Judith’s work has previously been published by labels including Blank Forms, Black Truffle, Another Timbre, Marginal Frequency and caduc.
Artist notes: Composed by Judith Hamann 2020-21 Additional mix and mastering by Alan F. Jones, Laminal Audio, Tracyton WA
In July 2020, after several years without a home, I ended up moving into a small, one room apartment in Moabit, Berlin, a pandemic fallout accident/lucky break. The apartment is in the hinterhaus (back house) in the Mietskaserne configuration of Berlin apartments, where the street facing vorhaus (front house) is large and originally housed the bourgeoisie, while the smaller apartments behind it were for the working class. Historically, the further back you went, the darker and smaller the dwellings were, and the poorer the inhabitants. The idea behind this approach to urban design, was that despite the marking of social and class difference, building economic diversity into each overall ‘house’ would in some way insulate neighbourhoods against economic mono-cultures, and that despite not aiming to actually change economic disparity, that shared spaces would create a more integrated, harmonious society.
My apartment is at the very back of the back house, and looks onto a small configuration of (inaccessible) divided gardens shared by three buildings, a secret little hinterhof; a backyard if you will. It is leafy, and in summer oh-so-green in that northern European way, populated with sycamore and firs, slick leaved ivy advancing up the wall, european magpies with their brush of luminous cobalt green tail feathers, rare and magical visits from two shy woodpeckers, a pair of nesting pigeons, a charm of goldfinches, a ubiquity of sparrows, collective nouns for days.
I’ve never lived in Europe and I’ve also never really lived like this, in such dense stacking, with so many lives audible at once. I’ve always lived in sprawling lower density cities, Narrm (Melbourne), San Diego, always within easy reach of eucalyptus and visible horizons.
This hinterhof acts as a reverberant sound space, a constellation of reflective angular surfaces that mean that all sound that finds its way in, from its inhabitants and the surrounding streets, bounces around this shared basin. There are resonant frequencies to the hinterhof, a tiny glow of 100khz, an aura of 350-ish blooming around certain sonic events. Each conversation, bird call, fork against plate, gust of wind or sheet of rain, amateur music practice hour, home renovation activity, traffic snarl, party or quarrel, ends up part of my field of listening. Sometimes I feel a little like an eavesdropping version of Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window, but listening for contour instead of content, a different kind of trace.
In the autumn, these sounds floated in through wide open windows, but as the weather changed, so did the kinds of sounds and the filters and bandwidths for how I heard/could hear this quasi-hive space I now inhabited. In the Berlin low skied winter, the voices of my neighbours seep in through the ceiling, my heating whistles, fridge clicks and hums, water pipes sing, the old bathroom window that doesn’t ever quite close letting in brittle breezes and rattling leaves, discussions between the birds.
I don’t really want to think about this piece as yet-another-lockdown-piece (which of course in many ways, it is), yet the limits of my space and resources, the horizons of my day to day listening have of course shaped it. The hinterhof is in many ways the only collective sounding I can respond to right now. I’ve been recording the porous space that is my apartment for months now, dangling a mic out the window while I’m reading, recording the drones of the heating, the snatches of neighbours practicing, construction workers next door drilling with the radio on, the snow. I had been thinking about the idea of collapse in relation to sound fields a lot in the work I was making last year, and that has also seeped into this project. I don’t mean that in any representational sense, but more that by collapsing temporal layers, days into days, different kind of spaces and weather and time into each other, whether that can create a new imaginary listening space, an impossible surface that still communicates something, generates some kind of new field of hearing, which in turn, for me, folds into other kinds of mingled, imaginary musics.
Sometimes I feel I may have become quite strange.
So, I started humming along with the heating and the contours of voices leaking from upstairs, playing cello along with the low-mid range resonances of the hinterhof, weaving in recordings of people’s voices who are far away and who I miss so much, fabricating a kind of imagined shared space. The pitched material is drawn out from the frequencies I hear in the hof recordings, via the mediation of listening to/with the apartment. From extending them outwards, through that process I uncover harmony, relational connections, gestures, interplay. In a way, I am mapping and then feeding back into the space the same territories, just through different filters: through voice, electronics, through the mediating bodies of the cello and my own body.
