Your F***ing Sunny Day (Episode 26)

  1. Boards of Canada – Reach for the Dead (from Tomorrow’s Harvest)
  2. RUN DUST “SO FAR”
  3. Gajek – Curved Engines pt. 04 (Plaid Remix)
  4. Gala Drop – You And I
  5. MONDKOPF – Cause & Cure (OFFICIAL)
  6. Massive Attack, Azekel – Ritual Spirit
  7. Solomon Grey – Choir To The Wild
  8. Mark Pritchard – Beautiful People (Official Video) ft. Thom Yorke
  9. björk: lionsong
  10. Max Richter – Richter: Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works / Mrs Dalloway, In The Garden
  11. Mogwai – Killing All The Flies
  12. MONO – Dream Odyssey
  13. Spiritualized-Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space
  14. Akira Kosemura – You
  15. Four Tet – My Angel Rocks Back and Forth
  16. Lamb – Gorecki

Richard Pinhas ‎– Reverse

bb249_cover_rgbLast months vinyl from ‘That Special Record’ lay un-played for several weeks due to other commitments, which have left me unable to play very much of anything really, until there was a break in the clouds last week and there  was a shower of vinyl, not a downpour, but at least it was something. This was the first album I played, again, I was pretty much in the dark about it but after a bit of interweb research I was enlightened somewhat.

Pinhas was a member of ‘Heldon,’ a French electronic rock band created in 1974. The name of the band having been taken from the 1972 novel, ‘The Iron Dream’, by Norman Spinrad. Prior to that Pinhas was a member of the band ‘Schizo’, but both bands were led for the most part by Pinhas, who also released a host of albums under his own name.

Influenced by the work of Robert Fripp and Brian Eno, the music of Richard Pinhas and Heldon is sui generis and innovative and has in its turn greatly influenced the field of electronic rock.

I had to look up sui generis as I had no idea what it meant, apparently this is the definition:

Sui generis (/ˌs ˈɛnərɪs/Latin: [ˈsʊ.iː ˈɡɛnɛrɪs]) is a Latin phrase, meaning “of its (his, her, or their) own kind; in a class by itself; unique”. In the creative arts, where an artistic work goes beyond conventional genre boundaries.

So now I know. If you head over to the Bureau B website, there’s a nice press kit you can download should you be of a mind to, it’s here. Where they also share some snippets of the tracks so you can get an idea what it sounds like.

So what do I think of it? How do I feel my subscription to ‘That Special Record’ performed this month? Well, I think it’s bloody brilliant actually. It is not, as suggested, a series of 4 drones, it is much more than that and it is far too complex and interesting to be just called a drone. It is a fusion of different, interesting ideas into a new whole with elements of prog, kosmiche (Krautrock) and post-rock among the points of reference. It feels, at times, urgent and alive, with the percussion lifting the whole thing from a very interesting noise to something that is more tangible, more easily grasped, and the drums have a great live feel about them. The line up for this album, along with Pinhas is Arthur Narcy (drums), Florian Tatar (bass), Masami Akita (analog synths, recorded in Tokyo), son Duncan Nilson-Pinhas (digital synths), and William Winant (percussion, recorded in Oakland, CA, USA). At times they somehow manage to sound like an Orchestra so full is the sound.

Now this sort of thing, like many of the albums I like to listen to, isn’t for everybody, but there are times when taking a moment to just listen, to lose yourself in a vast landscape of sound, can bring you to a place you weren’t expecting and which you may just like. With this album I find myself at times listening to the intricacies of the performance and at others allowing the whole thing to wash over me, and this is a good thing as, to me, it means that it works on more than one level.

It’s not just me telling you, my two or three regular readers, that this is good stuff, other people are as well:

“Ecstatic psych burnouts from French prog visionary and friends” 8/10, Uncut (UK)

“Maverick French guitarist turns negative headspace into a kosmische positive” ****, Mojo (UK)

“Reverse sounds like rock music echoed out into the stratosphere” 7.2, Pitchfork

“This is music that demands and deserves our attention.” (The Quietus)

Brian Reitzell ‎– Auto Music

Who is Brian Reitzell? Good question, until last week I had absolutely no idea but I saw an album called ‘Auto Music’ by the man himself and it was super cheap, at £6, so I took a chance with it. Sometimes these things pay off, and this one did, massively, because I bloody love it!

So who is he? Well, he has contributed music to a fair few films and TV series, which you can see here if you are of a mind to: IMDB. According to Wikipedia ‘He is notable for working extensively with the American film director Sofia Coppola’, which is nice. The films in question are The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette & The Bling Ring. Apparently he is a member of the (side project) synth pop band TV Eyes alongside Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. and Jason Falkner, but I hadn’t heard of them either.

