microphones in the trees

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

constellation tatsu ~ spring batch

Being already known for his Sounds of the Dawn release, Alex Crispin is not a newcomer in electronic music creation. His portfolio includes such clients as BBC and Royal Academy of Arts, and even without knowing that fact, simple listening through 'Open Submission' proves the professional attitude and top-notch composition. Without being lo-fi drone-ambient or hazy vaporwave it still fits Constellation Tatsu catalog perfectly, adding one more direction to the infinitely growing, enchantingly shimmering continuum of this wonderful label. Gentle touches of electric guitar melodies, pipe organ lines and sparkling synths – everything one can expect from the good ambient music is present here. What truly amazes is how laconic this album is, it goes through many moods, keeping the journey short yet impressive. Considering the usual continuance in the genre, this is a mastery one can envy! A bit melancholic in a very good way, this tape takes you through giant halls full of light and colorful glares, through  dimly lit caves and wide open shoreline landscapes... It brings the sense of something everlasting, something elusive yet really important. I'd call it inevitable effulgence of all things seen from the bigger perspective... But you can see it yourself once you're there. 


Hatakeyama-sensei is definitely a hard worker in terms of proficiency to create sound blankets so cozy that once experienced you'll never want to part with them. It's always melodic in a sense drone music can be, yet velvety enough to loose attention on the music itself and fall through it's surface way-way deeper – to your own self, to the very core of that neurological process which defines music for our mind. What is extrinsic noise and what is music – this question bothered enough composers and philosophers, but in the end of the day intuition always wins. We can spend hours and days debating such moments, but listening to something like this tape instantly answers all these questions without words. It simply exists, that very feeling of music, of melody, of some sensation channeled through sound. It can be straightforward or abstract, but it can also be just a feeling. Basic enough for everyone to understand. Or to feel, because understanding is more about rational ways, while what I'm talking about is truly intuitive. Maybe it's some kind of Zen mastery, but listening to this tape I truly believe that I experience absolutely same sate of mind which its creator had. So I'd even don't call him creator but a medium. Gate opener to some fundamental state of being and feeling. And it's more than nice to be there.


One more Sounds of the Dawn artist and fellow contributor to our blog Daniel Guillén  aka Lunaria specializes in wide-open ambient landscapes and healing drones, in case of this tape combining them with nature sounds and choral spheres which reflect album's title and brilliant artwork just perfectly. Immediate sensation of something stellar happening spirals here up and down with enough harmonic saturation to bring gentle psychedelic effect. Something similar to which I always admired in David Parsons and Mathias Grassow's pioneering works, and in the ambient new age in general – heady drones lifting your mind up from the routine and small thoughts. Up to the planes of pure experience of the moment, to acceptance of things how they are right here and right now... Wait, that's exactly what album title says! Okay, guess it's inevitable for an ingrained spiritual drone listener like me to experience such things, but I'd take it as a good sign. Sing of quality and harmony – when every detail adds to the whole, when everything is on its own place. Travelling through never-ending spirals and fractal ornaments of this album one may truly ascend to a higher scale view – simply to behold that it was a mandala, a beautifully crafted space with bigger meaning than the sum of its parts. That meaning is wordless for me, so yes, it's all about intuitive knowledge again. Just ascend to it!


Endurance was a recent discovery for me and now its tapes are on my heavy-rotation-shelf, simply because of the feeling of endlessness they bring. Whichever release I listen to, it leaves me with the this infinite feeling of longing to something which cannot be reached – yet knowing that the process of reaching it is everything I truly want from life. "Music to heal imaginary persons" – states release page and guess that's the kind of healing this music does. Not just peace of mind or relaxation, but a reminder about that aspiration. When forgotten, it leaves routine only. But just one hint and once again this feeling grows, the inevitability of looking outside the picture. It may sound kind of sad, giving the connotations of such words as "longing". But same happens when I'm alone with nature, somewhere deep in the woods or on the sea shore (and this tape is wonderfully filled with natural sounds here and there) – sense of disunity with nature on some very basic level, impossibility of simply be, like grass, like water, knowing nothing but days and nights... This feeling that since I'm human being, I'm condemned to think, to interact, to know more than any animal needs... And to seek for even more. Okay yes, it is kinda sad. Yet, it is a gift, a purpose, an ability to dwell in many places simultaneously – right here, in my mind, in my idea of me in my mind, in my imagination, in probabilities and variants which never happen in the real world... Like the music here. It reflects the world, yet it creates another one. And the more attentive you are to it, the more detailed and real in becomes. Your personal music-induced reality. And it brings something which never happened in nature, in artist's life or imagination, even in you. Newness is everything we want, somewhere deep inside knowing that it is eternal return to the place where nothing ever happened. Maybe that's what Shade Terrarium stands for.


