Somi is the new full-length from Taylor Deupree following 2014’s Faint (12k1073/12k2025). The release comes packaged as a CD inside a 20-page hardbound book of Deupree’s photographs that inspired the creation of the music. For the music, made with a small number of instruments (electric piano, glockenspiel, DX7, handheld cassette recorder) Deupree originally set out to create a follow-up to his classic album Stil.. Steeped in subtle repetition and soft electronic sound, Stil. explored themes of time and change. However, Stil. was created with purely electronic means – software synthesizers and looping algorithms which explored the then-novel frontier of DSP based “microsound.” With a strong desire to bring the aesthetics of Stil. to his current way of working Deupree used no software or automatic looping, instead opting for the imperfections of creating “loops” by hand. The result is warm and quietly decayed work of spare, discreet tones and dozens of interwoven slow polyrhythms that create repetitions that constantly fall apart and shuffle themselves back together. While these ideas of phase relationships are not new in music, nor to Deupree’s catalogue of work, it was the way he approached the composing that was different, and more challenging, than his work in the past. Wrapped up warmly in the sonics of cassette players and cheap built-in speakers, Somi’s dusty melodies sit quietly, but uneasily, and question the passing of time and present one of Deupree’s most alluring albums to date.
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SPAIN, NOVEMBER 2016
(english translation below)
LA SENDA MÁGICA
Como un artesano, Federico Durand ha ido perfeccionando el tallado de sus melodías como si fueran cuentas de cristal. Fabricado a partir del arrullo de viejas cintas de casete, teclados y cajitas de música, su sonido revela un mundo de una belleza inocente y apaciguada que parece discurrir como en un cuento.
Las manzanas del barrio de Recoleta se atrincheran contra la escasez que asola Buenos Aires y el resto de Argentina. Sus fachadas monumentales son vestigios del esplendor comercial de las primeras décadas del siglo XX. Es julio de 2014 y Federico Durand me guía entre esas calles señoriales que desaguan en una inmensa plaza palaciega, a escala americana. Le resulta difícil contener el entusiasmo: hace poco que ha vuelto de Japón, donde ha compartido kilómetros, té y horas de música junto con Stephan Mathieu, Tomoyoshi Date, Chihei Hatakeyama, Corey Fuller y Taylor Deupree, quien parece decidido a editar un disco en el que Durand lleva meses enfrascado. En los dos años que han transcurrido desde aquella tarde, Federico ha visto nacer a su primera hija, ha dejado su trabajo como profesor de Literatura en un colegio y ha abandonado Buenos Aires para instalarse con su familia en una casita en las montañas de la provincia de Córdoba. En ese tiempo también han visto la luz “Jardín de invierno” (Spekk, 2016) y “A través del espejo” (12k, 2016), aquel álbum del que hablaba entonces, que curiosamente comparte título con uno de los temas de “La estrella dormida” (White Paddy Mountain, 2014). ‘Algo de lo que se mostraba y ocultaba en ‘La estrella dormida’ florece en ‘A través del espejo’. Por un lado, el entresueño de la primera estrella de la tarde; por otro, el mundo de los espejos. El cielo estrellado es también un espejo donde nos podemos mirar”, asegura Federico. “El corte que lleva el nombre del disco es muy antiguo. Lo encontré en una casete grabada con mi portaestudio de cuatro canales cuando estaba organizando la mudanza a nuestra nueva casa en las sierras. Lo único que hice fue transcribirlo tal cual a la computadora. No recuerdo cuándo lo grabé, pero el día que lo descubrí y apreté ‘play’ supe que su sonido casi mágico era un mensaje que yo mismo me había enviado hace años, sin darme cuenta. Fue el hilo del que fui tirando hasta hacer que apareciera toda la trama. Los discos se van revelando de este modo, muy lentamente. Todo va apareciendo. Tengo esa fe”.
Federico ha ido definiendo un mundo de porcelana a través de su música. Sus discos son espacios de una belleza tan ilusoria como inocente, que parte de un momento de epifanía que da un sentido, una narrativa, a su poesía sonora. Tanto “El estanque esmeralda” (Spekk, 2014) como “El idioma de las luciérnagas” (Desire Path, 2013), “El libro de los árboles mágicos” (Home Normal, 2012) o “El éxtasis de las flores pequeñas” (Own, 2011) surgieron a partir de recuerdos y visiones, dotando a la naturaleza de un misterio intangible. Todos remiten a la misma búsqueda de un instante de luz, de pureza. Son piezas del mismo mosaico, variaciones sobre una melodía ancestral, multiplicadas en los reflejos infinitos de un abalorio. Federico lo cree así: “Para mí la música es un espacio sagrado. Es el jardín donde me pierdo y a la vez me encuentro. Aprendí que para hacer música hay que saber escuchar. Y que, como quería Keats, debo ser fiel a mi imaginación; que la poesía, la creación, debe brotar tan naturalmente como el árbol da hojas”.
“A través del espejo” profundiza en un ejercicio de depuración en el que Federico, que ha dejado de recurrir a las grabaciones de campo, lleva sumido algún tiempo. “Cada día creo más en el esplendor de lo pequeño, de lo esencial”, proclama. Su poder evocador contagia incluso las imágenes que suscitan títulos de piezas como “Linternas junto a la laguna” o “El grillo de nácar”, ayudando a colorear la historia. “Siempre sentí fascinación por los espejos porque reflejan y a la vez velan lo que muestran”, reconoce. “El título del disco también puede remitir a Lewis Carroll y su Alicia, pero lo cierto es que durante el tiempo en que lo grababa estaba obsesionado con la experiencia de enfrentar dos espejos: como en un ‘loop, la imagen se repite hacia el infinito, volviéndose cada vez más verde y difusa. Quería experimentar ese universo de los espejos a través del sonido”.
“Jardín de invierno” debe su título al espacio favorito de Federico en su casa en las sierras. Allí es donde prefiere trabajar en su música. Es su disco más delicado y un paso más en el esencialismo al que parece estar abocada su música, como una semilla de diente de león disolviéndose en el aire de la mañana.
Aquel viaje a Japón de hace dos años también propició “Magical Imaginary Child” (White Paddy Mountain, 2015), un disco compartido con Chihei Hatakeyama con el que Federico amplió un círculo de colaboraciones que incluye proyectos junto a Tomoyoshi Date (Melodía) o Nicholas Szczepanik (Every Hidden Color). “Me hospedaba en casa de Chihei y una tarde hicimos una serie de grabaciones. Entre cada sesión bebíamos café en el jardín de su casa, que tiene piedras cubiertas de musgo y el kami de una rana. Su barrio es un lugar silencioso a las afueras de Tokio”, recuerda Federico, antes de relatar cómo rescató algunas tomas dedicadas a su abuelo materno, recogidas en “Música para Manuel” (Hibernate, 2015): “Mi abuelo Manuel fue mi mejor amigo. Era de Almería y me contaba historias de España, de su trabajo como mecánico de aviones de hélice para Aerolíneas Argentinas. Me llevó por primera vez a los bosques del sur de Argentina y me enseñó una forma de ver que, gracias a Dios, todavía perdura y me guía en cada cosa que hago. Tenía una imaginación y una sensibilidad únicas, también un gran sentido del humor. Perdió a sus padres siendo muy pequeño, pero nunca hablaba de ello”.
(GOOGLE TRANSLATE TO ENGLISH)
apologies for the oddness that often happens.
THE MAGICAL PATH
As a craftsman, Federico Durand has been refined carving of his melodies as if they were glass beads. Manufactured from cooing of old cassette tapes, keyboards and music boxes, sound reveals a world of innocent beauty and appeased that seems to run like a story.
The barrio de Recoleta neighborhood barricade themselves against shortages plaguing Buenos Aires and the rest of Argentina. Its monumental facades are remnants of commercial splendor of the early twentieth century. It is July 2014 and Federico Durand guides me among those stately streets that empty into a huge palatial square, American scale. He finds it hard to contain his excitement: only recently has returned from Japan, where he has shared kilometers, tea and hours of music with Stephan Mathieu, Tomoyoshi Date, Chihei Hatakeyama, Corey Fuller and Taylor Deupree, who seems determined to release an album in which it leads Durand engaged for months. In the two years that have passed since that afternoon, Federico’s wife has given birth to her first child, and he has left his job as a professor of literature at a school and has left Buenos Aires to settle with his family in a small house in the mountains of the province of Cordoba. In that time releases of his have also seen the light: “Winter Garden” (Spekk, 2016) and “A Través del Espejo” (12k, 2016), that album was talking about then, curiously shares title with one of the themes of “The star asleep “(White Paddy Mountain, 2014). ‘Some of what was shown and hiding in’ The Sleeping Star ‘blooms in’ Through the Looking Glass’. On the one hand, the doze of the first evening star; on the other, the world of mirrors. The starry sky is a mirror in which we can look, “says Federico. “The court named the album is very old. I found it on a cassette with my portastudio four track when I was organizing the move to our new home in the mountains. All I did was transcribe such to the computer. I do not remember when I recorded it, but the day I discovered it and I pressed ‘play’ I knew his almost magical sound was a message that I had sent me years ago, without realizing it. It was the thread I was pulling up to make it appear the whole plot. The discs are revealed thus very slowly. Everything is appearing. I have that faith.”
Federico has been defining a world of porcelain through his music. His records are spaces of beauty as illusory as innocent, that part of a moment of epiphany that gives a sense, a narrative, his sound poetry. Both “The Emerald Pond” (Spekk, 2014) as “The language of the Fireflies” (Desire Path, 2013), “The Book of magic trees” (Home Normal, 2012) or “Ecstasy of small flowers” ( Own, 2011) arose from memories and visions, giving the nature of an intangible mystery. All refer to the same search for a moment of light and purity. They are pieces of the same mosaic, variations on an ancient melody, multiplied in the infinite reflections of a trinket. Federico thinks: “For me, music is a sacred space. It is the garden where I lose myself and find myself again. I learned that to make music must listen. And, as I wanted Keats, I must be true to my imagination; poetry, creation, must come as naturally as the tree gives leaves “.
“A Través del Espejo” delves into a clean-up exercise in which Federico, who has stopped resorting to field recordings, takes some time. “Every day I think more in the splendor of small, in essence,” he proclaims. Its evocative power spread even images aroused titles of pieces as “lanterns along the lagoon” or “Cricket nacre”, helping to color the story. “I always felt fascination with mirrors that reflect and also watch what they show,” he admits. “The album title can also refer to Lewis Carroll and Alice, but the truth is that during the time when the recording was obsessed with the experience of facing two mirrors: as in a ‘loop, the image is repeated to infinity , becoming greener and diffuse. I wanted to experience mirrors that universe through sound. ”
“Winter Garden” owes its title to favorite Federico space at home in the mountains. That’s where he prefers to work on his music. It is his most delicate disk and a step in the essentialism that seems doomed his music, like a dandelion seed dissolving into the morning air.
That trip to Japan two years ago also led “Magical Imaginary Child” (White Paddy Mountain, 2015), a shared Chihei Hatakeyama record that Federico expanded a circle of collaborations that includes projects with Tomoyoshi Date (Melody) or Nicholas Szczepanik (Every Hidden Color). “I Chihei staying at home and later made a series of recordings. Between each session we drank coffee in the garden of his house, which has mossy stones and the kami of a frog. Your neighborhood is quiet on the outskirts of Tokyo place, “recalls Frederick, before recounting how he rescued some dedicated to his maternal grandfather takes, collected in” Music for Manuel “(Hibernate, 2015):” My grandfather Manuel was my best friend . It was Almeria and tell me stories about Spain, his work as an aircraft propeller mechanic for Aerolineas Argentinas. It took me first to the forests of southern Argentina and showed me a way to see that, thank God, still lingers and guide me in everything I do. He had a unique imagination and sensitivity, also a great sense of humor. He lost his parents when he was very young, but never talked about it. ”
Gareth Dickson is ghostlike. From the dark outskirts of Glasgow he has sent three studio studio albums in to the world – Collected Recordings (2009), The Dance (2010) and Quite A Way Away (2012). These albums have bewitched a growing inner circle, including some of the most innovative musicians around today – Juana Molina and Vashti Bunyan to name just two. Gareth has been the only constant member of Vashti’s touring outfit over the past ten years and latterly they have stripped down to a duet on their worldwide travels. Vashti indeed makes a spectral apparition on the first track of Gareth’s new album Orwell Court.
Gareth Dickson’s music is both beautiful and dark. A quiet Scottish melancholy underpinned by a grace and ethereal purity paired with a unique impression where the delicacy of Nick Drake mixes with the openness and space Brian Eno. Gareth’s music is often stripped down to the spare elements of voice and acoustic guitar, but a complex and mysterious music hides beneath the surface, demanding but generous and surprising. Clearly picking up where his previous albums left off, Gareth throws in a few surprises. Gleaned from his time spent touring and experimenting between albums the addition of a drum kit, some keyboards and guest vocalists enrich the palette. But fear not, these elements, while previously unheard of in his music, are approached with the subtlety that his listeners expect. They are a texture that adds dimension throughout the album. The hush is still there in its most genuine form.
In the image of it’s author, on the brink of falling in to juvenille delinqueny, Gareth took a straighter path and ended up on the university trampoline team while studying aerospace engineering. Now he spends his days eating vegan snacks, knows how to choose a good lawyer, and sports his normcore t-shirts on the tennis courts of Glasgow’s Southside. At night he presses his red Doc Martens a little harder on the accelerator of his Rover 75 on highways where they drive on the left. Everything is only a pretext to fuel his visceral need of creation, as attested by his superglued nails cared for as extensions of his guitar. Accuracy and uniqueness are at the heart of his artistic process. He establishes a relationship to time outwith the current mad and superficial pace of our own. His music is a form of modern classicism, by a man constantly aware that perfection lies shrouded in mists of uncertainty and ambiguity. It is above all a question of obsession and atmosphere. And it is a unwaveringly sublime cover of this Joy Division title that closes Orwell Court. Past revisited, and behind that, transcendence.
Two weeks after relocating to Portugal from the UK in May 2016, a sudden and traumatic injury to his mouth and teeth provided Will Samson the excuse to put singing aside and focus on creating an almost entirely instrumental body of work.
As Samson describes the recording: “The whole process was about being open and allowing the music to flow out naturally, without letting my analytical mind become involved. To just press record on my tape machines and see what happens. This experiment allowed me to produce some honest documents of how I was really feeling at the time with all that was going on in my life. “Père” was recorded the day after returning home from hospital, with my friend Beatrijs De Klerck adding her violin parts a week or so later. I was still in a slightly dazed, sense of shock and recording this piece helped to settle me back down, after the surreal 48 hours in a Portuguese hospital bed.”
In contrast to his recent album, Ground Luminosity (which was meticulously crafted over a period of two years), Lua showcases Samson’s ability to improvise and create spontaneously, with equally engaging results, using his beloved tape machines (from a microcassette recorder to 1/4” reel-to-reel) to produce organic and textural soundscapes that are soaked with deep mood and emotion.
Lua features Benoit Pioulard (Kranky, Ghostly International) on “You Are An Ocean” and a cover by visual artist Gregory Euclide (known for his artwork for Bon Iver) that beautifully renders the sound of the album.
The new album from Solo Andata, In The Lens, is now available now. It’s an incredibly beautiful, sultry, hazy work, very much in-line with their debut Fyris Swan.
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