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Harry Bertoia, "The Complete Sonambient Collection"

"This is all for the glory of creation." Harry Bertoia

In the late fifties Harry Bertoia began working on long-form improvised compositions by utilizing pure acoustic tones produced using his own pure metal sound sculptures.   Bertoia coined the term "Sonambient" to describe the music of his sculptures and the lush overtones they evoked, renovated a barn on his property deep in the PA woods, and often recorded his nightly sessions in the barn using 4 overhead microphones and a 1/4" tape recorder. Bertoia dedicated the last twenty years of his life to his Sonambient work and in 1970 he released the first Sonambient LP. In 1978, in the final months of his life, he selected recordings from his archive and produced 10 more Sonambient records. He would not live long enough to see these records in person.

The Complete Sonambient Collection features all 11 Bertoia Sonambient releases newly restored from the original master reels. A heavy duty box holds 11 CDs each packaged in replica sleeves and a 100 page booklet contains a lengthy historic essay, a Smithsonian interview with Harry Bertoia, exclusive Sonambient era material from the Bertoia archive,  photos of the Sonambient barn during Harry's lifetime and updated with many shots of the barn today.  Also included are reflections on Bertoia from David Sefton, Tom Welsh, David Harrington (Kronos Quartet) and all three of Bertoia's children.

2015 is the centennial celebration of the birth of Harry Bertoia on March 10, 1915. To celebrate Harry's life and work Important Records Important Records will release a CD box set containing the complete edition of Bertoia's privately pressed Sonambient LPs.

Harry Bertoia's use of the term "Sonambient" to describe both his sculptures and their sound pre-date the term "ambient" being used to describe a form of music. The origins of his Sonambient sculptures are found in his brilliant, early monotypes. It wasn't until 1960 that he began the exploration of these tonal sculptures and then not until the early seventies that he began recording his lengthy concerts. He ritually played his meditative performances in his post and beam barn on 200 acres in Barto, Pennsylvania up in the hills not far away from his Bally, PA studio. It's the sacred, personal feeling one has in Bertoia's barn that we hope to evoke with the packaging and archival materials accompanying these recordings.

"We live in a new age with sounds never before heard. They can be strident, tranquil, violent, fluctuating, depending on the metal, the size of the rods, or the group of the rods. I always feel more drawn to this barn, the changes are omnipresent and every person has the responsibility to find new ways of making things. This is what forms our character. I cannot say that I am not unchangeable. There is a progression in the world. It is part of my role in life to discover this progression."

Harry Bertoia 1978

The works of Harry Bertoia celebrate the bounty of the good earth; shimmering sheafs of golden wheat stalked in endless rows on 'the fruitful plain'; great crashing cataracts, with crystal-pure and steel hard volutes; or the swift, mystic rushing of myriad-rayed comets against the sky's infinity. To suggest so much, by means so simple, is the mark of a great lyrical poet.

Bertoia's sculptures and his sounds are a conceptual string, or literal vibrations, that weave together all of his work. You see the shape of the sound sculptures appear in his mono-prints and suddenly even his famous chairs resonate with sounds when you pluck at them or run a pencil down the lines. Through Sonambient, Bertoia's lifetime of work resonates, echoes, bubbles with overtones and comes alive.

Harry's single greatest piece of art is the totality of his life which is nearly impossible to measure but somehow easy to feel.

 

The Complete Sonambient Collection will be released on Nov 27, 2015 on Important Records.

5795 Hits

Philip Jeck, "Cardinal"

"... and they sparkled like burnished brass"

"Out of the depths of our complaints, it could be all so simple. To be never fooled by the finesse of a long-yearned for solidity, but in the momentary aplomb of a sleepy walk threading through familiar streets we'd hum our way, alto, baritone and tenor toward some harmonious end. An effect like some wonderful recollection of one or other of those technicolour movies. Not real for sure, but if you are in the mood… [...] (Philip Jeck, April 2015)

"To make this record I used Fidelity record players, Casio Keyboards, Ibanez bass guitar, Sony minidisc players, Ibanez and Zoom effects pedals, assorted percussion, a Behringer mixer and it was edited it at home with minidisc players and on a laptop computer."

More information will soon be found here.  Out October 23rd.

