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Loscil / Fieldhead

Fury And Hecla

    Fury and Hecla is a meeting of worlds. Named after a near mid-point between the residences of artists Fieldhead and Loscil, it explores both the familiar and the foreign.

    Although not a collaboration in the strictest sense, sounds were shared by each artist allowing for a sort of aural infusion between the compositions. The results are a series of fragments and quotes that appear and reappear - sometimes in ghostly form - throughout each artist’s tracks.



    The serene ambient compositions of loscil come courtesy of Vancouver-based musician Scott Morgan. Taking his moniker from the “looping oscillator” function in the computer music language Csound, Morgan uses custom made Max for Live devices and the occasional live instrument to build robust, droning soundscapes. Morgan cites influences including krautrock pioneers Cluster, minimalist composer Gavin Bryars, and a wealth of film music composers.



    loscil’s origins come from Morgan’s combined influence and involvement with Vancouver’s indie rock scene in the 90′s, having played in several bands as a guitarist and drummer, and also from his academic studies at Simon Fraser University where he learned computer music, film sound and new music composition studying with influential electroacoustics pioneer Barry Truax.

 Loscil’s self-released album, A New Demonstration of Thermodynamic Tendencies, caught the ear of the Chicago independent label Kranky, who in turn signed Morgan’s project and released Triple Point in October of 2001. Since then, Morgan has gone on to release 5 additional full length albums with Kranky including the latest Sketches from New Brighton released in September of 2012.

    In light of loscil’s exclusive track “Umbra” on Ghostly’s 2006 compilation Idol Tryouts 2, Ghostly partnered with Morgan in 2009 for the EP Strathcona Variations. Morgan has periodically partnered with other labels for special projects including 2012′s City Hospital book report on Dublin’s WistRec and 2011′s Coast/Range/Arc on Italy’s Glacial Movements.

 Loscil has toured internationally and played respected festivals and events such as Mutek, New Forms, Decibel, Substrata, Wordless Music and more. In addition to his loscil duties, Morgan has played drums for acclaimed Vancouver indie-rock band Destroyer and has composed several scores for major and independent games and films.



    Fieldhead is Paul Elam. He produces ambient/electronic music that delights in tape hiss, geography, bleak landscapes and decaying analogue loops. He is ably assisted by violinist and long term collaborator Elaine Reynolds (The Boats, The Declining Winter). Formed in Leeds, UK in 2008, Fieldhead released a number of EPs and the critically acclaimed album They Shook Hands for Hours (Home Assembly Music, 2009) before relocating to Vancouver, BC in 2010. 

Whilst residing in Canada, Paul busied himself with remixing the likes of Epic45, Conquering Animal Sound and Brave Timbers and recording Fieldhead's second album, 'a correction'. 'a correction' was released to wide acclaim on Gizeh Records in late October 2012.

    The new album builds on the love of melody, brevity and dusty atmosphere to be found in previous releases, but also adds a widescreen expansiveness in keeping with the vastness of the landscape it was created in. Paul returned to the UK to take up residence in Newcastle Upon Tyne in 2012.

    A-Sun Amissa

    Ceremony In The Stillness

      For its fourth full-length, A-Sun Amissa plunges deeper than before. Guitars come to the fore. Heavy, distorted chords are present from the off, complemented by desolate ambient passages of sound. The claustrophobic atmospheres remain but combine with a new density and sonic experimentation to present a huge leap forward in structure and composition.

      Ceremony in the Stillness hints at themes from the previous three outings while very much pushing the project into new territories. The intricate nuances and lulling melodies from Desperate in Her Heavy Sleep (2012) reappear while the billowing guitars of You Stood Up For Victory, We Stood up For Less (2013) are referenced throughout. In comparison to 2017’s The Gatherer it’s clear there is a firmer direction in the song-writing as the album weaves through elements of doom, dark ambient and post-rock, placing its very own unique mark firmly into the ears of the listener.

      A-Sun Amissa is the project of Richard Knox (founder of Gizeh Records and member of The Rustle of the Stars, Shield Patterns and Glissando) and while Knox takes the central role on Ceremony in the Stillness , again we see several collaborators contributing to the record.

      As album opener The Black Path unfurls, the cello of Jo Quail creeps through the thick wall of guitar to offer a moment of calm before the song comes to life with the introduction of drums (from Archelon’s TJ Fairfax) for the first time on a A-Sun Amissa record. Alongside a dense and hypnotically repetitive riff, it’s A-Sun Amissa’s heaviest moment to date as the song collapses under its own weight to leave a crumbling and uneasy passage of cello and guitar drone. Intertwining guitars take centre stage on the melancholic With Wearied Eyes as the atmosphere harks back to the debut album, before the hefty guitar riffs return on To the Ashes . The Skulk eminisces on The Gatherer as David McLean’s saxophone unravels around the ondes Martenot of Christine Ott amongst a shifting tide of oscillators and drones. The record then takes a turn as No Perception of Light ’s soporific opening gives way to a mesmerising beat and bassline, developing into a wall of crunching guitars and electronics. The closer, Remembrancer , features chiming guitars, conversing over bowed strings, the melancholy returning again as an enveloping, haunting orchestral outro brings the record to a conclusion.

