"Takahiro Mukai: 1409-1 (Phinery)
What starts off as a humble lot of looping, metalic clinks, and subsonic gurgling gently builds into a voltaic composition. Surface scratches morph into conscious rhythms. The condensation trails of concentraded zaps mature into tarps covering larger, focused pieces. Before you know what's happening you're sucked into the bubbling whirpool of 1409-1's carbonated carousing. Takahiro Mukai puts the crumbs, pinches, and dashes of sound under the microscope on 1409-1 and let's them live in fantastic ways. Totally an absurd thrill going down here. The only exception to that rule would be the 5 and a half minute track "#149", which is a darker, blown-out boiler, but still a killer track in it's own right. This is a rad tape and you should get it yesterday."
With the ever-expanding front lines of the War on Christmas, Facebook posts about how it’s snowing and/or cold outside, and year-end-listsanity, it’s easy for late December releases to get lost in the proverbial sauce. It would be a crime, and frankly irresponsible, if I didn’t bring some much-deserved attention Phinery‘s way. The Denmark concern, who didn’t exist prior to 2014, pretty much nailed it with tape output by Head Dress, Karl Fousek, Demonstration Synthesis, and others earlier in the year. Their final batch of the year, released on December 22nd, consists of some hyper-splendid matter.
Lortica, the project of one Alister Hill, chaperons the listener on a foggy journey deep, deep down into sink holes of sound. “Mialle Tapes” (ph013, co-released w/ Feral Media) is austere in it’s movements, processing found sounds over ten modest tracks. The pastoral floaters partner up with artwork by Tim Ferson, are cased in a clear red Norelco case, and limited to 75 physical copies.
Daniel James Laznoff continues his tenacious outpouring of mesmerizing tones as Demonstration Synthesis, this being his 15th cassette under the name. I’ve heard a lot of DS over the last few months, and this is, without a doubt, my favorite DS out of all the DS I have heard. Not that the other DS is BS. Far from it. “DS15″ (ph014) is just a delight is all. A legion of varying ideas whirl around each other on this C40 in a keyboard fantasy land. PS: The blue norelco cases are beauties.
“1409-1″ (ph015), a six-cut fizzling feast, is a straight up necessity. Japanese sound sculptor Takahiro Mukaitrots out surface after surface of tiny, concentrated buzzes, loops, and electronic taunts, nonchalantly simulating a world taken over by minicomputers and microchips. Some tracks find Takahiro spilling sounds at random, while other beat-involved jams come across as more prepared. Both styles are insane, so grip before all 50 copies are spoken for.
Rounding out the batch is handsome sounding, and looking, cassette from Ondness titled “Filho Do Dono” (ph016), which either translates to “Filo Dough? I don’t know!” OR “The owner’s son”. You’ve got Google (and a brain), so I think you can figure it out. Bruno Silva, who is behind the controls here, has dished out Ondness on labels like Metaphysical Circuits, Fort Evil Fruit, and others, so maybe you are familiar with his cloud of amorphous drone slithering. If not, get with the program. The side-long burners here squirm through a forest, leaves crunching under feet. Moans panning behind the trees. It’s a macabre scene, but what are you even doing out in the forest at night?
You can pick up each of these heavy hitters on their own, or in a batch deal, from Phinery. Supplies are getting low, so do not delay.
I like a good synth album that occupies neither space or time. One that doesn’t seem beholden to some concept of science-fiction. It’s getting harder and harder not because of artistic horizons shrinking, but because of hangdog ears and a synapses that associates synthesizers with the relics of retro-futurism. It hurt to type that word, I apologize. But before we crusade against such a nega-term (as we did with hypanogogic), may I suggest Projector Mapping as the music for our march? It’s adventurous and not of this era, though to peg it as some Kubrick nightmare or Hawking dream seems disingenuous to Opaline. What we have here is a ambient pop album akin to R.O.B. Proof positive that synthesizers are not tied to one specification of sound. And though there have been many synth crashes to scare off the masses, those of us who have stuck around to rebuild find new relics such as Projector Mapping by which to restore our faith in the versatile instrument. So those of you still stuck in some teenage idea of synth as sci-fi instrument, I present to you a reason why infantile thinking still makes you think misogyny and super cars are the best things since sliced bread (and you think that phrase is still awesome). Audi 500.
2014 has been a fruitful year for Sydney based musician Alister Hill. Under the nom de plume of Lortica, Hill has released a debut EP – SAD LTD EP – and now his first full length album, Mialle Tapes. Both works have received critical attention and a stack of independent radio play.
