300ad

Listen/purchase: Compost Golem

Like dropping cathedrals in a sea of static.

A huge, atmospheric and hugely distorted Doom Metal debut from this Ås-based duo. Sacral, winding riffs, despairing vocals and a crushing production sets this EP apart in a genre plagued with mediocrity. This is doom true to the name. We are proud to co-release this debut EP of Compost Golem.

Interview: Sharku

SHARKU - PUTEG by sharku

Sharku is an artist we recommended last week who cordially agreed to sit down and have a word with us. His music is a haunting amalgamation of hip hop, R&B, techno, and noise-filtered house…and that is hardly a fair description, to say the least. That his SOULGUTTED EP, released over 3 months ago, carries hallmarks of Andy Stott’s recently acclaimed Passed Me By LP is no small feat, and is a testament to the talent this relatively unknown producer possesses. Check out our interview below, listen to some samples, and keep your eye out for this Scandinavian musician…

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Sharku: hi!

The Kort: Hey man, how goes it?

S: All good, coffee and cigarettes :)

K: Let’s start with a little background, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

S: Well, I’m a recently Swedish but originally Norwegian electronic musician and DJ in my “early twenties”. I have been making music since I was 14-15, but I would say that I have become “serious” through the last two years. So that’s the cold facts, I think. I used to mainly make music alone as a hobby, but for the last two years I have started playing live, and I have also collaborated with other musicians. Notably the musicians’ collective 300AD in Oslo really inspired me to get more serious.


K: So you’ve become reinvigorated in the last 2 years through your work with 300AD…can you share some insight into 300AD as a collective?

S: Well, in addition to me there’s the “core” of Agen and Natassja, who started it together. They both DJ and produce as well as deal with the visual side of the projects. It really sprang out of us being friends and then starting to work as a creative collective, sharing ideas and tracks. I’ve mostly been involved with Agen, and making collaborative tracks with him…I feel the most important part of a collective is inspiring each other, and have high artistic expectations as a whole.

sharku & agen tearing up the toke again by agen

We have mostly been doing web releases so far, except for Natassja’s excellent DJ mixes, that has a cdr-release, but we have talked about trying to do some low-scale/high quality physical releases also.

K: I agree, it’s important to have like-minded individuals around you to encourage the creative process, you can feed off of each other’s productivity.

S: Exactly.

K: I see alot of Blackest Ever Black, Modern Love and Prefuse 73 on 300AD…Are these artists very influential for you guys?

 S: Oh yeah, and Demdike of course is a huge inspiration. About the Prefuse mixtape posted, for me, even though i really like Prefuse it’s more Zola Jesus that’s been inspiring me lately…I have been listening a lot to her.

K: How do you find the Tri Angle material?


S: I’m very fond of SALEM, but also Balam Acab are great… in terms of mood I really like the music from that scene, but I haven’t really submerged myself completely in it…

 K: It can be better to cherry-pick from different scenes, in an effort to create your own sphere of influence…Do you think your Scandinavian environment has an effect on what type of music you make?

S: Hmm… that’s difficult. I think that mood-wise there’s a lot of musical influences in Norway that have influenced my work, especially since I used to listen to black metal and a lot of stuff in the ambient electronic/avant jazz scene, like Biosphere, Supersilent…but directly, not especially, no. I think most young people today have a really international set of influences when it comes to (popular)music/culture.

K: That’s a cool way to look at it, that it’s more about the culture and media we consume that affects our tastes, than where we are located geographically.

 Now about SOULGUTTED…How did this come about? Produced in 6 days in March 2011?

S: yes.

K: Can you take us through your process on this? Maybe some of the equipment you utilized? The aesthetic of songs like “Alicia” struck me as very Andy Stott “Passed Me By” with the submerged, dragging production…

SHARKU - ALICIA by sharku

S: The very basic methodological approach came first. I set up some rules that would be the basic structure of the project. I sat in my apartment on a Sunday, deciding that I wanted to finish on Friday. I wanted to use one track from the R&B genre per tune, and limit myself to how I could manipulate those sounds into something other. Later came something like a feeling of what was happening when I dissected these tracks and reassembled them as my own golems, that’s where the SOULGUTTED concept came from.

I had a feeling of intimacy with the tracks that was almost obscene, but at the same time they really did not have any of their original “soul” left. As I remember I made both Alicia and Minoac in the course of one day, it was very intense. I didn’t use any equipment for SOULGUTTED except for Renoise, my sequencer. In terms of how the individual tracks came to sound how they sound it was an intuitive process, but I had a general idea of what i wanted to do with each one. And thank you for the Andy Stott-reference:)

K: It’s all quite impressive, not using outboard equipment, those first two tracks in a day…You mentioned you have started playing live more, what does your live show usually revolve around?

SHARKU - MINOAC by sharku

S: Well, it is pretty rudimentary at the moment, my laptop and a set of controllers, I improvise a bit and tweak. But I play a lot of stuff live that I haven’t released online, more heavy bass-centered stuff. Also I like to get physically engaged in the music when I play live, so there is dancing. I try to make up for the sparse set-up by acting out physically…But I have thoughts about different live concepts, more visual concepts, developing improvisation techniques etc.

K: Definitely. All an ongoing process, working on a live setup. One final question Sharku- you obviously love film and sampling from films, so what are 3 movies you’d recommend we check out?

S: Well, Django definitely, and I saw a crazy Greek movie the other day called Dogtooth, about a really psycho family where the parents have totally brainwashed kids. And also the Iranian movie Shirin.

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You can download Sharku’s SOULGUTTED EP for free here, and check out some of his other work here. Be sure to peep the 300AD site as well, these guys are on to something. Big ups Sharku and 300AD, this won’t be the last we hear of you, that much we’re sure.

The Top 10 Best-looking Men in China’s History (lecture notes)

飒飒东风细雨来,芙蓉塘外有轻雷。

金蟾啮锁烧香入, 玉虎牵丝汲井回。

贾氏窥帘韩掾少,宓妃留枕魏王才

春心莫共花争发,一寸相思一寸灰。

–A poem by Li Shangyin (Tang Dynasty)

Two criteria by which a man’s charisma is judged:

·        韩掾   [shào] : physical beauty, youth

·        魏王   [cái] : prodigious literary talent

韩掾 : Han Shou, ( ?- 300AD), a young advisor to the then Prime Minister, with considerable literary talent, remarkable beauty and oratory, won the heart of the daughter of his boss, subsequently visited the young lady’s bedchamber in a similar manner as Romeo did at Juliet’s. The two were eventually able to marry at the PM’s blessing, however, much to his annoyance, for the young man’s social status was no match to that of his bride.

魏王 :Cao Zhi, (192-232), prince of the Kingdom Wei. Often considered as unrivalled, throughout his era, in literary mastery, the prince was both young and Byronic. One great critic of his time even went so far as to claim that the prince accounted for 80% of China’s entire literary gravity. Envied and often victimised by his brother, the King, the prince died young and in dismay.

The ranking

My apologies.

I did mean to select 10 lethally charming men to present to you, hence the title, however, after much struggle, I have decided: there aren’t 10, in fact, there are only 6, to be categorised into three levels. 

The lethally good-looking, legendarily accomplished level:

No. 6 公孙阏

Gongsun Yan, a.k.a. Zidu (around 700s BC), member of the ruling acristocratic family in the Dukedom of Zheng, and, as a young man, was in the fantasy of every young woman in his time and his name remained iconic of such until this day in China.

Merit: arguably the most skilled martial artist and the most valiant military leader of his day in the Dukedom.

Downfall: lost to another general in a weight-lifting game, thence bearing grudge, and consequently, in an active battle, shot from behind and killed with an arrow the said general, for which crime, he was punished with death at a young age.

 

No.5 宋文公

Song Wengong ( ?-589 BC), younger brother of the Duke of Song. Hopelessly attracted to his youthful spirit and unearthly beauty, his grandmother (not biological), the young widow of the late duke his grandfather, took fancy to him and in a deliberately plotted accident murdered his brother the current duke and made him ruler and Duke of Song. He is considered as “the man who won a dukedom by beauty”.

Merit: able, wise and determined as a ruler, unlike his brother, he was much loved and cherished by his male subjects, and worshiped by the female ones.

Downfall: due to the inconvenient accident through which the duke gained power, he was constantly criticised and occasionally attacked by rulers of other dukedoms, therefore attracting consistent military threats from outside, and eventually died of exhaustion.

 

No. 4  卫阶

Wei Jie (286-312 AD), dubbed as the “jade man”, was a member of a politically distinguished family. From a very young age, he was pursued by female, sometimes also male, crowds whenever he appeared in public.

Merit: one of the top three orator/debater and philosophers of his time. He was often not allowed to speak by his protective mother, but when he did speak, the audience listened with a half-fallen jaw and danced in dreams to the tune of his speech.

Downfall: he was never robust in health, and at the age of 26, when he travelled to the southern capital city of Nanjing, he was pursued and surrounded by fan crowds who had heard too much about him and were determined to never let him go out of their sight, hence, he fell gravely ill due to the 24-hour all-weather hot pursuit. Later the same year, he died.

 

The level of the historic Sages both in beauty and in literature

No. 3 潘安

Pan An (247-300), as a young man, he was often trapped by large fanatic fan crowds in town, and when he decided to take a stroll in the more quiet suburbs, women ranging from teens to housewives pursued him and threw fruit into his carriage (not an unfriendly action), and by dusk when he returned home, he would have a whole carriage of fruit.

Merit: a giant of beauty as well as of literature, Pan An was a leading figure among the top men of letters of his time. His works can still be found and are read until this day. Although desperately handsome, he was an exemplary husband of loyalty. He met his wife when he was 12, and the two were thence betrothed, and married when they were grown. Years after the death of his wife, by then both still in their 20s, he mourned and wrote heart-sinking prose for the woman he had always loved. The prose is still read today and puts all men and women, who have loved, into tears.

Downfall: although an enormously talented man, Pan An was not wise in politics. He befriended the wrong lot and, in the end, brought ruin to himself and his family.

No. 2 宋玉

Song Yu (298BC- 222BC), rising from an obscure background, was the envy to everyone’s eye. The King envied him for his youth, the intellectual for his overwhelming outburst of talent, the clowns for his oppressive beauty. Words are too feeble to describe the awe.

Merit: in China’s literature hall of fame, his name is among those such as Confucius, Qu Yuan and Li Bai. His 《登徒子好色赋》 is a queer piece of art to have combined both beauty and genius in one single form to vanquish any challenges from the same category. One still laughs and sometimes sinks down on ones knees when reading it today.

Downfall: unrecorded.

The level of “The Only One”

No. 1 高长恭

Gao Changgong (541-573), Prince of Lanling, cousin of the King of Qi. His beauty and valour were a gift of heaven, which elevated him to a semi-deity status that had never been achieved before him and would never be reached again after him. His beauty was that which was unaccountable, contrasting that of other famously good-looking men, and unanswerable by any human devise, therefore, the beauty itself had transformed into a decisive force that changed tides in battle as well as in life. He knew it well, so that he often wore a mask to battle.

Masterpiece: in the year 560, at 19 years old, the prince, masked as usual, led a 500 strong cavalry to rescue the siege of Luoyang. The battle became a bloody tangle and the ally forces inside the castle were hesitating as they were unsure of the identity of the masked figure. At a moment of life and death, the prince removed the mask from his face. The world went quiet, gasped and frozen, and the next moment, the gate flung open, soldiers bewitched. The prince triumphed.

Downfall: increasingly envied by his cousin, the King, the prince enchanted the heart of the whole kingdom and blinded the public eye to such an extent that the King could no longer feel safe to rule. At the age of 32, the prince was awarded a glass of wine by royal appointment, one ingredient of which was the deadly 鸩.

#aqpspeak 5 STARS! “…Fast paced and richly layered, Sorcerer’s Heir hits the ground running in the first chapter and doesn’t slow up til the final page…the pace of the story never really relaxes, and grows larger and more complex with every chapter.” – WJR,Amazon.com Reviews 

Sorcerer’s Heir by @mdbenoit2.

Read an excerpt and/or purchase: http://www.amberquill.com/store/p/2042-Sorcerer-s-Heir.aspx

Pragmatic, cynical Jane Brockwell never gave magic a thought, so it comes as a shock when she awakes one day with magical powers and the ability to see the future through terrifying visions.

Almost immediately, Jane becomes embroiled in competing Guilds of witches and warlocks who want to recruit her. But it is soon obvious that her magic is different and immeasurably powerful, perhaps as potent as that of Demos the Great, the most revered and reviled sorcerer of all time, who lived in 300AD.

Is Jane the descendant and heir of Demos, and a sorceress herself? Garrick Ramsay, an ambitious, ruthless and powerful warlock believes so and sees her as a threat to his ambitions. He attacks her, nearly killing her and Hugh MacLean, her boss and love interest. Ramsay is relentless in his pursuit of them; a dark, hovering presence surrounds him and, with each encounter, he seems to gain strength.

Jane and Hugh begin to wonder if there may not be a more sinister force guiding Ramsay’s actions. Where did Ramsay get the Book of Secrets, a grimoire of spells from the Dark Arts? And how important is the Void, a place between worlds Jane can use to travel? Could it be the key that unlocks the mystery of the dark presence that seems to support Ramsay?

Unwillingly dragged into a world not of her choosing, Jane will stop at nothing to neutralize Ramsay and protect the allies she makes along the way…