Archive for the ‘Blog from Sam’ Category
From Projekt’s Sam Rosenthal:
There’s an ongoing fascination with 90s-era Projekt releases. For aficionados of those releases, here’s something really interesting! It’s a set of never-before-seen images from the photoshoot for one of Projekt’s iconic 90s albums! It’s been 24 years since the release of LYCIA’s A Day in the Stark Corner; back in 1993 Susan Jennings and I went out to the desert to shoot the cover photos. When I was redesigning the cover for the reissue, I asked Susan to digitize the 3 rolls of film we shot that day, 80 images in all. On this page you can see the progression of our ideas with 24 images in the order they were taken. All images are presented full frame (not cropped). I think it’s remarkable to peek into this moment in time in a way I didn’t think I would experience again. Enjoy!
If you have any questions you’d like to ask Susan and me, send a message; we’ll add your question and the answer to the page.
On the follow-up to Ionia, Mike Van Portfleet continues his pursuit of an apocalyptic landscape of extremes in which rich gothic guitars and intense rhythms divulge a world of bleak desperation; with that unmistakeable unnerving whispered voice. Peter Steele of Type-O Negative said about Stark Corner: “Such simple hypnotic beats, everything is drowned in reverb. Yet, the emotion comes through so loud and clear. It’s just devastating, as beautiful as it is devastating.”
Monday May 7, 4-5pm PST on Portland’s XRAY FM, Sam Rosenthal (founder of Portland-based electronic/ethereal Projekt Records and 33-year-old darkwave act Black Tape For A Blue Girl) will drop by the “Double Bummer” radio show for a live in-the-studio interview. Sam will discuss the Kickstarter for Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s upcoming CD/LP release To touch the milky way, Projekt Records’ history, play some music, and catch up with host DJ Bob Ham. The show is “Double Bummer” and it will be streaming, for those of you outside of Portland. KXRY 107.1 / 91.1 FM (Portland, OR) and http://xray.fm
Joe is busy in Philadelphia packing up all your orders on the recent Chuck Van Zyl reissues.
Here’s the top-10 list for webstore sales in March: #1 Chuck van Zyl: The Relic (Limited to 300 Copies) (2CD) #2 Chuck van Zyl: Recitals 2 (2CD) #3 Steve Roach: Dreamtime Return (30th Anniversary Remastered) (2-LP VINYL) (pre-order, due early May) #4 Lisa Gerrard & Marcello De Francisci: Departum (CD) (Pre-Order, Expected Mid-April) #5 Chuck van Zyl: Recitals 1 & 2 (4CD Bundle) #6 Steve Roach: Dreamtime Return (30th Anniversary Remastered Edition) (2-CD) #7 Chuck van Zyl: The XYL File (2nd Pressing, Limited to 100 Copies) (CD) #8 Forrest Fang: Scenes from a Ghost Train (limited CD) #9 Chuck van Zyl: Celestial Mechanics (2nd Pressing, Limited to 100 Copies) (CD) #10 Robert Rich: The Biode (CD)
See all Chuck Van Zyl titles in the webstore here.
Robert reflects, “‘Sovereign’ is a piece that seemed to compose itself over the course of a few months. It was partly inspired by the number of months I spent in Mozambique and something of the majesty of the land and people – as well as the music I encountered – influenced the entire composition. The piece utilises a large range of analog and digital synthesizers – including a custom ‘vocal’ synthesizer I created with vowel sounds to ‘sing’ the lead melodies that were played in – as well various kinds of hand percussion, vocal sounds, field recordings and much more besides. In the second half the music shifts and the opening melody returns, now feeling quite different against the new form the rest of the music has taken. The feeling that seems to be invoked in the second half is especially important; I’d describe it as ‘otherness.’ Japanese music also influenced this composition, particularly the ‘royal’ aspect of the ending.”