My friends and loves are often my dreams these days, and I appear in theirs. A friend’s dream about my death made its way into this piece, he sent me a video message about it, about crying dreams, about how it feels to touch that space in dreamed worlds. Listening with the hinterhof over several months has made me think about communal listening, shared listening, thinking about how we can connect through hearing the same space, how we might touch on a shared feeling through a shared hearing, in some kind of analogue to how we might touch in dreamed spaces.
I know that we don’t/can’t experience or hear the ‘same’ thing and that listening positionality plays a significant role in this, especially my own: that of a white, settler-colonial listener. The thing I’ve been thinking about as I worked on this piece is that while I don’t know my hinterhof neighbours, us back-of-the-back-house people who ended up sharing this yard, in some way we do form a community via this aural space. We hear each other, we somehow navigate by a communal composite sounding, albeit it, perhaps, mostly unconsciously.
What does it enact to share a quotidian sonic space, to hear the same reflections, frequencies, and contours, even if mediated by windows and floors, ceilings and walls? More specifically to this time perhaps, what does it do or comment on in relation to questions of isolation? Can you consider yourself part of a community that is framed only by a shared listening experience? Is it possible to feel a sense of solidarity or belonging despite our atomised apartment living, via what we hear?
I know that this space for listening has affected the shape and the weight of my own loneliness this winter lockdown, in the way one might bounce its heft on your palm like a stone, feeling its material loading, its density, contours, and textures. I also think about the kinds of poverty and density of living which this house would have once held. The listening space of this hinterhof was designed for a particular class and economic strata of people, so in some ways, we are all listening through an old instrument: a sonic space whose resonance is defined via a residual architecture of inequality, intended for a very different audience (although I doubt that ‘audience’ was ever really considered with sonic intentionality in this design at all).
Perhaps this piece is a kind of working through, a process of uncovering and responding to my own listening position in relation to where I am now.
Deep Listening, to me, speaks to a kind of porous listening space, a practice of allowing other beings, phenomena, into an embodied and responsive kind of hearing. There’s a section in Dylan Robinison’s (brilliant) book Hungry Listening, where there is a discussion between two settler listeners about deep listening as a movement towards an “ideal”, and thus a process, a practice, something in motion that troubles the world/self distinction in a specific way. I think perhaps its framing these days, often, is posed as some kind of interface between a nature/culture binary, but I think it’s more about a process/practice of undoing that opposition. I would also suggest that deep listening is not passive, it is a kind of action but it is also not about control or mastery. A lot of my work and research inhabits these process/performance based spaces specifically, living in-between concept and outcome, I’m interested in the navigation of the task of performance and the materiality of that practice, in the idea that the ephemeral is not immaterial (hi Muñoz), in how we might begin to consider ways to un-settle performer positionality. I suspect that folded into this, is a kind of relative, a cousin or thereabouts, to deep listening: that of an active, multi-perspectival listening/performer assemblage.
Deep listening is also, I feel, a way of entering into a queer listening frame or practice, not only because of its origins in queer femme community and of course, Pauline Oliveros’ work, but also through what it shifts, where it places us, its troubling of the listener as either a universal or a singular subject position.
Is there a relationship between deep listening and durational or long-form listening in this piece? In some way, perhaps. I think here about La Monte Young’s “tuning is a function of time” quote, which directs us towards the notion that compositional material asks something of us, that its relational properties enact a claim of desire, in a sense: that of determining the rate and scale of a temporal unfolding. I’m not sure that this piece is necessarily a very good example of deep or durational listening on my part… It’s much more active and episodic, it is blurry, far thicker with information than how I mostly work and make sounds, but I think for now, that this is merely part of my process of trying to be actively listening-with/within this space, with this yard, part of the new sonic community I have arrived in, some kind of dwelling space in between resonance and interruption, or perhaps, an embrace of the idea of interruption as, in itself, a kind of resonance."
r beny is an ambient electronics project from Northern California-based musician Austin Cairns. It is an outlet for the processing of the volatile conditions of emotion and nature, primarily expressed through the use of synthesisers, samplers, and other electronic instruments.
