Available at: http://www.flamingpines.com/
The Wonga Pigeon by Broken Chip
Sometimes there are things that I don’t want to end, but then they do, far too soon.* This is how I feel about Broken Chip’s dreamy and elusive The Wonga Pigeon contribution to the latest pair of CD3s released in the Flaming Pines label Birds Of A Feather Series. Broken Chip is one of the musical personas of Martyn Palmer, who is from the Blue Mountains of Australia. Broken Chip has contributed to other Flaming Pines releases, and Palmer’s other nom de plume is Option-Command, for more electronic oriented works. The Wonga Pigeon musically recounts a first mysterious encounter with an unknown bird. Time passed and then the bird reappeared to finally be identified. Despite the presence of (what appear to be) bird calls within the recording, it’s a piano (in my opinion) that takes on the guise of this particular avian creature. All sounds, initially, are distant in the recording, indescribable, and ethereal. Gradually, the identity coalesces, only to disappear back into the ether after a brief second chance encounter.
* – And so, I hit repeat!
The Phoenix by Simon Whetham
The Phoenix is the second CD3 of this latest pair of Birds…, and starts off like a shower of humidity encountered when disembarking from a plane in a distant land—the sudden shock of relocation. The wall of omnipresent sound of the outdoors is from Phoenix Island in Cambodia and at first it is intense (mind your amplifier’s volume control!). Eventually, the body and mind adjusts to this extraordinary new environment, and the sounds around eventually calm, and the vision of what was once like a blinding light comes into focus. Water, wooded areas, bells and gongs can be heard from sound recordings made by Whetham in June, 2012. In a way, the piece starts off with the fervor of the war endured by Cambodia and VietNam not so long ago, and the gradual calming could symbolize the peace that has slowly returned to these environs; The Phoenix rising, symbolically. As with the previous releases in this series, I love the cover illustrations.
Landing Lights by Kate Carr
Also, of note (and I have only heard these samples thus far), I am intrigued by Kate Carr’s latest new album Landing Lights. I quite like the contrast of the growl of her guitar juxtaposed against the soft, floating keyboards as in the track My Brother Came To Stay…I wonder who the brother could be, in the mix? I can’t imagine. Some samples from Landing Lights are below, so I am definitely interested in hearing more.
My Brother Came To Stay
12k1071 CD – Time: 53:33
Tracks: 1) Europa; 2) Slow Waves; 3) In The Arc; 4) Ebbing; 5) Rhea; 6) Titan; 7) Sleep Spindle; 8) An Infinite Moment; 9) The Violent Silence; 10) Black Sands; 11) Lo; 12) Prometheus’ Tail; 13) Oberon; 14) Compression Waves; 15) In The Shadow Of The Vanishing Night; 16) Hyperion;
I don’t know exactly on what plane Kane Ikin exists, but I can tell you that I’d like to get there. There is a sense of deep mystery, the fleeting ethereal and a curious otherness in his musical travels. I’ll gladly get on his spaceship, anytime.
Kane Ikin is one half of Solo Andata (along with Paul Fiocco, both being from Australia), and he has also collaborated with other artists including David Wenngren (aka Library Tapes) on their February 2012 album Strangers (KESH017). I first encountered Solo Andata’s work in the 2009 self-titled 12k release.
Earlier this year, Ikin gave us a taster EP entitled Contrail (clear vinyl 7”, and a separate download of four tracks), and the title track alone was worth the price of the entire EP, not to mention the marvelous job that 12k did with the packaging. Also, of note, Sublunar is packaged in 12k’s new (no plastic, and I assume, recycled cardboard) sleeve design.
Ikin’s music is decidedly lo-fi in production (tape loops, altered field recordings, sampling, warped instrumental recordings), but the quality and care that he takes in combining tangible instrumentation with highly manipulated sounds gives the end result an indescribable yet comforting quality. His solo work also tends (so far) to focus on shorter format recordings (the longest track Oberon on Sublunar is 4:51). Also, while I consider his work to be highly original in form and sound; there are occasional (intentional?) references to works of others. At the risk of driving my readers bonkers, I’ll again reference Kraftwerk and their track Kling Klang from the 1972 album Kraftwerk 2, which came to mind when I first heard the gongs and bells in track (6) Titan.
Sublunar is a series of short journeys, just enough time to experience the sense of place Ikin is depicting, but not so long that one feels the urge to get to the next destination too quickly. I’m going to resist the temptation to describe each track (there’s a full single track sound file for Europa and an Experimedia sampler of excerpts from the entire album), because I think that might diminish a sense of self-exploration for the listener. Some tracks meander with little guidance from a recognizable beat, whereas others have highly treated percussion with extended decay. I especially like how Kane treats the sound of strings in the mix; he uses the entirety of an acoustic guitar’s resonance. Sublunar is a potent musical experience, and I hope Kane Ikin continues his voyages of experimentation, because I’m completely hooked.
Sublunar‘s Teaser Video
Experimedia’s Sampler of the Album