isolatedmix 83 - Olaf Stuut/Inner River

 
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In 2012 we asked Pascal Terstappen aka Applescal to contribute an isolatedmix, creating a sublime and original addition the series that remains one of the most popular isolatedmixes to this day. Pascal continued to hone his sound and curation efforts over the years, and began Atomnation. The Amsterdam-based label is at the forefront of a unique and melodic style of electronica that sways into both ambient and techno, depending on the quickly growing roster of artists. Along with the likes of Gidge, David Douglas, Tunnel Visions, Portable Sunsets; Olaf Stuut’s ‘Inner River’ project has emerged (although until now, you may not have known the guise behind the Inner River alias)…

Olaf Stuut has been producing under his own names for a few years, but only recently began the Inner River project. With several releases on Atomnation and a release on our beloved Traum Schallplatten, Olaf’s Inner River project takes his sound into a deeper, more textured world, that, in a similar manner to the Atomnation label’s clear aesthetics, can sway from one style to the other while staying true to the colorful and energetic sound the label is effortlessly busy crafting.

To shed some light on Olaf and his new Inner River project we sent over a few questions to talk about his approach and inspirations. Listen to his new album as Inner River, and dive into the sound further with Olaf’s isolatedmix and interview below.

Download

Tracklist:

01. Robag Whrume - Ausgang
02. I:Cube - Sequence III
03. Djrum - Creature Pt. 1
04. Luke Abbott - Dumb
05. Joe - MPH
06. 1991 - No More Dreams I
07. Inner River - Tributary
08. Hans-Joachim Roedelius - Veilchenwurzein
09. Floating Points - For Marmish Pt. II
10. Fah - Uninterpreted
11. Raz Ohara and the Odd Orchestra - Fragment I
12. TV Victor - You
13. Suzanne Ciani - Concert at WBAI Free Music Store
14. Joan Bibiloni - Sobrevivir
15. Dorisburg - 148
16. Longineu Parson - The Gathering
17. Inner River - Redissolution
18. DJ Healer - Geminiden Regen

Interview with Olaf Stuut / Inner River:

Hi Olaf. How did you get into producing music?

Olaf: Producing music came shortly after I started playing the piano and the guitar. I came into contact with my first DAW around the age of 15, which was Proppelerhead’s Reason. It was a real playground for me. I didn’t think about genres or styles, I was just so impressed I could recreate sounds I knew from all the music I heard around me. From there on creating more and more, slowly shaping my own style. After I took it a bit more serious I switched to Logic and Ableton.

So what does your setup look like now?

My setup is pretty basic I must say, but I tend to get as much out of the few things I have. For instance I’ve got a DSI Tempest (Drum Computer/Synthesizer) for quite some years already, but I’m still discovering new features and ways to use in a new and original way. There is a lot to find out in the machine which makes the learning curve a bit high, but once you get the hang of it this machine is a beast.

For the Inner River album I’ve used the Vermona Permourmer a lot, for this rich and warm sound for many of the melodies. Other than that I used the Analog Heat, to shape the sound and many plugins in the box. One of my favourite plugins are the Soundtoys plugins, they’re very intuitive and can get many different results. Also I’m in love with my Fender Rhodes MKII which is also on quite some tracks. There are many other devices on the album and in my studio but only got a small stage on the album. Other than that I’ve used the sampler in Ableton a lot. The first track on the album (Floe Flow) is actually a sampled vocal I found somewhere I don’t remember. It sounds so electronic but it comes from vocal chords, I love the way it’s possible to get something completely different and get surprised like that. I think that’s what being creative is all about, seeing things that are not “supposed” to be there and make a whole new thing out of it.

How did you become involved with the Atomnation label?

I actually commented on a track of Applescal’s on Soundcloud somewhere in the early 10’s, we started talking music and hooked up a few times. He helped me getting started releasing music through the german label Traum with my debut remix for Minilogue. So after some time and when Pascal set up his label, Atomnation, we talked about doing an EP which was “Siren” that came out in 2013. We stayed close to each other ever since.

Ah Traum, one of my favorites. Were they a big influence on your style or how you approached music?

Yes definitely, but I have to say everything I heard was back then. I was just getting started and got influenced by so many things. Everything I liked, I found something that could be applicable in my own music and sound. But yeah the earlier days of Traum influenced me for sure with names like Minilogue, Max Cooper and Extrawelt.

Can you talk about the music scene in Amsterdam? How is ambient music received there?

I wouldn’t say ambient music is huge in Amsterdam, but there’s definitely a scene to be found. Big names always get a chance to play anywhere I guess, but there are some organisations like “The Rest Is Noise” who invite some really cool ambient and experimental artists. Electronic music (especially club music) is very big of course in Amsterdam and you don’t have to look far to find some really good electronic music, but to hear some proper ambient you have to look a bit harder. But I have to say, I enjoy ambient the most in my own living room or on the road.

What’s on your stereo right now (or your road trip playlist?)

While I’m writing this I’m listening to something entirely different; Ken Thomson - Helpless which I think is very beautiful and pure. On my road trips I listen to many different kinds of music, and changes a lot every now and then. What's on my phone as we speak:

Glenn Asto & Hodini - Turquoise Turtoise
Khotin - New Tab
Lndcroy - Much Less Normal
Kilchhofer - The Book Room
Laurel Halo - Dust
Leon Vynehall - Nothing Is Still
NxWorries - Yes Lawd!
Markus Guentner - Empire
Hans-Joachim Roedelius - Wenn Der Südwind Weht (in the mix)
Elifantree - Anemone

Some people might not be aware that you are behind the Inner River project, so what can people expect from you as Olaf Stuut versus your new project?

Well “Olaf Stuut” will be getting a bit more danceable in contrast what I did before, not necessarily a lot more, but the slower and more experimental stuff will be saved for “Inner River”. I believe it makes more sense to divide it into two separate projects, not only for myself to have a clearer vision but also for the listener. If you want to relax, put on “Inner River” if you want to dance, put on “Olaf Stuut”.

Do you have different goals for each name / project? Or is it simply a way to separate styles?

I have some plans and different goals for each. But it still has to be shaped much more before I want to let anything go on that, as it will get less abstract when I’m moving forward on those ideas and probably be a whole other thing after I get closer to the final idea. I want to be as open as possible before I say or make anything definite.

Both the ‘Inner River’ name and some of the track titles are water inspired - what’s the connection?

The name “Inner River” actually comes from my stepfather who I knew since I was little. He started a project called “Inner-River” which was a breathing/meditation CD for people to get more focus and clarity. I really loved the name and it resonated with me a lot. He passed away a few years ago, before he did I asked if I could re-use the name for my own new project and he said yes. So essentially it didn't really have anything to do with water, but I have always been fascinated by nature in general, and we all know life couldn't exist without water. Water is always very calming because of its constant movement. If you want to relax and feel more connected, sit next to some moving water and just sit and look. You will become relaxed very fast, especially when you also put on this mix haha. The names for the tracks on the album is actually a journey water makes from ice (Floe) to the eventual re-dissolution.

Will this water theme continue with the Inner River project?

It might, I’m not entirely sure what will be next. But it will definitely be nature inspired. I do already have some ideas and ambitions for future releases, but it will have to unfold a bit more before I can say anything about it. Time will tell.

You also DJ as Olaf Stuut, what are some of your favorite tracks to play?

That changes really fast, sometimes I have a track I play a lot for a month or two and might never again after that. But to name a few tracks I’m really into lately for my Olaf Stuut sets are:

Savino - African Dust
Frankey & Sandrino - Merging Black
Future Sound of Antwerp - Volium
Alex Coulton - Bounce
Acid Mondays - Universal Rhythm (The Maghreban Soul Remix)

What kind of DJ mixes inspire you? Do they come naturally to you or would you rather be playing live?

In my opinion there are two kinds of mixes, at least how I look at it when I’m making a mix myself; a mix that really flows and smoothly transitions from track to track to tell a covering story in its entirety or a mix that has the sole purpose to show and tell, playing tracks you want people to hear and get inspired by. I think with this mix it’s a combination of the two. Lately I have to say I’m enjoying DJ-ing a bit more than playing live as I get inspired by all the great music other people have made. But this changes from time to time.

Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration for your isolatedmix?

I really wanted people to get to know the new project “Inner River” with this mix. So it’s a combination between really nice and smooth ambient mixed with a bit more experimental and electronica tracks. There are many tracks to be found in this mix, some are even sort of mashups that originated during mixing. 19 tracks in one hour is something I don't do that often, especially not with “Olaf Stuut”, but it was a nice challenge. I’m very happy with the result, I hope many people will feel the same way. Let your inner river flow.

Olaf Stuut | Soundcloud | Facebook | Bandcamp

 

Jan Wagner - Nummern

 
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The album notes describe the atmosphere at play perfectly - a room set-up, mics, windows flung open. What starts as a simple cymbal, or an undercurrent of synthesizers, soon transforms this dusty space into a world of flowing colors, rushing through the air.

Delicacies of modern classical music combine with the subtle elements of jazz, and synthesizer in Jan Wagner’s new album ‘Nummern’, one of my favorite releases this year.

It’s a release that’s varied in elements, but comes together as a perfect whole, in a way that Nils Frahm’s Spaces in 2017 did - combining a beautiful juxtaposition of traditional elements, field recordings and dusty electronics.

Jan can be delicate in Nummer A, dramatic in Nummer I, channel Jon Hopkin’s-esque energy in Nummer G, or deep and engrossing in album closer Nummer N. The consistency is found in his ability to do so much with so little. Each track features only one or two main elements, but his strength in melody and progression, creates worlds akin to a dramatic movie score, or, like the album notes began to describe, a simple cozy studio in Berlin, with an instrumental alchemist at the ready…

Picture a cozy atelier / studio where all the windows are flung open, a pair of mics set to high gain hang in front of a piano, and the door to the space is locked. The thing is, if he’s going to play, the door has to be locked. A click track pops away relentlessly in the headphones, measuring off time. A seemingly insurmountable feeling rattles the bones, and with every chord which fills the room and spills out into the courtyard it’s slowly taking on tangible shape. It’s being released and translated, completely impromptu. The room tone, the kids playing in the backyard causing a raucous, the cat perched on the window sill about to jump off (making a thud), the creaking chair, the sound of the mallets and all the percussive, mechanical guts of the piano – everything that the mics pick up becomes part and parcel of the composition, and will eventually be woven into the very fabric of the finished full length.

Available on Bandcamp.

 

Full Circle Anniversary and Charity Compilation: now available

We’re very excited to share with you our ten year anniversary compilation titled, Full Circle. This has been well over a year in the making and was due to be released on the exact anniversary of August 26th, (the date of the first blog post in 2008), but due to our need to get a perfect press, it has been delayed a little until now.

The music presented in this compilation is probably the closest distillation of what has inspired ASIP over the past ten years. The ASIP website and its many versions; blog posts; guest mixes; even some of the older archived (now hidden) posts, were revisited to find the perfect tracks to put forward.

There was however, a few limitations in mind: (1) It had to be a track previously written about or featured in some capacity on ASIP from 2008-2018. (2) The track has previously not been released on vinyl. (3) The artist isn’t currently a part of the ASIP label family.

The end result isn’t a compilation of rarities, b-sides or label exclusives that you may have expected at a typical ten year milestone. Instead, it’s a compilation of music that has helped define ASIP as many people know it today. From drone and space ambient; to shoegaze inspired guitars; nostalgic electronica and melodic synthesizer music, Full Circle presents many of the elements that have been captured over the past ten years on A Strangely Isolated Place.

Pressed into the grooves of this record is some of the finest music to grace my ears that I felt passionate enough to feature on ASIP in the past, and now once more on vinyl - Ryan.

To help celebrate the occasion, all profits from this compilation will go to a charity called The Harmony Project: www.harmony-project.org. We felt that investing in and helping the next generation of potential musicians would be a fitting tribute to the overall concept of the release.

In more ways than one, we’ve come full circle.

For more information, links to buy and listen see the release page.

Thank you to all of the artists, labels and everyone involved in bringing this to life.

isolatedmix 82 - Ocoeur

 
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It was 2013 when Franck Zaragoza’s beautiful electronic debut for n5MD grabbed our attention and secured itself as one of the years finest releases. Since then, Franck and his Ocoeur project, has continued on the label with three more albums - his latest, ‘Inner’ landing just last month on gold vinyl.

Looking back at Ocoeur’s evolution on n5MD over the past five years, there’s been a continual shift in approach, perhaps mimicking fast-paced life itself, or simply a natural progression and refinement in Franck’s sound. Whether purposeful or accidental, it’s evident Franck is continually in search of honing and perfecting his sound.

2013’s ‘Light As A Feather’ was, ironically, the deepest of Franck’s productions - rooted in electronica, and containing tracks that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in a dimly lit warehouse party, alongside more refined listening moments that were just a taster of what was to come over the next few years.

‘Reversed’ saw Franck lean further into the instrumental and modern classical side of his productions, with elegant piano and string moments, affirming his place as a master of atmospheres and a dab-hand should a big soundtrack offer come knocking at his door one day.

2018’s ‘Inner’ perhaps, by design and title, is Franck’s most introspective piece, with slow, burning, soaring synths that wouldn’t be out of place on a Blade Runner score, but without the expected assault of Hans-Zimmer-esque synth-splurges. Instead, Franck’s sound comes from the modern classical world in the truest of simple, delicate and sublime senses.

The comparison in five years alone shows how much Franck has to offer within his production arsenal, with each album somehow, succeeding the last.

For his isolatedmix, Franck has leaned on his own productions alongside complimentary inspirations that help portray a dream-like hour of ambience, dotted with highs and lows - demonstrating some of the many emotions Franck has continually painted over the past five years. Without even listening, seeing the likes of Murcof, Rauelsson and Cliff Martinez, alongside Ocoeur’s own productions within the track list should indicate how delicate and considered this mix is.

Download

Tracklist:

01. Zinovia Arvanitidi - Invisible
02. Ocoeur - In The Starlight - Pixys
03. Cliff Martinez - He Had a Good Time
04. Disasterpeace - Formations
05. Jessica Curry - Dear Esther - Always (Hebridean mix)
06. Ocoeur - Unseen
07. SineRider - Alouette
08. Murcof - Uri
09. Ocoeur - Passage
10. Ocoeur - Time Over (Rework)
11. Ocoeur - Mother
12. Rauelsson - Arrows
13. Ocoeur - Echo
14. Deru - Drink It In
15. Brian Eno & Harold Budd - Late October

Ocoeur | n5MD | Soundcloud | Facebook

 

todos: Ten Years of A Strangely Isolated Place

 
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The impossible task. Find a way to summarize the last ten years of music featured on the A Strangely Isolated Place blog and website.

First off, we have created the ‘tagged’ project, listing some of the hundreds of artists featured on the blog for you to explore over here. And pretty soon, we’ll have a special release for you all.

But I also wanted something that was closer to our blog beginnings, and a story told through a mix. What better way than tasking our favorite journey-maker, todos.

todos and his Kilchurn Sessions have been a staple of ASIP over the past ten years. We’ve even collected them all in one place, given how many posts they ended up spanning. I don’t need to add many superlatives about him here, but they are some of the best recorded mixes I have ever heard. And I mean it. You can hold-up (my personal favorite) professional mixed CD’s by Sasha, or James Holden for example, and I would be just as pleased listening to some of todos’ Kilchurn Sessions. He has a knack, a perfection and an obsession with mixing unique journeys that span everything from ambient, electronic, techno and instrumental elements, alongside a unique use of samples and movie quotes. He creates familiar and emotive narratives that need multiple revisits to appreciate the detail, skill and passion he put in.

Once todos agreed to my ask (nearly a year-ago now) I sent him the archive of posts from the old site, and a list of all the tags used across both new and old. My only criteria was that he needed to select tracks from artists or albums that were a part of that list - an attachment to ASIP and the blog. He had hundreds to sift through, some known, some new to him.

I don’t know how he did it.

I do know it was a headache for him, for months, but what he turned in, was something well beyond my expectations. He went through many iterations and different approaches, trying to do one chronologically in the order they were featured on ASIP for example, sending me revisions up until the very last minute, but in the end, he managed to find a selection of tracks that truly reflect the past ten years of discovery here on ASIP. And in a style only he knows how to execute.

A big BIG thank you to todos for soundtracking ASIP all these years. And for this, a superb piece of no-doubt painstaking work to help us celebrate ten-years of existence.

Once you’re done listening here, check out our ‘tagged’ project to explore even more.

Download MP3

Download WAV

~

Ten years of A Strangely Isolated Place - mixed by todos

Tracklist:

1. Minilogue - ‘Yesterday Bells’ edit (2008)/ Grzegorz Bojanek - A Huge Explosion After The War’ edit (2017)

2. Altus - ‘Virgo’ edit (2013) / Little Dragon - ‘Twice’ edit (2008) / Lights Out Asia - ‘Except Europa’ edit (2010)

3. Herbstlaub - ‘Softly hidden she.’ (Stray Theories remix) (2016)

4. Stellardrone - ‘Pale Blue Dot’ (2010)

5. Freescha - ‘Kite High’ (2009)

6. Benjamin Dauer - ‘Harmony Bound’ (2011) / Rhian Sheehan - ‘Standing In Silence Part 1’ edit (2010)

7. Jon Hopkins - ‘Private Universe’ (2008) / Opus III - ‘It’s A Fine Day’ edit (2009)

8. Sasha - ‘Broadcast’ (2016)

9. Umber - ‘Tomorrow We'll Throw Out Some Old Shoes’ (2011)

10. Kiyoko - ‘Sea of Trees’ (2012)

11. Bjorn Rohde - ‘Forest of Forgotten Hearts’ (2013) / Nils Frahm - ‘Peter’ (2013)

12. Jason van Wyk - ‘Eyes Shut’ (2017)

13. Roel Funcken - ‘Android Robson’ (2016)

14. Synkro - ‘Midnight Sun’ (2015)

15. Martin Nonstatic - ‘Open Minded’ (2015) / Aphex Twin - ‘Rhubarb’ (2009)

16. Sonitus Eco - ’Storegga Slide’ (2015)

17. Vermont - ‘Übersprung’ (2014)

18. Ocoeur - ‘Resonance’ (2013) / Sigur Ros - ‘Takk’ (2011) / Carbon Based Lifeforms - ‘Intro’ / ‘Hold’ (2014)

19. Donnacha Costello - ‘That Empty Feeling’ (2011)

20. Rhian Sheehan - ’Sileo’ (2013)

21. Markus Guentner - ‘Baryon’ (Feat. The Sight Below) edit (2015) / Porya Hatami - ‘Fen’ (By Segue) edit (2015)

22. Tegh - ‘Down’ (2014)

23. Arovane - ‘Woven’ (Peter Benisch Remix) edit (2015)

24. John Beltran - ‘Seasons Go’ (2013)

~

Includes audio recordings taken in and around USA, Germany, UK, Italy, Poland, Australia, Netherlands and Japan.

Special thanks to Ryan, Marcel, Eiko, Spencer and James for the support and sending me snippets of your own strangely isolated places. It was a pleasure incorporating them into this mix.

*Years indicate when tracks were featured on ASIP, not necessarily when they were released*

Artwork by ASIP, containing elements from Mario Morales and Nick Brzostowski.