M. Mucci – Dangerous Summer

This is the title track from M. Mucci’s 2013 release put out on vinyl by Tall House Recording Co.. The distinctly medieval sounds accompanying M. Mucci’s guitar come from a Vielle, here performed by B. Grossman. The vielle is a stringed instrument somewhat resembling a violin but with five strings instead of four, and it was a popular instrument among troubadours and court musicians during the medieval period. In the 15th century the word began to be used when referring to a hurdy-gurdy which is also a stringed instrument but which is performed by a mechanical wheel turning against the strings instead of a human bowing them, in the case of the vielle.

M.Mucci has a Bandcamp page with lots more music, though I’m not sure if more medieval instruments make appearances.

Below is an image from the National Gallery in London depicting an angel playing the stringed instrument, likely painted by a contemporary of Da Vinci.

N-1661-00-000069-wpu
Associate of Leonardo da Vinci (Francesco Napoletano?), 1452 – 1519 An Angel in Green with a Vielle about 1490-9 Oil on poplar, 117.2 x 60.8 cm Bought, 1898 NG1661 This painting is part of the group: ‘Panels from the S. Francesco Altarpiece, Milan’ (NG1093; NG1661-NG1662) http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG1661

Sam Prekop – C+F

This track from The Sea and Cake’s Sam Prekop is just as undeniable as The Sea and Cake are at their best. It comes from his second solo release, Who’s Your New Professor put out by the good folks at Thrill Jockey in 2005. Though it predates the modular synth sounds that dominate his most recent releases, like 2015’s The Republic, you can hear some of those beautiful tones percolating through his earlier solo work.

As I mentioned in a previous post, The Sea and Cake went on hiatus around 2004, and Archer Prewitt and Prekop both released solo records soon after. It’s interesting to listen to Who’s Your New Professor alongside Prewitt’s album Wilderness. Maybe I’m trying to shoehorn something here, but these albums shed light on what each guy brought to The Sea and Cake. Though Wilderness was Prewitt’s last solo output to date, Prekop has continued to record on his own in addition to reuniting with the rest of The Sea and Cake. Another great solo record of his is Old Punch Card, which is full blown synth goodness. I was lucky enough to see Prekop live when he performed at Hausu Mountain’s birthday party a few years ago and it was a real treat. To get a sense of what the set up looked like check out this live video from 2011. Prekop also did the cover art for the most recent release from Good Willsmith entitled Things Our Bodies Used to Have. Good Willsmith are a great group who I’ll have to write about at greater length because Doug, Max, and Natalie create some really beautiful jams and they are also beings of pure wonderful light.

Sabbatical – Sojourn North

So often when writing these I look up an artist that I’ve really been digging but don’t know much about and find a wealth of releases to dig through. While that is always a pleasant surprise, there’s a part of me that kicks myself for not finding them sooner. I’m pleased to announce that this is the opposite case. Sojourn North comes off Sabbatical’s debut, Sundown, which was put out on the label Love All day in January of 2016. Of course the result of finding a group this early is that there is not much information on them, so this comes from the description by the label:

Recorded over a six year period, Sabbatical’s Sundown germinated in the cracks that separate the disparate moments of a life, and found its rhythms nursed in the openings that emerged between other projects. In those spaces – periods of exception from the flow, journeys, downtime, lacunae – Sundown waited for its creator, gathering energy, until it grew to become the centre point around which Sabbatical’s other activities would begin to orbit.

Cheers for usage of the word lacuna! Love All Day has only put out a few releases, including a cassette from Panabrite, but those who are interested in warm, synth-driven ambient drones should keep their eyes on them and Sabbatical in the future.

Empty of Shadows

 

I stumbled into some deep, dark drones yesterday and before I mucked it up by trying to tweaking it I thought I’d share. I’ve been pushing myself to do more improvisation and less painstaking messing around on the computer, which sort of seems like a rationalization for laziness in retrospect but it’s pushed me in a lot of good directions and made me better understand the tools at my disposal. It’s free (as are all my other releases) and I’d encourage you to download it in as high quality a format as you’re willing because it’s an improvement over the stream and grab the best pair of headphones you’ve got. Enjoy!

Stellardrone – Cosmic Sunrise

Stellardrone is the musical pseudonym of Lituanian composer Edgaras Žakevičius, who began making music in 2007. Cosmic Sunrise comes off his second release Sublime released in 2010. He began recording in his late 20s, and though he has amassed an impressive slate of releases and has made all of them available for free both on Bandcamp and the Internet Archive under a Creative Commons license. His most recent release was released under the same arrangement, although it is connected to the netlabel Energostatic Records. As somebody also recording music and releasing it for free, it’s cool to see someone producing such high-quality work as an enthusiastic amateur. The current of astronomy and space exploration run through his work, which makes me wonder if his day job involves professional stargazing, in which case, he has put together a heck of a soundtrack. He composes primarily on the computer, and it seems to be a bedroom project of sorts, though there are pictures of him playing online. If you enjoy this piece, I’d encourage you to listen to the rest of his material, especially A Moment of Stillness.

H. Takahashi – Pearl

Pearl kicks off the excellent second installment of UK-based label Where to Now’s minimal ambient series Where to Be, which invited artists to

create works of total ambience, incorporating the idea that the power of the music presented is in that which is barely there, embracing space, silence, cyclical repetition, and minimalism. The music is to help us function – it’s music to work to, to sleep to, to help us find a sense of space and oneness within a world that is increasingly wild and untameable. [sic]

I am obviously not the only one to have taken notice, as the cassette pressing of that release is sold out, though if you can I’d recommend taking a listen and purchasing the digital version. A bit earlier in 2015 he released Sea Meditation through the label Entertainment Systems, which promises “practical audio solutions to everyday living,” which is available on cassette on their Bandcamp site.

Siavash Amini – Fading Shadows of Dusk

Fading Shadows of Dusk is the lead track off Flaming Pines’ upcoming compilation of experimental music by Iranian artists. It comes from Siavash Amini who also released an LP, Subsiding, with Futuresequence (aka the good folks who brought you Madeline Cocolas’ debut). I’ll admit I was drawn to this based on the extensive coverage of Iran in recent months, but Amini, in an essay introducing the collection, offers an interesting counterpoint to that impulse:

The tracks collected for this compilation are a perfect example of art that is not “newsworthy”. And in this way they act as a gateway to the ignored and overlooked landscape of experimental electronic music in Iran. It is helpful to listen to all of the pieces in this compilation in contrast to the established language of what is now an Iranian musical mainstream. This Iranian mainstream is not that disconnected from the global mainstream, and the philosophy, politics and the lifestyle this manifests. The mainstream in Iran is not only what the government endorses but it also consists of very shallow imitations of various musical genres, cleared of any signs of cultural or political resistance, backed and released by private labels and companies.

The artists presented here, including myself, are people who are constructing our musical language as part of our lives – a project which is no less of an experiment than the music itself. We are the voices who choose to be absent from the news and the musical mainstream (and in some cases from the city of our birth) in order to express the complex range of emotions and ideas which make up our lives, as honestly as we can.

The compilation is slated for release in February and is available for pre-order on Bandcamp. In addition to the digital release, it will be released as a CDr with the first 30 receiving a poster.

Madeline Cocolas – I Can See You Whisper

 

Australian-born composer Madeline Cocoloas’ debut record Cascadia is set to be released in January from Future Sequence, and it’s gorgeous. Much of the material arose from a project she undertook where she created a song a week for a year. It was fittingly called the “Fifty Two Weeks” project, and lucky for us that material has been repurposed, repackaged, and refined for our listening pleasure. I Can See You Whisper was actually the final installment of the 52 weeks project, which she celebrated by releasing a video for the song. Blending her classical training on piano and (I’m guessing) violin/cello with subdued synth drones, she has composed original soundtracks to Hitchcock’s The Birds as well as for site-specific art installations. For more information and to hear past installments in the Fifty-Two Weeks saga, check out the blog she set up for the project or check out her website. You can also hear more of her music over at Soundcloud. I’ll have to remember this project when I get a bit lazy with the Music For Cougars stuff, because it’s not as good and it seems to take twice as long.

WARM – This is What I Became

 
Most of these posts are meant to pretty relevant regardless of when some future person might stumble upon them, but this one has got a tinge of urgency because Gap Dream (aka Gabe Fulvimar) is selling downloads of his entire discography for just four dollars! Four. Measly. Dollars. This includes the release which contains today’s track, Florian, which was released under the moniker WARM. What a steal! For the price of something that costs four dollars, you can get all this excellent musics!

I first heard Gap Dream’s self-titled release a couple years ago and purchased the cassette, which I have essentially worn through. I wasn’t aware that he’d been releasing instrumental material under various names, and pretty much all the releases I’ve heard are excellent. For a full accounting of his releases, check out his Bandcamp. While the WARM material is available only digitally, physical releases are handled by the estimable Burger Records out of Fullerton, CA. Before his solo work got started in earnest, he performed with the Black Keys, appearing on their 2002 The Big Come Up release. While he writes and performs all the instruments himself for the WARM releases as well as on the first Gap Dream release, he was joined by Bobby Harlow of Conspiracy of Owls fame for Gap Dream’s sophomore effort Shine Your Light. I’d encourage you to take advantage of this amazing deal while it lasts, but if you’re one of those future people for whom this deal no longer applies, still buy it using whatever currency the future space government will accept. Bitcoin? Straight barter? Idk, just do it.