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Marla Hansen

Dust

    Having worked for years as side-woman for the likes of Sufjan Stevens, The National and My Brightest Diamond, Marla Hansen returns with her first solo album in twelve years. "Dust" has the weight and wisdom of hand-me-down folk songs, but also sparkles with the confidence and the excitement of an artist with new colours on her palette. The slow-burn of "Dust's" inception can be felt as the album plays. The tracks have weight and wisdom like hand-me-down folk songs, but also sparkle with the confidence and the excitement of an artist with new colours on her palette. Taylor Savvy (Peaches), Knox Chandler (R.E.M.) and Christian Biegai (Antony and the Johnsons) are all present at this banquet - a transatlantic tapestry sewn together by producer Robbie Moore at his Berlin studio complex Impression Recordings.

    Fifth Album by the Bill Wells project feat. words by Aidan Moffat A masterclass in nuance, interpretation and the purifying power of the human voice, Standards Vol. V represents another captivating chapter in the career of a singular figure in contemporary music. For his fifth album as the mischievously named National Jazz Trio Of Scotland, the prolific jazz outsider Bill Wells posits yet another collaborator in the diffuse light cast by his tender chord shifts and understated arrangements. The voice on Standards Vol. V is that of Black, whose other musical activities include the band Babe, Francois And The Atlas Mountains, Rozi Plain and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

    The Sensory Illusions

    The Sensory Illusions

      Scottish composer and multi-instrumentalist Bill Wells returns with The Sensory Illusions, the eponymous debut album from his duo with virtuoso tuba player Danielle Price. Featuring Wells on electric guitar, the album has all the warmth, melancholy and playfulness of his finest work, with timeless melodies that touch on jazz, pop, bossa nova, soundtracks, and folk. 

      Aby Vulliamy

      Spin Cycle

        Yorkshire composer & musician Aby Vulliamy is a multi-instrumentalist (she sings and plays viola, piano, accordion, musical saw, flute, etc.) whose first serious forays into recording and performing in 2005/6 were with Scatter (with Alex Neilson of Trembling Bells), The One Ensemble (Daniel Padden) and Nalle (Hanna Tuulikki).

        Since then Aby has shared the stage and/or studio with a brilliant array of musicians from a wide range of genres (including Maggie Nichols and Karen Mantler from the jazz/improvisation world, Krautrocker Hans-Joachim Irmler of Faust). Vulliamy's debut album, is an album about love at its most transformative.

        National Jazz Trio Of Scotland

        Standards Vol IV

          "It's kind of a double bluff calling it the National Jazz Trio Of Scotland," says Bill Wells of a group that is famously neither a jazz band or a trio. "I was trying to be kind of perverse about it, calling it jazz and then deliberately not having anything that actually related to jazz."

          On their latest album, Standards Vol. IV, the National Jazz Trio continue their engagement with classic and outsider pop traditions. In addition to the ten Bill Wells originals and a new version of the Aidan Moffat collaboration 'Far From You', Standards Vol. IV features a cover of Richard Youngs' "Summer's Edge" from the latters's 2005 masterpiece Summer Wanderer.

          Astrobal

          Australasie

            "Our blood runs hydrous with the seas/The essence of oceans spills through our veins." Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier matter-of-factly unfurls these words on the title track of Astrobal's first full-length, and they prove prescient.

            The album is aqueous, each track a slow wave building before a momentous crash of sound, with clean lines and fluid form. Symphonic strings and ethereal ambient washes are married to buzzing synths and Astrobal's crisp, crackling drums.

            Just for the record, The National Jazz Trio of Scotland don't play jazz, nor are they a trio. And while their status as national ambassadors is not exactly official, acclaimed pianist Bill Wells has however worked with many of the key players in the Scottish indie scene from the likes of Isobel Campbell and Future Pilot AKA to the magnificent collaboration with former Arab Strap vocalist Aidan Moffat "Everything's Getting Older" on Chemikal Underground recently.

            Indeed a host of Glasgow's finest have contributed to the new NJTOS album Standards Volume Two with Norman Blake from Teenage Fanclub responsible for additional studio work and lending his voice to Winter Breaks And Back To Spring. Belle & Sebastian's Chris Geddes and Stevie Jackson also helped with recordings But what sets the National Jazz Trio of Scotland apart is the vocal performances by Lorna Gilfedder, Aby Vulliamy and Kate Sugden, with the songs walking a fine emotional line between melancholy and optimism. Though the majority of the songs on Standards Volume Two are written and composed entirely by Bill Wells, there are 2 covers including a version of the traditional Scottish folk song Mary of Argyle and a delightful cover of the Moondog tune My Tiny Butterfly with Gilfedder, Vulliamy and Sugden singing in a round to great effect.

            'The End of Music' is the second full length album by Swedish group de la Mancha. A shared admiration for groups like Red House Painters, Sigur Rós, Led Zeppelin and My Bloody Valentine set out a general direction for the duo. And the band has stayed true to this tradition of leftfield pop-rock as 'The End of Music' demonstrates most perfectly.

            As with the bands first full-length album 'Atlas' (Crying Bob Records, 2008), 'The End of Music' is an album full of contrast and beauty. Each track has a clear identity and both the song-writing process as well as the production have been meticulously executes by Lund and Rosenqvist.

            De la Mancha's new album is a highly charged emotional record. The band is clearly at ease embracing the moody turbulence that other artists and genres try to avoid at all costs. There is a resolute depth and profound truth to all the songs on 'The End of Music'; each contains a level of authenticity and honesty seldom found in pop these days. The album title itself bears something of an apocalyptic tone. But let's hope we haven't heard the last from de la Mancha.


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