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BEDROOM COMMUNITY

Ben Frost

The Wasp Factory

    ‘The Wasp Factory’ is the very first opera from Bedroom Community’s Ben Frost and is an adaptation of the Iain Banks novel. It was first premiered at Austria’s Bregenz Festival and finished up in London’s Royal Opera House. This is the first time the audio has been released.

    Frank is no ordinary boy. The sardonic, misogynistic antihero of Ben Frost’s first opera, ‘The Wasp Factory’ - libretto by David Poutney - is a young psychopath, a sort of mad scientist manipulating human beings like insects in a depraved behavioural experiment. Born and raised off the grid on an isolated island and warped by brutal trauma, he recounts, in a series of monologues, the obsessive rituals, up to and including dispassionate human sacrifice, with which he attempts to find the balance and order hidden in the seeming chaos of an indifferent universe.

    The Wasp Factory of the title is a miniature maze into which Frank feeds actual wasps as a form of divination, the method of each insect’s demise - fire, poison, drowning - standing as a portent of the future. It is also an emblem of his own maze-like mind: a living, buzzing machine and a labyrinthine deathtrap.

    The opera itself is a kind of ritual, unfolding with the same coldly indifferent and clockwork inevitability as Frank’s machinations. However, the materials Frost works with here are perhaps warmer than one might expect from the composer of electronic experiments like ‘Aurora’ and ‘Theory Of Machines’. Now the focus is on the ‘live’ sounds of a small string ensemble and, for the first time, the human voice and over the repeating, tessellating musical cells of that string accompaniment he sets Poutney’s text to tuneful, even soulful vocal lines, an extraordinarily unreliable narrator describing scenes of extreme violence and horror in music of incongruous loveliness.

    TRACK LISTING

    The Wasp Factory
    I See You’ve Washed Your Hands Again
    Death, No Less
    Low Tide
    Blyth
    My Greatest Enemies Are Women And The Sea
    High Tide
    To Be Mastered, The World Must Be Named
    What Happened To Me
    You Don’t Have To Sleep
    Stormfront
    The Bomb Circle
    Esmeralda
    Eric Is Getting Nearer
    Inferno

    Sam Slater

    I Do Not Wish To Be Known As A Vandal

      I kept on visualizing a body, suspended just at the point where gravity took over, and the figure was falling from their feet to the floor. Frozen at this midpoint, there wasn’t much to say which way they were going - suspended between collapse and recovery, they could almost be getting back to their feet. Perhaps I was punch drunk from 2019, however I noticed very soon the zero-gravity feeling of being suspended between these two points was all around me; the impression of a caring democracy hamstrung by 2D visions of old empires; the climate in it’s seemingly terminal demise and the ever emboldened ideas for a functioning future looming from the smog; the suspension between the immortality of my 20s and the strange feeling when everyone starts to get sick more; the feeling that everything is suspended between collapse and recovery, and I am unsure which way it’s heading.

      The record was made just before the pandemic started, working closely with the distinct feed-backing Dorophone sounds of Hildur Guðnadóttir, Yair Glotman’s thunderous double-bass, James Ginzburg’s devotion to precise form and muting my reverb stems, the microtonal brass and woodwinds of Hilary Jeffrey and Sam Dunscombe and the infinite intimacy of Icelandic singer-songwriter JFDR. From Berlin, I would flag sounds I loved; some twitching strings, the stolen alto voice from an abandoned English chorale, some words from a climate scientist fleshed into a poem. These email attachments struck up a sort of sonic pen-pal program, with each person sending a sound, some words, some creative parameters and responding in turn. It became an exercise in receptivity, in which openness itself became a creative voice, hushing my tendency to micromanage every detail. These interactions were pulled together in late 2019 into a single piece written for two sides of a single 12” vinyl; one side describing collapse (Darn!) and the other, recovery (Kintsugi). Influenced by the 70s concept prog records of my childhood, the album loops without ending, so you were never really allowed to rest in safety, or wallow in the mess for too long.

      Although my 20-year-old self would loathe it, I find myself tired of people believing their own creative voices are the most interesting or that creativity needs another self-aggrandizing voice. I thought of this as a project about restoring balance, the immense power to be found in collaboration, receptivity and the belief that if I am going to contribute to the world in 2022, it should be from a position of openness. It should be kind rather than vulgar. It should be constructive, not destructive. I do not wish to be known as a Vandal.

      Working with visual artist Theresa Baumgartner and Dancer / Choreographer Lukas Malkowski the simple visual imagery of a body resisting gravity was realized as an Audio-Visual installation, which will be premiered in May 2022. “I do not wish to be known as a Vandal” uses high speed cameras which compensate for gravity’s pull at 3000 frames per second, suspending an unclothed body in space as it moves from feet to floor and back again. The result is a simple, framed figure of a body moving through space, duelling with inevitably and the cycle of collapse and recovery, set to generative interpretation of the record.


