среда, 9 января 2019 г.

Grey Lenses — Exploitation of Icarus (2019)

Hi everyone, we're entering 2019 with a brand new release, another soundtrack for a book by Grey Lenses.

The difference is that it is finally a soundtrack for a hardcover book, not a .pdf. "Exploitation of Icarus" is the title of the first story included in a book, and this album includes music which is supposed to be playing while reading first and last story featured in edition.

Since 2017, I annually release book OSTs, and they are always laptop dark ambient music. They are quite similar, I'm afraid it could be rather hard to tell one from another, but it's caused by the plot, because all these stories are connected, they share characters and show the development of both fictional narration and my skill in creating laptop ambient / post-industrial.

In this case, it's entertaining to think what is post-industrial literature and post-industrial music in general, and I hope this is something we can actually build by our own efforts.

To build is more fascinating than to demolish, it's some sort of creative credo. Despite the fact you might hear some quite disturbing noise and some occasional musical pieces here, it's all about sonic structures, it is by design. This album differs from previous ones because it has longer tracks consisting of different pieces. Previously, I created soundtracks making a track for a chapter; now these tracks reflect certain motives mentioned in a book, not particular chapters. This is why they are longer and even might be resembling dark ambient "sonatas".

"Icarus" is a typical "main theme", it exposes a sonic image of mythical Icarus which later disappears ("Disappearance"): a metaphor of losing the ideal role model. "Animal Blood" and especially "Death by Drowning" represent darker sound (there is honestly nothing cheerful in drowning), and final "In the Sandbox", "Reconstruction" and "Salvation" deal with an idea of liminal theme, topic of resurrection after a challenging encounter of death, all so traditional for world literature. The image of a sandbox is both Apocalyptic and modern, it's all about rebuilding. Reconstruction is a final phase of deconstruction, we destroy to rebuild, we'll never put up with empty spaces. And, in the end, everybody deserves salvation. If we're speaking about ideals, we should be moving towards such ideal unless it becomes irrational and/or useless.

Moreover, all my projects fight against music and it's pseudo harmony, because total harmony equals death. This is just another round, and I encourage you to be brave in creating most abrasive non-musical music which is not neccesary should be harsh. What is most valuable, is the method, the approach, not rawness for rawness. Just listen!

Stay tuned! 2018 was successful for our label, we had 2 physical releases and 4 web-releases, and I'm eager to make 2019 even more successful.

Feel free to leave feedback. Most physical releases may be ordered.

Sincerely yours,
John "Grey Lenses" Grey

четверг, 13 декабря 2018 г.

Лосины Маршала Потемкина — Трудно быть первым, когда ты лучший (2018)

Hi everyone, we're proud to present you a CD "Трудно быть первым, когда ты лучший" ("It's Hard To Be The First When You're The Best") by Лосины Маршала Потемкина. It's a result of hard, exhausting work that had started in July and have ended just yesterday when we received actual CDs. Overall, we've spent more than 78 hours in studio.

This is actually 5th longplay by the band, but it's the first LP CD, and the first LP recorded not as an one man band.

I'd like to dedicate the record to Mr. Mark E. Smith who had perished early this year. It was a significant loss for the culture.

So, it's a post-punk album, it's all about lyrics, but it avoids typical depressive post-punk topics. It's pretty much an upper, not a downer. It's built around lyrics which are sang against a repeatative bass riff. Probably, singing is not the best term for this vocal practice, because it's more about storytelling. Each song is actually a story which often has a plot, narrative, fictional characters, 1st and 3rd person narration.

The title track, "Нудный" ("A Dull Guy"), is a remake of an earlier electronic track:

Then goes "Кофейная культура" ("Coffee Culture"), telling a story of expansion of coffee culture which leads the narrator straight to a heart attack in the end:

The lyrics are full of cultural references, parodies, etc., so it would take time to explain it (when I wanted to jot a brief comment, I found out I'd need to write a book about the album).

