microphones in the trees

Saturday, November 18, 2017

baldruin ~ biotische verwitterung




«A disquieting record to accompany the nightmare of now. Baldruin documents this darkness, finding some hope in the helplessness. Buried within these grooves, lies a dizzying array of crepuscular sonics. Barely alive, it drips with dread. Rachitic loops return to us, like traumas. A sticky submission. My goodness, these earworms are infectious.» aetheric-records 

If this world is going to an end – let's dance! Why not? Oh, there is so much fear and dread, and awe, and horror, and hope, and loneliness, and death-death-death is everywhere! But why not to dance? It all begins in light they said. Send your prayers they said. But what's in the end? Baldruin says 'Vom Ende' and then nightmare just begins, spinning its way back to your memory, turning everything upside down, changing the faces and places in the same canvas like in the most disturbing David Lynch movie. Yet, we can dance a bit. Because why not? Okay, despite being groovy and glitchy and gloomily enjoyable this record is not about decadence. It's definitely Baldruin's most creepy work to date, sometimes so disturbing that it gets physical. Something in the stomach. So you better move your body, because these aural rats are everywhere, their skins are soft and warm but they are red inside and they want you be same way... It feels like everything collapsing, yet there is something hidden in the sound which gives you strength to look, to face this storm. Apocalyptic, yes – this records definitely has its own transcendental virtue usually avoided by many. If it's usually calming escapism or filth and decadence in case of 'apocalyptic music', Baldruin paves his own way far away from both. I'd call it necessary vision. To look at thing as they are. As you just came out of wilderness and faced human world for the very first time. Not knowing what's good and what's bad. Not knowing where to go, because your wilderness is gone. And everything else is going to end as well... And it isn't dark at all. It's just how it is right here, right now, when you go by the streets – just one step away from the usual safe road. It may be literal, but can be in your mind. Just one, just little tiny step. And new wilderness unfolds, The Real of the Now. It barks, it bites, it pleases, it laughs, it fists your guts. But after all we know that we created it. So why not to dance with it? 


Friday, November 17, 2017

son ash ~ easy listening for the hearing impaired



son ash ~ easy listening for the hearing impaired (År & Dag, 2017)

«'Easy Listening For The Hearing Impaired' is a collection of timbral, rhythmical and structural studio experiments for analogue synthesizers, sequencers and reel tape. Part of the material stems from free improvisation, while other parts are composed from more strict and conformational principles. The album is concerned with the idea of beginning and becoming, and an increasing expanse is embedded in the progression of the album, that gradually unfolds its ramifications over time». År & Dag

After years of dedication to ambient music it can be hard to focus on weirdness and playfulness of modern electronic music. Surely it's not that hard in general, your mind just gets so comfortable with the idea of music without unexpectable turns and sharp angles that it becomes inseparable from daily routine. Even without calling it consumerism or escaping, it's enough already to say that one can easily become 'hearing impaired' to any other kind of music. With this in mind I finished my first listening to this record, staring to the ceiling, completely lost and totally inspired. Taken first as the controversial eye-catcher, the name of this album unfolded as a little epiphany – even having the all music of the world before us, we usually select just few styles for personal comfort remaining deaf to anything else. Voluntary deafness, John Cage's archenemy. Of course, there is contrariety to it, hunger to complexity and ingenuity, which drives so-called avantgarde to limits of reason. But beyond those extremes lays the vastness of music, which can be virtually anything for you. 

Son Ash brings a lot to this table, playing and experimenting, making fun of cliches. Sometimes it gets so calm and minimal that it can be mistaken for some Guenter Schlienz' new work, but just few moments later it turns your calmness into laughter, as it was saying 'haha, got you!' – yet within the bounds of decency. I doubt Andreas Pallisgaard (Son Ash mastermind) does it on purpose, at least I want it to be that way because it creates a picture of some kind of futuristic ambient music in my head – it still exists in terms of Satie & Eno, but already corrupted by this unavoidable post-internet vibe, when unexpected turns are not glitches of the system but are result of changed perception of the world, conscious switches. Mind changing it's focus same way as 20 years ago people changed TV channels during sleepless night, but with awareness why and what for. As we change interiors while drifting through the city to our homes. If classic ambient was pastoral in many ways and had its evil twin 'dark ambient', this new ambient cannot be named that easily. It's not dystopian or critical. It's not even weird or cynical. It's like the life itself – just changing. Just different for every one. But still it has to say something about all of us in common. Yes, this is easy listening, after all, but only if you forgot how to listen. 

listen ~ support ~ watch video

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

pandelindio ~ spirits of valtellina




Spirits of Valtellina was recorded live at I’abbazia di S. Pietro, a romanesque abbey built in 1078 by the monks of Cluny, in Cosio Valtellino, province of Sondrio, Italy ~ novitic ind.

