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.

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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)

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Storm Stereo #21: Abstract Romanticism

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ss21Čau my loves,

There’s a lot happening around the world right now, but I have, no surprise, yet again dodged the radar. It’s nice being in a place where no one really knows you and you don’t particularly want to know anyone. There’s a refreshing, often underappreciated sense of space that comes from not understanding the language either – verbal communication drops, audiovisual and informational clutter decreases, and sound and vision take on a more fluid, abstract form. It becomes more about observing than interpreting.

Being in a new place is also the perfect opportunity to clean the slate – tabula rasa. We waste so much time doing things and being around people who are useless or even damaging to us; chipping away at our dented armor, getting under our skin. I’d rather be alone than around “most people,” and to compromise for the sake of strangers seems counterproductive. My head has occupied a different space to my body most of my life – seemingly never present in both the right time and space simultaneously – why come back to Earth now? Existence is just a state of mind.

This mix, we open with the stunning Mr. Piero Umiliani, whose collections of world and outernational music composition have shot way up on my wantlist for their diversity, arrangement and amazing cover artwork, some jazzy santouri by ehtnomusiocologist and Persian and Afghan music enthusiast Lloyd Miller, enchanting tropicalia by Brazil’s Pedro Santos, psych folk from India, lover letters from Prague and Neruda, modern minimalism (including masterpieces by Marie Davidson and Alessandro Cortini), old school beats (Omar S’s anthem ‘The Further You Look, the Less You Will See’ seems to echo my life status right now), my new fave pop boy Spooky Black, a new gem by Helm and much more.

That said, silence is nice sometimes. I like visiting the space it shares with sound, and hopefully these tunes pleasantly echo around your ears like they do for me when the noise of the crowd rings hollow. Until next time, don’t forget to love yourself and not the haters.

With love from outer spacz
—Obsessionist

Storm Stereo #21

PIERO UMILIANI – Nel Villaggio
LLOYD MILLER – Gol-e Gandom
PEDRO SANTOS – Sem Sombra
KISSOON RAMASAR AND FAMILY – Shiva Shankar Ho
IMAM BAILDI feat. SOFIA VEMBO – Poso Lypame
BARRY SISTERS – Franz Kafka in Love
BONNIE BEECHER – Come Wander With Me
SUSO SAIZ – Un Hombre Oscuro
TIM HECKER – Haunt Me, Haunt Me, Do It Again
WILLIAM BASINKSI feat. PABLO NERUDA – Melancholia II feat. Si tú me olvidas
THE CARETAKER – You and the Night and the Music
DON BRADSHAW-LEATHER – Distance Between Us
HELM – Blue Scene
MARIE DAVIDSON – The Voyage Out
ALESSANDRO CORTINI – La Sveglia
ION – Stay With Me in Dreams Forever
PUCE MARY – The Temptation to Exist
BODY SCULPTURES – Before She Allows the World to Judge Her, She is Entitled to Create It
VARG – Champagne Ceremonies
MECANICA POPULAR – Siempre Tú
SOMALI EXTRACT – Chains
OMAR S – The Further You Look, The Less You Will See
DEAD CAN DANCE – Yulunga (Alvaro Suarez Edit)
SAHALÉ – Nlreb Mra Alrrih
OSCAR AND THE WOLF – Strange Entity (Friend in Paris Edit)
PALMISTRY – Lil Gem
MSSINGNO – Baiders
ANSWER CODE REQUEST – Strange Days
CROATIAN AMOR – Keepers
BLADEE – Into Dust
ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER – I Only Have Eyes For You
SPOOKY BLACK – Remember Me
JENNY HVAL – Conceptual Romance (The Twinner Eccomix)
TRIAD GOD – So Pay La
JOE MCPHEE – Cosmic Love Organ Alone

Storm Stereo #19: Constant Flux

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What’s up my loves?

Spring has arrived in Athens and with it come some mad tunes. Even though March started out really low, by month’s end I was so high I was moving through the stratosphere. And what better place to be? Taking the new season into account, and with a general concept of new beginnings in mind, here’s a new mood spring mix sans words – from smoky night clubs in lover’s rock corner to drunken jazzy daybreaks across the sonic fourth world. “I love my dreams so I’m going back in.”

Everything is in constant flux, from state to state, from good to bad and back again… only in transmutation, perpetual motion, lies truth. —Asger Jorn

Because I’ll tell you, life is odd and unpredictable and ironic and surreal. You can work and worry yourself sick over something (anything, most things) and yet it feels like nothing will budge. Then one day, around give-up o’clock, by some inconsequential orchestration of events, a force that had been orbiting your stony existence cuts across your trajectory – and the world comes to a screeching halt, and the pigeons scatter, and the noise dies down. In truth it had always been there, living in your blind spot, but only now does it come into full view. And thus everything changes after all.

For those elevated, dimension-shifting moments, and until the noise returns, some musical thoughts.

With love from outer space
—Obsessionist

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STORM STEREO #19 – Constant Flux Spring Mix

MUSIC BOX – 恋の予感 (Koi no Yokan)
FLORA YIN-WONG – Lugere
FINK – See It All (EMIKA remix)
MR. MITCH & PALMISTRY – VPN
ENRIQUE IGLESIAS – Ring My Bell (Big Zouk remix)
MADEINTYO & 24HRS – You
AVRIL – Company
DRAKE – Lose You (instrumental)
伊藤隆太 (RYUTA ITO) – 恋の予感 (安全地帯 [Anzen Chitai] cover)
ASA-CHANG & JUNRAY – Hana
MIDORI TAKADA – Crossing
CHARLES MINGUS – Myself When I’m Real
MILES DAVIS – I Fall In Love Too Easily
SUN RA – That’s How I Feel
THE COSMIC RAYS & SUN RA AND ARKESTRA – Dreaming
BROWN SUGAR – Hello Stranger
ALTOS ELLIS – You Make Me So Very Happy
PHYLLIS DILLON – Living in Love
ARTHUR ALEXANDER – Where Have You Been All My Life?
TIMMY  THOMAS – Why Can’t We Live Together?

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All illustrations by Bjenny Montero.

Storm Stereo #17: Deep Listening

Inspired by and in memory of Pauline Oliveros and her concept of deep listening, I prepared a show sans commentary. What’s the point of words anyway?

“When I like something, then I discover something that I have been before, that is profoundly already within me. It resonates, like a piano that you hit.”

—Karlheinz Stockhausen on music

“When I hear what we call music, it seems to me that someone is talking – and talking about his feelings or about his ideas of relationships. I don’t need sound to talk to me.”

—John Cage on silence

Our individual probability of existing right now is 1 in 550,343,279,001. Don’t waste time on fear; you never know when you’ll be back at zero.

With love from Cygnus X-1

—Obsessionist Continue reading Storm Stereo #17: Deep Listening