Search Results for:



Opus 2

    Developing on the trance-induction and brainwave entrainment techniques explored on the first Ethernet album 144 Pulsations Of Light, Opus 2 moves into deeper, more introspective and emotive territory.

    A stronger focus on melody and harmonic structure results in pieces that almost approach, but never quite arrive at, traditional song forms, while still leaving much to the imagination of the listener, evading mental categorization and revealing new sonic experiences with each listen.

    The bulk of recording took place during the darkest months of winter in the Pacific Northwest, between late-night shifts providing technical support for hospital operating rooms. The pieces on the album each formed gradually and spontaneously during extended improvised sonic meditations as part of the composer's own trancework (or self-hypnosis) practice, this in an effort to remove specific compositional intention from the process, instead just allowing them to "happen".

    If 144 Pulsations... was about expansion of awareness and opening to the light that surrounds us, Opus 2 is intended to induce inner contemplation and internalized focus on the light within us. It is also a statement on the gradual darkening and inexorable decay of our modern world, and the need to look within to find true support and sustenance from one's own energetic source. Patience and perseverance.


    Grid Of Points

      Not long after recording her 10th album, Ruins, Liz Harris traveled to Wyoming to work on art and record music. She found herself drawn towards the pairing of skeletal piano phrasing with spare, rich bursts of vocal harmony.

      A series of stark songs emerged, minimal and vulnerable, woven with emotive silences. Inspired by “the idea that something is missing or cold,” the pieces float and fade like vignettes, implying as much as they reveal. She describes them as “small texts hanging in space,” impressions of mortality, melody, and the unseen – fleeting beauty, interrupted. Grid Of Points stands as a concise and potently poetic addition to the Grouper catalog.

      From Liz Harris: Grid Of Points is a set of songs for piano and voice. I wrote these songs over a week and a half; they stopped abruptly when I was interrupted by a high fever. Though brief, it is complete. The intimacy and abbreviation of this music allude to an essence that the songs lyrics speak more directly of. The space left after matter has departed, a stage after the characters have gone, the hollow of some central column,

      Christina Vantzou

      No. 4

        Belgium-based composer Christina Vantzou’s fourth full-length for Kranky ventures further into the uniquely elusive and evocative mode of ambient classical minimalism which has become her signature: a fragile synthesis of contemplative drift, heady silences, and muted dissonance. In regards to the new album she speaks of focusing particular attention on the effects of the recordings on the body, and of “directing sound perception into an inner space.”

        No. 4 took shape across roughly two years, incorporating a diverse array of musical and conceptual collaborators, including fellow Kranky artists Steve Hauschildt and John Also Bennett (of Forma) as well as Angel Deradoorian (ex-Dirty Projectors), Clarice Jensen, Beatrijs De Klerck, and members of Belgium’s Echo Collective. During the creation process Vantzou wanted to “blur lines of hierarchy,” and thus allowed all ensemble members and technical assistants to add or delete elements. Despite such a spectrum of input the eleven tracks feel distinctly cohesive, weaving elegant textures and resonant open spaces within a twilit landscape of eclectic instrumentation: piano, harp, vibraphone, voice, strings, marimba, synthesizers, gong, and bells.

        Vantzou describes the recording process as one of prepared spontaneity: that is, “having plenty of ideas ready to explore going into the session, but with enough time to depart from those ideas and see what happens.” This mindset of premeditated exploration informs the album’s emotive textural intuition, with hushed drones and delicate gestures eliding in the periphery of the mix. She cites sleep and “the loosening of time” as two formative practices in her private and professional life, which manifests in the quietly hallucinatory properties of Vantzou’s music. No. 4 feels both endless and ephemeral, immersive and immaterial. It’s a music of horizon lines and half-light, mapped with feeling and foresight.

        Recorded in New York City and Brussels. Mixed in Berlin.

        Dedekind Cut


          Northern California electronic producer Fred Welton Warmsley III’s solo work as Dedekind Cut (pronounced “dead-da-ken cut”) has evolved from fractured industrial design into increasingly subdued and sublime ambient meditations across two years of dedicated activity. His second full-length collection, Tahoe—so named after the mountain lake town he now calls home—swells with widescreen grandeur, evoking vistas both inner and outer. There are echoes of his earlier, more tempestuous mode in tracks like “MMXIX” and “Spiral” but overall the album skews panoramic and pensive, muted synthetic mists contoured with choral melody, field recordings, and radiant drone. His compositional instincts feel alternately classical, contemporary, and conflicted, befitting an artist whose discography spans labels as divergent as Hospital Productions, Ninja Tune, and NON.

          Warmsley characterizes Tahoe as a “time peace,” sifting through “the past, the present, future, and fantasy.” Recorded primarily in New York, with additional sessions sourced from Berlin, Cambridge, and Placer County, California.

          Stars Of The Lid

          Gravitational Pull Vs The Desire For An Aquatic Life - Reissue

            Vinyl edition of Stars of the Lid 2nd album in print for the first time in over 20 years.

            The release of Music for Nitrous Oxide, the 1995 debut album by Stars of the Lid, heralded a new strain of the american underground music scene, one borne of the heat and humidity, boredom, and the insular, constipated, rockist music scene of Austin, Texas, the home of the duo of Brian McBride and Adam Wiltzie. It was a muffled lashing out against surrounding musical conventions, a small middle finger to the local dominant “americana” scene, but one that nobody could see outside the shack of a house in which they recorded or at their occasional sparsely populated live performances. It was as punk a move as anyone could make at that place and in that time. But in a surprise to the two members of SotL, people took notice, as related rumblings and grumblings were taking place simultaneously in other parts of the american landscape.

            Coming quickly on the heels of that release was our current subject, Gravitational Pull vs. the Desire for an Aquatic Life, released one year later. This is a transitional release that travels from the scruffiness of the debut’s ambiance to more extended and subtle undulating tides of assembled sound, yet still dominated by processed guitars as the primary sound source. It also serves as an omen to the mini-orchestral works to come beginning with the Avec Laudenum album a few years later. Gravitational Pull... is a small masterpiece.

            The Stars of the Lid’s second full length album was originally published on vinyl by the Sedimental label in 1996, and then issued on compact disc by kranky the following year. It has now been out of print on the vinyl format for more than 20 years and that matter is now rectified with this release. The original album mix has been remastered by Pieter De Wagter, lacquers cut by Chicago Mastering Service and vinyl pressed at Quality Record Pressing in Salina, Kansas. 

            High Plains


              High Plains is the duo of Scott Morgan and Mark Bridges.

              Morgan, based in the Canadian Pacific Northwest, is predominantly known for his drifting, textured soundscapes released under the pseudonym LOSCIL.

              Bridges is an accomplished, classically-trained cellist residing in Madison, Wisconsin.

              The two met in Banff, Alberta while they were simultaneously there on residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 2014. They first collaborated when Bridges contributed cello parts to Morgan’s generative music app ADRIFT, recorded in Seattle in 2015.

              In early 2016, the duo embarked on a collaborative set of compositions in the oxygen thin air of Wyoming, spending two weeks holed up in a refurbished school house in the town of Saratoga, where this album was recorded.

              Inspired by Schubert’s Die Winterreiseand the rolling landscapes of
              their surroundings, the collaboration culminated in a collection of recordings that evoke a shadowy, introspective and dizzying winter journey.

              Cinderland takes cues from classical, electronic and cinematic
              musical traditions but is mostly a product of the rugged, mythic landscape; vast and sprawling with a wild, uncertain edge.

              The recording was made with a portable studio and all sounds were sourced on site, most notably from Bridges’ cello, the resident Steinway D piano, and field recordings collected from the local soundscape.

              The results are a site specific, wide scope view of the high valley terrain the duo worked in, a mix of analog and digital, neoclassical and modern electronic sounds, a complemental series of tracks to become absorbed in, a truly deep listening experience.

              The cover art for Cinderland was created by London-based artist, Peter Liversidge.

              Jacob Long’s newest recordings under the Earthen Sea moniker deepen his compelling synthesis of shadowy rhythms and opaque atmospherics, drawing on the most potent qualities of melancholic ambient and dub techno.

              “An Act Of Love” follows 2015’s “Ink,” released via Ital’s Lovers Rock imprint,
              and was inspired by internal tribulations and the experience of exploring an empty nocturnal metropolis. Careful waves of tones drift and decay; beats materialize and pulse across twilit landscapes; a noir mood reigns.

              Given Long’s background as bassist for revelatory tribal-punk trio Mi Ami, “An Act Of Love” showcases a musician in the midst of transcendent redefinition, crafting an immersive language of texture and motion.

              From Jacob Long:
              This record was made over the course of the most emotionally difficult and stressful year in my life thus far. As such, it is both a reflection of that experience and also something that gave me space to begin working through issues to see a way forward, to a better place both psychically and physically.
              An idea that was also central to my thoughts while creating the album was the concept and reality of being out in the city at night, wandering around a large urban area after dark – the contrast of empty streets but with life still going on all around, and the openness and possibilities that can bring. This
              music was an attempt to capture that feeling.

              Benoit Pioulard

              The Benoit Pioulard Listening Matter

              The Benoît Pioulard Listening Matter is the sixth kranky album from Thomas Meluch under the nom de plume Benoît Pioulard. It arrives on the 10th anniversary of his first LP Précis, and offers a rekindled focus on self-examination, as well as a return to vocal-based pop structures following the mostly instrumental Sonnet (2015).

              Recording for the Listening Matter began during a period of grief, turmoil and self-medication, and continued throughout two years of growth and healing. Reflections on vice (“Layette”, “Anchor as the muse”), virtue (“Narcologue”) and death (“A mantle for Charon”) feature equally in this concise treatise aimed at the flawed-but-resilient core in us all.

              By coincidence this album was completed on the very day Meluch’s only brother died; accordingly, it’s dedicated to him and anyone seeking paths away from their demons.

              Album Nº3 from Christina Vantzou is the result of a two-year process of composing, arranging, rearranging, experimenting, and melding classical instruments with synths and electronics.

              Recorded in Belgium with a 15-piece ensemble of strings, horns, woodwinds and micro-choir, the tracks vacillate between orchestral, ambient soundscapes and more structured works that the composer refers to as "pillars." The internal core of the record, however, is unwavering.All tracks head in the direction of otherworldly drones surrounded by soft, subtle and sometimes intense veils or points.

              The structured tracks mark a new direction for Vantzou. Whereas 100% of the music on Nº1 and Nº2 was composed without time structure or steady click, the pillars on Nº3 adhere to a solid mathematical scheme. Perhaps Vantzou's day job as a math teacher is starting to have an influence.

              Nº3's virtual instruments and voice samples hearken back to Vantzou's time with The Dead Texan, specifically tracks like "Aegina AIrlines" and "When I see scissors I cannot help but think of you". The synths on Nº3 were given special attention and were recorded over a 2 week period using a DX7, Yamaha CS20, Roland Juno-6, and a selection of eurorack modular synths, making Nº3 very much a hybrid record, both symphonic and synth-based.

              To complete the album, Vantzou made 2 slow motion videos using a phantom high-speed camera and a 16mm short film.


              The Original Faces

                When I was a child, I spoke to Helen.

                Helen is a pop group from Oregon. Liz Harris (vocals/lead guitar) AKA GROUPER, Jed Bindeman (drums/tambourine), Scott Simmons (bass/guitar), and Helen (back up vocals).

                Originally started with the intention of being a thrash band, it turned into something else entirely.The Original Faces was recorded over a period of several years in Portland by the band members, their friends Nick, Chris and, largely, Justin Higgins. Written together, some songs based on Liz and Scottʼs demos. 

                Guitarist Ken Camden returns for his third solo album, continuing his explorations to seek out new techniques and sounds from the electric guitar. By utilizing both a steel slide and e-bow technique, Camden has moved into micro-tonal territory to bridge the textural gap between guitar and synthesizer while examining their inherent differences.

                The palette is further broadened by introducing an organic vocal sampling machine described as a Vocaltron. Much like a Mellotron, vocal samples (contributed by Emily Elhaj and Angel Olsen) are chromatically organized in half steps from the lowest note to the highest possible. Each set is specific to the contributor's range and each note is unedited to keep all original characteristics of that particular individual's voice. This organized organic information adds a contrast to the electric guitar and synthesizer arrangements on the album.

                The development of all of these systems gives Dream Memory a diversity throughout its tracks while maintaining an atmospheric bond that weaves the ideas into a thematic whole. 



                  Irreal, the fifth long player from Chicago's Disappears, is another trip down the rabbit hole. The album plays out as a dream sequence - hazed dub landscapes give way to the groupʼs most experimental and open music yet.

                  If their last album Era confirmed the fact that Disappears are on their own trip, then Irreal is where it kicks in. Eternalism, roboethics, identity - it's a Ballardian mix of imperfect melodies, half thoughts and good ol' dystopian modernity. Itʼs a master class in texture, pace and control.

                  Produced by John Congleton at famed Chicago recording institution Electrical Audio, Irreal sits in the negative space where art rock and post punk collapse onto each other. It's the sound of Disappears reporting back from The Void.

                  Jessica Bailiff

                  At The Down-Turned Jagged Rim Of The Sky

                  Kranky was a bit surprised earlier this year when Jessica Bailiff contacted them and asked they wanted to preview her new album for possible release. They had no idea she had even been working on an album, let alone had completed one, and they were rewarded with a listen to her most compelling album to date.

                  After being in Europe for 5 weeks as a touring member of Boduf Songs, Jessica Bailiff spent much of 2011, writing and recording At the Down-Turned Jagged Rim of the Sky in her spartan home studio. Sequestering herself through the hot summer months until finished, she then passed the tracks on to her friend Odd Nosdam for final mixing.
                  *Down-tuned, distorted bass guitar adds a new color to her palette, but familiar ones also come into play: fuzzed and delayed electric guitar, organ, piano, cello, and drums. Noisy pop-tinged love songs nestle slyly in a bed of off-kilter lullabies and dark, metallic waltzes.

                  No need to recycle descriptives like “lo-fi” or “hushed vocals” - these are spurious words. This is another intimate collection of songs recorded entirely by Jessica at home, in a room next to where she sleeps. If you listen carefully, you might hear her dreaming.


                  Oh Holy Molar

                    Oh Holy Molar is the second album from UK trio Felix. The group produces a bewitching, minimal chamber pop that works as the perfect framework for singer/songwriter Lucinda Chua's oblique and emotionally immediate stories of superstition and searching for protection against bad omens.

                    As a follow up to their debut You Are The One I Pick, the band return with a collection of songs with a sound stripped back to its very core. Something is said to have "teeth" when it has the ability to make an impact. This record certainly has "teeth", and sharp ones at that.

                    "The album was recorded in a vast, spooky 1940s cinema in Nottingham, England, now converted into a studio. After recording was completed the band discovered that underneath the live room lay an abandoned Dental Laboratory. "Oh Holy Molar" indeed.

                    "Since the release of the first Felix album, pianist/vocalist Lucinda Chua, also an accomplished photographer, has been working on a number of projects, most recently with Wallpaper* in Detroit. Guitarist Chris Summerlin has been recording and touring with his new band Kogumaza. The group is completed with the recent addition of drummer Neil Turpin who, when not performing with Felix, can also be found touring the world with French composer Yann Tiersen.

                    Right on cue, the third annual report from Chicago's Disappears is submitted for your consideration.

                    Following up on the acclaimed Guider album released just over a year ago, and with new drummer Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley now fully integrated into the group, these songs were again forged into proper shape during live shows before heading to the studio and the tape machine.

                    Never ones to dither or be indecisive, it’s a full-bore assault from the opening track to the last as Disappears attack these new songs with their usual relentless determination. Itʼs a sinister proceeding - debut Lux was preoccupied with death and endings while follow up Guider with protection - but Pre Language finds the band speaking on, of all things, love. Direct allusions to Philip K. Dick, James Baldwin, and Joan of Arc sit side by side with songs about the lows of life and the characters that permeate it.

                    Recorded in Hoboken New Jersey at Sonic Youthʼs Echo Canyon West studio and mixed with John Congleton, Pre Language finds Disappears at their most potent and focused. The band has finally stepped into their own world and the results are thrilling.

                    STAFF COMMENTS

                    Darryl says: Now including Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley as a permanent member, Disappears return with their third and most triumphant album to date. Angular guitars, kosmische influenced bassline, post-punk grooves and a half spoken half sung vocal all combine wonderfully, to create this gem on Kranky Records.

                    Paul Dickow aka Strategy releases music on his Archigramophone imprint and curates monthly Community Library nights at the Dunes club in Portland, Oregon. Strategy has released dance singles (with Seattle's ORAC label), remixes and a debut album, "Strut", on the Portland-based Outward Music label in summer 2003. Strategy wires together Dickow's programming and performing experience via a hodgepodge of table top electronics, computers and realtime musicianship. Combining a granular ambient aesthetic with an abstract, percolating rhythmic sensibility, Strategy unites small parts into complete melodies motivated by complex pulsations. The Portland Mercury described Dickow as 'Portland's laptop prankster/meister of disquo'. To date you've heard Strategy dabble in everything from headphone-oriented ambient music to house and dub; this is the work that brings it all together.

                    Greg Kowalsky

                    Through The Cardial Window

                    "Through The Cardial Window" is the first album Gregg Kowalsky has recorded under his own name, however his previous efforts under the name Osso Bucco from last year have been released world-wide to much acclaim. The music he creates is situated betwixt and between textural ambience, psychedelia and pure noise.



                    Fontanelle's second release for Kranky. The Album bridges the gap between Chicago post rock and alternative rock, like Low meets Tortoise.

                    Aix Em Klemm

                    Aix Em Klemm

                    A collaboration between Bobby Donne from LaBradford, and Adam Wiltzie from Stars Of The Lid. Immediately identifiable by the tradmark guitar of Stars Of The Lid, and Bobby's bass clanks, augmented with a mixture of samples and keyboards. And Adam sings.......Occasionally.

                    Latest Pre-Sales

                    144 NEW ITEMS

                    RT @Sinkyateeth: DEBUT ALBUM out 1st June!! Pre-order VINYL or CD here:
                    Thu 22nd - 12:00
                    F L O K Bar Manchester sees our Kickin Pigeon grace the platters 2nite from 8pm if anyone's looking for some shelter from this blizzard!
                    Sat 17th - 5:53
                    SNOWDAY! Take shelter from the freeze with this set of super cool jams... @theblackangels @Thundercat
                    Sat 17th - 10:53
                    E-newsletter —
                    Sign up
                    Back to top