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December 28th, 2011

RareNoiseRecords: A Myopic Retrospective (part 4)

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Dear Friends,

the next step in our myopic retrospective brings us square into the year 2011, the seeds of which were sown late 2010.

RNR016 – OWLS – THE NIGHT STAYS

“The Night Stays”, the first release by Owls, and our first foray into the world of neo-folk was due to a meeting of minds between renowned neo-folk/neoclassical singer and composer Tony Wakeford (of Sol Invictus fame) and Eraldo Bernocchi, with the added vocal virtues of Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari (longtime collaborator or Eraldo Bernocchi in recordings ranging from Ashes to Obake, of which we will say more later). First and foremost was the choice of name or totem for the band, a creature that would embody the lunar spirit of the project: the choice fell on the Owl, protector and observer  of those who cannot sleep. This mystique was also the principle behind the making of “The Night Stays” – the layering of traditional british and european neo-folk with elements of dark electronica, trip-hop and industrial noise. Dark, broody, introspective and obliquely futuristic, the recording evoques memories of New Order and Johnny Marr layered with the darker moments of Massive Attack as can be heard in the following track, “Hide And Seek”

The album’s wonderful cover was once again produced by Petulia Mattioli. “The Night Stays”, for the first time in our release history, was released as Double LP (180gm vinyl) with three extra tracks and new lush artwork.

RNR017 – ANIMATION – ASIENTO

September 2010 we received an email from Guy Licata, at that time drummer of Method Of Defiance (as can be witnessed on our release RNR003 – Nihon) suggesting I listen to a jazz performance he had participated in in 2006 as part of the Reissue Series curated by Brice Rosenbloom and Simon Rentner at the Merkin Hall in december that year. The lineup featured Bob Belden on sax, Tim Hagans on trumpet, Matt Garrison on bass, Scott Kinsey on keyboards, DJ Logic on turntables and obviously Guy Licata on drums, as they worked through six w0nderful tracks from Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. As we were aware of both the previous Animation recordings, harking back to the turn of the century, that is Animation : Imagination and Re-Animation : Live, both graced with Grammy nominations in 2000 and 2001 and were fascinated by their attempt to weld Hard-Bop and drum’n bass, we decided to give the recording a thorough listen. What cemented our intentions was a long impromptu conversation with Bob Belden, whose larger than life persona and creative spirits really convinced us that RareNoiseRecords’ relationship with Animation would extend well beyond this first release. As it turns out, Animation (in their new stable formation with Bob Belden on sax/flute, Peter Claggett on trumpet, Jacob Smith on bass, Matt Young on drums and Roberto Verastegui in keyboards and sampler) has just finished recording their first completely new record, to be called “Transparent Heart”  in Laswell’s studio in West Orange, New Jersey – more about in a future update.

In agreement with Bob, we opted for a very aggressive, edgy mastering, with the aim of highlighting the near-brutal immediacy of the performance. The results were very favourable, as the album garnered excellent press from across the world, and also managed to ruffle some feathers, as was expected (a fact which we welcomed with open arms). The striking artwork was again due to Petulia Mattioli, who was tasked with devising a cover which would both reference the original and significantly depart from it – a task she managed to accomplish admirably, we say…

RNR019 – NAKED TRUTH – SHIZARU

Very early 2011 we received an email by Italian bassist Lorenzo Feliciati, asking us to consider releasing a recording he had recently finished editing, featuring himself on bass joined by Mr Mister, XTC, The Rembrandts’ and King Crimson drummer extraordinaire Pat Mastelotto, by organist and keyboard maestro Roy Powell and by Pat Metheny Group trumpet innovator Cuong Vu. An ardent fan of Mick Karn, Lorenzo’s interest in RareNoiseRecords had been aroused by a charity compilation we had co-released late 2010 to support the great bass player  in his fight with cancer. In-depth listening of the demo revealed it to be incredibly interesting and innovative, a unique blend of late Crimson, Cecil Taylor and early 80’s Miles Davis artfully tailored and stitched together by master editor Lorenzo Feliciati. The recording by  the group, called Naked Truth, was released early July 2011, generating very positive responses in press and music lovers alike. Cuong Vu’s decision to decline further participation in the future development of Naked Truth led us to search for a temporary replacement to perform in Genoa on July 22nd 2011 (RareNoiseRecords night, part of the Gezmataz Genoa Jazz Festival), a role temporarily but admirably filled in by Nils Petter Molvaer. The future though, was not assured – long searches eventually lead us to the great Graham Haynes, but this is a matter for a future article. For the time being, enjoy  “Faster Than An Automatic Door”:

The artwork for Shizaru, Naked Truth’s first recording for RareNoiseRecords, was again invented by Petulia Mattioli. It depicts the Four Monkeys of the Confucian tradition (See, Speak, Hear and, most importantly Do No Evil, i.e. Shi-Zaru).

RNP003 – SEMETIPSUM 2011 (@Michele Satta’s wine cellar)

In the previous episode of our myopic retrospective, we had talked about the event held in 2010 in Michele Satta’s wineries in Castagneto Carducci, Tuscany, Italy. The event was repeated again this year early July, this time with Nils Petter Molvaer performing solo trumpet and electronics. Semetipsum 2011 will see a signed bottle of 2010 Viognier (“Giovin Re”) in the now well known limited edition box, accompanied by the beautiful graphics of Petulia Mattioli. Head over to Michele Satta’s internet portal to secure yourself a limited edition boxset.

RARENOISERECORDS NIGHT (@GEZMATAZ GENOA JAZZ FESTIVAL)

On the 22nd of July 2011 we were honoured to be given the opportunity to host a two-set night as part of the Gezmataz Genoa Jazz Festival at the Arena Del Mare in Genoa, Italy. About 700 people came to see Brainkiller and Naked Truth perform to great acclaim and commotion.

Witness here Brainkiller’s new track “Otaku Goes To The Rave” (which will grace their new 2012 recording – out late 2012 or early 2013 on RareNoiseRecords)

and Naked Truth, performing here with Nils Petter Molvaer, showcasing their entire new album “Shizaru”

We thank Marco Tindiglia and Gezmataz for the opportunity afforded us, in the hope we might organize a further date for 2012.

RNR020 – OBAKE – OBAKE

We always knew that our relentless search for ever-mesmerising music to offer RareNoise aficionados old and new would eventually lead us to confront the world of doom and doom drone. The opportunity arose halfway through 2011 when the collective creative juices of Eraldo Bernocchi and Massimo Pupillo (remember for example Black Engine, released in 2008, featuring Eraldo Bernocchi’s guitar alongside ZU – Massimo Pupillo, Luca Mai and Jacopo Battaglia) coalesced and were joined by, once again Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari and by the great hungarian drummer Balazs Pandi to give rise to a music behemoth of rare power and intensity. Named after the japanese term for “Ghost/Shapeshifter”, their collaboration has its feet strongly rooted in doom, drone and grind, interweaved by onirical, lunar passages and lifted by Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari’s extraordinary vocals, here ranging from tender growl to near operatic crescendos . Released in September 2011, Obake encountered the favour of large parts of the press in UK and Italy. It was nominated 6th in the first 50 Albums of the Year by Rock-A-Rolla and among the 50 best by great british music blog The Quietus, by great writer John Doran. Obake will be performing live from late spring 2012, with Trevor Dunn on bass.

The next three releases are the most recent, dating back hardly a month, and we recently dedicated each of them a separate article – see here, here and here). Nevertheless, we think it appropriate to spend more words on each of them. We love all of our releases to bits, and could go on talking about them forever ….

RNR018 – ANIMATION – AGEMO 

Late Q1 2011, about the time we released Asiento by Animation, our friend Gaudi introduced us to a new recording and mixing process he had been involved in, when producing a remix of David Gilmour’s and The Orb’s Metallic Spheres: 3D60. This process, squarely aimed at the new and blossoming market for high quality earphones, allowed the creation of a new spatial/3-dimensional mix of existing recordings. Always looking out for innovative ideas to enhance the listening experience we were immediately fascinated by the recording technology invented by Mike Brady and Ian Thompson with the collaboration of Killing Joke and Fireman bass player/producer Youth. Very quickly we decided to submit Animation’s Asiento, which had been released early April, to this transformation. The results were rather astonishing, as they deeply affected the listening experience – a wider, near-spherical listening stage, focused instrument placement, accompanied by a much softer mix, aimed at increasing the dynamic range of the music (up to 20db!). – HOOK UP YOUR EARPHONES TO YOUR COMPUTER OR MOBILE PHONE to listen to the 3D60 Mix of track 3 from Animation’s Asiento, “John McLaughlin” so as to make sense of our words above:

Concurrently we had started to toy with the idea of producing a recording of remixes of Asiento – as we were fascinated by the opportunity of giving world-class remixers the opportunity to express their own point of view on Miles’ Bitches Brew. For a variety of reasons, chief amongst which legal and of respect, most remixers would have shied away from producing mix reconstructions of original Miles Davis material (with the notable exception of Bill Laswell’s Panthalassa). Presented with the opportunity to remix material which itself was an interpretation of the original left them with much greater freedom. Six remixers were given a track to work on in isolation, and were impeded from listening to each other’s work in the process. The result, again, was astonishing, as it was both cohesive yet markedly individual, ranging from Laswell’s drum’n bass take on Pharaoh’s Dance to DJ Logic’s deep dub take on Bitches Brew, to Youth’s Dancefloor/Trance take on “John McLaughlin” (listen to it just below) to Gaudi’s fast dub take on “Miles Runs The Voodoo Down” to Fanu’s Breakbeat take on “Spanish Key” to Joaquin “Joe” Claussell’s complete Hypno re-construction of “Sanctuary”. The red thread behind this release was, as was now clear to us, that of “transformation” and change (many of our releases deal with that notion): in this case transformation through technology and process (3D60) and transformation through artistic wizardry (the remixes).

Agemo, Vodun deity of transformation, gave the 2 CD recording its name, and influenced Petulia Mattioli in producing a most striking artwork superimposing the original vision of Asiento onto a chameleon skin.

Agemo is dedicated to the memory of Dora Ramos Claussell and Manuel Claussell, respectively mother and brother of Joaquin “Joe” Claussell, both of whom passed away during the making of Agemo. We would have expected Joe to either not deliver his work at all or to deliver it with great delay. He delivered on time, providing us with a potent example of professional coherence, focus and incredible intensity. We are deeply grateful to him and share in his grieving for his loss.

RNR021 – BERNOCCHI/BUDD/GUTHRIE – WINTER GARDEN

A near simultaneous release to Agemo was Winter Garden, which sees Eraldo Bernocchi join forces with Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie. Their journey had started mid 2010, when they played two live events, in the old Enel powerhouse in Trezzo d’Adda and in Genoa, in Palazzo Lomellino. Around the same time Harold Budd had sojourned in Tuscany, where he started recording the Eraldo Bernocchi (with whom he previously had performed – see Fragments From The Inside from 2005) – they were joined by Robin Guthrie and laid the foundations of this incredibly dense and delicate recording. Further trips to France sealed the work, giving it the dry, frosty and winter-silent qualities associated with its very title.  Listen to “Stay With Me” and rejoice as we do:

and look at their performance in Trezzo

Needless to say, once again the cover was admirably created by Petulia Mattioli (who had provided the spectacular live visuals for the trio’s performance at the Taccani / Enel powerhouse in Trezzo d’Adda in 2010).

RNR022 – THE MANTRA ABOVE THE SPOTLESS MELT MOON – GHOST DANCE 

Agemo and Winter Garden were joined by the second full-length release by The Mantra Above The Spotless Melt Moon, Ghost Dance. This record has currently been launched only in the UK (although it is physically available everywhere). We will talk about it in greater detail when an important announcement regarding the band’s UK and Italian tours are made in about a week. For the time being, enjoy reading about it here and listen to the beautiful “Trieste”:

The wonderful artwork for this release is by Infinity Artworks (who is none other than Adriana Salomone, the band’s lead voice), the spectacular photography is by Lucio Carbonelli, whose photographic work also appeared in the feature on the Mantra which recently graced the pages of Classic Rock Prog. We are very thankful to Adriana and Lucio for the beautiful work they conceived of and consequently created.

So here we are, full circle. The next article will be the MYOPIC PER-SPECTIVE, detailing the numerous new releases  that will grace our catalogue in 2012 – we truly hope we will able to blow your mind 

Cheers to all, and thank you for allowing us to indulge in this romantic exercise in short-term memory titillation.

RNR

 

December 6th, 2011

RareNoiseRecords : a Myopic Retrospective (part 3)

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Dear Friends,

short on the tail of the second part of our myopic biopic,  we immediately start on the third episode of this journey. Late 201o I receive an email from Eraldo Bernocchi saying “We must absolutely release the material of this kid that is active in dub-techno, he’s amazing”. “Who is he?” “He’s a German guy – uh, no, sorry, he’s Russian”. “Where’s he from?” “Kazan”. I immediately focus my mind and imagine a small village in the middle of the russian federation. Yep right, a small village…inhabited by 1.2 million people…Crickey how little I know of the world surrounding me. So this is roughly how we got in touch with Marat Shibaev a.k.a. Martin Schulte.

RNR011 – MARTIN SCHULTE – SILENT STARS 

Martin Schulte’s work draws, as his pseudonym suggests, from the German tradition of Glitch and Clicks’n Cuts (Oval, Mark Ernestus, Moritz Von Oswald, Basic Channel, Thomas Fehlmann, a tradition going back to the early/mid 80’s that received its consecration by the end of last century), but enhances it with a very “Dub” Sensitivity. His release for RareNoiseRecords, Silent Stars unites elements of the fragmentation of C’nC but imbues them with the basso continuo of Dub … the effect is other-worldly, one feels like a spectator of an under-water concert. Music pervades, titillates and overwhelms the listeners’ auditory apparatus. Soothing, entrancing, Silent Stars is another work of great wonder by this young yet already very prolific musician of the world.

The inspired Artwork for this release was again due to the great Petulia Mattioli, whose collaboration with RareNoiseRecords produces ever more fascinating results – “Look, The Sky Is Full Of Glitch”.

2009 and 2010 also saw our production arm, RareNoiseProductions working hard. RareNoiseProductions is the moniker we use when we work on music projects that might be released on a different label or are works commissioned by some public entity or are to be sold as part of a music related (but not music-centric) product.

RNP001 – COSTITUTO – (2009 for 21st Recordings)

In 2009, the City of Siena celebrated the 700th anniversary of its City Constitution (the Constitutional Charta of the medieval city-state of Siena) literarily the “Costituto”. To celebrate this incredibly important event in the City’s history, the authorities decided to outsource production of a double CD (via 21st Recordings) – the production of part of this celebratory release was entrusted to Eraldo Bernocchi. The recording, roughly set up as a long suite of songs (based on arrangements of 13th century text) interspersed with moments of great musical delicacy, involved Eraldo Bernocchi (guitars), Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari (voice, electronics), Markus Stockhausen  (trumpet / electrified trumpet), Giovanni Lindo Ferretti (author of all the lyrics and main singing voice), Ezio Bonicelli and Raiz. In the caustic tradition of the underlying text, several passages are not without humour as “Porci e Troie” (sung by Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari and Giovanni Lindo Ferretti highlights) – we are in Tuscany after all …

RNP002 – SEMETIPSUM 2010 (2010 with Michele Satta wineries)

Our second production (which we talked about in this previous post), was again a born of a moment of genius involving Eraldo Bernocchi, Petulia Mattioli and this time ebullient wine producer and theoriser Michele Satta. The driving idea behind these performances was to create a multi-sensory experience, first by having a musician/musicians of great renown play live in the cellars of the Satta vinery, then to transport this “moment/being there” into a high-end package containing a magnum of a very special wine (depending on the year) and a recording of the performance itself. The recording should be as untainted as possible to allow a recreation of that self-same moment. All transactions would be settled in bottles of wine and the recording would only be released as part of a very specific Lifestyle package. The first Semetipsum concert, held in 2009, was a live performance by Eraldo Bernocchi and Harold Budd; Wine (a magnum of Sangiovese 2008) and music were released in limited, numbered quantities late 2010 

For all information about Semetipsum please view the Semetipsum Website which also contains information about Semetipsum 2011, with Nils Petter Molvaer.

That’s all folks for part 3 – see you at the next episode…

December 4th, 2011

RareNoiseRecords : A Myopic Retrospective (part 2)

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Dear Friends,

here we are again with a further short chapter of “post-views” on RareNoiseRecords’ past releases. We forwarded the link to the first part to a close acquaintance of ours, who quipped “Nostalgia already?”.

Let us say this is an attempt to create a “myopic byopic”, to actually seek the distortion in perspective afforded by the excessive proximity to release events…

RNR006 – PARCHED – ARC

Arc, by Parched had a long gestation – it had been worked upon since the last months of 2008, as befits a recording that makes stratification and downtempo its core references. The two baritone electric guitars of Eraldo Bernocchi and Davide Tiso are intertwined in a spiral of conversations worthy of a desert landscape, maybe not even an earthly desert landscape. – music which is “long, barren, pensive, delicate, touching, a harrowing road open to only those who know what they should say, yet decide to mutter no word at all” . References that come to mind are Morricone, Ry Cooder (in Paris, Texas) and possibly Fripp. Abandoned playgrounds, ghostly barns, crieking rocking chairs and wind, the dry wind populate the panorama.

Arc was released concurrently to the previously mentioned Torn From Black Space by Death Cube K late 2009, during our “Ambient Month” , as a study in contrasts – DCK will fill your soul with Black Bile, mephitic vapours and intestinal sludge while Parched is an exercise in purification and deep cleansing, though not via the medium of purity of sound, but through the the sense of void and vertigo (a kantian bliss) that is achieved when one feels both minute and huge in front of vast, never ending constructs of matter and sound that are intricately chiselled by masters of the guitar craft.

