MYSTERY SEA 71 | mites | [something to ponder upon for a restless soul like you]


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...To look for that something you couldn't think of, something you couldn't have thought of by yourself. Something that has nothing to do with emotion or thought. Like producing a machine. This machine grows hands and invents meanings.

- Inbal Milgrom, February 2011

"...An uncertain green,
Piano-polished, held the tranced machine

Of ocean, as a prelude holds and holds,
Who, seeing silver petals of white blooms
Unfolding in the water, feeling sure

Of the milk within the saltiest spurge, heard, then,
The sea unfolding in the sunken clouds?..."

- Wallace Stevens, Sea Surface Full Of Clouds, 1923


Coming seemingly out of nowhere, like a well kept secret, Mites is the moniker under which Grisha Shakhnes, an Israeli musician,
has chosen to assemble his peculiar sounds...regular frequentation of a local venue called Zimmer, virtually the only place for experimental music, nurtured a growing love for the use of tapes, and the analog way of doing things...frequent impro sessions with other people contributed to the elaboration of a sound identity... Most of Mites' soundworks so far rely on almost non edited, collaged live sets based i.a. on tapes studded mainly with field recordings...via the use of multiple cassette players, focused structures & juxtapositions spiced with a substrate of noise, his soundworks come out as being both rough edged, but also astutely sewn together and very organic...On his behalf so far, 3 self-released cdrs and a praised one on Alamut "nothing's gonna change"...

"something to ponder upon for a restless soul like you", his MS material rings out like a precious warning, or perhaps a philosophy precept...

Whispers circle in a confined room...
the same compulsive gestures, a feeling of discomfort...
A languorous clamouring rises up,
obsolete mechanisms lead their own life...
A grey veil, layers of dust...
a trembling unlit urban theatre...

Birds sing concrete songs within an eroded circus...
asive wind, & continuous unreeling...
abundance of life in the backyard...

Stones tell strange tales,
stories of lost freedom & deep fears...
A non-stop motion ending in friction,
the echo of the void...

"something to ponder upon for a restless soul like you" flows like a murky river straight into the haze...
emitting some flickers piercing the enveloping night...
and the day-to-day hum becomes roads to oblivion...

Lengthy rotations, eclipses, homespun sceneries retag our unconscious...
here is the seeding of vast questions, the triumph over superficiality,
a poetic act of weight...


01. for a restless soul like you
02. brighter
03. kings real and imaginary
04. well c'mon, its' just snow
05. something to ponder upon




CDR ltd to 100 numbered copies


THE FIELD REPORTER post 68|Alan Smithee   --- NEW !

This is an interview with Grisha Shakhnes (Mites) about this very interesting and beautiful release.

Q) Is there a specific premise, subject or idea you tried to articulate through “Something to ponder upon for a restless soul like you”?
A) No. For me, it’s just music. I don’t really care for concepts and such.

Q) On “Something to ponder…” what method did you use: did you capture the sounds specifically for this project?
A) No. I have an ever growing library of about 130-150 tapes and I choose from them.

Q) How important is the process of listening in your work an in “Something to ponder..” in particular? / How you select the sounds you record? Is it a merely intuitive process or there is some sort of plan or preconceived idea?
A) It’s very important. I always have an idea of what I want in mind, but its always more about dynamics/structure. The sounds I am playing dictate my next choice during the piece. I wouldn’t call it intuitive, it’s not a gut feeling, I listen, I think and i choose accordingly.

Q) There is a very particular and beautiful crudeness quality to the sonorities in “Something to ponder upon for a restless soul like you”, are you aware of that? if so how you articulate this sonorities with your experience with the actual sounds when you recorded them?
A) I am very aware of this, naturally. Besides being a side effect of materials I use (cassettes), it’s a very important quality for me. A lot of field recordings based works i hear go for the nice and ambient, I think it’s a very small part of out surroundings. Maybe i just want to show that you don’t have to look very hard and far to find fascinating things. You just have to listen. Plus, I like to offer a certain challenge to the listener.

Q) Seems like “Something to ponder..” is mostly based on unedited captures, using long fragments of recordings is merely a formal / aesthetic choice or it has to do with the nature of this particular work?
A) Well, yes and no. This is how I work. I do not stick fragments together during editing, I record live (and sometimes edit afterwards, cutting the unnecessary bits). With this release I tried to stay more or less within the framework Daniel wants for his label, so it’s quite static on the average, but i think it’s quite representative of what I usually do.

Q) What is the importance of “Something to ponder..” in your process as an artist?
A) As for the release, and it’s importance for me, it felt more like a side step. I tried to do something very specific music wise. it was an interesting challenge, but I am not sure I would do it again. The next CD I recorded, “It’s something, but it’s not tomorrow”, is quite different.

I would like to thank Grisha Shakhnes for this answers and his time and hope this interview offers us an insight to this very powerful work.


VITAL WEEKLY 802|Frans De Waard   --- NEW !
Grisha Shakhnes is Mites, and he hails from Israel. I believe this is his first release in Europe. His music is based on field recordings, which is hardly a surprise if you end up on Mystery Sea, I'd say. But unlike other he tapes them to cassettes and then in a sort of live situation he plays those recordings and does a meta-collage of said recordings. That adds a certain rawness to the music, a kind of noisy-ness which is very nice, and something that is not heard a lot in this particular corner of the musical world. Of course its not really noise in a HNW kind of way, but its an electrical undercurrent which is quite loud at tomes such as in 'Well, C'mon, It's Just Snow', which may indeed sound like snow falling on an electric board. Mites plays all five, three of which are very lengthy, pieces in a minimal vein, slowly but steadily evolving to keep the attention of the listener. A work full of promise I'd say, room for improvement and some fascinating sound events. Raw and untamed, this is certainly something fresh in the world of field recording.
vital weekly

JUST OUTSIDE|Brian Olewnick    --- NEW !
Trying to quantify what it is about the music of Grisha Shakhnes (mites) that's so fundamentally appealing, I hit upon a number of things, to be sure, but foremost is usually the sense of commitment I get, of having a strong basic idea and seeing it through, for exactly the length of time it requires. Shakhnes uses field recordings pretty much but with such a deft hand and ear. As is often the case, print descriptions are pretty valueless; suffice it to say that he tends toward the grainy and sooty but with great depth and a wonderful knack for opposing and mixing textures. Every track in each disc is strong, all of them capable of being listened to and examined numerous times with new detail and structural relationships emerging on each occasion. On the Mystery Sea disc, they linger at mid-volume level save for the "climax", as it were, in the penultimate cut when the dynamics surge; it's a drama that feels well earned.

Don't let this slip through--really excellent work.
just outside