Mar 312015
 

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“Hill towns and empty mountains pass by, but the smoothness of the train blurs the view. It’s easier than ever to fall asleep in the low morning sunlight, coming in through the train’s windows”. The lines of “Sky Limits” (recently released on Baskaru) by Will Long, the artist behind the Celer moniker, gives an impression of the lovely sounds he explored here. Let’s go to Celer’s and his album’s heart….

 

Chain D.L.K.: First of all: do you think “sky really has a limit”?

Celer: If you take the meaning literally, then there’s no limit, as everything in and beyond space can still be the sky. I always interpreted the sky as whatever is above us, however far it reaches. I chose the title more as a play on irony, with regard to the old phrase ‘the sky’s the limit’ – which of course doesn’t make any sense anyway, with the intention of giving something that is really limitless a defined limit, instead of the true meaning of the original phrase, which has a completely different meaning.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Can you say a few words about the relationship between this “philosophical” title and the music in the album?

Celer: Even though the title says one thing, it really means something else, and I think the music can represent both ends of that theory, as well. It isn’t meant to be literal, and though I have a defined pervading idea throughout, it’s still left open to interpretation. I don’t expect everyone to see it from my point of view; it’s just part of the story for me; and what it means to me.

 

Chain D.L.K.: I really think that “time” is the core element in this album, as the track’s alternation seems to suggest the way time perceivable or perceivable for a man; the field recordings that I have in mind that represent instantaneous outdoors shots. And then, the drone-lead tracks suggested the subjective interpretation of the same picture, seen from the inside, I believe. Do you think I got the right picture, at least in some ways?

Celer: Yes, it can be seen that way, as a half daydream/half awake state; as if you’re walking to a train, and then the next moment you remember waking suddenly as you’re speeding down the tracks; all you can see is the passing countryside. It’s just like our memories – it’s not an exact record; just pieces that you can remember here and there that make up together a story. In reality (as in the album), those pieces are in and out of order. The field recordings aren’t supposed to be original or extraordinary; they’re just snapshots (as you suggested) of the actual time and places; a literal record of what happened. The music is the opposite side of that.

 

interview picture 1Chain D.L.K.: So, could we see in “Sky Limits” a kind of travel in time, inside and outside the consciousness?

Celer: Yes, I think so; or in the reality of the present, rather than time, necessarily.

 

Chain D.L.K.: How did this concept take shape? What inspired you to create this principle of “snapshot uniqueness”?

Celer:   I’m almost always connecting my projects with current activities, almost as if it’s a journal of my experiences. It’s really nothing new for me. Maybe the descriptions are there in most of my albums, but difficult to find or omitted, for some reason. I focus on some things in a different way, so it’s less-directly related to exact moments, and instead, on a particular idea or roundabout event. Sometimes, it’s just a recording of a particular time, just as in the case with Sky Limits – even though the events aren’t all directly related. In this case, I knew that I would be living in a different house and community one year later, and I began noticing small things in my neighborhood and in my life that would probably be different after I moved. Those things seemed to stick out to me, and I don’t consider any of those details mundane or useless – they can be appreciated just like everything else if you pay attention to them.

 

Chain D.L.K.: And what about the sound? Did you develop it directly or was it a kind of process-generated drone?

Celer: Sometimes with music, it really just depends on what I’m making at the time: sometimes there is no particular direction, but once something starts to develop, or an idea to center it around comes into place, it’s usually easy to match where I want it to go with the musical flow. I typically make music impulsively over a short time. Sometimes nothing matches with music for a long time, and then suddenly, it’s there.

 

Chain D.L.K.: How do you see this album, compared to your previous ones?

Celer: For example, I think it was a very different one from the last “Zig Zag”… Yes, the style is very different from Zig Zag, but not so dissimilar with many of my other albums. However, I tried to make it very accessible and restrained. It would have been easy to make any of those loops last for 20 or 30 minutes each, and push the boundaries of the disc’s space, but it didn’t seem necessary. In comparison, I guess I just spent a lot longer working on the mixing process, and thinking about how it sounds best. I usually go through many different versions of an album, and listen to them in different situations and places, and go back and forth and change things over time. With this, I did that a lot.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Coming back to the more general level, your research seems to have taken a lot of different directions during the last years… Are you actually developing some parallels “sound-themes”?

Celer: Yes, some directions only exist as an experiment or two, and others seem to take further development and evolution. I think I have multiple directions that I tend to repeat (with an evolving improvement, I hope) and it’s important to do this – finding out what interests you the most, what works and what doesn’t, and what is satisfying or not. Sometimes, it’s difficult to say what you want, but so far, I’ve been able to mostly express it, and it seems to have become easier and more focused, as I become more patient and confident with what I’m doing.

Chain D.L.K.: This could also be a good explanation for the large number of albums you’ve been publishing in the past six years… What do you think about this real proliferation of music?

