Guest Mix: Nicola Ratti
Nicola Ratti is a guitarist and experimental composer from Milan. He has worked on a number of projects, including Bellows with Giuseppe Ielasi, and with Canadian musician Mark Templeton (whose Jealous Heart LP remains a firm favorite for this writer). On February 6, Ratti released his latest work; a double edition LP titled ossario (volume 1 and 2) on the Italy-based Holiday Records. The album is breathtaking, a well defined and contemplative medley of styles that is said to build on “musical skeletons designed not to be covered in flesh and tissues, but trying to reduce everything to the bone.”
In addition to the release, Ratti has assembled an exclusive mix for TMT. It’s grounded in the music of musicians he personally knows or has worked with in the past. There are also works from musicians he has never met, and who he could never meet, but it’s “music I could be listen to for hours, or music that doesn’t belong to my roots but that I recognize as essential to my artistic development.”
The image Nicola chose for the mix is an instrument he uses with Tilde, a trio with Attila Faravelli and Enrico Malatesta. It’s a small wooden block used to investigate surrounding surfaces, or it can be used as a percussive object. He says that it represents what the production of very complex sounds through the simplest of means. I couldn’t resist asking Ratti a few questions about his mix, which also features some crackle and noise from the vinyl he chose to use.
Listen to his untitled mix below, and check below for the tracklist and Ratti’s responses.
What were you hoping to achieve with this mix? What were your aesthetic aims?
I simply tried to mix together some music I really like. I like my music complex and rich in terms of texture and matter but extremely simple when conceived and realized. For instance, two wooden spheres, a colony of woodworms, a pair of low-frequency oscillators used with a simple and smart idea behind it all could create an intense aural experience, if you listen to them properly. In addition, the mix turns around the idea of rhythm conceived as a complex and non-musical element. A rhythm becomes more of an overlay of two or more discharges of acoustic events through a measure of time. Yet another aim was to create a mix characterized by high sound quality; that’s probably the element that lumps together all the selections I made.
The mix is stylistically diverse - field recordings through dub and glitch - how do these divergences in style play into the context of your latest album?
It’s all about sound and its substance, this is more important than the instrument you use to create your sound. My music is a kind of fragile balance between all of those elements, every one of them has the same importance in the mix and there rarely is a “main” one - it’s the distinctly hidden or far away elements are more important than what you can ear clearly.
The mix is based around collaborators and people you have worked closely with. How do you choose your collaborators? Are there certain?characteristics or personality traits you need to be able to relate to before you start working together?
Actually, it’s always a reciprocal choice. It’s easy to start a collaboration when you realize that you’re sharing some ideas and, most importantly, an attitude toward music and sounds. What I like in the collaborations is that they let me experiment much more than I could do by myself and also try some new solutions/instruments since I get bored after a while I’m playing the same instrument.
Your new album, ossario (volume 1 and 2), was released on Holiday Records earlier this month. Will you be supporting it soon with a live show? If so, where can people catch you?
Yes, I will. There’s a live show page on my website with the upcoming shows. The big one I’m looking forward to will be in Paris on March 28th at the Presences Electronique Festival, I’ll be around Europe for the most part of Spring and Summer.
[00:00] Attila Faravelli - “On top”
[04:04] Andrew Pekler - “The twilight of your smile.”
[08:12] Burkina Faso, Antologie de la musique du Gan - “Rythme Des Pilons Dans Un Mortier”
[10:21] Rhythm & Sound - “Aground”
[14:57] Burundi, Musiques Traditionelles - “Akazéhé Par Deux Jeunes Filles”
[16:34] Adam Asnan - “Tetraptych”
[21:25] Vessel - “VMI”
[24:51] Renato Rinaldi - “Time Machine II”
[26:56] Burkina Faso, Antologie de la musique du Gan - “Rhombes”
[28:07] Enrico Malatesta - “Bestiario vol.2”
[30:32] Mark Templeton - “Jealous horse”
[33:11] Eselsohr - “Voluntary milking system”
[36:32] Emptyset - “Monad”
[39:20] Francesco Messina - “Prati bagnati del Monte Analogo”
[44:57] Ricardo Villalobos - “Minimoonstar”
Evian Christ seems like a cool guy. Even Kanye West likes him. In fact, Evian Christ’s new song “Waterfall” reminds me of a bit of “I’m In It,” the track he produced for Yeezus, which makes me think he’s making a shift towards a more abrasive, caustic form of sedated trap beats. In an interview with Crack Magazine, he mentions getting into Vatican Shadow, an aesthetic that also shows a little on “Waterfall.” Thankfully, not too much though, as the producer strikes a fine balance between his more ambient mixtape and the harsh sounds of his recent work. Check it out here:
Evian Christ’s “Waterfall” EP is out March 17 on Tri Angle, an EP showing how he’s still one of the most exciting producers IN THE GAME.
“Full Claw Lunar Surface”
Firstly: YEAHHHH !!! [はいいいいいいい !!!]
