HENRIK MEIERKORD – ZEITREISEN
Sweden’s Henrik Meierkord‘s main instrument is the cello, which defines most of the atmospheres of his music. But he also masters the viola, double bass, guitar, other instruments, and is no stranger to incorporating electronics either. His knowledge enables him to create a well-balanced combination of neo-classical music and atmospheric ambient, drawing ‘as much from ambient music’s meditative qualities as they do from humanity’s rich history of classical styles’.
Meierkord has released 9 solo albums until now (Kval from 2021 being the latest), but he also frequently appears on compilation albums and in many collaboration projects (such as A Black Tape For A Blue Girl and Aarktica).
Four of the 10 tracks are ‘Cello Ambient Improvisations’, and the others have titles like Mitthavet (Mediterranean Sea), Våren Står På Lut (Spring Is In The Air), Doppelgänger, Sarabande, and Danza. Ranging from solo cello to (almost) entirely electronic, Zeitreisen is a perfect album to demonstrate what Meierkord is capable of.
‘Understated and graceful, the beautiful and mysterious string-fused soundscapes find emotional stimuli and tension within a melancholic soul’.
(Zeitreisen is offered as a name-your-price download)
HARRY TOWELL – INFINITE LIGHT
Harry Towell is not only the label owner of the prolific Whitelabrecs label, he also releases music as Spheruleus. Infinite Light, the label’s 150th release (!), is released under his own name. And rightly so: it is a highly personal (double) album, documenting the first year he and his family spent inside the home they moved in a year ago.
Each of the 28 tracks is explained in detail in the included 32-page booklet, describing the home-related experiences with words and images.
‘I was given a 2023 diary for Christmas and so took note of all the home improvements we did, the decorating, the projects, the challenges, as well as noting days out and other events. I captured field recordings regularly and took several photos, as I tried to build a time capsule of memories.’
There were many challenges, but Harry is an optimistic man, obviously: ‘whilst life is always full of challenges (of which there were many over the course of this year), my rose-tinted view of the world sees only infinite light for our future here as a family’.
Infinite Light presents acoustic modern classical music, with an atmosphere directly linked to the atmosphere of the Lincolnshire surroundings. Acoustic and Stratocaster guitar, ukelele, harmonica, mandola, violin, hang drum, cymbal, zither, kalimba, recorder, piano, and – of course – various field recordings. Hardly any electronica is involved apart from some sparse plugins.
This music is as organic and natural as can be – almost as if you’re living there with them in the same house.
GLACIS – INTERPRETATIONS
Scottish composer Euan Millar-McMeeken, better known as Glacis, often collaborated with other artists in the past. This led to the idea to invite artists ‘to adapt, distort, and deconstruct a collection of his original compositions’, thus creating a completely new album.
There’s a simple reason this album is called Interpretations: all (11) tracks are, ehh, interpretations. I’m not sure what the exact difference is between a ‘remix’ and an ‘interpretation’, but Euan explains ‘he’s never really liked the term ‘remix’ as it simplifies the process of working with original material’. So, ‘interpretations are not simply remixes’ – they are ‘careful sonic studies of the original work that respond and react in different ways. Some of the pieces contain moments of the original pieces, some are unrecognisable, all are fascinating examinations.’ If you feel the need, you could compare the interpretations with the originals on his earlier albums Death And Piano, Ten, Memory Pool, Transcend, and Wake.
The list of interpreters includes many familiar names: like C. Diab, The Humble Bee, Claire Deak, The Green Kingdom, Adrian Lane, Simon McCorry, Tape Loop Orchestra, and Glåsbird. With so many different artists involved, each putting their distinct personal mark on the music, it is remarkable that the album has a consistent atmosphere: quiet, introverted, and somewhat melancholic. I guess shows that the common denominator of this album is the music of Glacis himself.