Kompakt continues its annual electronic lullaby, announces Pop Ambient 2013

Kompakt continues its annual electronic lullaby, announces Pop Ambient 2013 http://www.tinymixtapes.com/sites/default/files/1211/news-12-11-kompakt-pop-ambient-2013.jpg

Annual label compilations are somewhat of a risky undertaking. On the one hand, if the compilations are consistently good (as Kompakt’s Pop Ambient series was from about 2001 until 2007), then all you’re doing is showcasing talent and marketing your label in a beneficial way. Alternatively, if the compilations are consistently bad, then you’re doing the complete opposite: highlighting how horrible your label is, and revealing just how deluded you are by continuing to release horrible compilations.

Fortunately for Kompakt, the latter editions of Pop Ambient haven’t been horrible — I’m not going that far — but were instead relatively uninspired, presenting a contrast with earlier editions. Has Pop Ambient settled into a comfortable niche characterized by pleasant-sounding, though not altogether memorable, ambient music?

Although it won’t be released until January 21, the tracklist for Pop Ambient 2013 offers some reasons to be enthusiastic. Argentine keyboardist Leandro Fresco renews a relationship with Kompakt that began with the release of Amor Internacional in 2002, and Michael Mayer, co-founder of the label, makes his first appearance ever on the series through a Wolfgang Voigt mix of “Sully,” the opening track from Mayer’s 2012 album Mantasy. Followers of the Pop Ambient series will also appreciate contributions from Wolfgang Voigt himself, dub techno artist Mikkel Metal, and Marsen Jules, who must be doing some serious favors to earn a spot on four of the last six editions.

I’m actually kind of excited for this. Don’t let us (me) down, Kompakt.

Pop Ambient 2013 tracklisting:

01. Leandro Fresco, “Cuando El Sol Grita La Manaña”
02. Michael Mayer, “Sully (Wolfgang Voigt Mix)”
03. Jens-Uwe Beyer, “Deutz Air 2”
04. Triola, “Jean Vigo”
05. Marsen Jules, “Point of No Return”
06. Mikkel Metal, “Recombination”
07. Anton Kubikov, “Ambianopolis”
08. Wolfgang Voigt, “Rückverzauberung 7”
09. Leandro Fresco, “El Cruce Imposible”
10. Terrapin, “Cirrus Minor”

• Kompakt: http://www.kompakt.fm

Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland start their own imprint, look to Warner Music Group for inspiration

With Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland, there’s an inherent risk of unexplained, spontaneous disavowal, but as music journalists, what are we supposed to do, not report the news?! To reference a relevant simile, they seem wholly unconcerned with whether or not they’re playing us like a fiddle. Only that’s not a fiddle, it’s a drum machine. Only that’s not them working the drum machine, it’s a clerk from the local convenience mart. The drum machine has since instantly transformed into one of those contraptions on which hot dogs rotate. The mixer is now a Slurpee machine. Oh, I guess I just… okay. Hm.

Regardless, The Wire received word that Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland have started their own label — an imprint called World Music Group. A statement accompanying the announcement reads as follows: “Most future recording/works will be issued or licensed through this channel.” And that’s it. Now we wait.

(In other news, listen to Blunt’s recent “Watch The Throne” collaboration with James Ferraro here, and take note of the fact that the Hippos In Tanks reissue of Blunt’s mixtape The Narcissist II will be released not too long from now, on November 26.)

• Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland: http://www.youtube.com/pollyjacobsen

Arise ye freaks! Arthur magazine rises from its resting place!

The once and future king of counterculture rags is back, after a faked death last March. Viva Arthur! Yesterday The Wire reported that the longhair lovers at Jay Babcock’s cult mag have roused themselves from their lengthy slumber and will be returning with a bigger, bolder, adjectives-ier look! The good people at Arthur have teamed up with Portland’s Floating World Comics to produce a black-and-white AND color broadsheet with ads on the back cover only, available for the low, low, low price of $5. So, yeah, it’s not free anymore.

The Beatles may have said “Can’t Buy Me Love,” but that was before Arthur existed. For what else is love, if it’s not the names of beloved, returning contributors like Byron Coley, Thurston Moore, “radical ecologist Nance Klehm,” “trickster activists Center for Tactical Magic,” Defend Brooklyn’s socio-political wizard Dave Reeves, and a holy “host of new, fresh-faced troublemakers”? (Quotes direct from the Arthur’s mouth.) Yasmin Khan is the art director on this here ship of fools. Arthur returns to this veil of sorrows December 22. Pre-orders are available from the magazine’s website.

Arthur: http://arthurmag.com

Spotify worth $3 billion without actually making any money

Because the Wall Street Journal has one of those annoying paywalls in place, Stereogum and FACT have stepped in to let us know that Spotify is being valued at a mindboggling $3 billion. Yes, dollars, and that’s up from an estimated $1 billion dollar valuation last year. With these astronomical overestimates, Spotify is making the rounds with its hat out, looking to collect more than $100 million from a variety of investors, including the nice, reliable guys at Goldman Sachs. Don’t ever say Wall Street bankers don’t know what they’re doing, folks.

Why is it so surprising that a company that gives away product for free in most instances is valued so highly (other than the whole giving things away for free thing)? Well, it seems that in the last two years Spotify has spent any revenue it earned from converting free listeners to paid subscribers on sales (advertising and royalties), and then they spent an enormous amount of non-existent capital on top of that to actually pay their employees and cover overhead costs.

