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Ezra Feinberg

Soft Power

    Ezra Feinberg’s third album Soft Power sees the composer-guitarist enlist an impressive array of fellow musicians including Mary Lattimore, David Moore (Bing & Ruth), Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Robbie Lee and share the life affirming lead single ‘Future Sand’.

    Defined by its abundance of melodies, repeating figures and ecstatic improvisations, Soft Power exudes an enlightened and transformative spirit to empower the listener. Feinberg, a practising psychoanalyst and former founding member of the San Francisco psychedelic collective Citay (Dead Oceans / Important Records) resides in the artistic enclave of upstate New York's Hudson River valley. Initial recordings emerged in the late summer of 2020, before added synthesis with collaborator John Thayer (Arp, Sunwatchers) during early 2021. Soft Power follows previous albums ‘Recumbent Speech’ (2020) and ‘Pentimento and Others’ (2018).

    The compassionate, tender-hearted opener ‘Future Sand’ deftly interweaves flutes and steady arpeggios. The Reichian pulse beneath the soaring melody is played not on the customary analogue sequencer, but on finger-picked acoustic guitar, one of the lodestars of Feinberg’s compositional approach. ‘Soft Power’, the buoyant and mesmeric title track that follows builds over a rich bed of guitars and a reverb-y Rhodes melody reminiscent of a Strata East LP, its narrative arc bountiful in energy, optimism and future dreaming, a perfect accompaniment to long days of summertide. “The most unexpected, unpredictable, and spontaneous moments in life live in the realm of softness”, quotes Feinberg. ‘Pose Beams’ blends the chamber-jazz approach of Penguin Café Orchestra with a balletic kosmische, climaxing with a galvanising crescendo and “free improv” section performed by fellow New Yorkers - Robbie Lee (piano) and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, whose granular and modular synths sprinkle particle dust over the expressive drumming of John Thayer. ‘Flutter Intensity’ evokes in part the music of Cluster as played on acoustic guitars, which ping-pong across the stereo field, providing the canvas for a plaintive vibraphone line reminiscent of TNT-era Tortoise. Instruments move in tandem, but also drift and glide allowing them the space to hang in the air, the variegated rhythms, textures, and tones all laced into the fabric of the album.

    At the centrefold of the albums 7-tracks is ‘The Big Clock’, a tryptic piece that evolves from pairs of stretched varying tones, creating fields of technicolour over an unabashed motorik beat, serving to offset the pastoral and ambient registers heard elsewhere. It features the first of two appearances from David Moore (Bing & Ruth) who plays lilting piano lines on the come-down. ‘There Was Somebody There’ returns to the album’s earlier wistfulness, a hard stereo-panned soundworld with lightly strummed, interlocking acoustic guitars combining to pigment a washy, painterly scene. David Moore and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma provide reviving synths, the underlying pulse that seems to simulate a life cycle; another day on Earth. The album closes with the reflective ‘Get Some Rest’ featuring Mary Lattimore, whose harp pluckings set a dreamlike tone against bare organic acoustics and flourishing flutes to create a sense of realignment and restoration.

    Feinberg artfully transcends the listener to an enriched place, his compositions distinguished by the deep humanity that lies at their core, plugging the listener into a state of wide eyed being, open and alive. Soft Power then is Ezra’s own mantra but also one of power giving - a colourful catharsis translated into music.

    Feinberg’s music always speaks to the listener, but Soft Power, in whispering, speaks loudest.

    TRACK LISTING

    A1. Future Sand
    A2. Soft Power
    A3. Pose Beams
    A4. Flutter Intensity
    B1. The Big Clock
    B2. There Was Somebody There
    B3. Get Some Rest

    C. DIAB

    Imerro

      Canadian bowed guitarist and multi-instrumentalist C. Diab announces his fifth album Imerro.

      (Real name) Caton Diab creates soundscapes that evoke the spectacular wilderness of his childhood home in northern Vancouver Island. Incorporating experimental textures, folk overtones and tape manipulations, C. Diab uniquely finds the unseen spaces in-between, and fittingly dubs his creations “post-classical grunge”. Imerro explores new sonic realms and is the culmination of a sound world that Diab has built up since the critically acclaimed ‘No Perfect Wave’ (2016, Injazero) and subsequent releases ‘Exit Rumination’ (2018), ‘White Whale’ (2020) and ‘In Love & Fracture’ (2021). The Wire calls it "ambient music in the best sense - music for living, which can be both non-invasive and immersive...epic"

      Imerro was recorded in late July and August of 2021 at Risque Disque Studio in Cedar, BC, during the summer’s unprecedented second “heat dome”, which saw temperatures soaring to over 40 degrees. Recorded with regular collaborator and engineer Jonathan Paul Stewart, the pair journeyed by boat to the studio to a place with minimal distraction with a plan of “simple ecstatic improvisation.” Diab explains: “I wanted to place myself in a space for creation with little thematic pretence, with the belief that music ‘shows its face’ as you move along. I would pick up an instrument, whether I had experience playing it or not, and make a sound. If it wanted to be played, it would play.”

      ‘Ourselves At Least’, the rhythmic album opener gracefully leaps and bounds with a human-like metronome at its core, capturing a rush of elatedness felt by Diab over the course of its late night creation. ‘Lunar Barge’ bursts into life with tone-bending bow strikes that glide across Diab’s guitar towards a climatic peak before the track drops into an electronic/acoustic trance. Inspired in part by the rhythmical works of Huun-Huur-Tu and the animated cello play remindful of Arthur Russell. “Lunar Barge is a track for a dry, hot night in the forest (which it quite literally was.). I roamed around the floors of the studio picking up any instrument standing out in the moment, and tried to see if it had anything to say.”

      ‘The Excuse of Fiction’ sees Diab return to free-flowing guitar play, the chosen instrument of his youth. He loops layers to form an ethereal backbone before plucking further melodies from the air on top. The result is a cinematic guitar-laden expanse brimming with optimism and nostalgia. The title references a quote by Zizek: “We need the excuse of a fiction to stage what we really are.” Themes of remembrance, yearning and desire pervade the album's 9-tracks with a palpable presence as we reach ‘Quatsino Sound’, named after an inlet on Northern Vancouver Island where Diab grew up. It features hoopoe birdcalls which were sampled from a found cassette tape of African sounds before being randomized until it became rhythmic, then embellished with synth lines, bass drops, and bowed layovers. The album centres around the nocturnal ‘Crypsis’ with Diab sleepily playing notes on a switched-off Wurlitzer before dampened piano chords, bow scrapes, and noisy glitches reverberate. ‘Erratum’ erupts with untamed force from a war cry of screaming saxophone layers reminiscent of Colin Stetson. Its visceral thirst and energy seem to be a response to the heat of the night and Diab’s urge to play the instrument he loved but had yet learnt. ‘Tiny Umbrellas’, an improvised pass of banjo, bowed guitar and ethereal modular synths breathes a contemplative pause before ‘Surge Savard’ chimes in. This whirlwind closer started life as a longform jam under the influence of psychedelics; its modular synth, air organ, guitar and sax lines were initially improvised with final touches made at Watch Yer Head studio.

      Imerro is a collection of song odes to both heat and desire, closely felt. Its title literally presented itself to Diab from a random page contained in a poem by Ezra Pound found in the book ‘The Imagist Poem’. Searching for its meaning, Diab discovered that Imerro is “a Greek word for ‘desire for, I desire you’, yet nothing could substantiate its truth. “It made sense, almost like it had chosen me. An obscure word for Desire, one that might not even exist, or is so ancient that nobody really remembers it meaning anything. It's just a sound, like an album.” Imerro finds Caton at his most expressive and free-spirited. Inviting the music to find him, almost by osmosis, foregoing any preconceptions of playing any instrument he is unfamiliar with or regrets not learning during adolescence. This is music for wide screens: the result is an undeniably evocative, moving and mysterious voyage.

      TRACK LISTING

      A1. Ourselves At Least
      A2. Lunar Barge
      A3. The Excuse Of Fiction
      A4. Quatsino Sound

      B1. Crypsis
      B2. Erratum
      B3. Tiny Umbrellas
      B4. You'll Never Come To Dorset
      B5. Surge Savard

      Anenon

      Moons Melt Milk Light

        Anenon returns with a highly anticipated new album ‘Moons Melt Milk Light’, bearing his most personal, expressive, and arresting works to date. Anenon is the ongoing solo studio and live project of Brian Allen Simon, whom since 2010 has released multiple albums and EPs to critical acclaim, including the highly revered ‘Tongue’ (2018) and ‘Petrol’ (2016).

        ‘Moons Melt Milk Light’ is direct, efficient, and unwavering in its immediacy. Anenon departs from the electronics of previous works, and embarks on a reductive, almost entirely acoustic approach consisting of piano, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, and field recordings. All of the music was improvised with everything recorded as either a first or second take with no edits. Any layering happened fast and in the moment, and yet the sonic architecture of the whole feels both planned and refined.

        Akusmi

        Lines

          Formed with a sense of urgency and a reductive approach ‘Lines’ is almost entirely comprised of alto saxophone, clarinet and piano with embellishments of ambience and minimal percussive elements. Recorded in full at his home studio in London, Pascal Bideau speaks about the process:

          “I wanted to go a bit more a bit more horizontal and ambient, work with layers of lines, might they be dotted or straight, and leave them to unfold and see where they would take me.”

          ‘Secant’ is the electrifying and cinematic opener, emerging with the main motif deriving from the recording sessions of ‘Fleeting Future’. It’s distinct sound echoes New York, a homage in part to the works of Steve Reich and inspired also by train travels across the English countryside. Rhythmical looping pianos unite with shifting strings that build to a symphony of hypnotic rich layers, towards a euphoric and filmic climax.

          ‘Oblique’ on the other hand is otherworldly and hopeful, a breathtaking musical meeting between Jazz and Ambient minimalist music. Rich layered saxophones sound a patterned melody, meshed with dotted piano, swirling electronics and percussive hits, before deep diving into shimmering ambient tones echoing like summer rainfall against windows. Akusmi uniquely finds the spaces in between experimental, crossover classical and ambient music.

          ‘Parallel’ is the ambient companion to the acclaimed title track ‘Fleeting Future’, featuring a stripped back chord progression constructed with less order and written render.

          ‘Tangent’ is a pointillist piece that stemmed from a session with friend and collaborator Daniel Brandt. Cyclical guitars loop ebb and flow reminiscent of Manuel Göttsching.

          Akusmi is the project moniker of French-born, London based composer, multi- instrumentalist and producer Pascal Bideau

          TRACK LISTING

          A1. Secant
          A2. Oblique (LP Exclusive Version)
          B1. Parallel
          B2. Tangent
          B3. Longing For Tomorrow (Brandt Brauer Frick Remix) – (vinyl Exclusive)


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