The Village Astronaut is the 3rd album in the Serpo Trilogy, filled with more spacey ambient goodness. As with the first two albums, this was composed completely on an iPad, with a focus on physics-based generative apps like SpaceWiz, Nodebeat, and Caelestis.
The title track also appears on Vita, the Mood481 retrospective curated by Borejko.
Vivid is a long, glitchy, evolving mess of electronically processed junkyard guitar, deconstructed and recompiled at Studio 7 in 2016. The piece was generated using the same custom drone guitar that appears on VVT, an iRig, and an iPad Pro. The apps I used were AUM (beta), AudioShare, the AUFX Suite, iDensity, FLUX:FX, Dedalus, WOW Filterbox, Effectrix, Turnado, and Patterning.
Don’t let the beginning rhythm fool you, as the track breaks down and gets more ambient and experimental as it moves along.
Originally released on February 18th, 2013, The Suns of Serpo was the second Mood481 album. This 14 track collection is part of the Serpo Trilogy of albums (along with First Contact and The Village Astronaut), and is a component of a larger yet-to-be-finished transmedia project entitled The Singularity Solution. Both this album and the The Village Astronaut were completed as part of FAWM 2013. The title track (actually track number 9 on the album) also appears on Vita, the Mood481 retrospective curated by Borejko from the first 49 Mood481 albums.
The basis of the concept is a collection of disclosures about a top secret alien exchange program that was originally documented and presented as fact on the Serpo.org website. The music itself could easily be categorized as “space ambient”.
Technically speaking, the tracks of this album were composed, improvised and produced completely on iPads. The Nodebeat HD app was used as the primary controller and was largely responsible for the continually evolving rhythmic style of many of the tracks. The now extinct SpaceWiz app by Jordan Rudess was also used heavily for physics-based generative control of the instruments, and for its own brilliant spacey sounds.
Watching the film of Kurdish artist Ahmet Öğüt’s Happy Together: Collaborators Collaborating is like peeling the proverbial onion of performance art. The outer skin is the film itself, commissioned for the Chisenhale Gallery website, requiring the work of 8 volunteer camera operators, a lighting designer, a gaffer, an editor, and various other crew. The subject of the film is a staged “chatshow” with a live audience, hosted by Andrea Philips, who masterfully performs the interviewer/provocateur role in the creation of this multimodal artwork, this “revenge of the collaborators”. As Studio International contributor Harry Thorne writes in his review, “it becomes clear that Phillips’s line of questioning has been directed by the Öğüt himself “, although the answers of the collaborators are clearly personal and unscripted.
Phillips introduces and questions ten different Öğüt collaborators from various projects, with professions including stuntman, lip reader, firefighter, hairdresser, and auctioneer. The collaborators recount their experience working with Ahmet amicably, and all seem notably comfortable with their secondary role in the achievement of the artist’s vision. Each of the projects discussed reveal yet another layer to Öğüt’s work, highlighting innovative, reality-based performances by these skilled non-artists: lip reading the artist’s words through binoculars to an audience, cutting hair by motorcycle headlamp, riding a horse from town to town and reading aloud from a press release, and even auctioning off a punchable portrait of the artist himself. One is led to wonder whether all of these works are simply now being held in review, or if they were, in fact, staged with prescience for the purpose for this film.
What impresses and inspires me is the way that Öğüt has expertly positioned his collaborators in the space between artistic co-collaborator and commissioned artisan. His coworkers don’t generally share in the creative vision of his work, but they’re also not simply craftspeople following a designer’s blueprint. They are, in fact, performing, as themselves, in a reality play designed, but not scripted, by the artist. They are improv actors, unskilled as they may be in improvisation, but successful in their execution of their role because their role is an abstraction of their own profession. Öğüt, meanwhile, is like a master painter who doesn’t need to touch his brush, but rather just commands it to do what it was made to do.
Inspired by Philip K Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” and Blade Runner, Certain Androids was produced as part of FAWM 2017 and released two years ago today. The dark glitch ambient tracks on this album pay tribute to the iconic Vangelis score of the film and give nod to the original text, infusing everything with a bit of signature Mood481 downtempo darkness.
11 years ago, past tense me was in the midst of a self-directed challenge to release a weekly collection of tracks (aka, an album) under the moniker Echo Root. Originally bearing the collective title of “Zen Junk” (volume 1, volume 2, etc.), the albums were later retitled using the title of one of the tracks in the collection. Zen Junk, Vol. 7 became All Obsessed thanks to the album’s first and most memorable track, which was named for the featured spoken word clips from a non-existent horror movie taken from a Sony Acid loop pack.
Despite the fact that Echo Root only existed as a creative entity for the 4 months between December 2007 and March 2008, there is a noticeable aesthetic trajectory from Sludgehammer through Clockwork Angels, to the yet to be re-released 10th and final album, Evil Things. The “science fusion” improvised modal guitar meanderings of the earlier albums are not as prominent on All Obsessed, which has a bluesier feel overall. Only the third track, Profusion of Matter, really harkens back to the experimental, quasi-serialist aspirations of Glass and Spiralology.
Technically speaking, all of the tracks were produced in Acid Pro in my home studio, featuring my HR Giger signature Ibanez amped and re-amped through Guitar Rig 3.
Squelch happened 3 years ago today, when I was living in an over-priced studio apartment in the University District. Composed of glitched ghosts and pixelated pipers, this performance was tweaked and squeeked into existence using a combination of modular synth gear, a Radioshack cassette recorder, and a handful of iPad apps.