Murder in the Dark Album Release

We are really excited to announce that as of today This Line has a new album and a new video. This has been long in the mix and we are really excited for more people to finally listen. Check out the new video below! Stream and download the album at Bandcamp.

Paul Fonfara and the Ipsifendous Orchestra

Recently we interviewed Minnesota composer Paul Fonfara (maker of the above Kickstarter campaign) for an episode of The White Whale that should be out next week. Paul is not unknown to the worlds of CyNar, as we did a number of live films and music videos for his band the Painted Saints a few years back. 

What many may not know is that this year he was recipient of a grant to fund his development as a composer. This project is coming to a conclusion at The Cedar  with Jim White and Brass Messengers on December 5th.

If you know Paul's work you know he is a unique in crowds of complacency. Never wanting to dumb it down or limit his natural inclinations in the musical arena, he is going forth into narrative storytelling with the same considerations - hoping that what is normal for him could become normal for cinematic sensibilities. 

As part of the show he has also been amassing some incredible artwork and a host of players who should really help bring this multimedia extravaganza to a head as Paul performs the entire album with films playing at the head.

If you are interested check out the record on Soundcloud and support his current Kickstarter campaign to help offset some of the costs not covered by the grant.


KCRW #RadioRace

This weekend we are making a go at the KCRW #RadioRace. Stellar event bringing in exceptional producers from all around with some great ears behind the judging table. Besides eventually getting a new piece from us, what exactly does this mean for you?

Well, you get to track our progress. Social media is stressed by KCRW - so much so that an award is given for best use - so we will be representing. You may have noticed some extensive use of the desired hashtag aRound Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

weird photos

odd assortments of words

usual nonsense

We are going to be very busy and probably overly tired. So, you must give us a pass as we try to entertain while live documenting what is not necessarily a unique experience for us (we have made pieces in shorter time spans), but usually happens quietly in our confines. 

Enjoy the ride and have no fear, Sunday will still bring you a new episode of The White Whale. It's already in the bag. 

 

#PM15

If you follow our social media accounts you'll know we are spending this weekend amongst audio greats at Podcast Movement. First time visiting this particular conference, and already excited for the next one. Yes, they have it set.

This kicks off a couple busy weeks as we are continuing to put out The White Whale every Sunday, have some work for other shows in the mix and are playing participant to the 24-hour Radio Race from KCRW next weekend. Yes, we have asked ourselves what we are doing. Too fun to take that reality check. 

If you are new to our podcast as of #PM15 please take a listen in whatever order you please. First season is chronological, but as conversation of the records and films speaks to listening and watching in whatever order you please we have designed each episode to be part of a larger whole that can be heard unto itself.

Cheers to all following and participating in this crazy business. We are having fun. If looking for us tonight we will probably be mixing some radio somewhere in the ether. Feel free to steal attention. 

Keep Moving Forward

There is a lot of work on the horizon as we round the corner of summer into August. Not only is The White Whale's first season wrapping up in a couple weeks, but we're honored to be contributing to a few other productions for which we are long-time fans.  

After the season ends we'll have a slight break. An album collecting original music from the first season is being whittled down. Something we're excited to release, but there is a lot to go through.

We'll also have some one-off productions covering the work of people we love. That's a secret we will hold for now though.  

Second season is already under-way as well, though it's subject is still ours to tell. While its approach and aesthetic will be much in line with the first season, this is also going to be a very different experience and very different story. Much more dealing with a particular perspective of the last half century and how it changed the world. Pretty rich and cool stuff. Not a story we imagine you have heard.

What else? What else? 

Surely there is more, but the audio world seems enough to highlight for the moment. We just released the newest music video from Scott Wooldridge, something many years in the making, and have a few other tricks up our sleeve in that end. There may be some fiction we wish to visualize as all this audio work is really presenting new worlds and wouldn't mind finally releasing some new photography from the last few years. See if we find the time. 

Long Time GONE

It's been a while since we have updated. 

It's been a while since we have updated. 

It's been a while since we have updated. 

It's been a while since we have updated. 

It's been a while since we have updated. 

It's been a while since we have updated. 

It's been a while since we have updated. 

It's been a while since we have updated. 

It's been a while since we have updated. 

It's been a while since we have updated. 

It's been a while since we have updated. 

 

We have not forgotten you. 

 

12 Years According to LinkedIn

On this our 12 year anniversary as a company (really, 12 years, that's it - I suppose we have been around longer, just under a different name we don't really reference) we could write some long winded piece about the longevity of a company and how all these pieces keep going. Instead, we will go with brevity and a wordsman who sums it up better than we can.

“It’s not a method so much as an act of faith.” —Paul Auster

Truly. We keep going. We keep putting out work. More people our appreciating the perspectives of audio and video. So, here we are. That's about all there is to say. Thanks for sticking with us, and please help keep it going.

Cheers.

.

 

Event Horizons

If you follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ you know we are very busy. Anxious Machine's second season has started and our remix for ARRVLS is in the airwaves. We also had a big hand in the recent episode of SisterStory Presents: with Jo Piazza. A lot of music and producing went into making that happen. 

There is also a lot coming down the road including a new music video for Scott Wooldridge as well as some others. The White Whale is kicking strong and growing a larger fan base everyday - but that is closer to its season end rather than beginning. We are going to fill that space with some different one- off radio docs as we prepare the second season. That is going to be a pretty different narrative, but built upon similar foundations. 

This post specifically though is about a new mixtape American Residue Records is dropping tomorrow. Called Event Horizons, if you have heard any of the recent podcast episodes we have been a part of then you have heard some pieces.  These have quickly gained some listeners so time to release.

follow our channels for all the updates and look for the new record tomorrow! 

Études

We have a new album coming out tomorrow - solo release by Garrett called Études.

According to Wikipedia,

An étude (/ ˈeɪtjuːd/; French pronunciation:  [eˈtyd], a French word meaning study) is an instrumental musical composition, usually short, of considerable difficulty, and designed to provide practice material for perfecting a particular musical skill. The tradition of writing études emerged in the early 19th century with the rapidly growing popularity of the piano. Of the vast number of études from that era some are still used as teaching material (particularly pieces by Carl Czerny and Muzio Clementi), and a few, by major composers such as Frédéric ChopinFranz Liszt and Claude Debussy, achieved a place in today's concert repertory. Études written in the 20th century include those related to traditional ones (György Ligeti), those that require wholly unorthodox technique (John Cage), and ones that are unusually easy to play.

Our version of this idea is a first release of some of the original music you have been hearing on The White Whale as well as podcast episodes produced for the oral history project SisterStory. Engineered by John R. Barner, these are not as you heard them in the podcast, but developed variants that allow new life and new ideas.

We just released our newest episode of The White Whale and are hard at work on Sunday's release as we prepare for the MEGAPOLIS Audio Festival (http://megapolisfestival.org). We will also be releasing a new Mixtape shortly called Event Horizons. Lots of great material! Keep checking Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to the podcast!

 

Windswept Pines

Did you hear the new track from This Line? We were as surprised as any to be putting that out today.  

As those listening know, the sound of The White Whale is of utmost importance. We're blessed with a rich catalog to pull from, but more and more this exercise is developing new ideas.

In this case, the episode we are currently editing needed something only This Line could provide. It's a perfect piece. Something that works beautifully in the episode, but immediately called for a stand alone shot. 

We've got another album ready for release that will provide more variants on the original music you've heard lately; but they are not going to sound like they do on the podcast. They've been rethought for an album's narrative that allows for multiple streams of existence. 

We will probably release more tracks down the line - though currently in production is a new mixtape.  Until then, enjoy Windswept Pines by This Line and get ready for it's placement in Sunday's episode of The White Whale.

