SENKETSU NO NIGHT CLUB

What is more fascinating than the movie world? So many universes collapse behind a screen, so close and so distant at the same time, and they let us to dream things that will never happen in our lives. Movies are an escaping moment for millions of people, but have you ever though how much important is the music that surrounds them? Without soundtracks some movies are without charm, without emotion. Sometimes the soundtracks themselves are the main character of a celluloid project.

We consider these melodies always entwined with a movie, however have you ever tried to listen some of them alone? Some of them are so magic that you don’t see any image to complete them, as Senketsu No Night Club shows in the 50 minutes of its first self title album:

 

 

I suggest to listen to this full-length with eyes closed, and picturing what the music tells you: because it is not possible to imagine a story behind the project of Adriano Vincenti (Macelleria Mobile di Mezzanotte, Cronaca Nera), one of the most influential and prolific musician of the folk/noir/ambient Italian scene.

Inspired by the extreme Japanese cinema, in Senketsu No Night Club soft jazz melodies lay next to tracks that remind relentless chasing; memories of Blade Runner atmospheres are closed to harsh noise intermezzos, when the whole album is soaked in a noir shadow of mystery, a signature of Adriano Vincenti‘s production.

A quite specific project, an original way to re-write the concept of soundtracks in the experimental panorama music.

ONTERVJABBIT | Torture Garden

From space to abyss, this full-length from the Slovenian artists Ontervjabbit gives a lot of inputs to think about. What is noise, what is music? The two things are so entwined in Torture Garden, that is not possible to define them accordingly to the classical standards. Is it music something that gives pleasure, or is more an organic way of presenting human emotions? Is it noise the manifestation of nature (made by living beings or machines) or is a manifesto of rebels?

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In Torture Garden a linear composition of the songs is not granted, however moments of beautiful harmony and disharmony are brought to the ear of the listener. This album is  a collection of sophisticated sounds that evolve into a cinematic story, a distorted narrative that culminates in white noise and riverbed loops.

There is no fear to experiment in this album; the strength of this composition is the use of multiple tools and effects, voices and synthesizers, in a series of tracks that have nothing is common to each other. A beautiful but fearful garden of vibrations.

Meakusma Festival 2018

What a wonderful pearl I discovered – by chance – in the middle of Europe. The Meakusma festival is a place where the sound itself is the main character, without any border or preconditions, celebrated for what it is, the basic pillar of many forms of art.

I don’t know if it was the beautiful weather that welcomed me, or the vibes of the Meakusma community, or the shock to see such impressive underground artists, but this festival will stay in my heart for a long time. It is amazing how the organization made everything so cozy and exiting at the same time. In this weekend I can say that I was never bored, listening to so many different projects in different stages.

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Meakusma is a festival at its 3rd edition, and takes place in Eupen, one of the few Belgium-German-spoken cities at the border of these two countries. The main venue of this gathering is the Alter Schlachthof culture center, placed not so far from the center of the town, the first weekend of September.

Personally, I cannot say if there were big names on the line up, I am not really into this world, but I will give some impressions about the musicians I had the chance to see and hear:

  • Brötzmann | Leigh: this duo brought on the scene a magnificent exhibition of free jazz using a variety of sax/clarinets and a pedal guitar (that I have never seen in my life on a live stage). The density of the performance was palpable and people were genuinely fascinated by the intensity of Peter Brötzmann combined with the loveliness of Healther Leigh‘s sound.

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  • Bruce: how can I define Bruce‘s work as not as collage dance music? I really cannot find a standard definition for what he plays. It doesn’t mean that it cannot be sensational thou: the atmosphere inside the Halle (the main room of the Alter Schlachthof) was intimate and concentrate, but was still shacking people to dance.