"Artist notes: This piece of music is a map. Tones, textures, and echoes representative of a geography and a time. (0:00) A river of reflection begins to emit a sparkling glow. I think of you in passing sometimes, sometimes often. A singer hums in duet with the light of the river. (5:16) The singer hums alone. (5:50) Alone in the pavilion. The corridors of memory are filled with static, its resolution degrading softly in time. (9:02) The buildings are long gone. A forest knoll, roots and soil woven. I’m sorry things didn’t end up the way we thought it would. (13:36) Every wave erodes the land (16:40) until there is nothing left, but seafoam and dust. (17:00) The singer hums along with the organ, somewhere in a meadow jutting out over the sea.
I consider deep listening as listening with entities other than your ears. With your mind, your body, and your soul. Resonating with recorded material on a deeper frequency. Written and recorded from December 2019 to December 2020, at home in Northern California. Composed with Novation Summit, Tasty Chips GR-1, Ciat-Lonbarde Cocoanuts, Oto Bam, Marantz PMD-420 tape recorder."
Harkening Etudes: Three Numerical Insufflating Sound Exercises. Composed by Angel Bat Dawid
"According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary an Etude is a composition built on a technical motive but played for its artistic value. These three original compositions for clarinet and piano are designed to insufflate breath into the ears as sonic creative adventures monitored by the time signature of each etude. This technique is to abide the harkened in transmuting sound and breath into the ears.
I wanted to include breath as part of the listening process. I really want folks to inhale and exhale and then go on a ride of different sounds. Breathe into your ears…they need air too.
Breathe with your ears…
Practice the skill."
Theodore Cale Schafer is a Detroit based musician. His work primarily consists of laptop manipulation of field recordings, digitally sourced audio, and instrumentation.
"Artist Notes: I usually try not to talk too much about my own music. I feel like it has a face value and everything else drawn from it is reflection. It has personal meanings, but in a way that is abstracted and singular. I don’t want to talk about it like it’s important.
The track is a handful of ideas I may or may not have developed over the past year. Spent a lot of time in Louisiana just looking around at the nature I was in. Drove from there to Kansas City, saw some friends. Then I was home and got to hang out with my parents. It happened in between all of that and trying to be social enough to feel okay about life during Covid. I have been thinking a lot about what I expect from music, for better or for worse.
I have never really considered doing any deep listening. I know I have done a version of it many times, mostly while driving on the freeway."
Fizzing with nostalgic goodness, Ssiege’s follow-up to the cherished ‘Fading Summer’ album is kissed with a similar sort of brittly blissed serenity and melancholic appeal
Marking his debut with Knekelhuis, the five tracks on ‘Meteora’ join the dots between romantic ‘80s synth soundtracks, the kind of emotive post-industrial explored by Caroline K, and the eternally effective wooze of BoC or Bochum Welt, but articulated with a personalised melodic voice that really speaks to us, and maybe you, on this one.
Equally sharply poised between its precision tooled machine drum patterns and lissom arps, Siege injects a beautifully warm spirit to the album with a grasp of extended melody that wraps the record up in ribbons. On ‘Il Re Delle Mandorie’ he slips us into daydreamy reveries with searching arp leads and lilting guitar that sounds like Vini Reilly reworking BoC’s take on ‘Poppy Seed’ by Slag Boom Van Loom, and ‘Nebbia Spugnia’ shares a gorgeous sort of shoegaze-meets-sad rap air with the recent Sharp Veins album. ‘Il Peso’ follows to the EP’s slowest, brooding point recalling a desiccated adjunct to Pye Corner Audio, while the title tune shores up in witch house interzones like some Salem cut that could have feasibly appeared in 0PN’s soundtrack for ‘Uncut Gems’, or even one of the most aching moments on Made’s ‘Untitled’ album (which was crafted with vintage Æ synths.)
