Grant Purdum for Tiny Mix Tapes on Stara Rzeka

Stara Rzeka, named after a Polish village according to BandCamp, is helmed by Kuba Ziołek, and if there’s one thing you need to know going into this self-titled effort, it’s that Ziołek doesn’t really belong on this planet. He’s too ahead of the game; a movie bad-guy would say, “He knows too mushhh.” YOU know the type: No matter how much of himself he puts out into the world, none of us can pin him down, and rather than repel us the artistic distance only causes us to crave it with additional fervor. It’s not a ‘leave them wanting more’ thing as much as simply: ‘leave them.’ And when he does it’s like HOLY FUCK, I barely caught a glimpse of him when he was here, and now he’s but a memory! Thank god I have this wonderful 10-inch to remember him by, silk-screened and ready to party whenever 12 units just won’t do it. The production is fabulous too, bolstered by a 45 RPM clip and low end that creeps underneath softly, subtly creating a cocoon for the electronics to crawl around in. About halfway through an acoustic wash, complete with plaintive vocals, turns into a spider web that keeps expanding until the individual threads become too stretched out to trace. Enjoy getting lost in it too, a slow-motion waterslide that doesn’t stop until you’re dropped into liquid, calm, complete, and ready to take the ride again. The aforementioned packaging is as next-level as the audio, complete with a numbered insert, dark-green wax, a slick silk-screened Side B, and a few other fixin’s, just like mom used to make (but cooler). Three-hundred copies and a cloud of dust, fellow traveler; looks like it’s time to settle up.


Richard Allen for A Closer Listen on Stara Rzeka

We’ve really been enjoying the output of the Infinite Greyscale label, whose 10″ vinyl releases are always coupled with creative artwork and screen-printed vinyl.  This is the fifth release for the label, and the fifth we’ve reviewed, which may not seem fair to all the other labels, but Infinite Greyscale releases only one record a season and gets it right every time.

This one arrives with an engaging backstory, as Stara Rzeka is the name of the Polish village where Kuba Ziołek spends his summers.  In 2012, Ziołek encountered the aftermath of a tornado: a seemingly safe place marred by unexpected devastation.  Yet the artist, choosing to adopt the name of the village for both composition and moniker, refuses to allow the damage to define his consideration.  Instead, he underlines the enduring power of the region.

The first half of the ten-minute track is a troubadour’s love song, based in part on T.E. Hulme’s timely poem, Autumn (II):

Dead memory of summer’s passion past.
Tears dropped, fluttering slowly to the earth …

As the poem proceeds to wait for spring, Stara Rzeka (the village) waits (and works) for rejuvenation, Stara Rzeka (the artist) composes an ode to life, and “Stara Rzeka” (the track) blossoms and blooms, its latter half developing into a dense thicket of new growth.  The storm has passed, seared into the memories of all who experienced it.  But the storm is no longer their lead story; it’s just something that happened once upon a time, before the seeds, before the sprouts, before the children and the construction.  One day, it will simply be a story in a tree ring.  And a record is like a tree ring as well, especially a green record portraying a healthy tree.  The circle is now complete.


Ben Beaumont-Thomas for the Guardian on Holly Herndon – Body Sound

On the other hand, it’s quite impossible to dance to is this new one-off track from Holly Herndon – and yet it somehow more accurately reflects dance culture than all of the above. Herndon is an electronic musician from California whose work is fixated on the body – with all its inhalations and other strange demands. 

Here, she collaborates with choreographer Cuauhtemoc Peranda, recording the sound of his movements before reordering, amplifying and tweaking them into an abstracted but tantalisingly rhythmic piece of sound: a melodic squelch of skin on floor becomes a drum pattern, a dragged sole like a zipper opening up the track. 

Permit me a moment of whimsy here, while I argue that this feels like a field recording of a single body dancing in a club. Our feet rarely move with gym-class order, but in a snaking motion that allows the upper body to actually dance; our breathing isn’t steady, but can come in bursts. And all the while, as well as being in an “I love you man” communal atmosphere, we’re tuned to an internal world of consciousness and sound. 

