Interview/Mix: Old Apparatus (exclusive)

24 Jun 2013 — Will Stevens

Now that they have produced a string of EPs and their first full-length, Compendium, it seems fitting to inquire a bit further into the arcane world of Old Apparatus. As a collective, they have worked hard to remove any traces of human presence, replacing it with striking imagery and rare media appearances constituting the stage for their manifesto. Their earlier images consisted of old Victorian portraits or mug-shots, the human heads removed and replaced by old and grotesque science equipment. It was during this time that OA released a self-titled 12” on the legendary dubstep producer Mala’s label, Deep Medi. It was a mesmeric debut, incorporating noise, industrial, and dubstep with a plethora of sounds and instruments. It created a big stir in the UK scene and was a perfect introduction to the limitless sounds of Old Apparatus.

After a second release on Deep Medi and a handful of remixes, including one for the Shangaan Electro album on Honest Jons, the group found a new home for their esoteric material in the formation of their own label, Sullen Tone. This move resulted in a highly fertile period for the group, with the release of a series of genre-hopping EPs in 2012-- each with its own, striking, occultish cover image. The first EP from the new label was attributed to the group, but the three that would follow were produced individually by the band members LTO, A Levitas, and Harem. It is the music from these four EPs that leads us to Compendium. (co-premiere with Ad Hoc)

Compendium is out now via Sullen Tone.

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Compendium is compiled from four previous OA releases. Was the intention to always release these tracks as an album?

They were originally written as individual tunes in their own right, but we always had the intention to combine tracks from the different producers into an album format at some point. We felt initially it made sense to present each producer's sound as a separate entity before weaving them together into a unified sonic world. Every possible combination of tracks was considered until we found the best balance between progression and contrast.

There is a variety of musical occurrences and influences to be heard on Compendium. How do you explain the coherence of your music and how it all fits perfectly under the large OA umbrella?

When you're part of an artistic collective, you always have some level of awareness of that when you're writing, and naturally shared characteristics develop. Continuously sharing music and art that inspires us helps this process.

Old Apparatus has a very strong image, from your artwork and your anonymity to your language and general music release structure. Would you say that it is a considered approach, or a natural approach?

We've always carefully considered every aspect of what we do. The visual element was always intended to be as important as the auditory. And everything else has naturally followed that.

OA’s music has a real resonance with its listeners. The music seems permanent and personal while also following this strong narrative between the music and your aesthetic. Due to this approach, it seems like a reaction to the current consumption of music, how it is lost as quickly as it is found. Is this something you have tried to counter or something you are wary of?

Yes we're very aware of this over-saturation and generic-ness in modern music consumption. We're happy to spend a meaningful amount of time considering every aspect of everything we do if it means it will stay in people's hearts and minds, rather than putting out throw-away sound-alikes that will be forgotten tomorrow.

Finally, can you tell us a bit about the mix you have done for us?

The four of us come from pretty different creative backgrounds so although collectively we share many of the same ideas, individually we draw inspiration from a variety of sources. I think the mix reflects this. The Jacaszek track in particular is a favourite. Also, "The End of the World" by Aphrodite's Child. The album it’s from, 666, is really crazy.

#occupygezi (Undomondo’s Mix for Geziradyo.org)

13 Jun 2013 — Henning Lahmann

The mix below was posted yesterday by long-standing and excellent fellow blogger and Istanbul radio DJ undomondo, who's actually done this much longer than we have, and who has always been one of the most reliable sources of weird and exciting music on the web. He's been with us ever since we started, so by posting his mix and his brief explanation, we just want to show that we're with him, too, and with everyone else who's fighting for their rights and against oppression in Turkey these days. Take care and be safe, all of you.

"This mixtape was originally conceived thanks to a request from geziradyo.org, a radio hastily founded by activists after the civil uprising in Istanbul, which started at the end of May and continues on. I did this mix first and foremost for the people who have been occupying and living at the park for the last 15 days and I intended it to be a peaceful and cosmic one which would have been aired yesterday around 11PM. But the events took another violent turn yesterday, so I don't really know if this does mean anything to those people now. Nevertheless I'm still putting it online, may it give inspiration to all the brave activists everywhere around the world. Peace."

