Field Journal: 2020 Week 48

© copyright Russell Sherwood Photography

A weekly digest of music discovery. Featured in this edition: Ariel Marx, Julia Andersson, Lucy Gooch, Nils Frahm, Poppy Ackroyd, Robot Koch and Viktor Orri Arnason (reworked by Hugar), Simon Scott, and Sophia Jani.

Ariel Marx – “Diapason”

from Luthier on Node Records

video by Jazer Giles

Luthier is an album of music written & produced by composer and multi-instrumentalist Ariel Marx who is joined by a quartet of guest musicians to create what she calls “a love letter to strings”. Marx is also a Sundance Film Music and Sound Design Lab fellow and has scored a wide variety of critically acclaimed films and even on first listen one is struck by the cinematic range and deep resonance of these pieces. Tip of that hat to composer and friend of the blog Danny Mulhern for this stellar recommendation.

“I have always been drawn to strings for their humanness. A single stringed instrument is limitless, and embodies endless sonic possibilities within its seams. It can at one moment evoke warmth and gentleness, and the next, abrasiveness and unease — with just a single adjustment of the finger or bowing positions. It can be both textural and melodic, poised and volatile, and can both comfort and terrify. In this way, it feels human — exposed, and raw, and capable of multitudes. It is this duplicity that I love to explore as a composer and musician.”

Ariel Marx

Julia Andersson – “Promise”

from the Promise/Sleepy Meadows EP on Moderna Records

An absolutely enchanting piece by Finnish pianist & composer Julia Andersson, one of two releases featured here from Moderna Records. According to Julia, this song as well as the free-flowing B-side were written during warm summer nights and seek to create the feeling of taking a walk through the forest and meadows.

Lucy Gooch – “We Carry”

a digital single on Looking Glass

Recorded in her flat in Bristol last spring, Lucy Gooch offers four minutes of mesmerizing magic, an ethereal, kaleidoscopic journey created with voice and synthesizers for Mexican Summer’s Looking Glass Series. Also be sure to check out Lucy’s accalimed full-length Rushing released earlier this year on Past Inside the Present and her beautiful THESIS collaboration with Black Brunswicker and zakè which was premiered here in May.

Nils Frahm – “Fundamental Values”

from the film and album Tripping with Nils Frahm

14 minutes of audio bliss from a brand new concert album & film from Nils Frahm capturing moments from four shows performed at Funkhaus Berlin in December of 2018 at the end of a world tour that brought his highly acclaimed album All Melody to the stage. The film premieres December 3, exclusively on the global streaming service MUBI while the album will be available via Erased Tapes.

Given the current situation and restrictions on our social life, it kind of feels like a document from another time or even another universe. But in fact, it’s not that long ago that my team and I were nomads, using any method of travel to play yet another show the next day. The film was shot by my friend Benoit Toulemonde and his wonderful team during our performances at Funkhaus Berlin in December 2018. Manually operated cameras were placed in the audience, carefully hidden to not disturb the listeners. It was about time to capture my concerts in picture and sound, trying to freeze a moment of a two-year journey around the globe.

Nils Frahm

Poppy Ackroyd – “Parallel (feat. Manu Delago)”

from Haingeraide on Ki Records

It so good to hear fresh new music once again from the talented composer and multi-instrumentalist Poppy Ackroyd. This vibrant piece that blends her dynamic piano style with textures from percussionist Manu Delago is her contribution to the charity compilation Hangeraide which features an impressive group of artists including Kiasmos, Sophie Hutchings, Hania Rani, Peter Gregson, and Lambert among others. All profits from this release will be donated to Médecins Sans Frontières.

Robot Koch and Viktor Arnason – “Stars As Eyes (Hugar Rework)”

video by Jazer Giles

“Stars as Eyes”, a song co-written by Robot Koch and Icelandic composer Viktor Orri Árnason from Koch’s hopeful opus The Next Billion Years, is given a beautifully ornamented rework here by Hugar accompanied by a video from Jazer Giles that makes it a complete audiovisual experience.

“In this rework we bring out different colors than in the original song. This is a melancholic composition with elements of hope built around a piano theme and a violin melody. We added textures to establish the emotions we wanted to bring out. The end result is a mix between minds coming together in a creation”


Simon Scott – “Apart C”

from the Apart on 12k

Continuing a year of exceptional releases on 12k is a deeply reflective meditation on grief and sense of place by Simon Scott which was conceived while taking solace in nature following the loss of his father due to Covid-19.

“48 hours after this devastating news I walked through New Decoy, a nature reserve in the Fens, and heard the vocalisation of skylarks. Their songs rang out across the resonant environment, or to use the lexicon of R Murray Schafer, across the ‘soundscape’, as the auditory image created an unexpected multi-species entanglement of sound-meaning correspondence. Self-aware of the decades that had past since visiting the Fens in my childhood in the early 1980’s with my father, the apperception augmented my profound sense of loss…In the studio I composed a piano piece that weaved around the central field recordings of the Fens which I also treated by electronic means to achieve the sound and emotion I felt.”

Simon Scott

Sophia Jani – “summer and summer and winter again”

a digital single on Moderna Records

Exquisite solo piano minimalism characterizes this painterly piece of music from Munich-based contemporary composer Sophia Jani. The digital single was just released by Moderna Records and is complemented by artwork from Ayumi Kobayashi.