microphones in the trees: May 2018

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.