isolatedmix 92 - Midori Hirano

 
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Born in Kyoto, Japan and now residing in Berlin, Midori Hirano’s discography has spanned a wide spectrum of experimental electronic music. From her 2016 album on the esteemed Sonic Pieces, to her latest praised work on Australian label Daisart and her beautiful extended piece for the Longform Editions series, Midori’s work is often recognizable when in play due to her manipulation of the piano.

A talented player from a young age, Midori’s work revolves around these classical elements, often told through soft pieces, with added electronic processing and field recordings. The result draws you in through attachment, as differentiating layers and effects change productions from a simple modern classical score, to an engaging experimental piece. Think Steve Reich, or other minimalist innovators, and you’ll enjoy Midori’s experimentations.

For any electronica fans, take Midori’s work as MimiCof however, and these minimalist productions take on new rhythmic layers, often finding themselves in an even more electronic guise, sitting alongside the finest moments of labels like City Centre Offices and Morr Music, the melodies of a Lusine and the classical manipulation and experimentation of a Ryuichi Sakamoto. A high bar by all accounts, but evident in the pieces captured below, where the extremes of this sound have seen Midori’s most energetic piece to date, Moon Synch, expand with rich experimentations originating from the Buchla synthesizer.

Not only is Midori pushing the boundaries of electronic music as her own name and as MimiCof, Midori has recently signed with Erased Tapes Music, and has contributed remixes for the likes of Sonae, Kid 606 and Liars. And of course, the talent doesn’t stop there - Midori has also helped provide some photography for Christian Kleine’s ASIP release, taking pictures of her newly adopted home in Berlin.

But, back to what you’re here for, the music, and here’s what Midori had to say about her isolatedmix which combines the art evident across both her monikers with recent experimental pioneers that stay true to her sound:

“This mix consists of recent favourite tracks of mine including two of my own songs. A few tracks have voices or field recordings which I often like to use also for my music, as I often want to have a kind of feeling of watching films every time I make a mix. It puts me into a place isolated from a world while I’m listening to it for myself” - MH

Download

Tracklist:

01. Tujiko Noriko - Ride
02. Senking - Ep 4
03. Félicia Atkinson - Valis
04. alva noto + ryuichi sakamoto with ensemble modern - Broken Line
05. MimiCof - Opal
06. Eli Keszler - The Immense Endless Belt Of Faces
07. Caterina Barbieri - Fantas
08. Driftmachine - Shift II
09. Ornate Coldtrain - Powerful Myth
10. Uguisubari - Nanzen-Ji
11. Mark Pritchard - The Blinds Cage (feat. Beans)
12. Amnesia Scanner & Bill Kouligas - II
13. Midori Hirano - Haiyuki
14. Jim O’Rourke - And a 1, 2, 3, 4
15. Yair Elazar Glotman & Mats Erlandsson - Format And Formalize Desire
16. Robert Lippok - Samtal

Midori Hirano / MimiCof | Website | Bandcamp | Soundcloud |

 

isolatedmix 91 - RichEars & Leandro Fresco - Dream Collar

 
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It’s been ten episodes since our regular Balearic-sunset-conjurer RichEars graced the isolatedmix series (isolatedmix 81) but a whole five-years since Leandro Fresco stepped up with his second mix (with isolatedmix 47).

RichEars is a welcome regular at this time of year (we always get an itch for some Balearic vibes around this time). Whilst Leandro has been busy curating his own weekly series of gems on Frisky Radio, spending each week digging around some of the finest ambient music.

The two are therefore a natural pair to lay down a 2-hour journey and come together as one from across the globe for isolatedmix 91. With Leandro following the lead of RichEars’ first hour, the two flow through classic artists and many memorable moments, creating a timeless mix that’s fitting for watching the world go by, or an extended chill session. RichEars, in his own style, sets the tone, keeping things eclectic and lively, moving between well-known artists such as Global Communication, HIA and Vangelis, amongst quirkier samples and soundtracks, Then Leandro continues down the rabbit-hole, taking a slightly more modern approach, with a heavily German and Kompakt-related textured twist, including Bochum Welt, Michael Mayer, Closer Musik and Arovane.

Download

Tracklist

Hour 1 (RichEars)
01. William Orbit - The Mighty Limpopo
02. Disastrato - Give Up
03. Global Communication - 14:31 (Reload Remix)
04. Cult Of Youth - Gymnoso
05. Calm - Light Years
06. The Higher Intelligence Agency - Speedlearn (The Irresistible Force rmx)
07. A Guy Called Gerald - Emotions Electric
08. The Superfools - Little_Fluffy_Clouds_Scavenger_Mix
09. Vangelis - Blush Response (UNKLE Sounds Edit)
10. Chicane - Low Sun
11. Leggo Beast - The New Deal
12. Harrison & Daicz - Una Luz Tan Brillante 2
13. The Orb - Montagne d'Or (Der gute Berg)
14. Penguin Cafe Orchestra - The Sound Of Someone You Love Who's Going Away
And It Doesn't Matter
15. David Sylvian - Words With The Shaman
Hour 2 (Leandro Fresco)
16. Bochum Welt - Laurel Canyon
17. Negativland - Michael Jackson
18. Melorman - Wait
19. The Orb - Back Side Of The Moon
20. Michael Mayer - Baumhaus
21. Leandro Fresco - Verano Sin Fin
22. Gas - Rausch 1
23. Dirk Leyers - Daydreamer
24. Yui Onodera - Cromo 2
25. Gustavo Lamas - Mañana
26. Thore Pfeiffer - Tarragon
27. Leandro Fresco & Rafael Anton Irisarri - Un Horizonte En Llamas
28. Closer Musik - 1,2,3 No Gravity (Dettinger Mix)
29. Arovane - Seaside
30. HTDC - The Sky Is Black

~

Rich-Ears | Mixcloud | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
Leandro Fresco | Frisky Radio | isolatedmix 24 | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

isolatedmix 90 - Hotel Neon

 
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After the last brilliant, eclectic and proggy isolatedmix by Steve Moore, we’ve secretly been longing for a deeper more serene story to bring our senses full circle. With releases on introspective labels such as Archives, and Fluid Audio the next mix, comes from Michael Tasselmyer, Andrew Tasselmyer, and Steven Kemner, known to many of us as Hotel Neon.

The Philadelphia based trio’s sound has previously been expertly described as, “at once epic and incredibly intimate”; “as icy as it is graceful"; and “enveloping atmosphere and sonic density”, but I would try and simplify (or complicate) it as sitting at the crossroads of a spectrum of ambient styles we admire. Coincidentally, given the number of band members, a Venn Diagram of Hotel Neon would likely see them exist within the sweet spot of classical/soundtrack, drone and more tactfully styled field recordings. Their combination of the three create deep churning and bellowing auras to get truly lost within.

The desired effect is as much lean-in, as it is to observe or wander amongst, with intricacies that only become apparent in certain situations, or instruments that take several listens to identify. They’ve become an apt soundtrack for deep sleep, and have an observable tangible approach well-deserved of live performances within more epic spaces such cathedrals. But as their name may suggest, and as the theme of the mix is revealed, Hotel Neon’s music comes into its own when you’re caught wandering at night - in what we like to imagine - is your own, strangely isolated place…

Will Long’s (Celer) recent new album really blew us away, and we got to thinking about the imagery that a track title like “Rains lit by neon” can stir up: late-night ruminations in a quiet hotel room, high above streets full of strangers lit by neon. Obviously, we can connect to the “neon” aspect...but in all seriousness, there’s something undeniably compelling about the effect of a lonely nocturnal setting on one’s state of mind, and the depth of introspection it can generate. These are tracks with wistful, mysterious, and provocative character to facilitate one’s nighttime reminiscing. - Andrew (Hotel Neon)

Hotel Neon are currently busy preparing for an EU/UK tour alongside masters of the art, Marcus Fischer and Simon Scott this September (see here) and preparing a charity compilation album in collaboration with Robert Macfarlane called "Place Language." The compilation features 29 artists from around the world including Hammock, Taylor Deupree, Lawrence English and many more. Set to be released through Fluid Audio in September, the compilation will be available in a custom letter-pressed booklet, and all profits will benefit the War Child charity to provide aid to children displaced by war and conflict.

Download

Tracklist:

01. ana roxanne - “Nocturne” (~~~) Buy on Bandcamp 
02. Benoît Pioulard & Sean Curtis Patrick - “Zenava” (Avocationals) Buy on Bandcamp
03. Lusine - “Jetstream” (Language Barrier) Buy on Bandcamp
04. Earthen Sea - “Existing Closer Or Deeper In Space” (Grass And Trees) Buy on Bandcamp
05. Kate Carr - “Contact” (Contact) Buy on Bandcamp
06. Celer - “(06.23.17) from the doorway of the beef noodle shop, shoes on the street in the rain, outside the karate school” (Xièxie) Buy on Bandcamp
07. Celer - “Rains lit by neon” (Xièxie) Buy on Bandcamp
08. anthéne - “Cyprus” (Lost Channel) Buy on Bandcamp
09. Brian McBride - “At A Loss” (Air Texture Volume II) Buy on Bandcamp
10. Sofie Birch - “Begin Sync End” (Planetes) Buy on Bandcamp
11. Jana Winderen - “Drift” (Surface Runoff) Buy on Bandcamp
12. Mount Shrine - “Forbidden Air, Pt. 2” (Homeless Rooms) Buy on Bandcamp
13. Rafael Anton Irisarri - “Falling Curtain” (Midnight Colors) Buy on Bandcamp

Artwork photo by Andrew Tasselmyer, “taken in Shanghai, China in early 2016 while wandering alone at night by the Huangpu River downtown, bleary-eyed and nostalgic”.

~

Hotel Neon | Website | Bandcamp | Discogs | Youtube | Twitter | Facebook 

 

isolatedmix 89 - Steve Moore

 
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Over the past ten-or-so years Steve Moore has increasingly impressed circles outside of his association with prog-rock band Zombi. In fact, I’m probably one of the very few people that discovered Steve without knowledge of his association with one of America’s most revered bands, which adds further intrigue to his euphoric synthesizer work under his own name. I think I’ve included one of his tracks in 90% of the mixes I’ve put together (on hindsight) but that speaks to how perfectly apt I find his music in setting moods, places and spaces. Along with this superb new isolatedmix to follow below, I had the chance to send a few questions Steve Moore’s way…

My first introduction to Steve’s solo work was his 2012 release ‘Light Echoes’, quickly followed by picking upBrainstorm’- a split 12” with Majeure, (found in Tokyo’s Big Love Record Store by memory). Between both of these albums I caught a glimpse of the sublime ambient-leaning synthesizer work and the more colorful and energetic influences of the 80’s.

“I’ve been writing and recording music on my own since the early 90’s. Back then I had a Fostex 4 track cassette recorder and an Ensoniq VFX-SD. I’d share some of this music with friends but mostly I was just doing it for fun and practice. Zombi gave me the confidence and the connections to release my music”

It’s easy to start making associations to some of the early synthesizer pioneers with Steve’s work you hear today, especially on records like 2010’s Primitive Neural Pathways, which I managed to pick up a copy of just last week. It’s like a modern-day polished Jean-Michel Jarre record, pressed on a neon-Pink slab of vinyl (Pink must be a favorite color as his new one is also available in Pink)

I love those first few Jarre records so much, with Primitive Neural Pathways I definitely wanted to write something in that style. But that’s how I used to think when writing, in terms of who I wanted to reference and what time period, etc. Now I’m more interested in trying to do something new or different. I’m more into experimenting.

Experimentation is definitely apparent in Steve’s new album for Temporary Residence. With Beloved Exile, Moore states his goal was to “make an album of songs that featured instruments other than synthesizers - and instrumentalists other than myself. I wanted to create situations in which I thought Emel’s voice and Mary’s harp would sound interesting”.

Mary Lattimore (Ghostly International) features prominently and after several listens of the album in full, her grace is felt in such a natural and organic way it’s hard to believe a synthesizer and harpist could create something so classic and timeless across an entire record, not just a feature on one individual track.

Even the track titles of Beloved Exile have been sub-let to add further experimentation, input, and ultimately, subjectivity to the album meaning. (Personally, I feel like album opener, ‘Your Sentries Will Be Met With Force’ is one of the greatest opening track titles for an album like this featuring an onslaught of synthesizers and harp).

The story is what you want it to be! John Darnielle (the Mountain Goats) was kind enough to supply the song titles. Song titles never come naturally to me, so I thought “who do I know who has a way with words?” I asked John and he said yes, so I sent him the tunes and he titled them. What these titles mean is up to the listener!

Beloved Exile is no doubt an evolution in sound from some his previous work if you’re a Moore collector, combining perhaps the trifecta of his influences - synthesizers, soundtrack and instrumental elements, but it’s still unmistakably narrated by someone who understands storytelling. Asked about this evolution, Steve seems to be progressing his sound organically: “I do feel pressure to do something new and interesting with each album, but that’s all coming from me. I put that pressure on myself. As far as evolving, I just let that happen. I feel like when artists try to evolve things can end up sounding forced. As I get older my influences and interests are gradually changing and so it seems natural that my music should as well.”

The insight and experience from scoring these cult horror flicks adds to the vivid narration that occurs amongst his synthesizer work too, with the last track on Beloved Exile spanning a mammoth fifteen minutes. As the album closer, My Time Among The Snake Lords is a fine example of the narration Steve can inject into a piece of music. If the track title alone didn’t paint the picture ahead, Steve’s progression and storied approach helps end the album on one of his most euphoric pieces yet - a combination of marching tribal elements, the distant plucks of Mary’s harp and a soaring expansive outro.

Asked about his work on cult-horror films such as The Minds Eye, Cub and Mayhem, I wanted to find out what it takes to make a good horror score:

It takes both a good composer and a good director to create a good film score. Also good producers! It’s a collaborative process. I think a sense of pacing and dynamics is very important. Also space - knowing when not to add music. Sometimes silence is way scarier than music.

Along with the crack team, I can’t help but imagine Steve has a secret sauce hidden somewhere amongst his synthesizer arsenal, and as it turns out, he has a banker for those scary moments and a dependable sound to help keep things on the edge: “My Sequential Circuits Prophet 600 and Pro One definitely have the scariest sounds. I use them on almost every score - they’re great for atmospherics and those Carpenter-style stingers”.

For Steve’s isolatedmix, we’re treated to a slightly new and original style of music across the twelve tracks, straddling the split personality between prog rock and ambient music. Steve admits he has no idea where a mix will end up once he starts, with this one being put together on the fly:

I start with a track that’s been on my mind then sort through my library and add songs as the mix plays. When I start a mix I don’t know where it will go, but I try to include artists from seemingly incompatible genres and different corners of the globe. For this mix I started with “Heavy Light” by Animusic. Zombi just played a couple shows so I’ve been rehearsing for those lately, and this track always comes to mind when I think of Zombi. It’s a big inspiration and you should definitely check out the video on YouTube.

Along with Animusic we’re excited to finally feature Enya within an isolatedmix, and it seems as though we share a mutual appreciation for the Irish-Castle-Queen. One of the finest soundtrack producers, Mark Isham, also makes an appearance; a big inspiration for Steve’s soundtrack on The Hitcher, listed alongside musicians like, Brad Fiedel, Howard Shore, John Carpenter (and Alan Howarth), Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh as other similarly inspiring composers and influences.

There’s a kindness to Enya’s music that really appeals to me. It’s magical and otherworldly and completely sincere. And from a production standpoint the albums are total ear candy (especially the early albums where she’s using a lot of Juno-60). She’s incredibly talented.

