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James Murray * Michael Begg * Finglebone

Daubigny - Landscape by Moonlight

Eyes to the Height

JAMES MURRAY – EYES TO THE HEIGHT

James Murray is the label owner of Slowcraft RecordsHe is also the one that created the music of Anne Garner’s bewitching album Be Life, one of my personal favourite albums.

As a solo artists, his albums are always a surprise, because you’ll never know what to expect. Murray is always exploring different styles of electro-acoustic and experimental music: “switching things around when the time feels right.”

Eyes to the Height
, his seventh solo album, is “a ten chapter story reflecting the fragile beauty of life and loss, memory and function.”
It’s labeled ‘modern ambient’, but in fact it rises above a genre tag like that.
With the use of rhythms without losing the ‘ambient’ touch, this album manages to create a delicate balance of ‘pop’ and ‘ambient’ where many others have failed.

There’s a great attention to every detail: in sound production as well as in composition. The album is fully instrumental, but each of the ten pieces feels like a complete “song”.
Wouldn’t it be a nice experiment to create a vocal version of this album using these tracks? There are a lot of albums with instrumental versions of previously vocal tracks, but I’ve never seen that done the other way around.
It’s fun to think about where that would lead to. But let’s be clear: I don’t want to suggest that  something is ‘missing’ on this album. On the contrary!

There are only very few people capable of creating ‘quantum ambient’ music: music that is ambient and isn’t ambient at the same time.

Also on Spotify


A Moon That Lights Itself

MICHAEL BEGG – A MOON THAT LIGHTS ITSELF

In 2016, Michael Begg was commissioned to compose music based around the 19th century painter Charles François Daubignywho is considered an important precursor of Impressionism.
The music was performed in september at the Scotland National Gallery, by Michael Begg accompanied by cellist Clea Friend. After this performance, Begg completed the work in his studio.

A Moon that Lights Itself is dedicated to the work of Daubigny, who painted his nocturnal scenes from his  boat studio. It is conceptually linked to the invention of the phonautographthe earliest known device for recording sound, by Edouard-Lean Scott de Martinville in the same period (years before Edison’s phonograph!). The first ever recording of a human voice was Au Clair De La Lune.

That is a lot of conceptual background information, I know. But it helps to get the feel of this album, its atmospheres, and explains the reason for the ghostly Au Clair De La Lune theme in the track The Birth Of Modernism. 

You can trust Michael Begg to come up with a haunting album that matches this concept in every detail. Overall, the music is dark, like nocturnal music should be. But it’s not a darkness to be afraid of. It’s a darkness to dwell in… just imagine you’re drifting in a boat on a quiet lake, watching the night sky and the moon, and trying to capture that in painting.
Or in music.


Sunlit Plumes of Dust

FINGLEBONE – SUNLIT PLUMES OF DUST

Whitelabrecs (one of Harry Towell’s outlets of experimental electronic/acoustic music) rounds off its first year with this release by Finglebone, aka Adam VarneyAn album crossing the thin lines between folk/post-rock and electronic ambient. Adam’s finger-picking guitar adds a refreshingly bright sound to the imaginary landscapes, creating an “introspective world inhabited by the gosts of memories, the looming spectre of death and the passing of time.”

But it’s not a ‘dark’ album at all: the guitar strings, soundscapes and found sound mix is expressing “melancholy, reverie and the feeling of alienation.”
It’s a very personal album, “loosely based on Adam’s experience caring for his Grandfather during his final weeks. He witnessed how dementia would render him silent, lost in his own mind, but then release him back into reality.”

All but one of the eight tracks are instrumental pieces around 3-4 minutes in length. The exception to this is the 12 minute track Blazing Golden Sun, which features a poem by James E.M. Smith, “Grovely”, describing the local woods where Adam spent many hours as a child.

As usual for Whitelabrecs releases, the physical CDr edition has only 50 copies which will probably be gone soon.  

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Jeffrey Roden – Threads Of A Prayer, Volume 1

Jeffrey Roden - Threads of a Prayer Vol. 1

Jeffrey Roden - Threads of a Prayer Vol. 1

JEFFREY RODEN – THREADS OF A PRAYER, VOLUME 1

Jeffrey Roden has worked as a professional bass player in various genres and settings and has been releasing CD’s for solo bass.
In the early days of his career he was a session musician (for legends like Bo Diddley), an in-demand sideman in jazz, funk, soul, a rock songwriter and writer of classic pop songs.
But he turned his back on the music industry and ‘turned his gaze inwards and moved from chambermusical electro-jazz to solo improvisations. It was the spiritually and soft resolve of Arvo Pärt’s  oeuvre that would turn into the foremost source of inspiration”.

Threads of a Prayer, Volume 1 (Volume 2 is scheduled for release in 2017) is an epic 2-CD set introducing Roden’s compositional work.
Two hours an twenty minutes of introspective and meditative music: for solo piano on the first CD, and for string ensemble on the second.

It is dangerous, unfair (and probably too early) to compare Roden‘s work to that of contemporary giants like Arvo Pärt.
But, as Tobias Fischer notes in the liner notes, there are remarkable similarities:
“Just like Pärt, Jeffrey had enjoyed success early on in his career. Just like Pärt, he didn’t follow up on it but instead went to look for his own path. And just like Pärt, this path led, first, towards monody and then a music of great outer simplicity, intricate detail and emotional complexity.”

Sandro Ivo Bartoli performs the solo piano compositions on the first CD.
12 Prayers (dedicated to Arvo Pärt and Carmen Montez), 10 Untitled Pieces, and The Passing Of A King all have one thing in common: the silence between the notes, the ultimate quietude. In this unhurried meditative focus, the link to the work of Arvo Pärt and possibly Erik Satie, Morton Feldman and, to lesser extent, John Cage is obvious.

The second CD presents the seven part The Many Latitudes of Grief, two Untitled pieces for quintet, and the 35 minute Leaves (which came “from a lifetime of watching leaves fall and marvelling at both the beauty and inevitability of the falling.”)
The works on this second CD are performed by the Bennewitz QuartetSzymon Marciniak (double bass), Wolfgang Fischer (timpani) and Johannes Kronfeld (trombone).
Because of the difference in instrumentation, the two CD’s in this album are slightly different in sound, but they share the same quietude, completely shutting out the hectic world outside.

It’s Jeffrey Roden‘s sole purpose to take the listener to “the other place: a place within oneself where there is a deeper awareness of many things both emotional and spiritual.”

“I rely upon the work and the listener to find their own relationship and meanings. The work allows the listener to decide what course of mind and spirit to take, whether the time be spent in active or passive listening. Essentially the music serves to elevate the listener to a place unknown and filled with beauty.”



JEFFREY RODEN – THE PASSING OF A KING
Sandro Ivo Bartoli, piano
 


JEFFREY RODEN – THE MANY LATITUDES OF GRIEF: FOUR
Bennewitz Quartet,
Johannes Kronfeld, trombone

 

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Roger Goula * Green Kingdom * Dead Light

Overview Effect

Overview Effect

ROGER GOULA – OVERVIEW EFFECT

Cognitive Shift Recordings is a brand new label, focussing on contemporary classical music “that has influences and instrumentation within the genre and beyond, bridging the gap between modern classical and electronic music”. Their promising first release is Roger Goula‘s Overview Effect

Roger Goula is a London-based composer and multi-instrumentalist working across many different platforms including film, tv, dance, theatre and art installation.
Overview Effect is his debut album release, which not only is the first album on this new label but also gave it its name.
The title refers to “a psychological phenomenon experienced by astronauts when viewing Earth from a distance, allowing them to see the entire planet surrounded by the endless black void of space. This can cause a cognitive shift (!) within the mind of the astronauts, giving them a completely new perspective of life, Earth and humanity”.

 

Goula’s compositions are performed by Thomas Gould, Peter Gregson, Lucy Railton and Stephen Upshaw, covering many musical styles – in fact, judging by tracks like Cognitive Shift and Overview Effect, refusing to limit itself to what is generally considered ‘contemporary classical’ music.

If this first release is a style statement for the new Cognitive Shift Recordings label, take note and keep an eye on their future releases!

Vinyl trivia:
Goula engraved a marriage proposal in Italian to his partner on the inner groove of the vinyl edition, so it can be seen on every copy. The answer to that proposal is still undisclosed.

