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Messages - Ben Fleury-Steiner

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"Tender is the Opaque Morning"


"Purple is the Dawn"


Running Silent, Luminous Tide



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Darren has created a first class all the way home concert series -- 1,000 Pulses is everything and more that the serious audiophile would come to expect from the man who created the late and great e|i -- and he even sells overstock copies at the shows...

What a joy to play...It was more than 2 hours of improvisational solo and collaborative performance by myself, William Fields, and Mikronesia.   A showcase of where we all were in the moment-- and I think it's pretty hard to pin completely down, even for the adventurous listeners...

I'm excited to see the video and listen to the recording - the discovery of the hidden music only improvising in a social setting can produce is always fun.

I'm hoping to get back up there for Jason Sloan's performance next month!

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Everything and Nothing / Re: Passing friends
« on: December 31, 2009, 02:53:29 PM »
We also lost Jorge Reyes, Andy Hughes of the Orb, and Dani of the Celer. I thought Gordon died this past year, but from looking over the forum my guess it was last year. Still, he and they others are missed.  :'(





wow..shocking, so many...And how could I have possibly forgotten my beloved friend, Dani...I had the pleasure of speaking with her on the phone at length before the release of her brilliant work as Chubby Wolfthe timelessL'Histoire .... My forthcoming Infraction release is also dedicated to her..

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Everything and Nothing / Passing friends
« on: December 31, 2009, 09:56:59 AM »
Its been awhile since I've posted here.  Being a relatively new dad has kept me insanely busy and not able to check out my favorite forum in many, many months. 

I feel a special bond here as two people I got to know well (Rigel Orionis I even collaborated with) are no longer with us.

I'm just know listening to IXOHOXI and remembering through sound and spirit the wonderful artist, Dan Russo...And am amazed at the depth of Jim Brenholts's compositions as he evolved into his musical persona, Rigel Orionis - Night Heat is a pretty special piece of work to say the least...There's a deep emptiness with both their untimely deaths...

The passing of another year brings their memories especially alive for me...I feel lucky to have met them first here on the Hypnos forum--a place where kindred spirits share their love for a kind of listening that few understand nor genuinely appreciate...And for that I'm deeply grateful...

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Purchase and sound samples here:

http://cdbaby.com/cd/siformaldehyde2


The latest installment in our live, improvisational series is a work of three flowing drones by Seconds in
Formaldehyde. A decadent work of aural escapism recorded live at last year's Auerworld Festival 28 July 2007. This release is limited to 100 hand numbered copies and presented in chipboard boxes with genuine letter pressed text and images by Matt Borghi of The Hand Work Press.

FEATURE INTERVIEW WITH SECONDS IN FORMALDEHYDE IN THE LATEST INSTALLMENT OF TOKAFI

At the beginning of 2007, it seemed the last thing the world needed was yet another guitar drone project. Now the year is nearing its end, we're happy Martin Fuhs of Seconds in Formaldehyde didn't care about that estimation. Admittedly, his first full-length releases on Umbra Records and Gears of Sand still owed a lot to his musical hero Aidan Baker: Minimal and looped melodic lines were slowly woven into dense aural carpets, which gradually started pulsating in a polyrhythmic and multiharmonic shimmer. But then came "Suddenly Silence burst my Ear", his third album, which proved to be a first breakthrough: Energetic and raw, yet detailed and refined, it took his music to a next level and offered fans of the genre a true alternative. As it turns out, Fuhs is a man who loves many different styles of music and is gradually integrating his plentiful influences into a personal handwriting. More and more, his artistic background is becoming clearer, as the compositions are turning more complex, harmonically confusing and creative in terms of sound. The pinacle of this development is "Construct", a one-track release on his newly founded Waterscape label, which suddenly offers comparisons to the earliest days of cosmic electronic music, and fuses the abstractions of the clicks n cuts scene with full, atmospheric textures. As 2008 draws nearer, we can't wait for the latest developments from the field of guitar drones.
*******
Hi! How are you? Where are you?

I'm doing fine, thanks for asking. Currently I'm sitting behind my laptop in a small town near erfurt.

What’s on your schedule right now?

Quiet a lot to be honest. I have finished the first release for my new label waterscape records. Its by myself and its titled “construct”. Then i have to finish the second release on waterscape which is going to be by paul bradley. I'm doing this all by myself, so it means that its a whole lot of work, including artwork.Then i recorded new material for a few releases later this year or next year. One Release will be on Small Doses in America and its titled “Injection”. Its a 3”cd-r with quite a bit heavier stuff. There is also going to be a 3”cd-r on Phage Tapes in America. And I'm also planning a few more live gigs. One will be in ilmenau as a part of a big live jam session with other local artists from the electronica scene in November.

What or who was your biggest influence as an artist? Do you see yourself as part of a certain tradition or as part of a movement?

I would lie if i wouldn't mention the name aidan baker. He has a huge influence to my music to be honest. But I'm also influenced by artist's like bohren & der club of gore or tim hecker, even if you wouldn't compare my music to theirs. And I'm a big fan of fear falls burning and oren ambarchi. I don't see myself as a part of a tradition since I'm pretty young and most of these guys have been writing their music for years. But i also don't think that I'm part of a movement, because a movement in my opinion is something that will come to an end. And i see myself doing this music even in 10 years or so. (Hopefully)

What’s your view on the music scene at present? Is there a crisis?

I think we should look at two different scenes. The kind of “pop” scene and the “experimental” scene. As long as i can enjoy listening to releases from the experimental scene i will stay happy. I think a tim hecker ringtone on jamba would cause some sort of a crisis but as long as this doesn’t happen, everything should be fine.

What does the term "new“ mean to you in connection with music?

Showing new aspects of music. New ways of making sounds.

How do you see the relationship between sound and composition?

You need to have a sound to make a composition. So that's the relationship.

How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?

I don't separate them. Most of my music is created out of a improvisation. But I'm also composing music. I think you can't separate them, because they just fit together.

What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing on stage?

I think a good performance depends on the quality of the music played. The quality of the composition should fit but also the quality of the sound. Video screens would be interesting for me, but in an other way i think they would distract from the music. When I'm performing live, i have a starting point. So all my music is based on that point. The rest is totally improvised and i think that keeps it exciting.

A lot of people feel that some of the radical experiments of modern compositions can no longer be qualified as “music”. Would you draw a border - and if so, where?

I wouldn't draw a border. Its all about the person who is listening to this music. If the person doesn't like the music then that's her musical taste.

Are “serious” and “popular” really two different types of music or just empty words without a meaning?

I would tend to say that they are just 2 words without meaning. Just like the question you ask above, it's all about the person who is listening to this music. Person A could say that it is serious music while person B thinks that it's just popular music. Everything is a matter of musical taste.

Do you feel an artist has a certain duty towards anyone but himself? Or to put it differently: Should art have a political/social or any other aspect apart from a personal sensation?

I don't think that art should have a political or social meaning. But everyone should make up their minds about that themselves.

True or false: People need to be educated about music, before they can really appreciate it.

Yes and no. I don't need to know much of musical history or theory to listen to music. But sometimes a certain education could show you new aspects about the music that you are listening to.

Imagine a situation in which there’d be no such thing as copyright and everybody were free to use musical material as a basis for their own compositions – would that be an improvement to the current situation?

No improvement. There are to many lazy people who would just copy a few things and tell you that they did everything by themselves.

You are given the position of artistic director of a festival. What would be on your program?

Artist list: Aidan Baker (a Solo Set as well as a Set as Nadja), Tim Hecker, Fennesz, Fear Falls Burning, Oren Ambarchi, Isis and Bohren & der Club of Gore. Bohren & der Club of Gore as the closing act. They would play the complete “Sunset Mission” since it's my all time favourite Album. Perhaps a few Projections and that's all. For most of the people it would be a pretty boring festival, but i would love it.

Many artists dream of a “magnum opus”. Do you have a vision of what yours would sound like?

I do dream of a magnum opus, but i think I'm far away from that.

-Tobias Fischer, Tokafi

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....there are 5 copies left and you can get one for the dirt cheap $5 here:

http://cdbaby.com/cd/aidanbaker2

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The unique talents of the constantly evolving Bible and Henry are on full display with Vryashn. For one, the well honed laptopist duo turn here to piano and recordings of found objects as their main mediums. While the warmth, spacious piano movements of ambient pioneers Harld Budd and Brian Eno is often drawn upon for inspiration by other artists, few are able to use the instrument in ways heard on Vryashn. Rather than sparse notes played between silences, Bible and Henry use the piano as a launching pad into a sprawling world of minimal piano motifs that build tension and release given a depth through subtle laptop treatments. Vryashn is arguably a definitive statement of Bible and Henry's talents as composers on the cutting edge of an overflowing and arguably oversampled electronic scene. Beyond synthetic 'soundscapes' or 'interesting textures' Vryashn coalesces into an extraordinarily epic journey. Unfolding over two movements clocking in at just over 50 minutes, the work's addictive minimalist motifs pull the listener in only to be washed over--often unexpectedly--by subtle sonorities of breathy fibrillations, pulsing machinery, and radiant drones that intrigue but never serve to take Vryashn off its massive, radiant course. In a word, breathtaking.



To purchase and hear sound samples from VRYASHN go here:
http://cdbaby.com/cd/biblehenry

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Newman's score for In the Bedroom is also sublime...


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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: De wonderful Waard of music
« on: July 07, 2008, 08:32:06 AM »
am a big fan of goem - listening to their seventh disc, abri, as I write - way, way more than a "clicks and cuts" disc - love the subtle looping and building tensions...good stuff that sounds fresh 7 years later...

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It seems strange to react in any way to a Franz review--truth be told, even some of the postive ones get my ire up (although he has a keen historical knowledge of the genre that often surprises)--anyway, taking issue w/ a Franz review is analog to persuading a vegan to the virtues of bloody, rare (delicious) fillet mignon.