Had to get that off my chest. Gezan inspires me to get the F off of my bony A, get into the pit, and try to love someone. Across years of incendiary live performances, the Japanese noise lords / bar band from hell / death squad has amassed a cult following, and count Ruins mastermind Tatsuya Yoshida, Melt Banana shred god Ichirou Agata, and Acid Mothers Temple honcho Kawabata Makoto among their vocal advocates. The press copy for their upcoming album It Was Once Said To Be A Song, due March 25 from the ever-next-level Important Records, features a quote from Merzbow: “Gezan is awesome.” Uhhhhh ‘nuff said?
Have a listen to album opener “Full Claw Lunar Surface,” premiering below, and prepare yourself for the type of attention-deficit aural assault you’ve been missing since the early days of Boredoms. Gezan merge the scuzzy, DGAF rock aesthetics mastered by DMBQ with interjections of desensitizing harsh noise chaos. The four-piece band slops black paint onto their boxing gloves and rains randomized blows onto the canvas: alien gang vocals, fragments of fierce guitar soloing, a skewed rap verse. They match their grab-bag ferocity with a surreal sense of humor, achieving the balance between entertainment and alienation that makes antecedents like Pop Tatari and Scratch or Stitch such bewildering listens decades after their creation. Show by show, scream by scream, Gezan pushes the institution of Japanese extreme music down into new depths of joyous depravity.
I’ve never seen Gezan live. Maybe you haven’t either. We’re both in luck: the band is currently touring the US. They wrap up their dates with a performance at SXSW on March 12. I’ll be there. Maybe you will too. I’ll be the one howling “YEAHHHH!!” the entire time — be sure to yell “HEY!”
Just at the beginning of the year, toward the end of last year – that weird space between YEAR-END music journalism and “what’s classified as 2013 and 2014” – Starlight Girls popped off this single from their upcoming LP. And “Inhibitionist” is pure hyped indie-psyche meltdown. Like a combination of animal ferocity and spastic rhythmings, Starlight Girls finds the grizzle and eats it first. Shoot, that description is even coming from a vegetarian. I feel that jaw bone ache while listening too. It’s all chewy, and my adult braces are really jocking my swag. But this Friday at Cloudland starting around 8 or 9 – just hit up the Bizarre down the road before hand – (285 Kent’s neighbor), Starlight Girls is going to tare off the roof and uproot the venue to some place more stability underground, outside of the “residential” “waterfront” community of Williamsburg. So, I’m totally down for yuppie mayhem.
Anyhow, be on the lookout for Starlight Girls’ newest LP, and prepare for the shake down! It’s all about the boogie, yo!
Better Off Dread
They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover, and in the world of books that often holds true, but in the world of music many a digger will tell you the exact opposite. In record stores and blogs alike, great cover art is a near necessity. How else can a random record hope to nab the attention of someone fanning the shelves or scrolling the pages in search of something unheard?
Judging from cover art alone, as I was at first, Soopah Eype’s Better Off Dread is definitely worth a spin. Of course, it can’t hurt that Soopah Eype has a name that references Lee Perry and song titles that reference Spawn. Actually, as far as I’m concerned: anthropomorphic imagery + ’70s dub + Image comics = let’s fucking do this.
So I download Better Off Dread, and I listen to it one morning on my way to work, and I’m blown the fuck away. At 24-years old, straight out Portland, OR by way of South Central Los Angeles, Soopah Eype is an imminently quotable MC in possession of an effortless syllabic command the likes of which haven’t been heard since Madvillainy dropped. He’s “Isaac Asimov riding a massive moth,” and his off-the-top game is every bit as thorough as his writtens. It’s nuts … indescribably so.
Streaming below, Better Off Dread is Soopah Eype’s 8th mixtape created with the help of producers Steve French and Doogie the Lion. Together, the three form a crew called Plenny Tuff. And that, they are. That, they are indeed.
• Soopah Eype: http://soopaheype.bandcamp.com/
SNOW BEACH VOL. 01
As the cover art suggests, listeners should consider TMCT’s newest release SNOW BEACH VOL. 01 on Bootleg Tapes with a bit of lax and venture. The combination results in a stumbling pathway through alleys and dunes, crystal waters and peaks. There’s a duality to the movement in TMCT’s music here, and it definitely walks the pathway of both rough and smooth. It’s as if SNOW BEACH VOL. 01 is conscious of every tape player each cassette is being projected out of: considering the density of sound, acoustics of the room, hiss of the reel being magnetized, [brilliance]. Certainly, definition of each sense can be pinpointed and beheld within the reach of TMCT’s ability to mix and master tracks on a nearly seamless level of melt.
There’s a deep magic happening at Bootleg Tapes. They know exactly what you want, have a release for every mood, and haven’t even been around for a full year. And 100-percent NO strange occult or complex AWE factor. It’s straight up a label trying to remain composed with exceptional music and curatively within it’s on mindset and ambition. So grip that new TMCT SNOW BEACH VOL. 01 tape ASAP, ‘cause these tapes always plan on being released to completely sell out. Find out WHY? below: