Monday, August 23, 2010

7 Questions with Kim Cascone

Kim Cascone has been a central figure in experimental electronic music for more than two decades. As an artist, he continues to explore sonic boundaries in his work. As a champion of the global electronic music community, he has provided outlets for other artists to collaborate and share their work. He is an alumni Berklee College of Music, he worked as music editor for director David Lynch, he launched the highly regarded ambient label Silent Records and worked as a sound designer/composer for Thomas Dolby's company Headspace. He produced and recorded under the moniker's PGR and Heavenly Music Corporation.

One not to rest on his laurels, Kim founded the microsound list and launched anechoic (named after his last Heavenly Music Corporation release), which he established in 1996, to release his work.

1. You've been producing music for quite some time now. What to you is exciting about the state of music in 2010?

KC: Well to tell you the truth I don't find much music all that exciting in 2010. I mean you have any number of software applications that wind up doing most of the heavy lifting in terms of creative sound design and composition and as a result of the 'anybody-can-make-music' trend I just don't hear all that much that I can call innovative or exciting. I've gone back to my roots and have been studying the Schillinger System of Composition. I feel pre-composition is severely lacking in most of the work that passes for 'experimental' music today. I admire the work of Earl Brown and Bruno Maderna very much so I've been listening to a lot of their work lately. There was so much done in the state supported radio studios of post-war Europe that still blows much of contemporary music out of the water.

2. Your record label, Silent Records, is widely recorgnized as playing a pivitol role in the evolution of ambient music. When your tenure as label owner came to an end in 1996, did you think that the label would have such an impact? 

KC: No. It's never apparent when you're in the thick of things. At that time we were reeling from a distribution deal gone sour and as a result were facing bankruptcy so there was a lot of anxiety and mixed feelings as we walked away. It wasn't until much later when the Silent Records tribute site went up that I began to realize what we had accomplished. Today I see there's a resurgence of the 90's style of ambient music -- which is odd since most of the kids producing it today were barely old enough to have lived through it then. Sort of like the hippie kids that still hang around on Haight Street in San Francisco. It must be a morphogenetic field or something.

3. Have you ever thought of recording more PGR or Heavenly Music Corporation material?

KC: No. I hate it when artists keep churning out the same material with slight modifications over and over again. It's like they have one trick and keep performing it to a bored yet polite audience. I find it more interesting and satisfying to continue exploring new ideas; or go back to old cultural ideas and see if I can do something new with them.

4. In terms of your production and compositional process, how has that evolved over the years? What was the impetus for this evolution?

KC: I studied music at the Berklee College of Music in the 70's and once I exhausted all the electronic music classes there I continued my studies in NY with a private teacher. I was in a very stimulating environment (NYC in the mid-70's) and hung out a lot at film and art schools (Parsons and SVA) where some friends were going at the time. This laid an important foundation for me and I ended up learning a lot about electronics and new music. I find that I have to continually move ahead, keep exploring. And when I see everyone headed in a particular direction I've learned to go the other way!

5. How did the microsound list come into existance? Can you talk about the community that's grown-up around the list?

KC: I started the microsound list because at that time there wasn't a central place where people interested in post-digital music and sound art could discuss theory and philosophy. I felt it was important to create a stimulant that could help propel electronic/digital music further, keep people thinking instead of just firing up the same software and making the same sounds as everyone else. A composer I know called it 'push button' music -- which seemed harsh at the time but maybe was more prophetic than we care to admit?

6. What's next for you as an artist?

KC: I plan to get more involved in environmental issues such as ocean noise and how it affects the marine life in our oceans. I started a festival based on hydrophone based sound art which I hope to help raise awareness of this issue. We did the first Hydrophonia Festival in Genoa, Italy last year with Jana Winderen, Domenico Sciajno, Alessandro Petrolati and myself. We also had bio-acousticians Gianni Pavan and Michele Manghi speak to the public about ocean noise. It was a fantastic time and very rewarding to help raise public awareness about this devastating problem.

7. What's your top 10 right now?

in no particular order:

Musica Elettronica - Bruno Moderna
Spiral I & II - Karlheinz Stockhausen
David Tudor - Rainforest I & IV
John Cage - Constructions in Metal I - III
Joseph Anton Riedl - Klangregionen 1951 - 2007
Jana Winderen - Energy Field
Earl Brown - Selected Works 1952 - 1965
Mika Vainio - Black Telephone of Matter
Francois Bayle - [various pieces I've collected]

Throwback Monday - 08-23-10 - "Detached" - DNA

"DNA was a No Wave band formed in 1978 by guitarist Arto Lindsay and keyboardist Robin Crutchfield. Rather than playing their instruments in a traditional manner, they instead focused on making unique and unusual sounds. Their music was described as spare, noisy, and angular and was compared to some of Captain Beefheart's output and even to Anton Webern.

DNA originally consisted of Lindsay, Crutchfield, Gordon Stevenson, and Mirielle Cervenka, and took their name from a song by another no wave band, Mars. Stevenson went on to play bass for Teenage Jesus and the Jerks; Cervenka was the younger sister of Exene Cervenka of X. This incarnation of the band was very brief, not playing even one concert. After the rapid departure of Stevenson and Cervenka, Lindsay and Crutchfield hastily recruited Ikue Mori—who at the time had little command of English and no drum set—to be DNA's drummer.

This lineup of DNA played occasionally at CBGB and Max's Kansas City and recorded one 7" single. Within their first year, they had cemented their reputation as a paradigmatic no wave band when Brian Eno selected them as one of the four groups documented on the No New York LP, the first recording to expose no wave groups to an audience outside of lower Manhattan. The other three bands appearing on this album were The Contortions, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, and Mars."

(content exerpt from

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Flying Lotus to Release New EP

There's a new FlyLo record, a seven-track EP called Pattern+Grid World that drops on September 21st. Get a taste of the new record at Pitchfork.

Flying Lotus to Release New EP

Monday, August 16, 2010

Throwback Monday - 09-16-10 - "Cavern" - Liquid Liquid

"Liquid Liquid is a New York City post-punk/post-disco band, originally active from 1980 to 1983. Since 2008 the band has reformed, playing in various venues across the globe. Their track "Cavern", from the Optimo EP recorded by Don Hunerberg, was covered by the Sugar Hill house band for the backing track on Grandmaster + Melle Mel's "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)".[1] Since the band’s inception in 1980, the sounds of Liquid Liquid have been a mainstay in the clubs. The original records were pressed in very limited quantities on the 99 label, and can now fetch high prices. Though the pressings were small, the music has had a lasting and far reaching impact. The first three EPs, plus live material, were reissued in 1997 by Grand Royal (US) and Mo' Wax (UK). After the collapse of both these labels, Domino Records released the music from all three original 12"s plus extra tracks and early live recordings as Slip In And Out Of Phenomenon in 2008.
In October 2008 the band returned to the UK after a prolonged hiatus, playing at London's Barbican Theatre alongside the Glasgow-based DJ duo Optimo, who named themselves after the eponymous Liquid Liquid song and EP."


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Architects and Heroes - Podcast #3

After a long hiatus, we have a new A&H podcast to share with you. We've gone deep on this one, bringing you some very rare gems. Our camp has had the Minimal Wave Tapes (vol. 1) in wide rotation since it's release back in January on Stones Throw, and it made us dig for more of the stripped-down synth-pop from the 70's and 80's. The results are some very rare tracks from Pink Industry, Autumn and Berlin Express. But we didn't stop there. Being the IDM geeks we are, we had to put some jittery, glitchy stuff on blast as well. We've got unreleased material from Abraxas and Constant Flux, as well as as well as some dubstep from Kemek The Dope Computer. There are also some nice surprises as well, but I'll let the playlist speak for itself.

Architects and Heroes - Podcast #3 - Playlist:

1. Single Cell Orchestra - Whatever Forever
2. Pink Industry - What I Wouldn't Give
3. Abraxas - Gimel
4. Oval - R-TicToc
5. Constant Flux - Noisy Pink Parts
6. Berlin Express - The 4-08 To Paris
7. OST - Track11
8. Games - Dance This Way
9. Kemek The Dope Computer - Vitamin Drumming
10. Headphone Science - The Search For Swans
11. J. Dilla - Sycamore
12. Gilbert O'Sullivan - Alone Again (Naturally)
13. Autumn - Close Rays Of Light Attack


*note: We'll be posting the 2 archived podcasts here within the next few days.

