Underscore: Ami Dang

Ami-DangWelcome to this episode of Sonosphere where we underscore  Ami Dang, South Asian-American vocalist, sitarist, composer and producer from Baltimore Maryland.

I sat down with Ami in a cafe in Baltimore. We discussed how her cultural heritage rooted in the Sikh religion informs and influences her work today, and how she approaches the sitar while utilizing modern noise, ambient, and electronic sounds in her music. partedplains_amidang

We also discuss the making of her latest album Parted Plains, which came out earlier this year on Leaving Records. She spoke of how ancient folklore from the east is filtered through the west, and what it’s like to be an American in India and Indian in America. Identity and culture are highlighted in her latest effort. Check out Parted Plains here and take a listen to our conversation below. Enjoy.

Underscore: David T. Little

How has information shaped our lives? Are we really privy to all the knowledge available? David T. Little’s new album, AGENCY, seeks to investigate these questions.

On this episode we highlight composer David T. Little. The composer has a background that is as eclectic as his new album, AGENCY.  By combining all of  these influences David is ushering in a new age of opera. Sonosphere enjoyed a phone call with David as we talked about AGENCY as well as his path to this point in his illustrious career.  

808918

David T. Little + ACME with Third Coast Percussion
AGENCY
New Amsterdam Records
11 October 2019

David T. Little’s AGENCY features the world premiere recording of the work for string quartet and electronics, which The New York Times calls “forthright, visceral, bloody, with the intimacy and polish of a classical chamber ensemble but bulging with the loud, reverberant sweatiness of rock.” Performed by “contemporary music dynamos” (NPR) American Contemporary Music Ensemble—with special guests, the Grammy-winning Third Coast PercussionAndrew McKenna Lee (The Knells), and Julian DayAGENCY is a journey into the nature of truth, rooted in the tension between ancient faith-based cultures and modern information-based societies. Using the language and tactics of espionage, AGENCY is riddled with secret messages, ciphers, and redactions. Illuminating our need to find truth, but suggesting that the truth might be.

The Roots of Disquiet – Notes on the Music from David T. Little:

Are we free agents in this world, controlling and deciding our own paths, or are we unknowingly influenced and manipulated by powerful external forces? Is the truth about this ever really knowable?

AGENCY poses these questions and examines their meaning through contrasts. It investigates the ideological rift between the Aboriginal holy site Uluru in central Australia, and Pine Gap, a massive American spy center of top-secret function, which sits just five hours to the north; the tension between ancient faith-based indigenous cultures and modern information-based societies made manifest.

Both Uluru and Pine Gap are cloaked in mystery. AGENCY is likewise riddled with secrets: ciphers and redactions in the musical score encrypt texts, map coordinates, and philosophical quotations. The result illuminates our need to find truth, but suggests that the truth might be unknowable. We may find only conjecture or faith.

AGENCY takes a more detached approach than its explicitly violent companion, Haunt of Last Nightfall (NWAM054). The violence of Haunt is chaotic and direct: it mines the history of the 1981 massacre at El Mozote, El Salvador for evidence of American complicity. The violence of AGENCY is a nefarious secret.

The questions asked by this pair of pieces once seemed speculative. However, as immigration from Central America takes center stage in the national debate, a work like Haunt suggests a U.S.-American cause to its dramatic 40-year rise. Similarly, a work about the impossibility of knowing the truth may have seemed odd in 2013, when AGENCY was written. But in the wake of “fake news,” the rise of deep fakes, and Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US election, it acquires political salience.

Together, AGENCY and Haunt of Last Nightfall present a portrait of the disquiet pervading contemporary American culture, exposing damaged roots. It is my hope these works may begin conversations within the arts world that branch beyond it.

ABOUT DAVID T. LITTLE
David T. Little is “one of the most imaginative young composers” on the scene (The New Yorker), with “a knack for overturning musical conventions” (The New York Times). His operas Dog Days, JFK, and Vinkensport (librettos by Royce Vavrek), and Soldier Songs have been widely acclaimed and performed around the globe, “prov[ing] beyond any doubt that opera has both a relevant present and a bright future” (The New York Times).

Little has been commissioned by the world’s most prestigious institutions and performers, including recent projects for The Metropolitan Opera / Lincoln Center Theater new works program, The Kennedy Center, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, London Sinfonietta, International Contemporary Ensemble, The Crossing, Eighth Blackbird, Kronos Quartet, and Beth Morrison Projects. His music has been presented by Carnegie Hall, Park Avenue Armory, Holland Festival, BAM Next Wave, LA Opera, Opéra de Montréal, and the LA Philharmonic.

From 2014–2017, Little was Composer-in-Residence with Opera Philadelphia and Music-Theatre Group. He has previously served as Executive Director of the MATA Festival, and currently chairs the composition department at Mannes—The New School. The founding artistic director of the ensemble Newspeak, his music can be heard on New Amsterdam, Innova, Sono Luminus, and National Sawdust Tracks labels. He is published by Boosey & Hawkes.

ABOUT ACME
In a little more than a decade, led by cellist and artistic director Clarice Jensen, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) has risen to the highest ranks of American new music through a mix of meticulous musicianship, artistic vision, engaging collaborations, and unwavering standards in every regard. The membership of the amorphous collective includes some of the brightest young stars in the field. NPR calls them “contemporary music dynamos,” and Strings reports, “ACME’s absorbing playing pulsed with warm energy. . . Shared glances and inhales triggered transitions in a flow so seamless it seemed learned in a Jedi temple.” ACME was honored by ASCAP during its 10th anniversary season in 2015 for the “virtuosity, passion, and commitment with which it performs and champions American composers.”

The ensemble has performed at leading international venues including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, BAM, The Kennedy Center, Washington Performing Arts, UCLA’s Royce Hall, Stanford Live, Chicago’s Millennium Park, Duke Performances, The Satellite in Los Angeles, Triple Door in Seattle, Melbourne Recital Hall and Sydney Opera House in Australia, and at festivals including the Sacrum Profanum Festival in Poland, All Tomorrow’s Parties in England, Auckland Arts Festival in New Zealand, Summer Nostos Festival in Greece, Boston Calling, and Big Ears in Knoxville, TN.

World premieres given by ACME include Ingram Marshall’s Psalmbook, Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Drone Mass (commissioned by ACME in 2015; recorded for Deutsche Grammophon in 2019), Caroline Shaw’s Ritornello, Phil Kline’s Out Cold, William Brittelle’s Loving the Chambered Nautilus, Timo Andres’ Senior and Thrive on Routine, Caleb Burhans’ Jahrzeit, and many more. In 2016 at The Kitchen, ACME premiered Clarice Jensen’s transcription of Julius Eastman’s The Holy Presence of Joan d’Arc for ten cellos, the score of which had been lost since the premiere in 1981. Jensen transcribed a recording of the work to recreate the score.

ACME’s recordings appear on the Deutsche Grammophon, Sono Luminus, New World, Butterscotch, and New Amsterdam labels. www.acmemusic.org

ABOUT THIRD COAST PERCUSSION
Third Coast Percussion is a Grammy Award-winning Chicago-based percussion quartet. For fifteen years, the ensemble has created exciting and unexpected performances that constantly redefine the classical music experience. The ensemble has been praised for “commandingly elegant” (New York Times) performances, the “rare power” (Washington Post) of their recordings, and “an inspirational sense of fun and curiosity” (Minnesota Star-Tribune). Third Coast Percussion maintains a busy tour schedule, with past performances in 33 of the 50 states plus international tour dates on 4 continents. Third Coast Percussion has commissioned and premiered over 60 new works by composers including Philip Glass, Augusta Read Thomas, David T. Little and Devonté Hynes.

168406.jpg

Underscore: Carolina Eyck

On this episode we talk with Carolina Eyck, one of the world’s foremost thereminist, about growing up with classical music and how she knew the Theremin would be her thing.

Eyck releases her third LP for Butterscotch Records, Elegies for Theremin & Voice, on September 27, 2019. Elegies is released in the centennial year of the invention of the theremin – an instrument played without physical contact – and was created over the course of two years at producer Allen Farmelo’s studio in upstate New York.

Ten pieces form a haunting work reflecting sadness and loss, anger and depression. Eyck shares with Sonosphere the process of composing the record. She reminds us it’s okay to feel it all, necessary even, to properly remember and love those we miss.

In connection with the new album, Eyck will tour the U.S. from September 29 through November 9, 2019 and perform with the Albany Symphony and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. U.S. tour dates below.

Elegies for Theremin & Voice – Release concerts

Sept 29 – Concord, NH – Capitol Center for the Arts

Oct 16 – Chicago, IL – Constellation

Oct 20 – Los Angeles, CA – Civic Center Studios presented by Equal Sound

Oct 25 – Brooklyn, NY – National Sawdust

Nov 1 – Brattleboro, VT – Epsilon Spires Sanctuary

Nov 6 – Syracuse, NY – Syracuse University

 

Orchestral Performances – Dalit Warshaw’s Theremin Concerto Sirens

Oct 4 – Boston, MA with Boston Modern Orchestra Project

Nov 9 – Albany, NY with Albany Symphony

 

Workshops and Lessons

Oct 19 – Los Angeles, CA – Workshop

Oct 27 – New York, NY – Workshop

Find opportunities for lessons alongside Carolina’s tour cities here.

About the Sarod, the Popular Hindustani Instrument

This episode of Sonosphere features the North Indian instrument, the sarod. One of the most popular instruments in Hindustani music, the sarod’s 20th century master was Indian composer, teacher and musician, Ali Akbar Khan.

Dia7275_Ali_Akbar_Khan_r

Ali Akbar Khan

440px-Sarod_001We speak with contemporary sarod virtuoso, Ken Zuckerman about mastering the demanding instrument and how he and Khan brought various innovations and inventions to the sound.

Zuckerman  has been called “…one of the world’s most eclectic masters of improvisation.” He completed thirty-seven years of training under the rigorous discipline of India’s legendary sarod master Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, up to the maestro’s passing in June 2009. He also performed with Maestro Khan in numerous concerts in Europe, India, and the United States.

We will hear more from Zuckerman in upcoming episodes on Indian Classical Music. Stay tuned!

Nature_small_KZ

Underscore: Composer Alex Weston

Welcome to Sonosphere’s Underscore series where we highlight composers, artists, creators, and more. This episode we highlight Alex Weston,  a New York-based composer. 

AW Terrorbird

After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a composition degree, he then moved to New York. We’ll discuss his time working as music assistant to composer Philip Glass, helping Glass with various film and concert pieces, while also pursuing his own writing. Weston’s music showcases his wide-ranging influences, combining classical structures along with more modern harmonic language, and electronics.

Weston’s music has also been featured on “The Affair” (Showtime), the Ken Burns-produced documentary “The Emperor of All Maladies” (PBS), and various projects for NBC, Netflix and others. His film scores have premiered at festivals around the world including Sundance, and Slamdance.

He’s had concert works commissioned by the Lyrica Chamber Music Ensemble, the Utah Wind Symphony, MADArt Creative, Ballet in the City, and more, including a recent performance at the John F. Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts.

farewell artThis month he released his score for the Lulu Wang film The Farewell. On this episode we talk with him about his process for The Farewell and his approach to music in film versus his approach to commissioned works for live dance and others. Enjoy this month’s Underscore.

 

A Mix from Memphis Concrete Founder Robert Traxler

Welcome to Sonosphere radio, today we welcome Robert Traxler, founder of the Memphis Concrete experimental music festival happening this month in Memphis – June 29th and 30th. In its third year, the Memphis Concrete music festival is featuring headliners Matmos, Moor Mother, Rapoon, Mykel Boyd, Tavishi and featuring a live score of the original Tron – all right here in Memphis at Crosstown Arts.

Get your tickets today!

60317265_2324957160898157_8743214651875000320_oRobert is also an electronic music composer working with analog synths and he performs about town.

We’re happy to feature Robert’s mix on today’s Sonosphere Radio.

Track List:

Louis and Bebe Barron – “Main Title” [Forbidden Planet]
Pierre Schaeffer – “Étude Pathétique (Study in Pathos)””
Halim El-Dabh – “Alcibaldis’ Monologue to Socrates”
Matmos – “Thermoplastic Riot Shield”
Zoviet France – “First Vigil”
Bülent Arel – “Postlude from ‘Music for a Sacred Service'”
Éliane Radigue – “Backward 76”
Linda Heck – “Right”
Ihcilon – “Frau im Mond Fragment Three”
Belly Full of Stars – “My God, It’s Full of Ice”
Daphne Oram – “Osram & Rank – Pulse Persephone Experiment”
Jacques Lejeune – “Apparition of the Disguised Queen”
Tavishi – “Lobhe Paap, Paape Mrityu”
Noiserpuss – “Minimum Maximum”
Vladimir Ussachevsky – “Sketch 2” [Two Sketches for a Computer Piece]
Else Marie Pade – “Prolog i Himlen” [Faust Suite]
Max Eilbacher – “For Club III”
Alice Shields – “Study for Voice and Tape”

Nadah El Shazly

Welcome to Sonosphere! The first artist we present in our 2019 Sound Observation series is Nadah El Shazly, Egyptian composer, musician and producer. She will be performing at Crosstown Arts’ Green Room on May 31st as a part of her first tour in the U.S. We are so excited to have her in Memphis. Artist talk at 7 pm, performance at 8 pm.

Sonosphere spoke briefly with Nadah prior to her show. She talks about collaborating in the Cairo music scene, her debut album and her experiences on her first U.S. tour.

Thanks for listening.

56702170_1297932513693411_8811617044060438528_n

Drones: A Brief History of Sustained Tones in Music

In this month’s episode of Sonosphere, we focus on the use of drone sounds in music. There is a lot to cover with Drone music, often known as a part of the genre of Minimalism and modern ambient. 

JoannaDemers_Drone_HeaderSonosphere caught up with Joanna Demers, author of Listening Through the Noise: The Aesthetics of Experimental Electronic Music, Drone and Apocalypse, and others. 

We will focus on the drone itself, what is drone music, and the common drone instruments as a continuation of the Birth of Modern Music series on avant-garde, classical music and minimalism.

This episode begins with the evolution of the drone sound as a musical style and aesthetic used in many parts of the world. Join us!

Sound Observations: Nicole Mitchell Performs in Memphis

Sonosphere’s last Sound Observation series for 2018 ended on a high note. We welcomed Nicole Mitchell to perform flute with electronics.

nicole mitchell 03

It was a beautiful show preceded by a panel talk on Afrofuturism that we’ve posted as the first part of this Sound Observations.

The discussion informed this improv performance keeping the works of afrofuturist writers and musicians at top of mind.

Thanks for listening!

IMG_7146

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_7138

Nicole Mitchell talks with James ‘IMMAKEMADBEATS’ Dukes.

Sound Observations on Afrofuturism: Building Communities

We are ending 2018 on a very inspiring note. We hosted our final Sound Observation series by inviting Chicago-based composer Nicole Mitchell to Memphis.

In this episode, we present Afrofuturism: Building Communities, a panel that explored beyond the concept of Afrofuturism. Memphis based Publisher and Author Sheree Renee Thomas led the discussion featuring Nicole Mitchell, and a few Memphians, including Producer/Performer and CEO of James Dukes aka “IMAKEMADBEATS,” Author/ Publisher Troy Wiggins, and Emcee, Teacher, and Author Danian Jerry.

IMG_7139They went beyond explaining afrofuturism and talked about how afrofuturism exists as much in the present as in the past and future. They also discussed how it can be used as a tool to help the community and build worlds that fit a black narrative.

Stay tuned to the next episode featuring Nicole Mitchell’s performance at Crosstown Arts.

Thank you for a wonderful year. Sit back and enjoy this fulfilling conversation. 

Unapologetic: A Conversation at Dirty Socks Studios

This episode Sonosphere visits Dirty Socks Studios, which is the base camp for Unapologetic. The studio is a sanctuary for those who dare to commit to their craft. The theme is dedication to yourself and your mission. unapologeticV5-copy-300x295

Unapologetic is a collective that looks to push Memphis forward. The collective is a cast of characters that are as odd as their aliases. Lead by IMAKEMADBEATS, Unapologetic has put the city on notice. Memphis has the reputation that you have to leave to make it in most industries especially music. Non-Memphians tend to capitalize on the “Memphis Sound,”

Unapologetic is changing that notion. This starts in Dirty Socks Studios where we will pick up our conversation.

okkyung lee

Korean cellist, composer, and improviser, Okkyung Lee talks with Sonosphere about her time at this year’s Big Ears festival in Knoxville, TN, working with Evan Parker, learning to love the cello, and what’s in store for her this year.

 

 

Join us!

 

IMG_1005

Okkyung Lee performing at Big Ears Knoxville 2018

Remix Memphis: The Sounds around the City

This episode Sonosphere dives into Remix Memphis with Alex Greene and Luis Seixas, two Memphis musicians that make the duo The E.G.G.G.

Remix Memphis grew out of a partnership with the Urban Arts Commission and the city of Memphis’ 3.0 comprehensive planning initiative that worked to solicit participation from community leaders, residents and planners to inform future land use and neighborhood plans for the city.

Alex_kids

Alex Greene demonstrating the sounds of Memphis at the Carpenter Art Garden.

Art was an important piece. As a musician Alex was interested in the sounds of the city. He talks with us about the process and how The E.G.G.G. and other local musicians are using the field recordings from Remix Memphis.

Enjoy the episode and if your interested in learning more about the recordings email: remix.memphis@gmail.com

the-eggg-at-the-cove-5-5-18

The E.G.G.G. performing at the Cove in May 2018

Sound Observations with Maria Chavez & Christina Carter

In this month’s episode we highlight Sonosphere’s Sound Observations series. Sound Observations is a quarterly performance and lecture series featuring experimental artists from around the nation.

