Storm Stereo #32: Along the Silk Road and Beyond

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 3.14.32 PMHello my loves and happy new year!

First Storm Stereo for 2018, and we start off our first hour with some current Greek electronic acts: PS Stamps Back, whom I saw live recently and was mighty impressed – definitely check out his releases and live shows if you can – followed by Athens’ dark darlings The Rattler Proxy, and a remix done by one-half of the Rattler, Lucas Savidis. Then we pay a small tribute to some current acts on PAN Records, followed by two highly inspiring, badass forces in techno right now, both of whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting (while trying not to gush), Umfang and Aurora Halal.

The second part of our show had been in the making for a while, and we explore diverse and unique musical traditions from along the Silk Road and beyond, with a one-hour set curated specially for Storm Stereo by my friend, painter and musician, Yiannis Panoutsopoulos (Sun of Nothing). Since we first met in 2005, he has shared with me unusual music from around the world and opened my ears to weird, beautiful and often rare sounds from remote locations and unknown cultures – so much so, I requested he gather some of his favourites in a set for your audio pleasure.

Starting in one of the coldest places on Earth, we travel to the snow-capped mountains of southern Siberia and visit the nomadic tribes of Tuva, with artists Radik Tyulyush, Chirgilchin and Huun-Huur-Tu, then explore Japan’s national instrument, the koto, with music by Zumi-Kai. The word koto might look familiar, as koto music was recently rediscovered by many thanks to YouTube’s algorithmic autoplay of this rather obscure record by blind koto player, Kimio Eto.

Afterwards, we delve into the rhythmic world of throat music (locally know as kai) from the Altai Republic, with songs by Alta Kai sung in their native Altai language and featuring native musical instruments, then move around the globe to listen to more throat singing, this time in Inuit by Inuk artist Tanya Tagaq.

We also listen to the Tibetan monastic choir Phurpa, and their ritualistic compositions based in the pre-Buddhist Tibetan Bon tradition, and revisit the deep and sorrowful sounds of Iran, with heartbreaking vocals (and moving strings and chords to accompany them) by one of Iran’s most respected classical singers, Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, and contemporary Kurdish-Iranian tenor Shahram Nazeri.

For me, however, the most moving track from this list was ‘Midnight Tale’, the collaboration between Tuvan band Huun-Huur-Tu, the Moscow Art Trio (who have collaborated with the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra, among others) and Angelite, the absolutely stunning Bulgarian Voices Women’s Choir. Perhaps you recall the sound, made popular by Stefka Sabotinova with this incredible song:

To close it off, we listen to Yiorgos Katsaros and his masterpiece ‘Vre Ti Mangas Poume Go’, a rebetiko whose chords and riffs are ever so slight but ever so powerful, piercing straight to the core of the wandering hedonist soul. For more Greek pre-war and diaspora rebetika, check out this excellent mix by Death is Not the End.

Discovering new instruments (whether old or contemporary) and hearing different approaches to music is definitely an obsession for me, so perhaps in the near future we’ll dedicate a show to the weird and obscure sounds of unusual vocals and native instruments.

Until then, apologies for the delay in the Bowie special that was supposed to air this week. It’s not the side-effects of the cocaine.

With love from outer space

—Obsessionist

 

STORM STEREO 33 TRACK LIST

DIRTY BEACHES – Love Is the Devil
PS STAMPS BACK – Todo los Fuegos el Fuego
ANTONI MAIOVVI – Autoguerra (Lucas Savidis remix)
THE RATTLER PROXY – Dead City
PAN DAIJING – Act of the Empress
STILL – Sound Boy Test (Interlude)
M.E.S.H. – Inspired by True Story
UMFANG – Where Is She
AURORA HALAL – Just Tell Me
CHROMATICS – Yes (Love Theme from Lost River)

Along the Silk Road and Beyond:
RADIK TYULYUSH – Intro
RADIK TYULYUSH – Er-le Changys
ALTAI KAI – Warrior’s Words
VLADIMIR OIDUPAA OIUN – The Girl of the Tes River
ANGELITE & MOSCOW ART TRIO & HUUN-HUUR-TU – Midnight Tale
MOHAMMAD REZA SHAJARIAN – Saz o Avaz
ZUMI-KAI – Midare
PHURPA- The Visualisation (Trowo Phurnag Ceremony)
SHAHRAM NAZERI – Mystic
CHIRGILCHIN – Igor’s Solo
TANYA TAGAQ – Qiujaviit
ALTAI-KAI – Koionok
HUUN-HUUR-TU & ANGELITE – Fly, Fly My Sadness
(Outro) YIORGOS KATSAROS – Vre Ti Mangas Poume Go

 

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Storm Stereo #31

Screen Shot 2017-12-27 at 5.41.30 PMHello my loves!

