Friday, 24 September 2010
Clicks, pops, crackles and forward propulsion are trademark rudiments of Techno, a cocktail balancing act that threatens to be too monotone if in the wrong hands, or overtly excitable – and potentially disorganised - in others. Melodic conservatism takes the form of punctuation marks, coating the overall sound with a highly structured, sometimes straightforward glaze that becomes both the genre’s strength and weakness. In the grasp of Punch Music, we have desirable dissolution into the scented, cold mechanical atmospheres as much as warmer, honeyed yet strident dramatics that operate centred to the style’s modus operandi.
“Over G” collects four tracks that when listening one after the other, seem to defy time. It’s as if you’re lifted up off your feet like a flotation device, where the dancing blade is sharpened, bringing you down in the context of 3am at an abandoned warehouse rave. Pinning the release somewhere between Martyn’s maximalist Techno mixes, James Zabiela’s deeper selections and Monolake’s organic, heady and exuberant terminus, the work is paradoxically open-ended, allowing bubbling arpeggio synths to take centre stage on Oosh’s title piece, thick layers of percussion painting over a minimal bass chord on Nir Shoshanti’s “Awake Me”, and the ambient Techno sounds plinking and plonking underneath rigorous 4/4 and pleasing ringtone counter-melody on Muzarco’s “Light And Shade”.
Meanwhile, Omer’s “My Hands” digs harder against darkness, opening with a cactus-sharp parade of faded-in high-hats and seasick, purring-cat-on-a-treadmill bass rumble, siding with intoxication, before dropping into a ritualistic vocal inclusion: “Sometimes...” moves slowly like a hypnotic pendulum, before extending to “My hands are full of emotions”, palming off into a jacking rhythm. Whether you’re not a purist, or are in hierarchal self-righteousness, “Over G” is one of my more memorable insights into the Techno underground.
Photo: Dialogue, by Doc Ross
A collaborative mix by Muttley (SubVersion weblog: http://subvertcentral.blogspot.com) and PvC (Ambientblog weblog: http://www.ambientblog.net).
Both contributors start with a 20 minute part of the mix, then 10 and then 5 to conclude. In each part the contributor 'reacts' to the predecing part.
Part 1 - Muttley
00:00 David Tagg - Stele (Split with Hakobune, 2009)
09:00 Quosp - Pine (Soundscapes I, U-Cover, 2008)
14:25 Oneohtrix Point Never - Describing Bodies (Returnal, Editions Mego, 2010)
17:03 Kettel - Song From 4PM Herring (Myam James II, Sending Orbs, 2009)
Part 2 - PvC
19:29 Machinefabriek - Duotoon (Duotoon, self-released, 2009)
22:30 Ephraim Wegner - Flock of Sheep RMX (Audible Landcapes, Crónica, 2010)
23:53 Lost in Hildurness - Light (Mount A, Tónar, 2006)
24:57 Akira Rabelais - 1440 Promp. Parv. 5182 Wawyn [...](Spellewauerynsherde, Samadhisound, 2004)
26:31 Thomas Köner - E Dalmatinsk, Beograd (La Barca Special Edition, Fario, 2010)
27:09 Kyle Bobby Dunn - Dissonant Distances (Rural Route No. 2, Standard Form, 2010)
30:17 Balmorhea - Winter Circle (Constellations, Western Vinyl, 2010)
31:51 Francisco López - Fabrikas (Machines, Elevator Bath, 2010)
32:56 Drape - Cosmic Purces (Dream Words, Gears of Sand, 2010)
34:43 Field Rotation - Sleepless (Why Things are Different, Hibernate, 2010)
36:32 Machinefabriek - Duotoon (Duotoon, self-released, 2009)
Part 3 - Muttley
38:07 Robert Haigh & Silent Storm - Untitled (From The Air bonus CD, Seal Pool, 2007)
41:50 Stars Of The Lid - Articulate Silences Pt. 2 (And Their Refinement Of The Decline, Kranky, 2007)
45:43 Fridge - Our Place In This (The Sun, Temporary Residence, 2007)
Part 4 - PvC
49:28 Susumu Yokota - Blue Moon (Kaleidoscope, Lo Recordings, 2010)
51:31 Solo Andata - Myrmecia (Ritual, Desire Path Recordings, 2010)
53:51 Boduf Songs - The Giant Umbilical Cord That Connects Your Brain to the Centre (This Alone Above Else In Spite of Everything, Kranky, 2010)
56:57 Robyn Miller - Jungle Totem (Myst II: Riven Soundtrack; Virgin, 1998)
Part 5 - Muttley
57:57 :papercutz - The Gift Of Self (Simon Scott remix) (Do Outro Lado Du Espelho - Lylac remixes, Audiobulb, 2010)
58:33 Neu! - Elanoizan (Neu! 4, Captain Trip Records, 1995)
59:45 Zelienople - Parts Are Lost  (His/Hers, Type, 2007)
1:01:16 Roger Eno - The Parting Glass (Swimming, All Saints, 1996)
Part 6 - PvC
1:04:25 Sawako - The Town (Favourite Places 2, Audiobulb, 2009)
1:06:11 Frank Rothkamm - AAA (Alt, Baskaru, 2009)
1:07:55 Mashta Uirtu - Adrearium (Unbigoted, self-released, 2009)
1:09:53 Robyn Miller - Myst Link (Myst II: Riven Soundtrack, virgin, 1998)
Sunday, 19 September 2010
Photo: "Morning Guitar" by Peter Roome
“Exponents Of The Guitar” was inspired by my father’s plans to get lessons for the instrument – to advance his skills, and make the hobby more pleasurable. The tune selection – perpetuated from a sketched timeline of recently discovered cuts – Leo Abrahams, GYBE’s “Yanqui U.X.O” installment on Constellation – and older acquisitions, such as my favourite by guitar virtuosos Gordon Giltrap with Martin Taylor: “Green Lady”, the former I saw live at Alvescot Village Hall, Oxford in 2008, are paired and generally left to reveal their rewards.
This said, there are a few layered sections – notably the starting blend matures to four tracks playing at once, and the Giltrap collaboration work inherits a doubled scale of chords when blended with Zelienople’s “Family Beast”. From reverb-heavy washes – Robin Guthrie’s “Everlasting” – to folky acoustica – Rameses III’s “No Water No Moon”, “Exponents Of The Guitar” covers a lot of stylistic bases, and I feel privileged to contribute this to Headphone Commute.
Thursday, 2 September 2010
Photo: Leo Abrahams
“Embrace” embodies cherishing the moment and its temporary finesse, unearthing more controlled statements of logic, like error-correcting software stripped of psychic pollution, defunct cycles and non-confining angles.
00:00 Marc Doudin – Embrace (from Affection, Wise Owl Records, 2009)
01:56 Quosp – Green (from Soundscapes I, U-Cover, 2008)
05:19 Lamenter – The Magnamious Security Guard (from Sleeping Me, Phantom Channel, 2009)
08:13 Jan Linton – Buddha Machine Remix 1.3 (sounds from the Buddha Machine by FM3, unreleased, 2009)
09:17 John R Carslon – No Time, No Place (from Advent, Parvo Art, 2009)
10:03 Robin Guthrie & Harold Budd – She Is My Strength (from Before The Day Breaks, Darla, 2007)
12:08 Johann Johannsson – Theme (from And In The Endless Pause..., Type, 2009)
14:05 Leo Abrahams – Honeytrap (from Honeytrap, Absolute Zero, 2005)
17:50 Boards Of Canada – Dayvan Cowboy (from The Campfire Headphase, Warp, 2005)
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
We all know that listening to music changes our moods, and a lot of us listen to music all the time, when walking to work, shopping, even working in the office. But is the cognitive benefit still the same if we listen to music whilst performing a task? Are we hindering our work or everyday errands? How does listening to music we dislike affect our performance?
Researchers in Cardiff have found that listening to music that you enjoy whilst performing a serial recall task does not help performance any more than listening to music that you don't enjoy. The researchers made participants try to recall lists in presentation order whilst listening to five sound environments: quiet (with only occasional background sounds such as birdsong or nearby traffic), liked music previously chosen by the participant, disliked music (the track "Thrashers" by Death Angel which was incidentally disliked the most by all participants), changing-state vocals (a sequence of random digits spoken such as "4, 7, 1, 6") and steady-state vocal ("3, 3, 3"). Recall ability was equally poor for all music and changing-state vocal conditions. The most accurate recall occurred when participants performed the task in the quieter, steady-state environments. So regardless of whether they liked or hated the track, the music hindered their ability to remember items in the list.
This might be stating the obvious, but we maybe forget how much listening to music can distract us from what we are doing; the composers of supermarket or department store design it especially to distract us into forgetting what we are there for, to encourage us to mill around aimlessly in their shop for longer. I think that I studied for all of my exams with music playing; perhaps I ought to have done it in silence. I can only hope that the positive effect of listening to my favourite tracks counteracted any poor recall that I suffered.
Nick Perham, Joanne Vizard. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 2010; DOI:10.1002/acp.1731