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Gideon Wolf – Year Zero

Gideon Wolf Slow

Gideon Wolf Year Zero

GIDEON WOLF – YEAR ZERO

The Fluid Audio label has built itself quite  a reputation for their releases: for the quality of the music as well as for their luxury packaging. As a result, most of their releases are sold out before the official release date, on pre-order alone.
Since there was no sign of a digital release, I hadn’t considered a recommendation of the new Gideon Wolf album, since no one would be able to buy the album by the time I wrote about it.
But things changed along the way: a small batch of physical releases popped up unexpectedly (some 25 at the time of writing, so not much left by now I guess), and the release was made available as a digital download on Gideon Wolf‘s Bandcamp page.

Gideon Wolf is the alias of Tristan Shorr, and Year Zero is his 4th album since 2012. It’s a solo album, in a way, but it could not have come to life without the contributions of a small ensemble of artists that played improvisations or ‘incoherent and strange phrases/notes’ that were later reassembled into the resulting pieces.
The music could be labeled ‘neo-classical’, because of its instrumentation: a cello, two violins, a synth. But it’s not the kind of melancholic cinematic music usually connected to this genre tag. The arrangements are much more abstract and adventurous, each track with a different sound balance, exploring different structures and string arrangements. Some are almost ‘classical’ or ‘minimal’, but most of the tracks explore a more ambient or experimental structure.
The closing tracks Noise and Nova introduce the additional vocals of Tristan’s daughter and his ‘partner in life and work Rachel Champion. 

Working the other way around – composing pieces from instantaneous improvisations and a collection of short phrases – has  given this music a refreshing element of surprise. And it’s exactly that element that makes this album stand out among many others.
Thát, ánd the luscious packaging of course.
But I won’t spend too many words on that: you can simply check this page or check the original Fluid Audio release page for details.
The (25) beautiful photo prints included in the package are also included in the download set, which also includes a bonus track (so download it even if you bought physical) and some screensaver images.

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Matthew Collings – A Requiem for Edward Snowden

Matthew Collings - A Requiem for Edward Snowden

Requiem is usually written ‘for the repose of the soul or souls of one or more deceased persons‘, but the term ‘has subsequently been applied to other musical compositions associated with death and mourning, even when they lack religious or liturgical relevance‘.

I’m sure Edward Snowden has bigger issues to deal with – living in hiding somewhere in Russia while seeking asylum elsewhere (“but that’s actually a little bit of a misunderstanding. I live on the Internet.”). But how would he feel about a ‘Requiem’ while he’s still alive – an while his ideas are more actual than they ever were?
Or is this Requiem not meant for him personally, but a Requiem for an ‘open’ and ‘free’ society?

Matthew Collings’ audiovisual piece A REQUIEM FOR EDWARD SNOWDEN reminds us not to forget the extremely relevant themes we’re dealing with: “loss of faith and security, the hacking of digital media, invasion of privacy and personal sacrifice.”

“The documents released by Snowden reveal that we live in a world in which we are totally reliant not just on methods of communication, but on daily routines in which our privacy is completely compromised.”

I was lucky enough to be able to attend one of the few performances of this project (in Utrecht), to witness the real-time visuals (by Jules Rawlinson) interacting with the gestures and performance from the two live electronic performers, a clarinettist and a string section (cello and violin), “exploring the piece’s central theme at sonic and visual levels”.

 

The audio recording of A Requiem for Edward Snowdencomes with a download code for the full length visual version of the performance. This way you can get a good impression of what the live-setup was like, even if you weren’t there yourself.
But, as impressive I remember the live performance was, I found the audio-only version to have even bigger impact simply because I wasn’t distracted bu the visuals.

There’s a lot of (nervous) interaction between the string section, the clarinet performance and the (often distorted) electronic layers which suggest that they are grabbed directly from the invisible everyday data streams.
(Most of the visual message parts were pre-recorded, of course, but I could not help imagining the impact it would have had if the live performance would have included a real-time hacker grabbing material from the audience’s mobile phones and exposing them on a big screen during the performance…!)

This is not exactly your average enjoyable ‘contemporary neo-classical’ music, and it definitely isn’t ‘romantic’ either. Though there are quiet parts, most of the piece is quite unnerving. It is not an ‘easy’ Requiem to listen to.
And it shouldn’t be, of course, because it seems there’s not gonna be a happy ending to this story soon.

“The greatest fear that I have….. is that nothing will change.”
Edward Snowden

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Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto with Bryce Dessner – The Revenant OST

Revenant

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 Iñárritu chose to have a lot of layers of both acoustic and electronic sounds, and for that he invited Ryuichi Sakamoto to 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 a Ryuichi Sakamoto soundtrack, with Noto and Dressner in strong ‘supporting roles’.

Ryuichi Sakamoto has a long and impressive musical history. He is no stranger to composing soundtracks, which he did for some quite remarkable movies, too.
Alva Noto is a near-legendary composer of electronic music but not a name you will easily associate with soundtrack music.
Bryce Dessner is 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?!

links: [Amazon US] [Amazon UK] [Amazon DE]


Also on Spotify


Ryuichi Sakamoto/Alva Noto – The Revenant Theme (Alva Noto Remodel) 

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Thomas Köner; Multicast Dynamics; Machinefabriek + Anne Bakker

Deining

THOMAS KÖNER – THE FUTURIST MANIFESTO
The controversial Manifesto of Futurism was written by Marinetti over 100 years ago. It’s ‘a rejection of the past and a celebration of speed, machinery, violence, youth and industry’. Parts of it can also be read as a glorification of the purifying violence of war – the only way to cleanse the world – and especially these words take a quite different meaning in current times.

In Thomas Köner‘s work for sound and moving images, fragments of this Manifest are slowly read by a whispering voice over Köner‘s characteristic – but in this case particularly dark and haunting – soundscapes. The images are vague, as is their exact relation to the text. They are assembled from decelerated and superimposed parts from film sources from 1909 and earlier, which brings out the ‘optical unconscious‘ movements and dimensions of reality. 
Which is in a way also what Köner’s music does: it brings out ‘the sonic unconscious’: ‘a Utopia of decelerations in defiance of the cult of ‘ubiquitous speed”. 

Though the atmosphere is darker, more menacing, The Futurist Manifesto  is most related to Köner‘s Les Soeurs Lumière, from Unerforschtes Gebiet (2003). (You’ll probaby recognise some of the bell-like samples).

The Futurist Manifesto  is released as a DVD by Von Archives. Audio-only can be downloaded from Bandcamp.



Multicast Dynamics - Scandinavia

MULTICAST DYNAMICS – SCANDINAVIA
Dutch media artist Samuel van Dijk (a.k.a. Multicast Dynamics) is working on a four-part release set. After the first two releases Scape (dealing with ‘dry land filled with light and streams’) and Aquatic System (about ‘the constantly changing surface of the oceans’), Scandinavia explores ‘a frozen and murky underwater world’. And a mysterious and fascinating world it is!
Van Dijk uses ‘granular synthesis, obscure delay units and rudimentary looping techniques on magnetic tapes’ to create a fascinating array of soundscapes that perfectly match – yet are different from – both earlier releases. The nine tracks explore ‘arctic’ landscapes – ‘the inhospitable surrounding of frost and ice… Layers of hypnotic atmospheres with barely perceptible undercurrents.’
The overall atmosphere is dark and glacial. All sounds are created using electronic processing, but the result sounds remarkably organic.
‘Brooding pulses of bass and tonal patterns lead to the core of the sonic landscape. Gentle radiant layers of light and soil emerge and aquatic echoes expose new paths.’
Scandinavia can of course also be enjoyed as a stand-alone release. But if you enjoy these kind of sounds, I strongly recommend to  also check out the two preceding parts. The last part (‘the arrival in an interstellar space and the cosmos’) will be released in 2016.