While the service is incredibly popular in Europe and the US, with a huge share of the streaming music market, it’s not great at getting people to pay, and advertising is apparently not footing the bill (most likely because spots traded for royalty payments owed, instead of paid for outright). Essentially, the money they’re raising from investors is being used to keep the company afloat. No real return on investment is being realized here, so if you’re lucky enough to have ‘investment income,’ make sure to ask your banker if your money is going to a service that has no real likelihood of ever making any money to pay you back. Spotify is awesome and is a great way for people to explore and experiment with music, but like much about the music industry these days, the business model is not sustainable.

• Spotify: http://www.spotify.com

RIP: Pete Namlook, ambient/electronic producer

From Resident Advisor:

Esteemed German producer Pete Namlook has died of as-yet unknown causes.

The man born Peter Kuhlmann (“Namlook” is his name pronounced backwards) was an incredibly prolific artist from the ’90s on, releasing some 130 albums over the course of his career. These included numerous collaborations with artists like Richie Hawtin, Uwe Schmidt (as Atom Hart), Biosphere and Move D among many others. He also ran his own label, FAX +49-69/450464 (often known simply as Fax), which released more than 100 CDs and records in its first year of operation. Working on his own, Kuhlmann’s style was heavily influenced by Germany’s kosmische tradition and artists like Brian Eno, as well as classical and Eastern music.

Kuhlmann’s daughter Fabia released this brief statement to RA earlier today: “It is with much grief that we announce the passing of Peter Kuhlmann, AKA Pete Namlook. We are still shocked and are working on an official announcement that will follow soon to bring clarity to our minds. As word spreads on the internet more and more we just want to make clear that he died peacefully from as yet unspecified causes on 8th November 2012. We will announce more details as and when they surface.”

Kuhlmann was 51 years old. He was an inspiration to countless producers around the world, and his death comes as a big loss not only to those who knew or worked with him, but to the electronic music community as a whole. Our thoughts are with his family and everyone who was close to him.

• Pete Namlook: http://www.namlook.de

of Montreal launch Kickstarter campaign to finish tour documentary (but completely overlook the opportunity to offer skeletal lamps, controllerspheres, and false priest snuggies as donation incentives)

Stop the presses! Oh wait, what? They were already stopped because people don’t buy newspapers anymore? Well, in that case: Get out a sharpie and write this down on some rolls of toilet paper! Georgia-based purveyors of craze-balls hyperpsych (#crazeballshyperpsych) have gone and launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the expenses (e.g. digitizing of tapes, purchasing of hard drives, payment of camera crews, solicitation of… things that require solicitation) relating to the completion of a feature-length band documentary.

The thing is entitled Song Dynasties and has been in the works since 2007 when the band hired director Craig Zobel (Compliance, Great World of Sound) to film a couple of back-to-back L.A. shows after the release of that record everyone loves, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?. Apparently geeked on how fun the process was, Kevin and co. hired filmmaker Jason Miller (a.k.a. not this guy) to follow them around on their batshit Skeletal Lamping tour the following fall and have been amassing “hundreds of hours of footage” since then, including all the backstage shenanigans, studio wankery, tour bus doldrums, and festival festivity your little capacity for vicarious living can handle. They even dug up some mid-90s footage from the Elephant 6 days to give a more comprehensive scope to their story… just like you wanted them to do!

The campaign, which ends December 12, still has a ways to go to reach its goal of $75,000, but the band has a tasty menu of donation rewards lined up to make it worth your while, including album downloads, an exclusive vinyl release called “Young Froth / Taypiss” (apparently featuring extremely rare Montreal recordings); a deluxe, hand-numbered DVD of the documentary, props used in classic of Montreal music videos, and like 1,001 other things, the most embarrassing of which being the opportunity to dance up onstage at an of Montreal show in a wacky costume selected by the band! (The top prize, at $2,500, is unfortunately sold out already, but
included the opportunity for one lucky fan to get flown out to and put up in Athens [Georgia] for a screening of the film with the band. And I totally officially dare whoever that fan is to tell the band to their faces that they think it sucks.)

If successful, the film is promised to be ready by March. In the meantime, you’ll just have to entertain yourself by watching the documentary trailer below, viewing the band’ current tourdates, or listening to the Spacehog song “In the Meantime.”

11.28.12 - Miami, FL - The Stage
11.29.12 - Tallahassee, FL - The Moon
11.30.12 - Orlando, FL - The Plaza
12.01.12 - Mobile, AL - Alabama Music Box
12.02.12 - New Orleans, LA - Howlin’ Wolf
12.03.12 - Houston, TX - Warehouse Live
12.04.12 - Austin, TX - Mohawk
12.05.12 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theater
12.06.12 - Oklahoma City, OK - ACM @ UCO Performance Lab
12.07.12 - Omaha,NE - Slowdown
12.08.12 - Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall
12.09.12 - Chicago, IL - Metro
12.10.12 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
12.11.12 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
12.12.12 - Boston, MA - Paradise
12.13.12 - Philadelphia, PA - The Trocadero
12.14.12 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
12.15.12 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle

• of Montreal: http://www.ofmontreal.net
• Polyvinyl: http://www.polyvinylrecords.com

[Photo: Perry Julien]