Monday, December 13, 2010
Its been a long time. Sorry about that. I started a cassette label. I am gonna see what happens. I got a great roster of friends and we plan on putting out all sorts of music,art,and books. Come out and party with us on Friday night if your in LA. The afterparty will feature great dance jams from SFV ACid, Sun Araw, M.Geddes Gengras, and Pete Majors. I think others too but i don't know all of the details. ITs gonna be FUN!!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Though this is the official debut recording from Swedish duo Roll the Dice, Malcolm Pardon and Peder Mannerfelt are certainly not strangers to the world of independent music. Mannerfelt has been producing records for years as The Subliminal Kid and also produces and tours with Fever Ray while Pardon continously composes for film and television. Having shared a studio in southern Stockholm for several years, they finally decided to join forces in something musical. If the original impetus was little more than sharing a bottle of wine and attempting to make something different, the final result is something far beyond.
Each session started and ended in the same way. There were to be no pro-conceived ideas going in, but had to be a completed track at the end of each day. These forced limitations led to a creative cloudburst, finding unexpected passages from beginning to end. Elements of early electronica bleed into hints of minimalists such as Terry Riley and Arvo Pärt. Repetition and understated progression engage the listener subtly. It may bring a piece of Basic Channel to mind, but it's another beast entirely. Each track consists of only synths and piano. Nothing more. No computer processing. No drum machines. Pure analog. The result is something warm and emotive. There may be a murky darkness underlying these tracks, something almost sinister but there's a streak of something comfortingly familiar running throughout.
Two years after their first session together they put the finishing touches on the record through the API desk at the legendary Gröndal studio in west Stockholm. It is music that etches itself in your mind like diamond on glass. Pardon and Mannerfelt operate with absolute precision, expressing raw emotions and ideas that are as flitting as they are unforgettable. Each new morning is a chance and Roll the Dice are just getting started.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wizards was my first deep trance electronic music album. This album was inspired by Terry Riley , one of the earliest people ever to compose and perform long, extended, cyclic pieces in the electronic format. This music was composed and performed in '81 and '82.
I consider this album my best work.
The instrumentation is three Sequencial Circuits PRO-1s, Crumar Traveler One and a Yamaha SK-20, all real time recording to a Teac 4-track reel-to-reel. I mixed the four tracks to a Teac A-7300 Master 2-Track tape recorder using a DeltaLab DL-2 to create the delay track. In 2006, I used a Tascam 34B 4-track to remaster all my master tapes to digital master of 196 KHz/24 bit .WAV files using Soundforge 8 software.
The original Wizards LP was published in the Summer of 1982 with the black and white cover. The initial tracks had not names and were call Movements I-V. Several years later sales had slowed down, in an effort to improve sales we tried the color cover and I created names for each track, as shown on the samples.
Here is a picture of me taken in 1982 during the creation of Wizards.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Following the release of the album “3”, in 2006, over 25 titles were written and composed by Deleyaman. 11 of these compositions, entirely recorded, mixed and mastered in the band's studio in Normandy, France, are now presented as “Fourth, Part One” . The remaining material is set to appear later as “Fourth, Part Two”, a complimentary yet contrasting sister-release which will come later this year.
The overall mood of this new album is different from their prior releases, yet the sincerity with which they continue to explore their art is a constant in Deleyaman's work. Inspiration for the lyrics comes partially from the works of American poets E.A. Robinson, A. Hecht, R.W. Emerson, E.A. Poe, H. Crane and T. Stickney, but also from the Lebanese mystic poet Khalil Gibran. Most of the titles are sung in English, except for two tracks sung in Armenian and the track “Jardin”, sung in French, the words taken from the poem “Nous n'irons plus au bois”, by T. de Banville. The use of several languages by Beatrice Valantin and Aret Madilian, the two vocalists, has always been a distinct characteristic of the band, whose members all come from different backgrounds.