4206 Hits

Thomas Köner, "The Futurist Manifesto" DVD

022

An colossal audiovisual adaption of Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto, by one of the uncontested master isolationists of the ethereal static sounds, a sonic symphony of the unconsciouss and a defiant decceleration critique of today society through the ultimate modern text. Thomas Köner has crafted the ultimate 4 bpm masterpiece.

More information can be found here.

5285 Hits

Laurel Halo, "In Situ"

Spherical collections of stars form around black holes in situ; that is, locally to their cosmic neighbourhoods. It is said that future space colonization will rely on sourcing supplies in situ. Construction in situ uses raw materials at the site: colossal sculptures such as Naqsh-e Rustam, the Leshan Giant Buddha and Mount Rushmore were built in this fashion.

Wild, organic machine grooves, with a mind’s eye on naked treetops and an early sunset. Melody breathes out from dubwise fx, percussion by turns sinewy and floating, sub blasts and stripped synth arrangements. Keys on air.

Spacious, witty, melancholic, deadly.

More information is available here.

3762 Hits

Makoto Kawabata, "Astro Love & Infinite Kisses" 2xLP

Astro Love is the first widely available solo release in several years from Kawabata, emerging from a period of relative quiet with this blockbuster Krautrock-flavored epic. On the whole, this a lovely and impressionistic record, the other side of Makoto's outrageous works with Acid Mothers' Temple. Taking cues from classics of the genre like Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra and Steve Hillage's Rainbow Dome Music,  "Dos Nurages" is the centerpiece of the record, a 41-minute hypnotic epic, with echoplex’d guitar anchoring a stream of expertly done glissando. "Astro Love & Infinite Kisses" is a darker drone, in the traditions of Kawabata’s INUI series of releases for VHF. "Woman From Dream Island" finishes the record with a thick buzz of tamboura overlaid with trippy backwards guitar, before giving way to a gentle finger-picked acoustic coda.

More information can be found here.

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4090 Hits

Makoto Kawabata, "Astro Love & Infinite Kisses" 2xLP

Astro Love is the first widely available solo release in several years from Kawabata, emerging from a period of relative quiet with this blockbuster Krautrock-flavored epic. On the whole, this a lovely and impressionistic record, the other side of Makoto's outrageous works with Acid Mothers' Temple. Taking cues from classics of the genre like Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra and Steve Hillage's Rainbow Dome Music,  "Dos Nurages" is the centerpiece of the record, a 41-minute hypnotic epic, with echoplex’d guitar anchoring a stream of expertly done glissando. "Astro Love & Infinite Kisses" is a darker drone, in the traditions of Kawabata’s INUI series of releases for VHF. "Woman From Dream Island" finishes the record with a thick buzz of tamboura overlaid with trippy backwards guitar, before giving way to a gentle finger-picked acoustic coda.

More information can be found here.

vhf133_promo.jpg

417 Hits

King Midas Sound/Fennesz, "Edition 1"

 

King Midas Sound is comprised of Kevin Martin (also known for his work under The Bug moniker), singer/poet Roger Robinson, and vocalist Kiki Hitomi. Their landmark 2009 debut Waiting For You on Hyperdub quickly established them as falling sonically somewhere between sub-electronic lovers' rock, dub and the bleakest, slowest mutation of narco hip-hop, while on the live front they were nestled somewhere between the apocalypse and FX-drenched, shoegaze laments. In both arenas they are known as a brooding sonic force. With a move over to Ninja Tune plus the release of 2013's lauded Aroo single and in particular its b-side "Funny Love," an even deeper sense of spaciousness began to set in. That track’s dramatic tonal shift acted as a catalyst for the idea of a conceptual collaborative project to be born. Hence this first edition (in a series of four), appropriately titled Edition 1.

Looking even further back it does seems fitting that the person (Kevin Martin) who once curated a compilation called Isolationism is one of the key contributors behind this truly mesmeric examination of melancholy and desolation, Edition 1 features collaborator number one, Austrian guitarist / electronic musician Fennesz. His 2001 album Endless Summer was a swirling mix of electric tonal guitars and sweeping emotional shifts which inspired and sparked an admiration within Kevin and Roger to bring him onboard. Utilizing improvised guitar tracks, samples, and unreleased material from Fennesz's archive, Edition 1 took shape within the KMS framework. In the wake of Kevin's last Bug album Angels & Devils, he wanted to create a record focused on kaleidoscopic sonic beauty, bathed in the bluest emotional lyricism. This record reflects the group’s past, present, and a truly extraordinary future.