Celer: Proliferation of music in general or of my own? Early on, I was publishing almost anything and everything that I made, and to me it was part of a growing and learning process. Over the last few years, I feel like I’ve really been able to control where it’s going more and more, and it’s become much less random, and more focused. As to why there have been so many, I just followed my inspiration and was spontaneous about it. Recently, I’ve tried to curtail  some of them, and focus on quality over quantity. It’s far more work, and worth more in the end. And that’s true, it does depend what the approach is – some approaches are easier than others.

 

Chain D.L.K.: I particularly liked your broader works, such as “Without Retrospect, The Morning” and “Capri”… They seem to put together serenity and melancholy, emanating a sort of “peacefully-but-gloomy” ambiance… Do you feel the same way about this?

Celer:  I’m not sure exactly. I never really set out to make a piece sound this way or that way – it just happens to come out that way. Of course, I shape the music to sound in a certain way, but I think it mostly sounds the way it does because it’s the way I do it, and the result is what sounds good to me. As far as moods go, I think that’s commonly misinterpreted. Many people say my music sounds sad and things like that, but maybe they’re making that assumption because of past circumstances they’ve read about. While I do want people to make their own interpretations of how they can connect with it, perhaps the real circumstances are much different.

 

interview picture 2Chain D.L.K.: Have you got any particular connection with your homeland and nature, in general? Is this reflected in some of your work?

Celer:  I grew up in a very rural part of the American south, where there is a lot of history (good and bad), nature, and little else. My family and the nature around us have always been a big inspiration for me, and other parts of America have been an inspiration as well. I have great memories traveling around the country with my family when I was living there. However, that’s probably about where it stops. When I left the US in 2010 it was for a number of reasons, and having lived in Japan for the last 4 years, I believe I made the right decision. This is also a theme I’m planning to explore more in the future, particularly related to America in memory and from afar.

 

Chain D.L.K.: I also think you’ve always paid a lot of attention to detail in your musical production. And not only sound details, but also physic ones, such as the cover art for the albums… Do you agree?

Celer: Yes. Artwork, packaging, and everything to do with an album (not just the music) make a huge difference. I would go as far as to say those things are equally important to the music. Only once have I intentionally used no artwork for albums, and that was for the black vinyl series – which was 5 LP records with black labels, black vinyl, and black paper sleeves. However, that in itself, that’s also a type of artwork. Without the right cover art, package, and concept, it doesn’t mean the same thing. Sometimes, it has worked perfectly in the past, and sometimes not. But regardless, I think this is how my music exists in the best circumstances, as a package of combined pieces.

 

Chain D.L.K.: What instruments do you usually make your music with? Are you still using some organic and direct-playing machines, such as keyboards or synthesizers?

Celer: I use a lot of reel to reel tape, cassettes, some FM synths and keyboards, and some simple effects. I’m not really into buying lots of expensive gear. I like having a few things, and using them in a way that respects the instrument. I won’t usually keep something that I can’t use often. Most of my stuff is very cheap, but useful. I don’t care about studios, and I don’t even use monitors. Since I’m not a trained musician, I don’t really have many nice instruments or play anything in particular too often, so the instruments that I use just vary all the time.

 

Chain D.L.K.: How do you see this struggle between the fascination of analog and the comfort of digital?

Celer: I think I’m rooted in a more hands-on time period, because digital music production isn’t really comfortable for me at all. I like using things that have buttons, sliders, knobs, spindles, capstans, and tiny LCD screens. Usually, the only time I use a computer is mixing and post processing. I still like some old programs that are now outdated, but they’re far more creative. I find plugins and software boring and endless, mostly.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Do you think that sound design is more suitable for rendering emotions or perceptions through music?

Celer: Some music may respect this definition, but I think music should move beyond too much definition, and have more freedom for different ideas, emotions, and perceptions combined. The idea of music as background music is outdated to me, as well. In addition, reducing something down to one definition is a simple way to see and easy to describe it, but if you think of a memory – it’s not something you can describe in one word – and if you can, it’s not a very good explanation of its depth. There are many layers, and even if you can’t describe them, they’re there.

 

Chain D.L.K.: What about your way of working with labels? Due to the incredible amount of albums you’ve published during the years, you’ve created a lot of great labels… What were your favorites?

Celer: It’s great working with labels. Now I’m trying to self-publish more of my music, but one of the things I miss most about it is just working with other people. It was a good experience working with Baskaru, and there are always the labels that I come back to for multiple releases, like Infraction and Streamline.

 

Chain D.L.K.: I never took part in a live set by Celer… How do you usually build them? What does the live dimension represent for you?

Celer: When I lived in the United States, I tried a lot of different approaches with live setups, and it never seemed to work out. It was always impossible to transfer my working style into something that would work for a live show without using a computer – by using the computer, the material was deadened, and also became boring for me. When I moved to Japan, I abandoned the computer and started working with portable reel to reels and cassettes. Since then, I’ve gotten really comfortable with a really minimal setup. I finally discovered that presenting just a moment with small changes works the best. I try to make it like looking through a window for 30 minutes. What you see and hear won’t change a lot, but it doesn’t have to be less beautiful because of it.

