Archive for the ‘Blog from Sam’ Category
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.
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.
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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!
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 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.
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.
Sam will answer your questions and reminisce. You can chat in the text window with Projekt artists, fans, and long-time assistant Shea Hovey. See you there! Saturday May 2 — 11am Pacific / 2pm Eastern / 8pm Italy facebook.com/SamProjekt If you are not on Facebook, use this link: www.facebook.com/SamProjekt/posts/10218929688366123 and then chose “not now” on the pop up.
Aurelio Voltaire writes, "After many years of fans asking me when I'm going to release some of my music on vinyl, it's really great to be able to have an answer for them! And with the speed at which they're flying off of the merch booth at shows, it's obvious that it was long overdue. I particularly enjoyed working on the design for the sleeve. I feel the art and especially the amazing, swirled sepia vinyl we used really capture the look and feel of the original release."
If you're not a physical-objects-kind-of-goth and prefer your music streaming, listen to the remastered The Devil's Bris across the internet: Spotify | Amazon | Apple Music | Google Play | YouTube | Deezer
Aurelio Voltaire's The Lair of Voltaire YouTube channel just hit 150 thousand subscribers! Watch his Gothic Homemaking show, check out info on concerts near you in the Video Nooseletters and listen to music!
Steve Roach is a leading American pioneer in the evolution of ambient/electronic music, helping shape it into what it is today. Grammy nominated in 2018 and 2019 consecutively, his career spans four decades and nearly 150 releases. Capturing peak moments, he creates a sonic experience that breathes emotion and vital life energy that connects to an ever-growing worldwide audience.Steve’s NYC show has been postponed. Announcement here
Steve Roach Live @ Ambient.Church in New York City, Saturday, March 28 2020 St. George’s Episcopal Church, 209 East 16th Street at Rutherford Place | Purchase Tickets Steve Roach’s first ever New York City show will be a spectacular immersive live “Ambient Church” concert at St. George’s Episcopal Church.
Ambient Church is a nomadic experiential event series dedicated to working with artists to bring new ecologies to architecturally unique spaces through transcendent audio and visual performance.
On this long-awaited evening, American synthesist and undisputed master of electronic music, Steve Roach takes us on a 2-hour journey, featuring work spanning his 40-year career including Dreamtime Return (1988), performed in a 1100-capacity church in Gramercy Park.
Steve Roach Q&A @ Come Together Record Fair in Queens, NY, Sunday, March 29 2020 MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101. MoMA PS1 and iconic record shop Other Music present the fourth annual Come Together: Record Fair and Music Festival, offering a record fair featuring recent and rare releases, merchandise, and ephemera from more than 75 record labels and other vendors. Steve will do a Q&A at 3pm. Purchase Tickets
Past Steve Roach Concerts | 2020
Steve Roach Live @ Electro Bloom in Tucson, Wednesday, February 12 2020 Following his finale performance at 2019’s All Souls Weekend, Grammy-nominated ambient/electronic pioneer Steve Roach returns for an intimate 45-minute “Deep End” immersive set Wednesday February 12 at at Electro Bloom @ Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E Toole Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701. Details and tickets | Facebook event page. This set will stream live on SomaFM Deep Space One
Steve Roach Live @ PVCC in Phoenix, Friday, February 7 2020 The Phoenix Synthesizer Festival at Paradise Valley Community College. PVCC Center for the performing arts, Mainstage 7:30pm. 18401 N. 32nd Street. General Admission. Full details and tickets | Facebook Event Page. Watch a stream of the entire show from Francisco Mendez Livestream link on Facebook.
Past Steve Roach Concerts | 2019
All Souls Weekend in Tucson AZ Saturday November 2 – Tucson, AZ – Night of the Living – full concert at MSA Annex outdoor festival venue Sunday November 3 – Tucson, AZ – All Souls Procession performing the ceremony finale Details at: allsoulsprocession.org/
Not able to make it to Tucson? Fear not! We have a busy weekend of streaming for you!
