Friday, January 27, 2017

Matt Jencik - Weird Times LP (Hands In the Dark)

Matt Jencik's debut full length Weird Times is out via Hands In The Dark on February 3. To celebrate we interviewed Implodes guitarist-singer, Reckless Records buyer, and pal about his new record

All tracks composed, performed & recorded by Matt Jencik 
Artwork by Chris Hefner 
Mastering by Jason Ward

Matt Jencik - Weird Times 
Cat #: HITD 032
LP Limited to 300 copies + download  


Matt Jencik is a musician based in Chicago. His most recent band, Implodes, released two albums with the label Kranky earlier this decade and Jencik has been performing and recording since the early nineties in bands such as Hurl, Don Caballero, and more recently Slint, PAPA M and Circuit Des Yeux.  'Weird Times' is Matt Jencik’s debut solo album, in which he presents ten pure ambient, abstract drone tracks. ... It is an immense pleasure to be able to showcase such a great modern album, which is both dark and dreamy, showing an impressive maturity and formidable talent. - HITD

How did your relationship with Hands In The Dark​ start​/result in releasing Weird Times​?

Antoine of Hands in the Dark was the tour manager for the 2012 PAPA M tour that I was on. Antoine would play HITD releases in the van. I specifically remember listening to the Death & Vanilla record they put out a few times and really liking it. Once I got back to the States, I started ordering their records for Reckless. That tour was a total blast and Antoine and I have remained friends ever since. I sent them these recordings and they were very supportive right away.

When did you begin work on the album?

I was the bass player on a U.S. tour for Circuit Des Yeux in 2014. Rob Frye (also of Cave & Bitchin’ Bajas) was on the tour and he brought a Casio SK-1 sampling keyboard with him to play around with in the van. He had this game he liked playing called “cut-ups” where you would sample something from an iPod and try to make a song out of it. When you’re sampling from the iPod with the SK-1, there’s no way to actually hear what you’re sampling because you’re using the headphone jack to connect to the sampler.. It adds an element of chance to the process because you won't know what you’re sample will be until you play it on the keyboard. I’ve owned Casio samplers for years so when I got back home from tour I continued to play around with it. 

I thought it might be cool to take Rob’s "cut-ups" idea but take the samples from my own recordings.The opening track on the album “Relaxers” was maybe the fifth song I wrote using this method and it was the first song that I made using the process that made me feel like I was onto something. That’s why I put it first on the album. It was truly the beginning. I should point out that there’s a song on the record called “Cut-Up” named after Rob’s process.

How does WT differ from your previous solo work?

I haven’t released too much as a solo artist before Weird Times. I did make another solo album that was more guitar oriented but I couldn’t find a label that wanted to release it. I released part of that album for free on Bandcamp at the end of 2016 as an EP called Butch/Plink. I’d still like to try and release the whole album someday. I did work with some samples on Butch/Plink but this is the first album I’ve made entirely with samples or on a synth. Because the samples are taken from recordings of me playing guitar or playing synth, I do think it has tonal similarities to the Implodes records, especially because I took a lot of the samples from unused Implodes riffs.

Who did the artwork?

The cover was drawn by the very talented Chicago artist Chris Hefner. I’ve been a fan of Chris’ work for a few years and he was very supportive of Implodes. I knew one day I’d probably ask him to design a cover for something and this project just seemed perfect for his style. I didn’t give much guidance really, I just asked him to listen to the record and draw something that he thought matched the vibe of the music. The drawing on the cover is the first drawing he gave me. I love it.

How would you describe the music?

The music is definitely pretty dark and somewhat “woozy” sounding at times. I was listening to a lot of soundtrack music and I think some of the tracks were definitely attempts at making songs that would work in films. You’ll probably notice that for a drone album, the songs are actually pretty short. I purposely kept the songs short. The 3 minute mark was a cut-off point I used often. Most drone albums are built around lengthy, sometimes side-long tracks. I thought it would be cool to go the other way and make short vignettes, sort of like pop-song length drone tracks.

What non-musical influences did you have making this record?

