For each new release, the french label IIKKImatches 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 Dissolvesis 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.
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.”
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.
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 Catharticmentioned 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).
‘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 Seaand 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 Substrateand 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”.
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.“
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).
I could easily fill all of this blog with Machinefabriek/Rutger Zuyderveltreleases. 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:
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 Pérezcalled 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.
Seekerhas 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.
The collaboration with choreographer Iván Pérez became a fruitful one: after Hide and Seek more Machinefabriekscores 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 Becomingis a ‘studio version’: a 40-minute piece edited from sounds recorded during the rehearsals. Again, Rutger Zuyderveltguides 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 Machinefabriekperform live is nothing like the usual ‘laptop artist’ – it is watching a true sound alchemist at work.
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!
Astroneershows Machinefabriekat his most playful. Like on Volume 1, the 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(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.”
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.
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!
On their third full album From The Mouth Of The Sun (or FTMOTS: Aaron Martinand 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.
Home Normalcelebrates their release of Jason van Wyk‘s newest album (Opacity) with the re-release of Attachment, which was originally released on the Eileanlabel 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.”
Attachmentis 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 Opacity, van Wykfurther 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’.
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?)
Few will argue that the accordion is a fancy and hip instrument (except perhaps, those who saw Mario Batkovicperform 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 Narcisiand 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.
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.”
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 Masshits 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.
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!
The collaboration by Fabio Perlettaand Asmus Tietchensseamlessly 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 Perlettaoften 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 dronemusic you must definitely check out this album!
Fiction – Non-Fictionmay be Olivier Alary‘sdebut 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.
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 Malfatti, and 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 onthe album). Piscine is a short track in line with the other ambient pieces on the album:
There are only a few releases on the Sereinlabel 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 Uscame 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 onSerein, He She Them Usis 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.
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 pastBanabila has regularly worked with Conny Janssenfor her well-known dance ensemble Conny Janssen Danst. For their 25th anniversary production Home-currently touring the dutch theatres extensively- she asked him to create the music in collaboration with Maarten Vos, and play it live at every performance.
Maarten Vosis 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).
Sound Yearsis 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 Yearscan 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 Ruijter) is 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 Banabilafor providing these download codes!
Soundtracks are hot. And quite a lot of them border on ‘ambient’ music because of their inherent atmospherics. Or on ‘post-classical’ music because of their instrumental arrangements. ‘The Revenant’ combines the best of both worlds!
The movie’s director Alejandro Iñárrituchose to have a lot of layers of both acoustic and electronic sounds, and for that he invited Ryuichi Sakamototo work together with Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto) as well as with Bryce Dessner. A very impressive trio – but it must be noted that this album is first and foremost aRyuichi Sakamotosoundtrack, withNotoandDressner in strong ‘supporting roles’.
Ryuichi Sakamotohas a long and impressive musical history. He is no stranger to composing soundtracks, which he did for some quite remarkable movies, too. Alva Notois a near-legendary composer of electronic music but not a name you will easily associate with soundtrack music. Bryce Dessneris known as a member of The National, and also for his compositions for Kronos Quartet, Bang on a Can and such, as well as for his collaboration with Johnny Greenwood.
With 12 Oscar nominations, The Revenant has had its share of attention by now. There was no nomination for the score, however, but the soundtrack wás nominated for the 2016 Golden Globe award. I don’t really know what Oscars and Golden Globes réally mean… after all it’s your own personal experience that counts.. And for that matter: I haven’t heard a better soundtrack in a lóng time.
These are not “full” compositions re-arranged into thematic fragments to fit the screenplay. It’s a ‘true’ soundtrack in the basic sense: most of the pieces are fairly short (with some exceptions), and thematically they are often mere sketches, but each with an intense and haunting atmosphere.
The themes are restrained and supportive, a very subtle approach to background music design. There are some remarkable performances by Hildur Gudnadottir on cello, and Motoko Oya on Ondes Martenot.
Movie soundtracks have become a genre in itself, and there are many to choose from. But if I had to pick one to listen to this year, It’d be this one – even though it’s only still January!
This album features the original music specifically written for the movie. But The Revenant features a lot of other music too. In fact, a jaw dropping list of contemporary music is credited in the end titles: compositions by John Luther Adams, Alva Noto (some of his Xerrox work), Eliane Radigue, Hildur Gudnadottir, Olivier Messiaen, Ryoji Ikeda and Vladislav Delay. How many Oscar/Golden Globe nominated movies can boast a soundtrack like that?!