Hill manipulates found cassettes, guitars, effects pedals and a four track tape deck into dark ambience. Given his penchant for cassettes, Mialle Tapes has an unsurprising lo-fi aesthetic; in fact most of the tracks are coated in persistent tape hiss, which becomes a unifying timbre for the album.
In his Cyclic Defrost review of SAD LTD EP http://www.cyclicdefrost.com/2014/08/lortica-sad-ltd-ep-valley-spirit/, Greg Bird described the construction of “murky soundscapes” and “weathered loops”. If anything, Mialle Tapes muddies the waters even more. There is much less use of repetition as a compositional tool, rather this album is closer to pure through composed sound design. To my ears, Lortica mines a similar vein to Tim Hecker.
The tracks evoke a lonely, vast space. Wind howls, ghostly unintelligible vocals appear and a post-apocalyptic isolation hangs. On subsequent listens, new noises, snatches of rhythm and harmony became apparent and I found the unravelling nature of Mialle Tapes to be intriguing.
Hill has done well to maintain the aesthetic of his debut, whilst leading it into a new place. Mialle Tapes is available digitally on the great Feral Media label and – aptly – on cassette via Danish label, Phinery.
– We premiered Lortica’s debut EP SAD LTD back in July, and Alister Hill has now released a proper album under that guise. Maille Tapes sees the Sydney producer as murkily noisy as ever, from the fly-buzzed opener ‘Colour Ks at Sea’ to the blanketing drone of closer ‘Trou De Trou’. Sampling and resampling found cassettes and guitar loops through various pedals, processors, tape recorders and a four-track, Hill makes foggy compositions that at once recall the vast Australian bush (cue field recordings) and a constricting single room. Think of it as a sort of cryptic, fever-dream travelogue. It’s out now for any price digitally via Feral Media and will come out soon as a limited cassette via Danish tape label Phinery.
Watch a visual introduction to the Portuguese producer’s new release for Danish operation Phinery-Tapes.
Immersing yourself in the world of tape labels is to become acquainted with interesting operations on a worldwide scale with the passing of each week. Danish label Phinery-Tapes is a relatively new concern, ermerging back in February with a free digital compilation and the label’s subsequent cassette output has committed a broad range of music to spool – Karl Fousek’s Relative Position of Figures looks to be worth checking if you are a fan of Beatrice Dillon.
Bruno Silva’s Ondness project is amongst Phinery-Tapes’ final batch of releases for the year with Filho do Dono - that’s Owner’s Son for translation fans – consisting of two hazed-out longform productions that seem to be built from field recordings. The below video should offer an idea of what to expect, with Silva drawing from some suitably fuzzy source material including odd 1972 documentary Future Shock narrated by Orson Welles.
This week Phinery unveiled the first in what promises to be a riveting new compilation series, Somehow Commissioned, with an inaugural noise focus; though they’ve opened things up with a suitably acousmatic set, future installments will explore different genres through similarly prepared collections. Christian Filardo and Angelo Hemsworth head up a small Holy Page contingent among several American contributors — Virginia experimentalist .glia, Portland band Leveret, San Francisco’s Black Thread, and Greg Gorlen — but a pair of tracks from Berlin based René Margraff and Munich based Anatol Locker ground some of its consciousness elsewhere, offering a shimmering drone excursion and what sounds like the dread perambulations of some ghostly attendant at an extra-terrestrial welding shop, respectively. Leveret and Black Thread close the collection with more drone and textured atmosphere, but elsewhere the “noise” that these artists derive from Phinery’s prompt is an active and sensational presence, as with .glia’s contribution, “Isfahan,” and even Filardo’s brilliant, melody murdering “Catch.” The compilation is free to download, but you can grab a CD-R edition with an accompanying zine via the label’s Bandcamp; the zine is also available to peruse at ISSUU.
As of last May, Purr Tapes no longer operates as a label, after having been putting out excellent stuff on tape since 2011. Instead, founder Hunter Peter Thompson has shifted focus to his solo music project Opaline. Projector Mapping, Hunter’s latest release as Opaline, finds him at his very best. Full of cosmic synth layers, tracks like “New Realities” and “Skyocean” create a melodic euphoria achieved through synth-driven lines and blissful tones. That is not to say that it does not have its dark aspects too though; both “Horizon Circuit” and “Restless Architecture” are guided by an obscure note repetition that often comes off as otherworldly, fitting in with the mood-shifting “Value of History” that goes as long as ten minutes. All in all, Hunter’s sound explorations are now deeper than ever before. A truly pleasing listening experience.” Projector Mapping is out now via Phinery.
