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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

 

March 14th, 2011

Animation: On The Edge Of Forever

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Manhattan is the Edge of Forever. Live here and you are always on the edge, one day away from your destiny, fate, obligation or demise. I have lived in Manhattan for 28 years. On the edge for 28 years. DJ Logic grew up in the South Bronx, the birthplace of hip hop, party DJs, break dancing and social engineering in the extreme. Matt Garrison, our bassist, and Guy Licata, our drummer, have lived their entire lives in the shadows of New York City, either directly or by DNA.  In parallel worlds, Scott Kinsey lives in Los Angeles, an American noir-ish metaphor for the extremes of success, failure and quiet desperation. Tim Hagans has lived close to Philidelphia for most of his adult life. Big cities. But only in Manhattan, is there 24/7 energy, an animated cartoon expressing adventure in the midst of wanton criminal behavior. The sound of street life, club life, studio life, a high cost of living, terrorism as tourism, Central Park, Harlem, Limos, no speed limits, fantastic restaurants, jay-walking as a right, After-hours joints, gangsters, endless parties, police with big guns in kevlar everywhere, all taken in the extreme. At night the city comes alive like no other in the world. At any moment you are working directly with multi-national corporations as if they were local businesses or street hustlers straight out of central casting. In many cases you can’t tell the difference. You may hear English spoken on occasion.You find yourself caught up in larger-than-life events such as the World Trade Center attacks, The Subway Vigilante, Guardian Angels, Gang wars, Wall Street Meltdowns (twice!!), and the media interests for the Western World are within walking distance of my apartment. If you live a life where each day you are compelled by necessity to create a new world that will satisfy your muse, pay your bills or keep you from getting in trouble, surrounded by 8 million other people with the same basic idea, one develops a creative survival instinct that defies logic or reason. If you can make it here you don’t care about anywhere else. And reinvention is the Mantra of Manhattan. You prod the status quo, finding new ways to survive as a creative artist. Its all about how you feel at that moment, your own basic instinct carved from your soul, one challenge at a time because things change here first. Manhattan never stops for anyone, you either catch up or move out. One lives and dies in this city always with a dream to chase, a challenge left unmet, a love never fulfilled, a heart oft broken. And take my word, this city will literally kill you. It is that treacherous to live life on the edge in Manhattan.

The underlying philosophy of this band we call ANIMATION has always been about reinvention (aka ‘re:Imagination’) and creating conflict within the status quo. Either by abandoning the traditions of jazz forms, the melodic and harmonic basis for improvisation and using dynamics as a sonic weapon, ANIMATION was able to invent music at the moment, invent forms, otherworldly textures and colors and improvisational contextualization. While this may not be “innovative”, it is refreshing. Recording for Blue Note Records from 1997-2001, under assumed names, ANIMATION created a unique sound within the framework of 1950s hard bop-inspired label. The recording had the same energy as a Charlie Parker or Art Blakey recording but with a contemporary texture.  Our followup live recording from the Montreal Jazz Festival did much to further the cause of progressive jazz within the conventional public discourse, bringing elements of Drum & Bass and electronica into the Jazz Melting Pot. We also received two Grammy nominations in the Contemporary Jazz
Category (Tim Hagans “Animation: Imagination” in 2000 and Hagans/Belden “Re:Animation LIVE! in 2001).

Early in 2006, ANIMATION was invited by Francois Zalacain and Brice Rosenbloom to create a performance (scheduled for) December 9, 2006) as part of a concert series based on covering classic jazz LPs. To fit comfortably within the programming I chose Miles Davis’ “Bitches Brew”, thinking this would be a good opportunity to demonstrate our approach to jazz improvisation and add to the bands oeuver. After the usual logistical stresses everyone magically arrived mid-afternoon on the 9th of December at West 67th street instruments in hand. We rehearsed about 30 minutes, enough to understand the phrases that defined the compositions. As our music has evolved into creating phrases as opposed to reinterpreting melodic forms, it was very natural to adapt to the phrases of “Bitches Brew.” Performing in Manhattan sharpens your artistic senses and reflexes. If you close your eyes, having read the above description of the city, you may hear the life and energy of this urban dystopia come alive in your animated imagination.

Each musician brings a unique voice to the performance. Tim Hagans has followed the path of great trumpet players by forging his own intense style, with an emphasis on tightly focused solo statements that resemble an electric guitarists efforts more than your typical trumpet expressions. Scott Kinsey has taken the language of the synthesizer to the highest level in our modern times as he is the first generation of keyboardists who developed electronically as opposed to the acoustic-centric classic piano model. Matthew Garrison has similarly improved the language of the electric bass and his unique technique allows him to redefine the the possibilities of the instrument within modern electronic ensembles. Guy Licata represents the next wave of drummers to emerge from the shadows of sampling, electronica and drum machine programming, and he has an endless supply of drive and energy that has few rivals in jazz. DJ Logic adds his input from a variety of sources, both from the street and from the penthouse, becoming part of the groove or texture, but always hovering about the textures.

This recording is an unfettered representation of the spirit of jazz; improvisation. We could not prepare to regurgitate what we rehearsed in the live performance so the decision was made to abandon intensive preparation and to emphasize the thrill of hearing music created for the first time in front of people. Most bands do not take this kind of risk these days. Many groups are intensely rehearsed and arranged more to show off the ability to rehearse and arrange but reiteration is not improvisation. In a marketplace that values fast tempos, loud grooves, pre-planned climaxes, cliche forms and presentation patterns that go back to the roaring twenties, to approach performance and recording as an act of pure improvisation is becoming a luxury. Often musicians feel that complexity means quality or virtuosity and in some genres this is held to a higher standard than creativity and taste. This is the mark of a desperate ego, a ‘me-and-only-me’ approach to making music (not creating). With ASIENTO, there was no me but us. We are all traveling very fast down a road with only a sketch for a roadmap in a Ferrari with no brakes and a reckless disregard for the dangers that lie ahead.

Cheers to you all.

January 13th, 2011

Animation – Asiento : Release formats and dates

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Asiento, by Animation, featuring

Bob Belden on Sax, Tim Hagans on Trumpet, Scott Kinsey on Keyboards, Matt Garrison on Bass, Guy Licata on Drums and DJ Logic on Turntables

will be released in

1. Standard Format (as CD Digipack and in digital)

on February 15th 2011

It will be available on from that date

  • from the RareNoiseStore
  • shortly thereafter in relevant high street shops via our physical distributors for Europe and US
  • and, via IODA, in all digital stores

2. 3D60 Format (See the 3D60 website for information) as CD Digipack and Digital

on April 26th 2011

in the same locations

3. Dolby Surround 5+1 (Digital only)

on April 26th 2011

in the same locations

Early summer we will be releasing a Remix recording – more info soon.

Meanwhile, enjoy a medley of Asiento prepared by none-other than DJ Logic himself

Cheers!

November 23rd, 2010

A look into 2011

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Dear Friends,

as 2010 gently moves to a close, we would like to provide you with updates relating to RareNoiseRecords‘ 2011 release schedule.

Early January (UK and Italy) and April (US) will see the release of Asiento by Animation here featuring Bob Belden on Sax, Tim Hagans (photo by Robert Abel) on trumpet, Scott Kinsey on keyboards, DJ Logic on turntables, Matt Garrison on bass and Guy Licata on drums

as they produce a re-synthesis of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. The release (CD and bonus DVD) is a re-edit of Animation’s live performance at Merkin Hall, New York in 2006.

At about the same time we will be releasing The Night Stays by OWLS.

OWLS is Tony Wakeford (of Sol Invictus), Eraldo Bernocchi and Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari, as they provide a twist on english Neo-folk, by layering it with swathes of electronica and vocal distortion.

2011 will see Percy Howard’s Meridiem being produced, and will feature Trey Gunn (King Crimson) corded instruments, Vernon Reid on guitar and Haroun Serang on keyboards.

The Mantra Above The Spotless Melt Moon will release a new EP with the soundtrack to a short film by director Marc-Henry Ellegaard featuring Charles Dance. Work on their new album, to appear in Q3 2011 is well on its way.

Italian dubmaster Ashtech will hit the air with his first new full-length recording after Walkin’Target (Interchill 2007).

We will keep you posted as things develop.

July 10th, 2009

Method Of Defiance Play Montreux!

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Who is this man?

This coming Sunday 12th July 2009, Method Of Defiance will be playing in Montreux, at the Montreux Jazz Festival. We will be there and report it all to you, with photos and more. The lineup for the occasion is Method Of Defiance (Laswell/Worrell/Kondo/Dr Israel/Licata/Hawkman), joined on this occasion by DJ Krush (yes you guessed it – he’s the man ).

For more information check out this link

Also read this most excellent article on Montreux, Bill Laswell and Method Of Defiance by journalist John Doran, which has very recently appeared on The National…

We will be back on the 15th – with our impressions. After that day we will also start shipping the Method Of Defiance Nihon CD/DVD register your interest!

We will also have some savoury news concerning the future of Method Of Defiance….