      On Delta, a dozen artists across four continents freely interpret Fountain across a double LP, again featuring Donna Huanca’s surreal artwork, and the unearthly graphic manipulations of Nufolklore Studios. Remaining faithful to Fountain’s presentation, Lyra’s curation reflects her commitment to stylistic diversity, with the old guard and the next wave alongside each other. Where some artists chose to rework existing works, others composed new material from fragments found across the record. The results showcase the very themes of wordless identity conflict and technological concerns that Lyra and her foremothers have projected.

      Valgeir Sigurdsson marries elements of Lyra’s entire catalogue into work that combines the limitless highs of Sigur Ros and the steady pulse of The Knife. KMRU cloaks Lyra in a hazy film, soundtracking the depths of space embedded within the ghosts of jungle past. Gabber Modus Operandi expose the realities of artificial nature in a multicoloured rave dystopia. Eris Drew’s double opus takes the tenets of her philosophies into both ambient and peaktime expressions of the trip, the things that lead to the decision before, and the portals that can open up after.

      Ben Frost dissolves Cradle’s deep and tremulous hymn in analogue warble, distressed tape spooling out of control and breaking up over the heavens, while remaining oddly serene. Heaven In Stereo conjures up post-rock with trap drums out of Gossip, buried in bass weight and dub space. Nailah Hunter and Tygapaw transform New Moon into an earthbound ode to nature and a pounding trance state induction, while Caterina Barbieri and Hudson Mohawke extract and amplify Tendril’s mind and soul. Vessel takes what feels like the entire album and builds it up to a frantic climax before subsuming into Enoesque pastoralia.

      Alongside Delta, Lyra has collaborated with Spitfire Audio to develop Siren Songs, a free plug-in for their LABS series made from playable samples from Fountain, able to work across DAWs in multiple formats. By removing barriers to access, the listener can craft their own responses to the album’s themes, or use its language to express their innermost feelings in their own works.

      Life and society emerge where water tessellates over land and provides fertile soil. The chances of evolution that made them interact as they did could have had meaningful environmental consequences had things developed differently. For Lyra Pramuk, that fertile geology provides the ground for her albums. Fountain was that burst of water and swell of energy that propelled her to critical acclaim. Delta is a new take on a traditional remix album, centred on transgenerational dialogue and global storytelling, and will be released again via Iceland’s Bedroom Community label. Projecting Fountain through prisms, wordless songs fractalize into lush creations that blossom with new life.

      The ability to have such sheer diversity of material in one place is thanks to the global increase in accessible technologies, fueling an explosion of creativity and genre exploration that was thought of as unthinkable in our lifetimes. Like its namesake, Delta is a point where creative flows meet and triangulate, where global and personal folk histories are presented in novel ways, where transcultural collaboration is celebrated, where many worlds emerge from the depths below.


      TRACK LISTING

      SIDE A / CD1
      Lyra Pramuk 01 Offering - Valgeir Sigurdsson
      Lyra Pramuk 02 Witness (Selfless Rework) - Colin Self
      Lyra Pramuk 03 Constructs Of Still - KMRU
      Lyra Pramuk 04 Tendril (Midnight Peach Rework) - Hudson Mohawke
      SIDE B
      Lyra Pramuk 05 Returnless - Kara-Lis Coverdale
      Lyra Pramuk 06 Tendril (Germinative Rework) - Caterina Barbieri
      Lyra Pramuk 07 Fountain (ars Amatoria) - Vessel
      SIDE C / CD 2
      Lyra Pramuk 08 Sugarcube Revelations - Eris Drew
      Lyra Pramuk 09 Everything Is Beautiful & Alive - Eris Drew
      Lyra Pramuk 10 Cradle (Patience Rework) - Ben Frost
      Lyra Pramuk 11 Kaca Bulan Baru - Gabber Modus Operandi
      SIDE D
      Lyra Pramuk 12 Gossip (Catalyst Rework) - Heaven In Stereo
      Lyra Pramuk 13 New Moon (Distant Shores Rework) - Nailah Hunter
      Lyra Pramuk 14 New Moon (In Pisces Rework) - Tygapaw

      Nadia Sirota

      Tessellatum

        Nadia Sirota’s new album ‘Tessellatum’ is released via Bedroom Community. ‘Tessellatum’ is an album and a film, with music composed by Donnacha Dennehy and animation by Steven Mertens, performed by violist Nadia Sirota and gamba player Liam Byrne.

        The film and the music both work with the idea of man vs. nature. Steven Mertens’ electric animation toggles back and forth between man-made geometric perfection and the natural oddness of the deep ocean. Donnacha Dennehy’s addictive timbres move between tuning systems created by humans and the ones found in natural resonance. As a result, the two elements support and enhance each other, using the same form and structure to create an incredibly moving work of art.

        All fifteen string parts were performed by Nadia Sirota and Liam Byrne on viola and bass viol. The album was recorded in Iceland’s famed Greenhouse Studios by Paul Evans and mixed by Valgeir Sigurðsson. Produced by Nadia Sirota. Music composed by Donnacha Dennehy. Performed by Nadia Sirota (violas) and Liam Byrne (bass viols).

        Valgeir Sigurðsson

        Dissonance

        Post-minimalist, post-ambient, post-something else.

        History freely dilates and collapses on Valgeir Sigurðsson’s ‘Dissonance’, his first solo release since 2012. Its three largescale works are haunted by the old Western tradition, infused with the ethereal workings of electronics and sound manipulation.

        Recorded and produced between September 2015 and November 2016 at Greenhouse Studios, ‘Dissonance’ is disarmingly human, reflecting the most extreme four years of Sigurðsson’s life full of ecstatic joy and deep sorrow.

        ‘Dissonance’ is a personal and collective musical treatise to explore and question a world that is collapsing under its internal dissonances.

        TRACK LISTING

        Dissonance
        No Nights Dark Enough I. flow
        No Nights Dark Enough II. Infamy Sings
        No Nights Dark Enough IV. Fear And Grief And pain
        No Nights Dark Enough V. Learn To Contemn Light
        1875 I. Waterborne
        1875 II. In The Dead Of winter
        1875 III. Displaced

        After extremely well received albums by Ben Frost in 2009 and Sam Amidon in 2010, Bedroom Community present their big new hope for 2011.

        Bedroom Community broadens the scope with their newest release: "En Garde" by Puzzle Muteson, a mysterious, intimate record by a fearless songwriter and lyricist from the windswept Isle of Wight.

        Arranged and produced by collaborators and labelmates Nico Muhly and Valgeir Sigurðsson, "En Garde" is a strange, comforting and alarmingly personal record. Driven, spare lyrics are hoisted high by vocals of steady, sturdy tremble. Each tune swells with plush guitar pluck in a sea of orchestration and electronics. Recorded in the Greenhouse Studios in Iceland, the album collects Puzzle Muteson’s odd and beautiful stories - about love and horses; rust and polar bears; heartbreak and birds. Puzzle’s songs are curious sounds from a troubled heart and his lyrics are urgent and open, striking a note with their vulnerable memories. “I Was Once A Horse” is an unforgettable song about nostalgia. The first single and title track, “En Garde”, pits Puzzle’s longing against waves of dense strings and jagged rhythm, while “Perspex Disguise” sets his naked, translucent vocals against shimmering piano that refracts off epic chords. In “Flamingo Head” he sings; “I left your house. You let me. I left you ugly”, buffeted by guitar and distant murmurs. “Not a single thing could take this magical sight. I’ll find you still”, he sings in “Medusa”, the story of a man tracking down a lost love.

        Like many Bedroom Community recordings, "En Garde" takes an unexpected and unique voice and elevates it out of any easily discernible pocket. Puzzle Muteson could be “folk” or something completely different - instead he’s an intense stranger from the Isle of Wight - at once both familiar and unfamiliar. En Garde heralds a haunting and essential new voice, beautiful, earned and yearning.

        Biography:
        Puzzle Muteson is the alter ego of an enigmatic songwriter from the Isle of Wight, rendering his music in a tremulous tenor over a finely spun web of fingerpicked guitar. Born in London, Isle of Dogs, the southern English island provided unexpected shelter for the shuddering transformation into one-man band Puzzle Muteson. His grade-school music teacher was first to recognise his unrivalled vibrato, and a little while later a parade of chance and coincidence led him to inhabit Puzzle Muteson, and start shaping a body of songs. Puzzle has since toured Ireland and the U.K., opening up for the likes of The Fruit Bats, Death Vessel and Sub Pop darling Daniel Martin Moore. After obsessively listening to Puzzle Muteson’s own raw tapes, producer- arranger duo Valgeir Sigurðsson and Nico Muhly nurtured the songs that now inhabit his debut recording En Garde, released via Valgeir’s Bedroom Community label. The record shimmers with the signature value of Puzzle’s collaborators who have previously worked with the likes of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Antony (& the Johnsons), Sam Amidon and many others.


        TRACK LISTING

        1. I Was Once A Horse
        2. A Tightrope Dance
        3. Water Rising
        4. En Garde
        5. Glover
        6. Medusa
        7. Alphabet Eyes
        8. Keyhole
        9. Perspex Disguise
        10. Flamingo Head


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