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Ironaugust: Malosco Sessions Remixed, Reimagined

Intro

In 2015 we made an album called the malosco sessions and we printed it on vinyl. Four years later, we decided to bring it back.

Initially it was supposed to be a mix of unreleased materials, remixes of the album tracks (made by ourselves) and perhaps some collaborations. the more we thought about it, the more we realized that we wanted it to be a dialogue, a cultural exchange, an experiment in mutation and musical gene manipulation. So we did a risky thing, we went to llllllll.co and simply posted an open call for remixes. the rules were few and simple: pick a track, do whatever you wish, but use the vinyl itself as the source material.

We didn’t want a classic remix album. no putting kick drums under the track and calling it a day. to our great satisfaction, we got back a bunch of weird, experimental and daring tracks, which took our own creations to a whole new level.

The risk had been worth the while.

So here it is, our very first remix album, by a serendipitously hand-selected group of electronic musicians: ironaugust*!

(*) the name is a silly pun on the italian “ferragosto”. ferro=iron, agosto=august. ferragosto is a holiday in italy, the name has nothing to do with iron though, but stems from the latin “feriae augusti”, which might be translated to “august rest”. incidentally the celebration is always on the 15th of august, which was also the deadline for the remixes.

Tracklist

  1. drift of signifieds -- threnody optigon remix
  2. new tendencies -- unsinnig refund remix
  3. sunbeamer -- dread
  4. knob alchemist -- threnody re_construct remix
  5. joule -- love song
  6. onewayness -- lullaby
  7. zedkah -- unsinning
  8. peksy -- disintegration
  9. midcentury modular -- love song rhythmic phase
  10. kurodama -- for ny
  11. ubumaic -- loopaby
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Appeared on

Onewayness' remix of lullaby was featured in this episode of the podcast/radio programme A Duck in a Tree by :zoviet*france: zovietfrance.podbean.com

Drift of Signifieds' remix of threnody was featured in this episode of the podcast Toneshift: Toneshift #33

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Track Notes, by the Remix Artists

01 - Drift Of Signifieds – threnody (optigon remix)

The audio and video were both recorded using a camera focussed on the vinyl disc playing the original of “Threnody”, picking up room sound as well as the audio coming from only one speaker as the amplifier has a tendency to lose one channel at inopportune moments. Ambient sounds from the natural environment beyond the room, including distant insect noises of hundreds of cigales outside, can also be heard in the raw recording.

The disc was manipulated in real time using both pitch control and manual slowing and stopping of the LP, sometimes simultaneously. The video was then edited using KDEnlive on Linux. Audio processing and editing was done there and then passed to and from Audacity, applying compression, reverb and selected reversed delay, as well as a bit of pitch shifting. Some sections of sound were EQed heavily with a low-pass filter, timestretched, then copied and pasted into the middle of an artificially spread stereo image to thicken and extend the bass elements.

The video image was colour and gamma filtered, mirrored and layered, with a section of secondary footage shot of the pitch light on the record player being manipulated in real-time with “Threnody” playing (though muted in KDEnlive) also mirrored, coloured and layered over the top to match various peaks in the remixed track.

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03 - sunbeamer – dread (love song remix)

I used the track “Love song”, but took it in a pretty glacial, dark direction. I did this almost exclusively with MLR+norns, with some effects from an OTO BAM and BOUM at the end of the chain. A tiny bit more boost/comp in Logic Pro and that’s all!

I sampled other slices of the track (but all from love song), including bits with vocals and drums, but just stretched them out so slow that the original sounds are tough to discern.

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04 – knob alchemist – threnody re_construct remix

The track of the vinyl “threnody” was used as the only and unique sound source in the remix. Several track fragments were deconstructed and reconstructed to create all the samples used in the track, from the rhythmics, to the melodies, the noises and the pads.

