OK, so first things first...Michael Santos is one of our favourite artists. We know labels shouldn't really shows favouritism, but he is. Both Ian and Ben were knocked on their arses when they heard 'Memory Maker', even though Ian was already a fan of 'The Happy Error' (Michael's release on the super Baskaru label). The album may well have even saved Ian from pits of depression from a break-up and getting 'Tokyo alone' (a very dangerous condition if you aren't careful). Every night he found himself skateboarding around Ikebukuro and Itabashi, listening to this incredible album.
So 'Memory Maker' eventually came out, and for some reason no one wanted to review it. It was the weirdest thing. It did get rave reviews in stores, even got an album of the week in Boomkat, top-selling at Darla and was considered amazing in Japan, but none of the big blogs wanted to touch it for some reason. Within about a month, we'd received around 50 odd emails claiming the album as our best release, and one of the finest wall of noise / ambient albums ever. And it is, really...its stunning. Over the next year, the reviewers came back with reviews for other releases and we eventually approached them to ask what had happened. The answers were befuddling, but we ended up getting no critique of the album at all...quite the opposite, with many claiming the album was 'perfect' and to 'wait until the end of the year'. Sure enough, it ended up in a good many end of year lists and has since come to be regarded as a bit of a classic for the label.
We should add that Michael played a Home Normal night in London (at the old Flea Pit) and blew the audience away. He also almost blew the PA system with his bass rumbling, but that's another matter entirely. Its one of the best performances we've seen...from anyone...ever.
Michael has not released anything under this name ('Michael Santos') since, nor any shows that we are aware, and that is gutting frankly. If you haven't heard his work, and just happen to be reading this on a whim or because you are bored at work or something, scroll down and press play, because his work is incredible and it'll blow your socks off guaranteed.
On a very positive note: we do know he has been busy working on something though all this time, and we can't bloody wait for it to come out under whichever guise he chooses. We are also considering a DVD release as part of a fancy re-issue of 'Memory Maker' next year...more in the coming year about that.
Here's a little bit more about Michael Santos:
Michael Santos is a London-based electronic musician. He uses audio software to carve out textured hazes of sound, layering them to build dynamic song structures. While his earlier work utilised occasional field recordings, his recent material is purely digital, and is defined by the process by which it has been created. Rather than eschewing accidental static and hiss that often accompanies sound manipulation, Santos integrates it into his sound, as such serving to complement his digital harmonics.
The melodic elements of Michael Santos’s music are predominantly generated by guitars and sine waves, though are barely recognisable after reworking. Structurally, Santos’s music is impulsive — sometimes minimal and succinct while at others bustling with activity. Chord progressions are central, utilised to sustain changeable themes within each individual piece, often flowing into one another. His approach is that of a musician, rather than an experimental sound artist.
After releasing “Matters” (2006) and “Soft Pocket” (2007) on Benbecula and U-Cover, respectively, Santos agreed to release his third full-length, “The Happy Error”, on Baskaru. “The Happy Error” was released in August of 2008. Over the next year, Michael recorded ‘Memory Maker’ for Home Normal, releasing in April 2010. Over the years, he has also contributed to compilations curated by such labels as Benbecula, Miso and Audiobulb, and has had tracks appear on two Rare Frequency podcasts. He has also performed live laptop sets at events promoted by Pollen in Leeds, Sprawl, Immersion, and Home Normal in London, and Contact in Peterborough.
He hasn't released any new work since 'Memory Maker' but we sure hope he does soon.
You can listen to, share and buy 'Memory Maker' here: