Hey, hope everyone’s having a fine and dandy 2022 so far.
This month’s HOOT features an interview with Aboutface, who you may know from his regular appearances on NTS and Netil Radio or his recent album on the excellent AD93 label. We caught up with him to reminisce about the series of events exploring ‘The Perception, Philosophies and Poetics of Sound’ that he presented for our Sova Labs series last year, and to ask him to recommend five albums that he thought you good people should know about. Scroll down to see his choices and watch the full video of the last event (featuring a live performance), and click through to our blog here to read the full interview, featuring TS Eliot, hypnopompic states, and a radical potential solution to the climate crisis - nice!
This month we’ve included some bits and pieces that the team here have been digging in recent weeks. There are albums, singles, mixes, gigs, articles - basically anything that got us hot under the collar and that we reckon will have a similar effect on you.
We’ve also put together a video documenting the weekend-long ambient seance-rave that we helped organise with Astral Industries this winter just gone. We rigged up a remote castle up in the wilds of Scotland with a litany of Funktion-Ones and let the impeccable music do the rest:
House parties aren’t always cool (in fact some are criminally uncool), but if you’re gonna have one then make sure it sounds right and hire or buy a sound system from Sova Audio. Use the discount code WKND30 to get 30% off on hires for Friday through Monday.
Till next time x
Last year, Ben Kelly (AKA Aboutface) conceived and presented three lectures for our Sova Labs series that addressed ‘The Perception, Philosophies and Poetics of Sound.’ The first two events took the form of conversations: Ben spoke with spatial audio specialist Dave Haydon about ‘sonic reception and perception,’ then got deep into sonic philosophies and transcendental events with Funktion-One founder and sound system sage Tony Andrews.
For the last event, Ben took the concepts explored in the previous talks, incorporated insights gleaned from his research as an ecomusicologist, and channelled the result into a live improvised performance that aimed to demonstrate sound’s ‘poetic’ potential and explore how it might be utilised in the context of the climate crisis. As you might have guessed, it’s heavy, multifaceted stuff, and while Ben was considerate enough to follow up the performance with a lecture outlining the theories that informed the work, we thought it would be worth having a chat with him to get an even deeper lowdown.
Watch a recording of the event below and read the full interview here.
Aboutface’s five albums worth sharing
“This seminal 1974 electronic music album introduced me to a free form of electronic music with live instrumental one-take performances. It also introduced me to the solo work of Hans-Joachim Roedelius, especially his Selbstportrait (self-portrait) series, which if you haven't listened to, definitely check out.”
“Another seminal electronic music LP (1968). The cascading, transcendental overdubbed synths and instruments evolve over a long period of time, with two pieces across its 40-minute duration (and some people say my music is too long!). The cover alone makes this record worth purchasing and the piece is a huge, formative influence on my music. Loads of second hand copies available on Discogs, grab it!'“
“1981 LP which is so beautiful in it's tonal simplicity but cultivates complexity with its rhythmic form. When listening it sometimes feels polyrhythmic, with new patterns forming from the same musical sequences, although this may be some kind of transcendental audio hallucination due to repetition, a little like if you listen to Terry Riley's In C. It definitely got me into heterophony in composition: the simultaneous variation of a melodic line with multiple voices.”
“Glass' 1982 neo-chamber orchestral music to me is like music that has been distilled into a much stronger, more powerful substance, like a spirit. ‘Floe’ especially takes over my mind and body and all I can do is submit to it.”
“Thom Yorke's 2006 exploration into electronica felt like a departure, or a progression, from Radiohead's previous album, Hail to the Thief. For me it was one of the most transformative albums of any musician's career and arguably at the time was the most influential album in my progression as a musician. In the 90s/00s, growing up I had played the guitar but was massively into jungle and drum n bass, and I had been too much of an explorer to fit into a band environment - I'd often spend time tapping my delay-soaked guitar with pebbles to a 160+ bpm amen break which would piss everyone off. Then in the 2000's, when I had been listening to and producing some electronic music and was becoming disinterested, Eraser (along with Burial's breakout self-titled LP, released around the same time) reignited my love for electronic music with it's glitchy, textural melancholy, combined with real musicality, which spoke to me much more than the trance-minimal-prog continuum of preceding times. It also influenced my favourite Radiohead album, In Rainbows, which found a delicate balance between experimentalism and musicality. The electronic focus in Eraser formed a legacy of Yorke's future explorations into the electro-acoustic spectrum, including the Can-like rhythms of King of Limbs and his incredible soundtrack for Luca Guadagnino's remake of Suspiria.”
Hoots from Team Sova
Here’s some stuff that’s been buttering our biscuits recently. Hope you enjoy them too.
Maybe it’s the new year or something, but I’ve been having some back-to-basics moments with William Ørbit’s Best of Strange Cargos, a compilation of the producer's work 1987-1993. The opener, ‘Water From A Vine Leaf’, has always been a particular favourite of mine. It's fascinating how Ørbit, similarly to Brian Eno, can navigate the underground while also producing some incredibly influential and commercially successful acts like Madonna and U2.” - George
“I’ve been enjoying this live set by Scav recorded at Artmosferic Festival 2020, an independent festival on a naturally occurring balcony on top of Old Mountain in Bulgaria that I used to go to religiously. Scav is a good friend and a really good acoustician turned producer, and the mix is a total head cleanser.” - Tzveti
“Beautiful compilation album put together for the Coventry Biennial 2021’s HYPER-POSSIBLE exhibition. Features nu-skool ambient pros like KMRU, Kate Carr and Lamina Fofana playing with field recordings scavenged from Coventry and the surrounding area.” - Rupert
“Really looking forward to these upcoming performances of Lucinda Childs and Philip Glass’ landmark contemporary dance piece, originally created in 1979.” - Lucie
“Stunning, sky-high ambient techno album from under-appreciated Detroit don Neil Ollivierra, now lavishly reissued by Mental Groove Records. Multilayered but sparse and delicate; light-as-aether melodies above flitting percussion and limber basslines. Dope.” - Oscar
“Unsure what I was after but stumbled across this article outlining the best IDM albums of all time. To be honest I wouldn't put some of them into that music bracket, but I guess that’s the odd beauty of IDM. Here’s your monthly music sorted.” - George
“Beautiful new release on French label Shelter Press. It’s their third collaboration, check the others too.” - Lucie
“An album that left a mark in the past month. I imagine listening to it in the open air at dawn must be the perfect trip.” - Tzveti
“Mix of ruff tuff grubby dub (plus some sound poetry) put together by Recital boss Sean McCann for Cafe OTO. Heavy, heartfelt and triumphant.“ - Oscar
“This has been getting some much-deserved love - basic, soulful, technical, essential house music.” - George
“Luuush new jungle release on Ryoko by the amazing Eusebeia.” - Lucie
“Cool essay relating the Many Worlds theory in quantum physics to human ambition and greed. Cute cartoons too.” - Oscar