Ghostly International is celebrating the SMM: Context release with live performances from some of the composers who contributed. This intimate event will include Rafael Anton Irisarri, Goldmund and Kyle Bobby Dunn. Guitarist Noveller is our special guest.
This is a first-come, first-served partially seated event. Seating is limited and not guaranteed.
4/24/11 @ Le Poisson Rouge
Ghostly International Presents SMM: Context
Rafael Anton Irisarri
Noveller (Special Guest)
Kyle Bobby Dunn
$12 Advance | $15 Doors | 7pm – 12am
Before Gold Panda unleashed Lucky Shiner in all its nostalgic, sample-stuffed glory, the UK producer woodshedded, quietly releasing a series of EPs. Even then, the hallmarks of the Gold Panda sound—static-y slices of recontextualized sound, soul-stirring chord changes, an air of heavy-lidded melancholia—were in place. For Companion, we’ve compiled three of Gold Panda’s early 2009 EPs ( Before, Miyamae, and Quitter’s Raga) along with one non-EP track (“Police”) into a seamless listening experience, a journey into the heart of one of the finest beat-based musicians around.
The Ghostly Store is known for stocking all things Ghostly-related, as well as gorgeous original art prints and a host of design goodies we’ve fallen in love with over the years. Add to that a new selection of well-crafted, functional bags from the Singapore-based label Property Of… Casual without being unrefined, and made to last, these are bags you’ll be using a decade from now, if not longer.
As Matthew Dear continues to tour across Europe and the UK with the mighty Interpol, we would like to share some rare, live footage. The piece takes you inside the psyche of Matthew Dear as he prepares for a show in Brookyln at The Music Hall of Williamsburg. Watch the video here or watch it here. Video provided courtesy of m ss ng peces.
Also, during his time on tour in Germany, Matthew discusses the band experience, Black City, his various aliases, Ghostly International and more on Radio NDR. Take a listen here.
Christina Vantzou is an artist/designer/musician based in Brussels. Over the past decade Christina has developed a unique and distinctive esthetic in motion graphics design, animation, video and most recently, sound. Her self-taught style is delicate, sophisticated in it’s simplicity, and lulls the viewer into a strange and beautiful world. Christina honed her skills with The Dead Texan, in collaboration with Sparklehorse, and with commissions from Interpol, Tokion magazine, MTV, Christopher Willits, and Fovea Hex. Christina’s live set consist of ambient tones and drawn out instrumental samples cut and assembled digitally with warm hints of piano, distant strings, and abstract vocals against a backdrop of multi-channel video. With a background in Fine Art, Christina’s visual style reflects her interest in illustration, graphic design, film, and printmaking. Her live projections combine carefully selected found footage with original footage and glacially paced animations ranging from figurative to abstract. Somehow it all holds together with the magical glue of her spacious, somberly angelic sounds.
(Bio courtesy of dbfestival.com)
You can check out more of Christina’s work at her site http://christinavantzou.com
1. This is the first track released under your own name. Tell us what other musical projects you have been involved with in the past?
Yes, this is the first ever official release in my name. I’ve collaborated a lot over the years… I started making videos for friends’ bands, mostly abstract live projections and I toyed around with sounds here and there on the side. The main project I became involved in musically was The Dead Texan. The music on our first record is all Adam Wiltzie, he used snippets of my voice for a few tracks, but he directed everything. When it came time for touring he told me I was going to play keyboards on stage. I thought he was crazy.
2. Aside from your musical background, what other art forms do you partake in?
I’ve taken the multi-disciplinary route, for better or worse. My background is in visual art but my drawings mostly stay in boxes. I make videos, animations, and video installations…I’ve done some graphic design and illustration work..I make silk screen prints and later this month I’ll be in a contemporary dance piece.
3. You’ve worked with Sparklehorse and Interpol in some capacity. Tell us how these projects came about.
With Interpol, I submitted a proposal to an open call from the band and their label. They wanted artist-made videos to promote Antics. I was picked and got a fee to make the video for “Not Even Jail”. I received $1,000. It was the second time I got paid for making a video and 5 times what I was paid the first time around. With Sparklehorse, Adam was working with Mark Linkous as Sparklehorse’s sound engineer and through their friendship The Dead Texan got invited to open some European shows. One thing led to another and my jack-of-all-trades skills were made use of. I ended up making tour videos and playing on stage. It was heaven.
4. What are your plans for 2011 and beyond (releases, projects, touring, etc)?
I’m finishing up my first full length record. It’s a mix of lots of synthesizers and recordings I made with the Magik*Magik orchestra in San Francisco…strings, horns, clarinet, flute… I’m working on videos and animations and figuring out how to perform the music live. I’d like to travel with a 16 person orchestra, but it turns out that would cost a small fortune. So unless I find a pot of gold I’ll figure out a way to scale it down for touring. I’m still working on setting up at least one grand scale performance with the orchestra in 2011. The record is titled Nº1 and it’ll be the first in a series of recordings with an orchestra component. That’s the plan anyways. I also wanted to make a synthesizers-only record on zero budget.
Svarte Greiner is a dark ambient project by Erik K Skodvin. He is also one half of the Norwegian duo Deaf Center which was formed in 2005 in Oslo, Norway. He currently lives and works in Berlin. He labels his music as “acoustic doom”. He utilizes both field recordings and computer generated sounds when producing his music. His debut album, Knive, was released in 2006. His second album, Kappe, in 2009. Svarte Greiner is also a founder of Miasmah Recordings.
1. You record under many aliases. Please tell us what they are and why you feel the need for the different aliases.
First and foremost I record under the Svarte Greiner alias. Deaf Center was started a bit before though, which I record with long time friend Otto A. Totland. Additionally, I put out a record under my own name, Erik K Skodvin, last year. I had some other aliases a long time ago, but they were put into eternal sleep since about 5-6 years now. Deaf Center was the initial alias I was gonna use since abandoning my older more electronica based personalities, but ended up getting Otto involved. So I found out I then needed a proper solo alias which is where Svarte Greiner comes from. I wanted Svarte Greiner to divert from the Deaf Center sound so I wouldn’t end up having two projects sounding exactly the same. Though I guess there is similarities with everything I end up doing no matter how much I try to split them. I do have a pretty vast taste in music even if it might not seem like it, so there’s still a lot I want to try out. They’ll probably all end up being slightly on the darker side with a lot of melancholy in them though, as it seems like I can’t really make any sun-drenched sounding stuff. The reason for the sudden release of an album under my own name was kind of a spontaneous decision that also had a lot to do with the move to Berlin and having access to Nils Frahm’s studio for a week, playing around with instruments I wasn’t used to. I was also thinking it’s good not to mix it with Svarte Greiner as I want to keep the possibility of doing something crazy live with my Svarte Greiner alias while still being able to play slightly more available sounding things under Erik K Skodvin. This will probably end up confusing me even more, but it’s done now, so we’ll see how this evolves. Summed up, Deaf Center is the project I have with Otto. Svarte Greiner is my usual solo outing, exploring darkly sounding atmospheres (Svarte Greiner is norwegian for black branches) while Erik K Skodvin is, as far as I know right now, my way of going a bit more available and spacious sounds.2. You recently released the new Deaf Center album, Owl Splinters (amazing album by the way), after 6 years of silence under that alias. Why the long period of time in between albums? What do you make of the swell of excitement around Deaf Center amongst the experimental electronic scene?
Thank you. The long period has so many different factors its almost hard to get into, but like mentioned in a previous interview – after Pale Ravine sometime I got my first electric guitar + effect pedals and started experimenting more with live instrumentation which was something I really had not tried at all before. With this happening + I moved to using different sound editing/sequencing programs, it was harder for me and Otto to exchange files back and forth like we did in the past. Otto was always playing around with synth and piano, but I never tried working properly with a live instrument until then which was so exciting. Also, at the same time I was exposed to so much new and interesting musical styles I never knew before, that I just ended falling into a long experimentation process, putting Deaf Center on the shelf. When I moved to Berlin one and a half year ago, things changed quite a bit. I was getting to hang more with like-minded artists and people with studios. It just seemed like the time was right to try get another Deaf Center record out when Nils Frahm had such a wicked studio and wanted to work with us as he was a fan of our previous releases. Otto traveled down here and we did a long weekend improvised recording session which ended up like the new album. It’s so fun seeing that people are excited about the new album and haven’t forgotten about us after the long period of silence. Looks like an exciting year ahead!
