von Zachinsky interview

Welcome at the very special occasion of a guest interview, an interesting one with von Zachinsky as the one who is being interviewed & the representative identity from ‘This Records’ as the one who asks the questions… The album that is being talked about is impressive, not released even, (July 8th is the date!!) but too impressive not be enthusiastic about. I’m sure you will read a ‘review’ about it over here when its out and available, but for now: let’s get up the enthusiasm and enjoy this guest interview between label and their artist & the photography by Convulsia Darklove:

We’ve asked von Zachinsky – dark folk,
industrial, ambient/electronic ambient
composer, songwriter, writer and painter
about his album “Die Urwelt” that will be
soon re-released via our label and we’ve
heard some interesting things about his view
on music, art in general and philosophy.

vz2b1

This Records: Before I ask you about the upcoming release of
special edition of your album, “Die Urwelt.” I want to know
more about your influences, for a start tell me something
about your dark folk works and lyrics. It looks like history
is very important to you, am I right?

von Zachinsky: When I started writing dark folk songs, I
focused mainly on the atmosphere. With time, I started to
write and use more lyrics, which reflect the more subdued
side of reality. I think the decorations you see once you
look up to the tops of old buildings are a perfect example:
you could walk by for years and never notice a frog
sculpture sitting up there. The same goes for history, you
can find countless curiosities if you really dig into it, taking
a different angle than what is usually considered
interesting, like great battles and political changes. Some
more quirky areas of historical research are getting more
popular nowadays for their unexplored potential, so
perhaps my lyrics are really quite up-to-date… It is always
interesting to broaden one’s knowledge, for example of a
particular area while visiting or living there. This touches
upon the general concept of my lyrics and music. Instead
of seeing a big renovated castle with hundreds of visitors
crowding in the rooms, I’d rather see two stones on a
hilltop or the site where a fort used to be in the Bronze Age
with only earthen walls left and a forest around. There is
more mystery in such places, which adds to the inspiration.

v2bza2b2

T: The second thing that seems to be important to you is
nature. Your lyrics often refer to it.

v.Z.: Nature is another part of the world around us, and
natural metaphors have been used in literature, probably
since such a thing was created. However, each age had its
own vision of nature and used images of plants, animals,
or rocks and seas to express something different. In lyrics,
there is really a lot of space to cover whatever one has in
mind. I’ve noticed that many works of art are based on
rather insipid subject matter, love stories and so on; and
I’ve never had any ideas to write about that. Nature
provides a good means of expression for rational views,
while it has its own dramatic value when elements clash, or
when animals are struggling to survive in difficult
conditions. There are many aspects to it, the plant life,
fauna, geology of a given area, the influence of sunlight or
moonlight on animal behaviour, weather conditions, and
probably many more things. And, exploration seems to be
natural to human beings, actually apes and even birds also
want to see what is inside of a closed box if somebody puts
one in their cage. It is always worth seeing how things
work, what is the underlying pattern for all that. Better
understanding of how the world is always useful, and it
helps one adapt a desirable Stoic attitude.

T: You’re a well-read person. I know that you’re very
interested in philosophy. Who was the most influential
philosopher for you (or was it not only one…)?

v.Z: Well, thanks, I always have this nagging feeling I
should read more so I grab something new and confront it
with what I’ve read before. I think this is the most valuable
influence, the process itself, the clash of different ideas
inside one’s mind so that everything is subject to critical
analysis (including the deep-rooted ideas a person might
have, or things that “everyone” considers a natural
necessity). I am doing research on Nietzsche’s ideas, so his
nature-related imagery has certainly been an influence,
even if not always directly. It has been incorporated into
some of the Young Poland literature, even though I have a
feeling that many of the authors of that period were much
more socially oriented that they cared to admit. That’s
what the research is going to be about, how much
Nietzsche is in the modernist literature. So far I have
discovered that, in that literary genre, the word “strength”
occurs most frequently with the word “we.” “Art for the
sake of art” was the slogan of the period, yet it seems that
social issues occupied the central place in most novels. Of
course, an analysis of poetry might produce different
results. I have also been reading about the Ionian School,
to broaden my knowledge of Nietzsche’s influences for the
work I have mentioned above. They struck me as
particularly modern, and Anaximander proposed that
humans evolved from fish about 2500 years before Darwin.
Can you believe it took humanity so long to come back to
that frame of mind? What I also like about the Ionian
School philosophers is that they focused on reality instead
of producing unverifiable ideas, they applied the scientific
approach to their philosophy before such a thing was even
invented. Speaking of more down-to-earth philosophers, I
have always appreciated Thomas Paine. “Age of Reason”
and “Common Sense” are what the world needs.

