FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Posts Tagged ‘Tim Hecker

Chosen One: Earthen Sea

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Interview with Jacob Long (Earthen Sea).

 Often I find with many aspects of my music that is the most important thing to do….to step back sometimes and let things happen or just to take a broader perspective on what things are rather than trying to force them to be something they aren’t.”

 Jacob Long

Words: Mark Carry

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Chicago independent label Kranky continues to deliver some of the most dazzling and innovative releases with Earthen Sea’s sublime dub techno soundscapes. The New York producer, Jacob Long has crafted an immense sound world of transcendent ambient bliss and techno explorations on his Kranky debut full-length ‘An Act Of Love’, following on from the essential singles ‘An Act Of Love’ and ‘A Serious Thing’ back in February and 2015 debut full-length ‘Ink’ (released via Lovers Rock imprint).

A multitude of synths and looped sonic passages are beautifully spliced together on ‘About That Time’, forming the gripping heart to ‘An Act Of Love’s intense beginnings. A soulful dimension and deeply emotive core immediately strikes you as the gorgeous pulsating waves of ambient bliss traverses the human space. Texture and motion are two further qualities that permeate throughout the record’s far-reaching voyage. For instance, ‘Exuberant Burning’ yields a highly immersive experience amidst dark techno ripples of neon-lit skies. The addition of drums and further organic components forms a lovely parallel with labelmate Loscil’s sonic sphere of rhythmic, gradual dub techno waves. An empty nocturnal metropolis (as previously described by the New York producer) is etched across the sprawling sonic canvas.

The penultimate cut ‘The Flats 1975’ is a divine slice of psychedelic trip hop flourishes wherein dense swells of techno embellishes drift majestically across vast skylines. Beautiful ambient pulses continually build on the formidable closer ‘Also An Act Of Love’ as a delicate lament gradually fades into the ether.

‘An Act Of Love’ is out now on Kranky.

https://earthensea.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Kranky/

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Interview with Jacob Long (Earthen Sea).

 

In many ways, I feel this record feels like one sprawling sound collage as the deeply engulfing sound world of utterly transcendent ambient bliss and immersive dub techno crafts such raw emotion and intensity. Please take me back to the making of ‘An Act Of Love’, the themes you wanted to explore and your primary objectives for this latest musical venture?

Jacob Long: I would say for the most part, at least the beginning of the process of putting the record together, it was just an extension of the work I’d been doing previously. A handful of the songs on the record were things I had been working on/or made in the year or so leading up to actually “working” on the album. That said once I had those pieces selected for the record I went back and reworked and created new pieces out of other things I had in various states of completion that I felt complemented the overall feel/flow of the record. In terms of sonic exploration I would say that the process I used to make the song “Also An Act Of Love” (which grew out of what was originally a remix of one of my older songs) has led to my current working method which is to take pieces of audio from parts I’ve played and recorded and use them as the raw sonic material to be manipulated and turned into something else.

I would love to gain an insight into your compositional approach and the precise equipment set-up and instrumentation utilzed for these recording sessions? The gorgeous dub techno swells form a lovely parallel with Loscil’s Scott Morgan’s works and a prevailing darkness of a myriad of forlorn sounds brings to mind the likes of fellow luminaries like Tim Hecker. I wonder would you have a considerable library of sounds collected (so to speak) and you carefully splice different elements and motifs together?

JL: Thank you for the great compliment of comparing my work to the 2 of them as I admire both of Loscil and Tim Hecker’s music a lot. My setup is pretty simple….these days my main setup is really just my laptop with Ableton and a few MIDI controllers. I mostly create my own sounds by playing synth parts and recording them either onto my 4-track or into my computer and then chopping those parts up into sounds/loops/samples. I then use those in Ableton, manipulating them into what become my tracks. I also have a variety of different drum sounds that I’ve built into a drum library (though I kind of end up using a lot of the same ones a lot of the time). Lately I’ve been working with some field recordings in the same way and blending them in with other sounds so most likely my new work with have some of them in the mix as well.