Marco Paul – The Heavenly Music Corporation – The Passing of Icons

Check out this amazing mix from Dublab from Marco Paul, dedicated to the memories of Alex Chilton & Malcolm Mclaren.

Marco Paul – The Heavenly Music Corporation – The Passing of Icons

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

7 Questions with Riz Maslen (Neotropic / Small Fish With Spine)

Since the mid-nineties Riz Maslen has produced a complex and diverse body of work that spans 2 monikers, 5 LPs, 10 EPs, 5 films and more remixes than most super-star djs. She played keyboards for The Beloved, worked with 4hero and Future Sound of London, even singing on Top of the Pops with their top 10 hit 'Papua New Guinea'.

We caught up with the creative mind behind Neotropic and Small Fish With Spine.

1. What's going on in your world these days?

At present I have a few things going, juggling many balls! Rehearsing new live material and playing at the Aeon Festival at the end of the month. Putting together a remix album of Equestrienne and I have had some great mixes in from all kinds of artists. I put out an APB online looking for remixers and I got a great response. I am working on some new material, some more experimental and I have an idea for an installation which I really need to sit down and work through it.

Mixing and recording for other artists, Canytheif and Ajah which is great as I love to work with other artists and collaborate on their material. I released an album at the end of last year, Equestrienne and unfortunately it was only available as a download as I did not have enough funds to release a CD which was a shame as I would of loved that. I have also been collaborating with artists Maslen and Mehra on two film projects over the last 12 months which has been great, in fact a strange story in regards to this meeting of minds. I move into my new place at the begining of 2009 and bumped into one half of Maslen and Mehra and low and behold having the same surname we are in fact related, second cousins we think, so I have some Australian Relatives which is a bonus.

2. Has there been any thoughts of doing another Small Fish With Spine record?

I have considered the idea and have many fans who keep asking me and at first i was rather reluctant just because it was a certain time in my life and things had moved on since then, but who knows if people keep asking maybe I will!

3. Talk about your films a bit. Did film making evolve over the same trajectory as your music?

Kind of. I have always dabbled, wasn't very good at art but loved the idea of making art without the brush or pencil. Photography and film making seemed a great alternative and something I could experiment with. In the beginning when I first started out, especially in a live context I wanted to create a cinematic experience as often being solo on stage can be very static and not exactly enthralling for the audience, I used slides x 2 creating a backdrop of visual images, it then slowly progressed to film, Super 8 in the early days as I just love the aesthetic you get from film it just has this warmth you can always achieve with digital unless you spend hours in post production, which I like doing but it gets very time consuming. I still shoot daily, mainly photographs at present but want to get back into film, and this is something I am looking to do in the near future. I have done some more art based films over the last few months, getting selected for different art shows which has been great as I have wanted to venture into this for a while but been a bit afraid of entering that sphere but it has been pretty succesful and hopefully will develop in the coming months.

4. How about Neotropic? What's in the works?

Well the Equestrienne Remix Album is in the pipeline with mixes coming in from all corners of the globe, USA/Japan/Europe and UK so am definitely looking forward to that and highlighting some of the great new talent out there. Of course new material is always in the pipeline and really just doing that. Also, I am in a couple of books the 20th anniversary of Ninja Tune and Pink Noises by Tara Rodgers.

5. Are you touring now? Where can people see you live?

Gigs are hard right now to come by, and I love playing live but have only played a couple of times this year, especially now I have this great live lineup it just seems to have this great energy. I need to find a good agent, but I am playing the Aeon Festival on the 28th August which is in Devon and is a lovely little festival, so any west country folk can come check us out.I would also love to get back on the road but it is just about raising the finances to do it, or getting on a small tour with a few other artists.

6. Where would one go to find more information about you?

My website is a good place along with Facebook and Myspace

7. What's your top 10 right now?

In no particular order

1. No Shore is Home - Center Divider
2. All the world is green - Tom Waits
3. Turbine Womb - Soap & Skin
4. Strike - She Keeps Bees
5 Mack the Knife - The Psychedelic Furs
6. who are your trying to fool - Little Ann
7. Stay Tuned - Robert Wyatt
8.Dying - The Whigs
9.Scope J - Ute Lemper
10. Butterfly House - The Coralloads of film stuff on the following

Quetsi Tek from Neotropic on Vimeo.

La Prochaine Fois from Neotropic on Vimeo.

Inch inch from Neotropic on Vimeo.

More information on Riz Maslen:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Throwback Monday - 09-09-10 - "Biting My Nails" - Renegade Soundwave

Debuting on the Rhythm King label with the "Kray Twins" single, their early records mixed together the sound of the then embryonic dance scene, east-end hip-hop, dub and electro-industrial noise. Later singles such as "Biting My Nails" (a cover version of a cabaret-pop song by Yé-yé girl Genevieve Waite, from her 1974 album, Romance is on the Rise) and "The Phantom" became early dance-floor classics,[citation needed] with "Probably a Robbery" eventually reaching number 38 in the UK singles chart in 1990.

A switch to Mute Records brought the release of the debut long-player Soundclash in 1989, swiftly followed by In Dub. The Japanese version of In Dub featured a second disc of the cuts, previously available only on their early Twelve Inch singles. At this point, Bonnie exited to pursue a solo career (citing musical differences), leaving Briottet & Asquith to continue as a duo. After two more albums, the group formally disbanded in 1995, leaving behind a legacy of four long playing albums and twelve singles.

The Chemical Brothers have cited RSW as one of the biggest influences in their sound.[citation needed]
In 2003, Layo and Bushwacka remixed "The Phantom".
2005 saw the appearance of a white label entitled "Robbery", which featured remixed versions of RSW tunes such as "Ozone Breakdown".

As of 2010, Gary Asquith runs the le coq musique record label along side Kevin Mooney formerly of Adam and the Ants and are also in a band called Lavender Pill Mob[1], both Asquith and Mooney have worked alongside electro artist Lee Simeone including a track written by Asquith titled "Ocean" [2] and Briottet is producing and recording/remixing under the name of Red Star." (*source:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Top 5 - 8/4/10

1. Seefeel - Quique - Too Pure/ Astralwerks

Quique (pronounced "Keek") is the 1993 debut album from Seefeel. Musically, the band "is situated at the intersection of dream pop/shoegaze and ambient techno/IDM," which made them a perfect fit for Warp Records, who they signed to in 1994. After an almost 12 year hiatus, Seefeel will be releasing a new record on Warp later this year.

2. Zola Jesus - Stridulum EP - Sacred Bones Records

This hypnotic goth-tinged neurotic-pop from Nika Roza Danilova (aka Zola Jesus) has caught ears of many "in the know" music publications, and for good reason. Her larger-than-life vocals are reminiscent of Siouxsie Sioux, and the dark-wave influenced production makes this record feel new and familiar at the same time.

3. Ras G and The Afrikan Space Program - Ghetto Sci Fi - Poo-Bah Records

This record has been in wide-rotation for me in the past year. Along with his LA beat-making comrades Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer and Daedelus, Ras G has made a name for himself with his bass-heavy psychedelic sound. This record is a classic in the making.

4. The JD's - An Education - Pretension Records

"Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto needs no introduction. He practically invented modern breakbeat music. His collection of vintage analog synthesizers and vocoders provides the foundation for the JD's sound. Jon Drukman of Bass Kittens is the digital to Dangers' analog. He brings his own electro-tinged philosophy to the proceedings. There is only one school on Planet JDs: the school of blowing your mind with sound. Step inside and get educated." (content from from

The JDs - Album Sampler by basskitten

5. Madlib - Madlib Medicine Show No. 3: Beat Konducta In Africa

There's not too much I can say about Madlib that hasn't already been said. This is a great record, in a series. Click the link and buy this record. It's amazing.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Throwback Monday - 08/02/10 - "Typical Girls" - The Slits

Happy Monday! This is a post-punk classic from the frequently name-checked band, The Slits. The band's influence cannot be over stated. You can here the band's influence in everything from Bikini Kill to the Yeah Yeah Yeah's. If you don't know anything about The Slits, other than their being name-checked in "Losing My Edge," then do yourself a favor and find out more.