REQUIRED WRECKERS

With equal nods to Throbbing Gristle's retrograde conceptualism and Recommended Records unwavering musicality, Amish is pleased to announce the Required Wreckers Series. Over the next ten catalogue releases, R/W will explore the work of artists operating at the intersections of sound art, improvisation, drone, outsider experimentation and modern composition. In the spirit of its name, R/W aims to disrupt the boundaries typically used to delimit genre and the sensibilities that help to inform taste. In so doing, R/W slips out from under the simple, reductive classifications so often used to discuss, and even critically engage, contemporary music. Situating R/W in the gap between Throbbing Gristle's celebrated a-musicality and the unrelenting craftsmanship of Henry Cow, these releases acknowledge their debt to historical precedent.

Each release is a one-time vinyl pressing and will be housed in a letterpress band (designed by Bryan Christopher Baker) that will vary with each installment (each will also be available in the vastly inferior digital format). These LPs will also include artwork and assorted ephemera that invoke our deepest respect for the medium and the hand-crafted (and assembled) components we regret have disappeared with the rise of digital media. R/W terminates after ten installments.


AMI 031 R/W SON OF EARTH - Improvements LP

AMI 032 R/W ENSEMBLE ECONOMIQUE - Standing Still, Facing Forward LP

AMI 033 R/W BEN VIDA / KEITH FULLERTON WHITMAN - AGGREGATEPULSERIPPER (DAMAGED IIII) / 080114 LP

AMI 034 R/W GREGG KOWALSKY WITH JOZEF VAN WISSEM - Movements in Marble and Stone LP

AMI 035 R/W MIKE SHIFLET / PETE SWANSON - Bedside / College View LP

AMI 036 R/W M DWINELL - Golden Ratio LP

AMI 037 R/W NICK FORTÉ - Primordial Forms LP



AMI 031 R/W
SON OF EARTH
Improvements LP

Side A
1. Time Immemorial
2. Muttering Triumph click for audio
3. Slow Shakes

Side B
4. Gone To Float
5. Upward Impetus
6. A Function Observed

While still being filled with the unease and tension that is their hallmark, Improvements is the first record that also allows the humor and camaraderie between the members of Son of Earth to come to the fore. Most of their previous releases have been culled from live recordings, and the group has always thrived on the tension of live performance. Earlier studio efforts, such as the acclaimed Pet LP, though recorded at home, were composed in an everyone-has-to-be-serious approximation of the live performance experience. This time, possibly for the first time, in a sweaty little room, and in a stairwell, and in a back yard tossing horseshoes in Holyoke, Massachusetts, the group finally dropped all pretense - not of seriousness, but of obligation to some unseen spectator. On Improvements, you can really hear John Shaw, Matt Krefting, and Aaron Rosenblum being themselves, and being Son of Earth and it's weird.

Manchester-bred, Rick Myers, who has worked with John Cale, Andy Votel, Dinosaur Jr. and Badly Drawn Boy and has created books with Nieves Zurich & Gladtree Press to name a few, provides the beautiful art / design-work for the LP jackets. LP comes wrapped in letter-pressed band and contains a 16-page art book.

Son of Earth

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AMI 032 R/W
ENSEMBLE ECONOMIQUE
Standing Still, Facing Forward LP

Side A
1. With You, At Brandy Creek click for audio
2. Chamber of Light
3. Strangler Figs

Side B
4. Angkor Wat, In The Mist
5. Night Escape On Water, The City In Flames
6. On The Threshold, Through And Through

The primary step in understanding Standing Still, Facing Forward is to recognize Ensemble Economique is Brian Pyle. Brian Pyle is Ensemble Economique. This is the first LP release from Ensemble Economique. Digitalis issued the At the Foot of Nameless Roads CD in 2008. Ensemble Economique's fantastic earliest recording, entitled No GPS, was bundled as a CDr with a limited initial pressing of At the Foot, but has yet to be properly issued. Both recordings are important primers to Pyle's nascent invocations of Holger Czukay's Cannaxis (on No GPS) and Karlheinz Stockhausen's Kontake (on At the Foot).

With Standing Still, Facing Forward Ensemble Economique provides the most mature realization of Pyle's compositional process, which utilizes found sounds, field recordings, and musical performance that he later meticulously edits, layers, and loops in the studio. The effects of these processes are dramatic, cinematic and conceptually rigorous and this recording evidences Pyle as an important new composer emerging out of the long and storied tradition of West Coast experimentalism.

Utilizing a delicate combination of the homespun improvisation of his other project, Starving Weirdos (whose work sounds like an American echo of AMM) with his own unique variation on the European avant-garde in Ensemble Economique, Pyle's practice involves a dense approach to composition akin to assemblage. But unlike electronic and laptop composition, Pyle's studio work aims to re-establish an organicism associated with live (or, in the case of the field recordings, lived) performance that pushes the studio out into nature and nature into the studio. In short, the Northern Californian landscape plays an integral part in Ensemble Economique's soundscapes, and this record captures much of the atmosphere of Pyle's home terrain.

ENSEMBLE ECONOMIQUE

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AMI 033 R/W
BEN VIDA / KEITH FULLERTON WHITMAN
AGGREGATEPULSERIPPER (DAMAGED IIII) / 080114 LP

Side A
1. Ben Vida - AGGREGATEPULSERIPPER (DAMAGED IIII) (11:31)
Recorded in Brooklyn, NY 2010
Analog Syntesizing System and Computer

Side B
2. Keith Fullerton Whitman - 080114 (18:20)
Recorded Live at PA's Lounge (Sommerville, MA) Jan 14, 2008

The third iteration in the Required Wreckers Series, a split LP featuring new and exclusive work from Ben Vida and Keith Fullerton Whitman (AMI-033 R/W). Having collaborated over the last decade as a trio with Greg Davis, this release features new solo-work by two of America's most important emerging sound artists.

The first side of this release debuts a new composition from Ben Vida. In keeping with his recent patchwork-based compositions, AGGREGATEPULSERIPPER (DAMAGED IIII) continues to explore Vida's interest in both digital and analog control sources, a compositional process that refuses to fetishize one technology over another and, more interestingly, appears (though, of course, these appearances are deceptive) to displace the musician's hand from the compositional process. In light of Vida's early work with the acoustic ensemble, Town and Country, and the world music and concrete studies of his solo project, Bird Show, this new compositional method should not be overemphasized. For this piece, Vida creates a complex web of patches that change and morph in what he has contextualized as a series of shifting generative patterns. The subtitle of his piece references how these patterns coalesce in aggressive, almost hardcore, clusters of sound that refuse to slip into contemplative or mystical arenas that so many in today's electronic music reference in relation to their work. Vida's composition opts instead to remain engaged in the phenomenal and spatial forces that shape our perception of sound.

The flipside of this LP features Keith Fullerton Whitman's third in a series of splits (previous releases have included No Fun Production's b/w Carlos Giffoni and Amethyst Sunset's b/w with Mike Shiflet) documenting a particularly productive period in his creative output - a series of "synth concerts" from 2007 and 2008. Recorded on January 14, 2008 at PA's Lounge in Somerville, MA, this piece documents the fourth in Whitman's solo synthesizer sets. His technical set-up is based around a theme (and circuitry) of economy, in which the artist makes use of each CV-source in a variety of fashions. Throughout the recording one can discern talking from the audience and ambient room-tone noise, as well as sound coming from different sources spread throughout the room - a small battery powered speaker on stage right, a giant Barbetta on stage left. Each speaker was fed into a different patch irrespective of its frequency response. Whitman uses a hybrid system of digital and analog sound sources that, with the exception of a single 4096 bd delay, is presented here without treatment, overdub, or sequencing of any sort.

New York-based artist Meredyth Spark provides the cover art and sixteen-page booklet for this release. Sparks has been assisting Amish for the last few years with design and layout. This is the first release to exclusively feature her work. The images and design elements for the cover art come from her Extraction series (in truth, the front and back covers are extractions of her extractions), paintings and collages that draw heavily from the aleatory methods and analog/digital processes that both Vida and Whitman utilize in their recordings.

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AMI 034 R/W
GREGG KOWALSKY with JOZEF VAN WISSEM
Movements in Marble and Stone

Side A
1. Gregg Kowalsky - Electronic Music for Square and Sine Waves (20:42)

Side B
2. Gregg Kowalsky & Jozef van Wissem - For Baroque Lute, Tapes and Resonant Space (13:45)

Amish is pleased to officially announce a new release from composer Gregg Kowalsky, the fourth installment in the label's Required Wreckers series. Movements in Marble and Stone (AMI-034R/W) includes two new pieces recorded live in 2011. While these performances occurred on opposite coasts, the source material is closely aligned in both concept and process. These works highlight his ongoing preoccupations with sound and setting, incorporating the focused blend of acoustic and electronic sources that Kowalsky is already well known for.

"Electronic Music for Square and Sine Waves" documents Kowalsky's contribution to the 2011 Activating the Medium festival in San Francisco. This commissioned piece continues Kowalsky's interest in how sound engages, manipulates and modifies one's awareness of space. This piece generates-as both the name of the festival and Kowalsky's composition suggest-sound that amplifies a hearing subject's relation to his or her environment. For this composition, Kowalsky tuned an AM radio to random interference between channels, static abstractions that bookend the work. Within the core of the piece, Kowalsky used contact mics to process this, and other, sound source(s) as he moved around the performance space. The effect of this movement generates both melodic feedback and acoustic forms that provide a subtle complement to the static interference of the radio frequencies.

"For Baroque Lute, Tapes and Resonant Space" documents Kowalsky's on going tape chants process, a project previously realized on both his Battery Townsley (2011) and Tape Chants (2009) LPs. For this iteration, Kowalsky tuned square and sine waves to Dutch lutanist Jozef van Wissem's lute and then played these recordings through cassette players. Though they have collaborated previously, this performance at Issue Project Room in October 2011 is the first chronicling of Van Wissem and Kowalksy's duo-work.

In both his performances and sound installations, Kowalsky has shared the stage and/or collaborated with a wide range of contemporary artists and musicians over the last ten years, including Stephan Mathieu, Fred Frith Kevin Drumm, JD Emmanuel, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Ben Vida, Yoshi and Tashi Wada, Aaron Dilloway, C. Spencer Yeh Paul Clipson, among others. Kowalsky has released a number of critically acclaimed solo records for labels like Kranky, Senufo Editions and Root Strata, as well as working with Marielle Jakobson in Date Palms (Mexican Summer).

Artwork for the LP jacket and 16-page art booklet was done by New York based artist Wade Guyton.

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AMI 035 R/W
MIKE SHIFLET / PETE SWANSON
Bedside / College View LP

Side A
1. Mike Shiflet - Bedside (15:04)

Side B
2. Pete Swanson - College View (12:32)

A new release featuring the work from two American noise and sound artists, the Ohio-based Mike Shiflet and the recent Portland-to-New York transplant Pete Swanson. The fifth installment in the label's Required Wreckers series (AMI-035R/W) features side-long compositions that borrow as much from the worlds of noise and power electronics that Swanson and Shiflet were affiliated with in the early parts of their careers, as from techno and modern composition.

Mike Shiflet's "Bedside" utilizes disparate sources-guitar, field recordings, abstract electronic textures and white noise-to create a composition that's both warmly pastoral and defamiliar. "Bedside" is elegiac and slowly evolving, blending acoustic sound sources Shiflet then disrupts with understated percussive tremolo. This is one of Shiflet's most beautiful works to date. Shiflet has released a number of critically acclaimed recordings over the last decade for labels like Type and Ecstatic Peace!, as well as collaborating with C. Spencer Yeh in Burning Star Core.

Pete Swanson's "College View" documents another example of his recent recordings' attempt to blur the lines between techno, noise, and electronic music. "College View" drags Detroit dance music into a static field of electricity, and then doubles back again. "College View" documents another great example of Swanson's mature, post-Yellow Swans output, as indicated on a series of releases since 2011 on labels like Three-Lobed and Type.

