In the winter of 2017, pianist and Headphone Commute editor-in-chief Mike Lazarev began an intriguing remote collaboration with Uwe Zahn, better known in experimental music circles as Arovane. Over the next year and a half, the two kindred spirits developed a musical language of their own that has taken form this summer in the release of Aeon on the enigmatic Eilean Rec. imprint. In his London studio, Lazarev would record minimal piano pieces, often late at night, sometimes with the windows open, seeking to capture every sound resonating from the instrument. Zahn then delicately deconstructed these recordings, extracting not only the notes themselves but even the brush of fingers across the keys, the fall of the hammers, or the ‘breathing’ of the strings thus turning them into morphological units for the formulation of new means of expression,
“We both aspired to delve into this instrument and play with all of the sounds living within, as heard from the inside. Many ideas would come from Uwe in the form of a sketch, an aural vocabulary, or a sonic brochure, which I would interpret through a pair of closely placed microphones. There are even fewer melodies and even more spacial pianism on here than in my previous solo reductionist works, which Uwe so masterfully extracted with his experienced ear. In this incredible partnership, we have discovered a new dimension within the piano…” – Mike Lazarev
Continue reading “Track Premiere: Unendlich, Endlich by Arovane & Mike Lazarev”
Emmanuel Witzthum is an Israeli musician, violist, composer, multidisciplinary artist, and lecturer who has been involved in projects, festivals, and orchestras all around the globe including including New York, Jerusalem, Paris, Berlin, and Madrid. Some readers here may recall his work with collaborator Craig Tattersall (aka The Humble Bee) as E& I on their sublime Eilean Records release The Colour of Sound (2016) an album described on this site as “a complete suspension of time and the invocation of a blissful, halcyon torpor conducive to a state of deep reflection” and “a truly gorgeous album of quietly epic proportions”. Two years later Witzthum returns to the enigmatic label with a new solo work entitled Songs of Love and Loss which brings his viola and voice work into a sharper and more impassioned focus as he offers up a quartet of ardent compositions each represented by a haiku and associated with a different season.
Eyes shut, leaves
Lift in winds across
Soft rain falls
At night, still
Cloud sighs, clear blue sky,
Breeze turns warm
Eyes look to sunset
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Collaborative releases are not the mainstay of the Eilean Rec. label, but when they appear, they are always something special. The latest of such is On the Brink which brings together two authentic sonic explorers from the eastern seaboard of the USA – Josh Mason (Jacksonville, FL) and Nathan McLaughlin (Hudson, NY). The album is a metaphorical journey from a unique perspective that examines the state of mind as one faces the possibility of failure.
“…we traveled together with the wind on our faces, holes in our shoes and short that one layer that can provide the necessary comforts we tend to rely upon. raw nerves, biting hunger and a drive to see the unknown corners kept us moving forward. we can offer these markers and surveys as proof of our trip and as evidence of what lies slightly beyond our immediate purview but with a combined effort – within reach.” – Nathan McLaughlin & Josh Mason
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Under the alias of Sustainer, Barcelona-based sound artist Alex Alarcón has a penchant for transforming the seemingly mundane into imaginative and exotic musical works. On Radiolas, released last fall on Room 40, it was shortwave radio recordings from the Mediterranean and North Africa. And on Taps, which closed out 2015 on Tessellate Recordings, it was the resonance of household objects struck with rubber mallets. For Medicina, recently released on Eilean Rec., Alarcón was drawn toward the background music of his youth, sounds that many others might find all too easy to dismiss or deride.
It’s the first time that I use samples on my sound works, but I found interesting to bring to life these sounds from old artists from the 60’s and 70’s, mainly orchestral composers from muzak, light music, easy listening, elevator music, or whatever they like to call it. These are music styles sometimes discriminated by media and actually forgotten. I can remember the amount of hours I spent as a child listening to these tunes on my parents car stereo, turntable or tape player. So this is an homage to my parents too, because it was one of my first encounters with recorded music. – Alex Alarcón
Continue reading “Sustainer – Medicina [Eilean Rec.]”
Nearly five years after their last release, Emmanuel Witzthum and Craig Tattersall (aka The Humble Bee) return in incredible form as E and I with a very special recording to launch the autumn 2016 series on Eilean Rec. entitled The Colour of Sound. Patiently sprawled across 90 minutes and 2 discs, seven slow blooming pieces explore a beguiling bond between numbers, colors, and music inspired by a kind of kinship Witzthum has sensed between them since childhood.
” Ever since I was a child numbers and colors went side by side… I saw a number and it was transformed into an undulating pulsating hue of shimmering beauty… It was an immediate emotional appearance, one that I could not control or explain. Gradually the same became of music… Sounds as pieces began to shape into waves of colors, moving as waves in the sea. Sounds overlapping, shades of colors… All in my mind… I could not explain them, nor describe them… All I knew was to feel them and try to nurture them.. As they became the aura that surrounded the connection between music and my feelings… They only appeared when the music was intimate, small, shy and reclusive, when the music grew out of a place I could not control nor understand, when the music became my voice or when it blossomed in friendship…” ” – Emmanuel Witzthum (e)
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Originally from Kentucky and currently based in Denver, Jason Corder has made an indelible mark in the realm of electroacoustic & experimental ambient music under a variety of monikers with the best known and most prolific being offthesky. With silent went the sea, he joins the luminous constellation of artists that have contributed to the Eilean Rec. project with an exceptionally nuanced and evocative record that explores a special kind of stillness that can only be experienced on shoreline.
The concept for the album title stems from that rare moment on the beach when all of the waves cease and there is a loud lull of silence before waves start crashing again.
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Speck is Nikita Bondarev, a sound artist from southwestern Siberia. Antiheart is his fifth album but marks his first contribution to the Eilean Rec. project where its rustic pastoral electroacoustic ambient aesthetic finds the ideal home and is well matched to the enchanting covert art by photographer Sophie Fontaine which suggests something quite the opposite of forbidding and remote, but is saturated in muted spring colors and a warm aura of nostalgia.
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The landscape of Eilean Rec. may be imaginary, but the music that inhabits it is very real. There are many intriguing forms of beauty here, but perhaps none so direct in the approach to delicate modern classical ambient constructions as its newest release, a oneiric gem by Jason Van Wyk called Attachment. This is the second solo record by the South African composer, who resides in Cape Town, and his first on the enigmatic label.
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When speaking about his work, UK-based sound artist Wil Bolton has expressed that his is “particularly interested in the resonance of spaces and their history, and wider notions of place”. Take a look at his releases over the past couple of years and you will see ample evidence of this. Every album has a thematic context and every track a setting that frames the perspective and drives the musical narrative. There is a certain consistency in Bolton’s compositional approach but the sonic gradients and filigree are always crafted with great attention to detail to convey that which is unique about his subject and so it is the case with latest effort February Dawn which is soon to be released on Eilean Rec.
february dawn – frost
on the path
where I paced all winter
– Jack Kerouac, Book of Haikus
Continue reading “Wil Bolton – February Dawn [Eilean Rec.]”