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."
Reissue of killer Clock DVA-related gear from Adi Newton’s industrial dance project TAGC, including two exclusive Richard H. Kirk remixes, freshly dubbed by Newton
Perhaps best known for the extended 12” mix of saucy classic ‘Big Sex’ - included in its original form here - TAGC were extant between mid ‘80s and mid ‘90s, when this Side Effects compilation marked their departure with a collection of highlights from 1985’s ‘Ha - Zulu’ EP, 1986’s ’ShT’ mini album, 1987’s ‘Big Sex’ 12”, and 1989’s ‘Broadcast Test’.
It’s worth checking for the Cabs or 23 Skidoo-esque industrial-funk fusion of ‘Zulu’, then the grim cut-up collage of ‘Further & Evident Meanings’ and the cold dubbing of ‘New Upheavil’ off ’ShT’, and the prickly electro oddity of ‘Broadcast Transmission 1.’ We’d probably advise tracking down the ‘Big Sex’ 12” for a better, longer version of that cut, and Adi Newton round things up nicely with a slippery, extended dub of RHK’s ‘Zulu’ remix.
ASC plumbs the depths of the grey area in his latest album of D&B/techno/dark ambient mutations.
Seriously when does this guy come up for breath? Hope he has good ventilation in the studio. Anyway, ’Realm of The Infinite’ is up to par with anything else in his catalogue. Whether alloying classic Reese bass with IDM hyperstrcutures in ‘Nocturne’, rolling out serpentine acid techno in ‘Nautilus’, ‘90s trance in ‘Black Rooms’, or scuba diving into slow techno on ‘Arsenic Bite’, and endlessly reverberating, underwater dynamics on ‘Aphotic Zone’, the results are exactingly up to standards one would expect from ASC.
Gripping suite of free-metered, tormented vocals and sampledelic arrangements drawing from tradtional Iranian music and contemporary electronic noise, landing somewhere between Zoe McPherson, Ash Koosha, Ghédalià Tazartes and Moor Mother
“History of Heat is an experimental narrative and cinematic pastiche of all original and self recorded material. A chaotic mix of sounds both analog and digitally produced recalls a warlike interpersonal breakdown. The mood established by the lyrical content of the piece is meant to be demanding, enclosing the listener within a unique and compelling cocoon of otherworldly sound. the Album is framed within a discursive love story which reflects larger relational problematics and interpersonal traumas. looped vocals act as incantations woven in and out of lyrical singing and spoken word. The instrumentals embrace chaos and intensity. Improvised violin and broken down beats compliment and balance the melancholic overtones which flutter above off the grid rhythms in this charged ficto-personal account.”
Dozzy reworks a highlight of his ’Sintetizzatrice’ album alongside a remix previewing his forthcoming album for Lorenzo Senni’s Presto!?
On the rework of ‘Parola’ he turns Anna Caragnano’s vocal into a mesmerising rhythmic mantra syncopated with rolling drum machine groove in masterful style, while his floating prog-house/trance remix of ‘12H.5’ gives some taste of what to expect from his upcoming LP for Senni’s label.
Late-running UKF player KG links with Scratcha DVA on a lush redraw of the now classic late ‘00s style
In early 2018 KG made a scorching debut for Goon Club Allstars with ‘808’, a track she made during the original UKF era circa 2008-9. 18 months later she’s back with sets of bangers alongside Hyperdub don Scratcha DVA, cooking up the simmering deep Funk dish ‘Touch’ with nods to Cooly G’s R&G vocal touches, whereas ‘Strings Of Death’ draws from both grime and Gqom in Scratcha’s DRMTRX fashion, and ‘Baga Drmz’ wedges a snippet of KG’s ‘808’ zinger into a proper, bolshy hybrid of Zulu Gqom trample and rude UK flavours.
Perhaps best of all is the feminine pressure of ‘Touch (Reprise)’, where they strip out loads of the original to leave a thizzing, weightless, mid-air beauty.
Funky Thai psych fanciers Khruangbin dub up their ‘Con Todo El Mundo’ LP.
“Globetrotting Texan trio Khruangbin present ‘Hasta El Cielo’, the band’s glorious dub version of their second album ‘Con Todo El Mundo’. The full album has been processed anew along with two bonus dubs by renowned Jamaican producer Scientist.
The band’s exotic, spacious, psychedelic funk aligns with the dub treatment particularly well. Indeed, keen fans won’t find this a surprising release. Dubs of tracks from their first album ‘The Universe Smiles Upon You’ appeared on limited vinyl releases of ‘People Everywhere’ for Record Store Day 2016 and ‘Zionsville’ on the BoogieFuturo remix 12”. The especially eagle-eared will have caught a dub of ‘Two Fish And An Elephant’ playing over the credits of the track’s celebrated video.
“For us, Dub has always felt like a prayer. Spacious, meditative, able to transport the listener to another realm. The first dub albums we listened to were records mixed by Scientist featuring the music of the Roots Radics. Laura Lee learned to play bass by listening to Scientist Wins the World Cup. His unique mixing style, with the emphasis on space and texture, creates the feeling of frozen time; it was hugely influential to us as a band. To be able to work alongside Scientist, a legend in the history of dub, is an honor. This is our dub version of Con Todo El Mundo.””