With new additions to both Eilean Rec and the frequently explored by myself Krysalisound, Ojerum has been busy. This acoustically minded record, “There Is A Flaw In My Iris”, takes a departure from other drone material, marking itself out as a lullaby type organism with the songwriter sounding like he’s talking to his instruments in his sleep.
A woozy affair then, this is only a description of the very nominal and tuned tuning of guitar that glue the sabbatical narrative together. I enjoy the mood: it’s uplifting, full of melancholy and almost music-box-like in its quotidian appetite for a morsel of melody. What say you electronics, have you no fizz here? It would seem not. The music sounds totally uncontrolled by the forces of machines. Strumming a sharp string, murmuring a clutch of vowels, towing things along, like a silk handkerchief made from sows.
At any instance, there is no hurry here, no climax. Amazing stuff I would say, simply for how unpretentious it is, how direct. The vibe is implanted deep in rustic, acoustic and abstract folk meanderings, a river that runs deep underground and into the vast ocean of the world at large. There is a purity to it all. I wonder how music like this can subvert so many elements of prediction and remain wholly other, wholly unique. Like “Don’t Worry Mother” on Shimmering Moods by Ojerum released recently, this sound art carries with it ghosts of the past, specters that, fundamentally, sound as if their spirits have been set free from the coma-tense. An utterly spellbinding release, and one that I want to return to for rest.
The choice by Italian label KrysaliSound of reissuing the third release of the Danish producer Paw Grabowski’s project øjeRum in a moment, when this moniker is spreading over the catalogs of many interesting electronic, ambient and neo-folk labels besides a plenty of self-released albums, is wise both for the intent to give the chance to all those who are discovering Paw’s sound by more recent outputs and for its intrinsic beauty. Originally released by Tulsa-based label Scissor Tail Recordings on cassette (this is the second re-release of a Scissor Tail output by KrysaliSound), “The Forest Is Sleeping Within The Trees” belongs to that stylistic branch of ambient, known as minimal, as each track is composed by a set of a very limited number of musical voices (a piano and a pump organ only), that got often effected in order to enhance its dynamics, divided in six parts for almost 26 minutes of total length. Each part seems to explore different moods in a sort of emotional metempsychosis of the above mentioned voices: for instance the piano in Part 1 traces a sort of bi tonal lull, a melodic trunk whose bark releases floating echoes and ethereal evanescence, while it turns into an ailing element on the following Part 2 and emerges as a quivering voice as syllables of an interrupted thought in the slow organ-drive wave in Part 3. The diving into a pool of melancholy is complete in Part 4 (where piano — the voice we focused on till now — rarefy more and more) and after the emotional transition in the two lovely minutes of Part 5, the touches on piano sound like the pace of a bliss, where deep echoes of the poignant process to reach it is still listenable. For the likes of William Basinski’s style.
This lush and contemplative set of sonorities by the Japanese ambient producer Hirotaka Shirotsubaki are strictly related to the recent end of Heisei age. Started on 11th January 1989 and came to an end on 30th April 2019, Heisei is nothing but the age of 125th Emperor of Akihito, who recently abdicates the Chrysanthemum Throne in favor of his son Naruhito, so beginning the Reiwa era. In Hirotaka’s own words, printed on the in-lay: “In Japan, the era called “Heisei” will end this year. My life was with this “Heisei” era. In order to live a new era with one break at the end of this era while I am alive, I have decided the title of this album to be “last goodbye” with a determination of parting. The 6 tracks that make up this album have my memory fragments scattered around”. For a transition between an age whose name means ‘peace everywhere’ (even if I won’t say Japan has known a so peaceful era, considering sad facts like the attempt in the metro of Tokyo by Aum Shirinkyo or the Fukushima Daichii nuclear disaster, following the devastating tsunami that hit Japan on 11th March 2011) and the following one, whose name means ‘beautiful harmony’, Hirotaka’s music can perfectly fit this ideal passage. The record that worked as a Cupid’s arrow for KrysaliSound was “Wet Petals”, fired by Naviar Records in 2017, and the six movements that Kobe-based musician forged for this flirt with the label managed by Francis M.Gri (who also mastered the album) has many similarities with that entrancing workout. After some seconds of fade-in, the listener gets wrapped by fluffy soundscapes, based on sampled guitars, masterfully effected and elongated in a way that the listener can feel each amplified sound wave. My favorite tracks are “Rokko”, where the reverb at the basis of the just described effected gets enhanced by slight delays, “Sputnik”, where Hirotaka adds that glimmering stress to the tone stream that project listener’s mind towards astral trips, and “December Snow”, whose icy tones get paradoxically warm by means of the way the musician envelops the aural space.
The latest release from Tropic Of Coldness is their first for KrysaliSound and builds on the slow motion soundscapes of 2018’s Framed Waves. Spread over four gently undulating pieces, Maps Of Reason unfolds at a pace that is beyond leisurely, and serves to lull the listener with its subtle washes and natural movement.
The smeared, slow groan of feedback introduces opening track “The Beauty And The Meaning”, but this feedback is about the lightest that you could possibly imagine, accompanied by pastoral drones that ebb and flow like the slowest of tides. The duo somehow manage to evoke that sense of beautiful solitude that goes beyond the need for company. This is sound that somehow fills any void and moves in such a way that it feels as though gravity has lost its effect on the world. The layered feedback is like someone calling from a distance, but too far away for you to turn and look as you and they continue inexorably on……(continue here)
A sprawling mixture of classical, post-rock, and drone collide on Tropic of Coldness’s “Maps of reason”. The ambient bliss extends out to the heavens in the most perfect fashion imaginable. Done with the greatest of care, Tropic of Coldness makes every movement feel carefully considered, each gesture further adding to the emotional heft of the album. Without needing to say a single word a narrative starts to form one that becomes psychedelic in cadence. By taking their time they create something that at times recalls the subdued brilliance of latter-day Stars of the Lid.
On the aptly named “The beauty and the meaning” Tropic of Coldness set the tone for what fellows. With guitar riffs that at times hint at a bluesy origin the way the piece evolves feels natural. Going further down the pastoral bliss the title track “Maps of reason” hover about with such splendor. Chords have a stately hue to them, recalling at times the majesty of a long-lost soundtrack. Such vast spaces enter into the mind as the song evolves with glacial calm. With “The loss of empathy” Tropic of Coldness allows the piece to take its time as it mines a sense of yearning in such a delicate fashion, almost mournful at times. “Diving for pearls” opts for a cavernous tact, as the way the sound reverberates feels majestic, ever so beautiful in its carefully considered way.
Tropic of Coldness sculpts warm, inviting atmospheres on the stately “Maps of reason”.
øjeRum “There Is A Flaw In My Iris” is now available in store in digital format and vinyl.
Listen and buy here
The lucky collaboration with the amazing Danish artist continues and KrysaliSound is proud to end the reissue series with his very first release.
Some artists need time and a lot of work before finding a musical path, the perfect conjunction between soul and maturity is often hard to reach. I think ojeRum was born with this special feature and this was highly perceptible listening to his debut album. All of the music we know by him is just a natural consequence of this seed of art. “There is a Flaw in my Iris” will be available in vinyl format and in a new digital mastering.
Due viaggiatori alla scoperta di un mondo ancora non del tutto svelato. Alle spalle del loro vagare si formano lunghe scie di suono, attimi colmi di immensità elettro-acustica che rilasciano luminescenti sostanze visibili a chilometri di distanza. A vederle dall’alto formano un accogliente vibrante reticolato lungo quanto il tempo di un sorriso, quanto basta per abbandonarsi privi di barriere, distesi sull’onda continua e profonda di un suono che produce languore e crea ipnotica dipendenza. Un viaggio iniziato nel 2012, quello dei ToC, un tragitto nel cuore del suono che continua a stupire per la sua superba bellezza. SEGUITE LE MAPPE!