 

interview picture 1Chain D.L.K.: Do you think your music, that sometimes focuses on contemplation and reflection, can fit well with the peculiarities of live action?

Celer: It depends on the audience a lot. In Japan people are almost always very quiet, and nothing stirs. It’s been so long since I played in the US, I can’t even remember what it was like there. I think the last time I played in the US, it was at the Echo Curio in LA, and the entire audience was there to see one of the other bands. During my set, they all stood outside the glass window on the street smoking (with me on the other side of the glass by myself in the venue). Things like that happen sometimes. I think it can fit if people are in the right mindset or are open to something that isn’t a ‘performance’ so to speak. I think you can look at it in a multitude of ways. Sometimes people close their eyes, almost in meditation. That way you can imagine on your own. Sometimes I’ve projected a still image, as a semi-literal representation for people, and you can follow it that way, too.

 

Chain D.L.K.:What projects are you going to work on the next months?

Celer: I think I’m finished with all the music I’ll release for this year, so a lot of the rest of the year will be devoted to the actual release process of all these things. But there are several projects that I’m working on for the future:

• A project centered around CV (controlled voltage = pre-midi) using the Roland MC4 sequencer. Using this sequencer as a source, I’m visiting the studios of friends who have analog gear with CV connections, and making something together. The sound depends on what instruments they have.
• An album for my own label for 2016, based on loops and field recordings. I played this music at a show in Niigata a few years ago, using cassette tapes, and the transfer was so crude there was an overarching noise in the recordings. Through my EQ and delay, everything sounded as if behind a waterfall.
• A concept/collage-based album about a Swiss town that was completely covered by an avalanche.

 

Chain D.L.K.: You’ve never abandoned Celer as the name of your project. After the previous question, quite a difficult one, I want to finish this interview by asking: what does Celer mean? And what does it represent for you?

Celer: I think the name just got chosen almost randomly and it stuck. I think nobody ever expected it to be more than a one-off thing. Since then, I never thought to use anything else, and at this point, after 10 years, especially if I’m continuing to make music that is similar in style, I don’t see any reason to change the name. If I started making deep house or acoustic music, it would probably need to be somewhat different. Even if it doesn’t mean anything, it’s important to at least be consistent.

 

Chain D.L.K.: My last question is a bit personal – you can refuse to answer it, of course. I was really surprised when I saw your reaction to Danielle’s passing away. I was quite sure Celer was dead right there. But instead, you increased its rhythm year after year… Where did you find the power to overcome your pain, and go on doing what you did before together?

Celer: I think that doing it was one of the things that kept me going, especially in the most difficult times. When anyone experiences the death of someone close, with whom you’ve spent time doing things, the only way to survive that is to keep on going on your own. It’s easy to get lost in the things of the past, and be unable to see the future. There were several reasons why I decided to continue the project. After her death, I found myself with still many albums pre-arranged to be released – meaning I would have to continue working on them regardless – it was also a lot of work that I had put in; a lot of time and effort also; so it wasn’t something to just abandon. At the same time, leaving it as only music of the past didn’t seem right to me – and it seemed like there was no reason for it to disappear because of that. There was much more I wanted to say, and on my own, I was able to overcome the past and move on. It’s important to appreciate and understand the past, but it doesn’t have to rule the future. Now, 5 years later, I’m living in a different country, I’m married and I have an 11-month old daughter. Things change, and everything happens for a reason.

Visit Celer online at: www.celer.jp

Mar 312015
 

CELLULOIDE – INTERVIEWS AND RADIO SHOW

Member U-0176 will be tonight in the Sampler Et Sans Reproche radio broadcast (March 30, 8-10 pm). He will discuss Celluloides’ latest release – Art Plastique.

You will be able to hear it live online: Radio Galaxie FM.

The trio also recently gave an interview to ChainDLK (in English) and talked about Art Plastique and more. Available online here.


PISTES NOIRES* – NOW AVAILABLE! 

Pistes Noires (de préférence), our electronic tribute to Etienne Daho is now available from our shop and most download platforms.

In the latest Obsküre issue (n°24) you will find a two-page focus with interviews of BOREDOMproduct bands and their approach for their Daho covers (in French).


DEKAD – NEW ALBUM COMING SOON

The final mix for the new album A Perfect Picture is well underway. The release date will be announced in the coming weeks.

A first single called Poladroid will be released before the album.

Mar 312015
 

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According to many DnB followers, Tom Withers, better known as Klute, one of the most brilliant producers on the UK Dnb scene, is going to make a difference in 2015 by means of his own label Commercial Suicide. The first releases on the label as well as the upcoming ones bolster such a prediction. Let’s check what he has to say…

 

Chain D.L.K.: It’s a big honor to speak to one of the “beacons” in the d’n’b storm… can you give us a retrospective of your very first steps on this kind of scene?

