Reuben Son – Asleep at the Drawing Board, excerpt from side A, 7inch record on clear vinyl, released by Private Chronology, Boston, MA, June 2014
This disc is part of three new releases published in June 2014 on Private Chronology, an independent label from Boston, MA, run by guitarist and composer Reuben Son. A double time capsule this one, as, on the one hand, the music consists of vintage, analog synth sounds exclusively and, on the other hand, these sessions were recorded in 2011, pressed on vinyl in 2012, but only released in 2014. The rather abstract A-side is a succession of semi-aleatoric flurries of chunky bleep sounds in the form of three short electronic studies. Sounds are briefly altered by filters, pitch modification and reverb but stay in the same high pitched range throughout. The B-side is a different thing altogether, with its melodious, slow motion synth loops playing out of phase of each other in each speaker. In the final section, electronically-produced or sampled wordless, female vocalizations grant the music a Hauntology vibe slowly fading away till the end of the disc. The utilitarian design intentionally reinforces the impression of a document from a by-gone era, not unlike some of Bruce Licher’s letterpress designs for Independent Project Records (Savage Republic).
Caroline Park & Asha Tamirisa – SOTO, cassette released by Private Chronology, Boston, MA, June 2014
In SOTO, the duo of US electronic sound artists Caroline Park and Asha Tamirisa use their laptops to instill elusive electronic loops and washed out, long-held synthesizer notes in a remarkably transitional-state-music that never fully materialize into something as tangible as a Duo, a Composition nor an Improvisation. Rather, the music inhabits an intermediate state akin to the transition from liquid to gaseous, from semi-conscious to sleepy, from night to dawn, etc. Also the deliberate use of psychoacoustic sounds like bells, waves or water – even if buried deep into the mix – add up to the hypnagogic effect the music has on the listener, especially on side A, from which the sound clip above is taken. At 10 minutes per side, the cassette is much too short to really induce the listener into a modified state of consciousness, and it would be interesting to hear this kind of music on the longer run. These two slabs of highly elaborate ambient music were recorded live at Studio SOTO, Boston’s key venue for experimental music and multi-media art – that is, until they closed doors in 2013.
Patrick Emm – Theta States, cassette released by Private Chronology, Boston, MA, June 2014
This 25mn cassette presents five tracks of disquieting electronic music coming from a distant past by Boston musician Patrick Emm. On side A, unsettling utterings and undecipherable vocal fragments emerge amid a background of heavily treated electronic sounds, often flawed by speed instability or marred by extraneous noises. Vocals are less present on side B, but the “wow and flutter” effect of tape recorders and/or malfunctioning playback equipment are still used as compositional tools. By carefully eschewing the sheen of contemporary laptop music and using sonic memes from the early days of Musique Concrète, I suppose Emm aims at re-mythologizing electronic music, which is a welcome idea. But perhaps the effect would have been more efficient on CD or in live performance, a strategy that works well in Jan Jelinek and Andrew Pekler’s own Ursula Bogner project, for instance.
BIOME – Tactus Tempus (7:00 excerpt), composed in 1969 by Frank McCarty, live on KPFA, Berkeley, CA, 1973 [source]
BIOME: Allen Strange, EMS Synthi A Pat Strange, EMS Synthi A Frank McCarty, EMS Synthi A Boots McCarty, EMS Synthi A guests: Patrick Clancy, EMS Synthi A Steve Ruppenthal, EMS Synthi A
BIOME was a US live electronic music collective founded by Allen Strange in California in 1967. Strange studied with Harry Partch, Kenneth Gaburo, Pauline Oliveros and John Chowning. BIOME toured in the US and Europe between 1970 and 1974, occasionally accompanying screenings of Steve Whealton’s experimental films. In 1976, Strange founded another group, the Electric Weasel Ensemble in conjunction with Donald Buchla, as the band only played Buchla synthesizers.
Scarlatti Goes Electro – Third Album [三枚目のアルバムを試聴], LP published by Out One Disc, Tokyo, Japan, May 2014
There can’t be a better time than hot Summer days to indulge into a Jean-Jacques Perrey revival by the French duo of Antoine Souchav and Michel Bananes Jr, from Bordeaux, aka Scarlatti Goes Electro. Based on actual keyboard sonatas by Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti (1685–1757), the duo’s 3rd album collects incredible interpretations of the Maestro’s music for electronic instruments and harpsichord, helped by devilish arrangements from Japanese producer Kishino Yuichi, aka The Mustached Widow, also Out One Disc label owner. Expect highly intoxicating doses of Moog Little Phatty, Korg Mini 700, Clavinet Hohner D6 as well as clarinet and theremin – neat solo on the super-groovy track #9 Sonata K. 456, allegro.
Belgian sound collective Martiensgohome (various membership around Benoît Deuxant and Roland Wouters) emerged from an independent radio live show in Brussels and developed into a weekly experimental podcast as well as live performances and collaborations. This episode, titled In Atlanta, is based on a communication (in French) from an Atlantis representative to the humans of planet Earth and incorporates esoteric jargon, pseudo-science and Scientology brainwashing techniques on a background of ambient music. Remarkably insidious voice from unknown female speaker.
On this superb album, electronica musician Raed Yassin, avant guitarist Charbel Haber and percussionist Khaled Yassine blend iconic folk & belly dance music legends from Lebanon with influences from legendary Egyptian guitarist Omar Khorshid. The trio’s music also incorporates infectious Krautrock touches, electronic loops and occasional vinyl+live instrument duets. Most impressive track is the epic 17mn Samia, a sumptuous blend of traditional Lebanese music, turntablism, electric organ and electric guitar solo.
Rainier Lericolais - Quatuor à cordes n°3 (2:54) Postcard record, approx. 7x5 inches, private release limited to 250 copies, France, May 2014
With French contemporary artist Rainier Lericolais, each new work is an excuse to try a new medium, to explore a new technique or to revive out-of-date technologies with just enough contemporary zest to appeal to modern audiences. Such is the case with this postcard record, a lo-fi format already considered obsolete in the mid-1980s – to add insult to injury, the thing is supposed to circulate by… postal mail.
The String Quartet #3 is entirely build from string quartet sound samples, collated and organized into a mock-up Quatuor à cordes n°3 – as opposed to the 2 previous string quartets, where Pierre-Yves Macé actually arranged the collage into a genuine string quartet score and The Elysian Quartet, from UK, interpreted the pieces. Pressed on a simple postcard with massive background noise, the Quatuor à cordes n°3 is a neat composition seeming to emerge from the heart of a repressed country in the end of the Cold War era, when this technique was used to spread pastoral views along amiable folk tunes for good measure.
On May 11, 2014, all John Zewizz (Sleep Chamber) videos where removed from his Vimeo account for offending sexual content. One of these videos I posted back in November 2013 – Legs, though playing on the soft side–, has consequently been withdrawned as well.