Buffal0-based label Desire Path Recordings‘s latest release Megrez, by Portland-based duo Nite Lite, is a fitting addition to the label’s young, but steadily growing and always stellar catalog. The vinyl-only release (limited to 300 copies) shares many qualities with previous releases by the label, i.e. inventive use of field recordings, re-configurations of spacial reality through sound, and subconsciousness ruminations explored via collage. Thus, Megrez serves to further elucidate what seems to be Desire Path’s emerging ethos.
Listeners will recognize many of the sounds that were collected via field recording for this record. None of them are unique or uncanny, instead they are all echoes of what is ignored or hardly noticed everyday by everyone. Similarly to Mira Calix’s utilization of natural organic sounds to weave weird rhythmic tapestries, Phillip and Myste French of Nite Lite (who were formerly the masterminds behind the now defunct, but still revered Stunned Records) use those same type of sounds to remarkable effect but in a subtler, quieter way more in the vein of Australian duo Solo Andata (also on the Desire Path roster).
The sounds here, for the most part, are naked or– in audio production terminology—dry, meaning very little manipulation is applied. Now it very well may be that there has been substantial treatment and/or processing of these sounds, but, you see, it doesn’t sound that way to the listener, which is it what makes it impressive. Instead of obliterating their pristine field recordings with tidal waves of delay, or avalanches of artificial reverb, or mountains of mangled modulation, Nite Lite–in John Cage’s immortal words—“let sounds be themselves.” The duo’s creative contribution comes in the skillful arraignment of the sounds into eerie soudscapes of the subconscious. Ducks, footsteps, overpasses, human voices, clicking, clapping, clucking, and more all blend and fold into one another until an orchestra of mostly mundane worldly sounds is made into a magnificent audio mosaic.
Is there something that the duo is implying by presenting this seemingly random juxtaposition of organic clatter? Perhaps, like the universe we inhabit, what may on the surface appear as random clatter is in fact ordained by skillful unseen hands revealed only in brief moments that can easily be missed. This is just one of many interpretations that Megrez will perhaps suggests to its attentive listeners.
In honor of World Listening Day, tonight’s show will be dedicated to phonography, field recording, and the music that makes use of pre-recorded sounds of the environment.
We’ll hear recordings from some of the greats including Christopher DeLauranti, Lawrence English, Francisco Lopez, Solo Andata, along with artists with local connections (and equally as great) including Tony Conrad, Michael Pisaro, Claymation, Bob Ohrum, SIGHUP, and Tired Wires.
Show starts at 9pm on 91.3FM WBNY. Stream at WBNY.org
Also, make sure to check out post from the previous two days to get caught up on World Listening Day and our new [Soundmarks] series.
With the new Solo Andata release ‘Ritual’ now available for pre-order we thought this would be the perfect time to re-post the mix that Kane put together for us some time ago containing unreleased material and a killer track list…
Paul Fiocco (b. 1984) and Kane Ikin (b. 1982) live and work out of separate states in Australia. Solo Andata began in 2006 with their debut album Fyris Swan on Chicago label Hefty records. Paul lives in Perth, Western Australia, and is a graduate in philosophy. Kane lives in Melbourne, Victoria, and is a graduate in sound from the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Solo Andata’s compositions are created through the collaboration of sound from organic materials, field recordings, and instruments.
Donato Wharton – The End of the American Century Grouper – Invisible Eduard Artemyev – Meditation (stalker) Kevin Drumm – More Blood Than Guts - Simon Scott – Spring Stars Diane Cluck – Snake Fennesz – Circassian Joy Division – The Eternal The Fun Years – My Lowville Mogwai Remix – Drive Solo Andata ( Ryuichi Sakamoto Remix) – Chorale (look for me here) Jana Winderen – Live In Japan Tomasz Bednarczyk – So Svarte Greiner – Ocean Out Of Wood Jonny Greenwood – Open Space Paul Fiocco – Fingernails Akira Soundtrack/Geinoh Yamashirogumi – Requiem Fabulous Diamonds – Four Taylor Duepree – Worn Viktor Bermon – Unprepared Solo Andata – Jetty On The Baltic (unreleased) Solo Andata – Livid Walls Of Thought Possible (unreleased) Kane Ikin – Atlantis Lost (unreleased) + various field recordings
This week on the Upstate Soundscape, Michael Vitrano, head of Buffalo-based record label Desire Path Recordings, is stopping by to discuss his label, experimental music, and some upcoming releases on the DPR imprint.
Its only been a little over a year since DPR emerged on the international experimental scene with the release of Ritual by Solo Andata, a well-respected Australian duo known for interweaving inventive field recordings with stark neo-classical, ambient soundscapes.
While Ritual may have flown slightly under the radar after its initial release in the fall of 2010, the album, which was beautifully packaged by DPR Art Director Chris Koelle, has since been critically hailed around the web as a mesmerizing record with a disquieting, even nightmarish quality.
Anti-Gravity Bunny aptly describing Ritual as “eerie as fuck,” claiming the album contained sounds that “If I were to hear alone in the woods, regardless if the sun was up, I would immediately call the cops and start walking in the opposite direction.”
With its masterfully crafted sound and its meticulously designed vinyl packaging, including a special $60 special art edition (sold out, unfortunately), Ritual would set a high bar for DPR’s future releases. And with two more well-received releases under its belt, Kyle Bobby Dunn’s Ways of Meaning and Benoît Honoré Pioulard Plays Thelma, DPR has begun to solidify its reputation within the hierarchy of experimental labels alongside 12k, Experimedia, Under the Spire, and Type.
Things have moved fast in the past year for Vitrano and DPR so make sure to tune in Wednesday night at 10pm to hear more about it, along with some choice cuts from the Desire Path Recordings catalog.
We’ll also get an exclusive preview of some yet-to-be released material from Charlemagne Palestine and Janek Schaefer. For now, check out the interview below that Vitrano was kind enough to provide.
The Upstate Soundscape: What is the story behind Desire Path Recordings? How/when did it get started? What was the motivation behind the label’s creation?
Michael Vitrano: Ever since I can remember I’ve always had a passion for music, in some genre or another, and yet I never got involved as a musician or artist. Whether this stems from an innate feeling that I want to be removed from the creation of music yet embrace the result, I am unsure.
The only way I saw to contribute to the experimental music community was to release music that is singular and unique on a format that I love dearly.
Desire Path Recordings was borne out of the need to help further the home listening experience, where vinyl is the ideal format, to allow listeners to become absorbed in the music without the constraints and distractions of listening to music outside of a homogenized personal space.
It started, in theory, in early 2009, when I decided I could no longer sit idly by and not get great music out into the world.
Is there anyone else involved in running the label or is this essentially a ‘solo project’?
While I am the owner and curator of the label, Desire Path Recordings wouldn’t exist without the art direction and guidance of Chris Koelle. I consider this endeavor his as much as it is mine.
Are there any labels out there that you patternedDPRafterorstrove to emulate? What labels, past or present, do you admire?
Well, this could prove to be a very long list but I admire labels that strive to release unique music and are not beholden to one particular genre. When I first started the label, I wanted to focus on modern classical works, field recordings, and microambience, but I’ve since evolved in my thinking and created the vague description of “distinct pathways” to cover what we’re after.
DPR’s next release is a collaboration between Charlemagne Palestine and Janek Schaefer called Day of the Demons. I imagine this will appear in the New Year. After that, I don’t think I’d like to say too much.
Tell us about some pastDPRreleases that you think deserve some special attention.
Well, the first release by Solo Andata, Ritual, seemed to be overlooked quite a bit. I think that given the fact it’s very dark and scary, it seemed to only appeal to a niche audience. I think, though, if people get past the uneasy exterior, they’d find an intricate world in there ready to be explored.
Any advice for aspiring label owners?
Just go ahead and do it. I knew absolutely nothing and I’ve had to piece things together on my own. Also, you have to expect to lose a lot of money at first. In fact, depending on the music you’d like to release, this is not a profitable endeavor. It’s a break-even endeavor.
Any Upstate artists/labels you are really into at the moment? Any one we should look out for?