v2bza2b3

T: Now, tell me about composing music. Do you wait for
inspiration, or is it hard work with instruments and/or DAW
software?

v.Z.: It is a bit of both. I don’t force anything, I am not
looking forward to a musical career, it is just a means to
express my interests and document my explorations of
different areas of thought and knowledge. So when
inspiration comes, I make a quick draft, currently it is
usually on a hand-held recorder: this way I can play a
melody on the guitar, or play the chords that I was thinking
about. Or even play and hum some melody at the same
time, so that I have more to work on in the future when I
dig up these recordings to make a full song. Sometimes I
just hum into the recorder not to disturb my neighbours
with the guitar when it’s getting late. Looping can also be
quite helpful when I am preparing a more detailed draft
and some parts are, obviously, repeated in the song. When
I have enough ideas to start some serious work, I work
around them. This is the “hard work” part where I have to
set all the equipment right, make sure the guitar is clearly
audible, everything is tight and so on, so I have to do
some practice to get a right take of the rhythm parts. As
far as solo parts are concerned, I sometimes use a guitar
or synth part from a draft because it just sounds right. It is
quite similar with lyrics, a draft comes first, and then I
work around it until the choice of words and length of lines
seems right for the music, which I make in the meantime.
Sometimes I lack a line or even a whole stanza, and it
rushes my creativity so that I write and record the lyrics
during the same day.

T: Now a more personal question. Was there any situation
in your life that changed you and can be heard in you
music or seen in your art in general?

v.Z.: Most of the songs are based on places I have been to
or things I have read about, so you could say they reflect
my personal experience in that sense. I have always tried
to focus on the more concrete subject matter, there have
been so many songs written about personal experience
that I’ve never felt the need to write any more. Others
have been doing this since the days of courtly love, now
it’s time for songs about rocks and peculiar lichen. As I
think of it, that’s not particularly new either, but it fits my
ideas much better.

T: “Die Urwelt” is dedicated to the memory of Zdenek
Burian. Why did an artist like him influence you that much?

v.Z.: I have been interested in palaeontology for a long
time, never professionally, but it is necessary to know the
history of life on Earth to understand our own lives. I have
been browsing through books in the local library during my
school years, and there was a very interesting tome: the
Polish translation of Josef Augusta’s Zavátý život. It is a
collection of short stories based on fossil records. Augusta
has managed to turn the fossilized bones and tracks into
compelling prose, and only one of the stories has human
characters, but they are actually very human, they speak
of a modern human being’s perception of the lost worlds
and long-forgotten events. It must have influenced me
more than I have thought, since some of my songs are
about animals and their struggles, or about landscapes.
Burian was the illustrator. He has added great value to the
already great book with his precise drawings, based on the
then-current state of knowledge of prehistory. Of course,
some theories have changed (nowadays dinosaurs are
generally portrayed as more sleek and lively), but the
artistic value of his works remains great. I have also seen a
German-language book with his paintings of dinosaurs at
an antiquarian bookseller’s, but didn’t buy it because I
couldn’t understand the text, wish I had… Anyway, I have
also found other books with his illustrations, such as the
Polish edition of Menschen der Urzeit written by Josef Wolf,
and the internet has allowed me to find more information
(and already digitalized pics). By the way, I have noticed
quite a lot of works in German dedicated to the subject,
and in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth the
protagonists are Germans, that’s where the German song
(and album) titles came from. It seemed fitting to also
reach for the atmosphere of a scientists’ old, dingy office,
where specimens patiently wait to be examined. So, that’s
been with me for a long time, I’ve even attempted some
animal stories myself a long time ago, but doing it right
would require years of study.

