…to all our (Indian) friends and friends of India around the globe,
to the international community of listeners and music lovers,
to all the great vocal / instrumental musicians, composers and DJs,
to the passionate event organizers, booking agencies and music labels,
to analytical music scientists, profound teachers & pedagogues
and to our colleagues from press & medias
a very HAPPY & SUCCESSFULLY NEW YEAR 2013 !!!!!
Forget the iPad app or cross-media visual interpretation for a moment. “Enter Calico,” the compilation debut of new electronic label Clear Notice Recordings, begins with some damned fine music listening. In a world after shallow labels like “IDM,” this collection of independent artists represents the current generation about as well as any can. Meticulously-detailed sound designs stutter and shimmer through varied cinematic soundscapes, nodding at genres with only passing concern.
Like a well-curated variety show, something is bound to grab you somewhere.
But then, let’s talk about the videos. It’s nice to see a video album, though the quality there is a bit varied. (Several directors independently seemed to settle on the “guy wandering around looking bemused” theme, though not lacking for visual invention.)
But two videos are, quite simply, mind-blowingly good standouts, perhaps not coincidentally for two of the highlight tracks from the compilation. Videos for Tricil (John Jacobus) and stretta (Matthew Davidson) take their richly-sonorous music and place them in surreal new fantasies. The Franck Trebillac-directed “Calculus” for stretta and Franck Trebillac & Marc Broussely-directed “The Emancipation” for tricil each create, in digital video, curio boxes in which captured butterflies and dancers become frozen in time. It’s a bit creepy, beautifully delicate, and compelling.
It’s great to see these familiar artists alongside some new ones. If the label keeps up this level of quality, we’ve got some good times ahead.
You can listen to the full album streaming online – and really, without even one video or iPad app, this is enough to satisfy me.
While Mac blog TUAW calls on Apple to kill optical drives (does Apple need that kind of encouragement?), the shiny digital compact disc and the album in general still have their devotees. Sure, album sales are down. Sure, digital downloads are in. But look beyond business or practicality for a moment at these exotic hand-constructed musical objects, and what you see is sheer love. A hand-constructed CD or vinyl album is a gesture of making music for someone, not for the ether.
I raised the issue early last month, and readers responded with lots of examples of handmade records, which I round up here. (And yes, practical, it’s not – a number of you complained that hand-construction is a lot of work. It’s clearly best kept to small runs, but then, I think that’s part of the point.)
Also, last month at NYC’s wonderful Culturefix, a handful of us got together and constructed some handmade discs. It’s definitely something you could do at an album swap meet with other artists and DJs in an afternoon or evening, and it makes the swap feel more meaningful. Pics at top; I hope we do more of these.
If this is the way the CD goes out, I think it’ll go out with style. And whatever the trends in the larger world, who’s to deny you your tangible album, really?
(About the end of the CD – I can tell you that demos, album reviews, music bought at shows, and the like are still very much tangible. Until flash memory is cheaper than CDs, I expect that’ll remain the case.)
First off, a vinyl album – but the process of hand-making these vinyl jackets is already lovely. moni writes:
We hand sprayed album covers for Ruoho Ruotsi’s Hmmm … album (De’fchild Productions release 003) Different colors were used to make each one a little bit different. Hard work, but rewarding. These came out nicely!
The electro-pop band Miaoux Miaoux did a custom run of 100 hand-knitted CDs to benefit Cancer Research and Maggie’s, available for a donation. They also included full-color artwork:
My favorite of the round-up is the work of Atlanta-based artist magicicada, who makes handmade boxes full of “surprises” – exquisite photography and unspecified collections of nine songs, packaged in a box made of mud. He also performs music live. (Thanks for the tip, tender vittles!) More images on his site:
Mugison makes his own CDs, as viewed in this lovely timelapse. (Thanks, Derrida! I assume not that Derrida, but…)
Hey, they’re flat, they’re round, they’re absurdly cheap, they store a good hour of lossless audio, and you can actually hand them to someone. There’s something to be said for that. Now I hope someone takes on the idea of using generative algorithms to make one-of-a-kind album covers en masse.
You hear the repeated chorus: music in the digital age has become meaningless and valueless, like turning on water from a tap in the middle of Rome. But, quietly, a movement is stirring that is reclaiming the value of music. Armed with nothing more sophisticated than markers, paper, collage materials, and imagination, they send mixes of music like grade school Valentines. Heck, they even use the mail. It makes the album more personal than it was even in its golden, mass-produced age.
Many of the practitioners in this case are returning to the cassette and mix tape. But I was also interested in handcrafting cases for demos, for your own music, and for mixes of Creative Commons-licensed and netlabel materials. Instead of just swapping behind our avatars and usernames on SoundCloud, it returns us to the glee of playing with markers and exchanging face-to-face.
If you’re in New York, we’ll be making our own musical packaging and then swapping records, starting with a 4:00 pm workshop on this Sunday 10/10/10 at the Lower East Side’s cozy (and tapas- and drink-stocked) Culturefix NY:
But wherever you are, perhaps this Sunday you can make some handmade music.
Here’s a look at some of the work being done, via a Flickr group entitled “Handmade Mixes,” in a Flickr slideshow:
Group founder Samantha Saturday talks to CDM about her techniques, and gives us some crafting tips. Keeping it simple makes this manageable, too, in case you’re planning a handmade, limited edition-run of your next EP.
Tips for materials:
For collaging works I always keep a shoebox of paper scraps and snippets from newspapers, magazines, flyers, basically anything that can be glued or taped down. Keeping all your supplies close at hand is a huge help. Personally I make all my cases completely from scratch, but sometimes starting out with a pre-made CD sleeve and building on top of it is a great way to start.
My best advice is to keep the process fun and to not put too much pressure on yourself to make something totally awesome. If you just let it happen it will be awesome no matter what. There is no right or wrong way to do it.
What to bring to a workshop: (including ours on Sunday!)
Bring mixes specifically for the event and some paper, magazines, glue, snippets, or what have you to share with the workshop.
I talked to Sam about some other ideas, too…
Tell us what you’ve been making.
All of the works I have made are either for friends or for mix trades organized in different places around the internet, such as blogs and Swap-bot [an online-organized swap meet]. For every mix I make, I also create a collaged, cut & paste cover. Some are simpler than others, but I always try to make something nice to house all this great music.
In general I put so much effort and time into making individual covers for every mix because I feel that with the digital age music is starting to lose some of it’s specialness. There’s something about having album artwork to accompany the music you’re listening to. Now you don’t really get that with digital downloads and I miss that. I think it’s the same for a lot of the people who are so dedicated to creating unique artwork.
Who are some of the other people you’ve found working in this medium?
Jane Boston (Stab Heart zine) and Bianca Jagoe (Goodnight Little Spoon) are the first that come to mind. They are both pretty big swappers in the online and mail art community. I’ve sent to and received mixes from both of them and I adore the love they put forth in their creations.
Additionally some of the people that have really stood out to me are Richard Gallon [Flickr] and Evey in Orbit [Flickr. Richard creates really well-crafted covers for his cassettes. On the other hand Evey has a much more cut-and paste approach to it. Even though their techniques are very different I love the range that can be expressed because it's such an open medium.
I created the Flickr group Handmade Mixes for people to share their handmade covers, since it seems like every other mix group is mostly computer-generated works. Most of the people who contribute are people I invited, but a few other people are popping up here and there, which is so exciting! Everyone in the group does a great job and it's really inspirational to see that there are lots of people out there who make their own covers, too.
Introduce us to one of your favorite mixes.
My mix "We're the Heirs to the Glimmering World" is definitely one of my favorite mixes that I've made, both because of the music and the cover art. Usually if I'm feeling a little down I will make a mix to focus my mind on something else and that was definitely the case with this mix. It's one of the most elaborate covers I've made.
You mention on one of the Flickr images that some of these mixes came from getting together for an in-person swap.
[That's] Mix Share Swap hosted by Bianca Jagoe of Goodnight Little Spoon. I found out about the swap from Jane Boston’s blog. If you keep your eye out, there are a lot of mix swaps like this around the blogosphere. Anyone could sign up, then you were assigned two random people you would send to from the list and you received mixes from two different people. It’s a great way to share music and connect with other people.
Any thoughts on how you translate the personality of a music mix to the visuals on the handmade packaging? (It’s an age-old question, of how to make something visual out of the auditory and ephemeral.)
When I make a mix the music, of course, always comes to mind first. After, and sometimes during, compiling a mix you listen to it and different themes or a general feel to the music will come forward and I think that’s where ideas for the packaging first start to form.
Everyone has their own aesthetic and although it sounds cliché it’s definitely about putting together what feels right. Sometimes the cover doesn’t necessarily tie in directly with the music, but generally I think there is something in the sub-conscience that drives the creation. Also, the handmaking process is a lot different than say, someone creates a cover on a computer. You’re connecting with the mix on a tactile level and that alone comes through in the visuals.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross working together in their home studio, in 2006. Photo (CC-BY) Aaron Tait.
Lots of music hitting the inbox this week, from Reznor scoring a movie about Facebook to Ghostly giving away rarities.
Trent Reznor and bandmate Atticus Ross have scored The Social Network, and created a shadowy, throbbing musical landscape that I feel perfectly fits a biopic of geekdom’s dark underbelly. (The music mischievously asks, is it possible to be a bit seedy, lusty, and dorky at the same time?) They’ve also given away the first five tracks, and if you buy in the US on the 28th and 29th next week, you can get the whole thing for three bucks. Insert silly reference here to “hitting the Like button” or “friending something” like I keep hearing in the mainstream press every time this movie comes up. It’s totally going to be better than Pirates of Silicon Valley. (Okay, that goes without saying…)
Our friends at Percussion Lab have been going absolutely nuts lately. It’s a Monday, so this evening NYC time, you can catch them on your Internets and live chat with them. But let’s first catch up with what they’ve been giving to us. Daedalus’ live set at the grungy, scene-y Santos Party House in TriBeCa is available for full download, a monome-powered, musical shot of energy drink. “I’ve been developing a little bit of a sweet tooth for tempo,” says Daedelus before launching into a frenetic live set.
Visual rhythms to inspire music: the light sculpture work of Leo Villareal, seen here installed at DC’s National Gallery tunnel, planted the seed for a wonderful musical mix. Photo (CC-BY-NDMr. T in DC..
If all that sugar gives you a head/toothache, here’s an alternative way to go at PercussionLab. It’s a scintillating, glowing assemblage of “beatless” (but pulsing and vibrating) sounds made for an art museum. Nicely assembled, and fantastic for chilling or coding.
Melodic Shapes by James Healy (Escape Art, Air Texture)
Sound Mix for Leo Villareal at the San Jose Museum of Art
Repeating sonic structures, creating melodic shapes, may form iconic pathways into abstract thought. Nice work by James Healy. It’s a perfect match for Leo Villareal’s visual work.
Loscil “Fern and Robin”, Antonio Trinchera “Just To See You Tomorrow”, bvdub “I Knew Happiness Once”, Mick Chillage “Hypothermia”, Antonio Trinchera “The Wind Make Himself”, Schwanbeck “Glow”, Aquadorsa “Daylight Fading Into Evening Silence”, Ulf Lohmann “Kristall”, Antonio Trinchera “Voce Falena”, Ulf Lohmann “My Pazifik”, John Barry “Out of Africa”, Klimek “for Michael Gira and Vladmir Ivanovich”, Loscil “Hyphae”
Finally, some retrospectives from two titantic and well-loved electronic labels this month:
Ninja Tune turns 20, and also happen to be giving away an epic mix by founders Coldcut to anyone who registers for (or signs in) to their site.
I’m sure we’ll be seeing plenty of Ninja Tune coverage as they reach this landmark, but for eMusic users, legendary electronic music journalist Philip Sherburne chooses classics and essentials from their catalog. At eMusic prices, this could be a cheap way to round out your collection.