Then we have "Стремные танцы" ("Weird Dance") which is actually really weird. It even includes a vocoder. I suppose one might do weird dances while listening to it.

4th song is "Внутренняя эмиграция" ("Inner Emigration"), and it's so up-to-date, so up-to-date, you got to understand. It also sounds wicked and dark, almost brutal.

Then goes "Винишки в Ростелекоме". It's rather hard to translate. "Винишки" ("Vinishki", from "wine") is a subculture represented mostly by young females enjoying cheap wine and listening to new school post-punk which probably has nothing in common with original one. As with any subculture, we're dealing with lack of values. "Ростелеком" is an Internet provider widely spread in Russia. It's so big they have to hire personnel who can't help users, and the song is dealing with problem of misunderstanding.

Brace yourself, because the intro of next song "Речной трамвайчик" ("Water Taxi") is rather eerie. The song is sort of sophisticated nod towards Alla Pugacheva's song with the same name, but it's not a cover at all. It messes around the line about a "tanker with corpses", so it's quite depressive, actually. It's also noisy and even a little scary. I'm afraid to live where I live, and I'm not afraid to die.

These are complicated emotions, it's fear with apathy, it's denial of depression, it's exhaustion and hopelessness. Die laughing, you know.

It's rather logical that the next song is called "Кризис самоидентификации" ("Self Identity Crisis"), and it tells a story of an incel who's deprived of social life and loses identity and then loses personality ("Now you are me", says the final line) and dissolves in observation of stray cats ("My only friends are stray cats"). To double the sarcasm, the song sounds cheerful.

You see, we don't have much fun here on this record. It's bruisingly sardonic. Then we have our favorite song "Бойцовский клуб" ("Fight Club"), it's not totally based on the novel, but it tells a story of a fight club in modern Russia. Aggression, irritation, bloodthirst become common now.

We end with the song "Сердитый" ("An Angry Guy"), it's opposing the title track. And it's almost jazzy which totally contradicts the lyrics. We make terrifying stories contradict to pop-oriented music, and we make aggressive, angry lyrics respond to pseudo-lounge music. It also touches upon mental health issues ("All I need is amitriptyline" — very old but effective prescribed drug) stigmatized in the society.

The lyrics, vocals and cover was provided by me, there were totally 5 musicians involved in recording, you can read the whole credits here. We used electric and acoustic guitars, different basses, mics, tank drum and metal percussion, electronic drums and synth, harmonica, plenty of things.

I don't care if it'll be a successful record. I don't get it if we need praise for this. I feel no satisfaction with current trends, and it was a huge sign of protest against all mainstream culture. I started to feel giant spiritual freedom and independence, sense of freedom is inner one, it doesn't matter where you are and what's happening around.

I don't wanna make major hits, I don't wanna sing about love or politics, I don't think I'd be understood if I write this for my compatriots. Instead, I wrote a bunch of stories. I tell stories about fear, isolation, loss of values and identity, loss of sense of reality, mental destruction and psychological breakdowns. It's funny that they often sound remarkably cheerful.

Well, you may order the CD as well as previous physical releases. Feel free to write me about that.

Sincerely yours,
John "Grey Lenses" Grey

вторник, 27 ноября 2018 г.

Nervöse Leute — Concrete Rats (2018)

Hi everyone, we're happy to present you 3rd longplay by Nervöse Leute which has already been available in October if you had previosly purchased a floppy disk "Mellow" (still available).

This album is an exploration of a frontier zone between music and non-music, an attempt to find an answer where music begins (and where it ends). The album contains samples recorded since 2003 until present. As in case of previous longplay, I did all the work myself.

The cover shows you what one can see when going downstairs leaving my apartments, and it's all about living in an old concrete box. The title of the album messes around an idea of us participating in a rat race which is held indoors, in a box made of concrete. Moreover, there's some musique concrete on the record, to be fair.

OK, let's turn to the tracks.

The title track, "Erziehung" ("Education") was shown before on our VA sampler "Pereat". It illustrates the topic of importance of education, whilst the education  which we get, is almost totally inappropriate (which refers to "Bad Education" by Blue Orchids). It also laughs at background music dedicated to educational purposes, which is, to my mind, is simply ridiculous. Music distracts. It's supposed to do it. It is also inspired by Japanese noise and explores abilities of distorting the sound of an acoustic guitar.

Second track, "Take the Chance", is an attempt to play industrial music using abovementioned acoustic guitar.

"Health" is much more a complex piece, almost a play. It's partially inspired by This Heat's "Health and Efficiency", and it's sort of "anti-cover" concept. It's more percussion oriented attempt of deconstructing the composition itself; and, as we know, This Heat's aim was mainly to deconstruct rock music in general. Moreover, "Health and Efficiency" idea: to be sober, to be responsible, to be efficient — is a doctrine which I'm very likely to follow for years. This Heat stated it was a counter-culture step, a protest against punk junkies, and this approach of fancy dressed modest guys seeking to commit an act of violence against music and an image of musician, is so close to my methods. 

But it's not only about a tribute to This Heat. "Health" also includes recording of a Russian history lecture read in university at the same time when in a church nearby there was an Orthodoxal ceremony, and at some moment you can hear bells of the church together with lecturer's voice. There is also an alarm clock recording which also represents discipline, and some sounds which were supposed to expose the genie coming out of the bottle. So metaphorical, eeh.

"Smash" is a "play" which "contradicts" to "Health" the same way "Take the Chance" contradicts to "Erziehung". Again, it includes acoustic guitar, metal percussion, and it's the central piece of exploration of the borders of the music. Its ending with naturally stretched notes refers to bassline of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" by Bauhaus.

"White Noise 2003" indeed contains radio samples recorded in 2003. It's the only track under Creative Commons license, it's a nod to previous Nervöse Leute albums. Just another radio collage.

"Frosch" ("Frog") is a field recording of frogs in Moscow. They were chatting in the centre of the city in a pond in the park. And I thought if it could be music? We say "birds sing", but what do frogs do? Probably it's not singing, but can we call it music? The track is an "investigation" of this issue.

"Foretelling" is the only track which has lyrics. I was thinking about the future which is always uncertain, and it reflects usual paranoia, so common for Nervöse Leute. The track also has plenty of radio noise, metal percussion, acoustic guitar — all the elements featuring on the album.

The final track, "Mystery and Something Else", is short but not that simple. It refers to Blaine L. Reininger's hit song "Mystery and Confusion" and Tony Wilson's TV show "Something Else". It's also a field recording made during a walk. I was strolling down and thinkng about David Thomas' (Pere Ubu) idea of "the art of walking", and I started to doubt if the walking is indeed a sort of art; I was recalling his interview when he was showing the bottom of the cup, and I guess this is what I tried to expose on this album as well. "If the walking is art", I thought. "Then I got to check if it's music or not". We know walking has a rhythm. Soldiers march, marches sound rhythmically flawless. But when we're walking without any purpose (wandering around), will our steps be rhytmically organized, and would it be suitable to create musical piece out of it? So I made this record trying to get the answers.

I have to confess that Nervöse Leute is the only project which never causes irritation while I'm working on it. The less musical it was, the better was my state of mind when I had been working on tracks. It's also the most therapy-oriented of my projects. I am deeply proud of what I created this time, and I sincerely hope it can make some impression.

Warmly remind you that your feedback would be much appreciated.

Sincerely yours,
John "Grey Lenses" Grey

понедельник, 12 ноября 2018 г.

We are trying streaming

Hi everyone! Just before we load up two last releases for 2018, it feels like it's a proper time to catch a departing train of streaming. Recently I've tried to stream oldschool game GTA2 and talking about avant-garde as a method. Well, perhaps it might be not that vivid and active monologue, though it's mostly a test stream to find out if you're interested. If you are, I'll go on streaming and talking at our Twitch channel ShadowplayCity.

