John Haughm performing with Agalloch at SXSW 2011, Photo by Carmelo Espanola
By Andrew Wilhelm (Denver)
If you're a fan of Agalloch, guitar ambient, and limited edition 7"s, have we got news for you. Portland's Anthem Records recently released +46 17' 36.30", -124 4' 20.13", a solo 7" from Agalloch guitarist and vocalist John Haughm. The release consists of a sole five-and-a-half minute track of lush, shimmering guitar ebb and flows. Like Agalloch, it's textured beautifully and is sutible for listening for long treks into the wilderness, but +46 17' 36.30", -124 4' 20.13" also shows a completely different musical side to Haughm. It recalls the 70s German electronic works of Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh, and if you are in awe with that stuff, you'll be pressing Werner Herzog to get Haughm on his next film.
You can stream the song here. Check out a short interview with Haughm on the material below.
Crustcake: When was this material recorded? What was your setup for this recording?
John Haughm: Back in May, I had mentioned to Jon at Anthem Records that I was working on some abstract guitar experiments so he offered me a release in his 7" single series. This series has had some respectable names involved like Daniel Menche, Nadja, Birchville Cat Motel, Nudge, Tom Carter, etc. so I was quite interested in contributing.
The setup I used on this recording is actually listed on the sleeve, though in the future I do not plan to limit my experimentation to just guitar. I am currently working on a piece that brings together prepared piano, cello, human bones, and hand-made bells. Coordinates and dates will determine the structure.
Crustcake: What sort of feelings or vibes do you intend for this material to invoke?
Haughm: For the 7" single, I was trying to connect with the universe in a trancelike, subconscious manner.
Crustcake: The material on the EP reminds me a lot of Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh. How has German electronic music influenced you?
Haughm: For this stuff, I am actually most influenced by artists like Daniel Menche, Steve Reich, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Keiji Haino, Sylvano Bussotti, Richard Skelton, etc. Of course I am a huge admirer of the vintage Kosmische music you mentioned and I also am a great fan of modern synth drone like Oneohtrix Point Never and Emeralds.
Crustcake: Do you feel any connection between the material on +46 17' 36.30", -124 4' 20.13" and your work in Agalloch?
Haughm: No, it has absolutely nothing to do with Agalloch or rock/metal music in any way, shape, or form. I would go as far as to say that this is the total antithesis, in fact. These abstract studies are a nice reprieve from the more structured songwriting that goes on in my normal band.
Crustcake: The coordinates +46 17' 36.30", -124 4' 20.13" lead to a point in Cape Disappointment State Park in Washington. What's the significance of this location?
Haughm: Without going into too much detail, it has to do with a rather surreal and disturbing night I spent at that park earlier this year.
Crustcake: The EP will be limited to 500 hand-numbered vinyl copies. What's the appeal of limited releases to you?
Haughm: I wouldn't think anything more than 500 copies would be suitable for a strange, one-sided 7" ep with very minimal packaging. Originally we were only going to make around 200 copies like the others in the series.
Crustcake: Have you entertained the notion of releasing of a full length of this kind of material?
Haughm: No, as of yet I haven't really considered anything more than this 7" single, possibly a split 7" EP, and a cassette or 12" release sometime later. I guess we'll see what happens...