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 #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 #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 #24: Summer Special

strange timeWhat’s up my loves?

Didn’t take long; I’m back in Athens, melting in 40-degree heat, hiding in the shadows. Unpacked nothing but my overweight heart, storing the pieces for another day, sweetening the taste of fate with bitter drinks, music my oasis.

This 3-hour summer special was recorded a couple weeks ago but was I too busy moving countries yet again to post it. My need for consistency will no doubt prove useless.

Keeping it chill, with mix cuts, moody house, spacey electro, minimal techno, meditative beats, loner pop and lovesick jams to take you from sunset to night, or to keep your insomnia company.

Until next time, take it easy. With love from outer space,

—Obsessionist

TRACKLIST

KAITLYN AURELIA SMITH – By Your Side (Sade cover)
KEVIN MORBY – Come to Me
JMSN – Where Do You Go
JOHN LEGEND – Made to Love
DOME – To Walk, To Run
ELA ORLEANS – Myriads
PHILIP GLASS – Candyman Music Box
NURSE WITH WOUND – Black Is The Color of My True Love’s Hair
WOO – Don’t Delay
CYLOB – Foid
NILS FRAHM – Says
DONATO DOZZY – Vaporware
MARTIN ROTH – An Analog Guy in a Digital World
ARCA – Now You Know
KINGDOM – Tears in the Club
YUNG LEAN & THAIBOY DIGITAL – Diamonds
TA-KU – We Were in Love
SPOOKY BLACK – Without You
DJ HVAD feat. PAN DAIJING – Zhao Hua
DAMIEN DUBROVNIK – Arrow 6
CHROMATICS – Shadow
DESIRE – If I Can’t Hold You
KLICHÉ – Igen Og Igen
SAINT ETIENNE – Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Andrew Weatherall remix)
GRACKLE – Jungle (T. Keeler & Capablana rework)
SOLITARY DANCER feat. MARIE DAVIDSON – Emails 2 Myself
MARCO SHUTTLE – Olga
KOLLEKTIV TURMSTRASSE – Last Day (David August revision)
DAHU – RS
FUR COAT – Interstellar
DAMIAN LAZARUS & THE ANCIENT MOONS – I Found You (Patrice Bäumel remix)
TALABOMAN – Loser’s Hymn
PRAYER – Seeing
COMPUPHONIC feat. MARQUES TOLIVER – The Sun Does Rise
LOR – Factories 1984
AUTUMN – Behind You
BOY HARSHER – Pain

 

 

 

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

Storm Stereo #7

originalHello my lovelies!

“Sometimes I stare in space, tears all over my face. I can’t explain it, don’t understand it, never felt like this before. It’s like a heat wave!” And you would be right, because it’s Day 4 of boiling hot weather here in Athens and doing anything but hiding underground in such mind-melting heat is a challenge. I managed to get sun stroke on the beach the other day, so I am soothing my suffering with some cool jams from summer soundtracks past and present. It was the summer solstice and strawberry June full moon yesterday, so it seemed an ideal night to channel my energy into some chill sonic vibrations for you all. Download it here. (Let me know if you have trouble accessing the files, I will send them to you directly!)

On this show we move away from guitar-driven music, though there is some of it (have we met?) and venture through the cool hallways of electronic experimentation and beat-based composition. Featuring electronic favourites (that LFY remix is on repeat rotation) and guilty pleasures (if we have met then you know that every now and then I get hooked on some ridiculous radio pop song or other), we ponder the paradox of existence, explore and experiment with various concepts of love, stimulate the senses with hot textures and cold liquids and ride through this breeze-less night in cinematic style in search of some sonic relief.

This three-hour mix will no doubt extend its tentacles into many more pools of sound in future Venn diagrams to come. After all, the sonic psycho-synthesis of this obsessionist is as simple as it is surreal, the music chosen to both match and moderate one’s emotions, driven by the primitive desire to assign music to memories, and kept in check by that natural idiosyncratic inner metronome; that constant psychosomatic ticker, that keeper of carnal experience: the human heart. “Transfixed between rapture and anguish.”

We’ll resume next time with neu punk from around the world, selections from over 1000 years of female composers, LGBTQI hits and more! Until then, stay posi, stay strong.

With love from outer space,

—Obsessionist

Download it here.

MAX RICHTER – Summer 3

THE PRIMITIVES – I’ll Be Your Mirror

NICO – All Tomorrow’s Parties

OBSCURE BY DEGREES – A Woman Like You

SUICIDE – I Remember

THROBBING GRISTLE – Distant Dreams (Part Two)

CHRIS & COSEY – Obsession

LENA PLATONOS – Λαθός Αγάπη (Lathos Agapi, Wrong Love)

DZ LECTRIC & ANTON SHIELD – Experimenting Love

[QUANTIC – Time is the Enemy]

HEAVY METAL – Don’t Call Me Brother

DELACAVE – Uniform With No Brain

HYSTERIE – Service Secret

SCORPIO VIOLENTE – Uberschleiss

DECEMBER SOUND – Kill Me (Before I Kill You)

THE RAVEONETTES – Beat City

HEALTH – We Are Water

THE RAPTURE – Olio

[NU – Man O To]

FELIX DA HOUSE CAT – Free Love

PETRINA – Texture

BEN CLOCK – Subzero

THROBBING GRISTLE – Hot on the Heels of Love (Ratcliffe remix)

ZK – The Paradox of Existence

PAROV STELAR – The Sun

MOLLY NILSSON – Keep the Change (aMinus Drives in Milan remix)

LUST FOR YOUTH – New Boys (I’m Falling Club remix by Sean Ragon)

TAYLOR SWIFT – Bad Blood

MIA – Bad Girls (Nonsens remix)

MSSING NO – 124th

RIHANNA – Pour It Up

BEATS INTERNATIONAL – Just be Good to me (Chris Richardson Late Night remix)

RENNIE FOSTER – Devil’s Water

UNKLE – Touch Me (Rui da Silva cover)

JOHN CARPENTER “Night” (Zola Jesus & Dean Hurley remix)

ZOLA JESUS – Night

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN – I’m On Fire (Cousin Cole’s Bad Desire remix)

BAT FOR LASHES – What’s a Girl to Do