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Leyland James Kirby (The Caretaker) - From out of the Past
Leyland James Kirby has been a singular figure in UK electronic music for over two decades. He first came to prominence in the late 1990s with the resolutely out-there V/VM, and associated V/VM Test Records; putting out a range of bewildering and often confrontational releases of plunderphonics, electronic and experimental noise. The label also came to be known for humorous and usually abrasive takes on pop culture figures like Chas and Dave, Frank Sinatra and the Krankies, as well as tongue in cheek deconstructions of Aphex Twin. It was however the music Kirby put out under the Caretaker moniker, beginning in 1999 with Selected Memories from the Haunted Ballroom, that really caught the imagination and would occupy him long after V/VM was brought to a close in 2008.

Like many of the releases on V/VM Test Records, the Caretaker's music relied on the manipulation of older material, in this case ballroom music from the first half of the 20th century. The original seed of the project - and its name - comes from those famous scenes in Kubrick's the Shining, where Jack Nicholson's character appears to fall between worlds, encountering a ghostly barman who utters the signature phrase "you're the caretaker. You've always been the caretaker". The early releases play on this notion of remembrance and haunted reimaginings of a forgotten golden age of glitz and glamour. The time degraded quality of the source records: monophonic, scratched, and suitably static soaked, formed an integral part of Kirby's compositional process as he would layer attenuated fuzz against looped fragments of melody which would emerge as if half remembered. The effect was striking, evoking feelings of melancholy and mystery. Cultural theorist Mark Fisher would later include the Caretaker among a group of artists, including Burial and the Ghost box label, he believed exemplified the concept of Hauntology; music which dealt with the fictitious reimagining of a lost past or lost opportunities.

Since 2005 and the 6CD box set Theoretically Pure Anterograde Amnesia, Kirby has increasingly taken the Caretaker project towards an explicit engagement with ideas around memory and memory disorders, including Alzheimer's disease. In addition, in 2009 he began releasing music under his own name, producing a series of records of ambient and experimental electronics, amplifying many of the themes present in the Caretaker, while developing his own signature style of playing. In 2016 he announced the final set of recordings for the Caretaker would be a six instalment project titled Everywhere at the End of Time. The final double LP instalment was released on his own History Always Favours the Winners label this year. Leyland kindly agreed to an email interview where he discussed the history of the Caretaker project, his working practices and creative outlook.


Stevan Mena - A Cut Above The Rest
As any fan of the slasher sub-genre of horror knows- the key & golden age of the genre occurred in the early 1980s. Sure there where flurries of some effective enough slashers in & around of the release of Scream in 1996- but in reality the sub-genre has been very lackluster & mixed since the ’80s. One of the more worthy & consistent series to appear in the genre since the golden is the Malevolence trilogy- taking in 2003’s Malevolence,  2011’s Bereavement- Malevolence II, and last years Malevolence 3: Killer- the films took classic slasher genre elements- focused & strengthened them, and added in elements of  the serial killer thriller. Behind all three films is New York state-based writer/ director Stevan Mena- Stevan kindly agreed to give us an email interview, discussing the trilogy, his love of horror & his other work
Michael Ridge - From Tools Of Torture-To-Flint Walling
Norfolk Uk based noise maker Michael Ridge is one of the longer running denizens of the Uk wall-noise scene, been involved since around 2010. He may not be the most proflic in the worldwide scene, but he always puts a lot of time & thought into whatever he releases. His first project Acerbitas, run between 2010 to 2014- with all the projects fourteen releases been themed around tools of torture. After a few years away from HNW( though still active within the wider noise scene)- he returned in 2017 to the scene with his most recent project Norfolk Trotter- which sees him creating densely raging & subtle shifting wall making, with flint been used as the projects source material. I caught up with Michael for an email interview- discussing his wall career in general, and of course his most recent project.
Merzbow/ Merzbow & Balazs Pandi - Noise, Drums & Thirty Years Of Waiting
On May 25, 2019, in Moscow, at the Station City Hall venue, a significant event took place - the performance of the legendary Japanese noise artist Masami Akita with his project Merzbow. The concert was organized by the Russian company Delta Mekong Concerts. Masami is perhaps the most famous figure on the world noise scene. Playing from the late 1970s to the present day, he normally records several albums a year. The Moscow Concert is the second and final show in a small Russian tour, which was held jointly with Hungarian drummer Balazs Pandi, who is very known in wider experimental music. The day before, he played in St. Petersburg. This event was significant because Masami Akita had only played in Russian once before. It was back in 1988 in  Khabarovsk, at the festival of jazz, improvisational, electro-acoustic and experimental music. And now, after almost 30 years, the Japanese genius of noise has returned to please his Russian fans. The concert was to consist of two parts. The first part was to be a solo set of Merzbow, the second one was a duo performance with Balazs Pandi.
Elsewhere Music label interview - Gently Breaking The Silence
Launched in June of last year, Elsewhere Music is one of the up & coming labels in the modern composition / modern classic genre. So far the label has put out six releases - moving from the 3CD release ‘Blurred Music’ that smudged the line between drone, modern composition, and improv, onto the sparse piano ambience of Melaine Dalibert's ‘Musique Pour Le Lever Du Jour’, through to the eventful & subtle surreal modern compositions of ‘Works On Paper’ - which brings together works from both Lance Austin Olsen & Gil Sansón. Shortly the label will be releasing three new CDs focusing on piano recordings. We caught up with the label curator/producer Yuko Zama for an email interview.
Damien De Coene - Pedal Chained Bleakness
Damien De Coene, a relative newcomer to the wall noise scene, has made a name for himself through the quality of his prolific output, which covers a wide range of sounds from barely-there Drone to full-blown HNW, as well as a distinctive visual identity. Damien kindly agreed to give Musique [Machine] an interview.


       
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