One of the goals of this blog was to attempt to cover everything sent. At times the song count has hit 170+ which makes it difficult especially with a lot of releases around the sane time. In Brief will be an occasional series to make sure I cover everything sent.
“Deer Traps” is a four track CD/Cassette (limited to 15 copies)/Digital release on German label Blackjack Illuminist Records. Alexander Leonard Donat records under a variety of aliases making music that goes across genres such as Indie Pop, Darkwave, Dream Punk and Oriental Krautrock (those last two are new ones to me).
The label has this to say about the album: “Deer Traps” is a 40-minute lucid veil of night that pulls itself over the body of the listeners until they are fully covered and unable to move. It’s carefully drizzled in anaesthetic which unfolds just fast enough for the listener to find a place to lie low. Donat uses classical instruments and occasional voices, then loops them and combines them with field recordings and synthetic sounds to create a hissing and crackling, rustling and creaking fever dream. The sounds are distant, ghostly, they melt into one another until they become a whole that’s either peaceful, menacing, or both – depending on the listener’s perspective and mood.”
“Fog Horn Deer Trap” if this is a modern classical track it is covered in a thick dose of ambient static, bird song field recordings and almost wind howling like drones. It feels like the recording of the piano was made several rooms away from where it was being played as it is distant in the mix. The playing of the piano is rather subtle and has a nice rhythm that reveals itself from time to time.
“…And Then It Materialized” features layers of static, howling drones, clanging sounds and dark ambience. It is like the sound of haunting and decay. Things are falling apart, a transmission signal is cutting in and out till just the drones remain as the city burns.
“Alteglofsheim Night Pedal” the decay continues, but not as claustrophobic as the previous track. Semi- melodic elements are off on the fringes while a drone with equal parts of melody and ominous sound rolls in under the static and wind recordings. As the track progresses this sound becomes more industrial – like with clanging rhythms and all the elements coming together to create a chugging motion. The one draw back is the sort of muddiness that while adds atmosphere, probably removes the intensity a clearer recording/mix could give.
“Forest Fire” brings in layers of looped metallic drones with a distant rumble of built up recordings creating noise that start taking over the sound as the track approaches the half way mark and lead the track into decay with the drones peaking through the noise before the track fades to the end.
Alexander Leonard Donat shows how he is capable of constructing layered drone music with additional influences from his other musical excursions. For me the static elements can be a little overpowering and could be used bit sparingly.
Channelers is the project of Sean Conrad, based in Oakland, CA (USA). This release comes out as a cassette (in an edition of 75 copies) on his label Inner Islands (not to be confused with the Canadian Inner Ocean label).
The label have the following to say about the release: “Faces of Love is the product of a practice of recording and improvising as a mindfulness practice, playing to listen to and be with the sound. Naturally, the rhythm of the sound follows the rhythm of the body and the pace of the breath. It is a simple mirror. It is music both as a practice and process, as well as for sharing and listening. The pieces are static in their mood and atmosphere, but could wander infinitely. Presence amidst the ever-changing. Solidity and freedom. “Always Been” focuses on the tidal undulations of the breath, while “Pressure Sigh” is a balance between two individual forces, weaving a conversation. The two pieces that comprise the album are from a series of sessions devoted to this practice. The pieces were recorded using harmonium, bowed bass, dulcimer, piano, and Juno-60.”
“Always Been” if you’ve ever done mindfulness training or meditation you would know that it’s all about being present and focusing on the breath. This is what happens in this track. A drone oscillates in a constant measured loop underneath minimal playing on the dulcimer. There is not a lot going on in the track, which can have a drawback at nineteen and a half minutes in length, but it follows the intention of the artist. The use of the Dulcimer gives it a sort of Asian feel which also would fit in with the mindfulness/meditation intention.
“Pressure Sigh” the two opposing forces is the minimal piano and underlying field recording like drones which initially start of as if radiating from the piano to then inhabiting their own territory, but never over powering. Much like “Always Been” this track is over nineteen minutes in length and is minimal and slowly building. If you like stark slowly flowing minimal ambient/drone and possibly something to meditate to, this might be for you.