Hailing from the wilds of Pennsylvania’s northwest, instrumental quartet Heron arrived on the post-rock scene like a rush of fresh mountain air with their 2017 debut album You Are Here Now, Right out of the gate, they showed a penchant for melodic invention, infectious energy, and exhilarating arrangements with admirable attention to the nuances of space, tone, and texture.
In their second full-length record out this summer, members Ben Blick (guitar), Eric Morelli (bass), Boyd Lewis (guitar), and Nate Blick (drums) have built on that solid foundation by employing those dynamics in a more refined and expansive compositonal framework. Sun Release is a collection of great post-rock songs each of which can easily stand on its own while fitting into an overarching narrative – a single, soaring arc that spans the whole record.
Continue reading “PREMIERE: “Sun Release” by Heron”
When we first met Japanese composer & pianist Daigo Hanada, it was his 2017 debut Ichiru on Moderna Records, an album written in Berlin and Tokyo over the course of a year and recorded with only an upright piano and a pair of microphones. This summer, Hanada returns to the label with a beautiful EP in a similar vein entitled Ouka, a new collection of seven intimate vignettes full of oneric charm. Once again, there is an elegant simplicity to Hanada’s work, a balance between melody, harmony, and space that is easy to listen to but takes a special touch to achieve.
Continue reading “Video Premiere: Follow Me to the Moon by Daigo Hanada”
Known predominantly for his extensive work in film (“Three Identical Strangers”, “100 Streets”, and “Starfish” among others) and writing arrangements for such artists as Coldplay, Badly Drawn Boy, and Kasabian, British composer and mult-instrumentalist Paul Saunderson will soon be releasing his own debut album which blends electronics and field recordings with classical instrumentation. Passage, which will be available July 5 from the 1631 Recordings imprint is a 14-track opus strung together in a continuous flow which parallels Saunderson’s own personal journey over the past several years in which he disperses intimate piano works dispersed amidst euphoric orchestral pieces of cinematic scope.
“I have always been interested in combining electronics with classical music, something that has become a large part of the writing in my film work. Music and nature have always held a strong bond, so I also wanted to retain an organic element, often creating sounds from field recordings, taking something literally from nature and turning it into music.” – Paul Saunderson
Continue reading “Video Premiere: Now I Am Found by Paul Saunderson”
“Ypsilon” is the second collaboration between veteran sound artists Uwe Zahn aka Arovane (Germany), Porya Hatami (Iran) and Darren McClure (Japan). Perhaps some readers recall the first time they joined forces as a trio on Veerian (2016, Eilean Rec), a veritable masterclass in minimalist expression and textural sound design. Never ones to repeat themselves, the new record find the group expanding on their original ideas and excavating new sonic terrain with the addition of more fluid melodic shapes and rhythmic structures. Ypsilon is in constant motion. It pulses, shimmers, and percolates with a restless energy and an impetus toward experimentation and even playfulness.
Here in this exclusive premiere, you can enjoy the penultimate title track which ushers in the album’s more contemplative, atmospheric closing chapters, a smooth glide path to the end of a fascinating sonic excursion.
Continue reading “Premiere: ypsilon by Zahn | Hatami | McClure”
Hailing from the port city of Hull in East Yorkshire, composer and performer Daniel Elms focuses his work particularly on creating “electroacoustic urban pictures” which feature intricate orchestral textures fused with post-industrial soundscapes. For his new album Islandia soon to be released on the New Amsterdam imprint, Elms draws his inspiration from close to home as he presents five works for chamber orchestra, electric guitar, and synthesizers each of which is in some way referential to the coastal towns of North East England incorporating aspects of landscape, community, folk songs, and literature.
Islandia was recorded at Abbey Road studios and features performances by musicians of leading UK chamber groups including the Jubilee Quartet and Manchester Collective. For a preview of the album as well as a mesmerizing visual treat, Stationary Travels is pleased to premiere “Soft Machines” accompanied by a video created by filmmaker David Briggs. As Elms relates how the piece was constructed, it becomes clear just how deeply he has meditated on how to use the music to express very specific concepts and atmospheres. Continue reading “Video Premiere: Soft Machines by Daniel Elms”
Sun Rain is the solo alias of Toronto-based multi-instrumentalist, DJ, & electronic producer Chad Skinner. Released earlier this month on Hush Hush Records, Sheets represents his debut under this moniker, yet he’s been active within the music community for the past five years, releasing two albums as part of electronic production duo Snowday as well as spinning DJ sets in clubs and festivals around Ontario as Legs Florentine.
Recorded entirely in Skinner’s home studio, Sheets is a collection of eight sonically diverse electro-acoustic vignettes bound together in an aesthetic of melancholic beauty and heartfelt reflection on the importance of trees and wood in historical and contemporary life. From solo piano to folk guitar and from ambient synths to soothing beats, there is an organic style and contemplative mood shared by all the varied pieces that serves the overarching theme.
“After acquiring and spending time with a piano over a century old, I realized just how precious wood is. It has been integral for the survival of mankind; all the while remaining one of the most utilized natural materials for creative exploration.” – Chad Skinner
Continue reading “Video Premiere: “Paper 2” by Sun Rain”
Nil Ciuró is a composer and sound designer based in Barcelona who creates music for TV, advertising, motion graphics and short film. Next month he will be making his second appearance on the 1631 Recordings contemporary classical imprint with a new album entitled Inwards. The first preview of the new record was the Piano Day 2019 release of the fluttering ballad “Even”, but the second single shows the more kinetic side of Ciuró’s work.
Continue reading “Premiere: Boundaries by Nil Ciuró”
Born in East Berlin to actor Klaus-Peter Thiele and painter Rosemarie Rautenberg, Valeska Rautenberg grew up living and breathing creativity and has followed that path throughout her life. She started working as an actress at the age of eleven and continued starring in movies and television shows on & off while at school and later during university. During her teen years, however, she discovered music was her true love and since then she has engaged in all aspects of it as an instrumentalist, singer, composer, producer, and teacher.
Rautenberg has also performed in a wide array of settings from pubs & underground clubs to gala events and major venues, but her latest release is an especially personal and intimate one. Part of a series of releases that began in 2017 after taking some time off to tend to her personal life, Veins (Songs for Piano, Wind, & Water) is a collection of four beautiful piano-based vignettes inspired by early morning walks on the streets of Berlin and being attuned to sounds that can easily be drowned out when the city is bustling. Continue reading “Video Premiere: “Wandering” by Valeska Rautenberg”
After a little winter hibernation, things are beginning to spring to life over at 1631 Recordings, one of my favorite contemporary classical labels since its inception. In addition to three releases announced in conjunction with Piano Day 2019, the label will be bringing us a collection of brand new reworks of material from Jakob Lindhagen‘s ‘Paces‘ which was originally released in late 2017 (read the ST review here). While Lindhagen successfully etched the quintessence of long Scandinavian nights into each of the album’s austere, delicate compositions, these carefully curated reworks reveal how just how adaptable they are to new ideas and constructions. Continue reading “Premiere: Jakob Lindhagen – In The Machinery (Aisling Brouwer Rework)”