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Auto Music is his only solo album, which was released by Smalltown Supersound on June 17, 2014. The opening track, Last Summer, doesn’t set the tone for the rest of the album as, thematically, it’s all over the place, and has been described as Reitzell lacking his own voice. I don’t mind that as I like the voices he borrows. ‘Auto Music’ for example is a direct nod to Kraftwerk and elsewhere there is a bit of Cluster, both great influences to have. In a world of recycled music, where most new releases sound like what has gone before, it is best to make sure that what you do is at least good, and not just lazy recycling, which Reitzell manages to do with this album. It’s very listenable and, to my mind at least, an absolute bargain at £6. There are also touches of Post-Rock floating about, which for me, is a very good thing indeed.

Tracklist

Last Summer 8:29
Ozu Choral 2:52
Ozu 7:02
Gaudi 7:24
Auto Music 1 9:42
Beehive 2:24
Oskar 5:09
Honeycomb 4:37
Auto Music 2 6:24

Below is Auto Music 2, which is where the Kraftwerk comparisons have been made, which I can hear, but it fells to me much more of an influence than anything and it does seem to me to have it’s own voice.

Life Garden – Songs From The Otherside Of Emptiness

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Last months vinyl from ‘That Special Record’ was ‘Songs From The Otherside of Emptiness’ by ‘Life Garden’ who were formed in 1989 from the ashes of Maybe Mental whose two core members were David and Su Ling Oliphant. They invited poet George Dillon to the group, but tragically he passed away by the time they released their debut “Caught Between the Tapestry of Silence and Beauty” (1991). Subsequently, Life Garden added Peter Ragan and Bill Yanok, who eventually departed in 1995. Life Garden broke up in 1999.

I had to look the above up as I had no idea, which is usual. The music is breathy, spectral 80’s electronic experimentation, probably post-industrial if it must be categorised and the album is a compilation of releases between 1991 and 1994 from the albums

Following the passing of  George Dillon the band began to shift from using synths and samplers to an all acoustic approach. Over several months, Su Ling and David developed a unique improvisational style using digital multi-effects and loopers to process Su’s vocals and a variety of percussion, string and wind instruments. This became the foundation of the Life Garden sound and forms the majority of tracks on the LP. It also comes with a 7″ single, which I haven’t had a chance to listen to yet, mostly because I haven’t had a chance to listen to very much of anything lately but also because the switch from 33 1/3 to 45 requires the adjusting of the drive belt, which is a pain. In hindsight I should have picked up a turntable with a switch for that, as I end up playing a load of 45’s & 12″ singles together, or a load of albums, and some of the albums are 45 rpm and some of the 12″ singles are 33 1/3, it’s just a bit restrictive. I actually listened to a PJ Harvey album at 33 1/3 and quite liked it, even though it all sounded rather depressing, it was much better at the correct speed.

I was quite surprised by this album when I finally managed to find the time to play it. It didn’t sound to me as though the music was 25 years old, perhaps because it has a timeless quality to it. I’ve included track 4 below, “I Comeforth By Day Singing”, which is a favourite of mine already from this album. In it I can hear elements of Dead Can Dance, A touch of Cocteau Twins overlayed with  sense of adhan, the Islamic call to worship.

Tracklist

A1 Zhen
A2 Du
A3 Seed
A4 I Comeforth By Day Singing
B1 Saura
B2 Three
B3 Marut
B4 Sem
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7 inch 6

This was a great pick by ‘That Special Record‘ I think as it is new to me, interesting and opens up new avenues for me to explore. I also really like it, which is the most important thing.

ONE DAY – AKIRA KOSEMURA

I was scrolling through my wordpress reader (which I do check quite regularly) avoiding all posts related to the Oscars or Trump, and I scrolled to this post from the ‘Stationary Travels’ blog:

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/10648651/posts/1355986215

The post contained a few words that peaked my interest, Tokyo, composer & sound producer for film, stage, and television and Akira, which is an Anime that I really love. I went to my digital music provider of choice and had a listen to the album ‘One Day’.Thanks ‘Stationary Travels’.

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Well, I was instantly captivated by the sparseness of the recording, how gentle it was, wistful even. Keys can be heard being pressed, piano pedals maybe, movement, making this recording of improvisational piano solos seem personal somehow, as though Kosemura is at the piano in the corner of the room playing for you while you gaze out of a window, lost in the moment.

it was recorded in one afternoon, played on an old piano at his family’s home which he has played since childhood. The result is music that is not afraid of space, of silence or needs to raise itself above a whisper, such is the confidence with which it is played, and it does have the feel of improvisation, just a guy playing his family piano, playing it wonderfully, for an audience of one.

The album was mastered by Mandy Parnell, a British engineer who has worked with Bjork, Aphex Twin, Max Richter etc.

