Portals: Stories from Tokyo

 
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It's a miracle, I remembered my sound recorder on my trip to Tokyo earlier this month. I was traveling alone, so I had no excuse not to put it to good use. No-one to ask for my time, or interrupt an 10-minute silence. I managed to take down a whole bunch of record stores on my trip and write about them here, yet still squeeze in a couple of days worth of field recordings. 

This latest Portals episode (six) is focused on the sound of Tokyo, Japan. My recent experience - to be exact - told through the stories of these field recordings in-and-around Tokyo. The below mix, takes on the exact same story and journey I took to gather these field recordings. In-between, I've added some of my favorite Japanese ambient music that helps extend the story from that day. 

After watching Japan exit the World Cup at 5am, I found myself on a deserted Shinjuku road (a rarity) and not wanting to return back to bed. Instead, I headed back to the hotel to grab my Zoom recorder, returning to Shinjuku station as the very first trains started to fire up. I then headed south through Yoyogi, walking to the Meiji Shrine. This is a beautiful park, set in the middle of Tokyo, a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and packed full of natural beauty. I walked around here for a few hours, and as the hoards of tourists began to appear, I made a quick exit, jumping on the train at the south of the park, at Harajuku. 

The next day, I headed out to Koenji, capturing more sounds on and around the trains, the small market area, and a very noisy Pachinko (slot machines), eventually ending up in Shibuya, roaming the streets and eating ramen. You should be able to hear all of this in the mix as the story progresses from Shinjuku to, Meiji, Harajuku, Koenji and Shibuya over the course of two days. 

Additionally, I thought why let these recordings go no further, so I've posted them up on the ASIP Bandcamp for everyone to enjoy. It's set at $1 so it adds to your collection when purchased, but feel free to email me if you'd like a Bandcamp download code. I'd happily allow you to use these recordings in mixes and productions too, just let me know - I'm interested to hear what you can create! Download Field Recordings (Bandcamp).

Enjoy this audio trip around Tokyo and the accompanying ambient music from Japanese musicians and Japan-inspired productions. 

Download Mix (MP3).

Episode 6 Tracklist:

01. ASIP - Shinjuku 6am
02. Ryuichi Sakamoto - 音盤 [Milan]
03. Ryuichi Sakamoto - 兄の亡霊 [Milan]
04. ASIP - Early Risers
05. Chihei Hatakeyama - The Distant Sound of a Bustle [Home Normal]
06. ASIP - Yoyogi commuter
07. Ametsub - Sun Of Madrid [Nothings66]
08. ASIP - The Gravel Path
09. Koss - Ancient Rain [Mule Electronic]
10. ASIP - Chōzuya
11. Hiroshi Yoshimura - Creek [Air Records]
12. ASIP - Meiji Before
13. Toshiro Masuda - Presence [Mushishi Soundtrack]
14. ASIP - Forest In A City
15. Susumu Yokota - Hagoromo [Leaf Label]
16. ASIP - Rise of the Cicadas
17. Toshiro Masuda - Mushi  [Mushishi Soundtrack]
18. Hiroshi Yoshimura - Green [Air Records]
19. ASIP - Rise of the Cicadas
20. ASIP - Interruption
21. Nobuto Suda - Nobody Levee [A Strangely Isolated Place]
22. ASIP - Selfies
23. Ian Hawgood - A Film  by Chihei Hatakeyama [Home Normal]
24. ASIP - Harajuku Station
25. ASIP - The Announcement
26. Biosphere - Fujiko [Touch]
27. ASIP - Trip to Koenji
28. Kaito - Travelled Between Souls [Kompakt]
29. ASIP - I Believe I Can Fly
30. Arc of Doves - Pluto [ANAY]
31. 仮想夢プラザ - あなたの目で [Virtual Dream Plaza]
32. ASIP - Presented Through The Curtain
33. ASIP - Goodbye Shibuya
34. Aus - Different Sky [Someone Good]
35. ASIP - The Walkthrough

 

isolatedmix 80 - Roel Funcken

 
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Roel Funcken is well known around these parts; playing an engaging role in our small online ambient community and amassing a respectful following for his output. Whether through his unique IDM releases (read about one we covered a few years back, or a recent favorite of mine here) or even some of his epic ambient and electronica mixes, he's always been one to spend his time pushing the electronic sound forward.

Just this past month, Roel decided to combine a few of these aspects and bring together some of his close community for a worthwhile charitable release. With the help of the esteemed charity collective, Touched Music, "Dear of the Yog" was released to help raise funds for as the name might suggest; a charity that aims to improve the welfare of dogs and cats in Asia. Roel has brought together some of our favorite artists to take on some of his own productions, including Lusine, Martin Nonstatic, Illuvia (Purl), Kettel, and Ochre, whilst also providing a fine bunch of remixes himself. 

If you're familiar with some of Roel's previous ambient-oriented mixes, you'll know he tends to err of the side of 'epic' when it comes to duration. Take a few of his contributions over on Headphone Commute for example. Whilst his isolatedmix isn't quite a six-part series in a similar manner to his Isotope Cobalt project, we still have a trademark journey on our hands reaching nearly 2-hours in length and featuring a wide range of influences, from the deep worlds of ASC, Abul Mogard and Deru, to the light touches of Nest, Purl and Marcus Fischer and the metallic electronics of Ital Tek and Lorn. 

Roel demonstrates a unique ability to effortlessly match tone and texture whilst keeping every twist and turn interesting through many evolving through styles. 

Download

Artist/Track/Release

01. Marcus Fischer & Simon Scott - Thorns (Shape Memory)
02. Toàn - Unsolved (Histós Lusis)
03. Pepo Galan & Max Würden - All Of A Sudden (All Of A Sudden)
04. Deru - 1979 (On a Snowy February Day) (1979: Remixed)
05. Solo Andata - Loom (Solo Andata)
06. Roel Funcken - Android Robson (Ochre rmx) (Dear of the Yog)
07. Rival Consoles - Be Kind (Persona)
08. ASC - Quaoar (Trans-Neptunian Objects)
09. Huerco S - A Sea Of Love  (For Those Of You Who Have Never...)
10. Julien Neto - III (Le Fumeur de Ciel)
11. Clark - Oaklands  (Clarence Park)
12. Autechre - Altibzz (Quaristice)
13. Nest - Charlotte (Retold)
14. Lorn  - SPINNING IN A DREAM (A/D)
15. Rival Consoles - Memory Arc (Persona)
16. Abul Mogard - The Purpose Of Peace (Abul Mogard)
17. Woulg - Ocean (Thin Veil)
18. Kane Ikin - The Violent Silence (Sublunar)
19. r beny - cities sleep like seeds  (cascade symmetry)
20. Legiac - Bycam Fosfane2  (The Voynich Manuscript)
21. Roel Funcken -Pead Bandorum (Kettel rmx) (Dear of the Yog)
22. Purl - Montauk (Evighet)
23. Ital Tek  - Reflection Through Destruction (Hollowed)
24. Roel Funcken - Spawkings (Martin Nonstatic rmx) (Dear of the Yog)
25. Sofus Forsberg - App lol (Udefra)
26. Boards of Canada - Nothing Is Real  (Tomorrow's Harvest)
27. Lorn - Mercy (Ask The Dust)
28. Arovane - ambelio (Atol Scrap)

Roel Funcken Web | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Facebook

Imagery by Antonie Rault, Hao Wang & Rene Bohmer - edited by ASIP. 

 

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

 

isolatedmix 78 - Goldmund

 
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We welcome Keith Kenniff back to the isolatedmix series under his post-classical moniker, Goldmund

A master of many styles of ambient and instrumental music, be it textured ethereal daydreams as Helios, shoegaze inspired ambient alongside his wife, Hollie, or his more instrumental, post-classical side as Goldmund, Keith's output is somehow always outdoing his last note. As a result he has grown a significant following and appreciation over the years, me included.  

It's the latter of those three guises that we find ourselves being presented with another beautiful album of late, titled 'Occasus'. Released earlier this month, the album is another fine collection of minimal piano pieces. Staying close to some of his more melodic and infamous productions as Helios, boasting a grainy texture and more analog stylings throughout, Occasus presents numerous uplifting moments - a collection of short stories if you will, amid layers of dusty keys. 

A master of his instrument, Keith is one of only a very few musicians who can walk us through a myriad of emotions in one album, evident yet again on Occasus. The piano, playing a key part in every chapter, but each track boasting something unique to the hands of Goldmund that others simply cannot match. His sound, a blueprint for many artists striving for that rare combination of emotion, melody and immersive, lost-in-a-daydream-feels. 

Unlike his first isolatedmix back in 2010, which focused on some of his favorite soundtracks and compositions, Keith now chooses to embellish on some of the many styles that likely go into a Goldmund production. You may be expecting a masterclass in modern classical music given that introduction or the moniker find ourselves under, but mixed amongst the many pivotal instrumental moments, are textured elements and softly painted melodies - the two added influences and key ingredients that you can always hear within any Goldmund production. Add to that, a man that knows the secret behind an emotive score; applied to the mix format, and you're in for a beautiful journey. 

Download.

Tracklist:

01. 0:00 - 1:04 - Black Moth Super Rainbow - Dandelion Graves (end melody)
02. 1:04 - 3:46 - Scott Gilmore - Things Forgotten
03. 3:46 - 5:18 - Monster Rally - Love
04. 5:18 - 7:32 - Limalo - Viewing Growth (w-Botany)
05. 7:32 - 10:09 - Yuutsu - Familiar
06. 10:09 - 13:37 - Mary Lattimore - Hello From The Edge of the Earth
07. 13:37 - 15:28 - Michael Andrews - Goldfish
08. 15:28 - 18:48 - Martin Glass - Floating To Work
09. 18:48 - 23:54 - Lexaunculpt - Emori Dixon Renamed
10. 23:54 - 26:55 - Jóhann Jóhannsson - Odi Et Amo
11. 26:55 - 30:17 - John Dowland - A Pavan
12. 30:17 - 35:32 - Virginia Astley - With My Eyes Open I'm Dreaming
13. 35:32 - 36:48 - Karen Peris - Wales Because the Sun Will Shine
14. 36:48 - 41:14 - Hollie Kenniff - Home Will Follow
15. 41:14 - 43:42 - Ben Lukas Boysen - Eos
16. 43:42 - 46:06 - Dan Romer - Guns Up

Goldmund / Keith Kenniff | Web | Twitter | Bandcamp/Store 

Listen to Keith's first isolatedmix as Helios, here. 

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Filter Tapes 030 "Out Of Context" by Christian Kleine

 
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The below is a Google Translate (rough) English translation of the article that originally featured on Das Filter in German, hosted by Christian Kleine's long-lost partner in crime, Thaddi Herrmann (Herrmann & Kleine), including an interview by Das Filter's Ji-Hun Kim. 

Christian Kleine's release with ASIP, is available now on double gatefold green vinyl + digital. 

Read Christian's bio + get to know playlist, here. 

Tracklist

01. François Bayle - Erosphere
02. Electroshock Presents Electroacoustic Music, Vol. IV - Tears [by Alexander Nemtin]
03. Acreil - Miscellaneous Synth Demos - 21 Casio HT-6000-Digitech RDS 3.6 (Everything Happens Slowly)
04. UR - Electronic Warfare
05. Electroids - Midnight Drive
06. MEC - Musique Expérimentale Castelroussine - 02 Méta
07. Thomas Leer - Private Plane
08. The Beatles - Mellotron Music No. 1
09. Lizzy Mercier Descloux - Torso Corso
10. Cecil Leuter - Crazy Sounds No. 4
11. Dosh - My Favorite Colors Red
12. Bochum Welt - Fortune Green
13. Labradford - And Jonathan Morken
14. Seefeel - Time to Find Me (AFX Fast Mix)
15. Tone Language - Winter's Thrill
16. Kenny Larkin - Maritime
17. Silence and Wisdom - Oakwood Green
18. Haighinsha - Lusefeea

Interview with Christian Kleine, by Ji-Hun Kim (Das Filter)

The musician and producer Christian Kleine was an important part of a youth movement that called itself the early 2000s Indietronica. Christian released as a solo artist on labels such as Morr Music and City Center Offices and operated together with Thaddeus Herrmann and the project Herrmann & Kleine. With the EP "Kickboard Girl" they succeeded in 1999, a veritable international independent hit. But that's almost 20 years ago. Some time ago Christian's "Electronic Music From The Lost World: (1998-2001)" appeared on the American label A Strangely Isolated Place. And he continues to be a diligent producer, who publishes wonderful albums on a regular basis. For the thirtieth run number of our filter tape series, Christian has developed a wondrously independent language. The Beatles next to Labradford and Kenny Larkin: Always a bit out of context, where music is just starting to get exciting. Ji-Hun Kim talked to him about cigarettes in the Spex, many years at Ableton, the Krux to the Internet, and laptops to bandmates.

Thank you for your beautiful filter tape. First tell a little bit about it. 
It covers a wide range. From 60s easy listening to techno, pretty much everything is there. I was never a purist.

Is there a story you wanted to tell? 
It's mainly stuff I just feel like doing. It was about music that does not cling too much to a time context. I always find it interesting to listen to music where you can not tell if it's 30 years old or yesterday. For example, the record "Silence of Wisdom" by Deux Filles, which dates from the early 80s. But that could be just like last week.

I find the context you open up exciting as well. I would never have thought to hear techno such as Bochum Welt or UR in your mix.
I do not even realize that as techno. Even if that of course fits into the club context. However, I often notice that music, even if freed from the genre costume, can still work. I'm from a small town, Lindau am Bodensee. That's where I started in the early 1990s. There could be no puristic evenings, there were not enough people. So I mixed hip hop, house and techno, but also early jungle and guitar music. We just wanted to hear good music.

I grew up in the Ruhr area and even there it was much more eclectic. I think it is retrospective but not that bad either. In Berlin, there were already small-scale techno camps in the 90s. 
Total. But I also thought it was a pity that Berlin was not a little more fluffy. That one did not just say: the main thing is good music. That can be anything.

Although I was amazed at how consistently you have published the past years records. I know your stuff well from the beginning of the 2000s and heard it a lot. 
Since I started with music - that started in 1995 - it was important to me. I never wanted to start a great career. I always wanted to do something, so I can look back to see what I've done in times past. I once won a competition, that was in 1998, and then went to the Winter Music Conference.

Competition? Where, when? 
Marlboro.

I almost got involved in a Marlboro USA road trip at the age of 19. At that time they were allowed to.
There was an ad in the Spex. I participated and actually won. At the time I had started with the production, first pieces and was totally looking forward to the journey. That must be supercool, I thought to myself. Daft Punk was there, all the drum and bass people from London who thought at the time that they would take over the world. A fun time. But at the same time, I was standing in the Hilton hotel, where the conference was taking place, watching the action, I almost as an outsider - because that's not what I really belonged to - and saw how the music industry works. So I asked myself if I really want to play along. Is it something that drives you? Somehow I found that pretty awful.

Do you still trust the industry today? 
At the time I asked myself: is this a life plan? Is music producing a complete life plan? Do I want to be a musician? But then I decided against it. Simply for the reason that the music industry is just strange and I also consider music as a kind of balance to the real life out there.

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It should be mentioned that you have been working at Ableton since the very beginning. 
Yes for about 17 years.

What exactly are you responsible for? 
I started as technical support and then I took care of the Max for Live division and programmed a lot for it. Today, I also do a lot of prototyping for native instruments and effects implemented in Ableton Live. Say everything that has to do with DSP processing. I'm currently working on the basic ideas. Today this is also called UX, User Experience.

That is already nerdy. 
As a matter of fact. I'm quite a nerd, too. I touched almost every synthesizer in the world at least once. But actually I do not like the word nerd.

If you've seen a success story like Ableton backstage for so long, how does that work? 
For me, that feels like I've lived through four or five companies. There have been deep changes over time. Within the industry, within the company, within the society. The perception of how people use computers has changed a lot in the last 15 years. But also the kind of people who use such things.

At the end of the 90s you were in Berlin. It started with people making music on laptops. Labels like Morr Music became known. Indietronica was suddenly a thing. I always notice that today many people have never perceived Berlin as an indie city. Berlin bands like Contriva were totally inspiring for me. Today, most people shrug their shoulders. 
It no longer exists in the perception. It seems to me that this was totally ousted from the canon. The indie and electronica scene was a big pillar of this city. Culturally urban historical, if you can say that, but that does not matter anymore. What a pity, but techno just rolls everything flat. That's fact. For me, the Indietronica thing was a plant that needed to be cared for more carefully.

Even more mainstream acts like Paula have emerged. 
It was perceived throughout the world. Indietronica from Berlin attracted attention in Japan, USA and also Canada. That was relevant and I found that so exciting. It was not just a Berlin-related thing. Often Berlin issues have that to them, that they never come out of Berlin and are only occupied with themselves.

If you travel internationally, is it for music? 
First of all, it was all friends and mates, so the big industry was far away. City Center Offices was not Sony Music or anything right now.

Are you missing the road? 
I miss it already. But it was also very exhausting, because I have always put the tours on my free holidays. If you join this for a few years, there are hardly any free weekends left. That sounds like whining at a high level and probably is. But with a full-time job and the music at the same time - you can get close to burnout. From time to time I still give concerts, but that is not comparable to that time. But I am glad that I had it. That was a lot of fun.

Nevertheless, you have managed to constantly produce your own albums in recent years and publish yourself. 
Everything on Bandcamp. I had the claim of myself to continue to produce music, also because it is simply important to me. I've applied here and there for a few labels. But because I was completely outside the context, nothing came of it. That was maybe three e-mails. Among other things, I asked Mute Records, completely megalomaniac (laughs). "First of all start with the little ones." Of course, nothing happened, but thanks to Bandcamp you can do that pretty well today.

You still have to discipline yourself. 
I agree. That's pretty strange, too. Because there is no feedback, far and wide. You're the maker of everything, from music to cover, and most of all, there's no one who reflects that. There is also no one who reviews this because it does not appear on any well-known label. That's me and the internet. The Internet itself gives you no feedback.

It is said that the Internet brings all countries together. 
Yes and no. Of course, I am happy when someone from Argentina writes to me and is happy about my music. But that's a different process than meeting someone and talking about your music, either because that person has a label. The internet does not give me anything. Since I have no personal reference to. After I was no longer with Morr Music - until then everything fell into my lap - I first had to learn to make everything self-sufficient. That was an important process.

You just recently released your record "Electronic Music from the Lost World" with pieces from the years 1998 to 2001?
I have a bag full of old DAT tapes. 40 to 50 tapes are in there. Four years ago, I started listening and digitizing the old tapes. Then I spoke with Thomas Morr, who also wanted to publish that first. This then drew because things have intervened time and again. Then I started talking to the label A Strangely Isolated Place from Los Angeles. Through Arovane, Uwe, I came to the contact and so it came to the release. After 20 years, I thought, it was time. I am glad it appeared in the form on double vinyl. It represents a completely different time. It was all innocent much. (Link to buy!)

For me, you are musically but still an indie musician and guitarist, who simply got into the wrong circles in Berlin. 
That's right (laughs). I always hated computers. Until I realized that you can make music with it, but until then I did not want to have anything to do with it. Ironically, if you look at my job of today. But yes, actually I come from the guitar corner. The fact that I started using computers to make music was mainly due to the lack of musicians with whom one could have formed a band.

To bring four people in Berlin regularly in a rehearsal room is also an impossibility. 
I totally understand that. But yes, maybe electronic music is just an urban thing. It was like that in New York and London. Electronics was already the basic tenor in Berlin in the 90s. But I never had any connection to Berlin guitar scenes. When I produced Drum and Bass in the late '90s, I only knew Thaddi's radio show. Then I got drunk with my tapes and I tried to turn it to him, so he plays it. It all started.

~

Mix artwork by Julian Priess