martes, 29 de junio de 2010

Simon Scott - Traba

Genre: Drone, Experimental, Ambient
Label: Inmune Recordings

My Space


Traba is a brand new mini-LP from the UK's Simon Scott. In the early '90s Scott was the drummer for renowned shoegaze band Slowdive. Recent years have seen Scott running the KESH recordings label from his base in Cambridge, performing in the group Seavault with Anthony Ryan (ISAN) on Morr Music, and also working as a sound designer for television, film and sonic art installation. 2009 saw the release of Scott's debut solo album Navigare released on Miasmah Recordings (run by Erik Skodvin of Svarte Greiner/Deaf Center).
Traba contains four tracks that were written at the end of the sessions for Navigare. When the deadline for completion of the album came and went these compositions were unfinished, but over the course of the summer and autumn of 2009 they were completed in Scott's o3o3o Studio in Cambridge. Traba continues and expands on the themes of submergence, being lost at sea, and intoxication. Opening track "She Came From The Sea", with it's distant swirling brush stroke drumming, haunting vocals and deep processed textures, captures the almost overwhelming physicality of being at sea, miles from home, yearning for loved ones and a physical embrace. Though this is the first track on the record it was the last one to be written and completed after the Navigare sessions. "The Water Loop" tackles themes of addiction, obsession and urban decay via a Max/MSP manipulated loop that initially feels warmly narcoleptic but grows into something anxious and intimidating. The music evokes warmth and adventure but slowly unfolds into a dark tone of emotional weakness and paranoia. An influence of Stanley Kubrick shines out here as this is a musical landscape occupied by Droogs on Molotov cocktails threatening to impose themselves on you.

"Lamina" is about a short spell of tinnitus that Scott had which resulted in a brain scan. The uncertainty of what caused the hearing damage mixed with the possibility that something had indeed grown inside his brain affected Scott in a heavy way. "Feeling like I had half of my head submerged underwater somehow matched the themes I was writing about so it inspired me to finish the track. Luckily my head was fine and the frequencies returned just in time to mix the piece". The digitally processed acoustic instruments are blended together with field recordings taken from his local East Anglian Coast line as well as vocal samples. These elements ebb and flow until the smoldering finale that recalls the sinister imagery of the Quay Brothers, David Lynch or the Brothers Grim. Scott's uncle was a submarine officer in the British Navy who died of alcoholism. His life away at sea fueled his fraught family life and kept his battle with drink alive until his death. Traba's closing track "An Avalanche" is directly inspired by the moment his uncle's heart stopped. Coming ashore after months at sea, his uncle drank himself to death. He was brought to a hospital where he was shortly brought back to life, but quickly returned to his death bed as a direct result of his eldest son's disapproval.
Learning of the heartache surrounding the inspiration for this mini-LP, one could infer that its consummation was a cathartic release but even without knowing the anguish that gave rise to this work, the listener would be reminded of the ocean, of being lost at sea and of submergence. The sea holds great importance to Scott and the sense of melancholia, yearning and loss are ever looming.

lunes, 28 de junio de 2010

Noveller - Desert Fires

Genre: Ambient, Drone, Experimental
Label: Self Released


My Space / Web

'Desert Fires' is the second, full-length release from Sarah Lipstate, the woman better know as Noveller. Hailing from Texas and currently living in NYC, Noveller creates experimental music for guitar using a combination of effects and a number of "non-standard" objects with which she plays the guitar strings.

While her music in the past has usually had a heavy, noisy tone, her new songs take on a more ambient and minimalistic feel, with sounds ranging from the odd to the angelic.

martes, 22 de junio de 2010

Olan Mill - Pine

Genre: Ambient, Electronic
Label: Serein



It seems to be becoming quite fashionable these days to record modern classical music on location, particularly within a church setting due to the elegant, almost haunting cadences it can imbue, and excellent examples of this can be heard in releases by Greg Haines or Dustin O'Halloran on the Sonic Pieces imprint. But there's more to the music on Pine than simply the echo, reverb and cloistered space provided by the small church setting in which it was recorded and it all comes down to the ingenious use of the minimal array of acoustic instruments used coupled with a unique approach to their production and arrangement.