And, of course, there’s the enormous, collectible Ninja Tune XX box set, as pictured above. You can hear samples on SoundCloud, below.
Heck, there’s even an iTunes app, though… well, to be honest, I don’t quite get it. It just plays tracks and tells you about releases, both of which your Web browser does just fine. Maybe I’m more old-fashioned than I thought; I’d rather sprawl out on the sofa with the box set and a pair of cans.
Our good friends the SECRET ARCHIVES OF THE VATICAN return with a golden EP called “Glidepath” which is full of really coool Transnational Arabic and Indian Dubstep and Breakbeat flava’s AND it’s available for free!!!
I’ve got to say I think it’s some of their best work to date! The title track is probably the stand out for me, full of Middle Eastern beauty but the whole EP is full of great tracks!
London based producer and solo artist Gaudi’s latest album No Prisoners ((Six Degrees Records) comes to us from a very productive year in which Gaudi toured the world, rocking dance floors and gathering fans with his unconventional innovative performance style and dance-floor filling tunes. It was also a year in which he was nominated for a BBC World Music Award for his Six Degrees release Dub Qawwali (with legendary Sufi singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) – see press release. The album’s success extended Gaudi’s fan base substantially, particularly in America and Canada, reaching #2 in the iTunes World Chart (USA) and #1 on Amazon.com’s Electronica charts.
It was also a year in which Gaudi took an unusual posting in Italy and became the ‘representative of the underground’ in the role of Vocal Coach and Mentor for the groups category in the hit TV talent show X Factor. During 3 series he produced an overall show winner, the winners of the critics award and also received a gold disc following the success of one of the groups debut album that he produced.
In all his albums Gaudi has worked to create his own synthesis using elements of dub, electronica and world music which has been mostly down-tempo in nature… No Prisoners is a very different and definitely up-tempo creation. Stylistically its primary energy is breakbeat influences underpinned with fat basslines and subtle live world instrumentation such as oud, tribal percussion and highland bagpipes. The performances of many fine musicians on the album bring a human touch; with live bass and guitars, percussion, drum, melodica and piano amongst others, while the electronic elements, as per all Gaudi’s albums, come from his beloved analogue equipment – vintage synthesizers, tape echoes and spring reverbs. The result gives No Prisoners the warmth and authenticity of sound which has become synonymous with Gaudi’s music.
A highly respected line-up of featured guests add their international appeal and individual flavors to the album, amongst them; California’s conscious political lyricist and founder of Spearhead Michael Franti, who lends his emotive tones to “There’s Enough” and long established Brooklyn based reggae artist Dr Israel (of Easy Star All Stars “Dub side of the moon” fame) who features on “No Time”; Multi-million selling Italian singer-songwriter Elisa gives a feminine edge to “Brainwashed Again” and Jamaican Reggae vocalist Kenny Knots goes deep with the ecclesiastical “Strictly Goodness”. Other notable guests include pioneering down-tempo dub producer Dub Gabriel on “Barracudub”; UK Breakbeat duo Far Too Loud and emerging electro-breaks producer Tom Real; who contribute to “No more blood” and “Bad Boy Bass” respectively.
No Prisoners as the title suggests, is an album made without concessions, each track uncompromising in the delivery of its sonic payload. It is a fresh and versatile album with the potential to become an original classic.
1) Bad Boy Bass 4.54
2) There’s Enough (feat. Michael Franti and Hardage) 4.41
3) Serious Ting 5.10
4) Back To Baia 4.46
5) Oud We Think We Are? 5.10
6) No Time (feat. Dr.Israel) 5.01
7) Barracudub 4.17
8) Hotel Caledonia 5.48
9) Strictly Goodness (feat. Kenny Knots) 5.53
10) Brainwashed Again (feat. Elisa and Danny Ladwa) 4.16
11) No More Blood 6.19
12) Space Phenomena 6.38
The OCC will use UK sales data provided from a panel of more than 30 digital retail stores, including iTunes, Amazon and Napster.
An Asian top 20 countdown show hosted by Bobby Friction will start on the Asian Network from Saturday, 27 March.
BBC Asian Network’s head of music, Mark Strippel, said: “We have long recognised that establishing an industry recognised official chart format is an important building block in the infrastructure of British Asian music.”
Music of British Asian or South Asian, including Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan, origin will make up the chart and a full top 40 will be published online.
The OCC says downloads now account for 98% of all single sales.
It compiled the UK’s first official singles download chart on 1 September, 2004 and, with a rise in British Asian music being purchased online rather than in traditional Asian record stores, will now do the same with Asian music.
Billy Grant from the Association of Independent Music, said the new chart would “undoubtedly create more exposure” for Asian artists.
DJ Bobby Friction said: “Having an official chart is going to make a massive difference to Asian artists in the UK because, until now, they’ve not really understood where they stand in the grand scheme of things.
“They’ve had record shops and labels telling them of good sales but they’ve not been able to quantify them.”
RJ ElJay-ji continuously is searching for some cool new tunes. His personal Top50 including:
Bombay Dub Orchestra, Suns of Arqa, Karunesh, Niyaz, Loop Guru, MIDIval PunditZ, Adham Shaikh, Barbara Morgenstern, Anoushka Shankar & Karsh Kale, BreakBeatBuddha, Massive Attack, Asian Dub Foundation, Talvin Singh, Azam Ali, Karsh Kale, Taufiq Qureshi, Delhi 2 Dublin, Transglobal Underground, Tabla Beat Science, Secret Archives of the Vatican, Joi, Sheila Chandra, Thievery Corporation, Digital Bled, Nitin Sawhney, Kuba, Anuj Rastogi, Atman, Dhol Foundation, Niraj Chag, Black Bombay, Notecrusher, Sir Shree, Vas, DJ Krush, MC Yogi, Ric Veda, State of Bengal, London Elektricity, Shaa’ir + Func, Black Star Liner, Up, Bustle and Out, Nawtiks, Tek 9, DJ Swami, Banco de Gaia, Tipper, The Ananda Shankar Experience and State of Bengal, Sattyananda, Sharaab.
You can buy directly or download visiting the playlists of all radio shows…
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was and is still very much considered to be the greatest Qawwal (singer of Qawwali music) in the world; not only recognized as a legend in his native Pakistan he also took his musical messages of peace, love and spirituality to the international stage, earning him the title of Pakistan’s premier ambassador of Qawwali music. The origins of Qawwali music trace back over seven hundred years to the spiritual Samah songs of Persia and the mystical faith of Sufism.
So, what happens when you unite one of world’s most revered voices with a long-time veteran of global music production? Dub Qawwali, by London-based producer/artist Gaudi reveals the answer. The album blends organic and digital dub stylings with original vocals from Pakistan’s beloved Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The result is a moving body of work that respectfully brings Khan’s Qawwali songs together with Jamaican dub via superb 21st century studio techniques. Dub Qawwali is a celebration of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s life and is being released on Six Degrees Records in August 2007, marking the 10-year anniversary of his death.
Gaudi was one of six producers who were initially offered a single Nusrat track to remix by the Lemon Group – owners of the song publishing of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s works from 1968-1974, in association with Khan’s original Pakistani label Rehmat Gramophone. The company loved what Gaudi had done with the material and offered him complete access to the recording sessions from 35 years ago, including rare and unreleased vocal parts. The original studio reels where sent to Gaudi’s studio in London in 2005 and work began.
Although other producers, including India’s Bally Sagoo and the UK’s Massive Attack, have remixed Khan’s work, in Dub Qawwali Gaudi has taken an entirely new approach to re-interpreting the work of this great artist. He has created a collection of new compositions in which the original vocals are seamlessly fused with a full spectrum of dub & reggae styles and musical themes & flavors from other cultures, genres and environments. A universal theme of peace and love, very much evident in both Khan’s work and at the heart of reggae music, is the unifying element.
