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James Murray * Gri + Mosconi

Gri + Mosconi

 

Landscape Of Lovers

JAMES MURRAY – LANDSCAPE OF LOVERS

Less than two months after Falling Backwards James Murray presents his new album. This time one of those spectacular handmade released on Fluid Audiothe kind that come with an incense stick, vintage photos, nostalgic slides (from 1910 – 1940) and more exuberant specialties. (And, as you may know, the kind that sell out on pre-orders immediately – although there are rumours that Boomkat seems to have a few left in stock though I seriously doubt that).

James Murray always creates the most personal ambient music imaginable. Falling Backwards was about his own individual childhood memories, on landscape Of Lovers he chooses a shamelessly romantic road: “honing in on and finding the essence of love, and of what it means to love.” 

“Murray, while recognising the falling away and dying of many a love, doesn’t take the world-weary and sardonic views to heart: he’s a firm believer that love is to be found everywhere, that the heart can renew itself instead of clamming up after a painful episode of heartbreak, even amid a ruined world and its ongoing Nightmare on Earth Street. The coming together and parting are central themes, with both yin and yang orbiting a couple. The birth, the middle, the ending.”

Most of the times, interpreting the context of ambient music is in the mind of the listener. Abstract soundscapes can tell different stories depending on the listener’s mood, and the context can change with its environmental surroundings. But in choosing his notes and atmospheres, Murray manages to convey the weightlessness as well as the burden of love: not only the ‘crush’ when love hits (and ‘your feet leave the ground’), but also “the heart-wrenching tug of two lovers as they say goodbye, if only for a while. Landscapes of Lovers explores both zones: the sentimentality of separation as well as the more obvious moment of first sight and first touch.”

It can hardly be denied that the framing of this music helps interpreting it: the album title, the track title And So Goodbye For Now, the notes on the album, James’ previous releases. I can’t help but wonder how the music would be experienced if it was packed in a completely different context, with different titles and such.
But why would we?
After all, James Murray presents us his music in the way every musician should: an honest interpretation of his personal emotions, in a way every listener (or at least those with a heart) can relate to.


Gri + Mosconi

GRI + MOSCONI – BETWEEN OCEAN AND SKY  Also on Spotify

Apart from working on his own music, James Murray also runs his own label: Slowcraft Records. The label originally released his own music and that of his wife (Anne Garner), but earlier in 2018 James decided to broaden its scope and invite artists he admired to release albums in the Slowcraft Presents series.
After Alapastel and Neotropic, the third release in this series is Between Ocean And Sky by Francis M. Gri (piano, synths, electronic and ebow guitar) and Federico Mosconi (guitars, live electronics).

Francis M. Gri previously released his work on Krysalisound, Whitelabrecs and Time Released Sound, and has collaborated with Giulio Aldinucci. Federico Mosconi graduated in classical guitar and multimedia composition, and performs a broad range of music from classical, contemporary and electroacoustic music.
Their broad range of musical experience can easily be felt on this album, on which they merge ‘ambient, drone, neoclassical and post-rock into a singular, cohesive and resonant statement’. In the course of one single track the bright piano theme may dissolve into waves of noise, a gentle tinkling piano may grow into a gritty wall of sound.

“With apparent ease the duo have effectively merged musical identities, interweaving layers of manipulated guitar and textured piano, grounding and innervating one another throughout six exquisite instrumentals that wordlessly bridge depth and height with crystalline tenderness and tidal strength.”

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Orphax & Machinefabriek * Hüwels & Clay * Federico Mosconi

Weerkaatsing

Weerkaatsing

ORPHAX & MACHINEFABRIEK – WEERKAATSING

The dutch title isn’t easily translated. Reflection comes close but doesn’t quite cover it.
But the cover image reveals what this album is about: two artists interacting on each others work, bouncing the ball back to each other and creating new pieces along the process.

The starting point for this album was their mutual respect. To call it a collaboration album would not be entirely true: two (of the three) tracks on this album are a remixes of each other’s music.
Orphax (Sietse van Erve, Amsterdam) remixed Machinefabriek‘s Stofstuk into Reflectie.
Spiegeling, 
on the other hand, is Machinefabriek‘s remix of Orphax’ De Eerste Dag.
Completing this album is the title track Weerkaatsing, which is a completely new piece. Not a remix, but a ‘real’ collaborative work.

Drone-based electronics, but not the static kind of drones… there’s a lot happening in these 43 minutes. The original sound is enriched with many tweaks and twitches, adding details that weren’t there in the first place (such as the string section in Spiegeling).

Ever-changing –  yet with a consistent overall atmosphere…  Weerkaatsing is one of those collaboration projects where the whole is absolutely a lot more than the sum of its parts.
1 + 1 = 3.


Unintended Space

STIJN HÜWELS & DANNY CLAY – AN UNINTENDED SPACE

Stijn Hüwels is a Belgian musician that is not only known for his own minimalist music (created using processed guitar, loops and field recordings), but also as curator of the famous Slaapwel Records label – promoters of Sleep Music with a critically acclaimed discography of handmade CD(r)-releases.

Danny Clay (from San Francisco), on the other hand, describes himself as a Composer/General Noise Maker who’s projects “often incorporate musical games, open forms, found objects, archival media, toy instruments, classrooms of elementary schoolers, graphic notation, digital errata, cross-disciplinary research, and the everything-in-between”.

So there you are: merge Stijn’s quiet and introspective guitar and voice with Danny’s interacting (but also introspective) turntables, sine waves and celesta, and you’re in for a sonic treat.
A very calming and undisturbed treat, for most parts.
The slow-paced (14 minute) 3.25.2016 (I), for example, has a background loop that could come from a William Basinski album (but without the degradation), and is covered in warm guitar layers and gentle glockenspiel-like bell sounds.

An Unintended Space is the duo’s first collaborative project, on which they worked for a year. The tracks are titled by the dates they were considered finished (I assume): between february 2016 and march 2017.


Federico Mosconi - Colonne Di Fumo

FEDERICO MOSCONI – COLONNE DI FUMO  Also on Spotify

Eight ‘smoke columns’ created by Federico Mosconi from Verona, Italy: “undefined and changing soundscapes as the figures drawn by smoke”. 
The opening track Notturno introduces sounds of distant thunder, while the album merges field recordings with Mosconi‘s guitar playing and live recordings into a beautiful dreamy set of lush ambient soundscapes.

Creating ambient music is not the only thing Federico Mosconi does: he graduated in guitar and multimedia composition at the Conservatory of Verona and has played solo as well as in orchestras, chamber ensembles and the electroacoustic improvisation sextet Cardew Ensemble.
Colonne Di Fumo is his second full album, following Acquatinta from 2014.

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