Wolf, Dani Baquet-Long, (also one half of celebrated ambient artists Celer) passed away in July, suddenly, at the age of 26. The entire underground network was saddened by the loss.

6. Pavonine – Pavonine
Dark, vaporous, mysterious, alluring? Sure, all that and more.

7. Dexp Lab – Sectors LP
A fine collision of rhythm and noise.

8. PBK – Asmus Sources (plus pretty much everything else on soundgenetic)
I have to admit, somewhat embarrassedly, that when I bought the Asmus Tietchens / PBK collaboration from Realization way back in the early nineties, it didn’t entirely gel for me. I loved both artists apart, but this album just didn’t quite get there. This year, PBK released the sound source files that he originally sent to Asmus for their collaboration, and upon hearing these imagination-pricking sounds, I decided a re-evaluation of the actual collaboration was in order, and now I find that it all makes sense. I’m not at all sure what I was thinking back in the 90s. I may simply not have been mature enough to get it! Now, I love both the collab, and these raw, stripped down sources equally. This is a rare chance to compare and contrast the working methods of two great minds in abstract music.

9. Olifaunt – Three Crows Become Four
Slow growing drone ambient with stringy textures and melancholy tones.

10. Zondagmorgen – La Fin du Monde
So apparently the end of the world is slow, blurred and extremely melancholy. The world ends with us gazing at our shoes. Alright then.

Don’t forget to also check out my blog post about all the stuff I did this decade, including my own big project for 2009, the Electret Quintet.

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.


Sunday, 09 September 2009

Zondagmorgen’s “La Fin du Monde” is a free netlabel release from Just Not Normal. It is perfect music for, indeed, a Sunday morning, especially a chilly Autumn Sunday morning.

Its stretched out repeating, shoegazer-inflected musical theme sets a melancholy tone offset by chilly blurred percussion noises that hint at a ‘groove’ but never quite get into one. Later there is further dissolution into a long, refrigerated drone, worthy of comparison to Drone Forest, if I do say so myself.

Good stuff!

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.

Tiago Morgado

Sunday, 08 August 2009

I’ve just found a few recordings by an interesting underground artist named Tiago Morgado. He runs the netlabel XS Records from his homebase in Portugal.

His release 363 features some long avant-garde flavoured improvisations, with spacey analogue synth treatments burbling and subdued percussive elements in the background.

The far more frantic Algorithmic Chaos EP, released under the alias DNP X-Citer, features angular compositions of viola phrases paired with with abstract skittering percussion and electronic noises pointing to a clear lineage with Autechre’s more complex work. It’s worth a listen.


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.

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