PML CDR 01

Talugung / _blank

The library’s first CD-R.

A split disc from two anomalous, constantly working, compelling artists.

Ryan Waldron, who records as Talugung and lives in Hamilton, glides the first four pieces through intricate trial-and-error fascinated with microtonal and limiting scale-work, mesmerized and ultimately shaping entire hypnotic and repeating sound-worlds around treated timbre and wooden sustain. Adventurous and meditative, a deep approach to unwinding natural pulse and natural acoustic emulation.

Blanca Rego, who records as _blank and lives in Barcelona, finishes the album with a long-form curious piece of abstracted reinterpreted field recording, both data-bent and new-art cumulative, turning found sound ideas into stretched-out puffs of smoke, blurred from original presentation and flipped into static one-note-like hanging clouds. They pass by overhead but brush against us and vibrate like breezes from heavy swinging bells pushing their musical imprint of fine air and movement.

I asked both artists the same five questions, please read on.

how did you go about preparing and recording this album and when did this material start to take shape? did you have a plan in mind on how you wanted it to sound or be presented? did you do anything differently with this collection of material that is new or part of a newer process for you? can you describe what it is that we’re hearing?

Ryan: I started working on this in the spring of 2016 by recording a few sounds that I thought might work well together. I ended up using 8 or 9 acoustic samples that I pitch-shifted into different just intonation scales. There are bowed metal and wood sounds, some flutes, a gong, and a plucked wood sound. I’ve had the idea to try to make some tunes using a kind of unequal loop style for a while. Since the loops are slightly different lengths, the melodies and harmonies are constantly changing, but at the same time there’s lots of repetition. This technique is similar to some of Steve Reich’s early pieces.

Blanca: The original material was a field recording made through one of the windows of the flat where I live in Barcelona (Spain). That specific window is not directly over the street, it’s over some courtyards of the buildings of the block, and the side street is usually quiet because it’s narrow, without traffic, but that day there was a bit of noise because there were some people dismantling a small stage. I didn’t have any plan in mind when I made the recording, I just made it. Later that day, I was editing it, without any aim, just playing with filters, equalizers, etc. and I ended up with that track, which I found funny because it’s quite dark, like something from a horror film, but the original material was really mundane and uninteresting. Usually I don’t work with field recordings, but when I use field recordings I tend to end up with very abstract sounds, because I’m not interested in documentation or representation.

you both work in other art forms/media, was there anything visual that would be considered a pairing to this work that you were working on or even just thinking about? do you see yr music in colour and if so, what are the tones or shadings that you visualize? what is it about music creation that keeps you inspired in alternative ways from other media/drawing?

Ryan:  Maybe minimalist abstraction from the 60s?  Something more abstract often works well with instrumental music, I think. I visualize music a little bit, but nothing too specific as far as colour goes. It’s definitely interesting to think about how we actually experience music. I’m sure we’re all creating new mental models for the experience every time we listen to something, with the listening environment playing a big role. Making music can be pretty different if you piece things together on a computer vs playing an instrument, but I find I enjoy both for the same reason I like visual art – I think the inspiration is similar, but I usually end up focusing on one thing at a time.

Blanca: I’ve always been obsessed with the relationship between image and sound, and most of my work reflects that obsession, but this piece is just a sound experiment. I wasn’t thinking in anything visual when I made it, it’s more about an atmosphere or an emotional state. I don’t consider myself a musician and I’m not really interested in creating “music”. When I work exclusively with sound, I don’t think in any kind of colours or visuals. If I’m working in something that uses sound and images, usually both things are so tied that I don’t see the sound in colours or the colours as sound, for me both are the same thing. In fact, I work a lot with data bending, saving audio files as image files and vice versa, so images and sounds are exactly the same data, not an interpretation. I think that the main difference between sound and other media is that we feel sound through our whole body, not just the ears, so it can move you not only emotionally but also physically.

the act of disassembling or removing parts is pretty key to both of yr processes i think (or maybe it’s the other way around, a very serious and determined slow-building or assembly), is that a fair statement to make? all of this material is highly minimal-sounding, whether it is the short repetitive staccato pitch of talugung or the drawn-out and distorted and granular cloud-filled pulsing tone of _blank, why do you choose to work within a limited tonal/notational scale or pitch, is there freedom in hearing similar sounds move and shift in subtle and suggestive ways? i find both of yr albums very moving, was this palette set beforehand or was there some trial-and-error involved to get the right feeling?

Ryan: I subtracted or didn’t include lots of false starts or combinations that I wasn’t happy with. Sometimes it’s nice to focus on the details of a particular sound and if you record some interesting sounds that can get you off on the right foot to using a minimal palette. With these pieces I was mainly working with rhythm and melody ideas so trial and error to get the right tempos, densities and note combinations for the selected sounds was important. I ended up using six-note scales for the 4 pieces. I tried pentatonic scales but I found it was sounding too much like I was copying Balinese music. Six-note scales are nice to work with, and it’s fun to try out different intervals. On the second piece I used big gaps between some notes so it has very uneven, unbalanced scale.

Blanca: I’m not a musician, so I can’t set a palette beforehand, when I work with sound there’s a lot of trial and error, and even chance, involved. I don’t think that I disassemble or remove parts, but I’m definitely interested in void and noise and I prefer drones and pulsing tones than melodies or musical structures, so I guess that I tend to simplify. When you work with musical structures, you’re working with a very traditional system, even if what you create is not pop. Curiously, most people think that noise music is much more incompressible or intellectual than “standard” music, but that’s not true, noise is something really simple and physical, while music is a very complex construction, a way to organise noise. I’m not specifically interested in a limited tonal/notational scale or pitch, but I don’t want to create “music” because music moves you in an “artificial” way, I’m much more interested in throwing off the listener than in creating any kind of specific emotion.

if you had to recreate yr part of the split album live using only acoustic instruments, say in a trio or quartet setting, what would be the instrument choices? or maybe you wouldn’t want to do that at all, so you don’t have pick, but maybe you could mention why working in this way, digitally and alone (and i can dig that too), is the end-game?

Ryan: It would take some instruments that could play non-tempered scales – maybe trombones, violins, or a string quartet, or some Harry Partch sorts of things. It would also probably take pretty expert players to play the shifting loops. It’s pretty easy to get tuning and rhythmic precision when you use a computer and the end results can have an interesting sound, but a live acoustic version would be great.