Saturday November 2
8—> 10pm PT (starts at 11p ET / Sun 0300 GMT) • Steve Roach live concert from All Souls’ Night of the Living Fest (Tucson) on SomaFM Deep Space One or “SomaFM Deep Space One” in your radio app.
Sunday November 3
5—> 6:30pm PT • SomaFM Deep Space One Trance Archeology album premiere
8pm—>? MST • Steve Roach’s All Souls finale livestreamed on Vimeo (streaming begins at 7pm, Steve’s set time approximate based on progress of procession)
9—> 11pm MST • Sam Rosenthal (of Black Tape For A Blue Girl & Projekt) interviewed on Amelia Poe Love Show on Tucson's 99.1 FM Downtown Radio.
Saturday Nov 2 – Night of the Living – full concert at MSA Annex outdoor festival venue Gates open at 5pm, two opening acts, Steve 8-10pm. Purchase tickets. Not in Tucson? SomaFM broadcasts this concert at 8pm PT / 11pm ET (Sun 0300 GMT) on Deep Space One.
Watch the full 2-hour concert on youTube.
Sunday Nov 3 – All Souls Procession performing the ceremony finale Procession begins 6pm. Steve’s set time based on progress of procession, approximately 8pm Mountain Standard Time
Watch a 40-minute multi-camera video of Steve calling in the spirits during Sunday’s finale (cue in 31 minutes to the beginning of Steve’s set) restream on Vimeo.
Steve Roach presents a 2-hour concert the night before at MSA Annex outdoor festival venue in downtown Tucson. And performs the ceremony finale at Tucson’s All Souls Procession on Sunday November 3.
The All Souls Procession Weekend enters it’s 30th year as one of North America’s most inclusive and authentic public ceremony. The entire All Souls Weekend is a celebration and mourning of the lives of our loved ones and ancestors on the other side. Today well over 150,000 participants gather on the streets of downtown Tucson for a two-mile long human-powered procession that ends in the ceremonial burning of a large Urn filled with the hopes, offerings and wishes for those who have passed.
Myriad altars, performers, installation art, and creatives of all kinds collaborate for almost half the year to prepare their offerings for this amazing event. The All Souls Procession, and now the entire All Souls Weekend, is a celebration and mourning of the lives of our loved ones and ancestors.
On Saturday the 2nd, Steve will be featured as a headlining artist at Night of the Living Fest at the MSA Annex, with a special two-hour set and album release party. On Sunday the 3rd, Steve performs an amazing soundscape for the finale of this 30th Annual Ceremony, which is free for all to attend.
September 21 & 22 : Steve Roach in Santa Fe, NM Paradiso 903 Early St.; Santa Fe NM 87508 Doors at 7, show at 8
Experience the full spectrum of Steve’s work including material from his new releases. At Saturday’s concert, Steve is joined by fellow electronic innovator and collaborator Michael Stearns (Kiva, Desert Solitaire) and didgeridoo master Rob Thomas (Inlakesh and Monuments of Ecstasy). Steve’s Sunday concert moves into the deep end of pure sonic immersion and sacred spaces.
(Photo credit: Brian Sweeny)
Steve Roach returns to Los Angeles for a spectacular immersive live “Ambient Church” concert at First United Methodist Church of Pasadena. Order tickets
Venue address: 498 E Colorado Blvd; Pasadena, CA 91101 7pm Doors; 8pm Show
Ambient Church is a nomadic experiential event series dedicated to working with artists to bring new ecologies to architecturally unique spaces through transcendent audio and visual performance.
On this long-awaited evening, we are thrilled to present Grammy-nominated, pioneering American synthesist and undisputed master of electronic music, Steve Roach. Steve takes us on a 2-hour journey, featuring work spanning his 40-year career including Dreamtime Return (1988), performed in a 132-year-old church in Pasadena.
Steve reflects, “I am currently in the deep end of prepping my set for the Pasadena concert — my live return to Los Angeles. The energy is building as the memories of coming back to where it all started — Los Angeles in the 80s — adds to the excitement. For this performance, the wide dynamic range of my work will be experienced, including portions of 1988’s Dreamtime Return. The church’s large concert hall environment significantly adds to the anticipation of performing in Los Angeles; that’s combined with knowing friends-of-the-music from as far way as France are coming in for the set. It all adds up to a special moment in time.”
Throughout the performance, the space will come alive with immersive, architecturally-mapped projections.
Saturday August 31 : Steve Roach meet-n-greet in Pomona
1pm-5pm. Meet & Greet at Noisebug, including a collective exploration of the legendary Moog IIIP Syntheseizer. Steve says, “I’m looking forward to meeting old and new friends at a fun afternoon gathering at my favorite gotta-have-it-now synth shop.”
Noisebug is an independent online electronic music store, synthesizer showroom and event space located in the Downtown Pomona Arts District. 252a South Main Street; Pomona, CA 91766.Links: Steve Roach bio | Steve Roach press image download gallery
(Soundtrack for this blog, a new piece from Forrest Fang: And A Quiet New Year)
I received an email a few weeks ago (in response to my Thanksgiving blog) from a guy I know here in Portland; he thanked me for all the music Projekt brought into his life over the years, and for releasing the music of friends in town (Soriah with Ashkelon Sain). With the never-ending flow of emails pouring into my Projekt inbox it is easy to overlook the positive messages of appreciation — the on-fire problems are always screaming for attention. Thank you Cedric for your message — it is wonderful to know my work at Projekt has been part of your musical life for all these years.
Releasing music on Projekt started as my passion and evolved into my career. From my fan-side I think about a label that brought a lot of music into my life in the 80s — 4AD. It was so exciting that Ivo collected those great artists and released their music for us to discover. Very nice! That’s what I’ve been doing here at Projekt for the last thirty-six-plus years: gathering interesting music for your discovery of sounds you might not otherwise have heard. Projekt has always been about taking that (financial) risk and supporting the music I am into – the music I want to put my money and time and effort behind.[ As an aside, I love paying royalties. I love writing checks (or sending Paypal) for my friend’s creative work. At the end of the 90s, Projekt fell behind on paying royalties to the artists. I decided, enough of that! I downsized to just me and Lisa, got out of $180,000 debt (owed to pressing plants, credit cards, etc). I switched it around; these days Projekt pays the top artist’s royalties in upfront installments. It makes things so much less stressful for me to have that money out the door and in their hands. I like knowing it’s taken care of! ]
Yes, Projekt once had a staff, in the mid-90s through the early 2000s there were a number of other people involved in the label. Primarily Patrick Ogle, who I recently mentioned on Facebook as the elf who deserves 97% of the credit for Projekt Records’ holiday series. I grew up in an atheist/marginally-Jewish household; holiday songs were never my thing. Pat had the idea for the Excelsis ~ a dark noel (Bandcamp or Spotify) compilation, and we made it happen.
I asked Pat for his recollection on the genesis of Excelsis, and he wrote:There were two things. First… I do like Holiday music… and what made me think of doing it was that ALL the holiday music out there was like… Sinatra and Bing Crosby and stuff like that… There really wasn’t any sort of “alternative” Christmas LP out. I don’t know if this was the first of that but it was certainly the first “goth” or “dark music” one (make no mistake there WERE goth holiday songs! Siouxsie did one). SO, in addition to my liking holiday music? I thought it would sell and people would like it… and I think it worked out that way…!… I remember you were pretty iffy about it at first but came around…
So there you are, the history of Excelsis from somebody who was there. Back in 1995, Projekt was based in Pasadena California on the 2nd floor of a building that once was a fire station, and at the time we were there had a bar downstairs (when I visited Pasadena in August for Steve Roach’s concert I noticed the building was gone and the space seems to be part of a parking garage.) Projekt had five or six employees in Pasadena, Pat’s desk was right outside my door, which meant all day I listened to Pat on the phone talking with journalists and stores, promoting the Projekt label.
Serch Pofy posted on that Facebook link:
I remember (Excelsis) like yesterday… There was a place called Mix Up (a record store) in Mexico City some December in the night. A beautiful music started to be heard: dark, melancholic, quite different than the music in those places. Asked for the band, some told me: Really don´t know, it’s from a strange christmas album, the name is DARK NOEL, of course purchase it right away!!! It was not my first Projekt album, but I became more hooked with the company!!! Cheers mate!!!!
How cool is that!? Pre-internet, the music made it around the world and had an affect on your life. That’s a reward for doing it, right there!
I kept busy in 2019, with 12 Projekt physical releases: Forrest Fang: The Fata Morgana Dream Byron Metcalf & Mark Seelig: Persistent Visions LYCIA: Fifth Sun (CD) LYCIA: Quiet Moments (CD) LYCIA: A Line That Connects 2LP & CD LYCIA: 4 (4CD box set) Alio Die & Lorenzo Montanà: The Threshold of beauty Unto Ashes: Pretty Haunted Things Sam Rosenthal with Nick Shadow & Steve Roach: The Gesture of History LP & CD Steve Roach: Bloom Ascension LP & CD Steve Roach: Trance Archeology Forrest Fang: Ancient Machines
In production for early 2020: Black tape for a blue girl: Ashes in the brittle air (2020 remastered expanded edition) 2CD & LP Aurelio Voltaire: The Devil’s Bris (Remastered) LP
At the moment I’m finishing up the mix of a new Mark Seelig album, and then I’m wrapping up the mix on a new Thanatos album – my first full-length collaboration with the aforementioned Pat since our 1995 album An embassy to Gaius.
Ram Dass passed away last week; here’s a quote to contemplate:“I encourage you to make peace with death, to see it as the culminating event of this adventure called life. Death is not an error; it is not a failure… it is like taking off a tight shoe.”
There’s a new decade barreling towards us. This is a time for new beginnings or to replicate the problems and uncertainty and unhappiness of the last decade. I personally vote for new beginnings. Change. New ways of looking at things, new solutions for old problems, and optimism. Yeah, I know, that’s something odd about me: even with our past history of problems, I’m still an optimist. I think there’s always tomorrow to do something different. With that in mind, I’ll leave you with another quote, this one from Ram Dass’s collaborator in his pre-Ram Dass life, Timothy Leary:If you don’t like what you’re doing, you can always pick up your needle and move to another groove.
Happy 2020! Sam
“This set is a triumph that goes beyond the scope of mere words. It should stand as one of the year’s best.” – ALTERNATIVE PRESS
1994 — Inspired by seeing Love Spirals Downwards’ perform a black tape for a blue girl song live, Sam asked other artists to contribute their interpretations to this one of a kind compilation. Fourteen artists from the Projekt roster, guest artists from America & Europe, and even fans who create music in their home studios come together with strikingly different and beautifully personalized renditions of black tape for a blue girl’s touching ethereal-goth sound.2CD Box Set (final copies)
These are the final copies of this box set, that have been in storage for years. 2CD in jewel boxes, with 4 art cards + sticker in a nice hard box. 1994 release. Note that although they are in shrinkwrap, they have been traveling the country with Sam for ages; there might be some scuffs or dings. As mint as it gets, I suppose. 6 remaining.
Concept, design, production • Sam Rosenthal Original idea • Ryan Lum Photography • Susan Jennings Model • Anne Chen released November 12, 1994Consider joining the Black tape for a blue girl patron area. For $5 a month you get this album (download & streaming) and lots of other exclusive music. Plus you're giving a monthly contribution to help me create my art. And that's just very cool of you!