Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Tickets are now on sale for the brilliant Fringe Festival night Electronic Abstractions.
Show starts at 8pm, 21 September 2011, Bar Open Fitzroy.

Promising a night of extreme electronic abstraction, pushing the boundaries of composition and sound design.


Join Electronic Abstractions blog http://electronicabstractions2.blogspot.com/

Cant wait?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Interview with Jason E. Anderson of Brother Raven

Interview with Jason E. Anderson of Brother Raven, Spare Death Icon etc

I see you began as Brother Raven in 2008, were you recording music before that?

Before Brother Raven... Jamie was mostly performing with Bonus, which at the time was a noise-drone duo project with Scott Goodwin, and later became a trio with Matt Carlson. I know they released a few things on JYRK and Root Strata. Jamie's background is in the visual arts, so there's been periods where he's been more focused on that. He's also been involved with experimental video work - check out his JYRK mini DVD.

My background was a little different - I played in improv/noise trio for awhile called BNSF (a disc on Locust Music), I was playing various free improv gigs, performing music for contemporary dance, and doing solo abstract noise shows.

How did you meet?

We knew each other for a few years before we started playing regularly. We jammed in an ad hoc quartet at the Seattle Improvised Music festival in 2007, but beyond that we really hadn't played much together. At the time Jamie was involved with this local space called Gallery 1412, helping put on shows, most of which were focused on improvised music. He and I started to get burnt out on that scene... we were spending more time hanging out, listening to old records. At some point we had the idea to start jamming on regular basis. We played a couple times a month for about 9 months, bouncing back and forth between our living rooms, jamming with locked drum machines and ghetto synths, recording to computer. As soon as we started jamming to tape and freed ourselves from the locked pulsings of the drum machines we discovered our sound.

I think I read that you own a Korg MS2000. What other synths do you use?

Yeah, it was a pretty good purchase, definitely a useful synth... but not good for everything and it has a very identifiable sound, which can be good or bad like anything really. We've got quite a few synths we've used in Brother Raven: Multimoog, Pro-One, Micromoog, ESQ-1, SH-101, tons of ghetto Yamaha FM synths, Yamaha VSS-30, Akai AX-60, Juno 106, etc... Too much equipment often confuses the process of making good music, but it also offers a larger palette... I guess it all comes down to what you're going for.

With you solo releases did you use different equipment and approach writing/recording differently? Millions Mist sounds more digital where Brother Raven sounds more analog.

In BR we don't write songs or tracks, everything has been improvised, recorded live, and sequenced to form our records. Our solo projects don't necessarily follow this model, so there tends to be a different kind of experimentation happening in those - overdubbing, compositional ideas, etc. We use both analog and digital synths on BR recordings, as well as our solo recordings. Analogs are ideal for real time manipulation / sculpting the sounds in real time - which may be why they are more prominent in the BR recordings.

Are there any synths that you currently lust after?

I can't speak for Jamie on this, but I'm pretty satisfied with my current collection. Of course I'd love to own the high end stuff like Buchlas, Synclaviers, Serges... and there's such a huge modular synth renaissance happening right now. Your question makes me wary though... I can say from experience - gear is like drugs - one has to be careful not to get stuck in that addiction loop - it's too easy to get stuck in that consumerist mode of constantly lusting after new gear, thinking about it all the time, and taking time away from making actual work. The best approach is to really master all of the gear one owns - know and understand all that it can do... so you can speak through it. Jeff Witscher/Rene Hell is a great example of this - using the MS-2000 on his last few records (the synth you just asked me about actually). I know that synth and I've jammed with him a couple times and I can tell you that he knows that thing so well, he seems to bend it backwards / turn it inside out.

Spare Death Icon - Survival has a very 80's movie/ TV and computer game feel about it, quite different to your track Foreign Relaxation Technique. With Survival where you trying to create a theme?

SDI seems to be headed towards an all-out B-movie soundtrack vibe, but on occasion, I like to drop in hints of the subliminal, backwards realm that seem to co-exist with these meditations on time and memory. I'm interested in exploring the SDI persona as if it were mirrored in some dark, alternate dimension... and it's nice to be able to move freely from the synth-heavy sequenced sounds to more malleable, cinematic space.

The Brother Raven release Diving into a Pineapple Portal sounds like it has been recorded onto tape. Do you always record to tape?

Yeah, it was recorded to one of Jamie's 4 track cassette recorders that has this defect that causes the sounds get super warbly when it nears the end of the tape. Tape seems to have freed us up quite a bit, as I mentioned we were recording to computer before we landed the overall concept of BR. We both like the sound of tape and how it captures our music - the medium itself has definitely had it's hand in shaping our sound. All of our recordings have been made live to 4 track, with the exception of Eaglevision and the stuff we're currently working on - I guess we've somewhat entered a new phase recently, recording to computer to ease the process and up the fidelity.

What is next for Bother Raven?

Assembling some tapes for a couple bros in the tape scene... recording some new material for future LPs - look out for new stuff on Great Pop Supplement and Aguirre and hopefully more down the road.

An Interview with Rastko

An interview with Rastko from Geneva.