Last show for the year 2017, with our usual autobiographical mixed bag of tunes. We’ve got extinct bird songs, old cosmic synths, new minimal beats, northern electronics, a mini-special to Ascetic House Records, and more! You can listen back below.

Hopefully yall had a great time kicking out the old year and seeing in the new. I danced until morning to incredible techno music at a penthouse party overlooking Athens with a massive New Year full moon hanging in the sky — start as you intend to finish I’ll say!

Wishing you all the best for 2018; may it be a creative, revolutionary year! Until next week, I’ll be binge-watching The Expanse.

With love from outer space,

—Obsessionist

SS_31 TRACK LIST

TOTAL CONTROL – Cathie and Marg
KAUA’I ‘Ö‘Ö – Bird Song
RE TEU – Darling
CHRISTOS – Forever No
YUNG VAN – I Tried So Hard to Love You But You Pushed Me Away
LORN – Acid Rain
FLÖKOSH – Milkyway Casualty
ЛУНА (LUNA) – Free Love
HELM – Blue Scene (Laurel Halo Remix)
JOCK CLUB – Cruising the 110 (instrumental)
DIN – Saturate
SOREN ROI – When I Come to Die
GLOCHIDS – Mossoão
ISORINNE – 5:59
dE – Tabla Aneurismo
JON ANDERSON – Qoquaq En Transic Naon Taransic Co
ADVISORY CIRCLE – Winter Hours
THE BELBURY CIRCLE – Departures Int.
MANUEL GÖTTSCHING – Echo Waves
KLAUS SCHULZE & MANUEL GÖTTSCHING & MICHAEL SHRIEVE – Schwung
KOMODO KOLEKTIF – Djakarta 3001
THE BLACK MADONNA – He is the Voice I Hear (excerpt)
JORGE REYES & ANTONIO ZEPEDA – Wawaki

Storm Stereo #30: Greek Noise Special

kavvadiasHello my little freaks!

We have a very special show for you this time, paying tribute to contemporary Greek noise musicians and sound artists. This show was curated and put together by Andreas Kavvadias, and all acts featured are currently active in the underground electronics scene, which seems to be going nothing but strong. You’ll discover a variation of sounds, noise and melody on this show; from claustrophobic harsh noise and meditative drone to modular electronics, analogue beats and breaks, spacey ambience, and avant-garde experimentation. Three of the acts included (AZA, d E, PS Stamps Back) will be playing a live show tomorrow in Athens, and you can find more info here.

https://www.mixcloud.com/widget/iframe/?feed=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mixcloud.com%2Fnegativecstasy%2F%25CF%2583torm_%25CF%2583tereo_30-greek-noise-special%2F&hide_cover=1

The last couple years have seen many scenes and sounds resurface – history repeats itself after all – whether for the first time or as a second or third wave of regeneration, not least among them beatdown US hardcore, noise as art, experimental trap and witch house, African psychedelia, Arabic pop, Eastern EDM, early UK house, and minimal techno to name but a few. For me what was interesting was the rise of electronic music among punks. Sure, a lot of us have been listening to electronic music in all its forms since forever, but that wasn’t the case for everybody.

Whereas in the past, “shitty dance music” or “Eurodisco” was laughed at (two unfair blanket terms often used by punks I know to describe electronic music, often played after punk shows at European gigs), things have changed. Electronic music, be it funky disco house or heavy industrial noise, is increasingly moving from bedroom projects and house party mixtapes to indie radio shows and underground basement shows, with electronic projects playing alongside punk bands, headlining festivals and releasing material on typically punk-leaning labels.

