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Order Of The Shadow Wolf CyBeRzInE
24 December 2018
welcome to the 7th issue of the SHADOW WOLF CYBERZINE!!!
It was quite a daunting task put the final things together for this issue being on tour in Asia in a haze of extreMe sleep deprivation and Chinese state controlled censured internet - anyways we barely made it before christmas eve!
Thanks everyone for sending in articles - we got some fun stuff, lots of interviews, DIY guides, ASCII art, studiotips and music stuff! Also a competition in the form of an ASCII game - with GRANDE prizes to be won!
- 1. Interview with Michelle Mercure
- 2. Hack your own multitrack tape recorder
- 3. Studio Tips With Shawn Rudiman
- 4. WEME Records
- 5. A Brief conversation with Jon McCallum
- 6. Legowelt Tokyo DJ MIX
- 7. Terry Riley's Lifespan soundtrack & Other Trivia
- 8. The return of U-TRAX records
- 9. Peter Slaghuis Disco Breaks II
- 10. Build your own field recording dome
- 11. Electribe II modes of music
- 12. Betonkust & Palmbomen II - Parrallel B
- 14. Intergalactic FM TOP XX
- 15. August Is An Angel
- 16. Video Advice
- 17. Advanced Urban Scaveging
- 18. The Living Room's Room Service
- 19. Synthesizers For Toddlers
- 20. Essential Trip Music
- 21. Stumbling Into A Psychic Soup
- 22. Shadows Over ComputerStad ASCII GAME competition
Interview with Michelle Mercure
The North Sea Institute for the Overmind had the pleasure of catching up with minimal synthesist and experimental electronic music pioneer Michele Mercure.
Mercure is truly an all-around artist: composer, explorer of sound, visual artist, and film producer. Among several scores for theatre, dance, television, and film, she scored four feature films: Shades of Black (1993), Christmas Dinner (1996), Home (2009), and The Last Horsemen of New York (2018). Her music is interspersed with bold industrial drums, ambient soundscapes, jazzy guitar riffs, eerie voice samples and field recordings, sharp synth melodies and pure minimal wave sounds. Her music is experimental, cinematographic, and boundless. It inspires feelings of wonder. As she prepares for upcoming live performances in the U.S.A. and Europe, Michele shared some insight into her beginnings in music production, her time spent in The Netherlands in the late seventies, her unique recording and sampling techniques and ever-evolving studio gear, cassette tape trading in the 80's, as well as current and future projects.
Last month, a curated collection of 19 of Mercure's early compositions from four previously self-released albums: Rogue and Mint (1983), A Cast of Shadows (1984),Dreams Without Dreamers (1985), and Dreamplay (1990) were released on RVUNG Intl'ssister label Freedom to Spend as an anthological retrospective double-LP. Mercure's cult album Eye Chant (1986) was recently re-released in 2017 on the label.
'Electricity runs through everything' 'The computer plays some of it, then I play some of it' - Excerpt from 'An electronumentary' featuring Michele Mercure, Directed by Mary Haverstick (2018)
You are described as a synthesist, experimental musician, and you are also a film producer. Are those adjectives accurate, how would you further describe yourself?
I describe myself in a variety of ways depending on the day. I think that I am an artist that works with sounds, and much of my sound work is musical, not all of,it, some of it environmental and experiential and ambient. I write electronic music, but I don't just write electronic music, I also play guitar, so some of my music is also guitar based. I like the experimental realm. Sometimes, with various types of music, everything is in a box, everything has to be 4/4, as far as time signatures go. I like to stretch that out a bit, I don't like to keep my work in a box that way. I do like to experiment with all aspects of what I am doing, whether it is time signatures or sounds or textures, all that kind of stuff. Telling a story is important. And, the music can be the kind of music where maybe each person hears a different story, but there is a vibe and an emotion, and a flavour to it, that people can resonate to.
When you say 'environmental' – do you mean field recordings?
I do work with field recording. I love playing around with that. I like environmental stuff. And I put little bits and pieces of that in my work. I used to make complete environmental recordings but I don't do that so much anymore. Now, I blend a lot different things together to create my story.
I notice you used a lot of samples in your early work – as we have heard on the compilation Beside Herself – can you tell us more about that?
Yes I love sampling. Sampling now is a little different than what sampling used to be. Sampling used to be a little more difficult. If I think about it, I consider the loops that I made before I had a sampler, that was pretty much sampling, except that you were recording a piece of sound onto tape, and you were are looping it, and using it much the way people use samples now and use loops now. I love creating beats, creating ambiences with loops and with samples. There is so much you can do. You can make it go backwards, you can work it out, you can slow it down, you can speed it up, you can do crazy things with it. It is pretty much a sound that you've mined from the world and now you are using it in something that you are creating. It is very much like an artist creating a painting, except I am working with sound.
Where do you get most of your samples?
Everywhere. I get them from outside my front door. I get them from sounds at the playground, sounds anywhere, sounds of crickets in the middle of the night, creating sounds by banging on things. Sounds are everywhere. It is just a part of your world, it is a part of your environment, you can get your sound from everywhere.
Does that mean you walk around with a field recorded anywhere you go?
I do that. Sometimes I use my iphone. I do have a field recorder that I use quite a bit. I have to think what it is.. it is a Sony, it is a really nice stereo recorder...I use that quite a bit.
You mentioned that sampling back then used to be quite different than it is now. It was more material and tactile, involved more cutting. Can you tell us more about that?
When I did the loops, yes. I had a couple of reel-to-reels that I would use. Back then, I would take reel-to-reel tape, quarter inch tape, and I would record my sound, then I would physically make a loop out of it. Then I would just play the loop through the recorders. Sometimes the loops would stretch from here to the back wall, and back again. That is really long, you get a couple of those going, and add some echo, you've got some crazy stuff happening. And now, I use a sampler. After that, I got an Ensonic mirage sampler – I loved that sampler. You couldn't do really long loops with it, but it had a quality, its an 8-bit sampler, so it kind of crushed everything, and had some artifacts. It had this very interesting warm quality that I absolutely loved. It stopped working, I ended up selling it. Now Iam kicking myself. I should have kept that thing. Now I use a variety of things for loops. I work with Ableton live and Pro Tools audio work stations. I work with both of them depending on what I am doing. I also have a loop station that I use for some live stuff, and for triggering those sounds. So between all of that, I feel that I have every tool imaginable. But I am always looking for more!
How did you first get into music production?
It was a step at a time. So I really started out when I was a kid being a guitar player. That was – and still is to some extent – my primary instrument. Sometimes I record my parts on guitar and then use Ableton to translate them into midi and then process them that way. But I digress. I started out as a guitar player and also as a visual artist, painting and that kind of stuff. When moving to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, I got involved with an artist community of painters and theatre people – not musicians. I became interested in sound as art, at that time. Just being involved with artists who were doing some traditional but especially experimental art, experimental theatre. And I became interested in sound as art. And I started experimenting with tape recorders, cassette recorders, and recording things on cassette, mixing them together. I got some guitar foot pedals, and I thought, how can I mess around with this. That is how I got started, really using sound as my palette; instead of painting a picture, I am painting an environment of sound. One thing led to another and I started to become kind of a geek when it came to gear. So I would get effects, usually used, you know being a starving artist, you have to kind of get what you can. That was how I started as well, just with effects, and with cassette recorders, and with reel-to-reels, sometimes I would borrow things, sometimes I would rent things, to just keep producing and keep experimenting. It is really wonderful when you are that age – which I was about 18 at the time – you don't really know anything. You don't know what the rules are – there are no rules. So you just experiment, you just create, and you get the feedback from your friends, people listen, that's great, and you keep going. It is really a great time. It is really a great time now. But as you get older, some people get their crutches and their ways they have to do things, so it's really good if you can stay open to the process.
Do you have tips or tricks when you are looking for inspiration?
Like all artists, I think, you have times where you are not feeling quite as inspired, so you have to "trick" yourself. I move the studio around. Sometimes I completely flip it around. Sometimes I put it in a different room. Sometimes, I have my studio here, but I live somewhere else, so sometimes I take all my stuff home. Also, I listen to what other people are doing, and you can get a lot of inspiration from other people, and what they are doing, trying to figure out how they did something, how did they got a certain sounds. It's not going to be exactly the same. You will figure out your way of doing it, but in doing that, you can come up with a whole new process. Sometimes it is as simple as getting a new synthesizer, getting a new guitar. I have five or six guitars, and they all make me play differently. When I play differently, I am inspired to do different things. It is the same thing with synthesizers. That make you play differently, make you do things differently. Sometimes just getting new toys is all you need. There are so many things. Maybe if you are working on something and normally you work on drums first, work on a different thing first – work on a texture, work on your sound. Sometimes your sound can inspire what the rest of the piece is going to be.
