A Sense of Place: Kinbrae – Tidal Patterns [1631 Recordings]


Kinbrae is a musical project from twin brothers Andrew & Michael Truscott, based in Edinburgh and Dundee Scotland. Having shared the stage with musicians such as Hauschka, Noveller and Lubomyr Melnyk and featured as session musicians on records by Scottish artists such as The Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks and De Rosa, the solo project they have nurturing for the better part of two years will see its debut in the form of Tidal Patterns, inspired by a year spent on the Isle of Coll in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides.

‘Tidal Patterns’ is an album that explores remoteness, seclusion and the feelings that these can evoke. It confronts the apprehension and doubt often experienced when starting afresh and escaping comfort zones as well as embracing new ways of life in an unfamiliar environment…The album makes use of the unique sounds that can be heard on the island, gathered through field recordings depicting the wildlife, culture and ambience of the remote region.

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Sound impression: Hakobune – Moraine [Adhesive Sounds]

Hakobune, aka Takahiro Yorifuji, uses layers of guitar to create his sonic landscapes. Originally from a small town in the Hyōgo Prefecture and now based in Tokyo, his immaculate drones are characterized by their wonderful sense of simplicity, harmony and balance – light and dark, coolness and warmth, opacity and translucency, introspection and extrospection. For a prime example of his more intimate work, seek out the gorgeous Seamless and Here on Patient Sounds, but his most recent release entitled Moraine turns outward for inspiration and matches the theme with some of his most expansive music yet.

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Travelogue 2016.10.16: An Americana Dream

Take a listening journey with four albums by six artists steeped in masterful primitive folk guitar and rich echoes of Americana with an avant spirit of experimentation and imagination.  Featuring Seabuckthorn, Nevada Greene, Scott Tuma, Dylan Golden Aycock, Lake Mary, and M. Sage

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Through a Musical Lens: Spheruleus – Obsolarium [Whitelabrecs]

The old Sleaford Bass Maltings brewery complex in Lincolnshire stopped being used for its originally intended purpose in the 1950’s and has been derelict for nearly a quarter century, its imposing brick malthouses, water towers, and kilns now no more than a mute echo of the bustling hub of local industry it once was. Its Grade II listing status is evidence of the interest taken in its distinctive historical and architectural characteristics while it has also shown allure to enthusiasts of abandoned places as well as those with an eye towards future redevelopment (which has yet to come to fruition).

Harry Towell, aka Spheruleus, on the other hand, found musical inspiration here. Using a plethora of analog and electronic sound sources (acoustic instruments, samples, drone loops, an out of tune piano at a local pub, a de-tuned piano belonging to a  friend, a violin, classical guitar, voice, harmonica, zither, a warped music box, a cello iPad app, and vinyl samples), he brings that inspiration to life in a unique sonic portrait called Obsolarium.

“Obsolarium tells a story starting with the commercial success of a powerful brewery, the rail links used to distribute the produce before descending into a melancholy reflection of what once was, accompanied all the while with a crumbling disintegration. Whilst everything unravels and fragments, the series of structures remain.”

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Sound Impression: Drape – Let There Water Air [Infraction]

Based in the Pacific Northwest, the duo of Ryan GraceySpencer Williams have been creating an exceptionally evocative and thoughtful ambient music as Drape since 2009. Their earlier work predates my deeper forays into the genre, so it was their latest on release on Infraction that caught my ear and clued me in on just what I had been missing, the splendid Let There Water Air now available on CD & vinyl. 

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Through a Musical Lens: Danny Clay and Katrien De Blauwer – Stills [IIKKI]


A little over 2 years ago, Mathias Van Eecloo launched Eilean Rec. The label already has over 40 albums in its catalog, nearly halfway to the 100 releases planned as part of its unique concept, and has garnered a well-deserved and devoted following thanks to its imaginative premise, overarching design motifs by Rémi Verdier, and a consistent musical aesthetic which seems to inspire something special every artist that contributes. With that project running now at a steady hum, Van Eecloo & Verdier have opted to embark on something new with a different scheme but a kindred spirit to Eilean. IIKKI is an “edition project” in which each release is the result of a collaborative dialog between a visual and musical artist beginning with Stills featuring the work of Katrien De Blauwer and Danny Clay.

Katrien De Blauwer calls herself a “photographer without a camera.” The Belgian artist collects and recycles pictures and photos from old magazines and newspapers to create stunning collages of distant mood and place. These fragmentary images evoke faded memories that are quickly brought to the fore. In turn, the viewer becomes a character in De Blauwer’s stories. Danny Clay is a composer and sound artist from Ohio, currently based in San Francisco. His works frequently utilize open forms, archival media, found objects, toy instruments, analogue and digital errata, family history, graphic notation, and the everything-in-between. Stills is their dialog. – IIKKI

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Bruno Bavota – Out of the Blue [Sono Luminus]


One imagines there is no shaking hands with Neapolitan composer Bruno Bavota, just hugs the kind of which shatter pretension and forge a lasting human connection. It is a sense that comes across in his music which is characterized by utterly disarming sincerity and an outpouring of pure unguarded emotion that touches every note of every song.  For the past six years, he has been spreading his music quite literally around the world, performing in Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, UK, Iceland, Latvia, and Japan and playing sold-out shows in Russia and Ukraine. This past spring, he crossed the Atlantic to record his latest record at the impressive Sono Luminus Studios in the rural town of Boyce, Virginia. Out of the Blue is everything we have come to expect from Bruno, but with greater depth, resonance, and luster than ever before.

This album…has a lot of meaning for me. “Out of the Blue” is an informal English language idiom that describes an event that occurs unexpectedly, without any warning or preparation; It’s also a perfect way to describe my music. I always try to tell all the things that happen in my life day by day along with the emotions humankind embraces.Bruno Bavota

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Ed Carlsen – The Journey Tapes [Moderna Records]

After nearly 20 years of playing guitar and covering other people’s music, Ed Carlsen recently started down a new path of pursuing his own compositions while teaching himself the piano as well as exploring the world of sound design. These new directions combined with the inspiration of the nearby landscape of Denmark’s Ravnholm Forest have culminated in his debut album The Journey Tapes, a loosely conceptual modern classical record with a cinematic bent and discrete forays into the territories of electronica & pop.

“The concept is deeply personal in nature, marking important stages of an individual’s growth, from childhood to maturity passing through darker moments of insecurity. The concept moves from Close to Far, white to black (with grey in between), child to adult, or Caged to Free.” – Ed Carlsen

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Aaron Martin & Leonardo Rosado – In the Dead of Night When Everything Is Asleep [Fluid Audio]


Poets and musicians tend to be restless souls. It must be a burden at times, but that innate inquietude can also be the very thing that fuels the creative engines and resistance to complacency. As both a poet and a musician, Leonardo Rosado not only knows this well, but has let it serve as the very impetus of his collaborative new album, In the Dead of Night When Everything Is Asleep. In response to a sense of getting locked into the idiosyncrasies of his own methods, he craved a new way of working and a creative partner who would help him break old patterns yet remain true to himself artistically, ultimately choosing cellist & multi-instrumentalist Aaron Martin as well as involving his own children. Unbounded by a specific theme, compositional structure, or even working track titles, they embarked on what Rosado called “a journey into nothingness”.

I just went and recorded everything I could think of with my kids: a trumpet, guitars, wooden, metallic, glass objects, rainstick, metalophone, just having fun, not caring about tempo, melody, or tuned instruments, just banging around…Having two hours of recordings I had to start sampling all the stuff and playing with it for awhile. After I started creating these nameless pieces I thought that it was a good time to ask Aaron if he wanted to do a collaboration that he accepted. The collaboration was quite straightforward. We decided that I would prepare the scenery for him to come and take over, and that’s what he did. He took over in the most beautiful way I can think of. – Leonardo Rosado 

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Sound Impression: Texture Series Volume One [1631 Recordings]

It may seem that 1631 Recordings is getting more than its fair share of attention on these pages, but the sheer bounty of artists and music the label has been showcasing in a such a short period of time makes it worthy of the sustained focus, especially when they launch a significant new element to their burgeoning catalog like the Texture Series. Whereas their first three V/A compilations were all centered around the piano, the Texture Series covers a broader spectrum of modern classical as well as ambient, drone, electroacoustic, and instrumental folk.

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Siavash Amini & Zenjungle – Topology of Figments [Flaming Pines]

It was difficult not to become giddy at the prospects when this collaboration between Siavash Amini and Zenjungle (Phil Gardelis) was first announced by Flaming Pines. These are two of the most potent and expressive voices in experimental ambient and drone music on the scene today and the idea of  them joining creative forces was tantalizing to say the least. While it would not be wrong to say the end result exceeded my expectations, it is probably more accurate to say it obliterated them with the stunning and imaginative work of fearsome beauty that is Topology of Figments. The abstract  concept behind the record is the vivid exploration of the characters, places, and memories we invent and which become part of our personal and shared identities. Siavash and Phil explain it this way:

“Sometimes we cannot separate the imagined colors, textures, spaces, or even smells from what actually existed or exists.It’ s in such activities that we create spaces never imagined before; hallways, valleys, rooms, textures on a wall, a howling distant sound in a giant metropolis. These spaces can be thought of as explored but not owned by any person. No one has ever made claim to them. In these tracks we have tried to imagine some of such places, live in them for a while, walk their paths without ever stopping for too long. This album reflects how we understand many of these imaginary lands, leaving them behind as they were (are).”

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Signal Hill – Alturas [AM 800 Sound]

Instrumental post rock group Signal Hill is back with their first full length album since 2013’s stellar Chase the Ghost. The new record is called Alturas  and will be released via AM 800 Sound, an independent collective members of the band recently helped found with several other like-minded artists. The new songs were written over a three year period across two continents and multiple coasts, but the effortless flow and tight integration that is the trademark of the band’s style betrays nothing of the patchwork nature of their origins. In fact, Signal Hill has never sounded better or more inspired.

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