T: You’re also a painter and you write poetic prose from
time to time, but I won’t ask you just about your paintings,
but how all these areas of art: music, literature and
painting are harmonized with your life? Are they connected
to what you do every day and to each other?

v.Z.: They are all interconnected, whatever can’t be
expressed through one medium, goes through the other.
That’s why I need all of those, it seems some things
translate better to words or music, and others are better
represented visually. I have always wanted to make
complete works of art, for example: an album with printed
lyrics, my own artwork, specifically chosen fonts, and all
that. I believe it is necessary to also take good care of the
presentation, e.g. choose one photograph out of a few
thousand done during multiple hikes, just to pick the one
that expresses the original thought in the best possible
way (not kidding, it does go to thousands in the long run).
With paintings there is more individuality, since one can
paint things that aren’t there and reinterpret reality
through the mind’s lens, so to speak. Or just paint things
that don’t exist anywhere, representations of mental
states, imagined worlds, and so on. I am trying to stay
alert and observe things, even in the city: what’s going on,
what the light is doing to the buildings and trees, what the
people are doing, to get the big picture, but also to pick
out some details to use as primal matter for my works.

T: And finally, the questions about „Die Urwelt”. I’m curious
how long the composing and recording of this album has
taken you, and what is the connection between Burian’s
paintings and your album, or was he just a big influence?

v.Z.: It must have taken me a month or two, the general
ideas were already in my head for a long time from reading
about all those volcanoes erupting and fish crawling out of
the sea and becoming tailed frogs, and all that. But they
had to materialize into musical ideas, which then had to be
thought over. As soon as I had the sketch, I would prepare
the rest of the tracks or leave it for a while to think about
where to take a particular song. As for Burian, he was one
of the people who directed me to look more closely at the
rocks below our feet, so it was a general influence, but it
can be seen in particular on track 7: the basalt rock,
towering over the sea where Elasmosaurs and Mosasaurs
fight (as far as I remember from my reading), was
described in one of Augusta’s stories, and appeared in one
of the paintings Burian did for it. It really stuck in my
mind, and brought on a very vivid image, even though I
have first read the story (and seen the picture) at least 15
years ago. I recommend Burian’s paintings to everyone,
they are full of life, and at the same time they breathe of
past ages. What’s more, he also did paintings of Native
Americans and illustrated modern adventure stories, so
even if you’re not that much into prehistoric animals, you
might find him appealing.
http://thisrecords.blogspot.co.uk/

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George Christian – Exilios

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Artist : George Christian
Title : Exilios
Label Se-Lo
keywords: experimental soundart acoustic guitar electroacoustic experimental rock free jazz radioart sound art Salvador
Release date : April 2017
Link : https://selonetlabel.bandcamp.com/album/ex-lios-1
Reviewer: Wayne Rex

I came across this wonderful Brazilian label about a week ago. They are Se-Lo Netlabel and have just the most wonderful and diverse selection of artists on their label. One stood out more than the rest for me, and that one was Exilios by George Christian. Why this artist isn’t touring the world to critical acclaim is just baffling to me.

It’s an album of minimal but full compositions. Mainly revolving around some stoner/folk/psychedelic guitar playing, haunting vocals and (esp track 3) amazing drumming. Seven tracks make up this record but you really wish that it was more. The good news is that apparently this is the first album of a planned trilogy so more greatness to come.

Auroras do exilio I is the opening track. This has some Eastern/Asian vibes to it. Like something a samurai would listen to before going to his potentially final battle. It’s folk guitar married to some haunting effects make for a powerful and atmospheric opener.

The majestically titled Velhonovencontradoson(ho)s is the second track. It’s just magical and spiritual in it’s composition and playing. Reminds me of some of the folky(er) Jimmy Page stuff, especially on Led Zeppelin III but this is more full on and more fantastical. You picture sitting in the woods by a waterfall and deer all around you, whilst your hippy girlfriend dances naked around you and in the water. It’s tremendously played and produced too. The whole record is, to be honest. There’s a lo-fi quality and feel to it but also total stereo and modern sounding.

