Current Listens: Electroacoustic Mellotron + Double Bass

Heavy rotation, lightly annotated

This is my weekly(ish) answer to the question “What have you been listening to lately?” It’s lightly annotated because I don’t like re-posting material without providing some context. In the interest of conversation, let me know what you’re listening to in the comments below. Just please don’t promote your own work (or that of your label/client). This isn’t the right venue. (Just use email.)

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NEW: Recent(ish) arrivals and pre-releases

The always exciting Madeleine Cocolas is back with a new full-length, Ithaca (Room40), filled with percolating, emotional music. The compositions blend elements that folks who listen to techno and classical minimalism might think of as their own, and will learn they have to share nicely with others. A standout is the stately “The Heart Doesn’t Lie (Except When It Does),” a slow solo piano work that is generous with its pauses.

A who’s who of experimental musicians from the San Francisco Bay Area collaborated with Tim Walters on Shatter in Place, a fundraiser for Bay Area Safety Net (“a non-profit designed to help support artists in the Bay Area during the COVID-19 crisis”). A highlight is “Multiplication Street,” which makes the foment of Lisa Mezzacappa’s double bass available, as with all the other contributions, to serve as “electroacoustic source material” for Walters’ artfully mercurial transformations. The other contributors are Myles Boisen, Kyle Bruckmann, Brett Carson, Tom Djll, gabby fluke-mogul, Phillip Greenlief, and Gino Robair.

“Adagio for Mellotron and Modular Synthesizer,” at once both patient and tensile, features the latter by itwasthewires and the former by Marco Lucchi. Lucchi’s collaborations have been a highlight of my SoundCloud stream lately.

A single-instrument performance on a sampler is never truly a single-instrument performance, not when you consider what was sampled. In the case of r beny’s lush, dreamy “Vestals,” this includes piano, strings, and synthesizer material. The video was recorded live for Do It Yourself, Together, a streaming festival put together by Synthstrom Audible, the company that makes the Deluge, the instrument he’s playing. Synthstrom was supposed to have some concerts (live, in person — remember those?) back in March, where every performer would just use the Deluge. They were, of course, cancelled due to the current circumstances. I was really looking forward to one scheduled for March 21 in Oakland, California, across the Bay from where I live, but it didn’t happen. R beny was among those scheduled to perform that evening.

The new weekly Robert Fripp series of quiet instrumental tracks each come out at what seems to be 2am if you live in California, which is a more humane 10am in England. The gorgeous third entry, recorded back in 2006, was released this past week. Somehow his account still has under 8,000 subscribers.

3 thoughts on “Current Listens: Electroacoustic Mellotron + Double Bass

  1. My local library has a Deluge for rent. It’s a nice idea. I had a play with one over a weekend and didn’t get anything out of it nearly as interesting as r beny’s piece. No failing of the device, I’m sure.

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