I read in an interview that you spent time in The Netherlands, that had inspired you in your music; can you tell us a bit more about that?
That was probably in the late 1970's, I spent just a little over six months there. I was in Eindhoven. I was already doing music at that time, but I was exposed to things like – there was another person doing electronic music that I met, while I was there, and then there was listening to Radio Free Europe. I don't know what it is like now, because I haven't listened to Radio free Europe in many years, but at the time, I was hearing music that you'd never hear in the United States, and it was from all over the world but it was really some great stuff and I could spend hours listening to that and getting all sorts of ideas, and hearing bands I'd never heard and that just opened my mind up to all the things that I could be doing, and all the things that my music can be. I had been livingin Harrisburg already, I had been living there for probably about a year, and I was already involved in the kind of artist community, it was a very small community. I was already doing my sound experiments. When I went to The Netherlands, I saw that people had been doing this for a while! And it was just wonderful to see and I really felt like that was where actually I belonged. I loved the Netherlands, it was just wonderful.
Eindhoven is the birthplace of the cassettetape and CD player. Could you feel that ethos?
One of the many things I loved about Eindhoven and The Netherlands in general is that I had a couple record stores that I would go to regularly there and they got to know me and it got to this point where I could go in and I could say, surprise me – I wanted to hear something I'd never heard before. They knew that I was from the United States. It was partly what they gave me to listen to, all of these things, that's how I heard Conrad Schnitzler for the first time, was that I went to this record store and I said: I want to hear something I had never heard before, this is the stuff I am into, but don't put me in that box because I like to hear all kinds of things. It was one of those stores that got me into Conrad Schnitzler and it also brought me to Kate Bush, so there is the spectrum.
I read that your first four albums which became the compilation Beside Herself, you self-released and self-distributed them, how did that happen, how did you get them out into the world?
When I came back from The Netherlands, I started writing and producing and recording more work. At the same time, I discovered that there were other people who were doing electronic music and experimental music and I found that out because I somehow got a copy of a magazine at the time called – I think it went through a variety of names – there was Tape-Op and then there was Option magazine, and in those magazines there was always a section at the end where they would review people's tapes that were sent in and I realized people are recording their music, they are putting it out, they were getting them reviewed. They would even put our name and address so that people could contact you in they wanted a copy of the tape. There was a lot of trading tapes going on. That's how I met a lot of people that were doing what I was doing.
Can you tell us more about trading tapes?
For instance, first I found out that other people were producing their music and making a record basically on cassette tape and they were self-distributing it. So that was the first thing I discovered. Then I made my first tape. In one of the magazines, probably Tape-op, I saw that Eurock Distribution was doing some distribution of some people's electronic music on cassette. I contacted them and they agreed to distribute my tape. That's the distribution aspect. But then when you send your tapes to place like Tape-op magazine or Option magazine and it gets reviewed they put your name and address at the end of the review, and other people, if they find your review interesting, they would contact you and say hey! I'm doing this music too, do you want to trade tapes with me? Then, we would trade tapes back and forth and it is kind of how I would meet other people that were doing the same kind of thing I was doing. This was snail mail, everything takes forever to get anywhere. Its not like the Internet, where you are copying files to dropbox. I love the immediacy of the internet I have to say, I love that you and we can have a conversation and you are half way across the world.
I am very curious about what you are working on nowadays and what you have been working on. Can you tell us more about your film scoring?
I have written music for four feature films. I do music for the projects that we do here, some commercial projects, I've done music for dance and theatre and that kind of thing. It's a little different from my electronica, although some of that is always in there, my sounds. But I am writing music for other people, so you have to work within the confines of what you are writing for demands. I love that aspect too. As a matter of a fact, that's kind of my heart right now. I love writing music for film. Creating that aspect of emotion that you see on the screen. I really love that. Right now what I am doing is, for several years now, I have been involved in a research project that has to do with spying during the cold war. I am creating a whole body of work around the concept and art of spying. It's kind of a concept record.
You are working on a concept album? What motivated you to delve into this topic?
Yes, absolutely. I have a number of pieces for it. I don't know when it will be done or how long it will be, but I have been working on that. It is a topic that we've been researching loosely for maybe a project down the road for a documentary or something. I just got involved – you never know what it going to inspire you. Some of the stories I was reading just inspired me to explore that, you know there are these things called numbers stations, I don't know if you are familiar with that, they are these shortwave radio stations that spies use for communication and there are all these codes and if you know where to look on short wave radio, you can find these things. So there is the recording of shortwave radio sounds, that is only one aspect of it though. I am just fascinated about that stuff.
It seems that you enjoy being commissioned, you mentioned that enjoy writing for performances. Do you have parameters, or do you have carte blanche?
It really depends on the project. I love commissions. I love the collaboration, I like the collaborative spirit. Some of my projects, I usually come up with ideas, it has to be a project that I resonate with. I will come up with ideas of what I want to do, kind of a palette of sounds I want to use to create and a director will say yes I like it, or can we go more in this direction, and that kind of thing. Usually I have a lot of leeway and of course when you are collaborating or working on a film, you have to be open to other people's ideas and opinions, and that can often make you do things that you might not normally do and that is actually a good thing. Usually when I get a critique like that, it usually makes the music better. So, I am open. I very much enjoy that type of collaborative work.
If you could collaborate on music with anyone, deceased or alive, who would it be?
There are people that I absolutely love and adore, and I don't know if I would like to collaborate with them, necessarily. There are people that I just think are fantastic. I have to think about it. One person that I can think of – I think you want to know that you will are going to add your voice, and that it will also come through, for instance, I love Thomas Newman. He is a composer, he did The Adjustment Bureau, American Beauty, and Little Children, he is just phenomenal. I think he would be someone with whom it would fascinating to collaborate with. And also I think that I could find my voice and that it would be an interesting collaboration, or that I like to think it would be a good collaboration. I hope that doesn't sound pretentious! It would be really cool thing.
Can you tell us what is in your studio at the moment?
It is really stripped down. I am working primarily in Ableton live for music. I just love that program. There is so much you can do with it and so many different ways you can work with it. It is a stable program, I can layer effects and I know it's not going to crash. It is kind of my brain at the moment, if you will, of what I am doing right now. Within Ableton live I also use my APC 40 as a controller, I also use a push as a controller, and for me it's a lot of controllers. I have a Komplete Control A49, those are basically the three things that control my Ableton. Then, I do have a Roland Gaia. I really like Roland synthesizers. I like other types of synths too, but I like the architecture and I like the sound that Roland gets. So I think it is important to, at least for me, to use not just one type of synth, but to have a couple of very different things in your arsenal because the architecture of how sound is made creates the quality – like for instance a Korg doesn't sound anything like a Roland, to me, and so I like having different tools that I can use and mix together. But at the moment I am using a Roland Gaia. I am also using a Korg sampling digital delay that I really love, that is really old school, it is 8-bit. I love it because I can get long 4 second delays with it. So you can do a lot of interesting things. I have a loop station, and I have my guitars. So that's really what I am using right now. Plus a lot of soft synths.
You mentioned that you are preparing for some live performances. Where are you performing and what type of live performance?
I just started prepping for scheduled performances in New York in Barcelona nd perhaps Montreal. There has been talked of a tour of the UK in September. There is Rewire (In The Hague), but I don't know what is happening though. I had an offer from Rewire (In The Hague ed.) and I said yes! but then I didn't hear anything from them again. The record label emailed and emailed again, but no response. I am not sure what happened.
I have a general set list – I am doing three old pieces and the rest is new, and I am doing some improvisational stuff, so it's a combination of things. I am hoping that I can get a visual aspect together as well. It's a tall order because my first show is in February, end of February. But I'd like to see what I can do. I am going to be mixing old and new aspects, even with the visuals. A lot of people do a similar thing, with their visuals, but I want to try to do something a little different. Hopefully I can pull it off, if I can't it may just be music, but I think it may be interesting if it is both. Sometimes, when you're performing electronic music, people can't always tell what you are doing, and it would be a lot more interesting if people had something else to focus on another than me pressing buttons and playing, and not exactly knowing what's going on.
Would this visual aspect also be your own work?
