The Netlabelism staff picks of 2012. We had to pick 3 EPs each, there’s so much high quality releases it was quite a challenge.
My selection includes Apta on We Are All Ghosts netlabel, Hazy Memories on Bandcamp, and Voodoo Tapes on A Quiet Bump Netlabel. These are must haves, so head on over to Netlabelism now and grab all of these amazing releases – Warren
I’ve selected some of my favorite Ambient Netlabel tracks from 2012. This is a downtempo mix and is part 1 of a 2 part Podcast. There is a vast amount of quality music available and I certainly have not listened to all of it, this is just a small snapshot of what’s available. As always I will continue to explore the world of Netaudio and share my findings. If you have a list of tracks that you wish to share I would be delighted to include all or part of your selection in a future mix… Get in touch.
Free download – Direct Link to Archive.org – 142Mb – 320K MP3
Artist – Track – Label
The artist sweeps one arm over a canvas unrolled on the studio floor like a psychedelic welcome mat – a vast technicolour mash-up of lively forms and textures. From the next room, the dull rhythmic thud of bass bins threatens to stir the sticky air. “I will do something connected to his music, to show the rhythm of the sounds, the movement,” she says, nodding towards the door. “I use colours to express emotions and shapes to show the mood. You can see the DJ’s hands moving here, and over there is the sound.” An index finger jabs at enamel that’s been dribbled over acrylic like the zigzag of a hospital heart monitor. “And here you can see the equaliser, like the sounds that come out of the speaker when Warren’s playing.” More pointing, this time at a bright swirl of paint: “This sound here is like a DVD spinning. Each shape expresses an emotion: happiness, excitement…”
Chhan Dina and Warren Daly are daring to tread in some of history’s most well-heeled footsteps. The duo – one a classically trained Cambodian artist; the other a DJ from Ireland – are redefining for the 21st century the complex relationship between sound and vision. They’re in fine company. In Book X of his 4th century BC Republic, Plato describes the ‘music of the spheres’ – the poetic notion that the spinning of the planets generates a sort of celestial harmony. Pythagoras went a step further, musing that these heavenly tones had “a visible equivalent in the colour spectrum”. At the time, only seven planets had been discovered. Two hundred years later Aristotle applied seven numbers to the seven tones of the musical octave, the distinguished foundation of the sound-colour relationship. By the 18th century, Newton’s experiments with prisms seemed to prove its existence through the laws of physics.
And that was just the theorists. Legend has it that Leonardo da Vinci was the first to experiment with the projection of coloured lights, which spurred would-be inventors into trying to make instruments that could spew out coloured lights and sound at the same time. By the time the 20th century dawned Alexander Wallace Rimington’s ‘colour piano’ had been seen in public, spawning new oddly named contraptions: Thomas Wilfred’s Clavilux, the Optophonic Piano created by Russian painter Baranoff-Rossiné, and Alexander László’s Sonchromatoscope. Their creators had just one thing in common: they were trying to create a new artistic genre.
Dina and Daly are 21st century László’s, merging electronic dance music with live instruments and artists and audience participation to create a multisensory experience – a trip without a trip. Led by Daly, who in 2000 co-founded online record label Invisible Agent, they’re building on the work of 1960s San Francisco arts collectives that used disco balls and light projections on smoke to produce trip-like sensations (The Brotherhood of Light, which toured with The Grateful Dead, was inspired by the Beat generation and Ken Kesey’s ‘expansion of consciousness’ Acid Tests).
From acid to aciiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid: enter electronic dance music, 20 years later. Historically, it’s had a hard time matching the visual spectacle of screaming singers, windmill-armed guitarists and feral drummers thrashing about on stage. In 1992, British chart show Top Of The Pops hit a record low when The Orb’s ‘performance’ amounted to nothing more than the pair playing chess while their single Blue Room was piped through the speakers. With more DJs using software to play mixes ‘live’ on computers, there’s been criticism that the act (some might say art) of physically choosing and mixing records has been replaced with someone simply pressing play and standing back. But as Peter Walker writes in The Independent, “For those acts that can’t get away from being a couple of blokes twiddling knobs – Underworld, The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and Orbital – an arms race has ensued to offer fans something to look at while they play. The art of visual entertainment has come a long way, with all of the above using successive albums and tours to test out new on-stage theatrics, from Daft Punk’s pyramid to Underworld’s towering tubes of light and the Chems’ song-specific graphic spectaculars.”
Daly, who has played at Ireland’s famous Temple Bar Music Centre, is well aware of Orbital, famed for their visuals (“The visuals are kind of our lead singer; they’re the lead singer jumping around and pulling faces”, Phil Hartnoll has said). “I was just in time for when Orbital and all the parties were happening in the early ‘90s in Western Europe,” says Daly. “We were putting raves on in fields and getting chased around by the cops. You’d have quite a mix there: people DJing; people doing poi; tents, people making food. There was a real community feel to it. You didn’t just come along and watch one guy banging tunes out; there’s a number of different activities going on. We’d make fluoro backdrops, back in the days when fluoro was still cool – the days of glow sticks and Vicks VapoRub.
“I started to do visuals at these events in the late ’90s, going out with a camera, making videos of the city and countryside, things happening and people doing things, cutting them all up and splicing it live on screen – putting effects on it, exploding and imploding it, putting colour layers over it; effects that would probably look really cheesy right now, but back then it was like ‘Wow! How’s this guy doing that?’ Now you’ve got software you can just download with all the clips already installed, but we were using two VHS recorders with a cord plugged into the decks.”
In a new series of events at Meta House, Daly is fusing pop culture, high culture and low culture by hooking painters, musicians, graffiti artists, digital artists and DJs into one psychedelic show. “There will be three DJs playing back to back, each with our own set-up. It’s going to be like a nerd’s dream: a table full of flashing lights and different equipment. But we really want to take it away from where it’s just people looking at us. It’s not about me. I want to play quality tunes, expose some artists and then get a buzz going out there in the place. We want to hang canvases up on the walls and get people in the crowd involved; give them a paintbrush.
“We want to mix it up. One example would be Scott Bywater, part of the Cambodian Space Project. He made some electronic tracks and we released them. He played guitar and read poetry over it and some of us have done remixes. When I first heard it, I wasn’t sure – guitars, poetry; am I going to be able to listen to this? Then I heard it and was like ‘Wow, this is ace. This guy really knows what he’s doing.’ He’s using Garage Band on a Mac and asking me all these questions about getting new sequences in there and putting drum beats over them. I thought ‘You’re the singer, you’re the guitarist; you’re the glue on stage for this band and now you’re interested in all these things that DJs and electronic producers use.’ He’s really starting to harness it, too.”
Experimental fusion is, he says, the future of electronic music. “There’s a huge lull. You had this massive surge starting in the late ’80s right up to the millennium, when dance music was at its peak. You had big names filling out stadiums – The Prodigy, Leftfield, Massive Attack; commercial, but with underground sounds bubbling up underneath. Then live bands took over for a while, and now people like Scott Bywater, and bands in general, are saying ‘I’m going to get a laptop.’ And the people with laptops are saying ‘There are guys over there who can play instruments. I’m going to talk to these guys, take some samples and reverse them, and do stuff together.’ We want to make a new form of music.”
Originally a cover story in ‘The Advisor’ print edition – 20th of December 2012, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Images inserted in this post by Warren Daly
Digital PDF edition is available here – Interview & text by Phoenix Jay. Kindly shared with permission from The Advisor, Cambodia
Looking for something different to do in Cambodia? Want to see engaging new art, listen to live music, or go to a decent club night?
Phnom Penh is a dynamic and expanding city, so it’s about time I updated my earlier post suggesting some resources to assist you on your quest for entertainment. The capital of Cambodia has a burgeoning arts & culture scene and a range of art exhibitions, theatre, movie festivals and live music events in a number of venues throughout the city.
It’s easy to get vital information on the latest events from a number of websites, free magazines, and other publications. Here is my updated list:
Even though it pains me I would also check event listings on Facebook. Feel free to suggest resources you think are worthwhile in the comments below. Hope to see you about town…
2013 will start with the release of a retrospective collection of ZoiD tracks from the past seven years. We’re releasing the album for free on the 25th of December SoundCloud and on Bandcamp. Happy Christmas….
ZoiD is one of the many projects of Daniel Jacobson, a Dublin-based musician and producer.
He began using this particular moniker while living in New Zealand in 2005, and it’s been his main outlet for jazz-tinged electronica ever since.
In 2006 he was a participant at the Red Bull Music Academy in Melbourne where he attended workshops and seminars with Soundmurderer, Mu-Ziq, Mark Pritchard, Cut Chemist, Derrick May and others.
His first album, “ZoiD Versus the Jazz Musicians of Ireland Vol 1″ (2007, Diatribe) was a battle between ZoiD’s electronics and six prominent Irish jazz musicians – “this is either the future of jazz, or the end of jazz as we know it” Cormac Larkin, Sunday Tribune. “wonderful future-bop realms” Jim Carroll, Irish Times.
After taking a three year hiatus for world travelling and meditation, he returned in 2011 with “Sundillion EP” by zoiBand. According to Harmless Noise, this was “…a mesmerising, singular release that melds the spirit of jazz with the ghosts of future sounds”.
We were privileged to have Phoenix Jay call to our studios and interview Dina Chhan and myself. Being compared to László is an honor. We will have Interactive painting walls at our gigs in 2013 so we hope to live up to the claims
If you’re in Phnom Penh, Cambodia this Saturday the 22nd of December, come down and party at Meta House. We will have live painting, 5 projectors, artwork galore and 5 DJs with a range of styles.
Armed with a monome and a salvo of tracks from the excellent Cut Netlabel, Simon Haycock provided this months Netlabelism mix. If you know Cut, you’ll know they’re all about quality. It’s a bass heavy affair with tracks by Roughquest, Mekha, Existance, Rain Dog, Koloah, Actraiser, Lostlojic, Totte, Vax, Sigmafly, Great Skies, and Essay. With such an impressive roster of artists it must have been hard for Simon to make his final selection. You’re gonna love this mix…
It’s a low frequency showdown you’ll be playing over and over again. Thanks to Simon, everybody at Cut, and thanks for listening. - Warren
Free download is available on archive.org
Track – Artist – [Cut Records]
Outside Of You -Roughquest
Acufen – Mekha
Miles Apart (Concepts) – Existance
One To Love – Rain Dog
In The Beginnin’ – Koloah
Phantomille – Actraiser
Give Me Love – Lostlojic
Spending My Days – Totte
Let’s Go – Vax
Tetrachrome – Sigmafly
Light At The End Of The Tunnel – Great Skies
Distance And Lights – Essay