  • Am Vision | Lambert Duchesne: these AM Berliners performed in Kesselraum a mix of digital and electronic music, telling a prophetic story towards the images of a video screen. The show was very peculiar and sometimes extremely powerful in the message it was bringing.
  • Ben Ufo: one of the curator of the Festival, Ben Ufo had his moment at 23:00 in Halle, with a huge crowd ready for his original contemporary dance music. Unpredictable and dynamic, Ben‘s idea of rhythm is quite fluid, but it never let us down.
  • Hinosch: when Osaka meets Düsseldorf, Japan meets Germany, Asia meets Europe, then a synthetic-unsyncronized sound decorates the air thanks to the experienced engineering hands of Hinosch and their performance in Kesselraum.

  • Radian: amazing experience with the Austrian trio and their music, a sort of minimal rock drone, extremely dense and theatrical. In the Kühlraum those guys made the public silent and few people dared to leave the room:

Other interesting facts about the festival:

  • the Alter Schlachthof was in principle a slaughterhouse; however it doesn’t really look like a place of death, since the building are beautifully realized at the beginning of the XX Century;
  • the festival hosted one of the work of the Belgian artist David Helbich, a transcendent and meditative audio guide to listen while walking around the culture center;
  • a beautiful installation from Floris Vanhoof is made hanging geometrical metal structures with gongs that vibrate when the wind passes. It is amazing to walk in the street and listen to this unexpected music.

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A festival created for the music, but not just made of music. A really nice small event that it should be followed, since it hosts such fascinating avant-garde and experimentation. The exact opposite of what the uncritical mass of our modern society likes: and also because of this, a reason more to visit it next year.

Photos are kindly shared by Meakusma Festival

BVDUB | Earthless

First thing I thought about Brock Van Wey was how dreadful is his look, and at the same time how nice and calm was the photo picturing him and his white cat. A strange combination of feelings, especially when I am about to listen Heartless in its full length after a while – after I saw the face of this artist. Broke – a.k.a BVDUB – is a first time raver, an American DJ devoted to ambient and deep house music.

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Heartless is a full length from 2017 released under an independent music label based in Oakland, California, called n5MD. The main characteristics that hit me when I discovered this masterpiece is how amazingly fresh and luminous are the 8 tracks listed here. An image of calm paradise full of snow and sun is picturing in front of my eyes during the listening.

Soft piano notes are mixed with ethereal female and male voices, natural sounds and echoed vibration, entwined to reach a dreamy climax that vanished smoothly in the silence at the end every piece. Each song is named with a -less word (Faceless, Limitless, and so on) which is kind of powerful idea (as the non-limitation of mind, body and soul), which it bounds quite good with the impression of extreme peace recurrent on the all project.

Heartless is an album to listen with the heart, more that with ears. Its composition makes minds to rest and bodies to heal. A great ambient masterpiece.

COMMON EIDER KING EIDER

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During the last edition of the Doom Over Lepzig I had the pleasure to interview an interesting ambient project from the US. I had a nice chat with Rob Fisk and Andee Connors in a cloudy and cold afternoon, in a bar not so far from the UT Connewitz in which the festival was going on, and I had the chance to discover more about this collective, the ideas of the musicians about music and society and how much they are entangled together.

In the description of your Facebook page is written that you are “the opposite of Trump administration”. I found it quite funny since the project has some time right now and Trump is not so long at the government.

Rob: His administration stands on everything we are against: they are misogynist, racists, extreme capitalist, homophobic, transphobic, climate change deniers. Since arrived in the oval office, he made everything in his power to phase off the environmental protection agency and slow down internationally the fight against climate change. He already started to work on laws that target trans, gays, to attack our friends. He already bombed Syria, threatened North Korea building the root of WWIII, and he is an horrible person. I still can’t believe he became president.

Andee: We are embarrassed about this fact. None of us believed he could have any chance, we were pretty comfortable: ” He will never win”. And then he won. We were devastated.

Rob: But anyway that is why we decided to write this statement in our Facebook page. Politics is kind of a grey area and we would like to be pretty clear about what we stand for.

It is strange to hear from you guys that you thought for sure he was about not to be elected. After some months, do you have an idea why he made it?

Andee: The popular argument is, there was this huge chunk of American people that felt removed from the entire political system. Obama, Clinton spoke with them in a language they did not understand. Trump was a popular figure so appealing to people of the lower class struggling with unemployment. But the more I think about it the more I don’t believe in this argument. A lot of these people quickly realized they made a mistake. A lot of Trump electors are suddenly felt the effect of this politics: they quickly lost the health insurance, they cannot afford renting housing anymore. It is hard not be cynic, I mean is difficult not to see since the beginning that this guy was a sexist, homophobic asshole that pursues its own interested and also, is a billionaire. Then I don’t get why these people did not see it before voting. American felt enough comfortable to trust him, even if his propaganda was not consistent. For example, he is so strange that is against immigration but all his stuffs are made in other countries, but he has country clubs and hotels in Mexico.

It is interesting to see your view about politics, but does it reflect also in your music? Is there a social and political message attached to it, or is just a tool that you use for a second purpose (like for example, donating the outcome of sales to indigenous community, as you did for one of your old release)?

Rob: We released three records in order to help Alaska rescue organizations to stop gold mines proliferation, since it will have a huge environmental impact. There is also the concern about a lot of outsiders that will come in this area to work and live, destroying local traditions with their western culture. This is an important topic for us, and that is why we released two records last year talking about extinction, not just “biological” but also cultural. We are active in multiple ways, we are energetic conscious human beings and artists, and  we are politically oriented supporting community and traditions.

Andee: For us music is a sort of meditation but also it motivates people to do something. We like to inspire with our music but doesn’t mean we can do more with it.

 

How did you develop this awareness about how important is the natural life, not just considered as environment related but also as preservation of millennial cultures?

Rob: We are lucky to leave in a beautiful part of world and me myself I travel often to Alaska. Since 2000 I spent some time there, for considerable long periods. This for sure raised our awareness, but we also realized it in a more philosophic way.

If you think about one of the main religion in the world, maybe you can have a better idea about what we talk. In history, Christianity worked very hard to separate men from nature. People used to have a relationship with the landscape, but this religion broke this bond, and also demonized wild nature. Actually it demonized everything that could not be completely controlled, and that is why there is a parallel between wilderness in our body/sexuality and the nature. Even if we are not so in contact with religion in these days, we are under the influence of its believes: that is why always a deep dark forest is normally considered scary. For us nature, wild nature regains its original essence, the one we used to associate before human over structures modified it.

Andee: People are instinctual to nature, it doesn’t matter if they are looking at few trees or a deep ocean, and everyone has this kind of awareness. I believe you can always feels something when you are in contact with nature, but is true that in the current time we don’t value, and sometimes we forget, to raise this awareness in ourselves. There are people that have lost the connection with the reality around them.

How the people can find back this connection?

Rob: It is not difficult. For example, we were just coming here and we noticed a bunch of birds doing these amazing symphonies. Then you realize that nature is there, just hearing these songs you feel connected with it. But is also true that is not so simple for everyone. With our music we try to make this connection, but is the single person that has to make it deeply inside itself.

As far I can understand, the project is full of meanings and ideas. I believe this is also reflecting in its name. Which is the meaning of Common Eider King Eider and how was born?

Rob: I found the project in 2006, deciding it would have been the last music project in my life. I was tired to start bands. The normal loop was to start something with a bunch of people and see them leave after six months. They were always busy. I was tired to rely on other people and the idea to commit to just one idea. First I started solo but from the third release the band started to be an open collective, so everyone could put the efforts and time they wanted. For example for this tour, I arranged everything by myself and then I sent an email to the others asking who wanted to join.

Andee: Last time we had a six weeks tour, the first two weeks we were in three, the second one in five and then we came back to two. The music is different depending to who is involved of course, but is also fascinating how it can change and the whole structure is flexible and suitable for the needs of everyone.

Rob: The name is the opposition between the words common and king: something should be “less important” respect to the other according with these two meanings, but both of the animals, the eiders associates with them, are just beautiful creatures. It is strange that someone labeled them with these kind of values, but actually it happens also with people, so…

 

Let’s talk about your last release Shrines for the Unwanted, Respite for the Cast Aside“.  What is behind?

