INTERVIEW: THE CULT SOUNDS

The Cult Sounds is a band I dscovered somewhat recently and immediatly fell in love with. They make the most wonderfully dark yet dreamy rock music which leaves no question abou their influences and yet manage to carve out their own sound in the process.

Having one self-titled EP along with a string of singles and covers of some classic songs they`ve been off to a great start and is currently working on a full-lenght album taking their sound a few steps further.

I got in touch with Jordan Hagerman, the bands rythm guitarist and inquired as to wether or no they`d be up for a quick chat. Needless to say they most definetly were so read on and learn about this gem of a band.

Who is The Cult Sounds and where did it all start?

The Cult Sounds is a Dark Rock band based out St. Louis, Missouri consisting of Bennett Huntley on Lead Vocals, Ryan McBride on Lead Guitar, Jordan Hageman on Rhythm Guitar/Synths & Programming, Wyatt Eagen on Bass, and Justin Riley on Drums & Percussion

Jordan, Bennett, and Ryan met in 2012 during their freshman year of college at Webster University. We had wanted to do music together before since we all actively listen to vinyl together and go to shows or discover new bands together. The right circumstances and the write demos created the opportunity for The Cult Sounds to exist past just our original inclination of a studio project. 

You`ve released a few covers by Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie and Bauhaus, why did you choose those artists in particular?

Our cover choices usually come from us being interested in seeing what we could do with that song either adding elements, stripping it down, or adopting our style entirely to it. With these 3 – Bela Lugosi’s Dead is usually considered the first Goth song so it seemed like a good place to start for our first release, Rhiannon cams from our love of Fleetwood Mac and the arrangement is a fun take on that classic, and I’m Afraid of Americans came originally as a tongue-in-cheek jab at Americans for the coronavirus handling but ultimately morphed into something else with the murder of George Floyd. 

Is there any symbolism behind the artwork for your self-titled release? it goes really well with the music and adds to the atmosphere.

Not particularly, the cover is more of an art piece Bennett created using a skull Ryan found and gave to him. It inspired all of us when we saw it and it seemed to just make sense with the tone and atmosphere of the music. 

My favourite of yours thus far as to be “Anatomy Of A Car Crash” How did this song come about?

Originally the song came from a car accident Jordan was in coming home from an Alkaline Trio show. There was a desire to capture that anxiety and fear in a song. The main riff fell into place with the structure and the ghostly vocal inflections with the guitar solo section was just too perfect of a way to end it. What really makes that song feel so powerful is Ryan’s solo just cutting through and hanging over like the grim reaper. Ironically enough, not long after the song was finished, our old keyboardist and Bennett were also in a pretty awful crash on their way to rehearsal just before our second show. Lyrically it’s of course a bit of a double-entendre; a literal car crash and a wreck of a human being. The “white lines the dashboard” lyric was inspired by a time Bennett watched a friend snort coke off the dashboard of his car- THAT is the anatomy of a car crash.

What`s your take on current events? Do you think we will learn something from all this and perhaps be witness to the beginning of the end of the corrupted systems of the world or do you think we will simply forget and move on ending up treating this like just another trend?

That’s a pretty tough question. You hope things will change, and I think every time something like this comes around we all think “this is it, this is the moment.” And maybe it is. Hopefully it is. I think we’re heading in the right direction, and I think if we continue to fight we can bring change. But I think that all depends on how much we all commit ourselves to the cause and how long our country’s often incredibly short attention span can hold all this in view.

You`ve been working on a new album recently as well as music videos to accompany it, how far are we from getting to hear some new stuff and does it have a title yet?

The album is called “Death of a Star” and hopefully we can release it in the fall and actually play shows here and on the road to promote it. It’s very near and dear to us. As far as singles go, there should be one coming within the next month or two, hopefully. COVID has somewhat marred a lot of our plans. But we do have a music video in pre-production for one of the singles being handled by the creative/conceptual team behind the short film “Follow Me.” 

How does the new album differ from your current discography?

The album contains 11 songs that each explore our sound. It’s our most dynamic material thus far – containing our heaviest music, our softest music, our fastest, and our slowest. We really let our Dark Rock sound permeate our outside influences of everything from Punk to old Country to Metal to Industrial to Space Rock to everything in between.  We felt more comfortable as a band this time around and really explored ideas and ended up with around 35-40 different songs and ideas we optioned for the record. The songs you hear on the record are the ones that inspired us the most as well as fit the concept we were going with for “Death of a Star” and reflected the themes or ideas therewith-in. 

“Death of a Star” represents a lot of different ideas on the record – some being celebrity worship, fame-chasing, literal death and how unprepared we are for it no matter what we do, death of relationships and connections, and the idea of the death of a dream that was never attainable to begin with. So, clearly it’s a happy record. 

