A slight change of tack for AN#8 as I want to share with you some longer tracks that have really caught my attention; just 3 tracks this time around, all at the 20+ minute mark and all released this year. I do an awful lot of my listening on my commute to work so I have plenty of time to lose myself in music as the stops go by. It makes the cramped, 90+ minute, journeys all the more easy to endure, giving me time to myself that is not always available at other times during the day – time to listen. As usual, some thoughts from me and some words from them.
The first track I’ve chosen for this show is Amphipoda by Lau Nau (Laura Naukkarinen) – a gorgeous piece created on a Buchla 200 system, released on the Longform Editions label. Clocking in at 20m 09s, this is the shortest of the 3 pieces here. Flutterung, flittery bleeps create a gentle melody throughout, fading in and out slightly before building back up accompanied by subtle, underlying, bass textures to a final flourish of scattered, twinkling stars in the clear night sky. Absolutely beautiful.
In her own words: The piece is recorded at Elektronmusikstudion EMS in Stockholm with their big Buchla 200 system in 2018. I was there for a short residency studying how to compose the changes in the Baltic Sea into music. This composition is inspired by how the biomass of plankton vary in the Baltic depending, for example, on the entering saline pulses from the North Sea, the oxygen levels and the temperature of the water. The work has been supported by The Arts Promotion Centre Finland, Taike
Secondly we have (the self-released I think) Mirror Mania by Neil Campbell from the album Mirror Mania Ersatz Chamber – ‘Recorded at home during 2018/19 using strings, electronics, percussion, pianos and voice‘ and clocking in at 23m 44s. I’ll admit to being fairly new to Neil’s work but one thing I have noted in the several pieces I have heard is how he uses layer upon layer of sound to create a gloriously cohesive, and – depsite the numerous and varied elements that make up each track – uncluttered, collage of sounds. Playful and fun, yet complex and intricate. A psychedelic carnival of sounds. I had the immense pleasure of seeing Neil, Alexander Tucker and Daniel O’Sullivan playing as Astral Social Club & Grumbling Fur Time Machine Orchestra at Cafe OTO this week (3rd July 2019) celebrating – and so they should be – their fabulous collaboration, Plasma Splice Trifle. It was joyous, hypnotic, loud, and funky. Happy enough to thank them all at the end but too exhausted with a long trip home to say hi! I’ll be playing at least one track from that album on future shows.
The last of the 3, Part 1 by SALTINGS, taken from the album Earth Fosters What Heavens Let Fall, is the longest track at 28m 17s. Released on the fantastic Misaphonia Records it is one of those albums in which I completely lose myself. This particular track begins with a simple, haunting, achingly gorgeous flute motif and gently builds, easing in a subtle interplay of strings as drones & synths coalesce in the background. As we reach around the 2/3rds mark the track moves into mildly harsher territory of pulsing drones and glitchy tones that continue to effortlessly propel the track forward until we reach the staccato synth crescendo to fade; running water and birdsong bringing us to a close – to an end.
Hypnotic yet engaging, and completely beautiful. It cleanses your soul and creates a sunrise in your heart that illuminates your entire being. Damn it makes me feel good.
SALTINGS is a pastoral-horror-soundscape project, founded by Irish-born composer Andrew Cooke. Working by himself or collaborating with others, Andrew draws on the unsettling literary influences of authors like M.R. James and W.G. Sebald to tentatively create audio-worlds of controlled darkness; hushed plateaux of eerie tranquility and black horizons full of whispering, half-dreamed creatures.
Thank you to the artists for their music and their Bandcamp pages for the release info, bio details etc.