MIKE LAZAREV – SACRED TONALITIES
On his previous albums (this is his sixth full album since 2016), Mike Lazarev often presented the piano as his main instrument. But to unlock the Sacred Tonalities on this new album – this time released on Past Inside The Present – he brings out his carefully curated collection of synths. This would have been somewhat surprising, had he not already introduced (and praised) the synths on this album on his social media platforms.
(Nerdy info alert) For those that want to know: the Modal Electronics’ ARGON8M, the Novation Nova, the Roland JP-8000, the Sequential OB-6, the Waldorf Iridium, a Moog One, a Clavia Nord Lead, An Access Virus C, and the Ashun Hydrasynth were used – and possibly even some other ones not mentioned.
With these synths, Lazarev creates deeply layered soundscapes, more drone-based than his piano recordings, but never too minimal: there are always (hints of) melodies to enjoy.
“I think that for Sacred Tonalities, I wanted to be present with time. It’s a very meditative state of mind. Like the ocean. Like breathing.”
The 15+-minute opening track, Sacred Tonality Number One, takes up almost one-third of the album. It gradually builds up from a soft and introspective start to overwhelming waves of sound. The following tracks are more concise – each one around 5 minutes in length – but all are ‘mantras for introspective moments’.
In his early days as a musician (mid-90s), Mike used to create hard acid trance music. He states that some influence from that time can be heard in Sacred Tonality Number Five and also in Number Four – even when they do not feature the ever-prominent beat it used to have then.
“Some aesthetics here may trigger a flashback. So, we’re talking about traveling back in time again… where our past is always inside the present…”
WIL BOLTON – LIKE FLOATING LEAVES
Wil Bolton‘s Like Floating Leaves is already the 26th title in the Laaps series. The start of the second quarter: the series where ‘each release starts with the end of the previous one, in sound and visually’ will be complete with #100. Completists beware or start saving.
Each of these releases is tied to the season in which it is released, so Like Floating Leaves marks the end of this winter.
It does so with a remarkable fresh and scintillating sound, which, indeed, reminds of floating leaves. Bolton creates the music using various synths and effects, a glockenspiel, chimes, and combines them with field recordings from Venice, Stockholm, New York and Tokyo.
The dark season is definitely ending, listening to this album is like welcoming the return of light.
Like Floating Leaves is released on natural clear vinyl and on CD (as well as digital of course). It should be noted that the CD version contains 20 extra minutes in three tracks: Etched, Dead Fountains and Into The Shadows.