We were honored to host turntablist and DJ Maria Chavez, and vocalist and musician  Christina Carter of The Charalambides on May 11, 2018.

Maria and Christina’s site specific works took place in the atrium of the Crosstown Concourse building, an old Sears Roebuck building retrofitted for art galleries, residential and commercial spaces. The result is echoing vocals and scratchy, vinyl sounds that swirl up a red staircase to the entrance of the stage.

IMG_5181IMG_5182IMG_5183IMG_5184

Enjoy this Sound Observations performance in this month’s episode below.

 

To hear about Maria’s performance in Marfa, TX a few years ago, tune into an earlier episode on the Marfa Myths festival! 

 

Kai Riedl: Moogfest Continued…

“….the synthesis of music, art and technology.”

Moogfest continued… brings you a brief interview with Kai Riedl, Operations Director at Moogfest. He says this festival seeks to bring new forms of creativity, form communities around art and technology, and create spaces for artists of all inclinations, genres, subcultures and movements.

Although it seems timely to showcase female and non-binary artists this year, according to Kai, Moogfest has had a history of being an inclusive festival.

Check out the interview below!

 

Tracks in the episode:

Smerz – Worth It

Caterina Barbieri – Information Needed to Create

Mouse on Mars – Dimensional People I

Jon Hopkins – Singularity

Michael Stipe – Everything’s Coming Undone

And don’t miss the past episodes we posted on this year’s Moogfest participants Tess Roby and Delta Sound Labs.

 

Vorticity: Delta Sound Labs at MoogFest

Sonosphere ventured out to North Carolina for MoogFest this year and we caught up with Memphis-based Delta Sound Labs.

Their audiovisual installation called Vorticity was a collaboration between Delta Sound Labs + Nokia Bell Labs at American Underground in Durham, NC. This interactive, data-art set brought science and art together. Of the free programming, this fun, collaborative piece showcased what Delta Sound Labs can create with innovative, high-speed Schlieren imaging equipment and two sonified datasets. Colorful bubbles sliding around the screen were generated and distorted with every new person walking through the scene.

“The sets are converted to analog control voltage using Delta Sound Labs’ Control module and then mapped to determine the timbral structure of two voltage controlled oscillators through a form of distortion synthesis called wavefolding. Each data set forms two short sections, which are repeated continuously,” as explained by the guys themselves. Check out their Moogfest experience on their blog.

 

video from deltasoundlabs.com

For more on our trip to MoogFest – check out our podcast interview with Tess Roby!

 

Tess Roby at Moog Fest 2018

Hi guys, this month we highlight our conversation with Tess Roby from our Moog Fest visit back in May this year. She recently released her debut album Beacon on Italians Do It Better.

Tess perform

Hailing from Montreal, Tess Roby brings dreamy synths and strong vocals on melodic tracks like “Given Signs” and “Catalyst.” She talks to us about her inspiration for Beacon, how her photography inspires songwriting and how growing up in a musical family lead her to collaborating with her brother on her debut.

Enjoy!

Memphis Concrete: Experimental Electronic Music Festival

This week’s Press Play features On Trianges – Sound in Geometry Series Volume 1 the playlist affiliated with this year’s Memphis Concrète experimental electronic music festival. It will be held at Crosstown Arts and will feature new musicians from the Memphis region and across the country.

This recording of electronic music presents the works of local and regional artists that will be featured at the festival.

Enjoy!

 

Get your tickets to the festival, June 22-24 in Memphis, TN: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/memphis-concrete-2018-tickets-45151261639?aff=efbeventtix

Rachel Grimes

Sonosphere spoke with Rachel Grimes about her score for the film The Doctor from India. Rachel talks about the composition and the ways this film has inspired her to pay closer attention to the way she lives her own life. The interview took place via telephone on April 4th, 2018 and Rachel talks about the importance of this date. Enjoy!

An ethereal and meditative soundtrack album from pianist and composer Rachel Grimes (Rachel’s, King’s Daughters & Sons), The Doctor from India features piano, Scott Moore on violin, Jacob Duncan on saxophone, interspersed with harp, strings, and ambient sound design. Created for a new documentary film by Jeremy Frindel, this score provides a thematically unified soundscape to support the inspiring story of Dr. Vasant Lad, a holistic health pioneer whose approach centers around the ancient practice of Ayurveda. The immersive, contemplative track “Moving Into Night” is streaming now on Bandcamp, and you can also pre-order the album.

The film had its world premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on February 2, 2018. Zeitgeist Films, in association with Kino Lorber, will be screening theatrically throughout the spring alongside a VOD release. The film tells fascinating story of one man’s mission to bring the ancient healthcare system of wellness called Ayurveda from India to the West in the late 1970s. In this meditative, immersive portrait, with interviewees including Ayurvedic practitioner Deepak Chopra, Frindel documents the life and work of Dr. Vasant Lad who, fulfilling his destiny as foretold by his family guru became a holistic health pioneer, helping to bring Ayurveda, which was almost unknown when he first arrived in the west, to become one of the most prominent alternative health systems in the world today. Check out the film site and watch the trailer.

Heralded as “one of American independent music’s few truly inspired technicians” by WIRE magazine, Rachel Grimes is a pianist, composer, and arranger based in Kentucky. Widely known for her role in the groundbreaking chamber ensemble Rachel’s, (six albums on Quarterstick/Touch and Go), she has since toured worldwide as a solo pianist, and as a collaborator with various artists.

Her work has been performed by ensembles such as the Louisville Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, A Far Cry, Longleash, Portland Cello Project, Amsterdam Sinfonietta Trio, Dublin Guitar Quartet, Borusan Quartet and Önder sisters. Releases include Through the Sparkle (with astrïd on Gizeh Records 2017), The Clearing (Temporary Residence Ltd. 2015), Book of Leaves, Marion County 1938, and Compound Leaves. Collaborators include Matthew Nolan, Erik Friedlander, Loscil, SITI Company, Joan Shelley, Nathan Salsburg, Jacob Duncan, Scott Moore, astrid, Chris Wells, and Julia Kent with the artist Peter Liversidge. She is also a member of Louisville band King’s Daughters & Sons (Chemikal Underground). She scores for film and multimedia installations (Donna Lawrence Productions) and has licensed music to numerous film and TV works internationally.

Tracks (The Doctor from India):

The Doctor Arrives

The Flowering of Arurveda

Sacred Knowledge

The Art of Listening

Quackery

I Do What I Love

 

5 Happenings at Moogfest 2018

 

Moogfest is almost here! Moogfest is an annual multi-day festival that is located at the intersection of music, technology, art and human interaction in “The Research Triangle.” Started in 2004 in NYC the festival is now in its 12th year. Moving from NYC, to Asheville, then Durham Moogfest curates and hosts those at the forefront of music, art, and the science of sound. Moogfest is May 17-20 spread through venues in downtown Durham, North Carolina.

“By day, Moogfest is a platform for conversation and experimentation, attracting creative and tech enthusiasts for four days of participatory programming in Durham, North Carolina. By night, Moogfest presents cutting-edge performances by early pioneers in electronic music, contemporary pop innovators, and avant-garde experimentalists in venues throughout the city.

Moogfest is a tribute to analog synthesizer pioneer Dr. Robert Moog and the profound influence his inventions have had on how we hear the world over the last 60 years. The exchange between engineer and musician that he fostered is celebrated with a unique festival format where the creative process is understood as collaboration among many people, across time and space, in commerce and culture.”

Here are 5 things not to miss:

Chelsea Manning

National security expert Chelsea Manning’s keynote will explore how tools and enhancements in technology will be influencing our future and are/will tamper with our private life, our society and explore what we think are acceptable or unreasonable evolutions.

With Jennifer’s work with IBM Watson, her Keynote will come from both a philosophical and practical standpoint. While Chelsea’s Keynote is focused on disruption within technology, and how that is a tool for destruction and creativity.

Sonic Robots

Moritz Simon Geist aka Sonic Robots is a performer, musicologist, and robotics engineer. His robotic instruments and performances have been shown in numerous European festivals and exhibitions throughout the last year. His whole concept revolves around Robotic Electronic Music (R.E.M). He uses futuristic DIY mechanic instruments and small robots to create robotic techno and will be performing on stage with Mouse on Mars in the A3 Spatial Sound environment within The Armory. Later this year he’s debuting his first album, the first techno record recorded entirely with robots produced by Mouse On Mars. He teaches on the progression of technology and society at the NYU Berlin and will be presenting various workshops at Moogfest.

Check out a sampler here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVSP4XCOu18

Girls Who Code Engineer Scholars

Moogfest has partnered with Girls Who Code for an Engineer Scholarship giving 4 young female students the opportunity to build their own Subharmonicon synthesizer at this year’s festival. Read about it on FACT Mag. This program is a continuation of Moogfest’s dedication to STEAM, an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.

ALEX ZHANG HUNGTAI

Beyond the personal consciousness, there is the familial consciousness, above the familial there is the cultural, above the cultural, the historical, and so on ascending into the vast cosmical or spiritual consciousness. The conception of Divine Weight derives from Zhang’s “failed” attempts of saxophone compositions and recordings accumulated over the last 3 years, from there it became the actual stem tracks that were heavily digitally disfigured until it no longer resembled the sound of saxophones. Like dreams, visions often come to us without us having the capability to measure or understand fully what they mean. Similar to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Psychomagic, dreams and visions take on the roles of witnesses inside the uncharted labyrinth of the personal subconscious. To witness, is to believe. To believe, is to project a certain reality onto the external world. The projection then, has nothing to do with reality. Perhaps it’s where dreams go, after it dies.

Nicole Mitchell  

This jazz enthusiast and avant-garde artist who’s part of the association of Advancement of Creative Musicians will be performing a 4 hour durational on her flute immersed with a plethora of moog synths. This is a completely different genre for her, and promises to be extraordinary.

Check out the 2018 SCHEDULE

Buy your tickets HERE.

See you there!

Aukai

We spoke with Aukai about his upcoming release Branches of the Sun (March 9). Aukai is Markus Sieber — who spends time in Tulum, Mexico and Germany, in addition to Colorado — recorded the ambient-acoustic album in a small cabin high up in the mountains near the Old Spanish Trail in Colorado last winter, free of any outside human or technological influences.
The new record is darker and more layered than the last one — less thematic, more atmospheric this time– but it is richly produced with pieces that juxtapose the cold surroundings of their creation with a warmth of sound and spirit. Guests include Nils Frahm collaborator Anne Müller on cello, Berlin composer Alex Nickmann on synths, beats and mellotron, and was produced by Martyn Heyne (7K!, Dustin O’Halloran, etc).
Featured Tracks:
“Branches of the Sun”
“Iztac”
“Turning Days”
“Distracted by Clouds”
Colorado

Press Play: A N Y W A V E

Welcome to Press Play, the monthly playlist curated by labels and artists from around the world. Today Sonosphere highlights the French label, A N Y W A V E. We had the pleasure to correspond with Aurel Delamour, artist and co-creator of the label.

Check out the interview, mixtape and track list below. Subscribe to us at SoundCloud, itunes, and GooglePlay.

 

anywave logo

Tell me about Anywave, how did it begin?

I created the label with my friend Stephanie 15 years ago – mainly because we wanted to release our own work. But we quickly took a break… that lasted over 10 years! As for the name, it was her idea, IIRC she thought about no wave and I was very much into new wave, so that’s what “Anywave” is supposed to mean: the synthesis of different types of wave music – hopefully it’s still relevant, now that we’ve been releasing music for real.

How do you find and work with your artists? 

We dig through Internet every day with my buddies in the label. But we also receive many submissions from artists.

It has happened many times that we worked with other labels. Sometimes, because we need extra money to achieve a budget, sometimes just because we want to have a release in common with people we like, like with Lentonia or Montagne Sacrée for instance.

What do you look for in an artist/band? How do you shape or “feel out” the “sound of Anywave”?

“Singularity” is a word I much enjoy to use when I speak about our artists, singularity can take different shapes, I’m fully aware that it’s very difficult to be purely innovative, you always take from what has been done before. For instance, Heather Celeste’s work gathers dark techno codes, it also includes minimal wave, but she doesn’t simply put all this together, she really does something special, with a lot of improvisation, a rather lo-fi production – at least on the material she’s released on Anywave. It’s her personal balance that makes her music unique to our ears. It’s true for most of the artists we’ve produced, they do their stuff in a very particular way.

When we decide to work with a band, we try to include their project into our own story. As we seek total freedom in our artistic choices (no boundaries of style, no strategic plan), we give the artists the same freedom. So we have to find a way to make their project a part of our own without betraying their intentions. Sometimes enthusiasm and mutual love just do the job! But I think the visual work we do might be the cement that makes the label understandable at first.

What is your preferred “genre” or sound to represent on the label? Is it mostly personal taste or does some consumer demand play in?

I don’t know. « Bedroom-pop », or « bedroom-something ». As for A V G V S T, which is my own band, I once wrote “postwave”, and then “pornwave”, though it has nothing really [to do with] porn. My friend Zane O’Brien who rules escc9 and Lux Era found an excellent genre designation: “post-whatever”, I’m a bit upset I couldn’t come up with that myself!

Who was the first Anywave artist/band signed?

A V G V S T, obviously. Then, we really started the current version of Anywave with two Egyptian bands, PanSTARRS and Gast, by the way, the two most opposite sides of our catalogue, one a pure lo-fi post-punk band, and the other an IDM project, sounding a bit like the early Warp Records’ productions.

Who is the newest addition to the label?

Patrick Wiklacz, a French ambient / experimental electronic composer and sound designer, who never released his work on a label before. An album will be be out in April or May.

And Laura Gozlan : we’ve published Physical Self, her exhibition soundtrack. The format of this project is a bit unusual for a music label because it is an artist book by Myriam Barchechat and Laura Gozlan with a download code for the music, a 10 minutes track of abstract darkwave composed by Laura. The book reinterprets her video installation, it is meant to be an adaptation of the original artwork.

Wavecore5Has the label evolved since the beginning? If so, how?

A lot!! We went through v1, v2, v3, and we’re heading to v4. It fits better to our current frame of mind , I guess our scheme wasn’t very clear, and rather clumsy, at the beginning. At some point, I got a bit pissed with mimicry. The fact is we didn’t plan to make things grow, but when you’re releasing 5 to 7 records in one year, I guess you can say you are actually developing the label. So you try to make something that works, and as you have no idea how things work, you look at what other labels do… and then you realise after a while you’ve just been in someone else’s shoes. Still, I’ve got many references, and there are many inspiring labels, but as far as we’re concerned inspiration should stay on an artistic level, we have to find our own way to make things work.

atelier_09_rcd cassetteWho presses your vinyl records/cassettes? How important is physical copies of music? 

We like to work with small factories for vinyls and tapes. We’d like to be able to press the cassettes ourselves in the near future. That’s what we already do with CDs. For us physical copies are important for different reasons: first it gives the project some credibility in the eyes of the audience and of the media (it’s almost impossible to get any review with only a digital release). The second reason is that we love creating objects, touching them. Myriam, our art director, is a great designer, and I do share her concern about giving a physical shape to music, that can add a meaningful dimension to a record – not to mention the aesthetic dimension of course. Hence it’s a real pleasure to go on with physical copies, in particular when it’s handmade limited series.

Streaming services have been great for finding new music. How is it working through bandcamp/soundcloud? Does that drive the business?

It’s been a primary tool for us to get our name out there. Well, we’re not really famous of course, but we have a little audience we can reach through social networks and platforms like Soundcloud and Bandcamp. Changes in those platforms have huge consequences on the way we communicate and share music, so it means we might be too dependent on them.

Bad News from CosmosWhat are you excited about for the next year for your label? What do plan for future?

You may have noticed this last year was a rather quiet one. We’ve been focusing on other matters than music production, such as booking a tour for the Ukrainian duet Bad News from Cosmos, or questioning ourselves about the meaning of a label in 2017. By many aspects, a label is more or less comparable to a political party, especially when you rule it with three other persons, you have to make decisions but you also have to listen to what they have to say. I can be a bit authoritarian when I’m discussing our projects, but I’m also full of doubt. This year was a year of doubts, to be honest. Now, we’ve decided to rule Anywave in a different way: we’re gonna travel light. What I’m saying regarding the future is in total contradiction with our next release! Indeed Fléau’s second album is the most ambitious project we’ve ever made (thanks to the help of our friend label Atelier Ciseaux, who co-produced the record): a double vinyl and a collector edition with an artist booklet… But then, we plan to release mostly limited editions, screen printed CDs and tapes. What’s already on track is a split album with Bad News from Cosmos and Heima Matti, Patrick Wiklacz’s album «      » and the sixth volume of the Wavecore series.

Tracklist:

Side A selected by Bad News from Cosmos:
1 Vitamin Wig C – Why A Key Go (Wavecore 3, 2014)
2 Crystal Coast – DSTNT (Wavecore 4, 2015)
3 A V G V S T – The Hill (A Sorry Plain, 2005)
4 Verpackt – (Wavecore 4, 2015)
5 Seahorse Hunter – Disappear (Wavecore 1, 2013)
6 Tainsus – Computer Screen (Wavecore 4, 2015)
7 Jacqueline Sauvage – (Wavecore 2, 2013)
8 Ferdinand Carclash – Donde no Hay Despues (Wavecore 3, 2014)
Side B selected by Aurel:
9 Fléau – IV (intro) (Fléau II, 2018) premiere 
10 Sphyxion – Sphyxion 3 (Sphyxion, 2016)
11 Heather Celeste – Lemon Trade (Modern Death, 2015)
12 Bad News from Cosmos – Someday (Minn Sjo, 2016)
13 Gross Net – Spiralling Down (Wavecore 4, 2015)
14 Mareux – Cold Summer (Wavecore 2, 2013)
15 Patrick Wiklacz – N5 (N, 2018) premiere

Iceberg New Music Collective Visits Memphis

New York City-based composer collective ICEBERG New Music was in residence at Crosstown Arts here in Memphis for two weeks of concerts, workshops, and lectures back in June of 2017. 

IMG_3056

We spoke with composers from the second of the two concerts in the Crosstown Arts series, and attended their workshops and lectures that ranged from a “Sound Scavenger Hunt” to a lecture on “Popular and Classical Music in 1960s America.” Memphis-based contemporary chamber group Blueshift Ensemble collaborated with ICEBERG and performed the collective’s original compositions for the concert series.

I hope you enjoy our talk about Iceberg’s mission, the future of new music, collaboration, blending genre’s and more!

 

 

Special thanks to Iceberg New Music, Jenny Davis and the Blueshift Ensemble, and Justin Thompson and the whole Crosstown Arts Community.

Track listing:

Alex Burtzos – OMAHA (all the things you could be you are you were) for string quartet

Drake Andersen – Photons for flute and clarinet

Yu-Chun Chien – Co-Composition for a cellist

Jonathan Russ – Eat Your Vegetables for solo clarinet

Harry Stafylakis – Unrelent for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion

Making Noise with Ihcilon

We linked up with Memphis electronic artist Ihcilon and asked him a few questions. He was also kind enough to make a playlist for everyone’s enjoyment. Look for him to be playing some shows around town this year.

How long have you been performing as Ihcilon?

The first thing I released was an EP in December 2014. But I had been futzing around with the idea of electronic music since around 1999.

Can you tell our followers how to pronounce Ihcilon phonetically?

To be honest, I really don’t have an official way of pronouncing it that has stuck. I decided on ee-hih-lohn but most people say ih-sih-lon so really either way. When I chose it I never expected anyone to have to pronounce it.

Can you describe your process to making your sounds?

It usually starts with something I hear in regular time: motors, blowers, or sometimes the sound of things hitting together like hammers or wind chimes. I’ll try to recreate it in software and if that doesn’t work I turn to household objects and cheap wind instruments. A lot of it happens by accident. Everything is improvised and recorded in one take. I’ll have a basic road map but fingers will slip or memories will lapse and will yield some sometimes interesting results.

What instruments do you most enjoy working with?

I don’t know if many would agree with this definition, but my favorite instrument at the moment is my phone. I mean, I would love to say that I absolutely love my Buchla or Moog but I don’t own anything like that. There is software on my phone that kind of sound like those things and that’s where the joy is right now.

What inspires you to create?

Personal experiences. Much of the sound you will hear from Ihcilon are more autobiographical than anything. You will hear reinterpreted sounds of medical equipment, internal audio of migraines, sounds from dreams, conversations, shows I have been to… It all kind of mixes together.

Are there any moments as a performer that stand out to you?

Memphis Concréte 2017 was by and large the best thing I had ever been involved in up to that point. It was amazing and unlike anything I had ever seen here.

What can Memphis do better to grow and promote electronic music here?

We’re doing a really good job cultivating a scene here. It’s all still a relatively new idea for this area. I think Memphis is still trying to figure out what to do with music you can’t necessarily dance to. But we have many venues that will let us in and as long as that keeps happening I feel like the scene will grow on its own.

If you were to collaborate with one artist who would it be?

Just one?? Probably Diamanda Galás. Her voice has always been captivating. But I will collaborate with just about anyone.

What do you have planned for 2018?

Memphis Concréte, do a handful of shows, and release at least one album. There’s nothing bigger than that.

Here are the songs featured on the mix:

Cyril The Dancing Bear – Pending Disco

iscDo – The Dust Gets In

Three Voices – Retrospection

False – Operant

All is Almost a Prayer – Stammer

Null – Stammer

Mainsplainer – Ihcilon

Enjoy!!

Photo by Heather Wallace

Birth of Modern Music Part 6: John Cage

 

Cage let chance override musical composition the way it plays upon nature. He focused on the subtleties between sound and silence, the same way they intertwine in existence. Embracing noise as others did before him, including Russolo, Satie, and Varese, Cage was able to transcend the bounds of traditional music composition that would baffle the avant-garde world for decades. In this episode we talk with Laura KuhnJames Pritchett, and Brian Brandt of Mode Records

 

 

Press Play on Parsons Rocket Project

Parsons Rocket Project is obsessed with all things celestial and spacey. Perhaps that’s why they named their band after Rocket Scientist, Jack Parsons. Sonosphere corresponded with the members of PRP to talk about space, time, and the music in between. They also shared a dream-pop playlist flush with rock reverb, fuzz and disco thumps. Check it all out in the interview and playlist below. Thanks PRP for the tunes!

The debut EP was formed during a tumultuous time for you all as individuals and a band – what songs were you listening to, who/what were your inspirations; was songwriting almost like therapy for you all? Did it bring you together, solidifying the band?

well, it still is tumultuous! we were/are listening to No Joy, Brian Eno, The War on Drugs,Trailer Trash Tracys, Ulrich Schnauss, TYCHO, and a lot of fun stuff like Summer Camp and disco-era Bee Gees (not kidding, its that disco thump) the way we recorded the EP we never were all in the same room at the same time, so it really was isolated in that sense. it really was a virtual band until after the tracks were recorded. there was some definite personal turbulence going on the time these were written, that is reflected in the tracks particularly “burn.” 

Were you always interested in science and space as a kid? What about Jack Parsons led you to name your band after him?

Definitely an obsession with celestial/space things for all of us. Saturn and stars tattoos, spacey graphics, space noises,  space rock, I’m not kidding when I use the term “obsession.” its definitely a thing for us. 

Parsons’ mingling of science and occultism is fascinating and it produced amazing results with dire consequences. he innovated some rocket technology, but ended up blowing himself up and leaving a very sordid legacy. He is such an interesting character though, the creation of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, the trip to the moon, he played a huge role in that and he was also a real legendary degenerate, so that is really intriguing. NASA has disowned his history, but there is a crater on the moon named after him (on the dark side of the moon of course.) and many still refer to JPL, the Jet Propulsion Lab as the Jack Parsons Lab. there may be some upcoming movies or TV shows that explore Parsons, so that will be interesting. 

Do you incorporate science and space into your performances?

like a trip to hyperspace

Does the city of Atlanta influence your sound/aesthetic? 

there are a lot of interesting bands around ATL, there are Applesauce Tears & Twin Studies, Deerhunter. as far as the environment here, it can be very urban and gritty, we spend some time in that environment but also spend some time in areas with a lot of mid-century architecture (space age) and that has an influence too. 

What was it like working with Joe Lambert and recording in a space where some legendary songs were made?

Joe Lambert is such a heavyweight in the industry, we could not have been more pleased with the results there. Ben Price’s StudiLaroche where we recorded is such a great space. we’ve all recorded there in other bands so it is a very familiar, comfortable, homey space.  Plus its a great studio, he has a lot of cool sound toys there to play with and he is one of the best around as far as engineering & producing. recording was just a lot of fun, when we brought in Anne, Michelle and Jennifer for vocals tracking and it was such a great time, like a house party. we had to keep leaving to get more beer, we really invoked some 80s absurd rock star good times but it was productive sonically too, we’re pleased with the tracks. 

Parsons Rocket Project (cover)

Will you be touring with the new record? 

that was the plan but we got hit by the life tornado, Ben Price (guitars, vox) was injured in a really terrible bicycle crash and then there has been other disturbances…so the touring plans got pushed back for now but we’ll come back to that. we’re now all super busy at the moment not just with working on new parsons rocket project material, but we also have our other projects. K Michelle is working on her 2nd LP, Paul has another space rock band called map of the moon that is recording with Dan Dixon (PLS PLS)

Parsons Rocket Project has some big shows coming up in Atlanta in the meantime and we can’t wait for that. The EP is out and its been well-received, so we’re definitely looking forward to expressing ourselves at high volume. after we get our new material recorded, we’d like to do a compact tour which was the original intent.

What are you looking forward to most about touring?

its exciting, the travel, playing different rooms and meeting people. (individually) we’ve toured pretty extensively before in all of our previous bands, so we’re looking forward to touring more intelligently now. we used to slug it out in the clubs for long stretches of time and we really weren’t very smart about it. short, disciplined, focused bursts are the way to go and that is what we plan to do, eventually. 

 

 

Track listing:

Trailer Trash Tracys – Strangling Good Guys (0:01)

Ulrich Schnauss, Mark Peters – Slow Southern Skies (3:48)

Parsons Rocket Project – Exit Launch (8:05)

Amber Arcades – Turning Light (11:01)

Blouse – Happy Days (18:02)

No Joy – Second Spine (22:13)

PLS PLS – Jet Black (26:03)

Applesauce Tears – Fuzzy Mammoth (29:30)

Bee Gees – Jive Talkin’ (33:21)

No Joy – Hellhole (37:06)

Ummagma – Rotation (40:25)

Martyn Heyne: Electric Intervals

This month Sonosphere talks with Martyn Heyne, composer, producer and engineer. Martyn has a new album out on November 17th called Electric Intervals on !K7 Records’ new imprint 7K!