3. Your music and visual aesthetic strikes us as equally important. You also seem very committed to the sound you explore regardless of the alias you use. A lot of modern composers, producers, and musicians jump from style to style where you seem to have been committed to your “sound.”
I think it’s definitely a very personal thing for me. And like I said earlier, no matter what style of music I would try to make it would probably end up sounding a lot like me. This can be a good thing or it can end up trapping me in. Hopefully, I can still manage to expand my artistic widths without loosing the personal touch to it. This is quite important for me also, as like you say—there are so many artists out there that kind of loose themselves in the amount of different sounds and styles out there. Being able to try new paths without loosing your old one is something I’m trying to archive.
For me, this is the music and art which is closest to my heart. And if I can make a living from conjuring up and releasing various surreal and darkly beautiful items, I definitely have come a long way to where I want to be.
4. Can you tell us some of the major influences in your work?
I get influenced from a lot of things, but nothing helps like a specially atmospheric night walking around the city or in the forest. Listening to all the sounds and watching how the lights change around. I’m in general very inspired by lights, shadow and atmosphere. I love filmmakers like David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick & David Cronenberg + any weird and crazy type of horror movie. Some influential musicians that have shaped me through time are Future Sound of London (from earlier times), Volcano the Bear, Slowdive & Gultskra Artikler.
5. Tell us about your label Miasmah. Who does the artwork and imagery? Why did you start your own label?
Miasmah is my longest going project as of now, as I originally started it in 1999 as a way for me to put out my music and graphic experimentations. It quickly turned into a mp3 label where I was releasing lots of different artists as well as myself. Most people know Miasmah maybe from when it started as proper record label in 2006. The reason for this step up was that I had been working on this compilation for a while, gathering my favorite artists working within the fields of experimental dark theatrical and cinematic music (now known as V/A – Silva). At the point i was releasing music on Type Records and was good friends with John (Xela). He was at the time working at a manchester based distribution company and told me that they could handle all the production,distribution, and promotion if I’d like to release it on CD. I thought, well why the hell not. Not thinking about the consequences this action made, being that I had started a proper record label without thinking about it, as they suddenly asked me when the next record was coming. Looking back, this has been both a blessing and a curse, as I hate working with any type of money related issues. The curation part has always been great fun though and as long as I have people to help me with the more demanding financial and distribution issues, I hope to keep going a good while more.
I do all design for the label myself, as Miasmah has also been since the start, my graphic and art alias. I have no musical education but rather graphic design background, so i wanted this incorporated into the label. Although after a while, running the label I found out sometimes I have to loosen the bonds a bit, having other visual artists presented at times. I still want to keep a red line through the releases though, so I’m still on design duties for all releases with most of the output coming with my artwork as well. I can tell you I’ve been doing graphics and covers for countless other record label up through the last 10-12 years now which has been great fun, but maybe not the most financially viable thing. : )
In 2011, Miasmah is still working to output the most interesting, weird, beautiful and shadow filled music you can find. I want to try keep pushing it forward without loosing the identity built up through the years.
6. What are your plans for 2011 and beyond?
I had not that many plans for 2011 when 2010 was closing in on end, but now it’s looking like it’s gonna be quite the busy year. First off, I changed distribution and production with my label Miasmah and have now a much busier year ahead of me with quite more releases than usual. Very exciting stuff coming this year I can say with everything from new fresh talent to followup albums by Miasmah oldtimers. I’ll be playing a nice bunch of Deaf Center and Svarte Greiner gigs, though no huge tours planned so far. First on the list as far as gigs right now is going to New York to play at Unsound festival in early April, which I’m very excited about. Other than that it’s looking like I’m gonna be involved in some art projects and the likes, so I’m crossing fingers for a good year.
Leyland Kirby broke cover back in the mid-90s as the sinister music intelligence behind V/VM, an anarchic music project-cum-production house that specialized in feeding kitsch pop hits – Chris De Burgh’s Lady in Red, Robbie Williams’ Angels, and so on – though a grisly sonic mincer. The results came out sounding like the karaoke booth of your worst nightmares, humorous and nauseous in equal measure, but you had to admire Kirby’s dedication to the cause: he certainly knew how to turn your stomach and put a smile on your face at the same time. (bio courtesy of BBC Music)
1. On Discogs you have over 20 aliases. Why so many aliases? Would you say that your most well known aliases are The Caretaker, V/Vm, and Leyland Kirby? Could you describe the differences in these 3 projects in particular?
Electronic based music has always lent itself well to many pseudonyms for projects over the years due to the possibilities of audio creation and manipulation. There has never been a plan for so many aliases. V/Vm was what it was, a reaction to the time and a response to what was possible due to computer evolution. It was as creative as it was destructive and there’s more of a resurgence these days out there in terms of style.
The Caretaker project has been ongoing since 1998 and that deals with memory recall and how our brains can disintegrate and also there’s an emphasis on amnesia and specific forms of amnesia. Music recorded using my own name also can be based around memory, but carries a different age as everything is composed whereas the music of the Caretaker uses a lot of 1930’s/1940’s ballroom music as its starting point. The last project which will gain more exposure is that of The Stranger which is darker still, often it has been seen as the missing link between the work i did as V/Vm and that of The Caretaker.
2. In 2009, you released the epic Sadly, The Future Is No Longer What It Was to critical acclaim. Can you describe what you were going through to create such beautiful, haunting art?
It was a changing time on this end. For the years preceding that release, I was very isolated and nobody was taking much notice of my work so I just shut myself away and worked very hard for twelve months on that project… looking and focusing on how we used to see the future in the past, how the future turned out and looking at how the new future may play out. It’s a large scale release and kept growing organically to the point that it was a 3CD set. For many people it was too much as it can be a long, introspective and dark listen in places with the sun maybe only escaping from the dark clouds now and again.
3. You been quiet since 2009. What plans do you have for 2011 and beyond?
Right now I’m being very austere about information regarding what is coming this year. I took a full year off from releasing audio last year as I needed some time to recharge after the last album came out. I took a couple of impromptu road trips with some chaotic girls and had as much fun as I could financially afford. I have now been locked away again for some time and everything is sounding and looking very strong. I have been fortunate to find and be working with some amazing people at the moment. The label has a definite look and feel thanks to the amazing artwork of Ivan Seal. I have the amazing Lupo at Dubplates mastering all the new work and adding a sprinkle of his own magic to the proceedings. I have just scored Grant Gee’s very special film “Patience,” which is an essay film based around the W.G. Sebald book, ‘The Rings Of Saturn’. Grant has done an amazing job and the audio placement is stunning as it’s there, but often it seems to just disappear and appear so you’re unsure if you didn’t just imagine it being there. I have some very exciting releases coming on my label, History Always Favours The Winners, with some surprises too I hope. Right now, the main aim is to build an honest body of work which sounds as amazing as it looks and has an exceptional value for those who wish to expose themselves to it.4. You have a reputation for some well known performances. Some people have described them as brilliant, wild, disturbing, ridiculous, genius and more. What is your philosophy on the live performance and people’s reaction to them?
These days I seldom play live, but in the past it’s been a little crazy with the V/Vm shows. Many ending in fights, being thrown off stage, audiences in shock as I used to roll around venues like a bowling ball at people. It’s at odds with my audio works now, but the tension is still inside of me to be honest. When I was in New York last year, I was having a terrible time as we couldn’t get the visuals to work (which were of these road trips with the girls earlier that year and a big part of the show). Also, there was a techno beat over everything from the other room which was impacting on the audio so it was a real mess. I decided there and then to just launch into some harsh noise and try to knock over as many people as possible who were watching this fiasco unfold. That ended very well as I also did a running jump and pulled down the visuals screen from out of the ceiling and I shut down the audio to more or less stunned silence. The promoter told me he was unsure if what he’d seen was the best show he’d been involved with or the worst. Proceeding that show, I played at Mutek and sank almost a full bottle of whisky on stage in under forty minutes before singing “The Way We Were” to the 1,500 or so people watching and was amazed at the warm response I got for doing that. I mean it’s an honest show and something you’re not likely to get from my contemporaries I guess and I’m a risk which is I guess why I seldom get asked to do anything. If you book Fennesz or Tim Hecker, you know what you’re getting and people and promoters like that.
