Yes, I’m guilty. I haven’t written many reviews of late–no other excuse except that there are many other things going on (not to mention a really rough winter), but here’s some of what I’ve been listening to, and I will also soon be writing a review of a forthcoming album on the Eilean label by Twigs & Yarn (some may recall that their The Language of Flowers on the Flau label was my favorite album of 2012). I recommend any of these albums.
A Winged Victory for the Sullen – ATOMOS: Kranky 190: I want to really like this album, but I struggle with some sections. I instantly loved their eponymous first release, but I continue to listen.
Steven Wilson – Hand. Cannot. Erase.: KScope 315: Follow-up to The Raven That Refused To Sing, and I frankly need more time with this album to formulate an opinion. The recording lacks the clarity and strength of the last (engineered by Alan Parsons), but I’m working through it.
M. Ostermeier – Still: Tench TCH07: Just started listening; minimal, soothing, and it is both in the background and can be for focused listening–a combination of melodic sounds and microtones. Helpful for calm…need more of that!
Robin Guthrie & Mark Gardener – Universal Road: Soleil Apres Minuit SM1501 CD: Comfortably familiar sound and soothing lyrics–shoegazing for the Sun.
I’ll likely have more to say on these soon, but for now, rest assured that my recommendation will not disappoint.
I’m hoping for Spring, and SOON!
Robin Guthrie – Fortune ***Updated with Souncloud link sample***
Soleil après minuit – SM1203CD – CD and 300 copies forthcoming on Vinyl
Robin Guthrie, long ago, moved on from his work with Cocteau Twins. Some fans want him to keep looking back, but frankly, I’m glad that he has continued on with his own work (albums and EPs) and numerous collaborations with Harold Budd, Eraldo Bernocchi and others as well as film soundtracks. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy my CT albums, and nothing is more searing, emotionally than the CT track (from their last album, Milk and Kisses) Violaine.
Fortune is a personal work, putting his life, emotions and experiences into his layered, chorus-and-echo-filled guitar sound. I sense intense memories too. I find that Guthrie’s work is filled with sound-color, which is also why I am so drawn to it. My favorites include the languid ladybird, the refreshing like water in water, the tender and deeply-toned melody of perfume and youth, and and so to sleep, my little ones, which picks up where the EP Songs To Help My Children Sleep leaves off—enchanting.
Artist Website: http://robinguthrie.com/
Available also at: http://darla.com/?fuseaction=item_cat.ecom_superitem_detail&item_cat_id=41313
Olan Mill – Home
Preservation CIRCA512 – limited 300 copy CD release and Digital
With each Olan Mill release, I am drawn all the more to their work. There is a subtle lag between rhythms, melodies and harmonies that gives a tidal flow, similar to some works of Ralph Vaughn Williams or Claude Debussy. Also, I’m not sure how this will be taken by some current listeners of this genre, but some of Olan Mill’s work reminds me of early to mid 1970s compositions of Evangelos Papathanassiou’s, especially the soundtrack to the Frédéric Rossif film La Fête Sauvage.
Record Label: http://www.preservation.com.au/product/olan-mill-home
Album overview at Experimedia:
Machinefabriek – Secret Photographs
Important Records – IMPREC366 – CD and Digital
This is a three track (more than 70 minute) soundtrack for a forthcoming film about Alvin Karpis (notorious bank robber and longest serving prisoner at Alcatraz Prison) by Mike Hoolboom. Karpis was released from prison in 1969, moved to Spain and wrote a memoir. He took photographs in the closing years of his life, and never shared his work with anyone until the collection was found for sale on ebay. Rutger Zuyderfelt’s response to the work is separated into three parts (black and white, color and black and white). It is a subtle guitar and electronics-based composition that gives the sense of taking a hushed and private tour through chambers of secluded memories.
http://www.machinefabriek.nu & http://machinefabriek.bandcamp.com/album/secret-photographs
A Winged Victory for the Sullen – A Winged Victory for the Sullen
Erased Tapes – ERATP032 – Vinyl, CD and Digital Files
Released about a year ago, the eponymous A Winged Victory for the Sullen album is the work of Stars of the Lid’s Adam Wiltzie and LA composer Dustin Halloran. I didn’t realize that there was a connection between Adam and Mark Linkous (Sparklehorse), but it was ultimately that connection and colleague Francesco Donadello that brought …Winged Victory… together. Large spaces, grand pianos, string quartets and delicate woodwinds and brass are the framework for this lush and stunning album.
Artist Website: http://www.awvfts.com/
Record Label: http://www.erasedtapes.com/artists/biography/16/A+Winged+Victory+For+The+Sullen