We discuss the making of this album, which is his first full length solo work. Martyn has worked in a producer and engineering role with the likes of Nils Frahm, The National, Efterklang, Peter Broderick, and others.

7K002DIGITAL-MH-EI-Artwork_1200px

We also chat about the creating the video of the single “Carry” with FELD, the Berlin based design studio behind the album’s imagery, and the nuisances involved in listening and recording music.

Join us!

Tracks in this episode:

The National – Don’t Swallow the Cap

Martyn Heyne – Curium

Martyn Heyne – Carry

Funkstörung – Test

 

 

 

 

Dais Gone By

Dais Records is run by Gibby Miller and Ryan Martin. They release records that most assumed they would only hear stories about and never hear the tracks themselves. From there first release, “Early Worm,” a 1968 recording from Genesis P-Orridge, thought to be long lost, they have positioned themselves as one of the best curated labels in existence.  Dais is now 10 years old and they’ve managed to do all of this while on opposite coasts  Through Skype and e-mail correspondence we were able to catch up with the guys at Dais Records. Take a listen to the interview with Gibby and Ryan followed by a playlist.

 

 

Tracklist:

2:45 Ragnar Grippe – Sand Part 1

30:02 Tor Lundvall – Hiding

32:56 Coil – 7-Methoxy-β-Carboline: (Telepathine)

55:49  GENESIS BREYER P-ORRIDGE & Thee Early Worm – Rather Hard to Libel

57:22 Choir Boy – Sunday Light

1:01:29 YOU – Feral

1:05:26 Psychic TV – Papal Breakdance

1:11:37 Annabelle’s Garden – If

1:16:37 Youth Code – What Is The Answer

1:19:37 Drab Majesty – 39 By Design

1:24:30 Death of Lovers – The Absolute

1:29:35 Deviation Social – Machines Convulse

1:32:58 Sissy Spacek – Always Eating

1:33:16 Aaron Dilloway – Ghost

1:38:05 Iceage – Remember

1:40:17 Coum Transmissions – 73 Vibrant

1:43:07 Them Are Us Too – Marilyn

1:46:41 Twin Stumps – Siberia

1:50:58 Tor Lundvall – July Evening

1:52:30 Cold Showers – New Dawn

1:57:00 Martial Canterel – And I Thought

2:00:49 Drew McDowall – This Is What It’s Like

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Sixty Soulful Years” The Story of Royal Studios

 

This month Sonosphere teams up with the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and the Memphis Musicology podcast to bring you 60 years of Royal Studios. We visit with co-owner and music producer Boo Mitchell on a tour of Royal Studios in South Memphis.

IMG_3322Royal turns 60 this year and in this episode we’ll reminisce with singer/songwriter Don Bryant on writing hit songs and singing with Willie Mitchell’s band; legendary recording artist Ann Peebles and the magical night behind her hit “I Can’t Stand the Rain;” Memphis musician Scott Bomar on Willie Mitchell’s legacy as teacher, producer and engineer of so many classic hits; and Amber Hamilton with the Memphis Music Initiative and the partnership they have with Royal to pass on its legacy to the future talent.

Come celebrate with Boo and the Mitchell family at the Levitt Shell on October 14th featuring local, regional and national artists and November 18th for the grand finale event at the Orpheum. For more information visit royalstudios.com

Special thanks to Ezra Wheeler from the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and host of the Memphis Musicology podcast for co-producing this episode with Sonosphere.

 

 

 

Adhesive Sounds

This month’s Press Play mixtape comes from a Toronto-based label called Adhesive Sounds (A/S). Sonosphere connected with A/S creator, Kel.

When did you create Adhesive Sounds?

The winter of 2014 was a time when I was basically housebound with an illness. I was forced to find some kind of creative outlet to keep me active and ease any symptoms of cabin fever.

During my imposed confinement, I started listening to more ambient and freeform music. Film scores were big on my listening menu as well as modern composers. I studied graphic design, and have an enduring interest in the relationship between sound and imagery and its packaging. Music has always been a huge part of my life and starting a label had been a pipe-dream. The label developed from this period of isolation. A blessing in disguise.

How do you find your artists?

By reaching out, and in some cases hunting down, these artists. I listen to everything along the way, everything that is sent to me, everything that seems to share that invisible connecting thread of sound and visual aesthetics.

What do you look for in an artist/band? How do you shape or “feel out the sound” of your label?

I typically look to release records by current artists who I feel connects with A/S on some stylistic level, unconventional sounds blended with a pop sensibility (in the broadest sense) and an aesthetic that crosses cultures.

Gyoza District

Does Toronto as the city/scene affect your choices for the label? If so, how?

Having moved from Edmonton to Toronto in 2010, I had some catching up to do to get a hold on the art and music scene, and the history – and I do feel committed and obligated to represent Toronto with A/S.

What is your preferred “genre” or sound to represent on the label? Is it mostly personal taste or does some consumer demand play in?

Well, for the last couple of years, I guess Vaporwave has been our defining genre. I fell in love with the genre – the whole thing – the influences both visual and sonic. Plundering that era just on the cusp of the Internet Age. The Utopian and Dystopian themes. And certainly consumer demand plays a big part. That’s when the label really lifted off. Vaporwave listeners are a pretty devoted group. And the whole packaging that goes along with the sound. And the main medium, the cassette, is kind of a fetish.

Japanese Treats

Who was the first Adhesive Sound artist/band? 

Our first release was the Clockwork Wizards inspired side project by Japanese Treats.

Who is the newest addition to the label?

自決 9 6and Gyoza District are a couple new producers that we’re super stoked to have on board. We’d also like to welcome Soda Lite, qualchan. and AVION to the A/S roster.

Has the label evolved since the beginning? If so, how?

I think we had an strong idea of how we wanted things to go, but of course as time progresses you sharpen your skills when it comes to how things get released and the manner of systems you put in place to make things more accessible to your audience.

Who presses your vinyl records/cassettes? How important is physical copies of music? 

We typically get our physical media done through Analogue Media. I think a few label models were influential subconsciously with the curatorial path of A/S. 4AD, Factory, Italians Do It Better…

3 ninjasks

Streaming services have also been very great for new music. How is it working through bandcamp/soundcloud? Does that drive the business?

Streaming is a big driver, for sure. Listeners and potential buyers get to sample the tracks and preview the artwork. And for us, the label, it’s invaluable to stream new talent that we may consider approaching to collaborate on a project.

New releases to promote this year?

The second half of 2017 will include new projects from Waterfront Dining, a sophomore release from 3 Ninjasks, and a debut EP from David Ben Jack.

What are you excited about for the next year for your label? What do plan for future?

We’re looking forward to continuing releasing records by progressive artists who we feel connect with A/S on an aesthetic level. Also, we’re excited about unconventional formats. Releasing poster albums, zines.

Track listing:

  1. 69.7ºF Summer is Life. – skyline divine
  2. 01-PASTiS (Sonosphere Premiere track) – KöSHRiMP
  3. Nature’s 5.02 Setting – Finlii
  4. regardi la ripples – Soda Lite
  5. Bermuda-Coral – Hi Tide
  6. Dimensional – Gyoza District
  7. ものを降伏させる – haircuts for men
  8. Waterfall Sanctuary – バーチャルボーイA t s u
  9. b o d y l i n e – s h o r e (Sonosphere Premiere track) – b o d y l i n e
  10. Magic Cavern – Form
  11. In the Dark – Manchac Networks
  12. sky full of stars (Sonosphere Premiere track) – AVION
  13. Aftermath (ft. t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者) – Hong Kong Express
  14. 真夜中の庭 [midnight garden] – TVVin_PINEZ_M4LL
  15. The Capsule Hotel Where She Lives – 自決 9 6
  16. オープニング・テーマ (Leisure Centre remix) – 豊平区民TOYOHIRAKUMIN
  17. Entrance (Sonosphere Premiere track) – David Ben Jack

To Be Continuum

Crosstown Arts played host to Continuum Music Festival August 3-5, 2017. Continuum Music Festival was the idea Jenny Davis and Jonathan Kirkscey of Blueshift Ensemble . Continuum was “a festival of collaborations among musicians and artists working in diverse genres from Memphis and beyond, bringing to life unique performance experiences in the historic CroIMG_3439sstown neighborhood.”  The festival featured performances from River City Flute Quartet, Nief-Norf, Chatterbird, Don Lifted, Luna Nova, Rob Jungklas, and Blueshift Ensemble.  We were able to catch up with Jonathan Russ, performers, and members of the various music collectives. We present to you our latest episode which recaps Continuum and gives insight to what is going on not only in Memphis but all across Tennessee. Thanks to Jenny Davis, Jonathan Kirkscey, Lawrence Matthews, Patricia Gray, Robert G. Patterson, Celine Thackston, Maya Stone, Jesse Strauss, Ashley Walters, Jay Sorce, Jonathan Russ, Rob Jungklas and all of Crosstown Arts. Enjoy!

