Sound Impression: On Paper by Nebel Lang & Ishmael Cormack

In Nebel lang and Ishmael Cormack, we have two artists with distinctly different takes on electroacoustic minimalism collaborating for the first time and finding a way to mesh their styles seamlessly to produce something quite special. Nebel lang is actually but one of several pseudonyms under which one half of our duo works. It is a mix of the German words for “fog” and “lifelong” which is meant to suggest the concept of “lifelong uncertainty”. It is a metaphor for the branch of their work which relies on solo piano improvisations that inextricably bound to the place, time, and circumstances of their creation and thus cannot be repeated. Cormack, on the other hand, focuses on weaving found sound with guitar, piano, electronics, and tape to create gentle soundscapes of a pastoral nature. On Paper merges these two fragile musical domains into one beautiful whole.

Released on Cormack’s own Fallow Recordings imprint, the EP unfolds in the form of a pair of long-form pieces. Nebel lang’s tempered piano is most prominent, a delicate cascade of free-flowing notes wrapped in gossamer layers of ambient sounds discreetly interwoven by Cormack. In the latter stages of “other story” we hear the metallic glint and brush strokes of acoustic guitars seep into the foreground, while in “without name” the textural elements seem almost subliminal. Paradoxically, the music of both pieces is constantly in restless motion but the effect of listening is to induce stillness and reflection. It really is an exquisite work and hopefully will be the first of many between these two.

On Paper is available now as a digital download or on a limited edition handmade CD (sold out at time of publishing). The poem accompanying the album was written by Michael Iona.