Counter Silence debut album – Out Now!

Subexotic returns to the fray this month with the release of Knowing the right question to ask, the debut LP from Counter Silence, otherwise known as Southend based composer/producer Col Ventura. Drawing comparisons with the classic work of Harold Budd and Brian Eno, as well as the more recent solo forays of The Necks’ Chris Abrahams, Knowing the right question to ask is a beguilingly immersive, spectral and otherworldly work.

The album kicks off with an early highlight in the shape of ‘A distance left to travel’, with its slow motion bell-like tones eerily reminiscent of a music box winding down to stillness. Piano appears to be more conventionally utilised on ‘In the brightness, we would linger’, but the notes seem almost to have been dragged backwards out of a silence into which they had previously disappeared. The tempo is upped by Side 1 closer ‘The balance of possibilities’, with its chiming jauntiness suggestive of a malfunctioning automaton playing the marimbas. Side 2 opens with ‘Wonderlust’ departing most clearly from the album’s core focus on keyboard work, with its gentle ebbing and flowing drones offset by an accumulation of distant gong and wind chimes. The album reaches an apotheosis of radiant sonic stasis with the blinking starfield of ‘All secrets dance in time’, before the final piece, ‘We, who stand still’, insinuates the tiniest hint of unease into proceedings, with its queasy slithering quality suggesting the nightmare that clings to the underside of the dream.

Knowing the right question to ask has already received some welcome exposure with the inclusion of the track ‘When the clocks have stopped’ on The Wire magazine’s Wire Tapper 33 compilation CD, and airplay on BBC Radio 3’s influential Late Junction programme.

Head over to the Subexotic online shop to secure your copy of Knowing the right question to ask – available on digital (MP3 or WAV), CD, or vinyl.

Counter Silence featured on Late Junction

The Counter Silence track ‘When the clocks have stopped’, recently included in The Wire magazine’s Wire Tapper 33 CD, made an appearance on BBC Radio 3’s influential Late Junction programme this week. Late Junction host Max Reinhardt has also previously played music from fellow Subexotic artist Blank Disco, and we are proud to have received ongoing support from such a prestigious source.

‘When the clocks have stopped’ is taken from Counter Silence’s debut album, Knowing the right question to ask, which is released on 3rd February 2014.

Counter Silence album release date announced, and video unveiled

Release date for the spellbinding new Counter Silence album, Knowing the right question to ask, has now been set for 3rd February 2014. The album will be available on hand cut vinyl, CD and download, and includes ‘When the clocks have stopped’, which was recently featured on The Wire magazine’s Wire Tapper 33 compilation CD. For those of you who can’t wait until February, there are still a few special sneak preview vinyl copies available in our online store.

As a taster for the release, we’re pleased to be able to unveil a suitably enigmatic video for the track ‘Wonderlust’. Based on an original film by artist Tess Allard (aka Jeremy Exists), the video was shot on one of the last batches of Kodachrome stock ever to be processed. Enjoy!

Counter Silence limited pre-release LPs available now!

We have a strictly limited pre-release stock of the debut album from Counter Silence, Knowing the right question to ask, available to purchase now on hand-cut vinyl. We’re making these available to coincide with Counter Silence’s appearance on this month’s Wire Tapper CD, and it really is a limited supply, so don’t sleep. You can snap a copy up direct from our online store.

A date for the album’s full official release will be announced soon.

Counter Silence featured on The Wire Tapper 33

The Wire Tapper 33

Subexotic recording artist Counter Silence makes an appearence on the latest edition of The Wire magazine’s Wire Tapper CD. The disc comes attached to the cover of the November issue of the influential publication, which hits the shops today. The featured track, ‘When the clocks have stopped’, is taken from Counter Silence’s imminently forthcoming album, Knowing the right question to ask.

For a full tracklisting and more information, head over to the Wire Tapper 33 at the The Wire’s website.

Introducing Counter Silence

Counter Silence

Subexotic  Records are excited to unveil the latest addition to our roster – Counter Silence, aka Southend based composer/producer Col Ventura.

The debut album from Counter Silence, entitled Knowing the right question to ask, is in the can and release plans are well under way. The LP is likely to be hitting the shops in the next few months, and we’ll be announcing an exact release date shortly. We’re also very pleased to be continuing our ongoing involvement with The Wire magazine’s Wire Tapper series of compilation CDs, with a track from Counter Silence scheduled for inclusion in the November issue (out on October 17th).

Knowing the right question to ask is an assured collection of ambient pieces, both exquisitely dreamlike and achingly melancholy. Painstakingly constructed from intricately layered minimalist piano, subtly developing drones, and beautifully judged reverberation, Counter Silence music is spectral, otherworldly and strangely alluring.

The most obvious points of comparison for Knowing the right question to ask probably lie  with the early work of Harold Budd, together with the string of 1970s albums with which Brian Eno pretty much single-handedly defined the ambient genre. On a more contemporary note, the album at times possesses  a vibe that recalls the solo work of The Necks’ Chris Abrahams. Col also cites Miles Davis’ classic In A Silent Way as an aesthetic touchstone, and one can sense him reaching towards that feeling of cocooned immersion which Davis achieved so perfectly with his electric jazz landmark.

In keeping with his art school background, Col draws as much inspiration from the visual arts as he does from music, and in particular he aspires towards the shifting colour fields and dense layering found in the work of the abstract expressionists. Indeed, the visual arts connection extends to Col producing all the artwork for Knowing the right question to ask, and it is clearly no coincidence that the striking cover image was produced by layering multiple versions of a basic sketch and applying effects until a kind of uncanny organic abstraction is achieved, mirroring the techniques used to create his music.

Counter Silence. Against silence? Or silence as a kind of implacable response? The name is ambiguous, and deliberately so, perfectly evoking the music’s sense of existing at the cusp, emergent but veiled in a shroud of intangibility. The silence is golden.

Check out the Counter Silence artist page for more information and to stream a track from the album.

High Castle Mix latest instalment

The latest instalment of the High Castle Mix series from The Fractal Skulls’ Chris Smith is now available for your listening pleasure. Featuring more electronic obscurities, but with quite a different vibe from last time, this selection is well worth half an hour of your aural investment.

Listen to High Castle Mix 02 here

Fractal Skulls High Castle Mix

The Fractal Skulls

We highly recommend all readers to check out the new High Castle Mix by The Fractal Skulls’ Chris Smith. The mix includes some choice cuts of Krautrock and 70s electronic experimentation, alongside a recent new track from The Fractal Skulls which was premiered at the Sebright Arms show back in January. The first in a projected series of mixes that Chris will be producing, the man himself describes it as “a highly electronic and relaxed affair”, so lay back and prepare to get mellow. Is that a Philip K. Dick reference we detect?

Listen to High Castle Mix 01 here

Live footage from The Fractal Skulls show at The Sebright Arms

The Fractal Skulls’ Chris Smith recently made his live debut, supporting Helm and Tropa Macaca at The Sebright Arms in Bethnal Green, London. Chris turned out a mesmerising performance, playing a brace of tracks from his recent Subexotic album, Rayleigh Scattering, alongside a couple of intriguing new tunes and some improvised material. The show was well received by an appreciative audience, and we hope to see The Fractal Skulls back on stage soon.

We recorded the set for posterity, and the first footage is now available for your viewing pleasure. We’ll be posting up some more footage from the night soon, so watch this space.

Fractal Skulls live in London – January 2013

The Fractal Skulls

Details are now confirmed for an exciting London live date for The Fractal Skulls’ Chris Smith. Chris will be appearing on a bill put together by one of our favourite London promoters, Upset the Rhythm, at The Sebright Arms in Bethnal Green on Wednesday 23rd January, where he’ll be playing alongside Tropa Macaca and Helm.

More details are available at Upset the Rhythm’s website. Advance tickets are available from We Got Tickets, and there should be more on the door.

We hope to see you there!