Despite the plentiness of acoustic instruments very well adapted or even specifically made for drone music, there are not so many artist in the world plying purely acoustic drone music.  Of course one can said that this is well known route and that it's much more interesting to build something upon drone – as it does New Age music, folk and actually almost any known music. With centuries (or thousands?) of development the presence of the drone has reduced  significantly, and, probably, only Indian music tradition preserved careful attitude to it. All sounds are emerging from drone. Like a primal ocean of energy, it contains the potency of any sound. Melody is just a fleeting splash, surface ripple, but it can reflect some of the inner processes inside of this unknowable continuum. Repetition of melodic phrases and game of overtones are as natural for the music, as a murmur for water. Drone is a stalk for the flowers to bloom... And it happens time after time on this album – as natural, as in a spring garden. At ease, as the wellspring goes through stones. Pandelindio magicians learn the organic way of things through music and bestow us their admiration, which we happily share!

watch video:

Monday, September 11, 2017

rhucle ~ raw


Without exaggeration, Tokyo-based sound magician Yuta Kudo aka Rhucle really flooded ambient scene with his music since last year, having tapes and discs released all around the world at labels like Oxtail, Constellation Tatsu, Adhesive Sounds, A Giant Fern, ΠΑΝΘΕΟΝ, Beer On The Rug... One could only dream about such list of publishers, but it is actually well deserved attention if you ask me – there are many prolific ambient artists, even in Japan only (take Hakobune, Hatakeyama, Celer...), but Yuta developed its own sense for ambient vibe so quickly that we could speak about being just a medium here. It's always seems unearthly, when artist picks his style so carefully that you can recognize his tunes with the first minutes of playback. It seems like he simply mediates the frequencies of another dimension into our reality, and it's true with Rhucle. On the other hand, Yuta's music is very well rooted in nature, in bucolic recordings of water streams and birds voices, which are inseparable from his tunes. Mellow spheres of sound slowly echoing through those recordings remind me voice of wind in the electric wires, serenity of summer days, afternoon laziness and sparkles of the starlight falling with the dusk... And when I remember those days, I can't really say how many of them were in my life – it looks like infinity in my mind. One omnipresent moment. It's so unreal, yet I can feel any slightest sensation I had! So, I guess this is why it doesn't matter how many albums Rhucle has in its catalogue, how many summer days I spent alone with nature, how hot they were, how gentle was the whisper of the water... I can only wonder how such music can be done in Tokyo, which must be loudest place on Earth, but guess such wonder as this music gives to me can only be transcendent from inside. An it brings a lot more than I can express in a review, it comes with different story every time, so Rhucle can be viewed as an amazing cure from despair, from transience of our daily life, vanishing point of the mind, halfway between the memories and dreams.


 

a r c a d e ~ bilberries and mushrooms



Hypnotic whirl of grooves and hums, layered over the ground of weird echoes. Dance of electric impulses of mycorrhiza. Drops of water on the spider web. Moonlight reflections in the crystals hidden between leaves... I can go on like this forever while listening to this tape. It came a while ago, but every time I listened to it, the more hypnotizing it was. I know that term "psychedelic" can be attached to anything these days, so let's just say it's magical. And it truly is! Once you fall into these grooves and catch the vibe of those slightly unbalanced loops, it will spin in your deck for ages. Tuluum Shimmering  tropical canoe trip with Julia Bloop and Rod Hamilton, smiling to each other under the moonlight. High Wolf-y relaxing tunes to lazy Sunday mornings, Black Joker's game of never-ending loops which erase the difference between sounds which are actually there and imagined ones. And believe me, you'll be getting many of them even when tape stops. Maybe it's just a result of long-time addiction to weird cassette loop music, but a r c a d e definitely brings some tricks along with its seemingly simple compositions. The name behind is Nathan Stephenson and I strongly suggest to keep an eye on his output - "bilberries and mushrooms" is only a debut work!

