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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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Aaron Martin – Touch Dissolves / Adam

Touch Dissolves

Touch Dissolves

AARON MARTIN – TOUCH DISSOLVES

For each new release, the french label IIKKI matches a visual artist with a composer. The resulting art is always published as a combined hardcover book and disc (vinyl or CD). So the most obvious thing to do is to listen and watch both together and find out what the relation is between the music and the images. But, according to IIKKI, the book can be also watched alone, and the disc can be also listened to alone. So the parts (book, discs, download) can also be obtained separately.

For their sixth edition, the music is created by Aaron Martin, and the photography by Yusuf Sevinçli. As usual, pictures speak louder than words so I can best leave it to this visual introduction:

 

 

I cannot really tell if this Touch Dissolves is a ‘collaboration’ in the sense that both artists worked together in creating this release. I assume that Sevinçli’s photos already existed, and that they helped inspire Aaron Martin to create the music to go with them. But either way, the result is a dialogue: it becomes a dialogue the moment you listen and watch together.

As always, Martin‘s cello arrangements are very cinematic, and they fit the black and white pictures perfectly. The music is a rewarding listen on its own, too, as is watching the pictures.
But – as with all IIKKI releases – the true ‘added value’ lies in combining both.


Adam

AARON MARTIN – ADAM

And since we’re talking about the music of Aaron Martin, I might as well suggest to check out this soundtrack for William Armstrong’s short film Adam too. It’s a very short soundtrack: the seven parts take only seven-and-a-half minute and that includes two bonus tracks.
In fact I prefer to think of this set of fragments as one single track, since basically the parts are all variations on the main theme. In this way, Adam  is a demonstration of Aaron Martin‘s skill for writing catchy soundtrack themes.

Of course, this is not a full album – and it is priced accordingly: it is a Name-Your-Price download.
And – by the way: the short movie by William Armstrong, a documentary about the life-changing diagnosis of Adam Voigt and how he dealt with it can be seen below and downloaded for free from Vimeo

 

 

“You know every wave is different, and it’s up to you to choose how you wanna ride it.”

 

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Celer (+Forest Management) * Yui Onodera

Landmarks

Something Cathartic

CELER – SOMETHING CATHARTIC

A limited edition cassette release on Polar Seas Recordings that has almost sold out by now, just a few copies left. But this does not really matter since it’s still available in digital edition (which in my opinion is a far better format for music like this but I know many have a different view on this matter).

Will ‘Celer‘ Long is one of the respected ‘veterans’ of the calm and subdued ambient, with an immense discography where every release seems to meet a high quality standard. You can almost feel the quiet peace descending on you right from the very start of Something Cathartic.
Surprisingly, these tracks are not created with the usual means (often guitar and electronics), but are sourced from a record of Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, played at 15rpm (your record player probably won’t be able to do that), then “replayed and reprocessed on tape”. Quite heavily ‘reprocessed’ I guess, since I don’t think the result can easily traced back to the original Copland composition.

A pleasure to immerse yourself in… and the result of such a listening session can be quite Cathartic indeed.


Landmarks

CELER & FOREST MANAGEMENT – LANDMARKS   Also on Spotify

And when enjoying Celer it is also recommended to check out this collaboration with Forest Management (John Daniel). Two like-minded souls scoring a “reimagining of Peter Weir’s film and Paul Theroux’s novel “The Mosquito Coast”.

Compared to Something Cathartic mentioned above, the music on this album is breathing some darker emotions. There’s a ominous tension hidden beneath the quiet sounds. This is obviously related to the Mosquito Coast storyline, but I haven’t seen the movie and haven’t read the book, so I cannot comment on the relation of the music to both.
But if the atmosphere is anywhere near that of the music, I will definitely have to put it on the watch/read list.

Released on Constellation Tatsu (“…adventurous with spiritual artistic sensibilities”…).
Also as a cassette-release. (And also sold out… But as usual the digital version can still be enjoyed).


Substrate - The Garden

YUI ONODERA – SUBSTRATE / THE GARDEN   Also on Spotify

‘Re-releases’ are a bit of a dilemma for me. To keep things organized and not too overwhelming, I tend to focus on new releases mostly. But what if a re-release contains two different albums that were previously released in 2007 on two microlabels (Mystery Sea and Taâlem)  that only very few were lucky enough to find at that time? This music is ‘new’ for most of us, isn’t it? Especially when it sounds fresh enough, like it could’ve been produced today, and is not just released for nostalgic reasons.

