Archive for the ‘Blog from Sam’ Category
Ed Power from UK’s The Independent contacted Sam for an article on non-traditional Christmas releases. One of the answers made it in. Below that is the full interview.
The original Excelsis idea was conceived in 1995 by Projekt’s Promotion Director, Patrick Ogle. Pat ghost-wrote these answers and then Sam embellished. Excelsis ~ a dark noel has been reissued for 2021 in a remastered CD and LP edition.
1: What made you want to come at Christmas from a different angle?
Back in 1995 when the Excelsis ~ a dark noel record came out, most Christmas records were Bing Crosby and Sinatra. Nothing inherently wrong with that but it was sort of tired. The more modern things seemed to be joke versions — “a Punk Rock Christmas” where someone screamed “jingle bells” once or twice in a mocking fashion. We thought there was a place for an ethereal, gothic and darkwave-styled reimagining of Christmas songs.
2: Is it a challenge putting together music that has something “new” to say about Christmas
Yes and no. Some people just took the idea and ran with it. Others had a harder time. That is what a concept compilation comes down to really — the artists. We had a good group.
3: To what extend did you want people to see Christmas from a different perspective?
It turns out they wanted it because the EExcelsis ~ a dark noel record came out in November of 1995 and within a year it was the best selling record on Projekt. For 2021 I’ve reissued the CD and also put it out on vinyl for the first time. The ’99 follow-up Excelsis ~ a winter’s song did quite well too.
4: How important is sincerity in a Christmas record? There are twinkling of Christmas spirit throughout the project – was that something you were keen to include?
Honestly? We didn’t mention sincerity to the artists at all. We tried to get across the notion that this wasn’t a “goofy greats” record making fun of the holiday but rather embracing it. Does a song from “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” require sincerity? Or religious fervor? No! But you have to embrace the song and the season to do it well… and the same is true with the traditional songs.
5 Christmas can be challenging for many people – did you want to address that with the record?
Music can help people get through hard times in their lives and when most musicians stop to think about it they probably HOPE that someone takes something from their music — that it helps the listener in some way. Even if that is just making them happy for 3 minutes. That said there was no set motive to chase away Christmas depression (something I’d add that wasn’t talked about much 25 plus years ago). I certainly hope these records helped people who were feeling down over the holidays.
2021’s Cyber Sale starts NOW! 50% off all downloads, use 50down during checkout. 25% off CDs, use 25cds. LPs are not on sale. Through 11:59pm EST on Cyber Monday, November 29. http://projektrecords.bandcamp.com and http://blacktapeforabluegirl.bandcamp.comPRO7 An Hour of Ambience
Sam Rosenthal’s patrons at Bandcamp are listening to both of his March 1 1985 sets of live electronic music for a three-screen video installation. Performed at Broward Community College’s art gallery, these were Sam’s only solo electronic shows. For as little as $5 a month, your patronage gets you this album and 18 other exclusive stream/downloads. And you help Sam pay the band and cover costs for creating art. Cover photo by Frank Wendeln.
Projekt’s TheAdelaidean is headed back to Antarctic! Sean’s been selected to winter with the Australian Antarctic Program in 2023, the first writer to do so! His first album Isolation was about lockdown. His newest Sounds Like Rain is water-themed (and it’s a Name-your-price download.) Maybe we’ll get a snow-themed album from next, made in one of the most isolated places on Earth!
Sean says: “Returning to Antarctica has been a dream ever since I was there in 2017. That was a nine-day research trip, but this time I will be actively creating while on the ice, writing stories and music, and also podcasting and teaching students back home via satellite. I’ll have six months of long nights and the Aurora Australis to inspire me. I’m so excited to hear what emerges from this incredible experience.”
F A L L 2 0 2 1 V I N Y L R E L E A S E S images are color approximations
Various Artists: Excelsis ~ a dark noel (2021 remaster)
Aurelio Voltaire: Ooky Spooky (2021 Stereo Mix) and The Devil’s Bris (2020 remaster — 2nd pressing)
Various Artists: Excelsis ~ a dark noel (2021 remaster)
LP expected shipping in November. CD now shipping.
LP available in two color variations: • 140-gram Orchid w/Purple & Grey Splatter vinyl, with credit insert. Limited edition of 300. • 140 gram Aqua w/White Splatter vinyl, with credit insert. Limited edition of 300.
• 1995 holiday compilation’s first vinyl release • Remastered by Martin Bowes of Attrition in The Cage, Coventry UK.
Spend the season right with dark holiday classics of untraditional fare. Turn down the lights… it’s a dark noel!
Projekt’s 1995 Holiday compilation is the one that started it all! It’s a dark holiday classic! Spend the holidays in style this year. No more barking dogs or Perry Como for you, uh-uh! While away the frigid hours until the important day with strains of Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s crusade “Chanukkah, Oh Chanukkah,” Lycia’s darkly sensual “We Three Kings,” Love Spirals Downwards’ “Welcome Christmas” (from How the Grinch Stole Christmas), or Faith and the Muse’s pagan madrigal “A Winter Wassail.” All graced by our lovely Dark Angel prepared to brighten many a dark holiday night.
The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 1995: The Projekt label’s coven of gothic artists does emphasize the night in “Silent Night” and other seasonal songs on this intriguing set. Eerie, trance-like reworkings of “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Carol of the Bells” seem to urge deep, Druid thought, not dread. Consider this a good time to go commune with the gargoyle statuary at your local cathedral.
HUH #16: More the work of monks than moshers, the emphasis on spacey, ethereal vocals makes this seem like This Mortal Coil on an eggnog bender, and that’s not a bad thing. The prettiest of the lot, this is a beautiful collection of tracks for trimming the tree or burning your own yule log.
Also available: Remastered CD in 6-panel digipak. LP contains 12 tracks. “What Child Is This?” is CD & digital-only.
Ooky Spooky (2021 Stereo Mix) LP expected shipping mid-September Aurelio Voltaire’s 5th album from 2007
• LP on 140-gram Magenta w/Black marbled vinyl, includes a full-color lyric sleeve. • First time on LP, edition of 600 • Remixed in 2021 by Aurelio Voltaire & Tom Gardner at Rift Studios, NYC • Mastered by Martin Bowes of Attrition in The Cage, England. • Includes a track from the Cartoon Network movie Billy and Mandy’s Big Boogie Adventure • Includes a duet with Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls Carpe Noctem: “…what you might expect to hear while getting drunk at a Mexican restaurant in Transylvania on the Day of the Dead – that is, an inspired and irreverent mix of European folk and Spanish influences, with touches of swing, New Orleans jazz, country, and ska thrown in for good measure.”
Returning to the original joyfully macabre multi-track recordings, Aurelio Voltaire completely remixes his 5th album. Sounding fresh, luscious and ever-so dark and spooky, hidden elements of the original recording are heard for the first time. There’s a warmer string texture and enhanced overall sound.
“It’s a Halloween party in a digipak,” Voltaire comments about Ooky Spooky. The album contains a duet with The Dresden Dolls’ Amanda Palmer, a track from a Cartoon Network movie (Billy and Mandy’s Big Boogie Adventure) plus his crowd-pleasing songs about zombies, devils and dancing skeletons. In fact necrophilia, cannibalism, the undead, blasphemy, sacrilege and going to hell in a hand basket are just a few of the charming topics covered on Ooky Spooky.
Also available: CD with original 2007-mix in the 2015 digipak edition.
The Devil’s Bris (2020 remaster — 2nd pressing) LP expected shipping mid-September Aurelio Voltaire’s 1998 debut
• LP on 140-gram Orange w/Red marble vinyl, includes a full-color lyric insert sleeve. • Second edition of 300 • Meticulously remastered in 2020 from the original mixdown DAT tape by Howard Givens. • Includes “When You’re Evil,” one of his most-loved tracks
Something wicked this way comes: Voltaire. Direct from the underground New York goth scene emerges this strange brew of gypsy violins, driving rhythms, sardonic wit and turn-of-the-century mayhem. Combining beautiful old-world melodies with viciously sarcastic lyrics, The Devil’s Bris is the Three Penny Opera of the twenty-first century. With Wagnerian bravado and Brechtian allure, Voltaire has crafted twelve songs of love, loss, revenge and dismemberment sure to bring a smile to even the darkest of souls.
Also available: 2020 remastered CD digipak edition with 8-page lyric booklet.
“Other shoegaze bands—Ride, Slowdive, Sigur Rós—took MBV’s innovations and ran with them, even soared with them. But Lovesliescrushing have always seemed to operate in a parallel universe, making dense, beatless sheets of sound so disorienting you can’t see your shoes—the band’s music is turned inward so completely that the only thing you can gaze at is the inside of your own skull.”We have a limited edition CD version of 2010’s AVIANIUM, the final copies of girl echo suns veils, and a brand new digipak edition of 2002’s Voirshn at the Projekt Bandcamp page.
