Today has been a good day to start working on a few projects, potentially a more professional podcast complete with investment in decent equipment, so I started going through older links and MP3s I had in my hard drives.
The disc digging led me to a release from 2016 from American expatriate composer (now residing in Poland), Jeff Gburek. He has been featured here before, and is one of our favorite active sound artists. This album serves as something of a travelogue of Poznań, Poland, perfect for our rainy day here in Brno.
For my taste, the best composers allow me to close my eyes and imagine a film to match a great soundtrack. Jeff never fails at providing me with this opportunity to make such images in my head.
Thanks to our friends at A Closer Listen, a blog we wholeheartedly recommend reading. We’re back in business, though we ask that you expect few posts until September. By then, we will have finished our move to Brno, Czechia.
It’s rare that we encounter an album devoid of liner notes. We assume the moniker of the Portuguese artist is a pseudonym, as Google lists Txema González as a cycling masseur who died in Seville a decade ago. We feel on firmer footing with the title; insularum means island, while the cover and second track title refer to a […]Txema González ~ Insularum — a closer listen
Zan Hoffman and Hubert Heathertoes have been featured twice on this blog before (see here and here), and each time, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by their output. The good lads continue their tradition of splicing together drone, field recordings, and an aura of pleasantly calming weirdness together for well over an hour of headphone bliss.
BLURRR, a project of composer Aaron Kim, performs a type of musical wabi sabi. In times like these, with so much pain and grief in the world, I salute anyone who is willing to mix this concept with Kosmische Musik. Quite a nice EP. From BLURRR’s Bandcamp page:
This album was heavily inspired by the term ‘wabi sabi’. This Japanese term has no real definition. It’s more of an instinctual feeling of peace through imperfection. Crafting this album was emotionally laboursome as I tried to emulate wabi sabi in my own interpretation sonically.
This is a concept album about the process of self-healing. Suicide rates, anxiety and general depression has seen a sharp rise as mental health issues seem to grow more commonplace in society today. My hope is that you, the listener, can digest this album as a therapeutic experience that can influence your core to improve yourself today. All positive change can happen, it just takes support. And just know that there are people around you.
Haram Tapes is the side project of our friend Sumatran Black, and he’s really outdoing himself on this latest release. Genres blend seamlessly here, with ambient music, old industrial-influenced electronic music, field recordings and synth music being balanced well enough to be creepy and engaging. The material is very topical, quite political in a way that is not preachy or obnoxious, and it goes to show HT put a lot of thought into composing a story with this work.
A brilliant piece, but I expect this coming from Pete of SB.
Alessio Antoni is a friend of the blog, having made a previous appearance with his disc The NHART Demo[n]s in March of 2018. His latest release surpasses even that dark masterpiece of a debut, partly because he continues to explore the depths of sound, and partly because he was a few guests adding a few jewels to his crown. Read on those guests who are participating in this recording. They are the best of modern dark ambient music. Alessio deserves to be held in the same esteem. We look forward to see what he has next for us.
From his Bandcamp site:
NERATERRÆ’s debut album “The Substance of Perception” (out on Cyclic Law records) is a daring collaborative work featuring some of the finest artists from the Dark Ambient, Drone, Cinematic and Ritual Music scene: Northaunt, Alexey Tegin from Phurpa, Treha Sektori, New Risen Throne, Flowers For Bodysnatchers, Taphephobia, Ugasanie, Xerxes The Dark and Infinexhuma.
The sound palette shifts between both stark atmospheres, melancholic ambiance and dense claustrophobic drones. Alternating between obscurity and light and oscillating between the ineffable detachment from the tangible and the relentless transmogrification of the self.
I quite enjoy the field recordings and soundscapes Benoît Pioulard composes, though, for the life of me, I’m not sure how long this long line of great composers using field recordings will remain relevant, as all good scenes must come to an end, but it’s my hope that this sort of music will remain timeless, as it makes for good listening to set one’s mind at ease, even if it might not be Pioulard’s intention to do so.
An important note from his website:
Companion piece to the album “Hymnal” (kranky, 2013), Recorded October 2012 in Portland, OR.
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.”
Jeff Gburek spent his Easter recording a dark album of piano music (with feedback and effects among his weaponry) played slowly with elongated, pensive strokes rather than crashing thuds. This album is creepy, but not in the horror-movie way it would imply with the album title. These tracks, like most of his works, are elegant, more refined and force other experimental musicians to up their game. He remains in a league of his own.
From Jeff’s Bandcamp site:
No one believes in haunted houses anymore but I believe in haunted houses just a little bit more than the unbelievers, after having lived within several, if only inside the skull, the crackling brain-case, and the house-bones, as they settle unsettlingly, in the merger meridian between seismic flow and over-head gulf streams and low frequency nor’easters. There is a spectre in spectralism and a prismatic fractal flaw splitting hairs without identity. Without the words equal to sound and the sounds equal to words there is the poem that rides shotgun over the carriage drawn into dawn by subtle horses, nameless ones, I cannot know while being guided by them over paths of further air, knowing them anyway, gusts of hydrogen-weighted gravity, a bustle between vibrating strings, the bright glow in the punctum sordum, a train running in one ear & out the other.
The worlds within the worlds inside the piano, the innenklavier, so called, the haunted house, the inner everglades of a sensual buzz as of strings in distant hunters of the stars drawing the mark.
Materials: grand piano, microphones, fingers, feedback (an immaterial material if ever there was one), delay, volume and pitch pedals. Did I miss anything? Please let me know.
Easter Sunday (4/21/2019).
It’s available now, and worth your time and your coin.
Yet another entertaining and utterly essential compilation of music from the Caucasus has been released by my favorite ethnic music label currently active, Ored Recordings. Many thanks to Bulat Khalilov for his brilliant work in digging up these gems which would otherwise be lost to history. Azerbaijan is a country with stellar traditions in music and storytelling, and it is my hope that Ored can continue to bring artists like this to the fore.