Emmanuel Witzthum – Songs of Love and Loss [Eilean Rec]

coverEmmanuel 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 
Autumn skies 

Soft rain falls 
Winter solitude 
At night, still 

Shy flowers 
Cloud sighs, clear blue sky, 
Breeze turns warm 

Against tree 
Eyes look to sunset 
In summer 

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Josh Mason & Nathan McLaughlin – On the Brink [Eilean Rec]

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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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Sustainer – Medicina [Eilean Rec.]

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

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E and I: The Colour of Sound [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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Offthesky – Silent Went the Sea [Eilean Rec.]

Offthesky - Silent Went The Sea - EILEAN_38-OFFTHESKY-COVER

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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Sound Impression: Speck – Antiheart [Eilean Rec.]

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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Sound Impression: Jason Van Wyk – Attachment [Eilean]

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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Wil Bolton – February Dawn [Eilean Rec.]

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

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Sound Impression: Richard Ginns – Until the Morning Comes [Eilean]

Manchester based musician & sound artist Richard Ginns was last featured here with his mid-2014 release Fall, Rise which was inspired by a harrowing experience with a blinding snowstorm encountered during a winter trip to the Alps. In keeping with the timing of its release, his latest, Until the Morning Comes, is a more autumnal excursion that exudes stillness and tranquility and finds a perfect home on the brilliantly eclectic Eilean Rec. label.

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Various Artists – Dialog Tapes [Dauw & Eilean Rec.]

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Surrounded by abstractions, space, and a spirit of experimentation, ambient music is inherently fertile ground for collaboration. We see artists coming together all the time to co-create, embellish, and rework pieces of music. But sometimes there is as much room for creativity in devising the frameworks for collaboration itself as there is in the artistic output. Dialog Tapes is a case in point. Here two very distinctive labels with compatible aesthetics, Dauw (based in Belgium) and Eilean Rec. (based in France), came up with a scheme to bring their rosters together to create a dual album release comprised of 14 tracks, 7 to be released on each label and each one co-created by a different pairing of artists.

One year ago, Eilean Rec. got in touch with us and after some emails it became clear that we had to work together somehow as we really love each others label. What started with some rough ideas ended up in a wonderful project… We linked artists from both labels to each other and asked if they wanted to make a collaborative track. The final result is amazing: 15 artists, 14 tracks and 85 minutes of wonderful music…

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Travelogue Week 2014-49

Noteworthy highlights from the past week of music discovery, releases, previews, and other news.  Daily updates are available on the Stationary Travels Facebook and Twitter feeds and audio/video links to all tracks featured during the month are available on the Songdrop page. 

Previews of Upcoming Releases

Leigh Toro| L’Esprit De L’Escalier [Eilean Rec.]

Eilean Records wraps up an impressive debut year with this release by Leigh Toro (aka Flotel) due out on Dec 12. L’Esprit De L’Escalier is the title of the album, coyly taken from a French term used in English that refers to thinking of a perfect retort too late (literally “staircase wit”). The preview tracks promise an album of exquisitely crafted electroacoustic ambient music which the label has come to typify. As with previous releases, physical copies will be beautifully presented and quite limited, so interested listeners should check this out early.

http://www.eilean-records.com/#!release-leigh-toro/c1qut

Featured: ‘Ringstone Round’

New Album Releases

The Gateless Gate | Sibir (plus bonus tracks) | [Pyschonavigation]

Toronto based duo The Gateless Gate move from one extreme landscape to another as they leave behind the desert motifs of their Steve Kilbey inspired EP Myrrh to explore the vastness of Siberia with Sibir, a release so expansive that it comes in two parts.  The first part is a 5-track, hour long journey through the landscapes of this huge territory articulated in a modern “komische” ambient style that is simultaneously lush and glacial and is supplemented with evocative field recordings.  The second part is a companion release with over 30 minutes of bonus tracks that speak to the human element with references to both the region’s industrial installations and its somber, sometimes tragic, history.

Featured: ‘Winter in Yakutia’ and ‘Norilsk’ (bonus track)

Order: https://thegatelessgate.bandcamp.com/album/sibir

Download bonus tracks: https://thegatelessgate.bandcamp.com/album/sibir-bonus-tracks

Monolyth & Cobalt | Sub + Rosa [Uknown Tone]

Mathias Van Eecloo has been nothing less than a force of nature this year.  He rolled out the Eilean Records label which produced 12 outstanding releases since the Spring and put out two full length recordings, III (exode) as  D.rhöne  and Polarlicht under his better known moniker of Monolyth & Cobalt. And that is not even to mention the lovely new collaboration he has started with composer Madeleine Cocolas. The icing on the cake is the new double album Sub + Rosa on Unknown Tone, consisting of 12 original electroacoustic ambient tracks and another dozen which are reworks by a stellar array of artists including Wil Bolton, Porya Hatami, and Machinefabriek. Sub + Rosa is offered in digital and limited edition 2CD formats.

Order: https://unknowntonerecords.bandcamp.com/album/sub-rosa

Featured: ‘Asphodel’

V/A | A Minute of Your Time [Hawk Moon Records]

Hawk Moon Records has just released a noteworthy V/A compilation called A Minute of Your Time which contains 19 tracks from an impressive list of artists from inside & outside their roster. The format is unique in that each track is exactly one minute long (give or take a few seconds).  It is an engaging listen with a broad range of styles reflective of the diverse contributors who include Moshimoss, Good Weather for an Airstrike, Olan Mill, Stray Theories, Orbit Over Luna, Tiny Leaves, Caught in the Wake Forever, and more. Best of all, all amounts paid for the download will benefit Crohn’s & Colitis UK (www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk).  Being able to enjoy this varied and engaging set and help a worthy organization is certainly a winning proposition.

Download/Contribute: https://hawkmoonrecords.bandcamp.com/

Wil Bolton| Whorl [Sound In Silence]

Sound artist Wil Bolton follows up his outstanding album Bokeh with another beautiful collection of songs called Whorl just released on Sound In Silence. Whereas the former was set in mostly urban landscapes, the latter is a more pastoral, nature-oriented affair.  What both have in common the peerless soundcraft and sense of stillness & beauty that characterize Bolton’s work. The album is offered in a limited edition of 200 hand-made, hand-numbered collectible copies.

Order: https://soundinsilencerecords.bandcamp.com/album/whorl 

Featured: ‘Leaves That Curl’

Tineidae| Shadows [Tympanik Audio]

Electronic music artist Tineidae delivers a new album of evocative music in the form of Shadows on Tympanik Audio with tracks offering deep liquid atmospheres, glitchy transitions, and occasional eruptions of towering synths and resonating percussion. Whether you enjoy ambient, glitch, progressive, or IDM electronic music, there should be something here for you in this richly atmospheric recording.  Offered in digital and CD formats including a special poster edition.

Order: https://tympanikaudio.bandcamp.com/album/shadows

Featured: ‘Unconscious’

New EP Releases

Hakobune | Vitex Negundo [Empiric Records]

Hakobune (aka Takahiro Yorifu) has released a new three track effort long enough to straddle the fence between EP and LP and stacked in rich layers of blissful drone woven from soft ambient guitar and wrapped in warm hissing tape loops. This beautiful aural journey is entitled Vitex Negundo and is available via German label Empiric Records.

http://www.store.empiricrecords.com/product/hakobune-vitex-negundo

Featured: ‘Brief Respite’

Tomonari Nozaki | The Fall of Icarus | [Taalem]

After releasing quite a few stunning single tracks on his Soundcloud page, composer Tomonari Nozaki (aka UnknownJP) has released a gorgeous two track EP on Taalem called The Fall of Icarus.  Those familiar with his work will be happy to hear more of resplendent ambient soundscapes imbued with romantic spirit.  In this record, Nozaki offers stunning abstract musical imagery inspired by the mythic character as he imagines him falling into the sea and ascending into the sky. The striking cover art is provided by Curtis Hall (www.seehall.me/home). Available in digital and limited edition 3” CDr formats.

https://taalem.bandcamp.com/album/the-fall-of-icarus

Random Forest | Hibernation |

After putting out both a full length record (Pacific) and an EP (Sierra) as The Echelon Effect, David Walters again teams up with composer Aaron Gilbert as Random Forest resulting in their second release called Hibernation. It is another enjoyable outing blending atmospheric soundscapes with post rock drive and cinematic flourish. Available as a name your price digital download.

https://randomforest.bandcamp.com/album/hibernation

Featured: ‘Iowa’

Mixes

Ambient Acoustique – Stationary Travels 2014.11.25

As Autumn turns brown & grey and the first harbingers of winter’s chill arrive, the warmth of acoustic music is always welcome. This is a new mix which features some exceptionally lovely work by the following artists:

Western Skies Motel
Sundaug
Ancient Colours
Yadayn
Belle Arche Lou
Explosions In The Sky & David Wingo
Jacob Montague
Aaron Martin
Memory Drawings
Ghost and Tape
Wickerbird
Chequerboard

Aaron Martin – Comet’s Coma [Eilean Rec.]

Topeka, Kansas based artist Aaron Martin follows up his split with Christoph Berg, Day Has Ended  (one of my favorite albums of 2013) and his solo live album Chapel Floor with another stunning release, Comet’s Coma, this one on the enigmatic Eilean Records. The label itself is based on a map of an imaginary place with 100 points, each point associated to a number and each number to a release which will give that area of the map colors, relief & details. Comet’s Coma is map point 17 and a particularly special one.

What is this music?  Electroacoustic ambient? Perhaps, but it is too arrestingly beautiful and emotional to be ever be considered unobtrusive.  Modern classical? Post classical?  Post folk?  All of the above and none of the above. Whatever the case, the listener is held in rapturous attention to this impressive record crafted from a menagerie of instruments (electric guitar, cello, bass, ukulele, singing bowls, voice, roll up piano, banjo, bowed cymbal, snare drum, glockenspiel, lap steel, acoustic guitar, mbira, and concertina) and wrapped in grainy textures created from vinyl and field recordings.

Just as the coma of a comet is a sublimation of the inner core into a radiant cloud, the songs on this record are sublimations of longing, nostalgia, grief, and hope coaxed from the wood, strings, metal, fiber, & wind, bound together in resonance and reverb, and radiating empyrean beauty.  This is particularly the case with the longer pieces such as ‘Lost to Light’, the title track, and ‘Widow’s Walk’.  These are counterweighted by shorter more direct pieces drenched in nostalgic Americana tones such as ‘Gathered at the Edges’, ‘A Narrow Clearing’, and ‘Surface at Dusk’.  And one cannot ignore the spellbinding opening track, ‘A Figure Falls Still’ or the hauntingly mournful ‘Poured Out, Pulled Under’.

Comet’s Coma is as exquisite as it is moving, as rustic as it is ethereal, as delicate as it is intense.  It is superb. An album this special had to be mastered by knowledgeable and loving hands and those hands belonged to Fletcher McDermott (aka twincities) who also has a release out on the label called Variations on the Celesta.  The cover art is from photographer Laura ZalengaComet’s Coma is available in digital format and a limited edition handmade, hand-numbered CD which will absolutely sell out (only 11 left at this writing).

Album information: http://www.eilean-records.com/#!release-aaron-martin/c1dld

Order from Bandcamp: https://eileanrec.bandcamp.com/album/comets-coma