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

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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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Christopher Tignor – Along A Vanishing Plane [Western Vinyl]

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In some ways Along A Vanishing Plane by Christopher Tignor is as much as an act of resistance as it is a record album. In the role of composer, performer, and software engineer, Tignor is on a noble mission to counter and transcend forces of banality that obstruct meaningful interaction on many levels – personal, societal, and creative.

“This music is first and foremost about what can be done together, live in a room, to both transcend and reclaim ourselves from the noise of public living….These songs offer wordless hymns and pulsing harmonic frameworks one might use to focus their own contemporary values”

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Sound Impression: Light of Woods – Field Notes [Other Songs Music]

Featuring tacks originally composed for a pair of documentary films, Field Notes is the debut by Light of Woods, a solo project of Raleigh, North Carolina based multi-instrumentalist M. Grig.  Describing the album as “Americana in a minimalist vein”, Grig combines dobro, lap steel, pedal steel, electric & acoustic guitars and piano with dense layering techniques and textural loops to create a rustic idyll framed by a cinematic eye.

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Sound Impression: Snufmumriko – Chimera [Lagerstätte]

Lagerstätte is a newly launched microlabel based in Gothenburg, Sweden that has set its sights on the “far-flung reaches of electronic music” – namely ambient, drone, minimal, industrial, soundscapes, IDM, & techno – and it is off to a promising start with its inaugural release, a mesmerizing new ambient opus entitled Chimera by Snufmumriko, the musical alias of Ingmar Wennerberg also of Gothenburg.

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E and I: The Colour of Sound [Eilean Rec.]

Nearly five years after their last release, Emmanuel Witzhum and Craig Tattersall (aka The Humble Bee) return in incredible form as E and I with a very special recording to launch the autumn 2016 series on Eilean Rec. entitled The Colour of Sound. Patiently sprawled across 90 minutes and 2 discs, seven slow blooming pieces explore a beguiling bond between numbers, colors, and music inspired by a kind of kinship Witzhum has sensed between them since childhood.

” Ever since I was a child numbers and colors went side by side… I saw a number and it was transformed into an undulating pulsating hue of shimmering beauty…  It was an immediate emotional appearance, one that I could not control or explain. Gradually the same became of music…   Sounds as pieces began to shape into waves of colors, moving as waves in the sea. Sounds overlapping, shades of colors… All in my mind…  I could not explain them, nor describe them…  All I knew was to feel them and try to nurture them.. As they became the aura that surrounded the connection between music and my feelings… They only appeared when the music was intimate, small, shy and reclusive, when the music grew out of a place I could not control nor understand, when the music became my voice or when it blossomed in friendship…” ” – Emmanuel Witzthum (e)

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Fellirium – Sehnsucht / Saudade / Mono No Aware

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Fellirium is the musical alias of Andrey Vasilyev, a quietly prolific musician and sound sculptor from Moscow, Russia. A common motif in his work is the musical articulation of emotions inspired by well-defined themes, something that works particularly well in a new series he has just completed, a trilogy of long-form pieces elucidating the depths and shades of meaning behind three essentially untranslatable expressions – ‘sehnsucht’ (German), ‘saudade’ (Portugese), and ‘mono no aware’ (Japanese). Each represents a profound and complex emotional state that perhaps music is best suited to convey and Vasilyev does a beautiful job of it in these thoughtfully constructed and expressive meditations. Continue reading

A sense of place: Ólafur Arnalds – Island Songs

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Iceland’s dramatic landscape belies the island country’s relatively small footprint on the globe. Its breathtaking and mysterious beauty is inextricably woven into the music and literature of its people and draws travelers and artists from around the world like a siren call. But that is not the perspective of this magnificent place that Ólafur Arnalds seeks to present in his latest project. He gives us a much more intimate view by taking us into Iceland’s towns, church & concert halls, and living rooms and brings us face to face with some of its people.

Island Songs is a “living musical film” documented in real-time by director Baldvin Z in which Arnalds travels  to 7 different locations in Iceland – one per week – to record a series of new compositions in collaboration with local artists. It is an endearing portrait of an unique island not as landscape, but as a place of community, connection, collective memory, and shared creativity. It also yielded an exquisitely beautiful collection of songs.
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Marconi Union – Ghost Stations [Just Music]

What do you do for an encore after recording “the most relaxing track in the world“? Earning that accolade along with extraordinary visibility and respectability in a cluster of eclectic genres that get too little of either might be enough to lure a band into stagnation, but on the evidence of their output since “Weightless”, there is little chance of that happening to Marconi Union. Their latest full length studio album, Ghost Stations, incorporates many elements from their earlier work that have won over and endeared them to so many listeners, but it stretches out in some enticing new directions as well.

“We always want to move forward and try new things, there’s no point in just treading water, so it was great to use a couple of guest musicians (Digitonal‘s Andy Dobson on clarinet and Giorgio Li Calzi on trumpet). Sometimes you need real playing, especially when it comes to feel”. – Marconi Union 

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Sound Impression: Tambour – Chapitre II [Moderna Records]

A waltzing piano, a twinkling glockenspiel, an exquisite string quartet, an air of wistful nostalgia, and a touch of cinematic whimsy all wrapped up in a poignant minimalist aesthetic – these are the elements that make up the aura of enchantment that surrounds the music of Tambour, a modern classical project of Montreal based composer Simon P. Castonguay. 

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