“The Weaver,” the fifth track on Robert Logan’s Sculptor Galaxy, was inspired by an enrapturing experience of the natural surroundings he encountered while working alone at his village studio in the Hungarian wilderness.“The Weaver” – Listen at Bandcamp
Robert comments, “The weather patterns during the piece’s creation were wonderfully temperamental, with some incredible storms rolling in which shook the walls of the room where I created this music. But while those sounds and atmospheres did infiltrate the track’s formation, it was the unusual, wet stillness in the aftermath and quiet observations of plant life and intricate plantal sequences that particularly inspired the feeling behind the piece. Indeed, “The Weaver” has a somewhat different tonality to the rest of Sculptor Galaxy (even though the album is a continuous journey best heard as one long piece) in that it was written note-by-note in a microtonal 31-tone scale system, and an inspiration to its detailed interlocking threads was a book called The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants which explores the mathematical beauty and organisation of plant structures, along with minimalism/systems music. The piece’s dynamics flower in and out in rhythm to organic cycles.”Robert Logan Sculptor Galaxy | CD for $14 at Projekt / Download for $10 at Bandcamp / Download for $9.99 at iTunes
Expose Online wrote: “(Robert Logan’s) disc takes the explorative route in lieu of the predictable, and for that I’m calling Sculptor Galaxy one of the best electronic based releases of (the year).”
After six solo electronic/ambient albums and his 2016 collaborations with Steve Roach (Biosonic and Second Nature, Projekt) Logan’s new album blends unusual electronic and acoustic sources, terraforming bright, melodic molten sound with an enraptured experience of the natural world. Vibrant electronic performances, detailed tone-sculpting, processed natural sounds (captures from Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Hungarian village life and the UK’s shores), and unusual acoustic instruments inform a musical world of exotic majesty and boundless adventure.
Forrest Fang’s electronic creations are a surrealist blend of processed ethnic instruments and minimalist, ambient soundscapes. His new release, Scenes from a Ghost Train is in stores on February 2nd. We’ve put his catalog titles on sale through 1 am EST, Wednesday February 7th. Click here for a list of all titles.
by Mike G Electronic and ambient pioneer Steve Roach started creating his music during the late ‘70s golden age of analog synthesizers, a time when the digital variety was only visible on the horizon. So it’s refreshing that an album which continues that hands-on tradition, Spiral Revelation (2017), garnered his first-ever Grammy nomination. Chosen in the Best New Age Album category, the album is crafted almost entirely with modular and stand-alone synthesizers, its sound grounded in the dynamic, spiraling interweave of melodic and rhythmic sequencer forms.
With its analog leanings, Spiral Revelation sounds utterly contemporary thanks to Roach’s technological sophistication and creative maturity. Yet the bubbling, kinetic melodies point to his origins, making it a natural place to begin the story of how far and wide he has travelled.
Born 1955 in La Mesa, California, Steve Roach self-released his first solo album in 1982. His early music was part of a wider progressive ambient movement that rose concurrently with new age music on America’s West Coast during the 1970s and peaked in the late ‘80s. Although it often intermingled easily with the best of the early new age genre, Roach’s music has always been created completely on its own terms, essentially defining his own genre. He drew upon his unique perspective, deeply rooted in a connection to the starkly beautiful landscapes and open spaces of the southwestern desert in which he grew up, to pioneer the inherently expansive breathing quality of his early releases.
“My life at that time was purely focused on drawing out an inner voice that had been building over many years: a feeling born from my immersion in the quiet spaces of the desert environment,” Roach reflects. “I could channel this feeling, this expansive atmosphere and blooming inner awareness. I was uncovering and discovering a palpable sense of stillness emanating from a soundcurrent of ‘silence.’”
Today, with a passionately prolific drive, Roach stands among the giants of modern ambient and is one of the most respected electronic musicians in the world. His discography is enormous with well over 100 releases. All of it is “ambient” in a way, but it’s better understood by singling out three major strands in his sound.
Firstly, there is the deep inspiration Roach draws from the German and European electronic space music tradition. You can certainly hear the legacy running throughout his work from Now (1982), Empetus (1986), Skeleton Keys (2015) and most recent Spiral Revelations (2017). There’s a through-line in these releases, where patterned, sequencer-driven music activates the consciousness with an invigorating sense of heightened perception; emotional and mind-expanding spiraling mandalas of sound are made from interwoven tapestries of melody, rhythm, tone and musical space.
A second strand present in Roach’s releases is floating ambience inspired by a sense of environmental space, time-expansion and silence. These diaphanous chords and suspended harmonics were first heard on his meditative masterpiece Structures From Silence (1984). Here and elsewhere in Roach’s rich oeuvre are outstanding examples of the evolving “breathing chords” central to his ongoing quest to humanize the music and release his machines from their mechanical moorings. This extraordinary sense of natural breath is an organic quality not easily realized with synthesizers. Diverse examples can be heard on the 3-CD Quiet Music (1986), the 4-cd opus Mystic Chords and Sacred Spaces (2003), running right up through the recent Nostalgia for the Future (2017) and Long Thoughts (2017).
Thirdly, there is an intoxicating tribal-ambient strand that runs deep in Roach’s music. On his recordings from the ‘90s he pioneered this subgenre, a dark electro-acoustic hybrid that today commands a devoted underground following. It all started with the epic Australia-inspired double-LP Dreamtime Return (1988) forged with tribal percussion, warm washes of synthesizer and location recordings of indigenous music and instrument samples. Later on came a number of benchmark collaborations with the shamanic Mexican musician Jorge Reyes such as Earth Island (1994), and his work with percussionist Byron Metcalf on eight releases including The Serpent’s Lair (2000) and Monuments of Ecstasy (2015). It’s dark-edged global exotica enveloped in Roach’s widescreen soundscapes.
At a Steve Roach live experience you might be fortunate enough to hear all these strands in a single show. Roach is an artist in his element on stage; from the very beginning of his career he has presented live electronic music in venues around the world, bringing this sound to life in the present moment with all its complexity, emotion and visionary nature. Roach invites the listener’s adventurous spirit to surrender to the dynamic journey that unwinds with power and grace. Whether it’s large scale shows in cities like San Francisco or Los Angeles, or more intimate performances in his hometown of Tucson, it is a remarkable immersive soundworld performed in real time. There is something deeply elemental about it; a sounding of the earth and the cosmos that’s been rendered into tones, visuals, and emotions that can be felt viscerally.
Always reaching towards what’s next on the horizon, Roach refuses to be tied down in any one stylistic direction. His worldwide audience continues to grow, and his innovations continue to inspire new and long-time listeners. Listening to a Steve Roach album, you’re hearing the momentum of a lifetime dedicated to the soundcurrent, an artist operating at the pinnacle of his artform, with dedication, passion and an unbroken focus on creating a personal vision of electronic music. Roach’s hypnotic swirl and kaleidoscopic sounds makes Spiral Revelation unlike anything else nominated for a Grammy this year and quite possibly, any previous year. It’s just one facet of a multi-faceted soundworld that stretches back four decades.
Welcome to the vortex.
• Feature article in the San Diego Union Tribune. • Radio interview on Tucson NPR’s Arizona Spotlight. Edited interview within the show in the top podcast, full interview in the podcast below. • A page on Steve’s upcoming February 2018 live appearance in Tucson, here • Projekt’s original Grammy-nomination post, November 2017 hereExtended Steve Roach interview:
Steve Roach hour-long interview podcast with Echoes. “As he’s just been nominated for a Grammy Award, I thought it would be a good time to talk to Steve Roach, the critically acclaimed electronic music artist who has released over a hundred albums since his debut in 1982. But his 2016 album, Spiral Revelation, is his first ever nomination in his 40 year career. He’s in the New Age category alongside Brian Eno, Kitaro, Peter Kater and inexplicably, India.Arie. Unlike other Echoes Podcasts, this is pretty much a raw interview in which Steve talked about the Grammys, his musical process, and his guilty music pleasure.”
From Sam Rosenthal: My life has been incredibly busy in the three weeks since Steve Roach received his Grammy nomination for Spiral Revelation. I’ve been contacting press and radio to spread the word, set up interviews, send out promo copies. I’ve also been preparing for Projekt’s switch to a new U.S. retail store distributor; on January 1st Projekt will be with Amplified who fullfill out of AEC/Alliance. I’ve been preparing spreadsheets, one sheets, and planning new releases and relaunches of end-of-2017 titles that kind of fell through the cracks at distribution. November was our Italian Distributor Audioglobe‘s best month ever for sales on Projekt titles! It’s really nice to see Europe coming out of “the crisis,” and buying CDs again. I’m now shipping stuffed boxes to Audioglobe every 6 weeks, half a decade ago it was every 6 months. This is great news! And even though I’ve often complained about the low rates artists get payed from streaming (Spotify, YouTube), it’s starting to add up, with streaming now over 1/3 of what our digital distributor pays. Well, that’s nice.
