For this brief post I shine the light on a new series that is inaugurated today by the fine Brazilian label La Petite Chambre and an absolutely gorgeous EP from 36. Both these releases are in response to the current times we find ourselves in.
“Facing the flaws of the system that we live in it’s a little bit scary, we know. And because of that, we think that is more important than ever to share art. We need to inspire each other, take care of each other, be kind to each other and care more about the things that really matter.
Today we are launching an inside project called “At Home With… (Songs For Solitude)”. Every week from today we will be inviting one artist from our cast and ask them to share two unreleased songs. These collections of singles will be available at our Bandcamp page.
For the first round we are more than happy to share with you the new songs from the Brazilian ensemble Constantina. “Atrópico” their latest album was released in October, 2019 and we highly recommend the listen too.”
I have a soft spot for La Petite Chambre as they have an aesthetic that I find interesting. A collective approach with an eye for detail, they are under the radar and anything I can do to raise their profile or provide some inspiration for someone to check out their wares, I will. The inaugural two track release in this series is from the eclectic Constantina and they follow on from their “Atrópico” album with two pieces that highlight their fluidity and strong post rock meets electronica flavour and lofi style experimentation. There is a strong US style Post Rock but with the track “Sao Joao” I detect what I would describe as Japanese sound influences – sort of what the Czech Republic group Gurun Gurun create. This particular piece has a more open feeling to it in that it doesn’t really adhere to a consistent structure, while the A-side of the single “Amarilo” moves away from a folk meets raw country beginning to a more rock domain bridged by minimal drum machine beats that assist in changing the music as the tone and texture of the guitars also change.Around two thirds through the track it changes to that Post Rock style I have referred to above. My only complaint would be the transition between parts could be a bit more fluid, possibly using a drone, feedback or a stuttered rhythm to piece the two parts together.
This single by Constantina is a good starting point in the series and if you haven’t heard the band before, this is a good opportunity. I imagine the tracks will be loaded up to Bandcamp shortly, but in the meantime please use this link.
Three years ago when I started this blog I did so of a handful of purchases and since then I have been lucky to be sent a lot of releases (and a handful of physical ones as well). This is the first time since the start that I am covering a purchase, which I picked up during the day that will be known as Bandcamp Friday due to their generosity of waiving their cut for Twenty Four hours. Normally I wouldn’t, but this isn’t your average release.
“I am in the incredibly fortunate position to be able to make a living from creating music. It’s a dream for me and I wouldn’t change it for the world. However, I am painfully aware that during times like this, the priorities of people naturally shift and the essentials like food and shelter take priority over the arts. Artists, like many other professions, are already feeling the negative effects of the shutdown, with cancelled tours and live gigs effectively crippling their livelihoods. It’s a certainty that many artists will be left in dire straits financially and be forced to resort to other means to pay their everyday expenses. I expect many will be forced to release new music to cover costs. In a world that is often quick to devalue music, this is by no means a certain solution. However, while we’re all stuck inside our homes, no doubt driving each other crazy, the importance of the arts in our lives will become crystal clear. The power of music, particularly ambient music, is that it lets you transcend your four walls and dream far beyond them.
In this sense, I created a new EP called ‘Music For Isolation’. It was written very quickly over a few days in March 2020, using a very minimal setup of looped strings, piano, choir, a couple of synths and various effect units. Each track is sequenced in the exact order they were made. No tech-boy noodling. This is music written from the heart, doused in the anxious vibes of the moment. Put in on your headphones, lay down and see where it takes you.”
The bio on Discogs describes 36 aka Dennis Huddleston as “a prolific and leading figure in the modern ambient scene” and “The core of the 36 sound is a combination of warm melodies and widescreen atmospheres, that is never shy from the abstract, but one that remains highly accessible”. These are two quotes that you wont find me disagreeing with. In the last year he has been productive putting out releases such as “Fade to Grey”, “Stasis Sounds For Long-Distance Space Travel” (with Zake), “In Four Parts” (with Black Swan) as well as a series of compilations such as “Beneath The Lower Lights” and “C45 Dreamloops”.
This four track, twenty four minute release I suspect will be some peoples soundtrack to lock down. The four similarly named tracks are epic, graceful, lush, challenging (in a way that can only be done within the ambient sphere), soaring, melodic, moody, thought provoking and beautiful. Utilizing a handful of equipment and sound sources, each track has it’s own place within the collection insuring that it is not merely four versions of the same piece. A personal highlight for me is “Part 2” simply because it keeps on moving ever sky ward with each passing seemingly elevating all the sounds and the entwined emotions. It is one of those breath taking pieces that enhances your mood. Interestingly as stated on the release page that all these tracks are in the order they were created and there is a change in mood after “Part 2” to more melancholic and darker fare as if in direct reaction to the shifting news at the time and being a musical response.
Just by my rough count of the Bandcamp avatars some several hundred people have this in their collection in the ten days since release which shows you the power of the music and the interest in 36. This is well worth adding to your collection, especially at the generous “Pay What You Want” price point as you won’t find any better ambience this year than “Music For Isolation”.