miércoles, 18 de abril de 2012

That´s All Folks

Three years ago i started this blog as a hobby to share many of my favourite bands and music able to make me feel and inspire different things. After megaupload debacle I´ve re up my links to another server and now mediafire locked my account and all my links are gone. 

Actually I don´t have much time to post things and re up all the links is imposible to me so I decided to quit.

Was a pleasure. Bye & see you around.

martes, 17 de abril de 2012

Eleh - Homage to the Pointed Waveforms

Genre: Drone, Electronic, Minimal


Individually numbered edition of 500 copies on 200g virgin vinyl, packaged in custom 2-colour embossed letterpress jackets that just look amazing. Taiga Records bless the world with the first new Eleh material since their 2010 split side with Ellen Fullman. As the final release in a series dedicated to specific sound waves, it follows explorations of 'Square' and 'Sine' wave functions with three explorative compositions of triangle and sawtooth waves created on a dense modular system. They are the logical conclusion of live research performed in Barcelona, Brussels and Madrid during spring 2011. Side A contains a version of the piece that was conceived for the shows, which evolved during the three performances as it was continually reworked. It can be delineated into three distinct sections, each with more emphasis on (relatively) dynamic rhythm and noise than we're used to hearing from Eleh records. The B-side features two tracks mixed with "travel memories" and reflecting on that arrangement. The first is more reduced, yet prickly, and with sublime, almost melodic tone sequences to close. The third and final piece is a head-swallowing drone of near-cinematic potential, with a conclusion that's more than worth your patience. It should be noted that any perceptible distortion on the the 1st track of side B is "a problem of the audio itself, its structure and specific combination of frequencies", and can be taken as "a collaboration between Eleh and an unknown phenomenon". Don't sleep...

sábado, 14 de abril de 2012

En - Already Gone

Link removed by request

Genre: Ambient, Drone, Electronic

A universal definition of what is “beautiful” will probably remain eternally elusive. Different tastes, different cultures, backgrounds and a myriad of other factors play into how one person’s perception of beauty differs from the next. That said, it would be difficult to imagine anyone listening to the opening minutes of En’s sophomore effort, bask in the swelling layers of sound and not feel totally surrounded by the sublime, the utterly beautiful.

Processed fields of digital ambience wash down upon the listener, guided thoughtfully by the clear bass notes of The Drift’s Trevor Montgomery, notes appear and sounds reveal themselves from underneath the veils of opener “Lodi”, which at two minutes long is a fraction of what most ambient/experimental artists put out, yet equally effective. The presence of bass guitar remains in the following track, and the fact that its inclusion works so well makes one wonder, why aren’t more artists who dwell in the limitless fields of ambience using bass in their mix? Its effect is enamoring, like a constant link between the heavens and earth, making the pristine worlds created by the reverb laden soundscapes appear more tangible. They turn from places that exist solely in dreams and fantasies to ones where you can actually reside and immerse yourself within. The bass notes, however scarce they might be, add that effect perfectly. It is extremely simple yet absolutely brilliant. I want more bass in my ambient from now on!

The rest of the album doesn’t stray far from the opening tracks in terms of quality or mood. “Already Gone” keeps going strong and the duo of Maxwell August Croy and James Devane continuously show that there is more to drone or ambient music than tons of reverb. They are able to mix things up, but do so ever so subtly, the koto plucks which bring to mind Nest’s best work, the jagged drones laid down to utmost effect amidst other layers in a manner that would make Richard Skelton proud. It’s all so thoughtfully done and keeps the listener completely locked in throughout the album’s length.

Thoughtful instrumentation and an eye for all that’s pretty won’t cut it though, I mean sure it’s gorgeous, but there’s more than the fair share of ambient musicians out there treading along these same lines. What cuts it, what seals the deal, hits a home run, touches down and does a triple backward somersault, is an ear for melody. What has always differentiated the everyday sound artist from those who excel at it, in my humble opinion at least, is melody. This might sound old fashioned, but nothing warms my heart more, especially one that has all these beautifying elements in the background, and that is exactly what makes album closer, “Elysia”, work so wonderfully.

At a little over nineteen minutes, longer than the four previous tracks combined, “Elysia” is naturally the one track which ultimately makes or breaks the album. It is the moment where the listener is faced with a more concrete, longer lasting thought rather than snippets of emotion and it shows En’s abilities at their highest; Here we have an emotional mass that provides an alluring gravitational pull, the introduction of piano, followed by psychedelic arps and synths make way for a vast field of quietude ending with sparse toy piano notes that fall away quietly into nothingness. We’ve reached the end and get a bigger picture of the effort the artists have put into constructing the compositions, it’s a trip through the details rather than a postcard of the overall result. En take us through the express route in the first half of the album and then back via the scenic route and both work marvelously.

Whether or not “Already Gone” would remain in my personal rotation for many months to come is something that I can’t tell for sure at the moment, but what I am sure of is that for the time I spent with it, I loved it deeply and if I am to take a souvenir with me it would have to be second track “The Sea Saw Swell”. That Bass!!!

Review from Fluid Radio

domingo, 8 de abril de 2012

Ingenting Kollektiva - Fragments Of Night

Genre: Dark Ambient, Drone, Experimental

Ingenting Kollektiva is comprised of Diane Granahan, Kirston Lightowler, Tarrl Lightowler, and Matthew Swiezynski, and is an homage to the films of Ingmar Bergman and Sven Nykvist. The Kollektiva recordings are meditations on the quality of light, sound, and atmosphere, as well as realizations of the various forms of 'nothingness' captured by these two masters. Christmas of 2009, the Kollektiva found themselves surrounded with many recordings from the year 1969, including: Miles Davis & Teo Macero's In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew, John Surman's Way Back When and How Many Clouds Can You See?, and Extrapolation (with John McLauglin), Bert Jansch's Birthday Blues, Vashti Bunyan's Just Another Diamond Day (recorded December 1969), Fairport Convention's Unhalfbricking, Jan Garbarek & Terje Rypdal's Esoteric Circle, King Crimson's In The Court Of The Crimson King, Scott Walker's Scott Walker 4, Holger Czukay's Canaxis, plus many more. With this in mind, they recorded some songs in the Lightowlers' barn during a rainstorm, and later added recordings from Northern California and Los Angeles. The editing process then became something similar to Macero's work for Miles Davis. The recording has been issued as a long-play record with a gatefold sleeve and photographs by Tarrl Lightowler. Thanks so much to Taylor Deupree for bringing many layers & hidden sounds to life in these recordings.

miércoles, 4 de abril de 2012

Black Swan - Aeterna

Link removed

Genre: Dark Ambient, Drone
Label: Swan Plague

The first release was lovely and short, a primer in many ways. The follow-up was noisier, still relatively brief and melodic, but impeccable in theme. And now Aeterna, Black Swan’s third full album, is nothing short of an abyss. Exhausting, bombastic, unmapped, and, yes, as black as pitch. 

Most listeners will find it difficult to get past a composition so dominated by noise. Even those of us accustomed to it may be left cold by the borrowed pulse (some musicians refer to the accidental percussion born out of trimming and repeating samples as “events,” which is a good way to put it). This way press is fairly hard to come by, but those reviewers who have taken the plunge are well-rewarded. All of this is to say that, paradoxically, the entire Black Swan discography receives universal praise. In a 10-out-of-10 appraisal of the debut LP In 8 Movements, Foxy Digitalis reports, “the Swan isn’t afraid to make real musical decisions.” The Silent Ballet review, concluded, “neither positive or negative, and unequivocally gorgeous.” Message boards and comment threads indicate nothing short of delight for the EUS remix and the one-track collaboration with 36. But it was The Quiet Divide that marked the first of now two masterpieces: a symmetrical narrative, an intellectual trek, and a true thing of beauty. Instead of a Rorschach-in-Technicolor, this cover art was a road map, marking the path as euphony gave way to dissolution, and then to static, the quiet divide. The story pressed on through recovery, and back to euphony again. The final measures repeated the first. Nothing was changed, save for the passing of time, and some exceptional music. Futility and beauty.

(And for any listeners who believed eight minutes was too much time to dedicate to white noise, look at the album cover again. We submit that the noise was in fact red in color, and a plot twist. Both are key distinctions.)

