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Archive for the ‘First Listen’ Category

First Listen: “Permanently Midnight” by The Gentleman Losers (album teaser)

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We are delighted to premiere the new album teaser by Finnish duo The Gentleman Losers. This beautifully shot video is the first official announcement of the Helsinki-based band’s soon-to-be-released third studio album ‘Permanently Midnight’ (scheduled for release on 8th December 2017 via Estonian boutique label Grainy Records). The Gentleman Losers possess an uncanny ability to capture unfathomable beauty through the art of sound – as captured on the band’s first two utterly captivating studio albums – where endless subtle details are interwoven in the sonic tapestries of their shape-shifting compositions. The brand new track sees electronics added to the mix, with gorgeous strings, reverb-laden piano notes and ghostly guitar, representing a beautiful first glimpse into ‘Permanently Midnight’s otherworldly, far-reaching world.

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The Gentleman Losers is an experimental musical group formed in 2004 by the Finnish brothers Samu and Ville Kuukka. Since then they’ve released spellbinding music on several labels including Büro, City Centre Offices, Warp, Nothings66 and Standard Form. Their two full-length releases – 2006’s self-titled debut album and 2009’s sophomore effort “Dustland” – have been universally acclaimed, winning the hearts of many esteemed music-lovers worldwide, while also being championed by such independent music stalwarts as Germany’s Nils Frahm and UK’s Bibio. The forthcoming third record – the brothers’ latest venture into blissful instrumental music of unknown pleasures – is due to be released this December via Estonian boutique label Grainy Records, in what is destined to become (just like the band’s first two albums) a timeless classic. The Gentleman Losers’ self-titled debut album is available now on Büro; follow-up “Dustland” is also available now on City Centre Offices.

‘Permanently Midnight’ will come out on December 8th on the Estonian boutique label Grainy Records, on vinyl, CD, DL, and a limited edition CD with a photo book of pictures by Samu and Ville.

Pre-order “Permanently Midnight” by The Gentleman Losers HERE.

 

https://www.facebook.com/TheGentlemanLosers/
https://soundcloud.com/the-gentleman-losers

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October 19, 2017 at 2:35 pm

First Listen: “Black Fly” by Circuit des Yeux

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We are delighted to host the mesmerizing new single “Black Fly” by the singular Chicago-based artist Circuit des Yeux. This cathartic tour-de-force is taken from Haley Fohr’s eagerly awaited fifth studio album “Reaching For Indigo” available on 20th October 2017 via Drag City.

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On the meditative and mesmerizing new single ‘Black Fly’, Haley Fohr’s empowering voice unleashes a kind of catharsis like no other (a trusted constant which has only heightened with each of Fohr’s five spellbinding full-length albums under the Circuit des Yeux moniker). Beginning with angelic, hushed tones – soft strum of acoustic guitar and Fohr’s fragile, whisper-like voice – Fohr sings “Nobody said it was easy”.  The timeless spirit of Leonard Cohen radiates throughout these opening verses as intricate arrangements of immaculate instrumentation is gradually interwoven beneath Fohr’s singular voice. The song’s glorious rise – as Fohr’s achingly beautiful falsetto soars majestically beneath gorgeous strings – creates a purging of the rawest of human emotions as a catharsis is emitted like rays of shimmering light. “You’re not the dark star they want you to be/You’re just a black dot in the sky” Fohr cries over distorted noise and thundering drums signalling the dichotomy of worlds the listener becomes beautifully engulfed by; the radiant light of hope and depths of darkness.

 

 

 

Song from “Reaching for Indigo” LP/CD, available on October 20, 2017 from Drag City.

Imagery by Julia Dratel
Processing by Nick Ciontea

Pre-order “Reaching for Indigo”:
Drag City
http://www.dragcity.com/products/reaching-for-indigo
Apple iTunes
http://itunes.apple.com/album/id1264016548

“Reaching for Indigo” LP/CD, is available on October 20, 2017 from Drag City.

https://www.facebook.com/CircuitdesYeux/
https://www.facebook.com/dragcityrecords/

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September 18, 2017 at 3:29 pm

First Listen: ‘Crystal Palace’ by Fadi Tabbal

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We are delighted to premiere ‘Crystal Palace’ by renowned Lebanese artist Fadi Tabbal, taken from the forthcoming full-length release ‘Museum of Disappearing Buildings’ co-released by Portland’s Beacon Sound and Lebanese label Ruptured.

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The prestigious Portland-based label Beacon Sound are co-releasing an album by Beirut artist Fadi Tabbal on 6th October 2017 with Lebanese label Ruptured. The Lebanese musician, producer and sound engineer Fadi Tabbal’s work consists of guitar-based drone soundscapes fused with utterly transcendent ambient flourishes. ‘Crystal Palace’ is the sublime closing piece to Tabbal’s newest solo release (which is limited to 300 vinyl copies).

Fadi has been central to the Beirut music scene for the last decade, running Tunefork Studios and playing in multiple groups. Museum Of Disappearing Buildings is his second solo album and first release to appear on vinyl. It is an album of ambient guitar drones and grainy electronics that reflects the precarious political and social environment of Beirut while also being inspired by the impossible structures of Russian paper architects Brodsky and Utkin. He is featured in the book Local Music Scenes and Globalization: Transnational Platforms in Beirut by Thomas Burkhalter (Routledge; 2013), which advocates against Euro-American centrism in the realm of music in favor of a ‘multi-sited global avant garde’. This is the first collaboration between Beacon Sound (Portland) and Ruptured (Beirut).

 

Fadi will also perform live with fellow Beirut musician Munma in Berlin on November 4th 2017 at the 3rd iteration of A Happening, co-curated by Beacon Sound.

The Portland-based label have released a diverse range of internationally-renowned artists: Terry Riley, Colleen, Peter Broderick, Johann Johannsson, Lucrecia Dalt, Gareth Dickson and many more. Forthcoming releases include upcoming albums by Benoit Pioulard and Lau Nau, as well as a repress of minimalist-piano classic The Book Of Sounds by German composer Hans Otte.

‘Museum of Disappearing Buildings’ is out on 6th October 2017 via Beacon Sound and Ruptured (Pre-order HERE).

http://www.faditabbal.com/

http://www.wearebeaconsound.com/

http://www.rupturedonline.com

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September 7, 2017 at 2:26 pm

First Listen: Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Garth Knox – “Tasseography” (Diatribe Records)

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We’re delighted to preview “Tasseography”, a track by world-renowned musicians Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh (Ireland) and Garth Knox (Ireland-Scotland). The composition is from the forthcoming collaborative full-length album “All Soundings Are True” by Ó Raghallaigh and Knox which is due for release on July 1st 2017 via prominent Ireland-based label Diatribe Records.

The nine compositions on “All Soundings Are True” (featuring a trio of traditional compositions, the remaining pieces are penned by Ó Raghallaigh and Knox) provides an unforgettable listening experience as both composers (both collaborators in the truest sense) clearly revel in each other’s presence and playing. Having met while Ó Raghallaigh was at a residency at the Irish Cultural Center, Paris, the pair’s own deep-rooted love and appreciation for their own chosen instruments – Ó Raghallaigh’s hardinger d’Amore fiddle and Knox’s viola d’Amore – provides the glorious opportunity to plough new sonic terrain while pushing the duo’s own distinctive sound palettes into wondrously open spaces and uncharted territories in the process.

Award-winning fiddle player and composer Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh has performed extensively as both a solo musician, in duos with Dan Trueman, Mick O’Brien and Brendan Begley, and as a member of both The Gloaming and This is How we Fly. Ó Raghallaigh is based in Dublin, Ireland.

Classical viola player and composer Garth Knox is most known as viola player of the Arditti Quartet and the Ensemble intercontemporain and has performed works by some of the world’s leading 21st Century composers such as The Kronos Quartet and David Lang. Knox has recorded extensively for the prestigious ECM label (featuring both solo and collaborative works) and plays viola, viola d’amore and medieval fiddle. Knox is based in Paris, France.

 

 

“All Soundings Are True” by Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Garth Knox will be released on 1st July via Diatribe Records, the launch gig for “All Soundings Are True” takes place on June 17th (with Ensemble Ériu) at The Complex Dublin. 

Event Page for launch gig HERE.

Pre-order LP via Diatribe Records HERE.

https://caoimhinoraghallaigh.com/
http://www.garthknox.org/

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June 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm

First Listen: ‘Not Come to Light’ by The Radiophonic Workshop

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We are honoured to premiere ‘Not Come to Light’ music video by hugely influential electronic pioneers The Radiophonic Workshop, taken from their forthcoming album release ‘Burials In Several Earths’ via Room 13 Records on 19th May 2017.

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Burials In Several Earths is a brand new work by the legendary Radiophonic Workshop – hugely influential early proponents of electronic music and soundtrack architects behind classic British TV music including Doctor Who and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
An evocative suite of synth improvisations, Burials In Several Earths evokes the haunting qualities of their classic work whilst exploring fresh new vistas of sound. This is the first new music by the Workshop to see a commercial release since 1985, and is set for release on 19 May 2017 on the Workshop’s own imprint, Room 13. Burials In Several Earths features guest appearances from Martyn Ware (The Human League/Heaven 17) and Steve ‘Dub’ Jones (Grammy-award winning mixing engineer for The Chemical Brothers, UNKLE, and New Order).

 

The Radiophonic Workshop on Burials In Several Earths:

“The improvisation was done blind – with no preconceptions nor any real start point. We wanted to see what happened if we allowed people to react together with their machines in a very unplanned and spontaneous way. The computers and sequencers were switched off and it led to a very human interaction between all of us. It is important that we maintained this feeling of spontaneity on the final discs – so minimal editing has taken place. What you hear is what happened in the moment. It was liberating to work in such a formless, freeing and immediate way. As we listened back it became obvious that some sections had evolved naturally as “dark” themes, others “watery”, another felt like a journey and so on. We started looking for titles that might reflect these improvised movements and moods. The titles for each piece here are taken from Francis Bacon’s incomplete New Atlantis novel/poem. Bacon portrays a future vision of human discovery and knowledge, expressing his aspirations for humankind, a utopian vision of a perfect and highly functioning technological future. The book depicts a land where “generosity and enlightenment, dignity and splendour, piety and public spirit” are the commonly held qualities of the inhabitants. Strangely relevant in our post-digital age many of the predictions are startling in the way they map against current ideologies and technologies.”

Founded in 1958 by Desmond Briscoe and Daphne Oram, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop was home to a maverick group of experimental composers, sound engineers and musical innovators. In a series of small studios within the labyrinthine corridors of the BBC Maida Vale complex, the Workshop set about exploring new ways of using – and abusing – technology to create new sounds.

Drawing on the principles of musique concréte, found sounds, early electronics, oscillators, handmade synths and tape loops the Workshop created the other-worldly soundtrack to some of BBC television and radio’s most iconic programs: The Body in Question, Horizon, Quatermass, Newsround, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Chronicle and the iconic Doctor Who Theme – still the high water mark for British electronic music nearly 50 years after it was recorded.

The influence of the Radiophonic Workshop on popular music has been profound. From The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Prince and Pink Floyd through to some of the most innovative contemporary electronic artists and DJs such as Aphex Twin, Four Tet and The Orb (who have all ensured the RWS albums are amongst the world’s most sampled recorded works) – the Workshop’s legacy continues to grow as new generations of musicians discover their catalogue of extraordinary recordings.

The Radiophonic Workshop Live In Surround Sound + Q&A

Friday 16th June @ The Science Museum IMAX Theatre
19.15pm – 22.20pm
Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7 2DD.
Tickets
To celebrate their new Mathematics Gallery, Science Museum proudly present a very special evening with pioneering musicians The Radiophonic Workshop.

To mark the launch of Burials In Several Earths – their first studio album in 32 years – The Radiophonic Workshop are staging a very special surround sound show in Science Museum’s IMAX Theatre, featuring a performance of new material and classics (including a unique recreation of the Doctor Who theme), with dazzling visuals projected onto their IMAX screen.

The event will also feature a very special visual interlude from original Radiophonic Workshop member Dr Dick Mills, who will reveal some of the tricks behind some of their most innovative and best known work, plus an on-stage panel conversation with the Workshop exploring the role and influence of maths in their work – and electronic music composition more broadly – and looking back at their illustrious and influential career spanning the last sixty years.

http://www.theradiophonicworkshop.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/theradiophonicworkshop

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May 15, 2017 at 12:47 pm

First Listen: ‘Cloisters’ by Charlie Coxedge

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The track is called Cloisters, and the video really suggests those different spaces, both hidden and open, obvious and subtle, that we ourselves, as well as our surroundings, create.”

—Charlie Coxedge

Words: Mark Carry

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The exclusive music video premiere of ‘Cloisters’ displays the sublime guitar-based, solo instrumental work of Money guitarist Charlie Coxedge. Directed by Dan Jacobs (who also directed the gorgeous Money single ‘Bluebell Fields’ depicts slowly fading background colours whose shadows and rich textures create a wholly meditative, far-reaching effect. The gradual bliss of pristine guitar tones gently shimmer, echo and seep into one’s heart and mind, akin to the ebb and flow of ocean waves. The stunningly beautiful new track ‘Cloisters’ is the title-track of Manchester-based Charlie Coxedge’s forthcoming debut solo EP, coming out on Bella Union (26th May 2017).

Previously, we were thrilled to premiere Coxedge’s solo guitar work Corrour’, a divine instrumental that continually builds – and evolves – beneath intricately layered guitar tapestries. The six-track ‘Cloisters’ EP contains ‘Corrour’ in addition to the deeply immersive piano lament ‘Holly’ (as the fitting finale), the sprawling, monumental guitar work ‘Be’, a duet for piano and guitar (the achingly beautiful ‘Pentreath’) and joyous rhythmic pulses of ‘Dust’. In similar fashion to Julianna Barwick’s looped harmonies or Peter Broderick’s songbook, Coxedge’s debut solo work achieves complete transcendence with its stunning beauty and captivating spell.

 

 

‘Cloisters’ by Charlie Coxedge

Video by Dan Jacobs

‘Cloisters’ EP is released via Bella Union on 26th May 2017

To Pre-order ‘Cloisters’ EP:

https://bellaunion.greedbag.com/buy/cloisters-0/

https://www.facebook.com/bellaunionrecs/

https://www.facebook.com/moneybandofficial/

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Interview with Charlie Coxedge.

 

Congratulations on the utterly captivating solo guitar works of ‘Cloisters’. First of all, please talk me through the various layers – and counterpoints – to the glorious title-track? I just love how there is this close dialogue between all these intricate patterns of guitar melodies; like an ode to Reich’s ‘Electric Counterpoint’. Please shed some light on the album title too and the significance?

Charlie Coxedge: The title came after thinking about various structures and spaces. I think I just liked the idea of these hidden / covered spaces, usually around the edges of something else. They can be very reflective places, both in terms of sound and feeling, and I think that suited the music as various ideas can start quietly, then end up bouncing back and forth, and that movement within the space and structure can create more and more new ideas in turn.

The track Cloisters itself came from trying to slow down a bit, and not to over compensate for the lack of different instruments around. I had the title in my head and tried to imagine the various melodies reverberating around these cathedral-like spaces, so just having a clean tone to the music and uncomplicated phrases was important.

Can you discuss the making of the gorgeous music video of ‘Cloisters’ and the process involved? The meditative quality of the visuals matches perfectly the hypnotic guitar passages and the shades, textures and atmosphere created, in turn, heightens both mediums.

CC: All credit for the video must go to Dan Jacobs who did the the video for Money’s Bluebell Fields ( and aside from being a brilliant animator, he also makes music in various projects – glad hand, makeness, aeva). The only idea that he took from me was the slowly fading background colours, which I’m sure he would’ve done anyway! He definitely captured something great that really reflects the track – the way the different shapes and shadows, which seem fixed yet fluid at the same time, create more space, and more spaces in between. The track is called Cloisters, and the video really suggests those different spaces, both hidden and open, obvious and subtle, that we ourselves, as well as our surroundings, create.

Further on from the visuals, can you discuss the visual aspect of your guitar-based compositions and how your compositional approach has developed or evolved over the last few years? 

CC: The compositional approach, for me, is pretty much always about getting a certain feeling out. I suppose by not writing lyrics, the sound and atmosphere of what I’m playing has to evoke something almost immediately to make sure it’s an idea worth pursuing. The music definitely has a visual aspect, it’s hard to put into words exactly, but I suppose with the looped / cyclical nature of the tracks it’s easy to see patterns emerge and evolve.

I wonder have there been any happy accidents or beautiful imperfections so to speak that found its way on the ‘Cloister’ recordings? It feels like you are playing live in a room, is there much overdubs or manipulation done after these takes? Also, I get the sense from just how pristine the guitar sounds radiate throughout that the mixing stage may have been the most time consuming part (of the process)?

CC: There are definitely some happy accidents throughout the EP; creaks of the piano stool, certain sounds that we just found in the studio etc. At the beginning of the track Cloisters you can hear the creaky floor and my feet stepping on the pedals that start the loops going, which we thought would be nice to leave in as, like you said, it adds to the feeling of being in the room, and creating that intimate atmosphere is definitely something I’m always aware of when writing / recording.  The two shorter tracks that end each half of the record (Pentreath and Holly) could both be said to have been happy accidents. Pentreath was written and recorded almost immediately after coming home from my grandfather’s funeral, Pentreath was the name of my grandparents’ house in Cornwall. The track came together very quickly, the guitar was just one take – as you can probably hear it has a kind of improvisatory tone to it, but I really liked it because of that, and I think I managed to capture a feeling without labouring over the track or reworking it too much, which I’ve done in the past. The last track, Holly, was a complete accident really – I was playing the piano at my parents’ house and recording some ideas on my phone when our cat Holly came and sat on the stool with me and just started purring, which the recording picked up. Luckily what I was playing wasn’t terrible, and when heard on headphones is a really warm sound, so I thought it would make a nice last track.

The bulk of the music is all recorded live. The guitars are just me in a room with various loop pedals going to a few different amps, and a few different mics placed around the room, so that we can capture the various tones and blend them together to get the best balance, and make sure the separate layers of the loops can always be heard. The keys/piano are then recorded on top. I have a few go-to synth pads that I always use, but we did spend some time with different synths in the studio, as well as capturing the upright piano, to make sure that imitate, in-the-room feeling is always there. When it came to mixing, because we’d worked on capturing the right tones and sounds in the recording, the mixing was actually fairly straightforward.

The album’s penultimate track ‘Be’ is one of the towering achievements. I would love to gain an insight into the story behind this particular song and how long has the track been forming in your head? The way the piece evolves and forever navigates new dimensions is a joy to savour. 

CC: Be was definitely a track I laboured over and reworked a few times, and the end result is a combination of two or three separate ideas that found themselves working together. Working with loops, normally you record one thing and build on top of it, it’s hard to subtract anything once the loop is going. This track came from having that initial loop fade away underneath the new ideas being recorded, so there is this rolling, evolving feel to it. Eventually, then, it gives way to new ideas that fill the gaps in the older ideas, creating a kind of organised clutter of things bouncing off one another. The initial writing of it came after I saw a remarkable live performance of Music for 18 Musicians, the flow of the whole piece and the transitions between sections was incredible and massively inspiring.

Please discuss the composers and musicians you feel have been the most significant voices for you when it comes to your solo path?

CC: We’ve mentioned Steve Reich already, and his work has been hugely influential, as well as his contemporaries like Philip Glass, Terry Riley etc, to composers like Arvo Part and John Tavener. Film soundtracks are a big inspiration for me too, I loved Alex Somers’ work on Captain Fantastic and Johan Johansson’s soundtrack for Arrival was amazing.

More recently I’ve been listening to Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Luke Howard, Bing & Ruth, (as well as some great music coming from Manchester lately) but I suppose there are artists that I always return to who have been hugely significant to me – Jonny Greenwood/Radiohead, Sufjan Stevens, Bjork, Brian Eno, Elliott Smith amongst others – and then other artists like Nils Frahm and Julianna Barwick have been really inspiring both in terms of the music they make and their approaches to recording, performing, collaborating etc etc.

‘Cloisters’ EP is released via Bella Union on 26th May 2017

To Pre-order ‘Cloisters’ EP:

https://bellaunion.greedbag.com/buy/cloisters-0/

https://www.facebook.com/bellaunionrecs/

https://www.facebook.com/moneybandofficial/

 

 

 

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May 3, 2017 at 11:30 am

First Listen: Stefan Wesolowski “Rite of the End”

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We are delighted to premiere Polish composer and violinist Stefan Wesolowksi’s new solo work ‘Rite of the End’ – the album’s glorious title-track – which is released on 28th April via Mind Travel Series (sub-label of prestigious French label Ici d’ailleurs). 

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Following his recent score to the BAFTA-nominated and Oscar-shortlisted Marlon Brando docu-film ‘Listen To Me Marlon’, Polish composer and violinist Stefan Wesolowski will release his rapturous new album ‘Rite of the End’, on 28th April. This is his second long-player for Mind Travels Series – the sub-label on French indie Ici d’ailleurs – following 2015’s ‘Kompleta’.

“I was born in Cold War era Poland in 1985, as the son of a pious and uncompromising man. At the age of seven I wanted to be a priest and study the history of the Saints, while other children of my age were still collecting Lion King cards,” recalls Wesolowski.

Whilst studying classical music, very early on he had a revelation, thanks to a companion who was a Dominican monk. “We were teenagers,” recounts Stefan “and this friend asked me to write him liturgical songs. That’s how it all started”.

As Wesolowski grew up, he lost his religious faith but transposed it into a growing belief in what he calls “a musical vibration, which permits transcendence, contemplation and wonderment.”

The brooding violin piece begins with sprawling drone passages reminiscent of  Stars of the Lid, exuding raw emotion and a gripping intensity. The symphonic tour-de-force evolves into noise-unfurled ambient soundscapes as pulsating waves of textures ascend into the forefront of the mix, belonging to the stratosphere of Iceland’s Valgeir Sigurðsson and Ben Frost in the process. Later, the composition beautifully incorporates electronic elements where sprawling strings roar like the swell of ocean waves.  

 

‘Rite of the End’ is released on 28th April via Mind Travels Series.

https://www.facebook.com/stefanwesolowski

https://www.facebook.com/icidailleurs

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April 19, 2017 at 8:35 pm