“Words have a hypnotic thing about them. To me they have connotations that are kind of blinding, a buzz in my head. I picked that up from trying to be like Dylan Thomas. If you’re going to try and be like Dylan Thomas you don’t really need to make sense all the time. Understanding the noise will get you through.”
It was a full moon last night. Those who work in police and emergency medical services anecdotally claim that the full moon results in busier work shifts. This perception may be rooted more in personal psychology than statistical reality, yet common knowledge insists that crisis severity is accentuated by 30-day extremes in the lunar cycle. It’s human nature.
Things have been a little crazy of late on the world stage, much like a ball of yarn unraveling to its core. Those who are paid to interpret what is happening tend to blur the distinction between fact and opinion; those who make important decisions do so under a miasma of verbiage intended to confuse, rather than explain. In our attempts to deconstruct what has been said, we apply a layer of bias to confirm intentions that may or may not exist. It’s human nature.
Suss Müsik has created a 50-minute piece that operates as both distraction and sedation. Instruments are buried under a thin veil of amplifier noise, creating a restful calm despite the unrelenting dissonance. The piece is titled Eclipsa, which means “obfuscate” in the Catalan language of eastern Spain, and is available as a free download on SoundCloud or BandCamp.
A final thought: according to a 1968 essay by Philip Larkin, Dylan Thomas believed that William Butler Yeats was the greatest poet of his generation. The following verse from Yeats’ “The Second Coming” seems eerily prescient:
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Update 01/16/17: Due to the album’s popularity on Bandcamp, Suss Müsik has exceeded our monthly allocation of free download credits. We’ve set a low price of $2 USD until our credits refresh on 02/15/17, at which point we’ll again offer the album as a free download for one month or until credits run out. Suss Müsik sincerely thanks everyone for their continued interest in what we do — hope you enjoy it.
Suss Müsik has held up the release of Decatenation for the purpose of quality control. The album’s contents fit cleanly into three categories:
- Pieces that sound great but compositionally aren’t as strong as we would prefer.
- Pieces that stand alone compositionally but, for one reason or another, don’t sound great when taken as a totality.
- 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.
Someone suggested that Suss Müsik repost our contributions to the weekly Disquiet Junto projects, because they enjoy reading the explanations of the tracks. While you’re reading the original post, make sure you check out the other contributors’ works as well.
Suss Müsik fans (all seven of them) might be surprised to learn that Suss Müsik loves noise. We grew up on sweaty punk rock, after all, and our explorations in ambient minimalism are often the result of careful distillation, filtered over time from origins of pure dissonance. Our saxophonist is a disciple of Pharoah Sanders, creating squalls of atonal mayhem that prevents the final output from becoming too docile.
Peter Hammill once said, “Too much politeness in music — whatever style of music it is — is usually very bad news.” Noise isn’t simply a matter of turning up the distortion and letting’er rip. We are reminded of the music of Faust, Einstürzende Neubauten, Diamanda Galas, Negativland, Luigi Russolo, even the post-classical works of Henry Cowell and Igor Stravinsky, all of whom employ chaos and confrontation as an artistic prerogative.
Suss Müsik has been known to use power tools and other machinery in our compositions, and we’re not averse to banging the odd sheet of metal when the mood strikes.This short piece starts with the sound of a Dewalt DW745 table saw coupled with a digital synth organ. The composite was run through a Korg Toneworks 411fx into a Vox Valvetronix amp and recorded straight to disk.
The metallic sounds were created by hammering scraps of pipe and aluminum sheeting found around the workshop. A Scream distortion filter (with generous clipping) added a bit of fuzz and dampened the piercing higher frequencies. The little 4-note phrase at the end was looped while our ears recovered from all the clanging. It was great fun.
Suss Müsik cut a rough sequence of what might become Decatenation. Overall, the tracks hang together reasonably well. It’s a bit languid, however, and we’re investigating possibly including a discarded piece with a bit more aggression and texture. The original rule of keeping to manageable lengths has been preserved. Here’s the cover.
Currently on SoundCloud is a limited sneak preview of the next Suss Müsik release, which will be titled “Decatenation” and available in early 2017. With this effort, Suss Müsik moves further away from extended ambient drones to shorter, more manageable pieces constructed around cyclical phasing of piano, mallet and wind instrumentation.
The next Suss Müsik release is titled Kommunal and features four new pieces.
Whereas previous Suss Müsik offerings focused more on drones that function as background music for meditation, Kommunal advances the compositional palette to include found sound and greater compositional depth.
Kommunal is variously ugly, dissonant, beautiful, sparse. Guitars are played by dropping pebbles on strings. Carpentry tools like table and hand saws become part of the musical language. An organ’s timbre range is pushed to maximum capacity while a muted saxophone struggles to be heard.
Kommunal also includes the most “musical” thing Suss Müsik has ever released, a simple piano motif that builds into a sort of ambient-jazz-pop number with gently brushed drums in standard 4/4 time.
Kommunal is available 4 July 2016 on Bandcamp and features contributions from Stephen J Gladney, Marc Manning and Sara Toga.
Suss Müsik has produced a new piece for guitars, percussion, piano and power tools. One of the guitars was played with a jar on the fretboard; another was played by dropping pebbles and metallic objects on the strings. The piano and percussion were played conventionally, as were the table and hand saws. The studio was a fun place during these sessions.
The title “Wovoka” refers to the Northern Paiute religious leader and prophet who founded the Ghost Dance movement, which instilled among Native American tribes the concept of calling upon ancient spirits to help them reclaim the earth. Wovoka’s name means “wood cutter” in the Northern Paiute language.
We aren’t certain if this track will make it onto the next proper Suss Müsik release (which is tentatively titled Kommunal).
Speaking of Suss Müsik releases, we have received a lot of very nice feedback on Paraphasia and really appreciate those who took the time to write us an encouraging note.
Suss Müsik will be releasing a 4-piece work entitled Esmovoir, which is named after the French word meaning “to cause action due to emotion.” Each of the four pieces is inspired by recent trials of friends and acquaintances close to participants of Suss Müsik.
The four pieces are Noumenon, Coleorhiza, Presbyacousis and Makrothymia. Stephen J. Gladney contributes saxophone and Saratoga contributes percussion.
Esmovoir can be be heard on SoundCloud for a limited time and will shortly be available for purchase on BandCamp. We are looking into a limited run of compact disc pressings, which will be sold in tiny independent records stores where people have beards, read Thomas Pynchon, and wear skinny pants.
The tracks Augmentative and Pygmalion are now available for download on Bandcamp, as is the debut release of Suss Müsik’s collaboration with the amazing Marc Manning. We are greatly pleased by these developments.