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James A McDermid is an English Ambient artist who has appeared on Polar Sees Recordings, Cathedral Transmission and 1834. This is possibly his most personal album.

This album is dedicated to my sister, Harriet, who died in August 2016. Throughout the 2 years she was ill – leading up to her death – I had started writing music as a way to privately articulate what I was feeling. After she’d passed away, there was the question around what to do with the many tracks I had written; they had, in all honesty, been written for her. For me to perhaps leave them sitting on a hard-drive seemed a disappointing end to what amounted to, in my mind, a tribute to her. About 6 months later, I was fortunate enough to be offered a 25 track album release (titled Ghost Folk) though Canadian label, Polar Seas Recordings, in April 2017. 
Her death is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me; once the original shock dissipated, a wall of grief fell on me and, as a result, I found it an almost impossible task seeing my world in quite the same way as I once had. The wear and tear of life became suffocating, so I continued with the idea of channeling what I was feeling, into music; however, coming to terms with Harriet’s death, rather than her illness, started to cloud and confuse what I was doing.

“The Vagabond” is a short and sweet opener utilizing various chimes and a slightly cold drone which comes in waves. The chimes resonate out and cast light against the drones. You get the feeling that this is a bit of letting go, as if it is environmental and the chimes are making the music by a breeze rushing through them.

“All the Shutters Are Closed” a slow building series of drones and field recording build up enveloping the listener in a storm of sound. Buried deep other drones start to become noticeable with their darker textures. They start to force their way through and are able to shine, They are deep and low drones with tendrilous sound that have a somewhat melancholic edge to them. As the track continuous the drones become more pronounced taking centre stage  and proceed to wring out as much emotion as they can. A howling drone takes in the background coating the track and adding another layer before eventually taking over the track towards the end.

“I Put A Letter In My Pocket” the types of drones contained herein are ones that I always associate with being airborne and flying over everything, looking down and surveying the territory. They have that floating feeling, as well as one that has fluctuating synth generated sounds. Having the slightly experimental flourishes of the fluctationg drones give the music an extra layer of freedom, as if something is being blown away and taken by the wind.

“I’ll Take One Who Loves Me” a lo-fi opening with static/distortion and a rollicking somewhat free form acoustic guitar which is a change of flavour to the music. Music that is of a lo-fi nature for me has a more intimate nature than that of something highly produced it. It also has a sense of immediacy. In the back ground the faintest of shape shifting drones can be heard and they have sounds that compliment to the tones generated by the guitar. The drones pulse, chop and resonate as their presence becomes more defined, switching with guitar as being the tracks focal point. The guitar finishes off the track with a nice repeating section at the end.

“Bunny” Harsh storm, Field Recordings and Ghostly apparitions give this the feeling commonly associated with Ambient music that is centred around memory and how it informs our lives. What this all means is possibly only known by the artist himself.

“Within Reach” the music isn’t crystal clear, but it feels like dawn is upon us and the day is just starting with all possibilities available. Shimmering sounds radiate over a collection of drones, fractured sounds and possibly a voice buried deep within. The music is constant in the way it flows with a relaxing feel present and only briefly extends outwards. The ending of the track is the converse to the opening where it feels like things are coming down.

“Worse Than The Last Look” distorted and wind-swept sounds battle it out to be heard. The piece feels a bit more experimental than the others as a lot of the elements are buried and you can hear melodies deep within, that if not for the distorted approach to the track could totally change the effect of the music.

“If You Concede” from silence acoustic guitar, quiet voices and drones appear. The repetitive nature of the voice whispering the title forms part of the music which is loop based with acoustic parts also repeating. The music is joined by a collection of rumbling, dark distorted drones which are threatening to overflow and drone out the voice and acoustic guitar. Hypnotic in nature the track feels like a bit of tug of war between the two elements, resulting in the darker side winning, but with the clarity of the voice and guitar still being heard. Sonicly a rich track, it is more than just two sound types with a lot of layering and textures involved in creating such a heavy sound.

“Eastern Block” A relaxing warped drone track with backwards loops and icy tones that cut across. Chimes are featured, but have a very cold sound to the track, which sounds like it’s being played backwards and consists of a series of short drones. As the piece builds, the more layers are added and more complex it gets. Vocal elements add a melodic touch to it, which steers it away from being too cold.

“Last Year” Completely manipulated sounds that sound positively Sci-Fi based warp and pulse in this short-lived interlude which seems quite different from the rest of the album. I am not sure of its position on the album.

“I Saw Red, And Through The Red, Nothing” rumbling, cloaked drones that sound like they are broken up and not linear from the basis of the track. Minimal in nature, the movements are not deep troughs and high valleys, rather more entrenched in frequency and slight variations. They are layers to the piece with the top layer being more haunting, as well as a slightly ominous one that is best heard in the last thirty seconds of the track as the other elements make way.

“Faraway Too Close” field recordings of rain feel like they are washing away something. McDermid is adept at slowly drawing out the depths in the pieces and this is best displayed in this track. A horn like drone forms a rhythm while a whispered indecipherable voice repeats something that  feels over and over. Melodic drones billowing in the wind add a feeling of hopefulness to the music. The contrast between the penultimate and final tracks are outstanding and show the many dimensions to McDermid’s work.

You get the feeling of McDermid’s sisters passing in the music. The album is  quite moody, at times dark and at other times shrouded and buried. It’s not totally in despair, but you get the feeling that the artist is coming through the other side, such is the balance of light and dark that is either included in the same track or on different tracks.  If you like music that plays with colour and shade, “Tonal Glints” may be for you.

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The title “Stilhedens Strømmen I Fuglenes Blod” (it should be Danish for “the flow of silence in the blood of the birds”) could fit to the sound you’ll meet in this release by Danish visual artist (I guess he made the meaningful collage of the cover artwork) and musician Paw Grabowski aka øjeRum: initially issued in a very strictly limited edition of 30 self-made cassettes in 2016 and recently re-issued by Italian label KrysaliSound, which kept the hiss of the tape during the mastering, the sound gets unrolled over a one single 30 minutes lasting track, based on repetitive loops of a slightly pinched acoustic guitar, sparse elongated sounds, abstract field recordings and other evanescent resounding entities (including birds, of course!). Paw shows he learnt the minimalist lesson by the way he stacks identical chords through unperceivable (the tonal ones) or clearly (the length of the whole phrase or of single tones) listenable variations, but besides some insertion like the hits on glass (following the same speed of the guitar chords after 7-8 minutes), the fading of music overwhelmed by almost silent field recordings in the middle of the recording and an unexpected flooding of an ambient ghostly pad in the last minutes, the composition is quite flat. It can match a vague sense of loneliness, a romantic (in the authentic meaning of the word…) dazed melancholy or a merely hermetic detachment, but a mushrooming of this dark-tinged ambient-folk in the music (more or less independent) market is getting closer to those cliches, that should maybe have been antithetical in the guise of many musicians orbiting around these sonorities.

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Besides an almost scientific approach to recording techniques and the general “sonic strategy” based on the idea that music can be squeezed from matter, one of the linking ring between this “Untitled_” (the tag that starts any title of his outputs) and the previous one (“Untitled_TeVeT”) on Francis M.Fri’s imprint KrysaliSound by Venetian musician and concrete performer Federico Dal Pozzo is maybe only water: the one turning into a 380 kilos weigh ice block on the latter, and the mini acousmatic concert of delays, echoes and a series of odd reverberations and mutations (where the liquid sonic source paradoxically seems to turn into a hiss or a fire crackle) of the dropping ones on the former. The other one could be its detachment into two related parts: as for “Untitled_TeVeT”, “Untitled_VNZ” (being VNZ, a sort of code derived from the first three consonants of Venezia, Italian for Venice, the conceptual and the material framework of this release) sounds like a bipartite acousmatic progression, whose watershed (occurring after 20-21 minutes) is an Italian sentence by a female voice, that appeared shredded in the first part saying something meaning “one second before I ask myself how it will be, one second after I think to the next time, but when I do that, it’s nice and I don’t think to anything else”. As the dropping water is the sparkle element of this first progression, the sparkle of the second part is another concrete distinguishing element of the sonic landscape of Venice, the toll of some church bells (I guess they’re the ones of St Mark’s Basilica), gradually re-morphed and melting with the likewise transformed sound of chirping birds; this intriguing amalgamation sounds like fading into an obscure synth pad, that Federico suddenly turns off, as if he can control the voltage of this sonic electric film. The isolated resounding frequencies, wisely extracted from the initial tolling bells, will soon fade into a maze of hissing noises, similar to the white noise related to broadcast of no signals on TV screens or radio, a disturbing chaos that Federico channels into a “balancing” sound before the final minutes where he seems to give voice to poltergeist musicians of Venetian ghosts, who seems to play a classical romanza in between the dying atoms of Federico’s pulverization. It’s everything but a cliched romantic sonic postcard of Venice, that maybe mirrors the shadow on that same cliche.

