Here we have a round-up of releases that are small in the number of tracks, from Ep length to long single sided album length pieces.
“Zazz is the long distance collaborative project of Ang Wilson and Braeyden Jae. Out of mutual for each other’s musicality and expression, the project came to life when the two decided to develop a creative dialogue through sound, sending files back and forth with no pre-determined aesthetic or agenda. That space of not knowing and openness nurtures the trust and respect that guides the project. It allows for an honesty and presence that can be difficult to tap into when the course has already been charted.”
“Forever Is A Distance” sounding like synth drones, treated flute meets oscillating Synths like two sounds coming from different sides crashing into each other before joining together in waves of drones that subtly change. The sounds come and go as waves, with the Synths and flute changing their color, shape and intensity. Musically it is very minimalist, but Wilson and Jae are able to lock in together to create a propulsive and hypnotic piece with an emphasis on lushness, that is able to hold the listener’s attention with its limited sound pallet.
“Garden Approach” utilizes field recordings of water alongside an ambient sound bath of synths, bells and flute that has a new age meets Asian – sounding ambience (the Asian reference is purely from the sounds of the bells which appear to have percussive quality and for some reason give me a feeling of Thai music, though I am no expert). Crafted with a similar technique to the first track, it sounds more meditative with a feeling of humidity due to the water, the sprinkler like percussive sound that moves left to right and the previously mentioned bells. The final few minutes lets the ambience created by flute, synth, water recordings and keyboards gently bring the track to its droning end.
“Soft Harbinger” would suit those who like long, developing music with rich tones. It is released on 12″ vinyl (limited to 132 copies) and Digital by Inner Islands Records.
“Mathieu Karsenti is a multi award-winning music composer. As well as releasing his own music he has composed for film, TV and stage with over 20 years’ experience of making music. Over time, he has developed a distinctive language: contrapuntal, rhythmic and multi-layered. Under his company Intricuts music, Mathieu has composed and produced music for successful TV shows for BBC, CBBC, Cbeebies, BBC3, ITV-1-2, Channel 4, SYFY, Barvo and Sky1, for top production companies as well as for UK celebrities.“
The release is inspired by the Aitakè chords played on the Sho instrument of traditional Japanese music. It features violin by Violetta Barreno.
“Dreams” opens the ep with a sound pallet I did not expect. I expected a traditional modern classical release and what I am treated to sounds like a soundtrack to a Kubrik film. Sure there are strings and grand arrangements, but there is this sound quality that speaks of an uneasy calm. Percussive elements sneak in as do backward snatches of electronics, muted (presumably) piano lines that seem to warp in tone and an eerie accompanying ambience.
“In The Vastness Of The City” continues the theme with bass notes, stabbing sounds of strings and violin that winds its way around to provide a focal point. The music changes with a more urgent piano meets some sort of malleted instrument (wish I had notes on instrumentation) leading to a highly emotional section full of intrigue and despair. The stabbing strings and violin bring us back once more to where it all began
“Unfinished Memories” piano keys chop and change, violin hovers about before chimes and multilayered strings and synths create this soundtrack-esque mix of classical meets electronics feel. There is a slightly muted feel to the sound of some of the instrumentation – like the sounds are murky, swirling around, not totally distinguishable, but creating this important foundation of sound. The violin (and to a slightly lesser extent the other strings) is the focal point weaving lyrical lines over the other instruments and helping to continue the mood of Ep.
“Back And Forth” possibly a nod to more traditional sounding classical pieces, but still imbuing the sound quality of the Ep, this track feels very much related to the previous one. The use of silence that hangs between notes adds to the intrigue of the piece. The piano and keyboards/electronics featured transform the music with a certain amount of an underwater / submerged quality.
I genuinely feel a loss words to describe the sounds, feelings and mood of this ep. If ever I assumed incorrectly what a piece of music would sound prior to hearing it, it is this. Just to state it in simple terms, this is quite an impressive piece of work.
“The first release from Jamison Isaak (Teen Daze), under his own name. Recorded between his home studio and Protection Island Recording (with Jonathan Anderson) in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, this EP navigates through four serene piano pieces. Anderson, who collaborated with Isaak on Themes For Dying Earth (Anew), not only provided the blissful pedal steel parts you hear, but also engineered a good portion of the record over one grey, rainy afternoon. Music intended for relaxation purposes.“
Since this release Isaac has released “Ep2” and “Spring Patterns 1” on the Hello Flora label.