Klute: In the autumn of 1991 I took a job at Tower Records in Rockville MD, in the USA after moving away from a 3 year stint in Los Angeles. 1991 was a very fruitful year for rave culture and the Washington DC area proved to be quite a hive of activity and made a huge impact on me just based on the people I was working with at the record store.
By this time, most vinyl had been replaced by CD and the only thing keeping it alive was Dance music culture. Therefore, the vinyl section at this Tower was awesome.
I remember the Shamen were on tour to promote Move Any Mountain, with Moby as support, who was promoting Go in the US. One day he came into the store and that night I went to see them both play at the old 9.30 Club in DC. Moby just leaping around on stage with his Roland W30 is still one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen.
So off I went and bought myself an Ensoniq EPS16+ and started trying to write tunes. Sending cassettes to my old friends at Vinyl Solution proved fruitless; they were already bored of dance and had moved on to movies already by that point. So I perceived their disinterest as meaning my music was shit, so I didn’t take it too seriously until I moved back to the UK in 1993 and hooked up with a very active Hardcore / Rave scene in Ipswich, with two prominent record shops. Phunkchunk – where Paul Arnold from Certificate 18 worked and new upstarts Red Eye Records across the street that are still going to this day.
Their interest and enthusiasm was the polar opposite of Vinyl Solution and both Paul Arnold and Tom Ision from Red Eye were enormously encouraging and, soon, by 94, there was talk of releases. Paul was the first to ask for an exclusive name so I picked Klute, from the classic film. In 1995 we released F.P.O.P. & Survival and to my complete shock people took it seriously.

 

interview picture 1Chain D.L.K.: Would you say that d’n’b has changed, in your opinion? What are the main differences, both in fans and producers?

Klute: D&B grew out of hardcore / Jungle and in my opinion, it felt like a gentrification of what seemed to be a scene of no limitations. I suppose the biggest need for a split was the monster that was Happy Hardcore, which grew out of the rave scene but took all its worst elements and fed it steroids. At the same time, Jungle was becoming some caricature of itself, so “serious jungle” or whatever felt like it needed to distance itself with a new name or sub genre. With that it brought in a new set of rules and the agenda became something else; some of it great, some of it bad. I think, for the most part, we’ve been diluting that slowly but surely ever since.
The biggest change D&B seemed to make was a big move away from “party music” or whatever you want to call it, and its main focus became the so called “science of production” which I’ve always thought was a load of bollocks. Anyways… That’s how I see it. I love gear and studio talk as much as anyone else, but I can’t stand elitism and blind following.

 

Chain D.L.K.: In my humble opinion, there are three topical moments in your discography…the first one is the collaboration with Dom and Roland…would you say your paths will meet again or not? Any predictions?

Klute: Dom and I are very good friends and we DJ together regularly. We’ve made 2 or 3 tunes together and I’m positive we will make more together, soon.

 

Chain D.L.K.: The second topical moment is “Fear Of People”, one of the best records of the last 15 years… How do you feel when you listen to it again?

Klute: Most specifically, I remember it being the turn of the millennium and everything being really exciting. I had made Casual Bodies a couple of years earlier which had gone down really well so I was gathering steam and plowing full steam ahead with Paul Arnold / Cert 18’s enthusiasm. That was the greatest thing about Paul, his encouragement and enthusiasm. We were also working very closely with Lawrence & Domino Records. Not many people know that Domino Records was a silent partner in Cert 18.
Anyways, for me there are a handful of inspired tunes on Fear Of People. Mostly Three Of Us which was the last tune written for the LP and the one that got most people excited at the time. I still like the whole thing; it’s good!

 

Chain D.L.K.: The third one is the monumental “Lie, Cheat & Steal/You Should Be Ashamed”… what are the elements of that great album that you still consider contemporary?

Klute: I guess this was my break out LP, as it was the first album I released after I left Cert 18 and the world of D&B had really opened up to me. Contemporary? I really have no idea what that means, to be honest. Much of what is considered “contemporary” in D&B at the moment isn’t, in my eyes. For me there is good music or boring music. Rarely, there is shit music, but that’s beside the point. “Contemporary” can often mean blind following, especially in dance music. So for me to think of my own music, released over 10 years ago…I have no idea. I like it; I think there’s good music on there.

 

Chain D.L.K.: “The Draft” was maybe eclipsed by mainstream lines which don’t believe that d’n’b is a fashionable trend anymore, even if it has a real output… do you think that some music journalists are somehow mischievous in their reports about the health of the scene?

Klute: This is an interesting topic for me, the subject of journalism. I’m not a journalist myself, so perhaps it’s unfair of me to pass judgment, but it’s rare to find real journalists in music. People who get off their own backsides and find music themselves and report on it without being prompted by PR or even a new release to promote.
All music is timeless, once it’s written and released, it’s here forever, not just for the month of release. There are certain sites and publications that definitely do try to focus on the basic subject of good music or whatever.
With regard to reporting on the health of the scene: Well, that’s a relative thing, isn’t it? Sure D&B is alive and strong, but at the same time it’s not exactly HUGE, is it?

 

interview picture 2Chain D.L.K.: You started 2015 releasing a massive single… are you sure that listeners will like it? 🙂 Any words on that?