RNR004 – SOMMA – 23 WHEELS OF DHARMA

 The year 2010 opened with a pretty long hiatus – we had run like headless chicken (Buckethead might even approve) for the second half of 2009 – so only by the end of Q1 we were ready to release the new album of Somma, 23 Wheels of Dharma. The history of Somma (brainchild of Eraldo Bernocchi and Petulia Mattioli) is a long one: Somma, which seeks the integration of live tibetan horns and chanting into a context of modern musical references, from electronica to dub and progressive jazz, made its first public appearance  on November 26, 1996 at Teatro Regio in Torino Italy in front of 1600 people, shortly after the release in 1995 of Hooked Light Rays. This early record  was followed in 2007 by “Somma“, which documented the Live performance of Somma in 2001 in Trento, Italy, in front of his Holiness the Dalai Lama (an exceptionally beautiful record we would like to add). The third in this series, 23 Wheels of Dharma, documents the live performance of Somma in Milan in 2007, at the Teatro Dal Verme. Present on stage Eraldo Bernocchi, Bill Laswell, Hamid Drake, Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari, Raiz/Rino (who had sung on Meditronica), the italian vocal trio Faraualla and the wonderful Nils Petter Molvaer with tibetan monks. The incredible live visuals were created by Petulia Mattioli with Stefano Cecere.

RNR008 – THE MANTRA ABOVE THE SPOTLESS MELT MOON – DEFEATED SONGS

September 2010 saw the release of The Mantra Above The Spotless Melt Moon’s first full Album on RareNoiseRecords, Defeated Songs. This work took had an incredibly long gestation (well over a year) – a year of travelling for our four heroes Adriana Salomone, Davide Famularo, Maurizio Oliviero and Salvio Sibillo back and forth from Naples to Eboli, to work with producer Luigi Nobile of Monochrome.  The first album is always very important – one wants to condense all the ideas hitherto accumulated into something deemed representative of a lifetime of music ideas – after months of excessive stratification of ideas. the time came to start removing them one layer at a time, to obtain the correct balance of colour, sound and intensity. The recording absorbs influences from Mogwai to GodSpeed You Black Emperor! mixing them with memories of Pink Floyd, Laurie Anderson, not without referencing the Italian song tradition (Battiato) into a multifaceted whole of sophisticated indie/prog rock with tinges of jazz.

Defeated Songs also saw the continued collaboration of The Mantra ATSMM with romanian animator extraordinaire Anton Octavian who produced their second animated feature, for the track Septembers

RNR010 – BRAINKILLER – THE INFILTRATION

“Dear Rare Noise Records, My name is Brian Allen and I’m a trombonist and composer from Texas.  I’ve worked Anthony Braxton, Gerald Cleaver, Mark DresserDrew Gress, Satoko Fujii, Roswell Rudd, Nate Wooley and lead a trio with Tony Malaby and Tom Rainey. I have a band called “Brainkiller” with Japan-based keyboardist Jacob Koller and Argentinian,  Mexico City-based drummer Hernan Hecht.   We have been playing since 2000 and toured all over Canada, US and Mexico.  We have finished a recording and were wondering if you might consider it for release.  I’d be happy to send you a demo CD, but you can also hear samples and see a recent tour video from Mexico here . Sincerely, Brian Allen”  Our answer you may glean from looking to the right and listen the following track

What we did not know was that we were about to engage with musicians who actually come from a different planet. It turned out that Brian Allen, Jacob Koller and Hernan Hecht were in fact the earth names of intergalactic artist/scientists/AI hybrids Knoernschild, Otaku and Mr PacMan. This insight was a gift that came to us as a series of Revelations:

First, there was the sniff of Fruit and Vegetables and a voice “Come Frutas Y Verduras”, at the end of a short video that showed up at our door one morning

Per se, this would have not surprised us more than necessary, but then we chanced upon a secret conversation held in a very public place

At that point we knew, that not all was what it seemed. Shortly thereafter the incredible denouement, as romanian animator Anton Octavian delivered the final clue of this interstellar puzzle

Indeed all was starting to be clear. A cruel dictatorship, in a galaxy far far away, controlling the minds of the local population by restraining access to fruit and vegetable and forcing everyone to listen to ugly music thus transforming everyone into obedient tasteless MeatZombies . Three scientists, adventurers and heroes, fighting this plague one stage at a time, from small ones in Mexico

to bigger ones in Italy

We are told more clues will appear soon – we will comunicate them to you immediately so that we may slowly piece together the parts of this intergalactic musical mystery.

Until next time …

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