Blanca: I wouldn’t want to do that, I prefer the abstraction of the digital media. Obviously, a computer is not an abstract thing, but it’s not specifically for making music, an acoustic instrument is just for that. I don’t work always alone, but usually I prefer to work alone because what I do is really personal, I’m not trying to explain something, or to transmit a message or a feeling, so it’s difficult to work with other people because usually I don’t have any aim in mind. But it’s neither improvisation, I know what I’m doing and what I’m trying to dislocate, at least when I make experimental films, which is what I do mainly.

what’s the future bring? happy new year! any resolutions?

Ryan: I plan to make some woodcuts and hang out with the kids – simple goals! Thanks Kev!

Blanca: Who knows… but it’d be nice to be able to make a living with my films. Happy new year!


The split CD-R was burned at home in a small edition of 33 copies, with accompanying original black-and-white artwork by both artists printed on banana paper at home, housed in recycled paper envelopes.

The digital album is free on Bandcamp and Free Music Archive.

From all of us, we hope you enjoy and can pass it on.

Take care,
Kev

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Library #15

Dane Patterson – Wellness Center

New release for the library is radical electronic noise collage-work from the Brooklyn visual artist Dane Patterson.

Two sides of harrowing, hallucinating, spatially globular readymades for late night wide-awake insomnia. You can set your clocks to these jams and make life that much more interesting as it melts and slows down and fires you across altering planes while you try to focus on anything else and then fight for sleep. In better days, this was the good kind of tripping. This is monstrous material, and it floored me when he sent it along.

I think Dane’s visual artist brain has wires that get crossed with his guerrilla sampling/cut-up techniques when he puts the musical pen to 4-track paper and that pushes some of the decision-making into unbelievable psychedelic-tinged existential structuralism. Designs emerge in responsive balance: stark, loud, emotional bursts segue into droning, machinist living forms, gentle and mischievous and impermanent.

The album is called Wellness Center and it quite literally helps explain and soundtrack some of the thinking/feeling Dane’s conscious/unconscious of, and his melted take on electronic mind-fuck therapy has helped him carry the personal-blues along in such a creative fashion that you start to forget about the heaviness, but my advice is to let it breathe and be heavy, be a full-on undertaking, play it loud and throw the large sounds, shrinking and shrieking, at our own anxieties. Sometimes we’re able to channel something, some kind of power comes from somewhere else that’s slightly foreign to our everyday, either its from deep within or from outside us altogether in that spirit-way we have no idea of, but for a few seconds to a half of an hour, we’re in control and we’re flying.

I sent a few questions his way via email and here are his responses:

hey dane, thanks for doing this man, appreciate it! i was really blown away by yr record when you sent it to me, wasn’t totally sure what i was hearing and how it all got there. what sort of sounds were you initially after, and how did you go about getting that down? you mentioned to me that you were cutting up live drums and using a sampler, were you mixing analogue and digital means together for this? 4-track and computer? do you see this as straight up electronic music (whatever that can mean) or do you see it as more noise-based or lower-fi concrete type work? or does it matter?

Hey, I’m glad to do it. Thank you. I definitely didn’t have a particular sound in mind when I started this project. I’d just moved to a new place in Brooklyn after a long-term relationship came to an end. Sound recording was a way for me to escape for a bit and work through things. I think that’s where the title Wellness Center stems from. At that time recording became a bit of a retreat for me.

I started by just recording short bits and pieces and organizing the sound fragments. These didn’t necessarily relate in any way to one another. I recorded sections of detuned acoustic guitar, padded mallets on tin cylinders, sequenced bits from inexpensive korg analogue synths, and sounds from hitting kitchen utensils together. I also had some prior recordings of sounds I dug into, including some I’d attempted with violin. I just started making folders and sorting sound types initially. This portion of the process was chopped up via computer and saved to my sp404 sampler as loops or singular hits. I think it started to take shape when I hooked up my Vdrum set to the sampler and used that to trigger sounds along with the drum hits. Once I found a way to work with the parts I would record these bits of arrangement to 4-track cassette. It was a way to save the ideas, and it also changed the quality of the sounds. Later these tapes were recorded back into Abelton live where I refined the looped patterns and multi-tracked over top. It’s definitely electronic music as it was generated with computer and electronics, though I think the character is different than what that genre might call to mind.

did you have a master plan all along or were you fitting pieces together and sort of improvising with the collection of source material you had? how or when did you know you were getting something special? was there ever a moment where you were able to objectively step back and say, alright, this is turning into something here? were all the tracks finalized or mixed in similar ways?

I’d recorded a number of arrangements before anything really clicked. It was like a puzzle. I was sorting elements that fit together to maintain a flow that worked as a whole. There are times in the album where quiet drones or different instruments follow a crescendo of harsh sounds. I like to develop a feeling in a track and then undermine it.

so both sides of the tape are flowing collages of continuous themes or motifs, were you working around certain sections, like say a filmmaker might, in that you knew it had to get to this particular spot, but editing and cutting away would help reveal that and get it there? that’s interesting to me, i know that yr a visual artist and work in multi/mixed media ways and have been doing video-work of late as well, was that part of the process at all? were you seeing or visualizing anything art-wise when you were making this album? i think film-styled editing can be an underrated aspect to record production, having themes and narratives taking shape and knowing when to move things around sequence-wise, etc., does that make sense to you too?

Each side of the tape had a couple of sections that I knew I wanted to include. A lot of the editing became about figuring out how to build up to them or accent them. I’m a visual artist as well, and making the music definitely called up imagery as I worked. There is video involved with the audio now, but it was only created after the recording was complete.

can you tell us a little about yr history working as an artist and how yr development has changed or taken on new stronger forms? is there any particular media that yr more comfortable working in? and since you work with different materials and software, are there choices that you make that are tactile or decision-based in yr music-making that would more emulate working in other fields, like in video or in installation or drawing or paper collage? do you like when the differing forms interact and blend together? ‘how do i make that drum tom sound like a withered rope fall through a window’ thing going on? visualizing components both imaginary or in ways that will actually take artistic form?