Tracks:

1. pale
2. serena
3. foe
4. yuha
5. mizet
6. whit
7. frea
8. famile
9. luna
10. acari

I have a vinyl copy on order from Schole which I plan to listen to while sat in a rocking chair with a nice cup of tea, really, I mean it, Earl Grey.

This discovery feels like the on-line version of crate digging, browsing around, finding something that peaks your interest, listening to it, loving it, buying it. It’s not quite the same as asking the guy in the shop to give a record a spin so you can have a listen, but it’s not a million miles away from that.

I’m on about my sixth digital listen now and I love it a little more each time.

That Special Record: ADELBERT VON DEYEN – Atmosphere

I’m a bit behind at the moment and haven’t played any vinyl for 4 weeks, not a single record has been on the turntable, I’ve been all digital for 4 weeks. The reason for this neglect is that, as a family, we adopted a shit and piss machine. Said machine is the subject of the picture below:

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Don’t be fooled, he’s a menace. He calls himself Orwell and he has made it his mission to to disrupt my life in as many interesting and varied ways as possible. So not many records played, his fault. While he did arrive around Christmas time, please don’t worry, I’m a firm believer in ‘a dog is for Christmas not for life’.

He is why I have not had an opportunity to mention my vinyl subscription to ‘That Special Record’ since the beginning of December. I believe he knows this and finds it all rather amusing.

So, Decembers record from ‘That Special Record’ was ‘Atmosphere’ by Adelbert Von Deyen. As is quite common, I knew nothing about this, literally nothing, I didn’t know either he or the record existed. Bearing in mind that I do like good Tangerine Dream (I emphasise good because not all of it is) and have referred to them positively here several times in the past, this album is a logical choice to send to me, and I do rather like it.

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Tracklist

A1 Time Machine
A2 Silverrain
Atmosphere Part I
A3a Sunrise
A3b Altitude Flight
A3c Astralis
Atmosphere Part II
Ba Skywards
Bb Spaces Of Infinity
Bc Crystal Clouds
Bd Voices Of Infinity
Be Dawn

Further Info:

  • Remixed At – Star Studio Hamburg
  • Mastered At – Star Studio Hamburg
  • Recorded At – Studio Norgaard

Credits

  • Composed By, Performer [Played By], Recorded By, Arranged By, Mixed By, Producer, Liner Notes, Design, Keyboards, Synthesizer – Adelbert Von Deyen
  • Drums – Wolfgang Zabba Lindner (tracks: A1, A2)
  • Mixed By [Remixed], Mastered By – Lars Hidde
  • Painting [Cover] – Urs Amann

Notes

  • Recorded August 1979 to June 1980 at Studio Norgaard.
    Remixed and mastered at Star-Studio, Hamburg.
    Originally released 1980 on sky041
    (P) + (C) 2016 bureau B under exclusive license from sky records

From what I’ve read this is regarded as Von Deyen’s best work by many, and yes, while it is very reminiscent of Tangerine Dream that does not mean it is a second rate copy. It stands up well in it’s own right although, personally, I do think it tails off a little and I prefer side A to Side B.

Here is a classic synths on the beach image of Adelbert which was a requirement back in the late 70’s/early 80’s to have any credibility at all.

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I’m sure that there are people out there who will throw around terms like ‘Classic’ regarding this album, but I think you had to be there listening to it at the time to feel that way, the best I have to offer really is, I like it.

 

William Basinski – A Shadow In Time

It is very easy with Basinski to ‘Not get it’ and move right along to something more familiar, perhaps something easier, ‘Shake It Off, Shake It Off’ is much more approachable after all, than a 20 minute eulogy to David Bowie titled ‘For David Robert Jones’ built on tape loops and stuttering saxophone. There is also little for the listener to connect with Bowie other than Basinski gave it that title, purported to be due to Bowie inspiring Basinski to pick up a sax in his youth, maybe it’s a nod to ‘Low’, who knows? Not me. This new release is worth persevering with though, it has the same feel as ‘The Disintegration Loops’ and, while some consider him a bit of a snake oil salesman, I don’t, I can listen to these repetitive motifs for hours and not tire of it at all. It has meditative qualities I suppose though I don’t consciously meditate, I quite possibly do without realising I am as the music is so circular it is easy to become both lost in it and entranced by it.

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The second track, which takes up all of side two is ‘A Shadow In Time’ and is less loopy and more orchestral, with a fuller sound but, as with most of the Basinski music I have listened to, nothing much really happens, with this track seemingly building to a crescendo that never appears, quite the opposite happens in fact, as though the crescendo was at the beginning and we are working our way backwards to the start.

So it isn’t for everybody, but for those who it is for, it is a pretty damn good new release, and here it is performed live (ish I suppose) at Superbudda, Torino, Italy: