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Bass Communion * Orphax * CM von Hausswolff

Sisters Oregon

Sisters Oregon

BASS COMMUNION – SISTERS OREGON

A 10″ vinyl record in the Substantia Innominata series on Drone Records – a series ‘presenting works inspired by or related to “the Unknown” around or within us.’
Substantia Innominata seems like a perfect series for this new release by Bass Communion, Steven Wilson‘s alias for ‘experiments in texture’, his ‘discrete medium for manifesting his most daring, challenging and obscure musical ideas.’

Like many previous titles release under this moniker, Sisters Oregon presents a deep drone piece in four parts, filled with sub-bass, mysterious atmospheres, and some scene shifts to keep attention.
Not as extremely minimal as, for example,  Loss or Pacific Codex, but still ” filled with sonorous drone expanses, tiny microsounds, deep bass eruptions and sudden breaks, ranging from an otherworldly subtleness to a most spacious finale…”

There is no information about the meaning of the title (it could simply refer to the place called Sisters in Oregon, though that location doesn’t seem to be nearly as mysterious as the music is).

This is a vinyl (10″) only release; there is no digital edition available.



BASS COMMUNION – SISTERS OREGON – PART 1


Orphax - Somniatores

ORPHAX – SOMNIÃTÕRĒS

Sietse ‘Orphax’ van Erve is a dedicated admirer of the work of Eliane Radigue. His admiration can be heard in his own work, which focuses on creating minimalist drones, long-form pieces that make you lose your sense of time and alter your awareness of the space around you. It may be an acquired taste for some, but once you hear the soundwaves and their harmonics interact it is a fascinating experience.

Somniãtõrēs (no idea if that is an existing word in any language) is a 60 minute drone piece about sleep, and it’s a perfect soundtrack to doze away on. It is a single piece, but there are some distinct segments, variations where the emphasis on the different sound elements subtly shift, or when some new elements are places on the sound canvas. Because of these changes the piece is dynamic enough to keep the interest for the full hour (although there is of course sóme contradiction in a ‘drone’ being ‘dynamic’).


CMvH - Requiem

CARL MICHAEL VON HAUSSWOLFF – STILL LIFE – REQUIEM

A 30 minute piece (split in two parts to fit the LP format) dedicated to ‘certain sole or severeal restless souls that wander our worlds looking for a place to call home’.
Still Life – Requiem is created from sounds extracted from ‘physical matter’ using a technique called emission spectroscopy, where the frequencies that are generated from the material is analysed and transferred into listenable pitches. In this respect, it is a Requiem for the soul within the inanimate (I assume: since it’s not specified which materials were used in the spectroscopy).

Using this technique does not automatically lead to a musical composition, of course. For the source material to become a composition, CM von Hausswolff  manipulated, stretched, looped and equalised it into a composition dedicated to the energy in all things around us.

“A requiem radiates calm, peace and perhaps comfort for tormented spiritual beings – it’s a piece dedicated to promote and insert tranquility and transcendence.”

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Baker/Goff/Harris * Ze-Ka

Noplace

Noplace

AIDAN BAKER, SIMON GOFF, THOR HARRIS – NOPLACE   Also on Spotify

Aidan Baker (guitar)Simon Goff (drums) and Thor Harris (violin) worked together on various occasions and decided to get together in may 2017 in Berlin for some recordings. In a few hours, they recorded their improvised sessions which were then edited and re-worked (but NO overdubs) into Noplace.

It is almost incredible to believe these sessions were improvised, since the trio sounds so tight and balanced. Guitar, violin and (especially) drums are an unusual combination for this kind of atmospheric music, but here the instruments are fully equal: they match and complement each other.

“Kinetic rhythms pulsate throughout whilst the guitar and violin jostle and weave around the metronomic beats, creating a cathartic and all-encompassing experience.”

With the pulsing beat and hypnotic rhythm this cannot really be filed under ‘ambient’ (Gizeh suggests Avant/Krautrock/Improv/Experimental), but with the  sustained drones there definitely is an ‘ambient’ atmosphere within the compelling rhythms.. a bit in the way Bill Laswell managed to combine ambient drones with fat funk beats.

Baker, Goff & Harris present a sound that is seldom heard – and probably quite overwhelming when experienced live!