With their simple, minimal artworks and reduced, cold aesthetics the Denmark based Phinery Tapes seem like a welcome ground for all sorts working with the inaccessible. And Michael J. O’Neal, working under the moniker Hollowfonts, has found himself a great niche within the label. The tape is filled with rugged and noisy musique concréte, a mistreated maelstrom of “captured and mistreated” (as the j-card states) sounds. XLVIII would fit as a background noise for Halloween themed party which takes place in an art gallery with popular props (like pumpkins or scarecrows) made into though-provoking, meticulous installations. There are even some mutant techno vibes stemming here and there from the ocean of tape sludge.
Music is art. Art is circumstance. Circumstance is personal.
Who knows what such gibberish means, and it represents even less when listening to Arrival. It comes from a very personal experience as described by Dobbin, when a bout of temporary hearing loss found its way to transform her dreams and create a different palate of voices and sounds to discover as her hearing returned. Though easy to follow such a guide when listening to Arrival, I do think the above idea can be followed backwards to arrive at such a beautifully crafted cassette of drone reflections. Dobbin’s personal loss led to a new circumstance, that which begot art that formed as music. Simple enough. But there is much more to the narrative following such a scripted thesis. What she experienced can only be shared with others who have endured it. My recent bout with an ear infection does not qualify me. The circumstance it put her in, no matter how it is transcribed and translated in Arrival, will always be hers alone. I want to know that moment but am I willing to sacrifice a sense to understand it? That’s the key to the art form; I am able to get a sense of the isolation and beauty of those moments mixed with the fear and unknown. It will never be mine, but that Dobbins allows this shared moment is more powerful than initially expected. Arrival gives me goosebumps. And makes me talk in circles.
When Hunter P. Thompson aka Opaline approaches his setup of synthesizers in Portland, Oregon, rest assured that this erudite endeavor regularly results in a wondrous array of omnipresent enchantment particles. Being a luminary in the fields of New Age, cyberspace capsules and the tiniest bit of Vaporwave emeralds, Opaline’s arpeggiated synthonies are more often than not based on two constituents which, when united, result in euphoria: memorable melodies on the one hand which are realized via equally enthralling textures and surfaces on the other hand. Whether he revs up the drone cascades on his aerial helios-reel Flight Patterns (Twin Springs Tapes, 2013) with argentine rhythm reticulations or collaborates with soul brother Steve Targo in order to create fir-green alluvial strata as Mango Differential, Opaline worships the synth and has a good ear for tone sequences. This is also proven on his eleven-track tape Projector Mapping, released on Benjamin Krarup’s Denmark-based Phinery Tapes label. Available to purchase and stream at Bandcamp, Portland’s synthesist has found a more than fitting abode within the realms of this label. Here, he spawns rather pointillized creations, meaning that the gyring melodies are upfront, with the mucoid drones and airy counterparts oozing around this epicenter. Reminiscent of the past while gently pushing the listener into a bit-crushed future, Projector Mapping ejects, rejects, retrojects ad infinitum… within the boundaries of the tape.
Continue reading here: http://www.ambientexotica.com/ambrev380_opaline_projectormapping/
Our sixth episode takes us through tracks by Hecanjog, Listening Center, Karl Fousek and new stuff from Toronto's Stenorette.
- Listening Center - Cycles/Other Phenomena (Preorder now, Out October 1, 2014)
- Karl Fousek - Relative Position of Figures (Phinery, a label out of Denmark, not Sweden... Sorry.)
- Dust - Pass (Phaserprone)
- Andrew Anderson - Post Meditated Intent
- Stenorette - Magenta
- No Xivic - Yksityisyys (Merz Tapes)
- PHORK - Discrepancies (NNA Tapes)
- He Can Jog - Songbook (Listening Party)
There’s been some highly sleek activity from this Denmark imprint with their six cassette releases to date. Included in that half dozen is some gorgeously murky, textured sound sculptures by Hollowfonts, the 7th appearance of Daniel Leznoff’s meticulous synth work as Demonstration Synthesis, and some game changing nuggets of designer sound by Karl Fousek on his imaginative “Relative Position of Figures”. Phinery’s editions range from 50 – 75 copies and look stunning.