Memphis Concrete: An Experimental Electronic Music Fest in the MidSouth

On June 24th and 25th of 2017 an interesting experimental electronic music fest descended upon the MidSouth with artists primarily from Memphis, Mississippi, and the southeast.

20170616_081359“I wanted to take electronic music back to its roots,” said creator Robert Traxler. His inception for the fest came from the experimental spirit of the original electronic music artists like Delia Derbyshire, Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, Suzanne Ciani, Pierre Schaeffer, and many, many more from the 1940s, 50s and 60s. But musique concrete is not all we found at this festival. Harsh noise, techno, ambient analog improv sets, and a live score of Forbidden Planet were a few of the performances found at Memphis Concrete.

Take a tour through the fest with Robert and some of the talented artists that participated in the Memphis Concrete Festival in the latest episode of Sonosphere.

 

 

 

Thanks to:

Robert Traxler

Dominic Van Horn (Aster, manualcontrol)

Luis Seixas

Ben Bauermeister

Kim Rueger (Belly Full of Stars)

Connor Brown (Cheap Spirits)

Kane Blanchard (Tatras)

Kole Oakes (Pas Moi)

The live Memphis Concrete sets heard here by Belly Full of Stars, Aster, Cheap Spirits, Pas Moi, Ben Bauermeister, Tatras, manualcontrol, and Robert Traxler were captured and edited by Robert Traxler.

 

Two other tracks used by participants in the fest are “#2” by NEPTR and “Viginti Quintuplet” by Ben Ricketts. Thanks to all the artists for sharing their time and work.

 

An Evening with Wu Fei

 

In this special, bonus episode of Sonosphere we present An Evening with Wu Fei in collaboration with Crosstown Arts. This is Fei’s live performance at the Crosstown Arts gallery on Cleveland Street in Memphis, TN on June 30, 2017. Fei CA PosterThe intimate space lent itself to an interactive performance between the audience and Wu Fei as she showcases what the guzheng can do through its thousand-year history.

Wu Fei is a composer and guzheng player. She is a native of Beijing and a current Nashville resident. She is a master of the guzheng, the ancient 21-string Chinese zither. At this performance Fei told stories of her upbringing in Beijing, her relentless practice with the guzheng and how she found improv at Mills College as well as through her time in New York’s improv scene. She mixes her Western and Chinese traditional sensibilities with a contemporary, experimental dialect that only Fei can convey in her “down-to-earth,” personable way. We thank her and Crosstown Arts for an amazing show!

 

 

Pauline Oliveros

This episode of Sonosphere takes a look at the life and work of composer Pauline Oliveros through the eyes and ears of those who worked with her and learned from her. We spoke with Claire Chase, Wu Fei, Monique Buzzarte, Tara Rodgers, and Kerry O’Brien about how Pauline touched their lives personally and professionally, and how her legacy shaped the musical world of today.
Join us.
Tracks in this episode:
Mnemonics IV – Pauline Oliveros
Ocean State – Tara Rodgers
A Bubble in My Eye – Monique Buzzarte
Dawn – Wu Fei
b_second – Deep Listening Band
Bye Bye Butterfly – Pauline Oliveros
Nike – Deep Listening Band
d_forth – Deep Listening Band
Tribute to Pauline Oliveros Sonic Meditations – Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre
ICE Performs Pauline Oliveros “Concerto for Bass Drum”
ICE Performs Pauline Oliveros “Double X”
Poliveros

Oh, What Big Ears You Have!

 

 

Knoxville, a city of just under 200,000 residents, was vibrant during this year’s Big Ears Festival. It is impossible to experience this festival without experiencing Knoxville itself. Wonderfully woven into Old City, downtown, and World’s Fair Park, Big Ears makes Knoxville feel like a quaint European city.

Big Ears is a festival focused on connecting pop, classical, and experimental music. The inaugural Big Ears took place in 2009 and featured composers such as Phillip Glass and Pauline Oliveros. This year’s festival honored Oliveros, who passed last November, by opening the festival with Nief-Norf performing the composer’s Single Stroke Meditation. Oliveros taught us to listen; she composed for “ear-minded people.” It was fitting to begin a festival with her practice of approaching the world with open ears. The Mill & Mine, a concert and event venue in the historic Old City, was filled with people of all ages trying to center themselves before four days of beautiful and confounding music, art, and film.

Big Ears offered an endless supply of entertainment, all in close proximity, letting you freely flow from one exhibition to the next. With international acts such as Colleen, Gavin Bryars, Anna Meredith, DakhaBrakha, Frode Haltli, Nils Økland, and Wu Fei, among many others, attendees would have been extremely hard pressed not to experience something completely new. Acts such as Wilco, Blonde Redhead, Tortoise, and Deerhoof brought more familiarity. Members of Wilco spread their influence to every corner of the city, performing solo and with collaborators.

We spoke with artists Cecile Schott (Colleen), Jamie Stewart (Xiu Xiu), Anna Meredith, Andrew Bliss and Kerry O’Brien of Nief-Norf, Wu Fei, Frode Haltli, and Melinda Lio. They provided insight to a plethora of differing music styles and approaches, and they remarked on Knoxville’s inspiring environment. One specific message remained the same to them: music is a free-flowing art form that can be composed from any background and in many styles.

Nief-Norf performed Michael Gordon’s “Timber” [an hour-long composition for six percussionists playing wooden simantras (2x4s)] in front of hundreds that packed in around their circle at the Mill & Mine. This was a wonderfully meditative piece that was also a measure of endurance for the performers.

There were so many fun and challenging performances during the festival it is hard to recount all of them. We will recap a few that really resonated with us. Wu Fei played her guzheng,an ancient Chinese instrument, in a packed in the gothic revival-style St. John’s Cathedral. The Chinese folk songs echoing around the room were foreign to a Tennessee Catholic church, but it did provide a religious-like experience that was also bright and thought-provoking. Plucking the guzheng, Fei’s demeanor was very intense. Each song was followed by a loud sigh that would signal the end. She was insightful and playful between songs, pausing between songs to make jokes or give the audience some education about the instrument. She revealed that this performance marked the first time she played two guzheng at once. One could never have guessed.

Anna Meredith, British composer, producer and performer, weaved electronic and acoustic sounds through up tempo dance songs that got the audience moving on the first night of the festival. As the last leg on her first U.S. tour, Anna Meredith brought energy and her fierce personality to the stage at Big Ears. Her band included a tuba, drums/percussion, guitar, and cellist – with Anna Meredith at the helm. If she wasn’t banging on a drum, whipping out her clarinet, or bringing the digital sounds, she was dancing – and so were we.

Being a fan of Twin Peaks and Xiu Xiu, this performance at Tennessee Theatre was on our list of must see events. Xiu Xiu’s performance was everything we had hoped for. It was eerie and dramatic, bringing you into their vision of Lynch’s cult television show. The performance ended with Shanya reading an entry from Laura Palmer’s diary wherein she curses Bob for everything and wishes for death. Right as she finished reading, Jamie stopped drumming and embodied Leland Palmer by singing Mairzy Doats while dancing mad and sporadically.

At the Square Room, Philip Jeck spun records and created a sometimes harsh but mostly calm listening experience. As we watched him meticulously shift the sounds we were fascinated while also being lulled into a trance.

Colleen performed both on Friday at the Mill & Mine and at The Standard on Sunday. The Standard offered a more intimate environment. She invited everyone to sit down and enjoy the performance. She picked her viola de gamba and carried us to another place with her voice, which was also looping in time. Her cover of “Pearl’s Dream” by Walter Schumann from James Agee’s Night of the Hunter was mesmerizing and thoughtful considering Agee is from Knoxville.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith performing Saturday at the Mill & Mine hypnotized the audience with the intriguing, analogue sounds of her Buchla synthesizer. A dark and roomy Mill & Mine buzzed with curiosity as the audience, enchanted by original, digital artwork swarming in vibrant colors behind her, danced and swayed to upbeat, yet thoughtful music. Her music entrenched in natural sounds, made you feel like you were outside in the woods dancing around a fire.

Michael Hurley performed both in the Tennessee Theatre and at the Standard. We saw Hurley at the Tennessee Theatre, which was decked out for Wilco’s performance later that evening. Hurley offered what only he can, stories of lonely but often whimsy folk that is familiar because his influence runs deep in early and modern folk and rock music. The large theatre environment left us longing to see him in a more intimate environment that The Standard might have offered, but the Pilot Light – a small dive close by – may have been an even more ideal space for Hurley to share his playful storytelling in song.

Numerous panels focusing on a variety of issues and topics that let curious audience members further entrench themselves. We attended one such panel discussing Pauline Oliveros’ life and works; presented by The Wire (UK) with Alvin Curran and Emily Manzo as speakers. Curran painted a vivid picture of Oliveros life, influence and inclusivity in her music-making. Curran highlighted her discontent with the status quo, a discontent that allowed her compositional “experiments” to open the ears and minds of her students and peers. Her ideas resonate so perfectly with what Big Ears accomplishes. Curran, thoughtfully reminiscing on Oliveros’ love of finding music in various sounds around us, asked the audience to “burst into spontaneous music-making.” Curran conducted a 30-second humming orchestra of attendees’ voices that was both beautiful and surprising to the audience. Concluding the panel we were allowed to participate with many others in a group meditation as well as Rock Piece by Pauline. With our fellow attendees, we made sound with the natural, local environment – with Tennessee rocks. Each rock contributed its unique note to the group’s music. The most resounding experience of the festival, this piece, composed by one of the utmost accomplished, and inspiring composers of our time, brought strangers together growing not only our ears but opening our minds to Oliveros’ world of sound-making. 

The lineup was one of the most eclectic and interesting ones you’d find at any U.S. music festival, and like the rocks, each performer provided a unique experience that built upon the history, evolution and connectivity of modern music, new music, noise music, and pop music. Among the festival attendees, volunteers, guests, and artists, everyone was open to new sounds and ideas. After the final performance of the festival (Xiu Xiu at the Mill & Mine), Cecile (Colleen) wandered up toward the stage and asked how Shanya was producing those sounds. It is this curiosity and intrigue that makes Big Ears Festival such a unique experience.

What the Wind has to Say: Marfa Myths

Last year Sonosphere visited the small, Texas town of Marfa for the Marfa Myths music festival created by Mexican Summer and Ballroom Marfa. Now in its fourth year Marfa Myths has grown to a three day fest with hundreds of individuals from around the country in attendance. It’s still a small festival, which allows for intimate conversations.

This year’s festival is upon us, so let’s travel back in time to Marfa Myths 2016 during a two-day wind storm, where I talk with sound artist Maria Chavez about her performance informed by the wind and chards of vinyl; where harpist Mary Lattimore shares insight into her latest album informed by road trips out west.

Head out this year, March 9-12 to Marfa Myths 2017 and you won’t regret it. Tickets at mexicansummer.com

 

 

The World’s First Duets for Mellotron

With the upcoming release of the Duets for Mellotron LP, we decided to share our interview with the people behind this project.  Prior to the April 16, 2016 performance, at Crosstown Arts in Memphis, TN, we sat down with Winston Eggleston, Robby Grant and Johnathan Kirkscey and talked about what brought this show to fruition and their history with this unique instrument.  Check out the interview on this episode of Sonosphere featuring a track from the performance, “Joan Folds Towels” written by Robby Grant and Jonathan Kirkscey.

15826566_203776573418898_2656035400152452806_nPick up your album January 13-18th, 2017 at Crosstown Arts and relive a beautiful night that was a first of its kind.

The Birth of Modern Music Series Part 5: Karlheinz Stockhausen

Welcome to Sonosphere the podcast that explores the sounds all around us; in art and music movements through history.  

This is part 5 of our Birth of Modern Music Series on European composers of the early 20th century from the atonal compositions of Austria’s Schoenberg to the realization of total serialism of Olivier Messiaen we continue our coverage with German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and the evolution of electronic music. This episode we’ll hear from Stockhausen scholar Joe Drew; thanks to Ben Siler as the voice of Stockhausen.

 

Stockhausen tracks in order:
Kontra-Punkte
Kreuzspiel
Klavierstuck
Gesang Der Junglinge
Gruppen
Kontakte
Stimmung
Momente
Aus Den Seiben
Fur Kommende
Gesang Der Junglinge

The Birth of Modern Music Series Part 4: Olivier Messiaen

Welcome back to Sonosphere’s Birth of Modern Music series featuring modern European, classical composers that inspired the experimental, avant garde art and music scenes of the 50s, 60s and resonate in music composition today.

In the first episode of the series we highlighted Arnold Schoenberg whose atonal works ushered in a  new school  of composers. Then we moved to Erik Satie whose Vexations and other “sonic experiments” influenced his peers and John Cage who discovered the piece years later.  After that we covered Edgard Varese, a peculiar composer who sculpted sounds in a way never accomplished previously. Today we will delve into the life and works of Olivier Messiaen.

Messiaen escaped the world of composition’s shift to serialism through religion, nature, and birdsong, but he had a profound influence on the evolution of electronic music composition through composers like Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez, and Xenakis. 

Join us by subscribing on iTunes and following us on Soundcloud, Facebook, and Twitter.

Thanks for listening!

Songs in this month’s episode:

  1. Des Canyons Aux Etoiles I: Le Desert
  2. Des Canyons Aux Etoiles II: Les Orioles
  3. Preludes: La Colombe (The Dove)
  4. Quartet for the End of Time
  5. Turangalila – Symphonie
  6. Mode de valeurs et d’intensites
  7. Meditations sur le mystere de la Sainte Trinite

 

photo: Catalogue d’Oiseaux: styriarte.com

For Rabid Music Lovers: Goner Records

Welcome to Sonosphere! This month’s episode features Zac Ives co-founder and co-owner of Goner Records, Natalie Hoffman of NOTS, Chris Shaw of Ex-cult and JB Horrell of Ex-Cult and Aquarian Blood to bring you a Goner Fest 2016 Special Edition.

Thanks to the Goner family and Memphis musicians for sharing their passion! Goner Fest 13 is this weekend starting tonight, Wednesday September 28, 2016 at Crosstown featuring flyers from the Memphis underground installation called Torn Down by Thursday. Bands are playing September 29th through Oct. 2nd. Come on out!

Check out the Goner Special Edition on iTunes and play on Soundcloud below.

Gonerfest13_FINAL logo_WHITE BACKGROUND_LowRes.jpg

The Birth of Modern Music Series Part 3: Edgard Varese

Varese searched for the modern sound, the sound that would define his generation. Like Schoenberg before him, Varese’s early atonal period broke down language and form into a stream of sensations – “his screaming chords seemed to have no emotion tied to them, no history or future” – just very present in the now.

Join us on the journey through the life and mind of French American composer Edgard Varese.

The Birth of Modern Music Series Part 2: Erik Satie

The ultimate “underground” modernist artist in Paris, Satie didn’t get a lot of credit when he was alive for his work. He was largely forgotten until John Cage found his Vexations composition fifty years after his death.

His music “did not resolve as it should according to tonal laws” says our guest Dr. Caroline Potter. She talks with us about how Satie broke from Parisian tradition and led an avant-garde scene which influenced ambient and minimalist artists for years to come.

Join us as we traverse the eccentric life and work of Erik Satie.

The Birth of Modern Music Series Part 1: Arnold Schoenberg

 

This episode is the first in a series of European composers that start a change in music, paving the way for avant-garde and disruptive sounds from the classical minimalist genre, to punk and rock and roll we hear today.

(more…)

Preview to Birth of Modern Music Series

This episode is an introduction to our series on the Birth of Modern Music. It will highlight radical dissonance in Western classical compositions. We will individually describe the work and influence of Arnold Schoenberg, Erik Satie, Edgard Varese, Olivier Messiaen, Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage. They were powerhouses in the classical composition revolution at the turn of the 20th century and their influence permeated into mid-century beatnik, free improv and psychedelic culture.

Look for the first episode in this series next week. Until then, we have prepared for you a playlist highlighting the work of Arnold Schoenberg, the first modernist we’ll explore in our next episode. Check it out at sonospherepodcast.com and click on Press Play. Enjoy!

Featured track:
Pierre Boulez – Le Marteau sans Maitre VI Bourreaux de Solitude

Episode 2 – Futurist and Fascist: Modern Music of 20th Century Italy

The early Twentieth century was a period of rapid change that brought with it a certain violent chaos. Italian artists, led by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, embraced the fast, furious, noisy and ever-changing environment by creating art and music reflecting their feeling and experience. The Futurist Movement aimed to destroy the status quo and was met with obvious controversy. Tied to fascism and anti-feminist views, people rejected Marinetti and his followers…
This episode explores the inception of Futurism, its growth and influence on modern music, and the self-inflected backlash.

(more…)

Mixtape Session with Natalie Hoffman of Nots & Optic Sink

Welcome to Sonosphere radio. Occasionally, Sonosphere will post playlists curated by artists, record label owners, music enthusiasts, DJs, and sometimes by us. This week we’ll hear a collaborative mixtape session with from Natalie Hoffman of the band NOTS fame. She has a project now with Memphis DJ and electronic artist Ben Bauermeister called Optic Sink.

IMG_0159

Optic Sink at DKDC

Natalie was one of Crosstown Arts artists in residence last year. Chris and I got to collaborate with her at her studio on a mixtape – each shared songs we’ve been into lately and songs we’ve loved for a while. This mix is dubbed from the tape created during this playlisting session. The tape begins with composer Colleen, we’ll also hear Marie Davidson, CAN, Marbled Eye, and many more.

Check out Optic Sink at the Memphis Concrete Festival June 29 and 30th – tickets on sale now. Don’t miss Memphis Concrete this month and enjoy this mix!

Track List:

OS SNS RDIO List

IMG_0001

Chris Williams and Natalie Hoffman in Natalie’s studio at Amurica in Memphis, TN during her artist in residency with Crosstown Arts.