I think it would be our own work. There may be some things in the public domain that I can loop. There are ways to play loops with the keyboard, and that would be interesting to me, to mess around with that. Since it has always made me a little nervous to have the computer be the brain that is controlling everything, and so, I want to make sure that it is something that is really doable and is stable. That is something that used to plague me all the time when I would play live in the 80's, I would have to say to the audience at the start of the show, "ok, it might crash, and if it does I will start the piece all over again". It used to be quite anxiety provoking.
Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us, we truly hope to see you in The Hague and in Europe soon!
Hack your own multitrack tape recorder
Turn any crap cassetterecorder/boombox into a multitrack tape recorder!
An extreme form of overdubbing/multitracking with old crappy cassetterecorders/ boomboxes etc., probably good for noise and more experimental stuff: Simply put of piece of thick tape on, or just remove, the erase head of the machine.
The erase head is the part of the recorder that clears the tape before it records new audio on it. If this is taped off or removed the original sound of the cassettetape will not be deleted and you will hear a mix of the original and new recording. Now this opens up a lot of freaky oppertunities - if you have one of those endless loop tapes you can make an infinite layered soundscape. Something that will create a cosmic hyperflux of magnetic particles.
Its pretty easy to find the erase head - it is the first ‘head’ the tape goes past before the recording head when the recording button is pressed.
It is usually a white plasticy thing on cheaper cassettedecks. You don’t even have to open up the cassetterecorder just open up the loading door and you will see it. You probably have to press the record button and hold down the mechanism that detects the cassettetape inside the tape recorder so the erase head gets elevated.
If you tape it off be sure the tape is levelled and flat not too thick else the cassettetape-tape can’t run smoothly over it.
Here is a youtube movie of someone taking out the erase head in a simple recorder.
Studio Tips With Shawn Rudiman
This time we let Pittsburg producer Shawn Rudiman do all the tips! If you are unfamiliar with him, he is a badass US techno producer and gear head making records since techno year zero. Lets go SHAWN:
Some pointers to help keep your ship functional, sane and with a working hyperdrive:
1: always have 3/4" artist labeling tape around for your desk, cables, and any thing that needs to be labeled that you dont want to permanently write on.
2: always have a fresh pack of yor favourite shapie or sharpie type pen-marker for the tape.
3: (optional) if you're possibly ocd like me, keep an exacto or razor knife aroud to cut the tape to strips and sizes you need with super square corners and straight edges.
4: purchase a super soft, 2" paintbrush. why? yu can ever so lightly mist it with windex or whatever cleaner is your choice in the studio to clean and get between vaster spaces of knobs-sliders etc. (mix desks, large synths with too many knobs to take off etc) and yu can then keep them free of the regular odd dust, and shit that may drive you nuts.
5: keep a soft old tshirt around that been cut into small pieces. use it for machines lcd screens with a tad of windex. if youre like me in any way, i hate hate hate to see dust on lcd screens and it makes me crazy. so this is the best way ive found to do it. > never use it for anything else. no spilled soda, coffee, beer or crumbs. it has a singular purpose.
6: LABEL EVERY CABLE ON EVERY END. minus modular patch cables and things like that etc. sanity goes way up then.
7: arrange things that require the most intense on board programming and have the least friendly user interfaces as close to you and comfy as you can. if you want to use it, make it easy. not hard. ..and balance it with its averrge use amount too. dont waste precious real estate on things that youll use occasionally. give it to the go to machines and regular every day use machines. no matter how "uncool" people say they are.
8: all drinks go away from any and all power and are always only away from rolling chairs, and arms, hands. this never works i know. but try and follow it to avoid hating yourself for things that are avoidable.
9: dont pile things up physically. keep your workflow arranged to feel good. figure out ways to make shelves, risers, mounts, stands and the physical things you need to put machines exactly where you want them. think outside of the musical world box. it will save you time and lots of money. dont be afraid to try and build something, no matter how crude it feels to you. right down to bricks and cynder blocks with stolen construction site wood :)
10: always try and enter the studio with only a good mindset. it will yield better results. want to be there. it your sanctuary. its your refuge. make it right in every way to fit you and your ideas.
By Shawn Rudiman
WEME Records is a cool label from Brussels Belgium releasing many of our favorite artists like Ceephax Acid Crew, Global Goon, DJ Stingray (including my all time faveorite AQUATEAM II) an many many more!!!
An interview with WEME Record's creator Frederic Mergam, by our special reporter BoeufStroganoff.
If you happen to hang out in some pubs in Brussels on a dark winter night, there is a great chance that you will hear the locals pronounce these super simple sounds: "Oueeeeeeeaiiiis mais ...[add here whatever sentence]" The first "ouais" should be a long sounds while the second "mais" should be much shorter. Like in some weird forgotten tonal languages from South East Asia, the tone and length of these two sounds are carefully chosen to vary the meaning they convey. Sometimes used to interrupt someone, sometimes used to emphasize a sentence, sometimes use to signify sarcasm,... And you can also invert that simple sequence and say "Mais Oueeeeeeeaiiiis" which further multiplies the amount of meanings you want to express. It's a delicate art that only the francophone-inclined Belgians can master. Use it with French people and they will give you a circumspect glance, while totally missing the precise message being broadcast. The refined art of beer-induced conversations with strangers and the mastery of tonal and guttural technicalities are required to enjoy full-duplex communication between Belgians (and show-off your fascinating sense of humor). If you do master it, you will make new friends in that bizarre city, although there is pretty good chance you won't remember anything the next day.
So why talking about this? Well because it is the beginning of an explanation to understand what WEME records is all about.
The Year is 2004 and, after a first iteration as MéWé records ("Mais Oueeeeeeeaiiiis") with one of his pal the year before, Frederic Mergam went solo and created WEME records (Oueeeeeeeaiiiis Mais). This name-inversion rebirth added another episode in the saga of cool, yet not-so-numerous fine quality Belgian underground record labels. WeMe, if you will, is the perfect antidote to the horrors of another Belgian creation : Tomorrowland and its hordes of lobotomized so-called EDM artists.
Back then, Fred released WEME001, some quality fast-paced jungle by an artist called Zorg. That first LP was fresh indeed and got critically acclaimed by the gods of the underground. This success allowed Fred to slam the doors wide open for what was next in the pipeline and now, after almost 15 years, WEME established itself as a tasteful provider of fine electronic music with releases by EOD/CN, DJ Stingray, MNLTH, Ceephax, Cylob, Global Goon, and the likes. Fred also released some more personal and ambitious projects, like scores by Ennio Morricone or unheard music by the late eclectic french composer Francois de Roubaix.
- Fred, Would you say that WEME's brain has two competing hemispheres, one focused on releasing new quality electronic music and the other one dedicated to great music from previous times ?
I never asked myself that question... Music has no predefined place in time. A genre is defined in relation to other genres, whether new or old (and they have a meaning in the history of humanity). All genres and style have their place in the history of music anyway, good or bad. It is obvious that I have preferences for some, especially in the context of productions for my label, which has a coherent editorial line. I listen to a lot of music of different styles and mainly via radio. If I ended up stranded in the production of so-called "electronic music", perhaps it is because it is easier for me to communicate with one person rather than a group ;-) But it is mainly my state-of mind and my moods that dictate my choices at any particular moment.
- Looking at your releases, two main connections rise above the rest in importance : The British one and the Detroit one. Has it happened randomly because of personal connections or is it something you wanted, worked for, and made it happened ?
I spoke of "communication with the artist". I think that the choice to work mainly with anglophones come from my childhood and those dreams and impressions that I had when I heard speak or sing in English. It seemed like a language from another planet that I did not really understand. My parents listened to French songs, and the English- speaking world allowed me to escape from a dark daily life. Because I didn't understand it I could only imagine and create stories. It's the same feeling that I have with electronic music or movie scores : since there are no or very few lyrics, I feel more free to build a screenplay in my mind, but now in a much more positive surrounding.
- So What about the Belgian scene ? Any news from Cedric Stevens aka Acid Kirk ?
I know very little about the current Belgian scene. It may be related to my overloaded schedule (I have a full time job and two children)! What may seem strange is that I did not even really know the scene at the moment of its splendor in the 1990s ... I've always been curious about so many things, so I never focus 100% on one topic. I get quickly tired of things, and I like to explore several spaces. The Belgian scene has surely been, is, or will be, essential in history, but my Belgian non-chauvinistic side does not allow me to give it great importance. And it's much better like that.
Ced Acid Kirk is doing well, at least according to the latest news ... His life is as much of an artwork as his records. These records are just a trace of his path, like in the Little Thumb fairy tale. Bread crumbs that he drops continuously to find his way around... We swore to work again together: he was one of the main reason for the birth of WeMe.
