A collection of stunning Persian-tuned piano pieces cut from Iranian national radio broadcasts made for the Golha programmes between 1956 & 1965...
Morteza Mahjubi (1900-1965) was a Iranian pianist & composer who developed a unique tuning system for the piano which enabled the instrument to be played in all the different modes and dastgahs of traditional Persian art music. Known as Piano-ye Sonnati, this technique allowed Mahjubi to express the unique ornamental and monophonic nature of Persian classical music on this western instrument - mimicking the tar, setar & santur and extracting sounds from the piano which are still unprecedented to this day.
An active performer and composer from a young age, Mahjubi made his most notable mark as key contributor and soloist for the Golha (Flowers of Persian Song and Poetry) radio programmes. These seminal broadcasts platformed an encyclopaedic wealth of traditional Persian classical music and poetry on Iranian national radio between 1956 until the revolution in 1979.
Presented here is a collection of Morteza Mahjubi's stunningly virtuosic improvised pieces broadcast on Golha between the programme's inception until Mahjubi's death in 1965 - mostly solo, though at times peppered with tombak, violin & some segments of poetry.
The vast collection of Golha radio programmes was put together thanks to the incredible work of Jane Lewisohn & the Golha Project as part of the British Library's Endangered Archives programme, comprising 1,578 radio programs consisting of approximately 847 hours of broadcasts.
In 1990 Ronald Lee Trent Jr. was the teenage creator of Altered States – a raw, futuristic techno-not-techno anthem, which in retrospect was something of a stylistic anomaly for the young artist. Across subsequent years, with time spent in Chicago, New York and Detroit, came the development of his signature sound, and renown as a world class purveyor of deep, soul infused house/garage. This story has already been told, and on casual inspection, the well-worn platitude ‘house music legend’ is an old shoe that still fits. However, in fact, he’s actually so much more, and has been for quite a while. A genuine musician, songwriter, and ‘producer’ in the proper, old-school sense, the artist today has more in common with Quincy Jones than he does your average journeyman DJ track-hack.
To those in the know, these broader skills haven’t gone unnoticed, which is why on the highly collaborative, career-topping new LP ‘What Do The Stars Say To You’, it took little persuasion to recruit serious star power. Brazilian royalty Ivan Conti and Alex Malheriros from Azymuth, violin maestro Jean Luc Ponty, ambient hero Gigi Masin, hype band Khruangbin and more performed, whilst NY cornerstone François K provided mastering duties. At various points Ron himself played drums, percussion, keys, synths, piano, guitar and electronics.
Harking back to the 70s and 80s boom in adventurous, luxurious albums, WDTSSTY is a love letter to the longplayer, where rich musicality and a liquid smooth, silky flow make seemingly odd genre bedfellows acquiesce harmoniously. Each song its own high-fidelity odyssey, Trent incorporated a broad range of live instruments and electronics into a sophisticated, euphonic whole. Described by him as being “designed for harmonising with spirit, urban life and nature”, this is aural soul food, gently easing you into balmy nights, where everything is alright.
Originally wanting to be an architect, Trent’s views his approach to collaboration and music in general as having the same principles. A firm believer in the nourishing qualities of sound, he sees direct parallels between the two disciplines, being as the purpose of good architecture is to improve quality of life. “With WARM, through sound design, I built frameworks for the musicians, who furnished and occupied these structures beautifully, which was a big compliment for me”, he comments.
The conditions required for a good collab are more than simply structural though, as Trent expounds, “I’m a huge fan of everyone on the record, especially Jean Luc and Azymuth, who’re part of my DNA. Each track was made with that guest in mind – for example, when I started writing ‘Sphere’, I immediately thought ‘this IS Ponty’. I played the keys in his style, and did a guide violin solo using a synth, which he then re-did, amazingly. ‘Cool Water’ is based around Azymuth themes, so when I sent it to Ivan, he could immediately see himself in the piece; He got what I was going for straight away. For ‘Melt Into You’ I hit up Alex on Instagram, sent him the track, he liked it, and within 24 hours he’d sent back six different bass passes!”
“Conversely, Admira began with a sketch sent by Gigi and became something combining Jon Hassell-esque chords and the feel of ‘Aquamarine’ by Carlos Santana, which links back to Masin’s recurrent nautical theme”, he adds.
With community, history and the need for racial equality never far from Ron’s mind, ‘Flos Potentia’ translates from Spanish as flower power, but rather than promoting some hippy idyll, instead it refers to plants which drove the slave trade: tobacco, sugar and cotton. Joined by Khruangbin, together they propel Dinosaur L, Hi-Tension and afrobeat into an ethereal, clear-skyed stratosphere.