1. Tell us about your beginnings with music.
My grandmother was a piano player at the local ballet school. As a toddler I used to crawl under the piano and listen to her playing. I went to primary music school learning the piano but I hated the rigidness of the school and the endless repetition. But I was always surrounded by music not least from my childhood in Zambia where there where so many sounds and listening to my parents and my older brother's records. Although I ended up doing a lot of physics and math during my early education I always had music in my life either by organizing concerts or making mix tapes for parties. I started going out to the , at that time , only underground club in Belgrade at an incredibly young age and loved the weird people and the new music I was discovering there. My first real encounter with experimental electronic music was in London in the nineties where I studied to become an audio engineer. It was a revelation to listen to pirate radios for the first time and then endless nights of listening to the FSOL transmissions and recordings. While working as a sound editor in Denmark I started composing sound collages for performances and experimental films. I did not even know that there are academic names for the things I was doing but it just felt right to chop field recordings and make rhythms and sound patterns out of them. After a lot of traveling I came back to Belgrade and started doing impro concerts and recordings. First I used a computer in my performance but I got really tired of all the complexity while in the end I felt I was not so free to play. Although I did try to change this and became good at using midi controllers still I could not make radical changes in the sound and it was hard to improvise playing duets with acoustic instruments. So I begun working with a much simpler setup with some home made devices and a circuit bent SK1. In this way I felt much better while performing and I was always giving something unique to the audience. Performance is important to me as that is how I record and compose. By live playing or manipulating the sound, I do very little edits and almost never overdub.

2. Is the Serge modular your first modular? What made you decide to choose it?
Upon my arrival to Geneva I started listening to and reading a lot about the electronic and avant-garde music from the 60'ies. I was especially impressed by the so-called west coast sound from the US. I had a Korg MS-20 and I worked a lot with software modulars so I had some experience with modulars, but I thought that Serge would bring me closer to this sound I liked so much. Not as to copy the sound but just to take that as a starting point. Then I got a very fair offer on a second hand Serge panel and I bought it almost like a "shot in the dark". I could not try it anywhere and I could not imagine how it worked nor really sounded. Now that I have Serge I love the sound of it and the functionality or rather the density of the modules is amassing. It is really a beautiful instrument and it gives me so much joy when I play it. I love the banana plugs as well and I think that all modular formats should have them.

3. What is the Geneve experimental scene like? Any artists we should check out?
The Geneva scene is very rich for such a small city. The concert scene is very good and the organization Cave12 (http://www.cave12.org) brings really good experimental musicians to perform. I like going to most of these concerts. The things they bring to the town is all recommended and there are some local artists who perform as well. My favorite electronic music festival in Geneva is Archipel http://www.archipel.org/.

4. On your new album Plink Plonk you use the Serge and the Sidrassi Organ is that correct? what are the differences in approach for these instruments?
It is actually the Sidrazzi Organ which is a new version of the Sidrassi Organ and it is an instrument built by Peter Blasser from Baltimore US. His instruments are amazing! Sidrazzi Organ is already a instrument you can play straight away while the Serge has to be patched to be able to become an instrument. I am thinking a lot right now about this difference and I am not sure that the act of patching and building an instrument is a legitimate part of a live performance. At least I do not feel good about that. I am now working on a different approach to my live performances and the ideas that Sidrazzi has given will be a part of that. As for "Plink Plonk" I actually added the Sidrazzi Organ to the recording of the Serge. I do not overdub on my other Serge recordings but this time it just felt right and the Sidrazzi Organ added something I really liked to the recordings.

5. I know you frequent Muff Wiggler's forum, are there any other forums you think worthy of mentioning?
I love Muff Wiggler and have learned a lot from the info there and have met some really nice people there. Browsing the Muff takes enough time so I do not frequent many more sites, but I recommend UBU which I visit as well and which is a great resource for the strange and beautiful http://www.ubu.com/. http://www.quadslope.com/ is a Serge user site and forum which is very good and has produced 2 compilations of Serge users music.

6. Do you see your music in images/ shapes or just sound?
You know the childhood dream many have of floating around in air or flying? Well sometimes I get that feeling while playing and listening to my music. It is more the tensions that I feel in the music and less images and shapes.

7. Have you any other recordings released?
I have nine "releases" on my web site.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Such an underrated hero of electronic music.
Conrad Schnitzler (1937 - 4th August 2011) was an institution in the German electronic music scene for thirty years. He studied with Joseph Beuys in the mid 1960’s, and in the late sixties joined the then fledgling German rock band Tangerine Dream. He added a bizarre, conceptual approach to Tangerine Dream that catapulted the band to legendary status, documented on the bands first album “Electronic Meditation”. Schnitzler left after that first album, forming with his friends Moebius and Roedelius the band Kluster. Kluster recorded and released three albums before Schnitzler again left, this time to pursue his own work under his own name. Kluster continued with just Roedelius and Moebius under the name Cluster. Since the demise of Kluster, Schnitzler released hundreds of albums, cassettes, and CDs, both on his own, and on various labels around the world. Schnitzler passed away in 2011, victim of stomach cancer. Hist last work was made just 4 days before his passing.

Conrad Schnitzler recordings to buy....
Con '72
Con '85
hell all of them are amazing!

If you want to be totally blown away track down the Japanese boxset The 80's works - 8 CDS of all the early classics!