Deleyaman’s style, which to this day remains difficult to classify into a single genre, is further defined by the inclusion of the duduk, an Armenian wind instrument. More than simply adding an ethnic reference to their compositions, the duduk grants them a unique tone, emphasizing the ethereal and exotic qualities that allow the album to reach beyond the darker specter of alternative music from which the band originally derived. Through their art, Deleyaman translate a sense of timeless spirituality into a contemporary and universal language, carrying the listener into a mesmerizing world which still sounds comfortably familiar and close at heart. “Fourth, Part One” is presented in Digipak format, accompanied by a 32-page booklet.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Midtown 120 Intro
House isn't so much a sound as a situation.
There must be a hundred records with voice-overs asking, "What is house?" The answer is always some greeting card bullshit about "life, love, happiiness...." The House Nation likes to pretend clubs are an oasis from suffering, but suffering is in here with us. (If you can get in, that is. I think of one time in New York when they wouldn't let me into the Loft, and I could hear they were actually playing one of my records on the dance floor at that very moment. I shit you not.)
Let's keep sight of the things you're trying to momentarily escape from. After all, it's that larger context that created the house movement and brought you here. House is not universal. House is hyper-specific: East Jersey, Loisaida, West Village, Brooklyn - places that conjure specific beats and sounds. As for the sounds of New York dance floors themselves, today's house classics might have gotten worked into a set once in a while, but the majority of music at every club was major label vocal shit. I don't care what anybody tells you. Besides, New York Deep House may have started out as minimal, mid-tempo instrumentals, but when distributors began demanding easy selling vocal tracks, even the label "Strictly Rhythm" betrayed the promise of it's own name by churning out strictly vocal after strictly vocal. Most Europeans still think "Deep House" means shitty, high energy vocal house.
So what was the New York house sound? House wasn't so much a sound as a situation. The majority of DJ's - DJ's like myself - were nobody's in nowhere clubs: unheard and unpaid. In the words of Sylvester: reality was less "everybody is a star," and more "I who have nothing."
Twenty years later, major distribution gives us Classic House, the same way soundtracks in Vietnam war films gave us Classic Rock. The contexts from which the Deep House sound emerged are forgotten: sexual and gender crises, transgendered sex work, black market hormones, drug and alcohol addiction, loneliness, racism, HIV, ACT-UP, Thompkins Sq. Park, police brutality, queer-bashing, underpayment, unemployment and censorship - all at 120 beats per minute.
These are the Midtown 120 Blues.
Ball'r (Madonna-Free Zone)
When Madonna came out with her hit "Vogue" you knew it was over. She had taken a very specifically queer, transgendered, Latino and African-American phenomenon and totally erased that context with her lyrics, "It makes no difference if you're black or white, if you're a boy or a girl." Madonna was taking in tons of money, while the Queen who actually taught her how to vogue sat before me in the club, strung out, depressed and broke. So if anybody requested "Vogue" or any other Madonna track, I told them, "No, this is a Madonna-free zone! And as long as I'm DJ-ing, you will not be allowed to vogue to the decontextualized, reified, corporatized, liberalized, neutralized, asexualized, re-genderized pop reflection of this dance floor's reality!"
In 1986, at age 18, I left Missouri by train, pulling into Midtown Manhattan's Grand Central Station some 72 hours later. Until that point life had, quite frankly, been miserable, each and every day facing verbal and physical harassment as a queer-fag-pussy-AIDS bait. The climate in New York wasn't really so different. But from within my isolation I saw others isolated like myself. One of the places we met, in our self-containment, was on the dance floor. The nastiest and seediest clubs were located in Midtown. That's mostly where I DJ'ed, at tragic places like Sally's II and Club 59. In the early 1990's, Disney bought 42nd Street, closing the places around which transgendered life revolved for many of us. That "community of isolation" was scattered to other cities, other states, other countries. Isolated, still....