Klute: Originally, when I had an idea for this track I wanted to export a small clip to play to a couple of friends to see what they thought, so I anticipated both of them wouldn’t like it – and they didn’t, so I was right.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Is 2015 going to be the year of Klute? Any anticipation of a forthcoming album?

Klute:I will continue to make and release brand new music throughout 2015 and beyond, but I will also be releasing a lot of older Klute stuff that hasn’t been re-issued yet, so in a way YES it will be a year of Klute. There will be a new Klute LP; what form of sound it takes is anyone’s guess at this point.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Is Commercial Suicide painless? What can we expect from your label?

Klute: There is quite a bit of stuff on the pipeline. We have upcoming singles from Nymfo, Invaderz, Soul Intent etc and we’re close to fruition with the Quadrant & Iris & Kid Hops LP, which I am also very excited about.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Besides the stuff you produce, is there any underrated producer, label or scene that you want to suggest to our readers?

Klute: No, not really. With the speed of the Internet and it’s abundance of information, everything has been reported and shoved down your throats before it’s really happened. After all, we now live in a “pre-order” culture. In reality though there are LOTS of producers out there that are coming through and are really good.

 

Chain D.L.K.: I’ve seen a clip of “Be Good To The Ones (You Love)” on Commercial Suicide TV, that features some interesting snapshots…where did you get them?

Klute: They’re all pictures I took. I love to take pictures and have a variety of cameras, some digital and some analog but I often forget to take one and go for months without taking any.
Most commonly, I have my IPhone to take a snap but I don’t like its quality so much.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Have you ever given names to the three outlined characters in the Commercial Suicide logo?

Klute: Ha! No, but that’s a great idea, maybe someone else can do this.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Would you recommend a Prophet 6 or 12 for d’n’b? 🙂

Klute: Actually, no. I think both of those particular Dave Smith synths lack any real depth to them, they seem rather soulless – however the Pro 2 is fantastic and I would love one. There’s something different about it. It has a fake poly mode that produces some wonderful results. I have an original SC Prophet 600, which is an altogether much different beast. However it’s sick and needs to see the doctor.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Any new elements in your sound equipment?

Klute: Yes, quite a few little boxes that I love. Mostly, I love the Teenage Engineering OP-1, which is probably my most used little box. It’s fantastic because it’s quirky and limited to a certain way of construction. I don’t think it’s everyone’s cup of tea but I can get lost in it so easily. It’d be coming with me to a deserted Island.
Next is the Electron Octatrack. A bit of a monster to learn the key command but otherwise it’s fantastic.
Personally, I love hardware. It shows a certain commitment that isn’t the same with software.

 

Chain D.L.K.: You performed in many different venues. Do you have a favorite one? Why?

Klute: I come across them all the time. Even a couple of weeks ago, in Sheffield… the Hope Works, that was great. There’s the Tunnel in Bratislava that is burrowed into the side of a mountain. The original Fu Bar in Auckland and Sandwiches in Wellington in New Zealand, both amazing for crowds and vibes. I’ve played a few rural locations as well… I’ve also got to mention the Block9 stage at Glastonbury. That was amazing.

 

Visit Commercial Suicide online at: www.commercialsuicide.org

Mar 302015
 
A Beläten Announcement

Available for pre-order:
Distel, Veil of Light and Daybed

Announcing three new Beläten vinyl titles, available on April 23rd

It is with great honor we present the first three Beläten releases of 2015, three very different but equally great vinyl titles from Distel, Veil of Light and Daybed.

Selections from all three records are streaming now through Hartzine

Distel — nord 7″ EP

Beläten Three-pack: ARM, D.Å.R.F.D.H.S.

350 copies on black heavyweight vinyl in spined sleeve with printed inner-sleeve.

Tracklist:
A1   nord [北]
A2   zelf [自]
B1   raaf [鴉]

Pre-order nord
Pre-order all three new titles
Stream the title track of nord via Hartzine

The donut has its toroidal shape for a reason. It’s a slippery fucker, and the hole is there so you can hold on to it during preparation and indulgence. The Dutch version of the donut is called oliebol – literally, ball of oil – and for some probably cunningly commercial reason it lacks the hole. It’s just a slippery sphere. Irresistible, but unmanageable. Another Dutch treat is Distel. Although irresistible, the music they make is nothing like an oliebol. The sounds they sculpt are, invariably, perfectly distinct and tangible to such an extent that the first time you hear them, they sound oddly familiar. Highly unlikely, since they are all prepared according to a secret recipie and did not exist in the material world before Distel coerced their modular and digital devices to produce them. Distel’s got the definition and clarity of Kraftwerk, coupled with a vividly imaginative repertoire that surpasses the German stiffening lumbar foursome by leaps.

You might have heard people liken Distel to bands such as Coil or the Knife. With the release of the new 7″ EP nord, however, it becomes strikingly apparent that Distel has a unique voice, sonic vernacular and style of their own. When this gets out, read my oily lips, people will start likening stuff to Distel instead of the other way round.

The sleek black 7″ has got two snappy songs on side A and a more temperately paced song for a B-side.