To quote the label when they sent over the final mix, “This may be the proggiest isolatedmix yet”, so sit back and absorb yourself amongst the mind of a man who is as comfortable scaring the hell out of people in cinemas, as he is performing in front of thousands, and then casually creating some of the finest synthesizer music this side of the Millennium. Listen on Soundcloud, or Mixcloud below.

Steve Moore’s Beloved Exile is out now on Temporary Residence.

Download.

01. Animusic - “Heavy Light”
02. Return to Forever - “Medieval Overture”
03. Arsen Gedik - “Neptune”
04. Patrick O’Hearn - “At First Light”
05. Christian Chevalier & Alan Feanch - “Electric Mistress”
06. Constance Demby - “Novus Magnificat: Through the Stargate Pt 3 [edit]”
07. Enya - “Deireadh An Tuath”
08. Mark Isham - “Dust and Gasoline”
09. Enslaved - “793 (Slaget Om Lindisfarne)”
10. Johanna D’Armagnac - “Siren of the Sea”
11. Goblin - “Le Cascate Di Virdiana”
12. Il Baletto di Bronzo - “Epilogo”

Steve Moore | Bandcamp | Twitter | Discogs

 

isolatedmix 88 - An On Bast

 
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On the heels of our modular-synthesizer-heavy release and remix album by James Bernard, we dug into some other artists playing within the rabbit holes of analog frequencies. There are of course many to choose from, but one artist has recently caught our ear as a purveyor in both techno and ambient sounds within the modular realm.

An On Bast is Anna Suda, a Polish based musician who, whilst making techno and experimental music also has a fine ear for beautiful ambient compositions. With a steady cadence of recordings since 2006, Anna was selected from thousands of candidates to participate in the (soon to be defunct) Red Bull Music Academy in Melbourne where like many others, she got to hone her craft. Since then, her infamous live sets which combine many of her production approaches and jump between modular to drum machines, have graced the likes of major festivals such as, Sonar (Barcelona), and Nachtdigital (Germany), and clubs from Berlin’s Watergate and Berghain, and Shanghai’s Elevator.

Anna’s ambient productions were what really stood out for us, and her latest outing on the Dutch label, Shimmering Moods, titled Nothing Shapes Everything, is a perfect example of why this producer is so intriguing, malleable and talented across various approaches.

Anna’s isolatedmix traverses a variety of territories that could be said to define her eclectic and varied production approaches. From the infamous Bill Laswell opening it up, to Woob, Coil, Loscil and Pan American, hidden amongst some of of the greats of the genre are some of Anna’s own productions adding a personalized tint to this extraordinary journey.

The mix I recorded contains very important tracks to me, for my personal evolution of taste and feel of time and space in music. Ambient was the genre that introduced me to electronic music so it has very special place in my heart. It taught me how much story can be told, how much ideas and emotion can be put within infinite possibilities of sound creation. I am sharing the tracks that had and still have very big influence on me, plus a few of my own productions, as well as in my duos. It was a huge pleasure to put them together in a long music journey, I hope you will feel it too - An On Bast

Download

Tracklist:

01. Bill Laswell - Káshí
02. Mouse On Mars - Unity Concepts
03. An On Bast & Maciej Fortuna - Our Plateux
04. David Toop - Bodies of Water
05. James Bernard - Euph
06. Atone - Qobac Sine
07. Unknown - ShiveRX
08. Arvo Part - Tabula Rasa - Fratres
09. Coil - Finite Bees
10. Pan American - Coastal
11. Celia Green - In The Extreme
12. An On Bast & Allca - 04:05
13. An On Bast - Rootless
14. Unknown - 10060
15. Woob - Later
16. Dream Fish - Underwater
17. Tatsu - Stilness / Introspective Me
18. Loscil - Monument Builders
19. An On Bast - Enter
20. Meritum - Harfowa

An On Bast | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Facebook | Discogs | Website