Edition 1 is a tide coming in. A fog reaching out into nothing, and encapsulating everything. An ultimate parting note drifting into absolute loneliness, swept up in a sumptuously blurred, dronal haze. Hallucinatory tone poems of heartbreak, despair, disappearance, and displacement. Seductively spatial sketches of long goodbyes. Music to cling to or to be used to move past. Sounds set adrift on their own tonal plain and reigned back in by Roger & Kiki's complimentary, yet extremely different deliveries. Cosmic blues meets a siren’s song. A zonal re-examination of "It's Raining Today" or an audio representation of a Sugimoto "Seascapes" photo... A high water mark forever etched to memory.

More information can be found here.

3641 Hits

*AR, "Memorious Earth"

Fifth in a series of recordings made by Autumn Richardson & Richard Skelton for the Furness Fells of south-west Cumbria, UK:

"Sympathetic resonance: a vast stringed instrument made in honour of J.F. Glidden, tuned to esoteric frequencies. Fine thread-like fibres. A holy triad: Raven’s Crag. Fox Haw. Brock Barrow. Memorious Earth. Land-music. A poultice to remove proud flesh."

More information is available here.

3645 Hits

Andrew Chalk & Tom James Scott, "Calluna"

Calluna is the second collaborative release from Andrew Chalk & Tom James Scott, and was completed following the duo's first live performance in summer 2014. Recorded over a longer time period than Wild Flowers (2013), Calluna sees the haze of their debut lifted to reveal a clearer, more expansive sound world. Scott's sparse unadorned piano notes occasionally cluster into more elaborate, decorative phrases, delicately underpinned and enhanced by Chalk's slow, carefully placed additions.

Edited from an extensive collection of material by the two, Calluna is presented here as a 12" mini-album cut at 45rpm by Noel Summerville, and packaged in a full colour offset printed sleeve featuring artwork by Tom James Scott. Edition of 500 copies.

More information can be found here.

 

3800 Hits

Drew McDowall, "Collapse"

Drew McDowall’s back story reads like a primer of psychedelic fiction woven into statements of the unbelievable, superhuman and outright insane.  Somewhere in the chaotic madness, comes an artist such as McDowall with total control and absolute calm within his songs and artistic method.

Growing up in the gangs of 1970’s Scotland, Drew McDowall started to shy away from the daily violence once punk took hold of the counterculture youth.  Drew McDowall quickly scrambled to form his own punk band in 1978 with his then wife, Rose McDowall, called The Poems.  Shortly lived, the Poems released a single and various tracks but more importantly, the band allowed McDowall to network with other local musicians in Glasgow, such as Orange Juice, and allowed him to travel down to London thus forming friendships with Genesis P-Orridge, David Tibet and countless others, bringing Drew into the fold of the experimental revolution happening in the UK brought upon by Throbbing Gristle and executed by bands such as Psychic TV and Current 93.

During the 1980’s, McDowall found himself in the ranks of P-Orridge’s Psychic TV and collaborating with the mysterious duo comprised of former Throbbing Gristle creator Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson and the enigmatic John Balance who had been creating esoteric and progressive electronic music under the title of Coil.  It was during his formative collaborations with Coil that McDowall saw himself shift from occasional contributor to austere full-time member of the arcane outfit.  McDowall’s impact on the band’s sound was apparent as the releases transformed from their previous avant pop signature to a more complex and methodic electronic imprint accompanied by even more abstruse subject matter than previous years. McDowall would continue honing his compositional skills with Coil until the release of the band’s two most broad-minded albums, Astral Disaster and Musick to Play in the Dark.

Dais Records approached Drew to solidify his standing as a leading electronic musician with the recording of new material neatly wrapped up in his debut album entitled Collapse.  Recorded in 2015 in Brooklyn, NY, McDowall’s synonymous modular synthesizer compositions are augmented by obtuse sampling cut-ups and contributions from Nicky Mao (Hiro Kone / Effi Briest) rounding out the lumbering sequential knot work that has become synonymous with McDowall and craft.

More information can be found here.

Collapse by Drew McDowall.  Vinyl LP.

4057 Hits

Wrekmeister Harmonies, "Night of Your Ascension"

Nearly a year in the making, and including a cast of thirty musicians, J.R. Robinson delivers his towering third album as Wrekmeister Harmonies titled Night Of Your Ascension, set for release on November 13.

The cast of all-star players on Night of Your Ascension includes heavyweights Chip and Lee Buford from The Body, Alexander Hacke from Einstürzende Neubauten, members of Indian, Bloodiest, Anatomy of Habit, Twilight, and more, along with members of the indie and classical community such as Cooper Crain (Cave, Bitchin Bajas), Chris Brokaw (Come, Pullman), singer Marissa Nadler, harpist Mary Lattimore, composer Olivia Block, and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm.

Robinson has long been pre-occupied with society’s unwanted, observing the horror of their acts while trying to identify with their conflict. Night of Your Ascension is a commentary on our own fascination with bloodlust and our seemingly insatiable appetite for lurid depictions of depravity. The music on Night of Your Ascension is as hauntingly beautiful as it is brutal.

More information will soon be found here.

Night of Your Ascension

 

3469 Hits

Steve Hauschildt, "Where All Is Fled"

Steve Hauschildt's new album is his first since the late 2012 release of Sequitur. Although Where All Is Fled sonically harkens back to his earlier albums such as Rapt for Liquid Minister and Tragedy & Geometry, it slowly becomes apparent that it is also a divergence from those recordings.

Both the artwork and the music on this new work were heavily inspired by surrealist landscape paintings, early alchemical emblems, and recurring visions.

The result is a pristine series of cascading melodies, fantastical terrains of layered lattices, and overlapping patterns of synthesizers superimposed with orchestral instrumentation. Hidden in the crevices of the album are processed crowd sounds, re-sampled text-to-speech synthesis, piano, and animal noises which reveal themselves after repeated listens and blur together notions of artificial and natural sound. While slowly unfurling, each sound is given its own place and space, never hurried, never cluttered.

The album is a modern kosmische milepost, and the most accomplished statement of Steve Hauschildt's vision yet.

More information will eventually be available here.

3689 Hits

Duane Pitre, "Bayou Electric"

For synthesizers, sine tones, amplified violin/viola/cello, field recording and custom software.

Written/recorded/reconfigured/mixed July-October 2014, New Orleans.

Dedicated to Pitre's family: past, present and future.

Bayou Electric is the final installment in an unplanned trilogy, with Feel Free and Bridges making up the first and second installments in the series, respectfully. All three works share similar characteristics, compositional processes, alternate tuning schemes, instrumentation and a certain ethos that the composer views as cohesive whole. There is a progression toward refinement over the course of this trilogy, in the overall "sound" of the albums and in their dependence on other musicians to realize them (each less dependent than its predecessor). Bayou Electric, which contains a single, calming and cathartic composition (of the same title), brings this cycle to a gentle and unhurried finale.

The field recording utilized in Bayou Electric was captured on a late night in August, 2010 at the edge of Four Mile Bayou; Louisiana land that has been in Pitre's family since January 14, 1922. Upon listening to what he'd captured, Pitre become enthralled by the fabric of sound that the wildlife on this waterway had created. It evoked many feelings--such as how past generations of his relatives lived amongst these same sounds and walked the same land--creating a powerful connection and a sense of timelessness.

Pitre was set on finding a way to use this field recording in his music, but wanted to do so without simply adding it to a composition as just another layer of sound or by molding it (via 'processing') into something easier to work with. Instead, Pitre decided to start with the unaltered field recording and build the instrumentation around it, in a highly sympathetic manner, with the musical portion becoming accompaniment to the sounds of this remote land. This was the catalyst of Bayou Electric and of primary importance to him, as a way to connect to his Cajun heritage in his own artistic way.

More information can be found here.

3286 Hits

Heather Leigh, "I Abused Animal"

I Abused Animal is Heather Leigh’s first proper solo studio album after solo releases on labels Golden Lab, Not Not Fun, Fag Tapes, Wish Image and Volcanic Tongue. Renowned as a fearless free improviser, I Abused Animal is a breakthrough work showcasing Heather Leigh’s songwriting prowess, foregrounding her stunning voice and her innovations for the pedal steel guitar. Warmly recorded in a secret location in the English countryside, the album transmutes the power of her captivating live performances to a studio setting, capturing her tactile playing in full clarity while making devastating use of volume and space. Heather Leigh explores themes of abuse, sexual instinct, vulnerability, memory, shadow, fantasy, cruelty and projection. I Abused Animal is a personal, idiosyncratic and deeply psychedelic work, ranging from almost Kousokuya-scale black blues through the kind of ethereal electro-ritual of Solstice-era Coil. At times the intimacy of the recordings makes you feel like she’s singing directly into your ear, playing just for you.

The daughter of a coal miner, weaving a trail from West Virginia to Texas and now residing in Scotland, Heather Leigh furthers the vast unexplored reaches of pedal steel guitar. She’s performed and released music since the 1990s as a solo artist and with a wide range of uncompromising collaborators from Peter Brötzmann to Jandek and has toured extensively throughout the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Her playing is as physical as it is phantom, combining spontaneous compositions with a feel for the full interaction of flesh with hallucinatory power sources. With a rare combination of sensitivity and strength, Leigh’s steel mainlines sanctified slide guitar and deforms it using hypnotic tone-implosions, juggling walls of bleeding amp tone with choral vocal constructs and wrenching single note ascensions.

She’s played/performed/released music with Ash Castles On The Ghost Coast, Charalambides, Scorces (a duo with Christina Carter), the Dream/Aktion Unit (a group with Thurston Moore, Paul Flaherty, Chris Corsano and Matt Heyner), Taurpis Tula, Jailbreak (a duo with Chris Corsano) and Jandek, as well as collaborated with Peter Brötzmann, Lynda (as Termas), Stefan Jaworyzn (as Annihilating Light), Richard Youngs, Blood Stereo, MV & EE, Robbie Yeats of The Dead C, John Olson of Wolf Eyes, Smegma, Jutta Koether, Kommissar Hjuler & Mama Baer and many others.

More information can be found here.

I Abused Animal cover art

4016 Hits

Benoit Pioulard, "Stanza" and "Stanza II"

Stanza

Companion piece to Sonnet LP (krank193)

Recorded 3-9 February 2015 at La Berceuse, Seattle WA

with guitar and cassette tape

Original CD edition included with handmade edition of Sonnet, limited to 25 copies, followed by a 2nd run of 10 copies.

Stanza II

Recorded May 2015 at La Berceuse, Seattle WA

with guitar, magnetic tape and voice

Also coupled with Stanza for release by BARO Records and Beacon Sound (Portland OR) as a C60 cassette, September 15, 2015

 

More information can be found here.

3835 Hits

Moon Zero, "Moon Zero"

Operating out of London’s Cable Street studios, on the vacated docks of empire and in the shadow of Canary Wharf, Moon Zero is the project of producer and composer Tim Garratt. This self-titled debut album is the culmination of the exploratory drone work of his first EPs. Drawing on the micro-polyphony of classical modernism and analogue-leaning contemporary electronic music, it's the finest incarnation yet of an aesthetic that’s both minimal and cinematic: an unhurried, massive tapestry of sound built from minute processes and hidden melodic lines.

The music spools out of Garratt’s mind in the form of extensively screwed up synthesizers, bowed cymbals, liquidated instruments and detuned tape loops. Bounced between effects chains, music software, mixing desks and tape, his materials are then inflated and tampered with, in different venues of a particular significance or suggestive atmosphere. The results are enigmatic, hypnotic and register a note of mourning. They are mercifully free of the obligatory club references of electronic music that’s destined for a different mood but nonetheless confines itself to bygone ‘post-club’ tropes. “I was listening to a lot of William Basinski, Bowie's Low, Swans, Messiaen, Stars of the Lid, Cluster, Eno… Carl Sagan,” remembers Garratt.

Recorded at St George in the East in Shadwell, London, religious themes pervade the album, drones imported from ancient sects and the never-silent industrial era – a convergence that is mirrored by the dead history of the Thames and present-day flows of money and data outside his Limehouse studio.

