ANDREW HEATH – QUIET NOISE
When times get dark, the music of Andrew Heath can offer solace and comfort when needed. His ‘lower case music’ contains a lot of “small fragments of sounds that we are continually surrounded by and exposed to in our everyday lives.” (Wikipedia defines lowercase music as “an extreme form of ambient minimalism where very quiet, usually unheard sounds are amplified to extreme levels.”)
These familiar sounds are embedded in warm textural treatments, bright-sounding piano notes, and acoustic guitar. And with additional violin sounds added by Simon McCorry on the opening track Embers (November ’89), as well as Alexander ‘Phonsonic’ Caminada‘s (half-speed) flute on Building Mountains closing the album. The three artists also work together as Konstruct, and recently released their third album: Soundworks (which is definitely worth checking out too). All other (8) tracks on this 65-minute album are performed by Andrew Heath alone.
“I like sounds that evolve in a way that I can’t always control, I seek out the random, juxtaposition of tiny noises and then set them against sustained piano notes that drift in and out of phase, or complex modulation paths that produce unpredictable filter blips.”
Quiet Noise is released on Harry Towell’s Whitelabrecs label, and is available on CD and/or digital download.
WIL BOLTON & FRANCIS GRI – IMAGINARY TALES
Imaginary Tales is the first collaboration of Wil Bolton (UK) and Francis Gri (Italy), and judged by the result it will probably not be the last time they work together.
Their different instruments beautifully complement each other into an enjoyable and uplifting sound. Bolton adds the synths, mellotron, field recordings, and effects, while Gri performs on acoustic and e-bow guitar, electric piano, OP-1 (portable synth), Sansula (kalimba mounted on a drum), found objects, and also effects.
“Imaginary Tales is an exploration of dreaming landscapes and lonely moments.”
It would be interesting to hear the difference between the CD and the digital version: the CD is mastered by Wil Bolton, the download by Francis Gri. But comparing these – probably subtly different – results will be difficult now: the CD-version is already sold out for some time.
GROTTA VETERANO & FRANCIS GRI – SOOLO
In another collaboratve project, Francis Gri teams up with Grotta Veterano (Gianluca Calligaris, also from Italy).
Working from small sketches started by Grotta Veterano, built around longer improvisations using a piano: “the same first melodic and rhythmic line of the piano was twisted out of phase and subsequently superimposed onto the original one, allowing chords, melodies, and timbres to be created.”
Not quite satisfied with the result yet, he invited Francis Gri to add his guitar and electric piano, “to embellish the sounds”.
Both artists worked remotely – which is not uncommon these days – but with little communication. “The music became a form of communication in its own right, as each artist reacted to what they heard as sonic interpretations developed.” The result can still be labeled as ‘lowercase music’ (see above), but with a slightly different atmosphere due to the compositional process.