Nik Bärtsch sah und hörte ich zum ersten Mal in dem Film «Sounds and Silence». Eine aussergewöhnliche Reise durch Klangwelten, Biographien und zu wichtigen Schauplätzen mit Manfred Eicher, dem herausragenden Produzenten zeitgenössischer Musik. Danach erlebte ich Nik solo am Piano im Helmhaus, Zürich im Rahmen einer Ausstellung. Seine langen Melodiemodule versetzten mich in eine Art Trance. Wahnsinn. Kurz darauf las ich, dass er in dem Zürcher Club «Exil» immer montags Konzerte gibt. Das ist mittlerweile vier Jahre her. Doch erst jetzt gelang es mir in den Club zu gehen und ein Konzert von Ronin zu erleben. Wahnsinn. Immer wieder montags :-)
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During my stay in Tokyo’s Shibuya a few days ago, I made a walk in the area around the Cerulean Tower looking for interesting spots. I knew this area already, but never checked it out. This time I could manage and found six shops of interest: Two huge shops with wide range of music equipment, one with used instruments only, two with guitars and a special tiny one :-) I took pictures of the shops only and have no names or webpages (sorry for that). So this quick review is recommended for guys who are going to visit Shibuya and do not have much time (I made my walk within 1.5h). Tokyo has hundreds of such nice spots full of music stuff such as the one in Harajuku called Floor G, but I did not find an area like that one before. Here you get such a range of shops in the surroundings. If I am wrong – let me know.
I started with a cup of Sunday Coffee’s black coffee (just in case you love coffee: Japan is not famous for coffee, so you have to search for tasty coffee spots). Sunday Coffee is nearby spot no.1: Hoockie’s Musician Farm is your dealer No.1 if you go for guitars. A small shop in the basement. Friendly stuff (nerds) as usual. Ask them, they get it for you done.
Having a nice walk away from the main road I arrived at spot no. 2, a store with seven levels. You get everything thee! Honestly. This is definitely the shop of my choice. Synths, recording equipment, DJ equipment, drums, guitars, pedals etc. and even a small recording studio. The prices are a little bit cheaper compared to Music Land Key (spot no. 3). Music Land Key is the biggest shop/store I have seen so far. So what to say, just check them out and get amazed.
Alright, if you do not have enough of all these impressions by now just follow the street and find a tiny shop (sorry, no picture) full of stuff you do not find in stores anymore, because you do not need them at all. Ha! I found there blank audio cassettes. 5min, 10min, 20min, 30min etc. Very cheap. If you are running a record company or are a sound artist using analog equipment and need audio cassettes per chance? – Do not forget to bring a huge bag with you! Spot no. 5 is the place to be for buying an acoustic guitar. Two floors. Did not check the basement (third floor). Amazing. And finally the last shop no. 6 with a huge advertisement on the front of the building. All used instruments: guitars, bass guitars, brass etc.
Wow, now had to leave. I had to return to the hotel or staying there would mean a heart attack for me. Far too many impressions. I could buy so many things… The result of my Shibuya walk: I bought new strings for my old ukulele at Music Land Key and three blank audio cassettes at the tiny shop. Shibuya seems to me as a kind of Mecca for music equipment lovers, musicians, street artists and and and. You pass recording studios, record companies, Jazz bars, nice restaurants… A great area away from the mainstream on the other side of Shibuya station. If you consider to buy equipment in Japan and do not have much time at all – do it there. Highly recommended!
One year passed and I met the chairman of sonos Schweiz, Mr. Schlegel yesterday, 7th of April, 2014. We talked about the project «How to catch STILLE?» in general and the way I have collected the money.
Read the whole story here.
My favorites in 2013:
NIN – Hesitation Marks (2013), Samaris – Samaris (2013), Múm – Smilewound (2013), Damien Rice – O (2003), Beatstakes – Limbo Messiah (2007), Olafur Arnalds – For now I am winter (2013), Alice in chains – The devil put dinosaurs here (2013), Arovane – Ve Palor (2013), Douglas Dare – Seven hours (2013), Nils Frahm – Screws (2012)
If I, Aguirre, want the birds to drop dead from the trees… then the birds will drop dead from the trees. I am the wrath of god. The earth I pass will see me and tremble. Whoever follows me and the river, will win untold riches. But whoever deserts…
~Don Lope de Aguirre
from Herzog’s “Aguirre, the Wrath of God”
Also known as “Aguirre, Wrath of God”, it is (according to Wikipedia) a West German New Wave adventure art film written and directed by Werner Herzog. It was shot in 1972, two years before I was born, and looks like it is a tremendous film … in part because it has inspired Virlyn to create the “Aguirre EP” for the Subterranean Tide netlabel.
The Aguirre EP features four exquisitely detailed instrumental tracks from Virlyn that sit somewhere in the intersection of ambient & neo-classical music. Their use of drones, synths, field recordings, strings, acoustic guitar, and even what sounds like a harp to create the vibrantly dense and overwhelmingly immersive tracks that populate this EP is simply inspired.
In addition to having not seen the film, I have not heard the Popol Vuh soundtrack. Whilst I mean no disrespect to Popol Vuh, I could easily imagine Virlyn’s EP, and music in a similar vein, easily and succinctly replacing their original backing. Virlyn’s expression paints pictures in my head of oppressive natural environments … places and spaces that could easily overwhelm. Fitting, therefore, for a journey down the Orinoco and Amazon River trudging on foot through the lush but unforgiving Amazonian jungle.
There is an eeriness to the music … an unfamiliarity that comes from the unknown … an unfamiliarity that ensures the listener pays attention, it keeps them on edge. I found this eeriness utterly fascinating and intriguing … the EP caught & held my attention through numerous plays on repeat.
In fact, I found the whole EP fascinating. It is a wonderfully vibrant & expressive ambient piece that is right at home with Subterranean Tide, a netlabel whose output to date has been flawless.
I hope you will enjoy this EP as much as I have. I intend to catch “Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes” soon and will put to the test my idea that this EP could replace the soundtrack … however, until I do, I will hold onto this EP with the mental images I have and treasure it for the marvel it is.
~Thomas Mathie, Founder of weareallghosts
Music by Frédéric Vanderlynden
Photography by Kris Germann (kgephotography.com)
Thanks to Cristiane Silva Corten, Joannes Truyens, Gilmard Monte and Emily Ferrell
Get it here:
Dear Friends, “Protozorq Remixes” is out on tonAtom. Share it like your life depends on it!
Ende Januar erscheint auf dem Net-Label TonAtom das Mini-Album «The Kodama Sketches» mit zehn Remix-Versionen des Tracks «Kodama« (MONONOCLE, Etalabel, 2012) von Weldroid, Virlyn, Bnibs, Stan Pete, Castenada, Moku Moku, Kid Schurke, Shxzet Division, Arbee, Kurt Lorenz and Sandspace.
Eine Special Edition ist in Vorbereitung.