Loud Sounds 37
"Loud Sounds" are some of the best new tracks we've found. We are coming back with the 37th installment of the series.
Mitchum Yacoub – Zaire

Mitchum is an Egyptian-American multi-instrumentalist, producer and DJ. His latest single Zaire is an infectious piece of instrumental Afro-funk that sounds like joy, heat, sweat, sex or hard work, depending on your angle. However, one thing you can be sure about is that Zaire won't let you sit still.

Mitchum Yacoub

The track was partially inspired by the legendary Zaire '74 festival featuring James Brown, Fania All-Stars, Miriam Makeba and more. I recorded the song in my bedroom in San Diego, California. I engineered, produced, and performed it on my own with the help of Travis Klein, Bradley Nash, and Wesley Etienne on horns. The whole thing was tracked using the only mic I had: the Aston Origin. later, it was processed through some analog compressors and I put the horns lightly through a Space Echo 201.
Listen to the artist's earlier single.
Greg Dallas & Jan Esbra – May Rain

May Rain is a piece from "Confluence" – a collaborative album by two musical innovators Greg Dallas and Jan Esbra. The album teaser published by their label The Slow Music Movement promises a collection of free-flowing pieces of ambient music that might feel light on the surface but are in fact deep and multi-dimensional. Another thing that stroke me about both May Rain and the teaser is that the actual sounds feel both familiar and refreshing. You can't always tell what instrument was played on the recording, which makes the sonic journey more interesting. The press release compares May Rain to "Alice Coltrane going ambient", and it definitely has a textural and meditative quality akin to some of her music.

Jan Esbra
Confluence represents a complete synthesis of the aspects I value most in creating music: collaboration, improvisation, intentional composition, usage of electronic elements and audio manipulation, and friendship.

I've known Greg and held him in high esteem as a creative artist and as a close friend for close to a decade. In both his music and visual art, Greg plays with feelings of maximum density, creating pieces that hold a veritable heaviness within them. In contrast, my musical aesthetic is more open, often diatonic, and consonant.

When Greg reached out to me with an offer from The Slow Music Movement to collaborate on an album, I was on my way to St. Louis without a second thought. In St. Louis, we spent a full week improvising together, combining a range of instruments – pianos, guitars, and synths – with my looper-oriented pedal board. The result was a collection of song seeds, improvised pieces and generally gnarly sounds.

Greg and I split up the recordings, working separately to apply our unique approaches to editing music.

The foundation of my approach for editing songs on Confluence rested on two guiding principles:

  1. Using only the stems from a single improvisation session for each piece. To stay as close to the original improvisations as possible, I didn't give myself the option to add layers or to combine sounds from other sessions.
  2. Slicing moments from the stems. While limiting myself to the pool of sounds each improvisational session produced, I gave myself full nonlinear reign of them to collage and build a piece.

This orientation to the editing process helped me to pull together a song from each session. It guided me in asking, "what is the core that can be distilled from this assortment of sounds, and how can I construct a piece around it?". Using a process of layering and audio manipulation, these seeds – the unique cores I found within different sessions – grew into more intentional compositions.

Greg then took each track and mixed them beautifully, crafting the sonic space in which Confluence exists.

The making of Confluence was, at its core, a process of trust – it demanded of us a willingness to head out into the unknown without a map or any sense of where we were headed. In letting go of more traditional approaches to crafting songs, we discovered a rich and dense landscape of sound.

About May Rain

May Rain was a fruit of a day of recording Greg's family piano running through my pedal board.

For this improvisation, I had told Greg to play the piano as a light morning rain in May. The original recording had a lightness to it - something akin to an early morning silence. Slowly new elements arise into this soft and sparkly environment. Layers build until a climax at the end of the piece, where the listener is treated to an oddly asymmetrical groove marked by a piano chord and white noise percussion.

Listen to earlier singles from Jan (first three tracks) and Greg (tracks 4–6).
Also check out Reverie from their labelmate The Howard Hughes Suite, whose music we covered earlier.