- I believe you released some of your own stuff under the name "Fuck Uphner", is this a project you want to push further ? and who is that Uphner ? some crazy psycho ex of yours ?
Fuck Uphner is just a name I use for publishing my own tracks, but I have not been composing music for a long time. Let's say that my label is the follow-up result of these compositions. WeMe is my artistic field now... I could have called it Fuck Uphner Records. During my studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels, there was this teacher of French language called "Uffner." Because of its strictness, the students began to tag "Fuck Uffner" on the benches. I always laughed at it. I didn't like the double "f" so I changed it to "ph". Later I was selected in a demo contest to do a live show, and I did not have a name at the time, so "Fuck Uphner" became an obvious pick.
- You recently released a compilation of remixes by the revered Heinrich Muller (Gerald Donald) in collaboration with the Drexciyan Reseach Lab blog. Can you tell us a bit more about how it happened ?
This compilation had to exist. Heinrich Muller has always had a very
personal approach to remixes, which goes far beyond a simple
reinterpretation... My challenge was to take a step back in the choice
and order of the tracks. I'm not the blog follower type, it bores me too
quickly, except for "Drexciyan Reseach Lab " : I think his content is
always on point. It became clear that I had to ask him to help me for
this project, which he accepted.
- You've mentioned being a perfectionist and taking time to do things. Can you elaborate ?
I produce records, and it has a cost: I have to sell them at a certain price. When I sell a record to someone, that person invest financially in my product. I am aware that money is important in our society and this exchange is not without consequences. As I respect my clients and the fans of the label, I have to be a perfectionist both in my choices, and throughout the production process, which can take some extended amount of time. As said earlier, I do not make a living out of the label, and I must constantly hit the bullseye for what I choose to do, for the survival of the label, but also for my own satisfaction and that of those who follow my projects. I am hyper sensitive to the reception of each project, to feedback I get on my artistic choices and on production quality. I'm always listening.
- How is your relationship with artists you sign ? is there any artist/ project that you wanted to work on, but turned out too toxic for your taste ?
It has always been a relationship of mutual trust with each other's expectations.The artists give me the best of their soul and in exchange I do everything to produce a release worthy of their effort. It's a duet job: I would not exist if they did not exist, it's fundamental.
This proximity creates very strong bonds of friendship, and we remain in contact even if there is no current project, as with James Leyland Kirby for example. There are projects that are either suspended, or that will never succeed. This is due to the impact that life can have in some cases. My thoughts are with Jodey Kendrick and Dave MNLTH, or Acid Kirk. But I have never stopped a project in progress for other reasons.
- What's the deal with the deification of assholes DJ like Aoki, Tiesto and that maus ? is there really no way that more people would listen to better music ? what do you think: is music taste in general a matter of guts, marketing, education ? (if it is the latter, maybe we should be very afraid of the state of the world...)
I do not really have an opinion on the question, the world always has a certain balance between different things... And that gives me the opportunity to continue. I'm not fundamentally convinced that what I do is better than what others do, that's not what drives me. I have two children, I do not educate them against a system... but within a system that is constantly mutating.
- you have collaborated with other labels like Portland based Wil-Ru for a CN/EOD album for example. Can you tell us a bit more about how this came to be ?
If there is one thing I am convinced of, it is that randomness does not exist! Wil-Ru and WeMe could only work together. Eric Adrian Lee, who is one of the two bosses of the label, is a wonderful guy. We have the same passion for film soundtracks, the design of film poster, and covers for film scores. And also the same appeal for Stian's work and sensitivity (EOD / CN). Besides, Eric is very talented, he produces a lot of covers for several different labels (like Death Waltz Recording, have a look here)
It is always a huge pleasure to work with him, we are in sync to trip together. Perfect calibration.
- Do people still send loads of demo these days ?
Much less than at the beginning of the label, maybe people think that I am too selective ... It is true that I never answer to say if it is good or not, or to direct them towards what they should do. If I knew what the magic formula was, I would have used it for my own productions for a long time ...
- Good tracks have this thing about them, like, not too generous, keeping you kinda tense and eager to listen to what's next, and there is this magical moment when you tell yourself : "this is it, that track is dope !" Can you tell us what is your process ? what makes a great WEME track ? Is there a "WEME Sound" ?
It surely depends on my sensitivity and my expectations. As I said, I love film scores. With hindsight, I feel that I have produced only that: sounds that generate images. As soon as I receive new sounds it must be radical from the first listening: it is necessary that images take over the music, and the technical aspects of it, for me to go ahead. And that encompasses all styles of music.
- Can you tell us a bit more about what WEME will release in 2019 ?
There are 2 EPs from the "ACID CASK" trilogy, WeMe052 and WeMe053 from Ceephax. There is also a split EP from an artist from Belarus (WeMe056 / WeMe313.21) which I received the demo 8 years ago! I just had to find the right moment to put this EP in WeMe's story.
And then a new album project by Heinrich Mueller, WeMe313.19 that is exceptionally beautiful!
There is also this incredible EP "Solomon Angelo" WeMe055, a demo that has come out of nowhere ... I directly contacted the artist without hesitations. The last track of this mix is part of the EP
And still other projects under construction of course: I'm always hungry!
Thanks Fred, cheers, and long live WEME !
Check out the music on WEME records on their webpage:
A Brief conversation with Jon McCallum
Those who are familiar with Jon McCallum's work are probably most familiar with the Surf Nazis Must Die (1987) soundtrack-officially released on vinyl on Strange Discs in August of 2014.
This work seems to both carry and completely overshadow the film.
One is stolen away amid crashing waves and sparse, slamming rhythms with heavenly synths, sparkling wistfully on the surface, while moodily churning from melancholic depths, strange weather indeed. While the song "Nobody Goes Home"shreds through the water with frantic guitar riffs in a post-surf anthem of blood-soaked paranoia.
His various other soundtrack works include Miami Connection (1987) (He also does the special effects in Miami Connection), Terror Eyes (1989), and Soultaker (1990) in addition to working on several other films including "LA Streetfighters" and "Phantasm 2". In this brief chat, we talk mostly about some of the synthesizers that are characteristic in his soundtrack work.
HF: Thank you so much! I am thinking of where to begin. What brings you to Arkansas?
JM: I had friends who moved here and liked it when I came to visit.
I had gotten fed up with the whole big city thing. I actually had a lot of music gear stolen in LA and that was part of the reason too.
HF: It is beautiful there. I visited a poet who lives deep in the woods of Fayetteville. She made the best meal with no electricity.
Your soundtrack work has a distinctive mood and emotional quality that stands apart from others. What is this quality most informed by?
Do you have a favorite composer?
JM: Probably Vangelis would be one of my favorites, but there are so many I like.
Who is the poet?
Met quite a few artists and writers since being here.
HF: C*Rose is her name
JM: Okay, may run into her at some point.
HF: Yes, if you are ever deep in the forest and come across her haven.
Otherwise, I think she doesn't come down the mountain too often if she can help it.
JM: Ha! I know a few people like that, I don't blame her.
HF: I wanted to ask about what synthesizers were used in creating the iconic soundtrack for Surf Nazis Must Die.
Also, did you write the music/ lyrics for Dragon Sound in Miami Connection?
Lastly, are you currently working on any film or music projects and do you give live performances of your work?
(I ask about Dragon Sound because I've had "Against The Ninja" in my head for a few years now. Very catchy.)
JM: I wasn't musically trained but always liked music— especially soundtracks. When I was in film school, I bought a synthesizer as I wanted to be able to do my own music and sound effects for my short films instead of editing in something already done. I was fascinated by what people like John Carpenter were doing, sometimes simple but really effective— like using a high pitch tone to carry a scene. Or the heartbeat in "Dawn of the Dead" or "Midnight Express"- I decided on a Sequential Circuits Pro One as I couldn't play and it had a 40 step note sequencer built in.
In the beginning, I was driving the neighbors insane. Suddenly, I found myself doing my friends' short films also and two of them went on to make features after college so I ended up doing those.
Angelo Janotti did the Dragon Sound songs, he was the only member of Dragon Sound not in Y.K.Kim's Taekwando school. I did the special makeup effects and handed the producer a tape of "Surf Nazis Must Die" so I ended up scoring on that too.
On "Surf Nazis", I used the Pro One and mostly a Casio CZ-5000.
For a while, Casio were making programmable keyboards and they were great. It had an 8-stage envelope amp and filter- which was unusual for the time. Another reason I got it is that it had an 8-track sequencer and I only had a Tascam 4-track cassette to record to so I figured I wouldn't have to bounce tracks so much if I built some up on the Casio first.
HF: Very interesting! Yes, it makes total sense to use the sequencer, Casio, and 4-track that way. Was that a Tascam 424?
JM: We ended up mixing in a professional mixing house-JDH Sound that had done films like "Driving Miss Daisy" The mixers were really worried that I was bringing music in on a cassette. We had a test mix a few weeks before the final to check how the dialog, sound effects, and music were coming. When the mixers played the music on the big speakers, they were blown away and one of them said, "I'm buying you sushi lunch so you can tell me how you did this on a cassette!"
HF: That's great! Sushi lunch to confound them with your four-track wizardry!
JM: It was a Tascam 244. It ran at double speed and had a built in DBX so it sounded surprisingly good.
HF: Yes, there is a DBX option on the back of the 424 which I must always check after transporting it as it gets switched off.
JM: I bought a 324 some years ago so I could transfer all the old masters. It has that option too.
HF: That's quite the console! Thank you, by the way, for these detailed responses. What is your current studio set-up?
JM: I mostly use a laptop now but still have the CZ- 5000 and some newer Roland ones.
HF: Very nice. Do you have recordings of your current works? You have given graciously of your time today. It is an honor to speak with you. Is there anything you'd like to add? Any good books?
JM: In Miami Connection I used a Korg DSS-1 which was neat as it was a sampler but also had two types of synthesis. Also had a DDD-1 drum machine and a Yamaha TX-81z.
Favorite book is Lonesome Dove.
I don't do much scoring anymore. There's a Miami Connection LP for the background score in the works.
But it's hard to go and remix these for LP's and try to remember your mindset 30 years back.
HF: Wonderful! I will keep a lookout for the Miami Connection LP.
I was just listening to the TX-81z- fantastic synth.
Is that Lonesome Dove the western novel? I haven't read it but can imagine Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall from the tv show.
JM: Yes, that's Lonesome Dove, the western. The book was incredible.
I saw the mini-series later but it was nothing close to the book.
TX-81z was FM synthesis- like the DX-7 and hard to program but I finally made some patches I used a lot, some ended up in the movie, "Soultaker". It was handy as it could split into 4 different sounds at once- which I'd sometimes sample as one big layered patch I could use on the DSS-1.
HF: I'm haven't seen Soultaker (1990) but I'm looking at the synopsis right now. Looks good! I thank you so much for your time today.
JM: You're welcome!
Legowelt Tokyo DJ MIX
This was a mix I did for the Tokyo J-WAVE 81-3 FM radio station this December,
You can listen/download here
Here is the tracklist:
- Burnet027 - Forever
- K-Hand - Living For Another
- Unit Moebius - Radio Play
- Ebony - Obia
- Ekman - Little Did He Know
- Patricia - You Never Listen
- Lata Ramasar - The Greatest Name that Lives (Allesandro Adriani Remix)
- DJ Slyngshot - They Still Can’t Grap It
- Matrixxman - Bad Acid
- IF - Atantikwall 006
- Rude 66 - Bunker 019
- Post Industrial Noise - Outside Reality
- Nico - Evening Of Light
- Anthony Red Rose - Tempo
- Flying Lotus SexSlaveShip Loop with Smackos 808
- Notte & Bush - Wake Up In Baby’s Room
- Krikor Couchian - WYSIWYG
- Vivian Jones - Physical
- Tapes - Gold Love Riddim
- K.Leimer - A Spiritual Life
- Delroy Edwards - Beats
- Kevin Reynolds - Laisons
- Alex Valentini - Beautifull Life
- Ekman - Do I have to repeat myself
- Legowelt - Computerized Paradise
- Sterac - Alastria
- Rude 66 - Bunker 028
- Via App - Exterminator
- Electronome - Influence
- Mike Mareen - Dancing In The Dark
- CRC - Archon
- Antlers Mulm - Twilight, Fate and Tears in eye
- Dim Garden - Dreamscapes
Terry Riley's Lifespan soundtrack & Other Trivia
LIFE SPAN is a rather unknown dutch sci-fi movie directed by Alexander Whitelaw from 1975 starring Klaus Kinski and a lot of dutch actors speaking english in a heavy dutch accent. Its about a doctor that invents a serum that can prelong life and all kinds of mysteries surrounding it. It seems like a f*ckin amazing deep movie from the trailer - I have unfortunately never seen it, it seems very rare but I am familiar with the soundtrack which is by none other then TERRY RILEY. If you are unfamiliar with Terry Riley - he is an influential minimalist composer playing endless patterns of swirling looped melodies by hand. Mostly using a modified Yamaha YC45D organ and his self devised Time Lag Accumulator which is basicly a loop recorder made out of 2 REVOX reel-to-reel recorders. Around 1978 Edgar Froese showed him his Korg PS3100 synthesizer and he subsequentely bought 2 Sequential Prophet 5 synths which he used on "Songs for the 10 voices of 2 prophets" (also a very cool album check here)...
Songs for the 10 voices of 2 prophets
Terry Riley's signature sound will however often be ascociated with the Yamaha YC45D which is all over the soundtrack.
The YAMAHA YC45D is a cult Japanese combo organ with 2 keyboards first introduced in 1972:
If anyone can hit me up with that Lifespan movie let me know! I will trade records/tapes/zines whatever! SW
The return of U-TRAX records
A Cult Dutch label resurrects from the mists of time!!!
U-Trax is a dutch label from the city of Utrecht - operating in the early 1990s they released a number of forgotten relics. One of these 'odball' labels like Irdial Discs or FRAK that didn't give a f*ck about anything hip or popular. Dreamy, pensive, colorful, deep with a frisky smart no rules attitude - a typicial dutch techno sound that I refer to as POLDER TECHNO (which would also include non-U trax artists such as ROSS 154, STERAC, some ORLANDO VOORN stuff like his living room project and TERRACE's first album ROUND UP - which is probably the first Polder techno album...? but thats stuff for an other article...) POLDERTECHNO was the soundtrack of my schooldays - cycling in the rain with my walkman on through the grimness of teenage angst with an optimistic life view.
U-TRAX also had a sidelabel called PHOQ-U PHONOGRAMMEN which released the (even) more rawer and harder stuff...but for me its all the same.
Anyways the label has re-surrected - U-TRAX IS BACK, they have been slowly re-releasing some old classics and in 2019 they are going to release some fresh material as well!
To introduce you to this label or to freshen up the memory here are some super U-TRAX (& sidelabel) classics:
THE CONNECTION MACHINE - ECHOES FROM TAU CETI
Natasja Hagemier & Jeroen Brandjes are the Connection Machine - for the true techno freaks they don't need any introduction as they are beyond legendary. Most of you will know their Planet E release but U-TRAX was more or less their homelabel and they were heavily involved with a lot of aliases and records. Those snares...those wistful organs that shabby early rompler saxophone...!!!!!!!!!!!
P.A. PRESENTS FLIGHT STIMULATOR
Epic acid journey with deeeeeeeeep Jupiter strings
HEINRICH TILLACK - PUMP TRACK
Intense classic - in the heat of the night you mix in those claps...it stops and then the MASSIVE PUMP ACID line blasts out - the crowd goes wild. Simple as that.
SYNDROME - EVILISH COSMOS
ANother Connection Machine alias - introspective philosophical techno from their DREAM TEC album.
INVENTIONS & DIAMENTIONS - SERINITY
Timeless Fanon Flowers production - no fucks are given as the smoozy synth space intro of Steve Miller Band's fly like an eagle is sampled into a hypnotic loop that keeps massaging the mind like a Shephard tone. The drums are perfect - smudged out and dirty - a lesson in raw techno.
PIECES OF A PENSIVE STATE OF MIND - MISSIN' YOU
Cool elegant hazy record by Frank de Groodt aka the OPERATOR and now part of Ultradyne
MAARTEN & TJEERD - LUNETTEN LP
Everytime I am in the train and pass the Lunetten station (A suburb of Utrecht) I think of this record...for over 25 years.
CRAY EMOTICON - CHOICE CHIP
And another Connection Machine alias - going into more crusty acid territories!
Peter Slaghuis Disco Breaks II
The USA had Larry Levan & Ron Hardy - in Holland we had Peter Slaghuis. In the late 1970s he began experimenting with DJing and making mixes, using tape recorders to loop the most intense parts of disco songs (often the break) into a maelstrom of raw hypnotic disco power. Not afraid of using thick layers of flanging and buckets of echo effects to elevate the music into a new dimensional space. These mixes would be bootlegged on vinyl, one of the greatest is the DISCO BREAKS II released around 1981.