“Sharalee” opens with ghostly fragments, warm drones, sonic detritus and piano that has a dust soaked tone. Pedal steel guitar (from Jonathon Anderson) weaves its way around giving off a countrified edge to the ambient swirls. The music is rooted around the piano with its raw recording giving the track its personality and leading it away from a predominant ambient track.
“Upstairs” you can tell this was home recorded as it sounds just like it would if you were in the room next to it. The piano has a confident tone that allows for relaxed listening. There is no melancholy or harsh tones, just a nice sound and consistent rhythm. The pedal steel heard in the opener makes its appearance and becomes the core of the ambience of the track, creating arching and twanging drones that glide across the piano.
“Wind” pulsing waves of ambience open to be joined by what sounds like a fusion of pedal steel and piano creating regular rhythms. Additional piano is overlayed bringing in more texture to the track and drawing the listener into the various rhythms, progressions and ambience going on.
“More” piano and pedal steel appear together with the feeling of being recorded in a largely empty room. The recording still has the raw natural feel of before, but this time exudes a cleaner quality with the sounds generated by both instruments being crisper. The track feels introspective, but this is largely brought about by the minimalist repetitive piano, than the pedal steel.
I haven’t had a chance to investigate Isaak’s other work, but if this is a new direction in his music, it is a great beginning.
Suburban Dinosaur is Berlin based Portuguese musician called Gonçalo Trindade who has been releasing music via Bandcamp for the past six years. His latest is “A Bunch Of Reflections” which is available for free download.
“Dip Your Feet” consists of echoing guitar tones that are buried under a layer of distortion. The lines ripple and warp as of trying to break free. The music has a violent quality with noises spitting , swarming and throbbing before tipping into pure noise. Textures start to appear towards the final few minutes with ambient tones being revealed under a blanket of static, which is a welcome respite to the previous walls of noise.
“The Fog in Rabenstraase” (Pictured in the sleeve art above) shares a similar opening style to the previous track utilizing oscillating guitar tones that are joined by different guitar tones and are engulfed by noise.
“First Day Of Fall” follows the pep’s template in guitar tones and noise, but varies it with metallic guitar strikes across that sounds like ricochets. The music balances the fine line of drone and noise.
“Exhale” starts with the sound that the amp makes of the guitar being plugged in. From that point Gonçalo manages to make the track sound anything but guitar with its cavernous walls of rumbling noise that turn into Merzbow territory.
To be honest, my days of noise music are long behind me. The sounds that are featured on this Ep would suit those that like it dirty and noisy with a physical approach to the music.
‘t Geruis means “The Noise” in Dutch and this self titled release is the debut from an artist only known to me as Jolan.
“De Nachvorst” which translates to “The Night Frost” opens with warped electronics, glitchy granular sounds and a slightly noisy undercurrent. The track is one of slight shifts in textures and tones and mixes in other elements such as melodic synth progressions and darker walls of sound, finding a nice balance between them all. The track has a distant, submerged quality which keeps all levels relatively the same. From its humble beginnings the track keeps building in intensity till an icy tones brings it to the end.
“Spaanders” which translates to “Chips” buzzing static is replaced by vibrating metallic electronics that are linear but have ebbs and flows creating a noisy darker electronic track to its predecessor. The electronics begin to sound like swarms of buzzing, warping noises leading into totally different territories – more experimental than the other tracks on the Ep.
“Zonder Anker” which translates to “Without Anchor” starts off low-key with long melodic synth progressions over a slightly distorted need of post industrial sounds. Occasional beats enter from the briefest period, before another retro synth section with added sonic detritus takes over the track. The music has a funeral pace with some of the tone sounding like a church organ. Being the longest track at over seven minutes in length, ‘t Geruis takes the time to work on it and utilizes the rather minimalist sound pallet to create movements within it that allow a little building of tension.
“Naast Een Engel” which translates to “Next To An Angel ” has a muted Boards of Canada melodic synth line which after a short while is joined by a looped vocal section (or possibly another synth that imitates vocals). The tracks sound expands with a series of drone that combine to give off a spectral sound that fuses soaring drones with a wind-swept feel. Fittingly the title of the track matches the mood of the piece.
As debuts go this is a good start. I personally prefer the ep’s bookends, but that said only “Spaanders” diesnt really do it for me, and is quite a different track to the other three. Worth checking out.