Label Spotlight: A weekly or monthly thing where we give a shout out to record labels that we think are keeping the dream alive
Phinery is a relatively new label that has been putting out some really interesting and unique cassettes over the past year. Established in Denmark in February 2014, this superb label already boasts some impressive releases from musicians like Karl Fousek, Hollowfonts, and Demonstration Synthesis.
The initial vision that founder Benjamin Krarup had for the label is what really sets Phinery apart. As stated in the label’s description, Phinery is the combination of art and sound. Krarup set out to create a label that would not only feature fascinating sounds, but would also promote the cover artwork and the artists behind them just as prominently.
Each release is a collaboration. Different artists and musicians are paired together for each tape. Krarup curates the label on his own, deciding which artist’s work will best compliment a musical composition, and vice versa. This joint effort between musicians and artists has yielded some excellent results. Krarup has managed to get respected artists from around the world, including Daniel Everett, Christopher Norris, and Jennifer Mehigan, to provide pieces for Phinery releases.
"Arrival consists of two long format sound pieces for deep listening: "Guided Memory / Residue" and "Arrival." This past Winter I temporarily lost my hearing, and these pieces reflect my journey in and then out of that transformational experience. As my auditory reality became more and more limited, my dream world and inner connection to mystery became rich. It felt like I was witnessing a dark, star-filled sky, with the earth and physicality fading, floating, no bearings. In this state, I had dream upon dream where I was listening to the voices and songs of my ancestors. Their voices spoke to me, supported me and told me stories I didn't remember forgetting. My experience with those patient, outside-of-time voices inspired these sound pieces that, with their subtle energy and vibration, dismantled and dissolved the hardness between this (out)side and the other (inside), and allowed me to return home."
Please note: Both sound pieces contain sub-low, bass frequencies. For best results play on a full-spectrum stereo system or through quality headphones.
Demonstration Synthesis is a project of electronic explorations of all kinds from the Montreal-based Daniel Leznoff. I will readily admit that I’m not as familiar with this project as I think I should be, but since first hearing DS7 (which I assume is his seventh release under this name), I’ve headed down the rabbithole to see how much I can find. And so far, there’s a lot. Yet DS7 is where I keep coming back to.
Leznoff covers a lot of ground over the course of this tape, but there’s a tonal quality to everything that ties things together nicely. What really surprised me, though, was the funkier elements and a bit of tongue-in-cheek-y-ness. While Leznoff is incredibly adept at constructing steller atmospheres, like with “Drop In,” where it feels as if everything in the room will be airborne at any moment, and the spooky “The Analog,” it’s in syrupy-sweet moments like “Isabella” that DS7 really shines. Leznoff holds nothing bac and, as listeners, we’re rewarded.
If DS7 is an indication of Demonstration Synthesis’ trajectory, there’s some special things in store going forward. Out now on cassette and digital via Phinery.
If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve no doubt caught wind of Montreal’s Daniel Leznoff and his lucid, kosmische synth guise Demonstration Synthesis. Leznoff has been somewhat of a prolific underdog at this point, having released several tapes on various labels before the year’s midpoint. But his astounding efficiency shows no sign of slowing down, as we’re now given the first taste of DS7, the next release in Demonstration Synthesis’ discography. The lethargic and aquatic tones of “Isabella” cycle through with blithe buoyancy skimming across the sine waves in a lazy river of sound more than surfing through choppy waters. The track hosts a certain mid-90s male melodrama vibe that could soundtrack “Heat” or some other meditatively macho movie but still nods toward the analog bubblebaths of Warp’s dreamier canon along with recent, dark bedroom – or better yet, closet – pop geniuses Inga Copeland and Dean Blunt without the shady backdrop. Check out the video above and head over to Phinery to grab a copy of DS7 for yourself.
Daniel Leznoff aka. Demonstration Synthesis has had quite a year. Stunning releases on labels such as Rotifer, Adhesive Sounds, Metaphysical Circuits, 5CM Records and Geology Records. His work never misses though; you know you’re in for a treat. With DS7 Daniel delivers synth the way only he can. It’s easy on the ears, it’s melodic and mesmerizing, it’s the perfect soundtrack for early, lazy summer evenings in the garden. It’s an honor and a privilege to have been able to work with Daniel on releasing this little masterpiece.
For now I’ll let the album speak for itself. I’ll guarantee one thing though, with DS7 in your ears, it’s going to make everything just a little brighter.
released 31 July 2014
Performed and recorded by Daniel Leznoff
Artwork by Rachael Archibald rachaelarchibald.tumblr.com