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Olivier Alary * Selffish

Sellfish

Olivier Alary

OLIVIER ALARY – FICTION – NON-FICTION Also on Spotify

Fiction – Non-Fiction may be Olivier Alary‘s debut album under his own name for the Fat Cat / 130701 label, but that does not mean it’s his first work. The French (now Montreal-based) composer has previously released music as Ensemble (on Aphex Twin‘s Rephlex label, among others). Those releases grabbed the attention of Björk, for whom he later worked as a remixer and co-composer.

Fiction – Non-Fiction is a compilation of previously unreleased work for film soundtracks he composed in the last five years: music for China Heavyweight‘, ‘Up the Yangtze‘, ‘Jo pour Jonathan‘ and Corbo‘. In addition to this soundtrack material, there are two variations of the minimalist Pulses: one for percussion and one for wind instruments.

Coming from soundtracks mainly, it’s no surprise that the music is highly cinematic – especially since Alary can work with large ensembles, film orchestras, a string quartet, saxophonist (Erik Hove), pianist and arranger Johannes Malfattiand many, many other musicians.

The result is a lush, organic sound – and a remarkable variation of styles: piano solo pieces (Arrivée, Qin), modern classical compositions (Juanicas, Canon, Flooding), polyrhythmic minimal music (Pulses), pieces on par with the best of Johann Johansson and Max Richter. Ánd even some real ambient drone pieces like Khaltoum – and (my personal favourite track): Epilogue, closing the album with a floating choir slowly fading into silence.

The desolate album cover image may suggest otherwise, but the music on this album represents many different moods and styles. Definitely one for the list of favourites!

As a bonus, here’s an exclusive track for you to enjoy (nót included on the album).
Piscine is a short track in line with the other ambient pieces on the album:


OLIVIER ALARAY – PISCINE (NOT ON ALBUM!)
 

(Note: The Bandcamp link below is for the digital version only. For physical editions click here)


Sellfish

SELFFISH – HE SHE THEM US

There are only a few releases on the Serein label every year, but íf they decide to release a new album it’s a safe bet it ‘s worth investigating!

He She Them Us is their first title for 2017. It’s the debut release of the oddly named ‘Selffish‘  (Andrejs  Eigus from Riga, Latvia). His  debut for Serein, that is: Selffish previously released two full length albums on the Thinner netlabel in 2002 and 2004, which can still be downloaded from Archive.org.

The inspirations for He She Them Us  came from the countryside around the city of Riga, where Andrejs often went to find solace in its stillness and beauty, and where he recorded the field recordings that he later used to recreate these moments of reflection.
“Each time I went to visit a secluded corner of nature outside my hometown, I usually felt a strong desire to produce music. Especially when hearing the sounds again at home.”

Like many other releases on Serein,  He She Them Us is a hard to categorize because it merges many different things. There is plenty of ambience, field recordings and electronics (the label info recalls music from labels like Mille Plateaux, Raster Noton and City Centre Offices). On top of that there’s the carefully balanced live instrumentation (grand and electric piano, double bass, bowed strings, saxophone and guitar) adding a jazzy, warm, and loungey touch. and played with a perfect sense of detail.

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Adrian Aniol – Arrythmia


Arrythmia

Like me, you have probably not heard about Adrian Aniol‚ before – unless maybe when you’re from Poland.

But if you are looking for haunting, dark, electronic soundscapes I strongly advise you to check out his debut release Arrythmia  – which is available as a free download from Bandcamp.

Adrian Aniol‚ is a music producer, composer and graphic designer writing music for installations and movie soundtracks.

Arrythmia (medical term for ‘irregular heartbeat’) is an “artistic indie film, an independent production considered to be released”. (Note the ‘considered’).
Horror noir, Lynchian style: “The movie is about strange dark dreams, sexual perversity slowed down just to show us abrupt violence in several versions.”

That does not sound like this movie might be a very pleasurable watch – but the soundtrack is very much worth listening!

These 15 tracks together convey some very strange, somewhat industrial, atmospheres – sometimes disturbed by some loud and downright startling percussive effects.

Navigating between contemporary ambient/electronic music and atmospheric movie soundtracks (this could’ve also been great game music, by the way), Adrian Aniol‚ definitely creates his a distinct musical style that deserves to be heard – and NOT only in arthouse cinema theatres! 


Adrian Aniol – Informis Pravitas

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The Notwist – Sturm O.S.T.

Notwist

Although The Notwist generated a storm of hyped attention when releasing their Neon Golden album in 2002, that was never the music for me. And neither for this weblog, since it’s nowhere near ‘ambient music’.

My local record shop retailer recently insisted I’d listen to their recently released “Sturm” (Storm) soundtrack.
And right he was (Thanks Willem!)

‘Storm’ does not refer to the current dutch movie hit about the Zeeland flood in 1953, but to the film by director Hans-Christian Schmid. 

Here’s the plot description of the film:
Hannah Maynard, a prosecutor at the Tribunal in The Hague, manages to convince a young Bosnian woman to testify against an alleged war criminal. Amidst the inconsistency of political interests and threats coming from Bosnian Serb nationalists, she realizes that her opponents not only sit on the dock across from her, but are also found in her own ranks.

Although this German-Danish-Dutch production clocks 110 minutes, the Notwist soundtrack length is barely half an hour. But the music is extremely effective (even without the movie to accompany it).

It starts out like a modern day minimal composition on Vilina Kosa Version.  The compositions following this opening track will appeal to all of you that are into music like that of Max Richter, Johann Johannsson, Ólafur Arnalds, the Bersarin Quartet, Greg Haines, etc.. etc..

O well that’s just namedropping.

This soundtrack is very beautiful, a balanced form of modern experimental acoustic ‘chamber music’, using “bowed xylophone, alienated glockenspiel, orchestra accordion and minimal electronic”.

Alien Transistor (the label) releases this album in 12″ vinyl format with the CD enclosed together with a 24 page booklet. A modern day “One Size Fits All” Release.

If the movie is half as interesting as the music, I must go and see it.
But even if this movie proves to be boring as hell the soundtrack deserves to be heard.

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