microphones in the trees: February 2016

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

tuluum shimmering / the exhalers

"reissue of 2 cdrs previously issued separately by artist. several years back Jake (Tuluum Shimmering) offered to send recordings out to those who sent him something in the mail. I went ahead and sent some things and in return got an amazing box back several weeks later. Included were these two discs. two single track long pieces that just blew me away and continue to blow me away to this day. over the years the discs Ive owned have become worn or almost lost in the chaos and the need to have these recordings given a second life, especially on a physical format became important in my mind. Tuluum Shimmering recordings always seems to head towards somewhere very sacred and these two recordings are some of the strongest journeys for me. much thanks for the chance to release this." josh/ tomentosa

'la música de tuluum shimmering parece dirigirse siempre hacia un lugar muy sagrado, y estas dos grabaciones son, para mí,  dos de sus viajes más poderosos. muchas gracias por darme la oportunidad de reeditarlas."

out of stock ~ listen ~ download

 the exhalers ~ bay of light, frases de entretanto (branch tapes, 2015)

"I sat on my stoop at dusk last night remarking on the loss of the divine. how the landscape in front of me now so heavily civilized, felt razed and distant. within moments the landscape shifted and the power lines and buildings seeped into the background and muted as the landscape exerted it’s true continuous nature that I had just been unable to see. these recording seem to bridge that gap; expressing that which is razed but also paying homage to something greater that runs beneath it all. there’s a piece on the second side that took me many listens to even hear, to really listen and have set in to my conscious to the point of it being my most favorite part of the tape. It was always there but only the shift of my own perspective brought about true appreciation. the artwork, dubbing and putting together of this tape went from deliberate ideas to something that existed beyond my immediate vision; something that brought me out of the sky and down to the point where the sea laps at your feet and the landscape folds out behind your back strong but ebbing at the shore. many thanks for the chance to release this." josh/tomentosa

algo me dice que la canción a la que se refiere josh es 'moonshine tale'. demasiado especial para describirla, tan sólo las palabras de josh. pura melancolía.

out of stock ~ listen ~ download

Friday, February 19, 2016

stag hare ~ tapestry

stag hare ~ tapestry (inner islands, 2015) [4-tape box compilation]

«This is a collaborative project entirely compelled forward by those individuals who have commissioned the tracks. It could not and would not have been created without this communal effort. All pieces were recorded from December 2014 to July 2015. Each track was individually commissioned for creation and recorded under the inspiration and direction of each patron.» stag hare

The idea of artist making living of its art always was important – not just for artists themselves, which is obvious, but for the audience as well. Time we live now affords many new levels of communication, and if yesterday your favourite musician existed in some sort of parallel universe – unreachable, available only on special occasions, today we have a slightly different situation. Yes, there are still super-stars, but the majority of artist you admire have same facebook pages as you do – posting kittens, sharing vacation photos and so on. And you won't believe how many of them have same problems as you do. Music making for most of diy/tape/lo-fi  scene artist is an actual luxury, free time devotion often taken away from family, regular day job or simply of outside walk. Instead being as lazy, as all we sometimes do, artists are often forced to superpose. Despite the common idea that music-making is fun and relaxing, it requires much more, even if (or especially if!) you do experimental music. You can't just hold one note on cheapest keyboard and say "hey, that's drone", it will be boring and no one would like that. People invent, they always try and research. But with understanding of such topics, there are still huge difference between music-making and 'normal job'. Many new methods of artist support exists today – fundraising, patron system, simple donation buttons, but sudden growth of the cassette tapes manufacture hints that people prefer to have something more that just music files in exchange. They want a connection, communication, and it must go both ways. Holding something in hands helps that, especially if this thing was made by artist himself. 

What Stag Hare did for this project was simple – you can get 15-minutes drone track recorded personally for you just for few dollars. And for few more you can get a tape with this track directly from Stag Hare's bedroom – signed and hand-painted. This is actually almost genius in terms of modern world communication. Fast and direct. When artist releases an album, it's always about something personal – but for artist himself, while such commissioned tracks seem to be more about the person who wanted it. This is  interaction that comes to artist's mind even on subtle level: "what this guy like? what sounds good for him?"... Of course, small labels are offering very similar thing, they do limited editions and their customers are usually same people from one release to another. There is certain level of trust in it, which never existed in major label industry. I doubt that anyone gets new cars from running tape label, but when people feel this interaction it makes life easier – for the musician, for label owner and for the listener as well. Sleepless nighttime spent over the blinking synths and pedals doesn't pay bills and maybe bothers your relatives, but it must be much easier to get up early after it for regular job, knowing that there are people who appreciate and value your efforts.

