A quiet ceremony. A meeting of ancient and modern sound rituals. A place in between two worlds…
01: Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement – “Refuges From Black Magic” / Musiques De L’Asie Traditionelle Vol.3 – Bali – “Baris Jago”
02: Ekkehard Ehlers- “Nie Wieder Schnell Sagen” / Africa Burundi – Musique Traditionelles – “Akazehe par deux jeunes filles”
03: D’eon – “Annuciation”
04: Blanck Mass – “Sub Serious” / Africa Burundi – Musique Traditionelles – “Chant de femmes”
05: Lee Gamble – “Helicopter”
06: Son.Sine – “Mudita” / Africa Burundi – Musique Traditionelles – “Solo de flute”
07: Dolphins Into The Future – “Hookena Halawai”
08: Ethernet – “Current” (Mirrored Landscape remix by Gentleforce)
09: Mike Patton – “The Snow Angel” (loop edit) / Africa Burundi – Musique Traditionelles – “Ubuhuha”
10: The Knife – “Without You My Life Would Be Boring”
11: Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin – “Vaccination” / Africa Burundi – Musique Traditionelles – “Akazehe Par Une Jeune Fille” / The Melanesian Brotherhood, Tabalia – “Remember”
12: Tiny Vipers – Dreamer / Field Recording (Old Town in Dubrovnik) – Gentleforce
13: Tim Hecker – No Drums 2 / Field Recording (Gunning Fire Night) – Gentleforce
14: Roll The Dice – Way Out / Field Recording (Kyoto Train Station) – Gentleforce / Field Recording (Sumo Tournament,Tokyo) – Gentleforce
15: Africa Burundi – Musique Traditionelles – “Tambours ingoma avec choeur d’hommes”
16: Restream – “Blackheath” (Gentleforce’s Damaged Portal Vision Remix)
17: Excerpt from “The Place Beyond the Pines” (film) / Ennio Morricone – “Ninna Nanna Per Adulteri”
Tim Gray aka Ethernet has put out some beautiful works over the last few years on labels such as Kranky and Tamarack music. Even though I have never met Tim in person we have formed a friendship (via the net) and I have really appreciated his words and creative encouragement too. Tim recently asked me to remix a song off his new tape cassette release. Titled “Into the Woods”, and released on Tamarack, here is what the official press release says:
“Harvested from the trees and picked from the ground of the forest floor. in these nine deep excursions the listener ventures into the heart of the Woods with Ethernet to forage for the sublime. This epic assemblage clocking in just under 80 minutes represents over 2 years of creation; the birth of Ethernet to the settling in a new land and entering into the woods. Each track is its own sweeping ambient meditation rising up from silence to form massive intricate drone structures and deep trance inducing pulses,all together they form an epic of sonic immersion.”
I was asked to remix the track “Current”. What resulted was something completely new for me but still grounded in my ways of building sonic structures. The remix has a lot of field recordings I made last year in Japan, London, Croatia, Paris and Amsterdam. Here are the results…
Well it has been about 2 years since I have played out live in Sydney. Gentleforce gigs are rare for me and I still struggle with the thought of live performance. However I’m super excited to be supporting Cold House (Canberra) as they launch their new tape/digital release “Chomp Technical” on Moontown Tapes. Also the newly formed group Haunts (Sydney) will be in support too! I’ll be performing some newer pieces I have been working on over the last few months. Come down if you can. Starts at 7pm and its a $10 entry fee.
I recently presented some new material for a radio show called Ears Have Ears on local Sydney radio station FBI. The concept was to present a soundtrack of my own thoughts/theme for the show. I decided to use new material I have been working on for my next album (TBA). The piece is titled “Before Us” and is based around field recordings I made around Gunning, NSW, back in 2010. The piece is now uploaded for streaming on their Sound Cloud page…
I was recently involved in a remix collaboration between Feral Media and LoFly titled “Strain of Origin II”. The idea was artists from both labels swapped tracks with one another to remix. I was given a track called “Blackheath” from the super talented beat maker Restream. I ended up taking a small snippet of synth that Restream had played and melted that together with field recordings I made in Paris last year. The results made me feel strange, otherworldly and sad all at the same time. I opened a portal and now it can’t be closed…
The full album was released today to the public and is available as a FREE download at Feral Media’s Bandcamp page here.
