Field Journal: 2020 Week 39

image © by Russel Sherwood Photography

The field journal is a concise weekly digest of music discovery. Featured in this edition: Michael Price, Lau Nau & Matti Bye, Glåsbird, Christopher Bisonnette, Julianna Barwick, Dawn Chorus and the Infallible Sea, Ralph Kinsella, Andrew Tuttle, and Memory Drawings.

Micahel Price – “When the Nagra Sings (demo)”

It is always wonderful to hear something new from composer Michael Price. This track which he tells us features stacked vocals recorded through a Nagra IV-S, Una Corda piano treated with a 70s BSR 1/4″ machine, and Yamaha CS80 synth. It may be described it as a “work in progress”, but it would take quite a discriminating ear to find any rough edges in this beautiful piece. It also serves as a reminder that we’ll be able to hear Michael’s music on the TV again soon as he soundtracks the acclaimed ITV series ‘Unforgotten‘ which is set to return for its fourth season.

Lau Nau & Matti Bye – “Cloud Circles”

from the forthcoming album ‘Signals’ on Time Released Sound

Catching my ear this week are the first previews of a new collaboration between Finnish electronic artist Lau Nau and Swedish composer & pianist Matti Bye to be called Signals. Being issued on the Time Released Sound imprint, we can expect an elaborate bespoke treatment to any physical editions as hinted at by the intriguing artwork shown so far. Here again is a connection to the realm of current soundtracks. You can hear Matti Bye’s work behind the new Netflix original series ‘Young Wallender‘.

Glåsbird – “Posledniy Voyazh [Последний Вояж]”

from the forthcoming album ‘Novaya Zemlya‘ on Whitelabrecs

Whitelabrecs has carried on from a strong 2019 into the new year with a seemingly inexhaustible stream of fine releases. One of the brightest luminaries in their catalog is the mysterious Glåsbird, an anonymous project from “an established artist” revolving around creating evocative soundtracks for fictitious but well researched expeditions to remote geographic locations. A new release has just been announced that continues a recurring Arctic theme, this time traveling to the Russian-owned island of Novaya Zemlya.

The Southern island Yuzhny is the home of a few inhabitants whereas the Northern counterpart Severny is pretty much all glacier. The added complication of sea-ice during Arctic winters have made certain parts of this land very difficult to navigate…Into more recent times, Novaya Zemlya has been a sensitive military area throughout the cold war as well as a nuclear testing site. In 1961 the world’s most powerful nuclear weapon was detonated, the ‘Tsar Bomba’.


Christopher Bissonnette – “Response”

from the forthcoming album ‘Wayfinding‘ on Azure Vista Records

While he is familiar to the ambient community for his work appearing elsewhere, Christopher Bissonnette makes his first appearance on 12k with ‘Wayfinding’, a release that marks a shift from his previous reliance exclusively on synthesizers to a blend of electronic and acoustic sources and the incorporation of field recordings. Label runner Taylor Deupree has long been very attentive to guiding the creative direction of the label while being open to incorporating distinctive new voices with the listener being the prime beneficiary as he welcomes another fine artist to the fold.

Julianna Barwick – “Healing Is A Miracle (Extended Version)”

from the EP ‘Healing Is A Miracle – Extended Versions‘ on Ninja Tune Records

On this gem of an EP Julianna Barwick reprises three tracks from her summer release ‘Healing Is A Miracle‘ in new stretched out versions each running over 10 minutes in length. The patient beauty of each becomes only more evident while basking in the sense of immersion the added length provides. Either as a companion to the original album or as a listening experience unto itself, this was a most welcome September surprise.

Dawn Chorus and the Infallible Sea – “Liberamente”

from the forthcoming album ‘Liberamente‘ on Azure Vista Records

The second album from American trio zakè, Marc Ertel, & Damien Duque known as Dawn Chorus and the Infallible Sea is set to make its appearance on Jonas Munk‘s Azure Vista Records in mid-October. As the title track which has been released as the first single shows, we can expect warm gossamer drones that entrancingly blur the lines between ambient soundscapes and structured compositional forms.

Ralph Kinsella – “Anonyme”

from the EP ‘Abstraction

I recently was introduced to the music of Scottish guitarist Ralph Kinsella who has an album due later this fall on Orlando-based 8D Industries. That led me to this very nice EP Kinsella is currently offering as a free download on his Bandcamp site which I’ve enjoyed digging into. Memorable melodies and lots of warm distortion awash in a sea of echo and reverb make this a really pleasant listen.

Andrew Tuttle – “Tallowwood View (expanded) [ft. Chuck Johnson]”

from the EP ‘Alexandra Variations‘ on Room40

Following the May release of his collection of songs reflecting on growing up in Brisbane Australia’s Alexandra Hills, songwriter, composer, & musician Andrew Tuttle and Room40 label boss Lawrence English agreed upon this EP of bonus, reworked, and extended material including this wonderful 14 minute version of “Tallowwood View” featuring long shimmering metallic arcs drawn by Chuck Johnson on the pedal steel.

Memory Drawings- “The Same Difference”

from the forthcoming album ‘A Few Scattered Hours’ on Second Language Music

Memory Drawings is a transatlantic collaboration between Minneapolis-raised, Morocco-based hammered dulcimer player Joel Hanson, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Richard Adams (Hood, Declining Winter), violinist Sarah Kemp (Lanterns on the Lake Brave Timbers) and Gareth S Brown (Hood, solo). Their first full-length record in three years, A Few Scattered Hours contains eleven new instrumentals plus an eight-track bonus of album of remixes and reworks with many guest musicians appearing throughout. It promises to be a rich offering and one that comes with a message to ponder as well.

Due to time constraints and the vast geographical distance between band members, Memory Drawings has always written music in short bursts of creativity, whenever a few scattered hours were available for Joel and Richard to make music in the same room together. However, the record title is also an indirect indictment of life in early 21st-century, neo-liberal America, where increasing numbers of people are consumed by the relentless necessity of fulfilling economic imperatives, leaving fewer and fewer hours to focus on the spiritual/artistic pursuits that make life worth living. A Few Scattered Hours is the band’s sonic antidote to this loss of personal autonomy, a reminder that other worlds—more compassionate and beautiful—are still possible.

Memory drawings