Doug Carn - God is one
Yatha Bhuta Jazz Combo - The Muse Inside
Lumumba - Sing with the Birds
Toolshed - Love in outer space
Ali Farka Toure - Cherie
Black Truth Rhythm Band - Imo
Fela Kuti - Viva Nigeria
Kazumi Watanabe - Walk Don't Run
Inga Copeland - So Far So Clean
Muslimgauze - Imam Ali
Modern Folk Üçlüsü - Bir dünya bırakın biz çocuklara
Fahir Atakoğlu, Horacio El Negro Hernandez, Anthony Jackson - Yana Yana
Senem Diyici - Dere geliyor dere
Tigran Hamasyan - Tragicomédie
Porest - Hoyda
Googoosh - Mano Tou
Orhan Gencebay - Hayat Kavgasi
Samla Mammas Manna - Svackorpoängen
Kornet - Musik Ur Filmen Adams Fodelse
Piotr Kurek - Untitled
Mort Garson - Rhapsody in Green
Eddie Gale - Ghetto Love Night
The Waitikis - Quiet Village
Akron/Family - Love, Love, Love (Everyone)
Kuusumun Profeetta - Kellonsoittaja
Colin Stetson - All the days I've missed you
Julia Holter - Marienbad

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Mix: Paco Sala “Primary.1” (Exclusive)

18 Jan 2013 — Henning Lahmann

Paco Sala

Paco Sala's wonderfully dense and sophisticated effort Ro-Me-Ro was one of last year's most remarkable debuts. This week, the project of Hackney's Anthony Harrison (otherwise known as Konntinent) and vocalist Leyli returns with another release on the ever-convincing Digitalis. The Fo, which is put out on cassette, is not to be considered a proper full-length, though its length of 43 minutes would certainly suffice for most works to be deemed as such; however, according to the label it rather is 'a sort of intermediary between last year’s debut LP and their next proper full-length, Put Your Hands On Me'. The tape continues Harrison's quest the perfect balance between delicate pop arrangements and hushed, restrained sonic experimentalism, landing in a sublime place between ambient introspection and more straightforward if foggy songwriting.

Edition of 75; already sold out at the label it should be available via Boomkat soon. In anticipation of the release, Harrison made us an exclusive, and rather excellent, mix, which you may listen to after the jump. First though, take a look at the actual tape and listen to "9" below:

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Paco Sala's "Primary.1" Mix:

Tracklist:

01 Geinoh Yamashirogumi - Requiem (edit)
02 Nguzunguzu - Warm Pulse
03Claudio Simonetti, Massimo Morante, Fabio Pignatelli - Gemini (edit)
04 Malaysia Vasudevan & S.P. Sailaja - Pattu Engey (Where is the Song?)
05 Desire - Don't Call
06 Terminal Twilight - Neon Palm
07 The Advisory Circle - Unforgotten Path
08 Vessel - Stillborn Dub
09 Ike Yard - Control (edit)
10 Holy Balm - Losing Control
11 Group Rhoda - At the Dark
12 Asa Chang - Hana (edit)
13 Connie Francis - Siboney

Campfires “Fortune Teller”

18 Dec 2012 — Andrew Wagner

Campfires

Lo-fi great Campfires (aka Portland via Chicago’s Jeff Walls) just released a summery new song, "Fortune Teller". The track is the first single off of Campfires’ upcoming LP, Tomorrow, Tomorrow, which will be released on Fire Talk this coming February. "Fortune Teller" is a lovely little jam, complete with jangly guitars and ‘60s beach-pop vibes. Campfires sound a little more cleaned up here than on their past output, but it’s just enough to let us better appreciate the simple pleasures of his pop intricacies while still retaining his characteristic haziness. A much needed burst of sunshine in the midst of cold winter months.

Pre-orders for a limited edition vinyl pressing of Tomorrow, Tomorrow (which comes with a hand screened jacket from Campfires himself) can be placed here.

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Profligate “Conditioning Trench”

29 Nov 2012 — Henning Lahmann

Sick new project by Noah Anthony, formerly known as Night Burger, who now records as Profligate. On eight and a half minute monster "Conditioning Trench", the b-side of his new Videotape 12", things are appropriately bleak and dystopian, as Anthony proceeds to delineate some proto-techno/industrial sonic pattern for the post-apocalyptic landscape. The whole breed of contemporary Manchester-infused noisy dance music comes to mind, even Factory Floor at times, though things here stay deliberately less messy and intricate on the rhythm parts, instead focusing on a whole bunch of playful if sullen synth explorations. Speaking of rhythmical elements though, those hand claps are killer. Superb release.

The Videotape 12" is out now on Not Not Fun.

Watch the video for the a-side after the jump.

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Mix: Sacred Animals “Dusk // Dawn”

28 Nov 2012 — Tonje Thilesen

Darragh David Nolan of Sacred Animals might be our most dedicated reader, so it would only make sense for us to ask him to share some tunes from 2012 that has captivated his ears; tunes that we haven't covered in this space already. Read his words, and listen to the mix in entirety below. (ed.)

