domingo, 27 de noviembre de 2011

Richard Knox & Frederic D. Oberland - The Rustle of the Stars

Genre: Ambient, Drone, Neo Classical, Experimental

Having met while performing in Europe with their respective bands, Richard Knox, one-half of ambient-modern classical duo Glissando and sometime live member of Sleepingdog (and Gizeh Records manager), and Frederic D. Oberland, founding member of the experimental collective FareWell Poetry and soundtrack composer, soon after decided to collaborate on an album and did so in accordance with a few simple guidelines: first, to imagine the album as representative of, in their own words, “a polar journey to the ends of the earth through the Arctic Sea”; to augment their own playing with that of others (string players Angela Chan and David Ramsay appear, as do Elly May Irving and Matt Clark, who contributed choir and ghost narration to the project); and to record the project in a church. No carefree cruise trip, The Rustle of the Stars instead focuses on the darker end of the polar expedition experience, one that finds madness and terror setting in over the course of a long journey that brings with it more than its fair share of hopelessness, anxiety, and thoughts of disaster. The first indication of the project's special character is the album title itself, The Rustle of the Stars being a reference to a phenomenon that occurs 450 km from the Arctic Circle and that specifically refers to a barely audible noise produced when the draught from a human breath generates collisions among ice micro-crystals in the air. But, of course, the album rewards one's attention for reasons that go far beyond an imaginative album title and concept.

Begun at their respective homes in Leeds and Paris, Knox and Oberland drew upon a wealth of instrumental sounds (electric guitar, bowed glockenspiel, and field recordings for Knox, and piano, electric guitar, field recordings, harmonium, dulcimer, and analog electronics for Oberland, to name just some of the materials used) in fashioning the initial sketches for the collaboration and then solidified them when they convened two months later in Leeds to record in the St Margaret of Antioch Church. Regardless of whether the piece in question features large, rolling swathes of rumble, guitar textures, and soaring strings (“Mist”) or places delicate pianistics against a sombre backdrop (“Le Passage du Nord-Ouest”), the material is elegiac and dramatic ambient-classical in style and features a heavy emphasis on strings and electric guitar. It's also at times desolate, with the music evoking the limitless and barren expanses of icy terrain and often cloaked in a shroud of haunting gloom. In certain moments, The Rustle of the Stars' material is sometimes so stylistically similar to FareWell Poetry's Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite it could be mistaken for new work by the band (e.g., “Sea of Bones” and “A Divide”); certainly the inclusion of a Super 8 projector's clatter (courtesy of FareWell Poetry member Jayne Amara Ross) on “The Wreck of Hope” collapses the distance separating the outfits even more, as does the track's sweeping guitar-laced atmospherics. Generally speaking, anyone spellbound by FareWell Poetry's recent Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite may very well find him/herself equally captivated by The Rustle of the Stars.
Review from Textura

sábado, 26 de noviembre de 2011

Stephan Mathieu - To Describe George Washington Bridge

Genre: Ambient, Electronic, Drone
Label: Dekorder



“To Describe George Washington Bridge” is Stephan Mathieu’s second Dekorder release in the 10″ format (reflecting his interest in old 78rpm records) after 2009′s sold out “The Key to the Kingdom”, and, we’re happy to say, again it features two of the composer’s most outstanding short pieces. Both are recorded utilizing similar methods as used on his most recent album “A Static Place” on 12K Records yet they are presented in an even more condensed and melodic way. As source material he used transcriptions made from the marvelous 25x 12inch 78rpm set G.F. Händel. “Twelve Concerti Grossi” performed by the Busch Chamber Players in 1946, and a Columbia 10″ record from 1912 with Händel’s usual smash hits from “Messiah”.

“Between 1928 and 1932 the earliest recordings of historically informed performances of music from the late Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque era were etched into 78RPM records. I used some of these records from my collection, playing them back with two mechanical acoustic HMV Model 102 gramophones. The initial soundwaves produced back then by period instruments like the clavichord, viols, lute, hurdy-gurdy are read from the grooves by a cactus needle to be amplified by the gramophones diaphragm housed in a soundbox. Those vibrations travel through the tonearm which is connected straight to the gramophones horn, which releases the music to my space. Here the sound is again picked up by a pair of customized microphones and send to my computer, to be transformed by spectral analysis and convolution processes. An imaginary room, inhabited by all the spatial information collected on the journey is created and will be projected in a final instance into the listeners space.”

Stephan Mathieu is a self taught composer and performer of his own music, working in the fields of electroacoustics and abstract digitala. His sound is largely based on early instruments, environmental sound and obsolete media, which are recorded and transformed by means of experimental microphony, re-editing techniques and software processes involving spectral analysis and convolution; it has been compared to the landscape paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, the work of Colorfield artists Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Ellsworth Kelly.
Review from Fluid Radio

domingo, 20 de noviembre de 2011

Nest - Body Pilot

Genre: Ambient, Drone, Experimental, Abstract
Label: Serein

A fluttering “Stillness” dims the light; three notes turn six, over restful, droney string breaths; oh-so delicate tinkering lays soft quilt, easing vex. But try as you might to find its heart, the sense of loss, and icy depressiveness pervading the nooks and crannies of Huw Roberts’ and Otto Totlands’ pianism, becomes lavishness restricted, life jacket for low mood, conceptually meeting the flight theme they’ve adapted in minimalist repertoire. Played three times, Nest’s “Body Pilot” became a record I’d seemingly known all my life, like a catchphrase that existed subconciously; Mr. Chips returning to haunt one particular moment, penetrating. “Music without pretence”, in their past words.

Remaining homebound, sentimentally fearful of non-catharsis, “Charlotte” from “Retold”, platonic contrast to this 10′. “The engines are cut and we glide silently into the white”, is what Huw and Otto propose of “The Dying Roar” when the woodwind and brass exclude themselves, into their hallmark jigsaw-piece piano. It’s no wonder Hauschka is billed for this particular series. With modern musicians, environment, like Nest’s, plays an output discriminator, prohibiting you from saving a workload, or integrating a certain source for dubbing. In hindsight of Nest’s development: the hugely successful netlabel EP, and a comparatively sold-out-direct album, while “Koretz’s Meteor” leaning heavier on Totland’s synthesizer drone of Deaf Center reverie – a glowing proposition is harder to realise – how do you follow up lauded efforts in as timeless a manner?

Nest’s answer is seemingly to forget the premise of time, making it a continuum of last efforts, not a conscience-burdening approach that makes them think “what if I’d just done this”. Otherwise, minutes may go very slow normally, or lightning bolt anxiously. By retracting sensations that apply to a traditional chronology, too, not to mention having a loyal fan base, critical spikes, both internal and external, dissolve. Objectively so because the work is high calibre enough all the time. Even the Billy-no-instruments drone lapse of “The Ultimate Horizon” manages to escape throwaway straitjacket, sub bass undercutting the tinsel field recordings that metamorphosise, overlay and ebb. Part three of the “Seasons”vinyl and digital download catalogue on Serein, “Body Pilot” is the perfect edition to the series. It’s questionable depending on your entry point what you’ll rate higher – this or past Nest. One thing’s for certain though: you could do a lot worse than sampling your own camera, catching Huw and Otto’s flight further from base.
Review from Fluid Radio

sábado, 19 de noviembre de 2011

Lee Noble - Horrorism

Genre: Experimental, Electronic, Ambient Pop


Lee Noble blends droning lullabies into an artistic stew of eerie, yet inviting melody on his debut vinyl release, Horrorism. Deeply personal and wildly humbling, Horrorism is a vast chasm of introspective churning. Conjuring the spirit of some sort of homegrown and low-pass filtered Radiohead on downers, yet sewn to the hip of modern atmospheric-champions a la Grouper and Sean McCann. 
This is entirely its own creature, caressing various spots in the brain; both abysmal and blissful. Noble has crafted a 100% viable album, a true masterpiece in its own world. With Horrorism, Noble brings his compositions to life with class and depth, molding a beautiful, emotional release.

jueves, 10 de noviembre de 2011

Ben Fleury-Steiner - The Places That Find You

Genre: Ambient, Drone, Experimental
Label: Low Point

Ben Fleury-Steiner is a Delaware-based composer and owner of the Gears Of Sand label. Drawing upon his deep love of minimalism and influenced by the work of avant-garde composer Steve Reich, 'The Places That Find You ' was recorded over a two year period between 2009 to 2011.

The recording process made use of a mixture of instrumentation, including the use of the kalimba (the traditional name for a thumb piano) and the various sounds produced when played in the manner of a prepared guitar, coupled with more modern electronic instruments including effects pedals and synths. 

First impressions pull closer, strings and fizzles fall, carrying you, reaching further and ending up in an all-new place. Time is simple and less than a moment, with the lasting habit of a worn-out keepsake but nonetheless you are still immediately there again, inside those open arms and a world you have always dreamed of.

In homage to minimalism and imagination, 'The Places That Find You' by Ben Fleury-Steiner embodies an ultimate trance, the ability to connect directly with the listener and the truth behind the feeling of music from the heart. Far away but incredibly close, the five tracks forming this album never return to the ordinary but move, invert and grow, through time-lapse expressions and faded visions.

Some listeners want to be transported to other places through music, whilst others hear the technical artistry and find inspiration to delve deeper into the creative process. Without any direction and by simply following your own natural instincts, 'The Places That Find You' is a guide that places you instantly, allowing each listener to find more, not only through the music but from inside themselves.

miércoles, 9 de noviembre de 2011

Nils Frahm — Juno 7"

Genre: Neo Classical, Instrumental, Electronic
Label: Erased Tapes

Hearing the first notes of For, the sound of Nils Frahm’s new composition comes strangely unexpected given his generally accepted image of a contemporary classical pianist. Along with his peers, Ólafur Arnalds, Dustin O’Halloran among others, Frahm prefers form above technical brilliance and swims in a flow of something what can be called post-minimalism. There are neither vivid and brave orchestrations in a vein of Arvo Pärt or John Cage, nor are Arnalds’ or O’Halloran’s arrangements as daring and provocative as John Adams’ or Henryk Górecki’s. Surely, the young generation doesn’t call the elders to a battle; they evolve a concept of simplicity and emotional clarity – something needed in nowadays overcrowded world.

That’s why For and Peter, two improvisational compositions from limited vinyl Juno , come bit unexpectedly. For consists exclusively of dark, organ-tinged analogue synthesizers imprisoned in never-ending harmonic loops and simple melodic loops. Frahm’s mind raises to a more hopeful, blue hills and descends back into sedated comfort of dusk. The reason why For deserves an attention is its liberation of all those clichés about synthetic music; Frahm preserves the composition from falling into cold, inhuman territories. I believe that he reaches this strange warmness either by the patience which is present in every harmonic modulation or in the calm evolution of the motive and in the very selection of the synthesizers which recall the embracing sound of pipe-organ. Finally, he has already demonstrated his affection towards electronics on 7fingers, his collaborative effort with cellist Anne Müller and Juno just follows the suite.

But this time, he’s alone with his synthesizers – no other instruments are put in the mix – and Peter Broderick as his recurring muse. After all, the mystery of the cozy nature of For may dwell in its devotion to a particular person and an underlying emotion: the classic source of beauty in music. You may perceive For (and the entire EP Juno) as a surprising experiment; but it’s rather an expression of a personal feeling through an automatized device controlled by human fingers and living, creative mind.
Review made by Tomas, from MusicAddicted

martes, 8 de noviembre de 2011

Leyland Kirby - Intrigue and Stuff Vol. 3

Genre: Experimental, Ambient, Electronic, Drone

This Time no reviews. I´m lazy, sorry

domingo, 6 de noviembre de 2011

Leyland Kirby - Intrigue & Stuff - Vol. 2

Genre: Ambient, Experimental, Drone, Electronic

Kirby provides yet another facet of beautiful noise exploration here. Comprised of three songs, two of which clock in at roughly 12 and 20 minutes, respectively, there is a more grandiose framework to this second volume. However, as always in Kirby’s work, it’s the little details in songs that define this artist.

Embarking at 'Eventually, It Eats Your Lungs' we navigate the crests of swelling choral samples and strangely tactile blasts of blurry bass, delivered with a physicality not unlike being touched in a dream. The two elements tussle and tumble in this fluctuating mindspace, reaching irregular resolutions that still leave us baffled - in the best possible sense. After dilating our sense of time with this passage, we're briefly extruded through the cosmic chrono-chaos of 'Speeded Up Slow Motion', a piece that feels like gazing into localized miniature black hole. That's all preparation for 'Complex Expedition', one of Leyland Kirby's most breathtaking masterpieces to date. Spanning all 20 minutes of the B-side, the milk sea is curdling and we're stranded, eons away from anyone or anything.

sábado, 5 de noviembre de 2011

Nicholas Szczepanik - Candor of Night

Genre: Experimental, Ambient, Drone
Label: Self Released

Ante Algo Azul consists of 12 pieces; each will be released on a 3" CDr limited to 100 copies. The set will be sold as a subscription and each piece will be mailed individually, as it is finished. Each piece will be handwrapped in paper and, at times, a piece may also include other keepsakes like photographs, poetry, etc...

This is the third piece of this remarcable project.