Labuta is the third track. Ennio Morricone crossed with some break beating drum and bass esqe sounding drums = BLOODY BRILLIANT!! It’s a track that how I just described it, shouldn’t work but it does and work better than you could imagine. This would be just kick ass when played live and blow some minds, I’m sure. Again the musicianship for all involved is second to none.

Lancado ao Uno is the fouth track and the first to include a vocal performance. This has a late 60’s / early 70’s vibe to it and wouldn’t be out of place in some cool Coen brothers film as a stand out soundtrack song.

Noite Stellamarina is in at track five and the initial lo-fi recording quality is music to the ears in itself. In fact it adds to the whole vibe and feel to the song. This has gone into it’s folk roots again but added to the mix is some acid sounding penny whistle, played by some mythical songbird and every note is making your mind hallucinate. There’s some traditional folk guitar playing and also some very neat angular bits too, just to shake up the listener out of their comfort zone.

Sombrass de uma Terra Prometida is the penultimate tack on the great record. There is a dark and uneasy feel to this track. Like good and bad trying to communicate and get along but also finding it hard not to compete for victory. Then the song chords kick in like a mother who has had enough of the squabbling and telling them both to just agree to disagree and move on to live in peace and harmony. It’s a story in literature and theatre all wrapped up in an instrumental song. It’s 18 minutes long and there’s just some wonderful moments. Uplifting crescendos, dark moody atmospheric bits, happy, crazy and wild bits. It’s a psychedelic opera at it’s very best. If you don’t dig this track or see it’s majesty then I’m afraid you and I will never be friends. (Hooray, I hear you all cray as you read this)

Intangivel is the final track. Wow, what a different feel. Still has the eastern vibe, the folk vibe and psychedelic vibe but also combining soundscape played not just with instruments but things around them and exploring other musical contours through voice, guitar, whistle and various other instrument. It’s fantastic experimental music. I found it quite spiritual and meditative too. It’s a perfect track to finish the record with. It’s explores and surpasses every idea and played note in the songs previous and explodes them into a giant peak of hyperactive spiritual, experimental psychedelica. It’s all rather moving to say the least.

Please, please, please listen to this record. It deserves to be listened, downloaded and shared so more people can give themselves unto the music for an hour of sheer sonic bliss.
https://selonetlabel.bandcamp.com/album/ex-lios-1

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Space Crystals – Saturnine


Artist: Space Crystals
Title: Saturnine
Keywords: ambient, electronic, space ambient, electro ambient, space music, space pop, pop, relaxing music
Label: http://lizaragon.com/

Night Magic falls into the ears just like a magical night. Something with a nice cooling warmth, a dark but crystal clear sky full of sparkling bright stars that do their magic things above our heads. ‘Night Magic’ would be the best possible thing to hear when actually experiencing a real case of night magic; a rare opportunity that might not be the one to miss out on. With twinkling little feel good sleepy cool vibes and a sparkly electric rhythm Space Crystal hits the best possible vibes of this rare part of the day. Space Crystals is an electronic ambient, experimental project from Australia created by Liz Aragon; a name to tattoo on your arm, just so you never forget it…

Next to the best possible audio representation of a magical night, she also hits the nail on your comfortable head with the experimental electronic work named ‘saturnine’. With synthetic futuristic space sounds ‘Space Crystals’ takes us on a trip that goes from a concrete relaxing rhythm to something that goes into a audio story that is friendly, lovable and pretty spaced out. When a chilled out sweet melody sprinkles itself in you would be very proud staring at that new tattoo on your arm; so nice!

Last but not least, ‘Mirage’, which is such a electro-bliss to hear. A nice and solid mix of ambient and melodic acid-friendly space relaxation, that could only make a owner of ears and a taste for these kind of things – extremely happy. To feel even better about this all, this EP is absolutely free to download so you can save some money to pay for that tattoo. Check it out over here:
https://archive.org/details/cior-86-space-crystals-saturnine-ep/03+-+Space+Crystals+-+Mirage.mp3
<KN>

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Lomita – Inside the Jungle


Artist: Lomita
Title: Inside the Jungle
Keywords: experimental, chill out

Never thought that going into the jungle would be a relaxing thing. It is certainly not a wild drum n bass party in which a MC shouts ‘jungle is massive’ but It is still a very exciting place to be, with lots of animal and insect friends to roam around providing sounds of interest.

