Electric Voice is honoured to be presenting the new Par Avion EP from Brooklyn’s minimal electronic duo Xeno & Oaklander. To begin, we offer the digital single “Sheen”, which is also available as a tangible object—a silk screened pamphlet designed by Liz Wendelbo that comes with an accompanying download code. To celebrate the single, Xeno & Oaklander embarks on a 2 and a half week European tour starting today, May 15th. You can purchase the single directly through us on Bandcamp, at most digital retailers like Itunes and you may stream the single over at Pitchfork.
In both French and English, Liz Wendelbo’s whispery Jane Birkin vocals explore the alluring warmth of tropical places. This is juxtaposed with the cold and modern sensibility of the duo’s analogue synth arsenal, championed by synth legend Sean McBride.
All recorded live in the Xeno & Oaklander studio, Sean McBride’s signature sequenced staccato synth basslines are set against warm and exotic arpeggios and de rigueur snappy and cold snare drums. Sean also introduces a new sound, unique to this EP: analogue Serge modular synth washes that are reminiscent of shoegaze wall-of-sound and grinding guitars drenched in reverb. Liz Wendelbo’s ghostly string synth arrangements and unusual chord progressions abound with analogue delay note bends. Distant strings interweave with winds of noise to produce a perfect balance between Sean’s sequenced stark compositions and Liz’s ethereal and warm presence.
Photo by Alex Gaidouk
Par Avion EP will be available in the fall in both vinyl and digital formats from Electric Voice Records.
Recently we also made our recent compilation Electric Voice II available for stream and a digital download directly from us. Listen below, and keep on the look out from Electric Voice releases from Martial Canterel and ADN’ Ckrystall….
May 9, 2013
Glenn Winter – Bruna Hundars Död (1986, 2013)
We are beyond thrilled to announce that for 1986′s Bruna Hundars Död cassette by Swedish mastermind Glenn Winter will again be available on a limited edition of 200 deluxe cassettes. A genre that is now prized as Minimal Synth was then foreign to 19 year old Winter – who’s sound simply can not be categorized as such, surpassing any boundaries or limitations most artists’ in this time experienced. The sound is both ethereal and subversive and could be best suited on the dance floor or even for late night’s at home .. We say this in experience, as since discovering this gem from our friends at Systems Of Romance we have celebrated this release in it’s entirety. More of his work has surfaced in the last couple years, as Winter appeared on the infamous compilation Orgelvärk (1986) that was recently brought back to print at Minimal Wave), otherwise an unknown number of the original Bruna Hundars Död release exists, and is highly sought after by collector’s abroad…
In other exciting news, this reissue is only the beginning of what we’ll have to offer from the Glenn Winter archives, including a completely unreleased vinyl issue that will be announced later this summer. Winter’s new material is not far behind, so keep posted. Bruna Hundars Död will be available in store at Electric Voice on June 1st, 2013 and also at a select number of our respected distribution companies Internationally.
This reissue will include our version of the original J-Card, with an additional booklet containing lost artwork, photos, information on equipment used and comments from Winter on his relationship with this truly incredible release almost 30 years later. The audio has been carefully remastered by Winter himself, and audio samples will be available closer to the release, but for now enjoy this version of Prins Reimon from Bruna Hundars Död. We are honoured to be working with Glenn on this overdue reissue of this classic and timeless cassette in it’s original format.
April 23, 2013
Information Age: Xeno & Oaklander Sheen Single Pamphlets & Digital Download Code
As we progress in a time where the Internet has become the main tool for general retail and as digital music sales increase, we take pride in maintaining our purist roots and analog formatting ideals. To integrate the digital download purchase into a tangible collector’s item – we have created a bridge between the digital and physical retail world. We will objectify the digital download purchase through a series of formats with accompanying download code with intentions of your download code becoming a collector’s item. To begin, we present to you Xeno & Oaklander’s Sheen Single pamphlet – in a wonderful four-face silk screened pamphlet designed by Xeno & Oaklander’s own Liz Wendelbo. Each of these objects will include a one-time redeemable download code, contrasted with Xeno & Oaklander’s signature grid design and elegant text. A limited edition of 2000 pamphlets with their respective download codes are available in our online store for pre order for $5.50 postage paid, as well as at any of the Xeno & Oaklander shows during their upcoming tour in celebration of the release. These will ship within the week following May 15th.
From the eyes of Xeno, “I love pamphlets, the format fits in the pocket – you can keep it close to you. I thought that for our single, Sheen, it would be fitting for the digital release to be a pamphlet – an object, something you can collect. You can hold it, prop it on your shelf, and frame it if you want. It becomes a poster too when you unfold it. I like the fact that it’s silk-screened, each one is different, and the hand leaves its mark. It’s a desirable object, and it’s very minimal.”