Fine examples I witnessed recently are the B-side of Limp Wrist’s most recent record Facades, Pharmakon headlining (and perhaps polarizing) a punk fest, more and more punks getting into and playing techno, exploration and reissues of early electronic acts like Delia Derbyshire. I will attempt a future show with electronic (side)projects done by punks, so stray tuned if that’s your jam, and if you’re a closeted punk electronic music producer (whether you use analog or digital means) send me your projects  – I wanna hear them.

This is not to say punks weren’t listening (many of us have been) just that we weren’t necessarily congregating around or collaborating with our respective electronic music scenes the way we have done with punk. Things have changed and personally I couldn’t be happier. Surely the mix of punk and electronic music has been happening since the inception of both those sounds, and I find this crossover of ideologies, practices and ideas can only lead to better things.

Collective and personal electronic projects currently exist across most punk scenes around the globe – whether mixed with rap, techno, funk, disco, hip-hop, ambient, noise, folk, field recordings or anything in between. What was often (narrowly) misunderstood by a lot of punks to be a one-dimensional genre made of inorganic 0s and 1s (“digital computer music”) created by obnoxious, trendy DJs lusting after mainstream success, has been acknowledged as a diverse, driving and longstanding force of music history worldwide. And in part I think that’s because, much like punk, a lot of these underground electronic scenes are and have been independent and working on their own terms. When talking about techno for example, what was often thought of by many as a wannabe-mainstream genre made to satisfy drug-fueled party people with little taste for quality has in fact proven time and time again that it is an extremely musically varied scene with a rich history and astonishing output across nations, decades, formats, and subgenres.

Punk often closes itself off from other scenes, assuming it is the only one to function in an underground, anti-conformist and DIY manner, but that has never been true. Since the beginning, the global underground electronic scene (like rebetika, or early hip-hop and disco culture), has supported and amplified voices often silenced or marginalized, and operated outside the mainstream, creating communities of solidarity and havens of creativity. And while capitalism encourages the popularization and ‘legitimization’ of sub- and countercultures, that lead to their appropriation and ultimate erasure or normalization and control (the punk MET Gala a couple years ago was one inescapable example of the mainstream co-opting and capitalizing upon something it once opposed) I believe that this crossover, the exchange of information, experiences and knowledge ultimately creates and uncovers opportunities which might have previously been overlooked. Free the beat, “amplify each other.”

We live in dark times, but I read recently that perhaps this is not the dark of the tomb, but the dark of the womb. Much could be said (and better) about the history and impact (and future) of electronic music. For now I’m just happy I get to share some of it with you, and be part of a growing wave of interdisciplinary, global musical thought.

Until next time, do what you do with love and believe in yourself. With love from outer space,

—Obsessionist

SS_30 SETLIST

GRIM MACHINE – Untitled 12, from Heterodoxa (E.D.A. / E.C.T, 2017)
LAST DAN’S MOTE – Spoiled Penny’s Dream, from VA – Συνθετικό Παράγωγο, (E.D.A., 2015)
EMDY – Os2 da kos 4 Synchropainted Penalties, from Synchresis (self-released, 2012)
FUN WITH NUNS – Vinyl Side B Part 1, from Fun With Nuns (Wax / More Mars, 2012)
POPI’S ORCHESTRA – Once Again, the Dream in the Garden, from Popi’s Orchestra (B-Otherside, 2015)
THE ZYKLONS – Doxology I, from (Still) Unknown Traditional Music (self-released, 2017)
LOVE EXOTICS – Love Suite (Part 1), from Mediterrana 3 – Exotic Sounds From Athens (Lampros Tsamis Archives / Kworks, 2017)
CHRISTOS CHONDROPOULOS – Sequence of Three Stars, from Fingerpainting (self-released, 2013)
ADAM_IS – Mars Attacks (excerpt), from Mars Attacks (self-released, 2014)
KOSTADIS – Part 1, from Slumber (self-released, 2017)
COEL – Athens Fahrenheit 110 (unreleased)
DROG_A_TEK – I Sea Things, from Homeland (Inner Ear, 2010)
ΦEY – Ηχω 1 (excerpt) (unreleased)
ILIOS – Gis Mi Trovita Vian Lumon, from El Amor Es Mi Motor (Αntifrost, 2009)
PS STAMPS BACK – Περτούλι – Νεραϊδοχώρι, from Μουσική Για Διάσχιση Δασών (1000+1 Tilt, 2014)
AGGELIKI K. – ΕΛΔΧ (excerpt) (unreleased)
d E – Overload (unreleased)
AΖΑ – The Bitt (excerpt) (unreleased)
GRIM MACHINE – Exotera Schemata, from Heterodoxa (E.D.A. / E.C.T, 2017)
Z64 – B5, from Xtematic/Z64 split (E.D.A., 2016)
MEZZO COPRANO – The Four Of Us Are Dying (Retreat) (unreleased)
PANDELIS PANDELOPOULOS – V – Trio (unreleased)
LOST BODIES – Έτσι Μίλησε Ο Ζαρατούστρα, from Υποτροπή (Lazy Dog / Res Integra, 2002)

