Archive for the ‘Randomness’ Category
We recently were lucky enough to come across the work of a man called Felix… Felix makes machines and with these machines, he makes music. He has collaborated with Plaid and he has just recently released an EP of his work entitled… Felix’s Machines.
We caught up with the man to ask him about his machines and he also supplied us with a brilliant video showing exactly what the machines do…
Bleep: Who is more responsible for the music, Felix or the Machines?
Felix: The machines are hand-built devices that often create some unexpected mechanism noises. I compose MIDI sequences on a laptop but their physical location and condition determines how they sound, which impacts the way I write the music. As an ensemble of instruments, timings and timbre need to be adjusted to suit specific spaces. Essentially, I write the music but the state of the machines provides a set of rules. I find it helpful to work with this limitation as a guideline for composition.
B: Tell us a bit about the growth of the machines…
F: I started using a rudimentary set of materials. These were taken from wooden piano mechanisms, and I used springs and solenoids salvaged from scrap electronic devices such as typewriters. Over time I’ve got better tools and have added more metallic parts to the machines. I’m gradually learning about materials and ways they’re engineered, and as I do the machines are upgraded.
B: What influences would you say have brought you to where you are today?
F: Melodic/chaotic electronica has influenced me. In particular Plaid, Autechre, Aphex, Squarepusher, Venetian Snares. Visually I like Kinetic sculptures, Futurists, Cubists and Surrealist styles.
B: What is the on the Machine’s rider?
F: Depends on the performance space. For a gallery all the sounds are acoustic and the setup can take a range of forms. Live amplified setups require a selection of mics and careful mixing to ensure there’s no feedback. It takes a day or ideally two to setup. And it needs to be dark.
B: Who would you and the Machines most like to collaborate with?
F: I’ve collaborated in two live performances with Plaid and we’re looking to do more. It would be great to hear other artist’s music composed for the machines, but it can take a while. The machines definitely have a their own characteristics, probably a bit like learning an instrument. Aside from the music side I’d like to expand my designs by collaborating with a company who build drum kits.
B: What plans have you got for the future?
F: My time has recently been taken up with various commission work for brands, but at every given opportunity I keep building and recording the machines. I hope to start putting together another release next year with newer more powerful machines.
This week, a brand new label emerged. Promising in output and vision, the name of the label is Public Information. It is run by Alex Wilson (who you may know from our very own Bleep podcasts) and good friend and former colleague – Lionel Skerratt. We decided to speak to Alex about what we can expect in the near future…
Bleep: Can you tell us the story behind Public Information? From what den of esotericism did the label spring from?
Alex Wilson: Public Information started as a germ of an idea about eighteen months ago, sitting in the bowels of a global Sound Archive. Four million records, the nation’s collection. Many never heard of, never found, never blogged about, never released… sounds that had to rise again. We have some of these lined up. But we also love New Music, so I enlisted the help of close colleague – Lionel Skerratt…
We are thrilled by the possibility of a catalogue that sits electronic tape-loops from 1957 beside next-wave 4/4 techno. Sweet Somalian pop music from 1982 in a cat-number frisson with blackest sci-fi drone, 70’s Library Music nestled on the shelf with contemporary cut-paste disco… subconscious links across decades, continents, tones, textures.
Public Information Influences:
B: What statement of intent best sums up the Public Information music policy?
AW: A survey of electronics… noise… psych… industrial… house… dub… wyrd-pop… library… techno… art… design from the last seven decades… 1950-Tomorrow. New-Archive. Light-Dark. This may be a good starting point, but this is not the end. If it feels good, sounds right, genre means little to us.
B: How did the collaboration with Gatekeeper’s Aaron David Ross come about?
AW: We approached the brilliant Elon Katz of (Whitecar, Streetwalker) about reissuing a micro-run cassette he made called The Pylori Program (Catholic Tapes) a little while ago. During such discussions he hipped us to a record his friend from Chicago was making. Whilst we were fans of Aaron’s Gatekeeper material the stuff he submitted as ADR was much more suited to Public Information. Perfectly as it turned out…
B: Why the name “Public Information”?
AW: A long, long, arduous process in Hackney hostelries… torn up bits of paper… spilt beer…strange combinations of words… periods of gestation… terrible combinations of words… some more gestation….
Then one dark, wet Tuesday night… two words felt right / gathered the least laughter from our associates. Public Information.
It was either that or ‘Warboys’…
B: Were you in any way inspired by Mordant Music’s exploration into Public Information films from the 70s and 80s when choosing a name for the label?