Thursday, January 07, 2010
1. Banishment Cycle
2. Refrain for Lens Flair
3. Dark Waves (silence)
4. Central Taxi for Dreamland
5. Vacation to Old Wax Island
6. Light Waves (silence)
7. Cold Hawks on Heat Wave
recorded by matthew alone in his bedroom
synths, guitars, old records, field recordings, hammond organ
November - December 2009
Dedicated to : a dead dog, a long year, a break up, a bedroom and indifference.
DSMMBR is not an official PS release, but if you would like a special ordered CDr (for $5 w/ shipping included)
please email Matthew and he will burn/make/send you one
Thanks to one thing he's best at and two artists he collaborated with in a major way, Harald Grosskopf is one of the fine percussionists in the classic length and impact of electronic music - and the first to ever combine dubs between rhythms and synthesizers, as a soloist drummer and in his solo music, from what the bio here points out with precision. His spirit would effortlessly be the mask of a musician that's representative to the German electro-rock movement, if only we wouldn't cautiously prefer not to rise him up such subjective scales. In the same way, we would name him very easily one of the fantastic drummers and percussionists of the classic decade, if only the entire vast period of kraut, electro-kraut then finally electro rock wouldn't be absolutely rich in icons and excellent musicians, including drummers and rhythmicists (plus, Grosskopf didn't impressively appear in many bands of the early years). So let's just mention his prime work with Ashra, after Gottsching changed quite consistently his solo band sounds (meaning Blackouts onwards), plus with Klaus Schulze/Wahnfried, friend, fine collaborator and (this time) grand master in the electronic music course. On a personal note, but also by some of his solo music, Grosskopf seems and in the end is an enjoyable and crafted musician, open-minded at least to when drumming and the fusion of electronic dynamics can have their idle succulence.
Starting his solo small achievements up in 1980, somewhat synchronized with Ashra's final days of continuity but not with Schulze's new ideas of electronic digital music - with percussions mit dabei -, Grosskopf solves rather simplistically the problem of electronic/keyboard music-playing. Simple become the albums as well, meanwhile a dose of playfulness and an acing in sequencing/synthesizing the right stuff (the right buttons) make up the real qualities in his music. Grosskopf does make music as an individual artist, at least in albums such as this Synthesist, but also follows the strict principles that, mostly, were handled by Ashra to a point. Synthesist's narrow edge is that it lacks originality, yet it finds an almost natural freshness, sticking to light-synth music and even dowsing the drum-bomb that could easily make up a heat, nonetheless creating a gentle, successful, admirably essential and recommended work; mainly for altruists listeners, but eventually for soft-boiled critics and great fans of this sort of fusion as well.
Synthesist also rhymes with sequential here on, where Grosskopf's powerful pleasure goes deep into dynamic, fizzing electronic compositions, the combination of fairy melodies, cycling keyboard sounds and (last but not least) the percussion infusion being probably dubbed over several rehearsals and synchronized recordings. The taste of these tracks flows exactly like Ashra's un-sensational, but intense and cheerful glimpses (a la Correlations or a bit of un-fluesy Belle Alliance). The soil for this style is nowhere near rich, but it's no pop or grease either, Grosskopf preferring at any time an ambitious and curios dance over fine art or complex looping. On some moment, the drumming is convincingly superior, alternating upwards to some Nietzsche fast taps, or downwards to a split end of lite-disco. The contrast is set by focusing entirely on keyboards and organs (B. Adrian, Trauma), the result being nothing but ambient, lofty and un-smashing, but yet again enjoyable and un-superficial. There's a weak spot in the album, down precisely the last two tracks, which slip deeply and unforgettably into pop-electric/new-age simple hopping music (a la Baumann and other 80s minor soloists).
For how nice it sounds and how ideal it's worked, Synthesist is probably Grosskopf's finest and is a real treat above a normal session of synth-sequence music. With drums (and a small post-prog feeling).