Inspiration and thoughts behind the making of 'Six Postcards & Other Stories' by Carlos Ferreira
Modern Japanese Literature
In recent years I have been devoting myself to reading Modern Japanese Literature - Haruki Murakami, Yasunari Kawabata, Jun'ichiro Tanizaki, Yukio Mishima... just to name a few of my favorites. Although the approach of these authors is always very diverse, I find among all some elements that converge and dialogue with each other. I identify a lot with their conception of time present in the works. There seems to be a tendency to value the moment lived, “here-now”.
Also, the detailed description of nature, which is not only a background, but an active part of the narratives... they seem to me elements in common with approaches to ambient music, of using the environment as a trigger for experiences.
Andrei Tarkovsky's Landscapes
Tarkovsky is one of my favorite film directors for sure. The natural landscapes of his films seem to act as projections of an inner world - the filming in sequence / the extended time, the use of silence as an aesthetic resource to embrace the viewer, placing him actively in the center of the narrative... These are things that I try to explore in my music, in order to put the listener in a deep and emotional listening experience, offering a different sensorial space.
Let me note that I love cassettes! They have noises, crackling sounds, hiss, etc. They are reminders of what life is like – organic, finite, imperfect. From the beginning, the whole concept of “Six Postcards & Other Stories” was related to its physical format. As I tried to work with the idea of making 'sound postcards’, something that contained a very personal message and was also portable, cassettes are perfect for that. Therefore, many of the layers and textures of this album were obtained through tapes, as well as its mastering.
Six Postcards & Other Stories
by Carlos Ferreira
Cassette + Postcard Set // Digital
“I am fascinated by the idea that time is not linear, and that it cannot be measured quantitatively. The intensity of each moment lived makes it unique. This makes me rethink my own existence as an individual, as well as my relationship with all the things that surround me. "Six Postcards & Other Stories" is a soundtrack for these thoughts. Each postcard represents a fragment, a memory of an indefinite time. They are soundscapes that aim to make the listener create their own images, acting as triggers for experiences.” - C.F.
Written, produced and mastered by Carlos Ferreira
Design, layout and assemblage by zakè
Postcards by Fernanda Ishida
© Past Inside the Present
This is PITP-C015 | MMXX
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
Behind the Music with Grandbruit
This artist is a major influence in my creative process. He inspires me by his versatility and audacity to push boundaries. One of my favourite album, On the Echoing Green, immerses you in a shoegaze and dream pop haze with a touch of lo-fi. You are transported to this nostalgic place with the noisy and melodic guitar effects.
The second album, Tracking Back the Radiance, is a much more subtle record but hypnotic all the same.
I enjoy alternating with the order of my pedals. Sometime, the simple act of changing their positioning on the pedal board can trigger a different sound. I am constantly searching for a new and interesting sound all the while ensuring the specific esthetic I have worked to preserve. I believe that the esthetic of a piece of art can transcend the art itself. It is with this belief that Ruptures was created.
Behind the Music with Lamasz
A non-exhaustive list of things that directly inspired the album Nature Morte.
Things is the name of a novel by George Perec, a french author who set boundaries in his creative process in order to create unique pieces of art. You've perhaps heard of his most famous work: La Disparition (Vanish'd in english) - a three hundred page novel written without the letter “E”. It is truly an unreadable narrative but the creative process is interesting; sometimes the result is amazing, where a perfect balance exists between the means and the end, like his book Things.
I decided to imitate Perec, limiting myself to the use of only one cassette tape loop for each track. On certain tracks like Esquisse, there is no manipulation, whereas on others such as Relief, there is a lot. There is virtually no mix in my DAW. The loops are processed live with the use of pedals, an effect processor and an analog EQ. I wished to keep things as simple as possible because I discovered that when endless possibilities are at my disposal, it interferes with my slow creative flow.
I work part time at a Fine Arts Museum. Naturally, being surrounded by a lot of paintings, greatly influences me. I often find myself going before opening hours. The experience of being completely alone in a room, filled with so much beauty and history is wildly enriching.
I am in no way a painter but I am deeply moved by the technicality of the paintings, especially the dutch Still life of the seventeenth century. I named the tracks of the album as if I were, myself, painting a Still life; a musical one
Hi Gavin! It is a pleasure talking to you today. How are you doing?
W: I'm doing good, thanks! A little tired and a little sad that summer is kinda tailing off, but all good nonetheless.
We are really excited to welcome worriedaboutsatan in our PITP roster.
Please tell us a bit about yourself and how did you come to release this album on PITP?
W: Well, I'm Gavin – I make music from a little home studio in Saltaire, a little village in the north of England. It's a world heritage site as it was a model village built in the Victorian times, so it's a bit weird living here, but I grew up just down the road in another little village, so it's not the biggest change in circumstances I guess :) I started making music as worriedaboutsatan in 2005, and have been kinda chugging along ever since. I think PITP popped up on my radar as we both swim in the same ambient circles, and I just got chatting with Zach one day I think – I had loads of material I remember, and I kept looking at that lovely logo and thinking “god damn I wanna be on that label!” haha!
‘Europa’ is amazing, congratulations! Let’s talk about it.
What is this album about and what does it mean to you?
W: Thanks! I really like it too. It kinda happened by accident, as it was Zach that floated the idea of a little introduction album, so Europa is somewhere between a re-issue, a best of, and a new single. It's a nice mix of the older satan catalogue and two new tracks too, but it's been programmed to flow like an original record, which is awesome. Who Is A Hunter? & Cloaking were actually part of a single from a few years ago, but a label that was supposed to put it out on vinyl never did, so I was always a little annoyed at that, as those tracks were made especially for the format, so when Zach suggested including them on Europa, it was one of those full circle moments! Beautiful how it all fell into place.
The album is a perfect blend of ambient, drone, techno and post-rock. What is your approach when it comes to mixing these different genres?
W: It's a strange one, as I started out in a post-rock band – y'know, the OTT overblown type, so when that band split up, and I started making electronic music, I kinda had that post-rock vibe in mind, but was trying to replicate the emotive quality through something other than a band format. I think I was a bit fed up with bands in general, and just wanted to experiment with electronics, which is how satan was born – coming at ambient, drone, electronica and techno, but from a post-rock background, so it's all I've ever known how to do! I'm always up for having a little look at a certain genre and seeing if there's anything I can pinch or bend to the satan sound, so it's nice to keep a fresh ear as to what's happening.
Tell us about your process and influences for this album.
W: As it's a compilation, the influences range a little more than usual, but the processes were still the same – just turn on bits of gear and see where they take you! Influence wise, Shift (part 1) was born out of a project which was attempting to make something long, flowing and free- form, rather than strict four-to-the-floor stuff like, say, Who Is A Hunter? Vex and Sunk, the two brand new ones, were more experiments in synthy, slow-core techno stuff and floaty ambience
respectively. I guess most satan stuff starts as an experiment in something, and then it kinda falls into place as it goes along.
Let’s talk about the beautiful artwork and ‘Europa’.
What is your relationship with space and how did ‘Europa’ end up being the album title?
W: Zach suggested Europa, and I think at one point he didn't know if it was any good or not, but I loved it straight away! I always think of myself as more European than English anyway (that's what a German side of the family will do to you), and I just really loved that word and the stark image of the moon itself on the cover – which is some more incredible work by Zach. Oh, and also – Europa is the moon they travel to in the not-so-successful-but-I-still-love-it sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010. Properly underrated film, Helen Mirren's great in it.
What is your favorite track on the record and why?
W: Ooh, tough one. I really like Shift, but I'll say Vex as it's a new one. It was the first time in a long time where I sat down with a guitar and played stuff that was hovering around the same key as the synth, but wasn't necessarily the same chords or notes – I remember thinking “oh shit, yeah – you can do this can't you?” haha! Really nice guitar bits on that one.
In general what inspires you to write music?
W: Kind of anything really. I think I'm a melancholic person in general, so when it comes to making stuff, I'm never going to ply a trade in major chords, so I like to try and see what I can do with the more subdued end of the musical spectrum. Sometimes I'll just get an idea and think 'yeah, I should try that!', and see what I can mold it into. Other times I'll just sit down and try to kick off with a small idea and see where it heads.
What are you listening to these days?
Any artists that you admire and continue to be inspired by?
W: Yeah, I'm listening to quite a fair bit at the moment. I like to listen to a lot of stuff across genres as well, as I think it keeps you on your toes a little more. You can always tell when people only listen to techno, or just ambient or whatever. I think I'm too restless for that, so I will load up a Carly Rae Jepsen album or something. I mean, she's amazing – something like Too Much, or Gimme Love has had more impact on me than a lot of the big ambient/ drone guys. Also really like FRKTL, she's awesome. Her new record is just incredible – it sounds so ferocious, yet has this heart to it as well. Also really like that new Hayley Williams album, that new Charli XCX one as well, and more often than not I'll bang on a bit of HTRK – I could listen to them all day, I really could! Their atmospheres are just beautiful. They have a real yearning quality to them that's so hard to replicate - they just leave stuff up in the air, and only bring it back down when it's totally needed.
A live show/tour for this record would be such a great experience.
Do you miss live shows?
When we can put social distancing behind us, is playing ‘Europa’ live something you want to do?
W: Hell yeah! I think 2020 is the first year since 2004 where I've not played a live show, and it's horrible! Playing live was always something I really believed in doing, and making it much more of a live show than a lot of electronica guys do. There's a tendency to just load up a laptop and sit there, poking at buttons for an hour, so when I first started looking at a new live set, I ditched the iPad, and bought a drum machine, as I wanted things to look and sound a lot more organic – I wanted to get away from just triggering loops of Garage band, and get a bit more hands on. I've been doing a few live-streams on Instagram & YouTube, but it's not the same as being on stage in front of people. It's nice though, don't get me wrong, and it's been great to play some guitar for people over the past few months, but I'm really itching to get back onstage with all this stuff and play for people. I'm not going to be one of these douchebags who play gigs during a pandemic though, that's just so daft.
Thank you for taking the time.
Any last words you want to share with people out there?
W: No worries! Hmm... last words? Erm. How about Up The Villa? (it's a football thing)
'All We Have', an Interview with Tyresta
Hi Nick! How are you and how is life in Chicago?
T: Hello! I’m doing ok. It’s difficult to remain grounded when things feel so volatile and untethered. Though systemic racism, police brutality, and pandemics existed prior to 2020, they have been in the forefront this year and it’s frustrating when people resist doing what needs to be done in order to solve those issues in the long run (defunding the police, community investment, universal health care, etc.).
Tyresta started around 2016. Please tell us more about yourself and this project. How did the relationship with PITP start?
T: 2016 was a year full of ups and downs for me. I got engaged and was married to my partner. My mom was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer a month before the wedding and Donald Trump was elected president a few months after that. I sought refuge in music making as a way to cope with what was going on around me and hopefully help others do the same. I’m a clinical social worker/therapist so I think a lot about healing, self-care, and growth.
The idea for Tyresta came when I was on my honeymoon in Sweden that fall (Tyresta is a forest within the city limits of Stockholm). I listened to the audiobook about Brian Eno’s Another Green World by Geeta Dayal on that trip, which I found particularly inspiring. I definitely identify with the title “non-musician” which Brian Eno popularized. I took guitar lessons when I was younger but I am woefully inept when it comes to music theory and production, which is why experimental music is so appealing to me. Formal training shouldn’t be a barrier for creative expression.
As far as PITP is concerned, I was on Twitter one day in early 2019 and saw that Zach had posted about wanting “ambient tape recommendations”. I sent him a link for one of my tapes and the rest is history. Though my tendency to over-engage with social media is mostly detrimental to my mental health, I am grateful I was on Twitter that day.
