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.
Belgian composer Henri Pousser is receiving a beautifully done retrospective thanks to Sub Rosa Records releasing many of his works in a four-CD edition. This is the fourth of four discs, and combines two of his long works together in four tracks. Jon Whitney of Brainwashed.com does a phenomenal job concisely reviewing the album here.
The legendary chamber group the Kronos Quartet and Icelandic band múm are not exactly a pairing I would have expected to see work so well together. This track has a history. múm interpreted Smell Memory note for note, with Samuli Kosminen adding drums to the piece. Quite an interesting pairing!
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…”
“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.”
“Palermo uses Zappa’s compositions as a framework for inspiration, rather than simply trying to recreate what is already available on CD.”
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.
Guest blog post by Eli Coderoni Rigamonti, MLitt Theatre Studies, on placement in Archives and Special Collections. This article aims to draw a connection between artists Edwin Morgan and John Cage, focusing on their common interest for Modernist techniques, and their view on art and perception. Sometimes authors who never had a chance to meet […]
via “Poetry About Everything, Words About Nothing”: a consideration on Edwin Morgan and John Cage’s approach to creativity. — University of Glasgow Library Blog
Along with Benjamin Aït-Ali, I think it’s safe to say that Bérangère Maximin is the best thing to come out of France in terms of avant-garde music. For a long while, I kept seeing her work pop up on my Facebook feeds, and each piece left me impressed. Things stopped around 2016 or so, but by that time, I found out the she had been working with Sub Rosa Records, and I figured she was in good hands. Judging by the quality of this release, she certainly is.
Though I was impressed on initially hearing the track Flickering Lamp on Sven Laux’s newest release, I wondered if his record label, Archives, had mis-tagged the album. Ambient and electronic music I certainly here, IDM I certainly don’t. No dub, but definitely there is a nod to classic 1970’s electronic music albums (think Neuronium from Spain, and perhaps a more electronic-leaning Popul Vuh, sans the horrible ‘techno’ phase). The album also has a feel of this modern classical vibe I keep running across.
This album was not what I expected to hear at all. It’s damn-near perfect walking music.
I grew up with piano music in my home because my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother (a violinist by trade) were fond of the instrument. I would grow up hearing piano music, dated a pianist in Italy for a brief and stormy moment, and even here in China, I’m surrounded by it.
It pleases me to no end that piano music continues to be revolutionary.
Montreal’s Moderna Records is at the forefront of putting out the best of cinematic, minimalist piano music, and Ed Carlsen’s music has proven to be my current favorite of their bunch. For those familiar with Yann Tiersen’s music, Ed’s compositions will feel familiar. These are wispy, thought-provoking pieces which make you want to break out the blanket and coffee and sit by the window on a chilly day.