The New Year as arrived and with it some new releases like Martin Rach’s self-released Late Autumn Quartets. Martin Rach, whether he’s performing under an alias (Mons Jacet or Morten Rasz or Chtin Mara) or even with a fictional band, is always innovating new ways to craft sounds. For instance Late Autumn Quartets is a continuation of his November release, Early Autumn Quartets (suRRism-Phonoetics), but with Late Autumn Quartets, Rach has added more pickups to the zithers in an effort to capture more sound.
These quartets are pieces that capture Rach at his improvisational best with a heavy touch of what he calls sound surgery, which is I am assuming Rach coming back around and adding other sounds whether a bongo (don’t wince), a kalimba, or something else. However, Rach doesn’t lose the freshness of the sound after reworking it.
Late Autumn Quartets opens with “Double Swing” which begins mainly as a percussive improvisation, but then the zithers come more into focus which is probably due to Rach’s recording set up as the recorder is not stationary, moving the sound closer and then further away. “Squared Circles” is composed of zithers, a kalimba and a bongo (hey, don’t wince; it works). But just as you got comfortable with the first two acoustic tracks on Late Autumn Quartets, Rach swivels and begins “Raving Threads” with a Korg volca bass and then quickly enters the swirling noise of electronics. Wonderful. The four track album closes out with “Root Architecture” which begins with a wall of sound as the zithers and bongos are mixed back into themselves and into the realm of sweet, sweet noise.
All the tracks of Late Autumn Quartets are full and engaging, sometimes trance-like, but always intoxicating. If you like it you can either download it for free at Free Music Archive or drop Rach a few shekels on Bandcamp.
Artist: Martin Rach
Title: Late Autumn Quartets
Release Date: January 2016
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Download mp3: zip
Martin Rach has become one of my favorite experimental musicians. I find it quite wonderful that he often puts out such wonderful work like Interrupted, a five track release on the netlabel Etched Traumas. Two improvised piano pieces Rach recorded in Norway bookend Interruped, while a looped work originally done for the Disquiet’s Junto project is in the middle. The second and fourth track were improvised on a Roland Ef303 in Rach’s homeland of Lithuania. By building Interrupted with these minimal tones vs noise, Rach gives us a schizophrenic sonic flavoring which disarms the listener the same way life takes us from one environment to another.
Artist: Martin Rach
Netlabel: Etched Traumas
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Release Date: January 2015
Download mp3: Bandcamp
To twist an internet meme, “I don’t alway like all of an musician’s work, but I always listen to all of their albums.” My teenage son would most likely tell me that I didn’t use the meme correctly, oh well.
Back in June, I tweeted a blind recommendation for Martin Rach‘s B SM (Modisti). After giving Rach’s noise filled album several listen, I just didn’t like it. That’s okay. I don’t think any musician would expect everyone to like all of their work except those pandering to the masses. My initial listens of B SM found it to be very difficult and none to pleasing. Overall I enjoy Rach’s work, so this little blip, for me (heck, you might enjoy it), doesn’t set me back at all in recommending any of Rack’s work. So without even listening to Rach’s lastest work, Ex XFSc on Haze, go download it, throw it on your portable listening device and enjoy . . . hopefully.
[mp3j flip=”y” track=”Black Silence of the Mouth@http://archive.org/download/modisti_45/modisti_45_Black_Silence_of_the_Mouth_64.mp3″]
Artist: Martin Rach
Title: B SM
Release Date: 16 June 2012
Download mp3: zip
Experimental musician Martin Rach uses the word imagination (or a variation of it) in several of his releases. It’s Rach’s unapologetic use of the imaginary that gives him a freedom to experiment within the realm of electronic music. The Lithuanian’s latest release, Concerto for Imaginary Ensemble And Electronics on Audiotalaia, is composed of three tracks that display an odd inspiration in the combination of orchestral instruments and the electronic medium. In the album’s second track, “Movement for Strings and Electronics”, Rach gives us glimpses of the standard orchestral fare but always with idiosyncratic twist of noise and distortion. Rach’s journey into the abstraction of orchestra and electronics is a fantastic labyrinth of sound and illusion.
[mp3j flip=”y” track=”Movement for Strings and Electronics@http://archive.org/download/at051ConcertoForImaginaryEnsembleAndElectronics/2.MovementForStringsAndElectronics.mp3″]
Past reviews of Martin Rach’s work can be found here and here.
I’m going to hazard a guess that the electronic project known as Mons Jacet and the experimental musician and visual artist Martin Rach are one in the same. Mons Jacet’s Alcoholics Go Melachonic (Clinical Archives) was one of my favorite netlabel releases back in 2008. So we fast forward several years and I should not be surprised that I’m a fast becoming a big fan of Rach’s experimental work. I quite enjoyed last year’s Trash Piano (Modisti) — read the review — and I am equally enjoying two new releases by Rach: To Flame the Light of Love (Modisti) and Year of the Goat (Editora do Porto).
As Rach’s recent work is very different from his work as Mons Jacet, these two releases are also vastly different. Year of the Goat is buy Martin Rach and his Imaginary Band. This Editora do Porto release is drunken orgy of jazz and other musical idiosyncrasies which shows the capability/incapability of score a band on a laptop as the music travels in a chaotic improvisational manner. (Incapability in the being used in the context of experimental music is always a positive, well, for me at least.)
[mp3j flip=”y” track=”Ex Minotaur@http://www.archive.org/download/edp046/3_Ex_Minotaur.mp3″]
The Modisti release, To Flame the Light of Love, alternates between two instruments — a piano and a tenor saxophone — played on different tracks though each combined with various other sound objects/software such a aluminum foil, glass, and speakers. To Flame the Light of Love is in its essence a true experimental work. Rach is not only pushing our limits as an audience, one can tell that Rach is pushing his own limits as well.
[mp3j flip=”y” track=”Sleepless Sonography@http://www.archive.org/download/modisti_34/modisti_34_2.Sleepless_Sonography.mp3″]
The image above is a detail of a visual artwork by Martin Rach. I believe this painting is called Virus.
What happens when you take a piano, crack it open and add an experimental artist? The good news is that I have two possible answers to that question.
The first listen is to Saffron Slumber’s Piano Drones 1 (Vuzh Music) which has Kevin Stephens aka Saffron Slumber turning the piano into a drone machine of sorts — apparently you can make a drone out of anything. As simple as it sounds, but the sounds are far from simple, the two tracks are comprised on Stephens running his fingers along the exposed strings of a piano. Stephens writes in the liner notes:
On touching the string with my fingertip, I found that it brought out all of the overtones of the string. The recording starts slightly after this discovery, and you can hear my using both the pad of my finger and my fingernail.
The drones build up quietly and somewhat singularly as the different waves begin to mesh with the degradation of other waves. What gives these drones a depth and a space carved out in sound is the resonance they gain from their source, the piano.
[mp3j flip=”y” track =”Saffron Slumber – Part I Drone 2@http://www.actsofsilence.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/02-Part-1-Drone-2.mp3″]
While Stephens extracts drones from the piano strings, nothing from a piano seems off limits in Martin Rach’s Trash Piano (Modisti). Not only are strings rubbed and strummed, but Rach uses parts of the piano percussively and even seems to reach for near by objects to add to the sound.
[mp3j flip=”y” track =”Martin Rach’s 1@http://www.archive.org/download/modisti_25/Modisti_25_1._trASh_piANo_1.mp3″]
Though quite dissimilar works, I believe they go together quite well.