Storm Stereo #29

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 1.39.14 PM.pngHello friends and foes, lovers and losers

I don’t feel like saying much—though it seems I always do, even if the people I want to be listening aren’t anyway—so just a few words on last week’s show. I’m happy to include some highlights from this year’s Static Shock Weekend, which happened in the Old Smoke this past November. Its long and rich punk history aside, the UK at large has been a hotbed for some incredible bands in recent years, with scenes budding and blossoming from Brighton to London and Leeds and from Cardiff to Glasgow and Sheffield. Perhaps I’ll put together a UK special in 2018 at some point, stray tuned, send me your suggestions.

I just want to say a few words about Haram, the most poignant hardcore band in Nuke York right now – if not because of their catchy and driving hardcore music but for their potent personal-political message. Meaning forbidden in Arabic and with songs sung entirely in Arabic, Haram stand at a charged intersection, challenging but also connecting all sides of the Venn diagram they inhabit: identity, religion, punk, politics, history, perception, purpose to name but a few. After their set, I had the chance to talk for a few minutes with their singer Nader, who is originally from Lebanon. With a calm and steady voice, articulate and eloquent, he spoke to me about some of the profound and deeply human concepts that drive his lyrics: the Lebanese civil war and its atrocities, losing friends and family, having to abandon one’s home, being an immigrant in a deeply troubled and divided USA, being persecuted for racial or religious differences, the various physical and emotional by-stories that come with such an experience. His expression was so powerful and thought-provoking, I felt humbled listening to him speak. He said that trip to the UK for the festival had helped open his eyes to new perspectives and he repeated how lucky and grateful he felt to be part of such a nurturing and supportive global punk scene—something that for me highlighted the humanity us punks often try to shake off because being human usually hurts more than being a mutant freak. At the end he also said ‘thank you for giving me the space to talk about this.’ I almost teared up. And for me, that’s what punk is all about: that dense and difficult but real-as-fuck feeling, that gut-churning proof that what we do—with our music and lyrics, our show spaces and radio shows, our art and our collectives—really does speak to people, and really can change lives.

As you may have noticed, the second part of the show had a recurring Sega Bodega theme. He’s one of my favourite sound architects and producers right now (perhaps you know him from his magical Soundtrack Series on NTS radio) and he’s just self-released a mixtape with original compositions inspired by cult cinema. It’s a brilliantly perceived and executed body of work, and I liked it so much I decided to play three tracks from it, from the movies Ghost, Dogtooth and X. There’s something to be said of music that is simultaneously fierce and bold while also unafraid to be delicate and moving, drawing inspiration and strength from the dark and difficult corners of our own psyche. He recently performed some of these compositions at St Barnabas church in London and you can watch it here.

Also on this show we listen to Princess Nokia, a force to be reckoned with and a bright example of what the future of music looks like (hint: ‘bad bitches we run shit’), Delia Gonzalez, a composer whose mix of minimal keys and cosmic beats is perfect, Hiroshi Yoshimura, whose ingenious Music for Nine Postcards record was just reissued, and much more.

Next show we delve into the dark and damp world of Greek underground noise and experimental electronics, with two hours of drone, ambient, noise, harsh electronics, dark techno and much more, specially curated by Andreas Kavvadias (d E).

