12k Summer Sale

The annual 12k summer sale is here again. Until the end of August take 40% off your order at checkout with the coupon code: 12ksummer18

Offer is valid on all CDs, vinyl and downloads from 12k through our web shop and bandcamp page. Take this opportunity to fill missing gaps in your collection or try out something new. Visit our shops now and start listening:

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Marcus Fischer & Simon Scott “Shape Memory”

Marcus Fischer & Simon Scott have collaborted on a new album called Shape Memory.
It’s available now….

A portion of all CD sales go to support S1/The Synth Library in Portland, OR.

BANDCAMP
12K SHOP

in the UK:
NORMAN RECORDS

soon in EU:
A-MUSIK

Marcus Fischer – Sound Propositions (2017)

Sound Propositions is an ongoing, semi-regular series of conversations with artists exploring their creative practices and individual aesthetics, conceived of as a counter-narrative to a dominant trend in music journalism which fetishizes equipment and new technologies. Rather than writing copy that can just as easily have come from a press release or a consumer electronics catalog, this series tries to take the emphasis away from the ‘what’ and shine light on the ‘how’ and ‘why.’ You can find the previous eleven interviews, as well as additional articles and features, here.

You begin with the possibilities of the material

Robert Rauschenberg

Marcus Fischer (b. 1977) first came to our attention with his 12k debut Monocoastal (2010) and his subsequent collaboration with Taylor Deupree, In A Place Of Such Graceful Shapes (2011).  That disc’s soothing sounds, pleasing packaging, and accompanying book of 45-sized photographs of a frozen February in the Hudson Valley earned it a guest spot on our list of Best Winter Albums.  Like Deupree, Fischer also used a public blog to spur a year of daily creative projects. Beginning in 2009, Dust Breeding served to document “a thing a day…maybe more,” an impetus for creating everyday for one year. Fischer cemented his reputation, receiving additional acclaim for his 2012 follow-up Collected Dust drawn from those sessions. M. Ostermeier chose his favorite stand out tracks made throughout the project’s first year, which Fischer reworked into the final album.

Duepree has already told us a bit about his experiences working with Marcus Fischer, most recently on Twine (12k, 2015) and Lowlands (IIKKI, 2017), the latter of which also accompanies a book of photographs, this time by Ester Vonplon. Like Deupree, Fischer too is working with the Minnesota THESIS PROJECT, a new label which brings together artists who might not otherwise think to collaborate. (The Thesis Project will be the subject of a feature to be published later this year.) For THESIS 15,   Fischer will make a collaborative 10″ record with Matthew Cooper (Eluvium).

Fischer’s work is often collaborative and multi-media in nature, but his practice has also been, at times, participatory.  Disquiet‘s Marc Weidenbaum created his ongoing Disquiet Junta project in part taking inspiration from Fischer’s daily creations for Dust Breeding. As explained at the start of each project:

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate.

Though rapidly approaching their 300th weekly project,  Fischer’s work was the subject of the fourth installment, helping to set the tone as the series developed. Fischer provided the group with ten audio samples which made up “Nearly There,” from Collecting Dust. Fischer explained to the group that the song was comprised of “lapharp + ebow looped using the monome 128 w/ the wonderful MLRv application.” Noted artist Stephen Vitiello was among the participants, and even Fischer himself joined in, remixing his own work. The process did more than just generate dozens of compositions, but also inspired a spirited discussion about the nature of remixes in general. This communal character has only grown as Disquiet Junto continues to be a thriving nexus of creativity and discussion, and I encourage our readers to check them out.

Dust Breeding has been quiet these last two years, however Fischer’s instagram and soundcloudcontinue to be full of beautiful images of his ongoing creative practice, well-arranged tableaux of sound generating gear and carefully placed instruments. It will come as no surprise that Fischer works as an art director and photographer in his other life. Not unlike his explanation of “Nearly There” to Disquiet (lapharp + ebow + monome), these snapshots serve as windows into his creative process, something we discuss in detail below.

Fischer’s music has often seemed to reflect his home in the Pacific Northwest, being based for some years now in Portland, Oregon. Monocoastal foregrounded this most directly, reflecting on Fischer’s moves along the Pacific coast, another aspect covered in our discussion. Fischer’s most recent solo album is the recently released Loss (12k, 2017), billed as the long-awaited follow-up to Monocoastal. Loss feels more coherent in concept than Collected Dust, and while the intervening years have included so many collaborations and solo releases drawn from live performances (2012’s At Frame, 2015’s Public Works), the singularity of Loss registers as more fully mature work. Perhaps it is fitting that Fischer completed the album during a residency on the opposite coast, at the Robert Rauschenberg Residency in Captiva, Florida, in January of 2017.

This residency fell during the inauguration of President Trump, and while Deupree felt politics should be left out of his music, Fischer tackled the current events head-on through a work of looped vocal recordings (“words of concern”) from his fellow artists and staff at the Rauschenberg Residency discussing their reservations about the incoming administration. The loss of the title reflects not just the most recent election cycle but the physical loss of sound typical of Fischer’s characteristic use of tape loops and re-recorded audio.

This concept of loss also developed during the residency in other ways, including a newfound experiment in working with a series of cast brass tuning forks. The subtle inaccuracies of casting compliment Fischer’s microsound approach and the variability of tape loops. The tuning fork has been an attractive source material among Fischer’s peers as well.  I’m reminded of Recurrence, a work by fellow 12k affiliate (and LINE lable boss) Richard Chartier which was included in Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum first post-renovation exhibit, Tools: Extending our Reach (2014). In this context, Recurrence is played through headphones alongside an 1876 Tonometer (comprised of four octaves of mounted rows of tuning forks). Machinefabriek’s 2012 tape Forks drew on the tuning fork as primary sound source, as well, something we discussed in the first installment of Sound Propositions. While each of these artists began with the same tool, exploring the possibilities of the material, the results are each utterly individual and unique.  Sound Propositions tries to bring us closer to understanding how and why these paths diverge. Marcus Fischer’s latest works demonstrate for us one model of creative production based on embracing the permanence of absence, the disappointment of loss, and the mysterious power of making noise together.  (Joseph Sannicandro)

[all photos by Brian (losing.today ) unless otherwise indicated]

INTERVIEW

Do you have a favorite piece of gear you’d care to talk about?  Not necessary from a technical standpoint, but as a piece of equipment that you’ve developed a kind of relationship with.

I tend to go in cycles of what gear interests me.  I usually to lean towards compact pieces of equipment that has a lot of character.  Sometimes that is an acoustic instrument like a small harp or glockenspiel other times it is something electronic like an old casio keyboard, a portable tape machine or a series of guitar pedals connected in a specific order. But one instrument that crosses over between those categories of acoustic + electronic but is not at all compact is my wurlitzer electric piano (model 140b).

It is an instrument that my girlfriend (now wife) and I found at a thrift store in Olympia, Washington in the late 1990s. Prior to owning that piano I had mostly played drums + guitar in a variety of bands and made sleepy 4-track recordings on the side. At the point when we found that piano all the bands that I had been playing in had dissolved and taking a break from drums and guitar felt so right.  My personal work really began to take shape after a few years of using that piano as my main sound source.  Because of its weight I don’t often bring it out to perform live but when I do, I am always happy I did.

One of the tensions I’m interested in exploring through Sound Propositions is the difference between working as an artist in the studio (producing records and compositions in “fixed,” recorded form) and in performances.  In your liner notes for Public Works you gesture towards one way of distinguishing between the two, appropriately enough as a compilation of live recordings.

The titles I have chosen for these recordings instead reflect my memories of the particular performances or the situations that surrounded them. This release serves to document the sounds that were created and not as a replacement for seeing + hearing live improvised music in person.

So, how do you approach recording versus performing?

Because everything is improvised and being created right in front of them, the audience and myself are all on the same ride. That is something that can only happen when experiencing a live performance.  I chose those titles on “Public Works” for a number of reasons. Some of it was because of the statement you cited above but another reason was that all of them we excerpts from live performances so the listener was already not getting the whole picture. Plus I thought It would be more fun to title the tracks in the style of episodes from the sitcom “Friends” rather than “Live at Human Resources, LA, CA, 10.16.12 (excerpt)”

My studio practice and live performances are very different… not necessarily in tone or sound palette, but in the approach.  For live performances everything is improvised. Prior to the performance I typically decide on a system to improvise within. What that means to me is that I will assemble a set of instruments, effects and some kind of sound layering device to bring to the performance. Just what elements those are is always changing. Recently a performance system that I used was guitar, octatrack (sampler) and a few guitar pedals. Other more complex systems have involved extremely long tape loops, external speakers vibrating objects and ebows on multiple objects.  One constant is that other than sometimes a field-recording or two I always start without any prerecorded material.  I build up layers of sound from the things around me and the audience always gets to see where those sounds are coming from and how they are being manipulated.

When performing live I never get nervous or feel stressed in any way. For me it is an almost meditative practice. I listen to each layer and respond to it with subtle manipulations or additions.

My live work is almost entirely additive. I am layering and layering sound and building up these complex overlapping elements. In the studio I begin much in the same way as I do for a performance but at a certain point the two diverge. That additive process gives way to an almost brutal subtractive editing process. I start with a recording of several long improvised takes on a theme and begin cutting and trimming until I feel like I can’t take anything else away. I don’t try and take out all the imperfections (for me those are often the most interesting parts) I only the elements that i feel are redundant or don’t add anything that holds my interest.  What I am left with is an impression of what the original piece was but hopefully a more focused experience for the listener.

Obviously related, but do you have a very different approach to a live situation in terms of improvisation as opposed to how you work in the studio?  I’m especially interested in live performances that break away from the typical stage-oriented approach.  I remember seeing that last fall you took part in a live six speaker surround sound showcase.  How does working with changing dispersion methods (whether 6 channel or small speakers or otherwise) change how you approach a performance?

SIX, the live six speaker surround sound show is something that a few other Portland artists and I have been doing for a number of years now.  Tim Wescott + David Chandler own the sound system and have been instrumental in keeping it going. Each and every time I have performed at SIX I have approached it in a different way. The way I view multichannel performances is that you can try and use it to create a three dimensional experience where sounds are traveling around the room or try and give the audience a feeling that there are a unique set of sounds coming from each speaker (like each represents an instrument in a sextet). I have tried both approaches and I feel like a prefer that latter with maybe a tiny bit of the former.  I feel like nobody really wants to listen to 20 minutes of sounds swirling around their heads.  My most memorable multi channel performance at SIX was when i constructed two tape loops that were between 35 and 40 feet that went from the ground floor of the building up to the 2nd floor and were being held up by bars and helium balloons. The two loops were run to a 1/4” stereo reel to reel deck and the other went to a 1/4” 8-track reel to reel deck. All 10 tracks were being fed into a mixer where i could send whichever track to whatever combination of speakers. A lot of people were skeptical that the whole system would work but it did.

 

Do you find that the audience relates to work differently in such settings?  Does it make people more open to music they might not hear otherwise?

Yes, I feel like some of the best audiences that I’ve performed for in Portland have been at SIX. I feel like people know going into it that it is a listening event and so they approach it differently. It is not unusual to see people laying on blankets with their eyes closed in deep listening. Even those who are moving around the room they typically refrain from talking. They are so quiet and respectful during the performances it is almost hard to believe. The only place where I’ve seen that level of respect during a performance was in Japan.

I notice you often post pictures of the particular set up used to create a composition alongside tracks on soundcloud.  Would you be willing to choose a recent or upcoming track and break it down, talk about its development, equipment used, etc? For instance:

For this track it is entirely made up of the things you see in this photo. I was simply a sound on sound tape loop that I made using a brass glockenspiel. the differences you hear in pitch were created by running the tape at different speeds. Running the tape at the fastest speed while recording but at the slowest speed during playback can drop the pitch by several octaves. This is something that I do a lot of. You can hear that technique all over “Twine”, the most recent collaborative album that I did with Taylor Deupree.

Can you describe what led your interest in making music? What is your musical background, both in terms of playing instruments and musical “scenes” which you were shaped by?

I think my earliest interest in making music came from the love of two things… experimentation and sound. My personal experiences in the DIY/independent music scenes of the 1990’s really shaped who I am and my relationship to music.

When I was a teenager I got into punk and indie music and started playing in bands with a few friends. I never had any formal training but instead learned by listening and improvising. For a while all the bands I played in were ones where we all traded instruments between songs so pretty quickly I became somewhat proficient at bass, guitar and drums. Always learning just by making music with others. After moving to Olympia in the mid 1990’s I primarily focused on drums. I played drums in about four different bands across quite a few genres and did solo 4 + 8 track looping/ambient music on my own. Some of those bands toured nationally and some did not but at a certain point I started turning as the projectionist for Hovercraft (an experimental/space rock band that played a live score to video collages by Ryan Shinn). With Hovercraft we got to do tours with bands like the Boredoms and the Melvins which was a fantastic experience but really burnt me out on touring in general.

After I moved to Portland with my girlfriend (now my wife) we rented a small apartment where it was pretty much impossible to make any music on anything other than headphones. That happened to be around the same time I started messing around with making music with samplers followed a few years later by computers. After we moved from that apartment into a house with a decent sized basement I started playing music with Matt Jones. Those basement sessions soon became our duo Unrecognizable Now. With Unrec Now we were able to combine electronics with guitars, drums + ambient textures often collaborating with other musicians and artists. Around that same time I was also working on my own solo recordings + performances. I released several digital eps + compilation tracks under the name Map~Map before abandoning that for my own name.  Around 2010 I started working with 12k + Taylor Deupee … and you pretty much know the rest.

Do you have any early memories of sound, as listener or recorder, that stand out to you?

Nobody in my immediate family was musical so there were no instruments in our house but when I was a kid I would play around a lot with tape recorders. Mostly recording songs off the radio and dialogue from television. I loved making these weird collages of things like haunted house sounds mixed with bits of the Six Million Dollar Man or I Love Lucy.

All these years later I feel like many of my music production processes are informed by my early experiments with tape. I guess we can’t escape our own history.

Can you describe your working process a bit more (live or studio)?  For instance, do you begin with an idea for an effects process, or a particular sound, or some particular idea?

Speaking in general terms for live performances I begin with an idea and a specific set of tools I would like to use to create a piece. I use those tools to create a system in which to improvise with. Sometimes it is an assortment of small instruments and some tools for sound recording + manipulation. I always start with nothing and slowly build up and take down layers of sound.

I’m sure it varies, but maybe you can walk us through another piece from a photo, one more complex than we’ve already covered, not as a template but as a kind of window into your process?  

 

Marcus Fischer

I created this piece at the Rauschenberg residency using only piano a tape loop and two tape decks. I set up the tape decks to be running off the same loop with one set to record and the other set to playback. I recorded a short improvised piece to the tape while listening back to the second tape deck echoing my performance back to me. I let it run while I in a way improvised with a time delayed version of myself. When I felt like the recording was in a good place I flipped the recording deck over to be a second playback deck and then re-recorded the piece through the built in speakers of both decks. The shuffling sounds you hear in the background is the artist Wardell Milan cutting and trimming some large prints on a cutting table in another part of the studio.

How has your approach changed over the years?

I’d say my approach hasn’t changed that much over the years.  The main thing that is continually changing are the tools I use. I go through phases of using specific instruments and recording devices and as soon as I get really comfortable with them I tend to change it up. I like to keep myself from falling into the same old ruts. Maybe it is because all of my performances are done solo and improvised that it works to keep it interesting to me.

Might I inquire as to your day job?  I’m always curious about this, how these different aspects of our lives converge and diverge and influence each other.  For instance, I’m a PhD student and so I teach and I write, and I’ve found that despite being very different media, my approach to writing often parallels my approach to working with sound. Somehow the processes still influence each other, for better or worse.

My primary day job is in the photography industry.  I mainly work as what is called a stylist. I work alongside a photographer to achieve a specific visual aesthetic. I work on a little of everything… products, composition, set design, wardrobe… pretty much everything with the exception of food (which has it’s own very specific skill set).  In school I studied art and photography then later graphic design. I’ve always been very visual and enjoyed working with my hands but really don’t enjoy sitting in front of a computer for hours on end. I feel like in my work life I need to make very precise compositional decisions and always keep in mind the final product. With music I find myself seeking the opposite. I want to leave things ambiguous and a bit messy. I embrace the chance and randomness that occurs in my music and shake off anything that is too controlled. So in a way my work and my music are at odds but somehow it works out for me.

Perhaps a controversial question, but I wonder if you have any feelings about the relationship between art and politics (broadly conceived). Is there a politics (or an ethos, perhaps) to your work? Considering your explicitly political work made for the inauguration, I can imagine you might have some thoughts on this.