The basis for my visual art has always been drawing. It’s definitely what I’m most comfortable with as a medium. It translates nicely into some of the video work I’ve done. A lot of my more recent drawings have started as photo collages these days. Mock-ups that I make in Photoshop are then rendered with pencil. I think that way of working stems from the collage method of music making I’ve been doing. Working from photographs has been a big part of my drawing projects since around 2003 or so. It used to be very important to me that I worked from photographs that I’d totally staged myself. Today I will work from photographs I’ve taken and collaged bits from Google image for example. I’m not a purist about that at all anymore.

As for sound work, I don’t think too much about visual narrative as I work. I did do some short one-minute animations where I made the audio and animation at the same time. I really like the idea of sound accompanying visual elements. It’s new for me still.

so you used to run the plant migration record label, was that new york-based? what made you want to get that going? you issued many formats on that label as well, cassettes, cdrs, seven-inches, three-inch cdrs, even lp, why no wax cylinder or microcassette? kidding. what made you make those moves with the formats and did you let the specific material dictate what direction you wanted to go in? and i’m assuming you wanted to spend time on other artforms and life things, so it just naturally went to the back-burner? any thoughts on getting that back going? did you do the art and layout for the label?

Yes, Plant Migration was a label I ran for a few years starting in 2007 I believe. I was in New York at the time and was really inspired by a lot of the small tape labels in the city. I also really wanted to design album art and that was a quick way to do it. The various formats I released really came down to what raw elements I had on hand. I’d been buying lots of blank media and cases and just wanted to use them and make designs for projects. I did the majority of the artwork and the layout for the label. I had the chance to have Dennis Tyfus of Ultra Eczema do a 7” cover for Rust Worship. That was really exciting. I ended up getting to work with a lot of artists that I really admire and am inspired by; Andrew Pekler, Rust Worship (Paul Haney), Jaap Blonk, Eliza and Parry (Cammisa Buerhuas), and Cindy Cindy (Cindy Daignault) for example. I think that was easily the best part about releasing music as a label, getting to be a small part of helping out artists who were inspiring to me. It’s an incredible amount of work, and financially difficult to maintain. Eventually it just made sense to move on to other projects. I wouldn’t rule out starting it up again, but it won’t be soon.

how has yr work specifically changed over time with this new release versus say yr older circle circle square material? and what prompted using yr own name for the record? i can really dig that, i think about that all the time dropping the artist names and just going right to it. there’s more honesty there when you present, though sometimes it’s good to hide behind a layer a little bit, like pessoa used to riff on, the many-personed idea. do you have any other projects on the go as well besides this solo material?

Circle Circle Square was a drone project I started for fun. I was using 1 min looped cassettes and pedal based noise strategies. I wanted it to be slow moving and similar to the mediation practice I had started at the time. Those early recordings were done in one take per side and with little editing. Today I like to work with more complex structures in my music. I’m interested in percussion changes, and with more variety to the sounds. I’m also working in more of a sound collage style now.

I started using my name on my recordings shortly after that. I had been doing a lot of shows of my visual artwork and it just made sense to me that both should just be under my name. As for upcoming projects, I have some elements for some new music I’m playing with. However, I’m switching gears back to a new drawing series.

back to the art side of things, when did this gloopy/colour palette/psychedelia take shape? there’s colours and patterns and rotating globs of objects/readymades, things slowly turn and things are confidently blurred and abstracted even when presented in perfect realistic ways, is there a philosophy at all that is attached to some of the work? i detect an autobiographical vibe and also a heavy surrealistic element to having two or three or four disparate ideas or shapes morph into one new idea, maybe there’s an absurdist dada thread there where meaning is thrown out the window in favour of finding new ways to look or think about things? it’s not primitive and you don’t work against yr strengths by doing ‘sloppier’ technique, you really want to present it as it takes form in yr head and imagination, what the hell is going on there?

I had a show of drawings and paintings in Paris this year at Kogan Gallery called “Object Studies”. This is really where I started combining types of objects together in my drawings. In that show there were a lot of depictions of expensive designer furniture being mistreated for example. There is a lot of comedy in that for me and I think that’s an important part of it. In my drawings I could show things that would not have been easily possible with sculpture and ready-mades. I think the idea is delivered in a drawing well. I like the control I have in a drawing over how the viewer sees them.

can you tell me a bit about the video you did as a small trailer for the release? we talked before about how you wanted a representation of a place, the ‘wellness center’ i take it, and the camera and viewer moves through the rooms seeing all of these wild objects and ideas splattered inside, what are some of those things that you wanted to show? there’s faces, posters, media, things from yr past i’m guessing and then there’s these weirdo art pieces all moving around free in these rooms, what are we looking at? it’s super great man, it makes me laugh but it also carries this extra emotional weight to it, how did you go about finding the right balance of absurd vs real life, real feeling?

The video trailer for the release was started after the completion of the tape. I’d done some drawings in the past of rooms that I had trashed and photographed. I thought that it could be interesting to do an animation moving through a space like that. As I worked the idea turned more into having elements in the space arranged in almost sculptural formations: a combination of found objects from a house and just random combinations of junk and various materials. I wanted the visuals to mirror the sounds in a way. I tried to do this by having sort of horrific or unnerving shapes that are neutralized by more comical or lighter elements. There is a shot with two gross faces cut out and stuck on a pile of materials that are set on a wooden kitchen chair. To balance that out I had the shot reveal a framed image next to it depicting a bag of Funyuns. Really random stuff, but I like that one diffuses the other somehow. I guess that was the game for this video… Taking pleasant things like get-well flowers and nice furniture and rearranging them and pairing them with things that make them less so.

what artists/artwork or personal experiences have influenced or helped shape yr work? do you think about art in that way, being inspired by? or is it more of an accumulation of seeing and experiencing great art that helps us look back on our work with fresh perspective? and that doesn’t even need to be ‘great art’ even, just things happening with friends and travels, where it all sort of helps push us forward with our own thoughts and work. is there anything you’ve been into or have been checking out of late, what have you been digging on?

I definitely think of art that way. There are a lot of people who inspire the things that I make. I’m really into Luciernaga, and the stuff that has been coming out on Fabrica Records. I’m also really into the drum projects by Ted Byrnes. There are tons of tape labels that have inspired me as well. Baked Tapes, Hausu Mountain, 905 tapes, Obsolete Units, Hanson Records, Cryptic Carousel…

I listen to a lot of noise music. When I draw I like the Rita, Sewer Election, and harsh noise for some reason. I’m still obsessed with Hanatarash recordings and Boredoms. John Zorn of course, and more intense free jazz like Peter Brotzmann.

do you go through phases of things, where you only listen to certain sounds or read certain books, etc? and does any of this relate to when you were working on this album? does yr listening/reading/viewing habits change at all when you are in the middle of a big project, whatever that art form is?

