I reworked a track off of Tanner Garza’s Lucid recently - go check it and a few other remixes at the link above.
Hey. Hope everyone is well.
Very awesome news I can finally announce - I’m playing RVA Noise Fest III this year, opening at Black Iris April 18th for Slow Machete and Stephen Vitello/Bobby Donne of none other than Labradford. To say that they’ve influenced my work would be a serious understatement.
Also also - I’ll have a new tape with Richmond Tape Club. If you’re in the area, you’ll be able to grab a copy at Steady Sounds’ release show on April 20th. Tapes by Stephen Vitello + Mutwava + Oedema + Anduin will also be available.
For more info/the full lineup and schedule, click above. This is going to be a good April.
ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Dana Ollestad
Dana Ollestad is a multi-media artist currently based in Richmond, VA, who utilizes participation to engineer public experiences and encounters. He will be teaching a Super 8 class February 15th & 22nd from 6-9pm at Studio Two Three. http://bit.ly/1akZO71
An interview with my good friend Dana by the also good Studio Two Three.
- Brandon Hurtado Is In My Palm Tree Garden -
I recently received Brandon Hurtado’s newest (C60) tape release “Dissapear”. I instantly grew close to it through my eyes and through my ears. I loved the cover art Brandon designed himself. I listened and felt the same connection throughout the whole tape. I asked Brandon a few questions about his theories and ideas behind his newest release with Carpi Records. I listened to the tape in it’s entirety while talking about it with him here:
Liam: Brandon, what does a typical day you decide to hit the record button or poke your eye through a view finder consist of? Mentally and physically?
Brandon Hurtado: I try to approach anything creative as naturally as possible, at least for me it works best if it just happens. I’ll wake up with some goals (usually just “work on things today”), but overall I just find some time to sit down and do things - weather that’s playing guitar or using max or making tape loops or taking pictures or any number of things. Usually I’ll wake up, do one thing, go about my day, do another thing later on in the day, etc.It calms me down and puts me in the best possible mindset, mentally
Liam: I feel like that is a good way to just let it naturally come about? Rather than sitting down with the intent to do it, leading to sort of forcing it out so to say? You’re newest tape “Dissapear” is a very long piece. It grows and climaxes like a good book. The cover art which you also designed and created, makes me feel as if I am walking through the door - as if I was to “Dissapear”. What gave you this idea for that title to this piece?
Brandon Hurtado: It has a lot to do with a sense of home, which is what the vast majority of Bonfires (another great piece by Brandon) is about. I have an affinity for forests and trees too, so the kind of concept of the cover is walking into this home and coming into this forest.
Liam: The tape starts with a beautiful drone. It makes me imagine I had walked through the door and was calmly and softly floating, not falling, into these forests of home. The second track makes me feel like I’m looking at my surroundings, and getting a feel for this new abyss. Like realizing I’ve dissapeared. The warmth of the synth is like the feel of this location for me. It feels very vivid and visual. What do you imagine when you get to this “second chapter” so to speak?
Brandon Hurtado: Well, I pay a lot of attention to the tracklist itself, the order of the songs. Bonfires especially was set up to have beginning, middle, and end sections. Disappear’s the same, I think that’s just my natural inclination, to have things progress in the way I want.
6 west is kinda a mission statement kinda thing, it’s a section of a long circuitbending session my friend Sean and I did one day. I wanted Disappear to be a means of pushing myself and I thought that was the best way to do it. The track after that is kinda the same, it’s a lot more positive sounding I think. The name reflects the meaning, “forward” - it’s about moving forward in life, making progress. Sonically it kinda mirrors that with it’s repetitive rhythm.
Liam: Yeah, it’s sound is like pulsing, mind progressing, thought patterns - the idea of moving “forward”. The emotions stay very strong in the next few. The very slight but rhythmic ambience in the background of the visual synth melodies really give a movement to it. Through “sept.18 / bedroom nostalgia” and the recordings through “thinking about it” and “cedar” really give it a sense of action. As if you’ve grown to inhabit a certain surrounding. The notes and beeps and sounds of a household. I can really relate to the nostalgia through this area of the tape. The ambiance is something I find to be a huge part as it sort of gives room for your own visual interpretation. What are some of your strongest memories and visions (like in the sense of nostalgia) from recording for this part of the tape?
Brandon Hurtado: Well, on Sept 18 there’s a recording I took in my partner’s grandmothers house - the old-sounding TV show recording. I lived there for 2 weeks while I waited for our apartment’s lease to start, right after my family’s house was taken. My partner’s grandfather had a hobby of making home-made (or maybe just bootleg) DVDs of old television shows - Lone Ranger and that kind of thing - and he would keep multiple TVs on with these DVDs running nonstop, so you’d hear these shows throughout the entire day overlapping each other, echoing between rooms. Made for a weird kinda environment. I wanted to put that recording in that song as you would put a picture on the wall, and also to try to give a sense of my surroundings to the music.
Liam: Yes I love the T.V. recordings. You can tell this was just playing through the house as it is faintly in the background of other household sounds. Really a strong part of the tape to me. The guitar work on “birds made from spring reverb” is other one of my favorite pieces. The haunting sound of the heavily droning, reverbed guitar is a sound I am really personal to at this point. The title gives me a great vision as well. Your photos and your distinct sound is one I can relate too out of any mood or emotion I am feeling at anytime really. This is a strong reason I love this piece. When you decide the time feels right to record yourself (whether it be on film or to tape or what-be-it) that you are feeling emotional? Or does the point you hit record (or what-be-it) begin the emotion?
Brandon Hurtado: Definitely the former. It’s all documentation or interpretation of certain moments, more than trying to make something sound like a specific emotion. I try to let those feelings and meanings show themselves in a not-obvious and not deliberate way - a new cup of tea tasting like the one that was made before it in the pot if that makes sense. Passive osmosis maybe.
Liam: That sounds like a naturally creative format to it. Sometimes you have to do it first, and then it’s the playback that you can really feel an emotional relationship with. The last few pieces on the tape are very elegant. “tape’d gamelan”, “lapharp”, and “constant variation” are very fitting and conclude it rather nicely. Sending you out on an accomplished feeling, but still leaving you wanting more. What would you describe the conclusion to this piece in it’s entirety means to you?And how did you feel when synching the tracklist together in this ever so fitting, beautiful order?
Brandon Hurtado: Overall I was feeling a lot better this time around - I think the album represents comfort mainly, weather I intended it to or not. Being in a good place mentally and otherwise. The last track is a contrast to the rest though, it has to do with being uncomfortable with both change and staying in the same place. Contrast interests me greatly. There are parts of me that are hugely opposite from one another but both exist in the same time and place, so there’s always some friction. I don’t think I’ll ever make music that’s one or the other - it’ll always have two meanings.
Thank you dearly, Brandon. It is getting dark here in my garden of palm trees. Can’t wait to hear more from you, and see more from you. We will talk again soon!
The tape is more extended than the digital and is totally worth buying! This is a beautiful release from a beautiful maker of things.
You can find this cassette for sale (it’s almost sold out!) and stream here:
And a video for “thinking about it” here: