There’s something about Marcus Fischer’s music that fits this season. Last year, a lot of listeners shared how the snowstorms they were homebound by were the perfect backdrop to Marcus’s reflections. As another year closes, I am so excited to share another conversation with this wonderful artist. This isn’t something I expected, but Marcus has been really giving of his time and it was his suggestion to do a follow-up. In the spirit of the season, I’m very thankful to have gotten to know him better.
Since episode 5, Marcus has been (for lack of a much better word) busy. He completed the Rauschenberg Residency and released the follow-up to 2010’s ‘Monocoastal’ — ‘Loss’, which is absolutely stunning. He established an experimental power trio with Paul Dickow and William Selman called Wild Card, which toured with High Plains at the end of this past summer. He’s been performing with Lisa Schonberg’s Secret Drum Band. He recorded another collaboration with 12k’s Taylor Deupree called ‘Lowlands’. And I’m sure I’m missing something.
This episode digs beyond his output as an artist to explore the internal processes that inform his approach, especially as an improviser.
As always, the music from each of these projects and partnerships weaves throughout the episode, which can all be purchased as digital or characteristically breathtaking physical objects on Bandcamp.
Grab a warm cup of tea and dive in.
‘Loss’ on 12k
‘Lowlands’ on IIKKI
Marcus Fischer’s back catalog
Secret Drum Band
next episode: Joshua Saddler (ioflow)
prev episode: Karl Fousek
The first time I heard Emily Sprague’s music was on lines. Somebody posted a video of hers, ‘Three Sisters + Harmonic Oscillator’, that had captured their attention as a high watermark…and it’s easy to understand how. The straightforward and earnest exploration of a beautiful module, through a looped melody you could listen to for hours, seemed the work of a seasoned pro. Somebody else commented, revealing that the synthesist was Emily Sprague from the band Florist. While they brought up that Emily had just started working with modular synths in the last year, digging deeper revealed that the video was actually made in her second week.
Beyond the quality of her music, which has only swelled over the last year, what’s fascinating about Emily’s work is how public her process has been. While most whittle away for months, releasing new work only after long incubation, Emily seems to revel in sharing each step of her growth in realtime — a direct response to the trajectory of her own self-education.
If you’re new to modular synthesis, this is the episode for you. If you’re deeply settled, this is the episode for you. Emily has retained a beginner’s mind while leveraging her rich decade-long background as a musician, producer and engineer to create music that is playful and emotional, while remaining technically impressive.
As you’ll notice, there are more music breaks in this episode than previous ones — due to my own fandom and Emily’s generosity, you’re the first to hear the demos that will make up her much-anticipated modular album (out now: Water Memory).
Beyond her talents, Emily is an insightful and passionate addition to the lines community and personally, I hope that her reflections help anyone who feels that their voice is un or under-represented in this field to join the conversation at llllllll.co
next episode: Karl Fousek
prev episode: Lines Community Remix Project
Marcus Fischer has been a staple figure in modern ambient and experimental music for the better part of the last decade. Characterized by his masterful use of tape loops, Fischer’s works also build space and emotion through layers of baritone guitar and modular synths. His solo debut, ‘Monocoastal’, was released on 12k in 2010 to international acclaim. Over the course of his career, he has partnered with several artists: Matt Jones (as Unrecognizable Now), Ted Laderas/The OO-Ray, Simon Scott, Devin Underwood. His collaborations with Taylor Deupree, with whom Fischer released ‘Twine’ in 2015, are masterclasses in shared voice and restraint.
Fischer is a longstanding member of lines, the online community that surrounds Eurorack module and instrument maker monome.
To explore and support Fischer’s work, please visit:
Special support for this episode came from:
Jason Wehmhoener, Evan Hartzell, Thorsten Vieth, Nick Sanborn, Rodrigo Constanzo, Brian Anderson, Robert Pitts, and Brian Crabtree
Photo credit: Brian Young www.instagram.com/losingtoday/
Part two: Marcus Fischer (pt.2)
Next episode: Piotr Szyhalski (Labor Camp)
Prev episode: Angela Guyton