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Archive for May, 2011

Bleep Investigates…
Amon Tobin and Tessa Farmer

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To mark the release of ‘ISAM‘, the much anticipated seventh album from electronic pioneer Amon Tobin, the vaults of the Crypt Gallery underneath St. Pancras Church have been transformed into a fantastical underworld made up of unnerving yet beautiful scenes of alien-like life forms. The installation, part of a collaboration between Tobin and the British artist Tessa Farmer, unites elements of the forthcoming album together with Farmer’s detailed sculptures made from dead insects, bones and other natural materials to create an immersive experience that questions our preconceived ideas on how familiar materials can be used. The concept speaks as a response to Tobin’s explorations in to the synthesis of field recordings, acoustic modelling and multi-sampling techniques.

Farmer’s delicate creatures hover mid-air suspended from the ceilings whilst tracks from ‘ISAM’ play out to create a bewildering atmosphere. Various rooms depict tracks from the album, such as ‘Kitty Cat’, a track in which Tobin’s voice has been radically distorted to resemble that of an elderly lady and where Farmer responds with her interpretation of a cat’s carcass that has been invaded by an army of creatures including tarantulas and sea urchins to form an arresting image.

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BLEEP Q&A WITH AMON TOBIN:

Bleep: How did the collaboration with Tessa Farmer come about?

Amon Tobin: She came to me in a dream. Like Joan of Arc towering over me, her flaxen locks fluttering in the wind against a glowing backdrop of molten lava. she spoke to me in a voice like thunder and said “hey like we should totally get together and do a show or something”. I was all like “totally”.

Bleep: The organic element and ideas such as situationism are themes that arise in both yours and Farmer’s works, can you explain in more detail what relation her work has to your new sound explorations?

Amon Tobin: We both try and make impossible things from ordinary materials. there is a great deal more to Tessa’s work but this is something I think we have in common and is why it made sense to me to collaborate. Aside from that, I just find what she does to be very beautiful.

For my part I see a lot of potential in building something unfamiliar from familiar materials. It’s what first got me into sampling when I first started making music. this album takes things further out along those lines. The instruments and sounds are made up into things you can play. They are grounded in traditional models for instruments but they often do things real instruments can’t do. e.g. I took my own voice and modified it for the harmonies and vocals on the record to sound female.

Bleep: In ISAM you have moved on from sampling to focus more on the synthesis of field recordings. Can you tell us a little more about the production process behind the album?

Amon Tobin: It’s all still sampling to me really because sampling was never about the source material as much as it was about the new role a sound or a break played when put in an alien context. There is this conflict between where the sound wants to go and where you take it that produces a strange dynamic and this is what I’m really interested in.

ISAM is music first but also a combination of ideas on how to make new sounds. one process was based on spectral synthesis. An audio source is analysed into it’s spectral properties then assigned various morphing, pitch and timbre variables that react to cc events on a midi controller.

It’s not all about synthesising my own recordings though, I used a range of things. Sometimes I used multisamples instruments which preserve the tonal quality of sounds far better than when you synthesise them. Sometimes I used plain old synthesisers and plug ins too. I usually get the best results when I mix different approaches to anything together.

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BLEEP Q&A WITH TESSA FARMER:

Bleep: Amon Tobin and yourself share much common ground, for instance in the way you both explore how familiar materials can be put to different uses aside from what we are accustomed too. In comparison with much of your past work what elements have you had to adapt in order to imagine this collaboration with Tobin?

Tessa Farmer: Myself to an extent- i am a bit of a control freak, very protective of the world i create and was nervous about letting other people in! I developed a narrative in response to the album, which is not something I’ve done before/ in advance – this normally happens and evolves as I make the work- i try not to plan too much ahead, as materials (mostly found, scavenged) so often influence what happens.

Bleep: Aside from the collaboration with Tobin what forms of music inspire you and your work?

Tessa Farmer: When i work i listen to Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, Leonard Cohen, Ella Fitzgerald, Queen and ABBA.

Bleep: The majority of your work is so minuscule that only a magnifier can show the viewer the depth of detail and craftsmanship that has been carried out. Can you talk us through a little about the process that brings your creatures to life?

Tessa Farmer: I actually don’t use magnifiers in the exhibitions any more- I like the viewer to work! I think close close inspection provides a deeper engagement, and i want the viewer to see beyond craftmanship, that’s not what the work is about – i want them to engage in the story, in the world of the fairies.

But on a practical level, I build the fairies out of plant roots, using tweezers, scissors and superglue- much like a 3D jigsaw- the skulls are made from bits of earth, soaked in glue, carved into a cranium shape with facial bones made from roots stuck on.

Bleep: Can your work be seen as a conscious comment on the relationship between nature and humans and therefore a statement on the neglect and destruction of nature or is it purely fantastical?

Tessa Farmer: For me it’s purely fantastical- the reality is the wonder of the natural world, not a comment on our destruction of it… nature is wonderfully, beautifully harsh and shocking at times- my work reflects this and the struggle for survival that it an alien concept for most humans – i am fascinated by how life has evolved to adapt to every niche on the planet… there is simply so much to learn it is mind boggling and truly engaging.

ISAM: Control Over Nature installation runs from 26th May – 5th June at The Crypt Gallery.
ISAM is available to buy now on Bleep.

Words / interview by Laura Humphries
Photos of exhibition by Laura Humphries / Margot Didsbury

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Bleep Interviews
Unknown to the Unknown

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Recently, we ran a ticket competition for a forthcoming Unknown to the Unknown party in London hosting a performance by Dopplereffekt… We don’t know much about Unknown to the Unknown other than that it is run by producer DJ Haus of Hot City, also known as… errr… Unknown to the Unknown.

We decided to speak to the man himself to see what this is all about.

Bleep: Can you tell us how UTTU came about and the idea behind it?

UTTU: Sure, well it’s influenced by science fiction, squidgy black, Amsterdam and my new drum machine. It’s a multi-faceted (is that a word?) thing. The tracks are intended as snap shots of ideas, whereas Hot City is produced in a studio where I can pump shit out loud, the UTTU is the sound is more of a lo-fi / sci-fi rougher sound
specifically for you tube…

Which leads me on to my youtube channel which is probably the thing that’s most exciting me right now, more than making music or DJing.. I’m posting tunes from various artists whose permission I have such as Dem 2, Surkin, Slackk, Brassica, Ali Renault + many more. You can check the YouTube playlist I made for Bleep here: Just hit play and it plays all the songs continuously, you can also listen on a iphone or smartphone..

Then there’s the soundsystem which I do with my mate mackaveli… we have done club takeovers from Coccon Frankfurt , Geneva to Ibiza and our first London show is coming up on the 3rd June with Dopplereffekt+ many more. You can buy tickets for that here.

UTTU Bleep playlist:

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B: The first release was a collaborative effort between you and Drexciya DJ, Stingray. Can you tell us how this happened and how you go about making the tracks?

UTTU:It wasn’t really a collaboration, I’d booked him to play in London but he had to pull out, so he ended up doing a remix for the first EP, and that has led to us meeting up in London at the UTTU Boiler Room show.

Then we ended up collaborating on a couple of tracks which I’m currently finishing off, they’ll be coming out in the summer I hope. Writing at 150 bpm is fucking tricky for me so it was good fun and I got pretty high.. the whole thing was pretty surreal actually…

B: We’ve heard a rumour that there’ll be a release from cult Chicago-based producer. Marcus Mixx. Please tell us more!

UTTU: One of Marcus’s best friends Vern English AKA Alias G, who has released some hip hop albums on TRAX back in the 80s laid down some hot vocals on the last UTTU release ‘Mystery Dragon’…

It was never the plan to release other people’s music, but when you have the opportunity to release songs about cheese and oral sex from a drunk Chicago house legend that‘s pretty hard to pass on…

B: Have else do you plan to collaborate with / release music from in the future?

UTTU: I have what I think has the potential to be a really big record from Capracara called Silvia Solar, backed with a Hot City remix dropping in June + an EP from Dubbel Dutch and more DJ Haus & UTTU tracks.. Me and Ali Renault have started some bits, just trying to find enough time to fit it all in..

Apart from that the new Hot City ‘Soundz Of Da Clubb’ EP is something I’m really proud of, first and foremost the majority of music I listen to is UKG & House music… I’ve been listening to Detroit techno & electro for yonks but only recently have I started to really obsessed with it all on the level that I am with UKG.. I love how you can suddenly become obsessed with something that’s been around you for ages but never fully grabbed you before..… that’s really what UTTU is about I guess….

Bleep is looking for an intern…

Website: http://bleep.com
Based: Kentish Town, North London
Contact: jobs@bleep.com
Expenses: Travel Expenses only
Length of placement: 2 months + minimum.
Hours: 10am – 6pm / 2-3 days a week.

Bleep is looking for a bright, enthusiastic intern to join the team for a minimum of 2 days a week for a minimum of 2 months to assist in content and label management, and marketing. The role would be split into separate departments of the Bleep team, so we require a candidate who is both flexible, a quick learner and able to handle a variety of responsibilities within the company.

Part of the weekly duties will be working under the guidance of the Label Relations Manager. This will involve immersing yourself in the Bleep catalogue and assisting in ensuring it is catalogued and maintained to a high standard. All we require is a genuine passion for music and a desire to work in the digital sphere. However advantageous skills include, a high level of ability using computers including HTML/XML/CSS, a wide knowledge of music and attention to detail.

The remainder of the week will be reporting to the Marketing Manager to discuss workloads, task-lists and priorities on a daily basis.

Typical Tasks will include:
1. Helping organise the output of the weekly Bleep podcast
2. Assisting with the creation of newsletters
3. Assisting with creation of features / editorial
5. Editing audio and visual assets for marketing campaigns

A successful candidate will display:
- A high level of literacy
- The ability to familiarise oneself quickly with new computer software and technologies
- A passion for both music and the internet.
- A desire to learn more about working in online music
- A knowledge of the digital music landscape

To apply, please send a CV to jobs@bleep.com. We will get in touch if we think you could be suitable.

Win tickets to see Dopplereffekt

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Unknown to the Unknown
are a force to be reckoned with… You’ll be hearing more about them soon on the Bleep Blog and store…

However, in the meanwhile – they are doing a party in London on the 3rd of June and have Dopplereffekt headlining. The line-up is pretty serious.

DOPPLEREFFEKT (live)
plus UTTU SOUNDSYSTEM FEAT:

ALI RENAULT / DJ HAUS (HOT CITY) / MACKAVELI / RAF DADDY (1 BEAR) / SLACKK / FAKTION DJ (BOOMKAT) / BRASSICA (LIVE) / CAPRACARA (DFA) / COCADISCO DJS / COUNT CHOC (5 EASY PIECES) / WIFEY DJs + MUCH MORE!

Friday 3 June @ XOYO, London
More details here: http://www.xoyo.co.uk/events/gigdetails/3-jun-11-dopplereffekt-live-xoyo/
Facebook event here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=105045876247959

We are giving away a pair of tickets. To win simply email competitions@bleep.com and tell us what a “dopplereffekt” is.