Tlaotlon / Střed Světa Split (Baba Vanga, 2014)
1 week ago, 14 October 2014  ·   8 notes

Saturated media ecologies. Hypermediated economy of attention. Texture as opposed to pattern. Tlaotlon from New Zealand and Střed Světa from the Czech Republic converge their intra-terrestrial sonicism, a world apart geographically, less than a stone’s throw musically. Tlaotlon's glistening, mellifluous electronics is inspired by glut aesthetics, a lysergic ornamental kaleidoscope, with fractals of sounds, melodies and beats gravitating towards each other and centrifugally dispersing into the outer orbits. Střed Světa's side follows his debut on Baba Vanga, which also inaugurated the whole imprint back in 2013. He expands his idiosyncratic sonic lexicon, breezily gliding through gelated rhythms and melodies, a crystallized wormhole.

Sillicon larvae, transparent aural amphibians that slither through primordial forests of data, biting chunks off, a gel-coated aural rhythmmachine. Plasticized sonification of organic structures, organic not in terms of “natural” sounding, but in its utmost literal sense – the moist, breathing, rustling, restless, magic essence of flora and fauna, stripped of its original tropoid signifiers and encoded in a liquid nano-funk. Drums in Střed Světa’s last track are played on a canister, the melody in the first originated from a recording of an old lady playing a barrel organ, while a bunch Tlaotlon’s rhythms are supposedly based on the ratios of ancient turning systems. “’The Thing” that can or can’t exist in the same way that a piece of shiny plastic trash discarded in a forest may - for a second - become a lizard on the edge of perception and then return back into the ghostland beyond our eyeballs”.

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State of Emergency: Dizzcock’s AL
1 month ago, 16 September 2014  ·   3 notes

Whereas in his other project, Lightning Glove, the sense of urgency and pervasive feeling of impending omen, was created largely via the lyrics of his brother, the editor of one of the few proudly modern left-wing Czech magazines A2larm Jan, Ondřej makes a statement on his new solo record via the sonic. Apart from the anodyne “This is an emergency” sample in the second track, though the rolling bass professes this with heightened sense of paranoia. 

Though my favourite are probably the atmospheric and languid two versions of The Call. Slow with a gradual build up, an anticipation of a digital storm.

His debut solo album AL was inspired by the 90ties computer game System Shock, which offers a pessimist version of the future, where technologies enslave humans. 

The release comes out on the label he co-founded, called Red For Color Blind, and apart from original tracks, also encompasses remixes by Czech and international artists, including Gnod’s Dwellings, the grime producer Filter Dread as well as Czech projects Střed Světa and Space Love, who strip the source material off its inherent darkness and replace it with their own idiosyncratic quirky touches - in case of Střed Světa, resulting in a manic lysergic voyage which he commands like the Wizard of Oz. 

"The message is in the nature of how the theme was processed. It has a certain narrative, it is tribal, bass-driven and futuristic, at times grime-like," says Ondřej Bělíček aka Dizzcock. "In grime music, futurism looks into the future, which thanks to technology, escapes the doom and gloom. On my album, it is the other way, it is a futurism, which is dystopian. Technology enslaves you,"

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Transient zones of sound
1 month ago, 2 September 2014  ·   2 notes

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Transient Zones is a festival that took place earlier this year in Prague. Over a few days, a group of artists moved and shifted from one location to another, creating temporary autonomous microzones of sound, reclaiming the public space for a brief moment from its functionalist nature - a space to shift from the 9-5 to shop or sleep, a sonic détournement.  

For instance, Susanne Kass’s voice piece on Námestí Republiky, one of the centres of commerce in Prague, has several layers of voices reciting the offers of stores located in the nearby shopping mall. Michal Cáb rubbing his polystyrene stick onto an advertisement stand is a bona fide perverse “desacration” of this commercial object which had hijacked the public space even before. 

There is something charming in the playful performances, battery noise in a passage way or a concert at the station with passing trains behind, creating not only the visual, but also the sonic backdrop, salvaging the urban space from its super seriousness. Embracing glitch and imperfections, a sort of ad hoc dilettantism, but in a good way. 

