Archive for the ‘Inside Projekt’ Category

Nov 27

Donating my profits / get a 25% discount (GivingTuesday)

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

Nov 13

It’s been a busy 2017!

It’s been a busy year for Projekt…. 2017 releases: AURELIO VOLTAIRE – Heart-Shaped Wound digiCD JEFFREY KOEPPER – Transmitter [limited] digiCD ROBERT LOGAN – Sculptor Galaxy [limited] digiCD MARK SEELIG+SAM ROSENTHAL – Journey to Aktehi [limited] digiCD + cassette LYCIA – Ionia [limited] digiCD + shirt + tote ERIK WØLLO – Cinematic digiCD STEVE ROACH – Long Thoughts digiCD + cassette FALLING YOU – Shine [limited] digiCD JEFFREY KOEPPER – MantraSequent [limited] digiCD ERIK WØLLO – Different Spaces digi2CD LORENZO MONTANA – Phase IX [limited] digiCD FOREST FANG – Following the Ether Sun [limited] digiCD STEVE ROACH – Spiral Revelation digiCD BLACK TAPE FOR A BLUE GIRL – These Fleeting Moments [limited] 2LP

order them all: http://www.projekt.com/

Nov 06

The Story of Structures

For several months before actually committing the title track “Structures from Silence” to tape, I would live with the music throughout my daily activities. Often I would sleep and wake with the music playing (since it is stored in the computer memory, it can play indefinitely). This gave me the opportunity to fine tune the piece to a very sublime level. At the time I did not listen to any other music. I also spent much time in silence, a beautiful place. Feeling the music move through that space was vital in its development . . . For me the essence of this music is what is felt when it ends, a returning to the silence. Steve Roach, 1984

The return to vinyl

Thirty-three years after its release, Structures From Silence returns to its vinyl origins. Steve Roach talks with Ambient Music Guide’s Mike G about the sublimely meditative album’s creation and reflects on this bona fide ambient classic.

With his distinctive mélange of analog and digital synthesizers, acoustic instrumentation and imaginative soundscapes, American composer Steve Roach is a giant in modern ambient music and one of the most respected electronic musicians in the world. Active since the late 1970s, Roach has an enormous discography of solo albums, collaborations and compilations; his range of styles and influence is vast.

1984’s Structures From Silence marked a move away from the sequencer-driven, kinetic Berlin-school trance of his earliest releases toward an album-length foray into beatless ambience. There are just three pieces – all extraordinarily delicate. The slow-motion melodic strains of the 30-minute title track, in particular, breathe with exquisite gentleness.

Roach’s music is part of a wider progressive, electronic-ambient movement that rose concurrently with the new age scene on America’s West Coast during the 1970s and 80s. Initially the pathway to the audience was neither through an artist nor a record label, but a radio show: Music From The Hearts Of Space. This groundbreaking public radio program was founded in 1973 in San Francisco by sound designer, producer and former architect Stephen Hill and the late Anna Turner. In 1983 it went national and is still on the air today. Although it was not the only radio show of its type, its influence and importance cannot be overstated – both its role in the development of American-based electronic artists and the part it played in bringing ambient styles to a wider audience.

By the 1980s this California-based scene was rich with adventurous musicians giving birth to an extraordinary new direction in music. It was within this creative ferment that Structures From Silence was birthed. Roach says, “That time was exciting. All that mattered to me was living inside this soundworld I was discovering and wanting to share with those who were open to it. I was creating from a purely instinctual place; I had no concern of genres or boundaries.”

Structures-era Timeroom Photos by Thomas Ronkin

On the air

Radio was the medium of the day and was crucial to the album’s initial success in America. Structures was originally a self-released cassette when it caught Stephen Hill’s attention. He heard the album through his friendship with Michael Stearns and Kevin Braheny, two accomplished West Coast ambient composers who were living near Roach in L.A. at the time and helped him with mastering and spatial enhancements on the album.

“I remember right after it was released in 1984,” Roach says. “Stephen came to my tiny bungalow in L.A. near the MGM film studios – to see what this guy was all about. Those little gingerbread-looking houses were originally built in the 1940s for the workers at MGM a few blocks away. There was a vibrant beehive feeling all around with fellow visual artists, film and music people. My early albums from Now to Empetus were all created in that Timeroom (Roach’s official name for his studio) or perhaps better described as the Timewomb.”

Hill describes the meeting, “I vividly remember visiting him in that bungalow in Culver City, where he was living a monk-like existence. It was a stucco motel-looking place. The main room had been turned into an early Timeroom, with all his equipment set up and purring out fat analog waveforms 24/7. I don’t recall seeing a bed – he was probably sleeping in the studio – but there were two folding wooden chairs so I sat down and he offered me a glass of water. We had everything in common artistically, and we talked for hours.”

Roach laughs on hearing this, “Well if I slept, it was standing up or sitting at the Oberheim. Pretty much the same as now.”

From that encounter, big things grew. “The music was perfect for Hearts of Space,” says Hill, “and we used it on the national radio program immediately. The track ‘Quiet Friend’ became a kind of closing theme song for a while. This was before we started HOS Records, so I recommended he contact Ethan Edgecombe of Fortuna distribution who was building his own label. Ethan put it out right away on vinyl and cassette. That release on Fortuna helped Steve establish himself as an electronic artist to pay attention to. His raw talent and awesome work ethic did the rest.”

#10 best album of the 80s! “Steve Roach’s Structures From Silence remains one of the most important ambient albums ever crafted… its enduring influence has been unmistakably visible in the three decades since its release. It has never been more relevant.”

– FACT Magazine

Breathing the deep

The pieces on Structures From Silence evolved outside of the direct influence of the 1980s time zone in which it was created.

“My life at that time was purely focussed 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. My connection to the profound atmosphere of the desert areas of Southern California – Joshua Tree, Anza-Borrego, Death Valley, the Mojave Desert – was essential. I finally had my hands on the tools with which 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.’”

One of the album’s extraordinary qualities is the sense of natural breath in the music, an organic quality not easily realized with synthesizers. These diaphanous chords and suspended harmonics would become the DNA of Roach’s music as he sought to release his machines from their mechanical moorings.

He explains, “I wasn’t hearing this quality in electronic music at that time. With an acoustic instrument you have to be 100% there to make a sound. Traditional instruments draw from the physical body’s interaction. With synthesizers emerging in the 80s, it was clear that you could almost stop breathing, lose the body connection, sit disconnected in a chair, and still manage to make sounds. This realization was a big piece of my entire waking and sleeping focus. I worked to deepen and nourish the connection to the essence of sound, body, mind and breath awareness when creating with synths. This was directly translated into Structures From Silence – conscious breathing, the sigh and the expansion of this place in-between. Creating from within this present moment, and playing that state through the analog warmth of the Oberheim OB8 was a sacrament of sound. The intention was direct and pure.”

The Oberheim OB8 synthesizer – the source of the resonate voice of the title track – had recently been designed and built in nearby Santa Monica, California. The new synth could play up to eight notes at once, making it the gold standard for polyphonic analog synths in the early 1980s. By his own admission Roach became utterly obsessed with owning one. Priced well beyond what the young sonic aspirant could afford from the wages of working at a local record store, he eventually secured the instrument with a very high interest loan. This consequential move would prove to have a long lasting impact in his life’s work.

The OB8 remains in regular use in his studio today. “You can buy a software version of this instrument now, but it’s like comparing a Formica-countertop laminate and a rich exotic wood. You can’t match the original in terms of texture, warmth and emotional impact, not to mention the fact that it’s a beautiful hardware instrument I feel drawn to today, in the same way as in 1983.”

“Structures From Silence is like riding the perfect wave in slow motion… as if sculpting liquid, Roach carefully shapes his sounds into a stately crescendo for an eternal dawn.”

– John Diliberto, Echoes Radio

The listeners speak

Structures From Silence is the album that brought Roach’s work to a global audience of listeners, radio broadcasters, fellow composers, music fans and deep listeners alike. The album has been praised over the years by magazines, fanzines, therapists, Yoga practitioners, and medical MDs; it continues to appear in best of polls, often topping current lists of all-time ambient albums. It struck a chord with a diverse cross-cultural audience from varied backgrounds. The epiphanies of Roach’s formative years of inspiration drawn from the desert and nature’s dreamtime found its way indelibly into his work and his unique personal voice. The stories continue to come in from around the world on how the album breathes life with original and new listeners.

In 2014 the Quiet Friends tribute was released with sixteen electronic artists creating Structures-inspired pieces in honor of the album and timed to the remastered 30th Anniversary 3-CD re-issue.

Top-40 Best Ambient Albums of All Time “Contemplative bliss, full of purring drones and high notes that shimmer and fade. Like a desert mirage, these structures hover forever at the horizon, an oasis from the din surrounding it.”

– Pitchfork.com

Then and now

When asked how he sees the album today in 2017, Roach reflects, “It’s like looking at a picture of home from years past – one of comfort and peace, warmth and safety. The emotional and personal resonance of the pieces remains connected to my core and part of an uninterrupted continuum from that point to now.”

This limited vinyl edition has been remastered at high-definition 24bit – 96kHz and sourced from the master analog reel-to-reel tapes, highlighting all the subtle detail and harmonic content always present in the studio recording but not fully realized in the original vinyl release.

As Echoes radio producer John Diliberto says, “I think the more important aspect is not when I first heard it, but how resonant and undated it sounds 33 years later.”

Whether you were there in the 80s or discovered the album later, Structures From Silence continues to resonate – across time, cultures, and musical genres. In creating the album, Roach infused the music with yearning emotions and a powerful sense of stillness. Like timeless art from any genre, a rarified expression of humanity is present in this work. That, perhaps, is the key to the enduring appeal of Structures From Silence.

Steve Roach Photo Gallery

Aug 08

Past Forward — why cassettes?

When we mention that there are two new Steve Roach albums on cassette, reactions are either a look of bewilderment or a thoughtful introspective smile. Sometimes both. Steve was recently asked about this. He replies…

Over the last year, we’ve received a growing number of requests for music on cassette. After watching the underground revival of a medium many of us thought had rolled over long ago for all things digital, I was inspired to release my two new albums on cassette.

The interest for cassettes is not a new thing, and continues to grow beyond a niche audience. Internet searches will bring up an immense trove of information on this trend.

I feel the renewed interested is a combination of things: Nostalgia, for those who first heard electronic music on cassette back in the day, and a fond recollection of the analog playback experience and the organic tape sound.

I recently received the Long Thoughts cassette back from the factory. I had no idea what to expect. I played it in loop mode for several hours on auto-reverse on an Onyko cassette deck I’ve had in the studio for years. Long Thoughts in this medium has a rich, warm and full sound along with a pleasant, soft quality around the edges. I was quite surprised and happy with the result. I still have hundreds of cassettes of unreleased pieces from the 80’s. I regularly rummage through these tapes looking for a lost moment, and they still play fine and sound good for their age.

As for now and why? With so much of what compels me, it’s based on a feeling in the air. With the theme and spirit of Nostalgia for the Future, it just felt like the right time to create these audio offerings for the future. The cassette is something of a memory-activating timepiece you can hold in the palm of your hand and have a taste of the analog sound some people still long for. Nostalgia made real.

Order on cassette, CD or as a combo-pack with both…. Long Thoughts and Nostalgia for the Future.

Aug 06

Downloadable posters (Steve Roach & Erik Wollo)

Hi…. Projekt no longer prints posters for our new releases; they’re bulky, hard to store and expensive to ship. But I had an idea! With color printers in every office, I’ll make you a downloadable 11×17 poster that you can print yourself. And it’s free! Enjoy! – Sam

1 – Print it on your color printer, or at a local printshop. 2 – Email a photo of the poster at work, at home, etc, and we’ll post on our Facebook Pages.

Erik Wollo: Cinematic 11×17 poster at http://www.projekt.com/Posters/PRO344-poster.tif Projekt CD | Bandcamp Download | Spotted Peccary High Res Studio Masters

Steve Roach: Long Thoughts 11×17 poster at http://www.projekt.com/Posters/PRO343-poster.tif Projekt CD & Cassette | Bandcamp Download | Spotted Peccary High Res Studio Masters

Steve Roach: Nostalgia For The Future 11×17 poster at http://www.projekt.com/Posters/TM42-poster.tif Timeroom CD & Cassette | Bandcamp Download | Spotted Peccary High Res Studio Masters

Steve Roach: Spiral Revelation 11×17 poster at http://www.projekt.com/Posters/PRO336-Poster.jpg Projekt CD | Bandcamp Download | Spotted Peccary High Res Studio Masters

Black Tape For A Blue Girl: These fleeting moments 11×17 poster at http://www.projekt.com/Posters/PRO331-Poster.jpg Projekt CD or LP | Bandcamp Download

Jun 14

Jeffrey Fayman & Robert Fripp (Free download!) Projekt Flashback

Name-your-price on this Projekt classic

CD at the Projekt webstore | Name-your-price download at Bandcamp.