Hope you'll pay some attention to it!

Best wishes,
John "Grey Lenses" Grey

понедельник, 8 октября 2018 г.

Nervöse Leute — Mellow (2018)

Hi everyone! We're happy to present you our latest physical release (proudly wearing "CVRP 03" code), a 3.5" floppy disk "Mellow" by Nervöse Leute.

This 3.5" floppy disk includes a brand new track "Mellow" (in mp3) and a flyer (written in English) with an instant free download link to a longplay "Concrete Rats" (in lossless), currently unavailable online.

We've turned to mid-2000's authentic 3.5" floppy disks as it's profoundly connected with nostalgia, a topic which penetrates the whole Nervöse Leute discography. We used aluminium for the cover to illustrate another topic which is peculiar to Nervöse Leute — the topic of paranoia spilled in modern life.

Track "Mellow" explores the opportunities of relaxation through noise and is genetically connected with first, self-titled album by Nervöse Leute. The album "Concrete Rats", a download link to which is included into package, provides new exploration of a frontier zone between music and noise and also includes some references to earlier Nervöse Leute works.

"Concrete Rats" LP will be available online as soon as certain amount of copies of "Mellow" will be successfully distributed. You can order "Mellow" by writing us, current price is just $1.2 + postal costs, and it might even be reduced when "Concrete Rats" will be available online.

There are only 16 copies of "Mellow" which makes it undisputedly exclusive.

Feel free to contact us if you'd like to purchase previous Nervöse Leute physical release, a split tape with Snowbringer ($3 + postal costs) (only few copies left!) or CD "Тренды" by Лосины Маршала Потемкина ($3.75 + postal costs) (only few copies left as well).

Hope you'll like it! And — stay tuned!

Sincerely yours,
John "Grey Lenses" Grey

воскресенье, 9 сентября 2018 г.

VA — Pereat (2018): Video

Hi everyone! Finally recorded a video where I'm presenting you our annual sampler "Pereat". You can check it out right here:

Stay tuned, as the end of this year will provide you with our new releases. I'm sure about that.

Sincerely yours,
John "Grey Lenses" Grey

четверг, 16 августа 2018 г.

Лосины Маршала Потемкина — Похороны безработного провинциала (2018, Single)

Hi everyone, we're happy to finally present you a studio single by Лосины Маршала Потемкина recorded this spring. It contains song "Хуже не будет" as a "b-side", previously included in our VA-sampler "Pereat".

The "a-side" is a studio remake of 2015 song "Похороны безработного провинциала" ("The Funeral of an Unemployed Province Dweller"). That song was much more appreciated than other Лосины...'s songs of that period, and its relatively successful live performances have also pushed us to rerecord it properly.

So, these songs were recorded with live drums played by our drummer Igor Ezhen; Mikhail Alekseev played bass, and Zhenya Dvoynishnikov played guitar. I performed as vocalist and lyricist.

"Хуже не будет" was mixed and mastered in studio, "Похороны" was edited by me. It may sound less polished than it could be, but I feel I managed to create the mood this song was supposed to create. While being a lone bedroom-folk singer, I spent plenty of time trying to make specific atmosphere on first Лосины...'s albums, and finally on "Похороны" I came close to what I wish it could sound like. I mean this song is like a devil chasing the listener, it's ruthless, it's like doom, like fate, like something totally inevitable. Despite that, it's not supposed to frighten a listener, not sort of "scare the kids" tag.

Lyrics' protagonist, Unemployed Province Dweller, has been important to me. He's the narrator of most songs recorded in 2012–2015. Our second album was titled "The Dreams of an Unemployed Province Dweller", so his "funeral" was a significant step, crucial, necessary if I wanted to move forward.

When I ask myself: "Who's telling all these weird stories which fill Лосины...'s lyrics?", I can say there are at least four of them, and I even created names for them. First songs were narrated by Vyacheslav Babochkin, who was sort of representative of famous Russian gopnik subculture. Then, an Unemployed Province Dweller had appeared. At some point Semyon Potemkin was added to tell smarter stories (like "Нудный", "Дэвид Линч") and represent positive, "Apollo"-like side, and finally I found out there's also a "wicked" character, kind of villain, named Phil, who narrates, e.g., "Утренний рейс". He has the lowest of my voices and represents a darker side of personality.

The cover was taken on 19th century cemetery in my native city in Siberia. Currently this cemetery is totally embraced by urban buildings, it's almost centre of the city, such a sarcastic coincidence.

I got to add this single is released a bit late. I thought it'd be ready in June, but again we had a delay. Currently we're visiting the studio more frequently, working on a longplay which is likely to be released this autumn.

Moreover, we're still preparing a lot of new stuff by Nervöse Leute this year, and maybe some of tracks by artists from "Pereat" sampler.

So, stay tuned, much fun is on the go.

Sincerely yours,
John "Grey Lenses" Grey

среда, 4 июля 2018 г.

VA — Pereat (2018)

TL;DR? Then check out video version of this post!

Hi everyone, we're happy to present you our annual sampler! This time it's called "Pereat", it's a Latin word which can serve as sort of pessimistic motto, considering current situation.
The sampler starts with an anonymous short intro, it's an electronic instrumental by our long-time collaborator who decided not to sign this time:
Then goes a song by Concern Void band, it's titled Conscience, and we're really proud of it as it's a result of hard work on creating authentic minimal synth sound. I provided lyrics and vocals for the song, the music was written by Vladimir Laznev.
Then we have a new "Handshaker" by Snowbringer, and now it's "Modern Handshaker". It's a noise record, the sound is quite abrasive though it's not disturbing. It's also the longest track on the sampler. Snowbringer shows truly mature sound here.
Track #4 is a hip-hop by Alogical, he didn't write the beat, but the lyrics are original. It was first published as a part of Alogical Vlog, psychedelic and astonishingly modern. It's titled "Let's Get It", so it's based on a meme, and it's totally the least oldschool track on the sampler, which brings us diversity and all other valuable things nowadays.
The next track is an oldschool minimal instrumental "Time" by Vladimir Laznev, and it's supposed to be part of forthcoming soundtrack. It sounds really promising, and I'm looking forward to seeing the whole soundtrack released.
Then we have a new Nervöse Leute track, "Erziehung". It's a noise record and it's sort of a preview of their 3rd longplay hopefully to be released this summer/autumn. It's going to have less radio / tape noises, focusing on different noise sources instead; this track is an example of shifting quite primitive music to the spheres of sort of sophisticated noise.
Next track is a cinematic instrumental "Creeper" by Hipstor Smith. This track was written exclusively for our radio broadcast, Shadowplay FM, and it was aired earlier this year during a radio play "Post-irony".
The final song on the sampler is "Хуже не будет" by Лосины Маршала Потемкина. The title means "It won't get worse", and it's much a sardonic mood spread in the air these days. Together with a slogan "Pereat" it can be understood as a manifesto, and it was already honored to receive a comparison with a "sarcastic bomb". It's basically post-punk song, recorded in studio with live drums, though bass probably wouldn't sound really post-punk'ish, as it's too smooth. Anyway we hope to do something less sad next time we'll be heading to the studio.
So I gotta say we're proud of what we presented this year. From the one hand, there are no new projects / bands which would join us, there are even no guest artists this year, but I feel our "roast" is strong, mature and ready for new achievements. Hope you'll appreciate the result of our long and hard work.
What would you expect from us later this year? Well, we still hope to have 1 or 2 physical releases (they're on the go) by some of artists represented here. We hope to release a soundtrack by Vladimir Laznev, new Лосины's.. songs, and we also plan to release 3rd longplay by Nervöse Leute.

Probably we'll do something more. I feel like I need to invite new artists to our informal label. Let's see if I'll get lucky.
Instant free download (mp3 VBR) (Right click on "Click on this link — Save object as...").
Stay tuned!
Sincerely yours,
John "Grey Lenses" Grey  

среда, 20 июня 2018 г.