I was reading a lot of horror, specifically writers in the “cosmic horror” genre. Specifically, “The Great Old One," H.P. Lovecraft, and Lovecraft devotees like Laird Barron and Ramsey Campbell. I would say the stories certainly influenced the dreary, morose vibe of some of the songs and a few titles (including the obvious one “Cosmic Horror”) are influenced by that stuff.  

What equipment/instruments did you use?

I made the album with a Casio SK-5 and my laptop. There’s a heapin’ helping of reverb and other effects on the songs for sure.

As the song may suggest, do you have a doppelganger?

Some people have definitely mistaken other bespeckled long-hairs for me before.

When and where can we find the record?

The record is out now. Reckless in Chicago has them, fine online stores like Boomkat, Norman Records and the label’s site also have them.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

"Shout Music" Out Now

Celebrate, release day is here! Limited to 100 high-bias tapes, C60, clear-purple cassettes, black and white art, plus high-quality download. Dubbed and printed in Chicago.

After costs are covered, proceeds from this release will go to the BLM movement. 

Buy via Bandcamp, Reckless Records in Chicago, or Sisters In Christ & Euclid in New Orleans. Thanks to Ethan D'Ercole, Kevin Hein, Gabe Holcombe and Mark Lux for help along the way.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Our First 100 Days

It is my pleasure to be included in the ambitious project between artists and label group Secretly Canadian, Our First 100 Days. Check Bandcamp or the website for information on how to buy and listen to the songs included on this benefit compilation. Angel Olsen's "Fly On Your Wall" was the first track released and we are excited for its debut.

More information about the project:

"One Hundred Songs That Inspire Progress and Benefit A Cause For Change. 

For a minimum contribution of $30, you'll have access to unlimited streaming and downloads of all 100 songs in the project. One new track added each day at noon EST.

With Trumps first 100 days in office upon us, action must be taken to protect the causes that will come under threat from this administration. Our First 100 Days seeks to aid in that protection. Joining together with artists and labels we will be releasing one rare, unreleased or exclusive song per day to you via Bandcamp. 

For a minimum contribution of $30, supporters will be able to access all 100 songs in the project, including new music from Angel Olsen, How To Dress Well, Toro Y Moi, The Range and many more. All profits raised from Our First 100 Days will go directly to organizations working on the front lines of climate, women's rights, immigration and fairness. 

The project was started in conjunction with Secretly Group and 30 Songs, 30 Days, and aims to raise funds and awareness for organizations supporting causes that are under threat by the proposed policies of a Trump administration. This project is produced with the help of Revolutions Per Minute, an organization that provides strategy and support for artists making change."

Friday, January 6, 2017

Distro Remaining Copies of Implodes "Reverser" 12"

Originally released on Gilead Media, we have a few copies of the 2015 EP Reverser. Black and color (while supplies last) vinyl are available. More information...

"... a masterful new album that seamlessly fuses folk, black metal, psychedelia, shoegaze and POPUL VUH. Like a blurred half-remembered dream, 'Reverser' will haunt your waking hours. The music is warm and lush with a hint of melancholy and occasionaly blasts of fuzz that veer toward MY BLOODY VALENTINE. Features members of SLINT (live band), ANGEL OLSEN band, MAYOR DALEY and solo artist KEN CAMDEN." 
Reckless Records

Following their two full-length releases with Kranky Records, Black Earth in 2011 and Recurring Dream in 2013, Reverser is presented as a 45 rpm 12″ with a download code included. The album was mastered by Chicago Mastering service and pressed by Gotta Groove Records in Cleveland, OH. 

It is limited to 375 copies on black, opaque purple/pink blend, and transparent gold vinyl. 

$15 + shipping 
send orders to emily at reckless dot com

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Pre-order "Shout Music"

Culled from dusty 45s and LPs while working at Reckless Records in Chicago, this is a collection of 19 soulful, gospel tracks that originally accompanied an article written by Emily Elhaj in March 2010 also entitled Shout Music.

"Gospel music has left deep impressions in soul, country, funk, blues, and Rock n Roll. These genres owe thanks to African work songs, spirituals, shout music, and, later, revivalist bands of the Church."

After costs are covered, proceeds from this release will go to the BLM movement.

Stream a track on Soundcloud and please, check our Bandcamp page soon to buy the digital album or cassette + download. $7 + shipping
* Pre-order at emily at reckless dot com