|Martial Canterel — Gyors, Lassú|
Martial Canterel — Gyors, Lassú
Ξ Updating the icy synths and alienation of the ‘70s cold wave movement, Martial Canterel is the post–wave project of Xeno & Oaklander's Sean McBride.
Genre: INDUSTRIAL / WAVE / ELECTRO
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Album release: October 2014
Record Label: DAIS RECORDS
1 And I Thought 3:56
2 Budapest II 3:08
3 Baltic Coast 3:12
4 Kangaroo Court 3:48
5 Bulvár 4:08
6 Gyors, Lassú 4:42
7 Teano 4:25
8 Unwritten 4:00
Ξ Since his first live performances in 2002, Sean McBride, aka Martial Canterel (who also performs as half of the duo Xeno & Oaklander), has crafted his electronic sound in a peculiar intersection between avant–garde and pop. Merging the influences of the first wave of relatively unknown minimal electronic bands in northern Europe, and seminal industrial noise bands such as Throbbing Gristle and SPK, with the smoothly stylish songcraft of early British New Wave, Martial Canterel records and performs using analogue synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines exclusively, molding electricity to fix the action of music creation in substance. The mastery of his composition technique, a second nature of harmonic complexity, along with a unique talent for melodies, enables him to manufacture gems of extreme noise pop, making use of all its unexpected ingredients. Gyors/Lassù marks an important milestone in the evolution of Martial Canterel's music, progressing far beyond the cages of “minimal synth” and embracing the noisier qualities of its sound with a renewed urgency, a kind of thickness embodied in multiple layers using only eurorack, Serge and Roland 100 modular systems at his disposal and flushing out the entire session in one take. Sine waves are rendered into walls of guitar–like noise on songs like “And I Thought”, while the stretching out and liquifaction of what were once very precise pointillistic staccato synth arpeggios are marshaled into layers of violent bliss on “Gyors/Lassù”. The analogue labor and the density of sound highlight the character of continuous performance of the music, where the intertwining of the artist and his work is profoundly material in its quality. As in a modern embodiment of the potter's wheel…the hands, the texture of clay, with ceramic material. Translated lyrically and conceptually, music performance is for time what travel represents in space, and Gyors/Lassù is the sonic rendering of McBride's wanderings between Hungary (“Bulvàr”, “Budapest II”) and the South of Italy (“Teano”), between vibrant rhythmic structures and melancholic instrumentals, balancing its bodily intensity with abstract experimentation against the regression of the modern listener.
Ξ While he’s perhaps best known as one–half of Xeno & Oaklander, Sean McBride has also spent the past 12 years sculpting a dizzying array of solo work under the name Martial Canterel.
Ξ Gyors, Lassù marks an important milestone in the evolution of Martial Canterel’s music, progressing far beyond the cages of “minimal synth” and embracing the noisier qualities of its sound with a renewed urgency, a kind of thickness embodied in multiple layers using only eurorack, Serge and Roland 100 modular systems at his disposal and flushing out the entire session in one take. Sine waves are rendered into walls of guitar–like noise on songs like “And I Thought”, while the stretching out and liquifaction of what were once very precise pointillistic staccato synth arpeggios are
marshaled into layers of violent bliss on “Gyors/Lassù”. The analogue labor and the density of sound highlight the character of continuous performance of the music, where the intertwining of the artist and his work is profoundly material in its quality. Ξ As in a modern embodiment of the potter’s wheel…the hands, the texture of clay, with ceramic material. Translated lyrically and conceptually, music performance is for time what travel represents in space, and Gyors/Lassù is the sonic rendering of McBride’s wanderings between Hungary (“Bulvàr”, “Budapest II”) and the South of Italy (“Teano”), between vibrant rhythmic structures and melancholic instrumentals, balancing its bodily intensity with abstract experimentation against the regression of the modern listener. :: http://boomkat.com/
Artist Biography by Heather Phares
Ξ Updating the icy synths and alienation of the ‘70s cold wave movement, Martial Canterel is the post–wave project of Xeno & Oaklander's Sean McBride. The Brooklyn, New York resident keeps his approach close to the original style, eschewing sampling and overdubbing and favoring analog synths and multiple–step sequencers. McBride was also among the earliest of the cold wave revivalists, performing his first gig in 2002 and issuing his first cassette, Sister Age, in 2004. Labels such as Xanten, Chondritic Sound, Genetic Music, and Tarantulla Productions released albums including 2005’s Confusing Outsides, 2006’s Drilling Backwards, 2007’s Austerton, and 2008’s Cruelty Reigns Through the Ages, but for 2010’s singles You Today and Occupy These Terms, McBride moved Martial Canterel to Wierd Records, one of the most prominent post-wave imprints. The full–length You Today, which explored the symbiotic relationship between isolation and technology, arrived in early 2011.
Ξ If the music world is longing for this year's new genre tag, it’s coldwave. Not to be mistaken for chillwave’s slightly more frigid cousin, coldwave got its start as a European offshoot of late–‘70s post–punk — a combination of industrial influences à la Throbbing Gristle, the moody guitars of English goth, and icy, minimal electronics. Even the most renowned coldwave and minimal acts of the time — Absolute Body Control, Opéra de Nuit, Deux, and so on — have just a smattering of out–of–print cassettes to their name, and only with the advent of music blogging have these rare tracks been rediscovered.
Ξ Similarly, most of the acts associated with the coldwave revival of 2010 have actually been plugging away for more than a decade — most notably Sean McBride, one-half of Xeno & Oaklander and solo mastermind behind Martial Canterel. It wouldn’t be hyperbole to call McBride one of the most crucial figures of modern synth music in America; coupling meticulously crafted analogue production with moody, evocative lyrics on longing and intimacy, Martial Canterel’s new LP You Today (out Feb. 8 on Brooklyn’s Wierd Records, arguably the epicenter of 21st–century coldwave) has appeal that stretches well beyond the underground.
Ξ We spoke to McBride, via e–mail, about You Today’s high–concept production, the appeal of analogue, and why the cold sounds of early ‘80s Europeans have such resonance today.
Q: How did you come to start the Martial Canterel project?
A: The initial impulses for the Martial Canterel project were both historical and biographical. In 2002, emerging from a troubled relationship coupled with a total disenchantment with contemporary music and a hermetically sealed diet of obscure wave and minimal-electronics, the impulse was obvious. I already had acquired a nice little arsenal of synthesizers in the mid–'90s...using them in conjunction with a guitar and a sampler, so the groundwork for making this music was firmly in place. There was a kind of epistemological leap that I took, eschewing all contemporary instruments and processes in favor of inhabiting some more originary mechanics and interface.
Ξ In the same year I sent a demo CDR to Genetic Music in Germany, who were at the time one of the few labels in the world both reissuing forgotten minimal music from the early '80s as well as releasing current groups taking inspiration from this period. They loved my demo and were eager to release it; however, the name Moravagine — which I had been using — seemed to be already in use by an Italian punk band. I changed the name to another early modernist hero: Martial Canterel, the magician protagonist of Raymond Roussel's Locus Solus. I had made many CDs and tapes but the first official release, Confusing Outsides, came out in 2005.
Q: Aside from the obvious partnership, what's the distinction between Martial Canterel and your work with Xeno & Oaklander?
A: Martial Canterel has always been my personal project and essay in the world's undoing and its attendant consequences and paradoxes. I also like a good challenge, so writing music with three– and four–part song structures with multiple step sequencers, drum machines and synths, and recording everything live with no overdubbing is something, being alone, I enjoy. With Xeno, there is a kind of sacred fraternity with Liz [Wendelbo, Xeno & Oaklander's other half] and I playing off one another; she focusing on wall of noise sounds and note bends, and I, clocked step sequences and arpeggiated bass lines. Conceptually, Xeno focuses more on particular histories, occupying different moments, different positions, and different voices.
Q: There are obviously connections to the (oft–forgotten) coldwave bands of the early '80s. What non-music media fits in with your concept for Martial Canterel?
A: The films of Bela Tarr, British cottage dramas and murder mysteries, film noir, Hiroshi Teshigahra, historical geography, and Reza Negarestani.
Q: A lot has been made of the sort of "coldwave renaissance" in New York, centered particularly around Wierd Records, and to a lesser extent, other pockets of the urban U.S. Why do you think so many artists have turned to minimal electronic music, and what about it appealed to you?
A: It's funny to watch this all come into broader appreciation. Where in 2001 there were maybe 500 people around the world, many in Germany and Belgium, who traded and forumed this music, now, everyone and their avatar has a blog uploading this or that LP or single from some little known group from 1983 Malmö. But aside from record and MP3 collecting, the real attraction, and for me the paramount attraction, is the equipment itself. The last 20 years of electronic music have primarily involved emulating analog synthesis, speeding up and tidying up the process, "stabilizing,” of making a performance of this music akin to someone checking their email. The true materiality of this music is what really appeals, its truly electric nature, the vulnerability of the instruments, the synthesizer as an "instrument with a limit.” All these things purport a kind of humanness to electronic music; something we haven't seen widespread in many a decade.
Q: What sort of affinity do you feel with those acts, if any?
A: My affinities are, for the most part, with musicians who share a fascination with similar processes and themes; for example, Staccato Du Mal from Miami, Further Reductions and Epee du Bois from Brooklyn, Delos and Lower Synth Department from Western Germany, Human Puppets from Athens, and many others. Also many involved in the US noise scene, such as Yellow Tears, Hive Mind, Damian Romero, and Bloodyminded, who are fabricating their own devices and exploring the thresholds of aural endurance and experience. I am ultimately really attracted to the materiality of the analogue and to those who govern their processes accordingly.
Q: To put it simply: Why exclusively analogue?
A: Analogue is living. The flow of electricity from the wall is shaped and contoured by the synthesizer into waveforms which can be turned on and off, held or released, pitched high, pitched low, filtered to a mute murmur, opened up to a fierce growl — all of what the synthesizer outputs is analogous to the amorphous electric charge emanating from the wall. I liken the playing of these synths to a craft, the making of something with one's hands. Perhaps akin to the potter's wheel — it is a fragile and vulnerable balance between hand and tool.
Q: You Today is described as an "exploration of the increasing difficulty in trying to connect with real people and real things, as technology renders the material substance of bodies and objects ever more abstract and distant." It's a seemingly bleak message — what would you like to communicate to listeners?
A: The inconsolable sadness that is the world. For me this shadowy and minor–keyed music opens up fissures in the tightly knit fabric of betrayal and falseness from which affirmation springs, like a kind of invocation of hope. Employing the negative in the face of so much negativity produces something, however fleeting, positive and it is this hope born from negativity that I would like to communicate most.
|Martial Canterel — Gyors, Lassú|