Лосины Маршала Потемкина — Дебютный альбомчик (2010)

Hi everyone! Just before the work on a new Лосины Маршала Потемкина's single is, as far as I'm concerned, crawling to the end, it's time to tell about their very first release.

 While observing its cover, you might have prepared for extraordinary amount of weirdness, and this is indeed the weirdest Лосины...'s release. The history of the band, started in 2009, was frustrating at that moment, as mates began to leave it, and I remained the only member since late summer 2010 and for long, long years.

The "doctrine" of the band in 2009 and first half of 2010 proclaimed we ain't going to record, and we didn't even manage to perform live in a club then, so when I was left alone I felt like I should make this record just to save the impressions from being in a band. Of course, I was very limited in instruments.

The faces who stare at you from the cover were our avatars created in a PhotoRobot software which is, as we believed, was quite close to ones used by the police. The cover was also decorated with excise stamps from alcohol bottles which represented "alcoholic folk" genre we played back then.

I believe this EP is really, really hard to listen to. It's pathologically lo-fi. It's recorded to irritate listener. It's weird, it's atonal, it's noisy and hopelessly out of tune. It represents mostly anger.

The EP includes 4 songs, some of which we still play in 2018: I have to mention sort of "alcoholic folk anthem" "Я не могу сказать где, твои деньги" ("I Can't Tell You Where's Your Money"), re-recorded in 2011 and still quite popular in a post-punk version (set timecode to 36:21); "Мягкие игрушки" ("Soft Toys") — also check out truly magnetic post-punk version (the timecode is 7:17).

It also featured melancholic yet ironical "Шерстяная кофта" ("A Wool Sweater") which we still play in a modified version, and "Заначка" ("A Stash") with weird arpeggios, and it's the only song from the EP we don't play now.

Well, the primary instrument for the EP was a steel-string guitar, sometimes accompanied by harmonics and synths. The EP touched upon topics of alcoholism, fear and poverty. Perhaps it's anti-music but it's definitely not anti-folk; it's real Russian outsider folk music, as it's close to people.

Retracing this way, I find it easy to surprise how far we've gone, how much we've mutated, and before releasing a post-punk single, our 2nd post-punk release, and dreaming of making an abstract hip-hop record and conceptual post-punk album, it's fitting to recall the very beginning. Moreover, I found this EP missing on BandCamp, so this link is possibly the only chance to download it.

I feel sorry that our new stuff, including annual sampler, is still delayed, but it only means we'll have a bunch of new releases at some moment.

Stay tuned,
sincerely yours,
John "Grey Lenses" Grey

пятница, 1 июня 2018 г.

Snowbringer — Brutal Handshaker (2018)

Hi everyone, today I'm gonna tell you about latest release by Snowbringer. It's not a Concern Void release, but it's worth your attention, I assure you.

Brutal Handshaker is sort of the development of ideas of Perfect Handshaker, released previous summer, and, to my mind, is probably best Snowbringer's release so far.

I remember enjoying Perfect Handshaker and thinking about making a remix of it which would sound more brutal, that's why I coined the title "Brutal Handshaker" to Snowbringer. Anyway, my remixes were never finished, and I just wrote lyrics and recorded vocals for a piece from Perfect Handshaker, which was called "Man in the Mirror" and released on a recent Concern Void mini-sampler (bigger annual sampler is still yet to come).

Despite the fact personally I enjoy this record with its solid post-industrial sound full of fascinating soundscapes, one might start to miss "classic" "bright ambient" Snowbringer, so that's much an issue whether its more "brutal" sound is a development, a step ahead, or it's just a spin-off. There are 2 Snowbringers now, actually: ambient one and darker one. Both sound pretty nice, though.

So I recommend you to check out this release. Our new releases will follow this summer!

Sincerely yours,
John "Grey Lenses" Grey