So here’s one of these: Dragon’s Eye Recordings re-release of Yui Onodera‘s music for Substrate and The Garden (originally called Le Jardin) Two different approaches, Substrate divided in eight parts and The Garden in four, together clocking in on just over one hour.
Seductive electronic experimental music, created by the Tokyo-based artist “whose work explores the relation between musical form, architectural acoustics and spatial awareness”, who “investigates the politics of perception, to create works that ponder subtle transformations of space and asks audiences to become aware of that which exists at the edge of perception”..

Both pieces have somewhat different starting point but perfectly fit together: Substrate is an immersive set of “shimmering microsound frequencies”, while The Garden is created from the (otherwise inaudible) sounds “emitted by hydrogen and oxygen bubbles captured by the ELS 19 transmitted which utilizes the electrolysis of water”.

Captivating electro-environmentalism, where “the boundary between nature and artificiality becomes ambiguous”.

 

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From The Mouth Of The Sun * Skodvin/Rauelsson

Sleep Stations

Sleep Stations

FROM THE MOUTH OF THE SUN – SLEEP STATIONS  Also on Spotify

With a running time of just over 20 minutes, this cassette/download EP release feels a bit like it could have been a preview of a forthcoming album. Or as an extra bonus addition to their 2017 Hymn Binding release. It is, in a way, since the pieces on Sleep Stations were composed during the same sessions as Hymn Binding and the Menashe soundtrack recording.

Of course, beauty is not measured in duration. In these 20 minutes, FTMOTS tell a beautiful story, proving that “a collection of music can still be simple yet deeply affecting, without being overwrought and excessive.”

The cassette edition is part of Lost Tribe Sound‘s Dead West Tape series, focusing on music built for exploring and soundtracking your environment, whether you’re deep in the middle of lush woodlands, or just laying back at home with rested eyes.


A Score For Darling

ERIK K. SKODVIN / RAUELSSON – A SCORE FOR DARLING  Also on Spotify

For Erik K. Skodvin as well as Rauelsson (Raúl Pastor Medall) this is the ‘debut on the big screen’: neither of them have created a full length soundtrack before. They were invited to work together on the score for Danish director Brigitte Staermose‘s film Darling“.
The album presents 15 tracks in 34 minutes – so the average track length is around two minutes… which proves to be enough to create ‘fragments of moods not afraid of pushing the emotional content to the max.’
Not all tracks were used in the movie: the album also includes some of the outtakes that were written for it.

Instrumentation includes church organs, synths, guitar amp violation, electro-acoustics, piano and more, and can vary from post-classical scenes to more haunting electronics (as in The Deep). The beautiful orchestral sound is completed with Christoph Berg and Anne Müller playing violin and cello.
Otto A. Totland (Skodvin’s partner in Deaf Center) also contributes in the closing piece called Breathe, also featuring vocals by Katinka Fogh Vindelev (We like We).

A Score for Darling is released on vinyl as well as a digital download. There is no CD version.

 

 

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Machinefabriek (x 4)

Seeker

I could easily fill all of this blog with Machinefabriek/Rutger Zuydervelt releases. Blink twice and the release pages (solo/collaborations) will probably be updated with a new title. And, contrary to what you might expect with such prolific output, each release promises different surprises and thus deserves attention.
Time for a roundup of some recent releases:

Seeker

AARON MARTIN & MACHINEFABRIEK – SEEKER  Also on Spotify

Aaron Martin (cello, banjo, organ, ukulele, vocals) and Machinefabriek (electronics, processing, editing) have worked together before (on Cello Drowning, 2007). The tracks for Seeker were originally conceived for a dance piece by choreographer Iván Pérez called Hide and Seek.

The CD album version presents the (reworked and refined versions of) the original sketches that were created in preparation for this choreography. A remarkable combination of sounds covering a wide spectre of emotions – from gritty  and noisy electronics to smooth vocal arrangements and organic folky strings… and many things in-between.

Included with the CD-version (and with the digital edition, of course) is a download of a 53 minute continuous remix of these pieces. This is what became the final score for the choreography.
This continuous mix is a perfect example of the added value of a good mix: take the original tracks (which are good enough to be played on their own, make no mistake about that), put them in a different order and they will tell a completely different story. Context is everything. You’ll recognise the tracks, but still it feels as if the mix is a completely different album from the version with the separate tracks.

Seeker has waited to be released for more than two years. It was intended to be released on a different label but it was postponed for many reasons. Finally, Dronarivm came to the rescue… and we definitely should thank them for doing so.


Becoming

MACHINEFABRIEK – BECOMING  Also on Spotify

The collaboration with choreographer Iván Pérez became a fruitful one: after Hide and Seek more Machinefabriek scores would follow.  Becoming is the fourth product of their fruitful collaboration (following Attention The Doors Are Closing and Exhausting Space). 

What was new for this particular production was that the score was produced live instead of using pre-recorded material. During performance, the dancers and the musician (Rutger Zuydervelt) have a real-time dialogue and so each performance is different.

“The choreography and music were created simultaneously, rehearsing together, and developing a movement and sound ‘vocabulary’ for the piece. The end result is structured, but still leaves a lot of room for improvisation in order to keep a natural flow. “

The CD release of Becoming is a ‘studio version’: a 40-minute piece edited from sounds recorded during the rehearsals. Again, Rutger Zuydervelt guides the listener through a landscape of contrasting extremes: from distorted noise that sets the listener in full alert mode, to dreamy drones and angelic choirs performed by Mariska Baars (soccer Committee/Piiptsjilling).
To illustrate the way each performance can vary, the CD/digital edition includes a 46 minute live version recorded at the première performance of Becoming in Bassano del Grappa, Italy.

It is worth noting that this majestic sound is created using a relative ‘lo-fi’ setup of tools: pocket piano, pre-recorded cassettes, coil pick-up mic, contact mic, slinky spring, radio, dictaphone, tuning fork, scourer, micro amp, looper pedals, effects pedals.
Watching Machinefabriek perform live is nothing like the usual ‘laptop artist’ – it is watching a true sound alchemist at work.


Astroneer 2

RUTGER ZUYDERVELT – ASTRONEER VOL. 2  Also on Spotify

Exactly one year after the Volume 1 release of the Astroneer game soundtrack a follow-up is released, simultaneously with a major game update. In the game, the music plays continuously and reacts interactively to the player’s decisions.
But for the CD/Download-release the eighteen tracks are presented as separate compositions. They are an addition to the 26 tracks of Volume 1, so that’s quite an impressive soundtrack altogether!

Astroneer shows Machinefabriek at his most playful. Like on Volume 1the synths have a retro sound that matches the games physics. Relatively short tracks, most of them quite light-hearted (except of course when danger or caves are involved).

Compare this release with the previous two and the one below, and you’ll probably find it hard to believe that these albums were created by one and the same person!


What it seems to be

MACHINEFABRIEK & SARAH PAYTON – WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE  Also on Spotify

What it seems to be (Dutch: Wat het lijkt te zijn)  is a collaborative project for an installation by Sarah Payton:  a temporary artwork near the Buiksloterweg in Amsterdam.
It is a viewer made of concrete and rusting steel. When you look into the viewer you do not see the surroundings but watch a video with images of the city. You won’t find it there anymore: the installation has moved to different locations near the shores of the IJ until the end of october, and its current location is unknown. But we still have the soundtrack, thanks to the Dauw label.

With a beautiful and relatively soft-focused Machinefabriek‘s soundtrack, Sarah Payton  tells stories “about things, such as a journey to another country, the properties of water, and the Wizard of Oz. Of potatoes, immigrants and homeless men that she encounters in the city. Threaded throughout is the search for a story in which everyone in the city could feel at home.” 

Sarah Payton

For some reason I personally have concentration issues with spoken word performances – the same reason why I cannot listen to an audiobook: after a few minutes I hear the voice but not the meaning. I hear but I don’t understand – the voice has become an instrument and could’ve very well been a trumpet or any other solo instrument. Still, Saray Payton has a nice voice, and her observations are definitely worth concentrated listening.

The cassette release (or digital download) contains the original installation version (spoken) as well as the instrumental version on the B-Side. It is another example of Rutger Zuydervelt‘s versatility: no abrasive noise here but a soft, gentle, piece. Music that fits Sarah Payton’s contemplative observations about the world around her like a glove.

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Manos Milonakis * From The Mouth Of The Sun * Jason van Wyk

Hymn Binding

Milonakis - Festen

MANOS MILONAKIS – FESTEN  Also on Spotify

If the first thing you associate with this title is Thomas Vinterberg’s film, you’re close.  This is Manos Milonakis‘ score for a theatrical adaptation of that film by the National Theater of Northern Greece, directed by Yiannis Paraskevopoulos.  Festen was the first movie from the Dogme (Dogma) 95 movement, one with a confronting theme:

“A family celebration disrupts the superficial peace of the Hansen family household. The family patriarch and businessman Helge celebrates his 60th birthday, surrounded by relatives and close friends. The buried secrets of the family come to light. Nobody is really shocked, though. The feast goes on as if nothing happened. The well-oiled bourgeois machine still holds.”

Milonakis‘ soundtrack stands firm with the multitude of  current ‘modern classical’ soundtracks releases. With the addition of a string section and George Papadopoulos on guitar, he plays a multitude of instruments himself: piano, synthesizers, glockenspiel, beat programming, loop processing.
The relatively short soundtrack (32″) introduces some strong and appealing musical themes which – according to the storyline – do not stress the tension, but seemingly try to cover it by its loveliness: …as if nothing happened…
I can only imagine how the combination of this music works out with the story of the disrupted family piece on stage.

But most of us have to do with the soundtrack only. And you definitely don’t have to know anything about the story it was written for to enjoy this fine album!


Hymn Binding

FROM THE MOUTH OF THE SUN – HYMN BINDING  Also on Spotify

On their third full album From The Mouth Of The Sun (or FTMOTS: Aaron Martin and Dag Rosenqvist) further explore the possibilities of their sound based on the use -and manipulation – of acoustic instruments. The duo has created their own orchestral sound, using cello, piano, acoustic guitars, lap steel, banjo, ukulele and pump organ to create ‘a musical landscape full of contrasts, where melodies and ominous textures intertwine.’

Recording acoustic instruments is a challenge in itself, as Rosenqvist mentions:
” You never know what you’re going get, and you can never repeat it exactly the same way. The wood in the instrument changes from air pressure and with different temperatures. You change your sitting position from one take to another and all of a sudden it sounds slightly different. You move the microphone or you move something in the room and it sounds slightly different. Acoustic sound sources allow for chaos to be a part of the creative process, allowing for something you can never fully control.”

Instead of trying to record each instrument as perfect as possible, FTMOTS makes use of this phenomena, ‘to bring out new layers from already existing timbres’. 

Of course, both musicians bring in a lot more experience than ‘just’ the three albums they released as this duo. Rosenqvist (Gothenburg, Sweden) has released more than forty titles as a solo artist and in collaborations, has written music for dance performances and movies. Martin (Topeka, Kansas) has played music since he was 11 before chosing to study the cello at the age of 17. He has worked on his impressive discography since 2006.


Jason van Wyk - Attachment   Jason van Wyk - Opacity

JASON VAN WYK – ATTACHMENT  Also on Spotify / OPACITY  Also on Spotify

Home Normal  celebrates their release of Jason van Wyk‘s newest album (Opacitywith the re-release of Attachment, which was originally released on the Eilean label early 2016, which sold out quickly.
Considering the amount of piano-based albums that were released in the earlier years, releasing yet another sounds almost risky.
But label owner/mastering engineer Ian Hawgood immediately recognised the special talent of van Wyk, a South-African composer who is releasing (electronic) music since he was just 14:

“Quite apart from being a breath of fresh air with its flowing and soulful piano elements, the sound design and lush melodious pads just had me absolutely hooked. I felt there was another layer to be told in the work, with its close recording techniques, dusty piano tones, and overall warmth.”

Attachment is van Wyk‘s ‘first foray into an ambient/post-classical piano cross-over: beautiful piano playing, intertwined with his subtle sound design and wide open soundscapes’

On Opacityvan Wyk further explores his combination of calm, serene piano music – sometimes solo, sometimes embedded in soft synth pads. The two albums match together perfectly, in fact these two releases could easily be considered two parts of a double-album full of ‘piano-focused tenderness’.

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Raymondi/Messina * Narcisi / Fidanza * God Body Disconnect

The Accordion Sessions

Saro
EMANUELE DE RAYMONDI & MARCO MESSINA – SARO  Also on Spotify

Saro is a short  (27 minute) soundtrack from a film by  Enrico Maria Artale – a documentary film about “a road trip across Sicily, in search of the father I never met”.  
It is only partly a collaborations, since only two of the eight tracks are written by Raymondi and Messina together. Another four are written by Emanuele De Raymondi, and two by Marco Messina.
But their style and orchestration match very well, resulting in a coherent and elegant soundtrack presenting elegant contemporary ensemble music “between minimalistic string arrangements and textural modular synths”.
An invitation to check out the film it was written for. But if you can’t, just check out this soundtrack.

(BTW – There’s something in the opening track – Il Primo Giorno – that immediately reminds me of a chord sequence in Brian Eno’s ‘1/1’ (Music for Airports). Just a few notes, barely a few seconds, but it triggers me every time I hear it.
I wonder who else does?)


The Accordion Sessions

FRANCISCO MARIA NARCISI & GIACOMO FIDANZA – THE ACCORDION SESSIONS

Few will argue that the accordion is a fancy and hip instrument (except perhaps, those who saw Mario Batkovic perform live, or  those familiar with Pauline Oliveiros or Kimmo Pohjonen).
But it is wrong to blame the instrument for the genre it is often used for. On this remarkable release Francesco Maria Narcisi and Giacomo Fidanza help us lose our prejudices, opening our ears to the power of this instrument which is used in a very original way on their “accordion made ambient-electro-acoustic album”.

Manipulating its sound and adding field recordings (all done by Narcisi) , you probably won’t even recognise the sound of the accordion (played by Fidanza) – but deep in this “glorious and at times even industrially fuelled, expansive wall of aural bliss and intensity” you can hear the very soul of this instrument.
The time  for re-evaluation of its possibilities has definitely come.

Like all releases on Time Released Sound, this album is released in an insane deluxe edition (priced accordingly), as well as in a digipak edition. TRS’ Bandcamp page offers the digital edition, too.


Sleeper's Fate

GOD BODY DISCONNECT – SLEEPER’S FATE  Also on Spotify

If I were told that I could use the word cinematic’ only sparingly, I’d probably reserve one for this release.
Without images, but with a haunting dark soundscape and spoken word fragments, Sleeper’s Fate tells the story of a ‘comatose man banished to the recesses of his tortured mind’:

“The journey begins taking us back to the fateful night of his sentencing. Beyond the halls of beeping machines, whirling sirens echo in the distance. Blackened clouds grumble down a bitter melody of tears upon the streets. A single shot blares between your ears, dropping you to the bed of concrete below. Here we witness the transformation of a once awakened man turned to sleeping prisoner.

Bruce Moallem‘s approach is unusual, but effective. The spoken word fragments  (in the first two tracks) enhance the impact of the wide-screen sound production, which in itself gains extra depth from the binaural field recordings used throughout.
He paints a set of extremely dark yet intriguing images: hard to grasp scenes ‘”from the unconscious mind, once suppressed memories now filtered through the lens of the surreal.”

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Those Who Walk Away * Dean Hurley * Perletta/Tietchens

Dean Hurley - Anthology Resource Vol. 1

Infected Mass

THOSE WHO WALK AWAY – THE INFECTED MASS  Also on Spotify

Those Who Walk Away is the weird alias of Winnipeg based composer Matthew Patton, known for his work with choreographer Paul Taylor in Speaking In tongues, and as the curator of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra New Music Festival (programming works by artists like Jim Jarmusch, Glen Branca, Lee Ranaldo, Valgeir Sigurdsson, Sigur Ros, Venetian Snares and many others).
This is the first work under this Those Who Walk Away alias.

The Infected Mass,  co-produced with Paul Corley (Sigur Ros, Björk) is a Minimalist Requiem, with a prelude (Before The Beginning), a postlude (After The End), three Degraded Hymns and two Partially Recollected Conversations. The music is haunting enough in itself, with its ghostly strings and chorals, and the ever-present machine-/airplane- drone in the background, whispering voices and the sound of human blood flow.
“The music is filled with ghosts and artifacts that I couldn’t erase.”

But the most haunting parts, the centre pieces of the album around which the full composition revolves, are the Partially Recollected Conversations: authentic black box recordings from aeroplanes that were  about to crash. One of these (the one from the Second Partially Recollected Conversation) was the United Airlines Flight 232 that crash-landed on July 19,1989. 111 people of the 296 on board died in the crash.
Once you realise this, The Infected Mass hits hard, on a whole different emotional level.

This is a Requiem dedicated to real people who have died in a horrible, unimaginable way… and to the airplane pilots that are doing whatever they can to keep control of the situation:
“Whatever you do, keep us away from the city.”
(Would you keep yourself together in a way these pilots do in a situation like this?)

Knowing this background immediately turns this into one of the darkest, blackest Requiems imaginable.

Patton: “There is something very genuine and at the same time very wrong in what I am doing. The recordings are very disturbing; as we listen to these cockpit voice recordings, real people are about to die. I don’t know why I am doing something that feels so wrong. But I am.”

The composition may be different, but there’s something in this project that reminds me of William Basinski’s ‘Disintegration Loops’: the intricate beauty of the music itself gets almost unbearably tragic once you realise what it describes.


Dean Hurley - Anthology Resource Vol. 1

DEAN HURLEY – ANTHOLOGY RESOURCE VOL 1: △△  Also on Spotify

I must admit I have mixed feelings about the Twin Peaks series. But if there’s one thing that keeps me going through series 3, it’s the sound design.
Not the weird-ish Roadhouse dream-pop songs usually ending every edition (though they are nice in their own way, I assume a soundtrack compilation will follow later), but the ominous background drones and otherworldly ambient soundscapes colouring the atmosphere.

Most of these are created by (or under supervision from) Dean Hurley, sound and music supervisor for both Inland Empire and Twin Peaks, The Return, and closely working together with David Lynch for more than 12 years. Apart from his work with Lynch he also produced artists like Lykke Li, Zola Jesus and The Veils. 

Anthology Resource Vol. 1: △△ is not the official soundtrack of Twin Peaks, The Return: that one will be released in september and feature different music. Thís  is the ‘abstract counterpart’ that focuses on Hurley’s sound design: “from ethereal tones to sputtering electricity to densely brooding musical cues.”

The  Vol. 1 suggests there’s more to come. Count me in!


Deflections

FABIO PERLETTA & ASMUS TIETCHENS – DEFLECTIONS

The collaboration by Fabio Perletta and Asmus Tietchens seamlessly fits next to the Twin Peaks soundscapes from Dean Hurley. Of course the music on this album is not intended this way, but the effect of the quiet sustained drones is almost the same (especially when played not-too-loud in the background, as a soundtrack to your own environment): it alters the atmosphere, suggesting there are unexpected things about to happen.

“Built upon liminal forms and atonal passages, the six near-silent pieces of the work traverse empty space by means of elementary sonic emissions en drifting nano-structures.”

The two artists prove to be a perfect match, and clearly have the experience you need to create an album as restrained as this: near-silent soundscapes that describe empty spaces.
Asmus Tietchens
 (Hamburg) has released over 80 albums on which “he continues to explore the possibilities presented to him by specific sound sources (ranging from water sounds to pure sine wave tones)”. Fabio Perletta often crosses the boundaries between pure electronics and musique concrète“using the sound as a vehicle for conceptual investigation and sensorial stimulation – with a deep attention to details and use of silence and near-audible sound”.

So, Twin Peaks fan or not: if you like unobtrusive, atmosphere-altering electronic drone music you must definitely check out this album!


