Past Inside the Present Records are churning out incredible release after incredible release. This one is a special gem, however, as guitarist and composer Wayne Robert Thomas & film composer Isaac Helsen pair upon a 30+ minute drone epic. Though the who album floats beautifully, I have no choice but to declare the first track, a tribute to former Talk Talk frontman and producer of the greatest album I have ever heard in my life, Mark Hollis, who passed away in February of this year. What a near-perfect collaboration this is!
This album by Glåsbird is so utterly enthralling to my ears that I feel like the angels are talking to me at the moment. There is a sense of a cool peace that this album is making me feel at the moment in a grimy, grotesque Beijing that I have to thank the creators of this sublime work for their efforts to keep me sane in this very, very odd place.
From the Whitelabrecs Bandcamp site:
In February 2019 we released the debut album by an anonymous artist named Glåsbird, in the form of Grønland, a sonic expedition of Greenland. The album received much critical acclaim despite being from an anonymous artist and was even featured on Bandcamp Daily under their ‘best Ambient’ feature. CD copies of this record have long since sold out, but the Glåsbird continues its flight to a new destination: Svalbard.
Svalbard lies 78 degrees north, is inside the Arctic Circle and had a population of around 2600 people and an estimated 3000 polar bears! Its calendar year divides between the midnight sun and the polar nights. The former is a period of constant daylight and the latter is the opposite. However, the dark season is broken from time to time by spectacular Northern Lights.
In Svalbarð, Glåsbird became immersed once more in this next excursion, through means of Google Earth, 360° photos, blogger accounts of the isles, maps and also, videos by Efterklang who were an obvious reference point with the band having visited.
This time, we are treated to a greater number of tracks, as ten movements weave Modern Classical influenced Ambient soundscapes. The pristine, polished reverb of Grønland is replaced with a slightly muddier, more lo-fi approach to the sound as the artist strived to present a tape-eroded aesthetic to their work. The recordings deal with dramatic landscapes, glaciers, an abandoned coal community, a seed vault, the Island’s capital city Longyearbyen and of course, polar bears. Each piece feels icy cold, yet the warmth and hiss provided by the decaying tape effects provide a comfort blanket for the listener as perhaps you take in these scenes from a lonely cabin, at one with isolation and natural beauty.
The packaging for the album includes photography from Svalbard itself, courtesy of Aldona Pivoriene who is a professional photographer based in Norway. We are also set to release the next Glåsbird album next year. Where will the destination be? For now, we hope you enjoy immersing yourself in this new set of works exploring Svalbard.
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.
DMT Records tend to be hit-or-miss for me, which is no surprise considering the sheer volume of releases they put out. Still, on average, they rarely disappoint, and can in fact still surprise me with a charming release.
A case in point would be Montreal’s Arctica, who put out an EP’s worth of music that sits in a hole between vaporwave, ethereal music and dream pop. I really enjoyed what I heard here, and I hope that DMT continue to put out releases like this.
Wings Of An Angel is a mysterious one-man project out of Israel who release a new album VERY frequently, but manage to maintain good quality throughout. Long, droning, wandering ambient tracks with horribly long names in the finest post-rock fashion, but all in all, a decent and very engaging listen.
As an aside, WOAA is generously offering his entire back catalog, at least a couple hundred releases, for the sum of $1.50. A good investment.
Aljosha Konstanty (AK) has quite a good body of work, but this particular release, his newest, really caught my ear.
Downtempo, relaxing, and it allows you to work unencumbered by anything distracting.
A beautiful release.