And over at Bandcamp, Projekt’s download store is very successful! I absolutely love that site, it’s my first recommendation when people ask where they should get Projekt downloads. And we do our occasional name-your-price releases, which bring a lot of new listeners to those titles.
I’ve rebooted the Black Tape For A Blue Girl patron page at Bandcamp. After the kerfuffle with Patreon changing their fee structures (and then withdrawing the #newfees when they realized how bad the idea was), I felt it was time to take the leap and move my patron site to a place where music is the priority. When you place your pledge, you get 9 free Black Tape For A Blue Girl catalog titles, plus an exclusive download of the new album in progress (instrumental mixes). The album is really coming along! My musical portion is nearly done, I have lyrics written for all the songs but one, I worked last week with Brian on drums for “All that I thought I wanted,” and Oscar & Dani are flying to Portland soon to record vocals; that’s thanks to my patrons who helped cover those plane tickets! If you like what I create: get a bunch of free music and show your support at at the BlackTapePatron page.
I have a folder in my email app where I file press, radio & sales that I want to inform you about. That information gets posted on our Twitter regularly, but the over-stuffed folder means it’s been ages since I’ve updated you by email. So here ya go!
Projekt’s Holiday sale at iTunes Canada: Excelsis Vol 1 ~ A Dark Noel | Ornamental (a Projekt Holiday compilation) | Jill Tracy: Silver Smoke, Star of Night (In the Shadow of Christmas)
Echoes Radio posted a 50 minute interview podcast with Steve Roach, covering a wide range of topics from his recent Grammy nomination to insights from his long and winding life as an artist in sound.
Tracks from Jeffrey Koepper’s Transmitter played on Galactic Travels on WDIY 88.1 FM, Allentown and Bethlehem, PA. Also on Secret Music on WVKR, Poughkeepsie NY. Also on Alien Air Music on KXLU 88.9FM Los Angeles, CA.
Tracks from Robert Logan’s Sculptor Galaxy played on Galactic Travels on WDIY 88.1 FM, Allentown and Bethlehem, PA. Also on One World Music Radio, UK
Tracks from Steve Roach’s Spiral Revelations played on Contemplation Connection on KKUP Cupertino, CA.
Projekt act MIRA are playing a reunion show Friday December 29 @ The Wilbury, Tallahassee, FL. Facebook event page.
Projekt Greatest Hits sale at iTunes through the end of the year Black Tape For A Blue Girl: The Best Of (deluxe) 5.99 Steve Roach: Rasa Dance $4.99 Dark Sanctuary: Thoughts $4.99 Trance to the Sun: The Finest Works of… $5.99 Thanatos: All I have Left $3.99 Erik Wollo: Vision… an introduction $3.99
Serenade For Falling Stars — Spotify Playlist An offering of exotic ethereal ghostly music for lovers, loners and dreamers. Created by Erick Scheid of Portland etherealwave band Mercury’s Antennae. Listen at Spotify.
Post-punk.com has a “40 years of Goth” post with the essential albums you should hear. Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s This Lush Garden Within is #38, and Lycia’s Cold is #40. They also have it a Spotify playlist, listen to a track from each album on the list.
The Story of Steve Roach’s Structures From Silence is a post on the Projekt site.
A Facebook comment about Projekt’s Excelsis holiday release: Excelsis is available at iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc. Because you’re a fan (and maybe already own a copy) you can get it for free (name-your-price) at Bandcamp!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Sonic innovator Steve Roach received a Grammy Award nomination for his inspired Spiral Revelation release! As one of the original architects of the ambient/electronic genre, Roach’s 40 years of creating genre-defying soundworld experiences immersed with vital life energy and passion has been recognized by the members of the Recording Academy in this Grammy nomination for “Best New Age Album.”
“Spiral Revelation stands out as a true, mind-tripping, trance inducing album. (It’s) a quintessential example of Roach’s sequencer driven oeuvre.” – John Diliberto, Echoes syndicated radio program
The 60th Grammy Awards will be held in New York City on January 28, 2018. For info: grammy.com
An emotional through-line brings life to Spiral Revelation as the unfurling of time’s windings connects to the vivid present, life-affirming and illuminated. The release is a masterful expression of an artist who has infused his soul into the art form of electronic music through years of dedication exploring sound via hands-on synthesis.
Steve Roach is a pioneer in the evolution of ambient/electronic music, shaping it into what it is today. The extremely prolific American artist has a discography of over 125 albums. Following his 1982 debut, landmark recordings include Structures from Silence, Dreamtime Return and 2017’s Grammy-nominated Spiral Revelation. Tireless in his creative focus, Roach constantly challenges boundaries in work ranging in style from rhythmic analog sequencer music, pure floating spaces, primordial tribal-ambient and long-form drift ambient. He brings to the table years of dedication and experience exploring sound via hands-on synthesis. With the sense of an artist working in three dimensional space, Steve creates a sonic experience that breathe power, passion and vital life energy.
Spiral Revelations. The sound of life, interconnected and unfurling. The spiral – a visual symbol of eternity – is a reoccurring metaphoric theme in Steve Roach’s pioneering electronic work. Interpreted into musical form, these six spiraling sonic experiences offer a living activation that connects with a sense of the infinite. Roach’s long history and love of analog sequencer-based styles reveal a continuing, evolving awakening within Spiral Revelation’s 63 minutes. Focussing the mind’s ear upon a filigree of intricate patterns woven with a direct hands-on approach, the artist sculpts and caresses sound into being in real time. An emotional through-line brings life to these pieces as the unfurling of time’s windings connects to the vivid present, life-affirming and illuminated. A masterful expression of an artist who has infused his soul into the art form of electronic music.
Projekt is a Portland, Oregon-based independent record label that specializes in electronic, ambient, gothic and darkwave, started by Sam Rosenthal in 1983. Prominent Projekt artists include Rosenthal’s own Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, Eric Wollo, Voltaire and Lycia. With over 350 releases, it is one of America’s longest running independently-owned recording labels specializing in the electronic music genre.Recent press on Steve’s Grammy nomination
musictap.com synthtopia.com Echoes Radio. John Diliberto writes: Steve Roach tops this excellent 2017 Grammy New Age cast. Spiral Revelation stands out as a true, mind-tripping, trance inducing album. Roach has been recording since the early 1980s, he’s approaching 200 releases, and he’s one of the first names mentioned in certain areas of electronic music. But he’s never been nominated for a Grammy award. But this year, through some quirk of coincidence, talent, artistry and persistence, he’s broken in with Spiral Revelation, a quintessential example of Roach’s sequencer driven oeuvre.Downloadable Spiral poster
Download a free 11×17 poster at http://www.projekt.com/Posters/PRO336-Poster.jpg . Print it on your color printer, or at a local printshop. And please email a photo of the poster at work, at home, etc, and we’ll post your photos on Steve’s Facebook Page.
Sam writes: On Tuesday November 28th, I’m donating my profits at Bandcamp to the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation’s ARISE practitioners, working to heal the wounds of social inequity and discrimination. Plus you get 25% off your order! Details below.Anger Work is Peace Work
CONTINUE THE LEGACY OF THAY AND DR. KING THIS GIVING TUESDAY
Be part of the #GivingTuesday initiative to raise funds to help mindfulness heal the wounds of discrimination and social inequity within ourselves and our society. ARISE (Awakening through Race, Intersectionality, and Social Equity) is a group of mindfulness practitioners and monastics in the Plum Village tradition who have come together with the aspiration to use the energy of compassion, understanding, and love to do this important work.
Read more, watch the video, contribute directly at the Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation (if you would like to give direct at the source).How to get your 25% discount
All day today, Tuesday November 28th, take 25% off at the Projekt and Black Tape For A Blue Girl Bandcamp pages. I will donate Projekt’s profits (after Bandcamp fee + artist royalties) to ARISE. To get 25% off, use code hanh when checking out at the Projekt Bandcamp page and the Black tape for a blue girl Bandcamp page.This works!
In August, your purchases (through a similar donation/discount) raised $232.03 for the Transgender Law Center. It would be lovely if I can donate even more this time.Final Results
$87.87 was raised for ARISE by way of your purchases at Bandcamp, so I rounded up and donated $150. Thanks to everyone. You can donate directly