The weekly travelogues begin for 2015 with a round-up of recent releases, previews, and other gems of music discovery to share. 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 & New Projects
Masaya Ozaki | Fluid and Dreaming of Stripes [Eilean Rec.]
Born in Japan and based in Brooklyn, New York, Masaya Ozaki will release his first full-length album called Fluid and Dreaming of Stripes on the wonderful Eilean Rec. label. The label tells us:
“[Ozaki] composes in a wide range of musical genres, from classical to avant-garde, from organic and natural sounds to electronic music, from full range orchestral music to singular haunting melodies. Masaya try to combine some Eastern sensibilities with some Western emotions.”
The album sampler promises a thoughtful recording full of subtle texture and serene atmosphere. The planned release is Feb 2 with pre-orders now available. Note that there will be only 90 copies available and Eilean releases almost always sell out.
Danny Clay | Ganymede [Hibernate]
Another Eilean Rec. alumnus, Danny Clay, has a new album due out next month, this time on Hibernate Recordings. The record is based on the opening bars of a Franz Schubert piece rendered in the most interesting and abstract way to produce a mesmerizing sojourn:
“Ganymede consists of almost exclusively sounds produced by turntables, utilizing found objects, friction sounds, and lathe-cut records of sine-waves, piano, and music box. Many of these sounds have been further amplified by turntable preparations such as plastic cups with needles, combs, etc. and baby monitors…a simple melody washing against the ear gently, insistently, pulling one’s thoughts and desires into deeper, darker mental chambers, drifting quietly into eternity.”
There are six shorter pieces (glow i – vi) and two longer pieces (‘im morgenglanze’ and the title track) which all together add up to a generous offering. Planned release is Feb 13 and pre-orders are now available.
Featured track: ‘glow iii’
EUS / Saåad / Postdrome | Different Streams [Soft]
The next release on Soft Recordings brings together three geographically diverse, but sonically compatible artists in EUS (Jose Acuña), Saåad (the duo of Romain Barbot & Grégory Buffier), and Postdrome (Charlie Floyd). This is actually the second outing for this quartet, the first being the 2012 effort Sustained Layers. The new record, Different Streams, was recorded in locations including London (UK), San José (Costa Rica), Kuala-Lumpur (Malaysia), Hong Kong (China), Singapore (Singapore) & Toulouse (France) and promises a bold, visceral, and perhaps slightly dark emotional ambient journey.
Planned release is Feb 23. Pre-orders are now available.
Featured track: ‘The Only Path’
Fogh Depot | S/T [Denovali]
Fogh Depot is a trio from Moscow, Russia evocatively described this way by Denovali Records who will be releasing their debut full-length album next month:
“The simplest way to define Fogh Depot’s music would be to call it seductive brooding jazz with an electronic twist. Fogh Depot conjoin the unconjoinable, combining distorted low resolution samples with pure, atmospheric piano chords, multilayered drones with bebop changes, four-to-the-floor beat with polyrhythm, simple, easy-to-remember tunes with sophisticated effects for woodwinds, springy bass grooves with timeless ambient soundscapes.
Wintry, moody, and sophisticated, and accessible is how I would describe this preview track, ‘Mining (BTC)’, whetting the appetite for what will no doubt be one of the more striking releases from Denovali this year (and that is saying something). Due out on Feb 20.
Featured track: ‘Mining (BTC)’
Color Therapy | Mr. Wolf Is Dead [Denovali]
Having done a few singles and official remixes for Mogwai, Nils Frahm, and Peter Broderick, electronic music artist Color Therapy is ready to release his full-length debut album in March entitled Mr. Wolf is Dead. The album will feature some impressive collaborators including The Album Leaf, Hammock, Ulrich Schnauss and Helios. As all the names dropped here might suggest, the goal of the music is to deliver “organic catharsis and ethereal beauty” through “analog synth-driven splatters of sound” with a cinematic touch. Certainly that is what comes through in the preview track ‘Terrarium’, which features The Album Leaf.
Planned release is Mar 24. Pre-orders are now available.
Featured track: ‘Terrarium (ft. The Album Leaf)’
James Murray | Loss [Eilean Rec.]
James Murray is a self-taught composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist based in the UK and his album Loss is the first release of the new year on the Eilean Rec. label. The album was improvised live using four pieces of equipment with keys trapped rather than played and performed on the FX units in real-time with no editing. The concept of the album suits this approach which allows unfiltered emotion to flow from the artist through the music to the listener:
“Loss is as much about having as it is about losing. Its slow-burning arc charts finding, loving, losing and grieving with quiet dignity. Calm and reflective, crushing and relentless: it’s an immersion in the wide and wild landscape of the soul”.
Loss is available as a digital download or one of 120 handmade CD packages (which may be sold out by now) . The artwork is provided by London based painter Sue Williams A’Court.
Featured track: ‘Hold’
Endless Melancholy | Ambermixes [Eilean Rec.]
‘Amber’ was originally a track submitted by Ukranian artist Endless Melancholy for the wonderful Sequence8 V/A compilation from Futuresequence. Ambermixes is a new recording which features the song and 10 reworks from a diverse group of artists who explore the composition’s possibilities in a variety of genres and moods – ambient, post rock, and electronic. A nice touch is that each artist gives their piece a new name suiting their unique rendering. I was particularly drawn in by the shimmering guitar tones of ‘The Lost Amber’ by Musicformessier but the collection here is diverse enough to offer a favorite to fans of almost any instrumental genre.
Featured track: ‘The Lost Amber (Musicformessier remix)’
Emmanuel Toledo & Lauri Hallikainen | Leaves Stories (Usnea)
Leaves Stories is a wonderful project between natural sound recording artist Lauri Hallikainen and ambient/electronic artist Emmanuel Toledo (aka Eeem) both based in Finland. The first album, Leaves Stories (reed), came out in May and the duo have just release Leaves Stories (Usnea) this month which has been tagged as “an ode to wind and Moog modular V”. Hallikainen, whose personal story is quite remarkable, describes the project thus:
“This project got started when Emmanuel took contact with me and asked if he could create ‘Electronic Music’ along with the recordings of the nature I had produced. In that way, ” Leaves Stories ” is our first true collaboration, as the result of a process involving many layered iterations and blending digital and analogue techniques. The piece seeks to combine natural sounds and electronic music in the way that these two unusual worlds complete each other’s.”
The new record is a serene and lush journey of with rushing wind and birdsong recorded by Hallikainen melding with Eeem’s crystalline pure synth tones. 40 minutes of ambient bliss.
Lucho Ripley | Spirit of Wonder [Audio Gourmet]
Spanish ambient guitarist Lucho Gonzalez Suarez, who records as Lucho Ripley, deals in glistening tones and shimmering reverb cascading around dreamy melodies and majestic arpeggios. The sound may not be groundbreaking, but one does not hear a great deal of it these days and he spins it with passion and skill. He follows up his full-length debut Megablast with a very nice 3-track EP on Audio Gourmet called Spirit of Wonder in which he continues to delight along the same lines.
Featured track: ‘Las Pianistas’
K. Novotny | Gesture & Texture [Preserved Sound]
Based in Kraków, sound artist and composer K. Novotny has produced a gem of a record for his first release on the Preserved Sound label in which he fuses his long term interest in low-frequency tones and processed audio with an emerging focus on ambient and modern composition.
The result is Gesture & Texture, a seven track journey comprised of field recordings captured at various places throughout Poland and the UK, mixed with electronic treatments, and tempered by a warm pastoral element expressed by plaintive piano and acoustic guitar passages. It makes a rewarding journey for the open minded musical traveler.
Featured track: ‘Anāhata’