Posts Tagged ‘techno’

Aphex Twin’s SAWII in Echoes Podcast

April 25, 2014

Marc Weidenbaum Dissects Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II in Echoes Podcast

Selected-BookHear this interview in Echoes Podcast

I’m in a state right now where 20 year anniversaries don’t seem like such a big deal.  After all, we just commemorated the 30th Anniversary of Steve Roach’s Structures from Silence and the 40th Anniversaries of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells.  I think that divide might say something about how you feel about Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II.   If you’re on the far side of the divide, you, like me, might think that it was a fairly slight album, full of obviously derivative influences from Brian Eno, Jon Hassell, Philip Glass and old musique concrète and early electronic music.  If you’re on the nearside of the divide however, you might see this as a magnum opus, an album that signaled a new way of approaching music and listening, an ambient manifesto that is still resonating today.

Selected-II-200Author Marc Weidenbaum falls on the near side of that equation. He’s a music journalist who was an editor of Pulse Magazine for several years where I was a writer.  Now he publishes the Disquiet webzine.  Born in 1966, he’s perhaps just slightly too young to have experienced firsthand the early ambient music of the late 1970s and early 80s.   But Weidenbaum is an erudite and voracious music listener who knows his music history.  He thinks  Selected Ambient Works Volume II is so significant, that he’s written an entire book on it in the 33 1/3 series, also just called Selected Ambient Works Volume II. You can hear him talk about it in Echoes Podcast

Here’s one of the stories that was too long for the feature piece.  If you bought  Selected Ambient Works Volume II when it came out, there were no titles.  Only a matrix of enigmatic pie charts matched with enigmatic photos, usually very tight fragments of larger objects.  In print, the titles were simply “Track 1: (Untitled),” “Track 2: (Untitled)” etc. or just “#1,” “#2,” “#3” etc.  But now, when I put that same 1994 CD into the computer, Grace Notes actually pulls up track names like “Rhubarb” and “Grey Stripe.”  This is one of the stories Marc Weidenbaum tracked down.

MW: Yeah it’s funny, it depends generationally as to when you experience the record as to how prominent those titles are. The story of the titles, for people who are unfamiliar with the record, the way it’s structured is that when you purchase the album physically and it just came out on CD, and cassette and vinyl, there was a large image in the center spread that was a bunch of circles. And each circle, you figured out, correlated with a side of the album and the relative size of a piece slice of that circle helped you figure out which track was associated with it. In fact, it didn’t technically have word titles, one of the tracks, “Blue Calyx,” retained a title from being released previously by him as a single. But all the other tracks are, and including “Blue Calyx,” are associated with pictures that appear on this same center spread. And each of those pictures is of an object.
Early on in the record’s release, some fans recognized what those objects were and produced a list of them, and very quickly they became, for certain types of listeners, the way those tracks were referred to because it became very difficult online, which is where a lot of communication about esoteric music too place in the early and mid ‘90s, especially, to identify the pieces. There was, there became a shorthand, so you could refer to a track as “Domino,” you could refer as “Rhubarb” or “Radiator.”

And as for Grace Note, I was so fascinated by the way that those track titles are distributed that I tracked down someone from Grace Note, a very senior person on the editorial staff there. And she talked me through the process. And what’s really interesting is that the way that Grace Note manages that data kind of privileges these fan titles over the original titles because it’s very difficult in their database at the way it’s been structured since the ‘90s when it was first developed, to deal with null entries. And so it actually privileges names over null entries, so these words have gotten out there.

And just one little side note, as I was working on the, when I was working on the book, I looked at iTunes and in fact on iTunes in the middle of last year, the titles were still reproduced with these name titles, not with the original factual titles. And I tried to contact Apple to get an explanation and I never heard back from them, but very shortly after I got in touch with Apple about this, the album Selected Ambient Works Volume II disappeared in America from the iTunes record store and was gone for quite some time. And eventually it came back with blank titles. I don’t know if it was just coincidence or what, but it was fascinating that it went away.

Hear more stories of Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II in Echoes Podcast

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Foy-MirrorJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club. and get  Lyla Foy’s Mirrors the Sky, the April CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

OR
Pick Up 
TRANSMISSIONS:
THE ECHOES LIVING ROOM CONCERTS VOLUME 19

LRC19-250pxJoin us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind when Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours or Brian Eno drops a new iPad album. Or Follow us on Twitter@echoesradio.