Aside from these esteemed guests, other key influences cited by Trent include ‘Gigolos Get Lonely Too’ by Prince, ‘Beyond’ by Herb Alpert, David Mancuso, Jan Hammer, Tangerine Dream, The Cars, Trevor Horn, Alan Parsons Project and pre-Kraftwerk incarnation Organization. A multitude of others are audible too, including George Bension, Vangelis, Loose Ends, Maze, Flora Purim, Weather Report, Atmosphere, Grace Jones, James Mason and Brass Construction
Ecological Plantron" (1994) is a radical installation that uses sound to experience the ecological chain that surrounds our bodies from the perspective of plants.
This is a reprint of "Ecological Plantron" (1994), a radical installation that uses sound to let us experience the ecological chain that surrounds our bodies from the perspective of plants.
Bio-artist Yuji Dohkin researched and developed an epoch-making system in the early 1990s to create a device that speaks to plants and is spoken to by plants, which is "Plantron" (*I have a related doctoral thesis).
(*There is also a related doctoral dissertation.) This device, which extracts ecocurrents from plants (orchids) and converts them into physical phenomena that can be perceived by humans, is primarily intended to explore whether humans can perceive the intelligence of plants, and is not intended to entertain physical phenomena themselves. Ecological Plantron" is the "sound" record of the first installation of this "Plantron" in operation.
In this work, the copper-plated "Plantron" is constructed by composer Mamoru Fujieda into a sound system for installation, and the ecological current generated by the communication between plants and the human environment is programmed and converted into electronic sound, emitting irregularly shaped and irregular electronic sound particles.
(*Note) If I were to use a strong analogy, I might imagine an atmosphere somewhat similar to that of Xenakis or Penderecki's graphic notation music. Ecological currents remind us of the experimental music of Rosenboom and Lussier, who used human brain waves, but this work is not human-centered but plant-first, and it should be noted that it is not presented as a "musical work" in the first place.
For this reissue, we have remastered the independent recordings made at the gallery and included two works derived from Ecological Plantron, "Mangrove Plantron" and "Pianola Plantron," on a bonus disc. The first LP version is also available.
Since the experimental release of this device in 1991, pseudo-similar attempts have appeared, but it should be noted that the original was "Plantron". The commentary includes the latest contribution by Copper Gold, which reexamines the story of this experiment and its development, as well as the intentions of this work.
Note: Fujieda rediscovered the "melody" that modern music had left behind in the process of trying to extract some kind of regularity from this uncontrollable mass of sound, and this led him to compose and publish a series of works called "Plant Patterns.
Jake Muir’s by-now classic debut for sferic is a thing of spectral wonder; a luxurious set of gently phased and looped edits and field recordings based around gutted Beach Boys samples cast adrift in a sea of atmospheric shimmers. Followers of work by Jan Jelinek, Pinkcourtesyphone, Andrew Pekler or even Rhythm & Sound should be all over this one - a highly immersive exercise in blissed worlbuilding.
sferic cruise the best coast with Jake Muir, an artist and field recordist hailing from Los Angeles, California, who has quietly become one of the more interesting operators in this crowded field. His conceptual approach to sampling follows a lineage of artists at the very top of the game - from Fennesz’s re-imagined cover-versioning on his pioneering ‘Plays’ (also using the Beach Boys as source material), to DJ Olive’s quietly radical Illbient movements in the mid 90’s, to Jan Jelinek’s loop-finding heyday a decade or so later. Muir isn't so much interested in making sounds for mindless zoning-out, but instead evaluates the very essence of sound itself, in a way that feels like a microscopic view of the very fibre of popular music.
On ‘Lady’s Mantle’ Muir combines these elements with aqueous field recordings made everywhere from Iceland to the beaches of California with results that limn a wide but smudged sense of space and place. With fading harmonic auroras and glinting, half-heard surf rock melodies, the album is rendered in an abstract impressionist manner that suggests a fine tracing of in-between-spaces, perhaps describing the metropolitan sprawl giving way to vast mountain ranges and oceanic scales.
In effect the album recalls the intoxicated airs of Pinkcourtesyphone (a.k.a L.A. resident Richard Chartier) and Andrew Pekler’s sensorial soundscapes and even the plangent production techniques of Phil Spector and the subby sublime of Rhythm & Sound. For all its implied sense of space, there’s a paradoxically close intimacy to 'Lady’s Mantle’ which feels like you’re the passenger in Muir’s ride, and he patently knows the scenic route...