[Music] Piero Milesi – Modi

Thanks kindly to Cuneiform Records, whose weekly $5 downloads are an affordable way to replace a few CDs lost to time and travel.

Piero Milesi was an Italian composer who started off his career in 1977 with the International Folk Group of Moni Ovadia.  His first break came from the now-legendary Cherry Red Records, which originally released this two-piece work in 1982.

The release itself doesn’t sit comfortably in any genre.  Obstensibly a classical music record of a sort, it also touches on chamber rock, art rock, jazz, electronic music, progressive rock, avant-progressive, film music and modern composition.  It was a breathtaking debut for a composer who would score a few more albums, and even arranging an album for Japanese pop star Kazufumi Miyazawa before succumbing to a heart attack in 2011.

[Music] Glåsbird – Svalbarð

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.

Cold-climate ambient.

[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] The Ed Palermo Big Band – Eddy Loves Frank


 
Judging by the quality of the music and the fact that this is Ed Palermo’s third full-length album dedicated to Frank Zappa’s avant-big-band interpretations, I think that the album title is apropos.  Eddy does indeed loves Frank!  From his Bandcamp site:

Ed and his amazing 16 piece band (+ guests) return with his third album of his distinctive, big-band interpretations of the great 20th century composer, Frank Zappa. This body of work has won them huge acclaim from both new and old fans of the music and they even appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition for a short feature which was heard by millions of listeners in 2006. For those not already familiar with Ed’s colorful, jazz-based arrangements of Zappa’s compositions, Ed has led a big band for 30 years (!) and has had his band performing the music of Frank Zappa for 15 years. Many years of playing these pieces in front of hugely enthusiastic crowds have honed the band’s skills interpreting Zappa’s beautiful but notoriously difficult material to where they are able to perform these challenging charts with apparent ease. All of these musicians are high caliber, hugely talented NYC professional players, and most of them have been playing this music for a decade and a half with this group, not because it is a good paying gig (it isn’t) but because they all admire and appreciate the genius of Zappa’s work and they love having the opportunity to be able to perform these terrifically exciting charts.

“Wonderful, breathtaking, fantastic, exhilarating, great sound, great production, great musicianship…I run out of superlatives…”
– paradoxone.uk

“Palermo developed these charts during years of live shows with these musicians, and their mastery of the material shows in the performances, which turn on a dime yet feel fierce with spontaneous invention…. Palermo’s arrangements and these performances are precise, dedicated, raucous and incisive—just like Zappa himself.”
– JazzTimes

“Palermo uses Zappa’s compositions as a framework for inspiration, rather than simply trying to recreate what is already available on CD.”
– allaboutjazz.com 

 

[Music] Santiago Fradejas – The Box You Sleep In

It’s a very happy occasion when I get to review a new album by Santiago Fradejas!  Our friend, guitarist and composer now based in Barcelona, Spain, comes at us with another disc full of soundscapes which sit well between the more mellow compositions of John McLaughlin, the usual powerful post-Industrial soundscapes, and maybe because I have been listening a lot to him lately, some bits that would not sound out-of-place in a Charles Mingus album.