There is something that gnaws away at me as I cannot give an equal amount of time to all releases. I hate to not be able to devote as much time to those that remain after the cull of things that are not to my taste, so please take these as Twitter length reviews of releases you may not have come across before. In this post I look at Australian artist Gregory Paul Mineeff, UK based Mathieu Karsenti and a pair of Canadian artists Brad Deschampes and Jamie Jones.
“After Today is a work exploring the themes of hope, loss, the future, our everyday lives and the world we live in. It is an insular work, embracing analog imperfection, noise and atmosphere. The main instruments used are the Yamaha CP70 Electric Grand, Yamaha CP30 Electric Piano, Columbia Electric Tine Piano, tape machines, megaphones, reverse effects and various analog synthesisers and effects. Each of these instruments brings with it limitations and idiosyncrasies only found in vintage analog instruments. The imperfections have been embraced to provide the unique noise and atmosphere of the recording encouraging each of these instruments breathe. The various noises of the instruments have not been removed or “corrected”.”
There can be a tendency to overlook musicians which have releases on net labels. Sometimes it is hard for them to cross the divide due to the fact of the plethora of net labels and the simple way of getting music out these days. That said some of my favourite artists and labels came from the early net label days like Ian Hawgood, Ryonkt, Offthesky and the Serein label come to mind. Australian artist Gregory Paul Mineeff is a new name to me, but has a list of releases through the Greek Cosmic Leaf label which describe their musical output as Ambient / Chillout/ Electronica / Trance. Mineeff himself describes his music as being based on piano and synthesiser of a minimal, meditative and thought provoking nature. This is evident throughout the album with hints of prog like synth excursions as well as hints of glitch like processing as well as symphonic ambience (as seen on the finale “Today”.
There is a bit of a lo-fi quality to the pieces which adds to the glassy tones that are featured throughout as well as the more abstract and reflective feelings the music conjures. The overall feeling is one of submergence which in a way gives the music a dreamy and hazy quality, not that that implies that the music is light weight in any way. As mentioned in the above press quote in regards to the recording process there is a raw quality to the pieces, which in some cases works, but on others like “Everyday” you feel that it some what holds it back, when it could shine. This is the kind of release where you can see a lot of promise and you know the artist has something going on and is on the right track. It will be interesting to see how his music develops from this point on wards.
“After Today” is available on CD, Cassette and Digital.
‘Viola Abstractions’ is an E.P of four short form compositions for viola interpreted by musician Violeta Vicci. Mathieu showcases the instrument’s beautiful range through ‘abstract musical paintings’ that are contemplative and meditative in nature.
We’ve been down this road before with Mathieu Karsenti and his Winter/Summer (depending on your hemisphere) and his Summer/Winter releases, so we should expect another in June. What is intriguing is the lack of bandcamp avatars under his releases as he consistently produces music that is worthy of attention. His bio and website list his work within film, tv and stage and it’s this background which informs the pieces on his latest EP. There is a strong, mature cinematic feel with a very moody undercurrent in the four pieces of the EP. There is also a strong style of suspense music from the black and white 1960’s, especially on the third piece “Lyric Movement after G Holst”. With some releases there is a nice separation of instruments that enables the music to be open and offer different aspects of interpretation. The pieces on this EP feature instruments that are in a symbiotic relationship and are in tune with one another resulting in a consistent feel and tightened mood. There are no over the top peaks or troughs, just a consistent feel throughout the four tracks which unites the EP and makes it feel as if it is part of a larger score. I have yet to be disappointed with any of the material that has come my way via Karsenti. It always feels of the highest order and I hope by sharing it via this little blog that it will encourage readers who have a predilection towards the more score orientated side of the Modern Classical scene to check out his works as you will not be disappointed.
“Viola Abstractions” is available digitally.
“The stylistic meeting point between two old friends, Fluorochrome delivers greater than the sum of its parts. A new, more emotionally complex side of their production, it offers wide-reaching and deeply hidden sentiment, contrasting melancholy and unease with moments of transcendental bliss.
Pervading the album is a story of perpetual contest between anxiety and hope, darkness and light, blending the two as equals. Fluorochrome, a fluorescent chemical compound that can re-emit light upon light excitation, serves as an indication of how light can elicit more of the same when shone through the right medium. This positivity is key, when journeying through the uncertain, often challenging, corners of the album.
Former band mates Bradley Deschamps and Jamie Jones describe their process as more of a collage of their own personal sounds, and of the layers they co-create. Not black and white, but shades and hues. Vast in sound and yet inward in sentiment, Flurochrome treads the necessary line between the light and the dark, for all it may contain.”
It is fair to say that this is an Ambient / Drone release through and through. While by no means a dark ambient release there is enough dissonance and darker hues to make sure this isn’t by any means light and fluffy. The modern ambience compared to that of the 1970’s feels more interested in with texture as it is in balance of tone, colours or shades. Those days of simply turning on the synths and getting a nice sound to drift on, while still somewhat there, are these days more about expanding the frameworks of the genre as well as the instrumentation and influences and creating a more textural and visceral sound world. Dominating by synths and guitars the pieces on “Flurochrome” are about creating a framework of different sounds within a piece which makes for a more engaging listen as you focus on individual sounds to try to work out their origin as well what they represent and their position within the track. Also within the album there is variance so as it is not all of the same feel. The last two tracks in particular “Mist Under Animation” and “Atmos” are more stripped back and flirt with a bit more melody, especially on “Atmos”.
If you take the title of the album literally then the idea is that Fluorochromes absorb light energy of a specific wavelength and then emit it as a longer wavelength. It all depends on the ability of the Fluorochome to absorb light and then convert it into emitted light. Now, whether or not that is the intention in the music with regards to the creation of the drones, I am not sure. What is clear is that it comes through in the artwork of Richelle Forsey and presumably comes from / is influenced by her “Artifacts of Photochemical Processes and Light series” . You could say that the music which emerges from silence and does have long drones in it’s construction is part of this phenomena, but that could essentially be the case for most drones and then maybe this album uses the theme as a stepping stone and not just the only concept. What you will definitely find is Ambient/Drone that seeks out exploring territory and shining light from underneath the darkness.
“Fluorochrome” is available on CD and Digital.