Now you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line. Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

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Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Vol II at 20

April 23, 2014

Selected-II-200I’m in a state right now where 20 year anniversaries don’t seem like such a big deal.  After all, we just commemorated the 30th Anniversary of Steve Roach’s Structures from Silence and the 40th Anniversaries of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells.  I think that divide might say something about how you feel about Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II.   If you’re on the far side of the divide, you, like me, might think that it was a fairly slight album, full of obviously derivative influences from Brian Eno, Jon Hassell, Philip Glass and old musique concrète and early electronic music.  If you’re on the nearside of the divide however, you might see this as a magnum opus, an album that signaled a new way of approaching music and listening, an ambient manifesto that is still resonating today.

Selected-BookAuthor Marc Weidenbaum falls on the near side of that equation. He’s a music journalist who was an editor of Pulse Magazine for several years where I was a writer.  Now he publishes the Disquiet webzine.  Born in 1966, he’s perhaps just slightly too young to have experienced firsthand the early ambient music of the late 1970s and early 80s.   But Weidenbaum is an erudite and voracious music listener who knows his music history.  He thinks  Selected Ambient Works Volume II is so significant, that he’s written an entire book on it in the 33 1/3 series, also just called Selected Ambient Works Volume II. You can hear him talk about it tonight on Echoes.

Here’s one of the stories that was too long for the feature piece.  If you bought  Selected Ambient Works Volume II when it came out, there were no titles.  Only a matrix of enigmatic pie charts matched with enigmatic photos, usually very tight fragments of larger objects.  In print, the titles were simply “Track 1: (Untitled),” “Track 2: (Untitled)” etc. or just “#1,” “#2,” “#3” etc.  But now, when I put that same 1994 CD into the computer, Grace Notes actually pulls up track names like “Rhubarb” and “Grey Stripe.”  This is one of the stories Marc Weidenbaum tracked down.

MW: Yeah it’s funny, it depends generationally as to when you experience the record as to how prominent those titles are. The story of the titles, for people who are unfamiliar with the record, the way it’s structured is that when you purchase the album physically and it just came out on CD, and cassette and vinyl, there was a large image in the center spread that was a bunch of circles. And each circle, you figured out, correlated with a side of the album and the relative size of a piece slice of that circle helped you figure out which track was associated with it. In fact, it didn’t technically have word titles, one of the tracks, “Blue Calyx,” retained a title from being released previously by him as a single. But all the other tracks are, and including “Blue Calyx,” are associated with pictures that appear on this same center spread. And each of those pictures is of an object.
Early on in the record’s release, some fans recognized what those objects were and produced a list of them, and very quickly they became, for certain types of listeners, the way those tracks were referred to because it became very difficult online, which is where a lot of communication about esoteric music too place in the early and mid ‘90s, especially, to identify the pieces. There was, there became a shorthand, so you could refer to a track as “Domino,” you could refer as “Rhubarb” or “Radiator.”

And as for Grace Note, I was so fascinated by the way that those track titles are distributed that I tracked down someone from Grace Note, a very senior person on the editorial staff there. And she talked me through the process. And what’s really interesting is that the way that Grace Note manages that data kind of privileges these fan titles over the original titles because it’s very difficult in their database at the way it’s been structured since the ‘90s when it was first developed, to deal with null entries. And so it actually privileges names over null entries, so these words have gotten out there.

And just one little side note, as I was working on the, when I was working on the book, I looked at iTunes and in fact on iTunes in the middle of last year, the titles were still reproduced with these name titles, not with the original factual titles. And I tried to contact Apple to get an explanation and I never heard back from them, but very shortly after I got in touch with Apple about this, the album Selected Ambient Works Volume II disappeared in America from the iTunes record store and was gone for quite some time. And eventually it came back with blank titles. I don’t know if it was just coincidence or what, but it was fascinating that it went away.

Hear more stories of Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II tonight on Echoes.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Foy-MirrorJoin the Echoes CD of the Month Club. and get  Lyla Foy’s Mirrors the Sky, the April CD of the Month.  You’ll get great CDs and help support Echoes at the same time.   You can do it all right here.

OR
Pick Up 
TRANSMISSIONS:
THE ECHOES LIVING ROOM CONCERTS VOLUME 19

LRC19-250pxJoin us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind when Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours or Brian Eno drops a new iPad album. Or Follow us on Twitter@echoesradio.

Now you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line. Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

Banco De Gaia Mythic Sound

March 29, 2013

Banco-ApolloHear interview with Banco De Gaia in Echoes Podcast.

Banco de Gaia fired one of the first shots of ethno-techno sounds into the previously electronic dominated rave culture of the early 1990s.  Since then, he’s built a body of work by sampling the body’s of work from other musicians as well as sounds from the world.  There was always an element of musique concrète to Banco de Gaias’s approach and now, Toby Marks, the man behind Banco de Gaia, actually has a Masters Degree in electro-acoustic music. But Marks has always been a master of sound.  I talked to him about his new CD, Apollo and the art of sound bending in the Echoes Podcast.

~John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes On LineOlafur-Arnalds-For-Now-I-Am-Winter-250Sign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.  With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs likeFor Now I Am Winter.  Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club  and see what you’ve been missing.

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Bombay Dub Orchestra Remixed and Wrecked.

September 21, 2012

Bombay Dub Orchestra have been fusing eastern and electronic music for several years now and doing it with a grace and elegance that is unparalleled.   I still go back to their 2006 eponymous debut  album which sounds as fresh now as it did then.  Their mix of eastern modes and musicians, with  lush strings channeled through electronica and dub transformations, forged a sensual, seductive and enraptured  east-west exotica.

So why was I struck with dread when I saw the release of BDO’s album, The New York Remixes?  It’s because so many remix albums are just an excuse to use a name and a few exotic touches of an artist’s music to create dance floor grooves that by and large are generic. I still cringe when I think of the Patrick O’Hearn remix album, Mix Up.  So does O’Hearn.

So often remix artists take music that is delicate in melody and subtle and complex in rhythm and strip it down to four on the floor tom hits and handclaps.  I remember Thrash, then of The Orb, telling me that when they remixed Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, he wanted to speed it up so fast that it would be just a blip that he would use as a drum hit.  Inveterate hippie Alex Patterson wouldn’t have it.

“I’m thinking, this is semi-sacred sort of thing.  It’s got to be put on.  We eventually came to an agreement where we could have a backward one as opposed to a forward one.”

Still, you’d be hard pressed to find any of Mike Oldfields melody in their remix.

There are exceptions.  Solar Stone always seems to tap into a more serene aspect of any artist and the album of Ulrich Schnauss remixes, Missing Deadlines, is a wonder of anthemic drive and euphoric ecstasy.

But from the opening thud of Bombay Dub Orchestra’s “Compassion – Pivotal Movement Remix,” it’s clear that subtle will go out the window.  Three remixers take a whack at brutalizing this song. They all have something of merit.  Pivotal drops in swooning  bass,   loops several voices of the song into a canon and has some startling pressure drops,  but the beauty of the original is lost.  For point of reference, here’s the original:

Likewise Force of Change makes some interesting dubstep moves on “Monsoon Malabar”, but in the process ruins everything that was beautiful about that song.  With “Junoon,” remixed by EarthRise SoundSystemThe New York Remixes hits its nadir, with a generic hip-hop groove and forgettable raps by no less than three MCs.  Why does anyone think this is a good idea?

Sound Shikara seems to understand the moods of “The Berber of Seville” for a minute.  Not surprisingly perhaps, he’s from Oman, not New York.  But it isn’t long before he launches into a ferocious dub-step groove of doom.  The original “Berber” strings have little to do with the rhythms he’s created making it almost a Cagian “Indeterminacy Music” effect.  But I don’t think that was the intent.

Of course, you can go the other way.  Moby frequently, if not always, creates remixes of his music.  And frequently, if not always, he strips out everything that made the song interesting and turns it into vaporous ambience.  We went 5 or 6 songs deep into his Wait for Me album, but I could barely find a piece to play off Wait for Me, Ambient.  Same thing with Destroyed Remixed, even though both original releases were Echoes CD of the Month selections.

When you’re handed someone else’s music to remix, I think there should be an obligation to respect the original spirit of the song, to draw upon the best elements of the composition and production, but also  bring something new or discover a hidden facet.  Just turning a song into a dance tune just isn’t enough, and is not interesting.

Surprisingly Bombay Dub Orchestra have done some cool remixes themselves like their take on Juno Reactor’s “Pistolero,” Miklós Rózsa’s “Love Theme from Ben-Hur” and Azam Ali’s “Abode.”  You can hear several of these on the BDO website.

And completely aside from its intrinsic artistic merits, there’s no Echoes on this disc.  Where are the chill mixes guys?   Meanwhile, I eagerly await a new Bombay Dub Orchestra album.

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes On LineNow you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line.  Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

You get great CDs like Dead Can Dance’s  Anastasis  by becoming a member of the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Follow the link and see what you’ve been missing.

Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours, or Brian Eno releases a new CD.’

Orbital Never Say Never

January 17, 2012

After supposedly calling it quits back in 2004 with the release of Blue Album, the U.K. electronica duo, Orbital are on the verge of completing the inevitable comeback they began back in 2008.  A new album, Wonky, is set for April and they’ve already released a teaser single, a light, effervescent bit of alka-synth-pop called, appropriately, “Never.”  Orbital was one of the first groups to emerge out of techno with a sense of melody and a sense of humor.  Snivilisation remains one of my favorite electronic albums.  The 1994 release has been in my iPod since I had one.   Here’s a video for “Never” that drives home the already obvious link to Kraftwerk‘s “Autobahn.”  And there’s a link for a free download.

John Diliberto ((( echoes ))) 

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Beardyman Hyper-Kinetic Joy

October 4, 2010

There are DJ’s, beatboxers and techno-wizards and then, there is Beardyman.   For 38 minutes of pure unalloyed joy, watch him in this video and keep in mind, it’s all live.  I’ve seen some great Kaos Pad performances by Ulrich Schnauss and Jon Hopkins, but for pure kinetic energy, this one is unreal.   You have to sit through an opening rap, but then, Get Happy!

Thanks to Charlie North for the pointer on Facebook.

John Diliberto ((( echoes ))

Echo Location: Moby’s Wait for Me-July CD of the Month

July 1, 2009

Moby releases his best album in a decade, and it’s the July Echoes CD of the Month

Wait For Me It’s been ten years since Moby put out his multi-platinum selling album, Play. it became ubiquitous in films, TV, and commercials.   You’ll hear echoes of Play in Moby’s new album, Wait for Me,   a song cycle of personal reflection and heart-tugging moods.  Like the old field recordings he used on Play , its sound is dusty, scratchy and has an antique techno veneer. But even though he uses little vocal sampling, he writes his lyrics as if he was cutting and pasting vocals off old 78s.

Moby: I listen to a lot of very, very old music, And one of the things that I love about old blues and some old gospel music is how plaintive and repetitive they can be. And I guess because I listen to so much old African-American music, it kind of makes sense that when I would write my own vocals and my own lyrics that they’d be inspired by that.

Singers  Kelli Scarr and Amelia Zirin Brown (who also performs burlesque as Lady Rizzo) are the vocalists on several songs.   They’re little known singers, but they bring a vulnerability and world-weariness beyond their years to Moby’s music on songs like the title track, “Wait For Me.”

Moby: What’s expressed in that idea, “Wait for Me,” is a degree of vulnerability and longing. there is a spiritual connotation to it, which is that idea of like saying to God or to whomever, like I clearly have no idea what’s going on. I don’t know what I’m doing, just have a little patience with me.

Wait for Me,  is a deeply personal album, far removed from Moby’s techno dance origins.

Moby:  Wait for Me is made by me in a very almost monastic way in my studio by myself late at night. And it’s really designed for one listener. It’s not designed for a party, it’s not designed for 20 people in a bar or night club to listen to. It’s for someone lying in bed Sunday morning at 9 o’clock when it’s raining outside.

Moby said he wanted to make a personal album, and he did, but it also speaks to universal yearning.  Wait for Me is out now on Mute Records.  It’s the Echoes July CD of the Month and I’ll have a more extended interview with Moby about it on Monday’s Echoes.

You can read a full review of Moby’s Wait for Me here.
You can hear an audio podcast of this blog, with music, here
You can hear an audio podcast of this past week’s Moby Profile, here.

This has been an Echo Location, Soundings for New Music.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

 

Ancient Electronics from Pioneering Delia Derbyshire-Creator of Doctor Who Theme

July 18, 2008

In the days when electronic music was the province of dweeby men in white lab coats, pocket protectors and skinny ties, Delia Derbyshire was among the few woman twiddling knobs and slicing tape at the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop. This is so ancient it was even before the Beatles hit.
Delia Derbyshire
Among her many works were the electronics for the original Doctor Who Theme.

Derbyshire died in 2001, but a treasure trove of reel-to-reel tapes she recorded has just been discovered. There’s a nice article on the BBC site called Lost tapes of the Dr Who composer with several sound clips of her work and some nice quotes from Orbital’s Paul Hartnoll, who sampled the Doctor Who Theme on “Doctor? from The AltogetherThe Altogether

I’ve always found the Radiophonic materiel a little quaint and dated, even at the time, but their influence was profound for most British electronic musicians of a certain age.

Thanks to bpmf from the IDM list for the pointer.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))


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