From stone to sand
From Stone to Sand is a series of episodes dedicated to feelings of nostalgia and melancholia, longing for something that one cares for, the awareness of impermanence of all the things, empathy towards them, the transient gentle sadness that accompanies the realization of the end being the reality of life, the overlapping of 'saudade' and 'mono no aware', the 'aah-ness of things, life and love', the appreciation of its beauty. Every episode various artists share their personal interpretation of 'stone becoming a sand' through sound, pictures, videos, drawings and their thoughts from life.
<words by Mor Wen ~ June 2021>
If you're a wanderer of gloomy electro music, Brokntoys might ring a bell. The independent label was set up by Anwar Dawwas and Kris Hall back in 2013, currently solely run by Anwar. Through Brokntoys and the sublable Discos Del Quaebranto, he manages to highlight a variety of electro releases, showcasing artists like Poperttelli, Exhausted Modern, Morah, Identified Patient, Luxus Varta, Komarken Electronics, Gil.Barte, Animistic Beliefs, Gamma Intel, Ivna Ji to name a few. Apart from label duties, Anwar has been hosting a monthly show at LYL Radio since 2017. Titled as Vanishing Points, his show explores all the nooks and crannies of folk, dark ambient, drone, post punk, experimental sound in a cinematic manner. In November 2019, Anwar started co-organizing events as ¼ of a small collective called Fall off the Grid ~ title fitting to the idea of playing oddities with lots of dub, wave, post punk, kraut and beyond.
Summer 2019, somewhere in the national reservational park of Lithuania, listeners bound by a mutual enjoyment of a specific sound from places across the various lands and corners gathered for a uniting dance in the forest. It was there where we sat on a hill by the daylight with a cup of coffee and pondered over tens of moving silhouettes with smiles on their faces. And as we sat there we recall seeing Anwar playing in person for the first time. His set provided a tad of diversity among a common EBM dominating sound. Digging through Fall of the Grid channel I got particularly interested to see what kind of spectrum of genres Anwar likes to collect and come back to beyond the stuff he releases.
On the 25th of February, 2020 during the first lockdown in Czechia, I approached Anwar and invited him to contribute to the ‘From Stone To Sand’ podcast with no deadline and genre limitation. For this project, Anwar started gradually selecting 60’s and 70’s material around the theme of awareness of the impermanence of all things. Meanwhile during pandemic uncertainty Glory Affairs website had been building from a blank page so that the podcast could be also accompanied by a word or two. We gave Anna Ruth (a painter, a musician and a close friend) full freedom of creating this episode's cover. Based on listening to Anwar's mix Anna chose a newly picked technique - scanning collages through which she combines natural and mechanical.
September 16, 2020
„Hi Mary I hope you are well. Been thinking about the title. I think 'The Bygones' would work. The idea of how imagination and memory are interlinked and we construct a past which is different to how it happened and how everyone remembers it. Multiple imperfect pasts which only make sense in our heads.“
> Hey Anwar, thank you for collaborating on this project. How have you been lately?
< Hi, all things considered doing OK. There is some cautious optimism in the air here. I’ve been lucky enough to avoid the virus and been busy concentrating on lots of musical projects, most recently a new tape label called Nuova Materia with my great friend Maria P.
> We appreciate the way in which you combined genres and moods into forty minute palette and told a story through sound in a moving way. How would you describe the process of making 'The Bygones'?
< Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. It’s nice having a brief and working with constraints. It’s a selection of tracks that resonated with me in some way or another, I guess the common thread is that they are evocative and mellow.
Lots fall under the lullaby / dreamy umbrella that seems to be prominent in my collection, like the C.W. Vrtacek and Height / Dismay tracks.
> What are some of your favourite music pieces related to this theme you keep coming back to?
< 'Les Rallizes Dénudés’ by dansyo2 which is also featured in the mix should definitely be on the sad list. On the brighter side, I listen to a lot of 60’s baroque and Brill Building pop, Giles Giles and Fripp, Love’s Forever Changes.... thinking about it, my favourite pop era is 1967-69 right when things started turning awry after the Summer of Love…
> What is the meaning behind the name of your label 'brokntoys?
< It’s a mistranslation from Spanish, Juguetes Rotos is a documentary about forgotten celebrities which is one of Kris’ favourite interests.
> What is the idea behind ‘Fall off the Grid'?
< It’s a small collective of collectors and friends. We all trawl different areas but intersect at different points like futuristic disco, weird synth-pop and a lot of Belgian stuff.
Our initial plans to do regular parties got sidelined so apart from sporadic radio appearances we have been actively sharing some favourites on Youtube.
All the posters/identity is done by our friend and artist Thibaut de Wolf turning corporate propaganda into real horror paintings.
> You are sitting by the fire in nature with your friends far away from home. What would you play?
< I just received a copy of one of my favourite recordings, Gino Bordin’s 'Avant de Mourir', a very inspirational piece.
> Could you recommend some of your favourite books/films/artists/soundtracks?
< Off the top of my head, the best essay I read in the last year has been James Bridle’s 'A New Dark Age', an eye-opening take on the internet and the age of information.
< I’m very much looking forward to the reopening of cinemas, the last thing I watched was Mark Jenkin’s 'Bait' which I thought was excellent. Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep is also a big favourite due to a rewatch any day.
< Re soundtracks, Morricone’s 'Una Lucertola Con La Pelle Di Donna' has been on constant rotation here, a spellbinding piece of music.
> Would you like to share your photography fitting to From Stone to Sand?
~~ thank you, Anwar ~~
~~ and thank you for reading ~~