17 March 2020: Music for Social Isolation: John McLaughlin / Drone Islands

John McLaughlin, Shankar Mahadevan, Zakir Hussain 

Is That So? 

Six years in the making, Is that So? is one of John McLaughlin's deepest and most profound musical collaborations with prolific Indian composer and vocalist Shankar Mahadevan. Joining the duo is their life-long friend and musical brother Ustad Zakir Hussain on the tabla, who has been collaborating with John since they founded Shakti in the early '70s, acknowledged by most to be the first groundbreaking crossover East-West musical group. 'The idea for this album appeared in my mind early 2013. Shankar and I had been touring with Shakti and I was constantly inspired by his superb voice and gigantic talent. Even though I had studied the theory and practice of Indian music for years, I remain a 'Western' musician and one aspect of Western music is the magic of harmony', says John. 'From the outset in the early 1970's, I constantly researched the possibilities of integrating harmony into the traditions of North and South India while at the same time keeping as close as possible to the melodic rules of the Raga system. However, the idea I mention above, was to abandon the rules of the Raga system completely and apply my own western harmonic liberty to the amazing voice of Shankar Mahadevan. ''Before concerts, John and I used to dabble with free improvisations using Indian scales (Ragas) and different harmonies backing them', says Shankar Mahadevan. 'The whole texture, color, feeling and the canvas of the music excited us as harmonic content does not exist in Indian classical music. In the beginning it was just a fun experiment, but it soon became larger than life and we knew we had to record it. When Zakir Hussain, the great tabla Maestro himself agreed to play in the improvisational sections we knew this would take our recording to a new level. We could not have asked for more. Is that So? is a a new concept in the meeting of musicians, singers, percussionists and the musical cultures of the East and West and takes us into unexplored musical horizons.  

 

2nd volume of the series Drone Islands, "Drone Islands - The Lost Maps" continues Eighth Tower Records' deep explorations into the realm of "droning music". Alongside drone ambient music masters like TROUM, Rapoon, Schloss Tegal, Autopsia, and well known dark ambient projects like Alphaxone, Taphephobia, the volume presents experimentalists such Simon Balestrazzi, Trauma Terrestrial, as well extremely interesting young musicians like Gaspar Peralta. Solid realities and new promises is a sign of the best international drone music.

Raffaele Pezzella

credits

released January 31, 2020

REVIEWS

Santa Sangre
santasangremagazine.wordpress.com/2020/03/09/various-artists-drone-islands-the-lost-maps/

Musique Machine
www.musiquemachine.com/reviews/reviews_template.php?id=7704

Densidad
www.densidad2025.com/resena/drone-islands-the-lost-maps-english-version

Rosa Selvaggia
www.rosaselvaggia.com/recens.dischi_02_20.htm

Head-Banger Reviews
headbangerreviews.wordpress.com/2020/01/28/eighth-tower-records-drone-islands-the-lost-maps/

© Eighth Tower Records
Curated by Raffaele Pezzella (a.k.a. Sonologyst)
Artwork: Francesco Di Stasio
Mastering: Sonologyst
sonologyst.com
200 copies limited edition CD
© All rights reserved

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all rights reserved

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14 January 2020: Nigel Mullaney / Cool Spring / Bernhard Wostheinrich

Nigel Mullaney is a familiar name for followers of the DiN label with his early releases with label boss Ian Boddy under the name of Dub Atomica as well as his album with Ray Sherwin, “Music By Mirrors” (DiN38) under the moniker of Mazmoneth. More recently he has been working with Boddy utilising modular synth systems at several venues including the recently released download album “Schemes & Ruses” (DiNDDL23) recorded at the Capstone Theatre in Liverpool.

It thus comes as somewhat of a surprise that “31 Days” is his first solo album on DiN. It’s genesis came about through a musical challenge he set himself to compose a track a day for the entire month of January 2018. In the studio and on the road he explored sonic improvisations using a range of portable modular synthesisers as well as a selection of analogue keyboards and vintage outboard gear. Essentially each of the tracks is a live recording with no overdubs or additional stem mixing.

This resulted in over 4 hours of material that Ian Boddy carefully listened through and curated into a track list which represents a 70 minute cross section of Mullaney’s 31 day musical odyssey. As with Boddy’s DiN iNDEX sampler albums the music ebbs and flows from gloriously cinematic orchestral textures through to wonderfully rhythmic drum and sequencer tracks laced with cutting edge sound design and first class production values.

To quote Mullaney, “as the days and weeks progressed I found myself connected with my music and art like never before. It simply flowed through me”. The music certainly reflects this with a fresh and vibrant feel that showcases a talented musician at the top of their game.
 

credits

releases January 17, 2020

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.”

Ray Bradbury


I’ve been told on many occasions that I think way too much…. After years of working on commissions and interpreting clients concepts of what music has to sound like I had found myself in a creative blackhole. Over thinking and over analysing music had separated me from the art of creative expression, improvisation and musical freedom.

I had a plan to fix this, a challenge I had contemplated undertaking for a number of years - to compose, programme, perform and record one track a day for 31 consecutive days. In the studio and on the road I began to explore sonic improvisations and soundscapes without any self conscious preconceptions, and as the days and weeks progressed I found myself connected with my music and art like never before. It simply flowed through me.

Essentially what you have here is a live album, using modular synthesisers, a selection of analog keyboards and vintage outboard gear. The music was performed and recorded directly into a Tascam Stereo DSD recorder with no overdubs and no additional stem mixing. After presenting Ian Boddy with over 4 hours of music he applied his expert critical listening and curated a track list which represents a 70 minute cross section from my 31 Day musical journey.

Nigel Christopher Mullaney 01.10.19


Special thanks to :

Jonathan Paul Jowett - Phoenix Creative Media Ltd
Ian Boddy - DiN Records
Jennifer Leggett
Wendy Carroll
Ben Wilson - DivKid Ben
Robin Rimbaud - Scanner
Dan Wahlbeck - DPW Design
Ickle Boo & The Boys


This one's for you Dad x 
 


Materiaal Series, Part XXIII

Performed and recorded live on October 6, 2018 at Orion Studios, Baltimore, MD, USA, as an opener for the legendary Soft Machine.

ECM recording artist David Rothenberg wrote Why Birds Sing, published in six languages and turned into a BBC TV show. He has written other books about making music with whales and bugs, has sixteen CDs out and his latest book, CD, and film is called Nightingales in Berlin.

www.nightingalesinberlin.com

Jay Nicholas, bass player extraordinaire and legendary studio engineer, has worked at Chung King Studios with the likes of David Bowie, Wyclef Jean, the Neville Brothers and the Wu-Tang Clan.

www.allmusic.com/artist/jay-nicholas-mn0001839831

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watch the drop!
youtu.be/Z51wmigO9Qo?t=233
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credits

released December 13, 2019

Bernhard Wöstheinrich: keyboards and virtual synthesizers, live-sequencing
David Rothenberg: clarinet, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone and iPad
Jay Nicholas: bass & wavedrum

Performed and recorded live at Orion Studios, Baltimore, MD, USA, October 6, 2018

Mixed and mastered by Markus Reuter

Artwork by Christine Kriegerowski
Video by Jefferson Ogata

Special thanks to Leonardo Pavkovic, Mike Potter, Joe Tracey and Chris Baker

www.orionsound.com
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about

David and Bernhard have been playing together for three years, and it happens whenever the two are in the same country.
Last October we found them both in the Hudson Valley of New York, where they were joined in the studio by bass player and producer Jay Nicholas in the village where David and Jay live, definitely a Cool Spring.


ECM recording artist David Rothenberg wrote Why Birds Sing, published in six languages and turned into a BBC TV show. He has written other books about making music with whales and bugs, has sixteen CDs out and is working on a book about the nightingales of Berlin and the musicians who play with them.

www.davidrothenberg.net

Bernhard leads his own solo project "The Redundant Rocker" and among others he has collaborated with Markus Reuter (in centrozoon) Tim Motzer, Ian Boddy, No-Man singer Tim Bowness, Conrad Schnitzler†, and Erik Wøllo. Bernhard elicits meaning from abstraction in electronic music and painting. He has studied graphic design and has created an eclectic body of work in both graphics and music. Using a compositional approach akin to his work as a visual artist, Bernhard usually begins by improvising abstract sonic structures which are subsequently developed into an increasingly detailed aural picture.

www.redundantrocker.com


Jay Nicholas, bass player extraordinaire and legendary studio engineer, has worked at Chung King Studios with the likes of David Bowie, Wyclef Jean, the Neville Brothers and the Wu-Tang Clan.

www.allmusic.com/artist/jay-nicholas-mn0001839831
 

credits

released March 18, 2016

David Rothenberg: clarinet, bass clarinet, contralto clarinet
Bernhard Wöstheinrich: keyboards and electronics
Jay Nicholas: bass

Performed and recorded on B Street, October 2015

Mixed and mastered by Markus Reuter

Artwork by Christine Kriegerowski
Special thanks to George "G$" Bley

07 January 2020: Blow Up Hollywood / Reza Solatipour / Persian Experimental Music

In light of recent events, it is appropriate to feature this superb 2006 release from Blow Up Hollywood.

