Field Journal: 2021 Week 30

This week’s field journal entry offers relief from the doldrums and heat of summer in the form of a collection of tracks all of which feature vocals or spoken word as an integral part of what makes them special. Featured artists include Daniel Buerkner with Lau Nau, Francis M. Gri with Lilium, Gallowglas, Hollie Kenniff, Jay Chakravorty with Ryan Hannigan, Karen Peris, Marine Eyes, Tim Linghaus, and a Voces8 choral version of a piece by Slow Meadow.

Daniel Buerkner- “Kuppel aus Papier”

From ‘Landschaft aus Papier’ [Oscarson]


With his brand new release on the Oscarson label entitled Landschaft aus Papier, German artist Daniel Bürkner presents a musical collage using the metaphor of a brightly colored picture book that blends minimalist singer-songwriting with instrumental compositions and abstract electronics while thematically incorporating personal moments with both historical and cultural remembrance. While covering a lot of ground conceptually, the songs are delicate and restrained in their execution which only seems to lend them a greater sense of poignancy. The track featured here is graced by added vocals from Finnish composer, performer & producer Lau Nau.

‘Landschaft aus Papier’ is a light and open collage. After all, it’s not about musical drama. It’s about creating a new open story, respectful to the elements that contributed to it. 

Landschaft aus Papier is available digitally and on limited edition 12-inch vinyl LP (200 copies).

Francis M. Gri – “Part 2”

From ‘Stille’ [mailbox]


Bristol, UK based mailbox label continues to expand its roster nicely with a new EP called Stille from Frances M. Gri who also runs a label of his own in Krysalisound. The Swiss-born and Italy based experimental musician offers a mesmerizing meditative suite here in four parts featuring warm acoustic guitar lines juxtaposed with wintry textures & filigree and haunted by the ethereal vocals of Lilium.

‘Stille’ is about addressing the now, but also to offer an embrace of hope for anyone who needs it.

Stille is now available as a digital release featuring artwork by James A. McDermid.

Gallowglas – “There Is Nothing Flawless”

From ‘I dream I see you hit the water, I dream I see you change your mind’ [Lost Tribe Sound]


As part of their “Built Upon A Fearful Void” subscription series, Lost Tribe Sound brings the debut of Gallowglas, a new project formed by Johan G Winther and a second but unnamed core member. Along with a robust list of collaborators that includes Nicola Madill, Sofia Nystrand (Vargkvint), William Ryan Fritch, Peter Hollo, and Simon McCorry, they have created a somber and elegiac work that simmers with emotional urgency punctuated by moments of fleeting beauty.

Mastered by James Plotkin and featuring striking artwork by Jesse Narens the album will be released September 10, 2021 in a limited CD book edition limited to 100 copies.

Hollie Kenniff – “Flourish”

From ‘The Quiet Drift’ [Western Vinyl]


Also known for collaborating with husband Keith (Goldmund, Helios) as part of Mint Julep, Hollie Kenniff masterfully weaves her own solo set for the venerable Western Vinyl label, a heady sonic swirl of shimmering guitars, painterly ambient soundscapes, and empyrean vocals to create a sense of wonder inspired by natural surroundings and childhood memory.

“As a child I visited Ontario year-round. More than any other landscape, I think the lake, rivers, and woods there left the most enduring impression on me. The landscape and pace of life of these places will always stay with me.”

Mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri, The Quiet Drift is now available digitally and in limited editions on both CD and 12-inch vinyl LP. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this album will be donated to The Nature Conservancy of Canada and a women’s emergency shelter and halfway house. 

Jay Chakravorty- “Maps”

From ‘A Map With No Memory’ [Unperceived Records]


I had the pleasure of premiering a track from the modern classical debut of multi-instrumentalist, composer, & producer Jay Chakravorty earlier this year. The album surfaces again here to feature its stunning closing track which features a gentle piano line and soaring strings as a backdrop to a poem read by Ryan Hannigan over a heartbeat of pulsing electronics.

Available now as a digital release featuring artwork by Melanie Kretzer.

Karen Peris – “I Would Sing Along”

From ‘A Song Is Way Above the Lawn’ [Bella Union]


There is a reassuring evergreen quality to the music of Karen Peris that has lasted for over three decades now. While the world is ever changing and often for the worse, her songs have remained gently but fiercely devoted to the qualities of our better angels. The joys & wonder of childhood have been a persistent recurring theme in her music but perhaps never so directly as with her forthcoming new record A song is way above the lawn which she describes as album “for kids or for anyone who might like songs about walking under trees in a city, seeing dogs from a car window, reading, encountering gentle lions in the public library, listening to the first sounds of the morning, looking at stars, thinking about giraffes, and elephants, and the beauty of the world, the possibility contained in a tiny moment of a day”. Karen has done all the illustrations for the project as well as singing and playing multiple instruments joined by husband Don on drums & bass, son Drew on violin and daughter Anna on viola. This is pure joy for fans of The Innocence Mission and is sure to lure new ones to the fold both young & old.

A song is way above the lawn will be released October 8, 2021 on CD and translucent green vinyl.

Marine Eyes – “Shortest Day”

From ‘idyll’ [Stereoscenic Records]


Cynthia Bernard casts a wide net in the ambient music space as collaborator in Awakened Souls and curator of events, compilations, & playlists for Past Inside the Present while simultaneously launching her own solo project dubbed Marine Eyes. Her debut album for the latter is aptly called idyll as she uses an array of guitars, pedals, and vocal loops to create curative, pastoral soundscapes that take the listener to a better place.

I started writing ‘idyll’ with one intention—to create a peaceful, gentle place, much like Southern California’s rolling green hills in their fleeting spring...I hope you find your own peaceful place within this collection of songs.

idyll is available from Stereoscenic as a digital release. A limited edition CD was also issued but is currently sold out.

Tim Linghaus – “Saturn Days”

From ‘Realismo Mágico’ [piano and coffee records]


In a clever nod to Venus Years, the second and most recent volume in his trilogy focused on a child’s perspective of divorce, “Saturn Days” is a new single by German musician & composer Tim Linghaus which appears on the eclectic Realismo Mágico compilation from piano & coffee records. The song is a lovely neoclassical pop confection featuring feathery prepared piano and synth lines and gossamer layered vocals to create a dream like effect that belies the bittersweet lyrical content.

Realismo Mágico features illustrations by Jordan Amy Lee and graphic design by Celia Fernández González. Other artists featured on the compilation are Alexdra Hamilton-Ayres, Sjors Mans, Jakob Lindhagen & Vargkvint, Simeon Walker, Martyna Basta, Gustav Davidsson, John Hayes, Lucy Claire, Klangriket, Ella Zwietnig, and Brueder Selke.

VOCES8 – Slow Meadow: Helium Life Jacket (Arr. Lawson)

From ‘Infinity’ [Decca Classics]


This a cappella version of “Helium Life Jacket” from Slow Meadow‘s Happy Occident (2019) by Voces8 is pure celestial beauty. The track will appear on their forthcoming new album called Infinity in which the British vocal ensemble will offer choral arrangements of works by an impressive array of electronic, alternative, film and contemporary classical composers including five which will be world premieres. The curation looks impeccable with names including Jóhann Jóhannsson, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Jon Hopkins, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Ólafur Arnalds, Luke Howard, Sophie Hutchings, Anne Lovett, and more.