Jason Lescalleet plans subscriptions for monthly series, new collaboration with Aaron Dilloway, answers our questions!
Tape maestro Jason Lescalleet, who really always wanted to be a magazine when he grew up, has recently announced that he will soon be one step closer to achieving his childhood goal by becoming something to which you can subscribe! Or, more specifically, beginning in 2015 with Volume Five in the series, you can subscribe to his This is What I Do monthly CD releases. The series returned back in October after a nearly four-year hiatus since Volume One in 2011. Volume Two, which kicked off the return, is a lovely, autumnal roil of a thing that is throughout punctuated by off-kilter and sample-based moments of left-turn surprise. In many ways, its occasional gentleness is a pretty stark contrast to the often harsh, and yes, needling assaults of tracks like “Needles” on Volume One. The first track of Volume Two, “Autumn Leaves (October 2014)” lays bare in its title the immediacy of Lescalleet’s project, while also perfectly encapsulating the sound and vibe of the whole release. You can read Asha Sheshadri’s take on the track over in Choco.
The deal with Volume Two in the context of the This is What I Do series was simple: it would be available from Lescalleet’s Glistening Examples Bandcamp page right up until he dropped Volume Three, at which point it would go away in a flurry of enforced ephemerality. And lo, it came to pass that Volume Three, with its even more under-the-table droning, angular sample work, and occasional blasts of noise entered our lives. On the whole, Volume Three is a bit more structurally varied than Two, with shorter pieces like “Sunset in C” and “As Seen from an Egg” counterbalancing longer works like opener “Holiday in November.” In “Complex Nova Systeme” there’s even a full-fledged beat that fulfills the dream that those of us who heard “Old Theme” on Songs About Nothing have been nursing ever since we were all like, “But I mean, you could also maybe do that for a little longer if you wanted?” Listen to it below.
Each new release is planned to arrive right around the middle of the month, with Volume Four scheduled to drop on December 16. You can find the full specific subscription details over on the Glistening Examples site, but there will also be the option to purchase each release individually throughout the year. Lescalleet is also planning a quarterly level of the subscription, in large part out of consideration for his international fans who might find themselves really taking it in the teeth with shipping costs if they bought each release individually. What a guy! In fact, speaking of Lescalleet being a guy, and one who can type using a computer no less, he was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions via email about the project, as well as about his recently announced and soon-to-be-released collaboration with Aaron Dilloway entitled Popeth; it’ll be out December 16 too, and it’s up for pre-order now. Peep the Q&A below.
Looking at the This is What I Do project as a whole, do you have any sort of an arc planned out for the way the 12 releases over the course of 2015 will unfold? Do you have them plotted out already, or maybe even have some of the recordings in the can already?
No. Part of this project’s value comes from the immediacy of the material. It will usually contain material that was recorded within the past 30 to 60 days. If not, it would then be material that might be weighing heavily on me during that month, or perhaps a retrospective release of material based on anniversary date. The series is also free from format. I have no predetermined criteria for what will appear on these discs.
I guess my only true criteria would be that it’s a peek into my creative work on a real time basis, and I hope that my selections will always be interesting to my audience.
Could you tell me a bit more about why immediacy is so valuable to you in the context of this project?
Immediacy means that I won’t have time to over think anything. Raw. Pure. Also, timely, current, now. A glimpse into my state of mind on a real time basis. Keeping it real.
It seems that putting a requirement on yourself to create and release that much material on such a clear schedule will have the effect of really honing your process–a process, which based on your work up until now, I imagine is already pretty well-honed. Do you foresee it having any measurable effects on how you work, or do you have any goals in that arena?
Absolutely. I now need to be as organized as possible. This series will require discipline.
Another consideration that eluded me when announcing this series is the monthly requirement to produce interesting cover art. This is a good thing, since I enjoy photography and visual art, so I will be honing these skills as well. The other disciplinary challenge will be to still allow myself ample time to study and to work on new concepts for future detail-oriented compositions. I have two or three ideas for future solo records and it will take a lot of time and effort to bring them to fruition. Thinking this through, out loud, right now, I’m thinking that I may need to rely on other labels to produce and publish these works to set them apart from my monthly series.
You mention trying to leave time for yourself to still work on other projects and compositions. How do you think all this consistent work will effect your approach to those?
I have two main concerns that I consider challenges or problems to solve when embarking on this project:
1.) I need to maintain a level of quality work with artistic integrity in a manner that satisfies me as an artist.
2.) I don’t want to flood the market with a lot of similar material that might cause my audience to lose interest in my work.
This was the main motive for deleting each subsequent volume on a monthly basis. The music will belong to the people that were interested enough to buy it, but it won’t be hanging around as a tedious reminder to the casual audience member that doesn’t need to hear every single composition that I publish. I have a large of catalog of available work and I still plan to release the occasional large scale solo album. Those releases are often very specific to a certain concept and they stand alone based on those concepts, away from this crazy schedule of artistic output.
I’m wondering how literal the This is What I Do title is. Is this process of constantly creating new compositions a thing you have been doing for a while simply without releasing all the results?
Yes, I’m always working with sound, and yes it has mostly gone unheard. I consider it my practice or something similar to a pianist or vocalist that practices regularly to maintain their chops. Now I am raising the bar for myself, since I’ll be showing my homework to the world. It’s like a monthly open workshop.
In light of that idea of “showing [your] homework to the world,” I’m thinking about how much of a personal/risky type thing this could be, to let listeners in on your process over such an extended period. Do you think you would’ve done something like at another, earlier stage in your career?
No, I doubt it. This is a combination of technological convenience and my path of exploring myself as an artist. In addition to the personal (intimate) risk you mentioned, it’s also a challenge to myself and my discipline, stamina, and artistic depth.
Were you planning something similar to this back in 2011 with Volume One?
Well, yes, it was always my plan to continue the series - but I never expected to do it monthly. Yearly, maybe, but never monthly.
Several of the pieces on Volume Two and Volume Three use samples pretty prominently. Could you tell me a bit about how you’re approaching those? With tracks like “Dwayne and the Bluebird Prophesy” from Volume Two, it’s clear that in addition to thinking of them as pure sonic material, you’re considering their “explicit” or surface-level content as well.
Yes, I think of them as pure sounds, much like phonography and field recordings - but I definitely consider their explicit/surface-level content since that’s part of the code that’s unavoidable. It is my goal to deliver more than just a listening experience. I want my audience to feel something when listening to my music.
And finally, if you could just tell me a bit about the new collaboration with Aaron Dilloway — how that came about, what to expect, and so on. I saw on the Glistening Examples Bandcamp that you recorded back in February — was the period of waiting between that recording process and the release just simply a reflection of the manufacturing process, or was there any substantial post-production work you did with it? (And if it was just a manufacturing time table, did that period give rise to any frustrations that might’ve led to the series we’re talking about?)
This duo came about quite naturally, since we’ve known each other for so long and we work with similar tools with a similar aesthetic, swimming in the same pools, talking to the same people about the same records, etc…
The raw material was recorded in February. We passed it back and forth a few time over the course of a few months before I gave it a final mixdown and mastering job. I think we were officially finished with it in June or July and I sent it off for pressing within a month from that date. The pressing took longer than expected, and yes that’s always frustrating, but it’s not something I like to bitch about in public. It’s part of the job, just like in any business and I need to find a way to make my label a successful endeavor while being realistic about these challenges. I learn a little bit more about the business with each record I publish.
I’m still a fan of music and a record collector at heart so the idea of publishing music for a living is exactly what I want to be doing right now. I’m hoping 2015 will be year of further growth for Glistening Examples and I’m looking forward to publishing music from a wide variety of other artists. There are several projects in the works, and I’m hoping that the TIWID series will be successful enough to assist in funding these future projects. Look for albums of music from artists such as Olivia Block, Glen Galloway (Glen Galaxy, Soul Junk, Truman’s Water), Chris Cooper (Angt Hase Pfeffer Nase, Fat Worm of Error), Kevin Drumm, and others.
Haunting my butt. Even if the name of Weyes Blood’s newest album does (unintentionally, as it turns out) take from a 1961 film explicitly having to do with hauntings, I personally didn’t get that impression at all listening to the LP just now — as the floor beneath me opened up to a wormhole-like space, and Teddy Roosevelt grabbed my hands for a 45-minute session of circular dancing. The admirable bear hunter also relayed information from a recent interview, where Natalie Mering elaborates on “innocents” as people of a certain age having hopes or expectations that are possibly naive. You think you deserve an unlimited supply of bubble wrap!? Wrong. The popping must be distributed evenly amongst the population.
You think you deserve a stellar performance from Weyes Blood and a full band accompanying her!? Well, who am I to serve as dream-crusher? Check the dates below. Western half of the continent: you’ll sadly have to wait for that in-person inducement of folk nostalgia.
12.10.14 - Brooklyn, NY - Glasslands *
01.10.14 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s
01.11.14 - Baltimore, MD - The Crown
01.13.14 - Durham, NC - The Pinhook
01.14.14 - Asheville, NC - Tiger Mountain
01.15.14 - Columbus, OH - Bourbon Street
01.16.14 - Chicago, IL - The Empty Bottle
01.17.14 - Detroit, MI - UFO Factory
01.19.14 - Toronto, ON - The Smiling Buddha
01.20.14 - Montreal, QC - Le Divan Orange
01.21.14 - Quebec City, QC - L’Agitée
01.22.14 - Boston, MA - TT The Bears
* Waxahatchee, Steve Gunn, The Goodbye Party
When you’re Johnny Jewel of Chromatics, you don’t give a FUCK about Christmas or Hanukkah or New Years Eve or Boxing Day or any of that stupid shit. Nope. When you’re the sexy, funky, electro-cosmic Johnny Jewel-Chromaticstein, you only care about… motha-fuckin’ Valentines Day. Aw yeah, baby.
See, as Pitchfork told us, Johnny has been heaping tons of unreleased music onto his SoundCloud page lately, and now comes word that Johnny’s band is planning on releasing a new album in 2015! It all makes so much sense now! God DAMN, I was worried before! Weren’t you?
Anyway, the new record is called Dear Tommy, and all we really know right now other than that is that it’s coming out “in time for Valentines Day” on the Italians Do It Better label. That’s it, folks. No release date, no scheduled tour dates, no tracklisting, no NOTHING.
Oh wait. Never mind. There’s totally a tracklisting for it. And some other fun stuff down below. Either way, happy holidays, folks! Let’s get all this holly-jolly bullshit out of the way so that February 2015 can come already, shall we?
Dear Tommy tracklisting:
01. Fresh Blood
02. In Films
03. Time Rider
04. I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around
06. She Says
07. Just Like You
08. 4 A.M.
11. Dear Tommy
12. Touch Blue
13. After Hours
15. In Silence
17. Endless Sleep
Seems insane, but about 10 years ago a class-action lawsuit was filed against Apple for some unsavory business practices. Allegedly, the California electronics giant deleted songs from consumers’ iPods without any prior warning, explicitly because the music was obtained from their competitors. Now, the plaintiffs are looking to get $350 million from Apple for the period between 2007 to 2009, citing that this money was spent trying to add the songs back to their collections.
Patrick Coughlin, an attorney representing the case, explained that when users tried to transfer music to an iPod from rival services, an error window would pop up and prompt them to restore their factory settings, a.k.a. deleting the hard drive. When users’ iPods rebooted, they were surprised to find that the songs in question had been deleted. Apple has countered this claim by saying that the measure was intended to boost security against a hacker loophole, and that users didn’t receive more notice about the deleted songs because it might be too confusing to explain the security issue.
All in all, this seems like a seriously first-world lawsuit. I don’t know who to believe, but I wish I could’ve deleted that U2 album as easily as Apple deletes potentially dangerous music. That thing stayed on my phone for like 2 months…it just wouldn’t go away no matter how I tried. Hmm, maybe we should file a class-action lawsuit against Apple for the U2 album next…
• Apple: http://www.apple.com
Thomas Edison was a dick. Couldn’t he just stick to being ahead of the curve in one particular area, as opposed to being a renaissance fuck face, inventing the spoon when a hollowed-out frozen snake head attached to a pencil would’ve worked just fine? You modern innovators should take a lesson from lovely Dane Else Marie Pade, who, in addition to almost single-handedly dismantling the Schutzstaffel during her World War II activist days (slight exaggeration, but she was imprisoned by the Gestapo), subsequently had a hawk-like, if incidental, focus on becoming Denmark’s “first lady of electronic music.” Now ponder who the second lady might be… that’s how good she was! Beyond imitation. Unsurpassed in talent. She studied with, ahem, musique concrète pioneer Pierre Schaeffer in Paris before creating her first electronic composition in 1958.
