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Giulio Aldinucci * Murcof

Disappearing in a Mirror

Disappearing in a Mirror

GIULIO ALDINUCCI – DISAPPEARING IN A MIRROR  Also on Spotify

Apart from his various collaboration and split releases, Disappearing In A Mirror is Giulio Aldinucci‘s follow-up to 2017’s Borders and Ruins; it’s his second release for Karl Records. If you thought Borders And Ruins depicted a rather dark view on the state of the world, you’d better be ready for this new album.

“Where “Borders …” was a reflection on the instability of borders and their impact on the relationship between people and territory, “Disappearing In A Mirror” raises the very personal question of identity.”

Aldinucci manages to create a sonic version of a hall of mirrors, where you can get completely disoriented from the images of yourself trying to find a way out.
In a striking combination of gritty distorted sounds and distant orchestral/choral arrangements that sound like a stretched Beethoven symphony, the first two tracks present a frightening dystopic view. But from there, Aldinucci restores the balance (somewhat) with Notturno Toscano – as if he doesn’t want to scare the listener too much. But even in this track the intensity slowly increases again. There’s no way out of the mirror maze, it seems…

In the words of Giulio Aldinucci himself:
Disappearing In A Mirror focuses on the fluidity of the identity concept, highlighting the harmonious coexistence of contradictory elements and the transitional features that characterize every transformation. It is a reflection on the current situation of change and disruption and at the same time it is a gaze into the human timeless soul and its inner soundscapes.”

A ‘Hall Of Mirrors’ is an entertaining maze as long as you realise you will find the way out at some point. But what if there’s no way out but to disappear completely?

If the sweat in the palms of my hand is an indicator of emotional intensity, this album definitely belongs on the top the list!


Murcof Lost In Time

MURCOF – LOST IN TIME  Also on Spotify

It took me some time to find out this was actually a re-release. I don’t usually cover re-releases but this one is an exception, since the original 2014 release on Casino Luxembourg was vinyl-only and destined to virtually disappear from the radar into cult territories. (Fun fact: the original release still seems to be for sale from Casino Luxembourg).

Lost In Time is Murcof‘s soundtrack for a video by Patrick Bernatchez, which in turn was a sound project that was part of explorations around Bach’s “Goldberg Variations”. The choral aria of the Goldberg Variations, as performed by Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal is merged by the – rather ominous – Murcof soundscapes.

 

The result is quite different from most earlier Murcof releases. Much, much darker and more suspenseful than you would have expected based on his earlier work.
The choir arrangements sound otherworldly, alienated – I wouldn’t have guessed that they are based on a Bach aria, because it sounds more contemporary in this context.
The combination with the (mostly electronic) soundscapes is downright chilling. Which is why Glacial Movements is the designated label for this fascinating (re-)release!
So praise to the label for re-releasing this album and making it available again on CD and digital download!

This particular edition features a bonus track available with the download, Chapitre N, which was especially composed for this Glacial Movements release.

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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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Giulio Aldinucci * OSA7029 * Zeger de Vos

Aldinucci - Goccia

Aldinucci - Goccia

GIULIO ALDINUCCI – GOCCIA

Giulio Aldinucci is an Italian experimental electroacoustic composer actively exploring all kinds of soundscapes and field recordings. His earliest releases were released as Obsil, but since 2012 his releases are presented under his own name.

Goccia (the word means ‘drop’) is his latest album for the Home Normal label “balances organic layers with some fantastic melodic synth hooks, flying straight through a maze of frequencies from drones, bleeps, bloops, background music, jingles, jangles, gut-punching subs, and whatever else he can.”

It’s a fantastic and kaleidoscopic sound palette that defies any strict genre definition; it combines ambient soundscapes, field recordings, experimental electronics and sound effect samples into one. At times the album atmosphere can be quite gloomy, especially in the first half, but gradually the music becomes more ‘serene’ – welcoming the ‘drops’ of the Tuscany spring in the closing track Candles. 

Also on Spotify


A Sense Of Belonging

OSA7029 – A SENSE OF BELONGING

OSA7029 – it’s a strange name for a group of artists from Finland. The track titles OSA1 – OSA7 don’t give away much information either. It is unknown who are in this ‘band’, only the name of two supporting artists are disclosed: Canadian mezzo-soprano Debi Wong (on Osa2) and Finnish throat singer Sauli Heikkilä (Osa3).
The title for their debut album, however, tells more about what music to expect.

OSA7029 combines acoustic and electronic sounds, and doing so they manage to create a sense of belonging indeed. 
I’m just not sure of belonging to whát, exactly – but judging the warmth of this music, that question is hardly of any importance.

Also on Spotify


Zeger De Vos

ZEGER DE VOS – EXPIRED SCENERIES

Zeger de Vos is a young (and hitherto unknown) Dutch artist who holds a Master’s degree in composition from the University of Huddersfield… Which is the same university where Monty Adkins is Professor of Electronic Music (he was one of Zeger’s examiners).

His (digital only) debut album is released on the Spanish label Seattle Dott Records, and presents four tracks (totalling 32 minutes) of soundscapes created from sound sources like ‘gurgling gas vents in Landmannalaugar (Iceland), the engine of a ferry in New York, The Tanzanian shore or a fence in the Peak District (UK)”.

This may suggest this is an album full of field recordings, but that’s not what it is. The sources are heavily manipulated into full-fledged electro-acoustic soundscapes “inspired by decaying memories and Edgelands.” 

“Atmospheres of melancholy and introspection”, created from “recordings of spaces, objects and instruments with analog- and algorithmic synthesis to create virtual spaces with meditative qualities”. 

A fascinating debut album! I’m sure that there will be a lot more great music from Zeger de Vos in the future!

Also on Spotify

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Jacob Kirkegaard * Francesco Giannico & Giulio Aldinucci * Andreas Usenbenz

Bells Breath

Sabulation

JACOB KIRKEGAARD – SABULATION

Singing Sand Dunes have puzzled travellers for ages. Marco Polo heard it in China (and suspected evil spirits), Charles Darwin wrote about a ‘bellowing’ hill in Chili. Only recently, scientists have explained this mysterious sound. “the sound of millions of little shocks”.
It may sound innocent – the sound of those tiny grains of sand. But it can be roaring, booming, squeaking up to 105 decibel, lasting several minutes.
“The sound is similar to a loud low-pitch rumble. It emanates from crescent-shaped dunes, or barchans. The sound emission accompanies a slumping or avalanching movement of sand, usually triggered by wind passing over the dune or by someone walking near the crest.”

A phenomenon like that is a challenge for Jacob Kirkegaardwho previously recorded the sound of the inner ear (Labyrinthitis), Icelandic geothermal motions (EldFjalland the soul of forsaken Chernobyl rooms (4 Rooms) – to name only his best known album titles.
He travelled to Oman to record and film the singing sands in the desert, and the result is presented on a 30 minute audio/ visual presentation released by mAtter (Japan).

I can’t really judge how the sound on this film relates to that in real life, because I haven’t experienced it myself. But I assume it’s every bit as overwhelming as this recording is.
The images of the shifting sands (presented in black and white) have a fractal effect: it’s impossible to determine the scale because there are no references to the size. But it is very beautiful to watch these mountains of sand, shifting down and the slowly climbing up again.

mAtter has taken great care of the presentation of this project: the DVD (PAL, Region free) is packed with a 56 page book (with B/W photographs and travel annotations) and a A5 photo card, together in a beautiful sealed paper envelope.
There is no audio-only release planned for this project.

 


Agoraphonia

FRANCESCO GIANNICO & GIULIO ALDINUCCI – AGORAPHONIA

Agoraphobia is the extreme fear of open or public spaces. So Agoraphonia is a perfect name for an album dedicated to the sound of those spaces: the soundscapes of a town square, an open public space commonly found in the heart of a traditional town.

The basic recordings were collected after an open call to send audio recordings concerning the “square” theme.
The resulting soundscapes were reworked by Francesco Giannico and Giulio Aldinucci “in order to create an ideal symphony of all living squares all over the world”.  They not only rearranged the location recordings, but they also added musical details so that the result is as much music as it is environmental sound. 

Four of these tracks contain the sound of specific squares in Morocco, Argentina, China and Italy. The additional 18 minute title track contains samples from 20 different contributors, morphing into a ‘global meta-square’.

Agoraphonia
 
is officially released on World Listening Day 2016 – which happens to be today: July 18.
“A day to celebrate the listening practices of the world and the ecology of its acoustic environments.”


Bells Breath

ANDREAS USENBENZ – BELLS BREATH

Most environmental recordings aim to reproduce the recorded sound as natural as possible.
For Bells Breath, Andreas Usenbenz‘ approach is different. On the occasion of its 125th anniversary, he recorded the 10 church bells of the Ulm Minister, stretched them and layered the different sounds until they are no longer recognisable as church bells but still have its intrinsic character. The result was presented as an audio installation inside the minster in the fall of 2015.

A vinyl LP release with three ‘Studies’ from this installation is scheduled to be released later this year. To help fund this release, an extended (59’30”) Sleep Version of Study III is already available as CD-R version or digital download.

[Update 08-02-2017]
A beautiful clear vinyl version is released on february 17 on the Klanggold label. I’ve updated the purchase links to reflect this.

The Bells Breath release contains three different Studies (III, 20:38; IV, 13:00; II, 7:00), and it also includes the 59″  Sleep Version as an added bonus in the digital download (included with the purchase of the LP, and also available as digital-download only).

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Pleq & Giulio Aldinucci; Umchunga; Dronny Darko & ProtoU; Matthew Atkins

Dronny Darko & ProtoU

Pleq + Giulio

PLEQ & GIULIO ALDINUCCI – THE PRELUDE TO
Italian electroacoustic artist Giulio Aldinucci (also known as Obsil) meets Polish experimental wizard Bartosz Dziadosz (aka Pleq). The opening (title) track was their first collaboration, previously published on Home Normal’s Elements 5They continued working together after that, which resulted in these four tracks. It’s a fascinating mix of matching ingredients: the subtle piano notes, vocal samples, field recordings and stretched drones all seem to fall into the right place.
The piano notes in the title track never take center stage: they are mere accents in the background, yet once you heard them you’ll always recognise them.
Three of the four tracks are reworked by The Green Kingdom, Christopher Bissonnette and Olan Mill to complete this full album.
If this is the prelude, we can definitely look forward to further collaboration work from these two artists!


Umchunga

UMCHUNGA – SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE BY NOW
It starts with a quiet drone, but after a few minutes there’s an unexpected twist in intensity. Droning organ sounds and effects reminiscent of early Pink Floyd, from their most psychedelic period. But on the other side, there are also the calm guitar themes from the title track.
Nima Pourkarimi (from Tehran) named Umchunga after the Mira Calix song Umchunga Locks. This is his debut album: ‘six tracks of atmosphere drones and static noise, each reflecting a particular state of mind in which he found himself at the time.’
I don’t know if it’s the context and being from Tehran that gives this album an extra, and somewhat different, dimension: there’s a cry of despair in almost every track, but there’s also hope.


Dronny Darko & ProtoUDRONNY DARKO & PROTOU – EARTH SONGS
A (dark) ambient concept-album: starting out with the Big Bang (13.8 billion years ago), and exloring various stages of evolution from there – even into the distant future in Leaving Earth (2135 AD).
Given the enormous span of time it thematically covers, it’s remarkable that these seven tracks sound remarkably consistent: it’s a calm atmospheric, misty cover to immerse yourself deeply into.
Of course, you can also ignore the concept if you want, and just see where your own imagination gets you.
Dronny Darko is Olec Puzan (and onviously fascinated by all things outer space), and ProtoU is Sasha Cats  – a trained violinist and choir vocalist now exploring more experimental territories. They are both living in Kiev (Ukraine).


Geometric Decay

MATTHEW ATKINS – GEOMETRIC DECAY
Matthew Atkins (not be confused with Matthew (‘Monty’) Adkins – the difference is only one letter) runs the Minimal Resource Manipulation label, and this album is the fourth release under his own name.
Atkins uses all kinds of found sounds, field recordings and drones, takes them out of their original context to replace them in these sonic collages ‘whose textures teeter at the edge of noise in places. This is offset with almost meditative passages with snatches of repeated melodies and looped textural blocks’.
The result is a fascinating kind of abstract, industrial, but above all otherworldly soundscapes. Bandcamp offers the digital download, but you can order a hand stamped cardboard sleeve physical edition here.

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