Miranda Lichtenstein and Cameron Martin provide the visual art for this release. The cover art and booklet included with the release feature images from a series of manipulated photographs of Chinese scholar rocks that the artists have worked on since 2008. The images suggest the same kind of blasted pastoralism that Shiflet and Swanson invoke in each of their pieces. Lichtenstein and Martin have each exhibited their work internationally in shows in New York, Tokyo, Austria and at the 2004 Whitney Biennial.

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AMI 036 R/W
M DWINELL
Golden Ratio LP

Side A
Clear (1:23)
Ascend (7:27)
Hold (2:26)
Move (5:26)
Rest (1:27)

Side B
Drive (2:45)
Release (11:12)
End (:45)

Volume six in our Required Wreckers LP series, M Dwinell's Golden Ratio (AMI036R/W) offers the only documentation of Dwinell's just intonation organ work, recorded between 2007-2008.  [These pieces provide a pivotal shift away from his earlier Kraut-inspired rock-based improvisation with Boston's BRIGHT in the direction of his recent electronic-based compositional work with Brooklyn's FORMA (Spectral Spools).  Unlike either of these projects, however,] Golden Ratio focuses exclusively on a natural tuning system generated from the harmonic series. By precise control of his instrument's tuning, Dwinell sets into motion a dynamic musical system of pressure, intensity and calm. Golden Ratio incorporates both static pulsing drones and heavily arpeggiated passages, culminating in melodic lines that epitomize Dwinell's unique musical vocabulary as developed over the last twenty years.   

Golden Ratio pairs Dwinell's music with the artwork of Ricci Albenda.  Albenda and Dwinell share an intense and concentrated interest in perception, especially in how sight and sound can both focus and alter one's awareness.  Both artists challenge stable musical or visual points of reference, while simultaneously engaging these systems in the creation of their unique bodies of work.

The LP contains a 16-page booklet of Albenda's work.

M Dwinnell - Golden Ratio LP

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AMI 037 R/W
NICK FORTÉ
Primordial Forms LP

Side A
1. Imperfect Birth (8:16)
2. Infusoria (9:16)

Side B
3. Rhodoferax (5:35)
4. Druse (7:40)
5. Sleeping Sickness (5:58)

Nick Forté's Primordial Forms LP (AMI-037R/W) is the seventh installment in our Required Wreckers series.

Primordial Forms is Forté's most demanding and conceptual work to date. Forte has always been intrigued by the visual representation of sound on the computer screen. Editing software depicts sound as "waveforms" which can look like jagged landscapes or abstract geometric forms. For the five pieces that comprise the record, Forté created five one-second sounds on his computer based purely on the visual appeal of the waveform. He made these waveforms with the speakers off. These visually appealing forms became the seeds for the pieces on the record.

With the speakers turned back on, Forté then turned these discrete sound units into long form music through a slow and deliberate process of looping, editing, and manipulation. The entire record was made in a pirated version of Sound Forge from the late 90s. No sequencers or multi-track programs were used and no real time playing occurred on these tracks. Forte's compositional process can be likened to cartoon animation, or Muybridge's photographic innovations capturing movement and motion.

Though these pieces began in the eye, they end in the gut. Short sequences of tones and bursts of sound are embedded in rhythm and form. Throughout the album representational sound is confused with the non-representational and the end result, a combination of the computer-based and the organic, is a work of subtle power and dynamism.

Forté is one of the most innovative and overlooked figures in contemporary experimental and extreme music, though those aware of his discography recognize the arch and foundational significance of his work. From Rorschach to Raspberry Bulbs, and more importantly in his solo releases on Schematic, Soft Abuse, Sublight, Wodger and Catholic Tapes, Forté is one of the most versatile and rigorous musicians working today.

Cover art by Adam Helms.

LP includes a 12-page book that expands on the images, themes and ideas central to these five compositions.

M Dwinnell - Golden Ratio LP

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