Archive for the ‘Blog from Sam’ Category
Lovesliescrushing at Bandcamp & in the Chicago Reader
“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.
SYNERGY in the shop
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.
N I N E S Y N E R G Y C D S A T P R O J E K T
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.
two new videos for Steve Roach’s AS IT IS album
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
CD at the Projekt webstore, Projekt European Webstore. High Res digital at Spotted Peccary, CD & download at BandcampWhat are you saying about 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!
LYCIA • IONIA • limited edition 2LP • $25
Lycia’s classic IONIA is getting a remarkable 2LP release by Italy’s Avantgarde Music. On preOrder for $25. The CD is available for $14.
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
Bandcamp Cyber 2020 sale
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
Steve Roach “HeartBreath” video and Tucson live performance
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.
Five new videos for you to enjoy
From Projekt’s Sam Rosenthal: I find myself spending more and more time watching youTube on my living room TV. It’s becoming the all-knowing archive of everything! With that in mind, Projekt & Steve Roach are creating more visual material for you to enjoy. In the last few days, we’ve added these new clips:Projekt’s creepy attic & roof collapse (2009) at youTube
I found a short bit of video on a backup harddrive; I mixed that with some photos to take you on a brief tour of the creepy attic of the 2009 Brooklyn office, and recount the story of the roof collapse. Happy Halloween!Timothy Leary’s Trip 1 narrated by Alex Cox at youTube
To commemorate the centennial of Timothy Leary’s birth, I recorded an electronic space music/art rock collaboration with Projekt’s artists, including 4 short Trips with Leary’s words. This clip has narration by Repo Man director Alex Cox.Steve Roach 10/24/2020 Livestream… the day after Tomorrow at youTube
Stream starts at about 25:38 minutes in. Enjoy a replay of Steve’s Saturday Livestream concert, a 90-minute show followed by the premiere of 3 videos from the new album Tomorrow.Black Tape For A Blue Girl • Dracula’s Ball 2010 at youTube
January 16, 2010, Black Tape For A Blue Girl performed our 126th show — the 7th with the new 3-piece line up of Athan Maroulis, Nicki Jaine & Sam Rosenthal. The 30 minute slot at Dracula’s Ball included 6 songs off the then-new 10 NEUROTICS album, and 2 tracks off HALO STAR.Timothy Leary’s Trip 4 narrated by Reggie Watts at youTube
This track is narrated by Reggie Watts, bandleader on CBS’ The Late Late Show with James Corden. I did some Nam June Paik-inspired video art effects in the middle.
Projekt electronic artists. Tim, where are you now? Name-your-price & CD preOrder
Celebrating Timothy Leary’s 100th birthday, Projekt’s Sam Rosenthal collaborated with the label’s electronic artists (Steve Roach, Erik Wøllo, Mark Seelig, Forrest Fang, theAdelaidean, Jarguna and others) to create Tim, where are you now? Interspersed within the music are trip narrations based on Timothy Leary’s writing, read by Alex Cox (director of Repo Man and Sid & Nancy), Rick Doblin (executive director of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), Reggie Watts (bandleader on CBS’ The Late Late Show with James Corden), Lee Ranaldo (founder and guitarist of Sonic Youth) and others.
Read the full album description.
Sam talks about the album…
Q — With the music and the album, what are you trying to evoke? How do you want people to listen and engage with the music? What are you trying to show them?
Sam — Well, first it’s a listening experience. It’s music — new sounds and new spaces. The narrators read short scripts that float within the music. The trips come from Leary’s writing. He’s question reality — Is this thing that seems to us to be so firm and inviolable actually real? Is this actually what it appears to be?
Leary wrote in 1968, “…since that first LSD trip, it remains impossible for me to return to the life I led before, unable to take myself, my mind, and the social world around me as seriously.”
Q — How did you gather these musicians and readers?
Sam — I asked Projekt musicians to send me sources to work from. I wasn’t looking for finished tracks, this wasn’t a compilation album. I asked artists for bits of music, perhaps unused individual instrument tracks from their projects. My idea was to compost those sources and make new music. I’d listen to their source, see what ideas it brought up, which portions I’d like to focus on, what sort of song it inspired me to create. I might use an 8 second bit of their source and loop it, or a longer segment as a texture to build upon.
While these songs are collaborations, the structuring, editing, processing was my contribution; I also add my electronics here or there where a texture is needed. On some tracks, I’d get a structure for the song flowing and then go to a specific musician with an idea for a part they could add on top, such as Erik Wøllo’s driving electric guitar part on “Reality-tunnel,” or Ryan Lum’s bossa nova-flavored guitar part on “PSY PHI love means High Fidelity.” Or Steve Roach’s drone in the 2nd half of “Reality-tunnel.” I sensed that area needed some low-end support, and I knew Steve was the magic man to give it the texture it required.
The other track I created with Steve was “Molecular symbol, thinking” which is very abstract and spacey. Steve being ever-prolific sent me a gigabyte of great source material to work from. All of it really lovely. This source stood out because it was oblique, with a psychedelic spaciousness. I edited out some of the places where it took form, to keep it on an abstract level. Listening to Steve’s track, I envision my thoughts drifting away like a train on a swirling track heading off into deep space, the cars growing further and further apart as the packets of thoughts begin to distort and lose their connection and form. It created exactly what I wanted to occur at that point in the album. About two and a half minutes into the piece I laid in a little bit of Erik Wøllo’s processed electric guitar textures — painting with their sounds. I didn’t worry about BPM, or even what key the pieces were in. It was just a question of, “Do these elements sound good together?” Then another minute in I’m playing a short 4-note pattern, giving a bit of earth under your feet. At the end I brush in a bit of Jarguna’s modular synthesizer textures to add some sparkle as the track comes to a finish.
For the narrators, I was looking for marquee names to help spread Leary’s words out further. I sent a ton of emails, asking agents, contacting friends to see who they knew who might be interested. The first on board was Alex Cox, followed by Lee Ranaldo. Hearing them on the finished tracks was exciting! The pieces worked as I had imagined them. Yes! Perfection!
Q — What is your definition of a “trip?”
Sam — Speaking with people at Portland Psychedelic Society meet-ups (pre-pandemic, of course), I know there are all kinds of trips. Some are purely body, energetic experiences. Some are purely visual. Aside from an LSD trip when I lived in Los Angeles in the 90s, I hadn’t done any psychedelics until 5 years ago, when I accidentally discovered that I easily trip on edible THC. For me, trips are very hallucinogenic with experiences that feel absolutely real in the moment. Visuals, sounds, emotions. A single trip contains hundreds of short vignettes, many are past-life experiences. I am there as the observer, and those observed. I rotate consciousness through the people in the scene, often overlaid at once.
Timothy Leary and Stanislav Grof both came to psychedelics from the therapeutic angle: guiding subjects via psychedelic-therapy in a safe environment with attention to set and setting. Grof speaks of our internal healer who knows what we need at that moment; our trip is directed by that knowing. I am very much of the mind that psychedelics have great therapeutic benefits. MAPS.org is proving this with the success of their FDA-approved MDMA trials for PTSD. Psychedelics are also helpful for addiction, depression, and end-of-life anxiety (Rick Doblin, executive director of MAPS, reads one of the trips in the digital bonus material.)
Of his first psilocybin experience, Leary later said, “I learned more about my brain and its possibilities and more about psychology in the five hours after taking these mushrooms than I had in the preceding fifteen years of studying and doing research in psychology.” Progress and connections can be made during a trip that cannot be made in talk-therapy. When the mind is free to wander outside of the ruts, interesting new answers that were not previously available are found.
Tim, where are you now? CD preOrder at Projekt’s website and Projekt’s European webstore. CD preOrder and name-your-price download at Projekt’s Bandcamp page.
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Steve Roach livestream this Saturday.
The new chapter of sonic tribe gatherings continues on planet earth – 2020 style. This Saturday, Steve Roach presents his second livestream Timehouse concert. The set is going high and deep. Get your food and drink ready and plan for an extended set!
Date: Saturday September 26, 2020 Time: 7:30 pm AZ & Pacific 10:30 pm Eastern 2:30 am GMT (Sept 27) Where: Steve Roach YouTube and FacebookSteve Roach performs live from the Timeroom | #1
This Saturday, Steve brings you an ultra-intimate concert stream on both YouTube and Facebook. This is the first in a series of concerts from the Timeroom. 🌀 After the show, Steve will host a Q & A. Until the world opens back up for in-person performances, gather with us online to experience the soundworlds of Steve Roach …up close and personal.
Saturday August 22, 2020 7pm AZ & Pacific / 10pm Eastern / 2am GMT (August 23)Watch it on youTube.
“A Soul Ascends is important because it reaches the giddy creative heights of Steve’s other ambient masterwork Structures from Silence. But it is even more important because it is< new classical music for these troubled times.” – Overgrown Path
Steve Roach streaming NPR interview for A Soul Ascends
Steve was interviewed on Tucson’s NPR station about the healing power of sound and his new album A Soul Ascends created as a final farewell to his mother. Alisa Ivanitskaya discusses the philosophy shaping Steve’s music. Stream the interview on Arizona Spotlight, from 15:10 – 26:15.
Purchase the A Soul Ascends CD at the Projekt webstore, CD & Download at Projekt Bandcamp, High Res downloads at Spotted Peccary & CD in Europe at the European Webstore.
A majestic, deeply moving sonic suspension drawn from the essence of Steve Roach’s visionary ambient/electronic music. A vast and intimate holding-the-space of heart-centered serenity and compassion, the album couples the body to the eternal flow of a vaporizing weightlessness — back to a divine nothingness, the Tabula Rasa where everything began.
“…slowly morphing and breathing as it goes forward in an unstoppable quest for inward tranquility.”
A review from Exposé by Peter Thelan:
In the four decades that Steve Roach has been making music, he has released close to 150 albums, both solo and in collaboration, maybe even more that I’m not aware of, and each new release has some vestigial connection to all that have gone before it, while also adding new elements that take on new directions – sometimes the changes are bold and sometimes incremental, and even other times reach back even further to elaborate on ideas that were committed to the lost and found, to be worked further, branched out and blossomed into new ideas. That may be the case with A Soul Ascends, which seems to draw on energies and emotions going back to some of his earliest works, calling forth several of the expansive and spacious works from the mid-1980s, with a new glowing warmth that establishes a certain mark of the present. A Soul Ascends, by its title seems to have a connection to some personal loss, but that’s not something that is enforced on the listener; in fact on its surface the music here is quite beautiful and angelic, slowly morphing and breathing as it goes forward in an unstoppable quest for inward tranquility. It consists of three extended movements; the first is the longest at just over thirty minutes, “The Radiant Return” moves patterns of successive colors, shades, shadows and brilliance slowly across a floating sonic canvas, where deep textures and soaring brilliances meet and overlap, like filters that interchangeably obscure and colorize the light of the sun, moon or stars. The second movement “In Present Space” is similar to the first, though at about half its length, continuing at roughly the same glacial pace, but occasionally fades to complete blackness. The third and final movement “Reflection In Ascension” is another long one, opening up some new textures via subtle sequences blending with the slow-morphing sounds introduced in the earlier movements. Like many of Roach’s works, one might get some extended mileage by putting this on in end-to-end repeat mode for an all day or all night marathon.