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Kajsa Lindgren * Manja Ristic

Womb - 1

Womb

KAJSA LINDGREN – WOMB  Also on Spotify

Swedish composer and sound artist Kajsa Lindgren presents “a musical narration for abstracted ears and bodies – engulfing a listener in subaquatic sonic environments”.
Womb
 is the perfect title for this collection of sounds that are somehow familiar yet also seem to come from a still unknown outside world. 

The original sound material – recordings of nature and body sounds, interviews and compositions – have been “re-recorded and re-amped underwater in a swimming pool”, and were “re-arranged partly by way of the impulse responses of the pool”.
While that sounds immensely intriguing to me, I cannot imagine how exactly this works (can you?).
So it’s best to I leave that up to the imagination. And thát is not too difficult with this “phonopoetic fiction that conjures its own surreal virtual ecology”. 

Kajsa Lindgren has studied electro-acoustic composition in Stockholm; this is her first full length record. Its release was celebrated in a fitting way with an underwater concert, with  the audience swimming and floating in the pool to experience the piece (!).
As a follow-up to this remarkable release there will also be a virtual reality online installation (haven’t found a link to that yet but will add it as soon as I find it), as well as a set of remixes of the original material. But that is about what is yet to come. For now, it’s best to enjoy what is here and now… enjoy the subaquatic retreat of Womb.

[Edit:]
There’s a beautiful Womb web installation to be enjoyed at https://inanimate.world/ – headphones recommended!
This site also features much more detailed background information on the project (on the About page).


MANJA RISTIC – THE NIGHTFALL  Also on Spotify

On The Nightfall, Serbo-Croatian sound artist Manja Ristic presents four compositions, each one representing a year’s season and inspired by a seasonal haiku.
The combination of haiku poetry and music – or more generally speaking the intersection of different art forms – is something Naviar Records specialises in, and this album is a perfect example of the power of the combinations.

Summer, for instance, opens with soft “guitar drops in suspended time”, illustrating the haiku by Peggy Willis Lyles:

city heat
a boy stirs oily rainbows
with his pocket knife

The other haikus are also written by different haiku poets: Inahata Teiko, Jean-Louis Kérouac and Michael Dylan Welch.

For each track, Manja Ristic chooses a different instrumentation, merging “instrumental improvisation with field recordings and electronics, developing concepts of creative listening”, focusing on “the exploration of synesthesia in AV performance, intuitive composition and sound ecology”.
She’s not afraid of including some confusing elements into the mix (such as the recording of a vocal Toru Takemitsu fragment from 1956) – after all there is beauty in random discoveries.

The Nightfall is released as a cassette (limited edition of 50) and also as a digital download from Naviar.
And there’s more good news: for about the price of one LP or CD you will get the full Naviar digital back catalogue, including this one (31 releases!).
Like I said: there’s beauty in random discoveries! (However, if that is too much for you, Amazon or iTunes do offer the single album download).

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Gareth Davis * Celestino * Eric Holm

Barotrauma

Filament

GARETH DAVIS – FILAMENT

Slaapwel  (Sleep Well) is the Belgian label that is devoted to releasing music to sleep to. Or, to be more exact: “music for the moments when you’re not sleepy enough to fall asleep, and not lively enough to keep doing stuff. Music that soundtracks the thin border between being asleep and lying awake”.
With their earlier releases, all packed in lovely hand assembled cardboard packages, Slaapwel has built such a solid reputation that many of their followers (like me) blindly order a new release. Which obviously also means you better not hesitate too long if you want to score a physical copy.

Gareth Davis Filament  is their 13th release (the content manager of the  Slaapwel site release page probably dozed off too, since it misses the last two titles). And, once again, it’s a thing of beauty worth checking out.

A 35 minute solo performance by Gareth Davis on bass- and contrabass clarinet, field recordings, effect pedals and electronics. Soft breathing accents are placed subtly over a droney atmospheric background. The soft sleepy (duh!) atmosphere is carefully maintained throughout the piece, avoiding climaxes, while at the same time there’s enough details to keep your attention.

Like most other Slaapwel  releases, the music is simply too beautiful to fall asleep.


Celestino

CELESTINO – BEYOND ENEMY

“Occasionally composers can generate an environment that is utterly personal yet still invitational to the listener – Celestino is one such artist capable of doing this.”
This may read like a general promo blurb, but when the recommendation is a quote coming from Lawrence English, it’s better to take it seriously and check it out.
Beyond Enemy is one of a new series of releases on the Room40 sublabel A Guide To Saintsdedicated to music in cassette format (and luckily digital too: “we’re not thát idealogical”).

Celestino is Portland based Gabriel Celestino Higgins. This is his second Guide To Saints release, following Kindling (2013). The music was composed while camping on the Tundra of North Alaska – which explains for the desolate atmosphere.

“A vague industrial overtone reigns throughout much of this edition, a smoggy beauty akin to light caught in tainted cloud.”

Also on Spotify


Barotrauma

ERIC HOLM – BAROTRAUMA

The basic sound materials for Barotrauma was recorded in the Nordic fjords south of Oslo. But the soundscapes are quite different from what you might expect:
“Like environments on land, the seabed is populated with machines, industry, and noise. Interference is everywhere. Engines, equipment, drilling: it is a mirror of on-land environmental exploitation.”

Dark, industrial, sub-aquatic soundscapes – created from sounds collected from the sea floor and sub-sea equipment. Yet this isn’t an ‘environmental’ underwater recording in the strict sense, since Eric Holm manipulated and processed the soundscapes into this underwater vision.
Barotrauma is Holm‘s second album, following up 2014’s equally fascinating debut Andøyawhich was constructed out of two 30 second recordings of Arctic powerlines.


Also on Spotify

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Multicast Dynamics – Scape, Aquatic System

Scape

It is a good Denovali practice to pair a new album release with a re-release from the same artists: often a release that previously was only limitedly available or very hard to find.
Here, Multicast Dynamics’ (Samuel van DijkHolland) newest release Aquatic System is paired with his previous release Scapeoriginally released in 2014 as a C44 cassette (on the Finnish label Kaukana Väijyy Ambient).

But this particular project reaches even further: Scape and Aquatic System are the first half of a quadrilogy that will be completed with another two albums later.
“The album series move from an evolutionary to a cosmological scale: starting from dry land filled with light and streams, to the constantly changing surface of the oceans, into a frozen and murky underwater world, finally up to the arrival in an interstellar space and the cosmos.”

Scape

Scape is assembled with the use of analogue synthesizers, field recordings and ‘lo-fi outboard effects’.
Samuel van Dijk masterfully creates sounds that are organic and sci-fi at the same time. Although it’s a risky comparision, the result somewhat reminded me of Biosphere’s music (without the beats) – though I cannot really explain why exactly…
“Mysterious crackles, subtle hisses and washes of gloomy sounds reveal a dense approach to composition, processing and recording resulting in an introspective, ehtereal and intense listening experience.” 



MULTICAST DYNAMICS – SURFACE II (from SCAPE)
 


MULTICAST DYNAMICS – VALO (from SCAPE)
An attempt to capture and recreate the traveling of light on colliding objects through a detailed and organic space.
sound+ video: Samuel van Dijk


Multicast Dynamics - Aquatic System

Aquatic System manages to keep up the same quality level, but -as expected- shifts its focus to more (sub-)aquatic experiences.
The tracks were composed over a period of two years, inspired by (and using processed field recordings from) locations in Finland and Fuerteventura.

Originally composed for an audiovisual performance with visual artist Emilia KwiatkowskaAquatic System is an album about water and the life within it:
“The (music and the) visuals illustrate the story through a series of highly atmospheric and almost tangible images.”
It starts out from a small scale, almost microscopic: you can almost hear every bubble finding its way to the water surface. From there, the journey continues “from frozen lakes, forest creeks, rotating super cells to finally arrive at the all-imposing ocean”.



MULTICAST DYNAMICS – TIE (from AQUATIC SYSTEMS)
 

 

Both these albums immediately grabbed my full attention on first listen: the music has that mysterious undefineable ‘extra’ … I can play them almost continuously without losing interest.
This first half of the full project set a high bar for the remaining two releases of the series, but I am really very confident that this set will become a landmark in conceptual environmental ambient music.
If I was someone making lists, these Multicast Dynamics albums would definitely end up at the top.
In other words: highly recommended! 

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