RareNoiseRecords: A Myopic Retrospective (part 4)
the next step in our myopic retrospective brings us square into the year 2011, the seeds of which were sown late 2010.
RNR016 – OWLS – THE NIGHT STAYS
“The Night Stays”, the first release by Owls, and our first foray into the world of neo-folk was due to a meeting of minds between renowned neo-folk/neoclassical singer and composer Tony Wakeford (of Sol Invictus fame) and Eraldo Bernocchi, with the added vocal virtues of Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari (longtime collaborator or Eraldo Bernocchi in recordings ranging from Ashes to Obake, of which we will say more later). First and foremost was the choice of name or totem for the band, a creature that would embody the lunar spirit of the project: the choice fell on the Owl, protector and observer of those who cannot sleep. This mystique was also the principle behind the making of “The Night Stays” – the layering of traditional british and european neo-folk with elements of dark electronica, trip-hop and industrial noise. Dark, broody, introspective and obliquely futuristic, the recording evoques memories of New Order and Johnny Marr layered with the darker moments of Massive Attack as can be heard in the following track, “Hide And Seek”
The album’s wonderful cover was once again produced by Petulia Mattioli. “The Night Stays”, for the first time in our release history, was released as Double LP (180gm vinyl) with three extra tracks and new lush artwork.
RNR017 – ANIMATION – ASIENTO
September 2010 we received an email from Guy Licata, at that time drummer of Method Of Defiance (as can be witnessed on our release RNR003 – Nihon) suggesting I listen to a jazz performance he had participated in in 2006 as part of the Reissue Series curated by Brice Rosenbloom and Simon Rentner at the Merkin Hall in december that year. The lineup featured Bob Belden on sax, Tim Hagans on trumpet, Matt Garrison on bass, Scott Kinsey on keyboards, DJ Logic on turntables and obviously Guy Licata on drums, as they worked through six w0nderful tracks from Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew. As we were aware of both the previous Animation recordings, harking back to the turn of the century, that is Animation : Imagination and Re-Animation : Live, both graced with Grammy nominations in 2000 and 2001 and were fascinated by their attempt to weld Hard-Bop and drum’n bass, we decided to give the recording a thorough listen. What cemented our intentions was a long impromptu conversation with Bob Belden, whose larger than life persona and creative spirits really convinced us that RareNoiseRecords’ relationship with Animation would extend well beyond this first release. As it turns out, Animation (in their new stable formation with Bob Belden on sax/flute, Peter Claggett on trumpet, Jacob Smith on bass, Matt Young on drums and Roberto Verastegui in keyboards and sampler) has just finished recording their first completely new record, to be called “Transparent Heart” in Laswell’s studio in West Orange, New Jersey – more about in a future update.
In agreement with Bob, we opted for a very aggressive, edgy mastering, with the aim of highlighting the near-brutal immediacy of the performance. The results were very favourable, as the album garnered excellent press from across the world, and also managed to ruffle some feathers, as was expected (a fact which we welcomed with open arms). The striking artwork was again due to Petulia Mattioli, who was tasked with devising a cover which would both reference the original and significantly depart from it – a task she managed to accomplish admirably, we say…
RNR019 – NAKED TRUTH – SHIZARU
Very early 2011 we received an email by Italian bassist Lorenzo Feliciati, asking us to consider releasing a recording he had recently finished editing, featuring himself on bass joined by Mr Mister, XTC, The Rembrandts’ and King Crimson drummer extraordinaire Pat Mastelotto, by organist and keyboard maestro Roy Powell and by Pat Metheny Group trumpet innovator Cuong Vu. An ardent fan of Mick Karn, Lorenzo’s interest in RareNoiseRecords had been aroused by a charity compilation we had co-released late 2010 to support the great bass player in his fight with cancer. In-depth listening of the demo revealed it to be incredibly interesting and innovative, a unique blend of late Crimson, Cecil Taylor and early 80’s Miles Davis artfully tailored and stitched together by master editor Lorenzo Feliciati. The recording by the group, called Naked Truth, was released early July 2011, generating very positive responses in press and music lovers alike. Cuong Vu’s decision to decline further participation in the future development of Naked Truth led us to search for a temporary replacement to perform in Genoa on July 22nd 2011 (RareNoiseRecords night, part of the Gezmataz Genoa Jazz Festival), a role temporarily but admirably filled in by Nils Petter Molvaer. The future though, was not assured – long searches eventually lead us to the great Graham Haynes, but this is a matter for a future article. For the time being, enjoy “Faster Than An Automatic Door”:
The artwork for Shizaru, Naked Truth’s first recording for RareNoiseRecords, was again invented by Petulia Mattioli. It depicts the Four Monkeys of the Confucian tradition (See, Speak, Hear and, most importantly Do No Evil, i.e. Shi-Zaru).
RNP003 – SEMETIPSUM 2011 (@Michele Satta’s wine cellar)
In the previous episode of our myopic retrospective, we had talked about the event held in 2010 in Michele Satta’s wineries in Castagneto Carducci, Tuscany, Italy. The event was repeated again this year early July, this time with Nils Petter Molvaer performing solo trumpet and electronics. Semetipsum 2011 will see a signed bottle of 2010 Viognier (“Giovin Re”) in the now well known limited edition box, accompanied by the beautiful graphics of Petulia Mattioli. Head over to Michele Satta’s internet portal to secure yourself a limited edition boxset.
RARENOISERECORDS NIGHT (@GEZMATAZ GENOA JAZZ FESTIVAL)
On the 22nd of July 2011 we were honoured to be given the opportunity to host a two-set night as part of the Gezmataz Genoa Jazz Festival at the Arena Del Mare in Genoa, Italy. About 700 people came to see Brainkiller and Naked Truth perform to great acclaim and commotion.
Witness here Brainkiller’s new track “Otaku Goes To The Rave” (which will grace their new 2012 recording – out late 2012 or early 2013 on RareNoiseRecords)
and Naked Truth, performing here with Nils Petter Molvaer, showcasing their entire new album “Shizaru”
We thank Marco Tindiglia and Gezmataz for the opportunity afforded us, in the hope we might organize a further date for 2012.
RNR020 – OBAKE – OBAKE
We always knew that our relentless search for ever-mesmerising music to offer RareNoise aficionados old and new would eventually lead us to confront the world of doom and doom drone. The opportunity arose halfway through 2011 when the collective creative juices of Eraldo Bernocchi and Massimo Pupillo (remember for example Black Engine, released in 2008, featuring Eraldo Bernocchi’s guitar alongside ZU – Massimo Pupillo, Luca Mai and Jacopo Battaglia) coalesced and were joined by, once again Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari and by the great hungarian drummer Balazs Pandi to give rise to a music behemoth of rare power and intensity. Named after the japanese term for “Ghost/Shapeshifter”, their collaboration has its feet strongly rooted in doom, drone and grind, interweaved by onirical, lunar passages and lifted by Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari’s extraordinary vocals, here ranging from tender growl to near operatic crescendos . Released in September 2011, Obake encountered the favour of large parts of the press in UK and Italy. It was nominated 6th in the first 50 Albums of the Year by Rock-A-Rolla and among the 50 best by great british music blog The Quietus, by great writer John Doran. Obake will be performing live from late spring 2012, with Trevor Dunn on bass.
The next three releases are the most recent, dating back hardly a month, and we recently dedicated each of them a separate article – see here, here and here). Nevertheless, we think it appropriate to spend more words on each of them. We love all of our releases to bits, and could go on talking about them forever ….
RNR018 – ANIMATION – AGEMO
Late Q1 2011, about the time we released Asiento by Animation, our friend Gaudi introduced us to a new recording and mixing process he had been involved in, when producing a remix of David Gilmour’s and The Orb’s Metallic Spheres: 3D60. This process, squarely aimed at the new and blossoming market for high quality earphones, allowed the creation of a new spatial/3-dimensional mix of existing recordings. Always looking out for innovative ideas to enhance the listening experience we were immediately fascinated by the recording technology invented by Mike Brady and Ian Thompson with the collaboration of Killing Joke and Fireman bass player/producer Youth. Very quickly we decided to submit Animation’s Asiento, which had been released early April, to this transformation. The results were rather astonishing, as they deeply affected the listening experience – a wider, near-spherical listening stage, focused instrument placement, accompanied by a much softer mix, aimed at increasing the dynamic range of the music (up to 20db!). – HOOK UP YOUR EARPHONES TO YOUR COMPUTER OR MOBILE PHONE to listen to the 3D60 Mix of track 3 from Animation’s Asiento, “John McLaughlin” so as to make sense of our words above:
Concurrently we had started to toy with the idea of producing a recording of remixes of Asiento – as we were fascinated by the opportunity of giving world-class remixers the opportunity to express their own point of view on Miles’ Bitches Brew. For a variety of reasons, chief amongst which legal and of respect, most remixers would have shied away from producing mix reconstructions of original Miles Davis material (with the notable exception of Bill Laswell’s Panthalassa). Presented with the opportunity to remix material which itself was an interpretation of the original left them with much greater freedom. Six remixers were given a track to work on in isolation, and were impeded from listening to each other’s work in the process. The result, again, was astonishing, as it was both cohesive yet markedly individual, ranging from Laswell’s drum’n bass take on Pharaoh’s Dance to DJ Logic’s deep dub take on Bitches Brew, to Youth’s Dancefloor/Trance take on “John McLaughlin” (listen to it just below) to Gaudi’s fast dub take on “Miles Runs The Voodoo Down” to Fanu’s Breakbeat take on “Spanish Key” to Joaquin “Joe” Claussell’s complete Hypno re-construction of “Sanctuary”. The red thread behind this release was, as was now clear to us, that of “transformation” and change (many of our releases deal with that notion): in this case transformation through technology and process (3D60) and transformation through artistic wizardry (the remixes).
Agemo, Vodun deity of transformation, gave the 2 CD recording its name, and influenced Petulia Mattioli in producing a most striking artwork superimposing the original vision of Asiento onto a chameleon skin.
Agemo is dedicated to the memory of Dora Ramos Claussell and Manuel Claussell, respectively mother and brother of Joaquin “Joe” Claussell, both of whom passed away during the making of Agemo. We would have expected Joe to either not deliver his work at all or to deliver it with great delay. He delivered on time, providing us with a potent example of professional coherence, focus and incredible intensity. We are deeply grateful to him and share in his grieving for his loss.
RNR021 – BERNOCCHI/BUDD/GUTHRIE – WINTER GARDEN
A near simultaneous release to Agemo was Winter Garden, which sees Eraldo Bernocchi join forces with Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie. Their journey had started mid 2010, when they played two live events, in the old Enel powerhouse in Trezzo d’Adda and in Genoa, in Palazzo Lomellino. Around the same time Harold Budd had sojourned in Tuscany, where he started recording the Eraldo Bernocchi (with whom he previously had performed – see Fragments From The Inside from 2005) – they were joined by Robin Guthrie and laid the foundations of this incredibly dense and delicate recording. Further trips to France sealed the work, giving it the dry, frosty and winter-silent qualities associated with its very title. Listen to “Stay With Me” and rejoice as we do:
and look at their performance in Trezzo
Needless to say, once again the cover was admirably created by Petulia Mattioli (who had provided the spectacular live visuals for the trio’s performance at the Taccani / Enel powerhouse in Trezzo d’Adda in 2010).
RNR022 – THE MANTRA ABOVE THE SPOTLESS MELT MOON – GHOST DANCE
Agemo and Winter Garden were joined by the second full-length release by The Mantra Above The Spotless Melt Moon, Ghost Dance. This record has currently been launched only in the UK (although it is physically available everywhere). We will talk about it in greater detail when an important announcement regarding the band’s UK and Italian tours are made in about a week. For the time being, enjoy reading about it here and listen to the beautiful “Trieste”:
The wonderful artwork for this release is by Infinity Artworks (who is none other than Adriana Salomone, the band’s lead voice), the spectacular photography is by Lucio Carbonelli, whose photographic work also appeared in the feature on the Mantra which recently graced the pages of Classic Rock Prog. We are very thankful to Adriana and Lucio for the beautiful work they conceived of and consequently created.
So here we are, full circle. The next article will be the MYOPIC PER-SPECTIVE, detailing the numerous new releases that will grace our catalogue in 2012 – we truly hope we will able to blow your mind
Cheers to all, and thank you for allowing us to indulge in this romantic exercise in short-term memory titillation.