FUNAYŪREI - A Reflection

by John R. Barner

About midway through mixing down the tracks on Hikikomori, the machines began to “talk back.” This is the only way I can describe the mixes beginning to augment relatively independently in the computer software. Often I would spend several days away from a mix, either getting busy with life outside of recording or taking time to think about a particular song’s structure or sound. When I would return to the song, there would be changes that I didn’t remember making in the recording process. Sometimes subtle—a bit of echo on a beat, for example—that was easily explained when in the midst of tweaking levels of effects. Others, however, were drastic and many of the songs on Funayūrei contain elements that I genuinely don’t remember adding or enhancing. It was actually quite creepy at times! The phenomena occurred enough that I began to research technical reasons why it could be happening, but turned up nothing to explain everything I was hearing. I did, however, revisit a few creative instances where sounds ended up on a recording without easy explanation. During the recording of Joy Division’s final album, Closer, producer Martin Hannett remarked once to Rolling Stone magazine that the piano line on the song “The Eternal” would be heard through control room monitors when there was no one playing the piano or even in the recording room.

John Balance and Peter Christopherson of the band Coil recorded a side project entitled ElpH. The central creative conceit of the resulting Worship the Glitch, is described in band’s Wikipedia page as “random musical compositions that were generated from their own equipment, either by itself or as an unintended yet pleasant byproduct of their own work” although Balance and Christopherson would often say that they felt these “random musical compositions” were anything but, and seemed to be “transmitted” by somewhere or something. After uncovering these examples, I let the machines (or whatever force was using them) take over and much of what made the final mixes remains unedited. Funayūrei was intended to be the darkest of the records and the most evocative of the traditional ghost story. In Japanese mythology, the funayūrei are the spirits of those who have drowned or died violently at sea and are seen as acting malevolently so that seafarers will join them in their watery afterlife. Reading these myths and legends were incredibly inspiring to both realizing my vision for the music and the recording process itself, which evolved to sampling and making field recordings of water in various forms and incorporating electronic voice phenomena or EVP—static field recordings said to capture ghostly voices.

For the latter, I was able to access several publicly available archives of EVP first broadcast on the Coast to Coast AM radio program once hosted by paranormal enthusiast Art Bell, which I first heard many years ago on a road trip to California. From these disparate elements, the final part of the Yōkai Trilogy was born.

LINKS:

Coil vs. ElpH, Worship the Glitch: https://youtu.be/WUp8tUlftW8

Art Bell on EVPs from Coast to Coast AM: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLA0978912DC43800D

Funayūrei Cover Art

We released the cover art for John's third act tonight. Album is set for release Tuesday and as per the other releases we have films lined up. Next few weeks should be exciting as we send all this material out in the world. 

This has been a long road and it's not over yet. The podcast has lots more material to cover - we just introduced this album, but we're going to travel back a bit so we're nowhere near the end. There are the upcoming films too.

And...John has talked of a special edition Trilogy release that would feature additional material not on the separate records.

We'll see what happens, but while this is an end in some regards, it's also just a beginning.

 

 

Anxious Machine

Some exciting news of late we wanted to share.  We are going to start working a bit with the podcast Anxious Machine. The extent to our collaboration is not fully known yet, but for sure some of the American Residue catalog will find its way into the show.

Season 2 is getting ready to launch. If you are unfamiliar with this podcast head over to iTunes and catch up now. You can also visit www.AnxiousMachine.com for the blog and other assorted points of entry.

Plans for season 2 are incredible and we are really looking forward to playing our part.  

 

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Hikikomori - A Reflection

by John R. Barner

My second story idea revolved around the amount of what I call spiritual investment in our online presence. I use the word “spiritual” in a very general sense, and not indicative of faith traditions as such but rather those emotions that seem to define who we are as people: our personalities, hopes, dreams, needs for attention or consolation, our ups and downs, what we value and what we hope is valued in us by others. Hence, the great amount of time spent on “investment” in tools like computers and social media, which, if all is well, we get a “return” on, be in the form of “likes” or “retweets” or “friends.” But often we seek that kind of return, that “connection” and sense of community at the expense of real human interaction. What if that was all that was left? Only those digital traces cast adrift in the void of cyberspace—incorporeal and disembodied—that are today’s technological ghosts in the machines that connect our world.

