I know you have very wide tastes, but I see more rock, blues, jazz and pop than expected. Good! I noticed in particular Tom Waits’ “Orphans”, a really cool little box from one of my favourite artist. It’s one of the rare case, in my opinion, of a box that includes previously unrealeased material and it’s nearly at the same level of some of the official albums from an artist. Do you agree?
Absolutely! “Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards” it’s another work of art from Waits, in its own terms and nothing less important than any other record from him. Being it a compilation makes it even more precious and rare.
And you spotted right, I do like diferent kinds of music but specially electronica, jazz, rock, experimental and improvised music. Usually I follow the ones that push and twist their genres in an alternative way, the ones thay found or are finding their own particular sound, the ones that “don´t go with the flow”.
I’ve noticed the cover of Mark Hollis solo album. My god… it’s one of the most beautiful, mysterious and depressing records I own. And with an incredibly creepy cover! Did you ever understand what the hack is that stuff in the photo? I made my hypothesis but never got to any conclusion.
It’s really great to know that you also love it because this record it’s a masterpiece and one of the most underrated and forgotten albuns of all time. In a “perfect world” this would be one of the most revered and loved ones.
It’s the only solo album from Mark Hollis and then he completely disappeared from the music business. He stopped making music publicly which is very sad for the few of us who love this musician.
This record follows the two last records from his group, Talk Talk: “Spirit of Eden” and “Laughing Stock”. These two are, again: almost forgotten masterpieces. Unfortunately they broke up soon after and never played it live. The solo album from Hollis it’s more silent and sparse but the same mood and approach is there.
I’ve made some research and the cover photo is from a “Sardinian Easter Bread designed to resemble the lamb of god”!
An amazingly “simple” black and white photograph from Stephen Lovell-Davis who has previously photographed the band Talk Talk for the “Spirit of Eden” record. For me it looked like a strange cookie for the very first time that I saw it.
“Sardinian Easter Bread designed to resemble the lamb of god”? Oh MY God! I didn’t know… Interesting. Looks like a mutilated lamb, yes, made of bread (at least I’ve guessed the material!).
I agree with you about the two last albums from Talk Talk, and of course about the one of Hollis. Funnily enough, I’ve discover it through my long time friend Giuseppe Ielasi. Before, I only knew (and was fan) of the early pop Talk Talk records. I think that Giuseppe, like you, are both estimators of ’emptiness’ in music, of spaces between one sound and another, right? The first phase of Grain of Sound was quite oriented in this direction. In some of the releases the concept was (partially) connected to this sort of ’empty spaces between things/sounds…
Yes, I think we can call it a first phase for Grain of Sound because it was much more electronic oriented and minimal and that sense of the “in between” was present in several releases.
Then the also ever present desire to explore the very tiny detail of sound, construct and develop more sounds and music from there, expanded. We’ve started to release “other music”, some not even electronic like the band that David Maranha put together to release one of the most amazing records on Grain of Sound, “Marches Of The New World”.
Grain of Sound still is that inspirational name and concept for me, to release my projects and other artists’ music that I also think have this love for sound. Be it electronic or acoustic, minimal or not but a music that shows this love for sound and how to compose and improvise from it.
Talking about ‘phases’, I don’t want to go too much on the personal side but… I’ve seen you in years go back and forth, in and out from the ‘music business’, but I suppose that music has always been central in your life, at least as a listener. What made you come back now? I see your new Ghent project, and new initiatives in Lisbon where you are involved. Has it something to do (also) with the development of Portugal? More than a friend of mine visited your country in the last moths and they were impressed on how it’s somehow ‘growing’, compared to the decaying situation (in art, culture, economics…) of many other countries in Europe.
No, it’s not because of this kind of hype around Lisbon right now. Or the recent economic recovery of Portugal. It has always been a matter of finding a balance between the “real life” and the artistic life. Unfortunately, I have to separate both because it’s been impossible to live only from my personal or collective artistic efforts.
Lisbon has been a very lively city with a strong experimental music scene for the last thirty years, be it more of contemporary jazz, electronica or purely improvised music. The cities of Porto and Braga (in the north of Portugal) or Barreiro (near Lisbon) are also active in this field for many years now. I think all this has been also inspirational for me, to go ahead and do my part, sometimes as a sound artist and others as the co-founder of Grain of Sound and the Sonic Scope Festival, which we’ve started in Lisbon in 2001. So, it’s been always like this for me, to find that balance, since I’ve started performing live in the late nineties.
You’re right when you say that music is central for me. Vital, I must say. I’ve started buying records when I was 13 years old and going to concerts regularly since I was 15. And it never stopped.
Nuno Moita is a portuguese sound artist and experimental photographer, born in Lisboa in 1970. Co-founder of the Grain of Sound label and the Sonic Scope festival. Owner of Rare Vault, online record shop, founded in 2017.
https://www.discogs.com/artist/776453-Nuno-Moita | https://m.facebook.com/nunomoita.photography | www.grainofsound.org | www.rarevault.net
Photo by Ana Jesuíno