Personal Revelations



“If you always do just the same thing, what more are you then a consumer product?”

Interview with Martijn Comes by Tobias Fischer for BEAT MAGAZINE (DE).

With Infinite Spaces & Beyond, Martijn Comes has recorded a remarkable electronica album: refreshingly ambitious, just as complex as it is engaging. Undertaking studies in music composition and research in Amsterdam plays a large role as well as the confidence to really do what you want.

BeatHow do you typically create your work?

Martijn Comes. When a project has a certain level of urgency which was definitely in the case of “Infinite Spaces and Beyond”, then the initial phase is always a little manic. Rational arguments do not play a role anymore. I turn endless buttons and click with the mouse around on my machine until I discover something interesting. This goes on for days. What I have learned from this is that in the initial stage you should just keep on creating one idea after another, making sketches. Although sixty percent of them ultimately end up in the trash, each one has its merits in technical or compositional ways. Sometime there is a seed; it grows and you cling on to reap the ideas and suddenly there is a concept. On other days you have the necessary motivation and a great idea and it results in nothing. That’s just how it goes.

What is your current studio set-up?

I work with a MacBook Pro with Ableton and plug-ins. In addition, I have a Roland Juno-60 and a MIDI keyboard. You might find this funny, but as studio monitors I use the KEF 104AB. Their technique was developed in the 1970s for the BBC. The atmosphere, the honesty and personality of the monitors are very important for me. One of the main creative points for me is toe able to work anywhere. It’s important to get into the spirit and style of creativity every day. That’s why I use a laptop as the basis for my tracks and to construct the foundation for the music and sound design. Because I am slowly but surely incorporating more acoustic elements into my work, I sometimes have to outline the track on paper, so that the musicians have a score for recording certain passages.

Infinite Spaces and Beyond sounds incredibly futuristic. What is the role of technology in your music?

Ableton for me is still a great, versatile platform to work efficiently and intuitively while allowing for experiments. As a computer user I’m not especially progressive. I do not use MAX/MSP for example, and I also think it’s not that important that my compositions aren’t the most experimental, innovative or demanding. I prefer simplicity. Maybe I am also a little stubborn, just like my father. If there is a better idea that results from the combination of various hardware and software applications, then that’s great. At the same time you have to trust occasionally the logic or sub-logic of the machine, as well as the other way around, by destroying what you have, when it is required. For me, the products from the Innear Display series are really very innovative and smart. And I’m still a big fan of Smart Electronix VST stuff.

What exactly does it mean for you to do music “research”?

To me studying music comes with research around concepts and collaborations. When I analyze ideas in more detail, it gives me the confidence to do what I want. And every time I rediscover anew what it means to do what you want. I ask questions such as: why should not be possible to combine concepts from dub and techno with contemporary classical music, microsound, acousmatic composition or field recordings? Or: would it would not be exciting if I could explore, within a particular musical landscape or lineage, all that has been lost to its history? From such questions, there could potentially arise something big. Of course, I am still far from that as my techniques are usually quite simple. But it’s about the process. It is a good thing to be in a state of personal and perpetual curiosity around sound. If you always do just the same thing, what more are you then a consumer product?

ye annunaki

Annunaki / IO

Welcome Back, Ye Annunaki

November 16 – December 21, 2012
510 Fort Street, 2nd floor
Victoria, BC, Canada

Opening Reception: Friday, November 16, 6pm
Welcome Potluck hosted by Mary-Anne McTrowe
Sound performance by s* (IO SOUND)
Job Interviews by Cindy Baker & Megan Morman

* featuring a sound installation by s* of IO SOUND, playing:

(( return of the 12th planet )) (RADIUS 32)
(( alien ambient )) (IO SOUND COLLECTIVE)

Welcome Back Ye Annunaki is a showcase of works answering the question How would you host an ancient alien? The artists in the exhibition responded to an international call for proposals inspired by Zecharia Sitchin’s Earth Chronicles, a book detailing how the human species originated from extra-terrestrial beings. These distant relatives are scheduled to return to the earth in December 2012.

Participating artists have proposed a variety of convivial acts to welcome Annunaki families from the planet Nibiru upon their return visit to earth after a 3,600 year orbit. The projects take a variety of forms, from an intergalactic calling card, to a bed away from home, collegial gestures of kindness that reveal the customs that we embrace as human citizens of earth.

Welcome Back Ye Annunaki provides a constructive take on Sitchin’s mythology, one of the many associated with the year 2012.

Welcome Back Ye Annunaki has been organized by Ted Hiebert and Doug Jarvis, members of the artist collective Noxious Sector.




RADIUS 32 ./ /

(( Return of the 12th Planet ))

A subliminal mix of orbiting sounds. There is no divide between rhythm & abstraction, frequency & feeling, movement & manifesto. All sounds move as the many in and out of the one, that is you, you right hear. Industrialist techno & musique concrete; micronoise & abstract ambient; surveillance frequencies & machinic improvisation; tape loops & musiques amplifées: the dynamic embrace of the sonic spectrum. An aural invitation into the occult loop of undead machines, caressed & broadcast with the return of the 12th planet.

((( mix decompiled by s* from IO/001 through IO/004 & unreleased material of IO/005 through IO/010, forthcoming 2013 )))

((( you are listening to anywhere from two through seven simultaneous channels in this mix )))

IO.SOUND // off orbit from exoteric systems // transmissions from alien frequencies // decompiled drifts of static // encoded recordings from submerged civilizations // long obsolete traces of deep water sonar // motion captures of invisible interference // analogue loops of haunted sound // electromagnetic traces of the dead // IO.SOUND is hear to provide // for the craven ear // and the depleted body // disorganised sound


* = unreleased
TTLD = Tactical Tape Loop Division (Unearthed from Airwaves / IO/001)

  1. Scant Intone – earos [rmx of TTLD] – IO/001
  2. Yves De Mey  /  rework of Pinkcourtesyphone*
  3. Jeff Carey – Cut 0.3 [rmx of TTLD] – IO/001
  4. I8U – ‘til death [rmx of TTLD] – IO/001
  5. Pinkcourtesyphone / sans (E. Domnitch + D. Gelfand rework of “Sans Many Things”)*
  6. Pinkcourtesyphone + Kid Congo Powers + CoH / Blow Up (iamaphotograph Cut)*
  7. s* – Quiet [excerpt]*
  8. s* + kk / eclipse – IO/002
  9. Pinkcourtesyphone / An Awaiting Room (Frank Bretschneider remix)*
  10. Richard Chartier / EVP.RE [rmx of TTLD] – IO/001
  11. a.j. cornell / 1981 – IO/003
  12. s* + kk / hypnosyne (psonn) – IO/002
  13. s* + tomas phillips / body*
  14. Pinkcourtesyphone + Kid Congo Powers / iamaphotograph (slowsleazemix)*
  15. tomas phillips / flore [TTLD rmx] – IO/001
  16. s* / 1999 – IO/003
  17. s* + kk / ix chel (dead s* dub) – IO/002
  18. s* + kk / she dreams of isis – IO/002
  19. Pinkcourtesyphone / Simon Scott rework*
  20. souns / waves [rmx of Mario van Horrik & Petra Dubach]*
  21. s* + MVK / Thunderklap (Side B) – IO/004
  22. coingutter / a little night music [rmx of TTLD] – IO/001
  23. Martijn Comes / Memory Field*
  24. Martijn Comes / Neptune Federation of Light*
  25. a.j. cornell – sorgue [rmx of Mario van Horrik & Petra Dubach]*
  26. Martijn Comes / Electric Field*
  27. Martijn Comes / Silent Field*
  28. Martijn Comes / Mirrored Field*

Episode 32 - IO.SOUND ((( 12th Planet )))


. we . are . numerous .

. inquiries from space.faring sound.travellers welcome .


Episode 32: IO.SOUND includes an addtional artist document and a mix screenshot of (( Return of the 12th Planet )).

Download PDF

Download JPG


/ new words on IO objects from Toronto’s seminal underground publication, OFFERINGS / thx to all sound scribes

s* + KK // Glyphs of Erebus Sublime
My cousins kinda spooky. Actually, I’ve never really had a proper conversation with him in all my life (we’re roughly the same age). He’s always been somewhat of an sickly, outlying branch on the family tree. I never really see him that often – except at birthdays and funerals and the like – mostly keeping to himself or seated at the kids table. It’s shameful to think that we’ve all pretty much willfully ignored him most of his life mostly because, in some inexplicable way, he was born weird. There are certain habits that manifest in the way he comports himself that, though we try our best to overlook, are hard to ignore. Sometimes I swear that I hear some severe sine tone in an unsettling register that issues from his pores in the way that vinegar-like fumes waft off an hygienically-challenged degenerate on the Dufferin bus… Of course I know, being a reasonable, competent human being, that this is not possible and therefore some kind of conjecture. But I know, as sure as I am that my cousin shaves his sideburns/eyebrows bi-weekly, that he is responsible for for the acute migraine that dogs me after each of my family reunions. He also has this strange ability to interfere with electronic components simply by being in the same room. The subtle stench of fried capacitors seems to follow him like hungry ghosts. My watch exploded on my wrist, I have a tan where it used to be. My great-aunt’s hearing aid picked up signals from military aircrafts and speaking to her was like asking a Wendy’s drive-thru for a prescription of anti-balistic hair relaxer… He has a way of looking absent-mindedly into your soul, carelessly toying with your psyche with no express purpose beyond apathetic boredom… Or is it a front? Maybe he’s an alien/hypnotist/genius… I don’t see him that often… But is he not here? Detuning my thoughts, southward, I think of my penis (when was the last time I used it?)… bacon Double Chestburger, down the hatch – rocketed into unknowable space – cavernous, shallowopen – silent but deadly… His initials (KH) – Tim Hortons in Space – jolly ranch dressing the Nurse with Wound… My sneeze smells like cauterized plastic; earmuffs on a confused-looking, teenaged dog. Am I listening to S* or KK? Or both… Or is my cousin in the next room having tea with my multifunction shower head? (Andrew Zukerman)

