The Complete HEM Compilations, remastered in 24bit. Linda Perhacs, Morton Feldman, Julia Holter, William Basinski, John Cage, Michael Pisaro, Laurel Halo, Nite Jewelia, Stellar Om Source, Maria Minerva, John Maus and many more.
41 Tracks, 300 Minutes
Edition of 500 downloads
+250 USB hard drives
In order of appearance: Linda Perhacs, Morton Feldman, Julia Holter, William Basinski, Jason Grier, John Cage, Michael Pisaro, Laurel Halo, Nite Jewelia, Stellar Om Source, Bubonic Plague, Heart Shaped Rock, Muscle Drum, Garbaj Kaetz, Maria Minerva, Softness, Obelisk, Ariel Pink, Geneva Jacuzzi, John Maus, Holy Shit, Vibe Central, The Dowry, Ry Rocklen, Black Powder.
Compilations 2006-2012 surveys the HEM archive over 5 hours of listening.
Remastered in 24bit.
— 2006's "Volume 1" Compilation
— 2011's "Volume 2" Compilation
— Live Recordings, Dog Star Orchestra 2009 and 2010
— Live Recordings, Trauermusik Festival 2009
— Live Recordings, Linda Perhacs at SFAI
With her sophomore album, Commotus, Barcelona pop luminary Lucrecia Dalt crafts a surrealist landscape borne by the inexorable scope and sand-swept surfaces of geologic time.
12 Tracks, 40 Minutes
Edition of 500 downloads
+500 12" vinyl records & CD
“Commotus is a Latin word which means "agitated", "moved" As far as the music goes, my motivation comes from the necessity to create specific sensations, moods and from there sometimes pictures or an specific situation.” - Lucrecia Dalt
Today, we seem to have two branches in the school of experimental pop. One branch privileges object-hood, richness of surface, and mass-hallucinatory quotation. The other (much less celebrated) branch seeks to recapture authenticity in the form of a highly personal hallucination of music history.
With her sophomore full-length, Lucrecia Dalt follows the latter branch as far as it seems to go. She leaps into a surrealist landscape with stunning abandon, eschewing the comparatively safe tropes and song structures of her previous work. And she charts a surprisingly inventive and rewarding territory in the process. Much as it is with her newfound contemporaries at HEM Berlin, for Dalt, solitude and assemblage (of sound, genre, musicology, technique) is an exploratory zone steered toward the inner universe. To follow the music, one must be prepared to make this trip as real as sound itself.
Themes of agitation and disturbance, cumulative, impending and scalable, propel Commotus, and create a framework for understanding its emotional spectra. The music lives in the contradiction between having time to reflect on the inevitable, and the irrevocability of its outcome.
Dalt, who is a civil engineer with a specialty in geotechnics, knows that motion on a geologic time scale can be the most poignant analogy to the interminable struggle between self-awareness and sea change.
The long-awaited, groundbreaking, "pop" album by Michael Pisaro, in stunning 24bit and vinyl editions.
11 Tracks, 60 Minutes
Edition of 500 downloads
+250 12" vinyl records
“Following Alain Badiou, we might say that an entirely secular resurrection occurs when an idea that appears to be dead is taken up with a new impulse, possibly for different ends. The tombstones take tiny fragments of old and not-so-old songs and put them into an experimental music situation, introducing them to a kind of chaos, where the arrangement of the written out material is up for grabs.
In June of 2009 we took a group of musicians to Studio Paradiso in San Francisco, made on-the-spot arrangements of the songs and recorded them, mostly in one or two takes. I selected performances with this question in mind: Did the song happen?” - Michael Pisaro
This presents an exhilarating challenge in a culture already saturated by hallucination, paradox, and shadowplay. Each “tombstone”, as these tracks are called, is literally a “sampled” bit of structure, tuning, lyricism, beat or phrasing; a mystery moment sourced from perhaps, The Beatles, DJ Screw, Bob Dylan or UGK, to name a few. (The actual sources are a closely guarded secret, but in some cases not hard to guess.)
Pisaro distills the archetype of sampling into a fragment of intention, the groundwork of a sound, and ultimately, a cultural techne at once beyond the reach, and at the origin of the act of editing. Or in other words, it’s the knowledge-seeker’s paradox in music: While it is not possible to know all there is in creation, it is quite possible to distill the elegant, simple processes at its heart. With this distillation, Pisaro attempts to freeze one curious tension after another, in which the voice (or the archetype of the voice) is shaken out of a field of interferences, and made to speak as if in song.
In the band, electronics are conspicuously absent (but not forbidden). Two electric guitars (played by Grier and Pisaro) appear. Otherwise, Tombstones relies on a rather economical spread of acoustic instruments and percussion, some conventional, some not-so-conventional. The pulsating drones of harmonium (Tashi Wada, Julia Holter) and e-bow guitar anchor the field with unwavering strings (Cassia Streb, Laura Steenberge, Laena Myers-Ionita) and flute (Kelly Coats) performed without a hint of vibrato. Percussionist Rob Esler offers a surprising range of naturalistic (sometimes eerily synthsiser-like) performances that aim for halo more than punctuation.
The effect will be familiar to those who frequently listen to like-minded music whose focus is on unmediated experience of the subtlest timbres. However, in Tombstones’ zoomed-in context, a double-image is generated: A face in lucidity and a face in suspense. Suspended, as it were, between exhilaration and anticipation, vocalists Janet Kim, Julia Holter, Laura Steenberge and Lisa Tolentino each approach their performances in unique ways.
An absorbing look at Ariel Rosenberg's early musique concrète epic, Thrash and Burn.
36 Tracks, 90 Minutes
Edition of 500 downloads
+250 4-cassette box sets
“As with stored memories one has acquired early in life, Thrash and Burn survives for me less as a finished piece of music in/itself or even a moment captured in time; more a catalog of lifetimes, each piece unique and unnamed, together they recall glimpses of forgotten future-pasts; in cosmology, as one peers ever deeper into the void, first beyond the fixed population density of stars nestled in a 'suburb' at the outer edge of our galaxy, into an evermore all encompassing blackness surrounding a thin lane of galaxies, one heads off in one direction, floating along a lonely string of Christmas lights which recede with the distance. Much further downstream, a giant wall of light scaffolding fades into view. That is destiny's orphan multiverse inhabiting a single frame in its infancy. In time, we would transcend it. From where we stand our footsteps recede and fade into the darkness. But our beginnings are not lost; for someone standing off and above our horizon, in a human ear much more young, the secret of our coming of age shall be preserved revealed and discovered yet once again....” - Ariel Pink, November 2012
Thrash and Burn (short for "Ariel Rosenberg's Thrash and Burn: Pre) dates from a time when Ariel Rosenberg, then a few years from turning "Pink", first proclaimed himself a "20th Century Composer", without a trace of irony in his voice. Appropriately, this early work takes the form of a musique concrète epic forged from Rosenberg's late-90's faux-primitif, garage-punk, and tape-loop experiments.
At 94 minutes and 36 tracks, Thrash and Burn displays the symphonic ambitions of his genre-devouring pop saga, Haunted Graffiti, but with little in the way of fastidious album-oriented constructions. Rather, Thrash and Burn is a free-form tape ramble that uses gauzy atmospherics to strike up a wicked dialogue with the likes of Rosenberg's non-pop influences like Iannis Xenakis, Pierre Schaeffer and Luc Ferrari. (In particular, Schaeffer's "Symphonie pour un homme seul" seems to get plenty of nods here.)
Thrash and Burn was discovered in 2005, in an ankle-deep pile of cassettes in Rosenberg's Beverly Hills flat. After an initial reconstruction attempt, Thrash and Burn became a 4-cassette box set for the inaugural release of Human Ear Music. Similarity with unreleased HEM archive recordings place Thrash and Burn to between late 1997 and 1999. The Wikipedia page for Thrash and Burn places it in 1998.
Thrash and Burn was remastered in September 2012 in Berlin, Germany. The final master was brought up to 24 bit resolution, prior to being dynamically and tonally balanced on an Apogee Rosetta and two solid-aluminum monoblock amps.
Kiev, Ukraine based prodigy Bruegel, issues a minimalist manifesto for post-lo-fi sound art.
6 Tracks, 17 Minutes
Edition of 500 downloads
+ 250 cassettes
“I was always a devoted listener, and I never thought that someday I would write my own music, in spite of the fact that I was crazy about some melodies that were born in my head. But I tried to make one and I really enjoyed it. I took the name Bruegel, because I like works of Peter Bruegel the Elder. I like the atmosphere and the subjects of his paintings. Also I like how Bruegel is pronounced in German. What about the process of making music? I record some interesting sounds and my piano pieces, make loops and samples from folk music, and mix it with simple audio editors.”
Brief, brooding, understated, and delicately framed, these debut pieces by the gifted 18 year-old Kiev producer, Valeria Sapega, make a compact manifesto for post lo-fi sound art. Bruegel seems to distill cinematic still-images from the cuttingrooms of her contemporaries. But these small pieces have an economy of means that matches classicism with pathos, and recalls turn-of-the-millennium masterpieces from the experimental ambient scene.