Alder & Ash – Clutched in the Maw of the World.

“Clutched in the Maw of the World” is the follow-up Alder & Ash album released at the same time as the debut was re-issued by Lost Tribe Sound. Both got the deluxe physical treatment with a hand crafted sleeve in an edition of 150 copies each.

Lost Tribe Sound had this to sat about the artist: “Alder & Ash treads on the experimental fringes of modern classical, perhaps too abrasive to play nice with the coy melodrama of the scene. Yet, the music has enough grit to take hold of lovers of doom, noise, and the like, perhaps winning over new fans of cello music from even the most hardened black metal die-hards.”

“The Merciless Dusk” starts off with screeching feedback like noises with slowly strummed cello that has a very distraught sound to it. The cello plays mournfully over the screeching, but is used sparingly with great restraint which emphasizes the melancholic feel to it. There is a sense of loss in the tone of the cello that is inescapable.

“A Seat Amongst God and his Children” percussive use of the cello’s body alongside long bass thumps are joined by layered sections of melodic lines that cut in an out before the percussion and bass drop out and a tale of woe is introduced by the lead section which reaches low notes, before the previous sections of percussion and bass return with added distortion changing the tone of the piece and adding a level of almost violence to it. This goes in cycles with the quieter piece coming back before it descends back into the distorted section. The juxtaposition of the different in volume is quite pronounced and effective. A note should be made of the recording of the cello which highlights the accents of the instrument.

“All his own, the Lord of Naught” bass thumps underneath scraped loops are accompanied by spindly cello lines with a ghostly presence. A Ponticello section brings in a darker section of distorted loops followed by strumming and scraping of the strings before heading back into the noise. The strummed and scraping sections give the feel of an old western soundtrack which is opposite to the freak out of the Ponticello and loops.

“Clutched in the Maw of the World” layers of buzzsaw cello cut through the air filling up the sound,balancing both light and shade. It’s not long before an emotive and despair-like central piece takes the solo focus over the drone like other sections. As the track moves on the buzzsaw sections start to keep getting ever so slightly heavier and a background section of squall like distortion builds up and swarms over the track to its completion.

“The Great Plains of Dust” when this track starts you have to check that you are not listening to a track by Stoner legends Sleep such is the heaviness of the beginning. An orchestral like section of drones joins the thump and they come across like a track from the “A Clockwork Orange” soundtrack. The drones have a semi distorted stab like feel. The track then changes into a familiar Alder & Ash track with the distorted bass loops and fluid cello lines over the top. Again the cello sounds returns for a brief section to the Stoner realm with its deep bass tone, before the playing turns emotive and leads into a further distorted and layered section. The track manages to traverse Stoner Rock, Classical and Alt country/folk with an apparent ease.

“Seeds of a Sallow Earth” deft acoustic picking and use of the percussive qualities of the cello welcome affected sections that sound like transmissions from a radio, such is their removed sound. The cello is battered and slapped and gently plucked and strummed resulting in the most experimental of the tracks over the two albums.

“The Merciful Dawn” after some light drones and minimal bass thumps long and emotive cello lines occur minimally and unforced. The lines have a slight, but not overpowering melancholic feel to them. The lines are replaced with layers of gently strummed and more forcefully plucked strings and hitting of the body of the cello which you can detect a ring hitting it.

“The Glisten, The Glow” the percussive slap and gently strummed strings are joined by a layered section of strummed cello which gives the track a feel of a post rock track due to all the elements joining together with not one having a tone that leads it any given direction. The use of pace and space gives the track a hint of restraint that is held on till the middle of the track where there is a slight sense of urgency of the cello as if something needs to be conveyed. Towards the end the urgency is replaced by grandeur as the tone of the cello is more emotive and almost lyrical in its lines. This particular track and “The Great Plains of Dust” are the two stand out tracks of the album for very different reasons.

“Clutched in the Maw of the World” follows the sound template of “Psalms for the Sunder”, but extends it further with the use of silence, pace, atmosphere and leading the music in a grander soundtrack-esque style. While “Psalms…” was obviously a cello based record, “Clutched…” while also being a cello record shows more depth and variance in its compositions and the colors that the music displays. A recommended listen.

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Alder & Ash – Psalms for the Sunder.

Lost Tribe Sound sought to expose Alder & Ash to a greater audience. The first of the two releases they put out was “Psalms for the Sunder”. This originally came out self released in 2016. Lost Tribe Sound decided to re-issue in physical form alongside the latest album “Clutched in the Maw of the World”.

The label had the following to say: “Psalms for the Sunder thrives in opposing extremes. As the title suggests, Psalms for the Sunder is a study of downfall and collapse. The work explores the boundaries, the desolation and despair, among the edges of things come undone. In that tension and space it finds not only cacophony, violence and decay, but also bittersweetness and calm.”

Alder & Ash is Adrian Copeland from Montreal, Quebec, Canada and is a solo cellist and only uses Cello to compose these pieces. He uses such techniques as legato (“musical notes are played smoothly and connected. That is, the player transitions from note to note with no intervening silence”), pizzicato (plucking of the strings), but also extended techniques like percussion against various parts of the cello, scordatura (detuning strings), string scratching, col legno (striking strings with bow) and ponticello (metallic and shrill overtones). Making full use of the instrument results in the music made by Alder and Ash.

“A Prelude To The Decline” slow drones are accompanied by minimal picking before the mournful quality of the cello cuts through with a melodic touch. The main cello piece alternates in tone and intensity giving the track both the mournful part, but also an angry intensity. The range of tones gives the cello a vocal-like feel in that it is conveying an unsung narrative.

“At Night in the Slaughterhouse” a distorted beat and slapping of the body of the instrument give the track its percussive feel while layers of cello combine to give both rhythm and lead parts. The press release gives mention of Dirty Three and Bad Seed’s Warren Ellis violin playing and this comes through early in this track with similar frantic playing. Just when you feel the track is settling down, the distorted percussion comes thumping back in industrial style while affected cello screeches above it roaring in intensity until the more emotive sections take control.

“Black Salt” starts with occasional strumming of the cello as if the player or person is finding their feet or rhythm before the percussive part starts to form something more. The strumming picks up speed, joined by buzzsaw sounds cutting left to right and some distant distorted rumble sounds. The melodic cello part that becomes the central focus lends a modern classic feel which is at odds with its more rustic beginning. After an ebb the strumming starts up again with both the distorted rumble sounds and a percussive beat. After a short period it fades to low-level drones and cutting sounds while the strumming slowly fades to the end.

“Seen Through the Cedar Smoke” multi layered picking and percussion are joined by the briefest bursts of sounds similar to that of a horn. The picking rhythmically becomes dense and woven and is covered with stabs of sound. The affected cello comes back into play sounding like the guitar sounds of Big Black – like distorted that it removes the original sound of the instrument. The quiet/loud dynamic comes into play when elements drop out and the picking starts up again, with both a feature element and the rhythmic base. There is quite a post industrial feel to the track, almost like post war desolation and decay.

“Ikejime” bizarrely the title refers of a method of paralyzing fish to preserve the meat. I am not sure what preservation is going on in this track but it has a jaunty rhythm over which slow bowed cello hangs over utilizing the screech noises that can be apparent with the cello. There are several layers the recording with each holding its own position from rhythm to melodic parts , those that are designed to add color, while others become the lead and yet others add the emotive depth to the pieces. All the levels don’t make it claustrophobic in any way and they are complimentary.

“Children of Gomorrah” has an ominous bluest feel with the starting percussive bit and distorted strings before sad sections are added and the track returns to the distortion of earlier tracks and has a vibe of seedyness as if it would suit as a soundtrack piece for show like “Peaky Blinders” or something where there is little light, grime, decay, etc….

“Triage” acoustic strumming with a drone that is long and emotive that slowly evolves, with the rhythm staying the same pace before dropping out altogether and allowing the drone to be accompanied by Warren Ellis style strings which posses an Americana feel that is almost improv like, before the strumming re-emerges. With Triage meaning to assess the importance of things, this could be represented in the layers of the piece and the way they build up and how they are structured.

On “Psalms for the Sunder” Alder & Ash utilize their chosen instrument to the fullest and create music that cuts through genres such as Drone, Americana, Industrial and others without being bogged down in one set genre. The music contained could easily be featured on a soundtrack or just enjoyed with a pair of headphones on.

The last physical copies are still available now.

Cicely Irvine – Excavation.

The latest Eilean Rec release (the 60th) comes from new artist Cicely Irvine called “Excavation”. Irvine (b. 1990) is a musician and sound artist based in Stockholm, Sweden. She has been making music and sound design for film, radio and performance art. “Excavation” is her debut release and the recordings were made between 2007 and 2017.

With such a broad time for the completion of the album you would be thinking that it would be a compilation and with the difference in the material it could lead you to different points in the decade of its genesis. However, as a reviewer you don’t know the age of the individual recordings nor their autobiographical meanings (if indeed they are there).

“Bow” is the opener with oscillating drones, field recordings, beats, haunting vocals which are built-in harmony with each other and give a dream like feel to the music.

“Sans” long drones punctuated by the glockenspiel giving glitch like sound is accompanied by the musical saw and melodica. Unfortunately it doesn’t really go anywhere, which is a shame.

“Hjärtat” (translates to “Heart”) industrial like heart beats welcome drones, presumably from pump organ alongside minor field recordings. Much like the previous track, this is more of a sketch or intro for a full piece.

“Come Around” features Irvine’s layered vocals over a buzzing drone section which ebbs and flows, but towards the end the vocals start to manipulated to glitching alongside synths as if they are spluttering, before drones bring the decay to the end.

“Eftertanken” (After the Tank) sees the introduction of minimal piano, which is probably the first track that give you the feel of the recording locations (in bedroom studios in Gotthenburg and Stockholm).

“Organ” sees the pump organ front and central. The tones generated and the relaxed pace of the music work well together and give a feeling of rebirth.

“Takten” (“The Pace”) sees Irvine demonstrate her virtuosity on guitar with a frantic section layered over the original section which has a more picked feeling. After a brief interlude the piece changes in tone and intensity and becomes almost a facsimile of itself.

“The Deer” sees slow acoustic guitar gentle pickings matched with field recordings of squalls and Irvine’s vocals, bells and drones combining in a rich sounding track.

“Genom Skogen” (“Through the Forest”) is a whimsical piece of childlike melodies of backwards loops, field recordings, pump organ, bells. Together they give an almost nursery rhyme like feel that has both innocence and a slight sinister touch.

“Heavy” affected vocal loops, field recordings, fog like drones, bells, bass thumps come together in a loop based piece that has a sound collage effect.

“Natt” (“Night”) glitchy bells with sound effects and musical of ox sounds acts as an intro of sorts for “Slutet” (“End”) which has a bell-like sound from the glockenspiel as well as long drones, field recordings of wind, distant guitar. The slow drones combine with the field recordings to give a feeling of loneliness, while the snatches of guitar sound like transmissions from a broken radio.

“Right” sees percussive guitar beating with a rippling rhythm that sounds like cassette tape that has been chewed out rewound and replayed resulting in a warped sound.

“4.38 AM” multilayered vocals each with different melodies start of this track with drones bringing in light before the vocals return over scraping field recordings and bird song as if she is welcoming in the morning and the sun is starting to rise.

“Ljudland” drones that sound like a rusty gate screaming as it is opened are joined by what sounds like melodica which has a long breathy drones, field recordings of water and bird song which lead the track out.

“Your Eyes” drones and then beats with cut up Synth sections make this the most electronica track. Synth drones buzz in and our, bell-like loops provide a counterpoint to this beats, which increase with intensity before retreating to a Dubby section. The Dubby section leads to the end and as it reaches its end the beats have a static noise feel.

I have read a couple of very positive reviews for this release, but I am not hearing what others are. There are elements that work, but the overall feeling I have of the release is one of confusion. You are not sure what sort of album you are listening to and the feeling is of sketches that are not fully fleshed out. Tracks like “Bow”, “Cone Around” and “Your Eyes” work well, while some other don’t. I think if the ideas for the pieces be more focused and narrowed down, then the future shows some promise.

An interview with Dronarivm’s Dmitry Taldykin.

Dronarivm has been around since May 2012 with the release of Star Turbines “The Sleeping Land” on cassette. From this auspicious start and with Bartosz Dziadosz (Pleq) acting as curator, the label has gone from strength to strength releasing music from the likes of Celer, Offthesky, Porya Hatami, The Green Kingdom, Caught in the Wake Forever, Guilio Aldinucci and many more. Label boss Dmitry Taldykin kindly answered my questions.

Please introduce yourself. Why did you start Dronarivm?  Did you have experience with music before starting the label? Was there a label prior to Dronarivm? 

My name is Dmitry Taldykin.  I’m from Moscow, Russia.

Dronarivm is the logical continuation of Radiodrone Records, that was focused on the Russian experimental ambient scene. After I had received the first demo from abroad I took thought to work with foreign markets. Radiodrone Records was not very successful and I decided to start Dronarivm-  that’s how it appeared. The first release was reissue on CD of a cassette album by Celer – Rags of Contentment. I just sent the email to Will Long and he gave me authorization…..it was 5 years ago, Autumn 2012.

When I was younger I played the guitar in an alternative rock group, but it was not connected with the label. It was another story from both sides, musical and aesthetic.

From the outside looking in you and Pleq have a close relationship. How did you meet/come across his music? How important to Dronarivm is he?

Continuing the story… When I was ready to take over the world J)) I got the account on Facebook, where I met Bartosz Dziadosz aka Pleq. I sent him one message: – Hi! Do you want to release something on a cassette? And he replied: – Yes, that would be great!

After that I released the split Pleq / Philippe Lamy. It was very limited edition – around 30 copies. I ordered new cassettes from USA, recorded them at home on two-cassette deck Pioneer, that was equipped with digital input. I bought it in Yaroslavl, Russian city located 300 km away from Moscow.

After some time Bartosz decided to become the curator of Dronarivm. He introduced me to many musicians via internet and acted as an intermediary in the publication of many subsequent releases. This partly remains to this day.

What quality do you look for in a release for Dronarivm ? Do you accept demos?

It is very complicated question. It depends on personal preferences. We are trying not to concentrate on one music genre. We can release drone ambient like Chihei Hatakeyama, or piano modern classical like Lorenzo Masotto. We don’t care about the commercial profit in general. We always look for completeness, perfection… Ideally an album should sound as hell from start to end as much as possible. I don’t know how to express the idea exactly… But I hope sometimes we get it 🙂

Dronarivm is interested mostly in fusion of such genres as ambient, modern classical, electronic, field recordings, experimental. Sometimes we release them in pure, but it happens very seldom.

It is possible to send us demos. But unfortunately we can’t release all we get and listen.

So far 2017 has seen 7 releases. What can be expected for the rest of the year and have you got plans for 2018? (Please note I factored in the just released omrr CD, which was wasn’t released at the time the questions were sent and the re-issued /expanded Olan Mill CD)

Frankly speaking nowadays I see only 5 🙂 Elegi, Lorenzo Masotto, Pausal, Pleq, Enrico Coniglio & Matteo Uggeri… We can also consider Omrr – Devils for my Darling as sixth, it will be issued in the end of September. By the time this interview will be published it could be fait accompli

In 2017 we are planning to release Sven Laux – Paper Streets and Aaron Martin & Machinefabriek – Seeker.

Also we have some plans for 2018. I don’t want to give any comments on that. The only thing I would like to say – these will be wonderful albums, as always 🙂 Hope everything will work out fine.

How important is the visual identity of packaging and format to the label? You have done tapes and cds. Have you considered vinyl?

I’m not sure if listener can recognize Dronarivm once looked at it. Many labels create their own aesthetic canons to make their releases appear visually recognizable, identifiable in the general flow. It is very clear desire taking into consideration the volume of music production.

As for Dronarivm, we work individually with each particular release. We don’t have any rules in design. It is absolutely up to the taste of musician and editor.

CD is the optimal format for us now. To release vinyl, I would need to move to Latvia or the Czech Republic, or somewhere else forever. In Russia, to release vinyl costs a lot of money. If sometimes it happen it will be the last release of Dronarivm 🙂 Maybe in future something will change. But while we continue to do what we do. With hope for the best …

An interview with Whitelabrec’s Harry Towell.

One of the hardest working people in the Ambient/Drone sphere is Harry Towell. He wears many hats and has four labels in various states of activity as well as his well known Spheruleus moniker. I caught up with Harry to talk about his Whitelab Rec’s label.

You record under the Spheruleus name (as well as Magnofon) and run the Tesselate, Audio Gourmet and Warehouse Decay labels while also writing for the Irregular Crates Blog. What was the impetus in starting another label? Are you a workaholic? Are Tesselate and Warehouse Decay still active?

I am indeed a workaholic. I have no idea how I find the time. But then I don’t truly see music as work so it’s not hard. With all the labels and pseudonyms, I guess like many artists, I have a habit of starting something new! Some creators end things by closing doors neatly behind them when they intend to open a new one. Others, like me, tend to leave doors open and chop and change between projects. Audio Gourmet for instance could have stopped a couple of years back when I was working more on Tesselate and Warehouse Decay, but I am glad I left the door ajar , as this year I’ve been putting out free EP’s again and really enjoyed it, with some great support.

 

Currently Warehouse Decay is inactive and I’ve no immediate plans to get it going again. I’ve always loved House music and wanted to be a part of the scene and use my experience running Ambient labels to make a go of it. Unfortunately it proved a tough nut to crack and apart from a few friends who supported it loyally, I felt pretty alone. It’s interesting that Ambient music fans, artists, labels etc have all taken different paths to stumble on the genre, many from Post Rock, Metal or IDM, many from the New Age or ethnic Ambient genres too. It seems that Deep House is not such a conventional route and so I didn’t have as many interested contacts or a connected audience.

Tessellate is not fully closed, despite being inactive of late. I always feel it could be another window if I felt like splashing the cash on some more luxurious packaging but the trouble is the risk as to whether I’d make enough back to justify a bigger release.

I launched Whitelabrecs after an idea which was the blueprint for the packaging and I recalled how well Under The Spire did as a label when starting out, when they released things in simple rubber stamped cardboard packages. I had also recently been reunited with my record collection and was feeling very nostalgic about the days when I’d visit local record stores, purchasing white label vinyl as I got to grips with DJing. Often records would have nothing other than a sticker or rubber stamp, sometimes even just an etching on the black plastic space near the label. So I did the usual, set up a website, a Bandcamp page and started asking around to see if anyone would want to release on this new label of mine. Thankfully there was a lot of interest and here we are today!

How important is the visual identity to the label? Compared to the Tesselate releases, Whitelabrec’s releases have the hand-made aesthetic. Was it important for the label to have an aesthetic to encompass a concept?

For Whitelabrecs this has become crucially important – it was the idea behind the label and I’ll keep it going for as long as I can. I think this is also why I slowed down with Tessellate, as the packaging is different for pretty much every release and the label never truly found an identity. When the idea struck for Whitelabrecs, I truly connected with it and wanted this to be the plan for all releases on the label. I knew there’d be the odd detour but for general releases, I decided that it was very important to follow the pattern this time so I could build an identity.