      Whether Ceremony in the Stillness represents a permanent shift in direction for A-Sun Amissa remains to be seen. What’s clear is that Knox is comfortable being on the outside looking in, and on expanding A-Sun Amissa’s palette of sounds even further it only adds to the intrigue of what comes next.


      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Ltd LP Info: All LP sleeves are individually silkscreen-printed, packed and numbered by hand at SmilingPaperGhosts.

      Tomorrow We Sail

      The Shadows

        The Shadows is the new album from Leeds-based six-piece Tomorrow We Sail. Building on their debut release For Those Who Caught the Sun in Flight (Gizeh, 2014) over the course of three years, this new work combines perfectly the soaring atmospherics, gorgeously intertwined vocal harmonies and dramatic shifts in tone and dynamics that have come to characterise Tomorrow We Sail’s sound. Yet, there is a new sense of urgency here. Very much an album of its time, The Shadows draws upon the same sense of connection to both past and present that defined its precursor but features storytelling that’s even more defiant and deeply personal.

        Like its predecessor, the record features seven songs but from the chiming guitars of openingt rack Side By Side it is clear that the stately pace of For Those Who Caught the Sun in Flight has made way for a far more dynamic and driving energy; perhaps best captured in the righteous anger of The Ghost of John Maynard Keynes Tomorrow We Sail still invoke a keen sense of measured grace in their songwriting - from the sweeping, elegiac title track, through to the sparse, restrained, yet haunting beauty of Winifred and To Sleep . Urgent, yet assured, The Shadows demands your attention. 


        Astrid & Rachel Grimes

        Through The Sparkle

          Through the Sparkle is a collaboration between French ensemble Astrïd and American pianist and composer Rachel Grimes.

          Rachel Grimes is best known for her chamber music project Rachel’s, a hugely influential group formed in 1991 in Louisville, Kentucky, releasing six studio albums between 1995 and 2005. She has also released a string of contemporary classical works in recent years on labels such as Temporary Residence. Astrïd is a collective of four musicians based in Nantes, releasing records on Rune Grammofon and Home Normal.

          After years of mail and email back and forth over the ocean, from Nantes to Kentucky, astrïd invited Rachel to come for a residency to make music together and play shows in France. They gathered for a few days, here and there, in 2012 and 2013 to write songs in Cyril and Vanina's home studio in the countryside.

          The compositions found on Through the Sparkle glow with a unique, connected energy and a pure, instinctive musical understanding. Considered contributions from all sides allow the pieces to unfurl naturally. Each note and phrase feels like it simply couldn’t be placed anywhere else in the album.

          Charming, gentle and cinematic sounds are found here in abundance. Melodies circle and reveal themselves without force, allowing the listener to focus and explore the depths of what is on offer. Musically, Through the Sparkle is an expansive and evocative album. There is a presence to be felt throughout, from Cyril Secq’s emotive tremelo’d guitars of M5 to the darker, more haunting mood of The Theme, to the tension in Mossgrove & Seaweed. Strings and woodwind coalesce around intricate piano and guitar movements creating a wealth of harmony and melancholy.

          Through the Sparkle is a record of miniature symphonies, of elegant restraint. A gracious and generous offering from a group of musicians at one with each other and at the top of their game.


          FORMAT INFORMATION

          Ltd LP Info: 180g Vinyl edition of 500 copies.

          Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

          Foudre!

          Earth

            EARTH is the third opus of FOUDRE! - a telluric drone quartet composed of Frédéric D. Oberland (Oiseaux-Tempête, The Rustle Of The Stars, FareWell Poetry), Romain Barbot (Saåad, I Pilot Dæmon), Grégory Buffier (Saåad, Autrenoir), Paul Régimbeau (Mondkopf, Extreme Precautions, Autrenoir), featuring electric chimeras by Christine Ott on ondes martenot.

            Commissioned by Silke Schmickl from Lowave for the festival 'Singapour Mon Amour' in Paris, this album was recorded in the 16th century gothic church of Saint-Merry in June 2015 as a live soundtrack performance for EARTH - an experimental film directed by one of the most important Singaporean contemporary artists, Ho Tzu Nyen.