AW: Labels and artists that we admire greatly such as Mordant, Ghost Box, Café kaput, Broadcast, are devout followers of that classic wave of Public Information films from the 70’s and 80’s. Undeniably creepy images, great soundtracks, a golden era of unease…
However we were too young to be freaked first-hand, inspired by these films. Youtube serves as our only portal, not memory. In all honesty, Prodigy sampling the Charly Says… Public Information film was probably more of a direct influence.
We’re personally more drawn to the images of a time longer ago, way before ours… the 50’s and 60’s of Lindsay Anderson, John Krish, John Schlesinger, the films of the C.O.I. To the sounds of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, The Philips Studio, Scott, Morricone, Ortolani, Moog, re-shaped, landcruising down a rain slicked Detroit highway.
B: Following on from the ADR release is an EP from Canada’s No UFO’s, can you tell us a bit about that release and what else the future holds for Public Information?
AW: No UFO’s is a young man from Vancouver who first piqued Public Information’s attention with his incredible Soft Coast cassette of 2010. Very much in a similar vein he presented 7 tracks of mixtape-concrete-wyrd to us… we fell in love. Mind Controls The Flood is set to land in late October… It’s like Madlib was raised on Kosmische.
The latter is to drop an EP in January 2012 for us, but before we have a jaw-dropping archive release from a peer of Derbyshire, Oram, Baker by the name of Fred Judd. We have been given full access to his rarely/never heard before life’s work. It is a truly special. Watch this space…
We noticed when we looked at a couple of recent releases on the Bleep homepage today that a lot of sleeve artwork was paying homage to the beautiful (and sorely missed) aesthetics of video synthesis and processing (see above).
With this in mind, we asked our good friend / artist extraordinaire Konx-om-Pax (aka Tom Scholefield) to pick out some examples of work, and the equipment used to create these techniques… Here’s what he gave us.
SCAN PROCESSOR STUDIES are a collection of works by Woody Vasulka & Brian O’Reilly.
“This is piece from my mate Brian who now teaches in Singapore with another friend from my art school days. Its simply mesmerising.”, Konx-om-Pax
Fairlight CVI (Computer Video Instrument)
“This was one of the first commercially available video synths… you can spot the effects a mile off!”, Konx-om-Pax
EVL Lab – Sandin Analogue Image Processor
“A very early example for analogue video synthesis”, Konx-om-Pax
Sunsetcorp – Nobody Here
“Cheeky Oneohtrix Point Never audio visual bootleg”, Konx-om-Pax
Last week, we ran a competition giving away an awesome Lazer Sword package… all you had to was answer: “What would be your ultimate weapon and why?”… Above was the drawing by the winner and below is what he had to say about it:
“Apart from a Lazer Sword, my ultimate weapon would obviously be a solid Platinum Dragunov, encrusted with rare African diamonds and a chain-saw on the front for extra saftey, small side cannons that shoot ninja stars and LAZER sight. It’s fully automatic, so i’d carry a huge pack of silver-lined bullets (In case of werewolves) which also doubles up as a huge speaker/subwoofer combo. OH and it’s also modified to shoot Bees if the occasion ever arises. Also the trigger is made from the Obsidian of an old Mayan sculpture that was stolen from an underground Mayan temple, causing loads of old Mayan zombies to come to life under my command and KILLLLLL.
The reason i’d choose this is because i’m awesome, and someone needs to sort out North Korea.
The thing is, it only works if a wear a Lazer Sword T shirt, also a spare album would be great
So help me out pleaseeee?
(super detailed picture attatched)
Each week we send out an e-mail newsletter to thousands of happy customers. In this newsletter is a round-up of the latest music releases, merchandise and specially featured items, as well as charts, exclusive give-aways, podcasts, competitions, editorial, label features, interviews, written articles and reviews. If you haven’t subscribed to the Bleep newsletter already, we strongly recommend YOU DO SO NOW…
However, our favourite thing about each newsletter is the artwork header that we select to lead the e-mail. Sometimes, we pick it according to our favourite album of that week and want to draw this to your attention. Sometimes, we just simple really love a particular artwork. Here is a round-up of our favourite e-mail headers of 2010:
Artwork taken from: Bleep Exclusive Kyle Hall / Wild Oats Digital Catalogue
Artwork taken from: Limited Offer DFA Label Sampler / Mailout: 20.04.10
“Rare, early ARP 2500 modular synthesizer in very good cosmetic condition and working 100%. A friend of mine bought this one from Phil Cirocco of CMS/Discrete Synthesizers in late 2007 and it’s still working solid. As you can see, this is an earlier 2002 cabinet with a 3000 series keyboard.
It includes the following modules-
1002 Power Control
1003 Dual Envelope Generator
1005 Ring Mod / VCA
1006 Lowpass filter / VCA
1016 Noise / Random Voltage
1023 Dual VCO
1027 3 x 10 Sequencer
1033 Dual EG with delay
1036 Dual S/H, Clock
1047 Multimode Filter”
…. and a bargain at $26,000!