Having come of age when I did there were a lot of politics mixed in with making or consuming independent music and it felt totally natural. There was a lot of music out there with specific political messages but in reality just the act of releasing music outside of the major music creation and distribution channels or buying music from independent record shops was a kind of political act.  A lot of big labels + corporations were throwing a lot of money around and there was a lot of stigma around the idea of “selling out”. I think a lot of artists thought more about the impact of doing something like licensing music to an automobile company or a fast food commercial.  I think there is a lot less of that now.

I feel like art is at it’s most powerful when it is mixed with politics. Great art is there to show you a perspective and to challenge something about the way you think.  In the United States we are living through some seriously fucked up times politically, with an administration that has done nothing short of declaring war on human decency and seeks to eliminate all funding federal funding for Art organizations and many important social programs. I feel like if you are an artist making work during these times and you care at all about the future, you have a social responsibility to make work with a message.  Yann Novak and I had an exchange about making political ambient music and it got me thinking deeply about it. I feel like the intent can be there without having to spell out your message but It is a lot harder to do when making wordless pieces. I challenged myself to create a track entirely made up of words while I was in residence at the Robert Rauschenberg Residency. The day before the inauguration I asked my fellow artists in residence and some members of the Rauschenberg staff to list their concerns regarding the incoming administration. The piece took the form of a three minute tape loop that played throughout inauguration day. I would love to continue to create work like this using voices in layers.

I always like to ask about an artist’s favorite work outside of sound art or music. What books, visual art, theatre, films, etc you are inspired by, or find common cause with? Are their artists working in other media (past or present) that you feel an aesthetic kinship with?

I find a lot of inspiration in the work of artists who do not confine themselves to a single discipline.

The work of Marcel Duchamp has always struck a chord with me. The depth of his concepts and his constant experimentation with different mediums has always fascinated me. Duchamp was clearly an artist that was able to apply his ideas to so many things and those ideas have had a lasting impact on the art that came after him. Another artist that falls into that category and one that I gained a deeper respect for this year is Robert Rauschenberg. He was able to apply his skills to so many different mediums and was very innovative in the way that he combined found imagery with painting and sculpture. One of the beautiful things about

Rauschenberg was how he clearly loved to collaborate with different artists across disciplines. I feel like that whole Black Mountain College spirit of collaboration is really something beautiful. Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg and countless others making work and exchanging ideas. Where would we be without those collaborative works.

Your new album was just released this month on 12k.  What can you tell us about it?

Yes. At long last there is a new Marcus Fischer solo release coming out on 12k.  It is kind of ridiculous how long it has taken me to complete… not that I was working on it non-stop for the last five years but I would put time in working on it for a while and then abandon it again. It wasn’t as if I was doing nothing during that time. My main problem was that the concept that I wanted to address was something that I was maybe not ready to deal with emotionally and rather than set it aside and work on completing an album that was all together different, I would just walk away from it for a while and filled my music making time with other collaborations, a film score, performances or just losing hours upon hours making music that was never recorded.

I have to say, Taylor was infinitely patient with me and how long it took to finally finish. Not to say that there wasn’t some gentle prodding along the way. He and I communicate almost daily and every time I would send him a recording of something I was doing with a new piece of gear of a bit of a live set he would be like “Great now do a few more of those and your album is done!”

The album is called Loss and it started as a way for me to deal with loss and the emotions that go along with that. Which wasn’t an exciting thing to do but was very necessary. It wasn’t until I was awarded a place at the Rauschenberg Residency that I was able to really dig in and finish it. During the time I spent at the residency the work that I did there helped expand and deepen the album’s concept. I began to really think about what loss is and what it means. Not just the dictionary definition or the sympathy card version but something else. What I boiled it down to was that to me, loss is when something has changed that isn’t coming back… but if it is coming back, it is not coming back in the same way.

(oh, also… all of this was also all in the wake of the last presidential election and the looming inauguration which brought on a deep feeling of loss on many levels in so many of us.)

I expanded this idea into my music practice in using a lot of sound-on-sound tape loop recording and in my art practice through a series of cast brass tuning forks I created. When recording sound-on-sound to analog tape, with each pass over the recording head a new sound in introduced and the previous generation starts of slowly disappear. It doesn’t always happen in a predictable manner. Sometimes things linger longer than expected. It’s within this ghosting of sound that overlapping melodies and micro-rhythms start to appear.  You can hear this happening all over Loss.  Though most of the seeds of the album recordings we started in Portland the album itself really a product of the Rauschenberg Residency.  I was given the main studio on the property as my work space. It is just a huge white room with super high ceilings and a grand piano. In that space I was able to spread out with both my materials and my sound. The reverb in that room is enormous. While standing in the center, if you clap your hands you can hear nearly seven echo repeats before it dissolves. I really used the natural room sound a lot on the album. I even took an impulse response so I could try and recreate it using a convolution reverb (but it just doesn’t sound the same). I was also able to create some really long tape loops. Loops that were many times longer than anything I could create in my own studio.

The album as a whole is pretty stripped down with fewer punctuating sounds as my other releases. And while the theme might be considered dark, I wouldn’t consider the overall tone to be dark.

Although while Taylor was mastering it he send me a message regarding the title track on the album saying “I must say LOSS is probably the most ridiculously bleak track ever released on 12k” which cracked me up but was also probably true. I’m excited for the album to come out and excited to move on to writing/recording more solo material. I have a few things in the works that I am really looking forward to.

You and Taylor have another record together on IIKKI, Lowlands.  Again, would love to hear more about this project. 

That project is unique to us in a few different ways. It is the first of our collaborations to no be released on 12k and despite being on opposite coasts, Lowlands is the first project that Taylor and I have done together where we were not in the same room while working on it.  All but two of the tracks were done through correspondence. It is a very slow and disjointed way of working and is never my first choice of ways to collaborate.  The two tracks that we did work on at the same time were recorded in Pound Ridge as we prepared for a live performance we did in New York City several years ago and were based in part on some field recordings that I made while we were in Iceland the year before that. Pretty much all of the rest of the tracks I recorded around the same time as finishing up Loss while in Florida. We started by exchanging some tracks that served as seeds for what followed. Each of us would respond to what the other sent and then we did a few rounds of edits and mixes. I wound up bouncing all of the stems to tape once I was back in Portland but only some of them wound up making their way into the final mix.

Taylor and I have a international dates happening together later this year and then hopefully we can begin another collaboration… this time in person.

And lastly, when you first started getting involved in working with tape loops, samplers, computers, etc, I wonder how much use you may have made out of communicating on message boards.  I ask because I’ve been writing about mp3 blogs and message boards, reading through old posts on how to make beats on sp404 and these kinds of things, and it got me thinking about the related practice of sharing music and techniques on making music that define recent generations in a way that’s kind of unique.  I’ve also been reading old zines from 1979, 1980, of kids in the UK writing about the politics of record production and how to cut your own single and trading tape tricks and all that, and though there’s obviously a lot that’s similar (and of course a very real common history that unites these two moments, especially since mp3 blogs have played an important role in excavating a lot of these obscure releases), the message-board seems unique, especially ever-present social media.  (There’s also a link there with the PacNW I suppose, as OP Magazine was based in Olympia, and it’s successors and the college radio station phenomenon.)

I didn’t really get that into the whole message board thing but there was one website that was a big part of my early experiments in making music on computers.  It is/was called EM411 and was a fantastic resource for all things electronic music. People could post tracks and get feedback and share links but by far the most important to me there were pages dedicated to cities. The Portland page is how I first got introduced to a lot of my current friends and collaborators in town. I met Ted Laderas (the Oo-Ray), Mike Jedlicka (of Optic Echo radio/events/label), Paul Dickow (of Strategy + my Wild Card collaborator), Brian McCauley (Gasp) and Tim Wescott (who makes music as wndfrm and provides the best live sound in town). Coming out of mostly playing in bands, it was through that site and finding out about local events that gave me the resources to start performing the music I was making on my own. I know the site is still around now… I wonder if my account is still active? If it is you could probably find some early gems on there.