Herndon has made a piece that reminds us of the reality of the body in motion, in all its impetuousness, imperfection, loneliness and vitality – another standout work from a producer whose previous album was called, appropriately, Movement.


Liz Louche for Tiny Mix Tapes on Holly Herndon – Body Sound

Robots! They’re everywhere these days. Cleaning your floor, scouring the ocean floor looking for shipwrecks, reading the news on Japanese TV, and just generally freakin’ everybody out. They’re kinda scary and yet kinda cool, am I right? So don’t act like you haven’t thought about this question before: what would it be like if a robot learned how to love?

That’s the question answered by Holly Herndon’s music. Yes. Her musical aesthetic is “robot learning how to love.” Or at least it operates in an area of computer music that’s warm and vivid and awash in beautiful things, like love and shit, but still a wee bit cold and mechanical and well… computer-y. And it’s a wonderful thing, really, so it’s all the more exciting that Ms. Herndon’s new 10-inch, Body Sound, is coming out via Infinite Greyscale on July 17. It’s a single-sided baby blue 10-inch and boy is that single side purdy lookin’. In case you’re wondering, the song is a collab between Herndon and choreographer/dancer Cuauhtemoc Peranda for a performance that went down at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. Read more about its creation here, and listen to the whole thing below:

Boomkat on Holly Herndon – Body Sound

**One-sided blue wax with screen-print to rear. Housed in poly sleeve with art insert, photo, download coupon. Limited, hand-numbered edition of 300** ‘Body Sound’ is a dynamic collaboration from sound artist Holly Herndon and dancer/choreographer Cauahtemoc Peranda, composed and performed at Stanford University’s famous CCRMA. Using Peranda’s body as a voice, Herndon maps and spatialises a kinaesthetic grammar of stomping feet and flying limbs punctuated by shuddering shockwaves and wrenched gasps. Like her previous work with vocals and laptops, ‘Body Sound’ is a unique duet between the corporeal and the computerised, a unique, abstracted expression of the relationship between digitised dynamics and physical movement which should spark the imagination of any forward-looking dance music fans and electronic connoisseurs.


A Closer Listen on Jan St. Werner – Split Animal Sculpture

The Infinite Greyscale label has been quiet since its double-disc debut last year, but the silence is broken with this new 10″ release from Mouse On Mars’ Jan St. Werner.  As with the other records, this is an object d’art, one that is as much a pleasure to own as it is to hear.  A screenprinted b-side guarantees that this is more than simple paint splatter.

This particular record began as an installation, albeit a lonely-looking one, described as “an individual listener on headphones and speakers”.  In other words, it’s us, but in public.  Related to St. Werner’s Fiepblatter tape series on Thrill Jockey, Split Animal Sculpture is warm in tone, the byproduct of its sources: organ and church bell.  But while the sources can be detected, the timbres are not what one might expect.  Lightly manipulated and distorted, they often come across like an organist being electrocuted but courageously playing through the pain.  Synthetic notes join reverberated tones to form an unnerving piece, one that most parishioners might find frightening.  But of course God is supposed to be frightening and ultimately unknowable, so despite its lack of spiritual intention, Split Animal Sculpture still inspires meditation.  The more one plays the piece, the more one begins to discern patterns in what first seems random; a bit like the slow understanding of modern life, or one’s place in the world.  When the chimes begin repeating in the second half, one relaxes, feeling that everything is in control, even if it’s not: the strange alchemy of a peculiar piece. (Richard Allen)


Thomas Venker for Intro magazine on Infinite Greyscale

Das neue Label Infinite Greyscale positioniert sich mit seinen ersten Veröffentlichungen an der Schnittstelle von Kunst und Musik. Jede der drei bislang erschienenen 10-Inch-Schallplatten in 300er-Auflage ist einseitig mit Musik bespielt, die Cover stammen immer von den beiden Betreibern Cornelius Quabeck und Paul McDevitt.