Visit the pre order now to reserve and assure the ownership of these truly wonderful and innovative alternatives to a digital download purchase. You may also pre order digitally via Itunes now!
April 12, 2013
Xeno & Oaklander “Sheen” Single May 15 & European Tour
An honor arises as we accept the pleasure to work with our friends of the great Xeno & Oaklander to present their follow up EP to 2011′s Sets & Lights LP, titled Par Avion. This 6 song EP will be released on vinyl/digital in the fall, and in anticipation, the first single “Sheen” will see a digital release on May 15th. To celebrate, the Brooklyn based duo will also perform a full European tour brought to you by our kind contemporaries at Hidden Treasure Music. Below we preview the artwork as it’s come to its completion by Liz Wendelbo, one member of the duo.
As Liz explains, “The artwork for ‘Sheen’ is a collage of unearthed artworks from the X&O archive – it is a collection of ephemera, it captures a moment in time. It is both warm and cold. Warm, nude and analogue textures make it sensual, like the song. The cool layout provides an elegant structure that echos the minimal electronics of the track. I’ve been collecting every scrap that was ever produced around, for or by X&O since we began. So the grid is a recurring theme for X&O, and this blue grid was an experiment I did that became another work further down the line. The font is our neo-classical font, which we’ve used repeatedly. The silk screen on uncoated paper is a test print we did and that we forgot about. It is a section of the map of the Acropolis. Sections of this map feature in all our releases. The painting by Kelsey Henderson is a work in progress – this nude or raw stage no longer exists, it has become a different painting. The photo of Sean is a Polaroid I took of him at my studio – I rediscovered it recently by chance. This collage is a clin d’oeil to our own history as Xeno & Oaklander.”
Visit our Facebook pages and subscribe for instant updates pertaining to the release, tour and more related affairs. Please get in touch with Hidden Treasure Music (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in hosting X & O on their upcoming European Tour starting in Paris, France May 15th in any of the following cities:
15.05. Paris (BE), Garage MU
16.05. Brussels (BE), Peniche Fulmar 1913 *
18.05. Leipzig (DE), Anker (Wave Gotik Treffen) *
24.05. Prato (IT), Exenzia Club
25.05. Rome (IT), Venue to be announced
26.05. Madrid (ES), Nasti
27.05. Valencia (ES), La Residencia
29.05. Bordeaux (FR), Le Bootleg
30.05. Rennes (FR), DMA Galerie
31.05. London (UK), The Waiting Room **
01.06. Dublin (IE), Joinery Gallery
03.06. Newcastle (UK), Think Tank
04.06. Manchester (UK), Venue to be announced
Martial Canterel Nagivations T Shirt & Southern European Tour
Electric Voice presents a very limited Martial Canterel – Navigations T Shirt designed by Dmytrij Wulffius, hand silk screened on black 100% cotton T shirts. There are still shirts available in our shop for $15.00 CAD + shipping & handling. In this release, we celebrate the upcoming Martial Canterel Southern European tour via Hidden Treasure Music as well as foreshadow the Navigations Volume I LP coming this spring on Electric Voice.
Here, following, are the dates for this tour:
28.03. Barcelona (ES), Moog Club
29.03. Valencia (ES), La Residencia
30.03. Madrid (ES), Nasti
04.04. Milano (IT), Rocket Club
05.04. Bologna (IT), Decadence
06.04. Roma (IT), Closer Club
12.04. Lyon (FR), Le Sonic
13.04. Paris (FR), La Miroiterie
26.04. Athens (GR), Death Disco
27.04. Thessaloniki (GR), Les Yper Yper
In anticipation of the release, with you we share the album artwork by Dmytrij Wulffius in the Ukraine. Dmytrij has joined Electric Voice in deisgn. Details on the LP release are to come.
February 18, 2013
V/A – Electric Voice II LP now available – Martial Canterel – Navigations Volume I LP announced
Various Artists – Electric Voice II have arrived in an edition of 500 LPs – complete with art direction and photography by Juan Mendez of Silent Servant as well as work by our new in house designer Dmytrij Wulffius. It is now available for pre-order now in our online store - though limited stock is available – they will ship out before the release date of March 1st. American customers please note you can order this from our Philadelphia location and pay $3.00 shipping & handling (media mail). Tracks from Martin Dupont and Thee Majesty are now available to stream on our Soundcloud page, where you will also find tracks from Tropic of Cancer, Martial Canterel and Nine Circles off the LP. This release will be available digitally through Mid Heaven, iTunes, eMusic, Amazon etc.,
As we approach the spring, we are be honored to be celebrating the 10th anniversary of Moravagine / Martial Canterel by presenting a comprehensive vinyl series of early demos, unreleased material and unfinished works. The first installment of the series titled Navigations Volume I will include material from 2012-2013 and will be followed by two subsequent compilations. Each release of the series will be complimented with art direction from Electric Voice’s Dmytrij Wullfius. A preview of the artwork, audio samples and ordering information will follow..
“Martial Canterel’s Sean McBride is the progenitor of American cold synth sounds of the 21st Century. He began under the moniker Moravagine before he started releasing limited edition cassettes and playing Brooklyn dives as Martial Canterel in 2002. Since then, McBride’s bleak intellectual exercises in the dark and danceable have flooded North America and Europe through the frosty fairwaves paved by Pieter Schoolwerth’s Wierd Records. With an inimitable minimal style merging bright, urgent melodies ornamented and punctuated by the noises of industry and McBride’s sonorous, stern vocals, Martial Canterel’s recent releases (You Today, Refuge Underneath) have garnered both critical acclaim and a rapidly growing rabid fanbase. McBride’s influence can be heard in scores of bands in the Wierd cadre and beyond (he is also one half of the Weird Records duo Xeno and Oaklander). Through the collision of a uniquely humanistic means of production via live analogue synthcraft expertly paired with vocals and lyrics that reflect the pitfalls and pleasures of our age, Martial Canterel provides a visceral kick best felt on the dancefloor, amidst a flurry of flesh in motion.” – Pieter Schoolwerth, Wierd
Photo by Alex Gaidouk
December 9, 2012
EVII & Interview with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge
Artwork by Juan Mendez
On this deluxe compilation, Electric Voice Records offers another exploration of historical and contemporary underground music. Whereas last year’s Electric Voice V/A release focused on alternative approaches to electronic pop music, this new album mines a darker spectrum of genres, one that spans more than three decades of minimalist synth and industrial work. Here, new generation artists like Tropic of Cancer and Martial Canterel (Xeno & Oaklander) are seen to extend rather than revive the music of their influences. Electric Voice II marries these young artists with pioneers from the beginning days of this music, truly groundbreaking acts like Ike Yard, the first America band to sign with Factory Records, and Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV’s enigmatic Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, now performing some of her most poignant material to date as Thee Majesty. Other featured artists include Das Ding and French group Martin Dupont, who both offer cuts from their respective early 80’s archives. There are also exclusive tracks by ADN’ Ckrystall, Frank (Just Frank), Vita Noctis, and Nine Circles. Taken together, the seamless flow of these tracks, despite the span of generations, makes clear the continued relevance of these practices and pure electronic sounds. To celebrate this collection, acclaimed artist Juan Mendez (Silent Servant) provides cover artwork, with additional design by Dmytrij Wulffius. Brandon Hocura at Polyphasic Studios offers the meticulous final master.
Electric Voice II is scheduled for release in both a digital format and as an edition of 500 LPs on April 1/2013.
Tracklist: A1 Real Eyes – Thee Majesty A2 Who Will Remain – Martial Canterel A3 Der Stasi Palace – ADN’ Ckrystall A4 Bit of Smile – Martin Dupont A5 Fall Apart – Tropic Of Cancer
B1 Traversez le Pont – Frank (Just Frank) B2 Elysians – Ike Yard B3 Serial Killer – Vita Noctis B4 Mercy – Nine Circles B5 End Credits Roll – Das Ding
In light of Electric Voice II, Matthew had a chance to speak on the phone with cultural engineer, poet, musician Genesis Breyer P-Orridge of Thee Majesty about her prolific work in groups Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle, music pirating, free jazz, and much more.
EV: You are credited as the inventor of what is known as Industrial music. Can you tell me how that came about?
Genesis: Actually it’s really specific, September the 3rd 1975 I was talking to Monte Gra in London, and we had started the project Throbbing Gristle. I thought of the name and the idea back in 1973, but we were still doing COUM then. So, once that ended the plan was to switch to TG. We developed over a year by just jamming every weekend and taping everything we did. We had an idea with wearing camo and we had the logo, but we needed a name for the music – you know it’s not rock n roll it was quite the opposite. There was no drummer, there was no skillful playing, etc. – Monte had suggested “Factory Music” because of Andy Warhol, you know? We thought, no that’s too obvious (laughs) and then we kept thinking. Monte suddenly said “Gen, you keep using the word ‘Industrial’ and I went “I do?” – He goes “Yeah, every time you talk about it you say it’s like an industry, like an industrial factory. There was no such thing before that which is a funny thought. We weren’t thinking of it as being a movement, just what we called TG music. Then we met Cabaret Voltaire and SPK and these other people and even though they sounded different they had the similar attitude. It just caught on.
EV: What are your thoughts on the evolution of Industrial and its current state?
Genesis: It’s like having started jazz, at the very beginning there are hardly any practitioners so it’s whatever they play. But as time goes by, other people listen to what you’re doing and they will pick out a track that is their favorite sound and they will start emulating, developing and exploring that sound and suddenly there is a branch, and it’s jazz, but it’s totally different! That’s been happening for generations now. So it’s styles within styles, and cross pollination and resurgences of a certain type of rock like Ministry and NIN. It’s like a virus that is constantly mutating. Even if it’s not something I want to listen to, it’s all valid in my opinion. But I don’t even listen to any industrial music per say.
EV: What do you listen to?
Genesis: We listen to early Coltrane, Albert Ayler, early free form jazz and mainly 60s music. One of my favorite bands is The Incredible String Band, The Monks.. Basically bands that did the same thing TG did and what we’ve been doing with Thee Majesty. It’s about finding your own sound and voice and believing in it regardless of its commercial value. That’s the kind of music that excites me.
Photo by Perou
EV: Do you feel like there are any contemporary musicians reflecting that idea now?
Genesis: Not really (laughs)
It’s not so much that there is anything wrong with it, we just don’t listen to it. My computer is full of all these LPs and CDs we had.. We have such a comprehensive and obscure 60s music library that we DJ now. Sometimes with Edley, the percussionist in Thee Majesty.
The only people we see that could be called contemporary even though they have been active for quite sometime, is Acid Mothers Temple.
EV: I am not familiar with them.
Genesis: Me either, but I’ve seen them a few times and they are quite incredible. It’s very hypnotic.. The guitar player looks like a wizard. He has this long, grey hair. The way he sways.. He sways off beat! But its a perfect synchronization. He is completely expressionless.
EV: Have you ever seen Swans? The guitar player does the same thing.
Genesis: No, but Thee Majesty toured Europe with Michael Gira. It was basically us, and him doing acoustic songs.
EV: I could be mistaken, but wasn’t that one of the first Thee Majesty shows?
Genesis: Hmm, maybe.. No, the first Thee Majesty show, interestingly, was at the spoken word festival in Stockholm sometime in the mid 90s. Not sure which year.
EV: And I hear Psychic TV3 is going on tour again?
Genesis: Yes! We’re doing a mini tour. Playing in Portland and Seattle next month. But then we’re going to Oakland and playing 2 nights out there. We will be playing New York on the December 7th. We do it every year for all of the fans we have here. It’s always a huge party.
EV: There is a new record as well?
The new record by PTV3 is one side ‘Silver Sun Down Machine’, which is a medley of ‘Silver Machine’ and ‘Hurry On Sundown’ by Hawkwind. The other side is ‘Alien Lightning Meat Machine’, a 15 minute song about Nikola Tesla.
Myself and Edley have inaugurated our own record label, called Angry Love Records (laughs). There will also be a studio album for Thee Majesty. The first one in 11 years.Then we plan on more of the series of 12 inch singles with the version of a classic 60s-70s track combined with another song that begins with the word Alien every time. We first had ‘Maggot Brain’ by Funkadelic with a B-side of ‘Alien Brain’. Then ‘Mother Sky’ by Can with a b-side called ‘Alien Sky’.
EV: Ha ha, that’s amazing.
Genesis: Yeah, I’m having a lot of fun again, making recordings and releasing things. Eddie O’Dowd, Tony Conrad and I have a live album coming out on Angry Love Records; Live in Berlin. It’s an amazing recording. They asked us to do a concert there at the premiere of The Ballad of Genesis P. Orridge and Lady Jaye. Everything went right, and It was beautiful. We just played, unprepared. Special magic happens. It was just violins and percussion.
EV: And of course your voice.
Genesis: Yes, and my voice.. mainly music and violins though. If I do use my voice, it will just be in one section. Its nice for me to project myself and play the violin, it’s my favorite instrument next to the piano. Actually, in Montreal we played the piano live for the first time.
EV: What? Did you bring your own piano or use the house piano?
Genesis: (laughs) No! We just went to set up and saw this big grand piano and thought, “YES!”. So the gig began and ended with me playing the piano.
And of course Bryin Dall is the 3rd member of Thee Majesty. He’s such an amazing and unusual guitarist. He has guitars with kitchen implements on them, and guitars so old they don’t have names. He’s a very interesting and avant-garde type of guitarist.
EV: So tell me a bit about the end of PTV3 and the birth of Thee Majesty.
It was actually Lady Jaye that triggered the creation of Thee Majesty.
When we were in LA working with Love and Rockets on one of their albums, there was a huge fire, and yours truly got terribly injured and my left arm was in a cast for over a year. We were suffering from PTSD and couldn’t tour. While we were sitting around in North California trying to recover, Lady Jaye said to me, “You don’t have to do anything ever again – You’ve already had an impact on things. Don’t feel so obliged to play, just think about what you really love. Is there anything you want to do regardless of the world?”