            Acclaimed by art and film critics worldwide and presented at some of the most prestigious international film festivals (Cannes, Venice, Rotterdam..), EARTH is inspired by the works of classical European painters such as Caravaggio, Rembrandt and Delacroix. The film unfolds dramatically as the camera moves across a theatrically choreographed scene involving 50 actors, as the details of a post-apocalyptic landscape are revealed frame by frame.

            Ho Tzu Nyen on EARTH:
            “We see the site of an unknown disaster, the debris of history that constitutes the story of Earth. Upon the site, lay fifty 50 humans oscillating between consciousness and unconsciousness, life and death. Sometimes, one of them emerges into the foreground - clutching a fist, batting an eyelid, or weeping for his neighbor. At other times, these figures recede from the light, losing their individual shapes to form a gigantic organism, breathing in unison, pulsating like a jellyfish, though their journey across Earth.”


            FORMAT INFORMATION

            Coloured LP Info: Electric blue vinyl.

            Shield Patterns

            Violet EP

            'Violet' is the new EP from Shield Patterns. The duo released their highly acclaimed debut album ‘Contour Lines’ (5/5 in The Skinny) in summer 2014 and this follow-up EP features four brand new tracks from the Manchester-based creators of electronic dark-pop music.

            Violet' is a lovingly crafted progression from 'Contour Lines'. The experimentation found there has been explored further to feature samples made from clicking bones, field recordings, heavy drones and a starker approach to production. On first listen the sound is more minimalistic than that debut album but multiple layers gradually reveal themselves over time. Brentnall’s vocals were singled out for particular praise in early reviews and she has refined her vision further here, with her lyrical concerns focussing on the intimacy of bodies (“drip-feeding” and “mouths”, for example) and her voice arranged into swirling loops like those which introduce and underpin final track ‘Monument’.

            This is electronic music that juxtaposes warmth and cold, journeying from industrial to natural, from claustrophobic to expansive.

            Caul is the new album from Last Harbour. Based in the northern English city of Manchester, Last Harbour play music with a dark, gothic heart yet their songs are always beautiful and transcendent.

            After working with producer Richard Formby (Wild Beasts, Spacemen 3, Ghostpoet) on two previous albums, the band took time out after touring to build their own studio in 2013.

            This new album was recorded in that self-created space over a year between 2013-4 and bears testament to a patient and detailed recording process that allowed time for experimentation and careful arrangement.

            Caul contains all of the band’s trademark bruised laments and doom-filled rock, but there is also an added layer of raw, bleak experimentation that marries ideally and simultaneously with brighter, almost joyous moments. Most noticeably, Guitar Neck moves from a metronomic, semi-spoken verse to a richly orchestrated chorus with the FX-heavy vocal of K. Craig soaring above the pulsing instrumentation. There’s another powerful moment in Fracture/Fragment where group vocals take centre stage and the record immediately takes on a deeper and wider atmosphere, whilst elsewhere Before The Ritual comes laced with vintage synths and organs. The Deal is a highlight, combining an insistent rhythm, menacing vocal and obscured analogue effects, leading off a trilogy of tracks which form the album’s second half, the negative image to the first half’s positive, two sides of the same story.

            Final piece The Promise is the band’s most ambitious statement of their career so far. The epic 13 minute track is cinematic in scale, beginning with droning soundscapes and minimal notes that opens out into a beautiful, melodic section with rhythm-led breakdowns and doo-wop backing vocals, before descending to a haunting, sparse reverb-drenched coda. That song, and the album as a whole, makes clear the progression on Caul, from that of its predecessor Your Heart, It Carries the Sound. There is a new focus, a need to explore, a quest to push further into the void.

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            LP includes MP3 Download Code.

            Ormonde

            Cartographer / Explorer

            Ormonde are Anna-Lynne Williams (Trespassers William/Lotte Kestner) and Robert Gomez, and ‘Cartographer/Explorer’ is the Seattle band’s second album, following on from 2012’s ‘Machine’ which garnered keen praise on both sides of the Atlantic for its delicate acoustic songwriting.

            Individually, the two members of Ormonde have impressive CVs: Williams toured with Damien Rice, Feist, Broken Social Scene and Explosions in the Sky during her time in Trespassers William (Nettwerk Records) and also co-wrote and sang ‘Hold Tight London’ on Chemical Brothers’ ‘Push the Button’ album. Gomez is a respected producer/multi-instrumentalist who has worked with John Grant, Centro-matic and Sarah Jaffe and was previously signed to Bella Union. Ormonde, however, is where the two locate their shared vision, and it’s a spellbinding place to spend some time.

