Musician, music journalist, founder of Create Digital Music and maker of synthesizers, covers some of the many things Peter Kirn does. Personally, I like to refer to him as my music/tech guru. After talking about it many a time, a soundscape by Peter Kirn for SemiDomesticated is finally here, and I think it is one of the most atmospheric and beautiful ones to date.
Having shared an office with SemiDomesticated in the past, Kirn clearly knows what we love and, being a pro at this, he has also written a thorough introduction to his mix (below) and submitted his own photographs to follow (one of which I tweaked a bit and used as the cover for this mix). In perfect time for a relaxing Easter holiday, this soundscape perfectly captures the capricious weather we’ve had recently in Berlin, with mixes of hail, wind, sunshine, rain, grey, and then blue skies (in a never ending cycle) — the days of basking under the sun, canal side, beer in hand, are so close we can all taste it, but for now, you might be better off with another cup of hot tea and this mix on your speakers. Enjoy and happy spring!
Statement by Peter Kirn
This mix follows a number of threads that define the musical elements that move me. It touches on artists, many I’ve known, some I’m fortunate to call friends, with whom I can resonate. And it explores worlds of sampling and texture generally, writing for the piano and for modern dance specifically.
It’s all played live in Traktor, because I believe in mixes as DJing for unseen audiences.
Some notes on the artists you’re hearing:
Triple Sun are a Bratislava-based duo doing great experimental music and live performance.
Hanno Leichtmann is one of my favorite artists in Berlin, too, another who can effortlessly wade from experimental to dance. And he’s a great curator and designer, too, because in this city it does seem you’re required to do everything.Meredith Monk is a touchstone for me, in her multi-disciplinary work in film, dance, and music. I was fortunate to work with her and Cynthia Powell from her ensemble (and sing bits of Atlas) when I was an under graduate at Sarah Lawrence College. (Sarah Lawrence is also her alma mater.) She’s someone deserving the name “genius.”Fhloston Paradigm is the sci-fi-futurist project of electronic legend King Britt. And I rode out a hurricane once in his studio, which was I think my favorite bad-weather-day ever, with a Korg Mono/Poly.Jan Nemeček is a bright star out of Belgrade, Serbia, a city where I’ve been fortunate to make some great personal and musical connections.I don’t think as many people know this gentle, introspective side of John Cage. It’s clear that Erik Satie was a favorite composer, too, as well as the obvious Eastern influence.
I’ve always loved this Cliff Martinez cue; it gets me every time. I got the chance to interview him at Moogfest in North Carolina last year. Low point: I totally blew the very first question! Crap! (The key to public speaking is, I suspect, recovering from those inevitable flubs.) High point: it was great to see other people who loved his music, and in a rare occasion, have my Dad in the audience.
Tokyo-to-Berlin artist Kyoka, now on raster noton, is a mad magician with tape and samples. I got to see her work live recently at Studio R, a live video program – do check her out.
Monolake, aka Robert Henke, is another obvious genius on this list, an inspiration to all of us in the way he works with technology, experimental music, and dance music alike – not only for his virtuosity, but his ability to care about the meaning of what he does.
And Robert Lippok, of raster noton and To Rococo Rot fame, is a marvelous and sensitive musician. I sort of insisted we work together and then it happened, on the 4DSOUND spatial audio system last year, but mainly because I just felt I liked him as a person. He’s a Berlin native, and I feel like a guest in his city. But his creativity extends to a unique sense of minimalism and focus in the tools he uses in sound, and an expansive interest in visual and other media that intersect them. We’re working on more.
Electric Indigo (Susanne Kirchmayr) and Dasha Rush also both inspire me in that they’re able to so perfectly manage both experimental and dance floor careers, and show their love for sound in both. I think my favorite Sunday spent at Berghain was one that began with Dasha in the morning and ended with Susanne at night – not just the usual routine, but something special. And feeling their personality come across in each set mattered. They represent truly prolific work in everything they do, and they’re generous and humble as people – these are the sorts of individuals you want to see become stars. (Side note: it was also fun doing the madness of the Krautok live jam with them at about blank.)
Susanne is additionally one of the fearless leaders behind female pressure. I think we need as much pressure as we can muster against all forms of discrimination, and more broadly, to make everyone feel safe in their own personal expressions.