“Ypsilon” is the second collaboration between veteran sound artists Uwe Zahn aka Arovane (Germany), Porya Hatami (Iran) and Darren McClure (Japan). Perhaps some readers recall the first time they joined forces as a trio on Veerian (2016, Eilean Rec), a veritable masterclass in minimalist expression and textural sound design. Never ones to repeat themselves, the new record find the group expanding on their original ideas and excavating new sonic terrain with the addition of more fluid melodic shapes and rhythmic structures. Ypsilon is in constant motion. It pulses, shimmers, and percolates with a restless energy and an impetus toward experimentation and even playfulness.
Here in this exclusive premiere, you can enjoy the penultimate title track which ushers in the album’s more contemplative, atmospheric closing chapters, a smooth glide path to the end of a fascinating sonic excursion.
Continue reading “Premiere: ypsilon by Zahn | Hatami | McClure”
Christopher Willits is an artist, teacher, musician, and guitarist based in San Francisco who has a diverse catalog of over 25 releases to his credit and has collaborated with such illustrious names in the field as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Taylor Deupree, and Tycho. He is also the founder of a nonprofit audio platform called Envelop which empowers 3D listening experiences through a combination of immersive sound venues and open-source audio production tools. Willits will be employing these himself to bring performances of his forthcoming new album Sunset to live audiences. The album will be released June 14 by Ghostly International with which he has had a long association. The music on the record has a simple but profound objective.
“One of the core artists on Ghostly since its inception, the ambient artist’s compositions on Sunset move from warm to cool, designed as a soundtrack to embrace the day’s end; a collective letting go. Willits presents his latest work with the simple instructions: “Begin the music 15 minutes before the sun sets.”
Continue reading “Sound Impression: Sunset by Christopher Willits”
Hailing from the port city of Hull in East Yorkshire, composer and performer Daniel Elms focuses his work particularly on creating “electroacoustic urban pictures” which feature intricate orchestral textures fused with post-industrial soundscapes. For his new album Islandia soon to be released on the New Amsterdam imprint, Elms draws his inspiration from close to home as he presents five works for chamber orchestra, electric guitar, and synthesizers each of which is in some way referential to the coastal towns of North East England incorporating aspects of landscape, community, folk songs, and literature.
Islandia was recorded at Abbey Road studios and features performances by musicians of leading UK chamber groups including the Jubilee Quartet and Manchester Collective. For a preview of the album as well as a mesmerizing visual treat, Stationary Travels is pleased to premiere “Soft Machines” accompanied by a video created by filmmaker David Briggs. As Elms relates how the piece was constructed, it becomes clear just how deeply he has meditated on how to use the music to express very specific concepts and atmospheres. Continue reading “Video Premiere: Soft Machines by Daniel Elms”
For their latest record entitled It Billows Up, Brooklyn-based avant music trio Sontag Shogun sought to capture the essence of their live performances on record through the use of collaborative techniques and modular compositions they had developed while on tour in Europe, Japan, & North America in 2016/17. The end result is a kaleidoscopic pastiche of music and sound, an au courant panorama of compositional and improvisational elements blended with foley art and human theater into a singular hypnagogic narrative by the band’s three members – Ian Temple (piano), Jesse Perlstein (electronically treated vocals, field recordings), and Jeremy Young (analog oscillators, reel-to-reel tape loops, and beats made only with contact mic’d objects & surfaces).
Continue reading “Sound Impression: It Billows Up by Sontag Shogun”
My first introduction to Josh Mason‘s music was Hellified Irie (2015, FET Press), a work that used journal writing, inventive sound design, and a meditative riff on 60’s era surf music to recreate the “constant hum” and hazy torpor of Florida summers past through a nostalgic lens. It exemplified the personal nature of Mason’s music and his collagic style which relies on analog and digital sources to “examine themes of family, community, mental health and location”. This was something that was both instantly captivating and a refreshing departure from the remote landscapes and heavy atmospherics for which so many ambient artists have a propensity.
Mason brings a similar approach to his newest record entitled Coquina Dose. The album was released this past March on the Florabelle imprint, but it plays particularly well in summer given the subtropical setting.
“Coquina Dose is the book on your nightstand under a lamp with a 40 watt bulb. It’s driving alone at night up and down the strip looking for a pool to crash. It’s the endless lights of luxury, hotels, oceanfront dining. It’s dogs barking, the wind off the water, dead friends, and sunsets that are no longer free. Everything humming, everything buzzing. It’s a new day, in the same circuit. Short interesting rides, followed by a loss of momentum. Notes of grass, lychee, pineapple, burnt sugar.” – Josh Mason
Continue reading “Sound Impression: Coquina Dose by Josh Mason”
Sun Rain is the solo alias of Toronto-based multi-instrumentalist, DJ, & electronic producer Chad Skinner. Released earlier this month on Hush Hush Records, Sheets represents his debut under this moniker, yet he’s been active within the music community for the past five years, releasing two albums as part of electronic production duo Snowday as well as spinning DJ sets in clubs and festivals around Ontario as Legs Florentine.
Recorded entirely in Skinner’s home studio, Sheets is a collection of eight sonically diverse electro-acoustic vignettes bound together in an aesthetic of melancholic beauty and heartfelt reflection on the importance of trees and wood in historical and contemporary life. From solo piano to folk guitar and from ambient synths to soothing beats, there is an organic style and contemplative mood shared by all the varied pieces that serves the overarching theme.
“After acquiring and spending time with a piano over a century old, I realized just how precious wood is. It has been integral for the survival of mankind; all the while remaining one of the most utilized natural materials for creative exploration.” – Chad Skinner
Continue reading “Video Premiere: “Paper 2” by Sun Rain”
One piano player. One percussionist… As classically trained musicians, Rasa Daukus (piano/keyboards) and Will Larsen (percussion/drums/electronics) began working together as music undergraduates playing a repertoire based on 20th century piano and percussion. Tess Said So combine piano, percussion and electronics with non-classical sounds and techniques, infusing their sound with pop, jazz, ambience and minimalism.
With I Did That Tomorrow (2014) they introduced their unique creative partnership, a vibrant collection of tracks that defied the apparent limitations of their chosen format. The same improvisational spirit, bold elegance, and impeccable musicianship that made such a resounding first impression shone just as brightly on their 2016 follow-up Scramble + Fate and now we are about to be treated to it once again with imminent release of Piaf’s Boyfriend, an ode to people they met while recently on tour.
The new record which will be available on CD & digital beginning May 31 finds the duo at the top of their game as musical storytellers with Rasa’s sparkling piano lines leading the way accompanied by Will’s versatile and highly expressive percussion. In this interview kindly furnished by Hayden Berry of Preserved Sound, Rasa & Will talk about writing an album that captures the personas of different people they met or who left an impression on them along the way. Continue reading “Duologue: A conversation with Tess Said So”
Kinbrae is the musical project of twin brothers Andrew & Michael Truscott based in Edinburgh and Dundee, Scotland. Their signature sound is at once evocative and experimental, mixing brass, acoustic guitar, percussion and musique concrète to create works rooted in a sense of place utilizing both ambient and contemporary classical elements. The liner notes for their 2015 release Coastal Erosion succinctly described it as “sonic map making”. It is a concept they continued with 2016’s Tidal Patterns (1631 Recordings), which was inspired by a year spent on the Hebridean lsle of Coll and againg with their most recent release, Landforms, which is themed around Scotland’s longest river, the mighty River Tay, as well as its surrounding landscape and the impact growing up on its banks had on the two brothers.
The album unfurls like a cinematic travelogue that takes in the river from its origins on the slopes of Ben Lui in the west to its eastern tidal reaches near Perth as it approaches the North Sea. It is a meandering 120 mile journey through a vast catchment presided over by iconic bridges, sprawling countryside, and bustling towns. To help create an expansive sound worthy of the album’s central protagonist, the Truscotts collaborated with Ben Chatwin (aka Talvihorros) who provided additional instrumentation as well access to his Edinburgh studio where they were able to experiment with adding modular synthesizers and effects into the mix.
“For this record we wanted to expand ourselves sonically to combine brass parts with synths, electronic textures and manipulated field recordings to create an expansive orchestral sound. Movement of Light was one of the first songs we wrote for the record and from early on in the recording process we thought it was well suited to open the album. Collectively these water based tracks come together to form the overall ‘Landforms’ album, mirroring the way in which water itself forges natural features on the land, helping to give the music a sense of place. ” – Andrew Truscott
Continue reading “A Sense of Place: Landforms by Kinbrae”
Richard Skelton is an artist from northern England, UK whose work is deeply immersed in landscape and nature. To date he has released over 30 EPs and albums of music, and has produced work for exhibitions, performance, feature films and documentaries. His latest work, entitled Border Ballads, was recently released by Corbel Stone Press, a publishing house which he co-runs with wife & creative partner Autumn Richardson. The first part of the title refers to the location around which the album is themed as well as where it was recorded, the well-watered border country where Scotland and England meet. It is an evocative place and one that makes fertile territory for Skelton’s vivid sonic explorations. The second part of the title is a clue that this is one of the most lyrical recordings in his canon, favoring concise melodic structures over the sprawling, glacial soundscapes that feature in much of his recent work.
“Skelton has spent the last two years living on the rural northern edge of the Scotland-England border, a boundary demarcated by various watercourses – among them the Kershope Burn, the Liddel Water and the River Esk. This hinterland topography has informed a series of musical recordings which, in their brevity, stand in stark contrast to the long-form compositions for which he is more usually known. Nevertheless, there is a sense that these twelve miniatures are fragments of a larger whole, such is their unity in tone and timbre.”
Continue reading “A Sense of Place: Border Ballads by Richard Skelton”