Author: amyess

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)

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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

 

 

 

 

“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

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!

 

 

spirit goth

Sonosphere corresponded over email with Josh Hwang founder of spirit goth and songwriter/producer for the project, Castlebeat about the impetus for the spirit goth label, how he works with artists on the label, latest releases and what’s in store for spirit goth.

He also provided a compilation for us to share with you! Find out more about spirit goth at www.spiritgoth.com

When did you create spirit goth? 

I started spirit goth as a net label in college around the start of 2016 as a way to release my own music and my friends’ music. I always enjoyed discovering new music, and I want to bring that experience to others by exposing smaller/new artists.

The name comes from one of the first lofi garage-rock songs I ever made called ‘downtown spirit goth.’ I just kind of liked the name and stuck with it.

How do you find your artists? 

I used to find a lot of artists through soundcloud, bandcamp, and some small blogs. But now we get a lot of demo submissions. Putting together the HPSTR GEMS playlists every couple months, which are made up of 10 dreampop/shoegaze “hidden gems” that I’m listening to at that time, is another way I find artists.

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

Diy diy diy diy diy.

I look for a good melody above anything else. Next thing I look for is the style and how the melodies are presented. I really like when artists do all the recording/producing themselves. It just sounds more natural than a clean-cut studio recording.

We don’t force the artists into any binding contracts. The way we work is very mutual, more like a relationship with the artist to help them get their music out. So it’s very important to me that I can work well with the artist, and also important that the artist wants a diy release versus a corporate release. At the end of the day it’s the artist’s music and I like to let them make the decisions – release date, format, music video, etc.. My role is to just help them get it done.

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

Some of the genres that spirit goth represents are dreampop, shoegaze, and postpunk. But overall, it’s just lo-fi music that I really love. Each release is selected because I dig the sound and think that other people will dig it too.

Who was the first spirit goth artist/band? 

 My high school lofi surf pop band, Jaded Juice Riders. I recorded an 8-track album called ‘Girlfight’ and decided to release it myself.

Who is the newest addition to the label? 

We just released an EP for a Spanish dream pop band, Terry vs. Tori. One of the reasons why I like this band is because my mom is Spanish and I grew up listening to lot of older Spanish music like Alsaka y los Pegamoides and Hombres G. In general, it’s always exciting for me to find international artists.

But we are currently in the process of releasing a full-length album by a band called Foliage. So far there’s one single out and another one releasing later this month. Full album release will be in mid July.

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

Yes, we’ve evolved from a digital net label to hand-making physical merchandise for our artists. However, now I am starting to outsource the merchandise labor because it has become very tedious.

I also no longer run every single aspect of the label by myself anymore. I’ve been getting help from friends and my girlfriend who handles the social media and weighs in on demo decisions.

How important is physical copies of music? I know a lot of folks just stream or download but the cassette and vinyl game is going pretty strong right now.  

We have yet to do vinyl, but I usually will record the cassettes and make the CD’s in my room. I think streaming and downloading is really great but there’s something really special about owning a cassette or CD of a band you like, especially if they are a smaller diy-focused artist. We’re trying to make our cassette tapes more collectible.

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

Yeah the spirit goth store is basically just a bandcamp account. I think it’s great because it makes it easy for people to find the music, and it’s very simple and low maintenance for me.

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

I’m excited for the releases we have coming up. Also working on making vinyl records available. And we’ve been talking to promoters about possibly putting together a small spirit goth music fest somewhere.

 

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

Adagio 830

Welcome to Sonosphere’s Press Play. Today we are featuring a DIY, Berlin-based label, Adagio 830.

They’ve put out some great underground punk and hardcore albums like the Flaming Massacres LP, ZANN, and ZARATHRUSTRA in the 1990s, 2015’s Positive Energy by DIAT, this year’s Votive Offerings by Artefact and I’ve especially loved RANK/XEROX ‘s M.y.t.h. out earlier this year.

cover

Adagio 830 began with their first LP release of the emo hardcore band Cole Quintet and grew from a mail order label to record store in 2006 when co-founders Robert Schulze and Stefan von Bis opened their own record stores in Berlin. Bis Aufs Messer is Robert’s store and Stefan runs Vendetta. Now, they are one of the premiere punk/hardcore labels in Germany that offer an array of music in-store. Stop in if you’re in Berlin!

Sonosphere connected with co-founder Robert Schulze over email on some basics about the label. Check out the mix tape by pressing play below.

When did you form the label and where is it located? 

Thats was in 1997 in Berlin, germany

Who presses your vinyl records? 

it depends on our needs, we do a lot via Handle With Care and then also XVINYLX in Czech.

How do you find your artists? 

 

It’s different. It used to be only friends or people I know for a while to document my scenery or help my friends out. Now its also demos we get etc.

What do you look for in an artist/band? 

 

Well – style is not priority. we released various different music in the last 20 years from hardcore over  to goth post-punk, singer / songwriter, kraut, drone etc etc. Important to me is that I feel connected to the band, the music has to do something for me and also the attitude or how the band / people behind operate and their beliefs …

Who was the first Adagio 830 artist/band?

 

That was Cole Quintet LP

Who is the newest addition to the label?

 

We are pretty stoked on Artefact from Cardiff where we just released their debut and Rank/Xerox, Dark Blue and Ruined Families we also just put out. Thats the latest stuff we put out … then we have the currently have the Rememberables LP at the pressing plant which is amazing. Its a band from D.C. that play super catchy shoe gaze feat. peeps from Coke Bust, etc.

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

 

there is a couple things. Def keep going, maybe a release a little less. We are pretty excited about the unreleased City Of Caterpillar LP thats coming out soon.

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