I caught a few of those classic Davey Havok “Oh`”`s in some of your songs so I take it AFI is an influence but who else would you say influences your sound and style?

AFI is absolutely a massive influence on us as a band, particularly Bennett and Jordan but as far as our biggest influences and inspirations musically (that are mutual across the board) we’d have to say David Bowie is in the fabric of everything we do, The Cure, Type O Negative, Bauhaus, Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper, Joy Division, Tribulation, My Chemical Romance, King Diamond, Sisters of Mercy, Ghost, Queens of the Stone Age, Black Sabbath, Alice In Chains, Danzig/Samhain, Nine Inch Nails, The Beatles, The Doors, and Depeche Mode. We listen to so much different music all the time, that we really pull from every decade of music from the 50’s to now. 

Style comes a lot of from the idea of the “rock show” of the 70’s which doesn’t really exist as much anymore. People love music with substance and people love a spectacle and a show – why not give them both? It’s fun for us to dress up, wear makeup, have fog onstage, candles, lights, incense, etc. It gives the audience something to remember and tell others about. This idea is nothing new, obviously, we’re pulling from the masters – Alice Cooper, Ghost, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, David Bowie, and KISS. Regionally, no one in St. Louis does that live show aspect with outfits and makeup so naturally we wanted to do that in a way that would compliment our Gothic aesthetic. 

Why did you name yourself The Cult Sounds?

We’re actually named after a record released by a very small previously-defunct-now-active Australian label called Aberrant. It’s a compilation of recordings from some, let’s say “spiritualists,” such as Anton La Vey, David Koresh, and Heaven’s Gate. You can’t really find the album anywhere and it’s banned from sale on some sites, so if you find an actual copy please let us know.

You`re based in St.Louis right? How`ve you been handling the protests there and how are things right now?

St. Louis is unfortunately fairly segregated and there are hard economic divides within the city, so to see people of all skin colors and walks of life coming together is beautiful. The world needs more love and unification, but, we cannot have any of that while people of color are not truly equal. It’s been 157 years since the Emancipation Proclamation and being white people, we have to be better. There’s no excuse. Racism, political corruption, and police brutality is a disease that must be dealt with. 

As we all know by now live shows have become pretty much extinct for the time being so how are you guys dealing with that? I

Not well – we love seeing bands live and we love playing shows, without that group catharsis and outlet it feels like there’s a huge void in our lives. It’s a scary and sad time. We just hope we can play a show again soon. 

I tend to leave space after each interview for the artists to use for whatever they would like, The Cult Sounds chose to leave the following music reccomendation:

Polterguts, Abraxas, Time and Pressure, Direct Measure, Bellhead, Gary Robert & Community, Reaver, Luxora, Summoning the Lich, and David Bowie. 

Keep up with The Cult Sounds via the following links:

Facebook.com/cultsounds

TheCultSounds.Bandcamp.com

TheCultSoundsOfficial @Instagram

INTERVIEW: TL3SS

The world of modular synthesis is a world of infinite possibilities.

To build your own personalized instrument with the ability to switch out each and every part as you go along you can truly craft your own sound which others will be hard-pressed to replicate.

While modular synthesis might summon either images of what looks like a telephone operator board or endless loops of ambient bleep bloops there is more to the art, something darker and more aggressive.

One of the first such modular artist I came across was TL3SS.

With black and white videos accompanied by the doom and gloom of a voltage controlled apocalypse TL3SS is the antithesis to everything people seem to imagine when they hear the term “Modular”.

I`ve been in touch with him sporadically over the past few months and as I await a cassette version of his debut EP to arrive from the U.S I approached him for an interview.

Let the ritual commence:

Who are you and what do you do?

-I’m TL3SS, and I make dark electronic music with mostly modular synthesizers.

What is TL3SS and how are we meant to pronounce it?

-TL3SS is kind of an accident.  I returned to making music after a long hiatus, and a friend suggested I set up a SoundCloud account so he could listen to a track I was talking about.  When I went to set up the account, all the names I tried to pick were taken, so I picked this as kind of a joke.  At the time I had no idea that people would end up wanting to hear more of my music.  Now I’m kind of stuck with it.  There really isn’t a right way to pronounce it, but I personally pronounce it like the letter “T” and then the word “Less”.

How long have you been working with modular synths and what about the modular initially caught your interest?

-I’ve been working with Modular synths for a little over 3 years now.  I started making music again about 4 years ago, and a Moog Sub-37 was the first synth I picked up.  When I stopped making music years ago, everything was software based, and there were hardly any hardware based synths that I found compelling.  I’m not a huge fan of sitting in front of a computer screen with a mouse trying to make music, so that was part of the reason I quit.  For the next few years I completely ignored anything music production or synthesizer related, and honestly hardly listened to music at all – as I felt the majority of music that I had been hearing before I quit was uninspired and mostly sounded the same – probably due to the prevalence of VST instruments and endless amounts of presets.  There were some gems here and there, but I was mostly disillusioned with the state of music styles that I usually listened to.  Imagine my delight when I started feeling the urge again, and realized that there was a literal golden age of synthesis happening.  There were so many options, and advancements, and they were more accessible than ever before.  I have always been fascinated by modular synths, but back when I was looking at them they were completely unobtainable for me.  As I got back into synthesis, I naturally explored what was available with eurorack and immediately fell deeply in love and fell down the rabbit hole.  I think I watched at least a thousand hours of tutorials for various semi-modular synths and different modules before I made my first purchase.

Your sound is quite different from the usual ambient leaning bleeps and bloops most modular artists produce. Who are your influences and how did you begin to develop this sound?

-I like all kinds of music, but I’ve always been drawn to dark, sad or angry music.  When I first started music a long time ago, I was really heavily into all kinds of Industrial music, as well as some IDM here and there.  For specific artists I’d probably say Leæther Strip, Pain Station, Nine Inch Nails, Front Line Assembly, Scorn, Cabaret Voltaire, Dead Voices on Air, Numb, Gridlock, Dive, Ministry, Klinik, Nurse With Wound, Coil, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Autechre.  I also really enjoy listening to post-punk and goth music as well.  I think my sound naturally developed as an extension of wanting to make what I wanted to hear.

You`ve done some demos for Noise Engineering in the past, what`s your relationship with the NE team and what about their modules specifically do you find so attractive?

-I haven’t actually done any official demos for Noise Engineering – I did do a guest post for their blog, however.  It was about how much I love various types of distortion and some of the techniques I use.  It’s just a friendly relationship – I really love the instruments they make, and they seem to appreciate the nasty sounds I make with them.  I’ve gotten to know them a little bit and they’re really great people, and I want them to continue to be successful and keep making awesome modules for me to use.  I was initially attracted to their modules for a variety of reasons – basically everything.  I loved the company name immediately, and as I dug deeper into what they had to offer I found that I loved the sound of their oscillator modules, and their approach to utility modules.  I also really connected to the visual aesthetic they use, and really enjoyed the naming conventions they use as well.

Modular synthesis allows for quite a vast amount of experimentation, improvisation and just stumbling across greatness on the road to who knows where. Would you say you have a technique for approaching the instrument or do you just kinda go with the flow and let it carry you away?

-It depends, sometimes I set out with a specific goal in mind (which usually ends up sounding NOTHING like I had in mind), and other times I’ll be away from my modular and realize “you know, I haven’t ever tried plugging X into Y – I need to try that when I get home”.  Other times I get a craving to hear a particular module and so will just start patching with it and see where things end up.

I believe I saw you say somewhere you wouldn’t be too comfortable with the idea of live performances due to shyness. How does this affect you now as you`re starting to gain some traction and people in the community know your work?

-It’s a question I get asked more and more frequently.  Part of it is that I am a perfectionist when it comes to performance, and I feel that modular by default is not a perfect performance tool.  Trying to recreate something you have patched up at home is difficult to do at home, let alone performing.  We will see what the future holds, I’m not ruling it out – but for now I’m content to focus on recording as opposed to preparing for live performances.

What would you recommend to someone looking to get started in modular as far as gear and just general advice?

-Use the resources that are available to you.  There is a wealth of knowledge out there on various forums and youtube channels.  Educate yourself before you jump in and spend tons of money.  The way I approached it was learning about the various semi-modular synths that were available and picking one based on what I felt sounded the best to me.   From there you’ll experiment and some of the concepts will begin to click, and you’ll hit a point where you feel limited with just the semi-modular and you’ll want to expand to do something that’s impossible currently.

You`ve released three EP`s thus far. Are we gonna be seeing a fourth one anytime soon or perhaps a full album?

-I have a single with some remixes releasing later this month on Errorgrid Records.  I plan to release another EP later this year.  I’ve thought about doing a full album, but for the moment I’m enjoying the EP approach.

The space below is yours to use for whatever you desire, promote anything or anyone you can think of or just leave a quote for the readers to ponder on.
I’m really thrilled to be a part of the Errorgrid roster.  I think there’s going to be some amazing music coming out in the next few months.  It’s very exciting.

Keep up with TL3SS at the following sites:

TL3SS @ Instagram

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheMonthsbehind

https://tl3ss.bandcamp.com/

ErrorGrid @ Instagram

Errorgridrec.com

Ovation To The Female Pioneers Of Electronic Music

Being a musician or just a fan of music it`s quite common to want to learn about your favourite artists and genres. Where did it come from? What did it mean? Who did it first? Such questions will always spark often very passionate discussions or straight up arguments.

These days when theres more focus on feminism and equality, or rather equity. We see articles about representation of women and people of colour, transgendered people and more within the various subcultures we`ve all come to love.

And yet, I rarely see much talk about the female pioneers of electronic music. Surely if youve looked into the history of synthesizers and electronic music youve come across names such as Don Buchla and Bob Moog who both deserve all the credit and praise in the world for their inventions but there is a vast amount of women who worked within this genre, shaping and forming it into what it has become and that`s who I want to shine a light on within this article.

I want to start this off with someone who I believe might be a little more well known, at least compared to the other women I will be highlighting here, I also want to say that this is by no means a comprehensive list or to say that only the people in this articles contributions mattered, this is but a sliver of the history of pioneering women in electronic music.

Wendy Carlos, who is still with us today although some people seem to be under the impression that she`s dead, is perhaps most famous for creating the score for movies such as The Shining and A Clockwork Orange.

Wendy, born Walter, Carlos, is originally from Rhode Island but met Bob Moog while attending Columbia Universety during the early 60s.

She acted as advisor and offered technical assistance for the creation of the first Moog synthesizer which she herself would later go on to use for the creation of jingles and sound effects to be used in TV advertisements.

Fun fact: It was Wendy who made the suggestion to Bob Moog of adding touch-sensitive keys as opposed to the knobs and wires of early synthesizer.

Her career truly began however by recording the album that became known as “Switched On Bach” in 1968. The album consisted of several pieces written by composer Johan Sebastian Bach written by Wendy entirely on an early Moog synth and actually went on to become a commerial success and helped along the process of the synthesizer being seen as a musical instrument as opposed to just a random noise box.

So where is she today? As I mentioned she is indeed still with us although she has retreated from the spotlight, refusing interviews, her website hasn`t been updated since circa 2009 and she won`t even confirm her whereabouts.

Finding her music can be quite a task as well aside from of course the soundtracks she provided for The Shining, Tron and A Clockwork Orange, even in these modern times of the internet. In fact her only form of appearing in public has been in the form of lawsuits to remove her compostions used without consent in a variety of Youtube videos.

As far as we are aware she hasn`t released anything new since 1998s “Tales Of Heaven And Hell”

Her choice to remain underground is absoloutely well deserved, she brought a revolution that changed music forever and while I could certainly go on and write some sort of biography I hope the information provided here may spark some interest leading you to do your own research.

DAPHNE ORAM

Let me introduce you to Daphne Oram, a woman who`s success was prophesized by a supposed medium at age 17.

Wether the medium was truly in contact with the other side or not didn`t seem to have much effect on Daphnes father who based on the predictions allowed his daughter to put nurse training on hold in favour of pursuing a career in music. Daphne herself had ideas which we could certainly classify as mysticism and perhaps that too is a bi product of her early experience with a medium?

She was offered a place at Royal Collage Of Music in England when she was only 18 although she turned it down to work for the BBC where after just a few years she began work to set up a studio to create electronic sound effects as well as music.

Painted waveshapes for the Oramics Machine

The earliest form of electronic music came as tape manipulation, something Daphne saw great potential in right from the beginning.

During the early 50s she wrote that just as how cameras and film could “explode time and space” in telling stories, tapes and microphones could do the same for music.

She began experimenting with tape, slowing it down, speeding it up, layering and splicing them together. This was a practice which was seen as quite radical for it`s time and definetly belonging to the avant-garde scene.

While in most European countries such experimentation was government funded , in the UK this was out of the question and especially so when coming from a young woman, but Daphne had conviction and didnt give up that easily. She eventually convinced the BBC to let her set up what became known as the Radiophonic Workshop although it wasnt exactly filled with money nor was it given the best, up to date or even new equipment she made due with what she had untill she quit after being told they were worried about the effects radiophonic signals may have on the human body, of course, this was not a worry that extended towards her male collegues.

She eventuallly created her own studio and went on to compose music from tape manipulation which later on was heard at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as well as a commision piece for the Royal Academy Of The Arts.

There`s even stories of people such as Mick Jagger or The Beatles coming to see her, asking for her contribution on their albums only to be turned down, something Daphne very simply justified by saying it wasn`t her type of thing and that is a great example of her as a person, she was a stubborn, headstrong woman filled to the brim with conviction which are all of course traits that would be considered “bad” for a woman of her times to posess but regardless I applaud her and so should you.

Before we move on to our next queen of synthesis we must discusss the Oramics machine, Daphne`s own invention.

After having seen an oscilloscope, a device which shows the shape of a sound, what most of us may know better as a waveshape. Daphne thought about reversing this processs so you create an image and based on it`s shape you will get a sound. She was essentially drawing her own sounds.

This could be seen as a prototype of the sequencer as this method allowed Daphne to determine the speed and pitch by the form of her drawings as well as vibrato, timbre etc.

Daphne viewed this form of composing as something quite organic and human rather than the product of machines which is very much in line with the ideas of west coast synthesis pioneer Don Buchla which I only mention to draw parallels, Daphne saw music as a whole as an inherent part of humans, she was inspired by the fact that we are at our core a collection of vibrating, noisy atoms, to use a quote from Daphne herself; “Sound is at the core of who we are”.

If you`re finding yourself becoming increasingly fascinated by this woman I reccomend you get a hold of a copy of her book “An Individual Note Of Music, Sound And Electronics” where she not only explains the functionality of electronic circuits but also draws interesting analogies between circuits and the human body and mind.

DELIA DERBYSHIRE

The next High Priestess Of Electronic Audio Manipulation I want to introduce you is someone who`s creation you may very well already have heard at least one rendition of without even knowing it!

Her name is Delia Derbyshire and she is the one to thank for the eerie sounds which has opened every single episode of Doctor Who from it`s first episode all the way up to whichever season is currently running.

Delia here has a direct connection to our previous Lady Ov Circuit Magick as she worked out of the BBC`s Radiophonic Workshop created by Daphne Oram.

Delia was known to be quite stubborn, in fact that may be what got her a job at the Workshop. You see, people were assigned to work there rather than being able to apply for a job there but Delia, after trying out a few other jobs and whatnot all related to sound, decided that this is where she wanted to work and lo and behold; not long after making this known she did indeed end up working there and stayed on for 11 years by which point she had contributed hundreds of compositions for both radio and TV programmes.

One of her first and most well-known compositions is the opening music for Doctor Who. This piece was written by Ron Grainer which brought it to Delia for her to interpret electronically. To be clear, Ron Grainer had not recorded the actual music, at this point the song was but notes on a piece of paper for Delia to work with, something I`m sure she was no stranger to as she played piano from the age of eight.

At this point in history electronic music was but a fetus, there was no other TV show with electronic music as its theme song so I imagine if you`d be flipping through the few channels you might have had during that time to suddenly hear the wailing sounds of the Doctor Who opening it might very well be a frightening experience sure to haunt you for a very long time

The first time she played it for Ron Grainer he was so shocked by what he heard he was in disbelief over the fact that he had written this, so much so that he had to ask Delia for confirmation, to which she replied “Most of it”.

Ron tried to have Delias efforts be credited as one should but unfortunatly the BBC prevented him from doing so as they prefered the workers of the Radiophonic Workshop to remain anonymous and all compositions to be seen as a product of the group rather than one singular person.

Due to this decision Delia didnt receive the on-screen credit she deserved untilll the 50th anniversary episode of the show. Her original arrangement was the shows theme song for the first seventeen seasons, after which a variety of different versions came along without Delias approval, in fact she had quite the negative reaction to this and the only version she approved of was her own, which honestly, I cant blame her. Having read about her and watched whatever video footage I could find of her and learning just how much of a perfenctionist and how stubborn this woman was I`m surprised they ever had the balls to change it up in the first place.

After Delia`s death several hundred recordings of her were discovered in her attic although due to various copyright issues none of these have been released. I certainly hope the legalities of it all can be swiftly taken care so we can hear more of this womans creations and further push her name out there for people to discover.

I leave you with this short documentary on her for your viewing and learning pleasure.

ELIANE RADIGUE

Pioneering, groundbreaking women are found all over the world, not just in England and the U.S. So let me introduce to Eliane Radigue from France.

Now, I could be wrong of course but I feel like out of the ones we`ve talked about so far, Eliane might be the one I hear about the least so I hope that by including her here some day someone might stumble across this little article and be exposed to her as well as the other wonderful women mentioned here.

Eliane studied under Pierre Schaefer, the father of Musique Concrëte. As she started discovering her own sound Schaeffer as well as her other mentor Pierre Henry felt she strayed from their ideals by her use of droning microphone feedback and tape loops.

She received her training on Musique Concrète via tape loops which she foud to be an eye opening experience discovering that any tiny fraction of sound can indeed be musicial in some way or another.

During the 60s she began experimenting with tape loop feedback and developed a fascination for music containing minimal development over a longer period of time ; In other words, she may very well be the mother of Drone.

During the 70s she experimented on a Buchla synthesizer as well as Moog before landing on the ARP 2600. Her goal was to create slow unfolding music more comparative to the minimalist scene of New York at the time rather than the Musique Concrète techniques exhibited by her fellow frenchmen.She used the ARP 2600s exclusively for the next 25 years.

In 1974 she released her first piece of music “Adonis I” which caught the attention of a group of french music students who suggested she look into Tibetan Buddhism as they saw parallels between her music and meditation.

She followed their suggestion and ended up devoting the next three years of life studying and learning under her guru who every now and then sent her back to her music allowing her to release “Adonis II” in 1979 and “Adonis III” in 1980.

During the late 80s and early 90s she devoted most of her creative time to a three hour long composition entitled “Trilogies De La Mort” inspired by the Tibetan book of the dead as well as being a sonic interpretation of the six states of conciousnes.

Now, at the start of this presentation about Eliane you may remember I said that I feel as if out of all the women mentioned thus far she is the least known, regardless she did receive an award in 2006 and is still alive today so there is certaily still time.

ELSE MARIE PADE

Continuing with pioneers from Europe the next great woman I want to talk about is Denmark`s Else Marie Pade.

While refering to the music of all these women as otherworldly wouldn`t be so strange there are some cases where it can be applied in a sense that doesn`t just refer to the sounds themselves but also their reason for existing, Daphne Oram is definetly an example of this and so is Else.

You see, Else spent a great part of her life bedridden due to illness, specifically kidney inflammation. She used to lay in bed and listen to the outside world, creating aural images from these sounds which would later on heavily influence her work.

She was the first danish composer of electronic music starting out in 1954 as well as being a student of Pierre Schaeffer and his Musique Concrète whom she collaborated with along with other electronic music icons such as Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Else was not just a great electronic pioneer, she was also part of the Danish Resistance which she was introduced to by her piano teacher, so much so that one day while walking past a line of German soldiers she spat in the face of one of them who then ran after her but failed to capture her as Else knew the city better than him and thus had no issue escaping through alleyways.

She was trained in the use of weapons and explosives, she distributed illegal newspapers, and got involved in a plan to identify phone wires which would be blown up at the arrival of the British invasion so that the Germans couldn`t make use of the phone lines. However she was eventually arrested by Gestappo and legend says she saw a flashing star from her prison cell window which made her feel music playing inside herself, she then scratched the notes for this music on the wall of her cell with a buckle from her girdle and the song later became “You and I And The Stars” or “Du og jeg og stjernerne” as it would be called in Danish.

After being sent to a different prison she began composing, holding concerts for gatherings of other prisoners, some of which also provided musical entertainment to try to keep their spirits up despite their dire circumstances.

Once the war ended and she was released from prison she discovered Pierre Scaheffer who she managed to get in touch with via some French family. She recognized something in his music which resonated with her earlier aural images made from ideas birthed by sounds she heard outside as she was forced to stay in bed due to disease.

She composed the piece “A Day At Dyrehavsbakken” and it became Denmarks first electronic piece of music.

Else Marie Pade in what is presumably her home

SUZANNE CIANI

As we have reached the end of this little history lesson we turn our heads back towards America and more specifically to Suzanne Ciani who much like Wendy Carlos might be some of the more well known names on this list but is still deserving of praise.

Suzanne is dubbed the first female synth hero of America and has even been nominated for five grammies.

Originally from Massachusets she ended up in California to study in pursuit of a masters degree at the Berkley Universety where she met Don Buchla during her first year who she would end up working for after graduating in order to save up money to buy a Buchla synthesizer for her self.

Considering she felt as if shipping of her own children whenever a synthesizer was built, finished and sent to the buyer it`s clear she had quite an affinity for this particular instrument early on. Although she did try out a few different jobs such as a failed furniture company she eventually returned to Los Angeles during the early 70s to focus on music and released her debut album in 1970 with only 50 copies being made of the original pressing.

Voices Of Packaged Souls [1970]

In the mid-70s Suzanne headed to New York with nothing but a bag of clothes and her synth, she would spend up to nineteen years in the city performing at the Bonino Gallery as a solo artist as well as becoming a session musician. She couldnt however make a steady income and at one point refered to herself as being "homeless and happy" but soon she would begin composing jingles for companies such as Coca-Cola, so if you`ve ever seen a commercial and heard the sound of the bottle opening then you have heard Suzanne`s sound design.

She also worked on a disco version of a Star Wars soundtrack as well as scoring an experimental documentary about Mother Theresa in the 80s.

Durng the early 90s Suzanne was battling breast cancer but thankfully she made it through and is still with us here today, during the period of the illness the relocated to California where she still remains and you can now find several interviews, speeches and of course performances by her on Youtube and other places around the web.

Suzane Ciani performing at Elevation 1049 in Gstaad

In June of 2019 an unreleased album recorded in 1969 named “Flowers Of Evil” was released at last which features a recital of the poem “Elevation” by Charles Baudelaire with Suzanne performing on a Buchla synthesizer, I will leave a link to that below as well as other interesting footage of her for your enjoyment.

REVIEW: WWITHOUT – ANGEL WINGS ARE A TREND

Wwithout is a project by Sounds & Shadows contributor Hunter who`s been releasing music consistently since 2015.

Stylistically WWITHOUT explores a variety of genres but it is always WWITHOUT wether it be a trap album or experimental borderline avant garde sound design.

Angel Wings Are A Trend, released in July of 2017 is coincidentally one of my favourites albums from this project.

The album consists of rather short tracks with the longest clocking in at one minute and forty-six seconds. This is by no means a complaint as I listen to a lot of old school punk bands which of course are notorious for short songs.

The album as a whole feels like just that, whole.

Not to say it lacks variety, rather that each track feels like a continuation of the last, weaving it all together until the crescendo “Hatred Spiral Pirouette (Reprise)” ties it all off with a classic trap drumbeat with layers of sound textures played in reverse, a technique I often employ myself.

But let`s start at the beginning shall we?

Opening track “Succumb To The Pressure” begins with what sounds like a traditional music box played backwards along melodic yet quite sombre sounding choir voices as a down tempo beat guides us to the quick end.

It sets the tone and the mood of defeat and the feeling of just having given up and lost it all. I`m not sure rather this is a good thing or not keeping the artists best interest in mind but I digress.

Omni//Vore Feitsh” captures desperation and the last remains of hope in just forty-six seconds with what feels like a natural continuation given the previous tracks sonic mood.

Never6Been6Kissed6” makes me wonder what I may discover by running these tracks through a reversal effect resulting in having whatever sounds may be there playing forwards.

The first traditinal vocals appear during trap song “Hatred Spiral Pirouette” along with a steady beat and haunted voices of what could very well be dead children roaming through an abandoned 19th century asylum.

Apolegetic Seizure” further explores the over all sound design of the album and is thus far a strong contender to be my favorite of the bunch with it`s moody chants, slow beat and what sounds like a loop of someone screaming while still having the common courtesy of not waking up the neighborhood.

And thus we arrive at the previously mentioned “Reprise” and the end of our short yet enjoyable journey through the haunted halls of WWITHOUT.

While trap and any derivative of rap/hip-hop is foreign territory to someone like me who grew up with punk and metal I`m left pleasently surprised by the intriguing sounds contained within this album.

Listen here: https://wwithout.bandcamp.com/album/angel-wings-are-a-trend

Keep up with Hunter here: https://www.facebook.com/wwwithout/

SWANSECT MANIFESTO: AN INSTRUCTIONAL MANUAL FOR DIY IN PRAXIS

This manifesto will provide you with all you`ll need to bring back those DIY ethics you like to spew forth on your social media. I will guide you, step by step to the best of my abilities from what to use, how to use it, where to find the tools to do it and of course; for as cheap as possible.

Id like to point out that I will be writing this with American conveniency in mind so places such as Walmart forexample may be mentioned, lets bear in mind also that this is not my home country, I`m from Norway, so if you happen to know places that carry cheaper alternative feel free to let me know.


In current times technology is seemigly taking over everything, art included.
This can have major benefits as far as promotion and such matters are concerned for both bigger and smaller artists of any media.
We can easily let people all over the world know about our newly released single, show them our newest painting or whatever you may have created.

You can even manifest such creations digitially and this is where my problem lies.

While Im not entirely anti digital art, wether that be music or otherwise I do feel that certain genres maybe would be better off without its involvement, at least to the extent that it`s come to.

Im well aware that theres plenty of underground bands of all sorts of alternative based “scenes” that still incorporate a more hand made way of doing things but I`m afraid they are outnumbered.

Im a bit reluctanct to say it but to be crystal clear I am specifically focusing on the alternative scene here so if youre making art that may be more mainstream in comparison I`m not talking to you, you can go ahead and do what you do.

The reason for all this is that as we all know, or I hope we do at least, is that any form of alternative scene has always acted as a form of rebellion, a reaction against the mainstream and their ways. Wether that reaction is politically driven or not isnt of any immediate relevancy here. The point is that its always a reaction, sometimes it`s the more juvenile, angst filled teenage rebellion and other times it bears more substances but it is a reaction and a rebellion nonetheless.

Of course we could also mention that at the time that these things originated it was mainly comprised of younger people with less access than they would`ve had today and less money , if any at all, to do things differently. I believe the saying “Necessety is the mother of invention” bears a great truth and surely it could be applied to out example. I feel that limiting yourself can, in many ways, make you more creative. I do wish more people would try it, if only once.