Is the label genre bound or do the releases float over various genres?

The label isn’t genre-bound as it will be rooted in my own music taste which is incredibly varied. So far releases have been generally within the modern Ambient scene, perhaps encompassing most of the sub-genres from floatier drone stuff, to glitch electronics and onto Modern Classical, Folk and even Jazz. This has generally gone down well with listeners. I’m open to pushing the boundaries in the future and taking one or two detours so watch this space! But generally, I’m looking at releasing introspective, thought-provoking music and can’t see that changing. In other words, I’m not likely to rekindle my failed dreams from Warehouse Decay by releasing dancefloor-ready Tech House!

A glance at the catalog reveals a mixture of familiar names with those that are new (or side projects). How important is it to you to expose people to new artists? Does this become a factor when deciding what to release?

I have always worked with both newer names to the scene and more established artists and in the Whitelabrecs catalog there is a blend. I don’t dwell too much on whether an artist has released before, how successful their other work was or how many Instagram followers they have. We’ve only got 50 copies to make and sell, of which the artist gets 10. So I only have to worry about those 40 copies and they tend to shift regardless of how well established an artist is. Sure, it certainly helps to have some familiar names –releases by Tsone, Steve Pacheco and Guy Gelem took little in the way of a push! I’m also delighted to give some other artists their first taste of releasing a physical album however, such as Sea Trials, Ludmila and Ben McElroy. I remember how exciting this felt when I first held a copy of ‘Frozen Quarters’ which I released as Spheruleus on Under The Spire.

Looking at the future of the label there are no plans to just attract well-known artists now it’s a bit more established. We have demos queued up until WLR043 and in that queue we’ve got some well-known artists as well as new comers so the blend will continue.

You’ve recently done a cassette release and the 20 cdr box set. What other plans do you have for the future? Do you plan quite far in advance?

There’ll likely be another box set for those that don’t mind waiting a year or two to play catch up. I did this so that there’s a way for people new to the label to not miss out completely and also, because I was getting asked about out of print releases. I’ve always said I wouldn’t reissue anything individually, but since box set orders are always likely to be low due to the price tag, I took the decision to do this just so there is a way for new collectors to join in the fun.
I enjoyed making the mix tape too and was surprised at the level of interest having never worked with this format before. I’ll certainly be doing more mix tape releases in the future and perhaps get into the local fields and continue the photography theme for the artwork.

There are no other clear ideas just yet as I’m currently just getting my head down and working my way through the discography queue. I think another compilation could be in order at some point but there’s no overall rush on that. There will be new ideas though – with both the box set and the tape, the ideas struck me suddenly and it doesn’t take me long to pull it all together once ideas such as these set in.

With schedule, I’ll take in demos and add them to the back of the queue once approved. I’ll leave them until I get nearer – perhaps drop in with the artist and have a chat now and again. Some artists are very keen and understandably so, so we organise things well in advance so everything’s ready. Other artists are happy to leave it until the few weeks in the run up to the release and wait for me to get back in touch.

There is a lot to do for each release but we’ve followed a similar formula since the beginning, so I’m quite used to it now, 28 releases in – so the work isn’t too daunting. I guess burning the CDs is the most time-consuming thing but that gives me a chance to work on other things, listen to music and relax bit too.

You can check out more :

Whitelabrecs

Bandcamp

Monty Adkins – A Year At Ushers Hill.

The 59th Eilean Rec release aka Eilean 28 is Monty Adkins’ ” A Year In Ushers Hill”. According to the label: “Monty Adkins is experimental sound artist based in remote countryside of the north of England.  Inhabiting a post-acousmatic sensibility, Monty’s work draws together elements from ambient, acousmatic and microsound music producing a soundworld characterised by slow shifting organic textures derived from processed instrumental sounds”

He has been releasing music since 2009 with the majority coming out on the Audiobulb and Crónica labels. “A Year at Usher Hill” is his sixth solo album with his last solo full length coming out in 2015. He also is a Professor at the University of Huddlesfield in the UK.

Usher’s Hill is possibly geographically fictitious as the only mention of a place with this name is in Queensland, Australia. According to the artist (via his own blog) “A year at Ushers Hill is the final part of a trilogy of releases – following on from Rift Patterns (Audiobulb) and Residual Forms (Cronica), based on psychogeography and psychosonolgy. The album was started in July 2016 and completed in July 2017 and is highly autobiographical, charting events, places, and most importantly the people associated with these experiences. For me, the process of creating this album was a re-discovery of memories and the connections between them across time. Composing became a reflective and meditative process: teasing out the meaning of events, celebrating the happenstance, and the pleasure of the moment”.

Psychogeography refers to the study of the effects of geographical environment on the emotions of individuals, while Psychosonology is more like a visual image that may be evoked by the music. You can read more from a publication by Adkins, et al here.

“A Year in Usher’s Hill” is a collaborative release as it features Jonathan Best on Pianos , while Adkins plays Celesta, Organs and Electronics. The mixing is by Monty Adkins and Steven Halliday and mastering by Mathias Van Eecloo.

“Alone” is solo piano which has a muted fog covered sound that has a nice reverb to it which extends the notes. The playing is rather minimal and feels improvised as it does not fall a similar pattern other than ending sections on long notes. The nature of the fog or haze to the track lends that nostalgic feel because it gives an impression of looking back in the mists of time.

“An Eden Within” long granulated drones build up in wind-swept fashion with electronics meeting organ with the delicate pinky plonk of the Celestia giving it an innocent feel. The drones and organ fill the sound and provides space for the Celesta to weave between, but also letting each element take over from time to time to be the focus. Some of the organ sounds give it a “Sorcerer” era Tangerine Dream feel with an ever so slightly proggy touch.

“Shifting Ground” sees the return of Best’s emotive piano playing with a gentle style that is fluid and intimate with a ‘in the room” recording style. You get the feeling of reminiscing and nostalgia from this piece.

“Small Steps” heavy bass notes and starker keys welcome the start if this piece. The Organ drones cone in which add to the feeling of other-worldliness. The Drones have a strong church-like feel which could be natural to the instrument. An alien feel arrives in the form of grainy electronics which support the feel of the organ.

“Radiant Moon” shows delicate interplay with dust-covered glitch loops and celestial chimes. Quite like transmissions from a far outpost of Antarctica.

“In Memorium Jacques Hamel” is a piece dedicated to the French Catholic priest killed in Normandy by terrorists. Naturally with a track that is a tribute to someone murdered in horrific circumstances there has to be delicateness to it. The solo piano is quite minimal in its sound with long emotive, with a tinge of melancholy, notes that fill out the sound as the notes spread our to nothing, much like water ripples on a pond.

“Usher’s Hill” again the electronics give a feeling of a lost transmission, but this time there is a creaking sound to them which lends a nautical feel to them. Bass thuds delineate swirls of organ drones that is layered and also forms part of the electronic experimentalism while Celesta augments the electronics.

“Before Sleep” is shorter track that is full of emotion with its tone of piano playing, the speed and style of playing. Maybe with such a title the feeling convey relaxation, but for me it is of loss or of something that cannot be changed and the emotions surrounding that.

“Solstice” takes us in the proggy style with floating lines, bass sections, bass thuds and occasional hammering of piano keys The track full of melody and experimental leaning musician it is quite rhythmical. Celesta runs almost mimic those of the organ which gives the track big an organic and electronic feel to it. Thus is teach quire different to those in the album and feels a bit out-of-place, but in a good way.

“Burnt Sun” the familiar instruments return with experimental electronics, drones, celesta combing to give an Electroacoustic piece that for all intents and purposes seems to be like a collection of various tones as opposed following a musical pattern. For that reason I can pass on a piece like this.

