Record label Library of the Occult, though still fairly new, has had an amazing run this summer regarding album releases. First was Dream Division’s excellent The Devil Rides Out, followed by the Ogre’s inspired Gates of Nessus. Keeping the heavy synth dread going into the month of October, Library of the Occult will be dropping their third album of 2020 with Timothy Fife’s grand and macabre Transcommunication.
Fife is no stranger to the synth-heavy record. I first discovered Timothy back in 2016 with his Victims project, which consisted of Fife and Video Nasties’ Chris Livengood. The two made dense, hazy synthesizer music that was part Phaedra and part fever dream. Form Hell beguiled me and I was a fan immediately. In 2017 Fife released his debut solo album with Death Waltz Originals. Black Carbon was a deep dive into shadowy realms and haunted melodies. It was another mysterious swath of synth music, curated by one of the best.
Since then Timothy Fife has re-imagined Hoichi the Earless with Lighten Up Sounds, released a 7 inch single that plays from the center label back with Polytechnic Youth, appeared in a documentary about Nightmare on Elm Street Pt. 2: Freddy’s Revenge, became a father, and has continued to write and record.
Which leads us to Transcommunication.
When I heard Fife was releasing a record with Library of the Occult it just seemed like the perfect fit. The macabre, the occult, ghosts, ghouls, and shadowy realms have all been interests and subjects in Timothy Fife’s work, so Library of the Occult is the perfect home for a new Fife album.
How is the album? Well it drops October 2nd, so you’ll know then. But I will say that it’s another stunner from Timothy Fife, inspired by communicating with the beyond, candle-lit rooms, seances, and the connection between electronic music and its bridge to the other side. Darkly beautiful, mysterious, and just enough chill down the spine. Perfect for the changing leaves and overcast skies of October.
Listen to the swirling, enigmatic, and Goblin-esque “Spellwork” below, and then stick around an interview with the Maestro below that.
J Hubner: So how did you get involved with Library of the Occult?
Timothy Fife: In April Tom (Dream Division) wrote me a message asking if I was interested in releasing a record on his occult label. Said he was a fan of Black Carbon and we’re labelmates on a few labels. Even in April I think the idea for everything was kind of new, which shows how quick and efficient Tom really is. I finished the record by late June I think and the album is coming out in October. If that isn’t witchcraft, I don’t know what is.
J. Hubner: Your past work seems to line up perfectly with the overall vibe of the label. Your last release, the excellent split LP with Repeated Viewing ‘Paranormal Sounds of the Synthesizer’ on Burning Witches Records totally locks into Library of the Occult’s wheelhouse. How did you approach creating the new album ‘Transcommunication’?
Timothy Fife : Tom asked me at kind of a perfect time, because I was asked to create music for a seance for a film festival that was supposed to happen in March. The pandemic squashed that, so I had about twenty minutes of material that was going to be unused. I mixed up some of that material throughout the album and then created the rest of the music around it. Being isolated in my home and stuck with the media I already owned was kind of an influence on this one for sure.
J. Hubner: How does the Raudive Diode play into the new album, inspiration-wise? And who are some of the electronic artists that have inspired your work here?
Timothy Fife: I liked the concept of what Konstantin Raudive was doing, trying to pick up paranormal voices through electronics. There’s recordings of his work out there and at times it’s reminiscent of the Radiophonic stuff. On the OBI it says it’s inspired by artists that it’s inspired by early electronic artists that were inspired by the occult, but it’s also the most diverse record I’ve released. There’s influences from the Berlin-School on here, Bobby Beausoliel’s Lucifer Rising, the Radiophonic workshop of course, Marcello Giombini, and there’s always a little Mort Garson in there.
J. Hubner: How long was the writing process for ‘Transcommunication’?
Timothy Fife: It really did come together quickly and that was one of the good things about this quarantine. I’ve been able to get so much done, I don’t think I’ve ever been more productive. And writing a record like this during the late winter/spring during a pandemic was helpful, there was a lot of influence coming from this time period as well.
J. Hubner: I listen to an album like this and I imagine you writing in a darkly lit room with candlelight as a storm rages outside. I’m sure that’s just my overworked imagination, though. When is your best time to write and record? Morning or night? Or just when life allows?
Timothy Fife: Well as you know John, when you have kids you kind of have to do it when life allows. And this year I returned to the normal work force because I had to be a good provider, and so it usually became night time for a couple of hours each night. It was kind of a mild winter here, so unfortunately there wasn’t any howling wind or anything.. in fact I’m glad, the power never went out the entire time, which is lucky for me where I live. The week before I left to do SxSW and perform the Kwaidan score with Antoni Maiovvi my power was knocked out for almost an entire week which is quite unfortunate when you’re an electronic musician.
J. Hubner: Have you ever experienced anything of the paranormal variety? Seances? Things moving that shouldn’t be moving? Disembodied voices from beyond?
Timothy Fife: Y’know I’m a pretty open minded person and quite frankly I’d love to have a paranormal experience but it just hasn’t happened. Maybe if that seance happened at the film festival in March something might have happened, but we’ll never know.
J. Hubner: Well until the spirits get restless, what’s next for Timothy Fife?
Timothy Fife: I actually completed two records before I started on this record, and I’m not really sure what the status is on either due to the situation we’re in now. I’m doing some production work for some companies and there are some cool collaborations that I cannot discuss now, but I’m sure you’ll be one of the first to know.
Timothy Fife’s ‘Transcommunication’ is out this Friday, October 2nd. Hit up Library of the Occult’s Bandcamp page Friday and snag this one up. It won’t last.