Stadiums & Shrines

 

Released just as the leaves started to turn, Spencer Zahn’s Sunday Painter record has become a reliably bright drifter for a long winter. Gentle, captivating, the collaborative work seeps and sprawls in the kindest of ways, suggesting a certain level of listening leisure; early mornings before the day catches up, that afternoon glow that hits different on a weekend. Zahn is an accomplished artist — a professional touring musician and multi-instrumentalist session player (on the upright bass here) — whose warmth, modesty, and communal spirit facilitates these intuition-driven sessions with friends: Spencer Ludwig (trumpet), Mauro Refosco (percussion), Kenny Wollesen (drums), Andy Highmore (piano/Rhodes/organ), Jacob Bergson (piano/Rhodes), Mike McGarril (soprano saxophone), and Dave Harrington (guitar/electronics). The set feels alive, brimming with a mix of jazzy interplay, ambient softness, and an understated neo-classical command.

Knowing Spencer as the tasteful world-builder that he is, we tapped him for a takeover. His episode links the likes of Chet Baker, Kate Bush, The Durutti Column, and Yasuaki Shimizu’s cult-favorite Mariah group under the study of spatial recording dynamics (with the title nodding to Sun Ra). He explains:

“I have always been fascinated with the way that people record their music. How each song becomes a unique documentation of the artist, their musicality, and the space in which they record. When I was growing up, things like reverb and hearing a room in a recording amazed me; it still does. From the opening track by Hiroshi Yoshimura who creates air around each synthesized note to the live club atmosphere of the Ahmad Jamal Trio playing in a lounge in 1958 while microphones simultaneously record the band and audience casually having a night out, each song on this playlist has an immediate feeling of space.”


Sunday Painter is out now on Cascine. Zahn also has a new 7” bundle highlighting sessions with Austin Tufts (Braids), and Jacob Bergson available through Pique-nique Recordings.

 

Montreal-based French-British producer Jean Cousin has appeared in these pages as johnny_ripper and Triste Marker. In 2017, he found the lasting pseudonym of Joni Void and label home of Constellation Records. Two acclaimed avant-electronica LPs later, we find our friend in full swing, wielding total control of his abilities and aesthetic, a master collagist of sound and sculptor of tone. Naturally his ear for source material lends itself well to the mix format.

Here, Cousin collects outsider art — a wild style of drone, rap, classical, and the sprawling sampledelic et cetera — revolving around his trip to Japan last year. “The music I was listening to at the time, some that I discovered over there and have been listening to on my return. The name of the mix is Life Is Living You which was written on the side of a temple in Kyoto.”

The artwork comes courtesy of Nathaniel and his daughters, ages six and three, who are making fine use of their homeschooling at the moment.



Wendy Eisenberg – Time Machine
ana roxanne – immortality
middle cow creek falls – nostalgia of when you opened the door
Masahiro Takahashi – Sky, Ocean and Weapons -空と海と兵器-
scallops hotel – discussing lanquidity with the moor (ft. SB the Moor)
UCC Harlo – Queen Anne’s Lace
Sometimes, People – 2019
Jim O’Rourke – I’m Happy
Tanya Tagaq – Snowblind
After Dinner – Glass Tube
alphabets – dreaming about losing your keys
Susumu Yokota – Rose Necklace
志人 x DJ DOLBEE – 円都家族
Colleen – Swimming Pool Down the Railway Track
Teams + Noah + Repeat Pattern – miminashi
RYECROFT – Providence
Metoronori メトロノリ – Peindre ou faire l’amour
katie dey – solipsting
jangmyungsun – 일기장 Diary
Pink Navel – dunevhs-neverwatched.dev
Nuno Canavarro – –
Kahimi Karie – Blue Orb
Anabasine + Holobody – Milky Road
Hoahio – Less Than Lovers, More Than Friends
P-Model – Cyborg (Live)
Mister Lies – Always In The Garden
Tomoki Kanda – Safari
Phew / Seiichi Yamamoto – Sora
Osamu Sato – Eight Beat Infinity (Original Tape Version)
Haco – Kusui
Page Vide – Vagues
Shun – Landscape #3
Wendy Eisenberg – Once Before

S&S Radio broadcasts every now and then on Newtown Radio.

 

Sui Zhen sent us this mix last month; we have migrated inside since then, and are finding ways to exist, to create, to adapt and hopefully thrive within limited and uncertain formats. May this mix offer a spacious place to lean into.

Sui Zhen is a musician and performance artist based in Melbourne. Her latest album, Losing, Linda (released last fall on Cascine), examines the disembodiment of digital life and internalizes loss across a series of surreal and highly inventive experimental pop songs. Zhen has a knack for arranging myriad musical ideas into singular moments while never losing hold of the rhythm. Like the way flute & clarinet mingle with bossa-nova bass lines on “Being A Woman,” emphasizing her candid questions about gender expectations, which toggle between melodic phrases, self-harmonies, and robotic sing-speak.

Behind the AI alter-ego preface of Losing, Linda, it is deeply human. As is the message of this mix, presented in her words below. She also penned a piece today on resetting expectations in the age of isolation.

“Over the last couple of years my listening tastes have moved toward more textural, expansive, contemplative soundscapes that could accompany me whilst I am thinking & reflecting about all manner of things at home. Or whilst I am preparing my studio space. Trying to quiet the mind. This could be because I’ve been creating soundscapes and music for listening in art galleries for work in this time period. But I think it also has to do with the rise of internet radio and mix series reaching a point where there is so much choice. Mixes can be life-changing or just a really positive way to collect musical ideas and references into an hour-long listening experience. Ambient is not the right word, but there is a sparseness and fragmentation to a lot of the pieces here in this mix. I love to try and continue a thread and draw links between other artists working with similar sounds or techniques. For me, this kind of music is highly evocative and good for the soul. It doesn’t always sound familiar and you might not know where it is leading you, but it can open the mind and be a cleanse of sorts to all the noise elsewhere in the world. I am always so impressed and in awe of the power of sound and music. What a privilege to have my hearing and to be able to participate in this way.”



FM3 & Dou Wei – 四
Meredith Monk – clusters 2
Félicia Atkinson – The Flower And The Vessel
FM3 & Dou Wei – Fallen Flowers 落花
Sam Mallet – Wetlands
Log(M) & Laraaji – Sundog Suite
Ana Roxanne – Slowness
Meredith Monk – strand (gathering)
Sosena Gebre Eyesus – 03 ባየነውም ጊዜ – Bayenewem Gize
FM3 & Dou Wei – 八
Brenda Ray & Scientist – Rejoice For The New Born
Hydroplanes – Grand Central
Pontiac Streator & Ulla Straus – Chat Two
Primal Astrology – Primal Astrology
Log(M) & Laraaji – Sruthi Dub Resonance
Pete Namlook & Bill Laswell – From The Earth To The Ceiling (Part 07)
Sheila Chandra – Not a Word in the Sky
SQÜRL – Blue and Grey
A Gethsémani – Cheree

S&S Radio broadcasts every now and then on Newtown Radio.

 

Since closing the metaphorical doors to Patient Sounds Intl. on the last day of the decade, Chicago-based “ambient humorist” Matthew J. Sage has refocused his open hours into a new hobby: ceramics. Somewhere around the edges of spinning clay, recording, and teaching college students about cinema, he put some time towards this somnolent turntable set designed for winter. As he frames it:

“This mix — 100% vinyl — is a postmeridian fantasy suite built to transport you, fair listeners, out of your bundled days and woolen dens through your ears and into an after-hours reverie. The holidays are long over, but we are still in the throes of winter here in Chicago — Late-January/February is by far the cruelest time in the Midwest, having just wrapped a record-challenging stretch without the sun breaking through cloudcover, and now descending into a week of cold and snow — so I created what could be considered a fairytale. A story built to be heard near a crackling hearth (or the 4k facsimile of a hearth). This is what narrative is for in some cases, a flash of escapism. Consider it starting in a leather-couched living space where, after a rich meal of fresh bread and baked root vegetables from the cellar, and maybe a strong glass of wine or two, you float off into the words of a kind friend about their wanderings in the woods of those past warmer months. You spiral into an unfamiliar kingdom that is still uncannily comfortable. Light from those flames in the hearth dance about the room, throwing shadows like flitting fairies into your drooping eyelids.”

“Again, if you don’t have a real fireplace, I highly recommend cueing up a little crackling birchwood while you listen (we run this video in our house quite often in the winter and it has become a much loved cold-season tradition!). Stay warm and imaginative out there (or in there), and have a good tale on me.”


Emily A. Sprague – Piano 1
Josh Mason – Cracking the Juice Code
Billy Gomberg – Openness
Nick Butcher – Cozy Kitchen
Rene Hell – Metaconcrete
Charlie Morrow – Wave Music III – 60 Clarinets and a Boat
Wendy Carlos – Variations for Flute & Electronic Sound
Forest Management – A Smell so Sweet
Robert Casadesus (Faure) – Prelude in Gmin by Gabriel Faure
Sean McCann – Nightfall
Theodore Cale Schafer – Hunter
Tomita – Dawn at Bermuda
Tom Van Der Geld and Children at Play – Alison
Ernest Hood – Saturday Morning Doze

S&S Radio broadcasts every now and then on Newtown Radio.