listen ~ support
watch video:


Thursday, July 20, 2017

interview with guenter schlienz



Guenter Schlienz (Stuttgart, Germany) is known for his vast catalogue of tape & cdr releases on different great labels around the world – Sacred Phrases, SicSic, Goldtimers, Constellation Tatsu, etc. He is the man behind wonderful Cosmic Winnetou label, releasing all kinds of experimental/drone/ambient artists — maybe not as frequently as we'd like, but each time pleasing the taste of any tape music geek. Creating his minimalist compositions by means of d.i.y modular synths, tape loops and field recordings, Guenter achieves the serenity of classic ambient works, while keeping the vibe of 70s kosmische musik (think Cluster or Harmonia) and sometimes reaches the territories of academic minimalism, exploring the sound as ding an sich, inspiring the listener to invent its own narrative. Being part of Navel band since mid 90s, Guenter's place in music world has a long, but still almost unknown story which continues nowadays with further explorations of all kinds of ambient music.

~~~

Pied Paper: First of all, I'm curious about how it all started for you — ambient music, synth building, tape releases, etc. I know that you were involved in many other projects before, call you tell a bit about them too?

GS: phew, where did it all started… definitely many many moons ago. was active mid till end 90s in some heavy stoner psychedelic rock band. was the guy responsible for producing some "far out sounds" with his guitar and some delay pedal. so there already was this drone element in what i did. but far from recognizing it as this for myself. bit later during the same decade i did a session with a guy who did guitar and singing for another noise rock outfit. we just fiddled around with our guitars and with every pedal we could get our hands on. we recorded our very first session with some broken 4track and quite liked the results. after presenting the finished cdr people came back and reported "this is quite cool drone music". so yep, that's how we learned the name of this style. and after having the name we were able to dig deeper and learned names like Stars of the Lid, Flying Saucer Attack, Brian Eno etc pp. this guitar drone project of us is called Navel and we are still recording and doing live shows.

beginning of the 00's i quit doing this rock band stuff, so there was plenty time to do some other things. after getting introduced to all this amazing kraut and kosmische musik (during a navel live show in france by an english man, but that's another story) there was the idea to do some kind of electronic music solo. so i needed an instrument, and after bit of research i discovered that the schematics for some modular synthesizer would be something i could manage with the training in electronics i already had. so i started soldering, first quite simple filters, later more and more sophisticated modules.

the tapes, yep, fast forward to the end of last decade. stumbled over this tape scene thing by accident via the internet (god bless it). those days i was pretty frustrated and bored by the music all the labels and magazines i knew presented, so this occurred to me like a big relief. yes. so many people and projects and bands and labels are doing fantastic stuff, exactly the music i love, right at the moment, and sell it for very low money to people all around the world. yes! couldn't belief my eyes. that the favorite medium of all those labels and projects were cassettes don't really bothered me (of course i had this "ugh? on tape? strange…" moment like everybody else i guess), because i never really stopped using this media since my early childhood days.

I like to dramatize a bit some things some times, but this discovery of the tape label scene kind of saved my artistic live. it gave me so much energy and confirmation and countless hours of joy during listening sessions that i got the feeling that i have to give something back. hence i started my own tape label.


Pied Paper: Your music sounds almost academic sometimes, especially works as Organ Studies, Loop Studies and Furniture Sounds — which, as I understand is a homage to Eric Satie. But your name is strongly associated with "underground tape scene", as we call it. Did you ever thought about making your music open for the interpretations, to write it down on a paper maybe, letting the others perform it?

GS: huh, not sure if i my music sounds bit like academic music. for sure i'm quite interested in this genre, mean contemporary composers with "classical" musical education composing pieces for concert halls and operas and stuff. like their approach to their art through quite rigid concepts, their huge knowledge about musical structures and about music of many centuries and cultures. perhaps you see my enthusiasm for their rigidness shining through my stuff? that would be a compliment for sure, at least in my opinion. and of course, if there would be a small ensemble crazy enough to perform it, i would love to write a score for them (though not sure if i would like to conduct it). but i guess your name must be some lou reed or some other in the same league to be honored like this. actually i'm pretty sure that many of those academic contemporary composers would be happily release their stuff on tape if they would only know this special scene around it.


Pied Paper: It's clear that ambient music is a wide field for interpretation, same sound can be perceived in different ways depending on the artwork, liner notes, track titles, etc. Can you tell something about your own perception of your music? Does it have some stories within, or it's just abstract form which everyone can fill with its own meaning?

as you see in the answer of the last question i like some kind of concept around the music. and if this concept even gets its visual equal with the artwork i'm more than happy. so of course, there is a story in every piece. but hey, its music, its a form of art, so who am i to dictate what some listener and spectator wants to see in it? isn't it the very meaning of any art, that the consumer of it knits his very personal meaning to it?

actually i am not able to describe what i hear in my music anyway. for me the answer to this question would lead to some kind of poem, some painting, some huge novel, some dance or any other arty abstraction. in none of the mentioned techniques 'm very good at, so please, listen to the music.


Pied Paper: Imagine a situation when you someone asks you to create music with specific mood, theme, etc. — like for a movie scene or something — would it be easy for you? What you enjoy more - improvisation or composition?

already did this, i mean creating some music for a specific use (to earn some money), and hey, that is pretty hard work (and hard earned money)! to create some music without some customers needs to be satisfied, just the personal ones, isn't really easy to do as well, but much more gratifying for the soul. its an privilege to be able to do this, and i have a (pretty time consuming) bread and butter job to create the circumstances to fulfill it.

can't really separate those strategies during my performances, both live and during my recording sessions. its always a mixture of plan and being ready to include some coincidences respectively enlightenments. actually my believe is, gained through many observations and talks about such things, that nearly every work in which i am interested in is created this way.


Pied Paper: I know that you enjoy recording outdoor, do you have any specific set-up for this?

not really specific, the equipment just have to have some possibility to work battery driven. luckily my modulars fall into this category. just to improve the handling of such adventure i have build my modulars as small and compact as possible, and since a couple of months a work on some modules who will be included into some water proofed case.


Pied Paper: Probably you've noticed that releases of first wave of cassette drone/ambient in 2009-11 was mostly lo-fi and many of same artists still doing tapes nowadays came to much cleared and well-produced sound - is that natural growth or trying to be more "mainstream"?

yes, i'm aware of this development as well. i think it just was some other group of people with bit different background which had been running those labels you' mention. In those early days of the reemerging of this medium the leading actors had had mostly a background in the noise scene. hence the tape as favorite medium, hence the cheap and ugly aesthetics of the chosen instruments. these different (don't like to ad some other evaluative adjective) sounding tapes of lately are from people without this background, they just take over the torch and work with it out of their musical socialization. so in my opinion it is either "natural growth", this sounds like some kind of improvement who isn't any need for, nor a try to reach broader audiences. the good stuff of recently is produced by people who are just as true to their own style as their ancestors had been, and therefore it is as important and equal beautiful as the old stuff.


Pied Paper: As a label owner, can you tell how many demos you receive? Which kind of styles you receive most? I'm asking because it seems that ambient/psych/drone music isn't that popular anymore - I see tons of vaporwave/webpunk tapes at new-born labels, while such imprints as Stunned, Tranquility tapes, Goldtimers are long gone (or maybe it's just old man's talk, huh).

