Monday, December 19, 2016

paranoia techno and woodland electronics

A late breaking gem,  lost a little maybe (November 11 release, days after the Cataclysm) from RunningOnAir. On Patterned Air Recordings,  the label responsible for one of the year's best: Creaking Haze and Other RaveGhosts, by Assembled Minds.

Exquisitely packaged, as they all are...

Particularly like this tune

release rationale: 

‘Lingering Post-Cold War Paranoia Techno’ 

‘Running On Air’ the album, was written in the 1990s by Joe Evans in his cable-strewn midi-bunker (at various times located in Glasgow, Northampton and London) using glowing hardware audio devices and a Mac Classic to rouse and rally them. It was born during a period when the internet had become accessible and useful to many; information was being shared, picked-over and proliferated by the masses like never before. It was also a time when the music industry first got a glimpse of its demise amidst blazing creativity and genre-fracturing musical discourse on forums, online radio stations, pirate radio stations and clubs — and the killer, file sharing. 

This album is a unique document of the times and exists as an amalgamation of themes and situations, rather than of genre or musical language. Civil unrest, insidious state surveillance, the searing blaze of toddling microchip technology, lingering post-Cold War paranoia, the abandonment of the natural world, machines with ambition, humans honing their steel-cold egotism, beautiful relationships in a world championing the moody lone ranger — all these themes lie down together, forming the timeless strata of ‘Running On Air’.

Was this really written / recorded in the 1990s, or is it made to sound like it was? That's what I wondered when reading the blurb above...  It doesn't sound like something actually from that time, as much as it stays within the technical limitations and tropes of that decade.  But perhaps this is just me being paranoid...  Nowadays you can't trust anything you read.

Patterned Air also have another release out around this time too - Woodland Walk by CukoO
 - this didn't grasp me quite as tightly as the RunningOnAir and Assembled Minds, although it's excellent stuff.

release rationale:

Sensory woodland analogue electronics and traditional classroom instrumentation.’

“The album I wrote a few years ago which was commissioned by Portage in Newham, London, is soon to be released on Patterned Air. It is a collection of tunes based on a trip to the woods and was originally written with Severely and Profoundly Disabled Children in mind. I wanted to write music that both the child and adult would enjoy as most music for children is written by idiots with no taste in music. I have a background in electronic/space rock/Gamelan/Egyptian/techno so therefore the music I write is ok.” Victoria Wilson

As CukoO, Victoria Wilson creates music as a means of sensory stimulation for children with special needs. In the classroom, each track is played to the children and is accompanied by a physical item relating to the aural ‘story' (in the case of this first album, a woodland walk). This item (feather, pine cone, brush etc.) is used to stimulate the child by feel, sound, weight and texture so allowing them to experience a whole other dimension to the story and the sounds, becoming more deeply immersed in it and in their activated senses.

These works are beautiful examples of analogue electronic sounds balanced with traditional classroom instrumentation. So, sitting happily alongside an EMS VCS3 analogue synth, a Revox B77 reel-to-reel tape machine and various oscillators, we find sopranino and treble recorders, glockenspiel, clarinet, saxophone, bongos, acoustic guitar and all manner of other typically 1970’s music-classroom paraphernalia. And to this 70’s child, the music is redolent of those sunny, dusty music rooms, and nature walks through dank woods, the smell of crumbling corridors and daring adventures in the garden tangle and unknown streets.

No comments: