Noteworthy highlights from the past week of music discovery, releases, previews, and other news. Daily updates are available on the Stationary Travels Facebook and Twitter feeds and audio/video links to all tracks featured during the month are available on the Songdrop page.
Porya Hatami | Arrivals and Departures | Time Released Sound (Sep 28)
What a prolific burst of creativity we are seeing from Porya Hatami. He has already given us two excellent solo albums in the form of Shallow (on Tench) and The Garden (on Dronarivm) and his second full length collaboration with Lee Anthony Norris called The Longing Daylight (on Carpe Sonum). That would be a great year by any measure, but he is not done.
Tomorrow will see yet another sublime recording in the form of Arrivals and Departures, a gentle skyfaring ambient journey into wonder and nostalgia, and this one will be available in two beautifully packaged editions from boutique label Time Released Sound. The deluxe edition, limited to 75 copies, comes in the form of a hand assembled 6” x 8” sewn booklet full of aeronautic ephemera such as runway identification diagrams, vintage airport photos, flight instruction manuals, and actual pages from vintage pilots logbooks. Follow the links below to see both editions and listen here to the preview track ‘Homecoming’.
‘Homecoming’ by Porya Hatami
Kissy Suzuki | Proposte Monochrome | (Oct 1)
Kissy Suzuki is a side project of David Teboul, who also records as Linear Bells, and which will see a new release on his Soft Recordings label in the form of Proposte Monochrome to start off the month of October. Teboul never skimps on the music and here we have a generous offering of atmospheric drone with the patiently unfolding 41 minute title track plus two ornate, flowing tracks of some significant length called ‘Blue Chambers’ and ‘White Chambers’. Proposte Monochrome is a rewarding deep dive for lovers of long form ambient engraved with subtle texture.
‘White Chambers’ by Kissy Suzuki
Balmorhea | Balmorhea (reissue) | Western Vinyl (Oct 14)
Seven years after it’s original release, Western Vinyl will be reissuing the self-titled debut by Balmorhea making it available for the first time ever on vinyl. But this is more than just a reissue. The band has re-recorded one of the tracks, ‘Attesa’ (featured here), and there will be reworks by other artists including Nils Frahm and Orcas (Benoît Pioulard and Rafael Anton Irisarri). Balmorhea’s music comfortably spans modern classical, traditional acoustic, indie, and post rock aesthetics in one beautiful, cinematic, organic whole. Here is a great chance to revisit the original creative spark and enjoy some wonderful new interpretations as well.
‘Attesa’ (2014) by Balmorhea
Celer | Sky Limits | Two Acorns (November)
Celer is the music project of Will Long, who currently lives in Tokyo, Japan, working in publishing, photography, music, and writing. Sky Limits is his latest work as Celer and it will be released during November on the label he also manages, Two Acorns. The album appears to be simply, but beautifully conceived, a combination of field recordings and ambient music that captures moments of everyday life, at home and in transit, with the stillness of contemplation and a simultaneous awareness of present, past, and future. I encourage you to read Will’s beautiful description of the record on the Two Acorns site (link below) and listen to the lovely excerpt on Soundcloud.
Sky Limits will be available as a 12″ black vinyl LP with full color, uncoated board sleeve, black paper inner sleeve, postcard, and download card (edition of 300).
‘Sky Limits (excerpt)’ by Celer
Mike Vass | In the Wake of Neil Gunn | Unroofed Records (Oct 20)
In the Wake of Neil Gunn is a project by traditional music artist and composer Mike Vass that has been mentioned here several times before, but which continues to deserve attention and support. The first phase of the project involved Mike and crew taking a boat journey around the Western Isles of Scotland which mirrored the one taken in 1937 by Gunn which he chronicled in “Off in a Boat“.
The journey was captured on video and included special performances at stops along the way. The second phase is the release of a new suite of music inspired by the journey which will be available from Unroofed Records on Oct 20. With such rich inspiration and one of the UK’s most acclaimed trad artists at the helm, this promises to be a fine album for anyone who enjoys traditional, acoustic, or modern classical music. Listen here to the beautiful preview track ‘The Very Thing’ and follow the link below to order the album and read about the project.
‘The Very Thing’ by Mike Vass
Deaf Center | Recount | (Aug 29)
Deaf Center is, of course, the duo of Erik K Skodvin and Otto A Totland, each of whom has released acclaimed solo albums this year (Flame by Skodvin and Pinô, by Totland). Recount is their new EP which is being presented as a “bridge between full albums”, but this is no slight offering.
We get two tracks, one recorded during 2008 in Oslo and the other during 2012 in Berlin, representing 27 minutes of beautifully rendered music – both of them intricate, solemn, and plaintive, but each constructed quite differently. As it says on the Sonic Pieces site, “Recount is both a division and fusion of sound and time. Two tracks, two years, two people, two cities; ultimately, Deaf Center straddles worlds to lead to something unquantifiable and timeless”.
Recount is available on vinyl and CD and inaugurates the label’s Pattern Series which features each album packaged in a laser cut jacket with a printed inner sleeve and is currently streaming on the Sonic Pieces Soundcloud page.
“Recount” by Deaf Center
Marconi Union | Weightless (Ambient Transmission Vol.2) | Just Music (Sep 22)
Whether or not it has been definitely proven that ‘Weightless’ by Marconi Union is in fact the most relaxing tune ever, there is no denying that it is a fine piece of ambient music that lives up to its name. This week, the Manchester UK based duo released a recording called Weightless (Ambient Transmissions Vol. 2) which presents the track as part one of six in a full length album. The pulsing rhythms, deep bass, and percussion of part 2 herald an expansion of the sonic spectrum, but even with the wider range of tones and dynamics, the album has a consistent feel and stays true to the abstract theme and remains easy on the ears and easy on the mind. It is comfort food for the mind in musical form.
In conjunction with the album release, we also have a new official HD video filned by Richard Johnston and an “interactive digital instrument” called Weightless/Endless which was created in collaboration with musician/web developer/visual artist Raleigh Green.
About Weightless/Endless: http://www.immaterial.org/content/weightless-endless
‘Weightless’ by Marconi Union, film by Richard Johnston
Gidge | Autumn Bells | Atomnation (Sep 23)
Until this week I was not familiar with the Nordic duo of Ludvig Stolterman and Jonatan Nilsson who record as Gidge, but I have been enjoying listening to their debut full length album Autumn Bells released by Atomnation. They juxtapose melancholic ambient soundscapes with beats, atmospheric vocals, and piano to forge a sound that is both uplifting and alluring not to mention highly listenable. Those who enjoy a cerebral or ambient take on downtempo and chill music should check this out without delay.
‘Dusk’ by Gidge
Tuntria | Halls of Sky | (Sep 19)
Though Oxide Tones is on hiatus as a label, owner Adam Hofray remains a friend to great instrumental music and, as it turns out, he had one more release in the pipeline which has come to fruition in the form of Halls of Sky by Canadian post rock collective Tunturia. Technically an EP, these five tracks deliver an epic listening experience with a full dynamic range consisting of glistening webs of guitar and soaring melodies punctuated by surges of power and raw emotion. Halls of Sky is a real treat for post rock fans and a fitting final release for the label – elegant, melodic, vivid, and beautiful.
‘Halls of Sky’ by Tunturia
Singles and Mixes
Strië is the name under which experimental musician Iden Reinhart records and it was only this week that I was able to finally take the time to become familiar with her enigmatically beautiful work. The catalyst was the release this week of her contribution to Nils Frahm’s Screws Reworked project, a deeply atmospheric rendering of ‘Si’. That led me to the discovery of her 2012 album Õhtul, a sumptous blend of abstract ambient and modern classical.
Also not be missed are her contributions to the V/A compilations by Futuresequnce (Sequence8) and Dronarivm (Shades of White) or her remix of ‘Pink and Golden Billows’ by Brambles from his outstanding album Charcoal. Listen here to her Nils Frahm rework, a track selected from Õhtul, and the Brambles remix then follow the link’s below to visit Strië’s WordPress and Bandcamp site’s where you can do a little exploring of your own.
Strië on WordPress: http://striemusic.wordpress.com/
Strië on Bandcamp: https://strie.bandcamp.com
‘Si’ (Strië Rework)
‘Hallialul’ by Strië
‘Pink and Golden Billows (Strië remix)’
Songdrop Mix: Day Trip 2014.09.21 Pulling Strings
Finally here is a link to a new Songdrop mix designed for about an hour of continuous listening. ‘Pulling Strings’ is a collection of outstanding tracks from recent releases that prominently feature stringed instruments – violin, viola, and cello. As always with Songdrop, just click on the little italicized “i” in the upper right corner of a track that is playing for a link to the original source on Soundcloud or Bandcamp.
1. As memories fade, that which reamains… by Subzar
2. Golden Afternoon by Memory Drawings
3. I Can Feel It Humming by The Flashbulb
4. Drift Apart by Break of Reality
5. Falling by Peter Gregson
6. Seven Year Glitch by Rumour Cubes
7. The Winter Day Declining by This Patch of Sky
8. The Light Imbalances Her by Levi Patel
9. You Are a Memory (excerpt) by Message to Bears
10. Requiem by Lowercase Noises
11. Evoke by Steve Gibbs