What are these beasts, birds and other strange natural sound creators? Did some explorer already discovered them all and reported in some book? Or are there still creatures attached to these sounds that we can name ourself? Are there special jungle seagulls singing and flying out there to be discovered, might we call them the Steven Seagulls?

But most importantly what is the creature making these nice ambient streams that float around this jungle? Might this be one of the unexplored, previously unheard of creatures? It sounds so beautiful that we might just look over it, making it a possible jungle creature ready to be spotted, identified and recorded in the records…
You don’t even need to go out and face the cheering group of mosquitoes in the real life jungle as the brave recording artist and explorer named ‘Lomita’ had been in the middle of it, capturing all these sounds for us ‘sofa-explorers’ audio pleasures. Here it is, grab a note book and let the discovery begin:
https://lomita.bandcamp.com/track/inside-the-jungle

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Wirephobia – No Lives But Nightmares


Artist : Wirephobia
Title : No Lives But Nightmares
Label : Silent Method Records
Release Date : June 2017
Link : https://silentmethodrecords.bandcamp.com/album/no-lives-but-nightmares
Reviewer: Wayne Rex

When I was a child / teen, one of my favourite places to go and just observe was the local industrial estate. Something beautiful in it’s bleakness. Depressing buildings and workers who would sit outside with a cigarette and cuppa tea, contemplating where it all went wrong, and the minor management in their high street suits and company cars, swanning around like they were some big wigs on wall street instead of just jobsworths in Poole, Dorset, England. Maybe that’s where I got my love of industrial, dark, ambient noise music from? The soundtrack to my strange youth.

That, not quite so seamlessly leads us onto today’s review of the rather gloriously ambient doom, glittered with chattering hope, all wrapped up in four tracks and released through the San Diego label, Silent Method Records.

Lives. is the opening track and second shortest track too (useless information for you there) and is a eerie piece of ambient sound art, using lots of different background effects and some sustained synth/key work to build the tension in between the sound narrative. It really sets the tone for the whole record perfectly.

Nightmares in Baghdad is track two and nightmarishness is certainly is! What with it’s muffled, sharp and hard hitting percussion parts, cleverly disguised to really make you believe you could be in Baghdad at it’s most volatile point. Again there is the sustained, dark and low synth playing like a continual pounding of a blood vessel in the head but in a pleasant way. If you listen in the dark then please don’t expect to sleep too fondly that night.

But Two Little Drill Who Can’t Do Nothing is the third (and shortest track.. more useless info for you good people out there) It sounds like a demonic wind fighting against a saintly wind, right in front of your eyes, or ears, if you will. I’m guessing from the title that Wirephobia are using two drills to conjure this great sound. (I remember a band called Mr Big used to be sorta famous for their guitarist using a drill to play the guitar with.. how much useless info can you all handle in one poorly written review?)

Last but by no means least, we have No Sounds Just Experiments. Which is exactly what is says on the tin. It’s a horror film, nightmare, upsetting time in your life all rolled up into one eclectic track and I love it. It’s the standout track on the already superb record. This is sound art, soundscapes etc.. at it’s very best. Painting you a picture, showing you a movie, expanding you subconscious all in some well put together noises and effects.

Download this excellent record and take your bike and your headphones down to your local industrial estate, play it loud and observe your surroundings with this as your soundtrack and you too will dig hanging out in depressing, grey and weird places of industry too.
https://silentmethodrecords.bandcamp.com/album/no-lives-but-nightmares

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Blumen – Mångata

Artist: Blumen
Title: Mångata
Keywords: experimental jazz mathrock piano progressive rockrock Baton Rouge
Reviewer: Malle Eppie

When I noticed this Blumen in the requests list of ‘write some things about my album’ thingy, I instantly thought of this:

…but of course this wasn’t 100blumen, but ‘blumen’ still it is one of my favorite music videos around, so there is always a good excuse to embed it in somewhere if there is a opportunity for it. But let’s forget 100blumen and Just try out this release by the actual ‘Blumen’; it’s pretty different!

This starts with a piano moment named ‘dawning’, this might be information that you could find out by yourself, still i feel privileged to write it down as it makes this ‘review’ more official and professional. How ‘Dawning’ sounds is also something you could discover without me writing how it sounds like, but hell, let’s give it a go: a bright dawning piano sparkle and a final bit of modernity at the end. Cheerio to that!

After the ‘Dawning’ there is this track named ‘Murk’. I have no idea what Murk means but as the autocorrect dictionary thingy isn’t going mental when ‘murk’ is written down, it’s fair to assume that Murk is an actual thing, name or word. I like to think that it’s a fitting name for a alien,one that lives in a sitcom and has a relationship with a human from earth… Mork and Mindy. But how does Murk (the track, not the alien) sound like… oh, I have no idea how to describe it; it’s a nice mingling ratatouille that feels like it has elements of different things in there; a bit of rock, jazz, soul, mathematical actions and probably more… how does it make me feel? A bit all over the place, like a chilled out monkey that is experiencing music that is undefinable & yet clearly seems to know what it is doing. Also the next track named ‘Ossycles’ is giving me a similar feeling, although it is more sparkly and active; it gives me a vision of it being the perfect energetic lounge music for some kind of crime scene investigation drama series. I would watch it with the screen turned to black and the volume up, just to hear the music…

‘A favorable wind’ is also nice and pretty short, probably great to be played in radio sets, nicely squeezed into the program for an nice musical intermezzo. But for people who are into longer music moments with a heavy rocking experimental synth solo, it’s really recommended to try out a listening session to a work named ‘Squall’. Even if you aren’t into epic solos, there is a lovely piano-esque epicenter in there that might tickle your fancy, it’s more concrete but not like a brick or a stone; something direct and lightweight to chill out the rocking-out moment within the Squall.

All the way at the end there is ‘Home’. It isn’t exactly sounding like my home, but maybe it’s the home of ‘Blumen’. It’s as if there are a couple of wordless songs in one, all working together to become one. Like a Spice Girls lyric but completely different. It has some intensive strings, piano riddles and swinging rockers of drums. It is making me feel like a Irish leg dancer that has had fallen in love with math rock music executed without the rock guitars and rattled rawness; it’s pretty tight and melodic; I think it would sound nice in combination with the activity of riding a horse.
Here is a link, have fun clicking it if you are in the mood for it:
https://blumenmusic.bandcamp.com/album/m-ngata

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BLEECH – Hypergaze


Artist: BLEECH
Title: Hypergaze
Keywords:& options electronic noise Toronto

I’m a bit like that rabbit from Alice in wonderland; having no time today, running around, watching the clock and hurrying up… But as Hypergaze by BLEECH consists only of two tracks, I managed to flush it through my pointy ears while hopping so speedily through the landscape. I’ve listened long and intensive enough to get the hang of it and form an opinion about it. You want to know what that opinion is? Well… it must be your lucky day!

My opinion is that Hypergaze by BLEECH might be only just two tunes long, it does needs some real intense care and attention when it comes your way. Simply because if you just take it for granted, it might not have its full impact on your consuming mind and ears. It is a bit intense in the beginning to get the hang out of it, but when you let it go and do it’s thing, the music starts to grow on you like flowers on your head. It’s probably fairly repetitive in sound and production, but the progression is what this seems to be so all about.

Once you give in to it & embrace it with a open mind and rinsed ears full of attention, you might experience the depth and the growing growth of it. It’s a psychedelic thing that BLEECH had cooked up, combining it with hallucinations might be pretty heavy, something you would like to leave to the professionals or do it alongside a junkie as a personal trainer. But listening while sober is enough to make you feel freaked in a third dimensional dance; a good place to be and hang out. So here is your chance:
https://andoptions.bandcamp.com/album/hypergaze
<KN>

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