Ze-Ka Ghost Planet

ZE-KA – GHOST PLANET  Also on Spotify

Ghost Planet starts with a deep modular kind of pulsating electronic hum (Fission) so it will take a while before realising that Jean-Philippe Feiss (Ze-Ka) is a french cellist, and that the cello is his main instrument on this album.
But Feiss is also heavily interested in electronic music, which means an album full of interesting explorations of both sounds.
And especially the combination of the two. Check, for instance, the way the cello drone from Gold River transforms into the analog synth sound of (what I assume is) the vintage Korg M10.
Or the other way around: the way the pulsating drone from Landscape morphs into a continuous cello chord. Two different sound worlds, from opposite origins, but a perfect match.
The result clearly more than the sum of its parts!

In the past, Feiss has worked with artists like Richard Bona and Patrick Watson as well as with many artists from the French jazz scene. But this is his first solo release, full of “minimalistic drones, made for thinking and retrospection”.
The environment is his musical inspiration – in a broad sense: which means positive connotations (Gold River, which expands over 24 minutes) as well as negative (Fission and Red Forest were inspired by the Tchernobyl disaster).

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Bipolar (HC-PvC) (Mix)

Bipolar

What better way to start a new year with a brand new mix?!?

Mix-wise, 2017 was a quiet year: it has been quite some time ago since I published my last ‘real’ mix (Mind Awake, Body Asleep) – partly due to concentrating on DreamScenes,  which got a re-birth as a monthly radio show on Concertzender.nl).

But in the end of 2017 a long-standing plan finally materialised: a ‘collaboration mix’ with  Mike ‘Headphone Commute‘ Lazarev!
It is especially nice to start 2018 with this occasion, since Headphone Commute celebrates its 10th anniversary this year!

We had no clear concept for this mix when we started, other than ‘each turn takes 5 minutes, we’ll stop at 60, and we’ll see where it gets us’. We were unaware of each other’s tracklist (apart from what our ears told us).
The result is a thrilling ride, where each part is a reaction to the previous section.
Not exactly what we’d call an ‘ambient’ mix, because it’s extremely dynamic. Sections may range from deep sleep sections to exuberant enthusiasm – hence ‘Bipolar’.
It’s like a full life’s story comprised in one hour..

Take a look at the tracklist below (51 Track samples in 60 minutes) and get ready for a fascinating ride. And let us know what you think!

This mix is also published on Headphone Commute
Thanks to Mike Lazarev for all the fun!

Bipolar

 

Tracklist:

  • 00:00 [PvC] Alejandro Dojorewski – Eye Of The Beholder
    // The Holy Mountain [Finders Keepers Records,1973/2015]
  • 00:20 [PvC] Hilmar Öm Hilmarsson, Sigur Ros – Black Dog And The Scottish Play
    // Angels Of The Universe [FatCat Records, 2001]
  • 01:20 [PvC] Dean Hurley – Low Sustained Mystery
    // Anthology Resource Vol. 1 [Sacred Bones Records, 2017]
  • 02:06 [PvC] Bass Communion – Sisters Oregon B
    // Sisters Oregon [Substantia Innominata, 2017]
  • 03:27 [PvC] H_C/Ben Frost – Artist Reflection
    // Artist Reflections [unreleased, 2017]
    —————————————————-
  • 04:30 [HC] Hlynur A. Vilmarsson – BD (excerpt)
    // Iceland Symphony Orchestra – Recurrance [Sono Luminus, 2017]
  • 06:00 [HC] Actress x London Contemporary Orchestra – Audio Track 5 (Narrowest Sustain Version)
    // Audio Track 5 [Ninja Tune, 2017]
  • 06:30 [HC] Roly Porter – 4101
    // Third Law [Triangle, 2016]
  • 09:00 [HC] Paul Jebanasam – sigma*(y waiting -x)
    // Continuum [Subtext, 2016]
    —————————————————-
  • 09:17 [PvC] Annelies Monseré – I Will Lock You (UK Mix)
    // Verjaardag [Bluesanct, 2006]
  • 10:03 [PvC] Sarah Davachi – For Voice (edit)
    // All My Circles Run [Students Of Decay, 2017]
  • 11:30 [PvC] Los Angeles Percussion Quartet – Memory Palace V. Claremont (edit)
    // Beyond [Sono Luminous, 2017]
  • 13:10 [PvC] Ryuichi Sakamoto – Walker (edit)
    // Async [Milan, 2017]
  • 13:14 [PvC] Hans Zimmer/Benjamin Wallfisch – Furnace
    // Blade Runner 2049 [Epic Records, 2017]
    —————————————————-
  • 14:30 [HC] Kreng – Tourniquet (Part One) (excerpt)
    // Works For Abattoir Fermé 2007 – 2011 [Miasmah, 2012]
  • 18:20 [HC] Robert Rich & B. Lustmord – A Point of No Return (sample)
    // Stalker [Fathom, 1995]
  • 18:30 [HC] Marcus Fjellström – Arboretum (ending)
    // Skelektikon [Miasmah, 2017]
    —————————————————-
  • 19:15 [PvC] Robert Henke – Studies For Thunder
    // Signal To Noise [Imbalance Computer Music, 2004]
  • 20:28 [PvC] Michael Begg – An Act Of Balance
    // Titan – A Crane Is A Bridge [Omnempathy, 2017]
  • 21:50 [PvC] The Beacon Sound Choir – Sea Of Voices (Machinefabriek Rework) (edit)
    // Sunday Songs [First Terrace Records, 2017]
  • 23:16 [PvC] Jon Hopkins – Hunted
    // How I Live OST [Just Music, 2013]
    —————————————————-
  • 24:30 [HC] Robert Rich & B. Lustmord – A Point of No Return (sample)
    // Stalker [Fathom, 1995]
  • 26:16 [HC] Rødhåd – Withheld Walk
    // Anxious [Dystopian, 2017]
  • 28:07 [HC] Barbarix & Volatile Cycle – Rundled (sample)
    // Monoleth 001 [MethLab, 2016]
  • 29:00 [HC] Jason van Wyk – For Now
    // Opacity [Home Normal, 2017]
    —————————————————-
  • 29:59 [PvC] Büdie Siebert – Wal-Hall-A
    // Vor Der Flut – Hommage An Einen Wasserspeicher [Eigelstein Musikproduktion, 1985]
  • 30:44 [PvC] Heiner Goebbels – Ye Who Read (edit)
    // Shadow/Landscape With Argonauts [ECM Records, 1993]
  • 31:49 [PvC] Kenji Kawai – Making Of Cyborg (edit)
    // Ghost In The Shell OST [RCA,1995]
  • 32:33 [PvC] Lydia Kavina; Barbara Buchholz – Vakuum-Halluzinationen (for Two Theremins, Violin, And Violoncello) (edit)
    // Touch! Don’t Touch! (Music For Theremin) [Wergo, 2006]
    —————————————————-
  • 34:30 [HC] Karlheinz Stockhausen – Stimmung Model 6
    // Theatre Of Voices – Stimmung [Harmonia Mundi, 2007]
  • 34:45 [HC] Aphex Twin – XMAS_EVET10 [120][thanaton3 mix]
    // Syro [Warp, 2014]
  • 37:24 [HC] Hecq – Untitled (BK Remix)
    // Steeltongued [Hymen, 2009]
  • 39:25 [HC] Jóhann Jóhannsson – Part 2 / IBM 1403 Printer (excerpt)
    // IBM 1401, A User’s Manual  [4AD, 2006]
    —————————————————-
  • 39:25 [PvC] Jóhann Jóhannsson – Sun’s Gone Dim And The Sky’s Turned Black (fragment; edit)
    // IBM 1401 – A User’s Manual [4AD, 2006]
  • 39:35 [PvC] [The User] – }.}@}.@.}@}.@.}…… (edit)
    //Symphony #2 for Dot Matrix Printer [Staalplaat, 2002]
  • 41:14 [PvC] Ryoji Ikeda – Transmission (edit)
    // Dataphonics [Div Voir, 2010]
  • 42:14 [PvC] Neil Pomerleau – Dial-Up Sound
    // unreleased; (dialupsound.com)
  • 42:23 [PvC] Looped Exodus – Psalm 88 In Morsecode (edit)
    // Souls Have Machines [self-released, 2016]
  • 43:38 [PvC] Atom Heart – My Bird Can Sing
    // Semiacoustic Nature [Rather Interesting, 1995]
    —————————————————-
  • 44:30 [HC] Chris Watson – El Divisadero
    // El Tren Fantasma [Touch, 2011]
  • 45:20 [HC] The KLF – Six Hours To Louisiana, Black Coffee Going Cold
    // Chill Out [KLF / Wax Trax / TVT, 1990]
  • 46:20 [HC] The Future Sound Of London – Bird Wings
    // Lifeforms [Virgin / Astralwerks, 1994]
  • 47:00 [HC] Chris Watson – El Divisadero (continued…)
    // El Tren Fantasma [Touch, 2011]
  • 49:00 [HC] The Future Sound Of London – Everyone In The World Is Doing Something Without Me
    // Dead Cities [Virgin / Astralwerks, 1996]
    —————————————————-
  • 50:05 [PvC] Delia Derbyshire – Dreaming
    // Out Of This World – Atmospheric Sounds and Effects From The BBC Radiophonic Workshop [BBC Records And Tapes, 1976]
  • 50:36 [PvC] Edward Artemyev – Solaris – Station
    // Solaris, The Mirror, Stalker [Torso Kino, 1990]
  • 51:05 [PvC] Jonathan Coleclough, Colin Potter, Bass Communion – Yossaria
    // Jonathan Coleclough & Bass Communion & Colin Potter [ICR, 2003]
  • 52:15 [PvC] Penjaga Insaf – Djalan
    // Sama Sadja [Power & Steel, 2010]
    —————————————————-
  • 55:08 [HC] Alva Noto – Xerrox Mesosphere
    // Xerrox Vol.3 [Raster-Noton, 2015]
  • 56:15 [HC] Sana Obruent – The Preparation
    // Dyatlov [Blackjack Illuminist, 2017]
  • 57:30 [HC] Max Richter – Whose Name Is Written On Water
    // Sleep [Deutsche Grammophon, 2015]
    —————————————————-

Bipolar

Download Bipolar Now 137Mb (60:00 min.)

[Alternative download from Archive.org]

 

Or: Play this mix on Mixcloud:

 

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Cut Worms * Michel Banabila * Jeroen Effern

Cut Worms Cable Mounds

Cut Worms Cable Mounds

CUT WORMS – CABLE MOUNDS   Also on Spotify

His first release Lumbar Fist was well-received (and rightly so). More than a year later, Richard ‘Cut Worms’ van Kruijsdijk continues to explore his  sonic soundworlds using ‘an array of ingeniously crossconnected effects to manipulate simple electronic sources, mainly a monophonic synth and a circuit-bent Omnichord, and some Baritone guitar.’

Prefab sounds are a no-go: he builds all compositions from scratch using this setup, improvising and recording without any overdubs. His musical experience can clearly be heard in the resulting works: in the past, Van Kruijsdijk has worked with people like Peter Christopherson, Edward Ka-Spel, Graham Lewis, Blaine Reininger, Richard Sinclair, Markus Stockhausen – just to name a few.
His musical biography spans many different musical realms. But as Cut Worms, he delves into beatless, and often quite dark (but not uncomfortably dark) ambient soundscapes.


Stop Motion

MICHEL BANABILA – STOP MOTION

I’m a bit late to the party, perhaps, but still I think this release cannot go unmentioned:

Michel Banabila is one of the artists regularly featured on this blog: his (high volume) output is greatly appreciated – as you may have noticed in earlier posts.
Not long ago, I had the honour to present the free download of the full version of Dissolvethe 38:30 soundtrack for an installation of Gerco de Ruijter.

Dissolve is one of many video installations on which De Ruijter and Banabila have worked together, and Stop Motion is a (relatively short) overview of some of the soundtracks of their collaboration. The digital download is limited to the soundtracks only, of course. But on the Bandcamp page  Banabila also mentions the links to the related Vimeo pages of De Ruijter‘s work – so with a bit of creativity you can make it your own DIY-multimedia.
Dissolve version on this album is a 5’26” excerpt, so I suggest you also download the free full version as a bonus to this album.

 

On  this collection Michel Banabila shows his most ambient musical side, soundscapes that perfectly fit the image shifts of Gerco De Ruijter‘s landscape videos.


Jeroen Effern

JEROEN EFFERN – UNTITLED ALBUM

A somewhat enigmatic set from Jeroen Effern – a Dutch artist I really know nothing about – except that he is from Velsen (Noord-Holland), has previously self-released four short albums (all available as Name-Your-Price downloads on his Bandcamp page), and that he presents himself as a painter on his website – without any mention of his musical activities.

“Why still make thing when there are so much beautiful already? Just because! According to Jeroen his work is exchangeable. He hesitates to call it ‘his own’. But it still is” 

‘Exchangeable’ or not, the music on this 30 minute album bears an interesting  personal style. From Satie-esque repeating piano-phrases (ILM Gerrit, No)  to floating string arrangements (Monsieur le Pauvre), sometimes backed with mournful found vocal samples (Nostalghia X) – these five compositions simply beg for hitting the ‘repeat’ button.

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DreamScenes – December 2017

DreamScenes CZ

“December Sentiments: Bells, Angels, Light, Darkness…”

 

DreamScenes CZ

Tracklist:

  • 00:00 DreamScenes – Intro (Susanna)
  • 00:40 Snow Palms – Origine And Echo
    Origine And Echo, 2017, Village Green VGCD030
  • 02:50 Sven Laux – Out Of The Blue
    Paper Streets, 2017, Dronarivm DR-49
  • 07:54 Sonmi451 – Piave
    Panta Rei, 2017, Eilean Records 99
  • 13:20 Michael Begg – Titan
    Titan – A Crane Is A Bridge, 2017, Omnempathy OMCD09
  • 16:00 Bass Communion – Sisters Oregon III/IV (edit)
    Sisters Oregon, 2017, Substantia Innominata SUB-25
  • 19:56 Andrew Heath – Headland
    Soundings, 2017, Disco Gecko GKOCD027
  • 21:56 Frans Friederich – Rood (edit)
    Ambient #5 – Prisma, 2017, self-released (Bandcamp)
  • 24:06 Hammock – Now And Not Yet
    Mysterium, 2017, Hammock Music HMK-015CD
  • 29:48 No Mask Effect – Intervision Intermission (Ambient Mix) (Edit)
    Beings, 2017, Psychonavigation
  • 33:35 Dictaphone – 105.4
    Apr. 70, 2017, Denovali DEN288
  • 37:42 Himmelsrandt – Cloud I
    4 Moments, 2017, Unperceived Records
  • 40:35 Cicely Irvine – Bow
    Excavation, 2017, Eilean Records 29
  • 44:06 Emanuele De Raymondi & Marco Messina – Mare
    Saro, 2017, Zerokilled Music ZK016
  • 47:05 Ben McElroy – Those Of Us Left Behind
    Songs Of Iceland, 2017, Audio Gourmet
  • 49:02 Ekin Fil – Final Cut
    Ghosts Inside, 2017, Helen Scarsdale Agency HMS042
  • 51:34 Solo Collective – Silbersee
    Part One, 2017, Nonostar Records
  • 53:54 Stefan Wesolowski – Rex, Rex!
    Rite Of The End, 2017, Ici D’Ailleurs MT070
  • 58:35 DreamScenes – Outro (Susanna, Dean Hurley)

 

OR:
Play this edition on-demand from the Concertzender website.

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Gail Priest * Cicely Irvine * Eilean 58

Gail Priest

Gail Priest

GAIL PRIEST – HERACLITUS IN ICELAND  Also on Spotify

This is my first encounter with Gail Priest, a Sydney based experimental sound artist. But it is not her first work: she has released solo albums on Flaming Pines, Metal Bitch (what’s in a name…) – a split LP with Kate Carr among these.

Heraclitus in Iceland is the result of a 2016 residency in Olafsfjordur, Iceland, where ‘the ubiquity of water (melted ice) got Gail thinking about the adage “you cannot step twice into the same river”, attributed to the 5th Centurt BC philosopher Heraclitus the Obscure‘.

Each track on the album is equipped with a Heraclitus quote – thought with many layers that sometimes also refer to the music itself: ‘the hidden harmony is better than the obvious’, ‘it is in changing that things find repose’.

 

All compositions are based on field recordings from around the small and remote fishing village (click the link to see where the basic sounds for the different tracks were recorded), but by combining them with vocal and instrumental improvisations this is clearly a musical album with the environmental recordings as one of the instruments.

Carefully balanced, original instrumentation and beautiful vocalisations: this album is a refreshing surprise and another proof that Iceland is a huge source of creativity and inspiration for those open to it.


Cicely Irvine

CICELY IRVINE – EXCAVATION

OK. Here’s the obligatory disclaimer: Eilean Records release + released in september 2017 (while I was on holiday) + waiting on my desk for too long = Sold Out.
(Or maybe not completely: Experimedia (US) or Stashed Goods (UK) still seem to have some in stock!)
But there’s still the digital download release (and who knows about possible future re-releases).

So:
Take note of Cicely Irvine‘s debut album. 44 Minutes of beautifully varied soundscapes recorded between 2007 and 2017 in ‘bedroom studios’ in Gothenburg and Stockholm.
Created on a rich array of instruments like piano, pump organ (sounds like a church organ – must’ve been some bedroom!), guitar, glockenspiel, musical box, sansula (= kalimba), saw, melodica, violin, bass, flute, bells, etc. etc.

From engaging musical miniatures to more abstract sketches,  all radiating the kind of warmth and intimacy that somehow is connected to the cold countries of the northern hemisphere.


Eilean 58

VARIOUS ARTISTSEILEAN 58

Apart from their stream of quality releases throughout the year, Eilean Records has a great habit to close the year with a compilation filled with all the artists that were featured that year. That in itself is not uncommon, but what makes these compilations so special is that all artists are featured with an exclusive track not on the earlier releases.

The 2017 end-of-year compilation features 21 artists on 16 tracks (70 minutes).
The performing artists this year: Cicely Irvine, Ben Rath, Stijn Hüwels/Danny Clay, Francesco Giannoco/Giulio Aldinucci, Sonmi451, Toàn, Bill Seaman, Monolyth & Cobalt, Daniel W J Mackenzie, Josko/Spheruleus, Monty Adkins, Tatsuro Kojima, 9T Antilope, Sound Meccano/Jura Laiva, Jacek Doroszenko/Josh Mason/Nathan McLaughlin.

To top it off, the CD version (which will probably also be sold out before the release date… we’re getting used to that) is packed in a nice metal box and includes a poster and cover art stickers. (Of course (also as usual) there’s also a digital download available for those that missed or don’t want a physical copy).

Like any compilation album should, this is a good sample of what Eilean Records has to offer. The album presents different musical approaches, but because the label has a  clear aesthetic vision the tracks fit together on the album nicely without becoming too uniform.

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DreamScenes – November 2017

DreamScenes CZ

“Winter is coming….”
(Music for People in Trouble)

DreamScenes CZ

Tracklist: 

  • 00:00 DreamScenes – Intro (Susanna)
  • 00:33 Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch – 2049
    Blade Runner 2049 (OST), 2017, Warner Bros. Records Y4DDBR01MP320
  • 03:09 Substak – Mil-02
    Familiar Sounds, 2017, pertin-nce_064
  • 04:31 Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble – Glass Surface
    Return, 2017, Innova 983
  • 10:07 Dictaphone – Opening Night
    Apr 70, 2017, Denovali DEN288
  • 14:37 Melanie De Biasio – All My Worlds
    Lilies, 2017, [PIAS] Le Label 962.A159.042
  • 20:47 Con_Cetta – VI
    Origine, 2017, Sound In Silence Records
  • 25:40 Robert Haigh – Sunken Pavillions
    Creatures Of The Deep, 2017, Unseen Worlds UW17
  • 31:21 Lee Yi – Desecration
    An Instant For A Momentary Desolation, 2017, Rottenman Editions
  • 37:25 Velgenaturlig – Onset
    Opalescent Pust, 2017, Winter-Light WIN008
  • 40:54 Pinkcourtesyphone – Romantic Threat
    Indelicate Slices, 2017, Room40 RM490
  • 43:35 My Home, Sinking – Along The Pipeline
    King Of Corns, 2017, Infraction Records sINFX 068
  • 49:31 Michel Banabila – Our Alien Voice
    Trespassing, 2017, Seance Centre 02SC
  • 52:19 Solo Collective – Ascension
    Part One, 2017, Nonostar Records NR02LP
  • 55:52 Susanne Sundfor – The Sound Of War (partial)
    Music for People In Trouble, 2017, Bella Union bella686cd
  • 58:35 DreamScenes – Outro (Susanna, Zimmer/WallFisch, Dean Hurley)

OR:
Play this edition on-demand from the Concertzender website.

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Giulio Aldinucci * Steve Pacheco * Jens Pauly

Jens Pauly - R/F

Borders And Ruins

GIULIO ALDINUCCI – BORDERS AND RUINS  Also on Spotify

Giulio Aldinucci leaves no doubt about what this album is about: the opening track Exodus Mandala hits hard with an intensity that is a bit like a Penderecki choral work.
Borders, Ruins … the sonorities of current times?

“A reflection on the instability of borders – borders as an extreme attempt to discriminate and rationalize that turns into a source of chaos and cultural ruins on both sides – and their impact on the relationship between people and territory.”

The sound artist from Siena, Italy, combines field recordings and electronics to create a soundscape  reflecting this global instability. Definitely not intended for easy listening, and a depart from most of his earlier work.
Uncomfortable and confronting, perhaps, but also fascinating detailed soundscapes – and some soothing moments like in Venus of the Bees and The Sunken Horizon.
As dark as the current times may be, The Skype Cloud And Your Smile On The Left closes the album with a ray of hope for the world. If only we learn to behave ourselves…


4th

STEVE PACHECO – THE 4TH

Just a few months after his Constellations album, Steve Pacheco presents this new title on the  Whitelabrecs editions. And, like the earlier cassette release, the physical CDr version is already sold out, which is not unusual for this series because of its highly limited runs of 50 pressings every release. But of course we still have the digital version, and this is definitely worth checking out.

Due to release schedule changes Constellations was released earlier, but in fact The 4th is Pacheco‘s debut album. Not that this matters anyway, just a trivia fact.

The title is a reference to the Chakra system, ‘with the fourth of these being the heart.’
Starting with acoustical sources (guitar, piano, kalimba, xylophone and other instruments) that are heavily treated and processed, Steve Pacheco assembles a kind of sound that can be associated with light. Though the album is about ‘cherished memories, loss and letting go’, it is the opposite of a ‘dark’ ambient album. May be because some of these memories refer to the years Pacheco spent in Sante Fe, New Mexico, before he returned to Los Angeles in 2015.


Jens Pauly - R/F

JENS PAULY – R/F  Also on Spotify

Coming from a background of punk, grindcore and ‘atmospheric black metal in various outfits, Jens Pauly (Cologne, Germany) decided to take a more introvert turn for the first solo album under his own name.
R/F stands for Remember/Forget: ‘memory, oblivion, the gap between these two and the construct of memory as such.’

With just his guitar and effects he presents five minimalistic ambient pieces, ranging from immersive drone-covers in the opening tracks to Steve Reich-like minimalism in Uberlaufen.
With an average length of 10 minutes each, these warm, organic, immersive atmospheric music is definitely recommended for late-night playing.

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James Murray * Kassel Jaeger

Kassel Jaeger - Aster

Heavenly Waters

JAMES MURRAY – HEAVENLY WATERS  Also on Spotify

His tenth album since 2008, and the third title in 2017: James Murray is feeding us a steady flow of quality ambient music. In recent years his name became more and more familiar because of his personal style, exquisite production and recognisable sound. But this does not mean he just keeps repeating himself.

On Heavenly Waters, Murray explores a sound that is somewhat different from that on his earlier releases. Hard to tell what it is exactly, but I feel that he chose for a more -let’s say- ‘scientific’ sound (by which I mean more electronic, industrial, machine-like) as opposed to the earlier earthy organic, guitar-based (?) sound. This is emphasized by including different sound artifacts, loops and glitches  that suggest machines at work autonomously. At some point in Equuleus I even thought I heard the the usually unwanted click-glitch that you will probably recognise if you ever burnt your own CDs on the wrong speed.
But not to worry: they are all added deliberately. It stíll is a genuine James Murray album, but in a somewhat different context.

Whereas many previous album titles  almost all referred to earthly matters (Floods, The Land Bridge, The Sea in The Sky), Heavenly Waters refers to one of the astronomical constellations as described by Donald H. Mentzel in his A Field Guide to the Stars and Planets. The Heavenly Waters constellations (also knows as Cosmic Waters) are all associated with lake, river, sea creatures and ship … which in fact connects outer space to the previous earthly themes.
(And yes, I had to look all that up too, but I must confess the Wikipedia page did not explain much for me apart from the fact that there are no less than seven óther major constellations that probably each deserves its own follow-up album…).
Each track title refers to one of the sub-constellations within the Heavenly Waters constellation: Delphinus, Equuleus, Eridanus, Pisces Austrinus, Carina, Puppis, Vela, Pyxis, Columba.

Check these links if you’re interested in the astronomical details of the constellation that were the inspiration for this album.
But – maybe even better – just dón’t check these links but simply let the music on this album take you into the deep realms of outer space…


Kassel Jaeger - Aster

KASSEL JAEGER – ASTER  Also on Spotify

I would have loved to thematically connect James Murray’s ‘Heavenly Waters’ to Kassel Jaeger‘s “Aster”.
But I don’t think that there’s a connection, apart perhaps from the fact that some titles also refer to the stars (Set The Planet On Fire, You’ll Get A Star and L’Etoile Du Matin). And with a little bit of fantasy (and your eyes half-closed) the album cover (designed by Stephen O’Malley) could also be an image of some distant constellation of stars.
But however different they are, I still think these two albums fit together musically.

According to the liner notes, Kassel Jaeger (François Bonnet, current artistic director of the Groupe des Recherches Musicales) is one of the “premier explorers of electroacoustic mystical music, inheriting the wisdom of past masters (such as Pierre Schaefer) whilst forging a signature style of his own.”

The nine tracks on Aster present some recent recorded work as well as ‘works of revisits and reworkings”: “deep music replete with dark ambient sonorities swirling amongst intense buzzing tones.”
In fact I have little to add to that description…

The buzzing tones create layers of (seemingly) familiar sound environments – a distant hint of a melody slowly evolving almost hidden away in the soundscape layers. At other times there are sounds that don’t have that kind of familiar references  (like Un Autre Archipel, or Uminari), introducing an otherworldy kind of musique concrête.

Kassel Jaeger is a master of creating complex sonic atmospheres in the tradition of his earlier masters – but without becoming too academic about it.

BTW – There’s a remarkable difference in sound intensity between the tracks, which mean this album is not particularly fit to be played continuously in the background. Compare, for instance, Ner with Uminari immediately following it. This album is clearly meant for dedicated listening, not to fall asleep to!


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Those Who Walk Away * Dean Hurley * Perletta/Tietchens

Dean Hurley - Anthology Resource Vol. 1

Infected Mass

THOSE WHO WALK AWAY – THE INFECTED MASS  Also on Spotify

Those Who Walk Away is the weird alias of Winnipeg based composer Matthew Patton, known for his work with choreographer Paul Taylor in Speaking In tongues, and as the curator of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra New Music Festival (programming works by artists like Jim Jarmusch, Glen Branca, Lee Ranaldo, Valgeir Sigurdsson, Sigur Ros, Venetian Snares and many others).
This is the first work under this Those Who Walk Away alias.

The Infected Mass,  co-produced with Paul Corley (Sigur Ros, Björk) is a Minimalist Requiem, with a prelude (Before The Beginning), a postlude (After The End), three Degraded Hymns and two Partially Recollected Conversations. The music is haunting enough in itself, with its ghostly strings and chorals, and the ever-present machine-/airplane- drone in the background, whispering voices and the sound of human blood flow.
“The music is filled with ghosts and artifacts that I couldn’t erase.”

But the most haunting parts, the centre pieces of the album around which the full composition revolves, are the Partially Recollected Conversations: authentic black box recordings from aeroplanes that were  about to crash. One of these (the one from the Second Partially Recollected Conversation) was the United Airlines Flight 232 that crash-landed on July 19,1989. 111 people of the 296 on board died in the crash.
Once you realise this, The Infected Mass hits hard, on a whole different emotional level.

This is a Requiem dedicated to real people who have died in a horrible, unimaginable way… and to the airplane pilots that are doing whatever they can to keep control of the situation:
“Whatever you do, keep us away from the city.”
(Would you keep yourself together in a way these pilots do in a situation like this?)

Knowing this background immediately turns this into one of the darkest, blackest Requiems imaginable.

Patton: “There is something very genuine and at the same time very wrong in what I am doing. The recordings are very disturbing; as we listen to these cockpit voice recordings, real people are about to die. I don’t know why I am doing something that feels so wrong. But I am.”

The composition may be different, but there’s something in this project that reminds me of William Basinski’s ‘Disintegration Loops’: the intricate beauty of the music itself gets almost unbearably tragic once you realise what it describes.


Dean Hurley - Anthology Resource Vol. 1

DEAN HURLEY – ANTHOLOGY RESOURCE VOL 1: △△  Also on Spotify

I must admit I have mixed feelings about the Twin Peaks series. But if there’s one thing that keeps me going through series 3, it’s the sound design.
Not the weird-ish Roadhouse dream-pop songs usually ending every edition (though they are nice in their own way, I assume a soundtrack compilation will follow later), but the ominous background drones and otherworldly ambient soundscapes colouring the atmosphere.

Most of these are created by (or under supervision from) Dean Hurley, sound and music supervisor for both Inland Empire and Twin Peaks, The Return, and closely working together with David Lynch for more than 12 years. Apart from his work with Lynch he also produced artists like Lykke Li, Zola Jesus and The Veils. 

Anthology Resource Vol. 1: △△ is not the official soundtrack of Twin Peaks, The Return: that one will be released in september and feature different music. Thís  is the ‘abstract counterpart’ that focuses on Hurley’s sound design: “from ethereal tones to sputtering electricity to densely brooding musical cues.”

The  Vol. 1 suggests there’s more to come. Count me in!


Deflections

FABIO PERLETTA & ASMUS TIETCHENS – DEFLECTIONS

The collaboration by Fabio Perletta and Asmus Tietchens seamlessly fits next to the Twin Peaks soundscapes from Dean Hurley. Of course the music on this album is not intended this way, but the effect of the quiet sustained drones is almost the same (especially when played not-too-loud in the background, as a soundtrack to your own environment): it alters the atmosphere, suggesting there are unexpected things about to happen.

“Built upon liminal forms and atonal passages, the six near-silent pieces of the work traverse empty space by means of elementary sonic emissions en drifting nano-structures.”

The two artists prove to be a perfect match, and clearly have the experience you need to create an album as restrained as this: near-silent soundscapes that describe empty spaces.
Asmus Tietchens
 (Hamburg) has released over 80 albums on which “he continues to explore the possibilities presented to him by specific sound sources (ranging from water sounds to pure sine wave tones)”. Fabio Perletta often crosses the boundaries between pure electronics and musique concrète“using the sound as a vehicle for conceptual investigation and sensorial stimulation – with a deep attention to details and use of silence and near-audible sound”.

So, Twin Peaks fan or not: if you like unobtrusive, atmosphere-altering electronic drone music you must definitely check out this album!


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