We decided that we love the voice, the words, and poetry. She told me “Then do that. That’s what you should do. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks, just do something just for you.” And that’s how Thee Majesty began. It’s the majesty of words, the majesty of exploring unusual options, being inspired by the unexpected.
There was actually a brief moment of wanting to call it ‘Her Majesty’. But we thought it was too closely linked to the Queen of England, who we despise. So we decided on Thee Majesty, it has much more of an all inclusive feel to it.
EV: What are your thoughts on the way music changes hands now? How it used to be presented as a tangible product, and now it’s just a matter of clicking and downloading.
Genesis: Oooh, That could go on for hours. There is no question in my mind that the deluge of pirated music and information destroyed an entire area of music in terms of potential.. There are small venues for artists who have just started, and big venues for those who have made a name. The in between is just gone. Its impossible to do a long tour, to make enough money, to sell enough records to make a living. Musicians are forced to think of their music as a hobby. If it does take off, it is immediately consumed, absorbed, spat out, and then it’s lost. I don’t think the great majority of people who steal and download music realize what they are doing, and how much of an impact it does have to record labels, magazines and musicians.. Everything gets wiped out. No damage done to big labels – well, a little – but they will go on. The middle range loses the chance to be professional musicians. I mean, you’ve got people like Justin Bieber who are the devils advocate of the internet music scene. They pollute everything, all of it with a horrible, horrible Hollywood story attached to it.
There is this crippling effect that happens, when you make an album & give a label a test pressing.. Almost immediately it is uploaded online, and you no longer have anything to sell. We have had albums be bootlegged online – so we’ve lost record deals. Our music is snatched up an distributed by someone we’ve never met, and we lose deals. It’s just lost.
EV: That must be even worse for people with less of a long term involvement with music.
Genesis: What is happening, which is great, is vinyl being back. People are more creative with packaging and the conception of products to make them beautiful objects to own. But that can’t go into big numbers, like you said, since there is only a small number of people who are going to care about owning it. It’s like the same people who would care about owning a Jackson Pollock or Rothko or something. So it’s difficult, it doesn’t seem like there is a lot of opportunity for change. Unless the big labels and conglomerates disintegrate. And they are trying desperately not to, but they are losing huge amounts of money.
We have gone to some of these official pirating websites and asked to register songs off our album and they tell us someone else has done it already. And it’s like, “But how? We own this” and they basically just say, “Well, tough shit.”.
EV: That is tragic.
Genesis: Yeah! (laughs) Someone who we’ve never met is receiving the royalties for our work. It’s a mess! So many people have grown up and think they are entitled to and deserve everything for free. They don’t seem to seek cause and effect, or think that the people that make the things they like run out of the capital to create these things, and they vanish. They don’t seem to get it, or they don’t want to admit it. They just want everything for free. It’s bad economics.
You’ve really got to want to make it. It would be good if the consumer realized its partnership, its not just always a gift.
EV: Do you think that idea should that be a deterrent for younger artists?
Genesis: I just believe that they have to be really passionate about it – they have to not give a fuck. But they can’t go into it with the illusions of being the new Swans, the odds are so incredibly small.
The other thing is that there is a weird jealousy of success in the industry. It’s a terrible place for true creation. I think its a side effect of the Internet and the explosion of superficial celebrity culture.
September 5, 2012
Interview with Ike Yard
NYC based Ike Yard crept up from the ashes of Post Punk to emerge on the forefront of the No Wave scene of the 1980s. Immediately notable for being one of the first American bands to sign with Factory Records, the band drew heavily on post punk influences as well as early krautrock to shape a unique sound that was ahead of their time.
The industrial/electronic outfit was quick to disband in 1983, leaving us with baited breath for 25 years. Now back together with the original lineup (sans Fred), Stuart Argabright, Michael Diekmann and Kenneth Compton were able to catch up with EV’s Courtney Rafuse to answer some questions. You’ll be seeing a new track from these guys on our next compilation, set to drop next Spring.
You guys are considered to be pioneers of post punk/no wave. Taking you back to1979, did you have a feeling you were doing something innovative and exciting whenIke Yard began?
Stuart: Each session we did experiments generating pulses, and staying within certain parameters into works we could all feed into. Some of the most exciting times were simply the second or two after recording some unique combination of sounds.
Michael: Definitely – as soon as the four of us rehearsed together for the first time, I felt it that there were possibilities toward making music that reached beyond what was being done in NYC at the time. When we started, No Wave was essentially finished; I think that there was an influence particularly in regards to tearing the elements of rock and roll down to a molecular level and recombining them into something new, but with the energy of rock: post-rock I suppose.
