VARIOUS ARTISTS – HOME DIARIES
At the very same moment many artists experience a peak in their creativity due to their lockdown quarantine, the ways of distributing their work physically got more difficult. Local post offices closed due to the coronavirus outbreaks with fears for staff and customer safety.
But the ever-active Harry Towell, curator of the Whitelabrecs CDr label promoting experimental electronic/acoustic music, is not a person to simply set down and wait until things blow over.
He invited artists to create an album, or EP, (to be released as a digital download only) “to document their personal experience during the lockdown or social distancing conditions that are upon us, due to the outbreak of the virus.”
Like the many video-streams from home studios we see, these digital releases are a way for artists to get their work to the public, but at the same time it helps the label to get fundings in these difficult times – a way ‘to keep the label ticking.’
So supporting it helps the label as well as the artists (you can download each edition directly from the artists themselves). But, if you want, you can also check the different releases from Spotify if you want. (But then you hardly help anyone but Spotify, so in this case I chose not to provide the Spotify links).
While the music on these releases documents the personal reflections of the artists, the cover image for each chapter is exactly the same: “a polaroid image of a small lonely house, with a colored filter chosen by the artist.”
At the time of writing this post, six Home Diaries editions are released. The first one kicked off on April,6, with An Endless Puzzle by Mi Cosa De Resistance (Fernando Perales from Buenos Aires), merging his melancholic drones with spoken samples that are probably taken from English language courses.
Second edition is a 22-minute piece by Edu Comelles, following up his recent release Línia Pedra Paisatge Solc earlier this year. One could say he and his family are in ‘double lockdown’: he became a father of two twin boys in February ánd shortly after that Spain was heavily hit by Covid-19. He used his spare moments to create 22 minutes of beautiful introspection.
I can’t say the name Brusgenerator (or Felix Gebhard from Berlin) rings a bell with me, but he has released work on various labels including Towell’s other labels Tessellate and Audio Gourmet. From The 5th Floor was originally conceives as a theatre soundtrack for a show that was cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Now, they have transformed to songs “about home cooking, sights from the balcony and watching movies, all told from the comfort of a 5th floor apartment”.
For his contribution to the series, Andrew Sherwell used small unused fragments of sound from his previous work to create a remarkably coherent mini-album capturing “the solitude and repetition of the days he spends and made use of domestic field recordings along the way”. It starts out rather dark, but gradually reveals “the hidden beauty of solitude” – especially in the use of the choral samples in Balcony Views 3AM. …
When you hear such heavenly choirs on your balcony at 3AM at night you know that something special is happening to the world. The last track, called End of Another Shitty Day in Paradise, made me wish all my shitty days sounded like this.
Pruski (Krakow-based artist Paweł Pruski) concludes this post (but nót the series) with a 23-minute track called I Need Space, especially created for this series to bridge the gap to his now delayed release of his Playground album. A nice appetizer, of “restful modular synth tones underpinned with gentle field recordings. The sound of nature becomes a comforting backdrop for the mind, as the sounds of tired, failing computers are not powerful enough to break this thoroughly tranquil peace setting.”
The latest of this six (but not the last of the Home Diaries series) is a release by Spheruleus (Harry Towell himself). Amidst all the frustration of the current situation – the post office closure bringing a halt to the label, being placed on his government job retention scheme – he manages to maintain a positive attitude:
“The way I see it, I get an unimaginable opportunity to be a stay at home Dad, a house-husband and a full-time musician. I know the circumstances overall are far from positive, which is what must make it so difficult for many, but I think it is important for me personally to embrace the time I have, to adapt to this strange pace of life. […] Being able to make some music again has been brilliant!”
So much for this post, but not for this series, which probably will continue as long as the Covid-19 lockdown takes. One would almost start to hope that it won’t end too soon….
Or, in a more positive way: let’s hope that Whitelabrecs will continue the Home Diaries series even after this devastating worldwide crisis is over.