I tend to not listen to any music at all when I am in a recording phase these days. I do find that books really inform the next phase of my visual artwork as I go. I really enjoy books on Philosophy. Short stories have been informative as well. There is a short story by SAKI called The Unrest Cure. It’s about a man stuck in a rut in life. His friend comes in and trashes his home in an effort to break him out of his rut. This was definitely the point when I decided to make the room arrangement drawings. This was the series with trashed spaces, which I’d drawn photo-realistically.

I tend to work in phases. I spend the majority of my time with drawing and visual art, then as a breather in between shows or series I focus on music. It’s a nice balance that keeps me moving forward, and by the time I’m finished with a project I’m always eager to jump back to the other.

thanks man, think i’ll leave it there. thank you for being into this! what’s coming up for you? anything else you want to share about this particular record or new year that’s about to happen?

Thanks! I’ve got a show of some drawings coming up in a fair called Illustrative that is happening in Beijing, China around March 2017. The work will be presented by the Berlin based Johanssen Gallery at the event. I’m also getting ideas together for a new drawing series, which should come together sometime soon.

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Library #14

Causings Tape b/w Rotational Zine

New release for the library is a pairing of the first Rotational zine with a tape by New York ensemble Causings. The album is a live recording from WKCR, performed in-studio and live Sep 6, 2015 on Gabe Ibagon’s Live Constructions radio program. The zine has a lengthy and deep interview with one of the founding members, Derek Baron. Derek and I have worked together from the beginning of the library’s start, as his second solo album, Palmillas, was released as #2.

I have excerpted some of the conversation we had below, and in the zine itself this is just a very, very small part of the full coverage he discusses about his own solo work and the histories behind his place in musical time…

rotational: so i’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with you and yr group causings, and have seen that collective in action twice now, and it’s seriously some of my favourite ensemble/group music being played right now, i call it morton-feldman-rock-music, but it’s neither of those things, it’s the quietest rock band, but really it’s free improvisation or flat out meditation, when did you know that what this group was doing was so special? and how did silence and the use of space and patience and ultimate quietude become the main vision or theme? did that come out naturally through playing? or was this something you’ve discussed or thought about in a larger way?

that’s a great description, and a very good read on our (or at least my) musical background. the group in this incarnation only started about a year and a half ago, when i was preparing for my own thesis show as i was graduating from music school. that line-up was seven of us, including my mom, brooke, close-mic’d, making glass mosaics on stage. maybe i’m blocking certain things out, but as far as i know, we’ve never really talked about what the vibe is. we all just kind of get it. for that show, i sort of let myself be a leader because i had a specific sound i was after. so we would “practice” and i would give comments, we would all chat about it, and eat dinner, and then play again, and we’d do this once a week for a couple months until the show. then the show happened (we later released it as “Cut Through”), and since then, we just all understand the vibe, but are encouraged to try to expand the notion of what that vibe can be. interesting that you mention feldman, who claimed to be all about “the sounds of the sounds themselves.” whatever that means. but like, i kinda get that sense when playing with causings too — the music is really playing itself after a while. it’s very rare that i have any recollection of what happens during a causings performance… so listening back to recordings is always a surprise.

rotational: i’m blown away that when or if the members subtly change from performance/recording to the next one, or new people come aboard, it’s the same ego-less result, it’s the same prayer-like give-yrself-over to the quiet, how do you know when someone is a good fit? can you know this before you actually make music together? is it intuitive? you can tell by personality or past musical histories?

i think with something so unspoken and intimate, it’s kind of intuitive to tell who can contribute what to the group vibe. but (1), there are always surprises, and (2) there have definitely been shows that have been weird and hard to navigate. it doesn’t always flow very smoothly, but it’s always interesting. but there’s a real difference between trying to find people that will just submit and echo what’s already there, on the one hand, and finding people that are such brave and sensitive people that they can understand what’s there and feel able to push it forward in all of these brilliant ways. like when sandy (gordon) hands out sample squares of mirrors to everyone during a show. it’s not like the causings committee is in the board room thinking, “we need someone who will hand out mirrors at a show”. you can’t even anticipate that kind of brilliance. it’s totally spontaneous.”

causzine

The tapes are one-sided tabs-in C-75s dubbed at home in an edition of 40 copies with unique typewritten envelopes and credits with found photographs of Canadian forests included as inserts. Causings love the idea that you can fill the second side with music and/or life recording to complete the tape, so feel free to write or share Side B with us if you add to the cassette.

The zines were printed at home in an edition of 30 copies on recycled banana paper, with card stock covers that include an original collage artwork by Cheryl Fraser. Inside the pages, we have two massively in-depth interviews with Derek Baron and Jordan Spencer from the Cabin Floor Esoterica label. Phong Tran writes an incredible introduction to the Dagar family tree and writes about some of his favourite recordings and some of the background to those particular moments in time. It is fantastic. I blab a little about guitars and found sound and try to wrap my head around writing about music.

These are sold as one package, so head over to the Power Moves Library shop before they’re gone.

A digital version of Rotational #1 will arrive later. Digital files for the album are freely available and can be found here and on Free Music Archive.

Take care and more to come,
Kev

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Library #13

Delphine Dora – Parallel World

New release for the library is a gorgeous near-32 minutes of ecstatic lullaby folklore by Delphine Dora, where dreaming universes wrap around each other like the branches of a stretching tree left untamed and wild. Weaving miniatures nestle against longer forms of spontaneous prose, often in automatic writer snapshot stillness- the lilting deepness of self and the act of playful discovery lit-up.

Layered, stereo parts reassemble the mind into a euphoric and dizzying state, through-composition and improvisation as windows into the fictive piano-and-voice soli.

‘Parallel World’ is the title, and it could very easily be titled ‘worlds’ plural, as each winding reverie taps into the subconscious folk center while pushing further and further into a freer space, this work is adventurous in all the right ways that new music should be: reaching for sounds just barely out of grasp, climbing scales as ladders and as jumping-off points into the unknown, with trickling and clockwork-like floating outflow. Thick painterly brushstroke folk-song, singularly high in ballad and belting, blurry and skyward, psychedelic in abstracted bliss-induction, and real.

Clasping to a tethered reality, undulating between rooted personal time-and-place and flying off completely, the imaginary and the real juxtaposed and unfiltered, loose with structure and purpose, overlapping and tremendously beautiful.

Solo music, self-refined, honest and pure and open.

Delphine runs the Wild Silence label and lives in France.

Tapes were dubbed at home in an edition of 40 copies with inserts of original colour and black-and-white artworks by Dovile Simonyte included, printed at home as well.

The library is excited and honoured to be able to share this collection of new work with you.

The digital files are free and can be found here and on Free Music Archive. If you like what you hear, share this with someone else, it’s a worthy addition to anyone’s collection.

From the both of us, we hope you enjoy and please get in touch if you want to chat, I’m always into starting new conversations about music and beyond and you can reach me at powermoveslabel(at)gmail(dot)com.

Take care and more to come,
Kev

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Library #12

Ocathail / Hastío

The library’s first split tape is now live. Two sides of wondrous guitar soli and living room complexion. Side One has Ocathail, the recording name for Patrick Cahill, with five pieces of folk-blues burn and rich meditational airy push-pull. Side Two has Hastío, the recording name for Phil Neff, with one long piece of room ambient raga in slow-motion melt, with a beauty come-down, and ragged strum/chord improv. The windows are open and breathing along with the rolling tape.

I asked both players the same five questions, please read on.

(Full disclosure, Pat’s my brother, so some of our chat gets a hair insider, we’ve played music together since we first picked up instruments years ago, so things are ever-intertwined.)

can you fill us on in how the recording went for yr side of the tape, what was the ritual or system that you used? and at what times of the day or night works best? and is there any other philosophy at play with the recording styles you fellows use, i know you both went live to one track, just straight up plug and play, was this by design or convenience, etc? was it digital or four-track?

Patrick: I recorded my stuff digitally with my mac, omnidirectional condenser mic, and USB interface. Most of my tracks were recorded at night but maybe also on a weekend afternoon. My set-up is so easy and I leave it connected all the time and it’s in my living room, that i can hit record at any time. I’ve been playing a ton of acoustic guitar over the past few years and especially this last year, that recording became a necessity. I was using the voice memos on my phone and was considering doing a small tape release of recordings done with my phone but this obvious upgrade of recording quality helped things become clearer and made/make my Martin sound pretty wicked. My process has really been experimenting with guitar and voice and honing an improv vocal and guitar thing and almost all of my recordings on my phone and computer are of this type of thing. It just so happens that some of the last things I recorded really worked together and ended up being instrumental. Philosophically speaking I have zero preference for recording formats. Also zero preference for it sounding “good” or “clean”.

Phil: The goal here was an “audio diary”-type recording. I had been working part time for the last year or so and felt like a lot of my best, most spontaneous playing was happening on weekday mornings at my kitchen table, so my idea was to just press record during those sessions and fill up sides of some C40s I had lying around. That said, I think this recording actually happened on a weekend afternoon. I have a 4-track setup, but I decided just to use my partner’s portable Panasonic cassette recorder for this in order to keep things simple, impromptu and hissy. Speaking of rituals and systems, I have been working on a song cycle using Ben Chasny’s Hexadic system, which has been very challenging and rewarding. There is a short section on one of the tapes I sent you that includes Hexadic material, but not on the side for the split with Patrick. It was actually Six Organs of Admittance’s School of the Flower record that made me pick up the guitar in the first place, so it’s been extremely gratifying to be able to be in correspondence with Ben.

yr playing has resemblances and interesting parallels, obviously you both enjoy and share a liking for similar techniques and players, fingerstyle and chording and raga-type moves come to mind, when or how did yr style or development come to this place? what kind of growth were you after along the way or does it matter? are you both self-taught too? is there anything you wish you could do/reach or are you both at a place where what you feel like expressing (in whatever way/fidelity/vibe that expression forms) is in a continuous line, so to speak?

Patrick: Interesting question; it’s hard to think of a development or trajectory. I’m self-taught where basically my biggest lessons were 1 – an Ian MacKaye interview from like twenty years ago saying why do you have to play traditional chords at the (what-do-you-call-it?) open neck position so move the same chords up and down the neck. 2 – Meeting Tom Watson (from Mike Watt’s band about 17 years ago) and him saying he couldn’t get a new guitar from his mom until he learned 50 chords, or 100 chords on a borrowed guitar when he was a young kid. And 3 – You and me learning guitar and equating it to skateboarding when we were about 18; “try crazy shit and see if you land it”. I’ve been playing with my fingers and without a pick for probably 15 years right when I got hardcore into the Delta Blues. I’ve never in my guitar playing really learned any songs other than maybe a few Neil Young tunes for a campfire type thing.

I always have just effed around on guitar, fumbling my way through chords or structures or open tuning things or slide things or disjointed things. Always been a huge fan of Beefheart, US Maple, Dead C, SY, Gastr Del Sol and abstract, atonal guitar music. Technique and virtuosity have never interested me. Although, honestly I feel like the dudes in Beefheart were guitar gods and same with the Maple boys. I love listening to stuff like that; but I also love broken, detached, accidental stuff. Probably more. And through the years I maybe have gotten better at repeating patterns and have the patterns slightly morph or shift in time and tone and then, hopefully, some natural dynamics of performance come into play. I’m trying to “lock in” to what I’m playing and sometimes the more I play a riff or idea, the more that can happen. It takes time. That’s what I’m constantly searching for and reaching towards. Being locked into a pattern that somehow gets more intense or more interesting over the passage of time. Raga music via Riley/Palestine/Young via Spacemen 3. I’m okay with where I am at on guitar – I don’t feel like I need to get “better” or more “technical” or rotate thumb patterns in a crazy syncopated way via fingerpicking virtuosos. I just happen to play with my fingers.

Phil: I’m self-taught on acoustic guitar over the last 12 years or so, after learning some bad habits from playing bass guitar in school. It probably took me 2 years or more of playing to even learn all the basic chords in standard tuning. I’ll never be a master finger-picker, but I feel like I’m always stretching and slowly improving. I have a hard time, and actually not much interest, learning “songs” by ear or from tabs, so I’ve always improvised around scales and drones. My goal now is to work some of the themes I have developed into cleaner compositions, ideally combining rehearsed and spontaneous material. Recording is one area where I feel like my skills aren’t at the point where I can really capture what I hear in my head, but I also appreciate the ambiance (and economics!) of low fidelity home recording.

when yr alone with the microphone in a here-it-is way, it’s quite a bit different than anything collaborative or multi-track’able, what do you like about this loner state and do you see this improvisational and real-time flow as inherently challenging? or would you rather not think about it so you can get out of yr head and relax into a purer space? or is the solo thing where yr most comfortable?

Patrick: Improvising when recording has been about 85 – 90% of my musical career. Our first band The Riderless improvised pretty much everything when recording over the span of the 10 albums. Same with Cahill Locksmith, East of the Valley Blues and now this one. I love it. I think there’s a pressure there that means that you have to be on your game, in the sense of not fucking up, but also in the sense of listening well and appreciating or allowing an intuition awareness to happen. Let things move, no plan, listen deeply, read and react, stay sharp.

To be fair, I had little licks or riffs for most of the tracks on this split tape and so I had an idea of what the track would end up sounding like, but I also wanted it to be pretty loose and let a natural flow happen. And almost always the finished recording sounds pretty different from the original riff. Being in a band and improvising is spectacular. Either playing live or recording – there really is no feeling quite like that connected, listening, tuned in, allowing things to happen, and everybody enjoying the sounds that are being created. There are no words. Being alone and improvising – all the same principles are present, but it’s way more intuitive and I think it calls for the player to be even less commanding or focused. Try to get out of the way. I’m most comfortable playing with East of the Valley Blues.

Phil: Solo playing is definitely my comfort zone, perhaps to a fault. My guitar practice has always been more about relaxation and feel rather than technique or precision. So that “here-it-is” moment with the microphone really psychs me out, it’s hard to capture that same state. I think the piece I called “El trueno en la ciudad” on La ofensiva interior is the closest I’ve come to reaching that true loner vibe with tape rolling. Recording setting might play a role too. I recorded outside at a park recently using the same technique as my side for the split with Patrick, and it seems like being out in the world helps establish that sense of “real-time flow”. (The outdoor recording is found here.)

being very inspired/inspiring guitarists, do you think about music and even life stuff through that guitar-filter, meaning, when you think about some passage or some memory or place and then start thinking about writing or composing or trying out new things, does it always come back to the guitar first? like it’s always in yr hands, even if imaginary? do you listen to other players in relation to yr own knowledge and feel on the guitar? i am always curious about this, being a player myself, it’s really hard to hear guitar and not think about what is going on in very specific ways. and when i don’t know what’s happening, that’s usually a very good thing. do you like being confused/challenged by guitar sounds/players? do you try and challenge yrself in yr own patterns and figures?

Patrick: I’m not sure if I do filter things through the guitar. Playing guitar and writing are the only art forms that I practice. And I don’t think I process things in that way. I definitely think about inspiration or ecstatic moments and creating music to fire that time or place up, but it’s more like “ah, it would be cool to have a guitar right now and just play.” It wouldn’t necessarily be like My Winnipeg by Guy Maddin, for example, where a place, time, memory, childhood becomes the work of art. He very specifically transforms his personal visions/life/memories into that film. I use this example because I was talking about the radicality of this film the other day. My very own Winnipeg (per analogy – I did not grow up in Winnipeg) would be me creating music/playing guitar within Winnipeg. Make sense?  To be more clear – I would filter my visions/memories/childhood/dreams through a state of feeling/mental space but not actually have that really affect the actual “art” beyond that. I don’t feel like you would see a connection there. It might sound like a messed up Mississippi John Hurt riff, so no real connection to Winnipeg (per analogy).

I’m always listening to guitar players or guitar music. And I love so many – Dickey Betts, Nick Drake, Loren Connors, Murray Favro, Fahey, Basho, all the delta blues players, Doc Watson, Woody Guthrie, Gordie Lightfoot, Neil Young, Phil Tyler, Christina Carter, Joni Mitchell, Memphis Minnie, Elizabeth Cotten, Bonnie Raitt and on and on. And sometimes I listen in regards to my own playing and maybe “borrowing” a riff or idea Keith Richards-style, or just listening and admiring the vibe and enjoying the sound of the guitar, rather than a specific note pattern or fingering. Because I’m self-taught and can’t read music and know very little about musical theory – I visualize finger patterns on the neck and I’m actually probably not even close to what the actual chord may be – and then go home and play the pattern I remember in some new way. Voila. My favourite guitar moments in musical history do not involve any sense of real technique or virtuosity like Neubauten’s Headcleaner, for example. Or the “solo” at the end of Talk Talk’s New Grass. Or the solo in Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams.

Phil: The guitar *is* always there, which can actually be a bit frustrating, especially when I can’t bring what’s in my head out into sound. All the guitarists I watch or listen to challenge me. I never think, “Oh, I could do that.” As I said above, using the Hexadic system has been a productive challenge, and so has playing in different tunings. I feel like exploring a new tuning is almost like learning a new language, and it brings a special burst of creativity. That’s part of the reason that I use Spanish in my presentation of the Hastío project, because it reminds me of the energy that I accessed when I was first studying Spanish, with all the language centers of my brain on fire, writing poetry every day. And playing guitar was a major source of resilience for me later when I was doing stressful work in Guatemala. My playing has gone through distinct periods based on my mood and what kind of gear I have access to, and it’s strange, but I really can’t access some elements of those previous periods anymore. That is a very particular kind of nostalgia: specific combinations of guitars and rooms and feelings that will never exist again.

lastly, we’ll have to try and get a small label showcase together sometime as the music fits really well together and who doesn’t want to blow the budget on flying across the continent? but any gigs or future things on the go right now that you want to talk about? anything else yr finding inspiring of late? any life things catching you by surprise?

Patrick: A small label showcase would be wonderful! I thought the label fronts the bill on this? I’m planning on doing some solo shows as soon as the tape comes out in Toronto and maybe outside Toronto, too, if possible. And I’m re-focusing now on doing some recordings of myself on guitar with voice in an improvised way like I mentioned earlier. But I feel like I’m going to expand on it and multi-track, and layer and experiment with production. And the “improvised way” could quite easily become “actual songs”. My other main hobby is carpentry and that’s how I make my living. I have a small shop where I live in Toronto and I have access to a huge shop where I work every day – and so I am in the process of building some things. And I’ll have some time off in January and so I hope to get some more work built fully at my shop at home!

Phil: Live performance is definitely the next hurdle for me, and it feels like a major one. There’s nothing on the horizon for me gig-wise, but there is a supportive and open DIY music community here in Seattle. I would love to come to Toronto, I’ve got a few close friends there! Really my ideal performance setting is just playing in the background in an informal space.


The split tape was dubbed at home in a small edition of 30 copies, with transparency film inserts (of original artwork and calligraphy) mailed to me from Phil.

The digital album is free.

From all of us, we hope you enjoy and can pass it on.

Until next time,
Kev

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Library #11

Mold Omen – No Edits in Heaven

Mold Omen interview with Andy Livingston to coincide with the new release for the library #11, No Edits in Heaven, available now.

hey andy, how are you? thanks for being into this man! i want to talk about some of the writing you do off the top, there’s a great and funny and conversational prose style descriptionary purpose to the things you say about yr releases on bandcamp, etc, what would you say about this tape we’re releasing today? i’m a big fan of having a few words match up with releases and to help shape or describe or get one thinking about other connections and techniques or whatever, setting the table so to speak, have you always been writing free form about yr material and do you write in any other capacities?

This album was literally a lost one. I was looking on a hard drive for something else and came upon the folder where these tracks came from. And they were recorded at Mike’s house Winter 2013. I even want to say Mike’s brother Martin recorded them, but I could be confusing myself. We remembered very little about the session, but it was so far away from the kind of stuff we are currently doing it was an interesting snapshot of what we were doing back then.

What I would say about it was that there was a heavy impromptu drone aspect that we laid down, in order to pile up random things on top. What those things are are kind of a mystery now though since it was so long ago!

It’s funny that you bring up writing, cause that’s how Mike and I met, we were both staff writers for the late Foxy Digitalis blog and started corresponding and instead of meeting for a beer, we started to jam and that was like almost seven years ago. Mike continues to write in a number of ways (both academic and pop culture stuff). I tried to do the freelance thing for about a year but it drained my soul and I have written one thing in a year and can’t really see myself doing it again for a while.

do you think humour is an important element in noise/experimental music? to not take yrself too seriously? some of the album/song titles are great! i dig it. i’ve long held the opinion that we need to be able to loosen the grips to connect on a real level and humour and wit and sly/sneaky attitudes help with that. we’re all just teetering over the abyss with all of this anyway, no?

I think a sense of humor just comes from a really natural place of finding stuff weird and laughing about it and ourselves. The band is a very expensive and consuming hobby and I can’t see how sustainable it could be if we were both really trying to explore a dark side all the time.

Although we take what we do pretty seriously, at the end of the day it’s a band that improvises noise and we’ve found ourselves singing into bubble wrap. So taking it seriously just isn’t really for us.

where does the heavy drone/dissidence stem from? was this pre-planned or thought/talked about before you got this project going? or maybe this is the natural trajectory of playing together? it seems like a no-rules project and one where you can go deep into textures and atonality with freedom, that must be a pretty rad thing to have all the doors blown off? do you ever go too far where you have to rope it back in?

We never, ever talked about setting a goal of what to achieve as a group when we started. I think it was less about achieving a sound and more about letting the band be an active and organic thing. So whatever we wanted to do was immediately on the table.

The drone stuff is better as an element instead of a whole meal and since there are only two of us, having something as a drone does fill out the sound more and allow us to build up textures and play multiple instruments at a time if we see fit.

I don’t think there exists a “too far” when we play. The best songs we ever have are ones where things seem like they can fall apart at any minute, or the ones that do fall apart at every minute.

you’ve had quite a few releases on a bunch of different weirdo labels, mostly tapes and a couple of cdrs, do you guys have a particular format in mind with each release? or are you just going where the wind takes you?

I think whatever comes across the imaginary desk of Mold Omen Industries is always something that’s worth pursuing. I don’t think we’ve had set ideas on releases relating to formats, except only in terms of editing and track sequence.

mold omen is you and mike pursley, can you describe what each of you brings to this project? are there distinct sound-creating ideas and modes that separate out the duo and help push it forward? or do you switch up on instruments and try to blend yr voices/ideas into one?

Like any relationship, it takes some work and mixing things up every once in a while. I think at one point I thought that what we brought broke down to rhythm & lead. The rhythm part doesn’t necessarily mean drums or bass, but providing some kind of bed to lay down whatever the lead (also not necessarily meaning guitar) to go along with.

Although there have been times when we’re both the rhythm and both the lead, so I don’t know how any of that actually stands. There’s almost no pre-planning of what we do except we tend to work out a set beforehand if we play a show, just to get an idea. It’s also helpful so we know what each other is bringing in terms of gear. If we’re recording anything is possible though.

is mold omen music improvised on the whole? what are yr thoughts on improv vs composition and do you ever think about long-form scripted type work? modern classical/ensemble music with notation and cues? ever think about making mold omen a larger group? has membership changed at all over the years?

Yep, everything is improvised. We may have a larger conceptual idea of what things should sound like, but there’s never any real directive. I can’t read music and I have wonky double-jointed knuckles that makes changing chords almost impossible, so we have never really talked about composition because of those limitations. I think doing something larger scale would be interesting, but I think it would have to come from a natural place of thinking of some large idea that would use cues and notation.

MO is just us and always been us and if that changes then it won’t be called Mold Omen anymore. We’ve jammed with a couple of other people before, but nothing really jelled past then, but we’re always available to be someone’s backing band. I’m mostly serious about that.

what are the advantages or disadvantages of living in baltimore? yr close to a bunch of different places, must make travel and touring more of a possibility and something you can bang out on weekends, do you guys tour much? or play out much at all? and how would a live mold omen set differ from the home stew?

Baltimore is small but has an irrationally large art and music scene for the amount of people here. Despite the size there’s a clique element to the city. We’ve both benefited and felt limited by the clique approach, but what can you do? We played out a lot more before we took a brief hiatus while Mike and his wife had a child. We’ve been slow to get back into it, but venues close and change pretty frequently here so it’s not uncommon for a lull in shows.

The only thing that’s really different in our approach to playing live is we generally have a better idea of what we’re doing and almost inevitably some piece of equipment breaks or malfunctions in front of people when we’re setting up.

andy, you’ve started yr own tape label, volcano casanova (great name!), what made you want to get that going and how do you think that’ll help with future releases of mold omen or yr own solo jams? is it a vehicle to keep pumping everything out, you mentioned that you have a pretty good archive of work waiting/ready for release at any time? do you have plans to release other material outside yr family tree? and so far it’s been recycled tape styles, any other format plans? or professional duplication?

