CEEYS is a portmanteau coined from the names of the primary instruments used by brothers Sebastian & Daniel Selke to perform their minimalist modern classical compositions – the cello played by Sebastian (‘violoncelle’) and Daniel’s piano and vintage synthesizers (‘keys’). Their latest album now out on the Neue Meister imprint is the final chapter in a triptych centered around growing up in Europe’s largest prefab estate in Berlin-Marzahn-Hellersdorf, East Germany and living through the dramatic political & cultural changes that transpired during the collapse of the GDR and the reunification with the West.
The album is called Hiddensee, referring to the small but picturesque holiday island in the Baltic Sea just west of Rügen, a “sweet little land” (‘Söte Länneken’) with an unspoiled beauty that attracted such artists & intellectuals in the early 20th century as Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, and Sigmund Freud and which served as both a popular vacation destination and a haven for dissidents throughout the GDR era.
“After the Peaceful Revolution in 1989, the subsequent fall of the Berlin Wall and all through the 1990s, the area kept its contradictory atmosphere of vibrant euphoria and underlying melancholia. As we strongly felt the need to incorporate all different aspects of these turbulent times into our work, we decided to release them in a series of records over the next years to come. While CONCRETE FIELDS was dedicated to our childhood behind the Iron Curtain in the 1980s, WÆNDE was a collection of impressions regarding the sudden fall of the Wall – the moment of change that is shaping us to this very day. Now we turn to the no less intense 1990s – for us, those years bring to mind family trips and our sheer amazement for the vast beauty of the world.” – CEEYS
Continue reading “A Sense of Place: Hiddensee by CEEYS”
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”
I am thrilled to announce a new section of the blog dedicated to a very special project that has been in the works since early 2018 called Place Language. It is an international non-profit compilation album inspired by the themes found in Robert Macfarlane’s widely-acclaimed book ‘Landmarks’. In particular it focuses on the book’s extensive topographic glossaries, the “word-hoard” of depictive landscape terms gathered from 30 different languages, dialects and sub-dialects around Britain & Ireland and divided into sections by type of terrain (Flatlands, Uplands, Waterlands, Coastlands, Underlands, Northlands, Edgelands, Earthlands and Woodlands).
Click HERE to meet the 30 artists & creators involved in Place Language Continue reading “Project Announcement: A Global Survey of Place, Language, and Sound”
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”
Christopher Willits is an artist, teacher, musician, and guitarist based in San Francisco who has a diverse catalog of over 25 releases to his credit and has collaborated with such illustrious names in the field as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Taylor Deupree, and Tycho. He is also the founder of a nonprofit audio platform called Envelop which empowers 3D listening experiences through a combination of immersive sound venues and open-source audio production tools. Willits will be employing these himself to bring performances of his forthcoming new album Sunset to live audiences. The album will be released June 14 by Ghostly International with which he has had a long association. The music on the record has a simple but profound objective.
“One of the core artists on Ghostly since its inception, the ambient artist’s compositions on Sunset move from warm to cool, designed as a soundtrack to embrace the day’s end; a collective letting go. Willits presents his latest work with the simple instructions: “Begin the music 15 minutes before the sun sets.”
Continue reading “Sound Impression: Sunset by Christopher Willits”
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”
For their latest record entitled It Billows Up, Brooklyn-based avant music trio Sontag Shogun sought to capture the essence of their live performances on record through the use of collaborative techniques and modular compositions they had developed while on tour in Europe, Japan, & North America in 2016/17. The end result is a kaleidoscopic pastiche of music and sound, an au courant panorama of compositional and improvisational elements blended with foley art and human theater into a singular hypnagogic narrative by the band’s three members – Ian Temple (piano), Jesse Perlstein (electronically treated vocals, field recordings), and Jeremy Young (analog oscillators, reel-to-reel tape loops, and beats made only with contact mic’d objects & surfaces).
Continue reading “Sound Impression: It Billows Up by Sontag Shogun”