A quote from I-F about this mix:
Disco breaks 1 & 2 are the best dicso mixes ever, together with Surprise Power (Formula 1 Dynamite) from Ed Smit also from 1981. All three mixes are still as good as the first time I heard them and the impact was enermous! I also had a tape tha was recorded in the Downtown club in Maasluis where Laser- dance melted with Krafktwerk's Numbers... All that shit dictated my life path
Listen to that mix here
- 1 Sergio Mendez - I'll Tell You
- 2 Blondie - Rapture
- 3 Kurtis Blow - The Breaks
- 4 Sharon Redd - Can You Handle It
- 5 Kano - It's A War
- 6 Geraldine Hunt - Could We
- 7 Sister Sledge - All American Girls
- 8 Latoya Jackson - If You Feel The Funk
- 9 Change - Paradise
- 10 Sister Sledge - If You Realy Want Me
- 11 Queen Samantha - Mama Rue
- 12 Nightlife Unlimeted - Love Is In You
- 13 Peaches And Herb - Funtime
- 14 Frankie Vally - Soul
- 15 Latoya Jackson - If You Feel The Funk
- 16 Sal Barberi - Let's Get Funky
- 17 Lipps Inc - How Long
- 18 Duncan Sisters - Boys Will Be Boys
- 19 First Choice - Don't Say Goodnight
- 20 Viola Wills - If You Can't Read My Mind
- 21 Project - Love Resque
- 22 Disco Dream & The Androids - Dream Machine
- 23 Vivian Vee - Give Me A Break
- 24 Dan Hartman - Countdown
- 25 Lime - Your Love
- 26 Ferara - Wuthering Heights
- 27 Strikers - Body Music
- 28 Mike Theodore Orchestra - High On Mad Mountain
- 29 Debbie Jacobs - Hot Hot give it all you got
Peter Slaghuis died in a car crash in 1991 at the height of his career.
A beautiful memorial website can be found here:
Build your own field recording dome
Fieldrecording is a fun meditative passtime.
One can find great fulfillment in recording, for example some drizzle in a spring meadow and listening back to that while falling asleep a few months later in your appartment. You record an enviroment that you can always recall at any place...change your bedroom in that meadow at any time, travelling in time and space at your convienience.
Its quite easy to start field recording, the ocassional amateur hobbyist doesn't have to invest into professional microphones and recording equipment. Decent advanced omni-directional recorders are available at cheap prices these days one can even use a phone or old portable cassette recorder, depending on how low you set the bar of quality (as some sort of punk style lo-fi esthetic field recording)
One of the problems recording in outside enviroments are the elements of nature. Rain and wind make annyoing ticks and loud rumbles when they hit the microphone yet they are definitely sounds you want to capture.
There are wind socks and furry windjammers (foxtails) that help against the rumbling from the wind but for rain drops the best solution is some kind of shelter which is sometimes difficult to find when you are out in the open nature.
What you need:
- Some kind of material to make the body/framework for the dome:
Bamboo skewers or shapeable metal wire, which you can connect with pieces of putty or tape.
- something to put over the structure that will absorb the rain and wind:
absorbent cloths, vilt - a material that will protect enough but will let enough of the sound through.
How to proceed:
With the skewers or metal wire make a domed skeleton framework and just span the cloth over it like this:
now place the recorder underneath the dome and it should be protected
against rain hitting the microphone.
experiment to see if its nesseray to keep the wind sock on the recorder when its in the dome, or what the difference in the recorded sound is, you don't want it to be too muffled.
Here is an example recording, recorded in the spring at a meadow at the Zorgvliet park in The Hague/Scheveningen with a ZOOM H4 recorder.
00 - FieldrecordingsZorgvlietPark27Mei2018.mp3
Electribe II modes of music
This little article was sent in by MIRAJ all the way from Yellowknife, Northwestern territories, Canada:
Korg Electribes II contains scales that refer to the modern modes of music in western culture. A 'scale' is a series of musical pitches in a distinct order. You can change the scales in the electribe 2 menu. The electribes contain many scales but the first few are named after the modern modes of music. Each mode refers to a different scale that has characteristic intervals and chords that give its distinctive sound. You can change the root to any key. Experimenting with different scales is a great way to give your music a certain feel. Below are the modes of music listed out and the emotions they are generally agreed upon that people feel.
MIRAJ is a northern canada audio visual project between Harrison Roberts and Sami Blanco. MIRAJ uses Korg Electribe 2's as the masters for MIDI sequencing and song composition.
Listen to Miraj music at https://miraj1.bandcamp.com
Betonkust & Palmbomen II - Parrallel B
It was only a matter of time before Dutch producers Betonkust and Palmbomen II would team up again for another EP. As usual, they rented a house outside of the Randstad and brought everything they needed for one week of production bootcamp. No internet, no girlfriends, no alcohol, only straight edge vegan studio time, recording two or three songs a day to a mono track. This way it's possible to finish large amounts of music fast because you can't 'fix' anything afterwards, it's just done. The only break that was allowed during these sessions was watching a local TV show with footage from a car that was driving through the local surroundings.
Just like the previous Betonkust & Palmbomen II records, 'Parallel B' has a theme. This time it's not about a hotel next to the A2 highway or a recreational area with bungalows, but a person. In the late 20th century, there was this guy called Bart, who wanted to become a media tycoon in the Netherlands. He worked hard to accomplish his dream, and eventually succeeded. An interesting man with a tumultuous life. What if this Bart guy had decided to make electronic music instead of television? What would his world look like? That's pretty much the concept of this EP, A nonfictional character put in this fictional, PARALLEL universe. Bart is working on his tracks, and goes on a melancholic journey filled with loneliness, bad decisions and rejected demo tapes.
This EP was recorded using a selection of mostly small, cheap gear that Betonkust and Palmbomen II use for their live shows. To change things around a bit, the duo chose not to use the trusted Boss DR-660 drum machine that is very present in their previous recordings. Instead, all of the drum and percussion sounds are coming from the slightly more obscure Yamaha RY30. A fun machine with some cool functions. For instance, you can record the motions of the pitch wheel within your patterns, resulting in weird, melodic drum loops.
This particular RY30 once belonged to Dutch disco/house legend Peter Slaghuis, at least that's what the previous owner said. If this is true, it is probably one of Slaghuis' last purchases, since the machine is from 1991 and Slaghuis died in a mysterious car crash that same year.
Other equipment used: x0xb0x (fake Roland TB-303), Roland JV-1010 and E-mu Proteus/1for pads and bells, and a Korg EX-800 that was mainly used for 'special effects' and noise sweeps.
An Akai MPC1000 sent MIDI to all the devices and a simple 8-channel Mackie mixer provided some minimal equalizing options.
A custom built tape/distortion/compression pedal made sure everything was squeezed together, causing the overall LO-FI sound.
'Parallel B' will be released on the 14th of January on Dekmantel Records.
Intergalactic FM TOP XX
Its that time again....live from the Zahara cocktailbar Scheveningen 26th of December 2018 starts at 18:00 CIT - Countdown of the weird cosmic intergalactic TOP XX
What is INTERGALACTIC FM???
THe original and pioneering internet radio station from the West Coast of Holland - playing all the cool stuff since forever...
Transmitting 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Tune in worldwide at www.intergalactic.fm or come visit the Zahara cocktailbar Zeekant 32 Den Haag/Scheveningen at look at the freaks in real life!
August Is An Angel
Degrees of Freedom is a cool Quebecois synthpop/private-wave band from around 1985. Hailing from Montreal they made one album called CHINA which they self released. This album is very expensive, fetching 200$ prices on discogs etc. The most well known song from that album is 'August is an Angel'.
The song has some very poetical intruiging lyrics:
August is An Angel
Heaven is overhead
Snowbyte in the summer
On our knees before the bed
Cover grief with echoes
and drown silently instead
Aimless down the hallways
as we drift into the red
Madness is a mirror
were empty lives are drawn
vision is the focus
where these endless minds are gone
remembering reminds us
how we are chained to a common bond
prophets born in silence
slave to a different song
August is an Angel
Heaven is overhead
August is an Angel
Heaven is overhead
The sought after highly illegimate SMACKOS 808TR remix can be found here
CHRONOPOLIS 1982 Pjotr Kamler POLAND
This is just notification that this movie exist. A Warning - for this is truly a Necronomicon of film. Chronopolis is the most disturbing movie ever made - like a bad drug trip - true visions of a tormented mental state…its a perfect rendition of a NIGHTMARE beyond anything explainable in human words. Enter this movie and you come back agonized and tainted for the rest of your life. Stop motion animations can be terrifying - especially the Quay brothers and Jan Svankmayer’s work is often truly unsettling and frightening….rotten fungi, broken porcelain puppets decomposed taxadermizied animals etc. always give that’cosy uplifting atmosphere. But you ain’t seen anything yet…here we have Pjotr Kamler’s CHRONOPOLIS...that strange uncanny valley of stuttering stop motion movements is taken to new heights of fear in a completely dissacosiated world. The story as far as we can understand (reading the synopsis online there is no way you can figure this out by watching it) is about immortal beings that live in a gargantuan city were they build useless monuments…one day there is a visitor…thats as far as we can grasp. The soundtrack is amazing, pure electronic frightning madness straight out of a psychosis made by a guy called Luc Ferrari a French Italian pioneer of electro acoustic music. The most fucked up thing is that Chronopolis won BEST CHILDRENS MOVIE at the Italian Fantafestival in 1982. I can only imagine children (and grown ups for that matter) coming out of the cinema traumatized if they watch a few minutes of this. You know what would be fun??! put this on as a homely snuggy christmas movie instead of Home Alone or whatever people watch on Christmas and see what happens as an antropological experiment. Truly an unique film so unique its dangerous to watch.
watch it here
Advanced Urban Scaveging
Advanced urban scavenging, Brendanos guide to becoming a gutter god...
Although living in a wasteful society has severe environmental and health effects, the silver lining is that there are many discarded resources to be found. In this guide i'm going to teach you some essential skills so that you to can enjoy the fruits of the the city.
1. Research: Get to know your area, this includes constant walking/scanning etc. pay attention to businesses that are closing down/not doing very well, as these can be a good resource when they have to move. Institutions are also a gold mine if you keep your eyes peeled.Also choose to walk the laneways rather than the street, most hard waste is discarded in the lane. Best areas i find are mixed industrial residential areas. This also includes knowing what you are looking at when you find something.. And the chances of it being useful.
1. Be Brave: Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty! If you come across a stash of discarded hard waste that looks interesting, get stuck in and sort through it to see if there is any gold: I have found Synths, Drum machines, mics, stereos, powertools, records, clothing plants etc. over the years. Once you get your eye in you can tell the shit from the shovel at a glance… This also goes for industrial waste, you would be surprised at some of the things businesses will discard. Old tools, materials and office machinery. If you are lucky some places will leave their bin unlocked and you can go to town, otherwise a skip bin is a good place to start. If you have electrical experience you can usually repair most items also.
1. Take only what you need. This point is more for yourself than sharing and caring. You can easily end up with a shed full of stuff that you never get around to fixing/sorting etc. plus, if you have taken it off the street and it's now just sitting, nobody is using it anyway.. So try to keep your finds to stuff you know you need.. I have set out looking for steel posts for a project in the garden, only to find exactly what i needed out the front of a warehouse 15 mins later. It helps if you keep a mental picture of where certain things are in your neighbourhood.
2. Use your local facebook/gumtree/craigslist free section: This is a very strong advance in urban scavenging. As long as you have transport, speed tools and patience, an incredible amount of stuff can be obtained for free. Join your local pay it forward groups, and always be scanning the free section. When something you like pops up you need to be very swift, flxible and polite to get the prize.. Unfortunately some groups have been so popular a draw is conducted on high value items. However a polite message expressing interest, ability to collect promptly and bringing your own tools/labour for materials/plants will generally increase your chances over someone who replies “i'm coming to get it at 7am can you help me load it into my barina”
I hope this helps you on your way to becoming a gutter god. Please email any comments queries to: l e k t r o l u x @ g m a i l . c o m
Me and my dad would do this when I was a kid in the early 90s…there was always one day in the week the city would pick up the big ‘garbage’ and if you went to the more upscale neighbourhoods there would be all kinds of crazy stuff out on the streets that people just threw away. Furniture, hifi-stuff, books, Organs, 70s and early 80s Computers, LPs (a lot of Italo and Disco records in The Hague…thats were I found my copy of Peter Slaghuis Disco Breaks II!) Also the areas with a lot of upscale expats that have to move suddenly (The Hague has a lot of those with all the international companies and institutions that are based here). In particular I remember one day we found a Radioshack Tandy TRS80 computer manual - I didn’t have a computer back then and was so fascinated by the manual and the concept of programming in BASIC…I read it inside and out for weeks even sort of learned English from it and a few months later we actually found a mint working TRS80 model 4 computer by itself! I still have that one. Also all the tape recorders and the hifi amp I recorded my first tracks on were from the street, as well as the speakers… they were these really good sounding Phillips ones…all that early Dark Days stuff was mixed on those. SW.
The Living Room's Room Service
A review of the LIVING ROOM album by ROOM SERVICE 1994 on NIGHT VISION records.
This is a rather underestimated album from dutch producer Orlando Voorn. When this album came out it probably didn't sell very well because I remember the local record dumpstore having an infinite amount of stock selling them ridiculously cheap. That was quite cool because this album became super cult with the techno'heads and highly coveted immediately in places like the states were it wasn't really distributed at all - resulting in me sending many a copy that way. As the title might give away this album shows his more home-listening braindancy deep detroitish kind of side....a good thing because Orlando Voorn always excells in melodic content. I can't find anything revolting on this album, the only track that might not have stood the test of time is 'Roomservice' which is a laxative jazz xylophone workout that might be a bit too loungey, though if you would put some smackos tape station over it I am sure it would sound like Pender Street Steppers, so it can't be that bad. Also 'Fill In The Room 1' is a bit of an odd duck on the album - something more akin to 'cheesy' early dutch electronic music like NOVA or PHOCHOS...its just very weird but I definitely tolerate it.
On the modern beatport and probably some other digital versions there is a track called Gate Dub which is quite frankly horrible jock bro techno with f*cking football horns WTF!!! - it is so out of place and an insult to the rest of the album - Please get rid of that - Its not on the original CD fortunately pfoei! (but might be on the LP for DJs or something) So if you download that on beatport the first thing you do is throw that track in the trash and flush it.
The rest of the album is pretty much mindblowing: Its varied, fresh and overall just so pleasant...There is so much original melody and interesting sounds that just make you smile. This album was a huge influence on me in the 1990's and I always think fondly of the happy times we spent. Something vaguely similar would be BLACK DOG's Spanners- though this album has a much more Detroit blueprint and seems to be bit more 'focused'. All sprinkled with those typical dutch melancholical yet assured 'poldertechno' melodies, one of the great 90s techno albums - ESSENTIAL FOR ANY FAN OF TECHNO MUSIC.
Synthesizers For Toddlers
This article was send in by Rusuden:
I've recently become a father and of course want my daughter to have a chance at sound exploration ASAP. She's currently 17 months old. I've been experimenting with different pieces of gear in my studio to see how she interacts and responds to each one. Here's my research notes:
In general, kids like sound. This is obvious, I guess, as many kid toys have annoying audio repetition that drives you batty. I think my daughter really digs sound though as I catch her trying to sing stuff all the time. She even mimics weird noises coming from my studio with her own squeaks and squeals! When I play records, she touches the speakers’ subwoofers to “feel the sound”. Kids also like blinking lights and screens, and this may attract them to more flashy machines, or newer ones that have big LCD/OLED displays.
By far the most interaction I've seen from my daughter has been with the Roland SH-01a (the boutique SH-101). Even though there's not a “flashy” screen, the size of the machine matched with the boutique keyboard is just about perfect for a kid her size. The synth panel full of sliders and toggle switches have her busy for quite a long time. She’s not afraid to mash down the small keys on the keyboard, push buttons and sing along with the sounds. There’s a reason the 101 is popular with everyone. It’s super easy to use and just sounds amazing. As for durability, while not indestructible, it can take toddler use. The detachable keyboard is somewhat more fragile than the synth module itself. Bonus: Runs on batteries and has a built-in speaker!
Dave Smith Mono Evolver Keyboard
A fun and brightly colored wonder machine… the MEK can make just about any sound. My daughter really enjoys the gazillion LEDs and the big keys. However, the size of the synth itself for her is just a bit big. Holding her up to let her mash on the keys, she has to reach to twist any of the knobs. She definitely gets bored quickly if the knob twisting results in unfavorable sound. (which is easy to do with all of those knobs!) However, if I tune in a nice patch with some interesting sequence… she’s laughing and all-smiles as she transposes the running sequence by hitting different keys. It’s built fairly tough… however, I cringe sometimes about the unknown durability of the pots/encoders. Note: Replacement parts could be hard to find?
Yamaha Reface DX
Here’s a synth I’ve wanted to try out for awhile, and having a kid in the house just made my decision in to get one a lot easier. It’s a perfect size (like the SH-01a) keyboard where she can hit the keys and touch the buttons and sliders at the same time. It sounds fantastic and offers some non-analog (4op FM), 8 note polyphony to broaden the sound creation pallette. With only a few sliders and one bender, most of the interface is touch or push buttons. So, she can mash away at this machine and I have little worry. For some strange reason she loves the “Store” button (because it’s red?). So the saved patches are starting to sound a little wonky… The Reface DX has a small LCD screen that she thinks is a touch screen (maybe it should’ve been!), so keep your screen protector on! Bonus: Runs on batteries and has a built-in speaker!
Elektron Analog Rytm (mkI)
The last one I’ll mention is the Analog Rytm drum machine. While we don’t get to play with this one as much - mostly due to the machine needing to be plugged into the wall socket, the times we’ve jammed on it have been a blast. It’s got pads that light up and change color! What kid isn’t going to love that. I feel like she can bang away on those pads with little worry of machine damage. They feel pretty tough. I’m usually the one who’s crafting the sound here, obviously since that’s all done on a small screen (which she also thinks is a touch screen). But she gets wide-eyed at the booms and pings of the analog engine, and loves it when I dial in a vocal sample of “Maddy!”
So, I’m loving this side-time we have at sound experiments when we’re not playing with My Little Pony or changing diapers on Elmo.
I think she is as well.
Essential Trip Music
POPOL VUH - Affenstunde (1972)
An early MINDBLOWING Popol Vuh album when they still mainly used the Moog synthesizer - they stopped using that as their main instrument shortly after this album. From vague medieval courtly sketches to all out hippie freak outs to eastern vibes. The record - check how cool they look on there -
is quite rare but you can listen to it here
O YUKI CONJUGATE - Into Dark Water (1987)
Deep new-age-esque atmospherical music with a mystic vibe. The overall sound is quite tropical - it would make a great soundtrack to a movie about Alexander von Humboldt's expeditions to the Amazon rainforest. Side A is more energetic, combining exotic ambient soundscapes with propulsive tribal drumming. The B-side is more soothing and Zen-like. Superb material and a real treat for the inner eye!
Review by Wormholio Limbuger
Listen to it here
MARC BARRECA - The Sleeper Wakes (1986)
The perfect soundtrack for sleep deprevation in the middle of the night somewhere in the void of Tokyo waiting for the hotel breakfast to open. Marc Barreca is a judge in Washington state (!) but he is also a supercool experimental/dark ambient/electro/soundscape artist that is releasing tons of cassettes, LPs and digital ambient albums of high quality since 1978. Its well worth diving into his other albums as they serve as a deep mine of many a surprising musical gem! This album reminds me a lot of Alec Empire's ambient les etoiles des filles mortes album in its mood and atmosphere, which is I think a very good thing. SHADOW WOLF is definitely a fan...
Listen to it here
GARRISON PANYAN - Zeitmaler (2018)
If you like Eno's Music For Airports you will love this, its all very simple and nothing fresh but it does the job extremely well - hardcore ambient music that is not too immersive and all in the 'Brian Eno School idea of Ambient' (Eno devised that ambient music should be part of the surrounding "accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting" in contrast to, for example, the Pete Namlook school idea of ambient where it should be an immersive trip and experience). It also has a very intense Star Trek TNG spacious vibe which is cool If I would have a gallery or planetarium I would play it all day...
Check it out here
Stumbling Into A Psychic Soup
This was sent in by Antoni Maiovvi - everyone's favorite tender hearted eurohorror producer and man about town - normally I am alergic to anything vaguely related to -or containing the word CHAKRA but I will make an exception this time as it comes from him and he gives instructions to allign yourself with the universe by means of sound - it also contains phrases like PHSYCHIC SOUP so thats all good. If only there was another word for CHAKRA...that word just makes me shiver...anyways I hope he writes more articles in the future! we give the floor to Antoni!!!
One winter night many years ago I was booked to perform a solo improvised noise show in Berlin in a little shack in Friedrichshain. The show was performed with a little guitar amplifier, a microphone, a small megaphone as well as various delay, filter and distortion effects. I have told this story many times and only one person has ever believed me as to what happened next. My memory is hazy, not because of alcohol or other substances but at some point during the performance, I managed to align myself perfectly with the universe, and every instance of myself past, present and future. I left that show feeling pretty amazing for about two weeks afterwards. I found myself kinder, better at listening and generally much nicer to be around. It was a shame it dissipated after just a fortnight. I'd do anything to get back to that feeling.
From there, some self study uncovered some simple mystic truths regarding harmonic frequencies of the seven chakras. This was an experiment in order to try and recapture the accidental psychic-soup I stumbled into that strange winter night. And so, if we can distill from each pure colour of each chakra a tone, and that tone has frequency, then from there we can determine a tempo / bpm
Here is what we have so far. Please remember that A must be 432 not 440. Most soft synths / guitar tuner plug ins will allow you to be able to tune your instruments correctly. This is important.
- CROWN – Note: G – Frequency: 768 – Bpm: 46080
- BROW – Note: F – Frequency: 720 – Bpm: 43200
- THROAT – Note: E – Frequency: 672 – Bpm: 40320
- UPPER HEART – Note: D# – Frequency: 624 – Bpm: 37440
- HEART – Note: D – Frequency: 594 – Bpm: 35640
- LOWER HEART – Note: C# – Frequency: 552 – Bpm: 33120
- SOLAR PLEXUS – Note: C – Frequency: 528 – Bpm: 31680
- SACRAL – Note: B – Frequency: 480 – Bpm: 28800
- ROOT – Note: A – Frequency: 432 – Bpm: 25920
As you can see those tempos are really really quite fast, and unless you're going to make some psychic Extratone then I suggest you do some division like in the next chart (400 was chosen to divide by in order to get sweet slow disco speeds, you could use any divisor number to get the sacred tempos, especially if you want to delve into polyrhythmic joys)
- CROWN – Note: G – Frequency: 768 – Bpm: 46080 divided by 400 = 115.2
- BROW – Note: F – Frequency: 720 – Bpm: 43200 divided by 400 = 108
- THROAT – Note: E – Frequency: 672 – Bpm: 40320 divided by 400 = 100.8
- UPPER HEART – Note: D# – Frequency: 624 – Bpm: 37440 divided by 400 = 93.6
- HEART – Note: D – Frequency: 594 – Bpm: 35640 divided by 400 = 89.1
- LOWER HEART – Note: C# – Frequency: 552 – Bpm: 33120 divided by 400 = 82.8
- SOLAR PLEXUS – Note: C – Frequency: 528 – Bpm: 31680 divided by 400 = 79.2
- SACRAL – Note: B – Frequency: 480 – Bpm: 28800 divided by 400 = 72
- ROOT – Note: A – Frequency: 432 – Bpm: 25920 divided by 400 = 64.8
There are many reasons why you might want to divine such a tempo, there are many others we can gain from these frequency to bpm calculations. Try it in your music to help unite people. Or you can go back to making the same old boring 120bpm dance trash that everyone else makes with no desire to create harmonic balance in the universe.
Your friend, Antoni Maiovvi.
Shadows Over ComputerStad ASCII GAME competition
This is kind of a cross between the ASCII puzzle game that came with the SMACKOS - A VAMPIRE GOES WEST album and the SKI Simulator from last year but with more INTERACTIVITY (well theoretically) and ADVENTURE!!!
In the early computer PC days there is a software company that just makes ASCII art based games that have no interactivity whatsoever - its just a text file with an ASCII art map of a town in which you have to solve a puzzle, scrolling around, finding clues.
Envision the excitement one has holding the box with flashy adventerous detective artwork and promises of a deep involving game of sleuth...picture the dissapointment when the floppy loads and auto runs the text-file below... or even worse get a DOS prompt where you have to enter TYPE (or EDIT if we want to scroll!) SHADOWS.TXT or something similar to run it.
The ultimate piece of exploitation vapourbubbleware...not yet a scam because we get software at the very least....
Pretend games like this existed (I am sure they did somewhere) and let's timetravel to the year 1991...
You just were given a copy of SHADOWS OVER COMPUTERSTAD for Christmas or whatever and load it up in your parents brand new super VGA PC...drooling with canticipation...the screen loads and our adventure begins:
(mirrored from www.pacificmicro.org)