Splashy junglist breaks and subaquatic bass flex from Melbourne’s Pugilist, making his debut mark on Whities Blue series after turns for Artikal Music Uk and ZamZam Sounds
‘Descendent’ is the big one, churning up loose jungliest breaks and bong-bubbling FX in a way recalling recent cuts by his Aussie counterpart Air Max ’97, whereas ‘Undulate’ sounds like an Applepips release from 10 years ago, and the drier half stepper ‘Encrypted’ works out in a spooky minimal grey area akin to Felix K.
After a string of seductively deep and rugged D&B, deep techno and experimental outings, Forest Drive West contributes two soporific rollers to Whities’ Blue series
The furtive ’Other’ feels out 8 minutes of agitated drums and pensive atmospheres hingeing around a full sunken subbass ballast in a calm before storm style, and ’time’ holds that tension tight but woozy with an hypnotic sense of minimalist restraint comparable to Peverelist or Batu.
Sun Araw is the working title of a musical project helmed by Los Angeles-based artist Cameron Stallones. Sun Araw has released a number of well-received and consistently innovative albums, with his eighth, The Saddle of the Increate, released by Sun Ark Records (an imprint of Drag City) in 2017.
"In 2015 for the album Gazebo Effect, Mitchell Brown and I conceived a "music system" which would allow me to improvise with several instruments while running through a 1/4" reel-to-reel tape machine that Mitchell was controlling and manipulating in realtime. The system we developed gives him the ability to dub pieces of my playing onto a repeating tape loop, sometimes allowing me to hear my playing before it's recorded, other times not. Sort of like playing an instrument into a wood-chipper. The general principle has held strong for years in our collaboration, although the equipment has been continually modified and optimised. The joy in this sort of setup is simple: mediated desire. The player makes a move, but what returns to the ears as audio is not quite the move that was made, it has been modified by the tape system. This is something that happens regularly in human experience: desire or will become modified by physics or the desire of another, and the difference between the original move and what "returns" holds a clue about the nature of the medium in which we find ourselves. Mitchell and I have found that mimicking this principle in our improvisational system continuously yields surprising and beautiful results, and makes us both better performers as we learn to adapt to and frolic with the medium in which we find ourselves.
Longform music and the act of listening deeply are incredibly powerful tools for the modification of experience. Surface level attention acts sort of like a dog, it sniffs something, decides what it is, and kinda plods away looking for another smell. The best deep-listening music gently suggests, by weight of some sort of internal vibrancy, another, deeper return of the attention. Each subsequent return of the attention gives something back: at first just the energy that would have been spent wandering off, but before long a gentle glow can develop, and a sound that perhaps has not changed (say, in an Elaine Radigue monolith) now holds three extra colours that it didn't before. It's not long before looking deeper becomes its own reward, and soon bestows the most important quality of all: a distinct modification in the normal feeling of time, which is the harbinger of all the best sorts of human experiences."
Alison Cotton is a classically trained viola player based in London, working with improvisation and composition. As well as her recent solo work, she is one half of the Walthamstow based songwriting partnership, The Left Outsides. She spent almost the last two decades performing in bands and collaborating with other musicians. Her collaborative album with Michael Tanner (Plinth) in 2016, with its quietly levitating drones pointed the way to her first solo record.
"My music usually evolves from a story, often about a place I've visited, enhanced by the help of the imagination. The story will develop while I improvise and immerse myself deeper and deeper into the piece, using a kind of tone painting to express this.
Behind the Spider Web Gates draws inspiration from a house I happened upon in rural southern France last year. An imposing, dramatic, tall dark Gothic house with mysterious, black spider web-shaped gates at the entrance to the grounds.
The piece is divided into three parts. The first part depicts the tranquil ascent up a rocky path surrounded by ancient woodland. A calm, minimal, single-noted drone on the viola is soon enhanced by layers of plainsong-style vocal chants. This is followed by the introduction of a melodic viola line symbolising the sound of bird song and nature which surrounds me. This phrase serves as a motif throughout the whole piece. The chime of the singing bowl represents the distant sound of church bells, being transported towards me by the wind.
The second part brings into focus the ornate, looming Gothic spires of the house. The spider web gates are soon in clear view – and a sense of fear enters my subconscious mind. This is symbolised by the repetitive, menacing, single high note on the piano. The more serene vocal chants at this stage are placed to restore a sense of calm to the piece.
A local had told me that the grounds were accessible to the public. My inquisitive mind tells me to open the spider web gates and enter the garden… For the third part of this piece, piercing viola harmonics denote my turning of the heavy, rusty handle of the huge, imposing gate. The single piano note is reintroduced, as the sense of fear within grows stronger. The melodic viola motif, which has been present throughout the piece, is now accompanied by a harmonium playing a haunting countermelody to further intensify this sense of foreboding. And as the large oak door to the Gothic house slowly creaks open, a new set of more chilling viola harmonics dramatically bring the piece to a close.
