Tag Archives: A Closer Listen

REVIEW REBLOG – Various Artists ~ Pod Tune

This is a pure ambient joy and wonderful collection of tracks that I can’t fail to make my Todays Discovery, including Christina Vantzou and Mia Hsieh to name a couple of artists.
Courtesy to A Closer Listen for the review.

a closer listen

4 POD TUNE Cover ArtBefore podcasts, there were pod tunes ~ long, intricate songs flowing from underwater behemoth to underwater behemoth.  These dynamic vocalizations carried stories of other pods in other oceans.  Together, the humpback whales would learn these new songs, sometimes hours long, and share them with those they met.  Even with dwindling populations, they continue this practice to the present day.

A humpback whale’s ability to memorize music is unsurpassed, and yet each rendition is different: a nuance here, an inflection there.  It’s easy to project our emotions upon the whales, hearing plaintive cries in the drawn-out lower registers and joy in the higher tones.  Yet their true depth of meaning lies beyond us.  Whalesong provides a window into something ultimately unfathomable: the life of the earth’s largest creatures, connected by ancestry and geographic expanse.

Humans have been fascinated by whales for years, although the earliest fascinations had more to do with…

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REVIEW REBLOG – Julia Kent ~ Asperities

I have loved the music of Julia Kent for some time and many may wonder why I would repost her here or have her on an artist page. Simply there has always been a movement in Classical music who have embraced electronic methods and processes to create an overall sound and track. This is an area that I will return to in the future and hey, what the heck – not purely electronic but beautiful.

Courtesy to A Closer Listen for the review

a closer listen

AsperitiesAsperities is as close to commercial as one can get in modern composition without compromise.  Accessible yet deep, Julia Kent‘s cello-based music provides an entry point to those who might not otherwise have considered listening to instrumental music.  Her new album offers a mix of pensive, emotional tunes and the stringed equivalent of bangers.  Credit her background in Rasputina and Antony & the Johnsons for the knowledge of how to walk the line.

Even apart from the music, Kent’s presentation exposes the workings of a complex and mature mind.  The cover seems to indicate two personalities cleaving together, or the resolution of duality.  The press release describes the album as “the layers of sound peeling back to reveal a beating, bloody human heart.”  Contrast this with the majority of releases in the genre, which bend over backwards to be polite.  As Kent puts it, “it seems like a particularly dark…

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REVIEW REBLOG – Various Artists ~ Tiny Portraits

Here is another review of the Tiny Portraits project from Flaming Pines, courtesy of A Closer Listen.

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Tiny PortraitsThe always creative Flaming Pines label has just launched its third 3″ series, arriving on the heels of the successful Birds of a Feather and Rivers Home sets.  Tiny Portraits is a year-long series in which artists are invited to reflect on place, in particular “somewhere small, overlooked or obscure”.  It’s also a broadening of concepts first explored on Flaming Pines’ Australia-based 2013 compilation of the same name.  The first four singles (released concurrently) come from Siavash Amini (Iran), Yuco (Japan), Zenjungle (Greece) and Sound Awakener (Vietnam).  Arash Akbari’s sound map helps the listener to position the recordings in space.  Yet while the inspirations may be international, the tone is similar; these singles sound like home.

Given the theme of the last series, it’s appropriate that the new series includes the sound of birds.  Siavash Amini‘s Luminous Streams of Dawn (Doostan Boulevard, Tehran) isn’t what most people think…

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REVIEW REBLOG – Birds of Passage & I’ve Lost ~ I Was All You Are

What a Todays Discovery – Maybe it’s the way I’m feeling this afternoon but the electroacoustic ambience of Alicia Merz aka Birds of Passage, is quite a find….and yes I agree with ACL, it is like watching a film in extreme slow motion, a beautiful film at that.

Courtesy to A Closer Listen for the review.

a closer listen

The cover of I Was All You Are says it all: blinding sunshine, dried weeds, a woman walking alone.  Alicia Merz (Birds of Passage) seems to have been raised in haziness, forever existing just a bit out of focus.  When she sings of “sunny garden places”, it’s easy to picture her lying in a meadow, catching the clouds between her fingertips.  On I Was All You Are, she also sings of water; the elements are beginning to coalesce.