I remembered immediately the Kate Bush song, “Deeper Understanding” from her amazing 1989 album The Sensual World (and later revisited on 2011’s Director’s Cut). The song was so eerily prescient about today’s technologically-informed social life and laid the foundation, in many ways, to the story I wanted to tell.

Another burst of information and inspiration came again from Rutledge’s Kūhaku. The hikikomori are the socially isolated youth of Japan. Government figures from 2010 suggest there are more than 700,000 individuals, most under the age of thirty, who live completely isolated lives, rarely, if ever, venturing out in the world and completely cut off from many forms of social life like family, friends, school or work. Many hikikomori get family support or are able to earn a living or have a solitary social outlet through computers, be it gaming, e-commerce, or virtual living spaces such as Second Life, but their lives are often filled with debilitating depression and psychic pain and the phenomenon can last for years, decades, or potentially the rest of their lives. I felt a tremendous resonance between what I was developing as a story idea and the tales I heard of the hikikomori. I was particularly impacted by a story I heard from a young woman who was the older sister of a hikikomori. In an interview, she stated that she empathized with her brother, and even respected his isolation, even if it meant he would not attend the funeral of their grandmother, but admitted that she herself suffered from an acute anxiety that the world itself might go out of existence and her brother would never know. It was as if, she said, he was already gone, already a ghost.


LINKS:

BBC News: “Hikikomori in Japan”: https://youtu.be/dr5y1iP9TfU

Kate Bush, “Deeper Understanding” (1989): https://youtu.be/q2HsN9WLQhI

Kate Bush, “Deeper Understanding” (2011), Official Music Video: https://youtu.be/nzqF_gBpS84

Aokigahara - A Reflection

By John R. Barner

Around the time I had set for myself to start recording music for the first story idea, I happened to be reading a book called Kūhaku & Other Accounts from Japan, edited by Bruce Rutledge. In the book, I was introduced to Aokigahara, a dense forest at the base of Mount Fuji that was a popular spot in Japan for suicides. Within a few days, I saw a link for a short film produced for Vice magazine in 2011 that followed Azusa Hayano, a geologist researching formations around Mount Fuji, who regularly ventured into the forest and often returned having either successfully counseled or recovered the bodies of any of the 50 to 100 persons who travel to Aokigahara each year to end their lives.

What I was reading and watching was both profoundly moving and disturbing, and I took my inspiration from it and the music came together in a short span of time. The final mixing sessions also corresponded to the birth of my son, which added to the already dizzying flurry of activity. As I continued, I was mindful that the topic of suicide is a tender one, for myself and countless others. In no way did I want to cheapen or glorify the subject matter. I read more, researched, and tried to compose the music in a thoughtful and respectful manner. In this I was and remain deeply indebted to the thought of Simon Critchley, the philosopher and ethicist who said that suicide “introduces the possibility of an encounter with some aspect of experience…not reducible to the self” (from his Very Little…Almost Nothing, Routledge: 1997, p. 74).

In a way, that remains my hope for not only my fictional character that “haunts” these five pieces of music, or, rather, goes from living to ghost in the space of them, but also for those actual troubled persons that inhabit the very real woods of Aokigahara.

LINKS:

Kūhaku & Other Accounts from Japan:  http://www.amazon.com/Kuhaku-Other-Accounts-Japan-Rutledge/dp/0974199508

“Suicide Forest in Japan,” a Vice film:  https://youtu.be/4FDSdg09df8

Simon Critchley’s “Suicide – A Defense” given as one of the Durham Castle Lecture Series, Durham University, in December of 2014: https://youtu.be/SO5bBtO26Cw