Video Premiere: All I’ve Said by Mike Lazarev

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“it was unspoken, hence unheard
unwritten, and in turn unread
but in between each silent word
i have resigned to all i’ve said”

“All I’ve Said” is the sixth and final entry in Moderna Record’s Fall Single Series, a collection of minimalist piano-centered pieces by a globe-spanning roster of musicians: Jacob David (Denmark), Hiroco.M (Japan), Adam Daudrich (Canada), n-So (US), Richard Luke (Scotland), and ending with Mike Lazarev (England). In addition to being editor-in-chief of Headphone Commute, one of the leading online magazines covering ambient, experimental, & instrumental music, Mike is a London based composer & pianist with who has released solo albums on 1631 Recordings as well as a stellar collaboration with Uwe Zahn (aka Arovane) for the Eilean Records project just this past summer.

To cap off this beautiful conclusion to the series, Mike collaborated with Jessie Rodger, a visual artist & director from South Wales who specializes in filming music & dance, and Greek freelance dancer Nancy Nerantzi to create a captivating video against the dramatic background of the Cornish coast. Less than three minutes tick away on the clock before it comes to end, but the tender melody, stunning cinematography, and expressive choreography come together to create a moment that lives outside of time.

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Video Premiere: Midnight by Raphaelle Thibaut

Artwork - Raphaelle Thibaut - Genesis

Born half deaf, Raphaelle Thibaut was pushed at age 4 by her music-loving parents to start an intense 17 year piano practice in order to re-educate her hearing and by her early teens, Morricone, Goldsmith and de Roubaix were already playing on her Discman. In 2015, Raphaelle quit her marketing job at Google to pursue her lifelong passion for music and film scoring leading her to work with brands like Ubisoft, Coca-Cola, Nike and featuring in movie trailers for such major Hollywood productions as ‘Incredibles 2‘ and ‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’ as well as the Hulu TV series ‘The Act‘.

On November 15, she will release an album entitled Genesis on 1631 Recordings that showcases her range from piano-based neoclassical reveries to cinematic mini-epics. Following the arc of a day from morning to night, these eight compositions enchant with an acute sense of melody, deft narrative pacing, an beautifully layered arrangements.  Here in an exclusive premiere is a video filmed by Adnan Islam to accompany one of the album’s more contemplative moments, the lovely penultimate track “Midnight”.

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Travelogue: A Journey With Whitelabrecs

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By my count, Whitelabrecs has come out with nearly 70 releases in the four years since it was founded  by Harry Towell (aka Spheruleus).  For the first three, the label strictly followed a set formula in which each release came out on vinyl-effect CDs in a limited run of 50 copies.  This year, Towell has upped the ante with runs of 100 copies and a new packaging motif designed to emulate gatefold vinyl LPs as well as an expanded range of photographers sourcing the artwork.  What has been consistent from the beginning, however, is a steady stream of  highly engaging releases from a thoughtfully curated roster of artists currently working in the ambient, drone, modern classical, electro-acoustic and folk genres.  The six albums featured here have provided me with a great deal of listening pleasure lately, but they only represent a portion of the breadth and depth of what is on offer, so I recommend allowing oneself lots of time to explore during visits to Bandcamp.

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Travelogue: A Fluid Audio Journey

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Calling UK-based Fluid Audio a boutique label may be apropos, but it still somehow seems too quaint a description for the level of creativity, sophistication, and craftsmanship that goes into each bespoke edition that comes out of their shop. The music each artist creates is only the beginning as the sense of immersion is enhanced significantly with artful packaging and curated ephemera that deepens the experience – postcards, photos, letters, scents, and other historical artifacts. Every release is truly unique and conveys an aura of authenticity and human connection that is very antithesis of commoditization. Featured here is a quartet of recent entries in their catalog by Emmanuel Witzhum, Tobias Hellkvist, Christopher Whitley, and Kirill Mazhai.

Note: As many readers may already be aware, if you have an interest in obtaining a Fluid Audio release, it is imperative to sign up for their mailing list as they typically sell out early in the pre-order phase. Also note that shortly after physical editions do sell out, digital versions usually become available on the label’s Facture Bandcamp page.

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Track Premiere: Enfolding by Jim Perkins

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A classically-trained musician, composer for film, frequent collaborator, and founder/curator of Bigo & Twigetti, when Jim Perkins goes into the studio to record his own projects, it is safe to assume he has found a fresh and novel concept to explore. Such is the case with his new album Pools, his first full-length since 2015’s Constance. Once again, Perkins draws from the compositional techniques of his roots and cleverly subverts them with innovative recording methods and sound design combined with thematic constancy. In particular, Pools relies on binaural recording techniques and careful layering and spatial positioning of the instruments to create an immersive listening experience best experienced with a pair of headphones and attentive ears.

“A relaxed compositional framework leaves room for the serendipity of improvisation; it facilitates a beautiful balance; music with purpose, music that breathes. I want the listener to feel as if they are in the room with these instruments and surrounded by sound” – Jim Perkins

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Sound Impression: Seascapes by Jane Antonia Cornish

Seascapes-Album-Cover

Having immersed us in the empyrean beauty of the cosmos with last year’s Constellations, BAFTA award-winning composer Jane Antonia Cornish turns her gaze from the heavenly to the pelagic on her new record, an exceptional new collection of cyclical works for piano, strings, bass guitar, & electronics entitled Seascapes. Once again, Cornish achieves a consummate balance between painterly eloquence, cinematic grandeur, and refined minimalist expression as she captures the vastness and wonder of her chosen subject framed in contemplative stillness.

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Video Premiere: Now I Am Found by Paul Saunderson

Passage - Artwork

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

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Premiere: Jakob Lindhagen – In The Machinery (Aisling Brouwer Rework)

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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. 

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Premiere: “Whispers” from Impermanence by Ian Hawgood

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Ian Hawgood‘s name is absolutely inseparable from the contemporary ambient & experimental music scene. His Home Normal label, which just marked its tenth anniversary, is one of the first and still one of the best of its kind. He is also a tireless and kind supporter of other musicians in this space and has had a hand in mastering many of their albums across a wide array of labels. His own solo albums, however, have been few & precious so it comes as great news to see one arrive this spring only a year after last year’s for Eilean Rec. Hawgood himself draws a connection between the two, saying that they are “partners in construction”, the result of patient late-night cultivation over nearly a five-year period spent living in Warsaw and Tokyo before ultimately selling off his entire collection of synths and reels, some of which went to the British Library.  One might argue he saved his best for last as Impermanence is a sublime document of sonic ephemerality and extraordinary filigree in terms of both texture and emotion.

“After many years of in-demand mastering, label curation and collaborative focus Hawgood now offers us a definitive portrait of the technical expertise and personal integrity demanded by exemplary modern tape-based practice…In studios between Tokyo and Warsaw walls of reel-to-reel tape recorders, analogue synthesizers, processed textures and degraded cassette recordings were all carefully coaxed into braiding together their hiss, wow, flutter and warmth into this beautifully flowing nine-chapter arc of delicately unpredictable sound.” – James Murray (Slowcraft Records)

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