Until then, don’t you fuck with my energy. With bitter love from outer space,

—Obsessionist

 

STORM STEREO 29 SETLIST

DOM THOMAS – Tropicalia Dream
RAKTA – Intro
RAKTA – Atrativos Da Mentira
RATA NEGRA – Por No Estar Sola
EXIT ORDER – Mass Panic
HARAM – Not A Terrorist – ليست ارهابي
L.O.T.I.O.N. – Born in 1984
ULTRA – Porno
LIMP WRIST – Square One
NEKRA – Art School
RUNT – DWP
MONOTON – Wasser
SADE – Soldier of Love (Exotic Remix)
PRINCESS NOKIA – Brujas
FKA TWIGS – Two Weeks
POST MALONE – Rockstar
SEGA BODEGA – Ghost
SEGA BODEGA – Dogtooth
DELIA GONZALEZ – Roulette
HIROSHI YOSHIMURA – Blink
AYYA – Second Mistake
LENA PLATONOS – Thalassa
SEGA BODEGA – X
DJ RICHARD – Path of Ruin
RAÄR – Sometimes I Hear Sirens
ANTONI MAIOVVI – Revenge is Sweeter Than Wine
EMAK – Tanz In Den Himmel
LE SYNDICAT ELECTRONIQUE – Strawberry Flower
STEPHAN EICHER – Miniminiminijupe
FACTRIX – A Night to Forget
RAKTA – Outro
LIMP WRIST – In My Mind

Storm Stereo #28

Tate art ss29.jpg
Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Solar Catastrophe

Hello my loves,

Bringing you the first episode of Storm Stereo for InterSonik Net Radio, where you’ll be able to catch the show every Wednesday night, 22:00–00:00 (EET) on intersonik.net. I’ll also be DJ-ing some Storm Stereo faves on Saturday, December 23 at B-Side Bar, so come say hello if you’re about Athenstown.

On with the show! Included in this episode of Storm Stereo are a favourite by living inspiration Cosey Fanni Tutti, plus stellar tracks by Suzanne Cianni, Damien Dubrovnik (accidentally said Croatian Amor on air!) and Bill Kouligas, all three of whom played wicked electronic and experimental music festivals this year, such as Milano’s Terraforma, Berlin Atonal and Unsound in Kraków. PAN label-master Kouligas also recently played Plisskën Festival in Athens, as did Ethiopian jazz genius Mulatu Astatke (whom we also hear on this show) and both of them were superb, each in their own unique way – go see them if they’re coming through your town!

We also listen to a couple recent/upcoming reissues. First, an instant classic and perhaps my #1 record for 2017, Japanese instrumental minimalist Midori Takada (out on WRWTFWW Records), Solid Space, an early-’80s British duo who wrote a brilliant minimal-wave record packed with distinct and memorable gems (out on Dark Entries who are also helping with the much-anticipated Lena Platonos documentary λπ – Lambda Pi), and synth pioneer Pauline Anne Strom and her spacey synth ambient LP Trans-Millenia Music (out on RVNG Intl. Records).

Also on this show, the master Moondog because he’s always relevant, plus commanding and evocative tunes from Cameroon’s Hamad Kalkaba and Capo Verde’s Antonio Sanches, both from excellent releases (with incredible stories) on Analog Africa, a label with impressive consistency and quality to its truly original catalog.

November was a busy month, and not least because I went to London and saw great bands at Static Shock Festival (fest highlights set coming next week) and amazing modern art at Tate Modern (hello wall of Jenny Holzer wisdom!) and Everything at Once at 180 the Strand (field recordings project featuring sounds from this and other 2017 trips coming early 2018). The exhibit has been extended until December 14, I highly recommend you go and see it if you’re in London and have the chance.

So many inspiring pieces at this exhibit. Shirazeh Houshiary’s Breath, a mainly audio installation that featured Buddhist, Christian, Jewish and Islamic prayers, all played at once (one from each point of the compass, rising and falling in intensity),  in a small, almost pitch-back, square room.

Haroon Mirza’s Sonakinatography Composition III, a light installation that focuses on the sounds made by the changing electric current of the coloured lamps used, creating a beautiful and vibrant light and audio composition.

Arthur Jafa’s Love is the Message, the Message is Love, a beautiful, painful, moving, powerful (and I want to believe ultimately empowering) video collage/vision of contemporary Black America, set to Kanye West’s ‘Ultralight Beam’, that watches like a music video but speaks like a prayer.

Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla’s Solar Catastrophe (featured image), made from ‘discarded polycrystalline solar panel cells’ that reflect the light and change colour as you move around the canvas, highlighting the process of ‘greenwashing‘.

Tatsuo Miyajima’s Time Waterfall, with numbers from 1 to 9 projected onto a wall, varying sizes ‘falling’ at varying speeds, representing our passage through time.

Until next week… just be thankful for what you’ve got.

With love from outer space,

—Obsessionist

STORM STEREO 28 TRACKLIST

ULUKEN MELESE with MULATU ASTATKE – Wubit
HAMAD KALKABA – Astadjam Dada Saré
ANTONIO SANCHES – Pinta Manta
MIDORI TAKADA – Crossing
MOONDOG – Marimba Mondo 2
HALIM EL-DABH – Wire Recorder Piece
SOLID SPACE – Destination Moon
COSEY FANNI-TUTTI – Pussy Got The Cream
PAULINE ANNE STROM – Energies
SUZANNE CIANI – Paris 1971
DAMIEN DUBROVNIK – Arrow 3
BILL KOULIGAS – VXOMEG
MOONDOG – Pastoral

 

Storm Stereo #27

light stairsWhat’s new my darlings?

Another month gone by, another show comes to be. I feel like I’ve been living on double time lately, burning the candle at both ends cramming a weekend’s worth of work and play into each of my days and nights. They say if an object accelerates enough it eventually disappears completely and I can tell you the ride is exhilarating.

I’ve managed to get a lot done this month and have a couple cool things waiting in the wings. To start, this here show is also going to be airing on Intersonik Radio, straight outta Athens, starting December. You’ll be able to catch me break the silence every Wednesday 22:00-00:00 EET. I’ve already got an excellent From the Silk Road and Beyond set, curated by my old friend and world music scavenger Yiannis Panoutsos, an expressive musician and artist in his own right (he’s got an exhibition coming in 2018, more on that at a later date), I’ve got a soundtrack special half-collected, and I’ll finally get back into the pit with some new and old punk sets and specials I’ve been rounding up, plus your usual autobiographical sonic narratives. Expect more updates on all of that soon…ish.

What better way to jump-start my Second Coming than with Static Shock Weekend 2017? I’ll be in London for a week, so hit me up! I was going to do a SS Weekend special like last year, but Paco and Tom know how to get shit done and run a fest, so they already put together a wicked show.

As usual I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s get to the music. This show, we start off with an amazing track a friend sent me, come across by chance at a Hugo Boss fashion show! Not unlike the fashion world to tailor quality soundtracks for their shows and ads (from hip Victoria Secret all-star performances to Gucci coating its 2016 Cruise campaign in vintage Alive She Died) but ‘Confirm Humanity’ truly blew my mind. We follow it up with a trip to Algeria and the smooth, moving tunes of Lili Boniche.  From Algeria we move to Nigeria, courtesy of Steve Monite who came out of the blue for me – a romantic Afro boogie that has taken the music world by storm, thanks to this year’s reissue by Presch Media GmbH, who seem to have put out a tasty, eclectic selection of wax.

We also have two tracks off a superb, mixtape-like compilation featuring Australian underground and experimental folk artists, including Joyce Heath’s breathtaking chronicle of lost chances and bad timing, ‘Dream of It’ – a track so painfully honest and relatable it created a lump in my throat instantly upon first listening. On the same comp is Gary Davenport’s ‘Sarra’ – which was the accidental background soundtrack to a short video a friend sent me a year or so ago. For months the catchy lyrics played over and over in my head  – all 20 seconds I had access to. I was hooked, it was beautiful and haunting. I knew the song was supposed to be off a comp from Australia, but that’s about all I knew. I figured it would be from some obscure, impossible-to-find tape comp. After weeks of asking, searching, googling, singing to friends in case it rang a bell, I gave up. Months later I’m in a record store in Athens checking out Skygirl (I didn’t recognize a single artist, naturally it piqued my interest) and lo and behold, there it was.

Just today I found out Boy Harsher are coming to Athens, a band I am most intrigued by; a band that sounds like they time-traveled from the ’80 while still sounding very, very current. Also I swear the last couple notes from ‘Underwater’ are a Twin Peaks homage, hence the May Roosevelt theremin prelude to their track. Boy Harsher’s latest EP, Country Girl, is out now on Ascetic House Records – a label so unique and creative in everything it does, I’m blown away by their output every time, from the harsh noise to the ambient drone. An Ascetic House mini-special is already in the works, most probably to be accompanied by similar mini-specials to labels I think are doing a great job of documenting the present with their releases and aesthetic – part of a connected, global force of creatives who are pushing the experimental envelope across disciplines, from graphic design and audiovisual art to music installations and experimental performances. What a time to be alive.

We close it all off with the most spine-chilling thing I heard this month – Ataque de Caspar, an underground (cult?) band from Madrid that so fantastically encompass some of my favourite elements of Spain’s prolific and uniquely distinct experimental / post-punk scene in the 1980s: noisy and warm, direct and diverse, even delicate, rough around the edges but solid at the core, unafraid of honesty in both lyrics and expression. This sound, this aesthetic and approach to music, seems to seep through and across regional genres, locations and decades and it’s utterly enchanting, whether that involves twee noisepop acts or raw punk bands.

It looks like it’s going to be a busy winter. I’ve finally started doing something with the many field recordings I’ve accumulated over the years, so hopefully something concrète will come of that in the coming months. I’m also excited to be working with Andreas (Odos 55, dE – who has a new release out today) on a more electronic/sound architecture project, and to be collaborating with Víctor (Ciudad Lineal, Acción Diplomática) on an audiovisual little something. Also plan on DJing a couple spots around Athens, so come say hello if you see me.

Off to prep my set for this coming Friday, where I’ll be spinning wax (16:30 – 18:00) at Homcore Records in Sydagma. Drop by if you’re about town.

Practicing patience and compassion until next time.

With love from the omniverse

—Obsessionist

 

SS27 TRACKLIST

HENRIK SHCWARZ – Confirm Humanity
LILI BONICHE – Ana Fil Houb
RAY LYNCH – The Oh of Pleasure
THE ROBER WEBB SOUND – Moon Bird
STEVE MONITE – Only You
EDDIE KENDRICKS – If You Let Me
LOLLIPOPS – Naked When You Come
JOYCE HEATH – Dream of It
THE GAYLADS – This Time I Won’t Hurt You
PATSY CLINE – I Fall to Pieces
GARY DAVENPORT – Sarra
I, LUDICROUS – A Pop Fan’s Dream
YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS – Looking for Mr. Right
MAY ROOSEVELT – Fallin
BOY HARSHER – Underwater
DECIMA VICTIMA – Tan Iejos
ATAQUE DE CASPA – Viaje a Egipto

 

Storm Stereo #26: Leaf on the Wind

inmusicwetrust.pngMy dear darlings,

In between work and guests, weddings and insomnia, exhibits and readings, parties and DJ sets, another episode of Storm Stereo is ready. It’s been a busy month and October shows no signs of slowing down. For those moments when you just want to catch your breath, remember where you’re coming from—and maybe where you’re going and why but not necessarily—give this a listen.

“When you’re truly home there is no more suffering. No more leaf on the wind, no more crying. Crying to get back to where you come from.” —Harry Dean Stanton

First we remember the relatable hurt and truthful wisdom of Harry Dean Stanton, that multi-talented veteran cult legend who proved art imitates life even when we are nothing. We follow him up with the delicate chords of Francisco Tárrega, the man who—unaware of the annoying effects it would have decades later in movie theatres the world over—wrote the Nokia tune, but who was also a blind guitarist who helped revive classical guitar playing in Spain. The beautiful “Al Son de los Arroyuelos” by John Paul Jones only fits like a dream after that, a composition I came across by accident but which drew me in for its softly layered instrumentation. The upbeat (marimba? vibraphone?) keys in “El Oro de la Tolita” and the repetitive chords and moving vocals of Ethiopia’s Mahmoud Ahmed take us to our next musical eulogy.