We asked Joel Martin, of Quiet Village and Moscovitch Music, to pose a few questions and try and get into the minds of fellow psychotronic film aficionados, Lovely Jon and DJ Cherrystones, upon the release of their rather superb, hallucinogenic ‘visual mix-tape’, Jigoku.
Joel Martin – What is your personal interpretation of ‘Jigoku’? I know that this translates as ‘Hell’ in Japanese and is also the title of Nobuo Nakagawa’s cinematic vision of Hades, also titled ‘Jigoku’ (1960)?
Lovely Jon – Nakagawa’s classic is a major influence but the name kinda brings up everything we’re about – that intense visual hit you experience when seeing a crazy ‘out there’ movie in the middle of the night where all the rules are broken and cohesion is thrown out of the window: you’re left with this suffocating beast you can’t escape from.
Cherrystones – Jigoku is a simple audio visual non utopian conduit we channel our culled versions and perceptions of heaven and hell(ish) visions through – whilst obviously more seated in the more obscure and darker and heavier side of both mediums, it is there to provoke thought, reactions and distractions.
JM – At what point did your passion for celluloid become an obsession that lead to the decision to re-edit and re-score other artists work in a live performance?
LJ – Before I met Gareth (Cherrystones) I was dj’ing in ambient rooms and although I loved the music the vibe was far too smug (people walking around in daft hats watching moon landing footage). I dropped a Fistful of Dollars one night just to change the vibe and people got really angry – I thought ‘I’m on to something here’ and the idea of playing soundtracks with crazy film footage edits flowed from there really. I loved freaking out the ravers – especially with the Zombie and Cannibal footage – it really pissed people off which made me want to push it further.
CS – After seeing ‘The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed Up Zombies’, directed by Ray Dennis Steckler – this was pure evidence of the power of the edit and free-form direction.
JM – Music and sound play just as important a role in your shows. How do you decide what tracks go with each movie scene?
LJ - We just go with the vibe – usually we hear things and instinctively know what will work. We’ve been doing this shit for so long it’s become ‘second nature’. All I know is thank god I have Gareth to balance things out – if it wasn’t for him I’d just go crazy – pushing everything to the extreme (which doesn’t always work to a performances best advantage).
CS - We always look for sympathetic juxtaposition between audio and scenes. Sound and image are like canvas and brush and vice versa – hence you create your picture which is personally subjective to each individual person viewing as much as the segments snapshots and now reset narrative.
JM – The whole aesthetic of ‘Jigoku’ seems to be deeply rooted in the punk attitude. Were you affected by that movement and if so, how?
LJ - Most definitely – we’re both heavily influenced by the whole punk aesthetic in music and ‘attitude’. From the garage punk thing right down to snotty ‘fuck you’ thrash – but really we’re outsiders – we never joined any scene and have always been ourselves – keeping Jigoku underground and free from branding has kept us away from ‘popularity’ but we’re proud to keep it that way I guess.
CS - The aesthetic elements were semi derived and maybe affected by punk in the same way as boredom was used as a medium to transcend limited resources, budgets and over bearing self appraisal. I would say DIY, but even that seems cliché now, we were initially moved in the concept of creation through ideas and exciting each other contextually as opposed to strict regimes of yawn infested half edgy rubbish whilst pushing things as far as we felt applied to each others following mood and internal tempo. Punk means little nowadays and used to suggest and air of arrogant grace and abandon,I think ‘Celluloid Templars’ would be a title I would be happy to endorse.
JM – Can you recommend some personal film favourites for the uninitiated viewer that fully capture the essence of ‘Jigoku’?
LJ - Christ – have you got a year?! Jose Marins (Coffin Joe): Brazil’s king of horror is a huge influence – his movies are unique in that he made these celluloid paintings from hell for peanuts but his vision usurped the impoverished budgets he had to work with. We’re also huge old school kung fu fans and love Asian vampires: The Dragon Lives Again is an insane Bruce Lee rip where the king goes to hell and encounters Dracula; The Mummy; Emmanuelle; The Man with no Name; James Bond and Popeye (!) – that’s one totally fucked up movie, Rasta!
CS – Try these: I Drink Your Blood (D E Durston); Prey (Norman J Warren); The Boogeyman (Ulli Lommel); Death Laid An Egg (Giulio Questi); Blue Eyes Of The Broken Doll (Carlos Aured); The Thrill Killers (Ray Dennis Steckler); Blindman (Ferdinando Baldi); House With Laughing Windows (Pupi Avati) and Seven Commandments Of Kung Fu (Shih Hao Ko).
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