Post-classical ambient minimalism for crepuscular airports

A New New Album to Replace the Old New Album

Cover of Zygotes Suss Müsik is preparing a proper release entitled Zygotes. It will consist of six compositions for “fake orchestras” using strings, piano, woodwinds, percussion, sound collage, little electronic doodads and (in one instance) a Roland CR-78 rhythm machine. It could be our best effort or our worst, or perhaps somewhere in the middle. A preview track entitled Mersozhaun is available on SoundCloud, so you can judge for yourself. The cover is a picture of a newly-cracked egg with its yolk oozing all over the place.

Update: the track has been removed as we are getting closer to official release.

Fake Orchestras

Suss Müsik has been doing quite a bit of composing lately. Much of the material falls under the category of what we call “fake orchestras,” often involving some combination of digital and traditional strings, piano, woodwinds and percussion. We think of it as something like a broken consort. We explored this concept on a couple of Disquiet Junto projects over the past year, and we’ve expanded upon this dynamic to create new pieces of increasing depth and complexity.

In order to fully pursue this new approach, Suss Müsik has once again (to the probable dismay and irritation of our seven fans worldwide) delayed the Decatenation project for the short-term future. It makes more sense thematically, since the final track listing of Decatenation skews more toward definable song structures, with at least one piece resembling what could almost be considered a “single” in some weird parallel universe.

It’s interesting, upon reflection, the somewhat convoluted path Suss Müsik has taken over the past eighteen months from ambient minimalism (i.e. music as meditative furniture) to something more structural and intentionally arranged. We think it’s a good progression, and Suss Müsik embraces the challenge that the interplay of instrumental voices presents when working more acoustically.

In other news, Suss Müsik is exploring the possibility of playing some live dates in 2018. We are not yet certain how this will work logistically or what it will involve, but we’ll let you know.

A Future in Commons

“I am driven by two main philosophies,” said the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. “Know more today about the world than I knew yesterday, and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”

For the past year or so, Suss Müsik has participated in the weekly Disquiet Junto projects led by Marc Weidenbaum. For those unfamiliar, a junto is a gathering of like-minded colleagues for the purpose of sharing knowledge, friendship and conversation. The first Junto, known as the Leather Apron Club (now there’s a great name for a band), was launched by Benjamin Franklin in 1727 and lasted for 30 years.

Taking part in the Disquiet Junto has turned out to be a richly rewarding experience. We’ve made new friends and been exposed to a constellation of artistic influences from around the globe. Sadly, we were also made aware of the plight of Bassel Khartabil, a 3D modeling artist and software developer who was was detained by the Syrian government in 2012.

A Future in Commons coverSince his incarceration, human rights organizations have persistently campaigned for Khartabil’s release. His last known whereabouts was the Adra Prison in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria in October 2015. It was unknown whether Khartabil was alive or dead up until very recently, when in August 2017 his widow received confirmation that her husband had been executed.

In celebration of Khartabil’s life and work, English/Swedish musician and Junto participant Rupert Lally spearheaded the creation and release of a 31-track compilation album entitled A Future to Commons. All of the music is provided by participants of the Disquiet Junto.

Suss Müsik is honored to be a part of this moving tribute, yet we are frustrated at the senseless nature by which evil is permitted to transgress the boundaries of human existence. One might concede that from suffering can arise newly semantic forms of artistic expression, although we’d argue that a world with Bassel Khartabil alive and safe is better than one without.

The following is an excerpt from Marc Weidenbaum’s liner notes for the album:

During [Bassel Khartabil’s] incarceration, and during the extended period when his death was presumed but not yet confirmed, his story became a rallying point around the world. His plight inspired essays, and conference sessions, and political statements. And it inspired music … Facets of Bassel’s life provided several such prompts over the years. We created soundscapes to bring a new dimension to his CGI renderings. We sampled his voice and turned it into music. We created VR scores, and we tried to extrapolate sound from the poetic language of his correspondence. In the end, what we tried to do was spread word of his plight, to keep his story alive even after he was no longer.

A Future to Commons is available on Bandcamp, with all proceeds going toward the Creative Commons Bassel Khartabil Memorial Fund.

Decatenation, The Ongoing Saga

Suss Müsik is no longer perplexed as to why the upcoming release Decatenation is taking so long. What resulted was a simple acknowledgement that the quality and running order of the pieces simply weren’t up to scratch. Also, our participation in the weekly Disquiet Junto projects made for a very pleasant and fertile distraction these past few months.

In any event, a combination of new and newly-written material will lead to the distribution of this release. Two tracks from the original running order have been cut, while six others are undergoing transformation. Half the material are reworks of Junto contributions. In fact, one track is a rework of a rework of an edit of a rework. Now you know.

The one track that has persisted in its originally submitted form is Mudlairing, which is available for preview on YouTube and SoundCloud.

Weird Combinations

Lately, Suss Müsik has been exploring a number of odd combinations in our compositions. The latest transgression in our musical roadmap can only be described as “what would happen if Brian Eno collaborated with Black Sabbath while recording My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.” That should give you some idea of what this monstrosity sounds like. Another way to describe the piece is that it’s rough, sloppy, loud and mechanical. We really like it, of course.

The new piece obviously needs to go through a gestation period; however, this might be what Decatenation needs before its delayed release sees the light of day.

Decatenation Update

Suss Müsik has held up the release of Decatenation for the purpose of quality control. The album’s contents fit cleanly into three categories:

  1. Pieces that sound great but compositionally aren’t as strong as we would prefer.
  2. Pieces that stand alone compositionally but, for one reason or another, don’t sound great when taken as a totality.
  3. Pieces that sound good and are compositionally strong but have grown tiresome to our ears. You know what that’s like.

Given the above, there is a better than average chance that Suss Müsik will develop some new material before Decatenation sees its release. This will be our first commercially distributed launch beyond the confines of Bandcamp, so we want to make it a good one.

To the eight or so Suss Müsik fans eagerly awaiting this release, so just bear with us a bit. Thanks for your interest.

Short Work

The next Suss Müsik release was originally intended to be two extended pieces, each about 25 minutes in length exploring all the possibilities of a single idea. Our recent experience with the weekly Disquiet Junto (not to mention the positive feedback received) has us thinking in terms of smaller formats; how much conceptual value can be optimized within a 4-minute timestamp? So we are thinking of a Bandcamp album of maybe 8-10 pieces at around 4 minutes each. The working title “Decatenation” could be the first Suss Müsik release of 2017.

Throumoulizo

The latest Suss Müsik piece is based on the rhythms, voices and melodies of Pontic Greek folk music. Pontic Greeks (or Pontians) traditionally lived on the shores of the Black Sea, later migrating to the Russian province of Georgia during the 15th century as the Ottoman Empire grew in power. Today, the Pontians’ cultural influence can be felt in parts of modern-day Greece and northeastern Turkey.

Pontic music is, in part, a reflection of the regional topography in which people lived. The mountains and rivers impeded communication between communities, reflecting a sense of isolation commonly experienced by fringe cultures. The haunting melodies, combined with a strong rhythmic structure, results in a fascinating musical dichotomy that is both celebration and lament.

The title is a Pontic word meaning “to break things apart.”