Rayograph is the synthesizer and software project of Andy Miles. The first Rayograph recording,"Welcoming Country," was made in late summer 2007. A full-length album, "Nested Forms," followed in late 2009. The album was released digitally on November 4, 2010 with 22 instrumental tracks, two of which were not included on the original CD version of the album.
Miles programs synthesizer, percussion and field-sound samples in a little-known open-source sample-sequencing application called Leaf Drums, and sometimes plays an Alesis Micron synthesizer and electronic drum pads. He orchestrates the sounds, programmed and performed, into dense rhythmic and melodic collages, endeavoring to inject in the songs organic qualities that eschew the often-rigid confines of techno (of which he doesn't consider himself an exponent). He likewise demonstrates no loyalty to a genre, electronic or otherwise, wandering from '80s-inflected synth pop to dusky cinematic ambiance, sitar-drenched meditations, serene Eno-esque soundscapes, and more.
Says Miles, a drummer since the '80s,"I think of myself as a song fabricator, and not musician, because 'musician' implies knowledge about chords and scales and things like that, which I have none, and that I compose and record in a linear, conventional way, which I don’t. What interests me is the accretion of sounds into a (more or less) coherent whole."
Sampled sounds on the album include a host of vintage synthesizers and drum machines, the Armenian-Canadian actress Arsinée Khanjian speaking at a Toronto Film Festival press conference, the late afternoon strains of a Michigan Avenue trumpeter outside the Art Institute of Chicago, the Washington, D.C. fire department at the scene of a residential blaze, the clanging together of various steel pipes, the dialing of a rotary phone, static on a shortwave radio -- all of it (and much more) recorded by Miles on Marantz digital recorders.
Personnel: Andy Miles (synthesizer, samples, drums)
Label: Transistor Sound
Transistor Sound is the start-up record label of Transistor, a gallery/shop/performance space in Chicago's Lakeview East neighborhood. www.transistorchicago.com
released November 4, 2010
All songs written, performed, programmed, recorded and mixed by Andy Miles; mastering by Ryan Gatenby.
Credit (and thanks) to: Arsinée Khanjian, whose voice
is heard on "Welcoming Country."
Cover photo by Andy Miles.
Rayograph logo by Yael Gen.