It was Gaudi’s strong sense of the direct connection between roots reggae music’s humanitarian messages of compassion and love and Khan’s devotional songs, that was a major inspiration in the creative direction of Dub Qawwali. Gaudi is as much a scholar of Khan’s work as he is of dub, and lists among his favorite dub artists King Tubby, Scientist, Mad Professor, and Lee “Scratch” Perry. After doing studio work with the “eccentric studio genius” Perry in 2005, Gaudi had confirmation of one of his own strongest beliefs in music production which is to respect your own personal integrity by “being yourself and always following your own sound.”
Gaudi has been pursuing his own singular path since the early 80’s with his first major album release coming in 1990 with “Basta Poco” (Polygram). Since then he’s released 11 solo albums, 80 remixes (for artists including Bob Marley, Simple Minds and Ojos de Brujo) and been featured on over 100 compilations to date (for full discography go to www.gaudimusic.com). His 2004 Interchill album Bass, Sweat & Tears, is still the label’s best selling release. He co-wrote and produced the album Re:sonate (FAX Records) with ambient-chill legend Pete Namlook and worked with reggae legends Horace Andy and Dennis Bovell. Dub Qawwali is a further expansion of Gaudi’s eclectic and smooth deep-dub electronic sound.
The album opens with the soft tones of “Bethe Bethe Kese Kese”; a nostalgic and warm track where melodious Flute and Strings echo contemplative vocals. A firm stepper rhythm anchors and drives the track while Sarangi adds dimension to this wistful introduction. This is also the first track that Gaudi produced in the series and very much provided the drive and direction that is evident throughout the rest of the album. “Tera Jana Kere Rang Lawe” is a dub influenced roots reggae track combining passionate and melancholic Strings with a roots dub bassline. Its uncluttered feel and rolling Bass spiced with off-beat Tabla gives space and groove. The vocals in “Dil Da Rog Muka Ja Mahi” inspired the inclusion of a theme from the Kraftwerk track “The Model” used by permission from the legendary German electro-pioneers in this remarkable excursion of a track; analogue Synthesizers give authenticity to its 1977 origins, while Hammond organ, a deep bassline and fills of dubbed up percussive echo keep the reggae flavors rolling. “Ena Akhiyan Noo” is positive and evocative; an upbeat reggae theme supporting emotive and expansive vocal passages is spiced up with rub-a-dub flavors and breaks of hypnotic chant. You don’t have to understand Urdu, Punjabi or Persian to feel the sentiment evoked on Dub Qawwali, it is a work of truly international appeal.
The use of vintage analogue studio equipment and dub production techniques such as tape echoes, valve amps, Fender Rhodes, spring reverbs, Hammond organ and Moog, characterizes Gaudi’s production style, however it is not without its share of 21st century intervention and wizardry… Individual tracks from the original 70’s multi-track recordings often contained multiple parts together on them. These had to then be carefully cleaned up in order to make them usable in a way that would enable the composition of these new works. (This included much of the vocal parts which where mixed in the same track as the Harmonium and other instruments!)
Gaudi’s attention to detail paid off. Dub Qawwali revives Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s vocals in a truly distinctive fashion – a vital accomplishment given Khan’s stature. The legendary Pakistani artist has inspired the likes of Peter Gabriel, Michael Brook and Eddie Vedder and is in the Guinness Book of Records for having the world’s largest recorded output by a Qawwali artist — a total of 125 albums. Gaudi, aware of the gravity of re-working such a prolific and globally respected artist was moved to comment: “After 26 years of music activity I have to say that this is one of the most important productions I have ever done.”
U.S. Press Contact: Ryan Romana Canadian Press Contact: Joanne Huffa
Six Degrees Records Six Degrees Records / Outside
540 Hampshire St. 25 Defries Street
San Francisco, CA 94110-1417 Toronto, ON M5A 3R4
t: 415-626-6334 ext. 15 t: 416-461-0655 x334
f: 415-626-6167 f: 416-461-0973 email@example.com@outside-music.com