This “scene”, a word I seldomly use, was forged by guys and girls with fire in their eyes, passion flowing fervently through their veins. They used what they had to get what they needed and where they wanted to go. There was no photoshop, no CD duplication website or really any convenient way for a newly started band to do anything at all. And so they were left with sticks of glue, some old scissors and a few magazines.

I truly wish the DIY ethics wernt dying out but the conveniency of simply putting a few things together in a DAW or a photo editing software if killing the old ways and in the process it seems to also blur the lines a bit between alternative and mainstream, there are times I wouldnt be able to tell the difference between an album cover by an alternative act or a more mainstream one as they`re all crated with the same tools, stripping the alternative one of its identiy and becoming just another grey and faceless item in the sea of other grey and faceless items..

I do , as you can tell have alot to say about this topic and I could go on but let`s just delve right into the main section shall we?

Let`s start with physical media, cassette tapes to be specific..

Tapes are making a small scale comeback, more so in the alternative scene and I suppose specifically in (old school inspired) industrial , noise and punk esque genres. However that doesn`t mean you have to create boring 56 minute long microwave sounds to release your music on tape.

I suggest taking a trip to Walmart where you`ll find a two pack of blank 90 minute cassette tapes for less than $5 and a tape recorded for under $20.

All youll need is an AUX cord to plug into your laptop from your tape recorder, load a blank cassette, hit the record button on the recorder and click play on whatever it is youd want to put on the tape. Simple right? and cheap.

Now, of course you could take the easier route and duplicate the tape via various websites for a fee but I feel it`s more genuine and financially bearable for smaller acts to just repeat this process untill you have your desired number of tapes.

Most blank tapes includes a sleeve for you to write your tracklist and such on but in case you`d like to take this a step further follow me onto the next suggestion.

Artwork.

I know that this may be an aesthtic that not everyone is into and maybe you feel it doesnt accurately portray you and your art, thats fine, you don`t need to do the cut and paste collage thing. You can paint, draw, find , purchase or borrow various items, arrange them how you want and simply photograph it. The possibilites are endless!

But because this is my main media it will be the focus.

Try hitting up thrift stores for old books, magazines and the like, maybe get some from a friend or if need be; print out something you found online.

Get your scissors out and start cutting out letters, faces, limbs, whatever you feel like and glue it all together however you`d like.

Once you`re done you could either photograph it in some decent lightin or scan it and print out on some nice , glossy photo paper.

This section includes tools most people have laying around or generally know where to go to purchase or alternatively borrow them so I dont believe its necesary for me to tell you.

Let`s say you chose to scan your picture and print it out.

Print the image to a size closest to what would fit in the cassette`s cover. if your printer allows it try to get two or three images per paper to save paper and ink.

If you don`t have a printer yourself, ask a friend or check out your local library.

Staplers also has self printing services which costs next to nothing to use.

Once you have it printed cut exces paper and place it in the cover and youve got yourself a 100% self created tape release. Feel free to hand number them or add a small second piece of paper with a tracklist or any other information about the release youd like to include.

Stickers:

To make your own stickers, simply buy some shipping label printing paper from Walmart or anywhere else that sells such things. I advise you to get the brand Avery if possible as their labels are compatable with the free design software of the same name. The software requires no download or signing up, you simply go on the web site, choos the specific template you got and off you go!

Make sure the size is correct, place the paper in your printer with the label side up and hit the print button. Voila! You\ve made your own stickers and saved a little money in the process.

You can again use a library or Staplers for printing if you don`t own a printer.

T-shirts, Hoodies etc:

Let`s go back to the thrift store!

Find some simple, single cloured shirts of your choice and then head over to Jo Ann`s , Michaels or any other craft store you have in your area.

Purchase some stencils, an exacto knife and either textile spray, paint or marker in whichever colour ( s ) you`d like.

Place the stencil over the image youd want on your merchandise just copy it.

An alternative to the stencil papers are baking papers although they may be too thin although it depends on what you`re tryint to do of course.

Once you`ve cut your stenciled image out place it on your shirt, patch canvas etc and fill it in with spray, paint or a marker. You may want to glue down the stenclic to prevent it from moving around too much.

ps: if patches is what you`re after, simply use the sleeves from a shirt you cut up or purchase whatever material you want from a thrift or craft store.

If making shirts make sure to put a piece of cardboard, an old book or whatever you have at hand inside the shirt to prevent the marker/spray/paint from bleeding through onto the backside of the shirt.

A second part is in the making where we`ll go in-depth about topics such as sampling, field recordings and the art of Musique Concrète as pioneered by Pierre Schaeffer who I reccomend you look up and learn about.