MAGIC MIX

avant . leftfield . post-rock . drone . experimental

WEEK STARTING 20 Apr

Genre pick of the week Cover of No. 4 by Christina Vantzou.

Christina Vantzou

No. 4

    Belgium-based composer Christina Vantzou’s fourth full-length for Kranky ventures further into the uniquely elusive and evocative mode of ambient classical minimalism which has become her signature: a fragile synthesis of contemplative drift, heady silences, and muted dissonance. In regards to the new album she speaks of focusing particular attention on the effects of the recordings on the body, and of “directing sound perception into an inner space.”

    No. 4 took shape across roughly two years, incorporating a diverse array of musical and conceptual collaborators, including fellow Kranky artists Steve Hauschildt and John Also Bennett (of Forma) as well as Angel Deradoorian (ex-Dirty Projectors), Clarice Jensen, Beatrijs De Klerck, and members of Belgium’s Echo Collective. During the creation process Vantzou wanted to “blur lines of hierarchy,” and thus allowed all ensemble members and technical assistants to add or delete elements. Despite such a spectrum of input the eleven tracks feel distinctly cohesive, weaving elegant textures and resonant open spaces within a twilit landscape of eclectic instrumentation: piano, harp, vibraphone, voice, strings, marimba, synthesizers, gong, and bells.

    Vantzou describes the recording process as one of prepared spontaneity: that is, “having plenty of ideas ready to explore going into the session, but with enough time to depart from those ideas and see what happens.” This mindset of premeditated exploration informs the album’s emotive textural intuition, with hushed drones and delicate gestures eliding in the periphery of the mix. She cites sleep and “the loosening of time” as two formative practices in her private and professional life, which manifests in the quietly hallucinatory properties of Vantzou’s music. No. 4 feels both endless and ephemeral, immersive and immaterial. It’s a music of horizon lines and half-light, mapped with feeling and foresight.

    Recorded in New York City and Brussels. Mixed in Berlin.


    Originally recorded between 1974 and 1978 at Industrial Records studio in London "The Space Between" album was first released as a 90 minute cassette in 1980 on Throbbing Gristle's Industrial Records label. It wasn't until 1991 that it was again released by Mute Records on CD. Although tracks from "The Space Between" have appeared on numerous compilations since its release, the album has never been available on vinyl until now. This new vinyl edition on Optimo Music, now retitled "The Spaces Between", doesn't include all the tracks of the original album but has been enhanced and remastered from the original two-track master tapes and has new cover artwork especially for this release. JD Twitch has this to say about the release; 'The original release featured 15 tracks. As I wanted to have a reasonably loud vinyl pressing, I have picked my favourite six to appear here (not an easy task to narrow it down). In addition there is a bonus track "Climbing" which was recorded around the same time that was released by Coil's Geoff Ruston on his "Men With Deadly Dreams" cassette in 1981. One of the first ever recordings to use an 808 drum machine, it still sounds as if it is from tomorrow. In my opinion, these are some of the key recordings in the history of electronic music. They were made using very basic equipment at a time when there was no blueprint for what electronic music could and should be. There is a beauty, an emotion and an imagination present here that is lacking in a lot of modern machine music. This music is as vital and wondrous today as it was four decades ago.'

    All tracks have been remastered by Chris Carter in 2009 for this release. Musically, it's an electronic soundtrack for a sleazy sci-fi movie, with moments of uplifting beauty combined with bits of claustrophobic mania. Amazing stuff.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Limited Repress On Grey Vinyl.

    Melvins

    Pinkus Abortion Technician

      The Melvins return with the new album Pinkus Abortion Technician (April 20, Ipecac Recordings), featuring both ongoing Melvins’ bass player Steven McDonald (Redd Kross, OFF!) and Butthole Surfers’, and occasional Melvins’, bottom ender Jeff Pinkus on bass.

