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Escape with ambient musician Memory Scale’s latest album

Memory Scale is the project of Arnaud Castagné, coming from Bordeaux, France. He composes mainly alone but sometimes produces with other musicians, especially for live performances. Memory Scale is a cinematographic universe based on sound textures and synthetic melodies, mixing electronica and ambient to create a hybrid and contemplative pop.

As a link connecting two decades of electronic music history, “The Shadow And The Shape” brings us back with a touch of nostalgia towards the electronica of the 90s and the early 2000s.
The nine tracks of this new album roam the paths taken by Tycho, Boards Of Canada, Floating Points and Lali Puna, and remind us of the finest hours of labels such as City Center Office or Morr Music whose legacy is beyond doubt.

Originally published in audio cassette format and reissued at the beginning of the year as digital release, “The Analog Sunset Memories” already revealed subtle production of the artist from Bordeaux. With the EP “Exit” released in 2019, at the crossroads between leftfield electronic and indie pop (ambient pop ?), the excitement level was rising.

For the Memory Scale project, Arnaud Castagné surrounded himself by artists and musicians including Taylor Deupree as mastering engineer (electronic musician and founder of the American label 12k, also known for his collaborations with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Marcus Fischer, Stephan Mathieu and others), Guillaume Flamen on keyboards and Nicolas Godin on drums & guitar. These last two also team up with him on stage.

Enigmatic and timeless, “The Shadow And The Shape” aptly describes misty mornings, a threatening sky tinged with white and gray and charged with melancholy, like a sweet poetic and subtle parenthesis.

Memory Scale, or when the machines touch the soul.

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Ambient musician Sam Prekop announces new album: Comma

Following the recent announcement of his new album Comma, Sam Prekop has shared new single “Circle Line”. The track evokes the relentless forwarded motion of commuter routine, traversing futuristic cityscapes illuminated in glistening neon as Prekop focusing his prismic synthesiser loops around a newfound rhythmic pulse.

On writing the track, he elaborates: “Circle Line” was the first piece written after having my Roland Juno 106 repaired, which had been out of service for years. Being a polyphonic synth, which the modular is not, it made for quite a different approach here. The predominant element is the rhythmic chord foundation, which all of the other elements are directly responding to. Another differentiation from the other pieces on the record is that there are three key changes that in my mind make the piece feel like a miniature suite. I wanted the piece to feel quite sparse and open. The “solo” voices are mostly atonal and gestural, until the end where the sequenced line carefully follows the key changes.”

Sam Prekop’s boundless imagination is guided by his strong sense of melody. For more than 25 years, as a solo artist or as part of The Sea and Cake, Prekop creates a singular sound that is both inventive and warm. New album Comma takes Pekop’s electronic music experiments in a surprising new direction. Working extensively with beat programming for the first time, Prekop uses rhythm as a narrative tool, tapping into electronic music’s romantic and emotional qualities. Comma embraces the analogue synthesizer’s often unpredictable nature, imbuing the record with a decidedly organic feel even while working within the relative rigidity of beat architectures.

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Producer oblyx is not okay in song ‘Walk On’

Credit: Wide Eyed Studios

Everyone feels alone at one point in their life, but the current global pandemic has strengthened this feeling for a lot of people. Some people like music producer oblyx uses his creative outlet to express his loneliness at this time. A.Room shares, “As he has previously mentioned, that the alias oblyx is a way for him to express and document his feelings on life and its challenges.  ‘Walk On’ is Johnson implying that he has hit rock bottom during this global pandemic and that isolation has got its hooks into him.”

Since the 1st of January 2018, Oliver Johnson has shared a song each month, using the name oblyx. His music chronicles his life’s trials and tribulations. The music producer shares his thoughts on the single “Feelings of despondency after a period of solitude and reflection. Optimism gives way to reality.”

Everyone hurts and bleeds, no matter who you are in this life. The music producer vents about his defeat to the emotional impact that the forced isolation is having on him, creating a work that is relatable and emotionally raw.

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Luke Howard announces new album

Named after a quote by composer and academic David Toop, ‘All That Is Not Solid’, is his most audacious and exciting album yet.  It documents the four concerts Howard played in January of wholly improvised music. The result is Howard at his purest, highlighting his breath-taking melodic talent. The four weekly concerts at Melbourne classical venue Tempo Rubato in January from which these records stem, saw Howard freely improvise for an hour, before a second half of his existing tunes. The shows took place while bushfires raged in Australia. They were nearly cancelled because of the heat, but offered solace and comfort to audiences when they went ahead.

‘All That Is Not Solid’ became the natural home for ‘Antoinette Boulevard’. The only song from the shows’ second half of pre-existing pieces, the album’s joyous finale needed an audience to respond to its restless energy. “I could release a whole album of versions of ‘Antionette Boulevard’ I’ve tried in the studio,” he laughs. “That tune has been a bit of a curse before, but it worked as more of a party tune to play at these gigs. I could play it really fast, or start slow and have fun speeding it up. I’d end the shows with it, and after what could have been a melancholy night it’s good to have something to whip through.” Its video is comprised of drone footage edited by Howard of the Australian landscape, from Victoria and New South Wales, filmed by Howard’s friend Finn Robertson.

The eerily beautiful ‘Antionette Boulevard’ video is a reminder of the stark period when Howard’s ‘All That Is Not Solid’ residency took place. Howard is in awe of the resilience of people who lost their homes in the fires, noting: “Their attitude seems to be ‘Oh, we’ll pick up and start again’, when as a city dweller I’d find it such a traumatic experience.” A passionate student of climate change, Howard has explored tackling the subject in his next studio work.

In the seven years since his compelling debut album ‘Sun, Cloud’ was released, Luke Howard has established himself as one of the most important and exciting musicians in contemporary classical music. The composer has been at the forefront of opening up piano music to a new generation, while challenging the notion of what can be achieved in the form. He has twice been nominated for the Australian Music Prize. His 2019 work ‘Beating Heart Stories’ featured stunning reworkings of his acclaimed album ‘Open Heart Story’. The same year, Howard’s first film soundtrack ‘The Sand That Ate The Sea’ for director Matthew Thorne’s documentary about the Australian outback was nominated for Best Soundtrack at the ARIA Awards. He has worked on ballets with The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden and Atlanta Ballet. As well as his solo music, he leads The Luke Howard Trio and has made albums with jazz bassist Janos Bruneel and Grammy-winning trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis.

Whatever the future holds for this most restless, challenging and innovative musician, the beauty and wonder shot through ‘All That Is Not Solid’ is a stunning achievement, an album created on the spot needing years of expertise to draw from first. It sets both Luke Howard free and anyone who cares to listen.

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Okada Takuro & duenn share new ambient album

The cutting-edge ambient music from Japan brought by up-and-coming producer and musician Okada Takuro and sound artist duenn. This sound is made to be the “air”, not your “story”.

“As ignorable as it is interesting” is how Brian Eno describes ambient music.Then how should this interesting yet may be ignored sound be part of our life in2020?
Now after works by Oh Shu & BIOMAN, Jim O’Rourke, Ana Da Silva & Phew,NEWHERE MUSIC is proud to present concept album “Urban Planning” from Okada Takuro + duenn.
After Moriwaikiteiru disbanded, Okada Takuro started his solo projects with the debut album “Nostalgia”. Apart from songwriting, Okada is also active as a producer and in film score.
duenn has been working with labels from all over the world including Entr’acte(Belgium) and Past Inside The Present (US). His experimental unit 3RENSA with Merzbow and Nyantora has performed with legendary sound designer Matsuo Ohno (Astro Boy) and artist Shohei Tsuda. In recent years, duenn’s sound can be heard at galleries and exhibitions, including the latest collaboration with Shiho
Yoshida.
It started from a sparkle in the discussion between Okada and duenn, “sound of the city” as a keyword. What should be the ambient music in our life, at our time? Through conversations, the two had made an important point, that is “complete an album with melodies by duenn and only duenn”, for so far, duenn has rarely created melodies.
The album has a precise concept, yet without much embellishment, probably because of the primitive melodies by duenn, being a freshman as a melody maker. For the listeners, the touch of simplicity may well remind them of the lullabies in their childhood. duenn and Okada also had clearly divided roles during the making, with duenn on melodies and Okada on editing and producing. It is also interesting that duenn chose to use GarageBand, a tool that accessible to all for his first melody-
making, which eventually turns out to be inevitably.
Respect of ambient musicians and contemporary artists since the 80s, Yukio Fujimoto and Hiroshi Yoshimura to name a few, could be recognized from this album. This is also the unique feature thanks to the continued crossover activities of the duenn and Okada. However, the two did not stop at admiring the masterpiece, instead, they focused on the cities in 2020s. The tracks are concise
and comprehensive of 1 or 2 minute-long echo with the artists of the subscription era.
The artists spent two years on this creation. Imagine the commuter trains, cars, your room, local park for a walk. This is the sound of city to blend into every moment in urban life.
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Los-Angeles multi-instrumentalist Frythm releases album Flow

                                                            Image: Alex Casillas 

Music producer, multi-instrumentalist, and singer-songwriter Frythm has released his album, Flow via SXN (a.k.a soulfulxnature). Frythm has seen recent previous support for his single ‘Rose Quartz’ on A.Room,” ‘Rose Quartz’ strikes its own unique chord, creating a work that is harmonious yet showing contrasting energies, as they are fusing together and becoming one.”

Frythm talks about the process of creating Flow, “I spent weeks reading into the philosophy of “flow” after coming off a few months of writers block I entered a deep meditative state. I came back with a repeated voice inside of my head telling me to look within and let my body take full control of the creative process. I instantly began writing the record, just moving naturally not giving much deep thought or logic to the process of things, and just allowing it to just happen. This was the easiest time I’ve ever had writing a record and felt like everything came to be so naturally, The “Flow” album is conglomerate of my subconscious’s natural actions.”

Frythm impresses with his instrumental range, showcasing his ability as a musician. This album is a tranquil work of free form expression.

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Interview News

Interview with composer and musician Hans Arnold

Composer and musician Hans Arnold mainly playing the drums in the fields of indie, improvised and experimental music. His current focus is on writing and performing original music with the band HOLZIG or in his SOLO project, combining Wurlitzer piano with a standing bass drum, which merges into a single instrument through live.
Looping to create song-like and sound-researching structures. Besides that, he is part of the experimental math band H.C.BEHRENDTSEN or the indietronica band ELEPHANTS ON TAPE.

If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?

Song-like and sound-researching structures, combining influences from ambient, indie, experimental and improvised music.

Tell us about yourself. How did you get into music?

I started with piano lessons taught by my grandmother. Playing the drums began with 14, trying to play along with The Beatles, Aerosmith or Alanis Morrissette. After a while I was drawn into jazz music, recording daily radio features on tapes and visiting summer workshops in Berlin. After school, I did an apprenticeship as a piano builder and started working in Berlin, where I was playing the drums in indie-rock bands or Wurlitzer piano in an acoustic trio with my original music. But I felt like having a lack of time to focus on music, so I moved to the Netherlands to study drums. After that, I settled in Leipzig as a musician and composer, mainly in the fields of indie, improvised and experimental music.

When you compose and produce tracks, do you make music for yourself or do you make it with others in mind?

When I started composing I worked very intuitively, but nowadays I focus on exploring basic limited ideas with certain tracks like special textures, shapes or a pure melody. Back to the question, it´s about music in order to bring it to the people.

What key pieces of gear/software are you using to define your sound?

I actually like to reduce my gear on selected materials and preparations to get a certain sound out of the bass drum, which is standing upright, like a timpani. And I prefer to work with analogue effect pedals to alienate the acoustic sounds of the percussion and the Wurlitzer piano.

Has your arsenal of equipment changed much since you first started?

The general approach is the same, but it will always stay work in progress, at least I hope so.

Three favorite tracks of all time?

That´s a very difficult question for me because I have never been someone celebrating a chosen band or a musician as a strong fan. But let’s name the composition “Atmosphères” by Ligeti as an extremely sound extending composition for acoustic instruments. The works of the band “Dans les arbres” for space in their music and the textures, they create. The album “The devil, you + me” by the Notwist for assimilating acoustic and electronic sounds in a beautiful and aesthetic way.

What inspires you outside of music?

I guess I get most of my inspiration by surroundings in the form of special places, atmospheres as well as nature and its movements or changes of light. A track of my EP is called “Wide outside”. It might sound simple, but just being outdoor has a huge impact on me. I also get a lot of emotional input from literature or film.

What is the best or strangest reaction you’ve had to your music this far?

A funny one was: “I can hear the dark and the melancholy side, but can you also do something in joy and in major?”

What, in your opinion would be the perfect genre fusion?

Melodic sound art

Do you consider the Internet and social media as fundamental in building a career in music today, and what is your personal relationship with the new technology at hand?

The internet evolved to a tremendous library which is great and social media certainly helps to promote the music. But to be honest, it´s not my personal favourite way of passing the time.

What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or releases in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

I am entering the studio playing the drums with H.C.Behrendtsen, an experimental math band from Leipzig and Dresden. Looking forward to that!

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Koki Nakano releases new song ‘Bloomer’

Japanese pianist Koki Nakano has announced the release of his new album, ‘Pre-Choreographed’, through Nø Førmat! (also home to Oumou Sangaré and Mélissa Laveaux amongst others) on April 24, 2020. The album is the follow-up to Nakano’s much-admired 2016 debut ‘Lift’, also released on Nø Førmat! and created in collaboration with cellist Vincent Segal. The announcement is trailed with the first piece to emerge from the album, ‘Bloomer’, which arrives via a stunning video choreographed & performed by Japanese dancer, Mariko Kakizaki. Watch the video here and stream ‘Bloomer’ on all platforms from here.
Hailing from Fukuoka Prefecture and later trained at both Japan’s prestigious Toho Gakuen music school and the Tokyo University of the Arts (alongside a sideline in electro-rock, via band Gas Law), Koki came to the attention of Nø Førmat! label founder Laurent Bizot when he performed at Tokyo’s Maison de la Culture in 2014. Bizot signed him on the spot – with Koki soon upping sticks to move permanently from Japan to France – continuing the label’s fondness for adventures with progressive pianists, begun back in 2004 when Nø Førmat! issued Chilly Gonzales’ pivotal ‘Solo Piano’.
The title of Nakano’s debut album, ‘Lift’, evoked a move well-known to ballet dancers: the porté. Meaning ‘carried’, the porté requires strength and delicacy, risk-taking and mastery of balance – all of which reads like a resume of piano playing according to Koki Nakano. The title also conveys the deep relationship that Koki’s music maintains with dance, a band he’s been cultivating ever since.

Koki Nakano appeared in a feature on A Room

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Multi-instrumentalist Frythm releases song ‘Colors’

Los-Angeles multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Frythm has released his new single titled ‘Colors’, ahead of his upcoming album release titled Flow (15th May). He has performed as support for Svdden Death, Slushii, Deorro, Daedelus, Great Dane, Sonnymoon, Huxley Anne, Astronautica and Eureka The Butcher. In 2017 he performed at Neon Desert Music Festival 2017, alongside acclaimed musicians like  Migos, Foster The People, Khalid, Mija, and J Balvin. The instrumentalist has been supported by publications like  COMPLEX, Magnetic Mag, The 405, Nakid mag, and Noiseporn, as well  BBC Radio 6’s Tom Ravenscroft. Other support he recieved includes features on Youtube Channels PandaFunkTV, Cafune and inversic. In 2018 Frythmn promoted his new LP Aurora when he headlined for a tour as a solo artist.

