Welcome to Sonosphere. On this special episode we catch up with a couple artists we’ve featured on our podcast to see how they’ve been faring in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic. First, we hear from producer and electronic composer Tara Rodgers, aka Analog Tara. Tara performed here in Memphis for our Sound Observation series a couple years ago in partnership with Crossotown Arts. Then we’ll hear from theremin master, musician and composer Carolina Eyck. Carolina Eyck is working on a project in Berlin and Tara catches up on some of her live stream shows, new music coming soon and what she’s been reading in this time of social distancing. I hope you have been safe and well. And if you’d like to share some stories or music with us email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
sonosphere · Shelter in Place with Analog Tara and Carolina Eyck
Thanks for listening.
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.
Sonosphere 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!
“….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
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!
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.
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.
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.
Get your tickets to the festival, June 22-24 in Memphis, TN: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/memphis-concrete-2018-tickets-45151261639?aff=efbeventtix
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
Has 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.
Who 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.
What 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 « N » and the sixth volume of the Wavecore series.
Memphis is set to host an experimental electronic music festival unlike anything we have witnessed. Robert Traxler curated a two-day festival, at Crosstown Arts, that showcases Memphis electronic musicians among other national acts. We were able to connect with Robert via e-mail and asked him a few questions about this rare festival.
Check out the playlist that follows the Q&A.
When/How did you start making music?
So, I joined band in high school under the impression that it would get me out of gym. That didn’t work, but it got me playing drums. Later in high school I joined a punk band. I’ve been more or less making music since then.
What is Memphis Concrète?
In the simplest terms, Memphis Concrète is an experimental electronic music festival. It is a bunch of musicians from Memphis and surrounding areas coming together with a wide array of different styles and sounds (ambient, dance, noise, drone, abstract, pretty, atonal, atmospheric) to put on an event where everyone is exploring the possibilities of sound and pushing in their own unique direction. So there’s the performances. There’s also exhibits during the afternoon that are free to everyone: interactive sound installations. There’s a screening of Forbidden Planet (with a live score in tribute to Bebe and Louis Barron’s original soundtrack).
When did the idea for Memphis Concrète come to mind? What was the inspiration?
The idea of a festival like this is something that’s been floating in the back of my head for a while now, at least as a kind of fantasy. Last year I helped organize a Bands for Bernie benefit concert and after it went off pretty successfully, I started to think about it in terms of something I could actually do. And hearing about other festivals later, such as Big Ears in Knoxville, thriving in places you wouldn’t expect, it helped bolster my feeling that this could work in Memphis. I think if people approach new music with an open mind and without expectations or preconceptions, they can appreciate the sounds at face value and enjoy what they hear as sound, even if they don’t have a vocabulary to understand it as music. I think it’s possible for anyone in the right mindset to understand sound on its own terms.
Why is it important to host a festival like this in Memphis?
I think it’s important for several reasons. One is that there hasn’t been anything like it here before. There have been plenty of thriving rock festivals here, which is great, but any music or art scene is only strengthened by new ideas and sounds. I’d like to provide a platform both for people who are into experimental music to find what they maybe don’t see enough of here, as well as people who aren’t into it (yet) to have an opportunity to approach sound in different ways. Selfishly, I’d love to see more of the bands and artists I love come to Memphis more often. Making this city a destination for experimental musicians starts here with the shows and support we give each other here. If we make an attractive and supportive scene for ourselves, then one hopes it would attract outsiders (but by that point, it’s really just a byproduct of something even better as you’ve already created “the world you wanted”). But maybe I just have some Field of Dreams complex. With or without outside artists though, more experimental musicians coalescing into a larger community will serve to strengthen our artistic experiences.
What is the electronic music scene like here?