“Under a Luna Sky” Best’s piano playing comes to bring the album home with playing that is both urgent at times and relaxed at others. There is hint of melancholy, but not morose.It’s like a journey has been undertaken and the music is a reflection of that – some joy, some despair and something in between. Much like this album its many things all at once.

I admit that there are parts to this album that I don’t get. You can easily get bored with music when there is no variation. This is not the problem here, it’s that you are not sure what type of album you are getting – experimental, modern classical or proggy electronics. Sometimes they work together well like in “Small Steps” or when they go more genre specific such “Solstice” which is the album’s highlight, but I personally don’t feel that it works together as a whole.

Francesco Giannico & Giulio Aldinucci – Reframing.

We find ourselves with the 58th release from the French imprint Eilean Rec which comes from Francesco Giannico & Giulio Aldinucci. Considering the first release came out in April 2014 with 53 of those coming out in the first 3 years, that would mean the label (going at the same release rate) will be finished approximately 2 – 2.5 years from now.

This was released in an edition of 150 copies and is all sold out from the label, but limited copies are/will be available from Stashed Goods and Experimedia.

“Reframing” sees Italian artists Francesco Giannico and Giulio Aldinucci pair up again after the Dronarivm release “Agoraphonia” from 2016. Giannico has featured on labels such as Somehow, Oak Editions, Time Released Sound and Unknown Tone to name a few while Aldinucci has appeared on Home Normal, Time Released Sound, The Long Story Recording Company and others. The pair come across like well suited collaborators.

“Reframing” opens almost like a needle is placed mid track and the record player is turned on. Church organ like ethereal drones float below field recordings of street conversations between children with subtle electronics cutting in to the piece that provide delicate swathes of sound that make the track have depth, but also give a little bit of haze as well and as this was released towards the end of the Northern Hemispheres summer season, a summery feel.

“Encoding” blends Electroacoustic soundscapes with abstract drones, bells and chimes alongside a series of drones that vibrate with intensity and at times feel almost like proggy Synth progressions.

“Storage” is where the experimentation starts with an alien soundscape that cracks, pops, flickers in and out at times feeling like a subdued Merzbow outtake than a Drone piece. It feels like a transmission from some sort of SCI FI film that is about loneliness, abandonment and decay.

“Retrieval” has a similar tone, but not sound to “Reframing”. This is a pure Drone piece that slowly stars building up with multiple layers such as the glacial bottom layer, the muddle bass like layer and then the top melodic layer. Once it reaches the crescendo the main drone becomes a fusion of the glacial and melodic before a hive like electronic sound starts buzzing around. A darker piece starts building in the left hand side and comes on like a storm engulfing the whole piece with the drone sounding like a wind gale that pulses with intensity for several minutes before it is heard as a somewhat distant storm that is threatening to return before it fades to silence.

“Iconic” swirling winds, scatter of gun fire like sounds, looped water on a tin roof sound, modern classical piano, field recordings, ambient synths and looped decaying electronic sounds all come together to form a piece that has depth of sound for the listener to get hooked on. The blending of different tones and elements means that it is not one-dimensional. The artists let the elements come in and our, give them space, but also allow for them to compliment each other. The shortest of tracks on the album at 4 minutes and thirty-two seconds could easily go for a few more minutes.

“Echoic” sees a track where the elements that have been included in the preceding five tracks come together, but with subtle added other sections like a fast beating heart beat, walls of noise, the sound of contact mikes being played with. The piece comes like a fusion of a Electroacoustic artist and an ambient artist constructing a track that has a foot in both camps and seems balanced between the more ambient beginning and the Electroacoustic ending.

“Reframing” is a work that could be classified as Electroacoustic Ambience and has more than enough depth and variation for sustained listening. It is a perfect headphone listen to pick up all that is happening in the tracks. A mention should be made of the dynamic master of Ian Hawgood.