the ivytree

"The Ivytree, as some may know, is the project of San Franciscan musician Glenn Donaldson. In the early 2000s Glenn was a founder of the Jewelled Antler Collective, forming such projects as The Blithe Sons, Thuja, and The Skygreen Leopards, among many others. I admire the range of projects he is associated with, they all beautifully web together. Between 2001 and 2005 Donaldson published a handful of discs under the names The Ivytree and The Birdtree. These boiled down and tanned the patient, outdoor ambiences of the long-form instrumental recordings. These were slow and pastoral and pensive songs, carried by Glenn’s haunting voice: my favorite of his work. Glenn recorded outside with field-recorders and mini-discs: in forests, headlands, and tunnels of the Bay area.

I grew up listening to his recordings ~ throughout high school and college in Goleta, CA. They spark many memories: driving around beach parking lots, dragging boomboxes into creeks, camping in the mountain valleys etc. I remember once driving 5 hours up to San Francisco with a group of friends to try and get into a Giant Skyflower Band concert (another Donaldson project). It was at a bar and we were under 21 ~ so we couldn’t get in, even after trying to bribe the doorman. As you can tell, very special places in my mind and memory. My fondness for The Ivytree never dissipated, and I always dreamed of hearing more material from that time, as I know how prolific the Jewelled Antler association can be.

On a whim in 2017 I reached out to Glenn and asked him if he wanted to publish a “best-of” The Ivytree as a limited LP. This idea blossomed and provoked Glenn to dig through his vast mini-disc archive, where he unearthed some forgotten jewels. The recordings were trickling in to my email ~ one by one, each better than the last... Ranging from the Robert Wyatt-esque piano ballad “Evil is Circular” to the gentle melancholy of “All the White Plumes” that could belong on Richard Youngs’ Sapphie. Unburdened Light carries on the warm breeze and innocence of the early 2000s CDr culture. 

So our project then turned into publishing a new album of unreleased Ivytree recordings. A full circle youthful wish now ripens in my adulthood. I am honored to have stirred up the bees-nest to deliver you these tragically honeyed songs"

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

günter schlienz / h. takahashi

 "recorded 2017 using synthesizer and tape machines. the voice on "stauboper" belongs to david callahan, the voice on "coda forever" belongs to teresa smolnik. mastered by niko."

Tokyo based Architect and sound designer

Friday, May 04, 2018

tim six ~ infinity studies

Disco debut de Tim Six bajo este nombre, Infinity Studies es una colección de drones de factura exquisita y multifacetada. La música se siente artesanal y cuidadosamente confeccionada a partir de instrumentos acústicos (harmonium, shruti-box, santur, flautas, cuerdas), grabaciones de campo y tape loops, todo ello procesado electrónicamente en una alquimia en la que el autor es maestro tras muchos discos de su proyecto Creation VI.

Tras varias escuchas superficiales, me sumerjo por fin en una escucha atenta y absorbida y voy poniendo por escrito las sensaciones e imágenes que recrea en mi imaginación. "Noumenal Hierarchy" me introduce en un mundo de texturas y vibraciones orgánicas que se arremolinan en torno a mí como un túnel de luz de destino incierto pero de cualidad cálida y luminosa que me hace sentir arropado. En "On the Shore", el túnel me deja en la orilla de un mundo astral donde las olas no acaban nunca de llegar al final, en un incesante e hipnótico vaivén que se disuelve plácidamente en una nada que se revela como totalidad. "Towards Totality" pone en marcha un proceso misterioso elevando el tono energético de la conciencia que viaja mediante esa riqueza de texturas, armónicos y distintas profundidades que plantea este orgánico drone hipnótico de muchas capas. Por último, "One Night By Campfire" parece el descanso tras ese viaje a lo ignoto, un lugar de reposo en un mundo luminoso de azules, verdes y colores lechosos, de corrientes energéticas visibles que viven y respiran junto con el agua, las plantas y la tierra. Da la sensación de haber recorrido un largo camino sin haber salido del bosque, que es donde todo empieza. Ahora, todo se ve diferente, todo está vivo y respira, y la luz del fondo es visible.

Gracias Tim por el viaje y las visiones. Infinity Studies fue publicado en un lote junto con Tuluum Shimmering y Mrako-Su y está disponible en el interesantísimo sello que dirige Tim, Π.

Friday, April 27, 2018

les halles ~ zephyr

 «Zephyr takes its name from a light westerly wind, which aptly evokes the warm, weightless, whispering spirit of these beguiling electro-acoustic designs». not not fun

Baptiste Martin always been good at making pastoral landscapes with just few touches of flute loops and transparent veils of delay, but this time he surpassed himself. This record sounds way too good! It feels exactly like a gentle wind which envelops you softly from the very first seconds of playback. Nature is always like this – there's no such thing as imperfect wind or nonideal wave in the sea. Our mind tends to evaluate everything (like I just did few lines earlier) and we always seek for some abstract perfection, comparing things – and that's completely normal, that's the way mind works. Also, it would be weird to state that evaluation is bad, right? 

But my point here is that things are always have some place relatively to each other and when we say something about them, this relation is the starting point of our judgement. What I'm trying to say is that some things feel perfect as they are because then don't change given configuration. They just give you a possibility to see from another viewpoint. Thing becomes a portal to new vision. That's why this music is so perfect, its ability to realign simply amazes! Few minutes in and you're completely in a different world. Everything around remains the same, you are the same – but your perception is different. World definitely needs more music like this. Not really emotional. Not simply relaxing. Just making you more attentive to things. Not escaping reality, but accepting it. Sharpening the perception. Just like the wind reminds you to breathe deeply, just like the sun emerging from behind the clouds reminds you to look around... 

Gentleness and calmness of Zephyr may feel contrasting with our world, but carefully realigning your vision Les Halles' music gives you same feeling which wind itself probably has. Endless motion. Unstoppable flow. Of course, there are moments of stillness and moments of storming rage. But after all it's just a motion, state of being. The more steady it is, the more you see. Correlations, interconnections, cause and effect... If music is a state of air, then life is a state of mind. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

CYBEREALITYライフ ~ v i r t u a l r e s o r t ™

Of of the genre's pillars in vaporwave, "virtual resort™"  by CYBEREALITYライフ finally gets cassette reissue the newly formed TheINFINITYpool label, which already put out some no less iconic releases by Amun Dragoon, MindSpring Memories and Fujita Scale. Perhaps this album may not sound as unique as it used to be because of the clichee abundance happening with the genre these days, but CYBEREALITYライフ was one of those who introduced them in wide use. Virtual vacations to the cyber-space resorts already were in 90s, in Roger Zelazny's epic book "Donnerjack" and this album may be a really nice companion for such fantasies – advertisement breaks, weather channel's music, lounge jazz, 80s to 90s, subtly ironic atmosphere of new age and futuristic chill-out... Cheerful atmosphere of consumption, the rhythm of the buyer, briskly moving from one store to another in the brightly lit endless corridor of a shopping mall... A virtual paradise for ideal consumers only!

listen / support (sold out)

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

marta smilga ~ lunar maria, vol. 1

«'Lunar Maria' was created in Marta SmiLga's home studio on a barge in Riga across many cold autumn nights, when the sky was clear, full of shimmering stars and bright, embracing moonlight». ~ crash symbols

When I saw this tape for a moment my thought was "oh, new Lunar Miasma album!", probably because this is something that is not going to happen anymore and I was a huge fan of those psych drone analogue synth space excursions from Panos Alexiadis. But it's from Latvia this time, and Marta SmiLga is surely are well-experienced synth explorer – so when I listened to this album, it seemed like I'm there again, on this nostalgic road towards stars... Guide has changed, but the space is the same. The pace is slow, not much of psychedelia is going on, we are experiencing more thorough and scientific approach. Yet, it's as breathtaking as it was when I was five and saw an astronomy textbook for the first time... Yellowed pages with galaxies, planets, comets, asteroids and of course – lunar map. Gasping admiration. I remember telling my mom that there are seas on the Moon (and even one ocean!), but those are not real seas and that Lunokhod went there and people went there, and... And she was saying okay, okay, good... Ten years later I was out every clear night, sitting with my self-made telescope, sketching lunar surface in my observations journal, all those craters, mountains and seas – watching how shadow slowly changes the picture on the edge of light and dark... 

Yes, music can provoke a lot of nostalgia! And that's the beauty of it, the miracle of memory and perception. Listening to slowly changing delicate compositions on this tape brings this subtle feeling of childish excitement mixed with awe and admiration, which was probably best captured in Kubrick's Space Odyssey. Gazing into a deepness of the Universe and realizing equal profoundness of your own mind. It's perfectly reflected by ringing resonance of Marta SmiLga's drones and tiny detailed veils of microsounds around them. Thin surface of events around barely perceived vastness makes all the sense. No matter how cold or dark space is, our mind finds it strangely attractive because it mirrors something inside us, because we are same thing... And same thing happens with music here. Isn't it wonderful?  

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

zazz ~ soft harbinger

"Zazz is the long distance collaborative project of Ang Wilson and Braeyden Jae. Out of mutual admiration for each other’s musicality and expression, the project came to life when the two decided to develop a creative dialogue through sound, sending files back and forth with no pre-determined aesthetic or agenda. That space of not knowing and openness nurtures the trust and respect that guides the project. It allows for an honesty and presence that can be difficult to tap into when the course has already been charted. 

Soft Harbinger follows the thread of gentle and pastoral work that Braeyden has pursued with his project, softest, and that Ang has been known for, both with their solo project, teasips, and with Electric Sound Bath. Soft Harbinger is the debut album from Zazz and it’s a beautiful opening." ~ inner islands

Vernal equinox is definitely a good day to share some peaceful music with the world and honestly I can't think better place to look for it than Inner Islands label. For many years now it keeps this delicate flow of acoustic sensations which adds something meaningful to our world. Just a little bit of harmony... 

When David Bohm, one of the quantum physics pioneers, discussed his theories with attendees, he described our world as a hologram and the difference between hologram and usual picture is that each part of hologram keeps the whole picture. So if you tear a regular photo you'll have fragments which can't really tell you what was captured on the original (especially if it's really small fragments), while each piece of broken hologram will have same picture in it, just more blurred than original. Each tiny piece of it will be same, just less detailed... When I read about it in my childhood, guess my life was irreversibly changed that moment. If the Universe is holographic in its nature, it means each tiniest part of it is the universe itself. And of course I knew about it before – metaphorically, from tales, myths, from poetry... But this was science, huh! 

But yes, your yoga teacher or psychologist are right when they say each person is a universe. But important part here (from physics) is that if even smaller part contains the whole picture, it can be so blurry that you'd never tell that something's there. It's hidden, it's out of reach. Parts must be connected, integrated and here lies another trick moment – there is a big difference between a part and a fragment. A bunch of letters may create some words but you need a concept of harmony to create poetry of it. Rhythm. Waves. Patterns... There is no music in the world until the listener appears. A mind with an idea of harmony. And that's the hologram, the picture of the whole, the music made of natural noises, the very beginning of it. 

Of course we don't need to go metaphysical to enjoy music. We even gone so far that we can see harmony in something which was considered dumb noise only a few decades ago. I guess that's inevitable process, that's seeing the bigger picture. Following the patterns of harmony. I'll leave the question about nature of the harmony itself because I'm trying to talk about music here and music is obviously my favorite thing in this Hologram. Simply because it doesn't need words to make you feel these things. It always connects you with other people, events, places and sensations, you become something bigger than you was. And in case of Zazz it does that thing so delicately, that you may lose any thoughts just after few minutes spent inside these blissfully repeating patterns of universal harmony... If each musical track is a hologram then these two sides are filled with so many things that you'll need an eternity to explore them all. It's just like a window into the wider space. Wide as world itself.