Her work continued until parenthood and closed-minded Danish critics compelled a lull, but now, in this arguable heyday of sound art, Important Records will be sponsoring the release of Electronic Works 1958-1995 on January 20 of next year. It’s billed as a 2CD/3LP set of Pade’s “most important” compositions — some of which you can listen to via YouTube, but as far as I know, no such compilation like this has ever been unveiled. Jacob Kirkegaard, with whom Pade recently collaborated, was the curator. D&M handled the mastering.
Electronic Works 1958-1995 tracklisting:
Disc 1: Faust Suite
01. Prolog i Himlen (4:18)
02. Faust & Mefisto (6:59)
03. Faust & Margrethes Kærlighed (7:20)
04. Margrethes Fordømmelse (4:13)
05. Rejsen til Bloksbjerg og Valborgsnat (8:25)
06. Epilog (4:47)
07. Lyd & Lys (4:43)
08. Syv Cirkler (7:17)
09. Etude (5:33)
Disc 2: Illustrationer
01. Himmelrummet (6:53)
02. Havkongens Slot (7:06)
03. Alfeland (6:10)
05. Kong Vinter (6:09)
05. Glasperlespil I (7:35)
06. Glasperlespil II (7:58)
• Important: http://importantrecords.com
From Warp Records:
We are shocked and saddened to share the news that Nick Talbot aka Gravenhurst has passed away aged 37. An immensely talented singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and journalist, he will be hugely missed. Nick’s family and friends request privacy at this difficult time
From Michelle Hilborne, Gravenhurst’s manager:
I am utterly devastated to confirm that Nick Talbot, also known under the performing name Gravenhurst, has passed away aged 37. The finest, most extraordinary and inspirational songwriter, singer and performer, and a remarkable producer and journalist, Nick’s work has deeply affected so many people all over the world. Outstandingly intelligent, compassionate, fascinating and witty, Nick was the dearest friend and his absence brings indescribable sorrow
• Gravenhurst: http://www.gravenhurstmusic.com
Baltimore’s Dope Body are in this thing ‘til they die. There are, primarily, two reasons for this. The first being that they recently released an album by the title of Lifer through Drag City. You don’t use that kind of title if you’re not in this for, well, life. The other reason being that they pledged their souls to Baphomet. As part of a dark bargain, Baphomet promised the band the ability to play in Dope Body for their entire natural lives and are, in fact, bound by that argument, lest they have their immortal souls obliterated. Fun stuff!
If you’re going to do this forever, though, you ought to do that right. Doing it right entails doing shows in the UK and Europe and, accordingly, that’s just what Dope Body are doing. They’ll be heading to Europe in the final days of January, then hopping around the continent through much of February. Through it all, they will be protected by Baphomet’s unholy powers. Thanks, B. Man!
Dope Body dates:
01.30.15 - Copenhagen, Denmark - Loppen
01.31.15 - Aalborg, Denmark - Northern Winter Beat Festival
02.01.15 - Hamburg, Germany - Hafenklang #
02.02.15 - Berlin, German - Kantine am Berghain #
02.03.15 - Prague, Czech Republic - Klub 007
02.04.15 - Nurnberg, Germany - K4
02.05.15 - Vienna, Austria - Fluc
02.06.15 - Meunchen, Germany - Kafe Kult
02.07.15 - Esslingen, Germany - Komma Winterfest
02.11.15 - Lyon, France - Grrrnd Zero
02.12.15 - Paris, France - L’Espace B
02.13.15 - Notthingham, UK - Stuck on a Name
02.14.15 - Cardiff, UK - From Now On Festival
02.15.15 - Manchester, UK - Gullivers
02.16.15 - Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club
02.17.15 - London, UK - Montague Arms
02.18.15 - Nijmegen, Netherlands - Merleyn
02.19.15 - Brussels, Belgium - VK
02.20.15 - Groningen, Netherlands - Vera
02.21.15 - Rotterdam, Netherlands - Worm
• Dope Body: https://www.facebook.com/pages/DOPE-BODY/310914069790
• Drag City: http://www.dragcity.com
The war on lucidity continues with Spencer Clark’s Fourth World Magazine Vol. II: Pinhead in Fantasia
It’s been a relatively quiet 2014 for the usually prolific Spencer Clark — America’s favorite Casioman packed up his label Pacific City Sound Visions earlier this year and relocated to Belgium to join long-time collaborator Lieven Martens Moana. Thankfully, our sans-Spencer days are over: Clark (and his post-Heaven’s Gate website) is back with Fourth World Magazine Vol. II: Pinhead in Fantasia, just in time for the post-Thanksgiving shopping season. And judging from the preview covered last week on Choco Grinder, I would definitely murder several people in a department store to get my hands on this LP.
Luckily, loss of life doesn’t have to happen, as avant-garde factory outlet Underwater Peoples is now Pacific City’s US distributor — they’ve got the album up for pre-order in their webstore. Even by Spencer standards, the record is one of Pacific City’s most far-out releases to date: Clark claims it was “recorded in an Open Air theater and in a golden metal box simulataneously,” there’s prominent use of synthesized renaissance instruments, and the physical release spans across four different types of media. The record comes packaged with a 12-page booklet, featuring contributions from Clark, David Keenan, and filmmaker AR Faust. Additionally, there’s limited-edition companion DVDs (by the aforementioned Faust) and cassettes; those are only available by contacting Underwater Peoples directly. May you never rest again, Spence.
Pinhead in Fantasia tracklist:
01. Pinhead in Fantasia
02. Female Cenobyte’s Descent into Komodo Garden
03. Frolicking and Monsters
04. The Fanfare of the Ascension of thee Facehugger
It is with great sadness and eternal admiration that we report the passing of rock and roll icon Ian McLagan. Ian was a member of the “Small Faces” and “Faces” and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. He died today, December 3, 2014, surrounded by family and friends in his adopted hometown of Austin, TX, due to complications from a stroke suffered the previous day. He was 69 years old. His manager Ken Kushnick says, “He was a beloved friend to so many people and a true rock n roll spirit. His persona and gift of song impacted the music across oceans and generations.”
Ian’s artistry, generosity and warmth of spirit touched countless other musicians and music fans around the world. His loss will be felt by so many.
Ian was scheduled to begin a North American tour today, opening for labelmate Nick Lowe.
• Ian McLagan: http://www.ianmclagan.com
Constellation is going hard in the 2015 paint and it’s not even 2015 yet. Not content with the two new records they’ve already announced — Matana Roberts’ COIN COIN Chapter Three and Siskiyou’s Nervous — they have now officially sung the song of their third release for next year. It’s their hat trick, if you will. I know I certainly will, because Constellation is a Canadian label and if there’s one thing I know about Canada it’s that everyone up there is a socialist hockey player.
That third record, though. It’s a new LP from singer-songwriter Eric Chenaux called Skullsplitter, a follow-up to 2012’s Guitar & Voice, an album that consisted of, in large part, just Chenaux’s often heavily effected guitar and plaintive voice stretching ballads out like gauze. Skullsplitter seems poised to extend this approach. On the record’s first single and title track (embedded below), Chenaux builds up this constantly confounding guitar backing track, one that sounds like an always shifting, always slipping slightly out of tune organ that never hits quite the same timbre twice, all the while held together by his smooth-as-ice croon. The production on the album reportedly made use of a number of extended techniques that include “physically swinging speakers and radical gating and panning” assisted by Chenaux’s longtime engineer, Radwan Ghazi Moumneh. And with that in mind, the album’s title suddenly makes way more sense; with all those speakers flying around, someone’s gonna get brained eventually.
The album is out February 17; you can pre-order it here.
01. Have I Lost My Eyes?
02. The Pouget
04. My Romance
05. Spring Has Been a Long Time Coming
06. The Henri Favourite
07. Poor Time
08. La Vieux Favori
09. Summer & Time
• Eric Chenaux: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eric-Chenaux/155636574621601
• Constellation: http://cstrecords.com