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interview: kinship

︎Music, Label, Interview, Graphic Design  
︎ Ventral Is Golden


A manifesto of digital aftermath,
exploring the mysterious series
of relation and encounter.


Exploring liminal states in search of the transcendental with Berlin based cassette label, Kinship.


︎Kinship, 2020.



︎Gaia Textures, 2019.

When and what was the original impulse behind the formation of Kinship as a label?
For me the original impulse was to create Kinship as a way to recall the temporary connections made between people and their instruments, within a kind of temporary, disappearing timeframe. Personally I think the tape expresses limitations that speak to this point of reference that stretches through time. It's maybe what the digital realm of music loses, this aspect of a physical form, a totem that's embedded somehow in the past. Either way it's an emotional resonance. Music in all its forms needs to be heard.


It seems like cassette is your preferred medium. Is it the sound quality or aesthetic that draws you to this format most?
Cassette is my preferred medium for many reasons. Besides its quick production, the sound of the tape has a certain compression and sound quality that fits the music very well, from the selection of sounds to the way the narrative in the music itself follows. Through the quality of how the audio signal is given through the tape, the perception of the quality of the music changes. The tape becomes a part of the music and I love that aspect about a cassette.
The cassette encourages to listen to the whole album instead of individual tracks and often keeps you away from skipping, which naturally enables you to reach a more meditative state whilst listening. This could be seen to benefit our attention span in some ways.

No-one is forced to listen to the cassette though. In every tape release there’s also a download code included so you can get the music digitally. Its just a choice in the end, only a “preferred medium”. To understand further why cassette is the format I’m in love with, the social & philosophical aspects of it etc; you can read Rasmus Fleischer’s article, How Music Takes Place: Excerpts From “The Post-digital Manifesto” (The Internet Does Not Exist).





︎God is God, 2018.


“If viewed from a distance, all unique combinations of instrument and sound effects start to resemble something more like meta-instruments. The same thing happens if we consider hardware and software, and the different ways in which they can be configured to produce sounds. The development of the musical means of production finds its expression in innovations made at this meta-instrumental level, and these show themselves for the most part to be the results of collective experimentation without any identifiable single author.“





︎Air Cushion Finish, 2018.
What goes into a typical Kinship release in terms of genre. How do you discriminate between tastes and moods in order to know what to release?
It’s really impossible for me to break it down into a certain genre. There is no typical Kinship release and I think every release is as important as the other.
I do gravitate towards music which resonates with a certain period of time though - the journey, a stretch of time. So any one release can be complimentary to the next or previous in the series, as a kind of non-linear narrative. As I try to stay true to this feeling, the more fulfilled the sound appears to me, and hopfully to others. 


You’ve worked on cassettes with fellow Berliners, Air Cushion Finish, on their ‘Chinese New Year’ (2018) release. Their sound has been described as anything from ‘homeopathic punk’ to ‘unforeseeable slow motion cacophony’. How has your time in the Berlin’s fertile underground music scene influenced Kinship’s own experimental output.
It was a nice time. :) I used to manage bookings for Acud Macht Neu where I had the chance to meet lots of musicians. Apart from that I just went randomly to nice gigs in occasionally off-centre places and festivals, also playing in these experimental constellations myself. The first time I saw Air Cushion Finish, it resonated with me in a way that my perception towards performance and music in general had changed. The way they expressed, the balance between approachability and the territory of the unknown was something I never experienced before…  Since then we became very good friends and make music together whenever we feel it.



You have released ‘Uzun Havalar’ (2019) by Gözen Atila’s psychedelic synth folk project Anadol. This project walks in the footsteps of lone synth experimentalists like Bruce Haack and Space Lady. How did this project materialise?
Gözen (Anadol) gave me the demo of “Uzun Havalar” around 2016 and asked me if I could find a label which could fit to release this album. At that time I was only having ideas of starting a label myself. After I listened to the demo, this album became one of the main reasons I started the label.
Quite quickly, it magically reached an audience who could really appreciate and feel what the music spoke of.



︎Uzun Havalar, 2019.


