This release comes as a very pleasant surprise! Arturo Stàlteri (Italian bio) is a pianist and composer of incredible ability whom I came across at least 30 years ago when finding a record by his early project, Pierrot Lunaire, who release a couple of progressive rock masterpieces.
This new album (and I’m not really sure if it is a reissue or something that was sitting in the vaults for 40 years) compares well with minimalist composers influenced by Eastern culture like Terry Riley, Philip Glass and La Monte Young.
This really is a minor treasure. I’d be very interested to see if Stàlteri has a few more hidden albums waiting to see the light of day.
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.
September 4 is one of those Bandcamp Fridays where the company doesn’t take its normal commission in order for the artists to either make a bit more money or donate it to the cause of their choice. Though well over 1,500 releases flooded by email inbox today, there was one which came to me from a dear friend of the blog, Raffaele Pezzella (owner of the incredible Unexplained Sounds Group, whose compilations never fail to impress.
This one is a second batch of Iranian dark ambient and experimental music composers, featuring such maestros as Xerxes The Dark, Reza Solatipour, Force Ignore and a host of names which are not only new to me, but who have managed to capture my interest rather quickly.
Today, of all days, is a fine one to introduce yourself to a fresh batch of music from Iran’s dark ambient wellspring.
Raffaele Pezzella of Eighth Tower Records continues to show what a magical ear he has for new music artists. His latest release is by composer Scottish composer Michael Bonaventure, who makes full use out of the organ. There are bits of sci-fi music, creepy soundtrack clips, electroacoustic music in the style of Pierre Henry’s freakier compositions, and a hazy, psychedelic vibe throughout. It’s not overpowering, either, which I think adds to the enjoyment of listening to this record. It’s challenging without beating you over the head with racket. A job well done.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hubert Heathertoes collaborates with one of the most prolific figures in the history of experimental music, Zan Hoffman. The collaboration bears wonderful fruit, combining musique concrète, plunderphonics (reminiscent of Negativland), pops, scratches, clicks, and an unnerving feel to these compositions. These two compliment each other well.