For Aeterna, Black Swan has abandoned narrative for aphorism, and chaos for uncertainty. This is clearly the work of the same artist. The slow and vaporous sound for which he is known is still the order, manipulations of operatic and orchestral sources as well as the currents of noise all pigment the synthesizer tissue and hidden guitar, as before. As always, the touches of sadness, madness, and the interplay between the two. The occasional flash of Eno’s celestial-event thumbprint and incalculable time signatures. The compositions are allowed to sing, literally and otherwise, and the pinpoints of light are not disorienting, even if they are trying to be. The finest example of this is “Dying God (Suite),” which concludes the album with a moving five-minute space opera, sampling some old choral work stretched to anonymity and filtered almost down to its proteins.

But as is common with the ever-patient Black Swan, we’re getting ahead of him.

Aeterna begins with “A Lesson In Slow Flight,” named online by a fan of the artist and seamlessly blended into the ethics and aesthetics of the album, just like all of the composer’s other sources. The humming construction and neutered samples – thunder? old sci-fi films? a body shop? – might not turn any heads, but the slow-burning optimism is a notable departure. “Lamentine” is a short and disturbing piece, looping a 3AM piano lick and a swish of static across an otherwise bare canvas. It’s an interesting neologism, the joining of lament and Clementine. Merciful regret, maybe?
Review from Fluid Radio

viernes, 30 de marzo de 2012

Nicholas Szczepanik - We Make Life Sad

Genre: Ambient, Drone, Experimental
Label: Weme Records

'We Make Life Sad' is a powerfully haunting transmission from Chicago's Nicholas Szczepanik - and a very strong choice for fans of The Caretaker or Indignant Senility. In contrast to last years well received 'Please Stop Loving Me' suite, this side for Belgium's WeMe is more concise, refined into ten chapters of gauzily textured samples, zombied digital synth tones and processed strings which hover and shapeshift like slow-moving hallucinations. Like we say, there's an undeniable conceptual allegiance with The Caretaker's foisty shellac ambience and introverted loop spirals, but like Indignant Senility's compelling 'Consecration Of The Whipstain', the magic herein lies with Nicholas' ability to breathe extra life into the samples, foregrounding their rich melodic nuance and tactile textures against a murky, lowlit background which draws the ear through the heavy red curtains to a cavernous and dark hollow behind. If it was mere plagiarism we'd say so, but it's not, and we look forward to spending time with this LP in our musty old attic listening space.

miércoles, 28 de marzo de 2012

Danny Norbury - Bluebeard

Genre: Neo Classical, Instrumental
Label: Wist Rec

The “Book Report Series” was conceived as way of involving the shifting state of literature with a community that would not only help to highlight the significance of a book’s physical form but also allow one to glean new, immediate connections between differing art forms.

martes, 13 de marzo de 2012

Nova Scotian Arms - Cult Spectrum

Genre: Ambient, Drone, Dark Ambient

Nova Scotian Arms has concocted a sprawling, sophisticated catalog of winding compositions and dizzying drones. Grant Evans, who is also 1/2 of Quiet Evenings and co-curator of the Hooker Vision label, is the brains behind the entire operation. Throughout numerous releases he has shown a consistent ability to keep listeners guessing as he explores endless sonic territories. With Cult Spectrum, Evans is drowning himself in a hazy aural sea. 

Like much of his work, there is a very distinct mood on Cult Spectrum. This is funereal music that is stretched to its breaking point. Distant galaxies are buried underground in a delicate mix of sounds that are as cosmic as they are organic. This duality is at play straight-off with the masterful opener, "Gathering/Composition." Soaring in crystal skies on beds of hiss, each strained note from Evans' Rhodes piano that emerged from the murk is an anchor keeping the song and the mood gravity-stricken. It works to perfection, drawing in the listener immediately. 

Tape loops and radio interference deliciously muddy the waters of Cult Spectrum. The 16+ minute burner, "Emulsion," combines all those and more into a cacophonous stew. Acoustic guitars circle around and die in the swirling synthetic drain. Each wave emerges in stages as Evans shows considerable compositional skill in the way the piece is put together. With "Overcast Strumming (1st Delay)" comes a melancholic, skyward glance. Electronic corridors take shape and find a simple beauty through tonal dichotomies. Blurred drones are puncuated by bursts of fuzz, working in tandem to find that sonic bliss. 

If Cult Spectrum is Nova Scotian Arms' biggest stage and loudest statement then the message is coming through loud & clear. Grant Evans is a force to be reckoned with. This is the sound of dissonance sculpted and shaped into something far greater and leaves its mark long after the final, ghostly seconds of "Hearse Overdub (Decomposition)" fade away. Evans is digging a tunnel, heading straight for the sun.

lunes, 12 de marzo de 2012

Grouper - Violet Replacement

Genre: Ambient, Drone
Label: Self released

Grouper’s Violet Replacement performances are long form ambient pieces comprised of tape loops, field recordings Wurlitzer loops and submerged atmospherics, mixed and processed live from an array of dictaphones and tape players.

martes, 6 de marzo de 2012

Julia Holter - Ekstasis

Genre: Experimental, Electronic, Psychedelic
Label: RVNG Intl

Like a lot of home-recorded music in the indie sphere in the last few years, Ekstasis makes heavy use of atmosphere. There's plenty of reverb and vocal tracks are braided together into drones; it's the kind of swirly production that's good for hiding mistakes. But nothing Holter does feels random. This album is above all careful, and its deliberate construction allows it to work on a different plane from most music that scans as "ethereal." Ekstasis is not the sort of oceanic wash you lose yourself in; instead, Holter's music has a way of snapping tiny moments and small sonic gestures into focus.Ekstasis is above all smart, and it makes no apologies for it.

Holter's work exists at the intersection between pop and "serious" music. The mayor of that particular corner is Laurie Anderson, and there are obvious parallels between the two. You can hear Anderson in Holter's flat, chant-like inflection, which allows her music and lyrics to do the emotional work. You can also hear it in her love of simplicity and approach to mixing traditional instrumentation and electronics. Another touchstone is the dark magic of Klaus Nomi. It's not just that the tracks like "Fur Felix" bear a similarity to Nomi tracks like "Keys of Life", there's also an undercurrent of ritualism and theatricality in Holter's music. Ekstasisis certainly mysterious, but not because meaning is hard to pin down; it's more that there are so many possible meanings, so many places to focus your attention.

Listening to Ekstasis, I keep thinking about how it differs from music that feels superficially similar. The music of Julianna Barwick, for example, has liturgical overtones, bringing to mind stone and glass and voices rising in cathedrals. Barwick wants to tap into something beyond words. But Holter's music sounds like it was assembled in a dusty library a floor or two below the sanctuary. It's a few shades darker, but it's also based on ideas first and intuition second. Despite using vocoders, drum machines, and electronics, it feels "old" in part because Holter so deliberately connects her music to the distant past. On her debut album, she did so by basing her songs on a play from ancient Greece by Euripides; here, she pulls words and scenarios from literature and mixes them with her own idiosyncratic approach to words. The songs include quotes from the likes of Virginia Woolf and Frank O'Hara. A line from O'Hara's poem "Having a Coke With You"-- "I look at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world"-- animates "Moni Mon Ami", nestled amid the twinkling synths, strings, and keyboards that sound like harpsichord are original lines like "Hours become years when you're gone!"

Where Holter's Tragedy felt more like a tapestry, with vocal tracks mixed in with instrumental bits and interludes, Ekstasis leans toward proper songs, and it palette is more uniform. "In the Same Room", despite its chintzy drum machine and mechanized hand-claps, is actually a drama unfolding in close quarters. "In this very room, we spent the day and looked over antiquities. Don't you remember?" to which the other character replies, "Do I know you? I can't recall this face but I want to." You see it play out on paper on the lyric sheet and it feels like a linear exchange, but Holter twists the voices together and the narrative folds in on itself. It's there as pure, gorgeous sound if you want it-- you don't need to know what the songs are about to immerse yourself in this record-- but the deeper you go, the more the songs open up.

"I can see you but my eyes are not allowed to cry..." is a lyric from "Goddess Eyes", a new version of a song that appeared on Tragedy. It's a line from the Euripides play that inspired her first album, and it's delivered in processed voice reminiscent of a vocoder. So we have a 2,000-year old phrase run through a device that makes a human sound like a 1970s version of the robots of the future. And at the center of all this time travel stands Julia Holter, pulling in references and sounds from everywhere and shaping them into a music that's both haunting and life-affirming, something to make you dream and think.

lunes, 5 de marzo de 2012

Loscil - City Hospital

Genre: Electronic, Ambient, Drone, Abstract
Label: Wist Rec

Sound report on Malcolm Lowry’s novella “Lunar Caustic”.

The “Book Report Series” was conceived as way of involving the shifting state of literature with a community that would not only help to highlight the significance of a book’s physical form but also allow one to glean new, immediate connections between differing art forms.

domingo, 26 de febrero de 2012

Ólafur Arnalds - Another Happy Day OST

Genre: Neo Classical, OST
Label: Erased Tapes

It’s a good sign that it is difficult to talk about the album as individual tracks - each piece feels part of a whole, and as you near the end, it rises to a crescendo that turns a feeling of slowly moving through melancholy into a sudden, sinister squall. There’s something deeply mesmerising about the careful pace and creeping sense of a climax that so many Scandinavian musicians seem to inherently possess. Of course, it’s not his nationality that makes Arnalds so hypnotic, it’s his natural talent for being able to convey a mood and convert it into something the feels timeless, all within the confines of a relatively short piece of music. 

Though occasionally wanting for sonic complexity, Ólafur's simple, transcendent composure lends every inching phrase a delicate, intricate poignancy that displays a free honesty in short supply throughout lives and record collections countrywide. The Icelandic composer tempers his mellifluous nature with chirping idiosyncracies, while remorseful minor tones wallow like prison inmates trapped inside their cells during a flood.Another Happy Day creeps you out, sucks you in and gracefully spits you back again, with a renewed sense of comfortable discontent.

jueves, 23 de febrero de 2012

Orcas - Orcas

Link removed

Genre: Electronic, Experimental, Ambient Pop
Label: Morr Music

The courtship of ambient music and traditional songform has been a long and tenuous one, almost to the point that their differences seem irreconcilable. Spanning decades with only a few points of obscure intersections, the occasions on which the two styles have met and crossed into the pop culture lexicon have often yielded a contrary, oil-and-water form. The abstract nature of the "ambient" genre and instant gratification of the "pop" song require deft hands for successful cohabitation, thus it's little wonder that there are so few practitioners of its delicate equilibrium.

Orcas – comprised of haze-pop auteur Benoît Pioulard and post-minimalist composer Rafael Anton Irisarri – is an imaginative return to that narrative. Theirs is a style deeply rooted in personal variations on songform and ambient craft, and as a duo they bridge the furthest outlying aspects of their previous solo work published on Kranky, Touch, Miasmah, Room40, and Ghostly International. Here song and abstraction become one entity, condensing the spaces between to generate an arching trajectory. This co-mingling of contrasts is even coded into their moniker; Pioulard and Irisarri have chosen an iconic symbol of the American Pacific Northwest, a methodical sea hunter that is also a totem of the open oceans' expanse. The so-called "wolf of the seas" that evokes a quiet, stately, yet powerful nature.

Appropriately, their music is a careful balance of chiaroscuro elements, where pop hook and spatial ambience converge. In its environs, lyricism flows as a time-distended dynamic, rising and falling, proceeding almost antithetically to pop's typical gratification ethos.

Orcas has taken an immersive, fluid vector for their passions; a resonant call like sonar from the depths.

jueves, 16 de febrero de 2012

Black To Comm - Earth

Genre: Ambient, Drone, Experimental
Label: De Stijl

Astonishing new album from Marc Richter aka Black To Comm on Minneapolis's ever-reliable De Stijl (C Spencer Yeh, Michael Yonkers, Smegma, Wet Hair etc). As boss of the Dekorder label, has introduced to an astonishing array of quality artists over the years, but his own music is beginning to eclipse his estimable A&R skills. The long-awaited follow-up to 2009's Alphabet 1968 LP on Type, this new album is based on an original score he created for Ho Tzu Nyen's film EARTH. There's no doubt that it's his most ambitious work to date, with deliciously woozy, woe-stricken vocals - impossible to hear without thinking of Scott Walker, David Sylvian, Antony Hegarty and Vindicatrix - at the fore of minimalist, electronics-daubed drone-folk arrangements that occupy a hallowed space somewhere between Talk Talk and Fennesz. It's really that good, conjuring a truly epic sadness but providing enough sonic nourishment that the tears feel like a good thing. The second half of the record heads deeper into loop-based abstraction, climaxing on the 15-minute 'The Children' but those lachrymose vocals remain - and the combination is just sublime.

sábado, 11 de febrero de 2012

Mirroring - Foreign Body

Genre: Drone, Ambient, Folk
Label: Kranky

Grouper and Tiny Vipers make an alliance to do one of the most beautifull records of this year. Covering all the songs with layers of melancholy and gliding vocal textures they have created  six delicious compositions plenty of magical sensations. 

lunes, 30 de enero de 2012

Windy & Carl - We Will Always Be

Genre: Ambient, Drone
Label: Kranky

The first new recordings from Windy & Carl in more than three years. Cited as "A leading light of the Michigan space-rock scene" by Allmusic, the minimalist group formed in 1993 around the core husband-and-wife duo of guitarist Carl Hultgren and bassist/singer Windy Weber. (Most of the band's pieces feature no vocals, however.) The band was prolific from the outset up to 2001, whereupon they took a hiatus of a few years. The music of Windy & Carl borrows heavily from the sounds of 1980s era bands on 4AD Records, specifically that of Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins and various other dream pop and shoegazer acts. Unlike noteworthy prior drone/ambient artists (such as Cluster, Brian Eno, Popol Vuh, et al.), Windy & Carl's drones are primarily derived from guitar, particularly via usage of delay effects, reverb effects, and E-Bow, rather than synthesizers.

domingo, 22 de enero de 2012

From the Mouth of the Sun - Woven Tide

Link removed by request. 

Genre: Ambient, Drone, Electronic, Neo Classical

News came recently of Dag Rosenqvist's intention to release his last album as Jasper TX early this year, and move on, in his own words, to 'new beginnings'. His project From the Mouth of the Sun with friend and fellow noise experimenter Aaron Martin is the first of these, with another to follow with Matt Collings and hopefully more. Whilst Woven Tide, released by Jeremy Bible's Experimedia label, may show glimmers of both artists recognised sounds - the album endeavours to achieve something altogether different. The result is immediately compelling; full of moments of painful melancholy, disarming emotion and intense bittersweet beauty.

Difficult to ignore is the stark juxtaposition of reverberated sound, and striped back instrumentation, delivered by guitar, violin, interjections of voice/choir, chimes and more. As an entry point to the album and sound, the one minuter The Crossing introduces this aesthetic perfectly, setting out the intent for the rest of the tracks. From here on in we are treated to a set of stories retold with a romanticised tenderness, full of rich imagery, and textures.

Color Loss left me speechless on first listen and continues to affect on subsequent sittings. Working around a relatively simple melody, Martin and Rosenqvist manage an aching mournfulness through repeated choral voices. In the second half, the voices give way to allow violins to continue the motif, establishing an even greater heart breaking melancholia. The same depth of sound is found in the violin notes of modern classical figure-head Richard Skelton, who works every vibration emanating from his strings into gloriously rich sculptural textures. The duo develop this surrounding noise, without ever losing the stark emptiness.

Shimmering cymbals, and a metallic reverberation of dust particles appear to penetrate via osmosis on My Skin Drinks Light That Has Passed Through Leaves - a fine mist of coloured light slowly changing, broken only by gently plucked guitar. Pinned piano leads the dramatical swell of strings and effected noise on Sitting In A Roofless Room, perhaps the albums most visceral and discordant moment, before fading into the distance.

The long introduction of A Season in Water holds us in suspense, as if drifting through murky water, before echoing strings emerge from out of the depths. The surge of sonics that develop is powerful and exciting. Throbbing electronics, synth cascades, washes of violins in heavy reverb, and at its height, and ending, music box chimes. At the end of this epic journey the emergent Snow Burial (While Blue Skies Gather) evaporates all heavy weights and sheds light on dark corners, climbing to its end.

These are tales of loss, cathartic euphoria, and hope from out of pain and despair. Rendered with such masterful artistry that I predict many will fall in love with Woven Tide. Mastered by Taylor Deupree and cover artwork by the always brilliant Chris Koelle completes the package and makes this a must have release.
Review from Futuresequence

martes, 17 de enero de 2012

The Caretaker - Patience (After Sebald)

Genre: Ambient, Drone, Electronic

James Leyland Kirby returns with a long-in-the-making soundtrack to acclaimed filmmaker Grant Gee's documentary about German writer WG Sebald. 'Patience (After Sebald)' is a multi-layered film essay on landscape, art, history, life and loss - an exploration of the work and influence of German writer WG Sebald (1944-2001), told via a long walk through coastal East Anglia tracking his most famous book 'The Rings Of Saturn'. Much like The Caretaker's oeuvre, Sebald's works are particularly focused on themes of memory, both personal and collective, making Kirby the ideal candidate for this score. Grant tasked him with soundtracking responsibilities, but rather than thrift shop shellac, the source material for 'Patience' was sourced from Franz Schubert's 1927 piece 'Winterreise' and subjected to his perplexing processes, smudging and rubbing isolated fragments into a dust-caked haze of plangent keys, strangely resolved loops and de-pitched vocals which recede from view as eerily as they appear.

miércoles, 4 de enero de 2012

Willamette - Echo Park

Genre: Ambient, Neo Classical.

Now this is going to look like lazy reviewing. I’m going to start with a comparison that will have all ambient heads groaning in sheer disbelief at the fact that yet another act/album is being compared to Stars of the Lid…but yes, it’s true. This album uses all the tropes associated with the widely acknowledged masters of the genre and it does so to such an extent that it practically screams ‘compare me to stars of the lid’. We’re all familiar with this comparison and it has become such a cliche that it’s essentially shorthand for ‘this is an ambient album’. Large numbers of flaccid, go-nowhere, uninspired albums have been allowed off the hook by this lazy comparison. Not only does this allow a large volume of shit to flood the market, but it also detracts from the genuine majesty that SOTL display and for which they are rightly acknowledged.

So with that aside, I am pleased to say that Willamette have managed to produce an album that is truly worthy of the comparison. ‘Echo Park’ is an album of diffuse splendour, plaintive sketches, and beautiful, wistful melancholia…all delivered with an acute sense of restraint and precision.

The 10 tracks are, on the whole, relatively brief for the genre (maximum of five and a half minutes) and, to my mind at least, this should be taken as a significant strength…ideas are not allowed to overstay their welcome but certainly never feel underdeveloped. Moods are swiftly evoked, allowed full expression and then softly dissipate. It would have been very easy to extend a few tracks here and there, drag out a sequence past it’s utility, and strive for a pseudo-epic scale for the album. The fact that the composer/s resisted temptation in this regard speaks volumes for their ability to prioritise artistry over posturing. This ‘just enough to do the job’ sensibility also informs the album’s melodic core. As with all essentially minimal music, it’s the parts that are left out that carry the greatest weight and here, each piece manages to convey a deep emotional resonance with the merest hint of ethereal melody.

The majority of the album is carried by gentle swelling pulses of hazy chords – and as such ‘Echo Park’ is clearly an ‘ambient’ album; easily listened to in the background – but when clear instrumentation comes to the fore (such as on the gorgeous ‘New York Heat’) it has a piercing effect that seizes the listeners attention and brings the music into sharp focus.

Albums of this calibre are, indeed, rare. So if there is to be any criticism levelled at ‘Echo Park’, it is probably that it wears its influences too clearly on its sleeve. Frankly though, if that’s the worst thing I can say about this album the message you should be taking away from this review is that Willamette have produced, with ‘Echo Park’, an album that could easily stand as one of the contenders for ambient album of the year.

Review from Fluid Radio