Ian Hawgood‘s name is absolutely inseparable from the contemporary ambient & experimental music scene. His Home Normal label, which just marked its tenth anniversary, is one of the first and still one of the best of its kind. He is also a tireless and kind supporter of other musicians in this space and has had a hand in mastering many of their albums across a wide array of labels. His own solo albums, however, have been few & precious so it comes as great news to see one arrive this spring only a year after last year’s 光 for Eilean Rec. Hawgood himself draws a connection between the two, saying that they are “partners in construction”, the result of patient late-night cultivation over nearly a five-year period spent living in Warsaw and Tokyo before ultimately selling off his entire collection of synths and reels, some of which went to the British Library. One might argue he saved his best for last as Impermanence is a sublime document of sonic ephemerality and extraordinary filigree in terms of both texture and emotion.
“After many years of in-demand mastering, label curation and collaborative focus Hawgood now offers us a definitive portrait of the technical expertise and personal integrity demanded by exemplary modern tape-based practice…In studios between Tokyo and Warsaw walls of reel-to-reel tape recorders, analogue synthesizers, processed textures and degraded cassette recordings were all carefully coaxed into braiding together their hiss, wow, flutter and warmth into this beautifully flowing nine-chapter arc of delicately unpredictable sound.” – James Murray (Slowcraft Records)
You can preview the album in this exclusive premiere of “Whispers”. It is the third track on the album and one of its most melancholic and introspective. That said, once the full album is available, listeners will find it less a collection of songs and more of an unbroken arc with porous boundaries between the tracks which serve primarily as markers of shifts in mood and perspective within the overarching narrative. Spend the time listening to Impermanence in a quiescent state from start to finish and all the careful thought and feeling that went into it will unfold yielding ample rewards.
Impermanence will be available beginning April 18, 2019 from Slowcraft Records in a handcrafted limited CD edition of 150 copies with original artwork by Stijn Hüwels. Digital copies will also be available.