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Low Chord is a new experimental ambient project from Ontario-based producer and multi-instrumentalist Scott Orr and musician Gareth Inkster. Their first release debut next month on Orr’s Other Songs label with an EP entitled LC01. It is a finespun medley of “non-linear compositions” formulated with analog synths, lo-fi field recordings, and beautiful nylon string guitar by Orr intertwined with Inkster’s sparkling improvisations on piano.

Continue reading “Sound Impression: LC01 by Low Chord”

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Since starting his ambient-drone-post rock music project in 2011, M. Beckmann has been making a unique brand of music as the volume settings folder while drawing on the “countryside ambience” of North-East Italy as his main inspiration. As Beckmann tells it, his process usually begins with a spontaneous rush of ideas which he then nurtures through a period of “music seasoning” which can involve months of post-production treatments to come up with the end product. While most of the albums and EPs produced over the past eight years – including some fine bespoke limited editions – have been self-released, there is a label to look to if you want to hear Beckmann’s finest work and that would be Oscarson. It is on this vinyl-centric imprint based in Germany that we find Laguna (2016), his lovely homage to memories of Venice, as well as his most recent album entitled Hothocleana.

Continue reading “Sound Impression: ‘Hothocleana’ by the volume settings folder”

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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”

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My first introduction to Josh Mason‘s music was Hellified Irie (2015, FET Press), a work that used journal writing, inventive sound design, and a meditative riff on 60’s era surf music to recreate the “constant hum” and hazy torpor of Florida summers past through a nostalgic lens.  It exemplified the personal nature of Mason’s music and his collagic style which relies on analog and digital sources to “examine themes of family, community, mental health and location”.  This was something that was both instantly captivating and a refreshing departure from the remote landscapes and heavy atmospherics for which so many ambient artists have a propensity.

Mason brings a similar approach to his newest record entitled Coquina Dose. The album was released this past March on the Florabelle imprint, but it plays particularly well in summer given the subtropical setting.

Coquina Dose is the book on your nightstand under a lamp with a 40 watt bulb. It’s driving alone at night up and down the strip looking for a pool to crash. It’s the endless lights of luxury, hotels, oceanfront dining. It’s dogs barking, the wind off the water, dead friends, and sunsets that are no longer free. Everything humming, everything buzzing. It’s a new day, in the same circuit. Short interesting rides, followed by a loss of momentum. Notes of grass, lychee, pineapple, burnt sugar.”Josh Mason

Continue reading “Sound Impression: Coquina Dose by Josh Mason”

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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”

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“I grew up between these hills, under the sun…”

Founded by Taylor Deupree in 1997, the 12k label now has spanned two decades refining its distinctly conceptual approach to experimental music with the intent of providing “a conscious counterpoint to the information overload of the 21st century”. Over that time, one could argue 12k has become more than just a label. It has become both a platform and a community for a group of creators with a shared aesthetic while embracing the distinctive qualities of their respective artistic voices. One of the guiding principles that Deupree has followed in nurturing the label and growing this community is to “evolve constantly, but slowly”.  He has achieved this by continually curating new artists into the fold with an especially discriminating ear. The most recent of these is Michael Grigoni, a composer & multi-instrumentalist originally from the Pacific Northwest, who now lives in Durham, North Carolina and records under the name M. Grig.

Grigoni specializes in dobro, lap steel guitar, and pedal steel guitar and it is his layered, atmospheric approach to these instruments that brings something new to 12k’s sonic domain while managing to fit perfectly into its vision.  Having produced several EPs and done a fair amount of film & session work, Mount Carmel is the first full length album by M. Grig and employs an approach that derives from his study of ethnomusicology while attending the University of Washington which introduced him to ethnography.

“Ethnography is a method for field-based research developed by anthropologists. The method involves spending time with people and learning about different ways of being in the world and taking notes while you do so—jotting impressions, observations, feelings, snippets of speech, sketching maps, landscapes. Putting experience to paper in the moment again and again over a lengthy period of time—for months, sometimes years. This sensibility colors my music; this layering of ideas, feelings, and textures. Something emerges, or is discovered or revealed, through this process. Combing sounds made with an instrument with sounds recorded in the field, blending and enfolding these sources, is deeply satisfying and grounding for me.” M. Grig

Continue reading “A Sense of Place: Mount Carmel by M. Grig”

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Located near the pine forests of southern Mississippi, Laurel was founded in the 19th century as a lumber town and has produced a number of notable actors & musicians in the modern era including opera singer Leontyne Price. It is also here we find talented musician & composer Jameson Nathan Jones quietly doing some really lovely work that fans of modern classical and ambient music will no doubt appreciate. His latest album is a gorgeous foray into the blending of organic elements (piano, cello, and the human voice) with electronics and manipulated tape loops which Jones dubbed Static Deviations.

Continue reading “Sound Impression: Static Deviations by Jameson Nathan Jones”

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Photo by Image by Robert Katzki  (source: unsplash.com/photos/yKWuzGyVsBM)

Welcome to the listening room.  Make yourself comfortable and check out some of the latest sounds that have caught our ears as well as previews of upcoming releases.  We begin with the quarterly Soundcloud “field journal” playlist for the spring season as well as new music by THESIS (ft. Taylor Deupree, M. Grig, & Porya Hatami), Rafael Anton Irisarri, Benoit Pioulard & Sean Curtis Patrick, Antarctic Wastelands (Ben Tatlow)Michael Price, Maiya Hershey & Steve Jansen, Sven Laux & Daniela Orvin, Richard Luke ft. Amina Bedrush-McDonald, and Laura Masotto Continue reading “The Listening Room (April 2019)”

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Some artists just have a knack for engendering special collaborations and Belgian musician Stijn Hüwels is one of the those. In fact his last four releases have all been collaborative efforts – Sleep, Shared with Norihito Suda (2016, Dauw),  An Unintended Space with Danny Clay (2017, Eilean), and Fieldem (2018, Home Normal) as part of Silent Vigils with James Murray, and now Tomodachi which involved ten different artists and especially highlights the two essential ingredients that makes all of these work so beautifully. But, best let Stijn tells us about that in his own words:

“The starting point for this album was simple. I sent out a question to fellow musicians I deeply respect and whose work I especially like. I know all of them for some time, and they all have a significant influence on my work. I asked them to send me ‘something’, a sample, melody or field recording I could use to create a new piece of music. This exchange of inspiration forced me to approach composing in a different way than I use to do, without abandoning my main gear (guitar and laptop). Slowly, I tried to make a consistent story from the different pieces I got. That’s how the album was formed and how it got its final shape. I decided to call it ‘Tomodachi’, Japanese for ‘friend(s)’. That’s the only thing I can say about the album: it’s about friendship and music”. – Stijn Hüwels

Continue reading “Stijn Hüwels – tomodachi [Dauw]”