Probably your biggest collaborative project though the Kinship label was ‘Who Corrupted Our Wave, Back in 1969?’ (2018) by Spiritczulaic Enhancement Center (S.E.C), in which you play bass in an almost exclusively improvised, spectral jazz infused ensemble of international musicians. How do you find the experience of playing in such a diverse project. Is this a departure from your work through Kinship or some kind of reflective process?
Thats a good way to put it - S.E.C is a group of individuals who have found a certain purpose in doing what needs to be done in terms of improvising sounds in various dimensions. It musically clicked from the moment we first played. The release was our first concert together and the recording was definitely worth the journey. Making music can be a reflective process and one of the intentions behind making Kinship was definitely to create a kind of archive to revisit these experiences.


S.E.C also played a sold out show to finish their first major European tour at Arkaoda alongside Damo Suzuki. Are there any plans to release this in the future?
We enjoyed going to Arkaoda in Istanbul and playing there. It‘s one of the few places which became a meeting spot for the turkish experimental music scene in the asian side of Istanbul. Since then, they opened in Berlin and we’ve been in close contact with them. This show was an incredible experience! It was the last concert of our tour in February 2020 (ten days before the first lockdown). It was very rewarding in many ways. The place was packed and the recording was made. We will hopfully be releasing this on vinyl in the near future through parisian label, Akuphone.  



︎Who Corrupted Our Wave?, 2018.



︎Dolomea, 2018.
“In the post-digital, almost any barrier to the boundless flood of music can be turned into a resource for the production of presence...“ Rasmus Fleischer.



︎River Memory, 2018.








Mark

ep: simili gum - pacifyer
︎Music, Album, E-Pop, Electronic   
︎ Melt



The first time we heard the new Simili Gum EP Pacifyer we were taken back by how similtaniously it feels soothing but chaotic. Like stepping into a very insular and fluid world full of poetic lanscapes.

A beautiful and hantingly personal debut EP, Pacifyer draws you in with its otherworldly sounds.  





Further Listening ︎
https://whitegardenn.bandcamp.com

︎[Art: Camille Soulat]
The first time we heard the new Simili Gum EP Pacifyer we were taken back by how similtaniously it felt soothing but chaotic. Like stepping into a very insular and fluid world full of poetic lanscapes. 

After several years producing music in its most varied aspects, Simili Gum will deliver his first project realized and executed as a work in its own right. As a result of a long journey between experimental electronic music, rap and french variety, Pacifyer concentrated his influences into 7 personal and intimate tracks.

His writing, made up of an intermingling of poetic narratives and surrealist lyrics, draws on the contours of an atypical and marginal character, navigating in this rational world. His alien sounds, organic and electronic, are confronted with deeply human discourse and feelings.



Tracklist
  1. d’un coup 26
  2. Mur
  3. Voix off
  4. Cupola
  5. Un peu de gris
  6. Rendezvous pitch maneuver
  7. Stardust





There seems to be a very open and fluid scene that has developed in France in both music and art. Which feels uniquely French but also reflects changes on a global level. How do you see modern culture in France and how does your music sit within this sphere?

I don’t think that I have much perspective on the French scene. I am interested into artists from a lot of different countries.However, the way I experience what we can call a « French scene » is through my personal network. A lot of my friends are really talented artists and this is very stimulating !The scene becomes more and more open-minded and I can feel that forms are enriching each others.What is very exciting with modern culture is that there is so much possibilities that everyone can feel represented.I love when artists create their own sub-genre, I try my best to do mine.


The artwork for the EP was done by artist Camille Soulat, can you tell us a bit about working with her and how the artwork connects the music and the Simili Gum world?

Camille and me have been very close for years now and she’s probably the person who understand me the most.It’s always very easy to work with her because I don’t have any instructions to give to her.I have entire confidence in her vision as I know she totally gets my point.We worked together since the very beginning and so we can totally say that she is at the origin of my visual universe.Even when I collab with someone else -I recently called on the very talented video artist Lilian Hardouineau to work on my latest music video for example-,I’m showing her every steps, she gives advices and even help concretely !She is deeply involved in my project, and I really hope we will even go further in collaboration.


Can you tell us about the name Simili Gum and what it embodies, and also the EP title Pacifyer?

When I choose Simili Gum as a name I wanted to embody something like an idea, an imaginary substance, a new material.I’m very interested by notions like elasticity, flexibility, softness or distortion. I want them to be noticeable in each aspects of my work — from music to visuals passing by name and titles.Title of the EP ‘Pacifyer’ was given me by Camille. One day she literally texted me « Pacifyer : title of your project » after she listened to it for the first time. I immediately felt consonant with this title because one of my main aim is to bring a form of appeasement to people that feel weird or even rejected. I always struggle with titles and so I really appreciate when they are not only « mine ».




Can you tell us a bit about the evolution of Simili Gum and the process creating your new EP Pacifyer?

Well, for me it has been a pretty long process as I had multiple types of music projects since I'm 14 y.o.I started making music by rapping, I created multiple groups with my best friend for years,but then one day I felt like the music I was making no longer had much to do with my personal aspirations.I wanted to discover and understand myself I guess, so I experienced different sort of mediums (drawing, video, etc.) which led me to the fine arts academy.I was in my 3rd grade when I started producing. It was a really recreational practice for me.I did some sort of lo-fi ambient, later it gets more and more shapeless and experimental.But still, I was unsatisfied by the result as if something was missing. I felt the need to write and express myself in a more personnal way.When i started recording my voice over my productions (2 years ago) it made much more sense for me.Like if it was the ideal format to completely express myself while mixing my diverse influences.Since then I’ve been quite active on Soundcloud and Youtube, this allowed me to travel and perform in some venues.During last autumn, I decided to put all my energy into making this new EP ‘Pacifyer’ that I thought of as a real introduction to my universe.Process is still the same basically : I was in my room, I spent winter working on these songs in a very introspective mood.

“When I make music it’s one of the only moments where I completely let go.“


The first time i heard the tracks i was taken back by how different and unusual they feel.At the same time feeling soothing but chaotic. They appear quite personal, like i was stepping into a very insular world...How would you describe the style of music you make and how does it reflect yourself and the way the world feels at the moment?

When I make music it’s one of the only moments where I completely let go. While singing or producing I feel like I’m alone, even if someone is nearby - I let myself be taken by emotions of all kind. This is a place of deep intimacy while paradoxically a lot of my ideas comes from outside.My writing is usually a combination of notes I take when I walk around.I love to hang out alone searching for situations that appeals to me in anyway. Originally I am quite lost in thought, always wondering where is my place in this world. Writing, producing and singing was first of all a huge necessity for me. The right answer to those questions I was constantly asking myself and the form that it takes obviously reflects my vision of the world.



Can you tell us a bit about where you grew up and where you live now, and if this had any influence on your music?

I grew up in Lyon, I’m not sure in which way it influenced me, but I would not be the same person if I wasn’t born there, so…Anyway there’s a huge and very interesting variety of scenes in Lyon, I experienced some of it. I met a lot of very good friends there.But strangely I started assuming to do it my own way when I stopped trying to be part of a scene.It coincided with the exact moment I left Lyon for Marseille where I’ve been living for almost two years now.It has been very beneficial for both mind and creativity to leave my hometown.Marseille is always moving and inspiring, people here are a lot more expressive than anywhere else in France !But I can’t sit still and I’m so excited to move in near Paris with my very good friend and collaborator dYmanche in the next few months.





Mark

album: oto no wa –
selected sounds of japan 1988-2018
︎Music, Album, Ambient, Electronic   
︎ Melt



The fifth entry in label Music For Dreams  Collector’s Series they enlist the skills of Japan-based musical connoisseurs. Their compilation Oto No Wa sets out to map the evolution of chilled Japanese sounds across 3 decades.

Collecting 14 tracks, produced by a wide range of artists. From ambient pioneers to dance-floor veterans.




Further Listening ︎
musicfordreams.bandcamp.com

“The 90s give us the seminal electronics of Susumu Yokota, and the solar-flare strut of Scha Dara Parr - Japan’s answer to The Beastie Boys. Here, remixed by the legendary Major Force. Moving into the 21st century we have the post-house productions of Flower Records. Kentaro Takizawa’s oceanic Gradual Life, and Little Big Bee’s colourful coral reef-diving Scuba.

Fellow traveller, Kaoru Inoue’s “Kyushu kosmische”. Representing the next decade are Flower Records’ current rising stars, Coastlines, who calmly combine classic fusion, library music, and gentle nova bossa nova rhythms. Alongside them are the sun-baked electro-acoustics of Karel Arbus & Eiji Takamatsu, plus Chillax’ previously unreleased epic analog / modular jam.




