Noteworthy highlights from the past week of music discovery, releases, previews, and other news. Daily updates are available on the ST Facebook and Twitter feeds and audio/video links to all tracks featured during the month are available on the Stationary Travels Songdrop page.
V/A – SEQUENCE8 [Futuresequence / Aug 20]
One of the biggest highlights of the week surely is the release of SEQUENCE8, the latest, and apparently the last, in a series of stellar V/A compilations by UK label and experimental music magazine Futuresequence. This is a lovingly curated collection of tracks from 28 artists selected from over 200 submissions.
As with SEQUENCE7, I found the majority of the tracks compelling, some being from artists I follow closely and others being new discoveries who I will be following from now on. Which tracks standout will depend on what style of ambient or electronic music you prefer, but there is an impressive range here from the most delicate and introspective pieces to subwoofer rattling drones with a wide variety of styles and textures. Below is a sampling of some tracks I particularly enjoyed and that demostrate the spectrum of music you will find here.
The information page for SEQUENCE8 is beautifully presented with a portrait of each artists, a well written description of the selected track, and links for deeper discovery. As with past compilations, the download is absolutely free, so go get a copy for yourself and dig in!
Artist/Track Profiles: http://www.futuresequence.com/sequence8/
Memory Drawings – There Is No Perfect Place [Hibernate Recordings / Aug 18]
UK label Hibernate Recordings has just released the new album from Memory Drawings, a project from hammer dulcimer player Joel Hanson, multi-instrumentalist Richard Adams (also of Declining Winter), violinist Sarah Kemp (also of Lanterns on the Lake), and pianist Gareth S. Brown. There Is No Perfect Place is a sheer delight, an exotic and alluring blend of folk and modern classical styles that is joy to listen to.
In addition to the 10 original tracks, the first 200 CDs sold will come with a bonus remix disc which includes alternate versions and reworks by artists such as Pausal, Talvihorros, and Benoît Pioulard. All 20 tracks are available for streaming and purchase on the Bandcamp page. It is hard to think of a better instrumental album to enjoy in the waning days of summer. Highly recommended.
‘Coldstream’ by Memory Drawings
Rumour Cubes – Appearances of Collections – [Aug 18]
Rumour Cubes are a London-based six piece who create instrumental music featuring guitar, violin, viola, and piano with a variety of other instruments and electronics. Their highly anticipated new album Appearances of Collections was released this week and is already generating lots of well-deserved buzz and positive reviews. Sometimes graceful, sometimes bomabastic, but always melodic and inventive, this is a great collection of songs that brings modern classical and post rock elements together in an exuberant cinematic fusion. Another great summer record, Appearances of Collections is available digitally and on CD on the Rumour Cubes Bandcamp page.
‘A Homecoming’ by Rumour Cubes
Near the Parenthesis – Cloud.Not.Mountain – [N5MD / Aug 19]
Cloud.Not.Mountain is the latest album from Near the Parenthesis, the moniker used by San Francisco based electronic musician Tim Arndt. Released this week on the vaunted N5MD label, the album continues to explore the less organic approach of his previous full length album Japanese for Beginners. Beautiful piano motifs and layered electronics blend harmoniously to create emotionally resonant atmospheres, but with enough abstractions and inventively syncopated percussion to never become predictable or bland. This is a record that really rewards repeated listening.
Order from N5MD: http://n5md.com/discography/232/Cloud-Not-Mountain
‘Falling Up’ by Near the Parenthesis
Abstract Aprils – Blossom Ends
Sometimes you find the music and sometimes the music finds you. Abstract Aprils is an ambient music project from Collin Welner based in the big sky country of Missoula, Montana USA. I checked out the July 2014 release Blossom Ends after seeing Abstract Apriils show up as a follower of Stationary Travels on Twitter and was delighted with what I heard. This dreamy, pristine style of guitar based ambient will especially appeal to fans of Hammock and Helios and sounds very refined and assured for a debut effort. Available digitally on Bandcamp.
‘These Moments Live’ by Abstract Aprils
Until We Last – Earthgzing
Until We Last is a four man post rock band from Bangalore, India started in 2011 by guitarist Ketan Bahriat and fully formed in late 2012. This discovery came from the daily updates on the excellent Post Rock Facebook community page (the same great folks who produce the Arctic Drones webzine). Until We Last produce a style of post rock I am especially fond up which is highly melodic, atmospheric, and full of life-affirming energy. It should appeal to many post fans around the world and has the exciting potential to broaden the appeal of the genre in their home country. Their four-track Earthgazing is really enjoyable and available on their Bandcamp page on a pay-what-you-want basis.
‘Earthgazing’ by Until We Last
Square Peg Round Hole – Corners
Square Peg Round Hole is more of a re-discovery for me as I revisited their July 2013 debut album Corners when the band announced that 100% of album sales (digital and physical) until September 1 would be donated to the ALS Association (the same beneficiary of the donations from the now viral “ice bucket challenge”). My original discovery of the band came from following the solo work of Evan Chapman who published an astounding series of videos featuring his percussion-only covers of songs like ‘Your Hand in Mine’ (Explosions in the Sky) and ‘Holocene’ (Bon Iver). Square Peg Round Hole is a trio that is heavily percussion driven across an eclectic and vibrant blend of rock, jazz, ambient, and electronic motifs. Corners is playful in spirit but serious in its musicianship and a lot of fun to listen to. Grab a copy this week and you can enjoy it for yourself and donate to a worthy cause without having to pour a bucket of ice cold water on your head.
‘Culturalist’ by Square Peg Round Hole
Abiogenesis – Short Film by Richard Mans, Music by Rhian Sheehan
Abiogenesis is a stunning animated short film by New Zealand filmmaker Richard Mans that has won a number of awards and been successful on the film festival circuit, but is just now available online through his Vimeo page. My discovery of the film came via the Facebook feed of Rhian Sheehan who provided the soundtrack to this sci-fi mini-epic which feels much more expansive than one would expect for something that lasts less than 5 minutes. Full screen HD and headphones are the perfect way to experience this feast for eyes, ears, and imagination. Also follow the link directly below for much more information (synopsis, gallery, making-of features, downloads, etc.)
More Information: abiogenesisfilm.com