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Ergot Records, the shop
Records, tapes, and related books of all genres bought & sold in the East Village!
32 E. 2nd St. New York, NY 10003
Hours: Wed-Thu 11am-7pm, Fri-Sat 12-8pm, Sun 12-6pm, and by appointment
#004: Dominique Lawalrée - First Meeting LP (a co-release with Catch Wave Ltd.)
Dominique Lawalrée (b. 1954) is a composer born and based in Brussels. First Meeting is Lawalrée's first archival release to date. Culled from four different albums originally self-published on his private label Editions Walrus, circa 1978-1982, this compilation highlights the composer's unique sense of ambient and minimal composition. Originally considered for release on Brian Eno's Obscure Records, Lawalrée's music is now no longer hidden.
In this collection the listener finds the sounds of piano, synthesizers, percussion, Wurlitzer, organ, and voice, all performed by Lawalrée. Using these tools Dominique creates miniature themes that gallop across the speakers in slow motion, stretching our normal sense of dynamics and color, effortlessly widening the stereo plane. On “Musique Satieerique,” Dominique pays homage to the influence of Satie with simple repeated piano figures and a lush field of organs and flutes. And on other selections, like “La Maison Des 5 Elements,” he takes a more wistful, ambient approach, layering keyboard lines, and invoking found/tape sounds to create a hypnogogic world of his own. Childlike in its playfulness and surreal to the bone, the music spins like a carrousel placed inside the Rothko Chapel. Lawalrée’s sense of timbre, tone, and overarching composition is like an impression of a home movie whose charm lies in its knowledge of intimacy, shared by few. An incantation of innocence.
"a quiet, understated music that is both touching and elegant"
"what is most affecting is the feeling of parabolic calm that can emerge from this music, ascending gradually. It's atypically devoid of New-age cliché, closer somehow to a secular revelation than to any protracted or consensus bliss."
—Keith Connolly, BOMB Magazine
"Part of the charm of Lawalrée's work, and perhaps why he never broke through into broader consciousness, was the obliquely personal nature of his albums, which sometimes felt like improvised sound diaries, or like incremental explorations of deeply indivualistic themes… A beautiful rediscovery."
—Jon Dale, Uncut
"Harold Budd is an obvious reference point, but Lawalrée's brilliantly economical music eschews the grand, systematising ambitions of most minimalist music, and has a tactility and sense of particular time and place that places it closer to Angelo Badalamenti, Popol Vuh's Hosianna Mantra, or even Broadcast. This may be the first meeting, but hopefully not the last."
—Derek Walmsley, The Wire
Light In The Attic (USA/Canada)
Virtual Label (USA)
#007: Tiger Hatchery with Paul Flaherty - Live In New Haven LP
Helios is typically credited for our solar well-being, but let's not forget that his four horses have been the ones doing the heavy lifting day in and day out all these years…
They must have bailed on the bossman somewhere above Connecticut because on September 9, 2013 in New Haven it was not Pyrois, Aeos, Aethon, and Phlegon but Tiger Hatchery (Ben Baker Billington, Mike Forbes, Andrew Scott Young) and Paul Flaherty who brought the heat. Neither party is any stranger to fire music: after cutting their teeth in Texas and Cleveland like so many other purveyors of the ecstatic now Tiger Hatchery congealed in Chicago and their blistering take on free jazz earned them a recent entry in the venerable ESP-Disk'ography; Paul Flaherty needs little introduction having lent his biting reed attack to countless outfits since his 1978 debut, among them mind melds with Chris Corsano, Thurston Moore, C Spencer Yeh, and Bill Nace.
Live In New Haven documents both entities convulsing as one, with Forbes' and Flaherty's labyrinthine saxophone mutations squirming against the brink of the Billington-Young skins 'n' strings throb unit. Yet despite the volcanic nature of the session, the quartet exhibits a sage capacity for both restraint and an elevated plane of almost-composed melodicism unheard in Tiger Hatchery's corpus of abandon as a trio.
LP edition of 300, with front and back cover art by Graham Lambkin.
#006: The Master Musicians Of Joujouka - Into The Ahl Srif LP
Mythologized by Brian Jones' 1968 recordings for Rolling Stones Records, The Master Musicians Of Joujouka have since been the subject of much attention from outside their native Morocco. The first recorded group were the house band at Brion Gysin's 1001 Nights restaurant, Ornette Coleman collaborated withthem on Dancing In Your Head, they are featured on William S. Burroughs' Break Through In Grey Room, and Timothy Leary hyperbolically referred to the musicians as “The 4000 year old Rock and Roll band". This legacy has lured some descendants away from their home and onto the international scene, but the music of Joujouka continues to echo down from the Ahl Srif mountains today. Recorded live in Joujouka in 2012, Into The Ahl Srif is the first new album of Joujouka material available on vinyl since 1976. Focusing on the trance-inducing ghiata music of the rites of Boujeloud, Into The Ahl Srif eschews the highly edited, special effects approach of Brian Jones Presents The Pipes Of Pan At Joujouka in favor of a raw, untampered transmission. Although preserving the full 90-minute fertility ritual in uninterrupted form would be impossible on any physical sound medium, this LP takes a more thorough look than ever before at this most cacophonous, droning, and deeply psychedelic side of Joujouka's music.
"This is Sufi trance music par excellence."
—Clive Bell, The Wire
Virtual Label (USA)
#005: Nagual LP SOLD OUT
Spawned in Oberlin, Ohio's proliferating experimental circles, the duo of Ian McColm and David Shapiro have since 2010 become adept at coaxing damaged shades of Frippertronic drone from their extended guitar rigs. Finally distilling their inspirations into three deliberate pieces, this 44-minute LP of structured improvisations marks the culmination of a string of cassettes on McColm's own Pidgin imprint and is Nagual's most accomplished statement to date.
Meticulously crafted loops comprise the phonetic basis of Nagual's vernacular, with clusters of decayed piano and spluttering ARP seamlessly shifting in and out of coherence while deep tones expand across the stereo field. The muscular tear of side A crescendos into a dexterous burst of McColm's machine-gun percussion (first showcased on a Feeding Tube collaboration with Daniel Bachman) worthy of his years studying under Billy Hart; and side B unfurls with the patient serenity of music's eternal theater.
Edition of 300.
"a studied, stunning work of loops and zonular textures galore. It's worth a listen if you wish that Kranky's golden era featured Keith Rowe."
—Mike Sugarman, Ad Hoc
"Their tools are more varied than what you might find on a Pandit Pran Nath record, but Ian McColm and David Shapiro’s aim is trained on the same trance-inducing throb. They fold six-strings, bass, a baritone guitar, and an assortment of synthesizers into one another, stack a few drums and piano on top, then melt it down into a stream of molten copper and hissing electronics, all tuned to the same shimmering key."
—Lucas Schleicher, Dusted Magazine
#003: Adrian Rew - Slot Machine Music Vol. 2 CD-R SOLD OUT
More field recordings from middle American casinos:
1. 1/1/2014 - Greektown Casino, Detroit, MI
2. 1/11/2014 - Majestic Star Casino, Gary, IN
3. 1/1/2014 - MotorCity Casino, Detroit, MI
Edition of 77, with updated liner notes.
More sounds, images, and an essay by Rew at The Wire.
#002: Adrian Rew - Slot Machine Music CD-R SOLD OUT
Field recordings from middle American casinos:
1. 3/31/2013 - Horseshoe Casino, Cleveland, OH
2. 6/23/2013 - Horseshoe Casino, Hammond, IN
3. 7/3/2013 - Grand Victoria Casino, Elgin, IL
CD-R edition of 77, with liner notes:
"Video gambling addicts, academic researchers, and industry professionals alike describe the trancelike state into which problem gamblers suspend themselves with remarkable consistency: they unanimously call it the machine “zone”, a kind of inner experience during which the rhythmic flow of human-machine collusion borders on mysticism. Time is abolished in the act of contemporary video gambling―simulated slot reels roll, virtual poker decks deal, and all worldly concerns are lost―leaving only the aura of total zone immersion in its wake. Sometimes characterized as the crack cocaine of gambling, the intensity of the machine zone is a symptom of casino ergonomics: oxygen-saturated pleasure air, subtly controlling walkways, mesmerizing lights, and, as captured here, meticulously engineered sonic environments all play a role in evoking the timeless void of the zone.
Although I was not yet aware of the extent to which casinos tailor their environments for maximum comfort (and, correspondingly, profit), I did know as I crossed the threshold of my first casino floor earlier this year that it would not be my last visit. Hit by a cornucopia of slot machine tones, triggering aleatorically and coalescing into shimmering masses, I was struck by the need to return and record the sounds that so entranced me. It wouldn't prove to be easy―casino security is intense (you can hear me get warned of the consequences of taking photos at the beginning of the disc's second track)―and due to the clandestine nature of the operation, my recording techniques were by no means sophisticated. Equipped with nothing but an Olympus LS-11 recorder's internal microphone stashed in a sweaty coat pocket, I allowed the lure of the zone to guide me through a series of ambling recording sessions over a period of four months, the best of which are included here.
I learned a lot about casino sonics in the process: game designers, for example, tune their machines to the key of C in order to optimize harmonic cohesion; one team of designers, the story goes, even spent a month perfecting a single 'ding' sound on one machine. In the interest of preserving the true ambient sounds of the casino these recordings are completely untreated, but lost in the sea of chance I did exert some affirmative control by means of meandering intent and my actual playing of the machines. And by participating in the games myself I got a taste of the financially debilitating consequences that accompany the enchantment of video gambling. The disc in your hands represents my endeavor to bring you the zone experience without the harsh comedown of its unfortunate reality."
"euphoric, psychedelic... an ecstatic noise symphony"
—Christoper R. Weingarten, The New York Times
"the din of slots in unison, which should be a world-class cacophony, is mellifluous, even seductive; it doesn’t take a genius to liken this to church music. But for their ambient beauty, Rew’s soundscapes are inescapably tragic, all the more so when human voices bleed through."
—Dan Piepenbring, The Paris Review
"one of the rare [field] recordings with a precise polemical thrust, an eloquent constellation of supporting ideas, and ... a laser beam focus on the strangest corners of the modern world"
—Derek Walmsley, The Wire
"Adrian Rew's name deserves a place of honour on any list of sound recordists for his recent work"