Merrin Karras

Silent Season - Campfire Stories 42 (ASIP - Titan Kawaakari)

 
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You are likely well aware of the brilliant Silent Season label by now, but you may not be aware of their brilliant mix series that's focused on inviting guests to tell a story - Campfire Stories - through deep ambient and techno music. Some of my favorite selectors have graced the series so far, and there's plenty to get stuck into. Listen to the series on Soundcloud

I'm honored to be a part of the series and because of the special place Silent Season has in my heart, I spent a long time making this mix as special as possible. It went through around five iterations, and I finally settled on a deep and meditative space-infused ambient mix that aims to be a nice compliment to the release of Markus Guentner's new album on June 11th. 

The mix includes some of my recent favorites by Rafael Anton Irisarri on Umor RexDedekind Cut on Kranky, Terreke's meditative tape loops on Music From Memory, a track from Graintable's debut synth-odyssey album, and a deep cut from Powlos on Faint. Mixed in-between these comes several unreleased tracks and some self-released bits dug out from the ever-dependable rabbit-hole that is Bandcamp. All links to buy and support provided below.

Hope you enjoy the story, and thanks to Jamie at Silent Season for the deep forest hospitality. 

Download.

~ About The Story ~

Titan is the largest moon of Saturn. It is the only moon known to have a dense atmosphere, and the only object in space, other than Earth, where clear evidence of stable bodies of surface liquid has been found, including lakes, seas, rivers and rain.

Kawaakari is the glow of a river or stream in darkness or dusk, the gleaming surface of a shadowed river (Japanese 川明かり).

~ Chapters ~

1. Sophia Loizou - Divine Interference (Kathexis
2. qebrµs - ฌฎ๒๓๔ญ°°°°° (Self released)
3. Erica Etami - Contemplation (Self released)
4. Merrin Karras - Phaedra (unreleased)
5. Steve Good - Falling Upwards [Self released]
6. James Bernard - (unreleased)
7. Terreke - Ambien [Music From Memory]
8. Grand River - Flies [Spazio Disponibile
9. Graintable - 610 [Ransom Note Records]
10. Markus Guentner (with Julia Kent) - Refraction [A Strangely Isolated Place]
11. Dedekind Cut - Hollow Earth [Kranky]
12. Markus Guentner - Redshift [A Strangely Isolated Place]
13. Powlos - Of Theory [Faint Music]
14. Max Wuerden - (unreleased)
15. r beny - Vestigial [Self released]
16. 36 - DNI [unreleased]
17. Acronym - Pointless Endeavour [Field Records]
18. Rafael Anton Irisarri - Mountain Stream [Umor Rex]
19. Isorinne - Views From A Balcony [Northern Electronics]

Image/photo by Aperture Vintage

 

ASIP - The Last Frequencies (mix for Headphone Commute)

 
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One last time, tuned to nothingness,
A swan song for the remnants. 
Empty buildings, rain and the dark abyss,
Lit by neon rain and the artificial descendants. 
 


Our good friend Headphone Commute has just published a new mix of mine, titled The Last Frequencies. It's a pretty obvious concept once you listen, but sometimes these things come to me at the end rather than the beginning. I started this mix after the terrible news of Jóhann Jóhannsson's death and was left wondering what the score for Blade Runner would've or could've been at the time. Perhaps, this thought process subliminally inspired me to create something of my own. Only on hindsight did I realize.  

It took a few months to compile and I went through five different versions before finally settling here. Given how much time I spent on it, I thought I'd try to do it even more justice by adding some comments on the featured tracks below. As always, I see mixes as an amazing point of discovery here on ASIP, so want to do everything to support the artists featured within. 

Make sure you check out the rest of Headphone Commute's guest mixes - the last one by 36, for example, and a recent epic journey by Roel Funcken - just two that shouldn't be missed. 

And thanks to HC for hosting me on his great platform for music discovery - our partner in the ever-expanding conquest to highlight the best ambient music out in the world. 

Read more on Headphone Commute.  

Listen on Soundcloud

Direct download

Tracklist + track notes:

01. Computer Afterlife - (Various samples) [Self released]

This album is the perfect entry point to Vaporwave (shudder?). If you haven't already been digging around the recent phenomenon that's rife on Bandcamp. 'Infinity Frequencies' is like a compilation of retro advertisements and elevator music, all put through the Vaporwave machine. On its own, the album is an interesting listen as opposed to a relaxed experience, but I chose to edit several of the tracks and combine with TV static to give the effect of someone/something searching through frequencies. It also inspired the name of the mix, as the journey goes on to dictate the dystopian world before the last frequency is heard. Available on Bandcamp.

02. Rashida Prime - {modular frame} [Cyber Dream Records]

Continuing the Vaporwave-wave, there's a side to this style that I really love, and Rashida Prime is a good example. To many, this is just heavily textured and processed drone music. But in a similar vein to the likes of Rafael Anton Irisarri, Rashida manages to score a beautiful melody amongst all the noise and static. I also added a little monologue from Blade Runner here to set the scene. Rashida Prime's album, Damaged Interface, is also available on Bludhoney - perhaps one of the most influential Vaporwave labels out there should you want to dig deep. Available on Bandcamp

03. Innerst Inne - Solen Träffar Topparna Först (Further Records)

Innerst Inne are Andreas Tilliander and Johan T Karlsson and this, I believe, is their first outing together - on Further Records, no less. Hailing from Scandinavia, with the album made in Sweden, it'd be silly to think inspiration hasn't been drawn from the cold depths, or the ever-growing techno scene that seems to influence everything that comes out of this part of the world right now. This album contains it all though - murky, deep ambience alongside some beautiful analog synthesizer moments, rooted in archaic dissonance. Fans of Alessandro Cortini, Isorinne, Rashad Becker, rejoice. Available on Bandcamp

04. Merrin Karras - 47 Drawn [Unreleased]

Some exciting music in the near future from Merrin Karras. For now... 

05. Steve Moore - Aphellion [Spectrum Spools]

I think I've included a Steve Moore track in nearly every mix I've put together in the past few years. He's a master of manipulation and does an amazing job at portraying new, futuristic places. This album, Pangaea Ultima does just that, and depicts a vision of a new world "away from the standards of time that we have insisted upon giving it". Available on Bandcamp. 

06. 輕描淡寫 - 我昨晚梦见你了 [Bludhoney Records]

Back into Vaporwave again, but I bet you didn't know it... This is where the genre crosses over with many other ambient styles, with the introduction of a piano blurring the lines. Still, the ominous sound of dystopian rain-soaked city streets is still present. Available on Bandcamp. 

07. Swoop & Cross - St. No [Time Released Sound]

A beautifully packaged vinyl by the aesthetic-forward label Time Released Sound, Swoop & Cross create a delicate and unmissable album in every way. I enjoyed the harmonious shift from the previous melody into the similar piano melody here - like the rainy, neon-lit streets emerging out of the dark into the daylight. Available on Bandcamp.  

08. Aleksi Perälä - UK74R1406060 [DUB]

Aleksi's music is often electro/techno-forward and normally wouldn't fit into this set (unless I took a turn into much heavier stuff), but this track features a stripped-back underlying analog tone that shifted the mood of the mix from a quaint piano melody into something a little more ominous. Aleksi's Colundi Sequence albums are pioneering in their approach, and you'll no-doubt find something mesmerizing amongst the many editions out there right now - even if you can't decipher the track names. He's a modern-day Aphex Twin in many ways. Available on Bandcamp

09. Isorinne - Whereabouts Unknown [Field Records]

This track features a bunch of abstract sounds and samples at the beginning, which is a little out out of the ordinary for the normally icy-smooth ambient stylings of Isorinne. The album this track is lifted off is from 2016, so if you've enjoyed Isorinne's recent brilliance on Northern Electronics, take a dig back into his earlier works for a little variety. Whereabouts Unknown gave the impression of something changing - a bustle and commotion - that led into the warmer tones of RAI.  Available on Bandcamp.

10. Rafael Anton Irisarri - Two and a Half Minutes (Geographic North)

Rafael continues to surpass expectations with his very purposeful "active-listening" ambient aesthetic. This is just one of many great tracks that have recently seen the light through two tape releases - one on Geographic North titled Midnight Colors and another, Sirimiri on Umor Rex. I felt bad keeping the inclusion of this track pretty short, but in a similar belief to RAI himself; less is more. Hope he agrees here! Available on Bandcamp.

11. 36 - Further Room 4 [A Strangely Isolated Place] + Alva Noto - Xerrox Monophaser 2 [Raster Noton]

For those that purchased 36's album, Infinity Room, you likely received a hidden surprise (that many still to this day might not know about). A full EP titled Further Rooms, accessed via a password-protected page hidden in the vinyl etching. Many say it's as good as the main album, evident here with Further Room 4. Again, not one to purposefully blemish an already good track, I originally had Alva Noto's infamous Xerrox Monophaser 2 at a very low level in the background to add some additional depth to the mix, but brought it up a little more as it seemed to fit well with the overall lost-in-space vibe Dennis' track was painting. Further Rooms still lies hidden for those that want to hunt it down... but Alva Noto's classic album is available in all good stores / Alva Noto website

12. Markus Guentner - New World Order  [A Strangely Isolated Place] + Global Communication - 0.54

For those that are taking the time to read this, then let this be your official notice - our next release on ASIP will see the return of Markus Guentner. More on that to come, but to continue this idea of lost and dying frequencies in the mix, Global Communication's now infamous intermission from their legendary ambient album 76.14, came to mind, and fitted perfectly with Markus's track. Like floating out into the dark void... 

13. The National Pool - Brick Cloud-Area 2 [Infraction]

I've already gushed about this album on ASIP, so head on over here to read more. Available on Bandcamp

14. Christoph De Babalon - Brilliance [DHR]

Hype hype hype. This album did receive. And it's a hard listen overall, but this Gas-esque track is one of the better from the album that will strike a chord with us ambient fans. The rest of the album however, is mainly very hard techno-edged-drum'n bass. You have been warned (or encouraged). Good luck hunting it down again, after a recent repress. 

15. Biosphere - Hyperborea [Biophon Records]

No-one depicts being lost in space, as sounds from far off worlds echo in the distance, better than Biosphere. All mixes should consider a 'classic' moment within the track list, and this one does the job for me. At this point in the mix, I had pictured a person floating through the void with his/her communication struggling to grasp the last few sounds from the world they just departed. Or is it the world they're floating towards? Available on Bandcamp

16. The Black Dog - Part One [Self released]

Dig anywhere amongst The Black Dog's extensive catalog and you'll find some beauty hidden amongst the darkest depths of techno. This self-released EP was the last time they got to work with good friend, Shawn Bloodworth - a fittingly beautiful tribute. Available on Bandcamp. 

17. Dino Sabatini - And It All Ends Here (feat. Antonello Salis) [Outis Music] 

I initially had the mix ending up in waves of static - a more literal homage to the title and concept of the mix. But this track by Dino Sabatini paid homage to a dystopian future in a different way - like an 80's film closing credits. Slightly Vangelis in style. An apt title too, from a stunning album. Available on Bandcamp.

Check back here soon for links to download the mix. 

~

Artwork edited by me; Ryan Griffin, featuring photography by Karen Sayser, Keith Camilleri & Sandeep Swarnkar. 

 

 

ASIP - Deep Electronics Ambient Sessions #27

 

Honored to have a mix included in the brilliant Deep Electronics podcast - a steadfast mix series for great ambient curators for some time now. Check the series out on Soundcloud. Thank you to Jeroen Smulders for hosting me.

My introduction to the mix: 

I rarely approach mixes with a concept in mind and often find them developing organically in the process. I did however, want this mix to be a deep journey, which was hard, as I've been listening to lots of melodic synthesizer music recently, so I had to get in the right mind-set for it. I started to picture space, and was partly inspired by this video for an Alva Noto track which is a spectacular combination of imagery and sound. The mix ended up being an accompanying soundtrack to some kind of failed rocket launch - starting with optimism, becoming more intense, experiencing glitches and more dramatic moments along the way, and finally falling back down to earth and more recognizable, familiar ground. It's a little cliché for an ambient mix- but I find it extremely relaxing to picture a journey along the way and felt this one came together quite nicely if listened to as a whole. I called it 'Familiar Ground'.

Hope you enjoy it.

Download (also available in the ASIP iPhone App)

Tracklist:

01. Moby - Long Ambient 3 (Excerpt) (Self released)
02. Steve Hauschildt - A False Seeming (Kranky)
03. Abul Mogard - The Purpose Of Peace (VCO Records)
04. The Black Dog - Phil 3 to 5 (Dust Science Recordings)
05. Phaeleh - Absence of Light (Undertow)
06. Casino Versus Japan - Miano: A Pink Night For The Snowmen (Attacknine)
07. Ben Guiver - Ex Machina (Silent Recordings)
08. Alva Noto & Blix Bargeld - Bernsteinzimmer (Kompakt)
09. Alva Noto - The Revenant Theme (Alva Noto Remode)
10. Tangent - Perceived Horizon (n5MD)
11. Carbon Based Lifeforms - RCA (Leftfield Records)
12. Phaeleh - Visions (Undertow)
13. Merrin Karras - Isolation (A Strangely Isolated Place)
14. Lav - Freedom & Joy (Amone Recordings)

 

Merrin Karras Live at Klangsphäre, Planetarium Bochum 11-11-2016

 

Both Merrin Karras and Markus Guentner took to a unique stage in Bochum (Germany) this past weekend, alongside the likes of Max Würden, Sine Sleeper, Mario Hammer And The Lonely Robot, and Safrronkeira. The Ambient Festival, played out within a Planetarium, with listeners immersed in darkness as they stared up towards dream-like visuals across the ceiling. It was undoubtedly a very special and unique show, marking Brendan's first live show as his ASIP alter-ego Merrin Karras.

Below we have the recording of his set, featuring live renditions from the album, Apex, and one new track.

Merrin Karras' album Apex, is available to buy using the links below:

Digital @ Bandcamp
Vinyl (US) @ Bandcamp
Vinyl (Europe & Worldwide) direct from Merrin Karras' Bandcamp, or at Juno. 

Equipment used:
Macbook pro running Ableton Live
Nord Lead 2
DSI Tetra
Vermona Mono Lancet
Roland Jp-08
2 x Launchpads
1 x Launchcontrol XL

(Photo by Markus Guentner)

(Photo by Markus Guentner)

 

Merrin Karras - Liberant (Video by Jan Goldfuß)

 Jan Goldfuß returns with another superb video for Merrin Karras' track, Liberant (taken from his album Apex).  

After his video for Markus Guentner's, Theia, Jan progresses from the fluid drama of Theia, to the graphic, poly-like take on Merrin Karras' album artwork - a perfect match for the colorful, fizzing synths of Liberant.  Read his detailed approach to the video below, and check out his other videos at http://jangoldfuss.de/.

Merrin Karras Apex (ASIPV005), is available to buy in digital and vinyl formats here.

Remember to watch the video full-screen and in HD, if possible.

~

Hi, my name is Jan Goldfuß. I'm a digital artist based in Berlin, Germany. I work both for commercial projects, as well as independent art centered ones.

The beginning point was the cover-image of the album, which represented an abstracted low-poly-like version of an image as Ryan told me.

My approach was to use something similar as the beginning frame and from that start a journey building up in complexity corresponding to the climaxing music. I decided to not work with editing but instead do a cut-less over six minute long evolving take while zooming out slowly, as the chosen track (Liberant) develops in a similar way.

What you see is a simple low-polygonal sphere which gets deformed by two animated noise-fields while the polygonal resolution of the sphere is increasing. Also the colors get directly influenced by these noise-fields. This is kind of what happens with digital media in general nowadays: Increasing the resolution and by that getting more and more complex. But it is all based on rather simple discreet and controllable units (be it polygons, pixels or transistors...). I like to show this in general in my works: A lot of simple stuff can produce new systems and thus overwhelming complexity. (Just like in our real world by the way...)

On the other hand we got algorithms which need only a few inputs but then can run forever, ever evolving and generating new kinds of form or information. Mostly these are used to generate something similar we already know (VFX, photo- realism).

For me it is more interesting to discover what kind of new aesthetics are hidden in these algorithms. So I often just allow them to happen as they like, merely defining the ground rules and letting them run. In an art context I like to compare this approach with the surrealistic technique of "ecriture automatique" or Pollock's "action paintings". This means for me working partly subconsciously with the medium and not dominantly against it, not forcing it into forms but letting it flow.

As in the real world I like to just watch and observe things changing and evolving (like clouds, water, plants,...) which also can happen in the digital realm in it's own way as we have seen.

For synchronizing image and sound I resigned to use beat detection, as this can tend to feel forced in my opinion. Instead I matched the animation of the noises to the rhythm of the music by hand. In this way I hope to generate a more organic feeling by so to say using the spectators brain to establish a connection between image and sound. Thus the spectator becomes an active element, reacting to and interpreting the "abstract narration" of "techno-poetics" as I like to call it". http://jangoldfuss.de/

See Jan's previous video for Markus Guentner, here