A Sense of Place: Anenon – Tongue [Friends of Friends]

Amidst the teeming diversity and cacophonous sprawl of Los Angeles are scores of people who specialize in making and selling dreams. There is probably no place on earth that has not been imagined or portrayed there and preserved on celluloid.  But to truly experience the soul of a place, to connect with it, soak it in, and meaningfully interact with it, you really do need to be there. Perhaps it was with this mindset that Brian Allen Simon aka Anenon packed up his instruments in the spring of 2017 and left behind a roiling political/cultural climate for the serene and picturesque rolling hills of Tuscany, home to millenia of sublime artistic expression and enviable provincial life. There, in a makeshift attic studio on the third story of a 16th century villa in the small town of Palaia he embarked on a month long musical odyssey which resulted in his fourth LP entitled Tongue. 

“I live in the city of ephemerality. The omnipresent LA light soaks my mind and body and moves me forward towards a dark and inconsistent absence of remembrance. Around me, histories are bought and sold daily in an unplanned, urban and suburban dwelling that on paper makes zero sense, but in reality has become a haven for wide open creative thinking and action that couldn’t exist anywhere else…I wanted to make music that can live inside of anywhere one finds themselves: city or country. It’s a series of shifting moods and melodies that through the heart, mind, hands, throat, and tongue sing an outpouring of metaphysical, nuanced psychedelic passing truth.” – Brian Allen Simon

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Dalot and Sound Awakener – Little Things [Fluid Audio]

One of the most unexpected and pleasant surprises of the year so far is a stunning new collaboration between a pair of sound artists from separate continents – Dalot (Maria Papadomanolaki), originally from Greece and currently based in London, and Sound Awakener (Nhung Nguyen) from Hanoi, Vietnam.  Imaginatively conceived and elegantly packaged, Little Things presents a pastiche of sonic artifacts and divergent personal narratives transfigured into wondrous inner landscapes that become wholly immersive for the listener.

It starts from ground-level interactions, field recordings of soundwalks in parks, on the streets, hydrophones in rivers and contact microphones on bridges and delicately moves to the ethereal…The album creates a journey for the listener; a journey of changes between the two artists’ lives; the changes in seasons, life-events, ordinary moments and creative processes that affected the perspectives and emotional states within which this album was produced. In ‘Little Things’ the two artists offer an adventurous exploration of internal landscapes through sound and memory, the light and shadow encountered within. – Fluid Audio

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2017 In Review: A Sense of Place and Time

Each of these albums is conceptually, thematically or musically connected to a particular place or time – personal narratives, journeys remembered, or depictions of landscape real or imagined. Each one takes the listener on a journey and immerses them in a unique place or moment in time. One might say they represent the very essence of stationary traveling, which makes them quite to special to this listener in particular… 

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Sound Impression: Presence, Volume 1 by Andrew Tasselmyer

The “Presence” series is a new solo project from Andrew Tasselmyer (Hotel Neon, The Sound of Rescue) which he frames as “an ongoing experiment in intentional listening” and describes as “a combination of found sound and intuitive, responsive composition…the product of being present”. The first volume in the series consists of eight variations on this theme, each one building a musical narrative around a field recording taken from the context of everyday life and ordinary objects.

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2016 in review: A Sense of Place

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The year in review begins with a new type of list for 2016, but one I very much hope to maintain going forward. Each of these albums is conceptually, thematically or musically connected to a particular place – personal narratives, journeys remembered, or depictions of landscape real or imagined. Each one takes the listener on a journey and immerses them in a unique place or moment in time. One might say they represent the very essence of stationary traveling, which makes them quite to special to this listener in particular… 

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A Sense of Place: Agoraphonia – Francesco Giannico & Giulio Aldinucci [Dronarivm]

What a difference one letter can make. Agoraphobia is a paralyzing anxiety that causes one to fear & avoid crowds and open spaces. Change the ‘b’ to an ‘n’, however, and you have Agoraphonia, a neologism coined by Italian sound artists Francesco Giannico and Giulio Aldinucci for their latest project which is built around field recordings of public places from around the world and the resulting album about to be released is anything but anxiety inducing.

A town square is an open public space commonly found in the heart of a traditional town and used for community gatherings. Based on this basic perspective, it is easy to notice how the soundscape of this living center could represent not only sonically, but also from a cultural point of view, a priceless document. After an open call lasted 6 months to send most interesting audio material concerning the theme of the “square” the samples have been selected and reworked in order to create an ideal symphony of all living squares all over the world.

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A Sense of Place: More ‘Tiny Portraits’ on Flaming Pines

tiny_portraits_vol2Last autumn Flaming Pines released the first installment in their new Tiny Portraits series, “small renderings of place in memory and sound” by ambient & experimental artists from around the world that took us to a volcanic island in Japan, a street corner in Hanoi, a square in Athens, and a quiet park in Tehran (read the ST review here). Each one is a kind of sonic interrogation by the artist in response to the questions that drive the project.

“Sound and place are two terms often thrown together, but what actually connects the two? Sure places sound differently, or may shape the sounds that enter them in particular ways but in what ways is sound actually able to capture and convey place? Is place something to be captured at all?” – Flaming Pines

How far and wide the series will go remains to be seen, but it is a welcome sign that an excellent new quartet of works is now available from artists representing Hungary (Peter Turner),  Latvia (Sound Meccano + Jura Laiva), Russia (Foresteppe), and Ukraine (Gamardah Fungus). Continue reading

Sound Impression: Secret Pyramid – Distant Works II [Proposition]

“Seven transmissions from the Pacific Northwest” is how Vancouver-based artist Amir Abbey introduces Distant Works II,  the latest album under the pseudonym Secret Pyramid. Whereas the first volume in the series was based on unused material from the album that became The Silent March (2011), this collection of dronescapes and sketches appear to freshly unearthed and molded by Abbey from field recordings, strings, piano, tape, synthesizers, and the highly distinctive sounds of the ondes martenot.

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Sound Impression: Stijn Hüwels – Six Pieces For Guitar [mAtter]

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Stijn Hüwels is a sound and recording artist based in Belgium whose work with processed guitar, loops, and field recordings reflects his “profound fascination with minimalism”. Most recently featured here on the blog in his role as the new custodian of the Slaapwel Records label, he is releasing new solo work of his own through Japanese label mAtter in the form of Six Pieces For Guitar with the option of a companion 2-track EP.

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Travelogue 2015-48: Spotlight on Dragons Eye Recordings

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Dragon’s Eye Recordings is an imprint based in Los Angeles and curated by sound and visual artist Yann Novak.  Originally founded in 1989 by Yann’s father Paul, the label has released over 70 editions in the fields of sound art and experimental music since being relaunched 2005 with a focus on electronic, electroacoustic, field recording, drone and acousmatic music and a well defined and elegant minimalist visual aesthetic for presenting them. This travelogue focuses on the most recent and highly recommended offerings created by Darren McClure, Miguel Isaza, Tobias Hellkvist, and Novak himself.

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A Sense of Place: Tiny Portraits on Flaming Pines

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Flaming Pines label founder Kate Carr has developed a highly regarded and multi-faceted creative practice “centered on articulating the relationship between people and place through sound”. In addition to her own sound work, she has curated a variety of wonderful conceptual series, the latest of which has seemingly unlimited potential despite its ostensibly diminutive name – Tiny Portraits.

In Listening to Noise and Silence, Salomé Voeglin talks of soundscape compositions occupying a site ‘between preservation and invention’ – an attempt by the composer or field recordist to retain the essence of a site inevitably results via the processes of recording, composition and listening in the creation of somewhere new. Tiny Portraits asks each participant to dwell on these connections and disconnections between sound and place, representation and invention by starting somewhere small, somewhere overlooked or obscure, and to interrogate this site using sound. – Kate Carr

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A Sense of Place: Mark Lyken and Emma Dove – Mirror Lands

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Tucked into a recessed portion of Scotland’s eastern coastline, Black Isle is a peninsula that sits between the windswept Highlands to its north and the city of Inverness and the Great Glen to its south. The waters of the surrounding firths are traversed by dolphins, porpoises, seals, migrating whales, cargo & cruise ships, and fishing boats as well as serving as home to oil rigs. Its land mass is home to woodlands, rolling hills, farms, castles, and towns. The name possibly derives from a consequence of its mild climate which often leaves it devoid of the whiteness of frost and snow that may surround it during the winter.  It is a place which intertwines the threads of a multitude of narratives both natural and man-made.

Mirror Lands is a film and sound installation created by multimedia artist Mark Lyken and filmmaker Emma Dove that focuses on that place and those narratives. It was one of 14 projects across Scotland supported by Creative Scotland’s Imagining Natural Scotland initiative. Music and sound are both integral to the project which Lyken has referred to as sitting “somewhere between and art film and a documentary” and that part of the experience has now been extended into a soundtrack album artistically packaged and released by the creative hands at Time Released Sound. The key to fully appreciating this wonderful recording is first understanding the impetus of the film. Continue reading