It is time to catch up on the rarest of format in the Underground Ambient, Modern Classical, whatever scene – the single. These four releases encompass the above styles and either are self released Digital only works (or in the case of Plurals a cassette release) or through labels and either stand alone releases or acting as a bridge to another releases or part of a series.
James McDermid’s Mailbox label returns the compliment that Bruno Coelho’s La Petite Chambre label paid him with a release on their “At Home With…”, by releasing El Conejo’s “A Lullaby For Elisa” two track single. If you are a semi-regular of this blog you would be aware I have a soft spot for Coelho’s work and that is no different with this release. As you would expect from the above cover art there is a certain beauty and innocence that is woven throughout Coelho’s work. The pieces have an acoustic pastoral feel with a strong ambient essence, if not one that is totally obvious. There are field recordings that are used ever so subtly in the pieces and they act to compliment the multi layered guitar work that is as shimmering as it is entrancing. Rather than Being one dimensional, the piece continues to evolve with a harmonium/squeeze box / melodica adding a nice touch. The second piece “O, Elisa (Reprise)” sounds like it is the opposite version of the original piece and focuses more on the space around the guitar work than the original version. This release is a perfect gateway for anyone with a curiosity into the music of El Conejo, especially with an entry point of only $1 US You won’t be disappointed. “Lullaby For Elisa” is available on Digital only.
“Two long form live sessions from the Brighton based noise/drone trio’s 2018 tour, squeezed onto two sides of cassette tape. Ecosystem-like in their variety, layers of sound glide and grow over each other from sources that are just about discernible, bleeding together whilst doing so, and building to crescendo before ebbing away again.
Plurals are an UK based Improv/Drone trio who have released on a variety of labels such as Dead Pilot, Latitudes, Silken Tofu, Panurus Productions and more. All Plurals performances and recordings are improvised, using guitar, synths and keys, vocals, tape machines, CB radio, objects and various reed and stringed instruments. The idea behind Improv is one that can be exciting, but can in some occasions result in disastrous music. With this release we are presented with two long form pieces. “Praha 6/3: Skutečný život Shiryō 資料 ” clocks in at 42:51 and “Strasbourg 11/3: La vraie vie Wénjiàn文件” at 30:19. I have to admit my preference is for the first piece (Side A on the cassette) as it has more of a soundscape that I find appealing. It is electroacoustic in nature with a strong emphasis on guitars and building a multi layered piece that contains ambient pulses, drones and spindly sounds occasionally approaching Post Metal styled distorted Ambience. The second piece is much more experimental in nature with a cut up nature of dialogue and effects (it sounds eerily like Carcass’ “Corporal Jigsore Quandry” intro). Unlike “Praha….” which had more of a sonic presence, “Strasbourg…” feels quite distant, almost as if heard from a distance. If you like groups like Hotel Neon then I can see you liking “Praha…”, not sure about “Strasbourg…” though.
“Tour Extracts (Europe 2018)” is available on limited cassette (40 copies) and Digital.
“Eskimoh’s single “Untitled 01″ is a majestic and melancholic movement, which dances seamlessly between classical and contemporary in genre. The delicate clarinet amongst the rich organ and operatic vocals fuse together to create a sense of nostalgic melancholia.”
This is the first time for me discovering Jessie Piggot aka Eskimoh. By all accounts she has been impressing the likes of Emily Pilbeem from BBC Introducing with her works, with Pilbeem calling them “Utterly Breathtaking”. “Untitled 01” is the first track of an EP due for release on October 30 called “Untitled”. Jessie explains: “Untitled 01 captures the emotions that I’ve only ever been able to really experience through music – a strange combination of both happy and sad at the same time. It’s a very atmospheric instrumental piece that explores the importance of the relationship and balance between sonic sparseness and then contrasting rich layers of sound.” “Untitled 01” is a sonically rich piece of contemporary Modern Classical which is fleshed out with strings, piano, vocals and clarinet (an instrument I am becoming more enamoured by as time goes on). From humble beginnings of minimalist piano and ambience, the track starts to weave a flow once the clarinet comes into play while remaining rather fixed to one spot. After a section of repeated piano movements in the middle of the piece it really opens up close to the three minute mark when haunting vocals make their presence known. At this stage the piece feels like it has been created as a soundtrack to a dance piece. There is a certain amount of melancholy and loss in the feel of the music, but you also get a sense of that good times are just around the corner. The end result is yet another artist to keep an eye out for.
“Psalm” is the second of three new Glowworm singles (each w/ a different collaborating artist) from the full length LP, “Midnight Intervals” (October ’20). It features Polish pianist & vocalist Asia Dojnikowska, whose ethereal voice and minimalist, atmospheric keys float above Kevin Scott Davis’ ambient synth and guitar work, creating an atmosphere of tender and intense longing in this duo’s take on the modern psalm.”
Glowworm is the music of multi-instrumentalist and composer Kevin Scott Davis. Davis’ music has been featured extensively in national media, including HBO’s Californication and on the popular public radio program This American Life. “Psalm” is the second of three collaborative singles and follows on from “Smoke Signals” which featured Laura Masotto. On “Psalm” Davis is joined by the ethereal vocals of Polish pianist and vocalist Asia Dojnikowska who’s plinki plonki keys give the piece a real child like innocence and in some ways act as a juxtaposition for the sheer haunting beauty of the ambience and Dojnikowska’s voice. The quality that stands out for me is how the glacial pace allows the piece to move organically with each movement revealing just a little bit more depth, texture and elements within it. If a purer form of Ambient is what you seek out, as well as one which reveals in beauty, then you really can’t go wrong with a piece such as “Psalm”. Looks like I have two new artists for me to seek out their works. “Psalm:” is available Digitally only and is very much recommended.