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Fangyi Liu: Koujie Koujie

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My next interview is with Fangyi Liu who is going to talk to us about Koujie Koujie . Every once in a while I encounter an artist who is totally unique and distinctive, and yet if I were to explain why that is, it's hard to say. The most obvious characteristic is Fangyi's voice: it's at the center of this music - in fact it's not always clear which sounds are vocal and which ones aren't, so that the whole production comes across as something of a "speech-scape" even though there are other sounds in the mix. And there's a certain textural quality to the recording as well - it often sounds analog rather than digital. I'm guessing it's a mix of both. But the real mark of distinction when it comes to 'Koujie Koujie', along with Fangyi's other work, is what another listener described to me as "undefinable" - it's some sort of energy , as though the sounds we're hearing on this record, the artist was utterly

NUM: False Awakening

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My next interview is with Milad Bagheri and Maryam Sirvan a.k.a. NUM who are going to talk to me about False Awakening . NUM - currently based in Calgary, Alberta - were formed originally in the remote city of Rasht in northern Iran. Really, both of those locations strike me as pretty mysterious! and the same could be said of ‘False Awakening’… I’ve got to say I’ve never heard anything quite like this album. Superficially speaking there’s nothing too unusual here - it’s two tracks long, soundscapes, around 15 minutes each… there’s a certain mix of electronics, instrumentation and voices which is familiar enough in the world of experimental music.. yet there’s something about the mood and intensity of this stuff which really gets under my skin. ‘False Awakening’ is something else. I’ve rarely encountered a recording so… harrowing, so imposing, unsettling… and I keep coming back for repeated listens to partake in the NUM mystery and venture back into the abyss. Of course I am also

Israel Martínez: Nadaanda

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My next interview is with Israel Martínez who is going to talk to us about Nadaanda . This is a record - and I do mean record, it exists on vinyl - which I’ve played repeatedly over the last several months. In fact it’s quite short, around 20 minutes long, with oblique track titles and bold, austere cover art that’s barely distinguishable from the other releases on the record label, Musica Moderna . The music itself also starts out pretty minimalistic, which wouldn’t necessarily be my usual cup of tea, and yet.. something draws me in immediately. ‘Nadaanda’ twists and turns until by the end of those 20 minutes it’s transformed into something else entirely… we’ve traveled a vast distance in a short amount of time and a whole plethora of sounds are ringing in my ears. What a trip! So who is Israel Martínez? Well that’s what I’d like to find out.. he’s from Guadalajara, Mexico and he seems like a cool character! Israel’s work extends well beyond sound recording: his website lists “mul

The James Worse Public Address Method: oxtensmoot

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My next interview is with James Worse who is going to talk to us about oxtensmoot . It’s not exactly uncommon for an artist to dabble in a wide variety of media formats - sound, visual, video, words - in fact nowadays, maybe that’s the norm. And yet it’s not often that we encounter a multimedia artist quite like Jim. He’s got a sensibility which is so definitive and so distinct as to be instantly recognisable… whether he’s working with instrumental electronics, abstract videos, fabric designs, homemade typefaces and fonts, or spoken recitations in his imaginary “worsicle” nonsense language, you probably know it’s James Worse, or you’ve got a hunch. (If you’re hip)! After poking through Jim’s “public address method” discography over the past year, this recent 32-track release ‘oxtensmoot’ strikes me as particularly special. There’s a confluence of different elements here - electronics with speech especially - which I’m not taking for granted as it hasn’t necessarily occurred on the

Kate Carr: The Thing Itself And Not The Myth

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My next interview is with Kate Carr who is going to talk to us about The Thing Itself and Not the Myth . I just got done listening to this album and it’s as though I’ve returned from some sort of murky water-world… except it was really our world. Like much of Kate’s work which - in her own words - blurs the boundary between instruments and field recording, ‘The Thing Itself…’ revolves around audio footage from select locations. And it isn’t always clear the extent to which what we’re hearing is merely or exclusively the unassuming, natural ambience of those locations - these are also compositions, with harmonic properties, with subtle instrumentation and arrangements and with a distinct air of purpose and intent. Kate’s got a way with words - there’s something that draws me in with some of her earlier album titles…. It was a time of laboured metaphors , I had myself a nuclear spring … On ‘The Thing Itself…’ it’s someone else’s voice she’s chosen to channel, that of the poet Adrienn

Constance/Nyoukis: Whit?

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My next interview is with Karen Constance and Dylan Nyoukis who are going to talk to me about the Constance / Nyoukis Whit? boxset. These artists are fairly new to me, and in surveying the contents of ‘Whit?’, which contains a split tape, a split lathe 7”, a CDr, a compilation album of other artists and a “pocket book” full of drawings and collages, I’m reminded of my earliest encounters with underground music and how astonishing and overwhelming it was to first conceive of all that material floating out there under the radar of the mainstream. It’s a goldmine of sound and on their website, the plot thickens further. They apparently run a label called Chocolate Monk where I recognise some of the artists such as Hannah Ellul and Aaron Dilloway … the rest sound like characters in some fantastical bizarro music world, with album titles like “Life on Bob-Lo Island” , “Bijou Bastard Box Room Suite” , “I Am With The Band Of Gurps”, and of course “Whit?” which is, amazingly, t

Goh Lee Kwang: Nerve Center

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My next interview is with Goh Lee Kwang who is going to talk to us about  Nerve Center . As anyone familiar with Navel-Gazers knows, each of these interviews chooses to focus on a specific album and I must say that this one was a difficult decision. Lee Kwang has literally hundreds of albums... in fact as I scroll through the  becoming shadow  discography I genuinely wonder if he's the most prolific artist on all of Bandcamp. There are so many individual items here that I need to set aside time for the page to load! I forget what caught my attention about 'Nerve Center' (after returning with a coffee) but relistening through headphones the other day I found it utterly mesmerising. Its four tracks - each of comparable length - are all completely different. And I hadn't realised it's all the way back from 2002, which means it's one of his earlier ones. 19 years later I'm feeling lucky to get a glimpse into the world of Goh Lee Kwang even though th