Blow Up Hollywood’s third studio album,  The Diaries of Private Henry Hill, is based on the journals of a young soldier who died tragically in the Iraq War. This concept album narrates a first-hand account of the transformation of a real man from citizen to soldier to killer to martyr.
The Diaries of Private Henry Hill is Blow Up Hollywood’s follow-up to the critically heralded 2004 album Fake.

Blow Up Hollywood is an underground American rock band. Their eclectic sound, built over a decade of recording, incorporates many different styles, diverse as progressive rock, post-rock, experimental, pop, classical, jazz and ambient soundscapes. Founded by Steve Messina and Nik Chinboukas in 2001, the group has evolved into more of a collective than a band, as some of their members have changed over the years.
Their debut, self-titled CD, is a concept album about death and the afterlife. The CD was recorded in a beach house in West Hampton, New York, over the course of three weeks in March 2001, and was released the following year. Originally the recording was intended to be just a “musical vacation” amongst friends who had performed and recorded together in various groups and projects throughout the years. But after hearing the results, and enjoying the collaboration, they decided to release it, with Blow Up Hollywood as their moniker.
Their sophomore CD, Fake, was released in 2004, and garnished critical acclaim.
In September 2004, John Diliberto, the host of the radio show Echoes, ran a feature on the band and had them perform live on air, bringing them national attention. That same year their live version of the song “beyond the stars” was included on the Echo’s compilation CD, alongside artists Yo-Yo Ma, Kai King, and Will Ackerman.
Stars End – A one track ambient improvisation, was recorded live on November 14, 2004, at WXPN in Philadelphia. The CD is titled after Chuck Van Zyl’s show Star’s End which has aired every Saturday night since 1976. “We asked Chuck what we should play, and he gave us free reign. So we improvised for an hour”, one of the band members stated.
In 2006 the band released what would become their most popular CD, both nationally and internationally. With the debate over the war in Iraq raging, the band released another concept album, The Diaries of Private Henry Hill. Based on the journal entries of a young, deceased soldier from the Iraq war, Blow Up Hollywood takes us on Private Henry Hill’s surreal journey as he joins the army out of necessity rather than patriotism.
That same year the album was released, Amy Goodman, the host of the news show Democracy Now! (a daily TV/radio news program, airing on over 900 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the United States) championed the band and the video for the song WMD, playing it repeatedly on her show for weeks.
Rachael Maddow, the then host of The Rachael Maddow show on Air America Radio, also invited the band to perform live and discuss the CD. And many other songs from the Diaries record were featured on NPR‘s program All Things Considered.
In 2008, the band was invited by Tomas Young (an injured American soldier from the Iraq war ) and Eddie Vedder (the lead vocalist of the American rock band Pearl Jam) to have WMD included on the compilation soundtrack to the documentary film Body of War, alongside Bruce SpringsteenNeil YoungTori AmosTom WaitsRoger Waters (founding member of Pink Floyd), and Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam.
In 2011 Steve Messina, Nik Chinboukas and Thad Debrock joined forces to write, produce, and record with photographer and conceptual artist Andres Serrano, with Blow Up Hollywood as his backing band. They released the recording under the name Brutus Faust.

In the second half of tonight's show, we will feature Tehran musician, Reza Solatipour, and his 2019 dark ambient release, The Gate.  Our thanks to Raffaele Pezzella and the Unexplained Sounds Group for providing us with a promotional copy of this album.

It came clear, in recent years, that drone & dark ambient music from Iran made a considerable statement among the followers of this music genre. Reza Solapitour, from Tehran, was among the most talented Iranian projects alongside with Xerxes The Dark, Alphaxone, idft. His music was published on the prestigious compilation “Visions of Darkness” curated by Raffaele Pezzella and co-released by Unexplained Sounds Group / Cold Spring Records.

soundcloud.com/rezasolatipour

unexplainedsoundsgroup.bandcamp.com/album/visions-of-darkness-2cd-edition

credits

released November 23, 2019

REVIEWS

ToneShift
toneshift.net/2019/12/11/the-gate-by-reza-solatipour/

Avant Music News
avantmusicnews.com/2019/11/25/amn-reviews-reza-solatipour-the-gate-2019-eighth-tower-records/

Head-Banger Reviews
headbangerreviews.wordpress.com/2019/12/11/reza-solatipour-the-gate/


Music recorded in Tehran by Reza Solapitour
Artwork: Eliphas Üsher (IÖR)
Mastering: Sonologyst
sonologyst.com
© Eighth Tower Records / Industrial Olocaust Recordings
www.discogs.com/label/64495-Industrial-%C3%96locaust-Recordings