Adventurous releases from Scandinavia (2015)
Western Skies Motel is the solo project of Danish guitarist René Gonzàlez Schelbeck. Exploring the intimate nature of the classical guitar, the thirteen pieces on Prism unfold around a theme of balancing light and darkness, uncovering an undercurrent of reflections on solitude in the creative process. Relying on a variety of open tunings, mantric repetitions and droning strings, Western Skies Motel seeks to create a timeless space where the guitar becomes the lens in which the nuances reveal themselves. The album also sees Western Skies Motel experimenting with the 3rd bridge technique, pioneered by such experimentalists as Fred Frith and Keith Rowe, to create porous harp like timbres that weave through the album, offering a lightness and transparency to the restricted sonic palette of the collection. Drawing on inspiration from Glassian minimalism through simplistic flamenco to the pattern-based musical tradition of West Africa, Prism lands somewhere between contemporary classical and modern folk. Prism is the debut full-length album from Western Skies Motel and was recorded live, with most of the material written spontaneously. Western Skies Motel has previously released the EP Reflections on Audio Gourmet. Also in 2015 he’s released a more ambient elecotracoustic album Buried and Resurfaced on Twice Removed.
Arc was originally commissioned for INMUTE ’14 as a soundtrack to Carl Th. Dreyer’s silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928). In this new edit, running to just under 36 minutes, Kirkegaard’s refined mastery of tone unfolds in two arc-shaped tracks dedicated to the LP format.
In his score, Kirkegaard fragments and stretches music from Joan’s time, aiming to expose the mystically charged atmosphere that could simultaneously declare Joan of Arc a visionary and a heretic. The outcome is an immersive score of prolonged choral-like harmonies that evolve slowly, constantly shifting between darkness and light. Arc lives in moments of transition, embracing the subtle ambiguities that were so difficult for the English clerics to understand and yet so pliable in Joan’s flexible mind. Perhaps it is what shade sounds like, or perhaps it is a meditative resonance on the brilliance and terror of thought. Arc is an unfolding of nebulous sound that emerges to the surface when time is suspended.
Damien Dubrovnik is the Danish noise duo of Christian Stadsgaard Loke Rahbek who run the Posh Isolation label. Patterns of Penetration is a new EP out on the Alter label that comes hot on the heels of a US and UK tour with Helm. Also on Alter is the Vegas Fountain LP.
Andreas Söderström – aka ASS with a vast discography – takes a step out of folksy string bender tradition back to stark reality. A step back into the living room. No musicians, no bands, no string arrangements, no collaborations. Left is the open mind with a sense of a personal and blooming musical cosmos. A cinematic fragment. A trip back home, a young man that drank too much, a noisy neighbor, a happy moment with the slot machine. A world full of motley characters, enjoying themselves in this small cross section. Of the great world outside.
Following the release of their self-titled debut on Skrammel in 2013, the Swedish duo of Jonas Tiljander (Brainbombs) and Lanchy Orre (Brainbombs, Totalitär) joined the Blackest Ever Black fold with last year’s Second Launch. If the mood of that record was brooding and stygian, its monochord intensity unfaltering, then Eclipsed, their equally sprawling new set, could be construed as a warmer, more dynamic and variegated offering. Perhaps. There are still passages that are heavier than a death in the family. Still a staunch obsession with the consciousness-altering power of repetition.
From The Mouth Of The Sun continue to fly at the highest possible altitude with their new release for Fluid Audio, ‘Into The Well’. Succeeding 2012’s critically lauded ‘Woven Tide’, Aaron Martin and Dag Rosenqvist hone their combined clarity and depth into a raw strength matched by few of their contemporaries. A triumph of sparse destructive simplicity, Into The Well is an uncompromising and evocative tribute to sacrifice.
Released on the ever excellent Eilean Records, this music was made for the project The Forest Diaries created by the Swedish choreographer and dancer Jenny Larsson.
Drone can mean so many things, but the tranquil sounds of Hellkvist are a special breed. His specialty: sonorous melodies that stretch ever so slowly into a gentle river of sound, like the peal of a bell that echoes indefinitely. Tobias has worked with a lot of different colors and timbres over the years, building layers of sound and tearing them down, but ‘Pause’ finds him mining his archives, resurrecting a more minimalist work from nearly 10 years ago and breathing new life into it.
Critically acclaimed artist and musician Anna von Hausswolff is finally back with her long awaited third studio album. The new album The Miraculous floats like a ghost, from the subdued elegance of the title track, and the bewitching En Ensam Vandrare, to the unbearably tense, Godspeed You! Black Emperor-esque atmospherics of Discovery and the brutal, Swans-meets-Black Sabbath savagery of Come Wander With Me / Deliverance.
Energy and the power of the pulse. This is a trip down the skull of Joachim Nordwall. It is the echo of his Soul Music.
Saturn And The Sun is Henrik Rylander & Joachim Nordwall. This 7” was recorded in 2015 at the Gothenburg Sound Experiment. Cover by Lasse Marhaug.
Peder Mannerfelt’s release for Archives Intérieures takes us back to Belgian Congo in the 1930’s. This adventurous album finds its roots in a very obscure 78 rpm record, put together by Belgian filmmaker Armand Denis, who was one of the first Europeans to capture the incredible sounds of Central Congo. These recordings were published in 1950 as The Belgian Congo Records.
Mannerfelt is an avid collector of African tribal music. When he came across this record he was immediately intrigued by the complexity and rendition of these recordings of Congolese music. His initial idea was to use the original album as a sample source, but this concept was quickly abandoned and Peder decided to recreate the album using only synthesizers.
Apan was written as a companion piece for the Swedish film of the same name, English title “The Ape” – directed by fellow swede Jesper Ganslandt. In the early process of creating the film it became obvious that it should not contain any music, and that is how we know the film, with all it’s crushing silence. Meanwhile the music that Erik Enocksson wrote and recorded, inspired by the film is one of the most piercing and beautiful pieces of modern film score. Based solely around synthesizer and bass and depending largely on tape saturation of those, it is the noisiest piece to be found in Erik Enocksson’s stunning catalogue. It is also maybe one of the strongest; the balance between the loudness of his machinery and the fragility of the compositions is a both violent and extremely beautiful experience.
After the unabashed exoticism of Snufmumriko’s last release, inspired by a mythic China that never quite was (Ten Thousand Things, Spiritech, 2014), he now returns to places closer to home. Tellurian is based almost exclusively on field recordings made in and around the rural environments, forests, shores and archaeological sites in Orust in west Sweden. Interactions, or intersections, between elements in nature provide the foundation for these pieces: the patter of rain on wood, the susurration of wind through leaves, the gentle murmurings of the ocean amid forests of seaweed and the deep, grating rumble of rolling rocks. All sounds were meticulously recorded using contact microphones, hydrophones and ambience microphones before further processing. The result is a series of soundscapes informed by a naturalist aesthetic but still infused with a sort of romanticism, a rural, tellurian space music.
The Swedish sound artist BJ Nilsen and Icelandic confusor Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson have shared a lot of time on stage and on record, in earlier different combinations such as BJ Nilsen & Stilluppsteypa, Evil Madness and so on. This is, strangely, their first duo collab record, an alien workshop of collage class, shaved by Avant Garde tactics previously unknown to human beings! Trainings organised by secret forces between silence and the soft sound of French speech, or something similar.
Following on from their Record Store Day ‘Looped EP’ release, which featured remixes by Dauwd and Lubomyr Melnyk, Kiasmos – made up of Ólafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen – return with three new tracks and a remix by Tale Of Us.
Recorded in various locations including Reykjavík and Berlin, the EP opens with ‘Drawn’, a four-minute percussion fuelled track with gentle piano motifs. ‘Gaunt’ features the addition of ambient synths and a drum loop, underpinned by slow-moving chords. Title track ‘Swept’ which the duo offered to fans as a surprise gift in form of a free download card at previous show dates, showcases a more club-oriented beat structure alongside Kiasmos’ signature emotive instrumentation.
Closing the EP is a remix from Berlin-based duo Tale of Us who met Kiasmos in London and twist the original downbeat title track into their distinctively dark aesthetic. Pulsating hats and a driving bass loop add pace as the track builds toward an epic breakdown.
This recording takes you on a round trip of Iceland. The aural journey starts westward from the island’s south in the cold, early spring. After a side trip into the West Fjords, our route traverses the north of the country at the height of summer, followed by an excursion into the interior highlands before a short stop in the East Fjords. As the sound trip nears its geographical starting point, autumn and winter make their appearance before the journey comes full circle. The recordings do not feature any human-derived sounds.
Terje Paulsen is a Norwegian sound artist. He usually works with simple instruments and equipment and sounds from found objects. For this powerful track, Terje has also used his own voice, which is a very new things for him. These whispers in Norwegian language add a little mystery to the track.
“Furulund” is a collection of atmospheric, low-key and evocative instrumental pieces, recorded in analogue at Geir Sundstøl’s home studio, Studio Intim. The Norwegian guitarist and self-taught multi-instrumentalist Geir Sundstøl, from Halden, has been making music for a living since 1988. He has left his unique musical mark on 260 records featuring everyone from a-ha to Nils Petter Molvær. “Furulund” is the first record he is releasing under his own name, and is a long-awaited debut from an extremely popular musician.
Ivar Grydeland is probably best known as a member of improvisational bands such as Huntsville and Ballrogg as well as Dans les Arbres (ECM. He also plays distinctive pop with Hanne Hukkelberg and instrumental rock with the band Finland.
The album Stop Freeze Wait Eat spins a fascinatingly gentle and complex spider web connecting categories and genres such as hi-fi and lo-fi, drones, abstract electronica, improv and Americana. The album is the result of work with an artistic PhD project called “Ensemble of Me” at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. Ivar wanted to make it possible to create ensemble music as a solo performer. He tried to forge an “extended now” by improvising on top of sounds that he had played 10-12 seconds earlier. “I work in the same way that I imagine a visual artist works: taking a step back to reconsider before he returns to the canvas. I like that alternation between intuition and reflection when I’m working in the studio.”
Ivar Grydeland plays acoustic and electric guitars, pedal steel and banjo, using a mixture of preparation techniques, fingerpicking, various bows, metal, propellers and electronics.
The members of the acoustic trio Monkey Plot have been playing together for five years. With acoustic guitar (Christian Winther), double bass (Magnus Nergaard) and drums (Jan Martin Gismervik), they have carved out an expressive idiom which evokes other musical references, but which is at the same time unique. They started out as a raw electric guitar trio belonging to a Hendrix-in-the-rough tradition, with a reputation for throwing bananas at their audiences. But at some point the plug was pulled from the socket, and the trio began to listen their way into a new and uncompromising acoustic expression.
Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø (born 1986 in Trondheim) is a trombonist working mostly within contemporary fields of music. Internal Sources of Heat was made with trombone, clarinet and electronics.
Human Inferno, aka David Garrick, Date of birth: 7 September 1969 (Oslo, Norway) Married with two children (three-and-a-half and seven-and-a-half)
Gurrick is heavily involved in school politics and the local community, in particular with regards to drugs and immigration. He is into the Italian band Tampa; their album Let It Shit is being played a lot. The children like Norwegian punk, Kjøtt and Betong Hysteria. And Kraftwerk, of course; all children do.
The two side-long pieces of Piano Mating by Mats Gustafsson are incredibly pure, simple-sounding and slowly-ascending drones that feel convincingly like conveyor belts for the soul.
Nielu is a meticulously crafted nine-piece journey through various sonic landscapes ranging from abysmal depths to gleaming peaks. Textural ambience, drones, manipulated field recordings and noise elements are supported by traditional instruments like violin, piano, organs and guitar. Vocals (in Finnish) are sparse but play an important guiding role in some of the main conjunctions of the album. Each track has a distinct story and are all quite different from each other, yet form essential parts of a whole. Diamond and dirt, ice and fire, stone and water all merge to conjure an extremely visual experience. The album is mastered for all kinds of speakers but is definitely best experienced with headphones in an introspective setting.
“These pieces came together when I started my journey through the church-organ world. I made my own digital three-manual (two keyboards for the hands and one for the feet; pedalboard console). I played it through hall reverb. There is no overdubs. There is a bit of North Indian Raga impact in these pieces. Aamu (morning) would be perfect to listen to in the morning, when the sun has risen. Ilta (night), when the sun has set. There’s certain ideas in pitches and rhythms, which works and vibrates nicely on mornings and evenings. Rising, set down. Start, end. And again.
A Bandcamp only release from poemproducer AGF. “I imagine this music for dancers and people who like to move in odd spaces to feel the reduced beautiful self – which only lives in the moment. These are NOT new tracks but instrumentals of songs I released on my solo records before – with the vocal removed. Some tracks are instrumental remakes. A few small voice snippets remain. I am working on a solo record for 2016. This is for the ‘inbetween’”
“Peau froide, lèger soleil”, is the result of a threeyear recording process, initiated by Mika Vainio and Frank Vigroux after a series of shared live experiences. Sprawling after a show in Paris in 2012, their collaboration is an exercise in sensitive intensity, drifting the whole space between minimalist meditations and maximalist kinetics. Vainio’s signature brutalist electro grooves resonate all throughout the record, constructing a psychic scenario for Vigroux’s researches in spatial abstraction and tonal radicalism. Densely built though free from structural limitation, this album is an intense 9track motion, serving as the third installment in Cosmo Rhythmatic’s catalog and acting as new chapter in the label’s construction an uncompromising sonic identity.
“State in Decline” is essentially a reaction to the general economic condition of the country, unemployment issues and the current cabinet’s recent austerity measure cuts which are an unjust blowback to the Finnish working class, particularly overtime and shift workers. Released on the general strike and protest day of September 18th.
Album is collection of water theme tracks from years 2009 – 2014.