Dmitry Wild, and Eric Rosemann of Houses in Motion, have announced the release of their new album as a collaborative synth duo, Fountain of Memory. Melding spoken word readings, poetic influences, and intense lyricism with electronica, the result draws from Jim Morrison, Suicide, Patti Smith, Television, and TS Eliot.
The record opens with the hushed vocals and 80s synth stylings of “Small Affliction”, which brings to mind Magnetic Fields and Funeral-era Arcade Fire. (“Small Affliction” originally was recorded by Dmitry Wild, and Houses in Motion did a remix.) “This Kind of Love”, a track about obsession, shifts gears with a trap beat, the vocals hissing over minimalistic synth noodling.
“Fear Mantra” takes a pure Patti Smith stream-of-consciousness performance approach, with a hip-hop-infused backbeat. The song is about the natural element of Fear in all of us, and how every day and every time we must fight it to be productive. “DynoATM” is an abstract conversation about the NYC rat race, peppered with hi-hat jazz percussion; a futuristic re-imagining of a classic Beat poet rant. “Venus Parts I & II” is a study in evolution from a poetry piece that transforms into something more dance-oriented, breaking into spaced-out, trippy moments, like finding yourself in the eye of a storm.
“Everlasting Drug” delves into the realm of Nick Cave – a shimmering piano ballad with choral guitars and Wild crooning over shimmering synths about everlasting love. “Naked Moon”, sung in Wild’s native Russian, is about a wolfman getting seduced by the moon, as if she were real – a love song praising the moon…and the carnal. The title track is pure Morrison, if he had lived to see the emergence of trance disco. It’s a hypnotic reading of poetry about Leonardo Da Vinci.
Pre-save Fountain of Memory here. Stream below:
Post-Punk.com spoke to the two artists about their process, inspirations, and thoughts about this intriguing collection of songs.
How did you meet and start working together?
D: Well actually it formed during when we met the first time. It was as if musicians know each other – the misfits, you know, especially the ones that have a dual life, where we go and work for a living to pay bills, and yet we can seek each other out, under the masks and pretenses. So at my first day at a new job, the first person I met was Eric, and naturally I asked him if he was into music, “He said, yeah I play keys, bass, you know.” I chimed in, “Yeah me too, I sing, play guitar and write songs.” So, it didn’t take us long to try to figure out a music project for us to work on.
E: I brought some synths, samplers and drum machines to Dmitry’s rehearsal space in Midtown Manhattan, and he brought some verses, and we just went for it. We had a couple of immediately inspiring jams where these songs – that ended up the basis for the majority of this album – just coalesced. We played one open mic poetry show where the set really came together – then the pandemic happened. That forced us both upstate, and me underground – to my basement studio, where we collaborated remotely for over a year, and eventually in person again, completely rebuilding the album from the ground up.
What is the underlying concept for this album?
D: Well, the concept formed few months before the pandemic. I always was influenced by Jim Morrison’s American Prayer album, just the music and spoken word on top of it was perfection. Also, Saul Williams, where this poet and lyricist blasted his way through thumping electronic beats and various music styles. I always thought that’s what I wanted to do aside for all my music bands. Since Eric was an ace at music production, he would do the beats and music and I would focus on the lyrics and words. I still added a bass and guitar to few songs.
E: I was coming from doing more ambient electronic – without vocals and far less structure. The last project (A Burnished Throne) was actually inspired by T.S. Eliot and Wm. Burroughs, and was assembled from modular synth recordings from over a period of years into more cinematic soundscapes. So even before working with Dmitry, I’d been building a library of samples and motifs that were very evocative of many of the themes that Dmitry was mining, in all of these fragments, just waiting to be assembled together in a new way based on the stories and images and feelings from a mashup of Dmitry’s poetry. As those themes solidified, the pieces definitely became songs, and the words, lyrics, and the arrangements much, much more fleshed out – all in spite the initial “poetry + beats”. But the idea was to try to remain as unrestrained in structure and narrative as possible and pure to the feeling of those original performances.
How long have you worked on this?
D: I think the real work started early 2020. Most of the poems were written before 2020. A few of them I worked on with Eric; we used a bit of Bowie’s approach on Fountain of Memory. We had the songs in place, but Eric was working with another producer to help him get the tracks to the next level. I think some songs had 29 versions to them and they were sounding better and better.
Eric: The core for about half the album is based on samples and motifs going back several years, then mixing and mastering. Doing all phases of production for this many tracks as one person definitely took some time. Fortunately the pandemic took away the time constraints and pressures to a degree and gave me the time to get things right. Most recently, it‘s been figuring out how to take this very layered and precise album of songs and make them performable, but still somewhat spontaneous and improvisational.
What were the main influences when you were writing this?
Dmitry: The lyrics were always inspired by an existential outlook on life. I always feel like an outsider looking in at any current situation. So I was going through some heavy times at the beginning of the pandemic and some personal transformations I was working through.
The Wasteland – T.S. Eliot
Spare Ass Annie – William S. Burroughs & Disposable heroes of Hiphoprisy
Rebel Eyes – Dmitry’s Wild
Beastie Boys (Paul’s Boutique), Velvet Underground, Herman Dune, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Frank Zappa, CAN, Underworld, Boards of Canada , Thom Yorke, Dntel, Kevin Parker, James Murphy.
Where was this recorded? Any guest musicians?
D: Mostly the music was recorded at both of our home studios, upstate New York. Mind you, it was deep of the pandemic when we started to get the concept into shape. So mostly It was a virtual collaboration. He would send me the tracks I would record my poetry / lyrics. He would listen critique and send me feedback. Also, occasionally I would record my bass and guitar at my home studio. Eric would put it all together.
E: I definitely learned a lot working with musician/producer Jeremy Blake (RedMeansRecording) over the past several years. First, mastering my previous album, then with input into the arrangement and mixing of this album, which was invaluable.
Do you think a move upstate had an influence on your sound or lyrics?
D: Moving upstate definitely shaped the sound a bit more, we were looking for a more open space and not be bogged down by the city and everlasting rat race we decided to take our time with this album.
Eric: It afforded me the opportunity to spread out physically and also take my time. So that definitely had an impact on the sound – chasing some mythical sound quality, or also needing 1 more tool, or 1 more sound or part. However, while most of this was incredibly productive, it allowed me to give in to my worst tendencies to become too internalized and too focused. During a pandemic that isn’t always positive, so some of that experience and journey is in here too. Collaborating with Dmitry definitely helped in that regard. It kind of took a vibe from a point in time and froze it, and stretched it out over almost 2 years, like life interrupted, yet also an opportunity. Finishing each song, and finally the album is like emerging from that stasis.
What are your lyrics about, what makes you write them down?
My lyrics are about everything and nothing at the same time, personal scraps of memory and bits from movies, life around me, and frustration of not getting what you want.
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