Two complimentary artists taking their inspiration from the hallowed masters of tape and electronic music. Thomas Carnacki and Vulcanus 68 bring these old techniques into the future; with real-time manipulation of found objects in the case of Carnacki; and with Vulcanus 68, literal tape splicing and collaging techniques used in the digital realm as well as a more haunting analog tone exploration. They bring a shared sensibility of worship and irreverence, in equal measures, to this old style.
Thomas Carnacki start things off on Side A with Elegant Things, Distressing Things, Things Not Worth Doing. A twilight ambient walk beneath the stars. Among the ingredients that went into its composition and performance: a coffee grinder, half a pair of time-worn epaulets, a large bowl of sand, a pair of violas, several pages of a notebook, a broken autoharp, a jar of marbles, a candlestick, and some rocks. Added to this stew were field recordings made on a trip to the Antarctic by contributor Cheryl Leonard.
Vulcanus 68 cover side B with two strikingly different pieces of electronic music. Azra takes its cue from the early pioneers of musique concrete. Quick slices and jarring movement of manipulated tape and electronics tumble around with the warped cries of a child. Arcano XV is a collage of various jams and sessions the duo recorded between 2008 - 2010 edited down to this single 14 minute piece. This intense and darkly mysterious piece sits as a moody epilogue between the shadow worlds of Vladimir Ussachevsky and Xenakis and the haunting pagan ritual music of Ruth White and the BBC Radiophonic folks.
Full of repeating motifs, layered Melotron melodies, bits of percussion, acoustic instrument treatments, boys choir, blurry droneage and manipulated vinyl and cassettes; this is music left over from an abandoned Russian planetarium spectacular! Where solar flares and milky ways map their way across the domed sphere and large chunks of space crunk crack and explode in silence.
Vulcanus 68 have left the moulded basement and dusty lo -fi musique concrete chambers behind, leaping up to solar clouds with this classically inspired, sonicly cosmic album.
Originally recorded and sourced from a single “jam” session on April 23rd 2010, it wasn’t until a full year later that the group revisited the stellar -solar session and began editing the hours of sounds which finally became Contours and Colours. As Blum was working on the debut release for The Talking Book, Blum’s collaboration with Faith No More’s Bill Gould, and Cramp with Carla Bozulich’s Evangelista on their latest release, In Animal Tongue; ideas and experiences from those collaborations seeped their way into the construction of the record. A real intent emerged to keep and even accentuate the melodic sensibility from the original session, a much different path than their first two records. There was also a renewed interest in experiencing a collection of music rather than small unrelated pieces.
"...leaving you feeling like you are part of a great cosmic picture awash with sound."
- Humana - KSZU
On their second release for Gigante Sound, Vulcanus 68 rein in the dense collage of scattershot sample manipulation from their self-titled debut for a deeper, more focused sound. The duo has incorporated the concréte exploration as just one element in a dense stew of drones and electronics that takes the listener even further out to the edges of the eerie tone swamp they call home.
"...This is their second release, and it's as cryptic as the first. They dispel with song titles, instead each track is cataloged with a number/letter. From the seemingly innocuously described instrumentation of electronics, and multispeed turntables and tapes, they churn up a stewed aural bog for you to sink your ears into. It's an ominous sci-fi soundscape populated by insectile prickles, slippery gelatinous gurgles, gritty buzzing masses and heavy rolling drones. Might just be us, but compared to the darkly mischievous tone of Vulcanus 68's debut release, we sense more of an undercurrent of skin-crawling malevolence here. Potentially nightmare inducing. Aaiiieeee... heh heh... good stuff! 47 minutes. Recommended."
"As I type, I'm listening to the Vulcanus 68 CD, simply entitled "2", which I bought at the merch table after the gig. The music takes me places, mostly ones I wouldn't want to visit in person – places that are blasted and bleak. Nice."
-kNOW Deposit, kNOw Return
In their first release for Gigante Sound, Vulcanus 68 explores the creaky, eerie landscapes reminiscent of a well worn LP found in a moldy box in the corner of your grandparents cellar. Melodies are buried deep and often slowed to a crawl, while animalistic mating calls drone clunkily around the edges. The blips and bleeps of analog circuitry bubble up from time to time with the occasional howl of a begging child. We welcome you into this sonic portal, into a box in a musty cellar where records and tapes live together in a moldy, dry rot cardboard home. It's their voice. It's their songs.
"... a return to a sweatier, more physical period in the history of electronic music, when springs and reels and cranky amplifiers had to be coaxed and manhandled into making noise. The resultant numbered and colour-coded compositions on this self-titled release offer an object lesson in how easy it is to mistake a machine's lack of response to cold indifference..."
"An album effective in it’s detailing of decline/madness in a sound form. Rich with sonic detail and sound variation, never sitting to long in one place & building slowly a great feeling of real unease and instability -Musique Machine
Vulcanus 68 is a return to the roots of unhallowed electronic music. Taking their cue from the 60s/70s renegades outside the academic limelight such as Tod Dockstader, Richard Maxfield, Ruth White, Kenneth Gaburo and Basil Kirchin; Vulcanus 68 bring their own dark 21st century vision to the outskirts of electronic composition.
Vulcanus 68 is at its core, the duo of Jared Blum and Dominic Cramp. Apart from Vulcanus 68, they are the co-founders of the record label, Gigante Sound and have numerous solo projects between them including Blanketship, Boful Tang and Lord Tang. They are also known for their work with Bill Gould of Faith No More in the project, The Talking Book, a tale of broken melodies and failing electronics. Cramp is a long standing member of Carla Bozulich's Evangelista and also plays in the free improvising duo, Tiberius, with drummer Mike Guarino