»Riots Don’t Just Happen« von Gabriel Saloman wurde für einen Tanz von Daisy Karen Thompson komponiert. Das Cover zeigt einen schwarzen Rumpf mit Mickey-Mouse-Händen, die Platte ist aus rotem Vinyl, beides deutet bereits auf den dunklen Raum hin, in den uns der dronige Sound entführen wird. Man fühlt den Nebel geradezu über den Boden kriechen, ein Zustand wie in den frühen Momenten einer Berghain-Nacht stellt sich ein: Noch ist es leer, aber die Erwartung, sie brodelt, eine positive Anspannung schwebt über allem. Dann kommt der Trommelwirbel, und plötzlich befindet man sich in einem anderen Raum – dem letzten? Die Traurigkeit, welche sich ausbreitet, wirkt unendlich. Wozu und wie soll hier getanzt werden? Ein tiefes Gefühl der Einsamkeit drängt, von den Trommeln angetrieben, die Taumelnden gen Abgrund. Die Zeit des Fragens ist vorbei, alles kommt so, da es so kommen muss. So ist das eben mit Riots.

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma hat sein »Requiem« für Violine, gespielt von Tony Cross, und Magnetische Bänder geschrieben. Festgehalten wurde es auf gelbem Vinyl und mit einem doppelleibigen Skelett auf dem Cover versehen, welches das Leiernde, das Maßsprengende der Musik sehr schön vorwegnimmt. Vieles an dieser Aufnahme erinnert an die Welt des Montrealer Constellation-Labels, an das Universum von Hausmusik und dem Notwist-Label Alien Transistor. Kammermusik, die weder Kleinfamilie noch Akademie sein möchte, sondern Teil eines neuen Möglichkeitsraumes. Sie klagt, sie leidet, aber sie gibt nie auf, sondern glaubt.

Die namenstiftende Hundeskulptur auf dem Cover von Jan St. Werners (Mouse On Mars) Veröffentlichung zeigt sich in tiefes Rot getunkt, die Platte in Lila. »Split Animal Sculpture« entstand als Teil einer Installation, bei der die Musik sowohl über Kopfhörer als auch über einen Lautsprecher zu hören ist. Man legt die Platte auf, hört das Stück über Kopfhörer, und nach circa drei Minuten schaltet sich ein Lautsprecher von außen dazu. Ab diesem Moment muss der Hörer selbst entscheiden, wie er die Klangquellen koordinieren will. Das Artefakt nimmt einem diesbezüglich zwar einiges ab, lässt aber spüren, dass Brüche zur Präsentationsform gehören. Was zunächst wie Rückkopplungen und rückwärts abgespielte Streicher anmutet, entwickelt schnell eine ganz andere Wirkung. Eine elegische Stimmung stellt sich ein, kraftvoll reiben sich die Feedbacks in einer Art, die an das Streicheln einer etwas herben Großmutter erinnert: zärtlich, aber mit Schmirgelpapier. Dazu passt die Kirchenorgel, die sich als Fläche eingeschmuggelt hat. Spätestens ab der Mitte des etwas über elfminütigen Stücks taumelt man nur noch willenlos mit, gegen Ende schwebt man. Das Streicheln ist nun sanft.

In drei Worten: Düsseldorf / Berlin / Möglichkeiten


Bryon Hayes for Decoder Magazine on Jan St. Werner –  Split Animal Sculpture

After dipping off my radar screen, Jan St. Werner seems to have rocketed right back into the bulls-eye since he started unleashing his Fiepblatter releases on Thrill Jockey last year. Now German publishing house-cum-record label Infinite Greyscale have dropped this insanely gorgeous release, their third edition of ten-inch works of art. Screen-printed vinyl (coloured, no less) is quite ambitious, but these folks raise the bar even higher with the inclusion of a black-and-white photograph and a stylish hand-numbered insert. This package is a collector’s dream, as are the similarly breathtaking editions from Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and Gabriel Saloman that the label released in 2013. The record at hand features a single, side-long piece from St. Werner that really dials back on the radical sound bombs employed on the Fiepblatter releases. A chorus of synthesized bells call out a rather simple melodic phrase, as an electrified set of pan pipes beams into and out of existence.  A series of smeared notes chirp out like discombobulated avian entities realized in software. Eventually these themes collide in an analog whirlwind, the resultant tones firing off in every direction at once. The piece is utterly mesmerizing and a sheer delight to navigate. Email the label directly to score a copy of this stunning slab of wax.

The Ransom Note on Jan St. Werner – Split Animal Sculpture

Another Mark E Smith collaborator (Von Sudenfed) Jan St Werner, has been been plying his craft in electronics since the early 90s, as one half of Mouse on Mars. But it’s this recent solo work which stands as a captivating digression from his more famed work in MOM, and which also represents an interesting continuance of his previous solo work under his own name and the Lithops moniker.

For the first three minutes, a graceful sweep of otherworldly organ repeats and immerses, developing a constant and comforting motif, but its poise is subtly distressed by effects which metallically buzz, as if the output is contending with frizz and fray; an appealing kind of damage. An interlude of spaced ambient-whitewash serenely disrupts that opening scene, which then incorporates deep-machine bleeps, before allowing it to come back into the fore as a more veiled sustain. Although clocking in at 11 minutes, it doesn’t feel overlong. It’s ineffably mesmeric, with sounds which seem to orbit incongruously but which somehow arrange themselves into a compelling system.

This came out in March as a 10” courtesy of art book publisher Infinite Greyscale, who’ve recently diversified with releases from Holly Herndon and Jefre Cantu Ledesma. Their next release comes on October 3rd, undoubtedly one to look out for.


Norman Records on Jan St. Werner – Split Animal Sculpture

8/10 according to Mike on Thu 03 Apr, 2014.

Jan St Werner of Mouse on Mars notoriety is getting arty on this new 10″, which is beautifully presented with a numbered insert, an actual photograph, and most excitingly of all, a purple 10″ plastic disc which is screenprinted on one side. As an added gimmick, if you put this plastic disc on your record player at 45rpm and place your needle on its “groove”, you can hear a musical composition by St Werner himself. How ingenious. The sounds on this side are made with synthesizers, a kind of piano from the future, which bleep and whistle and drone in a womb-like analogue soup while brighter, twitchier shimmers sometimes sit atop them cheekily. It’s loopy and blurry and relaxing, a warm sleepy lull of wacked out synth drift. It may make you feel like you’ve been taking psychedelic drugs when you haven’t been taking psychedelic drugs.


Aquarius Records, San Francisco on Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – Requiem

We have an EXTREMELY limited number of these, just a handful, so we won’t get into too much detail, and if you want one, by all means, be quick, cuz these will be gone before you know it. The latest from longtime aQ pal Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, formerly of post rockers Tarentel, and one of the fellas behind the Root Strata label, is a piece Cantu-Ledesma composed for the SF Museum Of Modern Art, and is a gorgeous composition for violin and tape, with violinist Tony Cross laying down gorgeously haunting long tones, processed and layered by Cantu-Ledesma, who also contributes tapes and various effects. The piece itself is simple and stunning, reminiscent of Basinski’s Disintegration Loops, a single melodic figure, repeated over and over, the tone and timbre constantly shifting, a sprawl of slow, soft swells, minor key and melancholy, tense, and dramatic and quite cinematic, a mesmerizing stretch of minimal mood music, that manages to be surprisingly sonically active, while at the same time, darkly tranquil and mesmerizing. It’s easy to get immediately lost in the sound, and even at eight minutes, it ends far too soon. Truly gorgeous stuff. Sadly, as we said, this is EXTREMELY limited, art gallery style. It’s a nicely appointed one sided 10″, with a screen printed B-side, includes a digital download, photograph, numbered insert, and there are only 300 COPIES!!! We got what we could, which wasn’t many, so odds are, this is likely our, and thus your, only chance to nab a copy. You know what that means…


Line Out on Gabriel Saloman – Riots Don’t Just Happen

You may remember Gabriel Mindel Saloman from his richly rewarding tenure in Portland noise/drone sojourners Yellow Swans. After that group split following the release of 2010’s majestic Going Places, with its steel-wool clouds of static and whirring, Saloman moved to Vancouver, BC, and concentrated on his solo career. He’s a prolific musician, and I’ve not heard all of his output, but tracks that I have caught, like Riots Don’t Just Happen, brood and soar with a stately melancholy that sounds downright liturgical. 2012’s Adhere showcases Saloman’s command of chilling atmospheres that patiently unspool and swell with stoic grandeur. Our man’s music has become refined, and it suits him well. Makers of subtle horror films should seek out Saloman’s talents. With Mamiffer, Dull Knife, and LA Lungs.


Boomkat on Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – Requiem

**One-sided canary yellow vinyl with screen-print to rear. Individually hand-numbered edition of 300 with photo, insert and download code redeemable from the label. Mastered by Rashad at D&M** Berlin publishing house, Infinite Greyscale present a beautiful 2nd issue courtesy of West Coast sorrow-monger, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma of Tarentel and The Alps. In key with their other releases this week – a 10″ by former Yellow Swan, Gabriel Saloman, the heavy-hearted ‘Requiem (for violin and magnetic tape)’ dredges up almost painfully powerful sentiments with a masterful appreciation of tone and shade. It’s an ostensibly static piece of keening hi-end violin pitches and barely-there but somehow nauseous low-end ferric presence all occurring in a gauzily mesmerising mid-ground. The label rightly describe its effect as “crepuscular”; it possesses a beguiling phosphorescent quality, like a flickering light at night. Again, the impeccable mastering by Rashad Becker heightens the suspense on many levels, and the artwork by McDevitt and Quabeck, and Ulrich Schmidt-Novak’s screenprint are a gorgeous addition to a lovely package


Boomkat on Gabriel Saloman – Riots Don’t Just Happen

**One-sided red vinyl with a screen-print on the b side. Individually hand-numbered edition of 300 with photo, insert and download code redeemable from the label. Mastered by Rashad at D&M** Former Yellow Swan Gabriel Saloman presents another beautifully dystopian composition for dance, nearly one year on from his elegantly sombre solo debut, ‘Adhere’. This time he’s soundtracking Daisy Karen Thompson’s choreography for ‘Riots Don’t Just Happen’, reflecting it’s themes of causality with a brooding mass of overcast drone precipitating massive battery of militant percussion. Meditating on a Martin Luther King statement, “Riot is the language of the unheard”, Saloman tempers and transposes the incendiary rage of Yellow Swans to a more sophisticated and theatrical appeal with a pensive arrangement sweeping from a mass of guitars which sound like distant horns to a wide-open panorama of low, scanning bass drone before a towering crest of feedback gives way and the damage is done. The impeccable mastering job by Rashad Becker no doubt enhances the visceral, vivid impact when it all comes crashing down, and the beautiful presentation by Paul McDevitt and Cornelius Quabeck’s Infinite Greyscale company is fittingly special.


Norman Records on Gabriel Saloman – Riots Don’t Just Happen

8/10 according to our Ant on Thu 05 Sep, 2013.

This I believe is the first physical release from Gabriel Mindel Saloman since 2012’s Adhere LP on Miasmah. Gabriel was of course once a Yellow Swan. This, one might say is quite a Desirable artefact. A limited edition coloured vinyl 10” with one side of audio, namely the gorgeous ‘Riot’s Just Don’t Happen’ and a screen-printed B-side with download code in sleeve with hand-made artwork. The first release for new label Infinite Greyscale and the inaugural edition in a series of releases with the same format. The second release comes from none other than Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. Gabriel Saloman heads deeper into terrain Yellow Swans threatened to go with their ahem… swan song final release ‘Going Places’ back in 2009. Here Saloman layers seductive guitar drones into a dark hovering fog with military drums increasing the tension until the grey clouds threaten to smother the listener into complete darkness but rising arcs of neoclassical strings ascend, puncturing with beams of bright light. The drums become increasingly frantic, rising into a crescendo and then the fog gently disperses. Yeah it’s just a single track but it’s really all you need. Concise but a great ride regardless., somewhere between Barn Owl and Vatican Shadow perhaps. Recommended.


Norman Records on Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – Requiem

9/10 according to our Ant on Fri 06 Sep, 2013.

Fledgeling label Infinite Grey drop the second edition in their fine one-sided/ screen printed 10” series with some top emotionally resonant string drone and  tape/ loop action from The Alps/ Tarentel geezer. The loops seem to simultaneously push towards you and retreat building a mesmerising mournful ghostly sound. It’s a masterclass in repetition, darkness and subtlety. Edition of 300 copies with hand-made artwork and download code. Highly recommended – Weep inducing heavy.


A Closer Listen on Gabriel Saloman ~ Riots Don’t Just Happen / Jefre Cantu-Ledesma ~ Requiem

Infinite Greyscale Books has just become Infinite Greyscale Books & Records, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results. After a series of limited hand-made books over the past two years, the company has launched its music line with two beautiful single-sided 10″ records. The screen-printed b-sides (by Ulrich Schmidt-Novak) and spray paint/collage art (by Paul McDevitt and Cornelius Quabeck) make these vinyl releases true collectors’ items. At least one other reviewer has written that these releases would be worth buying even without the music. Fortunately the music is up to the task. Whether fans come for the art and stay for the music or vice versa, we’re confident that they will get their money’s worth. Each of the recordings is a single eight-minute track, benefitting from the breadth of the wider grooves. They play quite well together, leading one to suspect an “Infinite Greyscale sound”, in this case a hybrid of modern composition and drone. Neither artist is new; Gabriel Saloman comes from Yellow Swans, while Jefre Cantu-Ledesma is a member of Tarantel and The Alps. Their solo work continues threads woven by their bands, but is different enough to be distinctive. Saloman’s Riots Don’t Just Happen is as cinematic as the work of Yellow Swans, but the abrasive edges have been sloughed off. Some may conclude that this is natural for a work composed for a dance piece, but it is also indicative of Saloman’s direction since leaving the band. The military drums that launch and close the track echo those found on 2011′s Adhere. A brave touch is to introduce these drums for a second only before taking them away. One knows that they will return, but not when. This allows time for the drones to build and overlap, creating an anticipatory tension. When the elements unite at 3:39, their accumulated power threatens to overwhelm the grooves, but the needle never jumps out; the diamond tip is mesmerized. The familiar post-rock tinges of Tarantel and psychedelic leanings of The Alps are all but absent from “Requiem”, as Cantu-Ledesma leans more in the direction of artists on his own Root Strata label (which – surprise! – released a Yellow Swans record in 2005). The full track title, “Requiem (for Violin & Magnetic Tape)” explains the contents, but not the way in which they are arranged: looped, layered, set against each other like opposing tears. The piece gains intensity as it progresses, rising and ultimately descending without giving any ground. Like its accompanying cover, it’s a twinned skeleton, strong enough to stand despite its apparent weight. Infinite Greyscale is off to a great start with these two releases, and we expect a very positive reception; enough, we hope, for this pair of records to become the start of an ongoing series. (Richard Allen)


Sly Vinyl

Infinite greyscale is a new label. They just released their first two records after several book releases. Both of these look stunning. one side of music and silkscreened on the other side. They told me, that they plan to release more records in the future, if the first two sells well. I doubt, that they last long with two well known artist like Gabriel Saloman and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. I’m not sure about american distribution, but Bis auf’s Messer in Berlin and Norman Records in the UK have copies already. You find sound samples of both beautiful releases on their homepage. “In September we will be launching two limited edition 10″ records by two of the most celebrated experimental musicians around: Gabriel Saloman and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. Gabriel will be known to most as one half of the sorely missed duo, Yellow Swans, and for more recent solo work such as his magnificent album “Adhere” on Miasmah. Jefre has a string of solo releases as well as recording with bands The Alps, Tarantel and Portraits.” The Details Both records are pressed as single-sided colour vinyl with a screen printed b-side. All artwork is handmade by Paul McDevitt and Cornelius Quabeck, and includes inserts and mp3 download code. Each printed in a numbered edition of 300.


The Breaks

INFINITE GREYSCALE I love when artists step away from walls and galleries and do other things. One of my favourite Berliners Paul McDevitt and his long time collaborator Cornelius Quabeck have hooked up to release noise drone experimental stuff from Gabriel Saloman of Yellow Swans and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma on their own Infinite Greyscale imprint. The handmade insert, screen print vinyl 10 inches ltd editions are bloody gorgeous – even if you haven’t got a record player.



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