My feeling is that it’s a bit fragmented. That may partly be on me as an old, out-of-touch guy. The Rare Nnudes label (from which Qemist and minivan_markus are playing the festival) has a pretty big presence in the realm of more beat-centric music, what you might call experimental dance music. I feel there’s a lot more people out there making experimental music than I know about. Even just putting this thing together, I’ve discovered a lot of musicians around town. If doing just a little bit of work has gotten me this far, I’m sure there’s a good number of people in this city making incredible, experimental music that I have yet to discover. My hope is for more and more shows to pop up around town. There’s this series called Sounder that’s being held at Marshall Arts, Aster and Cheap Spirits played that as well. There’s only been one so far, but I hope to see a lot more.
Was it important to include artists from Memphis?
Absolutely. I love that we have a good number of artists coming in from elsewhere, but “Memphis” is in the name of the festival for a reason and the majority of artists are from here. I want this festival to be focused on the community we’re in and what’s possible in Memphis. It’s fantastic to get musicians from other places coming through. I think that sort of “exchange” can help infuse a vitality into a scene and bring new influences and new ideas and new perspectives. But it’s the artists living here that are at the heart of it all. It’s the artists living here that we get to see grow and develop each time they play out. The people here are the people we see (or can or could see) just about every day and entertain us and inspire us anew every day. There isn’t a Memphis without the artists of Memphis. It all starts where you are.
Being the inaugural Memphis Concrète , where do you see this festival in a few years?
As with anything starting out, you hope to see it grow in the coming years. I see Memphis Concrète getting more high profile acts (famous as far as experimental electronic music goes). And while that’s exciting to think about, what’s even more exciting is thinking about the people around town that aren’t playing out now but who might get drawn out to perform at future festivals or shows around town. The bigger acts are going to be playing shows somewhere (whether here or not) no matter what we do. But if there are people here who could be making music and aren’t (at least not publicly), then I find it incredibly exciting to think about them starting to contribute something new and offering a new voice and, just by their presence, expanding what’s happening right here in our city. And I also want to stress that with technology being the way it is now, you don’t need big synthesizers or fancy technology (as awesome as that can be), anyone can get a variety of apps on their phones for almost nothing and make amazing sounds with them. It has the potential to make it all the more democratic and open.
Who are you most looking forward to see perform as a fan?
I have to start out with something of a cheap cop out and say (in all honesty) that I’m looking forward to hearing each and every musician that’s playing. It’s been an incredible experience putting this thing together and being blown away every single time I heard music by someone new added to the lineup. Okay, I know that though my feelgood response is true, it won’t completely fly for this question so I’ll bite and name some names. I’m looking forward to seeing Ihcilon who, full disclosure, is a old friend of mine going back years, but this is really a case where someone you know starts doing something creatively and it’s just so good that it leaves you dumbfounded. His style is quite ambient, very textural, atmospheric, sometimes brushes against something like musique concrète with layers of found sound.
Nonconnah have impressed me live before as well. Their sound is guitar-based but very effects-heavy and very ambient. Whereas Ihcilon’s sound evokes something like anxiety, Nonconnah is more introspective and soothing. Aster has been using synths to make lush, beautiful, ambient textures. I look forward to seeing Qemist perform, his ability to work deep textures into jagged, danceable rhythms is very exciting. Argiflex (from Cleveland, MS) works in a similar territory. Belly Full of Stars (from Nashville) has a soothing, glitch-heavy dose of ambient. manualcontrol’s set is entirely based on light sensors and audience interaction and I know that’s going to be a very special, immersive experience. snwv (from Pittsburgh) has a generative approach to music, that gives his stuff a conceptual sound that I’m really into so I’m looking forward to that a lot. Then there are a few of the artists who have never performed in a live setting before, and I’m beyond enthusiastic to see them bring out something new, into a new setting, that had only existed in the studio or at home. I always look forward to seeing that moment of emergence, when a new voice is added to the noise. There’s a lot to be garnered from established and well-polished artists, but there’s just as much to get from new and inexperienced artists. It’s more of a risk to give your time over to something you haven’t heard before (which is why nostalgia acts are always thriving), but in an area as open as experimental music is, I think it’s easier for new artists to develop a unique identity or fresh approach. Oof. I strayed onto a soapbox. Apologies. Anyway, I’m as much looking forward to becoming a fan as remaining a fan.