Join KQED’s Spark and take a listening lesson from sound artist Loren Chasse, as he mines the aural riches that surround us.
Always nice to see a new label ping up on our radar. In this case ‘Handstitched’ bringing a beautiful DIY feel to this split release between Fields We Found and Ian Hawgood. 50 copies on mini CD-r and sage green cassette with hand-made packaging, tape O-cards and unique designs for each CD package. Very nice indeed!
Goes without saying, the two artists both bring carefully considered, slow moving compositions to the fore, balancing cloud-like chords with twinkling, glitchy textures.
The Perseids are a meteor shower associated with the comet Swift–Tuttle. Peak visibility is between the 9th and 14th of August each year. The name is due to the point in the sky from which they appear to originate, from within the constellation of Perseus.
Variant, aka Stephen Hitchell, was one half of the pioneering Detroit Dub-Techno duo Echospace. This track is a slowly developing drone in the minor scale with noise and textures developed from their minimal techno origins.
If you are reading this close to the time of posting, there is a high chance of a spectacular light show in your skies this evening. Any time from nightfall with the peak from around midnight to 4am. So keep you head held high, maybe you’ll see them fly!
Dave Stitch takes his organically installed modular system for a hike and attempts to step out of the sequence of time:
“I’ve been thinking about doing this for a year now after discovering my new favourite hill in South Wales (GB) It’s littered with neolythic etchings on the rocks and seemed like an interesting space to cart our innalogs to for some wild synthing.”
“The main composition was created using the neo reimannian based sequencer grid in the Automannetz state of the O_c, which I studied for an afternoon in order to transcribe musical notes that I had extracted from a tarot reading of 5 cards using my esoteric spreadsheet (which maps the major and minor arcana of the tarot to John Coltrane’s 1969 circle of fifths sketch.)”
“I am besotted with the word ‘extratemporal’ in the context of live electronic recordings. I have always felt that a one take performance captures a moment and takes it outside linear time, to be tapped into again at a later date (if recorded!) I wonder if memories count as recordings?”
Stefan Robbers, aka Florence aka Terrace, was among the first European producers able to capture the soulful spirit found in productions coming out of Detroit. His music holds a special place for many. The title of this EP, the first on his own label, which he ran with Wladimir M, pays homage to this influence. The homage was taken further with the Alan Oldham-esque cartoon artwork on the label and, unusual for European releases at the time, plastic shrink rap giving the package the same look as an imported release. This was no one-sided idol worship though, but a two-way exchange of like minds, with their music being released on stateside labels and stateside artists being released on their label.
The female spoken word lyric, in style as well as content, draws heavily from Blake Baxter’s When We Used To Play. Melancholic references to frustrated sexual desire, either through the passage of time or lack of opportunities, grace both tracks. A similar feel is on the Terrace track Bewitched, this time the theme being more about unrequited love.
While having definite inspirational origins, Robbers developed his own peculiar vibe, a haunting sparseness that comes from living in the flatlands – in this case, the ones of the Netherlands.
For those not inclined to collect quarter-of-a-century old phonographic disks, a compilation of remastered Florence tracks was released in 2020.
As someone born in the beige area between gen x and millennial, we had no internet until our later teens. Something to pass the time would be casually browsing my local video shop basement, sticky carpet and dank smells galore. All the new releases stayed upstairs, but the horror, soft porn, b-movies and kung fu vids were downstairs and rarely, if ever, seemed to get updated. Over time I got to know the plots and synopsis of many films, by reading the covers and staring at the pics, as I was way too young to actually rent them. Drunken Master was in the Kung Fu section and the images of inebriated Jackie Chan fighting on the back cover stuck in my head. Later on, I developed a musical obsession with Sly & Robbie (still do tbh) and loved the General Echo tune of the same name, which I think is a sort of loose homage to the film, toasting over the ‘My Woman’s Love’ riddim.
Now, 30 years later, another namecheck in the form of some amazingly gritty techno and electro courtesy of RGLN on Don’t Recordings. It’s got a call-to-arms urgency about it, along with some serious dry heave distortion, that manages to reside in the borderlands of industrial, new wave and techno.
It’s relation to the film I have no idea, I’ve still not actually seen it.
10 track album and super limited vinyl available at their bandcamp now.