Prior to our uniting as Ike Yard, there was already a desire on our parts to create something new; I had been a fan of Stuart’s prior band, the Futants, and stylistically, they were outside of what was happening in NYC at the time – and primarily being a synth and drums outfit, they were closer to what was happening in Europe. Also Fred Szymanski and I had come out of an academic electronic music background, and were pushing earlier that year to form a group that would draw from that experience. Members of Ike Yard were also fans of the Neue Deutsche Welle music of that period, and certainly the big 4 of German ‘70’s electronic music: Kraftwerk, Can, Neu and Cluster, as well as of Bowie/Eno’s Berlin period.
Being one of the first American groups to record for Factory Records,what was it like being part of such a prolific label so early on? How did the opportunity present itself?
Stuart: Michel Duval’s Belgian Crepsecule family were close with Factory and so it was after the Night After Night EP that we got word we could do a record for Factory Records America. Tony Wilson came by to visit as we recorded. He popped his head in as we were doing something in the control room.
Michael: As you might expect, we had been fans of Factory records from their inception; I was absolutely blown away by the two Joy Division songs on Factory’s initial release, the double 7” “A Factory Sampler.” Ike Yard had been picked up by the Belgian indie label Crepuscule for the “Night After Night” EP, a label we had discovered when they released the 7” of “Shack Up” by A Certain Ratio – in conjunction with Factory. I was also impressed with their 1980 compilation cassette, “From Brussels With Love,” which included an esoteric line-up and a surprising mixture of musical styles.
We sent a demo cassette to Crepuscule and a few months later we were recording the EP for them. That record was released in November of 1981
– the same time that New Order was scheduled to play their first big show in NYC since their initial foray as a trio in 1980, playing smaller venues like Tier 3 and Hurrah’s. We were tapped to open for them, which despite the technical issues, was an exhilarating experience. Again in February 1982 we were asked to open for Section 25 for two shows (The Peppermint Lounge in Manhattan and Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ). Soon after that we
were scheduled by Factory to record an LP on their new US label, Factory America. We worked with Michael Shamberg, the US rep, during this
period; Tony Wilson made a visit to the studio during the mixing sessions. We were finishing “Loss” when he arrived.
Do you have some vivid memories of playing with other Factory bands that reallystand out?
Stuart: We are in the process of transferring old master tapes for the Factory album reissue. Last night, we found the tape that was of the show with New Order 11/81. The Factory NY – Blind Dates ( Ruth Polsky ) produced New Order / Ike Yard show was the first show at Ukrainian National Home. The group struggled with the sound – the soundman mixing the drum machine out during a piece. We improvised. The mix got better once Peter Hook stepped in to help. Michael and Kenneth have other memories of it too i’m sure.
Playing with Section 25 twice was good, the shows were hot. Someone said something after the Maxwells show about the group sounding like “dinosaurs having sex’”.
Michael: Of course, playing the show at the Ukrainian National Home with New Order in 1981 was significant, but we also really enjoyed the two
shows we did with Section 25 – an affable bunch of guys. The gigs were fun, and Ike Yard was pushing forward musically at that time, well beyond what we had played at the New Order show.
New York in the 80s was such an energetic cluster of excitement and inspiration.What was it like for you guys then?
Stuart: The period I’m thinking of – roughly end of 70′s to around 1984 was some kind of phase period – waves and explosion of subcultures into mainstream culture. Of course, built on all the works of so many from the years and decades before. Our world(s) expanded in many directions simultaneously. Kenneth and I were there the first nights at the Mudd Club, Tr3, and Danceteria 1 & 2. Nocturnal adventures leading to many late mornings home. We are grateful for all the help from everyone along the way … The band would jam down in Bradley & Kristian Hoffman’s $3 an hour rehearsal space downstairs on Grand Street and friends would stop by. We shared a room in the Music Building with Circus Mort for some months, with Madonna’s studio on the same floor a few doors away.
Michael: The downtown cultural scene was vibrant; the music and art worlds were changing rapidly then – and the rents were cheap. It seemed as if there was some event happening nearly every night – whether a gig, an opening, a film screening. We were all working in other media in addition to music at that time – as did many of our contemporaries.
Kenneth: I think that the period we were emerging from musically actually started in 75 or 76 with the punk rock scene which sort of heralded the end of the Big Rock Band era of the early 70s. The Damned, The Clash, the Sex pistols and others coming out of England. In NY, the New York Dolls, Blondie, Television, the Ramones. There was a big punk rock scene in NYC but everything was moving so fast and by 77 Punk was over and it was Talking Heads and the new wave scene. By the time we were recording our second record This intensely vibrant underground scene in NYC was already dissolving. After that it was the Hardcore era, Reaganism and yuppies. I know a lot of good music came out of the 80s but I feel we were most heavily influenced by the years leading up to that decade.
People are always so skeptical and judgmental when bands reform, worrying thatit could never be the same. However, all of your recent efforts have been met withapplause. Were you worried about the reactions after such a hiatus?
Stuart: While we didn’t ever talk about getting back together, once we did it was clear we could continue and possibly move forward.
