Archives for posts with tag: synths
Too Tone NZ Music Month

Shop display of re-purposed NZ Music Month poster at Too Tone Records (2010-2017) in Dunedin.

Our New Zealand Music Month music for day #15 is “Rainbow City” from the recently re-issued Micronism album “inside a quiet mind”.

“Rainbow City” is busy and restless compared to most of the album, but it still demonstrates the odd kind of organic hyper-world of “inside a quiet mind”, which was re-released on double LP in 2017 by Loop Recordings. The initial album release was a limited CD run in 1998. Micronism was/ is Denver McCarthy and the recordings were made from 1996 to 1998 when he was in his late teens and early 20s and developing his sound, influenced by Detroit techno and the burgeoning electronic music scenes of the 90s. Twenty years on and “inside a quiet mind” still sounds… different and hard to pin down. A world of sound to explore for a long while yet.

Dalot Sound AwakenerContinuing the instrumental theme with another atmospheric track, this time from a new album “Little Things” which is a collaboration between Vietnamese sound artist Nhung Nguyen (Sound Awakener) and Greek sound artist Maria Papadomanolaki (Dalot). Here’s “Inside”:

The album combines field recordings from cities and natural surroundings with synths and almost infinite reverb and delays at times to create 10 different and fascinating experimental soundscapes.

“Inside” here rides on a throbbing low frequency, arpeggiated synths bustling among found sounds. That combination of the artificial machine-world with the more organic sounds and textures of nature and human city-scapes is at the heart of “Little Things” and it delivers something exotic and also evocative of alternative realities.

Motte 2017Here’s our 3rd tip for giving the gift of music this month – “Bathhouse” from the album “Strange Dreams” by experimental neo-classical violin+synth sound artist Motte.

As noted here on PopLib back in February: “There’s also adventurous modern classical music (eg: “Bathhouse”) that at times fleetingly evokes the spirit of  Ralph Vaughan William’s “The Lark Ascending” although addition of unusual impressionistic synth tones and percussion textures keeps it well towards the experimental end of the classical spectrum without sacrificing any of its luminous musical qualities.”

“Strange Dreams” is recommended to ‘send as a gift’ via Bandcamp to anyone with discerning taste, adventurous ears, and an interest in contemporary experimental classical and electronic music. Also a perfect gift to send to friends overseas to remind them that NZ is still a diverse and original music-making laboratory.

Motte’s “Strange Dreams” is also available on LP  from Christchurch label CocoMuse Releases.

We Are Temporary

Here’s day 16 of the PopLib New Zealand Music Month bandcamp challenge.

This one may push the boundaries of ‘New Zealand’ but if Unknown Mortal Orchestra can still qualify as ‘New Zealand’ for funding and music industry awards then former Christchurch musician Mark Roberts – formerly operating here and overseas as The Enright House – still qualifies, even though he now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Some will remember The Enright house from their album released on the A Low Hum label and their epic videos.

I discovered We Are Temporary by happy accident as it turns out it is his label Stars & Letters that released the 7” single of the brilliant ‘Sugar C.” from Misfit Mod I bought and featured here a few days ago. His own music as We Are Temporary is just as dark yet accessible as Misfit Mod. It’s a similar kind of stark electronica with a very vulnerable human heart.

There’s a great interview with Mark published just a few days ago at Under the Radar here which explains everything better than I can.

I was particularly taken with this paragraph, which is such a completely perfect (ha!) expression of my own views on imperfection/ perfection in music making. It’s one of the most important things any musician embarking on a recording project needs to learn. Too many learn it the hard way.

“In fact, far from embracing the imperfect, my initial approach to the record was to try and make it perfect, and it failed. There’s always room to tweak things, but every added layer of perfection and refinement edges out a layer of raw, emotional impact. In the end, I found myself embracing the imperfect again, but I had to fight bitterly for perfection and fail at it first. Perfection, I learned, is a goal riddled with diminishing returns.”

[Note: The original song selected was ‘Swords’ from the Stars & Letters sampler compilation. The link disappeared as ‘Swords’ was replaced by the new single ‘Satellites’ not long after posting this entry (probably Mark’s perfectionist tendencies at work). As a result I’ve decided to change the song selected to ‘Satellites’ so you can hear what We Are Temporary sounds like. I liked ‘Swords’…]