Each 'Tapestry' track was made for someone, but releasing whole thing for the world by Inner Islands brings it to broader perspective. This is not about people trying to make living from their art any more. This is about life itself, unfolding its ways, evolving its ideas further to interconnectedness of everything. One small step in the search of new ways of existence of art in our world. Music artists are same as everyone else, but the music itself is something much more! A place where we all meet each other.

Friday, February 12, 2016

julia bloop

(worn habit, forming, reedbeds, las primeras cintas de monster rally ('like a vanished day'), peat raamur, tuluum shimmering, bandicoor trail, journey of mind... ¿y si michael pouw tuviera un poquito de julia bloop?.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

furthers / fellirium / ugasanie & spiral of time

«Dedicated to coniferous structures, graceful pinewoods covered with moss, to cypresses shining in the sun along the mountain roads. We name this recording «pineal dreamer» and dedicate it to visionaries and dreamers, to all who draw their dreams and hallucinations from the gifts of the pineal gland. Shamans, dancing in the coniferous forests of their souls, and all kind of unseen creatures that came to us from the fabulous recesses of subconsciousness». furthers

Furthers are duo from Kyiv, Ukraine which music sparkles somewhere behind closed eyelids. Inspired by visionary art and ideas of Rick Strassman, always glorifying nature (especially coniferous, as you may noticed), it sounds like endless jam somewhere in the night woods, under the stars and milky way. With many instruments and effects used, totally improvised, the result may seem a bit lo-fi, but it suits the overall atmosphere very well – we hear the interaction between distant and nearby events, but they all connected by patterns of hallucinatory haziness. Every track has its own story as part one one huge trip through the subconsciousness and some track names give clear images of what is happening there – take "lovely emerald birds and velvet dolphins", for example. Slight touch of experimental new age (of kind that Rainbow Pyramid label releases) and few darker moments will keep your imagination busy. Actually, this music is kind of visionary painting itself, constantly changing, having many layers that become visible only at certain angles. Blissful and thoughtful, full of light and coniferous aromas, 80-minutes continuum to explore.

«Music that reveals horizons of unseen landscapes, silhouettes of sailboats travelling to distant lands, quietly and slowly emerging from the fog and thousands of blooming shades of sea blueness... Silent melodies and clear echoes are woven into net, that gently pulls the sea secrets from abyss of the depths». πάνθεον

Marine theme seems to be very attractive for ambient artists and it's understandable – being kind of impressionism, ambient music tends to natural landscapes, to non-verbal images of serene places and situations. At least brian-eno-type of ambient, when music is more about creating background for disctracted listener, working on subconscious level. You may be not even listening, but the certain effect will emerge afterwards. I always liked the idea, but what is even more interesting, is attentive listening to something that seems just beautiful background. Some ambient music reveals simple synth pad put on hold (and even then it may be interesting!), but Felliruim hides much more than that behind seemingly serene surface of quiet sounds. Subtle acoustic instrumentation and attentiveness to details reveals that work has been done very carefully, still making the result quiet and not too splashy. Marine landscape, that tells a story, image where every details reflects sunlight, like those paintings of Aivazovsky. Not so impressionist after all! Somewhere in between, maybe:  it's hard to put in terms of painting, because music is something always changing. Though, next listening to this disc may give me another impression, different mood and that is a very good thing. With this in mind, I have to say that Fellirium's "Mermaids" is no less, than a great example of pure ambient music.

listen ~ buy ~ download

«Damp air of this cloudy day hovered over the grey stones, becoming a trap for sounds, even hum of sea waves crashing on the rocks seemed to be inexpressibly farther. Beside the fog only stones were visible and the grass under one's feet, also fingertips felt the rough texture of labyrinth stone walls. Curving all the time it led away and further, freeing head from thoughts, taking away fears and memories...» πάνθεον

Here everything goes a bit darker. Siberian project Спираль Времени (Spiral of Time) was simply obliged to release a collaborative album with Ugasanie – both artists are so good in transmitting vibrations of archaic and still unknown North, that every time you listen to them, your subconscious begins to pull some words and symbols from the depths of collective memory, drawing strange signs before the eyes. Balancing between classic dark ambient formulas and electronic shamanism, Ugasanie crafts his music in own distinctive style known for his releases at Cryo Chamber label. But this part goes later on the disc, while Spiral of Time fills first five tracks with foggy aural substance holding on something what seems to be neoclassical instrumentation. You may feel cold, drenched and freezing – just like Stalker in Tarkovsky movie, – but there are some romantic about that for sure. And right when you start to feel little more comfortable, Ugasanie leads you into thick forest where archaic magic creatures rule. Just read track names: "mermaid's slough", "other side of the mushroom"... Yes, these mermaids are not those cute ones from Fellirium's album – but Russian wild-forest-kind ones, be careful!

uton / antti tolvi / lieven m. moana

«Experimental electronic studies with psychedelic flavours. Connections to the cosmic currents and invisible beings from the other worlds and dimensions, our collective dimension included. Music to help listener to breathe through its energy centers (chakras), or even from the core of the existence. Sounds to travel in astral ways, and explore the unknown, eyes closed or open - works well with both ways». ikuisuus

I always felt something ironic behind those weird sounds of Uton. Flirting with new age terms and ideas and still remaining truly Finnish noise in composition & sound – I can clearly imagine some yoga coach woman playing this tape in afternoon patio for her pupils... Eyes closed, all sitting in lotus posture... Listening to true inner selves... And suddenly alien invasion begins, starting from that patio: huge UFOs descending out of nowhere, lasers blasting all over the place, screams and panic and that tape continues to roll meanwhile. 

Maybe I listened too much new age tapes from '80s, but seriously – what meditation and yoga practice have in common with these collages of weird noises, playful sound effects and overall atmosphere of kindergarten merriment? But okay, let's not be boring and say that this tape is actual true and 100% new age, but from another solar system. Why not? We sent them gold plate with Bach, after all... If you ever read to vedic literature, it says that there are billions of planets with different kinds of intelligent creatures, but all of them share idea of Hinduism in a way, all being part of Brahman creation and Vedic cosmology. So, if we have chakras and they do, maybe we should establish connection not with prohibitively expensive antennas and computers, but in meditation state? Same energy, same vibrations, only different languages. But prana is universal, meditation state is universal, so let's use it as new internet! Actually, I almost sure that Jani Hirvonen already does it in his cosy apartment. And maybe they already here, among us. Who knows? The truth is out there. 

«To get to know the people, is to walk in their footsteps. Thus by walking Corvo Island’s only road, the Estrada Do Caldeirão, I entered the mind of her dwellers». lieven m. moana

«The idea for these pieces came up when I heard Lieven’s side – early version – for this split cassette. The idea was to make music which is the same as, and also totally different from Lieven’s side. I decided to make different set ups with my analog synths, and let them play themselves. Then do field recordings out of those». antti tolvi

Many artists are working with field recording genre nowadays. Why not, when it seems so easy – buy recorder, go to some place exotic, keep your mouth shut and ears open. But, of course, this is only the surface. There are many field recordings serving as documentation of places and events, released without any editing. And there is completely different thing, when field recordings are used as composition material: not as sample, which may be processed through many effects, but as an instrument itself. Idea is not new, there are some huge names like Francisco López or Slawek Kwi working that way, but work of Lieven M. Moana is probably something different, and not only because he prefers tape recorders and lo-fi aesthetics. Moana creates certain mythology, timeless presence of something bigger than just impression of the place. His recordings have pauses of silence, where you can actually feel more. Going back to John Cage's idea that music is everywhere where listener is, Moana finds another dimension of ever-present listener. He explores it, while visiting geographic locations and finds harmonic interaction between being subjective composer and detached field recordist. We don't have to be educated to feel harmony in things, but sometimes we need someone who will point at it. When  pause appear, you start hearing your own "island" – the one you live in. Have you listened to it today? 

And this brings us to the idea behind Antti Tolvi side of this tape – recording his synths playing themselves. Okay, he admits that failed in being independent observer and turned some knobs during the process, but this is what we do, when we walk away from crowded street, isn't it? Always turning knobs of our aural environment, we may forget doing that, thinking that everything just happens. Which brings us to John Cage again – if we found some sounds musical and other not, we acting like egoists, judging things for being noisy or uninteresting. Try to listen something you find unpleasant for your ears and ask yourself why you don't like it. Okay, this may go far into philosophy, and what we actually have on this tape is nice analogue drones and psychedelic ambient passages between them. But listening to this after Lieven's side makes difference. I can imagine these sounds being field recordings of some astronomical scale location, showing the huge picture of million-year-old nebula evolution with galaxies swirling all around it. And yes, I find it much more ear-pleasing than my neighbours yelling behind the wall. Am I egoist?