MM:046 – Scott Gilmore
In a recent appearance on Giles Peterson’s Worldwide FM, Ibiza based DJ Mark Barrott played a host of forthcoming pieces from his increasingly brilliant International Feel Recordings. He opened things up with a sublime new cut from Scott Gilmore’s debut LP. ‘Europe’, a gloriously tranquil piece of music, is the sonic equivalent to a single feather slowly drifting through a meadow in the wind and one of the most pleasing musical moments of the year so far. At it’s core Gilmore’s music reaches for this kind of feeling, an understated sense of bliss. It’s just one of many exceptional moments on the California natives excellent debut release, aptly titled, ‘Subtle Vertigo’.
Gilmore, born and raised in Los Angeles, acquired much of his unusual recording gear at yard sales and second hand shops in his local area. Most notable are his use of a quarter inch reel to reel tape machine and among other things, a bamboo saxophone. Considering how they came into his ownership it’s fitting that his music should be so rich with nostalgia. A sound that exists in a similar space to the airy guitar and soft swaying synths of Air’s Moon Safari. In it’s totality ‘Subtle Vertigo’ is an incredibly accomplished, diverse and complex debut that I can testify as a perfect companion for an afternoon walk along the canals of Berlin, basked in sunshine.
We spoke with Scott about putting together a mixtape and he dutifully delivered a brilliant collection of tracks from all over the map, including a bunch of cassette rarities alongside his own works, including a couple of tracks from the new LP. There’s even a charming home recording composed at a party where guests were taken into a studio throughout the night to record vocals. Over the course of the three-quarter hour we’re taken through the cinematic worlds of 1980s Japanese synth-pop, to sauntering Noughties electronica, into blissful Ethio-jazz, Dutch gypsy Jazz and 70s Canadian ambient. Despite such cultural diversity there’s a quality to each track that resonates with Gilmore’s own sound, and perhaps most keenly is that sense of nostalgia.
‘Subtle Vertigo’ dropped on International Feel on Friday 16th June, swing by your local record store and grab a copy, it’s worth every penny.
I spoke with Scott about his mix, his superb new record and some of his musical influences. You can also find a tracklist at the bottom of the page.
Hey Scott, can you tell us a bit about the mix you’ve made for us?
The songs on this mix are a collection tunes I’ve slowly discovered over the years with a few of my own in there as well. I also included a track (Gogie Girl) which was recorded with a group of friends at a party about 10 years ago. Musician and DJ, Austin Hinkle wrote the song and over the course of the night Kenny Gilmore, Austin and I would pull people away from the party and into the studio to have them sing or play an instrument. Kenny mixed and bounced it down that night. He recently gave me a copy of it and I haven’t heard it since the night we made it. I am happy to include it on the mix.
There’s some great finds, pretty obscure stuff, are you a big record collector?
I’ve never been an avid collector. I do have a small collection that I’ve slowly built upon over the years. My collection is mostly made up of jazz records, which were given to me by an old school teacher. Luckily I have friends who are collectors, and when we get together, I am exposed to new stuff.
That Tsige Roman track is wonderful but I couldn’t find much about it online, where did you hear it?
I bounced it from a cassette a friend had leant me. I’m not sure where he picked it up. On the cover it says ‘USA copyright 1993,’ and in the liner notes it gives “many thanks to Studio A.S. Addis Ababa.” I wish I could point you in more of a distinct direction, but that’s all the information I have about it.
You’ve just released your debut LP ‘Subtle Vertigo’ with International Feel, one of my favorite labels – how did that connection come about?
When I was finished with the recordings from Volume 01, I made a CD of it and gave it out to several friends. DJ and Co-founder of Dublab, Frosty, happened to hear it played, he reached out to me and we began e-mailing each other. I would send him new material as I finished it. He offered to contact a few labels, which he thought would be fitting for the type of music I was making. International Feel was one of them. Mark Barrott expressed interest and we began discussing a release.
The album sounds fantastic, such a soothing sonic palette, was it a completely solo project?
Yes. I use recording as a way to write out my music. As I am writing, I try not to be too attached to any single part in a song. Working alone, I’ve found it very conducive to this process of editing. It allows me to throw anything away and to not worry about whether another person is attached to it. I am then able to really explore with no judgement of how it sounds. The one aspect of the record which is a contribution from someone else are the words on ‘Subtle Vertigo.’ They were written for the song by Cate Kennan, who is also the one speaking on the recording.
What are you working on now that the LP is done?
I am working on several new songs. I am combining new synthesizers and broadening my library of drum machine samples. There are so many drum sounds out there, and I am taking my time, finding the tones that seem to fit best within each song. This is a new process for me. I first began using only a TR-606 drum machine and would record straight from the instrument. Widening this approach to encompass the thousands of drum sounds available has made my recordings open up in a new way. I am also currently putting together a live set and am preparing for some upcoming shows.
Who would you describe as your biggest musical influences?
YMO, Frank Zappa, Arthur Russel, Kraftwerk, Captain Beefhart, Stereolab, Cluster and Ethiopian Music from the 70’s and 80’s.
Finally can you suggest a couple of records for our readers to check out that they perhaps haven’t heard of to date, a couple of hidden gems if you will?
The Kingston Band – an Ethiopian group from sometime in the past. There are cassettes of their music around, but they are hard to find. I wish I had more information on them – all I know about them is their name.
The Complete Recordings of The Port Of Harlem Jazzmen. Recorded in the late 30’s and originally released on 78s. It was rereleased by Mosaic Records in 1984. Really loose, mellow jazz.
Location At Hollywood – Variete
For the Trees – Matmos
Gogie Girl – The Gogie Band
Music for Deeper Sleep – Gontiti
Please Be Kind – Django Reindhardt
Fikir Bezerefa – Tsigie Roman
Pieced Together – Scott Gilmore
Symphony for a Spider – Plant Mort Garson
E70 No. 01 – Scott Gilmore
Pure Jam – YMO
Tides – Scott Gilmore
Afternoon Jam – Scott and Kenny Gilmore
Words & interview by Jack Hardwicke.