Behind the Music: 'Geneva'
Inspiration and thoughts behind the making of 'Geneva' by zakè
The origin of Geneva was based on a photograph. Most often, I create music and then artwork follows, but for Geneva, the artwork was the genesis. The title itself is based on the photo that was captured in Geneva, Switzerland by Mathieu Garcia. When I first viewed the photo, it immediately inspired me how the world could be so beautiful. It is this photo that influenced and initiated the audio output of Geneva, at least in the loops that were created for the artists to expand upon.
Initially set out to be a solo record of arrangements, I halted all production based on an idea I had while working on the tracks. I wanted to invite friends and influential artists to take part in this endeavor with me. I chose friends and colleagues that not only have a positive influence on me personally, but artists that have a positive impact in the genre of ambient music.
In no particular order, here are the artists that reworked, manipulated and expanded upon the source material resulting in their own unique creation and some back history on how they influenced me.
I'll start by saying the best $24 I've ever spent. My wife and I took a trip St. Louis. It was a very cold evening on November 5, 2011 at a small venue called 'Off Broadway'. We bought advance tickets for $12. For $24 we had the opportunity to witness one of the most beautiful nights in recent memory. It was a night featuring A Winged Victory for the Sullen with the ACME String Ensemble, Benoit Pîoulard, and Ken Camden. AWVFTS was amazing as expected, but what really impacted the evening was Benoit Pîoulard’s set. The visuals, his gentle voice, the sounds.. It left me speechless and was one of the best sets I've ever seen. My Pîoulard obsession came into full swing that night and I have celebrated his works since. It deepened when only a year later, Thomas collaborated with Rafael Anton Irisarri to form Orcas.
The Sight Below
Glider. Glider. Glider. Oh my, what a release that was, is, and will continue to be. This was my first introduction to Rafael Anton Irisarri. This album was released in 2008 and my wife bought me the CD from Ghostly as a surprise. It absolutely blew me away and has been on regular rotation ever since.
I remember back in late winter 2018, just when I was tossing around the idea of starting Past Inside the Present, I was in communication with Raf. (Which blew me away that I was even talking to him over the internet!). I can't remember how it came about, but we decided to jump on a phone call and talk a bit. I'll never forget that night. Honestly, I was shaking when I hit 'call' and heard the phone start to ring. I was in my car, in my driveway. (I have a lot of kids and wanted absolutely no distractions, ha!). Rafael and I talked for almost 2 hours about everything from mastering, to distro, running a label, promoting, etc. Two things came about from our conversation; 1) I was scared to death to start a label and 2) I just talked to freaking Rafael Anton Irisarri. Fanboy aside, this man gave me two hours of his evening to talk and advise me. Since then, Raf has been an incredible confidant and advisor, but most of all a wonderful friend. As you know, Raf has mastered many albums on the PITP imprint and I am forever grateful for everything he has done and continues to do for PITP and I.
Labcoats and Patty Hearst. The year was 2006 when I illegally downloaded ‘EP1’ by worriedaboutsatan from the website ‘The Sirens Sound’ (Sorry Gavin). I have since made up for that misstep by celebrating and supporting team satan. I often discovered many artists on The Sirens Sound, but then would scoop up anything physical by the artist. (Oddly enough, I discovered 36 from this platform as well!). Back to Labcoats and Patty Hearst. These two songs were on constant repeat, along with the entirety of EP1. If you would have asked me 14 years ago I’d be working with Gavin, I wouldn’t believe it, but if you asked me two years ago I’d be working with many of my favorite artists, I wouldn’t believe that either!
Home. Agustín Mena. One of the kindest gents around, Agus and I connected back in early spring of 2019. For the years leading up to our conversation about doing something together, ‘Home’ was an album I regularly played. It was so immersive and perfect. Less than a year later, he dropped an impeccable album titled 'Parallel'. Parallel never received a proper LP release, so that is how his album came about on PITP as 'Parallel Inflection", released on the one-year anniversary of Parallel. 'Parallel Inflection' is condensed compositions from Parallel and included two previously unreleased arrangements from the Parallel sessions.
Thank you Agus for who you are.
Andrew J Klimek
Andrew is a kind soul. I've always enjoyed his works and his label Stereoscenic immensely. Andrew and I are known to pass ideas and little samples of tracks we are working on from time to time. Lately, Andrew has been experimenting with drone arrangements, which are incredible. I've always felt honored communicating with him and felt it would be wonderful to have him on Geneva. He runs a tight, focused label and is no doubt a big influence on how we operate at PITP.