Matthew Pena aka Frythm was raised in the EI Paso desert of Texas. His mother was a dancer, who introduced him to different musical styles and genre variations. He would develop an interest in rhythms and how music is created.  At a young age, he would attend piano lessons, building on his musical interest. By the age of 17, he recieved a second-hand desktop which he used immediately once he got his hands on it. He started creating music with a copy of FL Studio. Frythm has cited musical influences from James Blake, Toro y Moi, Lapalux, Bonobo, Shlohmo

Frythm describes the mesmerizing moment that led to creating song ‘Colors’, “About a year ago I had a somewhat out of body experience, I was laying down on a rooftop with my partner watching a beautiful West Texas sunset. When I turned to look over at her I could see her auras, indescribable shades of orange and yellow glowed while she seemed to blend into the sunset. As day turned to night the shades of the outside world faded, but her colors did not.”

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Interview News

Q&A with Ambient electronic music composer Ocoeur

Bordeaux-based experimental electronic music composer Franck Zaragoza’s Ocoeur epithet blends such “ambience,” at the opportune times, with his now trademark careening sound-design focused beat work. The album’s closing tracks, the 20-minute pairing of “Dawn” and “Dusk,” find Zaragoza tempering his sound to near minimal to share his exemplification of long-form ambient bliss.


Describe your sound for us. What do you want people to feel when they hear your music?


I see my music more as an expression of pure, spontaneous feelings than a concept thought in advance. It reflects particular moments and situations in my life. The sound is rougher in the beginning and it gets eventually more and more defined until the tracks start to have a certain coherence altogether. The end result feels like a journey split into several acts.

Which 3 artists have influenced you the most growing up?


There are definitely more than just three artists that influenced me but I would say, in chronological order, Vangelis Papathanassiou (« L’apocalypse des Animaux » and « Blade Runner »), David Lynch (« Eraserhead » and « Inland Empire ») and Boards of Canada (« Geogaddi »). Their approach to sound design and orchestration with electronic instruments in connection with visual images opened a new door to my creativity.

How did you discover your particular sound?


I believe my sound evolves/changes with time and it doesn’t remain static. I undoubtedly have my own aesthetic when I go through a process of experimenting with various waveforms and effects, tweaking knobs etc. until I am pleased with the outcome. All of that is a result of my music influences, inspirations, environment and feelings.

What are the most important pieces of equipment to you?

My keyboard is definitely the most central part of my setup for creating melodies. Then it’s my computer with a sequencer for recording and arranging any kind of ideas, and a bunch of good FX for designing more precisely the sound I want. Last but not least is a good pair of headphones!
What outside of music inspires you to create?

There are a lot of movies and some independent games that are inspiring me artistically. My latest discoveries are ‘Kentucky route zero’ and ‘Inside’ which are by far two of the most overwhelming experiences I’ve had in gaming. At the same time, my inspiration is triggered by what we are surrounded by. I simply cannot be unmoved by witnessing what humankind is capable of and what the world is becoming.
If you could work with, or perform alongside any artist living or passed, who would it be?

Until now I’ve been kind of a solitary musician but it has crossed my mind to work with my future mate on a project. Overall, my eagerness goes to a project that includes visuals. Nothing definite, time will tell.
Most artists say that if they weren’t artists they would be mailmen/women… what would you be?
Really, who says that? (laugh) Seriously, I think you are born an artist, you don’t become one..so I guess I wouldn’t be anything else. I do though have a second job for making a living! (laugh)
What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

My nearest future plans are having a promo tour for my new album « Everything »  with a visual show integrated into my set. Dates will be announced on my website and social media when the time comes.
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