Out September 25, 2015.

More information will soon be found here.

Image of Moon Zero S/T (12

3447 Hits

Swans, "The Gate"

Hello There,

Michael Gira of Swans here.

I thought that you might be interested to know that the 2xCD live SWANS handmade fundraiser event/portal of support for our (in)glorious efforts is now up at this link. The live 2xCD is called The Gate. I believe it captures the live SWANS experience effectively. The woodblock print is by Nicole Boitos and I draw all over each one and sign it as well. Each one is unique. They're numbered 1 - 2500 and won't be available elsewhere... The upcoming album (as yet untitled) will be the last with this core group (comprised of my beautiful friends Norman, Christoph, Thor, Phil, Christopher and myself) and the subsequent (marathon) tour in 2016 will be our last together. As such, I am determined to make this album the most fully realized, cataclysmic, subtle and nuanced, heartfelt and inspirational, truthful and luminous recording that we have yet undertaken. As always, your valued (and quite necessary) support in this perhaps quixotic endeavor is sincerely appreciated. I love you! I thank you!

- Michael Gira / Swans

 

Swans release handmade 2xCD live album The Gate, so here's your chance to feel good about yourself

4694 Hits

Master Musicians of Bukkake, "Further West Quad Cult Edition"

Forseen years ago by the inclusion of a secret extra pocket in the Far West packaging; Master Musicians have created and brought fourth a painstakingly crafted complimentary LP for synced playback with their 2013 release Far West. With 2 turntables or other playback devices you can playback a fully unique quad experience. Further West shows off deeper journeys into the cave where we can dissolve ourselves.

Further West also stands alone as an inverted yugified universe from the Far West cannon. Liquid synth journeys into the void. We invite you to enjoy it either way.

More information can be found here.

3725 Hits

Stephen O'Malley, "Eternelle Idole"

September 2015 marks the release of Stephen O’Malley’s Eternelle Idole (SP060), long-awaited documentation of the score of Paris-based choreographer Gisèle Vienne's eponymous artistic ice skating choreographic piece of the same name.

Composed of 47 minutes of music spread over 2 vinyls and enhanced by a elegant and chilling photoset by Estelle Hanania, the record features some - familiar - O’Malley collaborators such as Steve Moore, Daniel O'Sullivan, Peter Rehberg, Jesse Sykes, Bill Herzog & Randall Dunn.

Recorded between Brest (FR), Seattle (USA), and Rotterdam (NL), the score sees Stephen O’Malley taking several creative detours, utilizing modular synthesizers and programming as key elements for much of the composition. And while a 3 minutes hole will extract the music from any temporality, emerging eerie phrases of keyboards and piano draw a white monochrome stage for a young girl’s stark and emotive elegy.

Not to worry then… clavichord and guitars weave the darkness, supported by Jesse Sykes prophetical voice, summoning the utter walls of the threats from the external world.

Mirroring the music score, Estelle Hanania presents 16 photographs from the choreographic piece, enlightening how much ice-skating can be about grace and sustain, geometry, telemetry, distance and perfection, as well as possible falls, gloomy shadows.

Metal against ice, tights and knots, spirals and scratches, shouts and winds : field recordings mold a crispy atmosphere while instruments draws some ovals shapes such as lakes, ice skating ring, cosmos belt… and a terrestrial cloud passage and eventual landing platform for a flying saucer.

More information can be found here.

 

4129 Hits

Low, "Ones and Sixes"

“In our 20+ years of writing songs, I’ve learned that no matter how escapist, divergent, or even transcendent the creative process feels, the result is more beholden to what is going on at the moment. It’s hard to admit that one is so influenced by what is in front of us. Doesn’t it come from something magical and far away? No, it comes from here. It comes from now. I’m not going to tell you what this record is about because I have too much respect for that moment when you come to know it for yourself.”

— Alan Sparhawk, Low

Co-produced by Low and engineer BJ Burton at Justin Vernon’s April Base Studios in Eau Claire, WI, Ones and Sixes is the new (and, so far, the best) album from the Duluth-based trio of Alan Sparhawk, Mimi Parker and Steve Garrington.

More information can be found here.

Low onessixes 900

3589 Hits