For me, playing extended or deep listening music allows me more freedom to explore and improvise – a lack of time restriction opens up more possibilities. Due to the extended length, a recurring melody or motif can have more impact when reintroduced into the piece, surrounded by more space, and often triggers the emotions of the listener when it reappears. If I have lots of ideas before recording a long-form work, these can be presented more subtly and minimally to the listener as the piece unfolds – they can be more drawn out, painted on a larger canvas. There is also more space to introduce new textures and instruments without the piece becoming too busy.
Focusing on longform music as a listener, as I become immersed in a piece I often also begin to hear background noises – such as distant lawnmowers in neighbours' gardens, car alarms or sirens in nearby streets – and subconsciously incorporate them in the piece I’m hearing. I've endeavoured to include similar types of sounds and drones into this piece and also hope that listeners will hear their own distant sounds – and that they might also become a part of my piece in their minds. I’d love that to happen."
Two stereo recordings of the same performance on September 24, 2014, at FST Industrie GmbH, Berlin Spandau; made with two Sony PCM M10 portable recorders, one equipped with Luhd PM-01 Binaural microphones, the other using the built-in microphones. Headphones recommended.
"One of the many functions of music is to listen to it. I grew up in a time when the vinyl album became the most important format, when pop music became prog rock, jazz rock, kraut rock, with many references to and from classical, contemporary and improvised music – music forms in which the long form is the rule rather than the exception. As a listener, I always found it exciting to immerse myself in a torrent of sound that would take me on a journey to new, unexplored areas. With headphones on or in front of two good speakers, at home or at a concert.
As a musician, although I occasionally combine several short pieces into a longer composition, I have always found it difficult to build pieces over 7 minutes. It seems the extended format works better with projects that were not originally intended for release, such as live performances or installation / sound art, like the other two works I've done in the past, which in my opinion deserve the term "deep listening": Kippschwingungen, a piece that uses the legendary Subharchord synthesiser; and Isolation, which was originally composed in 2012 for a sound installation in a former solitary confinement cell."
A Cepheid variable is a type of star that pulsates radially, varying in both diameter and temperature, producing changes in brightness with a well-defined stable period and amplitude. This piece is an exploration on pulsating sounds, field recordings and samples. It is inspired by the way pulsating forms can help measure time, distances and serve as beacons. Where there is chaos, a pulsar remains as the only stable source of information.
"I believe that through longform pieces, the sounds that make up a composition are able to develop a more intimate dialogue with the listener. They come with a mindset of letting the sounds evolve at their own pace, sometimes with unusual rhythms and tempos. Working on a longform piece can be bit challenging, but ultimately a very rewarding process. The time to explore and fully develop the qualities of melodies or monotonous sounds is within the process of creating a soundscape. I think that some sounds can become more interesting through deep listening. Our ears begin to re-interpret a long lasting sound, and multiple, hidden tonalities, either imagined or existent, begin to emerge, giving the piece a quality of never being quite the same on each hearing."
The label that gave us Space Afrika’s excellent 'Somewhere Decent To Live’ album last year returns with this quietly shocking solo debut by Berlin-based Russian, Alexandra Zakharenko aka Perila, who creates a sensual and highly unusual sonic tapestry where ASMR bleeds into sonic erotica in nuanced and intoxicating ambient dimensions. Highly recommended if yr into Félicia Atkinson, Huerco S, Leslie Winer...
Born in St. Petersburg and based in Berlin, Alexandra Zakharenko aka Perila cut her teeth as in-house designer and programmer at the recently defunct Berlin Community Radio (BCR) before co-founding the Russian online station radio.syg.ma, as well as WET (Weird Erotic Tension), an online community exploring ideas of sonic sexuality in podcasts mixing spoken word, poetry, ASMR and field recordings. ‘Irer Dent’ stems directly from two WET podcasts, revolving around readings of an erotic novel and a collection of poems by Nat Marcus and Inger Wold Lund, each set to absorbingly hypnagogic backdrops, and both accompanied by quietly seductive, original instrumental works.
In five parts the album traces a filigree line between reality and fantasy in a more literal way than the label’s previously all-instrumental releases. On ‘Nat’s Poems’ the voice of Nat Marcus regales a poetic account of Berlin nightlife woven with classic house lyrics from Rosie Gaines and Mr. White over 12 minutes of tumescent subbass and phosphorescing pads. Where sensuality is implied on that piece, it’s quietly explicit in the LP’s other vocal piece ‘Sweat’, which revolves around Inger Wold Lund recounting a dream about suppressed sexual desire in a hushed and unaffected manner amid a shimmering forcefield of spectral energy and meridian birdsong. Both pieces are complemented by extra subtle originals, including the barely-there, pink/purple hues of ‘Mouth Full of Tahini’ and the warm endorphin flush of ‘Message From Another Table.’
Slipping very sweetly into sferic’s liminal ambient space alongside Space Afrika, Echium and Jake Muir, ‘Irer Dent’ lends a distinct new shade of modern, adult, atmospheric emotion to the exploratory, Manchester-based label, answering a need for sincerity and intimacy in overwhelming times.