I want to limit the number of releases that I’m involved in and would rather start to promote other people. I chose an album from myself because I was ready for that to come out and I knew Mold Omen had a killer exotica album in us. I have a few releases lined up, and the timeline is pretty fluid so I’m not too worried about doing this above a hobby level at this point. I definitely want to have more people outside of us do it, but I like having the format of the label be hyper curated. Even if there’s an artist that hasn’t really played around with those sounds, but I think they’re sonically interesting I’m probably asking them to do an album.

I won’t do professional duplication. I don’t have any kind of strict political feeling about it (obviously many MO albums have been done this way) but for me, I just rather have the feeling that this tape with weird sounds came from some place else entirely. Also economically, it just makes more sense for me to do it this way.

how do you define post-exotica and what are some of the styles or techniques that yr into that you think pushes some of this music into this frame?

Post-exotica is easy listening gone through the orgone machine. All the nice, vaguely familiar and soothing sounds turn into tales of anxiety. Although there are lots of people who previously have used these templates to explore the farther reaches of relaxation, I always think of the twin peaks of post-exotica as Mike Cooper and Tom Recchion.

when did you guys start to get into more experimental or underground sounds? i’m always fascinated with the curve we all take towards more specific scenes or sounds that we’re looking for, or chasing, and i think we all tend to stumble into weirder shit in neat ways. sometimes it’s a natural progression from say college/indie rock into captain beefheart into free jazz into sun city girls, etc, or it’s a mind-blow of a concert/show/drugs/situation where it all comes at once, do you guys jump all over the place in yr listening habits? i would guess that you guys stretch into pretty extreme tastes across the board?

At some point in my twenties I just hit a wall and I remember thinking “I just can’t listen to another white guy with a guitar talk about his feelings” and then really pushed myself to figure out what was going on with something like Wolf Eyes.

So it was just going further and further away, but I always think in terms of Mold Omen, we’re a song based group so the kind of thing that we listen to is probably not that too out there.

what’s been blowing you away of late? anything on yr minds pertaining to any scenes or formats or changing listening patterns? authors or filmmakers that inspire? life things that yr grappling with?

The last time I was at Mike’s he had the new Alan Bishop and the Beatriz Ferreyra. Lately for me I have not been into a bunch of new stuff, but taking a detour into guys like Eugene Chadbourne, Daevid Allen, and Henry Flynt. I took a two-week sabbatical from home recording and finally read Ulysses, which was really great. No wonder people talk about that book so much.

you seem to revel in blown-out and busted-up gear and sound choices, where do you land on the gear fetishist scale? (zero being ‘don’t give a shit, just play’ and ten being ‘i collect vintage tube amps and reel to reel machines’) and do you have preferences for home recording vs studio styles. and the lower fidelity and hairier audio choices are part of the master plan, correct?

We did a majority of our recording in the basement of a house I lived in for about four years and the natural reverb of that spot was really great. Since then I’ve moved into other apartments and capturing the sound has become a challenge and has made us think about different ways we can alter our recording. But mostly it’s still just practice amps being recorded into the onboard mic of a computer.

I’m really not a gear fetishist. I certainly have preferences for stuff, but the most interesting sounds come from different things. I have a violin that I’ve owned for as long as we’ve been a band and I never changed the strings. Since I don’t really know how to play any instrument anyways, it’s more an effort of making the most interesting sound out of anything I’m in front of.

can you tell me what’s going on with this new album? some heavy droning guitars and feedback, what is it we’re hearing? what are the instruments at play here? is tone and sustaining figures the goal, and just holding drones to sink yr teeth into? there’s a beautiful balance between long held tanpura-type drone/sustain/ring and some wild sharrock’esque guitar skittery, even some druggy vocal moans, a nice mix of drifting eye-close and wake-the- fuck-up, that on purpose here? two sides of the same coin?

I’m pretty sure you nailed it. There is guitar, keyboard (maybe even from both of us), droning vocals, probably a cassette being played or the oscillation of a pedal chain. I think since we were both doing music reviews at a high point for drone releases (2008-2010- ish) it was sort of draining to try and find a new way to write about a record that just sounded like someone turning up a knob very slowly. There was a concerted effort to add more sounds to a drone, especially cause we were not interested in being a “drone band”. Drones are precise and we are not. And if it sounds like we were being precise, that’s either a trick of recording or editing or both.

if someone from work or in yr family says ‘oh yr a musician? what kind of music do you play?’ what do you respond with?

Haha, my family doesn’t really ask questions about what I’m doing with my life, but they understand I’m pretty weird. I think they would just nod politely in that way that people do when they have no idea what you’re talking about.

do you have any patterns or rituals when it comes to jamming together and for recording? and do you record everything? record with tape and/or digital?

We definitely do the “record everything” thing because you just never know. A lot of times you wind up using something like 25% of that (or less) because of technical issues, or you listen back and you don’t like what you’re playing or you’re gear starts fucking up.

We also do everything digitally cause it’s a step away from editing later. Even though I use cassettes a lot, I don’t have any romantic notion of using tape.

thanks andy, appreciate taking the time to answer these! what’s coming up with yr solo work and what are the future mold omen plans?

We have another album coming out on Moon Myst tapes which will be a nice companion piece to “No Edits in Heaven”. I have a couple of solo albums that I’m trying to finish up and one of the weirdest things I’ve ever done is called “Cabana Dentata” and I believe it’s coming out on Lurker Bias in Chicago.

Other than that we’re just gonna keep being weird.

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Library #10

Downer Canada – Hieronsong

“being and outside been freed from being and freed being be outside and freed being pressure and atmosphere and minerals be been collecting being thoughts created airs being thoughts created airs being airs created thoughts being inside control and be beyond thoughts outside and leaving and lapping against other being thoughts lapping now outside being lapping and leaving been being outside my control”

Tenth release added to the library is the second collection from my Downer Canada project, titled Hieronsong. Physical copies were dubbed at home in a tiny edition of 11 cassettes and 5 microcassettes. Digital is free on Free Music Archive and Bandcamp, please grab and share.

Thanks for listening and take care,
Kev

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