Exclusive stream of Mørk’s new EP “Disco in Odd Times”

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Stream Disco in Odd Times, the new five-track EP by SHAPE 2015 alumnus Mørk. The EP sees Benjamin Mørk further transforming from a jazz pianist into a producer of electronic music. The recording will be released on March 11 by Norwegian label Beatservice Records.

Mørk is Benjamin Mørk from the island Senja in the northern parts of Norway. The artist Mørk is actually two-headed. The first incarnation is the piano based jazz quartet, who has released the two brilliant albums Karasho (2013) and Meantime Lifetime (2015). But lately, Benjamin Mørk has been playing around with analogue electronic equipment, and the solo electronic version of Mørk saw the lights of day with the track Tour de Senja, released on his own label autumn 2015.

Mørk has now moved his electronic project to Beatservice Records. “Disco in Odd Times” presents his strange and odd electropop, slightly coloured by his jazz background, with his newfound joy for the analogue electronic. Heavy synth cords, buckets of humour, 80’s electropop references (and even Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall!), and the standout bleepyness of Tour de Senja.

Photo by Knut Aaserud

Jakob Schneidewind

Jakob Schneidewind is best known as the bassist of Austrian techno band Elektro Guzzi. He has a classical education (studying music in Vienna) but gradually incorporated electronic instruments into his music production. Schneidewind’s work oscillates between rhythm based electronic music and abstract improvisation. His two latest projects are duos Demi Broxa and Monochord. Demi Broxa combines electronic soundscapes with pure vocal sounds and minimalistic musical structures with organic improvisations. Using only voice, bass and electronics Agnes Hvizdalek and Jakob Schneidewind create fascinating abstract songs that are both direct and complex.

Monochord is created together with Viennese musician Bernhard Hammer. While Schneidewind and Hammer also produce driving techno as part of Elektro Guzzi, their Monochord project focuses on electroacoustic experiments and soundtracks for imaginary movies. Monochord searches for an intimate musical experience in which guitar, bass and live electronics dive into a deep cinematic soundscape. It’s a playground of shifting harmonies with purposefully minimized compositions. Over the years Schneidewind and Hammer have founded their own specific instrumental technique reminiscent of free improvisation and new music. Nevertheless or perhaps because of that, Monochord retains a strong pop affinity.

Download press photo here.

Listen to our February radio show on Resonance FM

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In our February edition, we talk to four musicians with diverse backgrounds and working methods: from deconstructing rhythms to capturing electromagnetic frequencies. We Will Fail is a solo project of the Polish musician and visual artist Aleksandra Grünholz. She places an emphasis on rhythm, without necessarily aiming for the dancefloor.

Piotr Kurek is another Polish artist in SHAPE this year. The Warsaw based musician has been involved in the music scene for some time, working under different guises and with numerous labels, including Sangoplasmo, Dunno or Digitalis, where he released his critically acclaimed album Heat. The name of the Hungarian band Buster Keaton (UK) might be slightly misleading, but that is exactly their point. WoO & Incredible Bob is a collaboration between two Serbian artists – the former is a seasoned experimental guitarist and sound artist and the latter works with video.

From punk to ultrasonic bat detectors: An interview with Jonáš Gruska

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Jonáš Gruska studied at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague and the Academy of Music in Kraków. He focuses on chaotic rhythms, explorations of the psychoacoustic properties of sound, and field recording. He has created several site-specific sound installations based on resonant properties of spaces and materials, and has given workshops on sonification, field recording, printed circuit board design, and programming for artists. He creates his own instruments and runs the label LOM in Bratislava.

You studied at the Institute of Sonology in The Hague. Where does your interest in the sonic come from? Were you always more interested in sound as such, than in music?

As a kid I studied classical guitar for a couple of years, played in a hardcore/punk band, and always found myself searching for the extremes. I travelled a lot, musically. In the end I found a comfortable place where I am now – approaching music and sound from different perspectives, free of preconceived notions.

How did your studies influence your perception of and work with sound?

They generally allowed me to grow as an artist and helped me realise what I really want to do with my life. Interacting with others and learning about different approaches was always beneficial and mind-expanding to me. I learned to trust my own ideas. Of course, I found out a lot about the technicalities of the work as well. It was an irreplaceable and strongly defining period of my life.

How would you describe your approach to sound?

At the moment, I am interested in sound as a whole. I love the physics of sound, psychoacoustics, acoustics, and field recording, but also composition, harmony, and melody, especially harmonies and tunings of traditional music from different parts of the world. Regarding my own work, I mostly work with sounds that have a specific spectral quality and interesting resonances, rich textures, and unconventional/chaotic rhythms.

After finishing your studies, you decided to return to your home country, Slovakia, and established the label, LOM. Can you talk about the imprint?

