Deconstructing Interference #3
Returning after his triumphant 2013 album Virgins, Tim Hecker’s latest, Love Streams, introduces a new side of his musical identity. Similarly, adventurous neo-classical duo Piano Interrupted take a different route in their latest full-length, Landscapes of The Unfinished.
Additionally, prolific producer Lucy releases his newest album, Self Mythology, a meditative journey through ancient lore. Not one to rest on his laurels, he follows it up with an EP, Eat Drink Sleep Relax, in an attempt to address consumerism. That these two records are distinct from each other is a testament to the multiple façades that he is able to construct.
At the same time, Matthew Collings is focusing on one of the most urgent present issues: privacy in the digital age, which is the subject of A Requiem for Edward Snowden.
Experimental artist Kyoka releases an EP, coupling her chaotic nature with a more mature sensibility.
While on the subject of chaos, a relic from the free-jazz era of the ‘90s is retrieved with an Eremite release of Always Coming From the Love Side, a relentless collection of live recordings by TEST.
Finally, Berlin-based record label attempts the unification of retro sounds and futuristic elements in the first installment in their new cassette series, The Lost Tapes.
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Tim Hecker – Love Streams
For 15 years now, Tim Hecker has been a prominent figure in the experimental electronic scene.Hecker constructs his own dark world, filled with hazy mindscapes, influenced by drone and noise. His is uneasy work, balancing a trippy sense and a dissonant edge.
Love Streams breaks the norm for Hecker. This is his first album featuring vocals. Granted, they are presented through Hecker’s own mind-bending filter, using heavy processing (through the Melodyne audio effect) to mutate choirs recorded by Johan Johansson (score composer of Sicario.)
The whole perspective of the artist has slightly shifted away from the hazy and pessimistic elements, and into an area of melodic melancholy. Love Streams is easier to handle than his other work; even though it still features a fair amount of drone and noise it emits a welcoming feeling. The fact that Love Streams was released through seminal goth and indie label 4AD is no coincidence—much of the sound of the album has a certain influence from the label’s releases in the ’80s. This album shows that Hecker is not fixed on one certain style, and is open to exploring other territories. His bravery to do so pays off.
Kyoka – SH
Kyoka started off her career as an experimental musician in 2008. She released a series of underground recordings through onpa)))) records, showcasing a raw and chaotic variety of experimental electronic music. A big step came in 2012 with the release of her first EP through raster-noton, iSH, an excellent work of glitch bliss, followed by her 2014 debut full-length, Is (Is Superpowered).
Kyoka’s latest EP, SH, is astounding. This release retains the rich, raw tone of her past days, with the chaotic presence in her structures as strong as ever, but also fine-tunes her sound. Opening track, “Susurrus,” causes disorder through various twists and turns of sonic collage. The fact that this EP is based on sonic snapshots recorded and edited during soundchecks and live performances shifts this work further into experimental domains. The chaotic aspect has been joined by a meticulous process of structure—most of the tracks follow a certain progression, building up and then retreating into a state of disorientation and confusion. Darker moments appearing in “Soliloquy,” and cyber-punk ideas erupt in “Hovering.” Despite the pull of a colder and more abstract approach, Kyoka still produces upbeat and energetic tracks, such as “Smash/Hush” and “Somniloquy,” which are mutated through her unique vision of experimental electronic.
Code Is Law – The Lost Tapes 1
The Berlin-based label Code Is Law introduced the first installment in a series of cassette releases recently. Handpicked by Mørbeck, the artists in this compilation represent a coalition of futuristic movements and retro aesthetics. The eight chapters of this collection propose a new baseline for electronic music, ranging from the broken rhythmic patterns of techno to the experimental capabilities of the genre.
Marnyc’s “Electric Dogs” provides the first instance of a futurist sense.
The artist’s perspective is that electronic music is not incompatible with a “rural” sense, and the track progresses steadily with the inclusion of certain acidic inputs. WYAD’s “The Lost Tape” travels to more minimal directions, appearing blissful and dark at the same time, with its stripped-down approach. SPECTA’s “Common Talk” presents a more upbeat facade, beneath which the descent to more mechanical and detached sceneries unfolds. Sawlin follows a similar investigation in “Sense of Deepness,” causing moments of audio dissonance with his exploration of the darker sides of electronic music. Stephano Moretti takes that notion even further in “Let There Be Light,” letting noise creep into the structures of his work.
Focusing more on the rhythmic patterns and their capabilities, Janzon’s “Poetry In Motion,” centers on the evolution of the beats in a free-flowing and continuous aspect. More extreme, Under Black Helmet strives towards the transformation of these rhythmic element in “Mutant Beats”. Finally Mørbeck himself boldly steps into alien dimensions with his techno vision, resulting in a twisted version of what electronic music can evolve into with “Husky.”
Lucy – Self Mythology / Eat Drink Shop Relax
Italian DJ and producer Luca Mortellaro has had a prolific career under the moniker Lucy. He released his full-length, Self Mythology, this May and followed it shortly with the excellent EP, Eat Drink Shop Relax. Exploration is Lucy’s focus on Self Mythology. He manages to retain interconnections between different tracks of the album while taking adventurous steps into the dark corners of the mind.. By creating a certain scenery, influenced by myths and legends (Baba Yaga, She-Wolf and more,) Lucy is able to make Self Mythology a more iconic piece.
The supernatural element of this album radiates from the very start of “Baba Yaga’s Hut,” with its dark and desolate ambiance. The addition of a tribal spirit in this instance, begins with “Dissonance Emancipation” The interaction between this primal sense and the darkened element of Lucy’s approach, is fulfilled when the chants are introduced, and the scenery becomes more aggressive in “Vibrations of a Circular Membrane,” and tainted by an electronic infusion in “Meeting with Remarkable Entities.” The inclusion of an acoustic guitar in the short “A Selfless Act,” brings out an emotional side further enhanced by two of the most prominent works of the album: the lonely howls of “She-Wolf Night Mourning” and the Middle Eastern oriented influence of “Samsara”. The mechanical essence is still strong, and appears in almost industrial-like fashion in “A Millennia Old Adversary,” and in a minimal electro sense in the closing track, “Canticle of Creatures”.
In, Eat Drink Shop Relax, Lucy steps away from the power of folklore and addresses the issue of consumerism. With his visionary techniques he attempts to construct and showcase a time and place, an idealistic future, where freedom from the grip of consumerism will be the new reality. By recording the tracks live, Lucy has been able to produce a work of great continuity, where one chapter succeeds the other in a seamless fashion.
“Eat” introduces the work with its abstract and minimal tone, aspects of which will be spread out across the whole duration of the album. In a more slithering fashion “Drink” succeeds through great use of effects as simple as panning. The track becomes bigger and bolder but never actually erupts. Extremity comes to the final two movements of the album, “Shop” and “Relax.” The former appears more lucid than the first two tracks, with sharper sounds and a busier scenery, establishing a mechanical nightmare. “Relax” closes the album with an even more painful offering, as noise comes with full force and finds its place amongst the eerie soundscapes, resulting in a constantly pushing and abrupt setting.
TEST – Always Coming From The Love Side
Free-jazz cooperative ensemble TEST was an underground favourite of the jazz scene in New York in the ‘90s with their uncorrupted aesthetic. The Eremite label heard and recorded TEST a number of times over a ten year period. The best example of their energy and ferocity, the live album Always Coming From the Love Side was recorded in 1999 in New York during the band’s US tour, showcasing one of the band’s strongest and most memorable performances. The result is this excellent double album, filled with all the vitality and endless imagination of the four members of TEST.
Drummer Tom Bruno (RIP) creates an idiosyncratic rhythm pulse that the band follows in its bacchian improvisation, from Matthew Heyner’s fluid bass to Daniel Carter’s and Sabir Matteen’s explosive reeds. The two-hour performance feels like a split second for the tireless foursome, as they show contempt for the boundaries that might exist in more conventional music forms. By embracing the energy of a live performance, they dive head first into a spiraling free-form trip, completely devoid of any rules and order.
Matthew Collings – A Requiem For Edward Snowden
The actions of Edward Snowden have revealed uncomfortable truths about the current state of privacy. The effects of the digital age have caused the simplest acts of communications to become unreliable and opened our everyday life to voyeurism. That caught the attention of composer, live and recording artist Matthew Collings, who address the consequences of Snowden’s acts in A Requiem For Edward Snowden—not just a recording, but a larger scale audiovisual performance that was presented in a number of places, including the Glasgow Centre for Contemporary Art and the Gaudeamus Muziekweek in Utrecht.
Collings make use of a hybrid setting, a constructed space where electronic and acoustic instrumentation co-inhabit. The neo-classical aspect of the work is apparent in the string section’s appearance, but, that classical element is broken down and enhanced by electronic means, resulting in a deformed version of itself in moments like “Waiting”. The glitch approach is one of the key elements of this piece, and its contribution gives the record an uncertain feeling. The unpredictability of jazz is brought to the front a number of occasions, injecting the pieces with more movement and urgency, as it occurs in “Cincinattus.” The overall scope of the work is the most daunting. Collings is trying to express his viewpoint in a grand manner, with the inclusion of drone elements completely overwhelming the listener, at the start of “Maersk Recording” and in“Bluffdale, Utah.”
Piano Interrupted – Landscapes for the Unfinished
The collaboration of pianist Tom Hedge and “electronician” Franz Kirman sees them meticulously programming and editing their records, resulting in a transfigurative neo-classical work. At least that was the case with their previous records. On Landscapes of the Unfinished Hedge and Kirman attempt to distance themselves from their previous, more mechanical approach, and to produce a record inspired by a real-life experience rather than an electronic vision. The pair traveled to Senegal where the album was partly recorded with contributions from various local musicians. The setting is quite different but their experimental mindset has not stopped. The original recordings were deconstructed, a method that has been apparent in the duo’s work, reduced to faint versions of their previous self, and were sequentially enhanced with the addition of more textures and elements in order to complement the structure of their work. Their point of view is one of constant wonder, managing to bring that attitude in their soundscapes with ease. It is not always a peaceful process that just embraces the listener, and it can result in more extreme moments where noise injections and abstract patterns are allowed to flourish, but no matter what may appear, Hedge and Kirman retain the magical tone of their past records.