Songs From The Season Labs
[Kahvi Collective :: 2010]
This album almost didn't happen, but I'm relieved that it did. It's a beautiful collection of tracks by Bulgarian artist Polygon Ring that, in his own words, "ranges from tender and hazy interludes, through wavering instrumental hip-hop pieces, to lengthy messed up glitch affairs."
Fans of Boards of Canada and Autechre should certainly lend this album an ear as their influences on Polygon Ring's sounds and techniques are pretty out in the open. Be that as it may, he mixes and molds the warped tape loops and textural beats into arrangements of his own, incorporating hints of traditional music from his ancestral heritage, hip-hop leaniencies, and recordings of live performance with radio receiver hardware.
His personal style really shines in the track Clouds And Other Contraptions, which happens to be a favorite of mine. A constant drone tone provides meditative bliss while glitchy rhythms dance around you and a distant voice, sounding like it was recorded in a cathedral, sings an unintelligible but heartfelt hymn. I hope Polygon Ring decides to explore this sound in future releases as it is both gorgeous and unique. I also quite enjoy his shorter interludes which feature warm, Bach-like organ solos, and the instrumental hip-hop joint "A Most Unusual Camera" that includes a lazy flute loop, shimmery synths and a sampled Rod Serling monologue from the Twilight Zone. While listening through this album from start to finish, it's easy to tell that these songs were composed by someone who has an undying appreciation and love for this style of music; he handles it with care. Overall this album just feels good and I recommend checking it out.
Clouds And Other Contraptions by Polygon Ring
So how did this album come about? Mr. Polygon Ring took some time out to talk about that and answer some other questions about the release.
Bc: I read in the album description on Kahvi.org that you were urged by fans to create this album based on a single track that was heard in a podcast? How long did you work on Songs From The Season Labs before releasing it into the universe?
PR: This is not how this happened. It was actually Nik, the head of Kahvi, who found out that I was performing at last year's Artmospheric festival and was curious what I was up to musically, since I had not released anything on Kahvi for the last several years. I sent him the tracks that I played there and he was eager to release them right away. I was convinced by his positive attitude that releasing them to a wider audience would actually be a good thing. Most of these tracks were from older albums and EPs of mine that I had only sent out among various friends and never intended for world-wide release, but I was converted. Still, I wanted some time to work on what exactly to include in the album, polish a bit more some of the tracks that end up on it, and have the whole release properly mastered. This took about an year to happen, and being featured on the podcast was like a little nudge for me to lead things to completion. The album itself contains pieces dating back to 2004, and each following year till 2010 is represented by at least two tracks.
Bc: Ah, I see. So which track did you complete first, and which track was the most enjoyable to compose?
PR: Must have been either "Twisty Little Passages" or "Istedi". Both these little interludes were written about 6 years ago. Nik was keen on having the first one, and I'm pretty partial to the latter for more reasons than just the sheer sound of it. So, leading to the second part of the question, hard as it is to single a track out, I'd say this is a draw between "Istedi" and "Induce" which featured an enjoyable live performance on two radio receivers. Recording "Clouds and Other Contraptions" was a pleasant experience too. It was recorded live and has subtle references to traditional Bulgarian music with its constant drone, specific rhythmic structure, and the dvoyanka parts (that's a wooden double flute).
Bc: What artists inspire you most to make music?
PR: I enjoy tons of different music, but I guess the Autechre and Boards of Canada influences are the most obvious. Perhaps Machinefabriek has part in my choice of sonic palette as well.
Bc: Who is your favorite up and coming artist right now?
PR: There's a Bulgarian artist called Nurthice who recently released his debut album "Otono" on VU-US. Highly recommended. I'd like to mention Smartech too, a friend of mine who has been making music for as long as I can remember, but he has also released it primarily among friends until recently, so I guess "up and coming" still applies. You'll be rewarded if you make a trip to http://smartech.bandcamp.com
Bc: What was your favorite T.V. show while growing up?
PR: I was never much of a TV kid, but I have rather fond memories of "Nu, Pogodi!", a Russian cartoon that was very popular in Bulgaria during my single-digit years.
Polygon Ring doesn't have an official website or MySpace page (how rare!) but you can keep up with his musical endeavors on Soundcloud for now. If you're a fellow music maker, you may want to explore his large collection of free electronic drum samples via the stylish http://blips.hit.bg website. Also, if you use Renoise at all, you might find his Renoise Track Generator page interesting.
Polygon Ring - Songs From The Season Labs :: FREE DOWNLOAD | Stream M3U | Album @ Kahvi.org
Thursday, May 13, 2010