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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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Michel Banabila + Maarten Vos

Banabila Sound Years

Banabila + Vos

MICHEL BANABILA + MAARTEN VOS – HOME

Michel Banabila‘s musical tree has many roots. Those of you that have checked out his back catalogue (and I hope most regular readers have done), know that it includes experimental electronics, as well as world fusion, jazz, and many productions for theatre, dance, movies and documentaries.
Every branch of his output is interesting in its very own right, but I dare say that his work for theatre and dance productions may often be his most emotionally engaging, as well as the most accessible for audiences not particularly used to ‘experimentalism’.
There’s an impressive list of his work for theatre [here], in case you might know (listing in Dutch).

In the past Banabila  has regularly worked with Conny Janssen for her well-known dance ensemble Conny Janssen DanstFor their 25th anniversary production Home -currently touring the dutch theatres extensively-  she asked him to create the music in collaboration with Maarten Vosand play it live at every performance.

Maarten Vos is a classically trained Dutch cellist.  who also studied Live Electronics. His work combines the two musical areas, merging the two disciplines into a new one. He has collaborated with many other artists such as Julianna Barwick, Greg Haines, Loney Dear, Machinefabriek, The Kyteman Orchestra, and now of course with Banabila. 
Both artists worked together intensely preparing the soundtrack for Conny Janssens’ anniversary production, and their work is captured on this CD which is currently available at the performances. And hopefully – if stock permits – after the tour has ended.

 

Even without attending the dance performance it was written for, it’s an impressive and diverse soundtrack. A golden combo of electronics and cello  (Maarten Vos is a cellist primarily, but with a soft spot for modular electronics too), capable of conjuring a  multitude of emotions with diverse musical styles.

Their music constantly evolves, so it is doubtful that the music on the last performance will be the same as on the first. As mature and complete as the music on this album may sound, the music captured on CD can be seen as a ‘basic draft’, simply because the CD had to be manufactured before the tour started. This means that the music will have evolved further and some of the tracks will have seen many reworks over time.
Banabila and Vos have found a solution for this: after the tour ends, the music will be made available via Bandcamp in different versions: a complete version (containing the full CD version and various reworks), and an ‘additional’ version containing the reworks only (for those that have already bought the CD version at the CJD performances).

All this, of course, is about the music soundtrack only. But if you read this before the tour ends and live anywhere near Holland, I advise to go see one of the performances for the full Conny Janssen Danst experience. (If tickets are still available, that is).
For all others: keep an eye on the Bandcamp page to see when the full edition is released (which will be the first week of may).


Banabila Sound Years

MICHEL BANABILA – SOUND YEARS

Sound Years is a compilation of previously released tracks (with the exception of the previously unreleased opening track Close To The Moon). All are hand-picked by Michel Banabila himself and mixed into two continuous tracks – one for each side of the vinyl album. The selection is taken from various projects: some of them from theatre works, some of the more recent experimental electronic music, an occasional live recording, and a selection of his collaboration works with Oene van Geel and Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek).

The oldest tracks are taken from 2005’s Hilarious Expedition, the newest are from 2016. They are selected to create a continuous uninterrupted flow.
The sound is immediately recognisable as Banabila‘s – especially in his trademark use of ‘alien vocal’ samples (like in E.T. and Vuka Vuka!).
The set is a perfect demonstration of Banabila‘s mastership of creating moods and atmospheres. A soft, warm, comfortable selection that is slightly unnerving and ‘outerworldish’ at the same time.

Sound Years can perhaps be seen as Banabila‘s companion to KLF’s ‘Chill Out’ album: a slow walk through quiet (yet alien) landscapes. Unknown, full of surprises, yet always vaguely familiar.

Banabila has claimed that this could very well be his last physical release before going 100% digital. I wouldn’t take his word for that myself, but if it is, this beautifully packed (transparant vinyl) album (with a striking cover photo by Gerco de Ruijteris a ‘perfect goodbye’ to the vinyl medium.

Purchase of this transparent-vinyl album comes with a download that includes the unreleased Close To The Moon track as a separate bonus track.

DOWNLOAD CODE GIVEAWAY:

The vinyl version of this album is available now (and selling fast), but the digital-only version of this album will be released on March, 21.
Three free advance download codes are available for commenters that answer one of these two questions below:

  • Who would you like to see Banabila collaborate with?
  • Can you take a guess about his favourite fruit?

Entries close sunday february 26!

Winners will be drawn randomly.
Thanks to Michel Banabila for providing these download codes!

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