I have never really looked for resources on music making techniques but I have oven sought out resources for repairing equipment In my teens and 20’s, zines were an important part of how I found out about bands and new records but there was one little zine put out by this label called Simple Machines that changed my life. It was called “An Introductory Mechanics Guide to Putting out Records, Cassettes and CDs”.  A good friend of mine gave me that zine when I was a sophomore in high school and it inspired me to start releasing my own music. I started with cassettes and moved on to vinyl. I would drive all over LA from the mastering guy to the plating guy to the pressing plant and really learned at a very early age what it took to make and sell music. The selling was my least favorite part and actually still is. My mom still talks about how orders would come in from all over the place and she would see me neatly packing and shipping records. She couldn’t believe that I was just taking it on by myself like that.

All of the money I made from my high school jobs went to gas and going to shows and the record money just went back into making more records + tapes.

Its funny you bring up OP. Actually my wife used to work with OP founder John Foster at a radio station in Olympia. Even though there were only twenty some issues [26, one for each letter of the English alphabet] of that magazine, the effects have been broad and long lasting. That all happened decades before I ever lived there but I can’t help but feel like OP and KAOS (The Evergreen State College radio station) really set the stage for putting Olympia on the map. I was fortunate to live there during a time when so much was still happening. In the mid-late 1990s I feel like the labels K and Kill Rock Stars we at their peak and you could still see bands like Unwound and Bikini Kill playing a basement show when they would be selling out huge venues in other cities.

And before we go, plug some things coming up on the horizon.

I have a bunch of cool projects in the works that I’m excited about one is a THESIS collaboration with Matthew Cooper/eluvium and another is a new modular synth based trio with Paul Dickow (strategy) and Bill Selman (warmdesk)… We are doing some shows this summer with Loscil’s new High Plainsproject which should be fun.

Thanks for taking the time, Marcus!

Shuttle358 “Field”

Shuttle358 returns to his roots.
Order Field now.

We are also having a Shuttle358 Back-Catalogue Sale. All of his previous releases are 50% off during the month of January. Prices as marked in the 12k Shop and Bandcamp.

Available as a download or vinyl LP.

ALBUM INFO

BANDCAMP
12K SHOP

12k 20th Anniversary in Japan

12k is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a small party in Tokyo as well as a few tour dates around the country with Marcus Fischer, Taylor Deupree and Corey Fuller.

Here are the details:

NOVEMBER 18
TOKYO
Marcus Fischer & Taylor Deupree
Tokyo Festival of Modular
@ Contact
tfom.info

NOVEMBER 19
OKAYAMA
Taylor Deupree & Corey Fuller / Marcus Fischer
Cafe Moyau
www.cafe-moyau.com

NOVEMBER 21
NARA
Corey Fuller / Taylor Deupree / Marcus Fischer
Sonihouse
www.sonihouse.net

NOVEMBER 25
TOKYO
Taylor Deupree & Corey Fuller / Marcus Fischer & Sawako / Moskitoo
12k 20th anniversary party
Komyo-ji temple
www.komyo.net/web/kamiyacho.html
12k20th.cubicmusic.com/

Marcus Fischer “Loss”

Marcus Fischer’s long-anticipated follow-up to Monocoastal is finally here.
Order Loss now.

Available as a download or vinyl LP.

ALBUM INFO

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Curated Playlists on Spotify & Apple Music

12k has now become an official curator for both Spotify and Apple Music. We will be featuring a rotating selection of playlists not only featuring our own catalog but all of the music around us that inspires the label and our artists. Additionally we will featuring guest curators – artists who share with you a playlist they’ve conceptualized.

While 12k firmly stands behind our physical releases we realize many people like to listen to their music from streaming services and we hope this not only keeps you connected with 12k but also introduces you to wonderful music you may not have heard before.

You can find our curatorial pages at:

12K ON SPOTIFY
12K ON APPLE MUSIC

Make sure you follow us and listen often

We’re also happy to announce Stephen Vitiello as our first guest curator with a playlist consisting of duos and duets from a wide range of musical styles. Enjoy.

Federico Durand “La Niña Junco”

Federico Durand’s beautiful new LP La Niña Junco is now available for pre-order! Shipping will begin shortly, official release date is April 21, 2017.

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Pjusk Interview: Data Wave (2017)

https://datawv.blogspot.com

1. Who became the ideological inspirers of Pjusk?

If we should narrow it all down to one major inspiration and influence, it has to be the Norwegian project Biosphere. Basically this is where it all started. His music has been a true source of creativity. Of course we have a lot of other projects that has meant a lot to us – too many to mention.

2. Pjusk is the project with quite depressive shade. It is not the mighty force of fjords? Your music is connected with the nature? Describe in general.

We know that a lot of people consider our music to be closely linked to nature. I guess that is correct, but it is more on a subconscious level, really. It is only natural that our music reflects our environment somehow when living in the countryside. Depressive is perhaps a bit too strong a word – perhaps melancholy is more fitting. We are certainly not trying to sound depressive.

3. How both of you understands the term «destructive music»? Your work belongs to this concept?

Although Norway is known for dark ambient and black metal, we don’t really see ourselves as part of that scene. Ambient minimalism – experimental ambient – but not dark. But we understand why, some tracks would probably be fitting within a dark ambient framework.

4. You often use field recordings in the works. What sounds attract you? What is the most exciting for you in this process?

We were very into fan noise on our first album, Sart. We got a fair amount of nice soundscapes from hotel fans. We’re also fond of noise and sounds that have a rhythmic quality to them. Sounds that could work as a pulse or backbone in a track. Noise or sounds from a wonky machine or factory equipment can often sound great after a bit of processing. The favourite moments with fieldrecording are initially when we discover the sound, and then when we reach the end result, the sound or loop that ends up in a tune.

5. Your two last EP have appeared in the free access. What is it? It’s the end of cooperation with 12k?

Not at all. We started our own label “Fono Fonogram” and released three EPs by the end of last year really to investigate the reception and concepts of using Bandcamp and digital distribution. The test was really about checking if we should continue establishing a label for our collaborative work and then perhaps do other releases later on. I guess we have abandoned that idea. Still happy to be with 12k.

6. In your opinion the modern musician needs a label or Bandcamp, SoundCloud and Facebook is enough?

It all depends on your goals as a musician. It is certainly a good start, but getting out on the road is certainly the best part of releasing music.

7. It is possible to consider that the most widespread genre of electronic music in Norway at the moment is ambient?

Well, the two biggest electronic artists (in the wider term – thinking commercially) is Kygo and Alan Walker. The latter being responsible for hundreds of millions of streams on Spotify. Ambient is a small genre for the initiated few.

8. What Norwegian musicians and labels you especially recommend? Do you have some original festivals which are held in Norway and should be visited?

We are quite fond of the Hubro label. Lots of interesting artists (mostly jazz). Also Smalltown Supersound and Rune Grammofondeserve a mention. When it comes to festivals, the Punkt festival in Kristiansand and Insomnia in Tromsø are worth a visit.
Recommended artists from Norway:
Morten Qvenild
(latest album: Personal Piano)
Todd Terje
Erik Skodvin and Otto Totland

9. You started the project in Bergen – in the city where the great composer Edvard Grieg lived and created. What do you think of him and his works?

We are of course proud of Grieg and his works – it is part of our Norwegian heritage and culture.

10. Pjusk is the home project or you are always ready to do a performances? Do you like any movements or just prefer to remain on one place?

We love doing live performances. It is a great opportunity to meet new people. Although we think we haven´t cracked the live code entirely yet. It is about balancing risk and safety and I guess we still have a way to go. Anyway. Great fun. Please invite us to Russia. We would love that.

11. Give us the list of your favorite movies and books if it’s possible. Have this inspired you to create a music ever? From where do you derive the inspiration? 

Well, being electronica fans, we probably wont suprise anyone when we spill the beans about being sci-fi nerds. We love Blade Runner, the Alien franchise, 12 Monkeys and etc.

12. Jostein, how the Circular project was born and has influenced on your further work? What was the idea of it? It continues to function or it is finally closed?

Not closed at all. At the moment progress has been quite slow due to many reasons, but we are working on new material – to be honest we probably have hours of music almost finished, so I guess we should expect a new album out by 2017.

13. Each your album looks very spectacular graphically. You ask about it the designer or carry out everything personally?

Thanks! We have always a very defined visual style in mind when releasing an album. This is important factors and we take it seriously. A lot of great music has been let down by lousy covers and stock photos.

14. What you would like to wish to the Data.Wave listeners?

Live long and prosper! Or simply: Peace, love and unity!

Taylor Deupree “Somi” Available Now

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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.

Federico Durand – Rockdelux (2016)

ROCKDELUX MAGAZINE
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 “Orwell Court”

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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.