Back in July, 2017 Italian artists Enrico Coniglio and Matteo Uggeri released “Open To The Sea” on the Dronarivm label (a review was published here). With their follow up for the German Midira label they have adopted the previous album’s title for their new moniker. Like their debut, they have gathered collaborators to give the album a feel as is if it is more of a project or collective than just a duo.
This album is the second collaboration between Enrico Coniglio and Matteo Uggeri, now joined under the band name of Open to the Sea. This time Coniglio (that cares of most of the instrumentation, playing guitars, piano, synths and the Armenian flute duduk) and Uggeri (in charge of the whole production and providing samples, field recordings and any other weird sound) have enlarged the team of collaborators, including several singers. Among them, we find an exceptional featuring by Dominic Appleton of This Mortal Coil and Breathless, providing lyrics and voice for “Facing the Waves”. Beside him, here’s the Chinese most known experimental musician Yan Jun, and beautiful female voices such as the Finnish Lau Nau and the Swiss Romina Kalsi/Animor. The British actor John Guilor (voice of the Doctor Who BBD Radio drama) add variety to a really hard-to-classify album, while other fellows provide trumpet, cello and drums.
I get the feeling that with the music that Coniglio is involved it is getting harder to place a classification on it. It is not that he is going out of his way to create uncategorizable pieces, I get the feeling that he has a wide frame of reference when making music as does the collaborators he works with. In some ways it feels like the pieces are cut from some sort of avant-garde stage show or film. Ever since Talk Talk released “Spirit Of Eden” the sparseness of that particular album has been noted in many releases over the years and “Another Year Is Over….” is no exception with sonic elements existing together, but on their own specific plane. By looking at the above press quote you get the feeling that Uggeri’s role is one of a sound tailor who ties the pieces together, like finishing off the puzzle and tying everything together, which reminds me in some way of the Alvaret Ensemble reviewed recently on these pages.
There is a crystal clear sound to the release (mastered by James Plotkin) which enhances the individual instruments and also emphasises the depth of sound. At times the music has jazz touches, Talk Talk-esque guitar parts, minimal beats, vocal experimentation, electroacoustic sounds and experimental flair. Getting a handle on this particular album is difficult as it sends the listener in so many different directions which may not attract those more set in a particular style, but for those more attuned to the sound of European Experimental/ Electroacoustic/ Sound Art and who liked the “Open To The Sea” album on Dronarivm, will like the journey that Coniglio & Uggeri (along with their collaborators) will take them.
“Another Year Is Over, Let’s Wait For Springtime” is available on CD and Digital.
“Fresh from releases on Whitelabrecs and Archives, Luis Miehlich is a producer from Germany with an inclination for creating calming soundscapes based on a collage of different sound sources. From playful Kalimba sounds to smooth guitar tones and the odd synth here and there, he ties these together with field recordings in a manner that is evidently his own. It’s at times lo-fi with a hint of abstraction, other times peaceful.
Having discovered Luis’ music through his Archives release, I was very happy to have been able to secure this short but sweet selection of tracks for Inner Space Travels and it’s a pleasure to put them out to the world. Keep an eye on this guy, there’s a bright future ahead.”
I came across Miehlich on his “Timecuts” album for Whitelabrecs. Initially with this particular release and the opening track “Flows” I was thinking that a new direction was being explored, one which which reminds me of The Green Kingdom. This was largely due to the fusing of guitar parts, water sounds and ephemera, but once the other tracks were explored I could see the album as a continuation of soundscapes explored in “Timecuts”. This is not to say that this album just merely sounds the same as it’s predecessor, rather you can tie them together as belonging to the same artist. I would also like to point out that I feel more of an affinity with the material on this album than “Timecuts”.
The more abstract, hazy and at times noisy nature of that album has been replaced by a more emotive feeling release, that while still retaining some of this essence moves in a more melodic and dreamy direction as heard on tracks like “Klock” and “Yukkuri”. Meihlich has a way of creating pieces where the sounds change shapes and also have a rippling effect. There is a exploration in tones felt as well like in the piece “3105” which has a distant, repetitive and cavernous feeling. While the above Warmth uses well, warm colours and tones, Miehlich’s music has a sepia feeling as if you are looking at photos from decades before that have been bleached and the colours run into each other.
“Currents’ is available on Limited Cassette and Digital.
Following on from his releases on Hush Hush and The Slow Music Movement labels, Melbourne, Victoria’s Zoltan Fecso finds a home via the Dutch imprint Shimmering Moods Records.
“Shimmering Moods brings you “Entering and Emerging”, the second full-length album by Melbourne based composer and musician Zoltan Fecso. Following up his debut ‘Shimmer Raga’ on Hush Hush Records, Zoltan expands on his distinctive pointillist compositions, continuing to explore simplicity and limitation.”
This is the third Fecso release that has come my way and the word that comes to my mind when I listen to his music is minimalism. He is known for his pointillist compositions which bases itself on different musical notes are made in seclusion, rather than in a linear sequence. Also known as punctualism or klangfarbenmelodie, the music has a certain abstract quality to it, with Fecso’s lying in the ambient/sound art field rather than say modern classical. Combined with field recording obtained from the French countryside the music on this release has a feeling of one which is more coherent than you would expect. There is undoubtedly experimental practices taking place as Fecso goes about exploring instruments, sound and tone, but for experimental pieces this is quite an engaging listen as while he is experimenting with tone, he is also doing so with mood. A piece like “In Place” has a pensive almost The Necks like feel to it with it’s abstractions that flow and return. Then there is the headphone suited “Lapse” with it’s oscillating and cut up sounds and then what sounds like lost tape experiments on “Liquid Talk”.
Over seven tracks and forty eight minutes Fecso delves into his probably most realised and expansive pieces thus far. The only downside is the clarity of the pieces. If they had the same sort of clarity that Open To The Sea has then the album would be that much more impressive. “Entering and Emerging” is available on Limited CDR (50 Copies) and Digital.