ponedjeljak, 29. rujna 2014.

Mike Weis- Don't Know, Just Walk (2014)

Ex-bubnjar benda Zelienople, suočen s teškom bolešću, zamišlja svoj "bijeg u stvarnost" uz pomoć field-recordings, instrumenata kućne izrade i raznih vrsta udaraljki. Radio prijenos prolaska sekunde vremena kroz milimetar prostora.


“I used to think that music was my escape from reality, now I think it’s an escape into reality.” –
Mike Weis, 2014.

Mike Weis is probably best known for sitting behind a plethora of drums and gongs in long-running Chicago three-piece Zelienople, but his music is just as potent unaccompanied. Weis might be an obsessive collaborator (his work with Scott Tuma, Mind Over Mirrors and Kwaidan is also essential), but on his own, he is able to allow his unique percussive skills to bubble to the surface, without the intervention of conflicting egos.
He began working on Don’t Know, Just Walk under particularly difficult circumstances. It was 2013, he had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and was gearing up for a punishing year of “man-diapers and boner pills,” that could very well have been his last. Thankfully though, the time wasn’t entirely spent holed up in a hospital bed under the watch of urologists – Weis managed to spend choice moments in the woods or on prairies with a microphone, and in the Zelienople studio (which has long been in his basement) while the family slept upstairs.
These late night sessions weren’t only musical – Weis used the time to meditate, and to clear his head of the mental baggage that was clouding his view of the world. In spending time using Zen Buddhist techniques (which the title references), this allowed him to not only meditate on life (and its brevity), but also to inform his compositional and recording techniques. At this point, the music came naturally, and Weis began experimenting and recording without hindrance.
Using loops of field-recordings, gongs, radios, home-made instruments, drums and traditional Korean percussion, Weis pieced together an album that is as reflective as it is mesmerizing. Solo percussion albums are rare, certainly, but Weis uses his drumming simply as the record’s backbone, allowing his ideas to flourish overhead.
Don’t Know, Just Walk is a complicated record – an album about death that doesn’t dwell on the negative, and one created by a drummer that doesn’t contain a whole lot of rhythms. It’s right to expect the unexpected, and as Weis found solace in the recording process, we too can find solace in the listening. - press.morrmusic.com/distribution/release/id/2055

Type return with this engrossing album of swirling, tribal percussive arrangements, synth work, field-recordings, radios and electronics - the most striking and crucial release on the label since Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe's killer 2012 album 'Timon Irnok Manta'. Edition of 500** 'Don't Know, Just Walk' is an exceptional solo work of engulfing drone and tactile tribal percussions by Mike Weis, member of shoegaze heartbreakers Zelienople and improv drone trio Kwaidan. We were consumed by Mike's last LP, 'Loop Current / Raft' for Barge Recordings, and this new session, recorded in Chicago, Korea, and various fields around Indiana and Michigan, has us totally rapt. Weis makes use of Buddhist teaching (hinted in the album title) to guide himself thru the creative process, resulting a meditative, intoxicating suite of radiant gong tones, purposefully-paced percussion and (ar)resting drones that gives the illusion of levitating 3 feet from the 'floor. Across the A-side, the glacially unfolding span of 'The Temple Bell Stops' banks a mass of shimmering metallic tones, oscillating in waves from solemn near-silence to ecstatic noise given momentum by rolling drums. Over on the B-side, 'But The Sound Keeps Coming' brings the outside in with sun-kissed field recordings shearing away to keening metallic discord and thundering drums, whereas 'Out Of The Flowers' features The Norman Conquest quietly contributing ARP 2600 analog synth improvisation to cannily make clear the underlying parallels with certain elements of Eliane Radigue. It's one of those records you can listen to from end-to-end over and over, discovering something new with each listen, gleaming with microscopic detail without ever neglecting its visceral, propulsive impact.- boomkat

Mike Weis is better known for his work with Chicago three-piece Zelienople and Mind Over Mirrors, essentially a percussionist but here showcases his talent as an all round composer and soundsmith. After sadly spending a large amount of time in hospital for treatment of prostate cancer his time recovering at home allowed him to forge a meditative state of mind in which he could create the sounds you hear on this record. ‘Don’t Know, Just Walk’ is mostly percussion led with building tribal rhythms and splashes of cymbals and gongs that seem quite structured but still have a playful sense of improvisation.
Also thrown in here are some quite tranquil moments of field recordings and tape loop techniques that create a wonderful sense of time and space, bird song and traditional Korean percussion start off side two leading on to a low bell sound that gradually creeps toward you to create a real sense of tension, Weis has made something here that you wouldn’t thought possible from mere percussion but it’s a sound that leaves you quite breathless. - Norman Records

Drummer “escapes into reality” after cancer diagnosis.
Mike Weis, the percussionist known for his role in long-running Chicago three-piece Zelienople (as well as collaborations with Scott Tuma, Mind Over Mirrors and Kwaidan), has announced a solo record, Don’t Know, Just Walk.
Weis started work on the album after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013, and was gearing up for a year of “man-diapers and boner pills” that he feared could be his last, explains his label, Type. [Disclosure: the label is independently operated by FACT writer John Twells.]
But his time “wasn’t entirely spent holed up in a hospital bed under the watch of urologists – Weis managed to spend choice moments in the woods or on prairies with a microphone, and in the Zelienople studio (which has long been in his basement) while the family slept upstairs.”
He used these late night sessions for Zen Buddhist meditation, which inspired the album’s title and also informed his approach to composition and recording. “I used to think that music was my escape from reality, now I think it’s an escape into reality,” say Weis. And while drums form the backbone of the record, the emphasis is on loops of field recordings, gongs, radios, home-made instruments and traditional Korean percussion. - www.factmag.com/2014/05/14/mike-weis-solo-album-dont-know-just-walk/

On Mortality and Beauty

Whatever happened to Mike Weis, it happened for no reason. There are no lessons to be learned from a battle with cancer. There is absolutely nothing a portion of body tissue gone crazy can teach us, apart from announcing its own location and existence. Mike Weis is a musician, and if you’ve ever ventured anywhere near good American experimentalism you know him already and, chances are, you love what he does. Chicago-based trio Zelienople has been around for more than a decade, spawning little underground gems like His/Hers and Give it up in the process. Things got even more interesting when Weis teamed up with metal yoga guru and four and six-string genius André Foisy (of Locrian fame) and Neil Jendon to form Kwaidan, whose debut album, Make All the Hell of Dark Metal Bright, was nothing short of fantastic.

Despite this, Mike Weis felt he had to expand the landscape we knew he naturally inhabited, so he started conceiving his new creature as soon as he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He taught it a lesson. As Weis explains in the press release that came with the CD, the title “references a method of meditation used in the Korean Zen tradition of Buddhism for clearing the mind—removing all obstructions to get a clear view of the world. Through experience, I’ve come to interpret this as proceeding without mental baggage, without dogma; basically, getting my self out of the way of myself so I can experience the rest of the world with wide openness.” And, boy, it worked.

Don’t Know, Just Walk was recorded at SOMA Studios, Chicago by Norman Conquest, and it is probably best explained as an ambient album focused on percussions, but with little percussive sounds. Take a track like “But the Sound Keeps Coming”, for instance. Before the first, clear hint of some sort of drumming kicks in, we find ourselves lost in a haze populated with birds of all species. Nuthatches, tufted titmice, woodpeckers and even frogs and crickets. If Mike Weis wanted to write a piece of work on the transience of life, he has managed to do so by focusing his inspiration on the less grim aspects of its subtraction, as one could naturally expect an avant-garde musician at ease with the darkest aspects to do. This is the closest one could get to Olivier Messiaen’s Catalogue d’Oiseaux without explicitly referencing it. This is a search for the purest of sounds, for an archetype of music, be it noise or melody, or even the most supreme form of sound:  silence.

Space (therefore, time) is dilated and stretched to form otherworldly tones and inflections, with life—the fauna, the tribal percussions and their combination—as its centre of gravity. Give a microphone to a musician and he will record the mortality that surrounds him. Give it to a musician with fear of mortality and he or she will describe what life is all about. Weis was in pain, but the final result is a contemporary ode to joy and an album with virtually no overdubs and recorded in one take. The moktak, the bass drum and the janggu allowed for the development of complex rhythm patterns revolving around a feeble prepared guitar, as well as a short-wave radio (“The Temple Bell Stops”), and Conquest’s ARP 2600 analogue synth on “Out of the Flowers”. This is it.

Don’t Know, Just Walk is an album about beauty. One could say that, yes, the influence of artists like Ekin Fil, Jodi Cave, Cyclobe, Mika Vainio and Joachim Nordwall is tangible, but I wouldn’t be surprised to know that Mike Weis has never heard of them. Their paths must have crossed at some point simply because they were all going in the same direction, but nobody paid attention to the others, as they were all looking for purity:  the answer to diverse and vaguely silent questions they all had. - Alex Franquelli

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