The first song, nord, is a skilful juggling of analog & digital, harmony & detune, atomic, tonal waveforms & noise of various flavors. Not to mention one of the most catchy, bouncy, spacious yet intimate set of jittery frequencies that has soared through the ether for a long, long time. Fills the heart with joy, and the most delicate seasoning of arrhythmia.

The second song, zelv, is a haunting, unraveling tale of exceptional lyrical and musical consonance. It’s also full of non-gimmicky, diegetic musical surprises. Snappy, pneumatic and impossible to listen to – passively.

The third song, bogarting the entire flipside of the single, is called raaf. It would be a crime to try to describe this song without going through some of the basics first. Back in the 16th century, Galileo Galilei penned something he called the Principle of Similitude. Contrary to what it literally means today, this theory set out to highlight the physical limits and dissimilarities of the natural world. A tree can grow very tall. But it can never grow taller than about 100 meters, due to mechanical constraints. These constraints can be bluntly explained as: any increase in size of a physical body results in the surface area increasing as a square, while the volume and corresponding weight increases as a cube. A flea can fall from any height without sustaining any damage upon landing. A cat can fall from several meters up a tree without damage when it hits the ground, since its body surface is like a parachute in relation to its tiny weight. An elephant, on the other hand, can not even fall one meter without breaking its legs, essentially making it a feature, not a flaw that it can’t jump. Galileo’s theory was a sucker punch to the widely popular Hermeticism at the time. The ‘as above, so below’ reasoning suffered a severe blow, when Galileo showed that there was a striking dissimilarity between different tiers of nature, with mathematical proof to boot.

What a welcome turn of events, then, that the final song of the new Distel single manages to finaly break the asphyxiating Galilean envelope that has constrained the world for so long. Who’s to tell how tall a tree must grow? The heavily stomping stride of raaf succeeds in breaking Galileo’s Principle of Similitude simply by being like an elephant nimbly neurodancing. The clean, clear-cut sounds that make up this song all seem to emanate from real appliances and gadgets. Things that have another primary function, like, perhaps, a vacuum cleaner. Closer scrutiny reveals these are not real-world sounds at all. They’re just that tangible and eerily pseudo-familiar that their sonic qualities are equated, in our premature minds, with functional mechanical qualities. Another up yours to Galileo.

This single is a sure-fire musical milestone. Hear it for the first time and realize, the reason it sounds so familiar and obvious is not because you have ever heard anything like it before. Rather it is because, in the future (readily present to the sentient), you will have listened to it thousands of times already.

Veil of Light — Head/Blood/Chest 12″ Mini LP

All Your Sisters — Modern Failures

350 copies on black vinyl, in printed disco sleeve.

Tracklist:
A1   All You Have
A2   Adonis
B1   Purple
B2   MMZ

Pre-order Head/Blood/Chest
Pre-order all three new titles
Stream and watch the video for »Purple« via Hartzine

Veil of Light is back with his first release since the majestically morose Ξ album of last year (now sold out). The new 12″ EP contains a quartet of songs that capture the artist’s signature air of serene and complex industrial melancholy, yet widens the spectrum to include glimpses of, dare I say, joy and hope. All the more powerful, then, the main theme of dead serious exploration of the emotional torso, its appendages and circulatory system. The title, Head/Blood/Chest, inevitably brings to mind the seminal Throbbing Gristle album Journey Through a Body. But the kinship ends there. This is no experimental 1/2-inch tape cacophony. This is beautiful and evocative music, redolent with wonder. The bleak, yet confident, tone echoes like the early literary works of James Graham Ballard, particularly The Drowned World (1963). The ever-heating climate is going to sizzle the poles and submerge all major cities on Earth. We will return to the humid, reptilian lagoon from out of which we once evolved. As with Ballard, the lasting impression from Head/Blood/Chest is that, contrary to conventional wisdom, this is a good thing. A long overdue return to our archaeopsychic past.

Programme A opens with All You Have which, with its serene power, comes across as a sacred testament to all who believe in man and nature, while turning their back on the idolatry, falsehood and abuse courtesy of the so-called modern world. Musically, it seethes with gothic tradition in a way we have previously not heard from Veil of Light. Adonis, the following song, is a foreboding and unhurried, almost meditative, piece complete with bitcrunched pads and Terminator toms and hats. Foreboding, yet with a streak of benevolence that, as already stated, just makes it all even more mesmerizingly foreboding.

Programme B commences with the more pacey Purple. An animated, marching anthem for sadness. MMZ, the last song, is a somnambulistic but grippingly acute theme that opens with the sound of a staticky synthetic flugelhorn. A call to arms of the long-dormant autonomous systems of the body, that now want to rebel and exert self-expression after eons of stoical duty and obstinate regularity.

Head/Blood/Chest is a journey through an emotional as well as visceral landscape, that arrives at the conclusion that the two seemingly dualistic properties are, perhaps, made of the same basic stuff. A hauntingly atmospheric and heart-swelling dreamscape, magnetically etched into twelve inches of black vinyl.