Tracklist
A
1. Yoshio Ojima – Sealed
2. Olololop – Mon (orte Remix)
3. Kazuya Kotani – Fatima
B
1. Schadaraparr – N.I.C.E. Guy (Nice Guitar Dub)
2. Little Tempo – Frostie
3. Karel Arbus & Eiji Takamatsu – Coco & The Fish
4. Kentaro Takizawa – Gradual Life (Album Version)
C
1. Yoshiaki Ochi – Balasong
2. Kaoru Inoue – Wave Introduction
3. Little Big Bee – Scuba (Original Version)
4. Coastlines – East Dry River
D
1. Susumu Yokota – Uchu Tanjyo
2. Chillax – Time And Space
3. Takashi Kokubo – Quiet Inlet

All of these selections are the result of some serious digging but more importantly they represent physical connections made during Ken’s 20-plus-year career in the Biz and Max’ decade of DJing all over Japan. Music made by folks interviewed by Rob at the websites, Test Pressing and Ban Ban Ton Ton. Friendships forged at Lone Star - the trio’s long-running party, which takes place every month at Bar Bonobo in Harajuku.”


“From ambient pioneers to dance-floor veterans.”



Mark

album: three body
︎Music, Album, Beats, Electronic   
︎ Melt





This eponymous release from Three Body fuses digital futurism with cosmic organica. Hedonistic breakbeats, woodwind and keys interpolate six melodious tracks, stemming from live recordings, revolving around percussive conversations. With the band’s raw minimal approach and combination of natural and synthetic instrumentation, this elemental EP offers an innovative study of contemporary electronic music and its relationship with ethnic rhythms and tones.




Further Listening ︎
https://threebody.bandcamp.com/album/three-body-3

︎ [Running Circle]


Tracklist
1. Palm Leaf
2. Messenger
3. Orbited Theory
4. Jampa Gawa
5. Samarkand Bazaar
6. Foyer

Three Body are a contemporary electronic and ethnic fusion ensemble from Nottingham, England. Formed in 2014, the trio began jamming live and recording in an open format, self-releasing 2 EPs with an improvisational take on beat music. The band later featured on Brownswood’s first Future Bubblers compilation; track ‘Nomad’ signalled the band’s obsessio with ancient timbres and earthly grooves. A series of live shows, recordings and releases pursued, alongside works with new age mystics Spirit Wrestlers [founded by Woosh of DIY].


“Hedonistic breakbeats, woodwind and keys interpolate six melodious tracks”


Mark

niki de saint phalle


︎Artist, Sculpture, Illustration, Article  
︎ Ventral Is Golden


"The world is round, the world is a breast."


Born near Paris, raised in New York and having worked predominantly in Switzerland, Italy and California, Niki De Saint Phalle (1930 - 2002) became an impassioned creator, transforming the raw materials of her traumatic childhood into provokingly tender works, bulging with animism and feminine energy.
Having experienced that the assigned ‘world of the woman’ was too restrictive, Saint Phalle’s later work became associated with the Nouveau Realists. She produced an eclectic array of works ranging from drawing, collage, graphic design, film, Tirs (’shooting’ paintings) and sculpture. In addition, her Tirs were considered one of the earliest exmaples of Performance Art. Alongside her Shooting Paintings, “Happenings, Fluxus, and performance (of the 1960’s) sought a discursive, interactive relationship between artist and spectator; new conceptual frameworks emerged, informed by gender awareness. Women artists began to intervene directly in male-defined social and political spheres, articulating frustration at the injustices of domination.






Saint Phalle’s tarot card designs, along with Gaudi’s Parc Guell in Barcelona, and the Watts Towers by Simon Rodia in LA, served as the basis for her baroque influenced Tarot Garden in South Tuscany, which showcased De Phalle’s drawings as larger-than-life, immersive and volumptuous phantasmagoric structures .
Additionally, having worked with assistants for fifteen years to create the garden, she was able to utilise the traditional mosaic aesthetics of regional Italian artisans.  

Her most iconic sculptures, known as the Nanas (loosely related to the derogatory french term ‘broad’) swept across domains of the absurd, the playful and the provocative, growing symbolically to represent the neglected aspects of matriarchy within a wider political and social context from the 1960’s onwards. 

“(The Nanas) reflect the new vision of womanhood that appeared in the 1960s: strong images of femininity and of a triumphant maternity. In 1974, the Nanas became a feature of public space for the first time with the commissioning of three giant Nanas by the city of Hanover. Furthermore, La Grande tempérance and L'Ange protecteur [Guardian Angel] have been watching over the inhabitants of the city of Luxembourg and travellers at Zurich's main station respectively since the mid-90s.




















Mark

mat maitland

︎Art, Digital, Collage   
︎ Mat Maitland


"Over time my collage images have evolved into something less ‘cut and paste’ and more redfined but essentially still use the same ethos of unplanned accidents."

As I have spent the last 2 weeks sharing some of my visual inspirations I thought I would end my residency with some of my own work as an image maker. This strand of my career began as a hobby really and a creative outlet away from art directing and designing music projects, one of which was the catalyst for following this visual path - Goldfrapp’s 'Black Cherry’ album. Over time my collage images have evolved into something less 'cut and paste' and more refined but essentially still use the same ethos of unplanned accidents using a desperate source of found library imagery - apart from when a specific element is needed which would be shot. The images and films most often combine my love of surrealism and pop and have allowed me to work with more fashion orientated clients. I hope you enjoyed my posts, Mat.




Further Reading ︎
http://matmaitland.com/




Mark

john kacere

︎Painting   
︎ Mat Maitland


"The images are sensual, sexual, beautiful and exude a intimate narrative"

Kacere made a career out painting the mid-section of women dressed in lingerie, creating an iconic body (excuse the pun) of work. His work takes on an almost classical aesthetic, which could be attributed to the luxurious materials and skin on display. The images are sensual, sexual, beautiful and exude a intimate narrative because you are forced to think outside of the frame he is showing us. I have a bit of an addiction to photorealism and always admired the specificity of his subject matter which was so individual against the more well trodden paths of say buildings, cars and fruit.


Kacere was a direct reference for the opening scene of Sofia Coppola’s 'Lost In Translation’ which shows an almost still life study of Scarlett Johansson’s behind in sheer pale pink underwear.






Mark

people of kau – leni riefenstahl

︎Photography   
︎ Mat Maitland


"I’m attracted to the idea of projected characters and personas - a way of twisting reality"

I have always been fascinated by masks and the facade of fantasy, it's something that often (unintentionally) flows through my work and even on my Instagram through some of the visual references I post.

I’m attracted to the idea of projected characters and personas - a way of twisting reality - because even in the smallest way we all use props to express our individuality to present something of ourselves outwardly but in the creative arts it is especially powerful when elevated beyond the every day and into the realm of theatre.






“in the creative arts it is especially powerful when elevated beyond the every day and into the realm of theatre.”
It’s partly what attracted me to this body of work by German photographer Riefenstahl - aside from the fact that the photographs themselves are truly striking. The images below are from the book People of Kau, published in 1976 and featuring a portfolio of stunning images depicting the tribal face painted designs of the Kau tribe. It has to be said that Riefenstahl was something of a controversial figure which I won’t go into here as you can read more online if you choose to.








Mark

james rosenquist

︎Painting   
︎ Mat Maitland


"The immense scale of the pieces felt like you were viewing them in IMAX format"

Rosenquist died in March and it brought back into focus my first intoxicating experience seeing his work. It was a show about 15 years ago in a disused warehouse behind the Truman Brewery in East London. The immense scale of the pieces felt like you were viewing them in IMAX format, it was astounding. Being a collage artist myself, albeit a digital one, I was mesmerised by the collage technique he used in many of his paintings, surely not lost on Jeff Koons who surely tipped his hat to Rosenquist when making his Easy Fun series in the mid nighties.



He began his working life as a billboard painter in America and like many Pop artists of the era adapted advertising and recontextualized it into fine art helping to define the Pop Art movement of the 60’s. However, my favourite work is from the 80s and 90s.




Mark

salvador dali - art in jewels

︎Photography, Surreal   
︎ Mat Maitland



I love the internet, it’s a great place to discover new things but really books are still the best source for uncovering forgotten visual marvels. Such is the case with this one which contains a series of fine jewels based on Salvador Dalí drawing and paintings. The pieces were created by Alemany & Company of New York in close collaboration with the artist. If that wasn’t enough, the photography and design of the images are incredible too. One of my top 5 books.






Mark