The sum to infinity of a sequence is the sum of an infinite number of terms in the sequence. It is only possible to compute this sum if the terms of a sequence converge to zero. “sum to infinity” is also the second release from gamut inc, the retro-futuristic ensemble around composers and curators Marion Wörle and Maciej Sledziecki. This second album by Gamut Inc combines custom-built autonomous music machines with haunting classical synthesiser sounds to create a dense musical kaleidoscope. The core of the album is formed by Risset rhythms – cyclic accelerations and decelerations, in which rhythmic layers repeatedly fade in and out, setting in motion a seemingly endless process of rhythmic movement. The motifs are taken from geometric and arithmetic series that create urgency and restlessness. The rigour of the construction is obscured by an orchestra whose timbres are reminiscent of a retro-futuristic indigenous ensemble. Gamut Inc translate strategies of electronic music like pulse-width modulation to music machines such as automated accordion, automated percussion or glockenspiels and create an intense atmosphere that is idiosyncratic, original and modern at the same time.
As we always do at the end of a year, we take the chance to thank you, our readers, for your continuous support and we also have a look at what you enjoyed the most on hipodrome. This is a summary of the top 3 albums, compilations and recordings that you liked the most this year. I’m really happy and proud to see that we have very similar taste in music.
Morphine Records is coming up with a massive loader from Slumberland’s self-made instruments sounds, from the bullroarer to sewing machines an d self made organs, combined with legendary Tuvan throat singer Sainkho Namtchylak. “Lightkeeper” was recorded and mixed by Lebanese-Canadian artist Radwan Ghazi Moumneh (Jerusalem In My Heart, Constellation Records) adding his distinct touch to the production of this rollercoaster of sounds. Belgian musician, composer and instrument-maker Jochem Baelus has been unleashing his obscure, hypnotic krautrock embellished with distorted exotica upon us as Slumberland since 2013. After creating his signature battery of sewing machines, projectors and dismantled mechanical objects, Baelus immersed himself into the world of 64 year old voice-artist Sainkho Namtchylak and assembled a new sound sculpture inspired by her colour.
If you’ve ever travelled to Egypt and wandered through its crowded streets, you probably ended up buying a cassette or a CDR of popular synth based music heard in most cabs, cabarets, or alleys around town: the almighty Shaabi. Raed Yassin and Paed Conca based their project PRAED on research between Shaabi and Mouled (traditional trance music from Egypt) and the hypnotic structures of both these genres. Repetitive beats, loud Mizmar and loads of energy, with a strong influence from psychedelic rock, free jazz and electronica. During the years in which the duo produced 4 albums and performed on an endless number of stages around the globe, PRAED started working on anambitious expansive project: an orchestra that could transpose this study of rural and popular culture into an immense, iconic work. In autumn 2018, supported by the Sharjah Art Foundation, PRAED Orchestra! premiered “Live in Sharjah”, interpreting new material merged with some of the band’s iconic pieces. The composition process started with the choice of musicians: the line-up consisted of some of the most innovative artists coming from a wide spectrum of musical practices. Each musician was chosen for a defined role, and the common denominator was their capacity to interpret written material, and their ability to improvise effortlessly. Each role was clearly set to work in unison with the rest of the group, while simultaneously sustaining a centrality in the choir. Solo parts masterfully drawn over the structure as a fil rouge connecting every piece of the entire concert; massive and powerful orchestral sections leading to a breathtaking trance-like state of mind; all of this material ultimately coalescing into an Egyptian Operette that narrates the sorrow, love, and deeply rooted culture of this urban music called Shaabi.
Rabih Beaini’s Upperground Orchestra (Beaini, Alvise Seggi, Tommaso Cappellato. Piero Bittolo Bon) back with their first studio material since 2008.
Half of Indonesia’s Senyawa (the band’s sole instrumentalist, Wukir Suryadi) with a solo release for Morphine.
Composer, improviser, and Buchla Music Easel master Charles Cohen returns to Morphine with a suite of new material. In keeping with the timbre spectrum of his semi-modular system, Brother I Prove You Wrong is built around pointillist analog tones—Cohen’s cosmic “beeps and boops”—that swarm and scatter in mesmeric patterns across four sides. Moving through surrealistic textural overlays and industrial miasma, the album’s nine tracks reveal a more introspective and personal side of the artist, following from a retrospective LP trilogy released via Morphine in 2013. Those assembled works, dating back to the late ’70s, quickly became essential listening and brought Cohen—at the time largely unknown outside Philadelphia’s experimental circuit—to critical renown.
