After buying a Korg 700s synthesizer from Macari’s music shop in London, Daniel Miller recorded and released a single under the name The Normal. This was “T.V.O.D.”/”Warm Leatherette”. Both tracks were minimalist electronic songs influenced by the Crash novel. He wanted the sound of the recordings to be visual, like driving along a highway between large buildings then going through a tunnel. The single was recorded in Daniel Miller’s mother’s house using a TEAC four track tape recorder and the Korg synthesiser.
Emptyset is the innovative electronic duo of James Ginzburg and Paul Purgas. The pair shares a history in Bristol’s underground music scene as well as an impressive list of production credits. Ginzburg, now Berlin based, runs a network of record labels including electronic music label Subtext and Arc Light Editions, whose reissues include a work by Arthur Russell. He’s a prolific producer and remixer for both independent and major labels, with diverse projects such as Faint Wild Light, Ginz and more recently Bleed Turquoise. Purgas, now based in London, founded the We Elude Control label in 2009, a curated collection of rare experimental music. Purgas is an artist, writer and curator who has presented projects with Tate, Whitechapel and Serpentine Galleries, and he is also an active promoter of electronic music in eclectic spaces from a carpark to a Modernist pavilion.
The duo composes within a complex set of self-imposed parameters or rule sets and the results of their expeditions on Borders are at once minimal and visceral. Focusing on shifting timbral changes over melody, Emptyset’s work is an exploration of the relationship between rhythm, texture and space.
Each project’s framework and parameters dictate how the sound or performance evolves. In the past, Emptyset have explored the ways in which the sonic and spatial interact within different architectural contexts: often site-specific locations such as the decommissioned Trawsfynydd nuclear power station in North Wales, or the neo-gothic Woodchester Mansion. Borders takes a different approach, centering around the performative and the performer. Having each created their own tactile instruments, a six-stringed zither-like instrument and a drum, Emptyset focuses on how organic sounds interact with the analogue processes that have defined their work to date.
Contrasting typical approaches to making electronic music, Emptyset set out to emphasize live performance rather than creating sequences within devices. While Purgas and Ginzburg utilize vintage analogue electronics, compressing and distorting the signals, the album itself is performed entirely live, where subtle movements make for substantial changes in sound.
From the very first track, “Body,” one can hear how the physicality of the instruments have imbued the sound’s texture. The physical characteristics of the metal strings create a layer of dynamic juxtaposition to the grinding timbres emerging around them. The broody “Ascent,” features the album’s clearest call-and-response between the stringed instrument and the drum, barking and thudding back and forth at one another. Evident in tracks such as “Border” and “Speak,” Emptyset uses basic rhythmic structures drawn from an array of broad cultural practices, expressed neutrally and without overemphasis on the source. Taken as a whole Borders distills the duo’s inspirations to their essence and the resulting music is as raw as it is captivating.
Over the course of their work together, Emptyset have been commissioned to participate in a number of projects by a variety of organizations including Architecture Foundation’s installation at Ambika P3 space near Baker Street in London, Tate Britain’s Performing Architecture programme, a collaboration with conceptual artist Cevdet Erek for Spike Island, an installation at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and a study of composition through ionospheric propagation developed with Deutschland Radio. Emptyset have been showcased at a number of festivals including Unsound, Mutek, CTM, Sonic Acts, Berghain, Luminato, Adelaide, and Bozar. James Ginzburg’s audio-visual work has been presented at events such as Sonar and Berlin’s Atonal festival.
Avalon Emerson’s latest EP, Narcissus In Retrograde, explores four different styles that shape her distinct voice as a producer and songwriter, from symphonic showstoppers to broken acid. Opener “Natural Impasse” ferries massive melodic themes through a network of emotive capillaries that’s underpinned by charging drums, while “Dystopian Daddy” dons a theatrical flare with costume-changing arpeggiators and digital brass beef that command attention like a stage-hogging space alien diva lip-syncing for new wig money. The B-side takes a more menacing turn with “Why Does It Hurt,” the outright techno achievement of the record, and the snarling closer “Groundwater.” Ethereal vocals on the former punctuate kicks and growls that sound like they were pulled from a pedal monster’s electric guitar, and on “Groundwater,” a crucible of fucked breaks and acid cut a ravine through a bed of off-staccato hats and a sample swamp.
Hotflush are proud to introduce an exciting young artist, PYUR, along with her singular debut LP Epoch Sinus. Despite her relative newness, PYUR meets the world with fully formed and unique signatures in both visual and sonic work, revealing a deep artistry that transcends medium.
Growing up in Munich, in and amongst the same fecund scene that spawned artists like the Zenker Brothers and Skee Mask, PYUR cut her teeth from a young age as a guitarist and singer before becoming spellbound by the electronic world’s endless scope for sound design. Endowed with innately strong synaesthesia and reared in a shamanic household, she tells how music “played the biggest role in my growth. It alone had the purpose to help me dissolve boundaries, discover the beauty of life’s mechanisms, create freely. It talked. Soon I felt like the music was making me, not the other way round.”
“When I take my demons by the hand
they drag me down into their pride
when I take my angels by the hand
they lift me up into their light
and in between those worlds there is
the will to ever be and become
a water drop and an ocean of life”
Epoch Sinus is a seamless and heartfelt whole, a life-like being unto itself, describing the disintegration of barriers between the self and the all. Here PYUR offers an intimate and personal statement, combining knowledge of universal harmony with electronic music. She states: “I’m mainly influenced by my inner visions and nature itself, yet also a lot from club culture, which is undoubtedly an important space of connection and freedom for so many people”. The record dances playfully between supposedly incompatible qualities: moments of brutality turn to softness, new life embraces decomposition, while explosive rhythmic and melodic structures are tempered with gentle and subtle percussion.
The album is accompanied by a video piece for each track, translating the sonic messages into a visual body. Her goal was to show as accurately as possible what she felt during the making process of Epoch Sinus, to put the music into context and make it more accessible for the public. Light, water, reflections and colors of nature all feature strongly in these distinctive visions.
“Music showed me that, in the sweet spot between nothingness and existence, one is empowered to fully understand energetic connections and able to initiate extraordinary transformations through all grids and layers of self. Especially now at this time music has the enormous potential and responsibility to become a transformative entity, providing truthfulness and support.”
Listen to ‘Play N Go’ from @HudMo’s official soundtrack for Watch Dogs 2!
Debut 12″ on Ninja Tune from Nathan Fake – the British electronic ace who has previously released on James Holden’s Border Community label, Traum and most recently his own Cambria Instruments imprint. ‘DEGREELESSNESS’, the first music to be released from his forthcoming new album, is a collaboration with NYC resident Prurient aka Vatican Shadow (founder of the excellent Hospital Productions label) that truly lives up to the weight of expectation that a clash between these two heavyweights int…
From AUTOMAT’s new album “OstWest” out on Bureau B on November 11, 2016.
From Detroit techno and hip-hop’s early sampling experiments to Terre Thaemlitz, electronic music has long proven its political potential, even in instrumental form.
With OstWest, Berlin-based electronic-kraut-dub trio Automat complete their LP trilogy with a deep and entrancing take on the failures of neoliberalism.