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.
Previews of Upcoming Releases
Whale Fall | The Madrean | (late fall 2014)
This week we were treated a couple more previews of the sophmore release from Los Angeles based instrumental rock band Whale Fall, a long awaited follow up to their stellar 2011 self-titled debut. On their web site, the band lays out very clearly the backdrop and vision for the new record, a vision which the preview tracks are definitely living up to:
“Whale Fall’s sound stems from a wide range of musical influences, from shoegaze to experimental rock to Ennio Morricone cinematic fare to the echoes of border town Americana replete with mariachi horns. Add to this mix the visuo-narrative influences of the group’s external surroundings in the American West, the cultural milieu of Los Angeles, and the internal landscapes of their individual imaginations. This is the very concoction that gave rise to the band’s second album, titled The Madrean, a collection of eight thematically linked compositions paying homage to the Madrean region of North America, the arid landmass spanning the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico”
More information: http://www.whalefall.com/
‘I Shall Sail No More’ from the upcoming The Madrean by Whale Fall
Endless Melancholy | Fragile | AZH / Hidden Vibes (Oct 21)
Endless Melancholy is a music project of Oleksiy Sakevych from Kiev, Ukraine, one that is all about minimal piano and ambient music imbued with a passionate romanticism. The preview tracks reveal a heavy modern classical leaning, as Sakevych’s piano is accompanied by viola and cello, although there is at least one track with driving percussion and a rousing crescendo. In any case, one can always expect beauty and a sentimental touch that lives up to the name and I look forward to hearing the rest. Fragile will be released on Oct 21 on CD (via AZH) and vinyl (via Hidden Vibes).
‘Somewhere’ from the upcoming Fragile by Endless Melancholy
Islands of Light | Ruebke | Home Normal (Sep 26)
Ruebke is the first album by Dino Spiluttini under the name Islands of Light which he chose for a project that deviates from his ambient/experimental solo work to feature solo piano and more melodic constructs. It is an album he worked on over the course of four years and feels very personal. On first hearing I was struck by the stillness and beauty of it and have been listening to it repeatedly ever since. It came as no surprise that the record has landed on such a fine label as Home Normal. A review is forthcoming, but I wanted to call attention to it as soon as possible. It is a special one.
Nikita Bondarev | Siberian Loner | Klammklang (Oct 6)
Nikita Bondarev, who also records as Speck and Osmenog, turns in this lovely album under his own name just released by on cassette by specialty label Klammklang. Siberian Loner is an absorbing musical thousand yard stare, a melancholy tinged blend of ambient drone, piano, strings, and guitar. It comes in very limited blue or black editions, each with its own set of postcard art and is also available a variety of digital formats.
Saul Freeman | wait : speak | Vent Sounds (Oct 8)
Is there such thing as a veteran debut album? If so, perhaps it would be an apt description for wait : speak by Saul Freeman who has emerged from seven year period of creative silence to release his first album under his own name. He has many years in the industry as the instrument playing side of two successful duos, Thieves (with David McAlmont) and Mandalay (with Nicola Hitchcock), as well as a number of film and TV projects. With wait : speak, Freeman explores mostly instrumental soundscapes which he describes as “forged at the space where guitars and other strings collide with a computer, found objects and the piano. Inspired yet again by my creative touchstones: the usual suspects – Morton Feldman, La Monte Young, Steve Reich, My Bloody Valentine, Mark Hollis, David Sylvian, Debussy”. Needless to say, it is varied and intriguing set of songs from a journeyman musician with fresh creative fire burning in his bones.
‘Somehow We Are Everywhere’ by Saul Freeman
Pascal Savy | Adrift | Eilean Rec. (Oct 10)
French musician Pascal Savy has one of two new releases out this week on the enigmatic Eilean Records and one which is directly connected to the imaginative concept of the label. “Adrift is conceived as a sound exploration of a sea area in close proximity of the fictional island of Eilean. The land itself haunts the music as a spectral presence exerting a pull on the narrative and is occasionally seen through a thick veil of mist and fog. The eight tracks on the album works as a series of discrete but related mythical seascapes, each evoking in their own way the elusiveness and foreboding nature of this space”. Highly evocative and rich in tones and textures, this will be of great interest to fans of electroacoustic ambient music.
‘Return to Ithaca’ from Adrift by Pascal Savy
Nathan McLaughlin | Nothing to be Sad About | Eilean Rec. (Oct 10)
The other release out on Eilean this week is Nathan McLaughlin’s Nothing to be Sad About, an album which “explores the reel to reel not just a source of effect and texture, but as it’s own instrument”. McLaughlin introduces a strong acoustic element into his soundscapes including violin contributed by his bandmate from Loud & Sad, Joe Houpert. The result is quite mesmerizing, especially on the closing track ‘Recess’ featured here.
Hammock | ‘10.08.14 (Blood Moon)’
Hammock sprang a lovely surprise on the evening of the lunar eclipse with a track they offered as a name your price download encouraging listeners to take and share pictures from the event. While the eclipse is now days behind us, this beautiful track lives on and is still available. Pure bliss. But then, it’s Hammock, isn’t it?
“Tonight, the moon passes into Earth’s shadow: a total lunar eclipse. Look skyward and gaze at the rosy glow of the “blood moon.” Feel the connection to millions of stargazers witnessing the same view simultaneously. We are but a speck of sand in the universe, but its beauty reminds us that we’re alive… that we’re all part of something magical… that we should never take for granted this present moment, and never stop aspiring to be greater than we are”.
Ocoeur | ‘Radical’
‘Radical’ is wonderful new work from Ocoeur and a real treat for those of us who simply can’t get enough of his slightly melancholic and sumptuously textured ambient IDM. The track is available for streaming on Soundcloud and as part of the V/A compilation “Table of Elements Vol. 3.0” from Parisian label M-tronic.
You Are An Explorer | ‘Translations’
‘Translations’ is an invigorating new single from You Are an Explorer, a three-piece instrumental rock outfit based in Edmonton, Canada. They have a really enjoyable and fresh take on post rock which incorporates the atmospherics and slow builds that one expects, but with a preference for solid grooves over the all too common thunderous crescendo. Also be sure to check out their self-title EP released back in March. Both are available on the band’s Bandcamp page.