Congratulations on the new album! It’s your first physical vinyl LP. It’s actually more than an LP it’s a 2xLP! How does it feel?
T: It feels very surreal. There are so many amazing artists out there that don’t get the chance to release their music on vinyl (let alone a 2xLP set) so I feel very lucky and fortunate. I am immensely grateful for the PITP team for taking a huge chance with this release. I can’t thank them enough for their encouragement and support.
‘All We Have’ is really intimate and personal to you. If you are willing to share, could you tell us more about this album and what it means to you? How did you put all the tracks together and what was your process for that record?
T: The title was inspired by the idea in Zen that “all we have” is the present moment. The past is fixed and the future has yet to occur. Through ruminating on the past or worrying about the future we miss what is happening right in front of us, which causes us to suffer even more. I attempted to approach my mom’s three and a half year battle with cancer from this mindset. We didn’t know how long she was going to live and I wanted to be as present as possible for whatever time we had left with her. I wasn’t always successful but my mindfulness practice definitely helped me to show up for her even when it was painful to do so.
I started writing the album at a time when her cancer was relatively stable. We were somewhat hopeful that she was going to be able to live a lot longer than we initially thought, which is why Side A of the album feels a bit brighter and hopeful.
After a few months of writing and recording, her cancer began spreading again and she started a really brutal episode of treatment, which lasted up until her death in February of 2020. Sides B and C on the record are about the last few months of her life and what we were going through emotionally as a family. Both trying to remain hopeful while also knowing she was very sick and spending more and more time in the hospital.
Side D is sort of an epilogue and is a commentary on the state of the world as a whole. Fear drives things like racism, oppression, and hoarding behaviors (including wealth, power, and control) and we continue to devalue collectivism, mental health care, and the cultivation of emotional intelligence.
You invited a few friends on the record. Tell us more about these contributions! Do you like collaborating with other artists?
T: I really enjoy collaborating with other artists. Especially those that are more formally trained in music composition, theory, and production. Nick Adams provided string arrangements and had two of his friends record cello, viola, and violin parts for some of the songs. Not all of those parts made it onto the album but a few did. Jayve Montgomery plays Saxophone on the final track “We Need Each Other”. This track took many forms over the course of the year it took to write and record the album. Jayve’s sax added another layer of emotional depth to the song, which solidified the track for me and it ended up being one of my favorites on the album.
The mix of guitar and mellotron is really well crafted on the album. Do you have a go to setup or favorite instruments/gear for making music?
T: I try not to have a “go to” set up for music making. I mostly just see what I’m compelled to pick up in the moment and then start experimenting. For this record, I focused on guitar, mellotron, and my Marantz PMD 222 field recorder/tape player. I also used an Electro-Harmonix looper on many of the songs. Though much of the music I have released as Tyresta has been focused on modular synths, I barely used them on this record.
Let’s talk about Fallen Moon Recordings [a PITP digital only sublabel]. Please tell us more about it and what is your goal managing that label?
T: PITP receives a lot of demos and some of them are great but don’t really fit the sound palette we are going for as a label. In May of this year, I suggested that we start a more experimental side label and offered to head up the project and the others on the PITP went for it. My goal is to showcase a broad range of artists and as much as possible try to transcend the confines of contemporary ambient and drone music. I am also trying to find ways of collaborating and showcasing artists with marginalized identities. It is often the case that white, cis-gendered, male artists (myself included) get the spotlight in experimental music, which doesn’t accurately represent the wealth of diversity amongst artists in the scene.
Thank you for talking with us today. Any last words you want to share with people out there?
T: No problem. Thanks for the interview. Interviews like these help me understand myself and my music better. And for those reading this interview, thank you for your interest and please take care of yourselves and others.
Polar Moon - As Above, So Below
Hi Jonny. We are happy to have you now in the PITP family. Could you present yourself a little?
PM: Well, hello to you! Very excited to be here. My name is Jonny Radtke, and I am an American musician, based in Los Angeles, CA.
About Los Angeles, I have to ask: how are things over there with the Coronavirus? Do you make more music with the social distancing and lockdown?
PM: Yes, I’m currently in LA, and for the most part, people seem to be taking this situation very seriously, and adhering to the “safer at home” rules. As far as this experience contributing to me writing more? I’m not sure. When not touring, I’m constantly writing, and working on new material, so nothing has dramatically changed. However, during the first couple weeks of isolation, there was a lot of uncertainty (still is) as to how long this situation would last, so it was important to keep myself busy and focused on music...so, yeah, I guess there have been some positive moments within all this craziness.
Congratulations on the new album! You played in several famous rock bands (Kill Hannah, Ashes Divide, Filter). How did you decide to start your own ambient project and release new music?
PM: Thank you!! Well, I’ve always loved instrumental/ambient music. Coming from a predominantly rock background, it’s a nice change of pace for me...allows me to shut my brain off and just absorb the sounds. Initially, this project began with me trying to break into the film scoring world; putting together short pieces that could be presented to music supervisors, licensing houses, etc, in hopes of being considered for a film. That is still a very real goal of mine for this type of material. After a while, I realized I had written so much music, and felt I needed to get it out there. My friend, Drew Sullivan (Slow Dancing Society), and I, had been sending original music back and forth to each other, and he eventually recommended sending it to PITP. So, here we are! Haha!
Polar Moon is such a beautiful and dreamy name. Why Polar Moon?
PM: Thank you. It’s a name I started using back in the early 2000’s. When writing demos for the various rock groups I was working with, I would sometimes use the tag name “Polar Moon”, because I liked the way it looked; it felt calming and ethereal to me. In 2008, I started writing songs for a “Polar Moon” rock album, as a side project, but over the years, the music and idea of the whole concept changed forms; what it is today, is completely different from what I had initially set out to do.
This album is really wonderful, ethereal and minimal. Can you tell us more about it?
PM: Appreciate the kind words. Yeah, it’s exactly that: ethereal and minimal. I wanted to capture what I was feeling and thinking at the time of its development, and not try to over analyze anything, but really explore textures in each song in a cohesive way.
I love the soft piano melodies. How did it feel to work on this album? How different is the approach from your guitar work in your bands?
PM: This album was very therapeutic for me to make. It’s so drastically different from the albums I’m known for writing, but that’s what I love about it: it showcases a whole other side of me. Almost all of these songs were written with me just sitting down at the piano and hitting record. Then I’d go back, and find little themes, and develop them, and of course, build sound textures around that. I really love that process in all the songs I write, whether it’s “Polar Moon”, or for a rock band. But, it was definitely a different process. These aren’t songs that fit any specific “song” pattern; verse, pre chorus, chorus, etc. This was me just taking what I was feeling in the moment, with no specific agenda, and developing from there.
I like to ask this question: do you have any personal favorite track on the album?
PM: “Snow Angels”, and “Snow Angels (quiet)”, MIGHT be my favorites. They’re basically two versions of the same song, and idea, just slightly different from each other. I feel those themes accurately sum up the vibe I was feeling when I set started this. Songs you can listen to on a rainy day (laughs).
The album is released on tape, Side A is your album and the Side B is made of reworks by PITP artists. Are you satisfied with this release and the result? How did it feel to hear your tracks reworked?
PM: I’m really happy with my end result, and I’m BEYOND satisfied with the reworks. It’s truly an honor to have these songs re-imagined by so many insanely talented artists, whom I also truly adore and respect. I’m such a fan of all their individual work, so it was really wonderful to hear their interpretations.
What are you listening to lately? What are your main sources of inspiration while working on music?
PM: I tend to gravitate towards instrumental and ambient music regardless of what mood I’m in, or what project I’m preparing for. Slow Dancing Society, Helios, Stars Of The Lid, to name a few, are always on rotation. More recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of PITP artists: Moss Covered Technology, From Overseas, Benoît Pioulard, etc. I love it all!
Do you plan to play this album live as Polar Moon?
PM: Good question. I’m definitely open to that. It would take a lot of planning and mapping out, to properly put together a live show for this, and it’s definitely on my mind. We’ll see!
Thanks for talking with us today. Congratulations again on the wonderful album. Any last word for people out there ?
PM: Thank you for having me, and thank you to everyone at PITP for this opportunity. Hope you guys enjoy this little album!
theHi Michael. How are you today ?
TGK: Doing pretty well, all things considered.
The world has changed quite a bit these past months with the Covid-19. You live in Michigan, how are things there and how do you feel about the situation ?
TGK: Things have been bad here, but I think they are steadily improving. It's been tough, we have a few nurses in the family and they have certainly been through a lot. My wife and I have been fortunate in that we have been able to work from home and be with the family. I don't mind being stuck at home too much, I'm perfectly happy with it actually!
Congratulations on the new album! It’s a beautiful piece of art. You have been working on it for the last couple of years or so right ? Can you tell us more about this album and how it came to life?
TGK: Thank you! I'm typically working on at least a couple projects at any given time and starting new pieces when inspiration strikes or more realistically as time allows. So I basically just went back and forth between pieces and let them develop over time- adding and taking away. I guess the original intent was to make an “ambient guitar” album, though nothing I do ever ends up where it started. It’s always a combination of things that I suppose coalesces into “my sound”. It’s been done for a while and was originally meant for release in 2019, but I couldn’t be happier with it being on PITP as I’m a big fan of the label!
The title “Residence on Earth” is quite powerful and based on Pablo Neruda’s book of poetry. What can you tell us about this book and how it came to be your choice for the album title ?
TGK: I happened to revisit it while making the album. A lot of the poems evoke some otherworldly imagery which captured my imagination, and also a sense of longing and sometimes melancholy, which felt as though it fit the feel of the music. In fact, nearly all of the track titles are either titles of poems or phrases taken from them. I also unexpectedly lost my aunt while completing the album, provoking further thought around our time spent in this life and what we do with it. She was one of the kindest souls I've ever known and the album is dedicated to her memory.
The album artwork is gorgeous as well. It definitely fits the mood and color of the album. Where and when was that photo taken ?
TGK: It was taken out a plane window on a family trip to San Diego, over the Rocky Mountains I believe. It’s actually somewhat reminiscent of the cover image of the edition of the Neruda book I have, though that’s black and white.
I love the textures and swells on this album along with subtle guitar notes and arpeggios like in the track ‘Of What Endures’ or ‘Shoreless’. What was your process when recording this album ? What are your main instruments on this record ?
TGK: Thanks! I often start off with a simple looping chord progression or riff - maybe a drone - and build from there. I also record to a click track or 4/4, sometimes a beat, even if it will end up being an ambient track to ensure things are synched up when I add overdubs or rhythmic elements. The sounds on this one are mainly guitar-based, though of course there are bits of synth, some samples, etc. In terms of instruments, I leaned on the J Mascis Jazzmaster pretty heavily as usual, along with a Tele that has since been replaced, my old ‘94 Strat and the Gretsch Pro Jet on one track I believe. The Neunaber Immerse and Walrus Audio Slo reverbs are heard on most of the tracks and I record everything direct through the Neunaber Neuron- I swear this isn’t a paid endorsement, they just make awesome products that are intuitive and easy to dial in great sounds with.
I know it’s a tough question, but do you have a favorite track on the album?
TGK: Hmm, I think it would have to be Fantasma. There are usually one or two pieces on a given album where everything just comes together and the sound is what I originally heard in my head. That was definitely the case with that one.
What are your main sources of inspiration while working on music? Do you have any artists that keep you motivated and still have an influence on how you approach music ?
TGK: Yes, I’m constantly seeking out and discovering music, both new and old, almost obsessively! In terms of influences, there are so many, but I’ll throw out a few: Hendrix, Eric Johnson, Cocteau Twins, BOC, Brian Eno, Tortoise, everything on the 12k label, Hammock… I could go on forever really...
Your album is dreamy, peaceful and really calming. I feel like people need these soothing sounds more than ever right now. Did you notice more interest in ambient music lately?
TGK: A little bit, it seems like support has ramped up a bit as of late with people seeking solace in these trying times. I know I have discovered a lot of great music and also forged some new connections with other artists online myself.
Speaking of calming sounds your track on the Healing Sounds II compilation is beautiful. Anything specific you can tell us about that track and being part of this compilation ?
TGK: Only that it came together very quickly as I wanted to record something new for the compilation, which doesn't happen very often. Most of it was done in one night with some additional mixing the next day. It’s rare for me to work that quickly. It means a lot to be part of compilations like this among such talented artists that I admire, especially for a good cause. Kudos to Zach and Isaac for making this and the last one happen, they're great guys with big hearts. Love working with them!
Is it possible to see you live ? Are you planning on supporting the release with a few shows and/or a tour when we can put social distancing behind us ?
TGK: That would be nice, but I don’t necessarily do a lot of live shows (only one as TGK so far), but it might be something that I’ll do more of in the future. You never know.
Thanks for talking with us today. Congratulations again on the wonderful album. Any last word for people out there ?
TGK: No problem. Just to be kind to each other and support music and the arts!
Residence on Earth
by The Green Kingdom
Limited Edition Cassette // Digital
“The album gestated over a couple years or so, in which time a lot can happen. As one gets older, it's natural to think about the time you've spent on this planet and what you will leave behind. This was only punctuated by the unexpected loss of my aunt. At some point while crafting these pieces, I also pulled Pablo Neruda's book of poetry Residence on Earth off the shelf. The surreal imagery and emotions these works evoke felt connected to the music on many levels, and informed the course of the album until its completion. This album is dedicated to the memory of Mary V. Mannino.”
Written and produced by Michael Cottone
Mastered by Andrew J Klimek
Design, photography & assemblage by Michael Cottone
© Past Inside the Present
This is PITP-C004 | MMXX
Cobalt blue shell cassette tape with white imprinting, housed in a clear / solid blue norelco box and shrink wrapped. Loaded with FerroMaster C456™ super ferric, ultra-high performance type-1 music grade analog tape. Limited to 50 units.
Healing Sounds: A Compilation for Hurricane Recovery
By Various Artists
36 / Olan Mill / zaké / Tyresta / IIm / Phillip Wilkerson / Duenn / Isaac Helsen / Slow Dancing Society / H E A V Y / Saltbreaker / worriedaboutsatan / Wayne Robert Thomas / Dawn Chorus and the Infallible Sea / Gallery Six / Black Swan / The Green Kingdom / Patrick Spatz + Scott Wells / James Bernard / Awakened Souls / Black Brunswicker / Erinome / Echoed Sycamore / Hipnotic Earth / Before Flags / Forrest / Viul / Simon Bainton / Jordan Christoff
This compilation is dedicated to the people that have been impacted by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. The immense physical destruction on the Bahamian islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama are only now beginning to grasp the devastating personal toll for families who have lost so much in Hurricane Dorian.
The killer storm, the strongest ever to make landfall in the country, destroyed many homes, and in some cases, entire neighborhoods were turned into rubble.Though the Bahamas experiences hurricanes frequently, Hurricane Dorian, which made landfall as a Category 5, has caused "generational devastation."
In this era of the 24-hour news cycle, we sometimes can feel overwhelmed and powerless to make a difference, but in reality, it is easier than ever to contribute. We are asking for your help. PITP will provide 100% of the proceeds of this compilation to the Bahamas branch of the International Red Cross. We ask that you donate what you can to help support the disaster relief efforts from the devastating effects of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.
All arrangements featured on this compilation belong to the respective copyright holders who graciously provided their arrangement in an effort to raise donations in response to the devastating effects of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. Thank you to all artists and fans alike for the support.
© Past Inside the Present
This is PITP-HS01 | MMXIX