The amazing gents of Hotel Neon. The audio output of this supergroup will forever amaze me. Each individual of Hotel Neon also releases solo works that are equally astounding, but when you put these three gents together, some unbelievable things happen. I was introduced to these wonderful lads by good friend Marc Ertel. When first starting up PITP, Marc encouraged me to connect with them. He made an introduction and I checked out their works. How I missed them on my radar cannot be explained, but when I first heard 'Context' I was absolutely floored. Since then, PITP released an exclusive two song ep and I had the pleasure of hosting 'An Evening of Ambience' that featured Steven Kemner. I also was able to hang with the guys at Post. Festival in 2019. I am excited to see what these guys do next and hopefully we can do a proper release in the future! I am honored that they took the time to provide a rework on Geneva.
Ah yes, Sir Isaac Helsen. Our relationship started basically when PITP first started. His song, 'The Extent of the Observable World That is Seen at Any Given Moment' from 2018 was played on repeat many nights. I messaged him and we jumped on a call about a possible release. This song was going to be the first physical PITP release on 7". We both decided though, through several discussions, that we both equally dislike 7" records. The minute you put the needle down and relax, you're getting back up to flip it! Perhaps laziness, perhaps cost, but we ultimately decided against it. That's where his split 12" 'RAS' came about with one of my favorite artists, Wayne Robert Thomas. What a lovely album. In short, Isaac's passion and view of PITP mirrored mine, so I asked him to be my partner. I can write an entire article on Isaac and what he means to me, but we can save that for our Rolling Stone article that will never happen.
Nicholas. It's what I call him when we are having a serious conversation. Doesn't happen too often, but when it does, he is Nicholas. Nick is another close friend and partner of PITP. He's our in-house mental health counselor too, although he won't admit it. Prior to PITP releasing cassettes (Something I initially vowed never to do), I saw so many ambient artists releasing cassettes. I decided to take the plunge and publicly asked on PITP's twitter for ambient tape recommendations. Tyresta commented. I purchased. The rest is history. Nick's passion matched Isaac and I's and he has been with us pretty much since the beginning. Again, I can write an entire article on Nick and what he means to me and we will save that for the Rolling Stone article. ha!
Angela is was of those people you will meet and immediately know how genuine and kind someone is. I’ve celebrated her many lush works over the years, especially ‘Moments in Golden Light’ when I was curating the list of artists to take part in Geneva. It just so happens I caught Angela just finishing up the final touches of ‘Frozen Passages’ and had time to take on this little endeavor. She accepted the offer to rework a track and I couldn’t believe the result. She is truly an incredible artist and person.
LP // Cassette // Digital
Past Inside the Present is pleased to present an extraordinary compilation titled, ‘Geneva’, showcasing the works of some of the most prolific and prominent ambient artists of our time. Intentionally chosen for their positive impact in the genre and influential previous works; nine artists exhibit their masterfully crafted sounds based off a simple loop that was provided to them. Each artist on ‘Geneva’ used a loop created by zakè and then in turn reworked, manipulated and expanded upon the source material resulting in their own unique creation.
‘Geneva’ includes familiar PITP artists, (Benoît Pioulard, Hotel Neon, Warmth, worriedaboutsatan, Isaac Helsen & Tyresta) in addition to several artists appearing for the first time on the PITP imprint (The Sight Below, Poemme, & Andrew J Klimek). Mastered at Black Knoll Studio (NY) by Rafael Anton Irisarri, ‘Geneva’ is a compelling and inspirational paean to various forms and patterns of the ambient genre.
Tracks 1-9 are featured on 'Geneva Remixes' LP
Tracks 10-14 are featured on 'Geneva Loops' Cassette
Geneva loop remixes and reworks by the following:
(1) Hotel Neon, (2) The Sight Below, (3) Isaac Helsen, (4) Benoît Pioulard, (5) worriedaboutsatan, (6) Warmth, (7) Poemme, (8) Tyresta, and (9) Andrew J Klimek
‘Geneva Loops’ written and produced by zakè (tracks 10-14)
Mixed at SDS Studio (WA) by Drew Sullivan
Mastered at Black Knoll Studio (NY) by Rafael Anton Irisarri
Design, layout and assemblage by zakè
'Geneva Morning Sky' photo provided by Mathieu Garcia; Geneva, Switzerland.
© Past Inside the Present
This is PITP-V025 | MMXX
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