Over the years Projekt released many stunning albums; but there’s always a rush for the new, and things slip-slip-slip into the past. It’s been seventeen years since we released A Temple in the Clouds, an amazing collaboration between film composer Jeffrey Fayman and (a man needs no introduction, but you know him from King Crimson) Robert Fripp.

This is one of those stunning releases that’s almost forgotten; it doesn’t get many new sales or listens these days. And that’s just a shame, because it’s a great album for fans of the No Pussyfooting-school of Fripp’s creativity. I decided I didn’t want this music sitting around, collecting digital dust. I’d love for you to hear this work! I put the CD on sale and the Bandcamp download is name-your-price for a week. Any donation you chip in when you download is split between Projekt and Fayman & Fripp. Your generosity is most appreciated, and it goes to a good cause (us!)

From 2000: A stunning album of looped Frippertronics and electronics, in the vein of the classic Fripp & Eno No Pussyfooting collaboration.

AmbientVisions: “A Temple in the Clouds is a spiritual and euphoric soundscape… a glorious album of Frippertronics and contemplative sound sculptures. The sheer spirituality of their experiences shines in this ethereal ambience and insightful minimalism. Piercing rays of bright and unfettered emotion overshadow the dark undertones.”

Read the full, mostly-factual album description

Jun 07

Jeffrey Koepper live on STARS END, June 18

Jeffrey Koepper creates live analog electronic music on WXPN’s Stars End radio. Saturday into Sunday morning. June 18 2-3am ET. Stream it live from WXPN

Mar 12

InsideProjekt: EXPOSURE

I asked my friends on Facebook what they’d like to see more of on the Projekt email list. One of their suggestions was behind the scenes of running a label. What it takes, what I do, what I’ve learned. So today’s email is about EXPOSURE. If you’d like to reply, please visit this blog on the Projekt site and post your comments.

InsideProjekt: EXPOSURE

In 2011, you regularly read this type of exchange: Artist: Spotify doesn’t pay enough Spotify: You get exposure Artist: You can die from exposure

Yes. We all loved repeating that witty retort when Spotify launched and Daniel Ek was trying to convince us that getting paid micropennies was OK because we got exposure. “Exposure? I’ve been doing music for twenty-five years, I’m established. I don’t need exposure. I need to get paid for sales!”

Now, six years later, I’d like to backtrack and kind of agree. We need exposure. All of the artists on Projekt need more people listening to our music. Sure, YOU are aware of Projekt bands, YOU like listening to our music. But in the wide world, we’re unheard of, we’re mostly unknown, and we don’t sell very many records. We need more people listening to our music, so hopefully more of them will purchase something.

When I launch an artist’s album, there’s a spike of attention in the first month. Then interest quickly fades away. Unless the band is touring, or making new videos regularly, or doing something else to keep their name out there, an album is generally forgotten within a few months. In the old days, there was longevity, and albums were still selling half a year later. Now? Not so much.

What’s there to do?

Streaming gives artists ongoing exposure because it’s frictionless. Casual listeners don’t have to pay. They check out music they might not otherwise bother with or get around to.

I believe that “free” should be under the artist/label’s control. We should make the decisions about this. I know we cannot control the amount we get paid by streaming sites, but we can control what is available on streaming.

In that regards, I also begrudgingly agree with Ek: streaming has cut back dramatically on Projekt music pirated and available at illegal locker site. Compared to 2011, I only find 10% as much music on those sites. Why? Because streaming is easy for listeners. Why bother illegally obtaining an album, when there are legal methods to hear the music at no cost?