This weighty double sider on Morphine delves into the paranoid / submarine dwelling / meta-hacker / soundtrack territory they are often known to enter when performing live. Vertia snakes like a virus. Tiled Eigths is pure fever.
Madteo’s return to Morphine. Really expanding his electronic pallet for this one and going into some heady experimental realms. Insider continues down the distinct path the fast talking Queens resident Madteo took on last year’s Sahko long player with “The Hiding Hand Principle” a particular highlight. It’s a sparse, sinister affair, with a high pitched drone wailing just under distorted vocals lurking just out of earshot, and a crawling kick drum that seems to drag itself along the ground like a wounded animal.
Final part in the Charles Cohen trilogy on Morphine Records. Featuring various works made for Dance & Theatre productions between 1976 & 1988. Eleven tracks in total – lovingly spread over double LP and featuring some of the most beautiful material of the series. Another essential purchase.
Morphosis’ Morphine records boldly step into the archives of one of Philadelphia’s best kept underground secrets: synth composer, Charles Cohen. This excellent release beholds seven key tracks (recorded between 1979 & 1988) that go into uncharted polyrhythmic / ambient / cosmic territory. The label say ” First chapter in the trilogy of Charles Cohen retrospective works, featuring some of his early works from the Philadelphia’s “No Man’s Land” Art Installment, the “University Of Texas in El Paso” and “The Painted Bride” Art Center performances. This release also features the track, Dance Of The Spiritcatchers, which previously appeared on the Music From No Man’s Land EP by Ghostwriters, a split record with Jeff Cain, originally issued in 1980 on Zero Records.”
Morphine label boss, Morphosis, presents the music of electronic composer, Charles Cohen, kicking things off with these two deadly interpretations of ‘Dance Of The Spirit Catchers’.
Rabih Beaini’s Morphine imprint has undergone something of a renaissance in the past year to become one of contemporary techno’s most vital labels thanks to the recent material from Hieroglyphic Being, Container, Upperground Orchestra and Philadelphia duo Metasplice, whose two EPs for the label have provided some of the most alien sounding techno to emerge in recent years. Their debut album Infratracts appeared this week with no prior fanfare; it’s as exciting a journey into the duo’s uniquely desolate sound world as you could imagine; combining skull-shattering rhythms with brain-warping textures, the whole things recalls a seasick version of Container’s noise techno being transmitted via SETI’s long-range radio telescope. Essential wares for lovers of adventurous electronics…
Highly destructive four track EP from the irrepressible, Container, on Morphine Records.
Fierce new two track 12″ from Metasplice, bringing premium ‘outsider techno’ onto this insider label. “In a time when techno and abstract music is sounding repetitive, Metasplice continue to utilize unconventional sounds and arrangements. “Decant”, being the more floor oriented track, combines groovy bits that turn into splashing immense noises and harmonies. “Churn” opens with a barrage of beautifully crafted harmonic sequences, then relentlessly descends into a sublime world. Both tracks are spectacular floating grooves that immerse the listener in the group’s unique and intense headspace.”
Jamal Moss is back on Morphine, although you wouldn’t think it by the sounds of these tracks. Both tracks clock in around the 13 minute mark and totally go there. Clued up sickness again on this excellent label.
The formidable Lebanese / Italian jazz nomads release a long player of deepness on Morphine’s new live series. First long player from Upperground Orchestra initiates the new ‘live series’ of Morphine Records. ‘The Eupen Takes’ is a live document clearly showing what the collective is normally improvising on stage, a chaotic but still tight blend of jazz, kraut and electronics, where nothing is previously planned, and analog synths and spaced out sounds melt with instruments in a natural and free approach. The Eupen Takes LP contains the second half of the june 2011 show at the Meakusma stage, Eupen Muzik Marathon.
“Metasplice is a twisted debussy-esque of primal drums+chords over top of the chaos.
the sound of an atom splitting.
the sound of a nuclear explosion; the sound of the end of the world…
dialogue between an electronic experiment in nature and a synthesizer.”
Traxx (Nation, Chicago)