Post-classical ambient minimalism for crepuscular airports

Next “Singles Project” Release

As part of a continuing effort we’re calling The Singles Project, Suss Müsik is developing an extrapolation of musical motifs centered on the invention of the telescope. The release will consist of two short pieces built around the same sonic framework with different arrangements: one performed solely on piano and violin, the other using more ornamental instrumentation (keeping with the “fake orchestra” concept) and electronics. The basic structures are in place, now on to finalizing the composition and recording/mastering the output. The release will be titled Lippershey.

Misophonia

Misophonia album coverSuss Müsik is continuing to release “The Singles Project,” a series of thematic two-track recordings each based solely on a given concept or theme. All releases are issued and distributed under the self-formed Lůno banner.

The latest of the series is titled Misophonia, now available on Bandcamp and soon to be available on your favorite music streaming vehicles: Google Play, Amazon Music, YouTube, Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify etc. Suss Müsik further penetrates the world with our post-modern nonsense.

Misophonia consists of two tracks, each around eight to ten minutes in length, based on the compositional idea of cyclical phasing. The pieces consist of percussion (mostly vibraphone and marimba), slide guitar, little rocks dropped on strings, birds, and vocals. If you love the music of Steve Reich (comparable to his album The Four Sections), then it’s possible that you might like this. Full description below:

The door to the Suss Müsik studio leads to a wooden gate, behind which is a garden where birds of all types assemble. Occasionally we walk the path with a small box of birdseed and let the creatures fight it out. At one point, we counted as many as forty birds fluttering about the property.

In totally unrelated news, Suss Müsik has been reading about the pineal gland. This is the part of the vertebrate brain that splits the two haves of the thalamus joint and produces melatonin, the hormone that modulates circadian and seasonal sleep patterns. The pineal gland is also known as “the third eye,” a term of metaphysical significance to those who pursue a higher spiritual consciousness.

There is a theory that the pineal gland is the gateway through which we are able to communicate with non-human lifeforms. Suss Müsik wonders if the birds have a similar means of instinctual, non-verbal communication. Perhaps there are sounds we find repetitive or annoying (repetitive dripping water, chewing gum, the tapping of a pencil, etc.) that enable communication with extraterrestrial species beyond our audiophiliac astral plane. But that’s another topic for another time.

Misophonia I and Misophonia II were originally composed and submitted as part of the Disquiet Junto global collective of weekly music projects.

Hiko

Hiko album coverSuss Müsik is releasing a series of thematic two-track recordings based on a singular idea. We’re calling it “The Singles Project.” The first of the series is now available on Bandcamp. It’s called Hiko and the description is below.

The word “hiko” is one of several terms used by Eskimos to describe ice. According to the theory of linguistic relativity, a language’s structure is tightly bound to the culture in which it is spoken. Eskimo languages are polysynthetic, meaning that morphemes are invented organically through everyday usage: a suffix added here, a prefix deleted there.

Glaciers undergo a similar process of fissure and restoration. During winter, enormous sheets of polar ice laboriously drift towards the sea. These giants thaw in summer, breaking into chunks to be later reconstituted into the frozen bulk. Increasingly warmer global temperatures have created what scientists call “ice mélanges” where glacial ice becomes granular and slushy, slowing movement and inhibiting the regeneration process.

For these two works composed as a suite, Suss Müsik sought to represent varying textures of glacial ice using sound. The first movement of Hiko I explores the viscous, wintry state of glaciers traveling at the speed of molasses. The second movement of Hiko I represents the thawing and breaking of glacial ice during summer.

Hiko I is composed for cello, violin, Moog synthesizer, ice cubes, flute, organ and piano. The echoey ice-clink harmonics heard at the end of the piece are the result of the Moog effects processor filtering the sound of ice cubes being cracked.

For Hiko II, larger fragments are broken and diffused to depict the ice mélange as a state of purgatory. The smallest components are constantly in motion, yet there is no reconstructive outcome to conclude the piece.

Hiko II is composed for violin, viola, cello, vibraphone, vocals, mellotron, piano, tuba, trombone, Moog synthesizer and ice cubes. The sampled ice cubes were clipped and sequenced to resemble a percussion instrument played with mallets.

Music is a form of language, and the sound of ice hitting glass is inherently percussive. Both of these pieces use the live sound of ice cubes being dropped into a glass tumbler. (It’s surprisingly difficult to keep accurate time with melting ice — the cubes get slippery after a while).

Hiko I and Hiko II were originally composed and submitted as part of the Disquiet Junto global collective of weekly music projects.

Suss Müsik and Other Lůno Releases

All Suss Müsik releases are available for purchase on Bandcamp and available for streaming on Apple Music, YouTube, Spotify, Amazon Music and Google Play. Suss Müsik material is self-released and distributed under the net label Lůno.

Ex Post Facto

Ex Post Facto cover

Ex Post Facto is a 34-minute album of reworked and previously released material, some of it dating back nearly 20 (!) years, including new arrangements of Disquiet Junto projects. Compositions for strings, piano, woodwinds, percussion, a bit of synth, and (in one track) a table saw. Read the liner notes describing each track.

SixOverEight

SixOverEight cover

SixOverEight is an homage to life-as-prototype. Sequences of notes or chord progressions (the “eights”) were performed using customized or handmade instruments. The most workable bits were then developed into short offerings (the “sixes”) and recorded live. Instruments used include: prepared piano; piezo-amplified kalimba; homemade sawtooth synth; distressed fake marimba; open D-tuned Artiphon INSTRUMENT-1 (3D-printed frame) with custom voices; photo-sensitive synth played with a flashlight.

Co-Process Volume 2

Co-Process Volume 2 album cover

Co-Process Volume 2 (not to be confused with Co-Process listed below) is another offering of glitchy, droney, ambient weirdness. The music is based on audio scans of B.G. Madden’s visual art, which was provided in the form of postcards delivered via US mail. The scans were then manipulated using all sorts of technical gadgets, from grain synthesizers to DIY electronic devices.

Quiescent

Quiescent album cover

A number of listeners report that some of Suss Müsik’s output has a calming effect on them, a sort of vibroacoustic conditioning that elevates concentration, improves mental outlook, and reduces stress. Quiescent is a Bandcamp-only release offered for free to anyone who wants it. The running time is exactly 55-minutes. It can be used as background while you work, meditate, mourn, heal or rest — a mentally therapeutic diversion for those who need it.

Co-Process

Co-Process album cover

Co-Process is a collection of live improvisations played on grain synthesizers, using audio scans of work by visual artist B.G. Madden. Madden had this to say about the album’s contents: “I keep returning to an imaginary experience of Richard Serra’s work at Tadeo Ando’s museum in Naoshima, Japan. When listening to these tracks, I am transported to an island in the Pacific where Naoshima is located. I hear the rhythm of the surf. I feel the breeze and am dazzled by the shifting light. This music, as complimentary data, adds time, color and movement—all key elements for the Serra/Ando experience.”

NON

NON album cover

NON is a four-song album of electroacoustic pieces based on live improvisations conducted throughout the spring, summer and fall of 2018. Instrumentation includes piano, percussion, Moog synthesizers, electric guitar, primitive electronics, sampled wind instruments, hitting things, obfuscation. Much of the material was recorded live to 8-track in demo form and recomposed as a series of fields. It’s probably the best “sounding” recording Suss Müsik has released. Listen to NON on YouTube for free (seriously, we don’t care).

Misophonia

Misophonia album cover

Misophonia is the second in a series called The Singles Project, each release consisting of two short works composed as a suite. For this offering, Suss Müsik sought to explore the spiritual significance of the pineal gland as a possible gateway through to communicate with non-human lifeforms. The two pieces are composed for marimba, slide guitar, processed vocals, fake orchestra (primarily violins and woodwinds) and birds outside Suss Müsik headquarters. Read more on the background behind this release.

Hiko

Hiko album cover

Hiko is Suss Müsik’s first release under the Lůno label and first in a series called The Singles Project, each release consisting of two short works composed as a suite. For this offering, Suss Müsik sought to represent varying textures of glacial ice using sound: the viscous, wintry state of glaciers traveling at the speed of molasses, the thawing and breaking of glacial ice during summer. etc. Hiko I is composed for cello, violin, Moog synthesizer, ice cubes, flute, organ and piano. Hiko II is composed for violin, viola, cello, vibraphone, vocals, mellotron, piano, tuba, trombone, Moog synthesizer and ice cubes. Read more on the background behind this release.

Zygotes

Zygotes album cover

Zygotes is Suss Müsik’s first “commercial” release in the sense that it is available on Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon, YouTube, and other distribution outlets. The album is six compositions for fake orchestras. You’ll hear strings, woodwinds, mallets, piano, percussion, brass and maybe even a flute or violin solo. Fans of Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Mikel Rouse’s Broken Consort, Wim Mertens or Meredith Monk may enjoy this bit of symphonic minimalism. Read the liner notes describing each track.

Eclipsa

Eclipsa album cover

Eclipsa is 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 after the word meaning “obfuscate” in the Catalan language of eastern Spain. Read more on the background behind this release.

Paraphasia

cover of Paraphasia

Paraphasia is named after a neurological speech disturbance, caused by brain damage, in which words are jumbled and sentences are rendered as meaningless. The pieces in this offering by Suss Müsik concentrate on fragments: the audio detritus created from malfunctioning systems, moments lost in idle activity, shards of regret manifested as tone. This is music for ticking off random days until something happens; meanwhile, life moves forward through the particle haze of decisions never made.

Quorum

cover of Quorum

Quorum is a compilation spanning the best of Suss Müsik’s early output. “The intention is clear,” wrote Marc Weidenbaum of Disquiet. “The ‘post-classical’ aspect is the presence of static violins and receding timpani. The ‘ambient minimalism’ is the overall sense of hovering waveforms in favor over active, self-evident melodic or thematic development. The ‘crepuscular’ is the way such a still piece can bring to mind moments in the day, such as that of twilight, when things seem to pause on a psychic, emotional, and sensory fulcrum point, with an underlying and intense momentum toward what might come next. And then, of course, the ‘airports’ is a nod to Brian Eno’s foundational work, where he likewise likened the travel portal to a unique mental juncture.”

Exploring Shackleton

Exploring Shackleton album cover

A seven-song release by Egret Zero, something of a “concept album” based on themes regarding leadership and execution under pressure. Loosely based on the life of Ernest Shackleton, the album attracted this lovely review by Jake Collier of Spill Magazine (4 1/2 out of 5 splats): “Although their sound is hard to describe, it is very easy to listen to, a mix of soundscapes and experiments … Egret Zero have put on notice the experimental music scene with this release, and I cannot recommend it enough.”

Wait, For Now

Wait, For Now album cover

The second Egret Zero release titled Wait, For Now refines concepts explored on the first EP. It takes the listener on a journey through quarantine life, hopefully with an outcome that rewards humanity’s patience with our own survival.

Egret Zero EP

Egret Zero album cover

May 1988, on a humid night in Baltimore, two friends meet in the back room of a mutual friend’s apartment. Thirty-one years later, a strange encounter with a spirit entity initiates a new sonic alchemy between the two. The result is a crepuscular project titled Egret Zero. The first release takes listeners through a series of mental landscapes ranging from the ethereal to the photorealistic: mirages on an alien desert, moments of clarity from some alternative past. For more than three decades, this music has been gestating within the minds and hearts of its creators, a constellation of ideas jostling for release. Now it’s yours.

Suss Müsik and Marc Manning

cover of Suss Müsik and Marc Manning

Suss Müsik collaborated with Dragon’s Eye Recordings artist Marc Manning to produce this four-track offering. “A flowing amalgam of overlaid guitar patterning: strumming electric beneath louche waveforms amid spaced-out echoes,” wrote Marc Weidenbaum of Disquiet. “It’s like the midpoint music from a Michael Mann film, a moment of reflective calm before all hell breaks loose. The track [Melting Square], which teams Suss Müsik with musician Marc Manning, itself gets calmer as it proceeds, the strumming eventually fading out entirely in favor of the voluminous echo, that echo then fracturing into a quietly intense, psychedelic field of ghostly twinkling.”