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!

Press Play: Analog Tara

This month the Press Play mixtape features Tara Rodgers, aka Analog Tara. Tara is a multi-instrumentalist composer and historian of electronic music and sound who produces techno tracks using analog sound sources.

This is a mix of Analog Tara tracks from the album At the Switch Hotel from 2003, written, performed, and produced by Analog Tara on synths, drum machines & more.

Tara Rodgers is a former Sonosphere podcast guest, and we are big fans of her book, Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound. The book features 24 interviews with 24 women from the electronic music genre.

Rodgers originally hails from upstate New York and is now based in the Washington, DC area. She earned an MFA in Electronic Music & Recording Media at Mills College and a PhD in Communication Studies at McGill University.

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She’ll be presenting a free, open to the public artist talk at noon on the Crosstown Concourse Theater Stair on March 31. Later that night at 8 pm (doors at 7:30 pm), she’ll perform original compositions in Crosstown Arts’ East Atrium, including tracks from her new Fundamentals EP, out this spring on the DC label 1432R.

The performance is a ticketed event with a cash bar. Tickets are $12 and available on
Eventbrite: https://tinyurl.com/y82m3v7e

This is the first performance in Sonosphere’s Sound Observations series. This four-part series will highlight new explorations in sound through lectures and performances by musicians, composers, and scholars from across the country. Join us as we explore the sounds all around us.

Enjoy the mix:

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.

 

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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. 

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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.

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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