s* + V/A // Unearthed From Airwaves 
I’m thinking of a refrigerator hum. Some days when you are lucky enough to find yourself at home mid-afternoon and the couch has a blanket draped across the back, you feel yourself getting heavy. You lie down to the exclusion of the work you have to do or the friend you were supposed to call and you begin to nod off. Some days you don’t even notice the buzzing noise emanating from the kitchen. Other days it’s soothing – the sound of a home when it’s quiet. Then there are days when the sound seems to amplify inside of you head and eat up all your good feeling and turn it into some kind of Robert Crumb animated madness and it gets louder and louder and you hate it and you start to think of all the things in your life over which you have no control and your teeth start to grind and your fists clench and hold till your knuckles turn white. Abandon nap! (Deirdre O’Sullivan)

a.j. cornell / s* // 1981/1999
Listening in feels far more like a violation to me than visual voyeurism. When nestled in the hollowed-out echo chamber of the phone, voices seem protected, sheltered in a wall of air, and because of this engaged in an intimacy that sounds not only stark but overblown to the point of comedy.

“So come and relax me,” says a man to a woman, after she accuses him of being uptight. He wants her to come over, “with her toys,” but not stay the night, because his “trustees,” who are coming for an early business meeting, might witness her leaving.

Later, the man explains that “there are a lot of people that would go to bed with me so that they can get special favours, and I can’t do that.” Much more funny than disturbing, listening to the ridiculous and sad power play on “Private Telephone 1981” left me feeling pretty guilty and pretty confused about the experience.

Jacques Attali wrote that “eavesdropping, censorship, recording, and surveillance are weapons of power,” and it’s hard not to feel something of an aggressor listening to the couple’s conversation on this track, as if I’m engaged in research for a manipulation – not necessarily wielding power but certainly feeling the thrill associated with it.

A different and perhaps worse form of power play- police surveillance tapes- are heard on the second track, which is a mass of locations: “in the lobby, about 20 of us here, one block from 6th avenue, one block south, protestors behind you, a small group behind us, flanking them.” The background to these transmissions is the sound of urban space: children outdoors, traffic, birds, openness and expansion – a contrast to the claustrophobic cataloguing of people and space we hear over the police radio.

There is no voyeuristic thrill in hearing police radio recordings, for me, but there is a much more horrific thrill in perceiving the jittery chaos of police behavior: one senses that their attempts to control urban space are far more anarchic than the protesters they are attempting to locate and reign in. (Valerie Uher)

MVK + s* // Thunderklap
This is apparently an improvisation between MVK and S*. I’m unfamiliar with both. Could be their weird cyberpunknames. Not sure who’s playing what really and despite a slight lack of dynamics, this is fairly cohesive improvisational work on electronics which I’m fully behind. In fact Thunderklap brings it fairly raw in a way that I like, not sure which of the two players is doing the crude zone but it is heated. The hazy synth work is less my bag but hey it could easily be yours right? (Alexander Moskos)

Gunpowder #56

Gunpowder #56 …. featuring s* + kk / She Dreams of Isis / IO 002 and Jeff Carey / cut 0.3 / IO 001 .

Broadcasted from Seattle on the superbly strange & much appreciated HollowEarthRadio. Gunpowder Suite can be heard every Tuesday from 9–11pm.


radio infiltration

“Eclipse” off Glyphs of Erebus Sublime broadcast on Canada Post-RockCiTR 101.9FM, Vancouver, back on December 6th 2011. Alien kudos to P-Bone (!!) for the propaganda dissemination, even if none involved are “bands” but rather space entities. Download the broadcast.

Hearkening back to September, IF YOU GOT EARS on CKUT 90.3FM in Montréal gave Coin Gutter’s “A Little Night Music” a whirl on the analogue airwaves. Chaos commenced.