WARREN ELLIS LTD Articles.
It’s been a busy old day here at the hermitage station.
In 2017 MAZE gave a stunning interpretation of Jitterbug at the Tactile Paths Festival in Berlin, full of subtle detail and fluid energy. That they have returned to the work now – and have also created this beautiful realization of bayou-borne, for Pauline – is something for which I am deeply grateful.
Both works draw on improvisation and are guided by graphic imagery: of a river system in Texas and of rocks from the Continental Divide in Montana.
Bayou-born, for Pauline (2016) is dedicated to Pauline Oliveros and was composed with her passions in mind. She was born in Houston, Texas, so I created a graphic score from a map of the six bayous which flow through the city to Galveston Bay, thinking that she would have known one or all of those rivers intimately as a child – swimming, wading, river mud between her toes. She was a superb improviser, so it is scored for six improvising musicians with each player reading one of the rivers as a guide. Their lines move independently at first, coming closer together at the confluences to form duets and trios, before converging at the red star, the whole sound darkening as they approach Houston in memory of the devastation and deaths caused by Hurricane Harvey… in 2017.
The full liner notes on that site are fascinating, as is the music.
The Sound Mapping Project is one of my favourite things in the world right now.
Since the end of the 1970s, industrial music has stood out as one of the most vital and innovative forms of all the popular culture of the 1900s. In Italy, industrial and post-industrial have generated one of the most interesting and popular music scenes on the international scene. The reasons for this success are to be found in the cultural matrix and in the inspirational models that underlie this artistic phenomenon. Unlike what happened previously, the roots of industrial did not sink into US and UK rock. Influences from various artistic avant-gardes of the last century converged in the so-called grey area: futurism, Dadaism, situationism, performance, body and mail art. One of the main merits of the industrial scene was precisely that of translating the most radical aesthetics of research art into music, without leaving the context of popular music, in terms of distribution and market. This choice led, from the beginning, to the creation of a musical environment that did not derive from Anglo-Saxon cultural models.
Somehow forgot to log this one.
Travelogue [Nepal] is the first in a series of collected international audio diaries. The premise is quite simple: the two galavant the globe with field-, EVP- and phone recorders and other devices where they record the essence of everything from the tiniest microcosms of nature on up to the polluted, diesel–fuelled roars of postmodern globalization. What surfaced are soundtracks that act as sonic documentaries of their travels.
I like combinations of ambient and field recordings, but they don’t always have the warm, human organic feel of this. Even the recordings of machines seem to have human voices in them.
One of those moments where I fully acknowledge and appreciate the privilege of being able to hear and own such things.
This offering offers a purified approach to Undirheimar’s sound with a more simplistic and constant pulse, inviting the listener to let go of any attachments to ordinary reality and fall in the black abyss of the primordial chaos-void. An immersive ritual experience of raw, Thursian shamanism and sonic sorcery.
The people at Cyclic Law just have great taste, as far as I’m concerned. This is going to go right next to Phurpa on the shelf.
…the renditions of Naxi folksongs by He Jinhua on Songs of the Naxi of Southwest China offer a glimpse at a tradition rarely heard outside its homeland. These songs are full of references to snow-clad mountains, rushing rivers, spring flowers, and the profusion of local wildlife in the Naxi heartland of northwest Yunnan province, tableaus that are reflected in the lilting verse in which they’re sung. On this first collection of Naxi folksongs released outside of China, He presents songs she has learned since childhood from relatives, farmers, colleagues, and field collectors all over the region, as well as pieces for jaw harp and two collaborations with Grammy-winning composer Daniel Ho.
“An amalgamation of noise, rock, ambient, choral and classical elements, ‘Speechless’ shifts from gossamer beauty to glowering threat; from pulsing minimalism to full-bore propulsive blow-outs. As well as moments of great beauty, it is shot through with shrieks and howls, cavernous bass drops, sirens and sudden pitch shifts. A mysterious and deeply uncertain space is opened. Even within individual tracks, the atmosphere seems slippery, poised precariously between light and dark.”
The four tracks are from a collection of improvisations made on chilly Monday mornings towards the end of 2021. In an arrangement with the church warden, Laura would unlock the church for the public to visit and was given access to the play the pipe organ, in part, “to keep the organ in good health and stop the bellows from drying out”, this was during a fallow year of church usage and became her Monday morning ritual.
Joy and sorrow are in the walls of the 14th century building, their shadows flicker and fall through clear diamond glass onto carved oak pews. The memories of family, love and loss lay dormant within in the bones of the building until the great slumbering animal is woken, the sound of the pipes acting as an early morning alarm call to the deep dreams of the past.
Laura Cannell has fast become one of my favourite contemporary musicians. Everything she does has the local magic in it.
Arrived today. I really wanted to own a physical copy of this, and it’s a limited edition, so I consider myself very lucky.
During the lockdown, unable to do anything in the world, I turned inward, adopting a regular practice of listening with intention while on psychedelic mushrooms. The mushrooms helped me to listen somatically, pulling my ears towards low tonal patterns and the warped sounds of a broken Mellotron I had recorded earlier. I started playing in my studio, creating bass-driven pieces on my vintage Korg synth organ, using a very limited tonal palette. I approached this music as the soundtrack to this speculative science fiction film, an attempt to translate my emotions.
It frequently sounds so BIG, in surges, that it’s hard to conceive of it as “limited” in any way.