Daybed — Weird Sailing LP

Daybed — Weird Sailing LP

350 copies on black vinyl.

Tracklist:
A1   Weird Sailing
A2   No Luck
A3   Fruit
A4   Days Pass
A5   Murder
B1   Come To Me
B2   Cellophane
B3   The Art of Worldly Wisdom
B4   Seasons
B5   When I See You
B6   And Your Mind

Pre-order Weird Sailing
Pre-order all three new titles
Stream the title track via Hartzine

Following on from their 12” EP “Preludes” (no emb blanc), Daybed (New Zealand/USA) releases their full-length album “Weird Sailing” in April, 2015 on Gothenburg-based Beläten Records. A diverse collection of songs set against analogue synthesizer landscapes, the album playfully jumps between the upbeat and pop-inspired to the reflective and lyrical. “Weird Sailing” consists of ten original tracks as well as a special cover of KKD’s minimal synth gem “And Your Mind”.

Hailing from New Zealand and the USA, Daybed crafts music that both references and innovates on the wave genre. Band members Tim Farland and Carla M use these elements to produce songs with a hint of discord that alternately reject and accept traditional pop structures. The effect, pleasurable yet jarring, is heightened through heavy use of analogue synthesizers. Having performed with classic minimal synth acts such as Oppenheimer Analysis, Sudeten Creche and Somnambulist, Daybed balances nostalgia for the sounds of the past with a strong musical focus on the present. “Weird Sailing” combines these aspects, representing a pop odyssey with palpable links to the history of underground music.

Mar 292015
 

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The teaser of “You’re Mine Again”, his album created in collaboration with The Random Orchestra (released last summer by Milk & Moon), introduces a collection of songs about the various states of romantic agitation… and garlic! Let’s discover the reason behind these words by Nick Grey.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Hi Nick! How are you?

Nick Grey:  I am slowly oscillating between irritation and relief: my office chair is quite comfortable, however the floor appears to be slightly crooked; this makes it slippery and requires constant manual adjustment. This is a soul-crushing experience, mitigated in part by those rare, graceful moments when one of the chair’s wheels snugly slips into a little crevice in the wood, creating momentary stability.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Could you introduce yourself and your musical/artistic background?

Nick Grey: My name is Nick Grey and I have – arguably – been making music for about ten years. As my father was a tenor and my mother a ballerina, I haven’t listened to any form of modern music before the age of 10, approximately, when I was saved by a tape of Elvis Presley’s best ballads, which my mother bought for me in Stockholm, as the shop was freshly out of Puccini. From Elvis I went on to discover electronic music (Wendy Carlos, Kraftwerk…), then guitar-based music (Black Sabbath, the Stooges…), and this has finally led me to work on my own environment, with the goal of finding something fresh enough to express. Not counting my work with 230 Divisadero and 48 Cameras and various collaborations, “You’re Mine Again” is my third album.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Some followers of dark and folk music developed a sort of devotion towards you in the past. In relation to your lovely collaboration with The Random Orchestra, why did you change your style towards a sort of electronic pop?

Nick Grey: Devotion is quite a strong word, I think I am merely tolerated – but thank you! As for the change in style, we try different things with each new record, really. We usually try to avoid experimentation for the sake of it and rather attempt to incorporate the result of our sound and lyrical investigations to a well-defined song format, so “pop” seemed like a natural enough orientation for us. Also, I didn’t have enough drones left in me after “Spin Vows Under Arch”: that record left me pretty much dried out, and musically over-saturated, for a few years. Finally, moving to a more collaborative compositional method in the recent years, with the rest of the band, has been a blessing.

 

Chain D.L.K.: How would you describe your music?

Nick Grey: I usually use “Oblique pop”, as it’s the only way I’ve found to describe our work encompassing both the idea of entertainment and an atmospheric element of “otherness”. Our music is both very serious and very tongue-in-cheek, I think, both ironic and straightforward. At least that’s what we try to achieve: to transmit existential melancholy without ever taking ourselves seriously. Of course, our mortality is what makes the dancing, the laughing and the fucking so worthwhile – but the fact that we’re all going to die humiliated by age, sickness and/or violence doesn’t make the principles of life immune to criticism, does it?

 

interview picture 1Chain D.L.K.: There’s a strong influence by some OST of composers like Moroder or Morricone, as well as some possible connections to other bands such as Momus, Air, Husky Rescue, Marsmobil or even Gainsbourg, isn’t there? Are there any other influences?

Nick Grey:  There is, yes. But we’ve listened to so much music that it’s hard for us to identify who our influences are, to be honest. I’d say definitely Gainsbourg and Robert Wyatt… However, a lot of my heroes are either outsiders or belong to the past; I’m thinking Rodd Keith, Joe Meek, Chet Baker, Sinatra, Jackson C Frank, Kevin Ayers… I don’t listen to a lot of music these days but I find it easier, generally speaking, to sympathize with the dead.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Why did you recommend avoiding listening to “You’re Mine Again” while in a state of romantic agitation?

Nick Grey:   Because that would be no time to be listening to music! More important issues would have to be urgently taken care of. Message for the struggling young people: instead of wallowing in self-pity and depressing music, I strongly recommend solving relationship issues through the heavy use of denial.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Do you like Omar Sharif’s style? 🙂

Nick Grey:  I certainly am very jealous of his moustache – which is, as we all know, the definitive proof of what a man’s worth. No matter how much I try, mine never seems to exceed the status of “weak-willed patch of hair”… but I live in hope.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Is there any song from the “You’re Mine Again” album you keep on singing by yourself while shaving or having a showering? If so, why?

Nick Grey: Shaving fills me with dread. And when I shower, I don’t sing – I moan.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Have you performed it on live stage? How was people’s feedback?

Nick Grey:   The new album?  Not yet. Hopefully soon! Part of the group and me has just moved to Berlin, so I’m sure a few gigs will pop up in that area.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Could you introduce The Random Orchestra and other musicians whose collaboration was really important for the development of the sound of “You’re Mine Again”’?

Nick Grey: With pleasure. My main, and most important, current collaborator is Louis Pontvianne, a brilliant French multi-instrumentalist, who has written most of our latest music, together with me. Another important contributor on the record has been Boyarin – and I invite everyone to check out his Bandcamp page as his solo work is truly great and very, very original. The record’s closing song, “Enchantée”, is the work of Sarah Maison, whose heart-breaking and witty music should be heard world-wide, if you ask me. And last but not least is Peter James, who not only mixed and mastered the record but provided constant input and guidance – somewhat like a very powerful and wise wizard. (Links to all of these good people’s solo work are available on our main website.)

 

Chain D.L.K.: Would you consider yourself anequivalent of Roland Barthes in music?

Nick Grey: I wouldn’t dare, no, but his work must certainly have agitated my train of thought, indeed, and the amount of distance I apply to my own writing. I assume you are referring to Fragments d’un Discours Amoureux (A Lover’s Discourse)? “You’re Mine Again” is of course a much more modest contribution to the subject, although I have tried to be sincere and thorough, and to analyze the subject as much as display my own experiences. I am not much of a romantic: I have so to speak abandoned ship – not the ship of sincere, rewarding emotional association with another being, but the very tiresome ship of intolerable theatrics usually linked to existential loneliness that nothing or no one can ever fill. I only say this because this is what is usually associated with romance, in popular media at least. Drama is part of the process of passion, it seems. The idea of passion is a tyrannical social construction though, I think; very tiresome. Surely there must be some better way to love than the constant mental fuckstorm of angst, jealousy and self-depreciation only solved by the loving stare of your better half? Back on topic, though, I haven’t read Barthes in a while, although I did read his essay on Histoire de l’Oeil (Story of the Eye) last week – I mostly read German and Austrian authors these days – Bernhard, Mann, Hoffmann (a treat), Musil. I am working on my German. It isn’t going smoothly.

 

interview picture 2Chain D.L.K.:Who’s (or should I say who was) the dead Dogman?

Nick Grey:  The Dogman is the entity inside of us that pushes us towards stagnation, addiction and apathy. As you can see, to deal with these issues, I’ve found anthropomorphism to be very helpful.

 

Chain D.L.K.: …and who’s the Wasp Lover?

Nick Grey:  Sapience is the ability to act with appropriate judgement, according to the dictionary. What if lovers were unable to act in such a manner, because their decisions are filtered through the prism of passion? The song is a playful reflection on how love could eventually strip us of our “homo sapiens” status.

 

Chain D.L.K.: A definition of love by Nick Grey?

Nick Grey: Self-imposed complications.

 

Chain D.L.K.: Besides this album, what’s the most romantic action you ever done?

Nick Grey:  To be frank, none of my songs or albums have ever been directly autobiographical, or dedicated to someone I know. The danger of sounding immature and self-centered is much too big. That kind of catharsis should be kept for the therapist – or the family, at the very least. So the most romantic thing I’ve ever done would probably be once allowing a girlfriend to remove Darkthrone from the record player to replace it with a Lionel Richie album. The saddest part about this is how much I enjoyed “Say You, Say Me”.

 

Chain D.L.K.: By chance, are you a lingerie collector? Who did the cover artwork?

Nick Grey:  My ex-girlfriend took the picture and yes, I was lying on the floor among her lingerie wearing her make-up. Naturally, we parted ways shortly after that. As for your first question, I barely manage to keep my own underwear in order so collecting more just appears as an unnecessary burden to me. I don’t need to hoard lingerie: whenever lingerie is needed, there are ways to access it.

 

Chain D.L.K.:Any work in progress?

Nick Grey:  Lots. A new Nick Grey & The Random Orchestra coming up later this year, a full-length collaboration with Empusae, a 48 Cameras cover EP, and probably some other things which I forgot about. I have also worked on the music of an indie iOS game called “In Churning Seas” (brilliant little thing) which should be out very soon on the Apple app store. Thank you!

 

Visit Nick Grey online at: www.nick-grey.com