Also on Spotify

ROGER GOULA – PALE BLUE DOT


The Green Kingdom - Harbor

THE GREEN KINGDOM – HARBOR

Michael Cottone (alias The Green Kingdom“wanted this album to provide the feeling of floating on gentle and welcoming waters rather than being a refuge to hide away in. […] The reverberant guitar chords and occasional lulling rhythms are meant to contribute to the sense of calmly drifting away”.

He clearly succeeded: listening to Harbor feels like taking a warm bath and is a welcome antidote to the sad state of current times.

The album is released on the Dronarivm label, and stylistically it is different from most other releases on this  label. It certainly isn’t ‘drone’ music, and it isn’t ‘ambient’ either, although there’s a lot of ‘ambience’.
Cottone himself describes his music as “compositions which blur the lines between soundscapes and structure while keeping a sharp focus on melody, crafted using a variety of instruments, electronic sources, samples textures and field recordings”. 

The title, by the way, is an homage to the Cocteau Twins’ Echoes in a Shallow Bay (1985).

Also on Spotify


Dead Light

DEAD LIGHT – DEAD LIGHT

Dead Light is the name of the duo the Anna Rose Carter and Ed Hamilton formed when they moved out of ‘the sprawling metropolis’ that was London to their new ‘rural refuge’: a quiet, remote space in the countryside.
Their new peaceful surroundings are reflected in this music, but there’s also a sense of dislocation underneath the beauty – which can especially be heard in the out-of-tune resonances of Carter‘s old (prepared?) piano. Or in the ghostly samples accompanying the singing voice in Sleeper.

Dead Light is an album about “two conflicting sentiments that co-exist in a somehow beautiful, bitter-sweet relationship: the reality of this new setting an apposition between the serene nature of their new life, and the dislocation from the lives, people and places that they left behind.
Their sound is characterised by d
istant and reflective, yet intimate and emotive piano motifs coupled with a plethora of analogue artefacts ranging from loops constructed on cheap old tape machines, tape delays (via daisy chained reel-to-reel machines), homemade synthesisers, contact mics and hydrophones.”


Also on Spotify

DEAD LIGHT – PALE FIRE

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DreamScenes 2016 – 12

DreamScenes Logo

DreamScenes usually only features new releases, but this month I want to start with an exception in memory of Pauline Oliveros.
She introduced the concept of Deep Listening – which is only one of the many things she left behind and will be remembered for.

Watertank Software was the very first track I ever heard of her music. Needless to say it left a deep impression.
It was released in 1985 on the amazing Vor Der Flut collection, recorded in an empty watertank with a 45 second reverberation.


Pauline Oliveros- Watertank Software
(From “Vor Der Flut”, 1985)
 

This december edition is concluded with a track by Mario Batkoviç, who is also exploring the possibilities and limits of the accordeon.
This particular track – Desiderii Patriae, from his forthcoming album Solo – feels like a (probably unintended) tribute to Oliveros’ Deep Listening concept.

Well, so much for the beginning and the end of this edition.
Apart from that: in-between, there’s many other things (… and also many strings).

Tracklist:

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Loscil * Library Tapes * Aaron Martin/Leonardo Rosado

In the Dead Of Night

Monument Builders

LOSCIL – MONUMENT BUILDERS

The inspiration for the new Scott Morgan album came when he watched an old VHS copy of KoyaanisqatsiThe ‘VHS’ format added lo-fi enhancement to the visual experience:

“Something about the time-tarnished visuals and the pitch warble on Philip Glass’s  epic score added a new layer of intrigue for me. Glass has always been an influence, but lo-fi Glass felt like a minor revelation, as if the decay was actually enhancing the impact of the film’s message”.

This also explains the many references to Philip Glass’s repetitive, minimalist composition techniques on this album – especially in the horn section arrangements.
Of course these pieces are not performed by a full-scale acoustic ensemble: Morgan carefully reconstructs the enhanced deterioration with his samples and use of electronics.

There’s another resemblance to Koyaanisqatsi: “a bleak notion that we humans don’t have much to say in how it all turns out”.
At the time of writing the music for Monument Builders, “the life-and death battles of close friends and family forced Morgan to examine his own feelings on mortality”.
But, like the film, at the same time the album offers solace and leaves room for exploration and surprise.


Library Tapes Europe

LIBRARY TAPES – EUROPE, SHE LOVES

Europe, She Loves is the original soundtrack for a the same-titled movie by Jan Gassman.
‘Europe on the verge of social and economic change. A close up into the shaken vision of 4 couples, daily struggles, fights, kids, sex and passion. A movie about the politics of love.”

In the more than ten years history of Library Tapes, this is David Wenngren‘s first non-piano record. I haven’t seem the movie (yet), but the music seems to capture the intimacy of the subject. Credits for that go to Wenngren himself, of course, but also to the sensitive cello parts played by Julia Kent.

Hearing this soundtrack definitely makes me want to check out the movie, exploring “in semi-documentary intimacy the sensitivities of a generation of twentysomethings in Europe”.

Also on Spotify


In the Dead Of Night

AARON MARTIN & LEONARDO ROSADO – IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT WHEN EVERYTHING IS ASLEEP

Since this is one of those luscious packed Fluid Audio releases, the physical release has of course sold out long ago. But, thanks to our digital age, the download version remains available.
And is definitely worth checking out without the spectacular package, just for the music it contains.

Leonardo Rosado needed to break away from his musical routines, which ‘locked himself in his own idiosyncrasies’. In Aaron Martin he found ‘a soloist with a deep soul to guide my feelings towards something different, something that breaks me away from myself, without betraying who I am.”

When the basic tracks were ready for Aaron Martin to join in, they had no titles that might suggest a direction. 
Aaron 
completed the tracks, his cello a perfect match for Rosado’s soundscapes. Only when the recording was complete, the titles revealed itself: ‘a poem formed itself magically’.

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DreamScenes 2016-09/10

DreamScenes Logo

I have enjoyed a holiday in September, so I had to skip last month’s DreamScenes edition.
To compensate for the immeasurable grief this must have caused, ánd to celebrate the start of autumn, this edition is a twice as long as usual.

So I hope you’ll enjoy these two hours of new (and relatively new) music to make you float away into your daydream…

Tracklist:

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Jóhann Jóhannsson * Sven Helbig

Orphée

Orphée

JÓHAN JÓHANNSSON – ORPHÉE

Ever since his debut release Englabörn in 2002, Jóhann Jóhannsson has grown into one of the biggest names in contemporary classical music. In recent years he was especially sought-after to compose movie soundtracks – a natural progression, because from the start his arrangements and compositions had that ‘cinematic’ feeling.
He was awarded a Golden Globe, Bafta ánd Oscar for the score for The Theory of Everything, and similar honors for the Sicario soundtrack.
And it is Jóhann Jóhannsson that will be composing the score for the highly anticipated Blade Runner sequel (it will be a challenging task to match the original Vangelis score)!

Orphée is his first ‘full studio album’ (meaning: not a movie or stage production soundtrack) release in six years – since 2010’s And in the Endless Pause There Came The Sound Of Bees.
Compared to his latest soundtrack (Sicario, a dark and brooding atmospheric soundtrack) it’s a remarkable return to his original form. The use of electronics and ‘number station’ samples is somewhat reminiscent of one of his most impressive albums: IBM1401, A User’s Manual. 

The fifteen pieces on Orphée are relatively short, but are supposed to be listened as a cycle that “traces a path from darkness into light, inspired by the various re-tellings of the old story of the poet Orpheus – a many-layered story about death, rebirth, change and the ephemeral nature of memory.”

“The album is a reflection on change, memory, beauty and art, and ultimately celebrates the latter’s power of renewal, while acknowledging the dark paths along which it can lead the artist.”

 

Orphée is performed by Jóhannsson on piano, electronics, pipe – and electric organ, accompanying Hildur Gudnadottir (cello), the American Contemporary Music Ensemble and AIR Lyndhurst String Orchestra.

The album’s closing track Orphic Hymn is a composition for choir using text from Ovid’s Metamorphosesperformed by none other and no less than Paul Hillier’s Theatre of Voices. A bit of a surprise, since this epilogue is quite different from all the tracks before. But, depending on taste, it may very well be the most impressive and beautiful piece of the album – ánd it’s a nice transition to continue with Sven Helbig’s album discussed below!



Jóhann Jóhannsson – Good Morning, Midnight


Sven Helbig - Eat the Sun

SVEN HELBIG – I EAT THE SUN AND DRINK THE RAIN

Promo introductions can be misleading. that’s why I usually listen to an album and only read the info afterwards. But this time, I got the introduction before I could listen to the music.
The name Sven Helbig didn’t ring a bell with me… and introducing him as Pet Shop Boys producer didn’t help (never understood them) – and so I almost stopped reading. Some of the other artists he worked for – Rammstein, Snoop Dogg among them – proved he was a very versatile producer, but made me doubt this release would be an ‘ambientblog’ thing (whatever that may be).

But there was something in the description that cought my interest too: a neo-classical/electronica album, performed by Vocalconsort Berlin conducted by Kristjan Järvi, “blending delicate choral passages above pulsating synthesizers”?

I found out that Helbig not only had a lot of experience in popular music, but has firm roots in classical music too: a joint founder of the Dresdner Sinfoniker, the first European orchestra strictly performing contemporary classical music.
In 2013, Deutsche Grammophon released his Pocket Symphonies (which, by the way, is followed up with Pocket Symphonies Electronica this year).

First and foremost, I Eat The Sun And I Drink The Rain is a choral album. There are ten relatively short pieces, flawlessly performed by Vocalconsort Berlin.
There are no other instruments apart from accompaniment of synthesizer, adding some subtle ‘dubby’ production effects. Upon reading ‘pulsating synthesizers’ you might expect the synths playing a leading role but in fact it is not: the choir is definitely the main performer here! The electronics serve to support the choir and draw the connection between ‘classical’ and ‘contemporary’.  But it dóes make a difference, especially in the first tracks on the album and in the closing track Ich Geh Dir Nach. 

The compositions are different from other ‘contemporary classical’ music because they are more rooted in the classical choral tradition than in the usual melancholic neo-romantic style. For most listeners this will feel like a ‘real’ classical music album (apart from the occasional electronic enhancements).
But that, of course, is just labelling.
Play Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Orphée (which ends with the choral Orphic Hymn) first, and then add Helbig‘s album to the same playlist. The transition will be hardly noticeable… but will lead you into new and (perhaps) hitherto uncovered territories!



Sven Helbig – Kyrie

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Ferdinando Arnò (with Melanie De Biasio) * Delilah Gutman + Drawing Virtual Gardens * Otto Lindholm

Radura Detail

Music for Radura

FERDINANDO ARNÒ – MUSIC FOR RADURA

The name Ferdinando Arnò may not immediately ring a bell, which is why I added the name of Melanie Di Biasio to the title of this post – assuming this might generate a bit more attention. But to be clear, this album is a Ferdinando Arnò album, released under his name, with Melanie Di Biasio as a guest performer and co-composer on three of the five tracks. Along with Marco Decimo (cello) and Giorgio Cocilovo (Moog guitar), Arnò himself performs on piano and electronics.

Radura is a sculptural sound installation in Milan, Italy – ‘a public space for decongestion where to stop, rest, wait…offering a sonic solace from the din of the day and the outside world’. A circle of 350 cylindrical wooden columns with an external diameter of 10.5 metres. the wooden columns are functioning as a resonating chamber.
Ferdinando Arnò wrote this music especially for this installation: more info about this project can be found on the Quiet Please website.

Radura Image

It must be a pleasure to sit down on the inner bench and watch the sculpture – especially when appropriate music like this is played, music that was specifically composed for this environment.
I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to get up and leave until I was sure the performance was finished!
The music feels as if you’re listening to a full orchestra, yet they are performed in a minimal setting. The compositions are minimal too, with an exception perhaps for the opener Angelicus which was composed by Vince Mendoza. All four following tracks are ‘originals’, their structure mainly based on repeating loops and structures. But this does not feel like ‘strict minimalism’ at all – due to the way they are orchestrated and of course also because of the soft persuasive voice of Melanie Di Biasio.

To my surprise, Music for Radura is only available on a few digital platforms, like iTunes, Google Play and  CDBaby (with $3.99 for the full album, the latter is being the cheapest option by far!). There is no physical edition available, wich is a bit of a shame, because this release should definitely be available to a wider audience than it will probably find now!
I really hope it will find a label and turn into a ‘proper’ release. But I would not wait for that if I were you!



FERDINANDO ARNÒ – L’ENFANT DE LA NUIT (with MELANIE DE BIASIO)


Charcoals

DELILAH GUTMAN + DRAWING VIRTUAL GARDENS – CHARCOALS

Delilah Gutman is a pianist, singer, teacher and composer living in Italy. She is founder of the D.G.M.A., researching and producing musical and multi-media events: an artists with an impressive track record!
David Gutman (husband? brother?) is an electroacoustic/ambient/drone artist known as Drawing Virtual Gardens (you may remember his Osmotic Memory of J.J. Bhagee album).
On CharcoalsDelilah plays piano while David creates the background atmosphere. The cover (a charcoal painting, of course) shows a couple dancing in ominous surroundings, which matches the music’s atmosphere. The bright, naturally recorded improvisations (I assume they are improvised, but I’m not sure) on the piano contrasts with the background environment; which is the reason these compositions transcend most of the formulaic contemporary modern classical music.


Otto Lindholm

OTTO LINDHOLM – OTTO LINDHOLM

Three tracks, 36 minutes: the perfect length for a vinyl release. And so it is: a vinyl-only release, that comes with a digital download. A separate download version is available from Otto Lindholm‘s Bandcamp page.

Otto Lindholm plays double bass and merges this with electronic drones and loops. He does so with such subtlety that it is amazing to realise that these tracks were recorded in one shot.
The tracks starts with the string instrument in the foreground, themes with a modern classical touch. But slowly but surely the instruments sink away in their background, like in quicksand, and the tracks’ focus becomes more electronic.
Intense and with a fairly ‘noir’ mood.

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Ian William Craig * Serein (Various) * 130701 (Various)

Orbital Planes

Ian William Craig - Centres

IAN WILLIAM CRAIG – CENTRES

Ever since William Basinski transformed the sound of deterioration into sonic art, it has become part of the experimental mainstream – along with distortion and carefully arranged clicks and cuts.
Although I am old enough to recognize the nostalgia of analog hiss and vinyl crackle, I often get confused hearing intentional sounds that I have tried to avoid for a large part of my life (and for a large part of my budget). Too often, the result is that too obvious presentation of imperfection simply becomes irritating.

But, like Basinski, there are also artists that take things to a completely different level. Ian William Craig is one of them.
He’s a trained operatic vocalist with a beautiful voice, an orchestral composer capable of writing heartfelt arrangements that could easily become anthems for a whole generation. If only …
Play his music for an unprepared audience and eyebrows will definitely be raised!

“(Centres) was created using a mixture of sources – synthesizer, Hammond organ, guitar, accordion, wire recorder, loop station, Craig’s array of re-purposed tape decks and “cassette choir”. The songs were created manipulating tape loops through two or three decks at once to create strange deteriorating delays with different colors.
“Everything was manipulated through my customized tape decks,” explains Ian. “The most common hack is putting attenuators on the heads to keep them from functioning properly, and then running a loop of tape through so the sound builds and builds and spills over. Sometimes the same tape loop goes through two or three decks at once to create strange deteriorating delays with different colours.”
Continually honing and pushing this process, the album shows a quite brilliant attention to textural detail. Morphing, swirling, scouring, shimmering, it continually expands and contracts around you.”

Centres is Ian William Craig‘s ninth album (!), his third official release (and his first on the 130701 label). Compared to his earlier work, there is a bit more emphasis on song structures – the vocal arrangements (like in Purpose (Is No Country) and Arrive, Arrive) are moments of rest in the sonic sea of decaying sentimentality.

To demonstrate the impact, compare the albums opener Contain (Astoria Version) – a 10 minute piece with an anthemic instrumental second half that most artists would’ve probably placed as a climactic album closer – with its introvert counterpart closing the album: the ‘campfire arrangement’ (solo vocals and acoustic guitar) of Contain (Cedar Version).
Same song – different parallel universe.

Craig pushes ‘the beauty within degradation and deterioration’ to an extreme level. Só extreme that it becomes the aesthetic of the fundamentally distressed. It’s not an easy listen, because it requires full attention. The listener cannot simply ‘consume’, but has to work to uncover the beauty underneath.

Ian William Craig would probably be capable to write and perform the near perfect pop song. But why would he? Perfection is boring – true beauty is found in imperfect details.

Also on Spotify


Orbital Planes

VARIOUS ARTISTS – ORBITAL PLANES & PASSENGER TRAINS VOL. I

Some of you may remember that the Serein label started out as a netlabel way back in  2005, giving away a lot of music for free. (Check this Folio Broadcast if you’re interested in a mix of Serein music from 2005-2007).
After the label founder Huw Roberts teamed up with (Deaf Center’s) Otto Totland to form the near-legendary Nest, things got serious and Serein re-emerged as a ‘real’ label. (I don’t mean to imply that netlabels aren’t serious, of course: what I mean to say is that with the Nest release, Serein must’ve realised that they were giving away gold for free. )
The label “predominantly focusses on crossover ambient styles”, but refuses to limit itself to any one genre.

This is perfectly demonstrated in this compilation, presenting 75 minutes (16 tracks) of “the finest Serein selections”. It’s a wide range of ‘crossover ambient’ styles, that somehow perfectly match together.
Intended to soothe you during your daily commute – “making your journeys as pleasurable as can be” – but of course it can also be enjoyed from the comfort (and relative safety) of your home.

A beautiful selection of (all new?) tracks from artists that have worked with Serein before but also some names that are new to the label: Otto A. Totland, Brambles, Ametsub, Benoît Pioulard, Strië, Donato Wharton, Yui Onodera & Chihei Hatakeyama, Olan Mill (and this is not the complete list!).
It will make you look forward to the upcoming Serein releases.
Ánd to Volume II of this series!

Release date: August 19, but can be pre-ordered here.



STRIË – 87 BILLION SUNS


 

11into15

VARIOUS ARTISTS – ELEVEN INTO FIFTEEN

130701 started as a Fat Cat sublabel 15 years ago: the label name is in fact the date it came to life with the first Set Fire To Flames album.
Since then, it has become one of the most influential labels in various areas of modern classical music – home to many influential and, by now, well-known artists.

After a three year hiatus the label re-emerged at the end of 2015, and now it celebrates its 15th anniversary with this impressive compilation of unreleased work by some of their familiar artists while at the same time introducing some new names.
Eleven tracks – as you might have guessed from the title – that prove the power of the label curators: there’s a range of modern classical styles – from melancholic piano compositions to abstract string drones – but also some tracks that fall outside of this categorisation yet perfectly blend in.

All tracks are exclusive and previously unreleased, which instantly turns this into a not-to-be-missed release for fans of Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Hauschka, Dustin O’Halloran, Set Fire to Flames, Sylvain Chauveau. Ánd for the ‘early adopters’ that are already familiar with Ian William Craig, Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, Dmitry Evgrafov, Resina and Olivier Alary.

The album title might as well have been Sixteen into Fifteen, since it comes with an added bonus called “New Blood” – presenting 5 extra tracks by artists that have recently published music on 130701 or will do so in the near future: Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, Dmitry Evgrafov, Olivier Alary, Ian William Craig and Resina.

The limited CD version of this bonus were distributed in UK indie stores but quickly sold out but is now a free download with every purchase of Eleven Into FifteenIt can also be obtained separately – but in fact I cannot think of a good reason why you’d want to do that when you get it for free with the Eleven…  compilation.



OLIVIER ALARY – YANGTZE

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DreamScenes 2016-07

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There’s a remarkable amount of rain falling in this July edition of DreamScenes.
Well… I guess it perfectly fits this summer season…

With Cerfilic, Ian William Craig, Helios, Ben Lukas Boysen, Antonymes/Marconi Union, Claire M. Singer, Olivier Alary, Jonty Harrison, Stephan Mathieu, Mathieu Lamontagne, Anne Garner/Christoph Berg, M4X and Max Richter.

Tracklist:

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