on Sunday, 4 October 2009

Wixel - Norway

Following on from Sufjan Stevens crazy idea to write an album for every state comes a slightly more achievable yet still rather crazy idea, Wim Maesschalck, better known as Wixel announced at the start of the year swore to the following:

In 2009, I, Wim Maesschalck, solemnly do declare, that I will release 12 records. Each one created from start to finish within the same month. It's a way of pushing creativity and forcing inspiration. It will be very much like a journal of 2009 by yours truly, but translated to music. All of those records will be released physically, limited to the amount of days there are in the same month. That should be one cd for each day of the year, like a real journal. All records should be at least 20 minutes in length. Since limiting music is silly, only the artwork will be limited. It's possible to get the music itself free (or pay-what-you-want) at http://2009.bandcamp.mu. I can't promise the music will always be good, so, you'll have to check out yourself if it's worth the trouble. If you have a question, send an e-mail to wimmaesschalck@gmail.com and i'll try to find an answer. To be notified as soon as a release is ready; subscribe to my blog. Since recently all previous months are made available again in a physical format. You can see them here.

Credit to him, he admitted that not all of them will be great, however a few have shone out, Clouds being one and i think given more attention i could come to love the two Slaapliedjes records, however, my favourite by some way is the August release, "Norway".

Four lovely tracks of ambience mixing to fine effect, especially on the opener Briksdal, tidal washes, gentle plucking, footprints in the snow and finally Interference of the most delightful, detuned radio type. Each track comes with its own picture, Track 4, Ramberg, a gorgeous sunrise, which in reality could not have been more aft, the early morning bird call mixed into the
slow swelling loveliness that ensues after 3 minutes or so.

Jotunheimen seemlessly abridges Briksdal and continues along all muffled and windy.

One not to be missed.

This month release is the sound of acoustic and electronic noise colliding. Based on field recordings of norwegian streams, waterfalls and sunsets. The recordings are hardly modified, but rest upon a swirling undercurrent of acoustic guitar, soft keyboards and other treated acoustic instruments. Remember, the louder the better.

Sufjan Stevens - Enjoy Your Rabbit

I'd kind of lumped Sufjan Stevens in with the Devendra Banhart crowd and in some ways maybe that is fair, on others it’s purely coincidental and probably quite a n a l of me to do so. I fell out with Devendra, so to speak, when i saw him at ATP, around the time of Cripple Crow, when he was prancing around thinking that he was Jesus and singing about little boys. I place him alongside Herman Dune in that it's clear that he has talent but he is far too self obsessed for me to have any time for the said talent.

Sufjan had kind of made his way there in my mind, maybe it was his idea to make an album about every state, and the fact that the first had over 20 songs on and the second had a whole album of surplus tracks, either way i think i was wrong to dismiss him and welcome him back with open arms, although he is pushing all the wrong buttons with me again, releasing two albums prior to his new one, i'm yet to hear the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway one but i will openly admit to being completely won over by the reworking of his debut(?) album Enjoy Your Rabbit, entitled Run Rabbit Run and amazingly packaged:

Quote: Run Rabbit Run is not a new Sufjan Stevens album exactly, and neither is it about John Updike. Instead, it is a version of Stevens' 2001 album Enjoy Your Rabbit, reimagined for the New York string quartet Osso (who provided the strings for Illinoise). Originally commissioned by Bryce Dessner for his Music Now Festival, Stevens, Dessner, and the Osso quarted decided that they needed to document this music on a physical format. The songs, rewritten for strings by such composers as Michael Atkinson and Nico Muhly, among others, comprise a song cycle about the Chinese Zodiac.
Having not heard the original i can't comment on how true it is to that but i can confirm that this is plain beautiful stuff, like Dirty Three and Esmerine at their most accesible and quite possibly a contender for album of the year in my humble opinion. Beautiful string based "post-rock" or maybe "instumental" would be more apt. A delight for the ears.

Sufjan Stevens - Year of the Ox mp3

Source: I Guess I'm Floating

on Saturday, 3 October 2009

Ekca Liena - Drones Between Homes (Under the Spire) / Orb Night (Phantom Channel)

I've for some time been enthralled by the thought of Ekca Liena, a regular poster and self promoter on the After the Post Rock Forum. You can however only trust so many reviews especially when every new drone artist i discover is described as being similar to Stars of the Lid, Tim Hecker and Fennesz, just as the lazy reviewer describes all post rock as being a little but Mogwai, a little bit of Godspeed with a hint of EITS and so on. Whether it be the trick of the small distros to drum up interest and in turn sales or whether they're just that braindead i don't know. What I do know is that Ekca Liena is as great as i had expected. For some unknown reason i had assumed Ekca to be a girl, maybe an heir to Danielle Baquet Longs throne, as it is, Ekca Liena is simply a moniker for the work of Dan McKenzie.

Instead of sounding like everything else, Ekca Liena has a genuinely original and personal sound, it reminds me of Textile Ranch slowed down and intricately taken to pieces, like the cogs that turn inside a pocket watch or the gentle and elegant movements of a clockwork ballerina ,so the notes fall, delicate and graceful, mixing music box melodies with drones so lovely they would cause the sun to rise all by themselves should they be given half a chance.

In places you can hear echoes of Colleen and on the excellent Strange Dusk an ode to Ben Frost's ability to restrain sound from crossing over into brutality but getting as close as possible without touching, can be heard in the deep throbs that bring the track to a finale.

And so it is with a plethora of releases that Ekca Liena has jumped into the limelight, having wowed those in the know last year with the now sold out but soon to be rereleased Slow Music For Rapid Eye Movement, Ekca returns with a release on two of the hottest experimental labels around currently (three it would appear, as he also has a new album on the Dead Pilot label), first up Drones Between Homes on the excellent Under The Spire label, two tracks that stay just shy of 15 minutes, dreamy and reflective in manner, however the real treat is the four track Orb Night and the even more excellent Phantom Channel label, four songs that twinkle like stars in the night sky, drifting like an owl swooping on unsuspecting prey, majestically beautiful yet slightly eerie and spine tinglingly awe inspiring. The title track, Orb Night, itself is simply epic, drifting between twinkles and dark ambient yet never sounding tired or outstaying its welcome over its 20 minute duration. One to watch for sure, hopefully he won't go too Machinefabriek on us.