The wide range of sonic timbres and elements that are effortlessly crafted on ‘An Act Of Love’ is one of the great hallmarks of this latest release. For example, the more techno-infused explorations such as ‘Exuberant Burning’ – the album’s centrepiece – ‘The Flats 1975’ and part A’s ‘About That Time’ form vital pulses to ‘An Act Of Love’s striking narrative. Can you talk me through these techno tracks and the construction/deconstruction of the techno sound worlds you capture so well?

JL: Thanks for the kind words and I feel similar about ‘About That Time’ being the emotional centre for me as well of the record. I would say the process of making the beat/techno oriented tracks on the record is pretty similar in many ways to making the other tracks. Obviously the big difference is programming drum parts. But I tend to approach it in much the same way where I sketch out some ideas and then “jam” on them or play around with them until I get the feel I’m looking for and then once I have that either to expand on the idea (or more often than not) edit down to the essence of what I feel is needed for the piece and then go from there. I guess the other main difference is feeling out the structure and what is needed to hold interest in a piece is different (for me at least) when there are rhythmic elements involved and sometimes that means that more needs to happen in a piece but often it means that less is needed as everything needs a little more space to breathe.

As a bassist in the punk trio Mi Ami, your musical background must tap into your solo project of Eaethen Sea quite naturally. I’d love for you to discuss your musical upbringing and the various paths that you have ventured thus far, and what the pre-cursors were, so to speak that led to the formation of Earthen Sea? 

JL: Well I’ve played music since I was 5 when I started playing violin. I’ve picked up various instruments over the years since then but I can’t remember ever not playing and/or listening to music. And since I was a teenager I’ve been very interested in a wide range of music. I mean even in high school I was playing in a kinda grunge-y band and also making weird soundscapey things on my own on a cassette 4 track…and over the years things kind of just continued like that. I sort of off and on worked on my own music when I had time outside of bands/etc. Anyway Earthen Sea started as a project when I moved to California from DC in 2004 and for a number of years was kind of off and on as well until a couple of years ago when I decided I really wanted to be doing more of it than I had been and since then it’s been pretty full on for me…

I absolutely love the fragile, bare and stunningly beautiful compositions such as album closer (and title-track of sorts) ‘Also An Act Of Love’ and ‘Delicately In The Sunlight’ and how these tracks drift majestically across the ether. Again, it’s how these eight tracks are seamlessly forged together creates such a timeless quality. Can you discuss the sequencing of the record and also the series of counterpoints – and counter balances – that is so masterfully embedded in ‘Act Of Love’s sonic tapestry? 

JL: Well I’m glad it works as I was looking to create a flow that had a consistent or complimentary feel between the disparate pieces that make up the record. I would say that the sequencing and reworking of a few pieces was some of the harder work that I put into the record but it felt important to have the whole be somewhat a composition in and of itself rather than just being a collection of songs. I definitely went through a number of drafts of the record before I came to the final form for it but in the end it kind of revealed itself to me more than me making it fit or something. Often I find with many aspects of my music that is the most important thing to do….to step back sometimes and let things happen or just to take a broader perspective on what things are rather than trying to force them to be something they aren’t.

I wonder were there any happy accidents, so to speak during the music-making process? Also, I get the impression that many of the layers are almost like musical artefacts that have been unearthed from another time and space? In this regard, is the layering or construction of a particular track quite an intensive or challenging process? I love how there is that minimal nature to your music yet how vast the musical possibilities that are generated.

JL: Ha well much of my process is much looser than that suggests to me. I mean a lot of it is happy accidents to be honest. Not to say that I don’t spend time setting up pieces or running sounds against each other/etc but my main process is just to start loading sounds into my template in Ableton and just let them go and start working on them from there (both in terms of the individual sounds and the combination of sounds and the structure/etc). I pretty much never have an idea of where something is going when I start. Once I start and hear what may be working or coming out of something I’ll then kind of hone in on that vibe/sound and see how to go from there. The minimal vs. maximal is sometimes a challenge as it can be easy especially when working to have everything going at once to create MORE sound but usually a lot of my compositional process is sculpting those sounds down into what is needed and to build a structure from there. Also I have spent some time thinking about how to use FX to create those kind of artefact layers of sound and though I wouldn’t say I’m doing anything crazy in terms of their use that is definitely something I’ve developed into part of my “sound”.

Lastly, are there particular records that you have been heavily immersed in of late?

JL: For sure…I’ve been digging a bunch of older Jan Jelinek records as well as his newest album with Masayoshi Fujita (Schaum), a lot of Vladislav Delay, Georgia (especially their newest LP “All Kind Music”, the new Visible Cloaks LP,  both of the Anjou LPs,  Klara Lewis was a new find for me this past year and I’ve been really enjoying her music, Josh Abrams/Natural Information Society is one of my favorite bands of the last few years and I’m stoked they have a new album out, I’m sure I’m forgetting a ton of stuff but that’s what I can think of off the top of my head.

‘An Act Of Love’ is out now on Kranky.

https://earthensea.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Kranky/

 

 

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May 17, 2017 at 8:08 pm

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S01E12 | December mix

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Welcome to our final mixtape for 2016.

For our last mix we are really excited to share an exclusive first listen of the forthcoming album by Finland’s The Gentleman Losers. Based in Helsinki, The Gentleman Losers comprise the brothers Samu and Ville Kuukka. The duo have released their music on such independent labels as Büro, City Centre Offices, Warp, Nothings66 and Standard Form. Their two full-length releases – 2006’s self-titled debut album and 2009’s sophomore “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 set to be released during 2017.

December’s mix also features our favourite album of the year: “Upstepping” by UK cellist and composer Oliver Coates. As well as releasing his second solo album earlier this year (via PRAH Recordings) Coates has also released the sublime collaborative work “Remain Calm” (with Mica Levi of Micachu & The Shapes) via the UK label Slip Discs. In addition to a busy schedule of extensive touring and live performances during the year, Coates also performed strings on the current Radiohead album “A Moon Shaped Pool” (XL Recordings).

Other 2016 favourites are featured here, including: Brigid Mae Power (self-titled LP via Tompkins Square), Carla dal Forno (“You Know What It’s Like” via Blackest Ever Black), Kevin Morby (“Singing Saw” via Dead Oceans), Jessy Lanza’s “Oh No” (Hyperdub), Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s “EARS” (Western Vinyl), Amiina’s “Fantômas” (Mengi) and Eluvium’s “False Readings On” (Temporary Residence).

In a year that has all too often thrown up troubling and distressing news and events, it places an even brighter spotlight on the vital role – in expressing emotions, articulating thoughts, distilling messages, blurring boundaries and lighting the way – that music brings to all our lives. In our tiny capacity, we’d like to thank all the musicians, labels and listeners for helping to keep that eternal light flickering.

Wishing our readers and listeners a very happy Christmas and peaceful new year.

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S01E12 | December mix

 

 

01. Uncle Charlie“…today is the thing” (Shadow Of A Doubt)
02. The Caretaker“It’s just a burning memory” (History Always Favours the Winners)
03. Julianna Barwick“Heading Home” (excerpt) (Dead Oceans)
04. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Suzanne Ciani“Closed Circuit” (excerpt) (RVNG Intl)
05. Jessy Lanza“Going Somewhere” (DVA HI:EMOTIONS Remix) (Hyperdub)
06. Tim Hecker“Violet Monumental II” (4AD)
07. Arthur Russell“You And Me Both” (Rough Trade)
08. Oliver Coates“PERFECT LOVE” (PRAH Recordings)
09. Demdike Stare“Animal Style” (Modern Love)
10. Grouper“Headache” (Yellow Electric)
11. The Gentleman Losers“There Will Come Soft Rains” (Exclusive)
12. Carla dal Forno“You Know What It’s Like” (Blackest Ever Black)
13. Amiina “Lady Beltham” (Mengi)
14. Kevin Morby“Cut Me Down” (Dead Oceans)
15. Dungen“Trollkarlen Och Fågeldräkten” (Smalltown Supersound / Mexican Summer)
16. Exploded View“Stand Your Ground” (Sacred Bones)
17. Brigid Mae Power“I Left Myself For A While” (Tompkins Square)
18. Ben Frost“Stormfront” (Bedroom Community)
19. Sarah Neufeld“They All Came Down” (Paper Bag)
20. A Winged Victory For The Sullen“Gare du Nord Part One” (Iris OST, Erased Tapes)
21. Philip Glass“Heroes” (Aphex Twin Remix) (Warp)
22. Eluvium“Washer Logistics” (Temporary Residence)
23. Leonard Cohen“The Partisan” (Columbia)
24. Naïm Amor & John Convertino“Before We Go” (LM Dupli-cation)
25. Calexico“Gift X-Change” (Our Soil, Our Strength)

Compiled by Fractured Air, December 2016. The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.

http://www.blogotheque.net/
https://fracturedair.com/

 

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S1E5 | May mix

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fracturedairmix_may16

 

For May’s mixtape we are delighted to present a pair of exclusive tracks by two of Ireland’s finest songwriters: Adrian Crowley and Katie Kim.

Since his debut release at the turn of the century (“A Strange Kind”), Adrian Crowley has quietly established himself as one of the finest songwriters of his generation. With seven studio albums to date (Crowley’s most recent record is “Some Blue Morning”, released in 2014 via Glasgow-based label Chemikal Underground) Crowley’s reputation has been built upon his poetic lyricism, distinctive baritone and a natural gift for storytelling. Presented here exclusively for this mix is Adrian Crowley’s haunting cover version of U.S. folk legend Jackson C. Frank’s “Milk And Honey”.

While the Buffalo-born musician Jackson Carey Frank only released the one album during his lifetime (his Paul Simon-produced self-titled debut from 1965) Frank’s reputation has steadily grown in recent times, in no small part due to Ba Da Bing’s release of “The Complete Recordings” (2015) and the 10″ vinyl issue of “Forest Of Eden” (Secret Records, 2013), a collection of previously unreleased tracks and demos.

We’re equally thrilled to present an exclusive track by another of Ireland’s best-loved and consistently intriguing songwriters, Katie Kim (the pseudonym for Waterford-born Katie Sullivan). With two full-length albums to date (2008’s “Twelve” and 2012’s double LP “Cover&Flood”) a third LP, entitled “Salt”, is scheduled for release later in 2016. Katie Kim has supported the likes of Low and Slint to date while her diverse influences stem from the realms of experimental, folk, post-rock, shoegaze, ambient and outsider folk.

Also presented in May’s mixtape is a number of long-established cornerstones to the independent music scene who have debut records for their latest projects: Four-piece Liima features Efterklang’s Mads Brauer, Casper Clausen and Rasmus Stolberg who are joined by Finnish percussionist Tatu Rönkkö. The band’s 4AD debut is entitled “ii”.
Dieterich & Barnes is the new collaboration between Jeremy Barnes (A Hawk And A Hacksaw, Neutral Milk Hotel) and Deerhoof’s John Dieterich who released their scintillating debut “The Coral Casino” on LM Duplication earlier this year.
“You + Your D.Metal Friend” is the latest improvisational project from Cico Beck (Joasihno, Aloa Input, the Notwist) and Markus Acher (the Notwist, Tied & Tickled Trio, Rayon). The duo’s debut album “Sonnier” is available via the forever-dependable German independent label Alien Transistor.

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S1E5 | May mix

To Read/listen on La Blogothèque:

http://www.blogotheque.net/2016/05/27/fractured-air-x-blogotheque-s01e05-may-mix/

 

Tracklisting:

01. William S. Burroughs“Origin and Theory of the Tape Cut-Ups” (excerpt) (Sub Rosa)
02. Jóhann Jóhannsson“Melodia (I)” (4AD)
03. Moondog“Each Today Is Yesterday’s Tomorrow” (Columbia)
04. Mark Pritchard“Beautiful People” (feat. Thom Yorke) (Warp)
05. Tim Hecker“Music of the Air” (4AD)
06. Andy Stott“Too Many Voices” (Modern Love)
07. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith“Envelop” (Western Vinyl)
08. Joasihno“Wondrous Sibling” (Alien Transistor)
09. Dieterich & Barnes“What” (LM Duplication)
10. Liima“Amerika” (4AD)
11. Wildbirds & Peacedrums“Soft Wind, Soft Death” (The Leaf Label)
12. Max Richter“Path 5” (Mogwai Remix / Edit) (Deutsche Grammophon)
13. Adrian Crowley“Milk And Honey” (Unreleased)
14. The Beacon Sound Choir“Drone 1” (excerpt) (Infinite Greyscale)
15. You + Your D. Metal Friend“Sonnier 6” (Alien Transistor)
16. Homeboy Sandman“God” (Stones Throw)
17. DJ Danger Mouse“Interlude” (Self-Released)
18. Dick Dale & His Del-Tones“Angry Generation” (Ace)
19. DJ Shadow“Nobody Speak” (feat Run The Jewels) (Mass Appeal)
20. Ria Bartok“Tu La Revois” (Ace)
21. Julianna Barwick“Same” (Dead Oceans)
22. Georges Delerue“Paul” (Le Mépris OST, EmArcy)
23. Katie Kim“Warm Bait” (Unreleased)
24. Christina Vantzou“Stereoscope” (Steve Hauschildt remix) (Bandcamp)
25. Marissa Nadler“Waking” (Bella Union / Sacred Bones)
26. Harold Budd“Afar” (All Saints)

Compiled by Fractured Air, May 2016. The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.

http://www.blogotheque.net/
https://fracturedair.com/

Fractured Air 44: Benoît Pioulard “Kranky Mix”

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‘Sonnet’ is the fifth Kranky album by Thomas Meluch under his musical alias Benoît Pioulard, following the 2006 debut full-length ‘Précis’, ‘Temper’ (2008), ‘Lasted’ (2010) and 2013’s ‘Hymnal’. The American sound sculptor – in a similar fashion to his label-mates Loscil, Grouper and Pan American – has amassed a rich body of empowering work, seamlessly creating some of the most affecting and captivating ambient-based compositions of the past decade. This year has also marked the release of ‘Noyaux’, a four-track EP released on Morr Music and the collaborative project with longtime friend and colleague Kyle Bobby Dunn under the moniker of Perils (the debut self-titled LP was issued by Desire Path Recordings).
Kranky is an independent record label based in Chicago, Illinois. The prestigious label’s first release was Labradford’s debut album ‘Prazision’ in 1993. Some 22 years later, the label continues to release some of the most compelling and adventurous sounds from the likes of Loscil, Stars Of The Lid, Pan American, Grouper, Benoît Pioulard, Implodes and much more. 2015 has already seen latest releases from Benoît Pioulard, Disappears, Ken Camden, Valet, Helen and Christina Vantzou.

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Fractured Air 44: Benoît Pioulard “Kranky Mix”

To listen on Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-44-kranky-mix-by-benoit-pioulard/

 

Tracklisting:

01. Low ‘Will the Night’ [Songs for a Dead Pilot, krank021]
02. Mirrorring ‘Silent From Above’ [Foreign Body, krank162]
03. Labradford ‘El Lago’ [A Stable Reference, krank006]
04. Loscil ‘Hastings Sunrise’ [Sketches from New Brighton, krank171]
05. Felix ‘Who Will Pity the Poor Fool’ [Oh Holy Molar, krank165]
06. Anjou ‘Adjustment’ [Anjou, krank185]
07. Ken Camden ‘Eta Carinae’ [Space Mirror, krank180]
08. Jonas Reinhardt ‘Modern By Nature’s Reward’ [Jonas Reinhardt, krank119]
09. Implodes ‘Wendy’ [Recurring Dream, krank174]
10. Tim Hecker ‘Black Refraction’ [Virgins, krank183]
11. Belong ‘Common Era’ [Common Era, krank155]
12. Stars of the Lid ‘Tippy’s Demise’ […and Their Refinement of the Decline, krank100]
13. Valet ‘Tame All The Lions’ [Blood Is Clean, krank105]
14. Grouper ‘Labyrinth’ [Ruins, krank189]
15. Windy & Carl ‘The Smell of Old Books’ [We Will Always Be, krank163]
16. The Dead Texan ‘The Struggle’ [The Dead Texan, krank072]

Compiled by Thomas Meluch (Benoît Pioulard). The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or Kranky. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.

 


 

http://www.kranky.net/
http://pioulard.com/

 

Mixtape: I’ll Read You A Story [A Fractured Air Mix]

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i'llreadyouastory

I’ll Read You A Story [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/ill-read-you-a-story-a-fractured-air-mix/

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Tracklisting:

01. Boards Of Canada ‘Reach For The Dead’
02. Klara Lewis ‘Shine’
03. Tim Hecker ‘Live Room’
04. DARKSIDE ‘Metatron’
05. Homeboy Sandman ‘Wade In The Water’
06. Ella Jenkins ‘Wade In The Water’
07. Jonny Greenwood ‘Open Spaces: Suite from “There Will Be Blood”’
08. Walter Schumann ‘The Night Of The Hunter, Pt. 2’ [excerpt]
09. Colleen ‘I’ll Read You A Story’
10. Psarandonis ‘O choros tis vrochis (Rain Dance)’
11. Hauschka ‘Who Lived Here?’
12. Lambchop ‘Catapillar’
13. Harold Budd & John Foxx ‘Adult’
14. Birds Of Passage ‘Ashes To Ashes’
15. Christina Vantzou ‘Going Backwards To Recover What Was Left Behind’
16. Walter Schumann ‘The Night Of The Hunter, Pt. 2’ [excerpt]
17. Mikolaj Gorecki ‘Three Pieces In Old Style: I (Movement one)’
18. Barbara ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’

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The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or their respective record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.

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Fractured Air. The universe is making music all the time.

Mixcloud / Soundcloud

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Ten Mile Stereo

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Mick Turner “Don’t Tell The Driver” (Drag City)
The latest work by the ever-prolific Melbourne-based artist and Dirty Three guitarist Mick Turner is a magnificently sprawling affair – comprising an expansive cast of musicians – and is perhaps his most accessible work to date. Equally renowned for his worldwide status as an internationally renowned painter as well as musician, Turner is best known as being one-third member (alongside drummer Jim White and violinist Warren Ellis) of the cult Australian trio Dirty Three. As well as Dirty Three’s considerable output (culminating in last year’s sublime “Toward The Low Sun”), Turner has also released records under the Tren Brothers guise (effectively Turner and White recording as a duo), as well as “solo” works (‘Don’t Tell The Driver’ is Turner’s fourth such record). The record – released by Chicago’s Drag City – is arguably Turner’s most expansive yet, featuring french horn, trumpets, piano, melodica, bass and the vocals (lyrics by Turner) are beautifully sung by Caroline Kennedy McCracken.

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Tim Hecker “Virgins” (Kranky)
One of the year’s most eagerly awaited albums came from the Montreal-based composer and sound artist Tim Hecker. “Virgins”, released by Chicago-based independent label Kranky, is yet another masterful recording by the Canadian musician, producing an album of staggering scope and beauty. Hecker’s work has been described as: “focused on exploring the intersection of noise, dissonance and melody, fostering an approach to songcraft which is both physical and emotive.” One of the finest of todays modern composers, Hecker is here joined by an impressive cast of musicians from the Icelandic-based Bedroom Community label; Valgeir Sigurðsson performs and mixes (alongside Hecker) and Paul Corley takes part in the performing and engineering, while the album was recorded at Greenhouse Studios, Reykjavík (as well as Avast, Seattle and Empac Concert Hall, Troy).

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Moonface “Julia with Blue Jeans On” (Jagjaguwar)
Spencer Krug’s fourth album under the Moonface moniker, “Julia With Blue Jeans On” is a highly personal, quietly affecting and truly moving album which will prove to be one of the year’s most masterful hidden gems. The album’s genesis came from Krug’s time creating 2012’s “Heartbreaking Bravery” – a despair-laden album written after a difficult break-up – while in Helsinki and recording with Finnish band Siinai. During the same period, the highly prolific Krug set off on another creative journey, inspired by “a rediscovery of love and a reconsideration of the Moonface persona he’d created for himself.”

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Laurel Halo “Chance Of Rain” (Hyperdub)
Released at the end of October on the Hyperdub label, “Chance of Rain” is the striking and sublime second album by American electronic musician Laurel Halo (aka Ina Cube) and follow-up to her debut 2012 LP “Quarantine”. The nine tracks which comprise “Chance Of Rain” showcases Halo (who is a classically trained musician)’s wonderful talents as both composer and producer where a breathtaking spectrum of sounds – industrial, electronic, techno, club, house – effortlessly form a cohesive and organic whole, producing a wholly unique and compelling album in the process. An album as striking and engrossing (much due to the breathtaking vocals as well as the distinctive production) as the grimly evocative sleeve cover art (by Halo’s father, the artist Arthur Chartow).

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Wooden Shjips “Back to Land” (Thrill Jockey)
The Ripley Johnson-led psychedelic quartet Wooden Shjips’ follow-up to their 2011 “West” LP is their most immersive and engrossing work yet. Recorded in Portland, Oregon in May 2013 over a period of an 11-day session at Jackpot! Recording Studio, ‘Back To Land’ mark’s the band’s first record to be conceived outside of their native San Francisco. From the opening title-track, a blissful, wonderfully melodic guitar-led song to the stunningly forlorn album closer (recalling Beck’s “Sea Change”), the engrossing soundscapes of Wooden Shjips are a joy to journey through (bands such as Pavement, Sonic Youth, Crazy Horse and Spacemen 3 come to mind). Album art (with multiple circular die-cuts) by Oliver Hibert (and layout by the wonderful Sheila Sachs) ensures the vinyl edition is a must have.

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Ghost Maps The Ocean From The River “S/T” (Casino Gravity)
Released on November 15th, Ghost Maps The Ocean From The River’s self-titled debut album comprises the new musical chapter in Jeff Martin (Halfset)’s hugely impressive career to date. The album features legendary multi-instrumentalist and indie-giant John McEntire (Tortoise/The Sea and Cake) as well as a special contribution by the immensely gifted pianist Tony Crow, long-term player in the legendary Kurt Wagner-led Nashville-based collective Lambchop. From the opening gorgeous minute-long piano and violin “Intro”, we are treated to a stunning meandering journey across oceans of heavenly sounds and unknown beauty. Current personal highlight is the majestic instrumental opus “If I knew Where I Was I’d Be There”, a piece that could belong on Lambchop’s Double LP “Aw C’mon / No You C’mon” or Efterklang’s “Piramida”.

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Omar Souleyman “Wenu Wenu” (Ribbon Music)
One of the most surprising albums of the year thus far came courtesy of “Wenu Wenu” (meaning “Where Is She?”) – aided by Kieran Hebdan’s production prowess – via the latest record by Syrian musician Omar Souleyman. Prior to his homeland’s civil war crisis hit, Souleyman crossed the Syrian border into Turkey. Souleyman was formerly a wedding singer in his native Syria, a position – as described in an interview with NPR – as “important for experimenting in different kinds of music. In the region where I’m from, weddings have been really important in mixing different kinds of musical heritage.” Souleyman has released a plethora of material – mainly comprising live recordings of his wedding performances and spanning hundreds of cassette tapes – and his stature only grew when he collaborated with Bjork and subsequently appeared in numerous festivals in both the US and Europe.

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Dean Wareham “Emancipated Hearts” (Sonic Cathedral)
Dean Wareham (ex Galaxie 500 and Luna frontman) released his debut solo record “Emancipated Hearts” via Sonic Cathedral earlier this month. The resultant mini-album (the record contains six tracks) is a treasure of a record, produced by Papercuts’ Jason Quever and features a beautifully fragile and understated set of songs, including five original Wareham compositions (featuring the politically-charged “The Deadliest Day Since The Invasion Began” and “The Ticking Is The Bomb”) plus a cover of “Air” by The Incredible String Band. Also available on gorgeous limited edition orange 10″ vinyl.

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Recondite “Hinterland” (Ghostly International)
Berlin-based producer Recondite’s first album for Ghostly International is the gorgeous “Hinterland”, an album inspired by Recondite’s homeland of Lower Bavaria (indeed, much field recordings spanning various times of the year are included across the album’s ten tracks). Like the poetic tree-lined and light-filled monochromatic landscape photograph depicted on the cover, “Hinterland” proves a lush, near-spiritual listening experience and proves a landmark release for the hugely talented producer. As Recondite has said of “Hinterland”: “I tried to capture the area’s mentality and natural environment within the album. Particularly the moods that behold the emotions of the four seasons, which differ a lot in this region.”

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The Velvet Underground “Loaded” (Cotillion/Atlantic)
“I found a reason to keep living / Oh and the reason, dear, is you / I found a reason to keep singing / Oh and the reason, dear, is you” sings Lou Reed on “I Found A Reason”, taken from The Velvet Underground’s fourth album, “Loaded”, released in 1970 on Atlantic Records’ subsidiary label, Cotillion. The song, like any one from Reed’s considerable output – both as a solo artist and as principal songwriter with The Velvet Underground – confirms Reed as one of the finest and most gifted (and certainly most influential) songwriters of the last fifty years. Despite The Velvet Underground’s modest commercial success during their all-too-brief lifespan – from the late sixties until the early seventies – the band’s influence on new generations of musicians is as strong today as it ever was. Brian Eno’s famous and much-repeated quote (in reference to The Velvet Underground’s beloved, classic 1967 debut “The Velvet Underground And Nico” only selling a mere 30,000 copies) stated: “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.”

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Ten Mile Stereo

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SlowPlaceLikeHome ‘Cathleen’s Fall’
Taken from the forthcoming ‘Ramola’ record which is due for release in March 2013 which will undoubtedly appear on every end of year list come year’s end. Mr. Mannion can do no wrong.


Matthew E. White ‘Big Inner’ (Domino)
‘Big Inner’ has been earning incredible praise from all media sources, and it’s clear why. The seven gorgeous tracks are soulful, moving and genuinely original. Closer ‘Brazos’ is one of the most sublime tracks of the year so far.


Alasdair Roberts ‘A Wonder Working Stone’ (Drag City)
The eagerly awaited new record from this very talented Glasgow-based artist. ‘A Wonder Working Stone’ has been described by Drag City as “A thousand years of musical topography are seen from eleven unique song-crafts and all lead back to one undeniable conclusion: “all days will end in joy / they’ll never end in evil.”


Yo La Tengo ‘Fade’ (Matador)
Album Number 13 from the beloved trio of Kaplan, Hubley and McNew. ‘Fade’ is yet another great record from a band who have stunned listeners since their debut in ’86. A class, class act.


Ducktails ‘The Flower lane’ (Domino)
Matthew Mondanile’s side project (to Real Estate) is already in its third LP and is now firmly a fully realized band its own right. Expect yet more stunning guitar-pop melodies.


Pantha Du Prince & The Bell Laboratory ‘Elements Of Light’ (Rough Trade)
This fine collection of bell-orientated tracks from Pantha Du Prince’s Hendrik Weber –  provides for a fascinating listening experience. Available now on Rough Trade.


Nils Frahm ‘Screws Reworked’ (Helios Rework)
When Nils Frahm invited artists to ‘rework’ his ‘Screws’ album (released on vinyl last December on Erased Tapes), many wonderful reworks were submitted. The highlight (thus far) has been Keith Kenniff (AKA Helios)’s re-interpretation of Frahm’s ‘Re’. See the ‘Screws Reworked’ project here.


Benoît Pioulard ‘Hymnal’ (Kranky)
Benoît Pioulard is the pseudonym for New York-based artist Thomas Meluch, whose records have been consistent in their greatness, especially his 2006 LP ‘Précis’. New LP ‘Hymnal’ is Pioulard’s fourth LP on the Kranky label.


Black Marble ‘A Different Arrangement’ (Hardly Art)
One of the finest records of last year, Black Marble are a Brooklyn-based New-Wave influenced duo. As fine as debut LP’s come.


Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin ‘Instrumental Tourist’ (Software)
Collaboration between Hecker and Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) released on Mexican Summer’s imprint Software. This is the first of a series called ‘SSTUDIOS’ where artists will be invited to create collaborative works together.