I picture Franz as a cigar chomping, long bearded mad man chained to a laptop surrounded by a mound of broken jewel cases and empty Heineken bottles resting atop scratched cds that have become the man's coaster of choice.

We send our stuff to him because he's always writing (f'ing the fastest turnaround bar none) and for some strange and inexplicable reason seems to like our stuff...But mostly I await his reviews for hope of one of his brilliant non sequiturs  ;)   i.e.,  "I've never heard of this artist..blah, blah, blah...we've never received a thing from him, although he has 30+ releases...[reader: wonder if he'll like it? ...but wait...] "No mention of how this was recorded or whether this is even a carbon based life form...nonetheless, a fine piece of drone." 

When seeking out insight on where to burn more $$ on discs--even if I'm 30+ behind in my listening-- I'm much more likely to hit up mssr. Lockett or Bergstein..And for jazz, I take to Downbeat as they review nearly every ECM release and it's nice to have 5 different opinions on a single disc...

But to the subject at hand:  I LOVE everything by RST so I doubt I'd agree with FdW on this one.  By the sounds of it, I look forward to listening. ;)

B

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Everything and Nothing / Re: the incredible hulk
« on: July 04, 2008, 05:23:02 PM »
How did they get Bill Bixby in?  He's been dead for years.

they showed a clip on a TV from The Courtship of Eddie's Father..

there were also a lot of excellent nods to the comic--a tapestry of the Hulk's early years..but, overall, the videogamishness overwhelmed things for me..I thought Ironman was far better (neat little cameo in the end from our man Downey, Jr.)!

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Everything and Nothing / Re: Moving to Philly area
« on: July 03, 2008, 11:17:25 AM »
hey neighbor!  just sent you a message to yr hotmail account. 

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: New work and changes...
« on: June 30, 2008, 09:08:00 AM »
Very nice and best wishes with this, Pete.

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Now available All of the True Things I'm About to Tell You Are Lies by True Colour of Blood



Sound Samples and Purchase:
http://cdbaby.com/cd/tcob

One of the seminal figures in modern guitar drone music returns with this colossal masterpiece..Read the interview with the man himself (Eric Kesener aka TRUE COLOUR OF BLOOD) here:

http://www.gearsofsand.net/news.html


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Everything and Nothing / Re: iron man
« on: June 19, 2008, 12:05:07 PM »
I loved it!  I think what makes it stick out from the pack is definitely Downey, Jr.'s brilliant performance and the special effects are definitely among the best yet in the super hero genre.  The suit absolutely rules!

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Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: June 16, 2008, 10:50:58 AM »
Ben,  I couldn't quite get into the Willits-Sakamoto "Ocean Fire" CD, though I like many of their other solo works and works with other folks.  Maybe it was the recording, which sound very muddy and mid-rangy.  The CD also sounds like it was mixed on the fly, as opposed to, say the Sakamoto-Fennesz "Cendre" CD, which sounded much fuller to my ears.  The "Ocean Fire" disc brings back unpleasant memories of the "clicks and cuts" style of em, which for the most part sounded much too noodly and unfocused to me.
hey forrest--first off cendre is fabulous.  we agree to disagree on ocean fire - what can be exciting (and most definitely is with this release) when one confronts the world of so called "clicks and cuts" (never liked that categorizing phrase much) is a total defiance of expectations.  Perhaps more precisely I hear sounds on ocean fire that are very interesting to me and I enjoy how organic and wonderfully bewildering the whole thing is.  Now one might respond by saying 'well, any one can just make noise.'  true enough, but not too many grab my attention and make me want to listen.  ocean fire does so in spades.

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Live Stars of the Lid
« on: June 12, 2008, 06:23:36 AM »
Anyone else catch them live on this tour?  I saw them in Philly at the Gatherings and have to say a huge disappointment...The string section was so loud you could barely hear Adam and Brian...The whole thing for me was like second rate chamber music, major bummer, as SOTL is one of my all time faves...

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Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: June 12, 2008, 06:10:58 AM »
Like Mark M, I too am immersed in the latest disc from Christopher Bissonnette, In Between Words recently released on Kranky.  I like the orchestral and oxygenated drones intermixed with the field recordings and metallic found-like sounds--a lot less stuffy than Periphery although I liked that work as well...It's like recent Stars of the Lid meets Thomas Köner...really an excellent offering from Mssr. Bissonnette.....

I know others have sung the praises of Willits-Sakamoto's Oceanfire but I'll sing them again - I love how noisy and experimental this work is - it's as if both artists known for their excellent spacious works have recently been influenced by the dinscapes of Tim Hecker or even some of Merzbow's bag of sound mutilation...These tracks are both beautiful and glitchy by often go beyond "error" into exquisite "failure"--crazy volume swells, stuttering undercurrents, and surprising twists into near sonic implosion...

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Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: gears of sand
« on: June 09, 2008, 10:02:24 AM »
many thanks, Jim...been swamped and away from the forum for a bit now; nice to hear yr digging some of those discs.  8)

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good news, A!  I was hoping they'd cross the pond in one piece... 8)

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