Video Premiere: The River Passes, yet the River Remains by Olivia Belli

olivia belli 04Born in the Renaissance city of Mantova and now residing in the picturesque Marche region of Italy with her family, pianist & composer Olivia Belli has been playing piano since she was  nine years old.  Her debut full album Where Night Never Comes was released in October 2018 after a successful crowdfunding campaign and since then she has gone to garner millions of digital streams and been featured on radio broadcasts from BBC6 and Classic FM in the UK to Radio France and KEXP.  Her latest album slated for release on the 1631 Recordings imprint features 12 solo piano compositions inspired by the river near her home.

“River Path was born in a precise place: the river that runs down the valley next to my home. Back from my excursions, I used to write down what I had perceived in a notebook of intimate music sketches. Little by little, those usual and necessary walks turned into a personal reflection on the magical and symbolic force of the river. A force that has always inspired all kinds of artists: eternal becoming, the existential journey, the path of one’s life…” Olivia Belli

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Sound Impression: Not Here by Marek Kamiński

Marek_Kaminski_editionWhile readers and listeners by and large look forward to all the album lists that fill up our social timelines from December to January, it seems musicians increasingly take a dimmer view of them. It is understandable. Any list, no matter how thoughtfully curated or diverse, is by definition exclusionary. Many argue compellingly that art is expression, not competition. So, it is with a certain amount of guilt & self-consciousness with which I publish my own annual round-ups, but it must be said that at the end of the day they prove to be useful vectors of discovery for a great many people.

When I wrap up the year for Stationary Travels, I often enjoy surveying what others have shared and I always find gems I’ve neglected or overlooked completely that become new favorites. So it is with Marek Kamiński‘s wonderful release from the spring of 2019 entitled Not Here which appeared on Headphone Commute’s selections under the theme Music for Withered Leaves and Lonely Fishtanks.

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Sound Impression: Distant After by Glories

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The new year is ushering in a number new post rock album releases I’ve been eagerly anticipating, and none more so than the triumphant return of Glories with Distant After, their first record since the tragic loss of band brother and guitarist Zach Cooner in the summer of 2017. Working with producer, mixer & engineer Jeremy SH Griffith and music recorded in their own basements, Adam Blevins, Dallas Kelley, & Kyle Posten have created another beautiful entry in the Glories canon and one that no doubt has special meaning to them as well as listeners who have bonded with their music over the years. 

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2019 In Review: Ambient & Drone

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Once again, this list can’t be big enough to contain all the fine work done in these genres over the course of a year, but these are 20 albums that left a lasting impression. Here you’ll find rich atmospheres, deep emotional undercurrents,organic, warm, tactile soundscapes composition & decomposition, and a generous embrace of stillness, beauty, and self-reflection.

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Sound Impression: Branches by Square Peg Round Hole

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Square Peg Round Hole is a percussion-driven instrumental trio based out of Philadelphia, PA. Members Evan Chapman, Sean M. Gill, and Carlos Pacheco-Perez all met while studying at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and formed the project around the inventive use of drum kits, vibraphone, samples, found objects, synths, and vintage analog keyboards to develop a style that draws on elements from post-rock, electronic, ambient, and contemporary classical motifs. Coming off their exhilarating self-released album Corners in 2013, it was the band’s second record, Juniper (2016, Spartan Records) that garnered them some national attention. Composed in rural Maryland and remote Wisconsin, the album unveiled a more abstract, introspective approach but still retained some of the directness and vibrancy of the debut as it was recorded almost entirely in full live takes.

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Through a Musical Lens: Test Subjects (OST) by Aaron Martin

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Alex Lockwood‘s ‘Test Subjects‘ is a short documentary that tells the story of Frances, Emily & Amy – three aspiring research scientists coming to terms with the ethical dilemmas and wrenching emotional burdens associated with conducting animal testing in the ostensible interests of bettering human health. The music for the film was scored by American composer & multi-instrumentalist Aaron Martin and follows his collaboration with From the Mouth of the Sun partner Dag Rosenqvist on the soundtrack for 2017’s acclaimed independent film ‘Menashe‘ as well as his score last year for William Armstrong’s inspiring mini-documentary ‘Adam‘.

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