Some very lovely words have been written about my recent tape release. Brian at Norman Records has described the work as “a spiritual aural love letter to the light and dark of our hidden surroundings” and given it 5 stars… read the full review below:
“A lovely tape from Eli Murray AKA Gentleforce here. I know nothing about the chap as my hotwired laptop is not intereneted up in any fashion so I’m sat here hungover and bewildered on my bed confronted with some seriously radiant and eerie dawntime drone and shimmering majestic scree which would suit an early morning’s investigating of unspoiled woodland glades. The digitized sound of nature unfurling around a sweet discreet techno pulse creates some delectable patterns in my mind, an enchanting aura iof hopeful and reflective moodscapery. There’s such a lush thought-provoking tapestry of rich peaceful sound being woven here as this live piece gradually encompasses smatterings of discreet chamber strings and eventually succumbs to a wall of grainy looming fuzzy swells as the beat ebbs away leaving just a flurry of singing bowls and eventually stately dark cosmic ponderings entice you into eerier realms. Later the piece evolves into a stumbling chiming folk-noir style thing with a fresh convergence of more implicit beats and some almost operatic vocals emerging from the ether. I’ve tried to convey here what a magical piece of work this is but as always words will never describe the sonic beauty of what I’m hearing here, a spiritual aural love letter to the light and dark of our hidden surroundings.”
To read more about the release and buy the tape go over to their site here.
So, after many full moons have past I’m happy to say my live piece “Looking Through New Window” (created for the night Refraction @Serial Space) will be released this week on Exotic Pylon Records. It feels good to finally let the recording go after completing it way back in September, 2010! I had moved to London in early 2011 and brought the recording with me in the form of a box of tapes. It was through meeting the wonderful Jonny Mugwump that the recording has finally found a home.
The tape will be available through Exotic Pylon’s Greedbag page, as well as digitally through other online sellers. Below is some very honest and lovely words written by Loki (An Idiot’s Guide to Dreaming).
“My youngest child had a Gentleforce t-shirt by the time he was 3 months old. Sacred Spaces was the second album he ever heard (the first? Coil presents Time Machines). It was one of only a handful of records in those first days of his life that he understood, that hummed with the same rhythmic shifts as his emergence. He wasn’t quite in the world yet but this music eased his passage, settled him. He never slept but he listened and at heinous hours, as the clocks dripped and we all fell in and out of consciousness, Gentleforce played out, over and over, keeping everyone calm. This is music that will, for me, always be associated with the slow, Eternal time between 3 AM and sunrise; it’s music for dawnings, for new beginnings, for Terence Malick films. It’s a resolutely benevolent kind of music, perfect for babies and munkins and lost boys recovering from their acid supping. Gentleforce is cosmic music via Kepler; music that works in spheres, that unfolds gently, that announces itself by absence; of inferior beasts, of dissonant planes. Even the name is perfect; this gentle force, this incline, this guiding hand. More people need this music than realise it. Listen, learn, make the t-shirt.” Loki (An Idiot’s Guide to Dreaming)
“Eli Murray aka Gentleforce defies easy categorisation, which means he’s right at home on Jonny Mugwump’s righteously deranged Exotic Pylon label. ‘Looking Through New Window’ is a half-hour symphony in which Murray throws everything he’s got into the pan – eerie field recordings, neo-classical overtures, crackle-infused deep house romanticism a la Lawrence/early Kompakt, shoegazey vocal textures and kosmische synth-drift – and it’s testament to his talent and maturity that the whole sounds coherent and concise rather than saggy or self-indulgent. Gentleforce is an apt name for the project – for this is music that’s soothing and sensuous but also very much sure of itself, with serious momentum, and not a dull moment, throughout. Recommended for fans of Fennesz, Four Tet, Border Community and other agents of dreamy, emotive electronics.”
A snippet of the live set that is available for free download too…
Earlier this year Rhyece O’Neill aka Westernsynthetics asked if I would like to design the cover for his up’n'coming EP project “No Holiday”. I love Rhyece’s musical output and naturally said yes to such a offer! Rhyece gave me total creative control over the design and his only request was it had to be in black and white… perfect for me as I only really use black ink and pencils for my artworks.
Once I took on the project the first thing I asked Rhyece for was a copy of the EP to listen to whilst I made the drawing. Within a few days I had the EP blasting through my headphones as I started to create the images. I decided like in the past I would document my creative process as I went along. The following are a series of pictures that capture the creation…
At the time of creating this cover I felt quite emotionally drained and stressed. I had arrived in the UK in early Feb. and I hadn’t found any work for over 2 months (I’m happily employed now though!). I felt quite down, depressed and trapped. I too, like Rhyece, needed a holiday. I was just craving some open space. A seaside to stare at… and hoping all my problems would disappear into the sunset. Those feelings came out through the artwork…
Lastly after finishing the drawing I asked if my talented flatmate Denitsa Blagoeva could add some subtle textures to the image using photoshop. Denitsa did a amazing job with the artwork and I’m really happy with the results!
If you haven’t listened to the “No Holiday” EP yet (which should be out on the 1st of July) do yourself a favour and seek it out as soon as possible! To me the two tracks are just loaded with pure emotional weight and massive open sonic landscapes to which the listener can get lost in. There are multiple layers of sound to explore within the two tracks which creates a lovely effect on your mind when listening to the music. I for one love music that has no real sense of beginning or ending… it just is. Rhyece has created something exceptional within these songs, it is personal and mysterious and I genuinely hope more of the world gets to hear Westernsynthetics beautifully crafted sounds in the future.
Once I finished the artwork I emailed Rhyece over a few questions that I hoped he would answer. Here is the following Q & A we exchanged:
1. I just wanted to see if you could explain in detail your feelings and thoughts about the statement “No Holiday”. What does this mean to you and what was the process of creating the music for it?
I wrote the songs while on “Holiday”. But Holiday for me over the last 5 years has been the odd weekend away maybe once or twice a year. The beach house that it was recorded in was in Kiama on the south coast of New South Wales. It was surrounded by these massive mansions and “holiday houses” and it reminded me that holidays are really the domain of the rich. I’m about to go on holiday to Europe however its taken 12 months working 6 day weeks and living like a pauper to save for it. Now, can that really be called a holiday or is it better described as rehab? Prior to this I have not had any substantial time off for 5 years. This is the case for most working class people not just me. And I don’t even have kids or mortgage repayments.
The other element to the No Holiday concept is how holidays and time off relate to artistic production. The only time I get to make art is on the weekends and the rare holidays I do get. It remains the case that art is the domain of the bourgeois.
2. The music on the EP feels like it is loaded with emotion and feeling. What were you feeling at the time of creating such beautiful pieces?
Thanks. Well I was on holiday! In an amazing beach house right on the beach and I set up my studio on the balcony:
I have no doubt that the context I was in at the time both physically and emotionally had an overwhelming effect on the production of these tracks.
3. Both songs have a lot of analogue sounds/equipment being used. Was this a conscious decision you made before writing the pieces and has this differed much form your music making process in the past?
As you can see from the video above I am using mostly analogue gear through a laptop. It was not a concious decision as so much as I have been using analogue gear all my musical life and not just in electronic music production. Software certainly opened the door to electronic music production for me but it didn’t take long for me to incorporate my guitar pedals and synths into the software. In terms of this EP it differed alot production wise from the album May Day Radio in that both pieces began life as ambient/soundscape/drone pieces with no beats at all.
I didn’t put any drums to No Holiday until later on although KMADMG I did start with using a metronome where as the album was more of a western pop song writing approach. On alot of the tracks id write them on piano or guitar first and then try and produce them later on the album. In the production stage in the past for Westernsynthetics compositions, I had always used the drums as the foundation stone and then build the chords and basslines around the drums. It was the other way around for the No Holiday EP.
4. What is your plans for the EP? When is the release date (digital/physical) and whom will be distributing and stocking it?
The EP will be out in all stores digitally on July 1. As Iv’e been working so much to save for my “holiday” (!) I don’t have the funds to press it on vinyl this time around. It will be released on Sub Continental Dub and is distributed through Cargo records UK. You can download a free track on westernsynthetics.net from the release date and if you like the free track it is hoped that you may want tol then go on and buy the ep. The free track is a track called New Fuse I wrote in 2006 but never released. All tracks are mastered by the wonderful Tony “Jack The Bear” Mantz in Melbourne.
So, I was quite excited about the prospect of using Rhyece’s sounds to create my own take on his unique sound… but was even more so when he said I could pick any song! I listened to all his tracks but kept coming back to a shorter sound piece titled “101010″. The track is more of a guitar/drone piece compared to most of the albums beat driven sounds. I liked the feel of it and asked Rhyece if I could remix it. Rhyece agreed and after a about a month or so, I came out of the studio with the following results: