Birds of a Feather – Part 3 – Broken Chip and Simon Whetham
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
Flaming Pines Label
Record Label Website: http://www.flamingpines.com/
Soundcloud Page: http://soundcloud.com/flaming-pines
Bandcamp Page: http://flamingpines.bandcamp.com/
I am always looking for new and interesting music, and often works with a message or a foundation. Late in 2011, I came across a label from Sydney, Australia named Flaming Pines. I first noticed an EP release by Marcus Fischer and then realized that it was part of a series entitled Rivers Home. The first series consisted of 5 separate 3 inch CDs, each with works by a different artist (Marcus Fischer, Kate Carr, Field Rotation, Broken Chip and Billy Gomberg). There was also a common theme to the CDs, and I immediately took note of the striking cover artwork. Rivers Home (and its later Part Two with releases by The Boats, Seth Chrisman, Dan Whiting, Savaran, and All N4tural) “…celebrates the wonder of rivers at a time when many of them are particularly vulnerable. Many of us dream about rivers, ride along rivers, take ferries along rivers and sit on river banks. This series is a musical exploration of the ways we influence rivers and they influence us.” The founder of Flaming Pines it turns out is Kate Carr, whose work is also featured in the series. Kate also produces the artwork for the covers. I ultimately bought the entire set. Many of Flaming Pines’ releases are mastered by Taylor Deupree of 12k.
Marcus Fischer – Willamette River
The Boats – River Calder
Recent releases include a split album by Kate Carr (Blue) and Gail Priest (Green), which is an exploration of sound and color. The last track of each side serves as a transition to the other side of the LP, and the color references are subtle (as colors are muted at dawn and dusk), and reveal the natural world with field recordings and gossamers of acoustic and electronic instrumentation and effects. The LP silences the distracting world around and reveals the many things missed in the background as the days and seasons come and go all too fast. The LP is a co-production of Flaming Pines and Metal Bitch Recordings.
Kate Carr – Excerpt from Blue
Gail Priest – Excerpt from Green
Just released in September is the next series of EPs on a theme, this time Birds Of A Feather, and the covers keep getting better! The first two are the Black Woodpecker by Iran’s Porya Hatami and Great Northern Loon by Canadian Michael Trommer. Carr notes of this series, “…the role of birds as muse, as musical guide and inspiration has been well documented in classical music, from Mozart’s pet starling to Beethoven’s birdsong filled Pastoral Symphony and Sibelius’s swan hymn to Messaien’s birdsong compositions. Birds Of A Feather celebrates the role of birds in ambient music, and the beautiful fragility of birds more generally.” Both of these EPs are deeply layered soundscapes with field recordings of the chosen birds and environs mixed with acoustic and electronic instrumentation that heighten the experience. It’s like getting lost in the woods or paddling a canoe on a hidden lake.
As with Rivers Home, Birds Of A Feather will be a series of about 12 three inch CDs released as pairs in editions of 100 over the next year. The next pair of CDs will be by The Green Kingdom and Darren McClure.
My favorite of the cover artwork thus far is the expressive Black Woodpecker.
Michael Trommer – Great Northern Loon Excerpt
Porya Hatami – Black Woodpecker Excerpt
The latest October release is a debut by Michael Terren entitled Bythorne, who lives in far western Australia in Perth. In June of this year, he strapped his piano to a trailer and drove it 200 kilometers to a farm of his childhood. There he recorded this EP of six compositions (Cureaking, These Ones, All Nine of Them, Midiology, Bythorne and Dardyboys). The tracks echo the surroundings and ever-changing weather (from placid blue skies to sudden stormy weather in from the Indian Ocean) as well as the pastoral timelessness. I get a strong feeling of the sense of place from the beautiful title track. The sleeve is handmade and the EP is limited to 100 copies.
Michael Terren – Bythorne