[Back to the subject of “free” being under the artist’s control.] Have you noticed that Projekt gives away name-your-price downloads at our Bandcamp store? It’s not because I’m crazy (well, not exactly), and partially because I’m feeling generous. The main reason is because people will listen to free music. There were over 800 downloads on Mercury’s Antennae A waking ghost inside when I put it up at name-your-price last month. That’s about 797 more people than would have paid to download the album in the same period. You were probably one of the people who grabbed it. Thanks! I hope you enjoy their music. Mercury’s Antennae have a recent album (Beneath the Serene) that you might enjoy as well.

This is why I give music away, to expose you to great artists on the Projekt label.< I’ll give you an album with the hope that you'll come back and make a purchase of their other albums. Does it work? Meh, hard to say. We sold 5 copies of Beneath the Serene while we were giving away the debut. I would think those purchases were from people who discovered the band via free.

Exposure. Does it work?

Well, it makes more people aware of the music. Does it lead to sales? Maybe. Does anyone get rich off it? Definitely not. It’s part of a building process. It’s promotion / publicity. Back in 1994, I’d buy half page ads in Alternative Press. Did that $500 or $750 (or whatever it cost) pay off with sales? It’s hard to say. Probably a few sales( 50?); but I don’t think any ad did better than breaking even. The more important point was exposure.

Hey, wait! Back two decades ago we paid for exposure. Now we get paid (in micropennies at streaming, or donations at Bandcamp). This is a point I make to artists. Projekt used to pay a lot of money to get artist’s name out, we had to buy ads and give away hundreds and hundreds of promo CDs (that all ended up in the used bins). Now we get paid in micropennies.

Unfortunately, it’s harder than ever to make a living in the music industry, and seeing those miniscule trickles of cash is frustrating when comparable-sized artists used to sell thousands of albums.

These are new (and insane) times.

It took five years, but I see the logic behind things we were once opposed to. I’m not stuck in a 1997 or 2007 perspective, I’m looking at now and seeing what works for Projekt. The label has to do what we can, to be heard.

We have to try new ideas.

Funny, because that was the argument I used to have with people (from San Francisco) about eight years ago. They said I was a dinosaur who didn’t understand the new economy. I said, “Give me examples of how this is suppose to be profitable.” Well, I don’t know if we’ve proven it to be profitable, but we have seen that it is part of the way a band gets heard in 2017.

Strange days.

Sam

Projekt’s two new releases for March 17th:

Lorenzo Montana: phase IX Purchase the CD (limited edition of 300) for $14 at Projekt. Bandcamp download code included in the package with your order. Stream & download at Bandcamp. Italian soundcomposer Lorenzo Montana’s first American solo-release; these electronic, ambient mindscapes form nine phases of a trip of the psyche focusing on the floating / experimental side of his work. He’s collaborated with Alio Die on Holographic Codex (Projekt, 2015), and released 15 albums to date, including the 5-CD Labyrinth collaboration series with Pete Namlook (founder of Germany’s Fax label).

Erik Wøllo: Different Spaces Purchase the 2-CD for $17 at Projekt. Bandcamp download code included in the package with your order. Stream & download at Bandcamp. High Res Studio Master at Spotted Peccary.A diverse and sweeping tapestry revealing wide-ranging and wide-angled electronic compositions. The music traverses the different spaces that occupy an artist’s creative thoughts across mesmerizing landscapes of distinctive panoramas, rhythmic realms, and engaging, engulfing atmospheres.

Jan 25

Visiting Projekt’s new distributor: Burnside

Today I dropped by Burnside Distribution. They’re Projekt’s new American distributor, based here in Portland in the St. John’s area of town, right by Cathedral Park (and the lovely St Johns Bridge). Good people, looking forward to good things!

Jan 24

I need your help (at Amazon & iTunes)

Hi. As of today, Black tape for a blue girl’s These fleeting moments has 1 review at Amazon and 0 reviews at iTunes. I’m hoping more than one of you enjoyed the album! : ) I’d love to see more reviews at Amazon & iTunes, letting people who haven’t been following the band know the new music is loved and supported.

I’m sure you read Amazon reviews just like I do, and when there is one – or no – review, you think, “Must not be very good, if nobody bought it and reviewed it. Pass.”

You don’t have to write a novel, or even consider yourself a great writer. The idea is an honest comment from a real person, sharing a bit of your enjoyment of the music.

Thanks for helping out with this!

Sam