The base palette of Pine consists merely of piano, violin, guitar and perhaps most importantly the church organ. Indeed it is this last element that proves to be the key that unlocks the door to Pine's ever elongating corridors of time, an omnipresent exhalation of voluptuous cushions of soft, sometimes cavernous bass drones that are as much felt as they are heard. Pine also views the world through sepia tinted spectacles, bathing it in honeyed tones, golden hues and sweet, syrupy textures. Whether it is the hay-smoked strings, hazy piano keys and caramelised, melted subterranean organ drones of "Country", "A Heavy Leg Cycle," "An Obedient Ear" or "Spare Smoke Template" or the bright gold filigree of twinkling piano keys that dapple "Cotton Access," "Pine" or "Disempowered," these binding agents are ever-present.

The spell is briefly broken by the totally unprocessed, plangent piano solo at the head of "The Prescribed Individual," accompanying strings later languishing in its wake, which sees the album veering dangerously towards overt sentimentality. It's not that there is anything wrong with the piece, in fact it is one of the most emotionally moving tracks on the album but for that reason it seems almost to belong to a different album and has somehow crept in here unnoticed. Luckily the enchantment is quickly recast.

The stretching of time reaches its apex on closing track, "Flume," consisting of scarcely more than broadly spaced, single piano chords that initially ebb woozily into the depths before they are folded back on themselves by reversed guitar distortions. A final chord is hit a mere one-and-a-half minutes into the piece and time effectively comes to a standstill as it stretches this warm decay and resonance over seemingly impossible lengths, an oddly comforting stasis that continues literally to "Flume"'s conclusion some four minutes later.

Pine is an almost dangerously understated that would be easy to overlook if given a merely cursory glance, but rest assured it is worth the very modest amount of your time that it demands, if only to remind us all that sometimes we need to escape from the stress and celerity of modern life. Olan Mill don't attempt to hypnotize us here; this isn't about trickery or illusion. Instead these brilliant alchemists have transmuted the smallest array of source materials into what can only be described as bottled eternity that, if taken, can transport you out of time and into a realm of mesmerising tranquility and statuesque stillness. Review from Igloo Magazine

miércoles, 9 de junio de 2010

Mains De Givre - Esther Marie

Link Removed by Request

Experimental, Ambient, Drone
Label: Textura

My Space


The project of Montreal-based violinist Emilie Livernois-Desroches and experimental guitarist Eric Quach, Mains De Givre is the first signing of the label set up by Canadian magazine Textura. Both already respected musicians in their own right, Quach for his ambient work as thisquietarmy and with instrumental rock band Destroyalldreamers amongst others, classically trained violinist Livernois-Desroches for projects spanning a wide range of genres, from metal to folk, the pair met over seven years ago while playing in two different bands, but only began working together a year ago. The result, Esther Marie, is a stunning collection of deeply atmospheric and dark experimental compositions.

Built from early jam sessions, and assembled into four striking pieces, each with its individual tone, Esther Marie progresses especially slowly, as guitar and violin layers, processed into exquisite textures, become entangled and appear weighed down by their own gravity. There is a natural flow running through the whole album, especially as there is no clear demarcation between the first two tracks, as the vast clouds of distortions generated by Quach freely stretch from Un Chœur D’Ames En Detresse into Le Cercle Des Mœurs, and while the last two tracks are more distinct, they are carved from similarly dense soundscapes, as to permanently enforce the quietly abrasive and sombre nature of the record.

martes, 1 de junio de 2010

Loscil - Versions Ep

Genre: Ambient, Piano, Experimental
Label: Self Released

My Space


The EP is aptly titled Versions and features reworked versions of Emma from First Narrows, Estuarine and The Making of Grief Point from Endless Falls. Emma and Estuarine both feature Dan Bejar on guitar and Josh Lindstrom on Vibes and were first performed as part of New York’s Wordless Music Series in 2009. The Making of Grief Point is an instrumental version of the track from Endless Falls which featured Bejar’s spoken word. All of these tracks compliment the originals quite nicely so I thought it was worth making them available.