Holger Czukay also passed this month, and while a whole show could be dedicated just to his own compositions, let alone those done with CAN, our pick speaks to how multi-faceted and colourful his creations were—as a student of Karlheinz Stockhausen it comes as no surprise. Back to the current world for a moment: multi-sound explorer Sun Araw visited our city recently, and wonky electro-dreampop Lapalux is coming soon, so I thought we’d give those two a spin, plus we have tracks by Youandewan and Calvert. Vaporwave veteran Black Banshee was also in town but alas I did not attend, so I’ll save those tunes for a special “futurism” mix.

Next stop is “Love on a Real Train” by Tangerine Dream, a band that rubbed musical shoulders with the likes of Bach and Pink Floyd, and which rubbed off on the likes of Bowie and Michael Mann—helping the former get clean in Berlin and ultimately affecting the sound of Low and Heroes, and scoring music for the latter, just one of about 50 movies Tangerine Dream made music for. Revolution of Sound: Tangerine Dream, a documentary about them, is currently airing at the AIFF, and while most of it is about Edgar Froese’s journey with the band, his opening premise is a simple yet potent one that sticks with you: there is no music, music is nothing but well-arranged sounds. Worth a viewing, if nothing to recall the many line-up changes (and subsequent shifts in sound), including the almighty Klaus Schultze and Ulrich Schnauss, to name but a few.

We move from planet earth back out into space, with fabulously cosmic vibes by old German space cadets Kosmischer Laüfer, then dig through our personal files circa 2004 with Zombi; then we move to “a disciple of the long-form cosmic synthesizer soundscapeSinoia Caves aka Jeremy Schmidt (remember that band Black Mountain?!), plus another chance discovery, this time with Amsterdam-based Mees Dierdorp, and two love-stricken, dreamily kaleidoscopic radio tracks by Gidge and Susanne Sundfør, the latter of which is goosebumps-inducing from start to finish.

We close the set off with two classics by Ben Frost (who will be in Athens in October) and Burial (because he always sounds relevant) but not before we listen to two masters of the deep, dark and sophisticated, Pan Daijing, whose recent Lack LP on PAN Records is a pure masterpiece of jarring, haunting aesthetics and beautiful, healing noise, and Arca, the Venezuelan DJ, songwriter, producer who has co-produced Björk’s upcoming record (!) among other tantalizing projects.

That Japanese special is still in the works. It’s looking like a multi-episode affair, covering a number of periods and genres, so maybe by 2018 it will be ready. Also, I’m hoping Athens’ sound-manipulator d E will be helping curate a Greek electronic / experimental / noise special, so keep your ears open for that too. Berlin, he’ll be in your town next week, go check it out.

I don’t know if good things come to those who wait—I’ve never had too much patience and waiting around for life to happen seemed passive—but I do know that sometimes, just sometimes, good things come to those who keep trying. Until next time, don’t be afraid to be yourself; the people who genuinely care about you will love you no matter how hard it gets.

With love, always, from outer space,

—Obsessionist

P.S.: In the rare event that you wanted to know what happened at that reading King Shot Press and I organized a couple weeks back, you can hear what I had to say here.

TRACKLIST

HARRY DEAN STANTON – Cancion Mixteca
FRANCISCO TÁRREGA – Capricho Árabe
JOHN PAUL JONES – Al Son de los Arroyuelos
THORNATO feat TARIBO – El Oro de la Tolita
MAHMOUD AHMED – Yefikir WUha Temu
HOLGER CZUKAY – Persian Love
SUN ARAW – Orthus
JUICY BANANAS – Bad Man
TANGERINE DREAM – Love on a Real Train
KOSMISCHER LÄUFER – Siegerehrung/Abschied von der Zukunft
ZOMBI – Orion
SINOIA CAVES – Forever Dilating Eye
MEES DIERDORP – Wiggin Charles
YOUANDEWAN – 1988
CALVERT – Unwound
LAPALUX feat. KERRY LEATHAM – Without You
GIDGE – I Fell in Love
SUSANNE SUNDFØR – Delirious (I Break Horses remix)
ARCA – Desafío
PAN DAIJING – Lucid Morto
BEN FROST – Understanding Why It Hurts…
BURIAL – Archangel