Travelogue Week 2014-38

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.

Recent Releases

Stray Theories | We Never Left | (Sep 14)

New Zealand based, Australian musician/composer, Micah Templeton-Wolfe released a new EP this week called We Never Left which containins five tracks culled from the past two years which have been remixed & remastered, each one a beautifully chilled gem of melancholy electronica.  An added bonus is the striking cover art by musician & photographer Alex Kozobolis. This compact sonic journey makes a wonderful addition for fans of Micah’s work and a fine starting point for those not familiar with his project.

Order: http://shop.straytheoriesmusic.com/album/we-never-left

‘Breathless’ by Stray Theories

Hidden Vibes V/A | Vol.6 | (Sep 15)

Hidden Vibes is is a small independent label, based in Kiev, Ukraine with a fine catalog of ambient and modern classical music.  They have just published their sixth V/A compilation as a free download, which makes it ideal for artist discovery and for getting a sense of the aesthetic of the label.  There are 20 tracks here from such names as Linear Bells, Heinali, EUS, Zenjungle, Endless Melancholy, and Equal Stones. The piece I selected to feature here is a lovely collaboration between those last two called ‘Disappear in Light’.  If you enjoy ambient and experimental music, by all means download a copy and find a few favorites of your own.

Order: https://hiddenvibes.bandcamp.com/album/hidden-vibes-vol-6

‘Disappear in Light’ by Endless Melancholy & Equal Stones 

This Will Destroy You | Another Language | Suicide Squeeze (Sep 16)

Another Language, the highly anticipated and third full-length studio album by This Will Destroy You arrived this week.  For those familiar with the band, I would suggest that the heavier moments strike a balance between the brooding melodicism of their earlier albums and the near-stifling intensity of their more recent work. There are melodic progressions and emotional swells, but they tend to erupt fiercely out of deep, sedimentary ambient layers rather than build to catharsis as they did on past post rock favorites such as ‘Quiet’ or ‘Burial on the Presidio Banks’, and, even at their most bombastic, the sound is blunted by a mix which renders the drums and guitars slightly muffled and out of focus.  Nevertheless, the album is by no means impenetrable.  In fact, after several spins, many moments of beauty have unfolded and I have to come to feel that it is precisely the delicate juxtaposition of dense abstraction and glacial majesty that makes Another Language such an interesting album and one that I have found myself continuously drawn back into exploring.

Order: https://thiswilldestroyyou.bandcamp.com/album/another-language

‘New Topia’ by This Will Destroy You

Previews of Upcoming Releases

Tess Said So | I Did That Tomorrow | Preserved Sound (Sep 24)

Tess Said So is made up of the Australia-based duo of percussionist/composer Will Larsen and pianist/composer Rasa Dakus.  Their full length debut called I Did That Tomorrow will be released next week by Preserved Sound.  About half the record can be previewed now on the Bandcamp site and the music I have heard so far is a wonderfully eclectic blend of classical, jazz, and experimental ambient styles that is hard to categorize, but is invigorating to listen to.  One has to admire the rich tones and mesmerizing atmospheres generated by just two musicians relying solely on the strength of their inventive compositions and considerable skill in performing them on largely analog instruments with only sparing, but clever use of electronics. Highly recommended.

Order: https://preservedsound.bandcamp.com/album/i-did-that-tomorrow

‘Intervention’ by Tess Said So

Mt. Judge | Time’s Machines (reissue)| Adult Teeth (Sep 27)

Originally released in April of 2013, Time’s Machines by London-based ambient musician Mt. Judge is going to be reissued by UK label Adult Teeth on cassette in time to be available in select stores for International Cassette Store Day on 27th September.  The pleasures of this album are considerable as one would expect from someone citing influences from Stars of the Lid to William Basinki, Brian Eno, and Boards of Canada. It is quite an evocative and enjoyable drone ambient journey.  In addition to the stock that will soon be available in stores, Time’s Machines can be ordered from Adult Teeth via Bandcamp in digital or CD as well as the new cassettes which will ship out in early October.

Order: https://adultteeth.bandcamp.com/album/times-machines

Arash Akbari | Cracked Echoes | Soft Recordings (October)

Soft Recordings, the new label run by David Teboul (aka Linear Bells) has been slowly building an impressive catalog of thoughtful and elegant ambient recordings.  Next up is one called Cracked Echoes by Arash Akbari, a member of the burgeoning Iranian ambient/electronic music scene who has previously recorded under the name Odepth and is also an accomplished visual artist.  Based on the strength of the beautiful preview track called ‘Passing Flares’, not to mention his previous work and the high standards being set by the Soft label, there is a recording I am greatly looking forward to.  Keep an eye on Stationary Travels social media timelines for an update once a firm date is announced for the October release.

Order: http://soft-recordings.com/releases/st005-cracked-echoes-by-arash-akbari/

Lawrence English & Steven Vitiello |  Fable | Dragons Eye (Nov 4)

Fable, due out November 4 on Dragon’s Eye Recordings, will be the second full length collaboration by Australian composer and producer Lawrence English and American sound artist Steven Vitiello. The label’s description of the new record certainly sounds inviting, as does the wonderful preview track ‘Over Inland’.

“Fable…chronicles three years of intermittent audio communications in search of new collaborative approaches. The results focus on the pair’s joint interests in modular synthesis, field recordings and the blurry boundaries between acoustic instrumentation and electronics. The album’s multiplicity of sources creates a weaving and at times overwhelming collage of materials that coalesce with considered intent. Its palette, whilst diverse remains focused and as the album progresses themes of arrhythmic percussion, electronic-like field recording, prepared piano and vintage synthesis begin to take form.” 

Order: http://www.dragonseyerecordings.com/catalogue/der009.html

Loscil |  Sea Island I Kranky (Nov 17)

This week we got our first preview of a “shimmering” new album from Loscil called Sea Island, which will be available from Kranky on November 17.  The looping and pulsing rhythms, deft ambient touch, and glistening vibraphone tones of ‘ahull’ certainly promise something special and potentially expansive in his first album released on the label since 2012’s Sketches From New Brighton.  In the meantime, don’t forget to checkout his excellent split album with Fieldhead on Gizeh Records called Fury and Hecla.

Info: http://www.kranky.net/

‘ahull’ by Loscil 

Singles & Mixes

Clara Engel | Sea Lions (Harnes Kretzer remix)

I’ve not had an opportunity to properly explore Clara Engel’s music, but what little I have heard gives evidence that it is far too diverse, poetic, and experimental to refer to by the nondescript labels of indie or folk.  That said, one would be hard pressed to imagine a better showcase for her powers as a composer and singer than this stunning remix by Harnes Kretzer of ‘Sea Lions’ which appeared on Clara’s solo record Ashes and Tangerines.  The original is a lovely piece of work, but it becomes utterly transcendent with the piano, cymbal washes, and choral voices in this new arrangement. Have a listen and then perhaps take a little extra time to explore the work of both of these artists.

Original Recording: http://www.claraengel.bandcamp.com/album/ashes-tangerines
Remix: https://harnes-kretzer.bandcamp.com/track/clara-engel-sea-lions-harnes-kretzer-remix

Monochrome Twiglight –  A Stationary Travels Songdrop mix

Monochrome Twilight is a little “day trip” I compiled on Songdrop.  Unlike the monthly mixes which are a diverse collection of all the tracks I’ve featured during the month, this one is meant to be enjoyed in one sitting as a continuous stream, preferably in the quiet hours of morning or evening as it features an abundance of treated piano, melancholia, minimalism, and introspection.  As always with Songdrop, just click on the little italicized “i” in the upper right corner of a track that is playing for a link to the original source on Soundcloud or Bandcamp.

Listen: https://songdrop.com/stationarytravels/day-trip-2014-09-14-monochrome-twilight

ST_MonochromeTwilight

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Album Review: “Those Who Remain” by Stray Theories

Born in Australia and based in New Zealand, Micah Templeton-Wolfe produces fine quality ambient electronica under the moniker Stray Theories.  His brand new LP, “Those Who Remain” is a stellar follow up to the excellent “Even Though We Sleep” released last year.  Once again, Micah combines pure ambient style, a modern classical aesthetic, and emotional melodicism to create a beautiful and rewarding listening experience.

The album opens with ‘The Day We Were Silent’ and ‘When You Return’, each creating a wintry sonic landscape from rich synthesizer tones, deeply reverberating piano, and atmospheric percussion.  Don’t let this give you the impression that this is musical wallpaper, however.  There is a sense that a story is being told here, one that seems marked by a sense of loss and regret.  Just listen to the tensely melodramatic ‘Remembrance’ followed by the melancholic ‘Promises’ and the deeply wistful ‘Exposure’ and you may find your own emotions have been drawn very close to the surface.

Following the dramatic arc of the opening six tracks is ‘Divisions’, which is quite affecting and stands out for it’s minimalist approach featuring solo piano accompanied only by a faint, almost tribal, beat.  It also serves as something of a turning point as the album concludes on a more forward looking note with bright synthesizer tones blooming at the end of ‘Signs of Life’ and comforting looped guitars making an appearance in ‘All I Know’.

There is a glassy smooth purity throughout “Those Who Remain”, yet it never feels detached thanks to a well-constructed melodic framework and the depth of emotion that imbues each song.  Add the mastering of Taylor Deupree to all of this musical craft and you have one very complete and satisfying album that is beautiful both to the ears and to the heart.

“Those Who Remain” is available digitally from the Stray Theories Bandcamp site and as a limited edition cassette from Already Dead Tapes & Records.  See links below for more information and enjoy a preview mix of the album here via Soundcloud right here.

Cassette Release from Already Dead Tapes & Records

Digital album on Bandcamp