Travelogue 2015-21: The Power of 3 (a case for the short EP)

Just like the short story in prose, the haiku in poetry, or the short subject in film, the humble EP is a form that can be enjoyed on its own terms. These four wonderful EPs that have something on common – each has exactly 3 tracks. The shortest lasts barely 11 minutes and the longest just over 20. Yet, each one is a complete and memorable musical journey worth taking. Interestingly I also found they they flow very nicely into each other when played through in the order presented, forming a lovely arc from sparkling tones into deep reflection.

Cétieu – Into the Light 

[Twice Removed Records]

Cétieu is one of several musical aliases for Warsaw-based experimental musician Tekla Mrozowicka and the most ambient-centric one (técieu is more noise and drone focused while éctieu is reserved for her forays into dub & techno). Her newest effort, Into the Light, is about to be released  by Twice Removed Records. It is resplendent gem of a recording and sees her foraying into brighter sonic territory with modern classical overtones.

“Into the Light, the latest cétieu mini-album, was born out of the admiration for nature and exploration of infinity. All the musical knots are tied with a deeply personal spin, and imbued with the glowing undertone of bliss. By making it an improvised affair with no overdubs, the artist poured her soul straight onto the body of music, as if bypassing the mundanity of recording process.” – Gavin Catling/Twice Removed

The stark, crystalline piano line at the start of ‘The Morning’ sets the tone for the 3 pieces.  Reverberant chords are released into atmosphere, coalescing into a shimmering murmuration of celestial tones. Stillness, beauty, and light are infused into each note, none of them ever touching ground.  The journey is short, but perfectly complete and satisfying – nothing more is needed.

Mastered by Wil Bolton and with cover art by Phil Gardelis (aka Zenjungle), Into the Light is being released in a limited edition run of hand made, late cut 7″ clear vinyl (40 copies) to matches the beauty of the music. Pre-orders are now available on the Twice Removed Bandcamp page.


Featured track: ‘Into the Light’

Halftribe – Shells 

[Dewtone Recordings]

Halftribe is an electronic music project of Ryan Bissett who hails from Northern Ireland and currently based in Manchester, England.  In addition to DJ mixes and production, he also creates original music.  His latest effort is called Shells, out now on Dewtone Recordings where it finds a home beside such other purveyors of lush ambient sounds as Purl, Sven Laux, and Bjorn Rohde.

While beats and glitch make tasteful appearances on other Halftribe records, they are nowhere to be found here. Shells is a very introspective, even pastoral recording.  Gentle oscillations, delicate piano, and sounds of nature are wrapped in a translucent gauze of textured noise on ‘Echoes of Us’ and ‘Shashlik’, while the title track strikes a more pensive tone with a soft, gray-hued drone and a breathy voice that nearly evaporates into the air. At just over 15 minutes it is a tidy and satisfying ambient outing.

Shells is now available as digital download on the Dewtone Bandcamp store.


Featured track: ‘Shells’

Loscil – For Greta

Mentioned in a previous travelogue, For Greta is a special EP created by Scott Morgan, aka Locsil, to help raise funds for the daughter of a friend and fellow musician who was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer.  It is a lovely gesture and a beautiful musical offering.  As one might expect, the pieces here are thoughtful, gentle, and comforting.

‘Pearl’ which opens the album could be construed as a hushed lullaby of sorts, an ebbing, gossamer drone that laps peacefully on the shores of the mind.  ‘Luna’ expresses deep tenderness through the added dimension of Krista Marshall’s cello.  And the etheral voices blended with tender piano lines in ‘Lucioles’ (French for fireflies) creates a dreamy sense of childilike wonder.

For Greta is a beautiful record on its terms, all the more so for such a worthy cause. Available now as a digital download on the Loscil Bandcamp page.


Featured track: ‘Lucioles’

Siavash Amini / Heinali – When No Wind Whirled


Siavash Amini is no stranger to these pages.  It is no secret I am enamored with his deeply atmospheric and emotive guitar-based drones and sweeping modern classical context. Having previously appeared on the Futuresequence label as a participant in their SEQUENCE series compilations and as a featured full-length album artist (What Wind Whispered to the Trees), here he joins forces with Ukranian electroacoustic composer Oleg Shpudeiko, aka Heinali, to create a collaborative EP called When No Wind Whirled.

The partnership works very nicely.  Amini’s mesmerizing, cavernous drones are tempered by Heinali’s warmer colors and softer tones.  There is still much depth and expansiveness to the sound, but it refuses to recede totally into the subconscious.  What we have is over 20 minutes of vividly melancholic reflection, a thawed stillness that begins to move toward hope, redemption, and consciousness.  The poetic titles themselves nearly form a haiku – ‘In a Still Afternoon’, ‘I Saw the Brown Leaves Dropping’, ‘Whistling to the Sky’.

When No Wind Whirled is now available as a digital download on the Futuresequence Bandcamp site.


Featured track: ‘Whistling to the Sky’