The Portal EP was supposed to come out on another label in 2008, but the label went bankrupt and closed up shop. In email conversations with Lackluster, I offered to master the EP and do a net release on Cornwarning. So, 4 years after its original intended release, it is finally here.
Covering a variety of tempos and styles, from the beatless epic "Eons" to the mutant techno of "Lubiszewski Beats", "Portal" covers a lot of musical territory. What unifies the work is Lackluster's musicality. For me each track here is deep in emotion, despite their lack of lyric or explicit program.
Music - Lackluster (aka Esa Ruoho)
Mastering - Kent Williams
Graphic design Matt Seeman
Portal EP consists of various tracks made in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Tracks 1, 2 and 4 are made in Kontula, Helsinki, Finland, my home of 21 years, and tracks 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 are made in Dublin, Ireland during my 20 month stay. It is a bunch of tracks from my archives, tryouts, tests, rough drafts, something new, something old, stylistically. most of these are discoveries for me, something that just came out.
"Lubiszewski Beats" mainly comprises of percussive samples and loops and individual hits sent to me by Krystian Lubiszewski, lovingly rearranged into something or other, with GRM Tools action (Krystian Lubiszewski is one half of Ilkae, if you know).
"Self Extended" has my friend Max G. eating cereal, segments of Kazumi's singing "skip" "no" and "yes" (she sent me a cdr of her singing back in 2002 and they snuck in every once in a while in 2002 and 2003 - mostly unreleased stuff), me opening a jar and closing it, and a matchstick being lit - amongst the Roland Alpha-Juno 1 and various and sundry plugin/instrument action.
"Mankind" has Shane's fancy Roland D2 churning throughout it, and would not exist as a track without Chris Nash's ReViSiT VST-clone of the good old Impulse Tracker.
"Klopfgeisttrak" was supposed to be part of a series of tracks made with the Klopfgeist plugin in Logic 5.5.1.
"Some Day" has Korg 03R/W, Korg Er-1, Alpha-Juno 1 being spoken to by Logic. "If Only" is another Klopfgeist+03rw+aj1 track.
"Someday" and "If Only" just kind of occurred at 4 Botanic Road back then. "If Only" opened something up which i couldn't capture or sequence so it was left as it was, a suggestion, an opener.. Portal EP, to me, was supposed to be a glimpse that brings the UndulateLP (still unreleased as of november2009) into full focus. . Portal EP was also something that wasn't designed to fill, but now comes in to bridge the gap between my previous physical albums and the catch-up digital-only releases Compcomp+Remixcomp.
"Why", made on 31st May 2004, was also released on the Friendly Strangers compilation out through Unnamed Label, was the third thing i ever got out of the Korg 03R/W being controlled and effected with Logic Audio Platinum 5.5.1 (which was set to receive the RME Hammerfall DSP PCMCIA / RME Multiface inputs), for me, the ability to do something which hardly required any cpu power on my Sony Vaio PCG-GRX 690, yet being able to effect it mildly through the 4 inputs was quite excellent - its a pretty basic track, but it made me realize that the Korg 03R/W was completely worth the 220eur i invested into it around Feb2004 - i received it right on the same day as i left for Dublin - and that was what i wanted to take with me for that foray into Dublin 8 + 9 territory, a new bit of gear - as i'd be netless there - so.
The maximum i managed to get out of my gear, for me, was "Eons", with the Korg 03R/W and Sony Vaio PCG-GRX 690, Richard Gill lending me his electric bass guitar for sampling purposes and the Shure SM-57 microphone getting its share of abuse - Esem's SX31 vst-instrument, which has saved so many of my trax -- any way, this was the absolute cpu + audiotrack, outboardgear, otherwise maximum i could get out, and sure it might sound a bit messy but it was also the best thing i could do back then.
"Eons" was made after a really damaging gig that wrecked my ears for days, and is thus me trying to come to terms with the fact that these ears dont have much more time left. I was fairly sure it was basically proper permanent damage. i got the Elacin -30dB earplugs in or around april2005 and have been very happy with them ever since…
"Sprawl" is a particularly fruitful first test of hooking up zTracker (a PC-only clone of Impulse Tracker that is purely designed to send out Midi to outboard gear) and Ableton Live for sampling and live processing.., i got this sprawling mess going on with the whole thing, again, pushing the limits of what i could do with the laptop i had back then.. this in Rothe Abbey already, the last of the three places in Dublin i lived in. the E-Mu Orbit V2, Korg 03R/W and Roland Alphajuno-1 feature in this, as does a fluke you might've noticed from "Corner" (The Flows EP), i have this habit of creating templates that i always have in Ableton Live, and back then, i used 4 instances of Supatrigga in master-out, not necessarily doing anything, but togglable out of keyshortcuts - unfortunately, when you have this many, they seem to create a kind of a "dropout"/"corner" which causes this small gap of sound at the end of the bar. anyway, i've got a few tracks that are like this and they'll still come out, eventually, when they've aged enough, but so's you know…
"LL010905", the ender, features a Shure SM-57 micd up (pointed at the window) groundsweeper/groundwasher humming away on the streets of Rothe Abbey, amongst other midi gear controlled by zTracker - various from Steve Halfset's Novation Bass-Station and MFB Synth Lite II, some from the E-Mu Orbit V2 - The Dance Planet rack (which i bought on a gig/vacation in Barcelona, Spain on May 2005 - met the guys from EEDL and they had one unused), there's a bit of Ableton Live processing and loops of said Shure SM-57 mic mess and result..
Hopefully these tracks will make sense in this format and order.
You'll hear the Korg ER-1, Korg 03R/W, Roland Alphajuno1, Roland D2, Electric bass, MFB Synth Lite II, Novation Bass-station and the E-mu Orbit V2, if you are so inclined.. oh and zTracker, Logic Audio Platinum 5.5.1 and Ableton Live action.
Esa Juhani Ruoho is Lackluster, 26.10.1978.
Portal EP by Esa Ruoho aka Lackluster is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Which means you can make any non-commercial use of these tracks, as long as you attribute the source. Using these tracks in DJ performances for pay is also permitted and encouraged -- if you play it, say it! Commercial use -- for commercially sold mix CDs, Film, TV, and Advertisements -- requires prior written consent.