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Mixed by Blindhæð, nov 2013 @ 4amperStudio
A Closer Listen is about putting more attention into what we do, being more mindful. Listening more closely, contemplating more deeply, giving longer more careful consideration, and engaging more fully. Our reviews are often very long, a bit of protest in the age of ubiquitous 90 word music reviews.
Likewise, the music we tend to find interesting often requires a bit more effort, and can be challenging, even off putting to some who are content in the world of lazy consumption. We’re not out to convert everyone, we know that this is a niche, and one we embrace out of love, but as such we extend that love into everything we do. We try to be honest and friendly in all our dealings. In that spirit, we’re offering you here a 3 hour beast of a mix made by a kindred spirit, with a title that’s practically a tweet in itself. Stick with it, you’ll be glad you did.
The creator of this mix is Sylvain, of the label ini.itu. I first came across the label in 2012 when they released a wonderful record by steve roden, who was the subject of a very long extended conversation in part of my Sound Propositions column. What drives that feature is my interest in creativity and aesthetic systems, a belief that what makes a work compelling isn’t a mastery of virtuosic techniques or forms or tools, but a liberated aesthetic vision that reflects an underlying philosophy. A kind of “punk” ethos, an embrace of confident amateurism. I knew that Sylvain would share these concerns based on the material on his label, and we began a correspondence following the publication of my conversation with steve earlier this year.
ini.itu means [this,here].[that,there] in indonesian.
They’ve released records by Mutamassik, Francisco Lopez, David Ross & Clive Bell, and others. Their releases are vinyl only, limited to 250 pieces with a no reprint policy. They don’t do this to stoke vinyl speculators, but because ini.itu is a labour of love, and they don’t have the resources to do more. But also there is an aesthetic choice at work. Sylvain says «Vinyl needs time, needs attention, reminds you of things being fragile and not endless. also, they have flaws. cracks. pops. surface noise. we don’t press audiophile or 300g, so our release have those unwanted things. that makes one think sometimes. Finitude is a part of the human experience. » Wary of speculators, Sylvain is still willing to entertain the idea of a trade, if you write him nicely and make a compelling offer. That’s all to say, Sylvain is a really nice, thoughtful guy, and it is our honor to present his mix here for you all.
And oh, one last thing. The label is based in Schaerbeek, Belgium, a city near Brussells, and is called both « the city of cherries » and « the city of donkeys. » Are these things related ? Email Sylvain to find out. firstname.lastname@example.org
Please introduce yourself and the label.
ini.itu was started in 2008, the very first thought and impulse about it was that i might be a good idea to stimulate the musical exchanges between South-East Asia and Western approaches to music, either under the form of collaborations, use of field-recordings, or instruments. We were also at the time very much into drone and collage experiments, so that option was open from the beginning. After a few years we realize we were mostly successful in some sort of deterritorialisation of these instruments and recordings in Western ways. Still in the pipeline are some collaborations or projects with friends, mostly from Indonesia, to release their own recordings on ini.itu. I am not hoping now to bring “new forms” there, especially since i read Anselm Kiefer unfolding the views on universalisation of Hegel and its deep influence on Western thought, including the worst. I’m also not nostalgic, not trying to preserve old forms, or interested in how the future should look like. We just want to promote free music, music that doesn’t care about how it should sound like to be fashionable. experimental while still being enjoyable.
history : false start around 2001 with a short-lived CD-R label ; maturation period after that, accumulating layers of influences from Mystery Sea ( great CD-R label, with a unique focus ), Drone Records ( certainly for the vinyl-only choice ), UltraEczema ( for the visual unity and diversity ), Ruidemos, Korm Plastics. Prior to that, lots of listening from my closest punk neighbour ( Crass ! Bérurier Noir ! ), discovering various waves of industrial music at the mediatheque ( with a fixation on Neubauten, Foetus, Coil), taped albums, taped radio sessions. Lots of experiments as a musician with lo-fi solutions. Then later other genres : electronica through the rougher edge with Autechre (Envil Vapre) and AFX (Ventolin) and then Mille Plateaux, Supposé, Sub Rosa, jazz with Naked City and Masada, Painkillers, Electro-acoustic stuff with Metamkine “Cinéma pour l’oreille”. Having then family in Indonesia and starting something new in 2008, with a try-out by Blindhaed which is our recording name.
What new releases can we keep an eye out for ?
Yannick Dauby “Wa Jie Meng Xu” : wonderful work merging field-recordings of frogs and analog synthesizers. it just started after seeing a post with his improvisation on social medias. it was a great time working on that release, the images and ideas seemed to flow very naturally. Yannick is very talented and i hope he’ll get more opportunities to play his pieces soon.
Anaphoria ( Kraig Grady ) “Escarpments” : this will be our second release from him – these compositions are equally complex and soothing. At first you might think it’s very minimal, but once you really listen very closely it’s getting really tricky.
David Ross & Clive Bell “Recovery Suite” : named after a period where David Ross was indeed recovering from an injury, this record is quite unique, it has sometimes an improv feeling, but with shakuhachi and modulars it’s a very unusual match. the moods painted on this are very broad, varied, taking you through many states.
Anla Courtis “Cassetopia” : this one is a pre-Reynols record, and it doesnt sound dated at all. at the border of the internet days it has a very strong identity. It’s also moving us a bit further than the “just indonesian” tag.
So this mix is pretty massive. What’s it about ? Can you explain the context, the theme a bit ?
i wanted to showcase all our records in one place, with excerpts from each, and then add some roots and branches. I put some .O.Rang there, because we owe them much : the dot in ini.itu and the idea to get in the woods to get some strange animals out of there. in the branches some of our friends : Aymeric de Tapol, Tzii, Martiens Go Home, Mystery Sea stuff. And then also some other people whose work we admire and who maybe one day will want to release stuff with us. The whole is built like a Blindhaed composition : layers, and association by sound, just like Asmus Tietchens taught us to do.
There is no unique theme to it, it’s more like a journey, at some point maybe to the heart of darkness, at other points to the light ?
Final thoughts ?
If you want to get a download link to this mix, just subscribe to the ini.itu newsletter and you’ll get the link in the next one 🙂 we deliver 4 times a year, no bullshit. ->>> http://www.iniitu.net/mail.htm
an old interview is available here :
and FAQ here:
and finally, texts i wrote for never-published or not-yet-published maybe, or not interviews, from around 2011 :
[poor translation from the original french my fault –JS]
Why vinyl ?
We are not fetishists at all ( we have many CDs as well, and we recognize its superior audio quality and easiness of use ), but because it creates a world in itself, it has an impact on the “stimmung” of playing records : you have to pay attention, it’s fragile, it’s not perfect… We somehow like these constraints.
What is your vision of today’s music market ?
The situation is more chaotic, and given all the variables in place, it seems very difficult to predict the future . Anyway , it is clear that the development of the Internet in particular and computer science in general played a role in its destabilization and mutation: both give us a number of interesting musical experiences, partly because of the availability of powerful tools , but they may also run the risk of homogeneity , due to use of too basic tools. On the other hand there is a gargantuan saturation offering listening opportunities, but very unevenly and lacking a critical apparatus to navigate. Finally, digitization and the total lack of regulation of content delivery on the net – both driven by an ideology that desires to be libertarian and anti- capitalist and paradoxically disadvantage artists especially, ideology colluded with the technique, without much questioning over the long term … “If it is possible, it is reasonable to do so ” … this has led to the almost complete devastation of the musical trade as it had developed until the early 2000s, and still maintained – despite many excesses – some musical culture. Some rejoice can be … I regret the loss of many record stores playing a role of smugglers, experts , critics, and the disappearance of large retailers that made affordable export albums. Currently everything is done on a micro- scale , with more and more niches … smaller labels like ini.itu also mean a form of de-professionalization of the medium, I am the first to admit it. We can not at present, it is difficult to live in a musical activity, as an artist, label, record store or cultural organization. Those who can are still exceptions. This is the price of this mutation. As for what it will in 10 or 20 years , I expect to see ….
Why do you think vinyl raises such a craze lately?
there are both good and bad reasons.
The wrong reasons: there is a form of fashion, but it is really not so massive as some journalists would have us believe. But it joins a careful reversal of the major labels that there was a scent of vinyl application that arises , of a possible payday, and so they calmly hand vinyl to the industry agenda.
For me, the best reason to defend the vinyl is that it is an object on a human scale: it takes a certain place , without being too bulky or instead exchange in itself an idea of miniaturization or gain of space. It ages well, I love how the covers are damaged by time, showing that they have been manipulated, that wear is inevitable. Unlike CDs’ plastic housing , the cardboard sleeve has an aesthetic of aging, which is not the pace of industrial waste of plastic casing…. scratched, clawed, clouded. we can understand what ‘wabi sabi ‘ means with a vinyl, not a CD or an MP3 . Vinyl’s great imperfection also extends to noise: I’m not part of those who claim that its quality is superior: on the audio level it is clear that CD will be a faithful reproduction of the master, likewise for experimental music. Anyway, the transition to the vinyl alters its size , can not reproduce portions of the very low volume, or similarly over-saturated frequencies. I accept this change as part of the creative process and I admit that the idea of “reproducing the image of what the creator has made ” does not interest me at all. For a long time I listened to nth generation cassettes, without qualms. Vinyl creates a distance between the master that was used to make it, and any reproduction that are tried from it. In short, it is not reproduced identically . The fact that there is a significant cost to manufacture , and relative cost to buy take a limit. I can not squeeze all the interesting proposals that made the label, I have to choose . I can not buy all interesting vinyls coming out . In short , it returns me to my finitude ! It also requires that we listen to certain conditions most often at home. We must stop him , take the time to handle it, return it after listening to one side , take care . Attention to listening and time is aroused. It seems capital.
A message for our readers?
In the confusion, it’s difficult to capture the right message. I repeat, therefore, the 3rd Board rabbi from the Cohen brothers’ A Serious Man:
“Be a good boy.”
Team of Jeremy Roht – West Dawson – Yukon-Territory, track 25 [Supposé], 0:00
Morgan Craft, Oxford [Circle of Light Records], 1:12
Amelia Cuni & Werner Durand, Wavering Twilight [ini.itu], 4:00
Taylor Deupree, Shoals [12k], 6:52
.O.Rang, All Change [Echo], 9:15
Blindhæð, Torajah Trax [unreleased], 10:43
Anaphoria, Zephyros [ini.itu], 11:58
Rosy Parlane, Jessamine Part One [Touch], 19:51
Bernhard Günter, Particles/Waves (for Steve Roden) [trente oiseaux], 24:13
Francisco López, Untitled #228 side II [ini.itu], 26:44
Freiband feat. Budi Dalton, Stainless Steel Extension [KormDigitaal] 36:28
Freiband, Stainless (Software) [ini.itu], 40:24
Martiens Go Home, Ardenne Zizanie pt1 [Tanuki Records], 44:46
Gamelan Son of Lion, Halloween [GSOL Records], 48:26
Morgan Craft, Detail [Circle of Light Records], 54:00
.O.Rang, Little Brother [Echo], 56:31
Twinkle³, Home Planetarium (alternative version) [ini.itu] , 1:05:03
Gamelan Son of Lion, Sonnet XV [GSOL Records], 1:10:37
Blindhæð, Night Buzzer [unreleased], 1:12:15
Anla Courtis, Cassetopia Yi [ini.itu], 1:13:45
Hitoshi Kojo, Star Grazing [Omnimemento], 1:16:27
Ea, Öl part 2 [Mystery Sea], 1:19:50
Twinkle³, Scintilla (alternative version) [ini.itu], 1:22:09
Ida Laila, Bunga Dahlia [unknown], 1:29:50
Anla Courtis, Cassetopia Shiyi [ini.itu], 1:35:09
Mutamassik, Rekkez [ini.itu], 1:35:41
Anla Courtis, Cassetopia Jiu [ini.itu] ,1:50:53
Mutamassik, Coptic Guts [ini.itu], 1 :42 :47
David Ross & Clive Bell, Immersion [ini.itu], 1:46:50
Blindhæð, Bandung Station recordings [unreleased], 1:48:38
Cybe, Eilanden [self released], 1:49:30
Obeng Ungu & Jalan Buntu (with Group Uang Wayang of Palembang), Di Mana Sepeda Kota ? [Hot Air], 1:51:17
Burnt Friedman & the Nu Dub Players, Worth a Dub [Nonplace], 1:51:43
Peter Brötzmann, Brunches [FMP], 1:55:04
Mutamassik, Rekkez (Due) [ini.itu], 1:55:26
Berg- und Talfahrt, Aza Hu Wa Adhala Ni [Arm], 1:58:26
DJ Sniff, Interlude 1 [psi], 2:03:27
Anla Courtis, Cassetopia Er [ini.itu], 2:04:55
Kid606, Over [Carpark], 2:06:50
Charlemagne Palestine, Open+Closing (1968) [Alga Marghen], 2:07:35
Coil, Unquiet Rest [Threshold House], 2:10:05
Aymeric de Tapol, Dentrites [Tsuku Boshi], 2:11:15
György Ligeti, Artikulation [BV Haast], 2:13:50
Yannick Dauby, Wā Jiè Méng Xūn side A [ini.itu], 2:14:52
Herbert Brün, Anepigraphe [BV Haast], 2:19:45
Artificial Memory Trace, Boto Pt1 (Black Water) [ini.itu], 2:21:45
Steve Roden, One Hand Pressing A Pencil Against A Tree [ini.itu], 2:26:48
Blindhæð, Whether that will make people want to become archaeologists we’ll have to see [ini.itu], 2:34:06
Dave Phillips & Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, Mutations Side B [ini.itu], 2:35:25
Sophie Durand + Manu Holterbach &, Au Rivage des Voix Mortes [Cloud of Statics], 2:41:09
Blindhæð, Whether that will make people want to become archaeologists we’ll have to see [ini.itu], 2:44:12
d’incise, les barrières troubles [ini.itu], 2:45:00
Fujako, Mal’ak ( eroded by Tzii ) [Rotorelief/Wordsound], 2:49:13
Anaphoria, Sand Dust Relics [ini.itu], 2:51:36
Aymeric de Tapol, Frozen Tones [Tsuku Boshi], 2:54:59
Team of Jeremy Roht – West Dawson – Yukon-Territory, track 4 [Supposé], 2:58:06