Archives for posts with tag: toronto

MAZE Build 1

One hour of continuous solo guitar and synth drones recorded in May 2015.

VEMoDALEN-stamp

Vemödalen – the fear that everything has already been done.

2xCD. Another 2.5 hours of music culled from the same sessions that produced the ZWERM album. All sounds produced by a Telecaster and recorded live direct to 2-track digital during rehearsals during Spring of 2014. All tracks contain material previously released on the limited edition TOTAAL USB album, though in most cases a slightly truncated form.

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OUTSKIRTS

In an act of archival house-cleaning, I’ve uploaded volumes 2 & 3 in the “words scores” ALPHABETA series to Bandcamp.

The first is ALPHABETA 2: Outskirts. In 2011 I recorded the original ALPHABETA (released 2012), an album of music composed using the letters that spell words for the notes of each piece. For instance the melody of “Defaced” went D-E-F-A-C-E-D. A gimmick situated somewhere between artistic creativity and laziness.

The nine tracks on this EP were first sketches, demos and out-takes. Some I rejected purely for (what I now see as relatively minor) flaws in the recording or performance, some because I recorded two versions of the “word” and chose the other for the album. Ironically, I feel these abandoned takes hold together more cohesively than the original album. There’s a continuity of sound and approach (a sort of spaghetti western jazz) that was missing from the hodge-podge approach of the official album.

Interestingly, the first track ACE DECADE takes it’s name from the Scooby-Doo episode “The Diabolical Disc Demon” which possibly was the subconscious inspiration for this whole project.

Ace Decade is the nephew of the owner of a music studio. He is a Caucasian male with dark brown hair and wears glasses. Ace Decade is disloyal, sneaky, jealous and conniving. Decade was smuggling records out of the studio in trash cans in order to sell them for personal profit. When a music writer, Tony Symes, realized his actions, Ace disguised himself as the Phantom and kidnapped Symes, locking him in a cupboard in the cafeteria. Decade attempted to mislead the Scooby gang whilst they attempted to solve the mystery, leading them to a tape recorder wired to the intercom in his office in order to give the appearance he was being framed. However, Symes left a clue which was Decade’s ultimate downfall; his last piece of music spelled the culprit’s name in the first three bars: ACE DEC ADE.

The second album is one I’d posted last year to the BABEL Soundcloud under the title ALPHABETA {organ redux}.

The inspiration for these recordings was that about half the original album turned out exactly as I intended. The other half… I suppose I was never happy with it. Some pieces were too cluttered in the arrangements, others too cutesy in my attempt to tie the dictionary definition of the word thematically to the piece. Often that approach resulted, I felt, in some ham-fisted results where the music suffered as I forced it to conform to the concept of the project. Still, other pieces disregarded the literal meaning of the word altogether and because of this, it seemed, the work as a whole was disjointed. Here I returned to the concept and reduced it to its basic elements: the notes themselves.

To aid in this, I used the same synthesized organ voice for each track and used echo loops in the manner of Messrs Riley and Reich. This time, I’ve let the notes speak for themselves and ignored the literal meaning of the word. Save, perhaps, “DEAF” with its tinnitus-like ringing at the end and “BE” could be used as an aid to a meditation on simply being.

For this reposting I changed the title to ALPHABETA 3: Organizm.

Both titles are available in micro-batch edition CD-Rs.

And finally, not on Bandcamp but back over on Soundcloud, I’ve uploaded a live recording from the ALPHABETA launch party.

defaced

Since I was releasing an album of electronically manipulated glockenspiel titled Glockengeister that same night, I combined the approach of the two in a composition called DEFACED/FACADE with the help of Pavlov’s Dogs Handbell Ensemble. The performance was captured by recordist Joe Strutt but sat in his vault for a couple years and then mine for another. You can listen now, or download it (free), below.

JANIFORM-RGB
Improvised piano études recorded in January, 2015.

Janiform. adj. Resembling the god Janus, having two faces looking in opposite directions.

Zwerm04

While rehearsing for live dates in Winter of 2013 and Spring of 2014, I recorded over 11 hours of prepared guitar improvisations (direct to 2-track stereo). In somewhat of a feat of endurance, I distilled those hours down to one 79 minute album I’ve titled ZWERM. The word is Dutch for “Swarm” and is a reference to the buzzing, wasp-like sounds created by placing an electric toy insect near the pick-ups of my Telecaster which form a recurring drone motif across the improvisations.

If you’re familiar with BABEL’s Heurter and Rillingen albums, you will know what to expect from these solo guitar explorations—percussive, almost industrial rhythms blended with harmonic drones and sparse, lyrical melody lines. This time out, I’ve added to the existing recipe are elements of spoken-word cassette collages which were sampled and mixed live into the throbbing hum.

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Toronto recordist and cultural archivist Joe Strutt has posted a portion of BABEL’s April 27th show in Toronto on his Mechanical Forest Sound blog.

You can listen to it HERE.

Pre-orders for RILLINGEN are being taken via the Bandcamp site (see widget below).

At the risk of sounding corny, I’m going to cast aside my usual humble facade and declare I’m super-extremely-ultra-mega proud of this one.

RILLINGEN (meaning “Shivers” or “Chills” in Dutch) is where I feel the BABEL project arrives at the destination I’d always intended it land. Crashed, nose-first, somewhere in a frozen landscape of burning souls ecstatically freezing to death. The more lyrical side from earlier collections (Morpheum, Limbus, etc) returns to join the percussive, extended techniques of the previous two EPs (HEURTER and STURM und DRANG), finally bringing two halves of BABEL into one cohesive whole.

Recorded live, direct to 2-track on Mothers Day, 2013, in six takes (three of which make up the 37-minute closer) using echo loops and, fittingly (though pun not intended), an Electro-Harmonix “Freeze” pedal.

Release date: December the 19th, 2013, miraculously the same day as the release party at the cleverly named 961a College Street art-space in Toronto (More info here at THE EVIL PLACE).

HEURTER
Three track EP. Solo electric guitar improvisations. Telecaster, mallets and loop effects. Recorded live direct to two-track, late 2012.

We’re super stoked for the first of our “Double Release” shows to be with none other than DRAINOLITH and NATE YOUNG (big thanks to Burn Down The Capital for that). The evening celebrates the release of the Aaron Lumley/The Knot split cassette as well as both recent albums by BABEL.

It’s going down at the Holy Oak (1241 Bloor Street W.) on Wednesday, September 26th at 9pm. It’s $7 or $10 w/ your choice of a tape or CD.

For this show BABEL will be joined by the magical Pavlov’s Dog Handbell Ensemble on a compostion called “DEFACED FACADE” which combines the approaches of the two BABEL albums Glockengiester and Alphabeta.

Here they are playing something else entirely.

GLOCKENGEISTER

79 mins // Pro-duped CD-R // Full colour 6-panel wallet // Edition of 50.Buy Glockengeister now
Sixteen beautiful, serene and often unsettling pieces for electronically manipulated glockenspiel, bells, mixing bowls,drums, wood block and ornamental gongs. Resonant tones weave and drift through ambient, limnal spaces.

There’s a real feeling of exploration … it’s a very soft, spiritual atmosphere that should be your next soundtrack for falling asleep into lucid dreaming.” ~ Offerings Hippie Cult

ALPHABETA 

56 mins // Pro-duped CD-R // Full colour 6-panel wallet // Edition of 50.
Buy ALPHABETA now!
A conceptual work where the pieces are composed from notes corresponding to the letters in their titles. Ranging from white noise freak-outs to measured, melodic themes, the 17-part suite covers the history of modern compostion from the 20th century minimalists such as Cage or Reich through Miles Davis’ jazz-fusion to maximalist post-rockers like Godspeed! and Tortoise.

 

SPECIAL LIMITED TIME COMBO DEAL:

Both albums for $16 (CAD, shipping included). Click HERE.

Via OFFERINGS / Hippie Cult

… Glockengeister finds BABEL in a quiet, minimal mood, experimenting with a recently acquisitioned glockenspiel that acts as a centerpiece for the album. Joined only occasionally by sparse percussion, that is similar to the backing bells of his Moonwood work, these pieces take all the time they need to mature, lasting anywhere from one and a half to thirteen minutes. There’s a real feeling of exploration on this disk,as if his new found instrument were a huge cathedral he had just inherited, and he was wandering threw all the rooms, discovering their particular personalities. Some require more attention than others. Some are busy with bells. Some are barely there.  Overall, it’s a very soft, spiritual atmosphere that should be your next soundtrack for falling asleep into lucid dreaming.

Glockengeister is set to be released on August 14th, 2012 on CD and digital through Arachnidiscs Recordings.