tricil – The Emancipation from Clear Notice on Vimeo.

stretta – Calculus from Clear Notice on Vimeo.

Forget the iPad app or cross-media visual interpretation for a moment. “Enter Calico,” the compilation debut of new electronic label Clear Notice Recordings, begins with some damned fine music listening. In a world after shallow labels like “IDM,” this collection of independent artists represents the current generation about as well as any can. Meticulously-detailed sound designs stutter and shimmer through varied cinematic soundscapes, nodding at genres with only passing concern.

Like a well-curated variety show, something is bound to grab you somewhere.

But then, let’s talk about the videos. It’s nice to see a video album, though the quality there is a bit varied. (Several directors independently seemed to settle on the “guy wandering around looking bemused” theme, though not lacking for visual invention.)

But two videos are, quite simply, mind-blowingly good standouts, perhaps not coincidentally for two of the highlight tracks from the compilation. Videos for Tricil (John Jacobus) and stretta (Matthew Davidson) take their richly-sonorous music and place them in surreal new fantasies. The Franck Trebillac-directed “Calculus” for stretta and Franck Trebillac & Marc Broussely-directed “The Emancipation” for tricil each create, in digital video, curio boxes in which captured butterflies and dancers become frozen in time. It’s a bit creepy, beautifully delicate, and compelling.

It’s great to see these familiar artists alongside some new ones. If the label keeps up this level of quality, we’ve got some good times ahead.

You can listen to the full album streaming online – and really, without even one video or iPad app, this is enough to satisfy me.

Enter Calico by Clear Notice

Bonus: here’s a free download of Tricil’s track, plus a blog post from him talking about how this all came to be.

  • Richard Devine

    Awesome stuff!

  • Nev

    Gorgeous – many thanks fo rthe heads up on this.

  • Thanks for posting this!

    Burninghead did an amazing job at these videos, I can't wait to work with them again!

    Thanks again,

    PS: Hey Richie! Let's do dinner soon!

  • Andrew Stone

    In relation to the music, the ideas and execution on the stretta video were outstanding and vanguard. Lots to chew on with both pieces of music as well.

  • High, high quality and content – very impressed. Keep it up!

  • utm

    Really great stuff. Music and videos. Thanks.

  • // //
    Props Tricil.

  • Well, finally some direction for electronic music… I loved both!

  • thanks for posting this! great sounds downloading it now..

  • Kechuan

    Thanks for the post. great stuff

  • *Mr. Kirn–> Where, or where do you find these things?

    The Emancipation, had me from frame one. That piece is unbelievable genius! The track itself is amazing, but coupled with that film?—> Effing GENIUS!! Hats off to everyone who made this thing! WOW! The Emancipation was like watching a Michael Hussar painting come to life! ( )

  • micah

    thanks peter. very inspiring stuff. a huge fan of ernst haeckel i really enjoyed the stretta vid.

  • Uh?

    This is direction for electronic music ? I mean am I the only one that feels that this stuff is getting a little long in the tooth?

    "Meticulously-detailed sound designs stutter and shimmer"

    So, this qualifies as sound design ? I for one am really tired of stutter effects and think they amount to the 21st Century guitar solo. I don't hear anything new here. I recognize the SND -Avatism sort of timing in the Stretta vid and appreciate that, but to act like we are hearing or seeing something new here is a little absurd. The video editing is reminiscent of "The Beautiful People" by Marilyn Manson (1996) or any Brother's Quay or Jan Svankmajer film.

    I am sure someone here will tell me I just have no idea what I am talking about, and I should only shower praise upon these people, but in my opinion this is just not that good.

    Sorry, I am not impressed or blown away, and I do not view this as moving music or art forward.

  • ulfur

    i agree, this is a compilation of completely generic IDM.

  • db3ll

    Oh my… I feel a bit of pity for the death of wonder that must have occurred in people who can't find ANYTHING to like in either the audio or visual portion of this. I don't know that the *artists* purported it as the future of electronic music, but if a listener/viewer saw that in it, I'd say it succeeded pretty well as a work of art- it made someone feel, which is much harder than popping in a snarky comment about how the stutter sample's SOOOOOO 1999.

  • Excellent stuff! It sure is not as groundbreaking as stated, but it is an inspiring collection of wonderful tracks and films that do have their inspirations everywhere. You can only advance in considering your traditions.

  • Tom

    Describing something as 'mind blowing' is the kiss of death. Please don't do that. Please.

    I feel like I just got given the wrong toy for Christmas.

  • Peter Kirn

    It's possible pressure in my mind is too high, thus causing easier-than-normal blowouts.

    Ground-breaking, though, oddly enough, is not something I said. But, while I thought it likely everyone would find something to like (which is what I did say), I'm willing to accept I was wrong about that bit.

  • i dunno. i'm listening to
    'calculus' right now, which i like more than 'emancipation.' i'm admittedly without a deep background in the various genres (house, trance, idm, etc) of electronic music, but with a good background in other genres (though i don't like dividing music by genre, it is a good touchstone for considering style). i feel like i'm hearing themes or tropes which were first developed in other works, but synthesized and brought together here. a consolidation, if you will. though i've only listened to two songs, and once at that!

    i'm more interested in how people judge electronic music. much of it to me is repetitive, rhythmically and in other ways. sometimes i like that, and think of it as part of the style (like you wouldn't complain about the instrumentation of classical music, you'd listen to something else). sometimes though that's exactly what i want to do – listen to something else.

    do you guys judge electronic music in terms of how it makes you feel? in terms of new sounds? production technique? relative to previous works in the same style? is there something i'm missing?

    i would call matmos's work with bjork very good. j dilla very good. legofriendly is some of the more interesting idm type stuff i've heard. against those artists, musically, this doesn't feel like its breaking new ground. which isn't necessarily a bad thing. i mean, i don't want to listen to 4' 33" every day : )

    but as electronic musicians able to work in a wider range of styles, and knowledgeable of a wider range of styles, than i think people have been in the past, how do you all consider and compare electronic music?

    p.s. the production is very good for the particular 'sound' the artists seem to want.

  • listening to the rest of the album now. interesting.

  • "i feel like i’m hearing themes or tropes which were first developed in other works, but synthesized and brought together here. a consolidation, if you will. though i’ve only listened to two songs, and once at that!

    i’m more interested in how people judge electronic music. much of it to me is repetitive, rhythmically and in other ways.

    It's kind of reflective of electronics as a whole if you think about it. Much of the internet itself is a collection of consolidated other things – a "mashup". And electronics are good at doing things over and over again (it's just a bunch of zeroes or ones). Things still develop compositionally and you can do things that aren't humanly possible. It's just up to the artist to develop them. I think the repetitive/mashup natures seem to be part of the aesthetic. The "classical" side of electronic music is a little different than many of these…tends to be less beat driven and more free-form much the way contemporary instrumental clasical is (see my web-site for some examples…though my work is by no means a broad survey of the genre [sorry for the shameless plug…just trying to offer something different:]

  • I definitely agree that repetition is written in to the music by its medium. That's a good point to bring up.

    It's interesting, I wonder if all 'new media' shares a similar set of aesthetics considering the common material from which they are made.

  • rhowaldt

    agree with Tom making essentially the point that too much praise creates too much apprehension. it's what i call the 'Brokeback Mountain' effect. all this talk and when you go and see the movie it does not live up, even though it is actually a great movie (imo).

    people bashing this stuff probably react to the same thing, or they just don't like the music, which is fair enough.

    i especially enjoy the comments by zeroreference. instead of stating 'i don't like this as much as i maybe should', he manages to make it into a worthwhile discussion. thanks for that.

    myself, i really like seeing and hearing well executed work. these videos are both great quality, and the music is too. and remember that (almost) everything has been done before, and thanks to the internet more people know what has been done before so they recognize it and sometimes condemn it for that. i think that's just senseless. makes me wonder: what music DO you enjoy? and are you so sure that is really 'original'? everytime anyone uses a sinewave, or touches a piano, it's all been done before (with maybe a few exceptions but you get the point i guess). again: it does not matter. listen to it, enjoy it. or don't, and go listen to something you do enjoy.

    thanks for the post Peter, i really liked it.

  • I agree with "db311".

    I didn't have to read on past Pete's reply on this thread before I realized something.

    There's a thing that art does, it inspires, while simultaneously turning away others. If it can garner a reaction good or bad – it's art. If there are people out there who believe that this piece (of art) is utter regurgitated bull crap. They absolutely have a right to feel or think that. If someone is completely moved and inspired by the same piece, THEY also have the right to feel or think that as well.

    I imagine that all of us who comment on this blog write music in some way shape or form. We all know how difficult, challenging, and rewarding it can be. I reacted to this song/video combo as a unit, a complete piece of art that very well might be able to define a time where EVERYONE was doing the same thing.. However, I cannot deny that this piece could possibly be "up there" with the quality of songs and videos that made the genre unpalatable to those who hate it.

    I mean if I mention Soul to Soul – or Deee-lite what do you think? The 1990's? Yeah, it's probably not good by today's standards, but those acts definitely defined a generation of music makers as well as a sound. There's something to be found in even the worst music out there. (even if it's an example of what NOT to do when making music)

    I think it's healthy to disagree as long as either side of the debate/conversation agree to disagree with a healthy, and friendly attitude. The moment people start slandering each other is when I simply walk away. I have no patience for close minded f#@kheads.

    What happened to the magic of the world, where people can still be mystified or truly enjoy something that isn't ground-breaking or "fresh". We live in such an "Instant Gratification Generation" and sometimes it sucks..

    This quote seems to work here:

    "If you think what you thought, you will get what you got."