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.
Lauri-Dag Tüür is a composer from Estonia, a country whom I have a deep love for and who have given presented two equally fine composers whom I admire (Arvo Pärt and Erkki-Sven Tüür).
Lauri-Dag’s work compares favorably to these legends, as Polar Night Jet reminds me of works by a more freeform Popol Vuh, Paul Schütze or Steve Roach, yet with an aura of a field recording about it. The percussion work is very engaging, so ambient it isn’t – it hooked me about 5 minutes into the release.
According to the composer, the three pieces should be perceived as one symphony. I concur. Everything flows together naturally. One of the best albums I’ve heard in a while.
The first time I remember hearing this was at Aron’s Records, and I couldn’t quite wrap my mind what genre this album was. I suppose Rachel’s could be seen as a precursor to post-rock or a lot of the modern classical music coming from labels like Erased Tapes. This album remains gorgeous listening.
Although seeing this listed as doom metal in the tags, it seems that the brilliant album by the New York-based group Witnesses is more cinematic in nature. The cover art, from a dark, foggy Gotham City-esque setting, gives you a great idea as to what kind of music you should be in for, and this did not disappoint.
Label: Moderna Release: Chasing The Present Release Date: February 21st, 2020 Bandcamp Tidal Spotify chasingthepresent.com Today I am running with an exclusive premiere of a piece by Snorri Hallgrímsson from an upcoming release by the same title on Moderna. “Chasing the Present” is the title track from the soundtrack for the award-winning documentary by Mark…
via Snorri Hallgrímsson – Chasing The Present — Headphone Commute
This was an accidental discovery, found browsing Youtube for new music, and it looks like luck was on my side today, as I would probably have not found out about Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, a French pianist who has enthralled me this evening.
On her Bandcamp website, there is an incredibly detailed essay with notes discussing the album and its creation. The paragraph which caught my attention follows:
Compared to Emilie’s 2015 debut, ‘Like Water Through The Sand’, the feel of the new album appears generally darker and grittier, though in an organic way. It’s more grounded and less cold, with the piano recorded using warmer microphones and preamps. The string writing uses more extended playing techniques, such as bow overpressure on viola and cello, and multiphonics on bass guitar. Emilie also explains that “although the piano has always been a way of expressing how I feel and I wanted to create pieces that featured melodies, I wanted to use the fact the piano is a percussive instrument that can handle strength, rhythm and force just as well as gentle, intimate playing.” This powerful, emotive physicality is clearly audible on tracks like ‘Redux’, ‘Fracture Points’ and ‘Époques’. There are other pulsating/ rhythmical elements running through the record – from chopped up field recordings of waves (‘The Only Water’) to looped bowed bass guitar in ‘Ultramarine’, and the effects applied to the piano throughout ‘Morphee’.
Though seminal artists like Max Richter, Dustin O’Halloran and Jóhann Jóhannsson should be seen as reference points, Emilie has carved a niche of her own on her sophomore release. All praise to 130701 and FatCat Records for releasing yet another gem.
Welsh ambient record label Serein had a banner year publishing rather incredible releases by bands like Hauschka, Olan Mill and Brambles. This free sampler gives a synopsis of what gems this imprint has available.
This is wonderful headphone music for a grimy Beijing winter.
Konstantin Trokay (Kosta T) is a violinist out of Perm, Russia. His music meanders in a pleasant way, something like a walk through a dark forest. There are plenty of twists and turns, and some are not always gentle. Intriguing.
Santiago Fradejas’ latest release features him on electric guitar, with some effects, and he ends up making a sonic world which envelops you straightaway. For an experimental record, this one almost qualifies as pleasant listening, though there is always an element of tension and danger to each of his compositions. Seminal.
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.