James Clements

James Bernard / Atwater (Remixes) Now Available

 
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James Bernard’s live recording, ‘Atwater’ demonstrated the beauty to emerge from the simplicity and gentle manipulation of modular synthesizers. Such a raw moment captured that day, packed full of melody and escapism, presented a perfect opportunity to invite some of our favorite musicians to remix the original material recorded in North Atwater Park.

The remix lineup was purposefully selected to highlight electronica and a genre that grew from the manipulation of the synthesizer - a new toy for many bedroom producers that grew in commercial success and helped define a new sound in the late 90’s and early 00’s. With this in mind, we invited six producers who go some way in reflecting this approach over the years, with James Bernard’s original synthesizer recordings providing the basis of each experiment.

Arovane opens the release, with a sweet and sharp electronic punch, followed by Christian Kleine’s guitar-hook driven take, who as many will know, were two crucial producers that helped place electronica on the map through their releases on City Centre Offices. Alongside Uwe and Christian, also representing the early pioneering years of the sound and housed by the seminal label, Warp over the years; B12’s, Mike Golding, who takes James Bernard's sound to the limit across 9 minutes of additional modular manipulation.

Joining them, are three producers taking the electronica sound in new directions in recent years. James Clements, known to many under his own name or as ASC, guides us into the relatively unheard realm of his electronica-inspired Comit alias, combining the energy of his drum’n bass-led releases with the nostalgia and escapism heard amongst his ambient works. Bluetech, producing since the late 90’s and known for many approaches from psychedelic to downtempo, turns in an inspired, glistening take on the original, unearthing even more melodic moments. And lastly, Milieu, a firm favorite of ASIP's for many years now, uses nothing but the source material, to create a chugging and serene take on the original, closing out the Atwater remixes.

Buy on Bandcamp

 

ASC - Trans​-​Neptunian Objects

 

Despite his relentless, high quality output, I haven't done a good job featuring James Clements' music here on ASIP. Sure, he's contributed a great isolatedmix, given us a sneak peak into his Wantlist, and had tracks included in many of our year-end mixes, but I haven't previously singled-out any of his immense ambient full-lengths.

Thinking about why this may be (apart from the fact there's hundreds of releases I will never get around to writing about), I find James' ambient productions hard to write about. Hard to do justice, really. Ironically, describing why it's hard to write about probably does a pretty good job at, well, writing about it. 

ASC's ambient productions have a tell-tale depth and atmosphere to them. There's no doubt a significant amount of influence and inspiration comes from space themes, perhaps harking back to his original Deep Space ambient mix series. But just like the unknown detail amongst the void, James' music comes to life through the minutia, the subtle maneuvers amongst an often ominous density that I've only known the likes of BiosphereWolfgang Voigt, and Markus Guentner to perfect. 

ASC's latest release, his first ambient output on his own Auxiliary label after a string of amazing albums on Silent Season, once again highlights his amazing ear for detail. Trans-Neptunian Objects takes you to an unknown place, toying with sonic frequencies, depicting the drama you'd expect from shadows of rocky behemoths, and the overall feeling of insignificance. 

James is also excelling in soundtrack work, (take his Bottom Of The World OST) which probably means the vivid ideas of far-reached planets and asteroid belts that he conjures up here, either borrow from, or help inform the mindset needed for deeper visual storytelling. 

But without calling it a soundtrack, Trans-Neptunian Objects is as close as you'll come to the stories, adventure and the unknown far-side of the Galaxy.

Available on Bandcamp.

 

ASIP Wantlist #5 ASC (James Clements)

 

Not only do we know James Clements as the man behind one of the best ambient albums of last year (No Stars Without Darkness), or one of our favorite electronica EP's in the form a new alias as Comit, or as a pioneer of the 'autonomic sound'... or as label boss of one of the most forward thinking labels out there - Auxiliary. But we also know him as a vinyl obsessive, part-proven by his meticulous and beautiful presses on Auxiliary and other labels lucky enough to get his music on board (take the X3LP Imagine The Future or his black and green colored EP with Ulrich Schnauss - just two examples of his labor of love). 

With both an amazing musical background spanning everything from drum'n bass to techno and ambient, alongside a pure love of the format, we were always going to enjoy knowing what lay deep within the crate digging dreams of ASC...

1. Sandwell District - Feed Forward [Discogs]

I had it in my cart on Juno and for some unknown reason, I didn't complete the order.  I recall that I'd forgotten about it, and a few days later I returned to see it had sold out. I started to search all over the net for a copy and couldn't find any left.  Of course, it's pretty much folk lore what sort of prices it goes for used, although that's also down to Discogs listing price suggestions, which help to inflate the price of a used record.  All it takes is one person to buy it at a high price and then the median increases, Discogs suggests a higher listing price and the trend continues. I suppose from a business point of view, it makes good sense, but from a consumer point of view, it's fucking annoying. Rumor has it that it wasn't pressed in high numbers either, which makes it all the more annoying that I missed out. C'est la vie.

2. Lee & Tango/Lee & Gwange - Legendary Volume Three [Discogs]

I had this record in my collection at one point, but when I moved to the US from England and shipped my vinyl over, I couldn't find this. Both sides are absolutely essential pieces of music to me. Growing up on hardcore, drum & bass, early jungle etc, this record is the epitome of everything I loved about that era. One side is some dark menacing jungle-tekno and the flip is a serene piece of atmospheric drum & bass, much in the vein of the stuff LTJ Bukem was starting to push in the early 90's. I tend to set myself a limit of what I'd pay per record these days, but for stuff I've already owned and lost, it pains me to have to buy it again!

3. Convextion - Venus In Spurs [Discogs]

Another amazing record that I missed out on, although no stories of near misses on this one - just me sleeping on Convextion. I only got into his music after hearing his debut album in 2006, and by that time, this release was already 6 years old. Two gorgeous pieces of music here, especially the b-side, Crawling and Hungry. This is one of those records I dream of getting lucky with while checking out some random record store in some city around the world, although I'm not holding my breath on it happening! 

4. Ostia - Clamp EP [Discogs]

I have a fascination with Iesope Drift's stuff. Some of the rhythmic creativity shown in their work was absolutely light years ahead of its time. This one is an obscure 12" from their Seico Corp sub label and the only release they did under this guise I think. Fortunately, 2 of the 3 tracks here were reissued on a vinyl release earlier this year, that kinda came out of the blue. I still want the original 12" though, as I'm just like that :)

5. No Artist - Two On One [Discogs]

Bit of a strange one here, as there's no music on this piece of vinyl at all. This was a picture disc used as promo for Moving Shadow's Two On One series back in 1994. It features the super cool Moving Shadow World Domination logo on one side and the flip gives information about the upcoming series. I've always wanted a copy anyway, mainly as something to display in a frame on my studio wall. Perhaps I'll buy one at some point :)