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Monochromie; Visionary Hours; Peter Grech; Northumbria; Mogano

Sycomore

Behind Black Clouds

MONOCHROMIE – BEHIND BLACK CLOUDS
The word Monochromie refers to one single colour, but Behind Black Clouds is in fact a very colourful album: an album with lots of different sounds and atmospheres. “Dark or luminous, hor or cold, wind or earth – attentive ear will detect them all.”
Wilson Trouvé 
(from France) is also a virtual artist: “This also reflects on the way my music tells specific stories. It is no different than clay, dust, paper, colors, paint or inks.”
Behind Black Clouds is his fourth full album as Monochromie, and his third for the Fluttery Records label.
Different kind of pianos play the main part on the album, in melodic, romantic, as well as more abstract arrangements. But sometimes the piano makes place for other instruments like metallophone or melodica, bright synths, drum synths or samples from street recordings. Or even sheer noise, like in Noise.



MONOCHROMIE – HEARTBEAT


Footfalls Echo

VISIONARY HOURS – FOOTFALLS ECHO
The opening track Stillness of the Violin sets the mood: it shows exactly what the title implies.
But right after that the instrumentation changes completely, although the mood on this album stays very gentle. The diverse acoustic instruments (strings, guitars, flute and clarinet) are mixed using ambient reel-to-reel tape delay effect and also using slowed down or reversed recordings.
Together with producer Richard Formby (Spectrum, Mogwai, Dakota Suite, Jazz Butcher), Hayden Berry (Visionary Hours) has created a unique blend of analog sounds on this third album that is released on Hibernate Recordings in this handmade edition of 100 (which, as usual, is quickly selling out).


Sung of the Black CanyonPETER GRECH – SUNG OF THE BLACK CANYON
Peter Grech is an artist without a label, considering himself “the audio equivalent of a small local farm, hopefully supplying tasty sonic carrots”.
Judged by the tasty carrots he serves on this self-released album, he shouldn’t be without a label for long … but if he does, we’re lucky to have Bandcamp access his music.
Sung of the Black Canyon is a 50 minute descriptive soundtrack inspired by a wilderness hiking journey he made in the United States, each of the seven parts ‘intended as stages reminiscent of the journey’. It may be a personal notebook this way, but for other listeners it’s an inspiring soundtrack for their own imaginary fieldtrip.


Helluland

NORTHUMBRIA – HELLULAND
From Canada comes this duo called NorthumbriaJim Field and Dorian Williamson, creating ambient drones with guitar and bass as the main instruments, largely improvised and often recorded live. Helluland is their third full length album, “much more conceptual and introspective but still unmistakeably Northumbria in scope and sound”.
With the guitar creating the main layers it sounds as if Robert Fripp is  always near: Fripp and Eno are mentioned as one of their main influences. But the guitar is not looped like in most Frippertronics – the themes are played improvised on the spot. There is a close relation to the Canadian landscape, the Baffin Island (to the left of Greenland) more specifically, which was discovered by he Norse Vikins over a thousand years ago.
“(The Canadian Arctic) must’ve seemed like Jötunheimr to them, the mythical lands of the giants in Norse mythology. The landscape of Baffin Island i so unbelievably primordial and massive …. we really wanted to try and evoke the feelings, feats and wonder these adventurers must have felt.”


Sycomore

MOGANO – SYCOMORE
Second release from the brand new Berlin-based Arboretum  label is aptly named after a tree and dedicated to the Tree of Life from ancient civilizations. It’s a balanced set of brooding rhythms, electronics and ritualistic references to Eastern mythology by using instruments such as the dilruba.
Mogano (Marco Berardi) is obviously deeply fascinated by ancient cultures and musical practices, but at the same time manages to create a futuristic dubby beat – inescapable and atmospheric.
Sycomore is released as a four-track vinyl 12″ also including a remix of “Annunaki” by (Samuel) Kerride. Included is a download code that also includes the digital bonus track Dukkah. 



MOGANO – SYCOMORE

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More Piano!!

Piano

A seemingly random collection of albums with the piano as the main instrument…


Otto Totland - Pino

OTTO A. TOTLAND – PINÔ
Half of Deaf Center. Also half of Nest. More introduction to the intricate piano sounds of Otto A. Totland should hardly be needed.
“Pinô” is his first full featured solo-album, packed in a beautiful gold-embossed hardcover sleeve that perfectly matches the music it contains: atmospheric, calm, intimate.

The music was recorded in Nils Frahm’s (Durton) studio on a squeaky piano with a soft, velvety sound. The intimacy is enhanced by bringing the environmental sounds up front in the recording.

You can hear the sounds of birds outside, Nils walking around (dropping things and coughing), and other sounds that most other recording engineers would usually try to avoid ending up into the recording. You can also clearly hear the piano mechanism at work, too.

In his recent interview with Headphone Commute, Otto Totland explains there are three types of pieces on “Pinô”: “Composed (Steps, Pinô, Julie) – they could be sheet music. I play them similar every time. Improvised (Seveen, Bluss, Âust). I had not played them before. What you hear is the first time. Piano ambient (Open, Aquet, Flomé). For airy breaks between the more melodic pieces.”

With the combination of these tracks and the sound recording decisions, “Pinô” feels as if Otto is performing an impromptu concert, just for you, in your own living room. And that’s definitely nót something you want to miss.


Otto A. Totland – Solêr
 



Monochromie Winter

MONOCHROMIE – WINTER
Played directly after each other, this album presents some radically different choices: the piano sound is bright and immaculately recorded, the music more extrovert and frisky, its repeating minimalism obviously inspired by piano works of Philip Glass.

The album title may be “Winter”, but the fiercely hammered notes and jubilant themes are more like the fresh air of Spring, or the brightness of Summer.

While Otto Totland advises to play his album on ‘soft’ volume, Monochromie’s “Winter” can best be enjoyed at a louder volume.
It’ll make you forget that winter is usually a cold season.



Kazesarai

3+ – KAZESARAI
While the piano is the main instrument, it is not a solo instrument on this album. It is embedded with field recordings, subtle electronics and string instruments. 3+ (or Three Plus) is Masahi Shiraishi from Japan, and his style sometimes loosely reminded me of the early piano works of Ryuichi Sakamoto (in fact at one moment I thought I heard a reference to the “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence” theme).
“A somewhat minimalistic, electronically treated piano based journey into a fantasy landscape of gently rustling bamboo and reeds…flowing rivers… and mountainous mists.”

As with all their releases, Time Released Sound will release this title in two different editions: a Deluxe Edition of 80 (price yet unknown), and a digipak edition of 200. At the time of writing the release date is unknown, but it will be soon.


3+ – Lunar Eclipse – Gessyoku (piano version)
 



Federico Albanese

FEDERICO ALBANESE – THE HOUSEBOAT AND THE MOON
Born in Milan but currently residing in Berlin, Federico Albanese‘s musical history as “one of the leading figures of Milan’s underground scene” has taught him a wide array of styles.
This is his debut album, for which “He found a place, an imaginary place, where, whenever he wanted to, he could jump on and just float away, traveling across memories and imagination.”

The 13 compositions are completed with electronics, live recordings, strings and homemade instruments. The all have a lovely, contemplative, and somewhat innocent feel – which makes this album the most accessible album of the four mentioned here.
Release date: february, 28


Federico Albanese – Disclosed

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