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MusicUnderFire | April 16, 2014

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Premiere: The Pictish Trail – Of Course You Exist (Zoon van snooK remix)

Premiere: The Pictish Trail – Of Course You Exist (Zoon van snooK remix)
Brendan
  • On 06/06/2012
  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/108570879638461359497

At the heart of every indie label, there’s a driven individual (or two) who just can’t keep their hands off of all of the fun musical equipment (take Germany Germany for example).  In this case, Pictish Trail is Fence Record‘s very own Johnny Lynch, who (alongside Kenny Anderson) is the self-driven singer-songwriter leading the charge of his own project.

Lynch remains steadfast in his efforts to continue the music he’s making under Pictish Trail, as well as many others by means of mini-albums, EPs and collaborative projects such as this sweet little track titled “Of Course You Exist”. 

Zoon van snooK, whose Lego mountain climbers we featured last month, weaves a dreamy netting over the complex rhythms and wind instruments we hear shimmering in the background.  Truly, this track is other-worldly; a prized concoction Kruder & Dorfmeister are likely gnarling their teeth at.  The genius behind the progressive meters laid down here are memorizing.

Of Course You Exist (Zoon van snooK remix) by The Pictish Trail

In addition to their Snook’s collaboration with The Pictish Trail, the two exchanged words via interview style.  Snook dives into his remixing style, influences and recommendations:

1. Hello there Zooooon. Thanks for the remix, dude. Love it. It’s like you’ve taken the dream section of the original song and made it ten times dreeeeamier. What’s your usual approach to remixing?

Thank you for asking me to do it sir!

Normally I listen through the original once and try to hear what sound will be my ‘hook’, it could be a melody, rhythmic section or vocal snippet. I always like to use as many parts of the original as possible but manipulated so that they would be almost impossible to decipher even by the writer. I love the accidental parts of a song, so I then listen to each of the individual parts intently, looking for sounds, notes, or glitches that are buried in the mix.
For the Fujiya & Miyagi and Dextro mixes I took the sound of people breathing in between brass/woodwind/vocal takes and created a rhythm track. My Benni Hemm Hemm remix features the hidden whispered dialogue that was going on near the microphones of the backing vocalists – I treated them and brought them forward in the mix so It’s a key part of the tune. So all of my remixes feature the real organic elements that went into making the original. The (unofficial) Radiohead remix includes a rhythm track of me counting pasta into a jar!!When possible I like to play/sing on a mix to give it a little bit of ‘me’, e.g. glocks on the Darwin Deez mix or Wurlitzer organ at the end of the Lost Idol track (all on Sound Cloud). I can normally squeeze a bit of piano in there somewhere!2. What exactly is Zoon van snooK? Are you always a solo entity? Do you play live shows, at all?

ZvS is a solo studio project, but I have a fellow keyboardist/bass player/noise merchant who does the live shows with me sometimes. We did a week long tour of the Netherlands last year which was great, which was booked through a great little Bristol independent label called Inner City Grit. The last live shows I did was completely solo – which was a lot of work but very enjoyable. I use a lappy running Ableton and a launchpad, a keyboard, sample pads to play the rhythms live and then acoustic instruments like melodica, tin whistle, stylophone, percussion etc. and also a mic for harmonising on one or two songs. I run everything through the new Kaoss Pad so it means that I can improvise with the rhythms/melodic sections so that it will be kind of different every time. I did two showcases at NXNE in Toronto last June which were absolutely great, I loved it there – can’t wait to go back. I had a showcase at SXSW this year but sadly couldn’t secure the funding – it’s a tricky mistress is that!!3. How are things at the moment? You got any new stuff out?

I’ve just had a remix LP released to accompany the debut LP on Mush Records, it’s called ‘(Remixes from) The Nutty Tree’ and features some of my very favourite artists including Tunng, who have been a big influence on me, daedelus – who is a bit of a genius in my eyes and most importantly, my biggest contemporary keyboard influence: Cian Ciaran of Super Furry Animals (Kirkland). SFA have been my favourite band since the mid 90s – scuzzy Welsh, techno-folk – what’s not to like!!!

I already had 90% of the remix album confirmed before I got involved with Mush, it was probably a good deal breaker actually!!
It’s available on iTunes as we speak!!

I’ve just finished my second album proper. It’s called ‘The Bridge Between Life & Death’. Each song is built around a different field recording that I took when I was in Iceland at the end of 2009 and is named after a bridge in Kópavogur that the locals call The Bridge Between Life & Death because there is a nursing home on one side and the cemetery on the other. Each song and the LP as a whole is based around this theme. I have a great icelandic artist working on the artwork as we speak, I hope to have one of the Icelandic labels involved just to finish the whole project off.

I feel really blessed to have collaborations on there with more of my favourite artists including Amiina, Sin Fang and Benni Hemm Hemm. As with the first LP, I play all of the instruments, including a lyre on ‘Lyre! Lyre!!’ – I think some people thought that the first record was all loops and samples because of the nature of how I edit and produce the songs. The second one still has soft elements of glitch but it’s produced from the background noises of the field recordings themselves – it’s more acoustic/organic sounding than the first.

Iceland has been a huge influence on me, ever since hearing Sigur Ros’s ‘Ágætis byrjun’ at the end of the 90s and then Mum’s ‘Finally we are no-one’ (The genius of Bjork goes without saying – but these two bands completely changed the way I thought about writing music).

4. You’ve also remixed a James Yorkston song, eh? What was your first introduction to Fence? Have you ever been part of a collective?

I was introduced to Fence through Kieran Hebden’s involvement with James’s records. I love Fridge and obviously Four tet stuff and so found the label through investigating Jame’s records many years ago. I worked in a record shop for 8 years (living the dream!!) and so it was my job to be on top of things like this as well. It went bust shortly after the one that Kenny was working in at the time.
I haven’t been part of a collective as such, but Bristol has a very rich history of music and musicians, so the well of talent that we can all draw upon exists for everyone to dip into – we love a bit of incest in the South West!!!

5. What else are you listening to – any recommendations?

I’ve been listening to the ‘Cheek Mountain Thief’ new record which is out in August. It’s Mike from Tunng’s new project, which also features an Icelandic band, we’ve got a wee collaboration on there which is a ruddy honour!!

I went to see Tortoise here in Barcelona in the week, who were absolutely amazing, so I’ve been revisiting all of their LPs.

The new Get The Blessing album ‘OC DC’ is sounding brilliant, (members of Portishead/Bristol jazz players).

I’ve also been revisiting Clark’s ‘Body Riddle’ album, some of the best electronic music ever written in my very humble opinion.

Keep tabs on these fellas:

Zoon van snooK via Facebook
The Pictish Trail via Facebook

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