Tag Archives: Aguirre records

Sings from Space

biomechanoid

Like one of those curious gentlemen in a Lovecraft weird tale, Joel Vandroogenbroeck had been in quite a journey by the time he made contact with nameless horrors from the void: he had been in psychedelic battles in Brainticket, attended gamelan school in Java, and been exposed to the oscillator by Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze.

You can almost see the moment when armed with all of his accumulated knowledge, and empowered by this strange technology, he finally opened the gate: a face illuminated from below, bony hands feverishly manipulating knobs and cables, a moment of silence, and then an alien symphony seeping out of the speakers like the brittle leg of a cosmic spider, vibrations spreading through the ether with a message of awful suggestion.

Biomechanoid EP documents his interactions with those forces, and codifies sonically the impossible landscapes that they revealed to Vandroogenbroeck. It sounds like Ennio Morricone’s exercises in dissonance, but sweeping the mute face of the sky instead of the shadows of the den of the killer; or BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s postcards from hidden micro-realities, if only these realities hosted malevolent intelligences with the pervasive and intimate reach of physical laws.

Joel Vandroogenbroeck – Sign From Space

Luckily, Vandroogenbroeck didn’t share the fate of most explorers of the esoteric in the weird literature. He returned from beyond the threshold with Biomechanoid EP, which he published on Coloursound in 1980, with the wonderful H.R. Giger artwork that you see above, and which is now being reissued in vinyl by most excellent Aguirre Records. You can acquire it here.

This was only the first of his many releases with Coloursound – we will quite probably bring you some more in days to come.

Pastoral Nightclub

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20JFG went on a trip this weekend, without stepping on train, bus or plane, this trip didn’t even require walking.

We flicked a switch in the desktop of this machine, and we were washed ashore in Proteus.

What is Proteus?

In haste:

1. Proteus is a procedurally generated 8-bit island developed by Cambridge programmer Ed Key. The visitor to Proteus roams its hills and valleys, like Key strolled down English fields when he was a child. The visitor also roams the melodies and moods of Proteus, the vegetable ragas and fuzzy drones of a vivid dream enacted live, so that it can become the substrate for further dreams. Oakland based musician David Kanaga is the marshal of Proteus’ musical winds.

2. Proteus is a language with one word.

The word not spoken is outside, everything minus Proteus.

The word spoken is Proteus, a poem broadcasted from a radio tuned to the cycles of an island which may be heaven or limbo or that odd place where we scatter from our scattered bodies. Its alien words rain upon us while we descend a hill, into algorithmic clouds blocky like the clouds which are one of a children’s first 5 drawn shapes (body, house, sun, tree, bird), and we are drenched, cleansed, rejoice.

3. Proteus is a paradise and its denial, arcadia tinged with the sadness of alien memories and abandoned ruins, and of the realisation that we will soon be ejected (also so that we can carry its message outside like we are doing now – is it a weaponised meme for mass enlightenment? Hum).

4. Proteus is a Pacific Sandpit dreamed in that theoretical space where the astral personas of Philip Glass, Terrence Malick and Notch play together in a summer night.

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It is like the songs we leave with you today. We could easily imagine them chopped and scattered in graciously self-contained modules of feeling, across the spaces of Proteus:

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Anarresian physicist Shevek integrated simultaneity and sequence with intervals, making possible the ansible for trans-galactic communication, and also faster than light transport.

Minimal Electronic legend J D Emmanuel achieves the same effect with his synthesiser meditations: dissolution of eternal distances, opening of wormholes into a vast series of vistas, most of them of barrenness, silence and peace.  It is not a coincidence that his latest release of live pieces in the phenomenal Aguirre records is called ‘Time Traveller’.

J D Emmanuel – At One Ment

You can acquire ‘Time Traveller’ here.

looksrealistic

Constellation Tatsu cadets Looks Realistic produce, on their part, chunks of sound of an almost geological ponderousness, tectonic beats dropped at the pitch with which glaciers descend upon the south, like brave astronauts voyaging between the elements. We then experience a combination of awe (the epic through which our world is formed) and homeliness (for this is the state of the world to which we owe our existence).

Looks Realistic – Happening In Your Community

Acquire their ‘Where does it Come From?’ tape from Constellation Tatsu.

Now we know what gives it mass, but what gives it soul?

Featuring : Black Sky Chant

Black Sky Chants’ awesomely titled ‘I’ll sleep until I see the moon’ cassette is a mass celestial download of messages from civilisations that are, in some cases, beyond dust, and in others, after resurrection.

You can read in its tracks what you will, aesthetic eruptions in Solaris’ id, or messages from our alien fifth column’s dearest ones, encoded by a non-decimal numbers station somewhere in Luna’s dark side.

We find a melancholy epic encoded in Strobe Glide, like the mysterious melody that lured Warlord Shingen to his death in Kagemusha, but playing across the colossal battlefields of a stellar siege worthy of Iain M. Banks’ ‘The Use of Weapons’. A melody knowingly converged upon by its victim, for, as we now realise, life isn’t all that rare in this vast universe of ours. Beauty, ah, beauty, that’s a different affair.

Black Sky Chants – Strobe Glide

There are only 75 copies. Go get from the extraordinary Aguirre Records.

The cosmic fiddle

Featuring : Mind Over Mirrors

Recent excavations in the Appalachian Mountains carried out by personnel at the Department of Geology at Miskatonic University have unearthed an artificial cave complex brimming with enigma. What has been found there that has sent the academic networks into an paroxysm of debate, speculation and gossip?

It’s not the smoothness with which the millennial passages have been polished, or the detail if the glyphs etched in their surfaces, in a language that scholarly experts have as yet been unable to determine. It is not the pile of large winged – yet vaguely anthropomorphic! – Fossils at the bottom of one of the wells, or the golden, obviously unnatural, artefacts piling up in its cellars.

No, it’s none of these things. It is a warm hum & a sad melody produced by one of the self-same artefacts, a receiver whose antenna digs up through the rock until the apex of this Appalachian mountain, to listen to the clear night skies, to the cosmic fiddle playing in a place faraway, outside of space and time.

Mind Over Mirrors – Harmattan Morning

Mind Over Mirrors’ High & Upon reissue of the Gift Tapes cassette we reported to you just under a year ago delivers messages from the ‘dot matrix printer at the end of the universe.’ You can stream/acquire piecemeal the rest here, and purchase the whole thing on lovely vinyl from Aguirre Records.

The New Slow

Featuring : Angel Eyes + Pulse Emitter

(Excerpt from a column for Wired Magazine by Kevin Kelly’s cryogenically preserved brain, Standard Year 2104. Note that we have pruned it down from 30k words. Images from Sci-fi-o-rama and 50watts).

I remember our apocalyptic fears at the beginning of the millennium. No, I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill eschatology, the advent of the saviour, the Antichrist or an all-mighty Artificial Intelligence that would enslave us (although there was a lot of that too). No, the fears I am talking about were baser, more pedestrian, and better grounded.

We were concerned about our ability to digest all the information that we (and our chipped-up machines) were producing. The web had turned into this data and content churning leviathan, constantly bombarding us with a gruel-stream of stuff- important news and trivia, hints of momentous change unfolding and already-expired-by-the-time-you-read-it-gossip. The mundane bowel movements of the ever-expanding social graph splattered all over our personal dashboard, and we despaired.

It was a time of angst, we felt like we couldn’t find the needles in the haystack, and even when we found something that looked like a needle, we had no time to stitch a lovely sweater with it, because another 50 things had come up. We felt in a constant state of missing out, and in a constant state of being missed out on.

Silicon Valley built filters, algorithms and recommendation systems, that like an army of helpful butlers tried to map the country of our passions, and harvest the brain-stuffs that we wanted. Problem is that what we had wanted yesterday wasn’t what we wanted today, or what we needed today. A new dysfunction emerged, discipline bingeing, and with it whole tribes of monomaniac savants who knew everything there was to know about a slice of knowledge disintegrating into nada.

As usual, we were stumbling with the same stone for the nth time. Economists such as Robert Lucas had demonstrated the futility of using models of the past to predict the future in the 1970s.  The Black Scholes equation brought the financial system to its knees in the early noughts because it assumed as much, hell, David Hume had been banging on about this stuff in the 18th Century! We just didn’t realise that the problem of induction applied to ourselves as much as it did to the world around us.

Thankfully, the flesh geeks succeeded where the digital ones had failed. They realised that the solution to our quandary wasn’t to narrow our focus, but to stretch it. Super-evolved and mega-powered, genetically customised versions of Ritalin came into the market, mixed up with variants of methamphetamine purged of their side effects. Their use spread from students, academics and media people to the broader population. Cognitively boosted and freed from the need to sleep, we were now able to absorb the information deluge without bursting at the seams.

It was as if the world had slowed down to bullet-time, we walked leisurely around the artefacts, texts and ideas surrounding us, admiring their intricacy as they floated in stasis. We could become polymaths, connoisseurs, flaneurs again, so a renaissance in creativity and innovation ensued. Some feared that the abolition of sleep would deprive us of our dreams, that primeval father of muses and omens. Such fears where unjustified. Dreams accompanied us when we made our transition to this new altered state. We now live in an awesome surreality surrounded by whimsical hallucinations and strange ghosts. They communicate with us. Reality has become fantasy, and fantasy has become reality.