The idea of the label actually came about during my studies. I found myself disconnected from Slovak artists and realised how unknown they are to the world. So I wanted to create a platform that would help “export” and present them. I asked a couple of friends for help. We’ve built a website, started to collect contacts, and sent out records to the world. Over time, the concept changed a bit – we currently publish not only Slovak artists, but also Eastern-European experimental music and field recordings.

Aside from the various aspects of working with sound (recording, producing, engineering), you also started to create your own musical instruments and microphones. What led you to this, and could you describe the whole process behind the making of one (physical) instrument? 

All of my instruments started as something that I needed for my work in field recording or as a performer. The ready-made instruments were either too expensive or not suitable for the job, so there was basically no other option than DIY. It started very simply when I was around 22 years old – I didn’t have an internet connection in my flat, which helped my online-addiction a lot and allowed me to focus on other things like lock-picking and electronics. I became fascinated with the world of DIY synthesizers and built dozens of different ones… I learned a lot back then about how it all works. Since I didn’t have a proper education in electronics, all of my work was more empirical and based on trial and error.

Now I am bit more advanced – I design products with proper circuit boards, assembled by robots, and with nice casing. But I maintain the DIY nature of things. For example I prepared a tutorial on the making of DIY Elektrosluch (my electromagnetic listening device) for Make magazine.

You are also interested in field recording, an area that has captured the imagination of many musicians and artists. How do you approach field recording and what environmental sounds do you look for in particular?

I don’t have any particular favourite environments for my field recording work. I recorded the depths of an old concrete bridge as well as the pure sounds of meadows around Slovakia last summer. I simply enjoy different sounds; there are very little boundaries.

In general, I like to do field recording with unusual microphone techniques (untraditional mic. placement), or unusual microphones – hydrophones, contact, or electromagnetic mics. Recently I’ve also been experimenting with ultrasonic bat detectors in my work, which is very inspiring.

Exclusive stream of the new RSS B0YS album B0DY FL0W

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We’re proud to present an exclusive stream of B0DY FL0W – the new album by SHAPE 2015 alumni RSS B0YS. The album will be released by Danish label Speaker Footage on February 29.

According to the press announcement, Polish cryptic duo RSS B0YS’ new installment is a throbbing maze of fluid basslines, glitched snaredrums and idiosyncratic chord progressions that reflect their consistent need of re-interpreting given forms and transmitting their far-out fried techno message to the curious ear. Faceless yet so bold.

RSS B0YS is a mysterious duo from Poland.  Their buoyant, shamanistic take on techno, almost fully improvised live on stage, transports the audience into a ritual frenzy. Their identity remains hidden, and the anonymity provides them with freedom to experiment and innovate.

Check the label’s Facebook page for more info, or purchase the release here.

Photo by Michał Bukolt / Crocslide

Gas of Latvia mix for Resonance

Stream this new ambient/noise mix by Riga-based free-form electronic music project Gas of Latvia. The mix, consisting entirely of previously unpublished works, has been prepared as part of SHAPE platform’s ongoing collaboration with Resonance – it was premiered on Resonance Extra, and on February 29, it will be repeatedly broadcast on Resonance FM.

Producer and composer Andris Indāns has been an active musician since the late 80s; his project Gas of Latvia is one of the most significant electronic music projects from Latvia. Gas of Latvia, with various collaborators circulating around Indāns in the line-up over the years, have recorded and released over 10 studio albums, each of them having a different vibe and sound – experimenting with dub ambient, drone, noise, IDM, industrial music and techno, but still keeping their signature sound. Indāns also writes music for films, video art & theater performances.

This mix includes previously unpublished recordings from recent years; they have all been produced in Latvia and Spain, whilst experimenting with various synthesizers and pianos, complemented with field recordings and radio excerpts.

Tracklist:

1. Unwritten (voice by Laura Ziemele)
2. Floats
3. Powerline
4. Press House Blues
5. Solveig Dub 1
6., 7., 8. Polyethylene world 1-3
9. Lost Gardens
10. Poison Pool
11. Condado de Alhama
12. Roca Entre Las Rocas (voice by La Tipa)
13. The Dream Of Brighter Future
14. Nemiers
15. Solveig Dub 2

Music by Andris Indāns for: Pavilion of Latvia at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale Di Venezia – 2014 (1);  audiovisual project Agrocultura – 2015 – with Laura Prikule & Kaspars Lielgalvis (6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13); performance Gaidot Gintu – 2016 – (5, 14, 15); audiovisual work Press House – 2011 –  by Katrīna Neiburga (2. 3); open air performance Lost Gardens – 2013 –  (9).

 

Photo report – SHAPE at CTM 2016

The 2016 edition of Berlin’s CTM festival (29 January – 7 February) was titled “New Geographies”, examining today’s rapidly collapsing borders and emerging new hybrid topographies, and aiming to provide the tools needed to approach the complexities of a polycentric, polychromatic, and increasingly hybrid (music) world with greater openness.

The SHAPE showcase of CTM 2016 featured both 2015 alumni – Borusiade and Aisha Devi – and acts from the new artist roster: T’ien Lai (project by Kuba Ziołek), KABLAM, Charlotte Bendiks, Peder Mannerfelt, who, with a five-piece band, did a live re-imagining of his Swedish Congo Record, and Stine Janvin Motland with her project Native Instrument.

A SHAPE Meet&Greet was also conducted, featuring 2015 alumnus, performative sound artist Marco Donnarumma. SHAPE also collaborated with CTM in organizing the festival’s MusicMakers Hacklab.

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Performances of Aisha Devi, Borusiade, Peder Mannerfelt and T’ien Lai were photographed by Camille Blake.

The SHAPE Meet&Greet, MusicMakers Hacklab and performance of Native Instrument were photographed by Andres Bucci.

Jackson

When Jackson emerged from the lingering disco after-smoke of the ‘French Touch’ scene that nurtured Daft Punk and Phoenix among others, Paris and the rest of the world was changing. Slowly and methodically, strands of music were moving from warehouse raves into the global mainstream and at the time of his debut Smash, in 2005, he and his Computer Band embodied the bleeding edge of this transition. Shredding the filtered funk of his Parisian forebears and soldering the remains into an insane carriage of orchestral bombast, red-lined techno and gothic hip-hop, Jackson & His Computer Band had brought a sense of the post-millennial baroque to the rave.

In 2015, Jackson returned with a new artistic proposal: VISIONS

Subtitled ‘New Machines New Music New Show’ the project from Jackson and His Computer Band started at the French Institute for Music/Acoustic Research and Coordination (IRCAM / Centre George Pompidou). The debut of Jackson’s new performance, based on waves and energy flow, took place in the main acoustic hall during the IRCAM Live event on November 20, 2014. In 2015, Jackson played all over Europe as a DJ and performer. In 2016 he supported the RATATAT tour in the United States. At the end of 2015, Jackson took up a residency at the prestigious “Villa Medicis” in Rome in order to create a new project based on a personal interpretation of the traditional Lyric opera.

Download press photo here (Credit: Keffer)

NONOTAK

NONOTAK studio is a collaboration between the illustrator Noemi Schipfer and the architect musician Takami Nakamoto. Commissioned by the Architect Bigoni-Mortemard to create a mural in the lobby of a public housing building in Paris, NONOTAK was created in late 2011.

In early 2013, they start to work on light and sound installations, creating an ethereal, immersive and dreamlike environment meant to envelope the viewer, capitalising on Takami Nakamoto’s approach of space & sound, and Noemi Schipfer’s experience in kinetic visuals. They presented their first audiovisual installation at the Mapping Festival in May 2013. In summer 2013, NONOTAK come up with a performance, Late Speculation, where they are the creators and contents of the project.

Download a press photo here.

Nik Nowak/Schockglatze

Born in Mainz and based in Berlin, Nik Nowak‘s sound objects combine the aesthetic qualities of sculpture with utility or functional objects, and explore urban or military phenomena at play in everyday life. Nowak earned his undergraduate degree from the University of the Arts (UdK), Berlin in 2007, and studied under German artist Lothar Baumgarten. He is the recipient of several scholarships, including one for a sculpture course under Xiang Jing at Normal University in Shanghai, China. Among Nowak’s notable recent projects is “Panzer” (tank), a caterpillar-tracked minidumper which is transformed into a mobile sound system that pumps out 4000 watts of audio.  Other recent works include a diverse range of “Mobile Boosters” (portable, flexible sound systems developed in response to the increasing anonymity of life in virtual space) and “Echo,” a sound installation  in which so-called “echo drones” interact with visitors, recording their speech and playing it back in different ways.  In 2014, he was awarded the GASAG Art Prize in cooperation with Berlinische Galerie, a prize honouring an artistic position at the interface of art, science, and technology. He also curated the extremely well received exhibition “BOOSTER Kunst Sound Maschine” in collaboration with Museum MARTa Herford, which inquires into the cultural significance of mobile sound systems and their use in the creative arts.

Nik Nowak has in recent years worked closely with musicians such as Chicago footwork pioneers (the late) DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn, and sonic polymath The Bug. These aural adventuresome mutagenic encounters have contributed to the production of his artistic, experimental handling of sound as a visual material.

His new collaborative project SCHOCKGLATZE is the distillate of a longstanding collaboration between artists working across the frontiers of several forms. With audio-visual performances, band projects and international exhibitions as part of their armoury, Henk Heuer, Nik Nowak and Moritz Stumm have been causing a stir within the art and music worlds for years. They will release their first EP with the Berlin based bass electronic Label Through My Speakers in May 2016.

Download press photo here. (Credit: Benjamin-Kahlmeyer)