yes, and i'm very happy about it, i receive quite a lot of demos. always love to get some new sounds for my ears. mostly the artists are very good informed about the style of the music i usually release and about the aesthetics i'm interested in. perhaps you are right, there are less people out there which do their own style of ambient/psych/drone as perhaps eight years ago, but i'm not sure about that. and as i stated in the last paragraph i think those vaporwave labels and the like took the torch of the cassette celebration and run with it their own way. and this is a good thing. who needs the 16th or whatever version of the emeralds (insert here the name of your favorite release of those years)? isn't this exactly what have happened with pop and rock music and what makes this stuff sometimes unbearable to listen to?


Pied Paper: And what are your plans for the Cosmic Winnetou in the foreseeable future?

prepare my next batch right now which will be released in a couple of weeks. but after this 13th cosmic winnetou bundle of cassettes i will need a hiatus, unfortunately. i love to do the label work, but it is very time consuming. have lots of projects for this year, music and private stuff, so i have to pull the brakes to this project for this year. but really looking forward to restart the tape label with new ideas and energies end of this year.


Pied Paper: Do you ever think about future of music? Is it possible to invent something new, or we are doomed to retro-mania, returning to same tunes from different angles?

of course there will some day somebody release some music which haven't been heard before and will blow all of us completely into the void. don't know which day this will happen, but i'm pretty sure someday it will. just look around, not only the music is stuck into retro mode. clothing, hair style, performing arts, pictorial arts, industrial design, i think that in our days nearly every form of artefacts are done with quite old ideas, just a few new kind of tools here and there. the whole mood, you can call it "zeitgeist" if you like, is like "let's try to preserve what we have", not "perhaps this is a better idea for the future, let's work on it". in my opinion everything is linked together somehow, and we have this retro mania since the 90s, starting with this global change of the modus vivendi. but nothing is forever, so i'm sure this will change someday. these thoughts are just my 50cents about a very complex question. but yeah, i think about this, and love to exchange ideas about this kind of topic.


Pied Paper: Humans already sent some music with space probes - which titles would you choose for such mission? I know you won't choose Wagner, huh :)

really nice question, this is. indeed already thought about that, and i think the nasa did a quite good job with the "golden record" for the voyager mission. very good selection which shows how wonderfully diverse sounds humans are able to produce, and each and all of them aim at the listeners heart. but always wondered if it would be perhaps a good idea to send some field recordings of this strange planet into the void, and f so, which i would chose.

some people laughing, some people fighting, a mother singing her baby to sleep, the audience at a soccer game, a sundown at the shore of a calm sea with waves and cicades and everything? what else?


Pied Paper: Okay, that's it — you can send high fives here or add something if needed! Thank you!

hey, high five to you and many thanks for those questions! took my a while to type the answers, because you found some topics and ideas i love to share my thoughts on it. and of course many thanks for your support!

perhaps i would like to ad a big "thank you" to all the readers of those lines, time is precious and i'm happy that you waste it reading them. and a big "thank you" to all the people who listen to my music and perhaps even bought the cassettes and cds and vinyls with my music on it. to know that somebody out there cares about my music means a lot to me. hugs.


selected albums:


Sunday, July 16, 2017

anahita ~ tourmaline (three:four records, 2017)




"Out of the crystal clear and warm cosmic perennial waters comes forth another sparkling jewel from Anahita (Tara Burke (Fursaxa) and Helena Espvall (Espers). Two elves dancing amidst gnarled branches of ancient trees and fragrant herbs, concocting a magical potion for the mind of floating medieval cello spheres and melancholic ceremonial madrigals under the blinking eye of a pale moon and far off constellations of shooting stars." 
Bart De Paepe, founder of the belgian tape label Sloow Tapes

credits

released May 12, 2017, Anahita is Tara Burke and Helena Espvall. 

Recorded in the summer of 2010 and 2011 at the Hestian Den. 
Engineered by Derek Moench.  Mastered by Julien Grandjean at Jetlag

Monday, June 05, 2017

viviendo en la tierra de alicia bay laurel

Viviendo en la Tierra

“Celebraciones, avisos de tormenta, fórmulas, recetas, rumores y danzas campestres
recolectadas por Alicia Bay Laurel.”