Rob: Last summer we were in tour and we were thinking about extinction and we were concerned about politics and the consequences it would have in our society. We started to interrogate about our intentions to do music and how to inspire trough vocals and give energy during the performances.  We started to use sticks and rocks on the mics, round them together to create certain sounds, and we really like it. During the performance these objects started to acquire significance, and after every show we decided to built a shrine with them.

Andee: We took pictures about the places in which we toured and we built these shrines, we created a book of images and we created a set together with some sticks to create its own shrine.

The Underground | MINIMALISM

Minimalism brought a huge fracture into the panorama of the 80s electronic.

Since the development of the technology after the second World War, brand-new genres of music came out relentlessly. One of this was electronic, that had his highest peak during the ’80, but since the beginning was a cradle the experimentation in music. One for all, Minimalism was born in this context, bringing a huge fracture into the panorama of the time.

Considered more as a concept art than music, Minimalism grew up in the idea of use limited amount of materials in order to create outstanding composition. The songs, long or short tracks mostly voiceless, are an evolving sequence of refined sounds, that proceed linearly towards an inconclusive end.

In this playlist are listed for or the most important artists related to the scene: La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Eliane Radigue and Arvo Pärt. Their sounds contributed to create the basics for one of the least known genre of electronic, ancestor of drone and noise.

UNSIGNED

Unsigned is an independent music label based in Budapest.

In featured image: Don’t Trump / Chillary – The Remixes EP available @ Unsigned Shop!
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Unsigned is an independent music label based in Budapest. Its Bandcamp platform contains about 50 proposals, and it is still massively growing to give a comprehensive overview of music that is worth to be listened. The label’s founder, Kálmán Pongrácz, is in fact working with the best sonority in the panorama, and becoming an important junction of the experimental Hungarian music.
How did you come up with the idea of creating an experimental music label?

I have been working with experimental music since 2002, as musician and organizer, running noise gigs in Budapest under the name Havizaj. On one hand, I needed to have an archive for the recordings I made here and, on the other hand, I was looking for a platform for my own music, so I did not have to give up on the rights that come with them.

Why such confusing name as Unsigned?

The Unsigned is a DIY [do it yourself] label, unofficial. It never wanted to be anything else, that is something I’m proud of.  It reflects its name.

One of the common line in the different artists’ music of your label is the complete abandon of the classic concept of composition or song. What do you think is so fascinating about it, and why do you think it fascinates also a public that, even small, is growing…

This sentence is a compliment for me. In fact, this question is often raised, and this is the reason why the I needed this kind of independent music channel. It is true that a moderate version of experimentation is penetrating into the mainstream pop culture today, but this approaching was never interesting for me.

How do you discover new sonority and which is the decision process you use in order to choose the best artists for your roster?

Although the label is a fully open channel, our motto is: if your band sounds like a lot of other bands, then please save you and us some time and do not get in touch with us. Luckily we often have a lot of interesting requests that we can take in consideration.

Your main sharing platform are Bandcamp and Facebook. Do you translate your online activity in something more concrete, as organizing events or going in different places to sell your music?

Yes, we are organizing concerts and we would like to present our label next year at the DIY trade fair in Budapest.

Unsigned is an Hungarian label. How is the scene in East Europe? Did it grow inside other extreme genres or it was born as a separate artistic culture?

This is a good question. Today I still don’t know exactly how unique the experimental music is in a country or even in a region. It was impossible to have such knowledge 20 years ago, but today it getting easier to get in contact with other realities, as the cyberspace breaks down the walls in between individualism.  And that’s good.

 

KAZUYA ISHIGAMI

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If you like music being your catharsis, welcome to this post. If you are not afraid to experiment difficult sonority, you are in the right place. If you know about which artist I am going to talk about, I admire you.

Kazuya Ishigami is (as many noise drone artist) a sound designer, but not so many people will confirm him as a musician. In this release, Rec Drone, he plays heavily with the emotions of the public and he creates a crescendo of frequencies that may disturb sensitive souls.