Episode 3

From the Aralkum desert in Kazakhstan to spooky theremin sounds out of Iceland


Matthias Hacksteiner - This Sound I Ride Jingle


Hi everybody and welcome to the third episode of "This sound I ride" – an adventurous and inspiring global journey for music lovers. My name is Martin Bleicher, I am an Austrian music lover, DJ and concert promoter, and for the next two hours, it is my absolute pleasure to share some of my favourite music with you.

This monthly podcast is a celebration of the power and beauty of diverse, passionate and contrary musical styles in their often unforeseeable and enthusiastic ways of expression.

You will hear mainly new inspiring music that stimulates your imagination and curiosity in a way like on a surreal train ride to foreign countries or a trip to new, unknown cultures.

This adventurous approach excites me. I melt together different influences and musical languages and create an exciting and at the same time, unsettling mix.

I have been digging deep to find fascinating music and sounds without boundaries and combine them for you, the listeners of this podcast. I hope you enjoy the show, which starts this time in a lighthouse on an island close to the north-eastern coast of Maine, USA. We are following Ephraim Winslow on his move into his new job as an assistant worker for the rather strange and awkward lighthouse keeper Tom Wake.


Mark Korven - Arrival (The Lighthouse Soundtrack – A24 Films)


Gwenifer Raymond - Hell For Certain (Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain Tompkins Square Records)


Robert Eggers, the director of the psycho-horror-thriller "The Lighthouse" has done a magical and also very touching job in creating such a haunting and bizarre film. The spooky black and white battle between the two lunatics on this island gets darker and more extreme with every minute of the film. Tom Wake played by the overwhelmingly great Willem Dafoe and his apprentice Ephraim Winslow played by the superb Robert Pattinson just show breath-taking performances. Throughout the very dark film, they unleash their wildest, most extreme behaviours in this intimate, sparse setting and it seems clear that this film can only end in sheer madness. In the tradition of absolute classic films within this genre, I can't praise "The Lighthouse" high enough and urge you to watch this killer film, which touched me in a similar way like my absolute favourite horror classic "The Shining",

Mark Korven, the Canadian composer created the spooky and haunting soundtrack that works very well with the absolute madness of the film. The award-winning composer generated many sounds for this soundtrack on his self-build "Apprehension Engine". These sound sources were then combined with more classical elements in the studio to create the final result, which is an absolutely incredible soundtrack. We will post a video where Mark explains his self-build machine in some detail on Social Media in the coming days, in case you are interested.


The follow-up track was called "Hell for certain" by the British guitar wizard Gwenifer Raymonds, who grew up in Wales but lives nowadays in Brighton, England. "Hell for certain" is a perfect example for her passionate and enthusiastic way of playing the acoustic guitar. Her style is rooted in the American Primitive genre, which has its roots in music from the Mississippi and Appalachian area, but actually she sees a strong influence of her time growing up in Wales, represented in the music. She creates her own "Welsh Primitive" by taking ingredients rooted in the Welsh folk music, extracting what seems to make sense for her and combining those parts with her own ideas and musical skills. She says that the music on her new album "Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain" is virtually Punk music. I like her fresh take on a very traditional music genre, and also the multiple speed changes and her skillful playing are fantastic.


Our next stop is in the Umlazi township in Durban, South Africa, where we meet up with electronic sound producer Menzi Shabane. Menzi is one of the most famous GQOM music producers in the area. This fresh take on electronic dance music has received a lot of attention on a global level recently. His debut six-track EP was released on the Ugandan Hakuna Kalala label. "GQOM Tera" is the name of the track I want to play you and this weird and also slightly disturbing take on GQOM features the brilliant Ugandan MC Ecko Bazz on vocals.


Menzi feat Ecko Bazz - GQOM Tera (Impazamo - Hakuna Kalala)


Marri Lattimore - Silver Ladders (Silver Ladders - Ghostly International)


Agrupacion Chango - Oroi Oroa (Bereju - Discos Pacifico)


Astonishing GQOM craziness out of South Africa with a Ugandan twist was followed up by the beautiful sounds of Mary Lattimore. Lattimore is a Los Angeles based harpist and composer and the excellent track "Silver Ladders" is the title track of her new album. Music made for fairy tales and daydreaming. It takes you on a very joyful journey, I can get lost in these airy sounds for hours. Lattimore teamed up with Slowdive's Neil Halstead to record an album full of beautiful music. The single harp tones in the beginning, the dynamic melodies, the perfect arrangement – just great. The result is a unique and very soothing work that is up there with the best albums of 2020. Lattimore and Halstead have developed a unique interplay between her harp, synths and his guitar parts that interact between the melancholic and the charming in the best possible way. Lattimore shared a pleasant memory from the recording sessions with us: "Neil has this poster of a surfer in his studio, and I'd look at it each day, looking at the sunlight glinting on the dark wave. In these songs, I like the contrast between the dark lows and the glittering highs. The gloom and the glimmer, the opposites, a lively surfing town in the winter turned kinda rainy and empty and quiet.


Discos Pacifico a newly found record label from Cali, Colombia appeared on my radar recently. They are looking for the guardians of tradition, the renegades of the currulao, the Afro-futurist marimba excursions, the project that is translating the science of bunde and plays it into the language of machines and the poet who is writing the lyrics of the next hymns from the region that will speak to the world. The final track of this sound triple was called Oroi Oroa from Agrupacion Chango, which is a group based on the north-west pacific coast of Colombia. The group's beat and choir driven anthem is a meditative and polyphonic ear candy to me. It has an enormous positive drive and is extremely powerful in its polyphonic way of expression. This old folklore song, in particular, is very typical for the Narino region in Colombia. Black air comes from the beat rhythm, it´s execution is carried out in wakes of the saints and in street dances. It describes the difficulty of not playing with a marimba, which dates back to the time of Father Mera when the performance of the marimba to Afro-Americans was prohibited throughout the Pacific coastline. The piece is composed for bass drum, cununo, guacharaca and maraca or rattle. A very focused performance from this excellent group of musicians, that I still can not believe whats happening in this piece of music, even though I listened to it probably 20 or 30 times.


From the ambitious beats produced at the Colombian pacific coast, we take a trip to Iceland to meet up with Hekla and her wonderful and pure sound art. This track is called "Aftur Og Aftur" from her latest album "Sprungur". Enjoy.


Hekla - Aftur Og Aftur (Sprungur - Phantom Limb)


Turning Jewels Into Water - Our Reflections Adorned By Newly Formed Stars (Our Reflections Adorned By Newly Formed Stars - FPE Records)


Hekla Magnusdottir is the full name of this phenomenal Icelandic artist, that balances the solo theremin, the subtle synth sounds and her voice in a mysterious and unique way. I would describe her music as melancholic, haunting and delicate. Her intense fragile sonic world shows the dreamy and the scary part of Icelandic folklore and traditions at the same time. This sound draws you fully into its evocative world.

During my last summer holiday in Matera, Italy I had a totally unexpected experience with Hekla's sound. Matera is beside Jericho, Damaskus and others probably one of the oldest cities of the world. In the old part of the town, which is called Sassi di Matera, it seems that time stands still and you can find a lot of proof of poverty and drama from the past. I stayed in an old restored Grotta, and when hearing Hekla's sound there for the first time, it seemed to me that it evolved directly out of this mysterious place. The sound melted like a ghost into the walls, and it stuck in the air as it has lived there forever. It was the perfect setting for this sound, and I found it lovely, uncertain and also scary at the same time—what a wonderful experience.


Hekla´s track was followed by the digital folk music from nowhere by the amazing US-American duo Turning Jewels Into Water. Val Jeanty is a DJ, drummer educator and music artist who was born in Haiti and Ravish Momin, an Indian-born drummer, producer and also educator have released a masterpiece of cutting-edge-rhythm based ritual music that blends together the beauty of ancient instruments in a digitalized modern soundworld that is second to none.

Absolutely distinctive in their way of creating one of the albums of the year. The track you heard is just one example of this great album. With contributions by fellow musicians from Iran, South Africa or Lesotho they create a sound that originates in old traditions but results in something totally fresh and new. Whilst their musical roots are in Haiti, India, North-Africa or the Middle-East, within this project they melt together old rhythms, electro-acoustic beats, improvisational traditions from Jazz or Indian folk music. The two artists find that the traditional understanding of global music is outdated. Actually same as I do, it cant be the case that we talk about global music and the majority still believe that this means people of colour performing their ethnic identities, often along with traditional instruments. Val and Ravish put such a strong statement into place with transforming these folkloric rhythms from their respective cultures into digital realms and collaborate with musicians from around the globe who all challenge these outdated paradigms. Great stuff.


Next up I want to play the also very distinctive but totally different music from Shirley Collins, an 85-year-old British folk icon. The song is called "Locked In Ice" from her new album "Heart's Ease". Enjoy


Shirley Collins - Locked In Ice (Heart's Ease – Domino Recordings)


Orchestra Of Constant Distress - Discomfort (Cognitive Dissonance – Riot Season)


Contrast is key to my show. The gorgeous and soothing voice of Shirley Collins in comparison to the compact, dense and noisy monster track by Orchestra Of Constant Distress. A trip from Hastings in the UK to Sweden. Actually, the exciting thing for me with regards to this combination of tracks is that both songs resonate very well with the Corona times in lockdown here.

On the one hand, the song "Locked In Ice", with a calm and peaceful voice and the minimal instrumentation offers a musical timbre which has an ethereal touch and great clarity in it. As if the virus, which is the thing that locks us into our homes with this universal longing of meeting people again, but it seems to me that the feeling here is that it is acceptable and ok in the greater scheme of things.

Whilst the Swedish outburst by the Noise masters Orchestra Of Constant Distress is a pure, heartfelt, passionate blast. This quartet creates a dark and threatening killer track. It seems to me that this unity of sound is unstoppable in the way how they rollout this 6,5 minutes of heaviness. Also the title oft he track „Discomfort“ fits into the absolutey crazinesss of the last months.

What will the future bring, how and when will we be able to have an everyday social life again, all these questions leave us in significant discomfort or as the band name in constant distress. First hearing this track was one of the greatest moments of musical discovery this year, even though the album "Cognitive Dissonance" was already released last year.

So, let's move over to the Middle-East, where we meet up with the very different and almost contradictory artists Zenobia from Haifa, Israel and the MC Lil Asaf from Amman, Jordan.


Zenobia - El Intro (Halak Halak – Crammed Discs)


Lil Asaf - Labash (Lal Bazam – ANBA)


A sweet Arabic pop melody, Palestinian / Syrian Dabke rhythms combined with exotic electronics and synth melodies, these are the main ingredients of Zenobia´s sound. They consist of Nasser Halalih and Isam Elias. Nasser was a pioneer in the Palestinian electronic music and he was probably the first electronic music producer in Palestina, back in the 90s. The track "El Intro" was taken from their latest album "Halak Halak" which was released earlier this year and means "Welcome, Welcome". As Palestinian Arabs, they play an integral part in the development of the Palestinian Electronic Music movement which is flourishing in the last couple of years regardless of any political borders between Haifa, Ramallah, Beirut or Amman. I like the sweetness of this tune, the introduction to an exotic part of the world far away from Austria and the repetitive, magnificent Arabian sound motifs.


Lil Asaf, aka Bashar Suleiman, presents his in-your-face rapping in a stripped back way. The Jordan MC rumbles into the dark track without any hesitation. Misty synth lines are combined with strange beats that tune in and out of the track with no apparent structure. Children's voices appear in the back and disappear again and above all is this roaring Arabic rapping of Lil Asaf. It's a strange affair – this track, but the combination of this rather weird elements merged together with quirky electronic beats and noise makes it a great track that I wanted to play you.


After this trip to the Middle East, I would love to invite you to join a meeting between a passionate Mancunian sound collective and a Portuguese rhythm master. I'm talking about the latest release "Faca de Fogo" by the mighty Gnod and Joao Pais Filipe. I have played Pais solo work already in the first episode of the pod, but as this man has such an enormous high-quality output it is my absolute pleasure to share another track with you, which is called "Faca De Ar"


GNOD & Joao Pais Filipe - Faca De Ar (Faca De Fogo – Rocket Recordings)


Adam Kroll - Nautilus (Places I´ve Seen – Mille Plateaux)


GNOD & Joao Pais Filipe – Wooooh. Repetitive, meditative, hypnotic sound deliciousness as good as it can get. The scary and tribal rhythm section dominates the structure of this epic piece of music. Various instruments like a synth, saxophone or clarinet appear and disappear throughout the song. It draws you into its realm and catches your attention from the start till the end.

The two parties met during a festival in Portugal, and soon they found out that they share common interests in creating hypnotic, repetitive sound sculptures. They just needed three days of rehearsal and another four days of recording in Pais metal workshop to have this fantastic album ready. It's a powerful sound trip that sets the atmosphere around it on fire from the beginning until the end, and I would suggest you to listen to the full album in its totality. They describe this work as forged in a spirit of spontaneity and intuition, "Faca De Fogo" wastes precisely zero time in manifesting this explosive chemistry between these two explorers of mantras and repetitive revelation.


The follow-up track was by Polish-born Adam Kroll, who lives now in Cologne, Germany. There he found the inspiration and appropriate atmosphere to create his great electronic music, which presents a very enchanting and great sound design packed into a great mix of electronic beats and ambient sounds. Adam blends together his musical understanding and skills as a drummer into this beautiful track that also works with certain dub elements and an unbelievable depth in its sound structures. It was released on his album "Places I've seen" on the legendary Mille Plateaux label, which was restarted recently and has already released exciting, cutting-edge electronic music this year.


As a next destination we take a trip to the Far-East and meet up with Lao Dan in Hangzhou, China. Dan is an experimental musician, who is known for his saxophone skills, his participation in improvised sound meetings but also for these solo recordings on the Chinese flute. And precisely this is what interests me the most in his musical output to date. Enjoy the track "There is no color world" by Lao Dan.


Lao Dan - There Is No Color World (The Song Of The Uninhabited Island – self-released)


Anteloper - Isoptope 420 (Tour Beats Vol. 1 – International Anthem)


The sparse bell sounds as an introduction to the calm flute music by Lao Dan. He takes his time within this track, lets the track unfold itself, his humming or rumbling strange vocal sounds add another layer of lovely craziness to it. Meditative, quiet tones create a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere. Whilst you can enjoy this simple track with its minimal ingredients I have to mention that many of his other releases are often quite noisy, unpredictable and freeform improvisation. But definitely worth checking him out if you liked this track.


From China, we travelled back to the USA to meet up with the cutting-edge sound mix of Anteloper. Their music consists of elements from Jazz, Improvisation as well as electronic sound design and as a result, you get this highly innovative mix. Anteloper are Jamie Branch on trumpet, synths, percussion, effects and drum machine and Jason Nazary on acoustic drums, FX units, synths, sequencer and lots of other electronic equipment. They formed in 2018 during a month-long residency of Branch in Pioneer Works, a recording studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY. They played numerous sessions and just did what they do best, they started to play and developed their exciting sound mix from zero into this intuitive and rewarding blend of different styles. The result is the great 4-track EP "Tour Beats Vol. 1" that features an excellent combination of quirky electronic sound structures, weird polyrhythmic percussion and also most of the time the signature trumpet played by the bustling Jamie Branch. I had the pleasure to enjoy her during a live session at the LeGuessWho Festival last year together with the great Moor Mother and the drum wizard Brian Chippendale from Lightning Bolt. This was also an unexpected but highly entertaining live show.


From Brooklyn, we move over to Mali in Africa and meet Idassane Wallet Mohamed in Kidal to enjoy some hypnotic music from the desert. The track "Ahiyane" is one of eight love songs from her album "Issawat". The original recordings date back to 2008 and this music is to me like reaching a level of deep focus, concentration and trance through a few simple ingredients. There is more or less only the singer, a vocal drone in the background and the drumming. Enjoy


Idassane Wallet Mohamed - Ahiyana (Issawat – Sahel Sounds)


Indus Bonze - Japanese Singeli (self-released on Bandcamp)


After the hypnotic music from the Mali desert, we took a trip to Japan to visit the mysterious electronic dance music producer Indus Bonze. Actually, there isn't a lot of information on the web about this artist, the only thing I know is that he/she is from Japan. He/she releases great versions of international dance music styles like Singeli or GQOM. The track you heard is called "Japanese Singeli", and it takes the highly energetic, full-power aesthetics from Singeli and mutates it into a Japanese version of it. The dense, dry sounding Japanese Drums pushed up to this speed level is just hilarious. The madness and sheer speed of the drums drives me crazy.

The original singeli evolved from the ghettos in Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania over 10 years ago and crashed dancefloors all over the world with ultrafast beats and drums between 180 to 300 bpm and is loaded with a lot of strange and wicked noise and glitches. Nowadays this music is like a national treasure for Tanzania. It is a compelling and intense body experience where lots of adrenaline is produced when you are dancing to this wild and fast beat creations. Indos Bonze just takes the central concept of Singeli and fills it with loads of Japanese percussions, drums and blends both worlds together to create his own masterpiece. Absolute killer track.


After this stop in Japan, we travel further west to Kazakhstan and join Galya Bisengalieva, a violinist and composer of wonderful neo-classic, ambient, drone music. She builds outstanding and divine atmospheres within her compositions, where she combines the acoustic elements of her violin with various well-chosen layers of electronic drones and sounds. The result on the following piece "Zhalanash" from her latest album "Aralkum" is a sublime example of all her mentioned qualities.

On this album, she focuses on the shrinking of the Aral Sea, which was once the fourth largest lake in the world but got more or less destroyed by Soviet irrigation projects that diverted rivers which fed the lake in the 1960s. The once colossal lake became the Aralkum desert and the surrounding fisheries and communities more or less disappeared. Only after the Kazakh government constructed a huge dam a couple of years ago at least a part of this lake could be saved, and a specific part of the life around the lake could be reestablished. As Kazakh origin, but now living in London, UK, Galya has created a beautiful album that is also full with tension and anger because of what has happened to such an essential and incredible wonder of nature in her home country. The album is split into three parts that she calls pre-disaster, calamity and future. The chosen song "Zhalanash" is from the future part and delivers a freeing feeling of hope for a better future.


Galya Bisengalieva - Zhalanash (Aralkum – One Little Independent)


Aquiles Navarro / Tcheser Holmes - Pueblo (Heritage Of The Invisible II – International Anthem)


"Zhalanash" by Galya Bisengalieva with its impressive and hopeful atmospheres and sounds led us into the energetic and boosting track "Pueblo" by the Aquiles Navarro and Tcheser Holmes. Whilst Navarro plays the dynamic trumpet as the lead instrument, Holmes is the drum and percussion master here. "Pueblo" is filled with so much positivity and leaves, even after it's short duration of just over 2 minutes a very strong and remarkable impression. It's one of these tracks that I come back to very often as it draws me in to this beautiful world over and over again. To me, it sounds like a "Hymn for life" or a "plea for a positive mindset". I love the power of this track as well as the mix of American Jazz with Latin/Afro Caribbean elements that create their own style.

The guys are long-time friends and collaborators within the various music scenes in New York City. They are also permanent members of the experimental jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements which features Moor Mother as well. On their first album as a duo which was released a couple of weeks ago, they celebrate their vibrant, adventurous and ever-evolving style. From powerful free improvisation noise massacres to songs like "Pueblo" you can hear a lot of different innovative music and the duo develop such an astonishing world of sounds which is terrific. The interplay between the two extraordinary musicians would be a great show to watch in a live concert. Navarro and Holmes expand the limits of Jazz on their album into new dimensions, and you feel the enjoyment and celebration of their interplay during the whole time. Whilst they create challenging music at times, I just think you cant praise such fearless musicians high enough. Love this album. Great work.


So, it seems that we have reached the end of the show again. I hope you liked the third episode of This Sound I Ride. I enjoyed it very much to put together an adventurous and inspiring global journey for you, the listeners of the show. If you did like it, it is, of course, a great help if you can share it with one friend. For more information, the full tracklist or other details, please visit our website or our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter sites. You can also find an extended article about the Icelandic musician Hekla who was featured in the show on our website.

I want to thank Marta Witkowska for the great images for our cover artwork and Matthias Hacksteiner for all his generous help and professional advice with regards to recording technics, the podcast jingle and basically everything how to set up a podcast.

Thanks again for listening and I wish you all the best and hope you also join next month. The new episode will be released on the third Sunday in January, but if you subscribe on your usual podcast platform, you can make sure that you don't miss a show.


As a final sound trip, we follow our protagonists Tom and Ephraim from the start of the show on their final way into the light, and I have invited the New York based artist Ana Roxanne to take us away from this strange lighthouse in Maine and carry us into her harmonic and beautiful world of ambient sounds and spoken word. She offers so much beautiful sentiment during the final song of this show, so that we can all enjoy the trip back from the lighthouse, after all this horror that happened there between these two strange men.

I wish you a lovely end to this strange year 2020 and a good start into the new one. Cheers and stay healthy. Thanks a lot. Bye


Mark Korven - Into The Light (The Lighthouse Soundtrack – A24 Films)


Ana Roxanne - Venus (Because Of A Flower – Kranky Records)