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05 – joule – love song

In this version of the remix, I attempted to describe an emotionallandscape experienced at the end of a relationship (which was my take on the meaning of the original song). I hoped to convey the following components of a breakup: 1)Denial, 2)Confusion, 3)Realization, 4)Devastation (the hole), 5)Re-emergence, 6)Regained freedom, 7)Life goes on.

Every grain of sound was derived from the vinyl, including the "hole", which is basically the diamond of the needle plowing along the PVC at ultra-slow speed. I think it goes well with the original song as a portrait of its intent.

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06 – onewayness – lullaby

I used the track ‘Lullaby’. I started by recording the entire track off the vinyl. I then time-stretched and did some spectral processing to the results, and split that into 4 segments, which are panned across the stereo field and weave in and out throughout the track. The original track is in there very low in the mix as well. I did some messing about with the needle in the runout groove, which I used to create a glitchy percussive little noise loop. And then I also created a granular & delay-based patch in VCVRack, which I ‘played’ by needle dropping into random sections of the track to create little fluttery bursts. And then the whole lot is run through a tape simulator for some wow and flutter and pseudo-tape saturation.

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07 – zedkah – unsinning

I was attracted to the kvsu album for its humanness and subtlety, the way it plays around within the genres of electronics and industrial sound but keeping within its own very warm and live space. My first idea was to take one of the shorter tracks Unsinnig and push it deeper into an industrial place – but it didn’t quite end up that way. I created a noise bed out of the vinyl surface noise and the ambient grit of the track with a kind of scrubby echo texture. (One of the few instructions from kvsu was to take all sound sources from the vinyl – no digital downloads) A few different rhythmic bars were lifted from the track and folded together and repeated in new combinations with occasional not-quite-dub-bass interludes. When you take on a remix the source often has a will of its own. I still have no take on whether the track is a success but I am pleased that it stubbornly remained in its own place and somehow curiously itself.

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09 – midcentury modular – love song (rhythmic phase)

My track came together pretty quickly. I sat down with the record, listening for things that felt like they could make interesting source material, while experimenting with manually adjusting the recording speed by tapping and adding friction to the plinth. I was inspired by the prompt outlined by Hannes, as well as the physical manipulations of records employed by the artist and musician Maria Chavez.

I settled on focusing on the outro of love song. I did a single take of “playing” the outro with the gestures I was experimenting with and used that as the source material. Once I had this, I tried to find pieces of the source material that were interesting to me. I have been particularly interested in exploring rhythm recently, so I attempted to find sections of samples and combine them in a way where there was sort of a defined “beat”, while feeling loose and played. I think the track’s backbone is through the kick sound (which is two layers of me tapping the plinth pretty hard, ran through ableton’s corpus to give more of a kick sound).

I added two auxiliary tracks to help give the track some compositional movement. One is rhythmic loops that are slightly arhythmic, but are brought into rhythm through the use of ableton’s echo at basically 100% wet and high feedback levels, at a tempo similar to that of the kick drum loop. The others are quick vocal cuts, processed pitch and speed wise, and ran through a few of [lines user] @andrew’s Prosody devices–Enueg to help build up the loop-y feel, and Dirge (processed to fit in the rhyhtm with m4l LFOs mapped to the controls) to help build out some more hi-hat/treble-y percussion.

From a mixing perspective, it got pretty muddy as I was mixing together loops of a full track on top of each other. I did some fairly drastic eq’s to try to create some more space for each element. I side chained the elements to the kick so that the rhythm would feel more intense. My mixcube was a very helpful tool for this track. It helped me dial in the bass in a way that felt solid (was difficult because the “kick” didn’t really have a ton of click to help it come through on low-bass playback systems).

midcentury modular, making of love song (rhythmic phase) ruler

10 – kurodama – for ny

the raw material for my remix was recorded off an old portable turntable. the device used to be my mothers' and went through a lot of dust and being thrown around. as a result the internal amp stopped working and the motor started to wobble. the missing amplification i was able to work around, by soldering a jack to it (directly to the tonearm's output), while the wobblyness i quite liked. that was the main reason i played the vinyl on this turntable anyway. i recorded the track for ny through the newly added jack. i also captured the mechanical noises the vinyl whould make while spinning, together with the clicks and noises produced by the switches and the tonearm. i selected one loop from the original recording, which formed the foundation for the track, then layered it with a couple of others. the mechanical noises were used to form the rhtythmic parts.

kurodama making of 02

kurodama making of 01

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Artist Bios

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Drift of Signifieds (DoS) is an electronic music project, initiated in 1995 in north London and active sporadically since then. Now based in France, DoS continues to explore the shifts in meaning that happen when effects are applied to diverse sources of sound, how samples and recordings can be transformed radically from one shape to another.

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New Tendencies is the musical project of Matt Nish‑Lapidus, a muscian, artist, designer, and educator living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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sunbeamer is a project that I created to explore ambient music. My goals were to create sounds that I found helped me relax and meditate, and to explore alternate methods of composition through new instruments and hardware. I enjoy both short and long-form pieces, as well as very minimal textures, or heavy, thick drone sounds. I really enjoy physical-instrument-modeling sounds, as well as live resampling and granular synthesis.

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knob alchemist is an electronic music composer based in Bolzano (Italy) who explores various sound aesthetics and genres like experimental electronics, glitch, ambient and IDM. Over the years he's created radio shows, soundtracks for silent movies, audio/video performances and installations.

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Joule (Kjoule) is a Canadian artist focussed on using sound design and electronic tools to evoke visualization of stories, places or concepts. Many of Joule’s compositions are derived from field recordings, layered and processed through original algorithms developed in Supercollider. Also prominent in Joule’s work is guitar processed using modular technologies. This is Joule’s first contribution to a remix compilation.

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onewayness is Adam Holquist, a composer, improviser, and multi-instrumentalist from Erie, Pennsylvania. He uses guitars, pianos, analog and digital synthesis, spoken word and field recordings, and a variety of hardware and software tools to create atmospheric and textural music which draws influence from a variety of sources. These may include: ambient, drone, minimalism, post-rock, and vintage and contemporary electronic ‘listening music’.

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zedkah is Essex / Londoner Richard A- who has been using the zedkah moniker since 1996, although often privately. The project is an outlet for investigations into field recordings, radio waves, home made instruments, crude electronics and bad guitar.

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The last proper zedkah gig was a few years ago now at a V&A Museum Friday Late, a performance piece where a red strat copy was methodically destroyed whist being sampled and replayed live. Partly a comment on my day job as an art tech and a preserver of heritage- part a comment on the way the guitar never dies.

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Peksy I guess you could call the music I make process music. It is usually based on some kind of initial idea that has the ability to evolve in some interesting way during its life and which ultimately frames the overall structure of the final piece. My compositional process is sometimes organic, sometimes based on generative processes, sometimes a combination. Pieces are sometimes rhythmic with an obvious pulse, sometimes more ambient and drone based. Ideas might begin as harmonic progressions at the piano or as an experiment with noise at the computer.

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midcentury modular is the music of John Mitchell who also records and performs as part of the groups golden chorale, OPS and Less Western. He is based out of Garner, NC, USA, and makes mainly ambient and psychedelic music using guitars, synthesizers, tape machines and computers.

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kurodama (Hannes Pasqualini) mainly works with sampling, feeding from field recordings, everyday objects and circuit-bent devices. His sound can be loosely associated with ambient and drone music, with a dark and unsettling undertone.

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ubumaic is the moniker of Michele Cagol, a researcher in education and composer from Bolzano (Italy). His main research themes are emotional education, visual/musical storytelling, communication and media education. As a composer he writes both for traditional, acoustic instruments and electronics. He has performed live in Bolzano, Bologna, Milano, Innsbruck, Munich, Dresden.