Travelogue 2017.09.03: As Summer Fades

It is time for the slow fade of summer. The northern hemisphere starts to tilt away from the burning sun and the slanted light begins to take on a golden tint in the afternoons. The comforting crisp austerity of autumn awaits, but it is still warm, hazy, and verdant and a fine time to sink into languid, introspective sounds of the kind of delicate construction that can be found on the six albums featured here – a trio from the Whitelabrecs label by Ludmila, Steve Pacheco, and Floor Overhead along with EPs by M. Grig and Josh Mason, and a forthcoming October release by Ghost and Tape on Home Normal

Ludmila – 1 Day 1 Track [Whitelabrecs]

Ludmila is a solo project of musician Jori Borla, originally from Salta, Argentina and currently based in Lyon, France.  On his Whitelabrecs debut he offers up a collection of dreamy guitar loop sketches which he created over an inspired 7-day period.

“In ‘1 Day 1 Track’, Jori set about recording one track every day for a week in which he describes it as the ‘best holidays ever’. Each track on the album is a cropped section of a recording session that lasted from between 10 and 20 minutes, a process repeated each day. In one very peaceful week, Jori recalls playing free from thought, with the takes being improvised without the aid of a computer”

These pieces may have been born of improvisation, but the soft focus guitar lines, shimmering arcs and warm amp crackles meld into a mellifluous flow as Borla weaves a hazy, kaleidoscopic daydream that offers a beautiful respite from the clamor of daily life.

1 Day 1 Track is available now from Whitelabrecs on the labels unique format of limited edition vinyl-effect CDr with Polaroid artwork (50 copies) as well as all Bandcamp digital formats.


Steve Pacheco – The 4th [Whitelabrecs]

“Typically, Steve’s sound begins life as a simple melody or loop typically created using guitar, piano, kalimba, xylophone or other acoustic sources. These are then processed until a texture or drone is achieved and then stored to a library of sound. In the next stage, Steve will then look to assemble these loops and carve out different frequencies from them into a track and this process can take quite a long time…”

The 4th is Steve Pacheco’s second release this year, following a lovely entry in Dauw catalog entitled Constellate recently reviewed here. While the pattern of Steve’s creative process may have common elements, the new album feels softer and less ornately textured with a sheer, translucency to the sonic fabric that at times promises to nearly dissolve. While the music was inspired by and deeply connected to his own personal memories and experiences, there is no burden placed upon the listener. The narrative remains opaque as the unobtrusive and softly flowing sounds prove malleable to the listener’s own needs for reflection, introspection and comfort.

Available now on vinyl-effect CDr with Polaroid artwork (50 copies) and digital download.


Floor Overhead – Uses For Pavement

Floor Overhead is an alias for Brooklyn, New York based artist Andrew Farwell whose work was new to me with his June Whitelabrecs release entitled Uses For Pavement. It is an immersive study in sound & space. Part of what makes the record fascinating is Farwell’s approach which applies restraint to the process of manipulating and embellishing the sounds so as not to remove the inherent beauty of any perceived imperfections.

“Uses For Pavement is the product of quiet, happy accidents from guitar recordings that have been gently brushed over with some production to create a collage focused on spacing and permanence. The album is an attempt to refuse the temptation to alter accident-prone inputs and superimpose the ‘shoulds’ of creation.”

As the oscillations accrete into porous layers and imperfect shapes, the rough edges and irregularities left in offer gentle sonic abrasions which have a pleasantly exfoliating effect on the mind even as it holds together well enough to still offer a compelling musical narrative.

Available now on vinyl-effect CDr with Polaroid artwork (50 copies) and digital download.


M. Grig – Still Lifes [Other Songs]

Previously recording under the moniker Light of Woods, musician & composer Mike Grigoni now goes by the name of M. Grig and has just released a charming little gem called Still Lifes via Canadian label Other Songs.

Still Lifes, was unknowingly started over a decade ago. He was then living in Seattle and had just bought his first multi-track recorder. As a result, he spent many hours tucked away as it rained, layering lap steel and pedal steel guitar, experimenting with sound.”

Grigoni chose the experiments he felt worked well and stitched them together into a loose aural document outlining his journey from Seattle to Durham, North Carolina where he is now based. Also a composer for films, Grigoni lends a touch of the cinematic to these pastoral, melodic pieces finding a way to give them narrative scope even as he mines emotive elements from the instrument’s melancholic twang. Still Lifes only lasts a little over 16 minutes, but it is a rewarding and memorable journey you won’t want to miss.


Josh Mason – Barque of Phosphor

A late entry to this list as I came across it today, but I would be remiss not to include this new EP by east Florida-based musician Josh Mason. Barque of Phosphor is listed on his Bandcamp site as a 2017 summer tour tape and consists of a quartet of ephemeral sonic abstracts put together with guitar, tape machines, electronics, and found sounds which, fortunately for us, can be downloaded in digital form as well (note: one copy of the cassette is still available at this writing).

Nothing ever feels forced in Mason’s music; it just seems to follow a natural, unobstructed flow. Writing about his 2015 album Hellefied Irie (reviewed here), I said “Mason succeeds in capturing that blissful torpor of endless summers, magical places, and openness to discoveries inwards & outwards”, a sentiment I would extend to Barque of Phosphor as well.


Ghost and Tape – Vár [Home Normal]

Unfortunately you will have to wait until October for the official release, but this beautifully constructed record by Ghost and Tape (aka Heine Christensen) has a least two tracks up for preview which should be all you need fall under the spell of its oneric charms.

‘This album is inspired by and a tribute to Nature, in all its
wonderful chaos; pure and forceful with mystifying, beautiful
patterns. The word ‘Vár’ itself means spring, and originates in Old
Norse, symbolising a new beginning, a chance to start fresh.’ –
Heine Christensen

Carefully constructed and intricately layered with purity of intent, Vár is an album of rustic and delicate beauty that not only rewards but virtually demands repeated listening. Pre-orders for the October 29 release on limited edition CD are now available.