Multicast Dynamicss – Kohta


Deining

MACHINEFABRIEK with ANNE BAKKER – DEINING
Rutger ‘Machinefabriek‘ Zuydervelt and violinist Anne Bakker have previously worked together on Halfslaap II – a piece that aimed to ‘pull the listener into some sort of dreamstate’.
On Deining (‘heave’, or ‘commotion’), the effect is about the opposite: the listener is increasingly alarmed and forced to stay alert.
For this 26 minute piece, Anne Bakker played a series of upward and downward glissandi:
‘I asked Anne Bakker to bow each string of her instrument while sliding slowly from the lowest note to the highest, for exactly five minutes, as fluent as possible. Anne also recorded the same procedure in reverse, following the strings from the edge of the fingerboard to the top nut of the instrument.’
Rutger then assembled different layers into four sections, each focusing on one string, also adding sine waves and radio static.
The result is as beautiful as it is frightening (or, in Rutger’s own words: ‘the taste is a tad bitter’). A clear demonstration of the effect that a specific arrangements of sounds can have on an emotional level.
It is hypnotizing too, and so it may still pull you into a dream state… but I don’t think anyone be able to sleep quietly with sounds like this playing.
Just as Halfslaap II was the duo’s reworking of Rutger’s original HalfslaapDeining can be seen as a string reincarnation of Stroomtoon Eénon which created the down- and upward glissandi using tone generators.

Edit 12-02-2016:
The Bandcamp page has been updated and now includes a live recording of the striking performance of Deining on the International Film Festival Rotterdan (IFFR) on january, 29.
On this performance, the strings are performed by Anne Bakker (who performs violin solo on the studio recording), together with Lidwine Dam, Saskia Venegas and Pablo Kleinsmann on violin, and Nina Hitz on cello. With Rutger adding the waves and static of course.
If you already ordered/download Deining, you can simply redownload it from your Bandcamp collection to obtain the bonus live recording. And I strongly recommend to do so, because it’s an incredible performance!

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From The Mouth of the Sun; Christina Vantzou; Lyken / Dove; Olafsson / Futuregrapher

No. 3

From the Mouth of the Sun - Into The Well

FROM THE MOUTH OF THE SUN – INTO THE WELL
I won’t go into detail about the exuberant packaging of this Fluid Audio release, because it’s one of those releases that are probably sold out by the time you read this. If you want to know what is (or: was) included in the 2×3″CD package, you’ll find the details here.
Into the Well is the second album from From The Mouth Of The Sun(FTMOTS) – the follow-up to their 2012 debut Woven Tide.
FTMOTS is Dag Rosenqvist and Aaron Martin performing most instruments, but with the additional horn section and vocal assistance this album has the sound of a full chamber orchestra setting. Some of the music has been compared to that of Sigur Rós, a comparison most obvious in the track called Bodies in Fog.
But for me personally, this music has more impact because it avoids the obligatory ‘post-rock climatic eruptions’. Which – paradoxically – enhances their impact.
And, talking about paradox: the cover art, plotted maps and photo’s included bear strong war-time references: ‘an uncompromising and evocative tribute to sacrifice’. But to my ears, it is peaceful and consolatory music – music beyond fear.


Christina Vantzou - No. 3

CHRISTINA VANTZOU – NO. 3
When listening to Christina Vantzou‘s albums (No. 1 in 2011, No. 2 in 2014, and now: No. 3)  in sequence, you can almost feel her grow as a composer. She’s still connected to her roots (linking her to Stars of the Lid/A Winged Victory for the Sullen since working with Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie in The Dead Texan), but working with a 15-piece ensemble of strings, horns, woodwinds and choir clearly opened up new possibilities.

‘Whereas 100% of the music of No. 1 and No. 2 was composed without time structure or steady click, the pillars on No. 3 adhere to a solid mathematical scheme.”

But, instead of venturing into more ‘modern classical’ compositions, Vantzou directs the ensemble straight back into performing otherworldly drones. Which proves to be the very right choice!
The ensemble’s arrangements are a perfect accompaniment to Vantzou’s synth parts, performed on DX7, Yamaha CS20, Roland Juno-6, and a selection of Eurorack modular synths.

There’s an eerie atmosphere to the cover, which is even multiplied by the mesmerizing movements on the Official 16 mm film accompanying the release.  But if you strip away the eerie overlay, there is a profound beauty underneath.
It’s the synths that show (and honour) some of Vantzou’s sources of inspiration. Most clearly in the track Laurie Spiegel, but on other moments I even imagined hearing Tomita’s ghost tucked away in the background (or is that just my mind playing tricks? Check the second half of Cynthia..).
But in the end, this is a Christina Vantzou album, not just a collection of references. An album that easily meets the expectations set by its two predecessors.
If Christina continues her own traditions, I guess we can look forward to the No.3 Remixes, too. 


Also on Spotify


NO.3 – OFFICIAL 16 MM FILM

Christina Vantzou – Robert Earl
 


Mirror Lands

MARK LYKEN / EMMA DOVE – MIRROR LANDS
Scotland-based artists Mark Lyken and Emma Dove worked together on this soundtrack – ‘a lovely combination of minimal pastoral piano infused arrangements, industrial and natural field recordings, voice overs and evocative electronics’.
As usual for Time Released Sound releases, this comes in two editions: a standard digipak version as well as a Deluxe Edition. The latter is packed in a vintage 7″ square reel-to-reel tape box, filled with vintage prints of the Scottish Highlands, antique fold out maps and pages from 100 years old travel books.
Also included is a printed link to a private viewing of the award-winning Mirror Lands film in which ‘preconceived ideas of Highland life are challenged and the complex interactions between nature and culture are brought to the fore.’
With the soundtrack performed by six speakers forming a circular sonic space from the screen, I guess viewing Mirror Lands must be an impressive experience. Since the Deluxe Edition will probably sell out soon, I do hope the film can still be viewed in some way or another.
But even without its accompanying images the soundtrack stands firmly on its own, perfectly balancing electronics with field recordings and ‘natural’ instruments.


Also on Spotify


Eitt

JÓN ÓLAFSSON & FUTUREGRAPHER – EITT
Take two musicians from Iceland, combining piano with electronics and field recordings, and you knów you’re in for a treat!
Jón Ólafsson (piano) is an experienced keyboard player: he has played with numerous artists (Emiliana Torrini and Björk among them), and received the Icelandic Music Awards as ‘best keyboard player’ twice.
Árni ‘Futuregrapher‘ Grétar weaves a sonic tapestry with synthesizer, effects, and field recordings.
This is their first release together, and hopefully it won’t be their last: their contemplatice music sounds ‘fresh’ (- nót ‘cold’! – ), with a bright – ECM-like – production.
A bit like sunny days in spring. (In Iceland, that is).


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Michel Banabila & Oene van Geel – Music for Viola and Electronics

MFVAE II

If you do a search for Banabila‘ on this blog you’ll find that he’s regularly occupying these pages.  Looking at his back-catalague, it’s clear that his work covers quite a lot of different musical areas (you can check the two special mixes for example: here and here).
In recent years, however, his output became more and more experimental, steering towards heavy electronics and modular soundscapes. Gone is the ethnic world music, the ‘romantic’ themes – although the music never got too analytic; it always stays connected to recognisable human emotions.

After they met when working together on Cloud EnsembleMichel Banabila and Oene van Geel extended their collaboration which resulted in 2014’s Music for Viola and Electronics.
Both were so enthusiastic about the new musical world that they had opened up, that they kept working on Music for Viola and Electronics II, which is released this month.

Judging by the (strikingly beautiful!) aerial landscape photography of Gerco de Ruijter on the cover, their collaboration will probably not end here: the crop of the (geometric) landscape on the Volume I cover photo is only partially harvested – by hand, line by line… a difficult, strenuous, but most rewarding work.

Even for those that follow Banabila’s work throughout the years, “Music for Viola and Electronics”  is a bit hard to classify, because it’s different from most of what he did before.
At least, it seems that way: according to Michel himself, it’s simply a next step – the logical consequence of everything he has done in the past.

The combination of Michel’s modular Doepfer electronics with the warm natural sounds of Oene’s viola opens up completely new perspectives.
In some way, it is easier to say what this music is not, than to describe what it is.
It certainly is a roller coaster of emotions and dynamics, which probably is demonstrated best at the beginning of Volume I: after opening with the carefully restrained, almost zen-like “Sinus en Snaar”, complete turmoil kicks in with the aptly named “Dondergod” (“Thunder God”). It’s probably best to put on safety belts before you play this on high volume!

Music for Viola and Electronics II” builds further on the same concepts as the first volume. Some extra musical guests are introduced on several tracks: Keimpe de Jong (contrabass clarinet), Joost Kroon (drums and metals), Emile Visser (cello), and Eric Vloeimans (trumpet).
There are some distinct references to somewhat less ‘experimental’ musical territories. For instance, “Kino Mikro” and “Vleugels” both have a rather cinematic arrangement (the latter taking a surprising turn midway with frantic drumming backed by a string section that sounds like a metal band – a surprising switch in the mood, effectively breaking the constraints of minimalism).

Unlike many other albums that choose to focus on one particular atmosphere, these albums are more like a kaleidoscope of fragmented emotions. This may be a bit confusing at first listen, but it proves to be very rewarding if you carry through and keep listening!

Throughout the years, Michel Banabila‘s music has always been hard to classify. And just when you thought you knew what to expect, he usually took another artistic turn.
Though this may be a sign of true creativity, the downside is also that his music is a bit difficult to market because it targets so many different audiences.
It’s quite hard to find the right stage for his work, because it often simply “does not fit the format”.
But – as he has always done – Banabila chooses to do what he feels that must be done. Not just simply what might be expected.
No compromise!


Also on Spotify



Music for Viola and Electronics I:


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Poppy Ackroyd – Feathers

Poppy Ackroyd Feathers

Barely one month after the DVD (re-)release of “Escapement”Poppy Ackroyd pops up again with her newest full album release Feathers” .
Time for a quick update, an ‘addendum’ to the previous post.

While Escapement” featured piano and violin mainly, Feathers” also introduces other instruments: harmonium, clavichord, harpsichord, spinet (and cello). But the piano and its percussive possibilities are still at the heart of the album.
Apart from playing her own (Blüthner) grand piano, she was given the possibility to select different instruments from the Russell/Mirrey Collection of keyboard instruments in Edinburgh.

“Recordings of unfamiliar sounds, which include brushing/plucking the strings and tapping/stroking the frames or soundboards, are combined with accidental ‘imperfect’ sounds that come from playing the instrument, such as pedal noise or the sound of harpsichord shutters opening and closing”. 

When an artists starts “dismantling different pianos to understand how their mechanisms work and make sound”, this often indicates you’ll be listening to ‘difficult music’, but not in Poppy Ackroyd‘s case!

With her experience (studying contemporary classical piano, collaborating with the Hidden Orchestra, and creating film and theatre soundtracks), Poppy Ackroyd manages to create music that is ‘interesting’ as well as ‘accessible’, balancing her ‘sonic experiments’ with delicate, often light-hearted,  melodies – thus creating her own personal (and recognisable) style.

Also on Spotify


Poppy Ackroyd – Roads

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A Winged Victory for the Sullen – Atomos

The second album of A Winged Victory for the Sullen (let’s just call them AWVftS from here) – the follow-up to 2011’s self titled debut – was eagerly anticipated.
The release of the preceding 12″ EP last april (featuring Atomos VII with an additional remix version by Ben Frost) was an appetizer for the october release of the full Atomos album this month, coinciding with their tour around Europe, Australia and the US.

AWVftS is often referred to as a duo consisting of Adam Wiltzie (core member of the legendary Stars of the Lidguess there’s no further introduction needed) and pianist/composer Dustin O’Halloran. But AWVftS  would not be AWVftS without the (now 7-member) string section and the additional modular synth sounds created by Francesco Donadello. Together they present a full orchestral sound with a fascinating balance of string arrangements, melancholic piano melodies and (somewhat unsettling) synth embeddings.

Composing for Atomos started when Random Dance Company‘s choreographer Wayne McGregor asked Adam and Dustin to write the score for his new dance production. They got full carte blanche for their compositions, which also brought them the freedom to let it grow into a full album release.


Random Dance Company – Atomos

While the compositions are more dynamic in nature than the “tired sounds” of the Stars of the Lid ever were, the -s-l-o-w- music of Atomos still seems to be a bold choice for a dance production soundtrack – but probably that’s the exact reason McGregor chose them.
Whether the sounds match the dancers moves is something I better leave to be judged to experts of modern dance (and to those that have witnessed a Random Dance Company performance).
As a separate audio-only release it loses none of its imaginative power.

Opening with a sequence quoting from Philip Glass’s compositional techniques, AWVftS soon leaves the trodden paths to create their own unique blend of surprises – combining the smooth strings with unusual electronics (and some haunting sub-low synths).
On superficial listening this album leaves a somewhat superficial impression. But it isn’t: on closer listening, you’ll hear all subtle details. Listen, for example, to the sound manipulation of the piano note overtones in the opening of Atomos III.
For ‘post-classical’ soundtrack music, there’s always a risk of drifting into one-dimensional, somewhat melodramatic arrangements.
But AWVftS miraculously avoid these pitfalls and create a 62 minute symphony displaying their firm grip on this musical idiom.

Strangely enough, there’s no number IV among the twelve parts of Atomos. The question is even posed on the album cover notes: “Whatever happened to IV?”
My guess is that the nature of this part was probably too different from the others so including it on the album would break the spell. But we’ll probably find out about this in the future when the missing track will find its way out.

Shortly after its release the album charted up the UK Record Store album chart – which is a remarkable feat for any ‘indie ambient soundtrack’ album.
This may prove to be the Winged Victory of the Ambient String Superstars ! (No acronyms  here, please)



A Winged Victory for the Sullen – Atomos II

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A Winged Victory for the Sullen – Atomos VII


Atomos

This 12″ EP Atomos VIIis the eagerly awaited follow-up to the 2011 self-titled debut of A Winged Victory for the Sullen (core members Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie and Dustin O’Halloran, usually performing with different guest artists).

There are three tracks on this 25 minute EP album: two versions of “Atomos VII” (the second one being a remix by Ben Frost) and “Minuet for a Cheap Piano Part II”, an outtake from the debut album.

The Atomos VII tracks were composed for a dance piece by Random Dance Company’s choreographer Wayne McGregor (also known as ‘movement director’ from “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”!).

The first two tracks are “classic” AWftS material: the first a quiet, stretched, ‘post-classical’ string arrangements, and the second a beautiful piano-arrangement.
The 13 minute Ben Frost remix strays into a more electronic – but equally immersive – sound than usual.

The opening track will appear on the full album (to be released later this year); the other two tracks are available on this vinyl/download release only.


A WINGED VICTORY FOR THE SULLEN – MINUET FOR A CHEAP PIANO NUMBER ONE

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Machinefabriek – Halfslaap II – Stiltetonen

Halfslaap

I wonder if, looking back a few years from now, Halfslaap II / Stiltetonen” may prove to be a turning point in Machinefabrieks discography – a cautious transition from ‘improvised knob-twiddling’ (his own words, not mine) to composed music played by musicians….
Listening to this version of “Halfslaap II”, it’s interesting to know that Rutger Zuydervelt is currently working on a transcription for a String Quartet version of this piece.
But that is a thing to happen in the (near) future – thís particular recording is a score for solo violin loops (played by Anne Bakker) and electronics.

Halfslaap II” is a 35 minute variation on “Halfslaap”, which was previously released in 2010 (and can also be found on Diorama from 2012).

On this new version, the tiny bell sounds are replaced with the violin theme loops.
“The hypnotic quality of Halfslaap II comes from two simple violin phrases with are almost identical, but different in length, causing them to overlap at different points each time.”

After the repetitive loops have settled, they retreat to the back almost unnoticed, slowly merging with the the electronic soundscapes that finally take over completely – “pulling the listener in some sort of dreamstate” (the title obviously means “half-sleep”).

The process is not unlike the music of William Basinski. But while Basinski deals with deterioration and decay (especially of the media used for recording), “Halfslaap II” ‘s theme is aboutdissolving..

If you dozed off listening, the second piece on this album may help you wake up again.
“Stiltetonen” is a soft, bright, tinkling piece of quiet notes, a re-arrangement of an original piece created for a location installation in Amsterdam, intended to play continuously in a small alley.

The resulting sound is not unlike the generative installation music as created by Brian Eno.
“The looped, minimalistic piano melody transformed the space to an oasis of contemplative rest in the midst of the busy city center. For this album version, the piano loop forms the base for a more set composition, complimented with extra layers of audio to create an equally immersive home listening experience.”

Halfslaap II / Stiltetonen is released on White Paddy Mountain, a Japanese label run by Chihei Hatakeyama.

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