"Temporary shifts of the sound character of the place are created, sort of transient zones, through defamiliarization, animation, anesthesia, highlighting, appropriation, disruption, the use of public space as a musical instrument, etc.."

You can check the archive of the recordings and videos from the event here.

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Laura Luna - Isolarios
2 months ago, 13 August 2014  ·   15 notes

Laura Luna de Castillo is a Mexican multimedia artist living in Prague. Composing tracks and working with sound are her means of bringing forth imaginary atmospheres. Laura Luna's debut record Isolarios is Baba Vanga's next release.

“I started experimenting with making sound and music about a year ago, after an experience that made me aware of sound as a powerful enhancement to memories and narratives,” she says. “First I started to pay attention around me and to record with whatever I had available those sounds that where triggering emotions or fragments of memories. Later on when i became more sensitive to the richness, tones and changes in the sounds i began to construct my own sounds to describe what I had in my imagination of certain mental scenes and stories.”

Isolarios is an immersive experience, utilising sound as an emotion activator, inviting the listener into a self-contained world where repressed or half-forgotten memories resurface blurring the border between half-conscious and dream states, a sort of somnambulist soundtrack. “The way I started making each track was always inspired by an imaginary atmosphere, after reading and seeing many kinds of media that triggered certain feelings like longing, memory, melancholy and solitude but always immersed in a foggy fantasy and mellow drowsiness,” she says. Feedback, error and accidental programming come to the forefront here, layers of swirling melodies are scattered with field recordings and voices.

Inspired by science fiction stories about lost cosmonauts and expeditions without return, magic realism and the works of Italo Calvino, Laura’s output is drenched in romanticism, but of a – sublimely - tragic kind.

You can listen to the album, which is out now on Baba Vanga on Monday, 18 August 2014 on cassette, in its entirety here:

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Selectone’s Dead Grooves
2 months ago, 5 August 2014  ·   4 notes

More than a year after the EP of the Foma duo, the Czech electronic label Ressonus, which usually does so on a sporadic basis though always accompanied with carefully prepared limited edition CD and download artefacts, announced a new release. Coinciding with the straightforward techno-industrial record of the American project The Agromaniac, which was inspired by Harlan Ellison’s post-apocalyptic novella “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream”, is also the new material of Selectone, a project of the label head David Rambousek, whose history dates back to 2004 and the Mufonic imprint.

Rhizomatic Sounds came out as a split with Neutrino and together with the following Czech-Slovak anthology Out Of Place Artefacts vol. I could be seen as a statement against the dance scene in favour of dirty and fragmented experimenting. “I prefer working with atmospheres and emotions to stylish sounds. I try to breathe life and an inner dimension into music.(…) I like sonic impurities, lo-fi and wasteland electronics, confronted with subtle moodscapes, created on synths or acoustic instruments. I sample a lot – from purely natural and everyday sounds, to noise, old vinyl records, church organs, chants and random voices of random people.” (as mentioned in an older interview with Nika77 for Techno.cz).

Selectone's 2007 record Unearthed developed in a rhizomatic system, incorporating elements of glitch, click’n’cuts and recyclation. His latest record, Dead Grooves, extolls the circle movement: literally. Shaped by the revolution of the used shellac records and magnetic tapes as well as multiple recollections of his own, shelled recordings created in isolation. “Crucial was that I recorded it at a time when I lived in a haunting small town on the Polish border and spent most of the time being alone, which probably led to some strange mental states…” With his method – let it be, so that something alive would engender from the dead sound – Selectone somehow comes close to Czech turntablists Birds Build Nests Underground. Nevertheless, here focused finishing touches to the material and another thing, the proximity of the “locked” grooves and myths (Automaton, Solaris) with non-cyclical elements, such as guest vocals of Miriam Ingram in Dead Swan or the dub-inflected rhythmics of the space in Positive Einstellung. The fascination with side effects and micro-sonic textures, which accompanies the project from the very beginning, as if veiled the whole record with a constant membrane of rain or crackling of fire – depending on which substance is closer to your consciousness – setting another distance from the focal point of this aural anémic cinema.

by ondrej parus (red for colour blind)

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