[Music] Jack Hertz – The Wind Speaks to Branches on the Hill

Bedroom ambient musicians should be a dime a dozen, but if you actually delve into their back catalogs, you find that they have a tremendous amount of talent.  I don’t know much about Jack Hertz, but I’ve come across his work while looking for other favorites like Cousin Silas, Martin Neuhold and the late Wolfgang Gsell (may his memory be ever eternal).  The cover art reeled my in instantly, so, as is my habit before beginning my work day, I spent my free hour with headphones in tow and jumped right into this release.

The sound is spacious, ambient in the pure sense of the word, and rather engaging at times, with pulses of low tones and what seems to be rather interesting instrumentation filling in any potential voids.  This is a beefy release for an ambient record.

As an aside, you may wish to consider heading over to his record label’s Bandcamp page.  Aural Films are offering 239 releases for the unbelievably low sum of fifty cents.  All I’ve perused have been interesting.

[Music] NUM – False Awakening

Only a fool would believe we’re not living in a great time for music.  The world of pop is banal, and should only be seen as entertainment.  Actual music, that which is trying to continue breaking borders, bending (or snapping) rules, is doing quite well.

Iranian-born composer Maryam Sirvan has been featured on the blog before, having her powerful solo album reviewed here, but this is a newer release where she teams up with fellow composer Milad Bagheri and saxophonist Rezo Kiknadze.  Few composers of this stripe are able to combine the intellectual rigors of electroacoustic music, especially that of the INA-GRM variety, with the gritty, ghostly feel of 20 Jazz Funk Greats-period Throbbing Gristle.

This is a brilliant work, and I hope to see more composers appearing out the of Caucasus soon.

[Music] Sublamp – Lianas

Los Angeles based sound and video artist Ryan Connor has quite a reputation behind him, appearing on labels such as Serac (USA), Pehr (USA), SEM (France), Dragon’s Eye Recordings (USA), Friendly Virus (Portugal), Ahora Eterno (Argentina) Hibernate Recordings (UK) and Felt.

According to the composer:

“Every Sublamp record has been about an imaginary space, so the concept of pinning each release on Eilean to a fictional continent was exciting; the perfect excuse to indulge myself in layered textural sound again. Inspired by the cloud forests of Monteverde, Costa Rica, Lianas is an audio map of a densely wooded mountain range, shrouded in fog, where fern and vine drip with condensation and small animals slip quietly through the undergrowth. Very little computer manipulation was used in the creation of these tracks. Most of the sound on the record is simply looped guitar through various pedals and a nice warm tube amp, sometimes recorded through an old reel to reel tape machine for extra crackle and hiss.”

[Music] Kryshe – Hauch

 

Experimental music can sound beautiful at times.  Kryshe makes gentle, pensive music.  This came as part of a package of free releases from Serein Records.  From his Bandcamp page:
After the release of his album March Of The Mysterious for Serein in 2017, Kryshe (Christian Grothe) returns with Hauch – an album of eight nocturnal pieces that will ease you through the winter months ahead.

Hauch began life shortly after Christian had moved home. With all of the chaos that entails, Christian sought a means of maintaining a daily practice with his music. The goal was to create and record something new every day in the most economical way possible, so Christian turned to his iPad microphone and tape recorder.

Phrases and fragments of sound were recorded and looped on an iPad and built upon gradually with piano, voice, guitar and more. Output from the iPad was recorded directly to tape for the warmth and natural compression analogue tape brings. The result is an album of immediate allure, musicality and soul. Gently looping piano phrases emerge from blankets of hiss and granular textures, swaths of guitar and washes of low vibrations envelop and submerge the listener.

It’s impossible not to give in to the soporific effect of listening to Hauch, especially with the nights closing in ever faster – undoubtedly an album for open fires and woollen blankets. Just listen.

 

[Music] Scanner – Lost At Sea

Musically, Scanner remains in a class by himself.  The broad paintbrush of ‘experimental music’ almost covers the scope of his work, yet he could easily fit in electronic music, IDM and most anything else he wants to.  This release is a touching tribute to fishermen from East Neuk who perished at sea.  From Scanner’s Bandcamp site:

This unique work was created for the Big Project as part of the East Neuk Festival in Fife Scotland in summer 2018. I joined forces with pupils of Waid Academy in Anstruther to create a memorial in sound for men of the East Neuk fishing industry lost at sea. The work draws on the stories of the men out at sea, field recordings and interviews to evoke the men and their lives.

The work was premiered at Waid Academy on 28 June as a live performance but an alternative version was installed at the Scottish Fisheries Museum.

No physical memorial to these men currently exists – something that retired local fisherman, Ronnie Hughes, is campaigning for. You can hear his stories throughout the work. His mission to secure a monument in Pittenweem inspires this piece for which ENF has partnered the Scottish Fisheries Museum and Waid Academy. Listen and immerse yourself in the stories and sounds of the fishing industry.

I was delighted that on 13 May 2019 the Scottish Awards for New Music 2019 awarded Lost at Sea for Community/Education project of the year.

Sound: Scanner
Voice: Ronnie Hughes
Waid Academy students:
Jay Alsafar
Josie Bell
Mirren Bell
Ben Black
Jude Bright
Hunter Demetrius
Daniel Hesk
Ryan McIntosh
Ian McKie
Kirstin Spence
Kai Young

 

[Music] Martin Neuhold – Sofa Guitar Sessions #1

For those of you pining for the days of raw bedroom recordings of guitar improvisation that remind you of seminal acts like The Durutti Column, a name mentioned frequently on these pages, this latest album by Martin Neuhold does the job nicely.  The only quibble is the slightly rushed feeling in-between tracks, which makes this mini-album feel a bit rushed.  The musicianship, thankfully, doesn’t suffer a bit.