      “With our upcoming release, we double your bass player with Steven McDonald AND Jeff Pinkus holding down the bottom,” explains Dale Crover. It’s an experiment in the low end of the aural spectrum where we asked ourselves, ‘would it work?’ ‘could it work??’ ‘should it work???’ The answers were yes, yes and YES!”

      “We’ve never had two bass players. We’ve had two drummers and two guitar players so it makes total sense to now have two bass players, adds Buzz Osborne

      “Stop Moving To Florida” is a medley of the James Gang’s “Stop” and Butthole Surfers’ “Moving To Florida,” the band also covers the Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and Butthole Surfers’ “Graveyard” on the eight-song release. 

      Stars Of The Lid

      Gravitational Pull Vs The Desire For An Aquatic Life - Reissue

        Vinyl edition of Stars of the Lid 2nd album in print for the first time in over 20 years.

        The release of Music for Nitrous Oxide, the 1995 debut album by Stars of the Lid, heralded a new strain of the american underground music scene, one borne of the heat and humidity, boredom, and the insular, constipated, rockist music scene of Austin, Texas, the home of the duo of Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie. It was a muffled lashing out against surrounding musical conventions, a small middle finger to the local dominant “americana” scene, but one that nobody could see outside the shack of a house in which they recorded or at their occasional sparsely populated live performances. It was as punk a move as anyone could make at that place and in that time. But in a surprise to the two members of SotL, people took notice, as related rumblings and grumblings were taking place simultaneously in other parts of the american landscape.

        Coming quickly on the heels of that release was our current subject, Gravitational Pull vs. the Desire for an Aquatic Life, released one year later. This is a transitional release that travels from the scruffiness of the debut’s ambiance to more extended and subtle undulating tides of assembled sound, yet still dominated by processed guitars as the primary sound source. It also serves as an omen to the mini-orchestral works to come beginning with the Avec Laudenum album a few years later. Gravitational Pull... is a small masterpiece.

        Context:
        The Stars of the Lid’s second full length album was originally published on vinyl by the Sedimental label in 1996, and then issued on compact disc by kranky the following year. It has now been out of print on the vinyl format for more than 20 years and that matter is now rectified with this release. The original album mix has been remastered by Pieter De Wagter, lacquers cut by Chicago Mastering Service and vinyl pressed at Quality Record Pressing in Salina, Kansas. 


        John Zorn

        The Urmuz Epigrams

          Desperate from Having Been Left without a Bladder With The Urmuz Epigrams Zorn returns to his roots, using the recording studio as instrument to create an intensely personal suite of compositions in the style of his legendary File Card compositions and Zoetropes. Dedicated to the visionary Romanian writer Urmuz whose small, scattered body of work predated Dadaism by decades, The Urmuz Epigrams is a suite of surrealistic miniatures more akin to philosophical aphorisms than actual music. The pieces are presented here in two iterations, as a set of “rare 78rpm records” complete with surface scratches and limited dynamic range, and as a modern reconstruction of same with the full blown studio sound presented in all its perplexing glory. Some of the craziest music in the Zorn catalog!


          If you missed out on the ultra limited green/black swirl edition - preorder now for the also limited green vinyl of… https://t.co/cqPFI7AWYr
          Mon 23rd - 12:15
          On the deck today we have one of the latest releases from @bewithrecords - the reissue of Liam Hayes - Korp Sole Ro… https://t.co/C64BFg66DX
          Mon 23rd - 11:44
          We still have some @recordstoreday releases available. Zoom in on the lists - anything without a line through it is… https://t.co/jnrCx2QFXM
          Mon 23rd - 10:46
          Starting Monday with @PJHarveyUK @amendunes @lucydacus @InsecureMen and this German electronic compilation from… https://t.co/xp2u37C1RB
          Mon 23rd - 10:32
          STUFF WE HAVE LEFT. Should zoom, quickly depleting but still some killer titles. Get on it. Open till 5pm today. https://t.co/Mygt5WnC1d
          Sun 22nd - 2:11
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