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https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=3851848511/size=small/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/artwork=none/

FEDERICO DAL POZZO – Untitled_VNZ (KrysaliSound, 2018) Identificata dalla sigla riportata nel titolo e dalla sua stessa iconografia come una dedica alla città di Venezia, la nuova opera di Federico Dal Pozzo è tuttavia qualcosa di ben diverso da una cartolina turistica. Non soltanto per l’origine veneziana dell’artista, ma soprattutto per il suo peculiare approccio […]

via — music won’t save you

Truly showing love for his surroundings, Federico Dal Pozzo opts for a peculiar form of sound poetry on “Untitled_VNZ”. Forgoing melody, rhythm, or traditional music composition, the whole of the work has a voyeuristic quality to it. By opting for such an intimate nature, the whole of the piece seems to simply drift off into the infinite. Over the course of the piece Federico Dal Pozzo lets the work evolve in a way that feels fully organic. Nearly pastoral in its focus, everything about it has a tactile quality. Keeping things to the essentials means that Federico Dal Pozzo lets the essential elements of the work shine through and shine brightly with a tremendous amount of spirit.

From the smallest of hushed gestures, the whole of the piece progresses quite nicely. Exploring space becomes of the utmost importance for everything stems from this need to focus ever more intensely on tiny moments. The usage of echo feels particularly fine because everything gets heavily magnified from these elements. Layer upon layer of sound comes into the mix lending it a stream of consciousness style. Around the latter half of the work things become more digital in nature, eventually transforming into the stuttering electronics and glitches that end it.

Meditative to its very core and offering a glimpse at the many small universes of sound just outside the usual levels of perception “Untitled_VNZ” shows off Federico Dal Pozzo’s uncanny ability to sculpt an aural environment.

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“Stilhedens Strømmen I Fuglenes Blod” (published as a self-release in 2015) is a brave acoustic guitar suite, delicate and magnetic, recorded in a perfect balance between ambient and folk. The result is spiritual and meditative flow where the listener can dive and let himsel be lulled by repeating melodies, evocative small variations and a great hypnotic style.”

øjeRUM is the work of the prolific Danish artist Paw Grabowski whose music has appeared on labels such as Unknown Tone, Midira, Eilean Rec, Fluid Audio and others. He’s equally known for his collages that have appeared on his and other releases.

“Stilhedens Strømmen I Fuglenes Blod” which translates to “The Flow Of Silence In The Blood Of Birds” is a single thirty minute piece with lo-fi sounds that feel like you are listening to an old warped cassette. Field recordings join acoustic guitar and minor drones to give off a folk feel. Layers of guitars and sounds such as chimes give off a feeling of loneliness and solitude. With the repetition of the piece it can become hypnotic and with the space in the recording, the track allowed to breathe and space for other elements to filter in. That said when it got to the final five minutes is when my interest rose as much as I like minimal music, on this piece I was craving bit more interaction from drones, field recordings or other instruments.

Federico Dal Pozzo is a Turin based concrete composer and musician. With a past based in percussion and musical studies “His works, appointed “Untitled_” are based upon concrete objects and the transfiguration and perception of the sound and audio-spatialization. He’s a Sound Designer in various theatre and dance companies in Italy, France, Belguim and Israel. He works in various Italian Foundations for Audio-Installations and Live Performance (Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Castello di Rivoli, Promotrice dell Belle Arti…)”

“Untitled_VNZ” is a piece coming in at just under 50 minutes that covets a great amount of musical distance mainly broken down into movements or sections that fuse together. It is a free form piece that lies in the experimental / electroacoustic style with field recordings, drones, glitches, noises constantly evolving throughout the piece. There are build ups, use of space, silences and walls of sound. Occasionally more traditional instrumentation seem to come in, but for the whole this feels more akin to the likes of Francisco Lopez and a sound art piece than a musical one.

For fans of longform experimental sounds, this has a particularly clear mastering by label boss Francis M. Gri.

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I’m so proud to announce that my work “Apart” is now available in store, released by the English label Whitelabrec. Thanks to Harry Towell for this opportunity…
Hurry up and buy the last copies of this limited edition!

Each highly limited collectable Whitelabrecs release is built around a set format as follows:
50 x vinyl-effect CDrs with card vinyl-style sleeves, rubber stamped titling, a polaroid print of the cover artwork housed inside a plastic case to keep it looking mint. Ink, font style and sleeve colours will vary for each release, chosen by the artist.

https://whitelabrecs.bandcamp.com/album/apart

 

Federico Dal Pozzo’s latest Krysalisound recording is full of minute pleasures, an ice race avoiding the pinnacle of an all out avalanche. Instead, the sound waves are condensed drone designs based on sound design in its purest form: hum and counterpoint.

Much of the music relies on driving ground fissures, trips to metropolis, and like being stuck in a bunker, a firm grasp of the natural architecture of buildings. So in all, the music is wide ranging with all the experimentalism of a electromagnet inside a complex tape loop studio. One just has to tap on “play” to drift off to the hums of wonder within…

My favourite thing about “VZ0” is its concentric circles, its eddies and loops. These loops transform your sonic environment and offset any energy required to listen to them, meaning they are positively enveloping. I find nothing negative about this record, it’s very pure, and succinctly put in its stylistic symbolism. It seems to enact a constructed set of poles that keep tessellating among moving waves of dozy sound.

And there are washes of rhythmic passivity too, nothing aggressively done, just true float, real drift and weaving, like a spellcasting, mischievous witch, sunning herself in a weather mirror. These sounds move slowly over the lands like rays of the sun, forever sparkling and coming from a much deeper, encrusted whole.

Perhaps one’s true intent becomes known from drones like these. In the searches for deeper meaning, and in general deep thought about life, the mirror reflects back on itself to a projection of powerful musical dualism to soothe the soul. A just exercise, given that the music is only heard when humans choose to listen. Krysalisound label is this under the radar that you can afford to give a unassuming drone suite some companionship, and possibly an endorsement, because this particular experiment is very fine indeed.

So yes, not an avalanche of white noise, rather some of the quietest yet most ruminative music I’ve heard in the last 12 months. Recommendable lusciousness for Steve Roach and Robert Rich fans alike, it’s sure to put a wry smile on the sleep ambient scene’s brow.

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Condensare, sintetizzare l’esperienza della città ma anche il “concetto” di Venezia: questo il senso della sigla VNZ nel nuovo “Untitled_” di Federico Dal Pozzo, che dopo il recente “TeVeT” prosegue la sua collaborazione con la Krysalisound di Francis M. Gri.

Elaborando in tempo reale varie sorgenti concrete e field recordings, l’autore realizza con mano sapiente e delicata – seppur decisamente poco ortodossa – un “concerto” acusmatico dedicato a questo scrigno di storia e tradizione, luogo dell’anima che sembra suonare autonomamente la propria sinfonia, “e non c’è mano grande abbastanza da voltare le pagine dello spartito”.

Non poteva essere altro che l’acqua, dunque, l’elemento primario di questa libera astrazione lagunare: stille d’acqua purissima sfiorano la superficie sonora, la accarezzano finché non passano gradatamente allo stato solido, tintinnando e propagando la loro eco tutt’intorno; le onde gentili delle manipolazioni elettroacustiche imitano fruscii di nastri e vecchi vinili; in secondo piano si ripetono i versi di una recitazione sconnessa, come frammenti sparsi di un già criptico monologo beckettiano; un’insistente nota di pianoforte insegue la propria scia in crescendo risonanti alla Charlemagne Palestine.

Al ventesimo minuto sembra chiudersi brevemente il sipario, ma con il reingresso le epifanie strumentali divengono più costanti, benché ugualmente sfuggenti. Si odono i rintocchi di un campanile in lontananza, laddove in superficie acute scie elettroniche vorticano lentamente, fluttuando su un asse verticale lungo tutta la gamma delle altezze.

Superata abbondantemente la mezz’ora, l’atmosfera in prevalenza tonale fa spazio ad aspri ronzii statici in stereofonia, come di vecchi schermi catodici cui non rimane altro che un muto dialogo tra simili – e non è forse vero che quel flusso continuo di sfrigolanti linee bianco-nere somiglia allo scrosciare indisturbato di un fiume in piena?

In questo stesso solco giunge a compimento l’opera, con un finale che stende una sottile patina di rumore bianco, sgomberando il campo da qualunque stralcio descrittivo evocato in precedenza. L’intero excursus finisce col somigliare a un processo di rimozione, anziché a una nostalgica mappatura sonora della città in cui Dal Pozzo è nato: il suo “Untitled”, semmai, raduna impulsi inconsci entro un paesaggio troppo annebbiato e opaco per lasciarci vedere la cartolina di una Serenissima che, in ogni caso, non si può più definire tale. Di quel paradigma romantico, dell’eleganza e prestigio che avrebbe voluto tramandare in eterno, resta oggi soltanto un’ombra.

Link

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=3851848511/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/

[krysalisound] Riflessi di una città catturati per essere ricombinati in un flusso che ne evochi l’essenza. È un omaggio alla sua Venezia quello composto da Federico Dal Pozzo in “Untitled_VNZ”, audioracconto costruito modulando e ricombinando estemporaneamente l’ampia tavolozza di suoni raccolti sul campo per dare forma ad un percorso avvolgente e suggestivo. Plasmando in tempo […]

via federico dal pozzo “untitled_vnz” — SoWhat

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F459219771&color=%2304050c&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false

We’ve some big news to announce and that’s that Harry (the label owner) will be having a baby in October, so things may slow down just a little towards the end of the year as he adjusts to a few changes… There’s a lot of the schedule to work to so the plan is step […]

via Coming soon…Francis M. Gri – Apart — whitelabrecs