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Cata No: ERATP118CD
Cata No: ERATP118LP
|Pakistani-American composer Qasim Naqvi will release his debut album for Erased
Tapes on May 3rd. 'Teenages’ captures the sound of electronics living, breathing
and mutating of their own accord – almost autonomously – with only subtle, sparing
but perfectly-judged and masterful guidance.
This album is one singular synergy between Qasim and his machine within a broader
milieu of sound, also explored by contemporaries Sarah Davachi, Alessandro
Cortini, Caterina Barbieri and also the forefather, Morton Subotnick. At points tonal,
textural and rhythmic, over six evolving and growing audio organisms, the album
flourishes upwards in stages, from initial micro-sonics to something bigger, brighter
This is Naqvi’s first non-soundtrack release, having previously established himself
as a renowned composer for dance, theatre, film and installation-based art, not to
mention his role as drummer in lauded trio Dawn of Midi. According to Naqvi, “my
past releases like ‘Chronology’, ‘Preamble’, ‘Fjoloy’ and ‘Film’ were made to
accompany visual mediums. The music was always written to enhance another
form. ‘Teenages’ is the first album with its own motivating force. It’s a live multi
movement work that I recorded for myself.”
With ‘Teenages’, Naqvi summoned all the material on an analog modular
synthesizer – a voltage-controlled sound generating system comprised of multiple
modules. Naqvi built this synth over the course of two years and amassed a
collection of works for this album.
“I’ve always been drawn to the power of un-amplified acoustic music. And for me
modular synthesizers are a natural progression forward from the acoustic realm into
the electric. It feels like an orchestra comprised of very unusual instruments, and
their orchestration and vibrational properties lie in the patching and flow of voltages
through a system.
They’re also unstable and they rarely play the same thing twice in any exact way.
It’s almost organic and human. It was really important for this album to capture that
kind of uninterrupted behavior.”
Capturing a live feeling without the aid of heavy studio production was an important
component to this release: “Even though this is ‘electronic music,’ I didn’t want to
rely heavily on a computer with an array of plugins, loops and samples, or exhaustive
editing as part of the writing process. I wanted to treat this work like a live piece of
music and have the natural behavior of the machine shine through and sound huge,
like an orchestra of electrical signals.”
Gently stuttering like a time lapse-video of a seed sprouting up from the earth,
‘Intermission’ sets the scene, before musical motifs begin to emerge on the dancing,
bubbling bassline of ‘Mrs 2E’, which possesses a playful, infantile quality, like a newborn
animal learning to walk after birth.
More bouncy, skewed bottom-line squelch appears on the jittery, buzzing ‘Palace
Workers’, which seems to evoke life in the form of amplified insect or bat noises,
with a melody that eventually unfolds into something akin to a fractal rendition of
‘Oxygene’. By ‘No Tongue’ more traditionally identifiable musical signifiers begin to
emerge, with a bright and melodic synth line evoking the new blooms of spring,
whereas ‘Artilect’ takes a more ominous drone tone, insinuating the dark, potential
threat of artificially augmented biological intelligence.
Like a coming-of-age, the album culminates on title track ‘Teenages’ – a dynamic,
technicolour symphony that was recorded in one take, with no overdubs or edits. In
the year leading up to ‘Teenages’, Naqvi created a series of shorter works. These
stepping-stones eventually became the first 5 tracks of the album and were part of
a larger process, leading to the realization of the title track. “I wanted to show the
stages of development that lead to the main act. All of these tracks share the same
D.N.A., even though they seem distantly related.” Explains Naqvi.
The pieces heard prior to ‘Teenages’ chronicle both Naqvi’s understanding of writing
for this type of instrument and the growth of the instrument itself:
“I started with just a few modules. And naturally things had to be layered and pieced
together but as the synthesizer and its components grew over time, I was able to
create broader and more complex strokes in the moment. And by the time I got to
‘Teenages’, it was possible to create a robust, large-scale piece spontaneously.
This is very much an experiential album for me because it was borne out of my direct
experience of learning the instrument. And as the synthesizer grew over time with
more components, it matured. At times I felt like it was even rebelling against my
instructions or surprising me with what felt like its own choices.
When everything was finished and I was thinking about track titles, this idea of
artificial intelligence came into my head; a machine that reacts to your impulses and
is capable of giving you something different from what you ask, and even defying
you. It felt like different stages of growth and adolescence, and that lead to the album
Deeply rewarding on close listening, Naqvi has created an inspiring and synapsestimulating
new masterwork, within the analogue/modular cannon.
2. Mrs 2E
3. Palace Workers
4. No Tongue
Press:Premiere > https://www.residentadvisor.net/tracks/948348
Audio & Video:N/A
|DAVID FIRST |
SAME ANIMAL, DIFFERENT CAGES VOL: 4 SITAR MUSIC OF NORTH BROOKLYN
|GUADALUPE PLATA |
|GUIDED BY VOICES |
WARP AND WOOF
GUIDED BY VOICES, INC.
NIGHT SCHOOL / WINONA RECORDS
|QASIM NAQVI |
|THE SIDE EYES |
GET ME OUT / STOP!
IN THE RED
|THEE SPEAKING CANARIES |
WHO ARE THE SHITBIRDS PLAYING?