Aki Tsuyuko’s Room In Commend is an invitation to wander.
Recorded in June 2019, this solo performance by Japanese composer Aki Tsuyuko marks the fifth entry in Commend’s HERE series, a catalog of live performances shared with care from our small space to far beyond Forsyth St.
Aki Tsuyuko treats chords like imaginary companions and scales like maps through winding, wooded paths. Stroll through the countryside of childhood in “Village”; hop over a city park’s puddles with “Moriji”; and lay on a bed of infinite moss with “Solitary Tiger.”
Tsuyuko’s keys emanate vibrant, green reveries and provide a comforting sonic spell for lonely moments and drab mornings.
Josey In Space, the second installment in Beats In Space‘s mix series, is out May 15 in LP, CD, and digital formats.
Drawing from a kaleidoscope of deeply felt and understood sounds, Josey’s twenty-track mix maps her personal history onto a collective trajectory in dance music. The 12” lifts four essential tracks from the story for DJ-ready use: brand new works from Fotomachine and Shy One, and stone cold classics from Access 58 and Rogue Unit.
Listen to Fotomachine’s “BBoy,” and learn more about Josey In Space,here.
As Helado Negro and the Smile Band, Roberto Carlos Lange and his faithful music-making companions recreate the sounds of This Is How You Smile for Live at KCRW, a recording of the ensemble’s inspired performance on Jason Bentley’sMorning Becomes Eclectic.
Kevin’s a legend. If not already in your world, with absolute, unequivocal certainty in ours. Kevin O’Neill has been foundational to RVNG’s label architecture, and Beats In Space, Freedom To Spend, and Commend’s adjacent engineering, devoting his wonderful and wildly diverse design to (almost) every visual moment that has happened within and surrounding our catalog / cosmos.
Earlier this year, AIGA published a piece reflecting on the symbiosis of Will Work For Good, the design studio that Kevin co-helms with his creative and life partner Karisa Senavitis, and RVNG, which congeals around our formative immersions in punk rock / DIY ethics and our shared interest in communicating consciousness through art but also levity. Without Kevin, we’d surely be lost, not only for the creative collaboration, but also of a dear friend and brilliant mind.
That’s a startling reality that we face. Kevin was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2015. The onset of the M.S. was as mild as M.S. can be, but still a serious life adjustment while Kevin underwent numerous diagnoses and test. The real impact of the disease came last year, when Kevin suffered a relapse and a loss of mobility. While he was able to rebound from an earlier relapse, this more recent regression left Kevin to a long rehabilitation process, dependent on trekking poles to walk, and with a deep scare that another relapse may have even more severe physical impact.
Karisa, ever an enduring, compassionate force (she also helped with our successful Pauline Anna Strom rehabilitation efforts not so long ago), has launched a GoFundMe for Kevin to raise funds for Kevin to receive a Multiple Sclerosis treatment called HSCT (hematopoietic stem cell transplantation). From Karisa, “this treatment has been shown to halt the progression of M.S. for many patients, but it has only been available in U.S. clinical trials (which are extremely hard to be accepted into) or outside the U.S. — making it expensive and not covered by insurance.” Heeding his doctor’s ominous warning, this is a critical juncture for Kevin to receive the stem cell transplant, while he can still physically recover from the process.
M.S. is a chronic disease of the brain and spinal cord that affects about 400,000 people in the US alone. Probably people within your family, or that you know. We know that contributing to fund this treatment for Kevin represents one person’s journey with this terrible disease, but we hope it raises a general awareness around M.S., too. This is a first of a few measures that we have in mind to move this fundraising effort along, and one that is immediately impactful. It’s an ambitious goal for an ambitious treatment, but we are dedicated to meeting it so Kevin can make the trip to Mexico in January 2020.
If you’ve appreciated RVNG’s design, and a core essence of our releases over the years, or are just interested in seeing an excellent human being achieve this potentially life-changing event, we can’t thank you enough for supporting this campaign:
Each month, we invite an artist from the cast of characters that color the RVNG, Beats In Space, and Freedom To Spend universe to compile 15 – 20 tracks that are resonating with them.
From Craig Leon, to you ~
Some tracks I played on various radio shows so far this year: Celsius Drop on dublab, Charlie Bones’s Do!!You!!! Breakfast Show on NTS, Henry Rollins on KCRW, and others. Some are my own, but they’re mainly pieces from friends, colleagues, and musicians who I admire and have been listening to lately.
There are a few rediscoveries like the piano music of George Antheil which I’ve been listening to a lot along with various prepared piano pieces. I was inspired to revisit a few of these (including one I did in 1982) when I heard the work of Kelly Moran, who is continuing on in this area. I heard her when I played Moogfest earlier this year. She drew my attention back to the work of Henry Cowell, John Cage, and Lou Harrison. There’s also a lesser-known piece from William Basinski which is piano-based…
I feel like it’s getting to be the time to write something new that features piano.
I am not particularly a fan of Spotify or streaming services and do not advocate that the format should be the sole purveyors of sonic entertainment. However, I’ve done this playlist to see if Spotify can unconsciously help fulfill the need that exists for the promotion of new and “difficult” music.
I’m going to leave this list up for a while and then contact my friends and colleagues who are on it to see if they experienced any response at all from listeners who may have first heard their work on this list. I hope that some have been able to contact new listeners.
RIYL-ty Bytes is updated by a different artist each month. If you like something, save it to your library.
Anatolian Weapons, the newest project of Athens, Greece-based artist Aggelos Baltas, debuts on Beats In Space Records with To The Mother Of Gods. Best known for a handful of celebrated EBM 12”s as Dream Weapons and a particularly heady brand of krautrock as Fantastikoi Hxoi, Baltas conceived of his Anatolian Weapons project as a way to bring together these two concepts within a distinctly Greek lineage.
On To The Mother Of Gods, Baltas reinterprets eight compositions from local musician Seirios Savvaidis, dissolving traditional recordings and folk lyricism into a Golden Pudel-approved percussive storm, where polyrhythms envelop soaring chants and basslines repeat and swirl. Baltas steers the listener through Athenian past and present, seeking a future sound as wind-kissed and mystical as his country’s oldest yet lifted by the swell of dancefloor dynamics.
To The Mother Of Gods is out now on limited vinyl and unlimited digital forms. Learn more here