Timelessy effective, we’re sure you’ll agree.
‘Turtle Trax’ catches the pooter hooligans squeezing out 91 minutes of mind-bending metaplasmic electronics for Rome’s prolific Superpang label.
One of more than 60 (and counting) releases on the excellent Superpang, EVOL’s trio of ’Turtle Trax’ follow their ‘Goofy Tape’ with a deep focus on sensuously resonant, slowed down and flattened acid that really gets upside your swede. They’re each uncompromising in the classic style of most EVOL gear, but also with a rich synaesthetic appeal which really works its magic with durational immersion, kinda like an acid massage or surprisingly relaxing brain douche.
Introducing Italy’s ace Superpang label to these pages, Aimée-Sofia Brown’s Akira Sileas project ventures three cuts of tart, rhythmic modular electronics sure to pique interest of NYZ nuts
Part of the label’s remit spanning a rhizome of underground electronic music made during lockdown, ‘Jump Skiff’ gives an electric shock of a handshake (or static electric from rubbing elbows) from Sileas, demonstrating her taste for brittle, asymmetric rhythms between the truncated dembow dip of ‘Kombinat’, the jaggedly shatterproof plong of ’13 Seconds’ recalling playfully skewed generative vignettes from NYZ, and, at its sharpest, a strange rhythmelodic twyst ‘Étude’ coming off like a spannered Cylob jag. Run go check the masses of madness on this label!
Wandering mystic Jackson Bailey aka Tapes returns to Good Morning Tapes on a vinyl edition of his ’Silence Please’ suite, as found on a rare cassette edition in 2018.
After ticking off musical trips to Japan, the Caribbean, and Nebraska, we return to Tapes’ Indian sojourn for a hypnotic reminder of his omnivorous tastes, rolling out four cuts of balmy tabla and new age arp ragas that take on a new life on vinyl. It’s kinda mad how he applies a Midas touch to everything in earshot, always getting down to the quintessence of whatever style he picks, but always with a sort of necessary, raw vivacity that knits all his work together.
DJs, early morning dancers and Yoga enthusiasts will be in their element; the awning drones and rippling tabla of ‘Part 1’aligns the chakras for a supple session taking in something like Charanjit Singh-meets-Steve Reich in the phasing loll and harmonious choral motifs of its Part 2, before he brings the crunchy drums forward in Part 3 primed to get Goan sand tramplers going, and really pushes out to the stars in the supremely heady 7 minutes of Raagini Ni, with its lushly coruscating, just intonation tuned arps allowed to bleed into the red.
Kush Jones makes strong, deft moves at 160bpm on a six-track self-release
‘Strictly 4 My CDJZ 13’ sees him absorb some of the ambient tones and feels from his 2020 house/electro turn for Future Times into his more typical footwork styles with lush, hybrid results. The junglist crew will be all over his choppy, fleet-footed madness ‘Keeps Playing With The Breaks’ and the shudder of ‘Dissolving’ on a sorta ’93 Bukem tip, while making it super floaty nice with the plush, buoyant pads and weightless kick propulsion of ‘F Zero’, and bringing it down to 4Hero-esque breakbeat swerve with the whirring mechanics and gossamer jazz chords in ‘What The Dream Was Made Of’ and more quizzical electro jazz-funk of ‘Donations.’
Fathoms deep tape loop dirt from Muscut and Shukai boss Dmytro Nikolaienko. Properly faded tripbient zoners for fans of Jan Jelinek, Jake Muir, Andrew Pekler et al.
For his Faitiche debut, Nikolaienko excavated his tape archive, finding the most interesting loops and using his collection of analog machines to play the loops like an instrument. To make noise, he would create saturation, and to create flutter, he moved the mechanical head manually over the moving tape. So the tracks are blessed with the haunted flavor of mid-20th Century tape music, but constructed with a more contemporary ear for texture, timbre and trippy abstraction.
Decaying Basinski-esque ambient phrases are looped, carved up and distorted over bleeping arpeggiated sequences and clouds of sodden noise. Sizzling Cluster-esque guitar licks tumble over exotica synths and woodblock percussion, sounding like a collection of easy listening tapes melted into a broken car stereo. It's nostalgic, certainly, but doesn't dwell on bait feelings of instant gratification or fetishization - rather Nikolaienko abstracts his sounds into a deeply sensual cosmic slop of frayed synthesis and half-heard stylistic references.
There's a ton of tape-frazzled ambient music out there, but "Rings" is a thing of rare beauty and another essential addition to the Faitiche catalogue.
Anz finally mints her new label Otras Mitades, or OTMI for short, with two typically killer new productions.
A key catalyst of dance music in Manchester and beyond, Anz keeps it strictly for the ‘floor in both parts of ‘OTMI001.’ Following up 2020’s bout for Hessle Audio and a few for Finn’s 2 B Real, she pushes on with equal parts classic and futurist funk for the warehouse rave or your buddy’s bashment, laying down treacly purple G-funk leads and twanging boogie B-lines on the Afrobeats-y street rave flair of ‘Unravel In The Designated Zone’, while cutting for the peaks hours soused in sweat and fog on the 2-stepping brukbeat parry of ‘Morphing Into Brighter’ - think SUAD meets Dego at 4AM in the Soup Kitchen basement. Aye, v, v sick.
Soul-slapping deep jazz hearticals from a key player in the Chicago and IARC cosmos, joined by Angel Bat Dawid and Ben LaMar Gay who help make up his 11-part Black Monument Ensemble - So on-point, this one!!! RIYL KDJ, Theo Parrish, Prefuse 73
Revolving Damon Locks’ sampler chops and electronics at its core and periphery, it’s abundantly clear to hear the band are in-the-zone on ‘Now’, which is practically the epitome of how to do forward facing music jazz with a deep appreciation of tradition. In their seamless and jagged elision of electronic and organic sources a real magick bleeds thru that’s got us standing up to give it some proper appreciation, and we imagine it will have the same effect everywhere else.
The bookending works with clarinetist Angel Bat Dawit are, perhaps predictably, the highlights, with her spirited freeness lighting up Locks’ patchwork of samples and a sextet of vocalists driven by dual percussionists, Dana Hall and Arif Smith on the swingeing West African styled downstroke of ‘Now (Forever Momentary Space)’ from start to the spine-chilling end and final exhortations of “Whew!”, and again in the rug-shredding wriggle of ‘The Body Is Electric.’ They’re both serious dancefloor cuts in the right hands, and perfectly characterise the album’s grooving nature that snakes thru the Theo-esque bustling metrics and hip-shot sampler stabs of ‘The People vs The Rest Of Us’ and lip-biting swing and parry of ‘Keep Your Mind Free.’
Use your ears, trust your body, you’ll know what to do next. No brainer!
A decade since his transition from D&B to greyscale techno, Shifted dispenses a typically grim definition of his style in 5th studio album, ‘Constant Blue’
Perhaps a poetic metaphor for the zeitgeist, ‘Constant Blue’ dwells in starkest terrain unconcerned with the club, hewing to an impurely tonal palette of queasy low end frequencies and shatterproof upper register timbres that mirror feelings of stasis and unyielding twilight, or what he terms “caustic minimalism.”
The album’s 10 tracks manifest the most textural distillation of his trademark sound, shorn of dancefloor kicks and left to gloomy, isolationist introspection. Don’t expect it to put you in a good mood, but it may be good company for those times when one needs something that echoes their thoughts, as it holds a singular line from the immersive intricacies of ‘Slowly Counting Backwards’ to the nodding hypnosis of ‘The Weight of It’, and thru the spatialised declension of ‘Metronome’ to roiling bass and fizz in ‘Tradecraft’ recalling Frank Bretschneider’s work with old Soviet synths.