The race between our ability to create and our ability to understand continues, but thanks to Chandrata Law’s (“the number of bits that can be meaningfully absorbed by a suitably enhanced human double approximately every six months), we are winning.

It took me 10 seconds to write this article, while I delighted in every fractal riff-chord of the entire opus of the late 21st Century quantum physics punk movement.

Where to now?

Pulse Emitter’s Hermits describes the following vignette: the whole of humanity, encapsulated in the young and tender body of the star-child is gently picked up from the black and silky carpet where it has long pottered alone, and placed on the lap of grandfather universe, from where it stares up, as if standing at the foothills of the tallest mountain, up a silver beard where stars are made, into a benign face that looks down with a wise smile and glimmering pulsar eyes, is it a wordless lullaby it mutters?

Or a description of the path to be followed, above and beyond, encoded in portentous sonic phase-shifts, vaster than empires, and more slow?

{…or a non-creepy version of a Werther original’s ad, put together by Stanley Kubrick and Tangerine Dream. }

Pulse Emitter – Hermits

Go get Pulse Emitter’s Aeons from Aguirre Records.

Angel Eyes has by now been probably compared to John Maus, for his music seems to arrive to us through a modified version of ‘air’ where the usual space that the void occupies has been filled with candy flavoured cotton, or the atomic particle equivalent of storm clouds, which muffle, refract and distort what otherwise would have been pristine pop ballads, making them feel otherworldly and arcane (which they are).

But where John Maus’ music draws us inside the claustrophobically alluring paradigm of a weird genius, Angel Eyes conveys abstract emotions, represented through primary colours that fade into reduced form syrupy symphonies, in ‘Off the Floor’, a gallop across unblemished spring valleys, possibly of an alien planet.

Angel Eyes- Off The Floor

Get Angel Eyes’ Vice to Vice Cassette from the excellent Moon Glyph.

The Wild Blue Yodel

Featuring : Drexciya + Panabrite

As you know, 20jazzfunkgreats operates from Brighton and Hove, a tatty boulevard of half-fulfilled dreams that dips its crumbling belly in the Sea.

The Sea brands our soul, and that of our fellow citizens, with the imprint of its mysterious undercurrents, promises of freedom and a hint of rot, the Sea drives us mad.

We glimpse svelte aquatic creatures bobbing in the company of the waves, titillating furiously under the fiery kiss of a summer sun. We gasp at the rumble of abominable refugees from the distant sidereal void, crawling within their sealed tombs under its fractious and snarling surface, on a stormy night. We hear that an army of tramps congregates in the beach there and then, and draw succour from the psychic effusions of the apocryphal Gods. Thee cyclopean high, only way to steel oneself against the street rigours of our windy winters mate, frosty and unforgiving hellions those, also spat by the sea, ah, the Sea.

The Sea messes with our perception of the space-time continuum. We remember once, when we lived life like the hard-core ruffians that that we once truly were, we walked to the beach from an infinitely looping debauch, and we gazed into the Sea, one of our companions saw farther and deeper, vast structures rising against Brighton and Hove, like alien oil rigs pumping Mother Earth for all she’s worth, or an abstract armada ready to pummel us with a squawking hail of metallic vultures, maybe a tableaux of the evolutionary spiral whence all life came, trembling like a magnificent panto horse with too many legs, too many eyes.

Maybe.

The sea plays tricks on us, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t true.

In the first of this week’s Aguirre Records harbingers, we dive down the fathomless blue with Panabrite.

His Sub-Aquatic Meditations render Laurie Spiegel’s schema of dusty geographical strata in a space with no paths (or all paths), and texture-maps them with a smooth Libaekian skin. The chamber thus architected, and framed by pillars of iridescence and refraction, is a platform whence we ascend towards the light, buoyed by both nature and spirit.

Panabrite – Neptune Visions in the Cryst

Buy Sub-Aquatic Meditations from Aguirre Records.

No aqua-themed music scribble worth its salt could fail to feature Drexciya, those masked tech-commandoes who aimed their sonic jets towards the below, instead of the above. Sea Snake is a strobing chiaroscuro of bass bounce, 808 snap and synth liquidity, joyfully alien party anthem for the scions of the African diaspora who escaped the slaver ships, and built an underwater civilisation at the bottom of the Atlantic, Drexciya.

Drexciya – Sea Snake

As included in their 1992 debut, Deep Sea Dweller.

Marooned in a placid ocean of candle-scented syrup

Featuring : Charlatan + Roy Orb D. MT.

(He has all the answers)

20jazzfunkgreats has applied a sound-mining algorithm to its e-mail intake and established that, after filtering out the trash (90% overall), 45% of what remains falls within the loose boundaries of new age-new kosmische-new minimalism-new ambient or combinations thereof (this is after accounting for the longer average length of songs within this collection of genres).

And we love it – we are after all post-psychedelean wannabe seers, and cherish any music that gives us an excuse to trample the corpus of quantum physics, psychoanalyse the constellations, or theorise about the day to day dynamics of a recreational planet where all the parameters of bliss are optimised.

At the same time, we are somewhat mystified by the abundance of such music in a world convulsed by political, social, economic and technological upheaval – if a race of aliens were to tune into the currents of the alternative underground, it would immediately assume that mankind lives in a situation of almost intolerable harmony, where a race of philosopher kings lounges in golden castles, delicately contemplating the nature of self, void and their interactions. After which the self-same snooping aliens would light up some of that good old xeno-drug whose effects are equivalent to the marihuana/cough syrup that this music seems to be so well aligned with, and accelerate towards the closest event horizon never to be seen again.

Which provides a potential explanation for the steady supply of such soothing, uncanny compositions: they soundtrack our mellow descent into the black hole and whatever awaits beyond, they are a source of relaxation, their smooth synth-waves blunt the jagged angles of a complex, stressful and even dangerous world they overlay like one of those ersatz-realities designed by our synthetic overlords in the Matrix (or the Invisibles). This is all well and good, we are suckers for escapism and fantasy, but we can’t help but feel that this music supports the strategic equivalent of ‘burying our head in the sand’, which doesn’t bode great for the sort of global change that we feel is needed. Chill out isn’t a likely motor of socio-economic transformation.

Hold on, but didn’t kosmische, one of the archetypes of the modern hush paradigm, spawn from revolutionary cells sticking it up to the man, negating the conventions of commoditised pop music to create a space for communal meditation and eventual enlightenment? True that, young padawan. Still, we don’t see much of that collectivistic apparatus surrounding this new transcendentalist wave. If anything, we suspect that one of the reasons for its popularity is that it is non-disruptive, easily enjoyed in the background as one goes about with the daily routine (which is what Eno initially intended), individually, headphone-clad and i-device plugged, isolated. It surely does make my commuting much smoother.

And even if it aspired to utopia, it would be a second-hand one, which is a subject that Simon Reynolds has aptly touched on, and we won’t get into here.

So, what do we do then? We bear all of these things in mind while we delve into this placid ocean for a handful of unique pearls rare in every artform, which are the expression of individual creativity, and genuine additions to the honourable canon. We do this very aware of the challenges inherent to practice in this un-commercial musical realm (a political statement in itself?).

Today, we constrain ourselves in our description, relinquishing the infinite possibilities of a barely explored universe, to bring things down to Earth, the day-to-day routines and happenings which we believe this abstract music has the potential to illuminate in new and unexpected ways.

Inception

One of the men who built this house recently undertook in the ultimate act of creation, bringing new life upon our planet.

As one who hasn’t yet followed in his wake, I can only wonder what it must feel like to, deep in the night, when the only sound to be heard is the smooth breathing of that small creature sleeping safe, navigating unfathomable dreams animated by portentous images just about impressed (and regarding which it harbours no expectations yet), what it must feel like to behold that small creature sleeping safe, which is you yet isn’t you, is less you every day as it runs towards becoming itself.

A sweetness, hopes, worries, and also that sadness which is the perennial shadow of our most important acts. But this night, mostly a sweetness.

Charlatan – Seed and Light

Charlatan is Brad Rose of the mighty Foxy Digitalis, you can get Equinox from the similarly mighty Aguirre.

Transition

One of the men who builds this house has been sailing the perilous straits of the actual housing market.

As one who still rents, and was too busy to examine the first two abodes he ended up inhabiting, I can only wonder what it must feel like to gaze into the bare spaces of multiplying possibility which is every visited property, bounce potential futures against its angles and glide overs its curves, visualise the vistas from within in a fast-forward motion through the stations, dwell in the nature of light and the scenes that it may illuminate, operationalize all these parameters, estimate their value and introduce them into equations that will only be resolved when you jump into the abyss.

Become a key that opens the door to your castle.

Roy Orb D.MT.- Kolibri Song

You can get Roy Orb D. MT.’s Doctor of Metaphysical Healing from Moon Glyph.