Andrea Laudante – Banat Banat Ban Jai / Matija Mikovic – Fragile Canvas / Boris Salchow – Stars / Raphael Weinroth-Browne – Worlds Within.

Here we have a collection of different sounding releases collected in the one place for the discerning listener.

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“Andrea Laudante is a young pianist with an experimental soul that I’m sure will have a bright future. “Banat Banat Ban Jai” is a spiritual mind journey in which piano talks with silence and noise creating a sensational album that I hope you will love as much as I did!

“Banat Banat Ban Jai” is a diary of a journey through sound and listening, as a form of meditation. Listening carefully to every kind of sounds in different places and with several methods gave me a new perception of the world around and inside me. In this work these two worlds melt into each other and became become one. The only subject is sound and its origin, in all its forms. The focus of the research is looking for a common ground between concrete and instrumental music. There is no difference between the sound that comes from a guitar and the sound that comes from wind blowing trough leaves, if we know how to listen.”

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When they are not re-issuing older øjeRum works the Italy based KrysaliSound label is consistently unearthing new talent or further promoting up and coming talent. With Andrea Laudante they have come across an artist that blends piano pieces with experimentation, field recordings and feelings of out there film soundtracks. I am not sure I quite get the music, I have a feeling a version of me 20 years ago may appreciate this more, but what I can state is that this isn’t just experimental music for the sake of it. You get a strong sense of Laudante having an understanding about composition and sound. There is a real attention to the creation of emotions and moods with an emphasis of establishing a soundscape which is open to explore. A good example for this would be the relatively (in terms of this album) normal piece “Pratah Smarami” which has a mixture of styles and musical sounds without appearing like a cluttered mess. Laudante creates an open ended feeling where the listener is not led in any direction, instead they are invited to explore the places the music takes them. The counterpoint to this is a piece like the percussive, glitchy, swirling vortex of sound that is “So Many Rhodes”. For the majority of the album the pieces will change in shape, sound and texture with the genre “experimental” best fitting them as they constantly change and they are never in one spot for too long. At times piano based, other times percussive or noisy and with some being entwined with field recordings, there is bound to be something for fans of the more abstract and undefinable forms of music.

“Banat Banat Ban Jai” is available on limited edition CD-R and Digital.

 

 

 

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“Matija Mikovic is a self taught musician and producer fascinated by the exploration of sound. He is currently based in Glasgow, Scotland where he also releases electronic music under the Buhduzit moniker. The new year is set to be busy for Matt as he prepares to play live in two forms: as ‘Matija Mikovic’ with a live band and as Buhduzit performing solo his own electronic music. Matt is also launching his left field label, Memory Cloud, that has a few releases planned for 2020 with ‘Fragile Canvas’ being used to bring it to life.

He was born in Cyprus to Serbian parents that had fled the war and grew up in a tight knit multi cultured community. Matt moved to Scotland to study 6 years ago, a place that over time he would call home. While next year will be focused on a UK tour, he is looking to spend some time in Serbia to reconnect with his roots to explore the creative scene there.

You could describe the album as some form of free jazz. But to think of this as a jazz record would not sit right as the listening experience points to something so different. It is psychedelic, ambient and noisy at times, speaking straight from the heart. A fusion of broken sounds, syncopated foley rhythms, sound art and storytelling that is unique in its own right. The painting that Matija created for the artwork effectively shows the chaotic nature of the release and turbulent period Matija was going through while composing.”

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While we are in experimental mode let’s jump on into Matija Mikovic with his debut release for his Memory Cloud label called “Fragile Canvas”. Mikovic mentions free jazz which may give listeners the wrong impression. The music is free and does not itself be held to a particular sound or style. There are flashes of what you would say structured sounds, but for the majority of the album Mikovic sets about confronting the listener with soundscapes that clatter, bang, warp and chop and change. Also following on from the above release Mikovic has an attention to detail in the soundscape department with a depth of sound that is noticeable. The music pushes and pulls and hints at relatively normal compositions like on “Angles”, but then throws that on it’s head with a piece like “What A Peculiar Feeling”. There are moments of ambience that cut through the detritus and broken electronics and like Laudante there is a sense of abstraction in what he does. You get the faintest hint of something a bit more normal, but then Mikovic warps it before you get to comfortable in what your thought or expectations on the pieces are or will be. Comparing these two release sees Mikovic coming out a bit more traditionally in the compositions follow more of a musical path, but that said it is still very much one for the more cerebral listeners.

“Fragile Canvas” is currently available digitally with plans in the future for CD and Vinyl releases.

 

 

 

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“Boris Salchow is known for his work on video games, such as Resistance 2 & 3, Sunset Overdrive, as well as his orchestral works for European features and documentaries. Stars​ is Salchow at his most personal. As an accomplished, award-winning composer for films, television and video games, Salchow has honed the craft of story arc – and ​Stars​ reflects that as a finely tuned narrative oscillating between the ethereal and the worldly.

Also a master sound designer, Salchow’s experimental works are wrapped into sophisticated compositions, embellished with tonal garnishes, timbres and sensations that immediately captivate the listener. From recordings of rain in the Mojave desert to intricate prepared piano passages, the content of Stars is sonic art direction for scenes that the listener fills in, rooms in a memory palace that Salchow has designed.”

“Stars” comes out on the Puremagnetik label run by Micah Frank and uses Salchow’s background in both sound design and score work to collect fourteen pieces that sound , when you take his background into consideration, what you would expect. The music is not easily classifiable with it at times feeling like sound art pieces and at others an experimental approach to modern classical. When artists are fixed to a particular style they can tend to be limited in their sound pallet or techniques. By freeing themselves it opens up the possibilities to the music, but sometimes can restrict the overall effect of the music as it is harder to ascribe the pieces to a particular sound or feel. With the pieces on “Stars” Salchow definitely has an ear to blurring things resulting in pieces that in some way remind me of the hazy / dreaminess of the stage between closing your eyes and falling asleep.

Never approaching extreme musical territory, Salchow does push the boundary in sound with the juxtaposition of something beautiful like a piano chord that is surrounded by contrasting elements and moulding of styles that creates its own little sound world. There is a vastness of sound like the way the instruments seem to echo and disappear into the ether on “Onwards”, while on the title track he takes the listener into a complete and immersive sound world that would be the perfect sort of soundtrack to a flotation session. You get the sense of everything being included for a reason. There is no over experimental posturing, the same as there is no generic takes on ambient. Instead what you get is music that has depth of sound with enough intrigue to engage the listener and a release that rewards deeper further listening as a simple single run through leaves more gems to discover. The fact that the majority of the pieces are around the two and a half minute mark means that they don’t overstay their welcome and they leave the listener craving just a little more.

 

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“Stars” is available on limited edition cassette (70 copies) and digital.

 

 

 

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Raphael Weinroth-Browne is an artist who describes himself as one who “channels the energy and intensity of a full metal band with his solo cello performances. His highly virtuoistic compositions evoke a sound world that is at once ancient and modern, all the while redefining expectations of how the cello should sound.” He has played in other projects such as Kamancello, The Visit, Musk Ox and Cholera as well as appearing on Alaskan Tapes releases like “You Were Always An Island” and “In Distance We’re Losing”. “Worlds Within” appears to be his solo debut album.

“The album is entirely instrumental and all the sounds were created on cello with amplification and effects pedals. The music is very atmospheric, at times spacious and ambient and occasionally more intense and cinematic. The record is a single 40-minute composition broken up into 10 tracks or movements that flow in a continuous sequence.”

There has been a certain renaissance with the cello in the last few years with artists like Aaron Martin, Julia Kent and Jo Quail pushing the boundaries normally expected of the instrument. You can add Raphael Weinroth-Browne  to that heady list as well. He comes from a metal background which offers Weinroth-Browne a point of difference in his sound, approach and style of composition. The album being cut from the same cloth requires to be listened to it’s entirety which thankfully is an absolute pleasure and a joy. In the same way that Gavin Miller’s “Shimmer” engaged the listener with it’s various movement over several pieces,  “Worlds Within” does the same. For that reason isolating particular tracks can render a review rather pointless as together they make the greater whole, but what you will see throughout the album is the way that Weinroth-Browne alters his playing styles to conjure different tones, shapes and sounds. That said, “From Within II” starts a turning point in the album from the more classically styled droning of the first two pieces (“Unending I” and “From Within I”) with it’s more intense atmosphere and building volume as Weinroth-Browne layers a variety of playing including plucking, picking and furious strumming to mark a definite change in the feel of the music. This is carried through to “From Above” with it’s almost alt-folk feel which reminds me of some of William Ryan Fritch’s work and the use a percussive sort of texture to the music. Multiple layers of cello sounds criss cross resulting in an heightened and emotional crescendo of beat laden string driven intensity.

You sense his metal background influences are very much present on the riff like cello/metal of  “Tumult I” which highlights the artists form of composition and showcases the difference to his peers that I mentioned above. The riffage continues on “Tumult II” but using different techniques to alter the sound and briefly unwinds on “Tumult III” offering a sort of ambient-ish reprise before the percussive motifs return and the quartet of pieces finishes up with the somewhat moody “Tumult IV” which has contrasting cello styles operating in different directions and angels of each other. The final two tracks “Fade Afterglow” and “Unending II” are definitely more ambient orientated than the rest of the album, but remind me more of post metal releases rather than those of the classical genre. “Unending II” feels this the strongest as it is of a similar ilk to the opening piece, but the framing of the piece has moved away from the classical / drone sounds of “Unending I” to an almost feedback induced post metal sound that is more about exploring a mournful droning riff than that classic sort of orchestral feel of its opening piece.

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Photo by Jonathon Lorange

If the artists named at the top of this review are the type to pique your interest or you are a reformed metal head an album like “World’s Within” will suit you perfectly. The ten track forty-one minute album holds your attention for the duration and never feels like its treading over similar territory , nor does it be overtly arty. What you you have is an album which appears to be the culmination of some time as the artist set about creating his own sound and feels like a lot of time and attention were put into everything from it’s composition through to it’s recording and mastering and it is well worth a listen. “Worlds Within” is available on LP, CD and Digital and is very much recommended.

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