We have been lucky, fortunate in the way things happened in zones where things flow.
Michael: We have our own standards, and if the music just wasn’t happening when we reformed, we wouldn’t have continued. We knew that we weren’t just going out to play the older material, but to push forward with new music – nonetheless, music that would meet the aesthetic criteria of what we would expect Ike Yard to produce based upon its history.
Kenneth: No. I think it was a fairly organic process. There was some talk about what Ike Yard might mean to other people and how diverging from that might not be what’s expected but ultimately we reformed to create new music. I think this next record actually feels even more “Ike Yard” than the last although its quite different from where we were 30 years ago. How could it not be?
Are you surprised to see how your early recordings have stood the test of time sowell? I mean, ‘Loss’ (1982) still sounds so fresh.
Stuart: There is some surprise at being able to reissue the Factory album in 2012. Dan Selzer’s 2006 Acute release really put us on the map. And “Loss” is a piece we didn’t do many times – but born some techno variant that is up there with anything released in 1982. Every cut on that album had something — NCR, Half A God, Cherish 8!
Michael: By the time we recorded the Factory album, we had moved musically further away from post-punk into uncharted territory. In addition, we were working with newer technology (at the time) which forced us to focus on how this gear (drum machines, sequencers, synths, processing, etc.) interacted – which was quite different from playing traditional rock instruments – and therefore avoided many of the typical hierarchies or structures that those instruments generated. Also, we were familiar with contemporary non-rock experimental / electronic music, so we had an ear to what could be accomplished – and searched for the unexpected answers.
Kenneth: If you think Loss sounds fresh then check out the Regis remix out on vinyl.
25 years is a huge stretch of time. Your sounds and vocal stylings are quite differentnow. How would you say you’ve evolved as a band/individually since your debut EPin ’81 with Disque du Crepuscule to your 2011 release with Desire Records?
Stuart: We were together mainly between 1980 – 1982 , a lot happened in 2 years. Still experimenting with song forms, synthesis, electric guitar & bass, 3 or 4 basses running together, multiple beats. We are well into writing & programming for the 2013 album. This one draws from 1982 as I found unused lyrics for “Slaves Of Janet” and also “Go” that felt like they still resonated for use now . The sonic takes in past, present into future and is probably it’s own evolution. We will be playing the new songs on the upcoming fall UK & Europe tour.
Michael: First of all, we all continued to make music during that time, and I think we individually persisted to search for new sounds, new structures, new sensations, and to expand our knowledge.
Industrial, experimental, post-punk, jazz punk, drone, krautrock, primal funk,sci fi Miles Davis — Obviously all of the genres you get pinned with are open tointerpretation.. But how would best describe your sound?
Stuart: Electro with intention, directions. I don’t see a lot of nostalgia in the sound. Each piece exploring what we could do. Trying to keep moving.
Michael: A list of contradictions: rarified yet expansive, searching yet certain of the consequences. Musically, it’s all about pushing the boundaries of rhythm and timbre.
Kenneth: I think its a unique sound. I can name a few obvious influences. Joy Division, DAF, Der Plan.
Electronic music has become so ubiquitous since the 80′s, spanning from punk tohip-hop. What are your thoughts on “electronic” music these days?
Stuart: It’s a flow. Fun to see artists like John Foxx enjoying his time. It wasn’t always easy to get equipment, set up and do ‘Electronic music’.
We have seen see the ‘means of production’ grow out of the hands of what used to be powerful ‘ Record Labels’ – that’s how you made records- you made a deal, you could go into The Studio.
Michael: The Brits and the Germans seem to be producing the most consistently interesting stuff: Raime, Shackleton, Demdike Stare, Monolake, although Tim Hecker places the Canadians in good company.
And finally, for fun, what are you guys listening to right now?
Stuart: Lately i’ve been immersed in finding artists to play with IY on the upcoming tour. Hearing Linea Aspera through a post by Jen Ellerson led us to ask them to join our first London show on 9/29. We have also been getting the Factory lp mixes back. The first two are Regis‘ striking new “Loss” version, then also Monoton’s dub, club and KB remixes.
Back in March, Xeno & Oaklander and IY both played this Fad Gadget /Frank Tovey event by Mute and Envoy where they did a great “Lady Shave”.
We play with them again 9/7 NYC. Luis & the Soft Moon stand way out and operate n their own zone. On rotation i’ve got Horrid Red , Demdike Stare , Tim Hecker , Kuedo . Goitia / Deitz Raime , Sandwell District , Pop ambient t/ Kompakt , Sakamoto, no tempo piano musics and Fin De Siecle.
Michael: I’ve been listening to the new Monolake CD “Ghosts”, the new Liars, “WIXIW”, Tim Hecker’s “Ravedeath 1972”, Stravinsky’s ballet “Agon” conducted by Tilson-Thomas, and an older ‘60’s trance music playlist I enjoy when traveling that includes Terry Riley’s “Rainbow in Curved Air”, John Fahey’s “A Raga Called Pat”, Alice Coltrane’s “Atomic Peace”, Gabor Szabo’s “Space’ and Andrew Hill’s “Judgement.”
Ike Yard perform in NYC this weekend with Xeno & Oaklander and Led Er Est, followed by a tour in Europe. They are also in the process of recording a new LP, more information to come in 2013…
July 24, 2012
Lidia Fiala & Nine Circles
I was pleased when Lidia wrote me this morning asking us to announce the new Nine Circles “The Early Days” LP , alongside an interview conducted by Courtney a couple weeks ago. In 1980, lovers Lidia Fiala and Peter van Garderen joined together in creating atmospheric Minimal Synth songs with emotive lyrical content and an expressive delivery from Lidia. Having only recorded once in their time together during a VPRO hosted radio session titled “Spleen” , it would go on to become a part of the infamous Radionome compilation LP in 1982. At the time, with contemporary’s like New Order growing mainstream success, the minimalism of groups like Nine Circles was overlooked. In 1982 when Lidia and Peter’s relationship ended, Nine Circles followed – with no intentions perusing their collection of over 50 composed songs from the previous 2 years.
Just over 25 years later Lidia’s son Patrick decide to search his mother’s name on Google and was she very surprised to find out that Nine Circles music was carried and bootlegged over the years, and even appearing on the cult Flexi-pop series. Read more about this interesting and touching story from Lidia with this interview by Courtney.
Here is an unreleased track “Mercy” which will appear on a super special Electric Voice release that will be announced in early fall…..
I know you were super young when you were first recorded; what was influencing you at the time, musically or otherwise?
Well I was 4 years old when my daddy taught me how to play the harmonica, singing was already then a passion of mine. I was super young when I started to write my songs (15). It was a reflex of what was happening in my life! All my songs are parts of my life, even in this moment I still write and sing about my life. The music came together with the songs in 1980 when I met Peter van Garderen. He was already in a band, but left them to make music together with me, and not to forget we were very much in love.
Where exactly in the Netherlands were you raised? What was that like?
I was born in the south of Holland – let’s say Framersland and Mines land.. I will not say anymore, sorry.
Did you like the mystery that had surrounded you as an artist, or are you happy with the ongoing interest in your music?
Well, let me tell you that I found out what was going on about Nine Circles only 3 and a half year ago, My son Patrick searched my name on Google and then he found much about Nine Circles, I was very surprised!
I made a Facebook account and one day Later Kristiaan Horvers wrote me, he was glad he found me. He told me everything he knows about Nine Circles and that was a lot more than I knew at that moment. Peter had released a CD that I did not know about and we were on the Radionome sampler (1982 VPRO). (They had) never reached in my hands, because the relationship with Peter was finished before the release of that record!
Then a label found me Angular Recording, they Released a sampler with “Twinkling Stars” on it.
You can use this link to find out about the releases and some more info; http://www.nine-circles.de.be/
Next Rainer of Genetic Music found me, and then everything went fast from there. I found a new partner to make music, and soon we were on stage. The first time in my life in Bremen “shockwave” and it was great.. Finally after all those years I was able to make music again and sing and use all the songs I wrote (in 1980/1982 – 60 songs) and now well let’s keep that a secret he he …
I had to let the new keyboard player go because of personal problems.
Then I found Per (For more info look visit the Nine Circles website). Per-Anders Kurenbach – a fantastic human who is full of love, we were friends on Facebook for awhile, I told him that I had a concert planned in Lyon but I did not have a keyboard player, He told he would go with me on stage and so he did. We never met in person before, we just went to Lyon and get on stage, the first time we played together was with the sound check. The concert was the best ever.
So now Per and I are working on some new songs, and of course the old songs. We hope to have many concerts soon.
Assuming Dutch is your first language, why did you decide to write your songs in English?
I don’t like Dutch it’s too cold!
At this point, do you plan on continuing to challenge yourself as a musician?
Like I told my friends my dream is to die on stage .
You cited that the Internet and social networking served as the avenue for the revival of Nine Circles. What is your relationship with social
networking and how do you feel about it’s role in current underground music?
I think the internet is a perfect place for any one that has something to share, like music or art – you name it. People are listening to Nine Circles all over the world, how else would I have done that? I am not rich like the artists who can spend a lot of money on advertising themselves. I think the Underground needs and deserve a fair chance. There are so many good bands out there and often people think these groups of people loving underground music crazy.
I am in contact with Peter van Garderen but only by email, he has a different life now and I respect that. He is sending me all the music and told me I can do what I want with it, do I will.
More I can’t say for now………mystery