            In contrast to the debut album, ‘Cartographer/Explorer’ is a much more ambitious affair. Primarily written and recorded in an immersive two week period, the songs have a late-night, narcotic quality. They frequently centre themselves around repeating guitar or organ/synth phrases and passages, slowly spinning out captivating webs of sound. Williams concentrates on her words and singing, whereas Gomez provides the lion’s share of the instrumentation, incorporating beats and processed drums into the mix, submerging them under liberal reverb and effects. Gomez himself takes lead vocals on four of the album’s ten songs - with the purity of Williams’ voice winding around his slurred, somewhat sinister tones - with ‘A Grand Design’ being a perfect example of how the combination of their voices, together and separate, is one of the album’s strongest features.

            It perhaps comes as little surprise that Ormonde spent time watching the second series of ‘Twin Peaks’ during recording. There’s a similar fascination with the undercurrents of love, death, and trust, and the anxiety of whether our interactions with others are harmonious or destructive. The small moments that come to define us over time, a story unravelling: “After you go, I rest my eyes, it’s like they’ve been walking out in storms“ as Williams sings in ‘Paintings’, against a backdrop of Gomez’s Morricone-style twanging guitar and reverberant percussion. An entire world barely hinted at in just a few words. Ultimately, ‘Cartographer/Explorer’ is a wonderful album, compelling in its subtle moves, finding its own sweet way as only the best records do.

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            LP includes MP3 Download Code.

            Chantal Acda

            Live In Dresden

            A nice collectors follow-up to 'Let Your Hands Be My Guide'. Limited edition of 500 hand made/numbered copies for the world..

            Currently based in Belgium, Dutch-born Chantal Acda (b. 1978) has worked under the Sleepingdog moniker since 2006, making three acclaimed albums that closed on the With Our Heads in the Clouds and Our Hearts in the Fields (2010) album for which she collaborated with Adam Wiltzie (Stars of the Lid, A Winged Victory For The Sullen). They toured the UK and Benelux with Low in 2011. After all this, it was time for her first real solo record. Playing in various formations had made her conscious of the patterns that we all, as humans, share in. So, she sought out kindred spirits with whom she might record an album filled with freedom and intensity, and who were conscious of the patterns we so often fall back on.

            Nils Frahm was the first of these to cross her path. The inventive German pianist and producer is an intense and adventurous performer and was a perfect match for this project. Acda also experienced a direct bond with Peter Broderick, a multi-instrumentalist known from his solo work (on labels such as Bella Union and Erased Tapes) and from his work with, among others, Efterklang. Cellist extraordinaire Gyda Valtysdottir from Icelandic group Mum had previously worked with Chantal as a member of the Sleepingdog live band. And lastly, Shahzad Ismaily stumbled into this picture by chance, but when Acda and he found themselves in the same room they formed an instant rapport.

            The circle completed, Acda had found the 4 worlds that would enable her to record the album in full freedom. Power revealed through vulnerability. Nils Frahm, who plays throughout the record, also took on the role of producer. What began as a journey ended as this wonderful record - one wherein the five musicians were able to find their place and, together, and with great warmth, tell their nine-song story. Let Your Hands Be My Guide.

            ‘Live in Dresden’ features six songs from ‘Let Your Hands Be My Guide’ played by Chantal Acda, Alan Gevaert, Eric Thielemans & Gaetan Vandewoude.

            Chantal Acda

            Let Your Hands Be My Guide

            Currently based in Belgium, Dutch-born Chantal Acda (b. 1978) has worked under the Sleepingdog moniker since 2006, making three acclaimed albums that closed on the With Our Heads in the Clouds and Our Hearts in the Fields (2010) album for which she collaborated with Adam Wiltzie (Stars of the Lid, A Winged Victory For The Sullen). They toured the UK and Benelux with Low in 2011.

            After all this, it was time for her first real solo record. Playing in various formations had made her conscious of the patterns that we all, as humans, share in. So, she sought out kindred spirits with whom she might record an album filled with freedom and intensity, and who were conscious of the patterns we so often fall back on.

            Nils Frahm was the first of these to cross her path. The inventive German pianist and producer is an intense and adventurous performer and was a perfect match for this project. Acda also experienced a direct bond with Peter Broderick, a multi-instrumentalist known from his solo work (on labels such as Bella Union and Erased Tapes) and from his work with, among others, Efterklang. Cellist extraordinaire Gyda Valtysdottir from Icelandic group Mum had previously worked with Chantal as a member of the Sleepingdog live band. And lastly, Shahzad Ismaily stumbled into this picture by chance, but when Acda and he found themselves in the same room they formed an instant rapport.

            The circle completed, Acda had found the 4 worlds that would enable her to record the album in full freedom. Power revealed through vulnerability. Nils Frahm, who plays throughout the record, also took on the role of producer. What began as a journey ended as this wonderful record - one wherein the five musicians were able to find their place and, together, and with great warmth, tell their nine-song story. Let your hands be my guide.


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