N O W I N T H E S H O P !
Projekt’s webstore has seen an uptick of CD sales on electronic music. To satisfy your interest we’ve added the catalog of another notable artist to the store. SYNERGY is the creation of American electronic pioneer Larry Fast.
innerviews: Putting a human face on technology is electronic music pioneer Larry Fast’s specialty. Since 1975, he’s released albums under the name Synergy that set new standards for synthesizer-based composition, as well as pushed the technology envelope. Most importantly, the records proved that electronic music could sound just as organic and expressive as anything created with acoustic instrumentation.
All Music Guide: Beginning with the 1975 landmark Electronic Realizations for Rock Orchestra, Synergy explored the possibilities inherent in synthesizer / sequencer technology and digital-studio production techniques, resulting in some of the most inventive electronic music of the ’70s.
Larry Fast is an American synthesizer player and composer. He is best known for his 1975–1987 series of synthesizer music albums (Synergy) and for his contributions to a number of popular music acts, including Peter Gabriel’s first 5 albums, Foreigner, Nektar, Bonnie Tyler, and Hall & Oates. ;
The shimmering electronic textures of the first SYNERGY album in 1975 led to an invitation for Larry to come to Europe and work with the distinguished British-German band Nektar, then enjoying top 20 success in the US. Following an album (“Recycled”) and a tour with Nektar, Larry was contacted by Peter Gabriel who had recently left Genesis. Larry was asked to contribute to Peter’s subsequent solo albums and tours. Larry’s synthesizer playing is heard on all of Peter’s early solo albums, but Peter’s breakthrough albums, his third solo record (the one with “Games Without Frontiers” and “Biko”), and Security (“Shock The Monkey”) feature Larry’s electronic production skills as well as his introducing Peter to programmable drum machines leading to a newfound emphasis on rhythm in Peter’s music.
Larry’s production credits show the influence that his control of music technology has had on other artist’s styles. All through the 1980’s and into the 1990’s Larry has worked with an endless stream of world-class artists and producers, and as a producer himself. Artists as diverse as Hall & Oates, Foreigner, Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora and David Bryan, Barbra Streisand, Annie Haslam (Renaissance), Randy Newman, Joan Armatrading, Meat Loaf and many others have called on Larry’s talents. In recognition of this expertise as well as being an electronic arranger and sound consultant, Larry Fast/SYNERGY has been the recipient of Keyboard Magazine’s annual award for Best Synthesist. Other projects have included new albums and tours with former Peter Gabriel bandmates Tony Levin and Jerry Marotta performing as the Grammy® nominated Tony Levin Band; as co-writer and co-producer on Annie Haslam’s newest recordings, The Strawbs 50th Anniversary shows, and numerous other projects. Larry has also appeared onstage as a member of Wendy Carlos’ Switched On Bach Ensemble.
Synergy® is a registered US trademark used by permission of Synergy Electronic Music, Inc.
Are you a subscriber to Steve Roach’s youTube channel? If not you might have missed the new videos for his latest Projekt album, AS IT IS. There are many wonderful comments on the clips, too. Do give them a look (ideally on your big-screen TV where they look amazing):Steve Roach: AS IT IS
JD writes: AS IT IS! This is a MASTERPIECE. OH MY GOODNESS. HERE’S MY EXPERIENCE: A momentous journey of courageous directness, exterior and interior movement born from honesty, somewhere between gain or loss, groundless and ground, with every possibility awaiting at the edge of existence, as if the sonic landscape explains itself by the sound traveler’s participation. What is wanting to appear here – at this moment in time? The impeded stream is the one that sings, releasing potentiality from what remains intact of a lifeworld exhausting itself, dying, toward deep contact with space for nuance, creative movement, refuge and liberation.
GM writes: This piece has the absolute integrity of love for me. It resonates with my own deepest song. Not since “Moments in Silence” have I ever been transfixed when listening. Deepest thanks, Steve ☯ Favorite track: Emerging.
BB writes: Contains many classic hallmarks of Steve’s sound through the years yet seems somehow entirely, wonderfully revitalized. And then you get to the incredible last track “Emerging,” which sounds like a vast, epic new direction that’s been in the offing for years. Don’t miss this one. Favorite track: Emerging.
Thank you for supporting independent music. You keep us creative!
Released in 1991, IONIA was Lycia’s debut on Projekt. With its brilliant blending of intense cascading guitar, drone synths and deep, whispered vocals, the release quickly found a home with fans of independent, underground goth as well as spacey ambient music. On this influential and much-admired album, songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mike VanPortfleet speaks to a melancholy that’s intentionally left open-ended. A raw mournful mood pulses beneath songs of isolation, existence, love and loss. IONIA was a post-punk musician’s attempt to create an ambient record. VanPortfleet (with musical assistance on a few tracks) created hypnotic soundscapes that turned the mournful into the majestic. Inspired by the primal sounds of bands like Swans, Big Black and Cindytalk, and a desire to take it into realms of deeper experimentation, VanPortfleet reflects, “The mood of the album was influenced by my growing interest in darker-themed books and films, mysticism and existentialism, as well as an increasingly isolated and aloof personal life.”
Since their inception in 1988 US pioneers Lycia have been a landmark for the darkwave and gothic scene. They set the highest standards with their classic 90s releases on Projekt. And here we are, in early 2021, with Italy’s AvanteGarde having the greatest pleasure to reissue the unique IONIA, celebrating its thirtieth birthday in 2021! Originally released on September 3rd 1991, IONIA was recently re-released on CD by Projekt in 2017. And yet, such an important album had never been pressed on vinyl. Until today. Lycia‘s debut album will be released for the first time on double vinyl in two different colored versions!
Recorded from February to June 1991 on 4 track cassette, IONIA comes to vinyl in a completely remastered version (courtesy of Attrition’s Martin Bowes), specifically for this 2LP edition.
Each color variant is limited to 250 copies.
Mike reflects on the origins of IONIA: In the early spring of 1991 I was reeling. After nearly a decade of unsuccessfully paying my dues in the unreceptive Phoenix music scene I finally had a recording deal. But all was not good. The previous summer, just weeks after John Fair had joined another band and was touring the US and Japan, Lycia got an offer from Projekt. The initial plan was to proceed with the material that John and I had previously demoed. I recruited Will Welch, who had been on the fringe of the band for several years, to assist. Very early on he informed me that he had no interest in replicating John’s parts. He instead wanted the two of us to write new material and have a Lycia reboot. For some unknown reason I agreed and in the fall of 1990 we started writing new material. Projekt of course was confused by the about face but was still on board for us proceeding with the release. After a couple of productive weeks, and two new solid songs, things stalled. Several months later we completed the recording of what we were calling Byzantine. Neither of us were satisfied. Day one into the mix it became apparent to both of us that it wasn’t working. While he never officially quit, Will went AWOL. We were already a month behind the deadline. So I decided to proceed alone. When I informed Projekt that I was rebooting the album yet another time the deal was on the precipice of being retracted. Feeling an insane amount of pressure I once again started from scratch. Going through a year plus of multi-track masters I found numerous partially completed demos. With limited equipment I proceeding in yet another new direction and a couple months later IONIA was completed. After Sam Rosenthal and I completed the mix I wasn’t sure what I thought. It was different. It moved in a direction I wasn’t expecting. To this day I’m still not sure what I think. But it set the plate to a decade of Lycia, and became the template for everything that followed, even to this day. In 2017 I was thrilled when Projekt Records reissued IONIA on CD. I’m equally thrilled that Avantgarde Music will be issuing for the very first time on vinyl, and pre-orders start now!
Also available on vinyl from LYCIA, the $25 2LP A Line That Connects
50% off all downloads use download50 during checkout for 25% off CD / LP / ETC Use merch25 through midnight EST on Cyber Monday, November 30 projektrecords.bandcamp.com
The second video for the new album, Tomorrow features incredible fractal animation by Brenda Molloy set to the track “HeartBreath.” Be sure to subscribe to Steve’s channel to keep up on all new video releases.Live: All Souls Procession Ceremony
Sunday November 8, Steve Roach performs the opening and closing music for the 31st annual All Souls Procession Ceremony in Tucson, AZ. Stream it live from your living room. Streamed opening studio performance – 6pm MST / 8pm EST Live closing ceremony performance – 7:30pm MST / 9:30pm EST / 2:30 AM GMT Monday Steve is joined for both sets by electro acoustic artist Serena Gabriel.
The 31st annual All Souls Procession is a celebration and mourning of the lives of our lost loved ones and ancestors. It is presented at the Annex Performance Space in Downtown Tucson. Last year Steve performed the closing ceremony to approximately 100,000 people; while this year’s event is live in the outdoor venue, only the production staff will be in the audience. It will stream worldwide at https://allsoulsprocession.org/livestream/
Visuals for the closing ceremony are created by the artist NoctiVision, creator of the “Tomorrow” video and 2019’s All Souls Ceremony visuals.