Thursday, April 25, 2013

Touch Radio

Touch Radio

The idea behind Touch Radio is brilliant and unique.  You have a successful record company (Touch, out of England) and then semi-regularly, you invite the artists signed to your label, as well as just about anyone who is willing to contribute, to release music onto your website, which will then be made free to visitors.
Giving people a sample of an artists sounds, giving the artists a way to attract fans and attention, and giving your website a league of followers who are looking to hear new, different sounds at no cost to them.  The majority of releases on the website are collaborations, and live performances.  However, the real attraction here for me, the reason I mention it in Strange Music Spotlight, is the bizarre and off the wall sounds that are sometimes featured on Touch Radio.
It begins as early as Touch Radio session 7, when sound artist Toshiya Tsunoda contributed "Studies of the sonic effects of physical vibration."  In this Touch Radio episode, many sonic complexities were presented including:  the sound of ceramic discs on glass plates while a sounds frequency causes them to vibrate, amplitude of audio signal switching, and an electromagnetic siren vibrating.
In further Touch Radio sessions, other sound tests and experiments were shown, but prominent sound artists who had ideas that although not usual in any sense, were brilliant and strange to say the least.  Experimenting with spoken word, twisted field recordings, and much more.
The musical entries are wonderful, including original music from brilliant artists like Fennesz, KK Null, CM Von Hausswolff, Z'ev, Daniel Menche, Steve Roden, Philip Jeck, Biosphere, and Oren Ambarchi.  The strange recordings for me are capped off with the entry "Gnatonemus Petersii" by Pahnotm Airwaves on Radio 59, in which a fish that emits a low electrical field to see with echolocation, is recorded and mixed into something altogether brilliant and completely different from any such music out there.
It is this continuing endeavor by Touch that must be shared with everyone.  Because really, have you ever heard the sounds of a fish living, up close?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Aube (Page 2)

to further my rant about aube, i must first draw some outlines for exactly what his type of music is considered.  to quote wikipedia, ambient music is "music that is designed to be part of the environment."   now to me that could mean a lot of different things:  wouldn't it depend on the environment?  would different hostile environments perhaps get hostile music?  it is however still correct in its definition.  this music does fit an environment.  a crazy, slightly off environment.  one where you wake up unsure about your location, and may even feel like you're in danger.  as the mystery grows and panic sets in, your eyes are losing focus and you're falling and tripping a lot, and nothing is making sense.  something comes out of nowhere and your heart leaps into your throat, you realize it was nothing and you're calm.  this is the type of environment i think of when i hear this music.  something very ominous, alien, and possibly dangerous.

the ability of music to surprise you, to put you at ease, or to make you intrigued is something i really look for.  it's just so far removed from the typical radio music and the chorus that everyone seems to have stuck in their heads.  aube's making a statement about music itself, what music can be, and what it can be capable of.

there is no envelope to push, their is no definition to destroy when it comes to music.  there is nothing that is wrong or right, and simply put music is like beauty, in the eye of the beholder.  so with that meaningless afterthought, i conclude my thoughts on aube.

not too sure if this guy is dead or what, his website hasn't been updated since 2005, but it's amazing and gives much more information than mine:

hope you like it

Update 10/29/14:  I have just found out this musician has passed away!  He was only 54, and passed away September 25th 2013.  Man, that sucks.  Rest in peace, Nakajima Akifumi

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Aube (Nakajima Akifumi)

Entry one.
I've wasted three lines already!

Music is something that I find tremendously interesting.  I like a wide range of eclectic and strange stuff, and lean towards "electronic" and "experimental" music.  I have thoughts about it I've tried to share via a few very short lived websites, so now I thought I'd start a blog about it instead.  I do not have any idea how you'll find this if you do, but if you do I hope you like it.

Day 1
the strange world of japanese noise........

noise is very different overseas, it seems.  it's not this ridiculed thing, and it actually is pretty interesting.  i am into several american noise acts, but most noise and most people that like it tend to be in europe, canada, and japan.  japanese noise is ruled by several titans, all of them having a long history of making noise.
strange as a word does not describe noise music.  in fact, no single word, idea, or even this blog i'm writing can come close to "defining" noise, nor should it try.  rather, i'm just going to write about it, how i like it, and what the different "varieties" are

merzbow is perhaps the most known japanese noise musician.  his startling output spans hundreds of releases from the late seventies until now, and has remained quiet noisy and actually popular during that time.  if anyone you know has any knowledge of noise, they will undoubtedly know of his work.

my personal favorite however, is aube, also known as nakajima akifumi.  i just think its pretty amazing that all of his recordings are based on usually only one audio source, for example water.  he will take these recordings of water, screw around with them and mix them and layer them and so forth, and create dense, wonderful drone type sounds with them.  i just find this type of music fascinating.  the raw power of the sound can be overwhelming, and the drones can impact you in ways that you can't ever imagine water doing.
this type of music i just see as so eclectic, bizarre, and downright confusing sometimes.  like, i want to ask aube why?  why take water, or a light bulb, or a heart beat, lungs, a can, a floppy disk, a clock, fire, a building, steel wire, etc, why take these and turn them into these songs?  is it that you understand the sounds that these things can make that most of us are not aware of, and thus you feel you need to present them in this way?  is it just a test to yourself to make a whole track, a whole album, out of one sound source?

it is the concept of some musicians to include the sounds of the natural world (hence the whole genre of field recording) and aube's music is sort of related to this.  perhaps in some bizarre condition, you could hear sounds similar to the ones he makes in the natural world - given they they are for the most part from naturally occurring sources.  even the man made sources are usually not traditional sound-making objects.  a floppy disk, a can, a building, steel wire - these things were not designed with the sonic possibilities in mind.  we have seen other examples of this sound being used however, one of the notable related jobs would be a foley artist, who commonly uses man made or natural devices to make sounds.

perhaps in a way aube is doing this job as well.  perhaps the type of audio that he creates could be classified as creative foley.  he does use audio producing sound devices too, however.  often he will use a voltage controlled oscillator, small speakers have been used, and furthermore he has used a monophonic analogue synthesizer.  in his later recordings, it seemed his use of electronic sound producing machines was raised a bit, and he also began to combine multiple sounds into making single tracks and albums.  in addition to these two changes, he also began to remix the works of other musicians, as well as remix his previously recorded albums and tracks.

what makes this music deeper to me is the ability to really make an impact.  i first heard "cardiac strain" which is made using only the sounds of the human heart.  by playing with the sounds and mixing them, he was able to create interesting and really dynamic sounds structures.  the track "infatuation" is the stand out track for me, the high pitched cry in the background as the violent throbbing makes you hope and prey that your heart never sounds like this.  it is perhaps made more powerful by the fact we're listening to the sound of humanity, of the blood in our very veins, and the essence of life itself.

okay, i just want to post this.  more later i promise.  probably shouldn't have started writing while i was busy.