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Various Artists: We Stayed The Path … * Gavin Miller

Meander Scars

VARIOUS ARTISTS – WE STAYED THE PATH THAT FELL TO SHADOW / WE STAYED THE PATH… (SUBSCRIPTION SERIES)

We Stayed The Path That Fell To Shadow is a Lost Tribe Sound compilation album, a benefit album supporting environmental and mental health charities:  We hold the belief that as our surroundings improve so does our mental health.” It also marks the start of a new subscription series with the same name which will run until the summer of 2019.

As a compilation album, We Stayed The Path… is a perfect introduction to the sound of the Lost Tribe Sound label. A unique sound, merging the use of (mostly) acoustic instruments into a hard-to-define style – experimental yet also firmly rooted in (folk) music tradition. “A rustic, brooding mix of classical, folk and otherwise indescribable sound.”

Some of the artists are new to the LTS roster, like The Phonometrician, Gavin Miller and Spheruleus (Harry Towell). Others were presented by the label before: Alder & Ash, William Ryan Fritch, KJ, The Green Kingdom, Mute Forest, From The Mouth Of The Sun, Seabuckthorn and more.
Each of these artist have their very own style and approach, yet it is remarkable how their choices come together in a clearly recognisable and unique Lost Tribe Sound trademark.

We Stayed The Path… kicks off the subscription series of the same name. If you want to hear a good introduction to the sound of the Lost Tribe Sound artists this is a very good start – especially since you’re also supporting a fine cause!

The full subscription series will include seven titles: four of them on CD (the compilation album, Gavin Miller‘s Meander Scars (2CD) , William Ryan Fritch’s Music for Film Vol. I & II (also 2CD’s) and The Phonometrician), and the other four on Vinyl (Spheruleus, 2 titles by Skyphone and again the Phonometrician album). Because the Phonometrician album is included in CD as well as Vinyl, the download option has seven titles, not eight.

So beware and note: the CD and Vinyl versions are nót the same; they contain different titles (only the Phonometrician album is released on both). If you want the complete series you will have to sign up for the CD+Vinyl package, or choose the digital download edition. Be sure to check the series website for further details.

To subscribe to a series of releases requires dedication and faith in a label’s quality selection. Those who follow the Lost Tribe Sound label, and especially subscribers to their earlier Prelude To The Decline series will probably know what to expect. But for those still in doubt (even after listening to the above compilation), there’s an introduction with example tracks  from the albums that will be released. This introduction sampler cannot be bought or downloaded: it is a is a streaming-only ‘teaser’ for the series.

And if, after hearing this, you still do not want to commit yourself to the full series, it’s good to know that the releases may also be available separately. But it’s a risk: only if copies are left, and you’ll miss the subscription discount.


Meander Scars

GAVIN MILLER – MEANDER SCARS

Together with the compilation, Meander Scars is the first release in the We Stayed The Path… series. Gavin Miller is known as one half of the duo Worriedaboutsatan. He also curates the This Is It Forever label.

Meander Scars are geological features that are “formed  by the remnants of winding or meandering water channels. They are caused by the varying velocities of current within the river channel. Due to higher velocity current on the outer banks of the river through the bend, more erosion occurs causing the characteristic steep outer slopes.” 

Meander Scars is a more ‘acoustic’ album than usual for Gavin Miller.
On the four parts of Upper Course, Miller teams up with cellist Aaron Martin. The second half of the album presents  Lower Course: different renditions of the same pieces but without Aaron Martin. All tracks are relatively long (8-10 minutes) and take their time to unfold and create a beautiful, almost unreal atmosphere.

“The long-form compositions were constructed from a series of slow churning rhythmic guitar loops, warm noise, soft synths and distant choirs which build over time into colliding patterns of pastoral bliss. The restraint used to give the listener just the right amount of interest and to keep the music’s progression moving forward is perhaps Gavin’s greatest accomplishment”


Shimmer

GAVIN MILLER – SHIMMER

While mentioning Gavin Miller‘s music, it’s also very much worth mentioning his recent (september) release Shimmer.
It is released on ’boutique’ record label Sound In Silence, from Athens, Greece. Which means the hand-made limited (150) edition is packed in hand-stamped cardboard envelope with a polaroid style photo attached to the front.

The photo perfectly captures the mood of the album, a short, shimmering 23 minute instrumental piece in six parts.
“Dreamy soundscapes and soothing atmospheres, blending gentle strumming guitar melodies, eerie synths, sparse bass lines, dark piano chords, hazy background drones, cinematic strings and indistinct vocal samples.” 

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Janek Schaefer * Island People * Gavin Miller

Island People

Janek Schaefer - Glitter in my Tears

JANEK SCHAEFER – GLITTER IN MY TEARS  Also on Spotify

If you need an overview of Janek Schaefer’s musical career, I guess it’s best to head over to Secret Thirteen and check out the Double Decade Dubplate, a mix including a track from each of his 33 albums over 22 years.
An iconic artist, with a CV filled with many projects, installations, compositions ‘between the boundaries of ambient, field recordings, electro-acoustic experimentations and social commentary.”
But, as serious as his work is, he is also one to the joyful things in life: as a musical version of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. He also DJ’s as Mr.Manic on weddings and parties (for over ánd under 18) – Lucky Dip Disco fun guaranteed!
As serious as his art projects are, he’s always one to put things in a different perspective too.

Glitter In My Tears, the title of his last full album, released on Room40, somehow represents this way of looking at life and things. It’s a serious enough musical collection, but at the same time the kaleidoscopic atmosphere of these “multiple interludes” is not as heavy and dark as many other ambient projects are.

As Schaefer comments: “The album was composed in moments when most people are asleep in the dark while the lucky ones are still dancing in the lights. “ (some of the beats they’re dancing to even seep  through the cracks: What Comes Around).
“Sparkling lights glisten in the hidden shadows of our feelings, with outpourings of love falling through the depths of despair. It’s based on a true story’.

The 26 tracks are all relatively short (around the 2 minutes, with some exceptions to both sides), and cover a multitude of emotions – from Sad to Joyful via Detached and Melancholic.

“Each piece us a microcosm of haunted memory, that unites to create a record of melancholic vignettes. It’s a record that reflects Schaefer’s obsession with texture, atmosphere and emotive acoustic states. An unfolding compendium of motifs and repetitive fragments, fading from the memories of our emotions.”

Speaking about (haunted) memories: Hells Bells may ring a ‘bell’ with some of you: a different version was included as Bell Ballet in the Ambientblog Anniversary Mix.


Island People

ISLAND PEOPLE – ISLAND PEOPLE  Also on Spotify

After more than 20 years, the legendary Raster-Noton label is restructured into Raster-Mediarun by Olaf Bender, and Noton, curated by Carsten Nicolai. The latter is dedicated to the projects of Alva Noto, while Raster-Media will continue the catalogue that we know from Raster-Noton.

Island People is one of the first released on the refreshed Raster-Mediaand though it perfectly fits the continued label it also seems to introduce a slightly new direction: somewhat less academical/analytical perhaps.
Island People is a band (yes, a ‘band’) of four: mastering engineer Conor Dalton,  Grammy winning producer David Donaldson, DJ/musician Graeme Reedy and guitarist Ian MacLennan.

Living  in Berlin and Glasgow, the four exchanged ideas and sounds over the last three years. The result is this 80 minute album (14 tracks) full of layered dubby ambient electronics. An album displaying a fresh attitude and a sound that is “as open as a natural phenomenon, developing a certain feeling of euphoria over time.”
Each of the 14 tracks explore different ideas, resulting in an adventurous album without a single weak moment. 

The future looks bright for Raster-Media (and us) if this is any indication of their new direction.  



ISLAND PEOPLE – EMBER


Gavin Miller Illuminate

GAVIN MILLER – ILLUMINATE

The title of this 21 minute 2-track EP can be taken seriously: it’s (or was) available as a USB lightbulb drive that spread a soft blue light while you listen to the tracks called Floodlight and A Brief Flicker.

Gavin Miller (who is one half of Worriedaboutsatan and also the musical supervisor for Adam Curtis’ documentary Hypernormalisation) creates a rather dark atmosphere, so a little extra light comes in handy.
The ominous drones and soundscapes are merged with acoustic (guitar) themes that soften the atmosphere. Two beautiful cinematic pieces that leave you wanting more.

The lightbulb edition got a second “pressing” because the first edition sold out in a few hours. But if you prefer listening in the dark there’s also a download-only version.

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