This is a mix designed to inhabit the spaces between dusk and dawn, a place where darkness never quite reaches, bypassing slumber and slowly drifting into a delirium where your body shuffles and stutters through a familiar but warped terrain, one you've visited before but you're not quite sure how or when. Dreaming with your eyes open, hints of deja-vu, your body feels ecstatically intense while each passing moment twists & shifts the movie before you.

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Having assumed that Natten was a solo project, possibly as a result of the video for track 'Hatet' containing a solitary character, upon further research I find they are a four piece band (Arvid Lärksäter - Trumpet / Jan Sydolf - Bass / Robin Donaire - Beats, electronics and Fredrik Adolfsson - Synthesiser) — which does make sense, as the central melodic and sometimes slightly atonal focus revolves around a solo trumpet, creating a rather uniquely hypnotic sound. Check out the hazy woods-based Alien Versus Predator-esque video for 'Framtiden' above featuring robotic dancing kids.



Amsterdam-based Salvador Breed and Stijn van Beek come together as Breek to create beautifully compelling moments built on clicking percussion, squelching synths & melodic pulsing pads, resulting in dreamy & hypnotic tracks that gently place you on a higher plane. Putting this mix together, 'Inuit' was the track that insisted on revolving around my head for hours afterwards. The 'Burst EP' is a self-described 'sensory attack of intense sonic textures'. They're not wrong either, it's well worth your time and/or money.



According to himself, Deaf Joe writes 'folk songs; sometimes romantic, sometimes dreamlike, always cathartic', and I can't say that this description isn't apt, particularly in its understatement. The video for 'Joanna' above shares this quality featuring a lightly colored silhouette of Joe slowly revolving around 360º. That's the thing about Joe's music, if you let the subtly blooming melodies, dark lyrics and hazy atmosphere suck you in, it will grab you and spin you around completely. 'Joanna' is taken from his excellent album Burrowingsreleased back in February. 
 

Tracklist

1 / Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory - We Are The Music Makers
2 / Chromatics - Blue Moon
3 / Soffie Viemose - To The Woods (Shatter Hands Remix)
4 / Ryan Vail - Heartbeat (Unknown Remix)
5 / Natten - Framtiden
6 / MØ - Maiden (Sleep Yen Remix)
7 / Breek - Inuit
8 / Submotion Orchestra - Blindspot (Maribou State Remix)
9 / Nosaj Thing - Eclipse/Blue Feat/ Kazu Makino
10 / Ryan Hemsworth - Overthinking
11 / Tom Day - Echoes
12 / Halls - Funeral
13 / Sebastien Schuller - Nightlife
14 / Chromatics - Cherry
15 / Goodtime - Can't Get Away (Jape Remix)
16 / Parisian - Heavy Petting
17 / Daughn GIbson - The Day You Were Born
18 / How To Dress Well - Cold Nites (Koreless Remix)
19 / Foxes In Fiction - School Night
20 / Deaf Joe - Joanna
21 / Evan Ireland - Pause
22 / Nathan Fake - Rue
23 / Actress - N.E.W.
24 / Aphex Twin - I

NFOP x Le Guess Who?: Old Apparatus

27 Nov 2012 — Henning Lahmann

There surely is no lack of unique, challenging and forward-thinking music festivals in the Netherlands, with the lovely Incubate in Tilburg in September, The Hague's Rewire in early November, or of course the notorious megalomania of the Amsterdam Dance Event - to name but a few. This coming weekend from Thursday to Sunday, all music people should turn their heads towards the beautiful city of Utrecht, which will host the sixth edition of another festival that is not to be missed, Le Guess Who? A couple of weeks back, the organisers asked us to have a look at the breathtaking line-up, which sports names such as Matthew Dear, Fuck Buttons, Koreless, Mac DeMarco, Lucrecia Dalt, Grouper, DIIV, and countless other NFOP favourites, and pick one lesser known of them in order to briefly introduce and recommend the artist. The selection process was quick, as one of this year's most exciting (fairly) new groups/artist collectives is headed for Utrecht: Old Apparatus. Read about them below.

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There has been a fair bit of bashing of the pop cultural phenomenon of artistic anonymity as of late, usually as a means to proceed with an "exception to the rule", a writer's trick that in itself is already becoming rather tiring. However, I'm totally with Tom Krell and his assertion that "anonymity has just become a completely formal gesture that's totally unrelated to any musical content", as he told Pitchfork's Larry Fitzmaurice in a recent interview, for his observation leaves room for a different approach towards the whole anonymity thing: There have always been ("always" meaning something like "in the post-Burial pop cultural landscape") two types of faceless artists, on the one hand those who remain anonymous for anonymity's sake, claiming to remain in the shadows so every listener can entirely focus on the "music itself" (and Selim Bulut is absolutely right to point out that this is absolutely impossible precisely because of the artist's anonymity). On the other hand, remaining incognito can be part of a larger, truly artistic concept that, if done right, manages to transcend the individual's identity to become an idea that stands on its own. Old Apparatus are this year's number one example for the latter category. With a strong identity that is not only expressed musically but equally relies on the visual aspects such as artworks and videos, Old Apparatus has (singular) become a musical entity in its own right. Acting as a true collective, of the four EPs that were released in 2012 via their own Sullen Tone imprint --Derren, Realise, Alfur, and Harem--, each of the last three was assembled completely by single members of the quartet, yet every single track put out is credited as a work of the group. It's still true that "throughout the three records you’ll hear the contrast and variation", and that "you hear the characteristics of each of the producers coming through", as the artists suggested in a very insightful interview with FACT in August - but once released as an Old Apparatus EP, all efforts become an inseparable part of the collective('s) aesthetic. Taken together, the 17 tracks amount to one of the most staggering examples of haunted, forward-thinking electronic music released in the past few years, with a panoramic sonic pallette that, despite its constant gloomy undertones, dips into almost every aspect of modern music, ranging from industrial, post-rock, hip-hop, noise, techno, to the whole kaleidoscope of contemporary UK bass. So whatever your plans are for the festival are, be sure you don't miss out on Old Apparatus. So far I haven't had the chance to see them perform live, but if their visual aesthetics as showcased in their videos are anything to go by, I'm sure it will be nothing short of mind-blowing.

Old Apparatus will perform at Tivoli de Helling on Saturday, December 1 at 10pm. Don't think about changing the venue too much that night, as the group will be preceded by Tim Hecker and followed by Beak>, Adrian Sherwood, Machinedrum, and Objekt.

Festival tickets are still available over here.

 

Mix: Love Cult “Things Are Worse in Russia” (Exclusive)

27 Nov 2012 — Henning Lahmann

Petrozavodsk, Republic of Karelia duo Love Cult aka Anya Kuts and Ivan Afanasyev - who also run the sick tape label Full Of Nothing and who had already been featured on this website sometime last year - dropped their LP Fingers Crossed yesterday via our favourite label Public Information, and Boomkat has correctly named it "album of the week". To celebrate the massive blend of pitch-black drones and post-ironic noise assaults, the two have assembled the charmingly entitled mix Things Are Worse in Russia, a superb hour-long exploration into homegrown folk and electronics as well as everything from Slowdive to The Beach Boys, closing with an exclusive remix of album track "Lulling Demons to Sleep" by Public Information fellow Austin Cesear. Here's what the duo has to say about it:

Be still, we're trying to grasp something here. Never mind the coos and interruptions. These are tunes frost-bitten and sun-warped. Some may save lives and break hearts - exactly what one needs for the coming winter. Snow falls steadily in Karelia, we have our collars all the way up. Black nights filled with editing and manipulating, coffee, zombie flicks. Some in-the-red tones for courage, a couple of laid-back breakdowns for soothing. Have you heard "Fingers Crossed"? 3 years of Love Cult: crude visions, new honesty, strange beliefs and sonic quests. Togetherness. As things seesaw back and forth, no drugs are needed. The winter is here to stay, get in the loop. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

Fingers Crossed is now out on Public Information. Get it over here.

Tracklist:

I. Sam Mayo - Things Are Worse in Russia
II. Кино - Следи за собой [Thomas Brinkmann "Pass Auf Dich Auf" Remix]
III. Мох - А я?
IV. Black Dice - Live Loop
V. Ignatz - Eager Eyed
VI. Savant - The Neo-Realist
VII. Wolfsheim - Lovesong
VIII. James Ferraro - Steel Escape
IX. ADD - Ju Tu
X. Kool A.D. - Power/Refinement Knowledge
XI. Уроборос - Наши призраки [Private Edit]
XII. Slowdive - Trellisaze
XIII. SCSI-9 - Ich Kann Nicht Anders
XIV. Pye Corner Audio - Recrypt
XV. Swans - You Know Everything [Reprise 1991]
XVI. The Beach Boys - All I Wanna Do
XVII. Янка - Я повторяю 10 раз и снова
XVIII. The Low Frequency in Stereo - Man Don't Walk
XIX. Death in June - She Said Destroy
XX. Woodpecker Wooliams - Crow
XXI. Psychic TV - This Is The Final War
XXII. Broadcast - Microtronics 16
XXIII. William Basinski - Untitled
XXIV. Love Cult - Lulling Demons to Dub [Austin Cesear Remix]

Listen to samples from Fingers Crossed and watch a video edit for closing track "Place To Get Lost In" below.

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