Straight out the American Midwest, this mix comes courtesy of Velleitie. A direct sonic challenge to rising nationalism, ‘Felt Like Dusk All Day’ is out to open minds through a clash of sound cultures. No sonic walls, no sonic borders at ACL. (Joseph Sannicandro)
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Please introduce yourself.
My name is Sean Kase and I am a computer tech and maker behind all things Velleitie [vuh-lee-ih-tee]. Velleity, as it’s properly spelled, has its history in a variety of uses in everything from economics to philosophy to art. Merriam-Webster defines it as “the lowest degree of volition” or a “slight wish or tendency.” In this case, I typically understand and primarily explain it as the desire to do something with a lack of will to actually act upon it. I thought it was a comically fitting word to come across as I was loosely beginning to produce drone music that needed some sort of title, since I had struggled for years prior deciding what to do with music. The project itself has involved all sorts of moments of volition to actual-thing. It’s been an ongoing experiment ever since, and definitely much different than something like the post-hardcore outfit I played bass in 12 years ago. Music used to be a very aggressive and group-oriented outlet for me and still can be, but now it’s often channeled into very personal moments spread out over long periods of time, and I typically seem to connect with a very limited number of people as it relates to experimental or minimalist music in general. I like how personal it currently is, but I also like having that seldom connection with another person over what’s coming out of the underground in that vein.
What can you tell us about this mix?
With genre in mind, I wanted to approach this mix from three directions: mid-20th century Middle Eastern music, mid-20th century American jazz/rock, and (mainly) recent minimalist/experimental music from everywhere—all of which I have either been listening to a lot as of late and/or have recently discovered. Given how different each of these styles are, especially as far as the fidelity of the technology involved to produce the resulting audio for each, it seemed to make the most sense to section them off into nearly distinct thirds. All stylistic differences aside, I feel the mix still captures a specific mood that is neither somber nor bright. It seems to me like something that’s good for the end of the day… something that’s slightly contemplative, but not overly emotional. It was mixed and arranged in Ableton, and any and all artists who did not have their music for sale were contacted and responded to me with a file for the requested song, which was not just very kind of them, but also a good opportunity to say hello to those artists, those of whom each live in totally opposite corners of the world (Halojo, Kaja Haven & Bjorn Charles Dreyer, and Jacqui O’Reilly). In the world we live in today, it seems like a crime to engage with something or someone outside of your own country, so I also consider this mix to be a protest towards the notion of extreme nationalism which seems to be almost everywhere in the worst ways possible.
We’ve discussed your time in Cleveland, and your recent move (back) to Chicago. Anything you’d like to share about the music communities in either place?
As far as my local scene, “local” is a funny word to me right now being essentially in between Cleveland and Chicago. But since I had been out there for 3 years, I will firstly say that the Cleveland scene is as robust as it is small. You see a lot of the same faces place to place, but you also see someone new performing all the time. The Research & Development event series is becoming a legend in itself, and has showcased everyone from Cleveland local favorite Forest Management to Lea Bertucci. There is also a new series called Behind Glass that has brought the likes of Christopher Bissonnette, Quicksails, and Kara-Lis Coverdale. SPACES is always hosting wonderful art and music. The Cleveland music scene puts in a lot of hard work without the appropriate amount and quality of press to cover it, so I found myself uncertain as to where to go before meeting a couple of the right people to push me in the right direction. I have a sense of where that direction is in Chicago, but there is so much to pick back up on from my absence here that I’m just kind of trying to take care of the essentials of my well-being as of this moment in time.
What’s coming up on the horizon for you?
Scheming the Afterimage with God Herself was the longest Velleitie release, which came out on June 9th. I will be performing with my Vesten Records labelmate Syneva on July 13th in Chicago and July 22nd in Madison to promote it. Focusing on live performance with emphasis on more improvisation is the biggest task on my horizon. I don’t think releasing an overwhelming quantity of music, especially in the drone world, does anybody a huge favor. I don’t want to feel like I’m contributing to this trend of constant output without any pause for reflection and observable growth. I approach experimental artists with a vast collection of work in a short period of time with caution. I’m content with what I’ve been able to release the past few years, but I want to expand on my own technical skills and I want to be able to reach people in real life with music much more often. I’m a little bit afraid of the stage though. Go figure.
Fairuz – Nihnaa Walkamar Jiiraan (Lebanon, 1950s)
Pouran – Ashkam Dooneh Dooneh (Iran, 1960s)
Leila Mourad – In Kan Fouady (Egypt, 1950s)
Muslimgauze – Carcas Fly (England, 1997)
Halojo – Fliu (Bulgaria, 2016)
Kaja Haven & Bjorn Charles Dreyer – Pink (Norway, 2014)
The Shades – I Won’t Cry (Indiana, 1966)
Phil & the Frantics – Whenever I’m Alone (Arizona, 1964)
Eric Dolphy – Glad to be Unhappy (California, 1960)
Oiseaux-Tempête – Notes from the Mediterranean Sea (France, 2017)
Transient Waves – Ride Home (Pennsylvania, 1997)
William Ryan Fritch – Gurts (California, 2017)
Jacqui O’Reilly – Prayer of Quiet (Australia, 2017)
Velleitie – Last Flight for Cher Ami (Illinois, 2017)
Braeyden Jae – Obscured and Waiting (California, 2016)