Kachina Ediciones quiere editar por primera vez en castellano la guía clásica para la vida natural, bohemia y alternativa en el campo escrita por Alicia Bay Laurel en la comuna Wheeler Ranch en el norte de California a finales de los sesenta. La biblia del movimiento back-to-the-land y las comunas hippies de la década de los setenta que capturó el espíritu de toda una generación. 

Para esta edición en castellano, Kachina Ediciones ha puesto en marcha una campaña de financiación que finaliza este domingo 11 de junio, si la campaña finaliza con éxito, el libro estará a la venta el próximo mes de septiembre:


Viviendo en la Tierra es para aquellos que prefieren cortar leña para el fuego antes que trabajar en una oficina para pagar la factura de la compañía eléctrica. Un libro diseñado sin índices, sin capítulos, sin reglas ni estructuras, un libro que se construye sobre el aprendizaje del día a día.

Escrito e ilustrado a mano por Alicia Bay Laurel cuando esta tenía tan sólo 19 años, como si se tratara de un diario, originalmente fue concebido como una guía destinada exclusivamente a distribuirse internamente entre las comunas. El libro fue publicado por The Bookworks en Berkeley, California y se agotó inmediatamente. Random House lo reeditó en 1971 y vendió más de 350.000 copias en pocos meses convirtiéndose así en un New York Times Bestseller. Viviendo en la Tierra cambió radicalmente la forma de concebir un libro y con su estilo ha influido durante décadas a numerosos artistas y diseñadores.



Más allá de su utilidad como una guía DIY de artesanía, jardinería, construcción, remedios caseros y recetas, Viviendo en la Tierra documenta la vida en las utópicas comunas de finales de los sesenta. Traducido al japonés y al coreano -y ahora por primera vez al castellano-, en 2012 el libro fue elegido como uno de los 101 libros de cocina americanos más influyentes del siglo XX. Entre 2016 y 2017, fue expuesto en varios museos en retrospectivas sobre la cultura hippie.
Pero además, para muchas personas, Viviendo en la Tierra es una fuente de inspiración espiritual, ya que es un exponente del placer de la vida sin apenas dinero ni bienes materiales, viviendo en contacto con la naturaleza y protegiéndola, viviendo en armonía con los demás.




Alicia Bay Laurel (1949, Hollywood, California) creció en un ambiente intelectual estrechamente relacionado con las artes y políticamente activo. Tras cursar estudios de arte, con diecinueve años se trasladó a la comuna Wheeler Ranch donde comenzó a escribir e ilustrar Viviendo en la Tierra, libro que le dio fama y reconocimiento internacional. Además de escritora e ilustradora, Alicia es una cantautora y música de éxito y ha grabado siete discos desde 1970. Fue alumna del reconocido guitarrista John Fahey y en su carrera ha tocado géneros tan dispares como el psych folk, el blues, la canción protesta o la música Hawaiiana.

En 1973 en colaboración con Ramón Sender Barayon -hijo del escritor Ramón J. Sender y conocido activista del movimiento hippie de los 60- escribió e ilustró el libro Being The Sun, que más tarde se convirtió también en disco.
 
Se trasladó a Maui en 1974 y desde entonces ha ejercido numerosas profesiones, incluyendo entre otras muchas la de fotógrafa submarina, empresaria o profesora de primaria.

Coincidiendo con la edición revisada y actualizada de Viviendo en la Tierra en el año 2000, Alicia hizo una gran gira musical de promoción por Estados Unidos. Desde entonces Alicia vive entre Estados Unidos, Panamá, España y especialmente Japón, país en el que goza de un enorme reconocimiento y en el que continúa realizando numerosas actuaciones musicales y colaboraciones artísticas para libros, publicidad e incluso para diseño de moda. 




 
“Este puede ser perfectamente el mejor libro de este catálogo, es un libro para la gente; por eso, si eres una persona, es para ti; si eres un perro, sin embargo, y no sabes leer demasiado bien, también es para ti, porque tiene dibujos, Alicia, Alicia, Alicia, ella es nuestra Bradford Angier particular.”
--The Whole Earth Catalog, JD Smith, 1970.

"VIVIENDO EN LA TIERRA es toda una experiencia vital. Nos presenta toda la información principal del Whole Earth Catalog con la calidez y el sentimiento que una chica con un melódico y apasionado nombre como Alicia Bay Laurel puede poseer. Es como una carta interminable que Alicia te escribiera sólo y únicamente a ti."
--The Village Voice.



“Ver, tocar o acariciar VIVIENDO EN LA TIERRA es maravilloso. Sus dibujos y diseños irradian calidez, simplicidad y sinceridad. El libro en sí es un objeto que induce a la serenidad y a la buena voluntad. Su información es realmente útil para todo aquel que desee disfrutar de las cosas buenas de esta vida en cualquier parte del mundo."
--Raymond Mungo, The New York Times Book Review

“Quiero hacer todo lo que pone en este libro. Si no puedo hacer todo lo que pone en este libro, entonces quiero soñar sobre ello, porque yo sé que si lo hago, seré una mejor persona hasta la médula de mis huesos.”
--Shuntaro Tanikawa, poeta japonés

(fotos de la comuna Wheeler Ranch de Bob Fitch)