5. Why the move from Stockport, England to Berlin? How are you feeling about Berlin now? Any plans to move soon?
Britain is a very hard place to live and survive in if you’re making music. Berlin at the time I moved just about still had a good feeling about the place and was affordable and I had tried to move here twice before in the early 2000’s each time falling at the last hurdle. Everything comes to an end though and here these days it’s changed beyond belief and non of it for the better. Money is moving in fast and it seems to be a city of creatives who when it boils down to it don’t create too much. I think it could be time very soon to head for some sunshine and some new experiences as I don’t rely on much here. I must be the only musician here who has never played here whilst living here.
Jacaszek is an author and producer of electroacoustic music, combining electronically prepared sounds with acoustic instruments. “My music is an ambitious plan: I want to create my own personal and recognizable musical language in which electronic manipulation of recorded sound is going to enrich traditional acoustic instruments. The motivation of these experiments is discovering the hidden and universal beauty.”
We had a chance to talk with Jacaszek about his latest projects and plans for 2011.
1. Tell us about your past releases before participating on the SMM: Context compilation?
My debut album was recorded for a small polish label called Gusstaff. The “Lo-fi stories” were based on samples taken from tapes of fairytales for kids. Then I did some collaboration with poet-singer Milka Malzahn. I produced “Sequel” which was also released by Gusstaff. After moving my interest towards classical music, I started to sample pianos, orchestras, and together with live cello, violin (beautifully arranged by Stefan Wesolowski) and soprano singer Maia Sieminska, I produced Treny. My last album was called Pentral, entirely arranged with a use of field recordings I made in gothic churches in Gdansk.
2. You have recently composed film scores and theatre music. Can you tell us more about these projects?
Well, I’ve been doing quite lot of soundtracks recently. In 2010, I produced a score for feature-length movie “Suicide’s Room” by Jan Komasa, Marc Silver’s small, but beautiful etude “There Is No Others, There Is Only Us”, and a film by Ania Maszczynska-Bak called “Tomorrow We’ll Be Parents.” Also, lots of documentaries, a theatre play, two cartoons for kids, and commercials.
3. There is a performance you played in Porto, Portugal where visuals were being projected onto what looks like a prestigious and old building. What was the experience like?
We played at Sao Bento da Vitoria Monastery in Porto which was rebuilt and turned into a concert hall. It was a very nice experience. I collaborated with baroque players and great video artist Pedro Maia who used the facades of the building as projection screens. We played rearranged Pentral material which worked great with this kind of surrounding.4. Do you feel Poland affects your mood and tone of how you compose?
I wouldn’t like to mythologize my music in any way, but I’m sure a kind of “polish spirit” or “northern atmosphere” is present in my compositions. I live here in a land of greyish clouds, fields with distant trees on the horizon, the sea, lakes and hills. It definitely affects my sound. I actually often bear in my mind images of beloved landscapes when I’m working on music.
5. What are your plans for 2011 and beyond (releases, projects, touring, etc)?
I plan to release my next full-length album later this year. Also, I have an idea to work with vocals and do some music based on poems.. I also dream to work with sounds of the trumpet as it moves my emotions strongly. I will play a couple of interesting gigs this year. Plans include Borderline festival in Athens, Greece, Bozar night in Brussels, Alphaville Festival in London, C3 Festival in Berlin and Unsound/Krakow this autumn.
SMM: Context is the first release in our new yearly compilation series of evocative, exploratory music. Think classical minimalism, electronic, drone, film soundtracks and home listening compositions. The release includes Rafael Anton Irissari (aka The Sight Below), Svarte Greiner, Jacaszek, Kyle Bobby Dunn, Leyland Kirby, Goldmund, Peter Broderick and more.
Check out Ghostlycast #42: SMM Context felte mix.