September 4 is one of those Bandcamp Fridays where the company doesn’t take its normal commission in order for the artists to either make a bit more money or donate it to the cause of their choice. Though well over 1,500 releases flooded by email inbox today, there was one which came to me from a dear friend of the blog, Raffaele Pezzella (owner of the incredible Unexplained Sounds Group, whose compilations never fail to impress.
This one is a second batch of Iranian dark ambient and experimental music composers, featuring such maestros as Xerxes The Dark, Reza Solatipour, Force Ignore and a host of names which are not only new to me, but who have managed to capture my interest rather quickly.
Today, of all days, is a fine one to introduce yourself to a fresh batch of music from Iran’s dark ambient wellspring.
Lawrence English of Room40 Records has never, not once, disappointed me in showcasing a magnificent new release. This one is a collaboration between Ellen Fullman and her long string instrument collaborating with Theresa Wong, who adds a warm layer with her cello.
From the Bandcamp website:
Harbors is a collaboration of composers Ellen Fullman (Long String Instrument) and Theresa Wong (cello), which draws inspiration from the soundscapes, stories and atmospheres that manifest around bodies of water that propagate exchange. Structured around the extended harmonics of the open strings of the cello, Wong and Fullman utilize subsets of these tonal areas to create distinct sonic environments within the piece.
Fullman’s Long String Instrument, a stunning installation of over forty strings spanning seventy feet in length, places the performers and audience inside the actual resonating body, transforming the architecture itself into the musical instrument. Wong has developed techniques that take the cello beyond tradition into a vocabulary more closely rooted in the sounds of the natural world. She captures material electronically, layering textures amplified throughout the space which form an immersive field where figure and ground are in constant flux.
The piece reveals an orchestration of shifting drones, aberrant melodies and glistening atmospheres. Harbors has reverberated many spaces around the world, including: Click Festival, Helsingør, Denmark; Transformer Station, Cleveland; MONA FOMA, Tasmania; Centennial Hall, Sydney Festival; The Lab, San Francisco; and Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.https://room40.bandcamp.com/album/harbors
As I am now settled in Brno, Czech Republic, these reviews will start making a comeback, and there are plans for new projects afoot. More on that later.
Meticulous Midgets is a magazine out of Russia who did me one of the kindest honors by doing a sketch on the blog. I am delighted to return the favor by covering their survey on not only the Russian electronic, avant-garde, experimental and indie music, but a few tracks from the United States, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Croatia, The Netherlands and Great Britain as well. This is a compilation whose broad scope equals that of my colleague Raffaele from Unexplained Sounds Group.
I expected to hear good headphone music, and I am happy to say that the comp delivers handsomely. There are three standout tracks for me:
The whole comp makes for solid listening, but just by hearing these three tracks, you can hear the depth and scope of the sort of music Meticulous Midgets covers. They have made a fan out of me.
Singer and composer Nadah El Shazly apparently began her career in a punk rock band doing Misfits covers. She’s come a long way, creating an eerie work with references to experimental music and musique concrète, with a nod to French composers of the INA-GRM tradition.
If I recall correctly, if was my friend and colleague C-Drik who brought her name to my attention. I am indebted to him.