The author of the mix is Nigel Yang, an Australian guitarist and producer who lives and works in Sydney, but for the last years he has been residing in London and Berlin. Along with a lead vocalist and co-producer Jonnine Standish he forms a significant band HTRK, pronounced as ‘Hate Rock’, that emerged in Melbourne in 2003. It is worth to mention that one of the co-founders of the band bassist Sean Stewart unfortunately committed a suicide in 2010. R.I.P. The aims of HTRK were to create a project inspired by Lynchian imagery, using phlegmatic mechanical repetition, melancholic lyrics, simple groove-laden basslines and highly textured noisy guitar arrangements. Inspired by Rowland S. Howard, Mika Vainio and Suicide, HTRK always continued to experiment with different synthesisers and drum machines. In a decade HTRK has released numerous of critically acclaimed albums and singles on authoritative labels such as Ghostly International, Blast First Petite, Mistletone Records and Fire Records. Ghostly International was probably the essential label that greatly assisted HTRK to gain worldwide recognition. Their album “Work (work, work)”, EPs such as “Eat Yr Heart/Sweetheart” and not long ago released split LP (with Tropic Of Cancer) “Part Time Punks Radio Sessions” were quickly spread and praised at the biggest media channels. Also it is a sin not to mention amazing HTRK videos such as “Bendin’” by Nathan Corbin or “Synthetik” by Pussykrew and many more of their memorable creations. HTRK’s new album which was recorded at Blazer Sound Studios in New Mexico is coming out in early 2014. Even a band is ultra busy at the moment, Nigel Yang has found time and willingness to compile and record symbolic 80th mix for Secret Thirteen journal.
“Secret Thirteen Mix 080” is a meditative and conceptual audio journey through different cultures and times. Selection consists of 8 tranquil and lengthy records that were released between 1977 and 2012. However, it is hard to define the period of time in every composition as each of them is absolutely unique. Most of the works are enriched with strong ethnic, world music motives. Compositions by honorable talents such as Pandit Pran Nath, Jon Hassell, Luc Ferrari, Steve Roden and others simply inspire and captivate. In the most of these pieces the performer is exhibiting one’s inner calm, a sense of control and a fluid approach to music which is dramatically transcending the urban everyday environment we are living in, an environment which is often rigid, geometric and violent. These performers fictionally create a secret and private space where you can find your inner-peace or just to be yourself. It is not a rotational mix because the mix pace reflects Nigel’s relatively low rate of music consumption. As Nigel states he does not like too many changes, too many individuals and egos mixed in a too short period of time. He lets pieces to play almost completely in order to retain the psychological and sometimes psychedelic effects that he experienced while he was listening to these mesmerizing tracks. The importance of this mix is not quantity, but quality and complete solidity. The basis of the mix stands on the sustained sublime atmospheres, lively recorded improvised instrumentation parts, diverse field-recordings and in some parts arising suggestive vocals. It is hard to explain technical side of this mix as it focuses much more on the visionary narrative than on blank statistics or mathematics. This smoothly developing and gradually expanding picturesque selection could require accumulation, patience and openness of the listener to fully absorb its crystal beauty and to achieve an encoded cosmic feeling.
John William Waterhouse. Sleep and His Half Brother Death, 1874.
“Secret Thirteen Mix 080” is like an enigmatic and dramatic John William Waterhouse’s romanticistic painting “Sleep and his Half-brother Death” where two figures lethargically reclined side by side in an artistic interior are touched with moonlight and its whole mystery. Foggy shadows and sleepy aura expressively shroud the intimate surroundings in a painting and the strange likeness and unlikeness of the recumbent figures are taking control of the unconscious. Waterhouse’s masterpiece is oddly mirroring HTRK’s ethereal selection in two perspectives: it holds a perplexing composure and a penetrating parallel worlds existence sense, also interprets a lucid dreaming that is Nigel’s nowadays exploratory object. Moreover same as the painting HTRK’s mix goes from diverse emotional substances starting with divinity, calmness, proximity and finishing with confusion, inner chaos and hidden depression. It should be highlighted that this mix starts with a midnight raga (one of the melodic modes used in Indian classical music which traditionally is only meant to be performed (and heard) at midnight) and follows its mood almost during the whole mix, so we suggest to play it at midnight to have a maximum effect of its magic. Nigel captured psychological dimensions in pieces as moderate and unforgettable as the sequences of enlightening dream. HTRK’s timeless selection is dedicated to all devoted guardians of metaphysics and spirituality.
1. Pandit Pran Nath – 21 VIII 76 NYC Raga Malkauns [Just Dreams, 2002]
2. Omit – ReTainer (live) [Pseudo Arcana, 2012]
3. Jon Hassell – Blues Nile [Lovely Music, 1977]
4. Brian Eno – Lizard Point [Editions EG, 1982]
5. Werkbund – Rungholts Verklärung [Walter Ulbricht Schallfolien, 2010]
6. Rinus Van Alebeek / Luc Ferrari – Tape 1, Side A [Mathka, 2011]
7. Steve Roden – Airria (Hanging Garden) Second Version [Sirr, 2003]
8. Takami – Dark Woods [LLE, 1985]