I’ve Lost is a downbeat name for a recording artist, bearing poetic associations: it’s not you I’ve lost, but the world.  The art of losing isn’t hard to master.  The ambient settings of I’ve Lost are slow beyond slow; there’s no way to measure them, but 4 b.p.m. seems a reasonable estimate.  Listening is like watching a film in slow motion, then filming it and watching that film in…

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I previously reblogged a review of Angelica Castellos’ Sonic Blue courtesy of A Closer Listen. I came across the review again and this lead me to her Soundcloud page.

So here is todays Spotlight –


REVIEW REBLOG – Mark Lyken | Emma Dove ~ Mirror Lands (Deluxe Edition)

When I first came across Mirror Lands via A Closer Listen, I was struck by the sounds and images. Seems I still am and the release of the Deluxe Edition gives me another reason to revisit it.
Review courtesy to A Closer Listen.

a closer listen

Mirror LandsOne of our favorite field recording works of last year, Mark Lyken and Emma Dove‘s Mirror Lands, is about to get the deluxe treatment from Time Released Sound.  Those who missed it last time will have another shot this Sunday!  To celebrate the re-release, we’ve slightly edited our initial review to reflect the new edition.

We last encountered Mark Lyken and Emma Dove with their installation-based EP and video The Terrestrial Sea. Their new work expands on that prior release and continues an investigation of the sonic and visual properties of Scotland’s Black Isle.  Time Released Sound is presenting the work in two versions: a regular and a deluxe edition.  Both editions include the soundtrack and a link to the film, while the deluxe edition includes additional ephemera (shown above): vintage prints, maps and pages from travel books, all honoring the location of the film.

Mirror Lands CoverThe film is…

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REVIEW REBLOG – She Spread Sorrow ~ Rumspringa

This is dark and mesmeric and thanks to A Closer Listen is Todays Discovery.

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SHE SPREAD SORROW Rumspringa - Lo res album cover for webThe violence enacted by noise and industrial music has been, from their very inception, directed towards the body in one way or another. Shattering its insides, penetrating its skin, transgressing all of its boundaries, they are musics that draw the domination of nature to its harshest consequence — an organic pain inflicted in the key of progress. It is not, however, a sort of absolute pain (as romantic longing for nature), but one that concedes the complexity of the body-mind relationship when it states the obvious: some of us like this stuff. This kind of pleasurable harm presents a very modern revelation with which tradition prefers to be iron-fisted, in the sense that when taboos are broken there is often a disciplinary ritual process of social healing, of reintegration, but what happens when that ritual enacts even more violence upon the body it is attempting to restore? Such is…

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REVIEW REBLOG – In the Light of Air: ICE Performs Anna Thorvaldsdottír

I’ve been saving this review from ACL for a little while and then Q2 posted the overview and whole piece to listen to here –
Anna Thorvaldsdottir Carves Isolated, Icy Paths With ‘In the Light of Air’
The two fit well together.
Thank you A Closer Listen for the Review.

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In the Light of AirLess than a month after Anna Thorvaldsdottír’s inclusion on Nordic Affect’s Clockworking, a new collection of her work has been issued.  This four-movement work (plus a concluding piece) premiered only a year ago, and is performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble.  At the 2014 Reykjavik Arts Festival, a series of breath-activated lights enhanced the experience, while many klakabönd (metallic ornaments known as a bind of ice) were used as percussion.  Much of this is apparent in the clip below, but home listeners might imitate the experience through creative lighting and sound-and-motion activated appliances.

Not that any of this is necessary to enjoy the album, a combination of filigree-thin solos and remarkable convergences.  Thorvaldsdottír honors both the contributions of the individual performers and their work as an ensemble.  At this point, fifteen years and five hundred premieres into their career, ICE’s resume is so long that it causes the…

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REVIEW REBLOG – möström ~ we speak whale

Courtesy to A Closer Listen for this review and well worth following the link and looking at the creativity of The Vegetable Orchestra : )

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UNREC09_frontThe genre-defying debut of female trio möström is a sparkling original, beguiling in the best sense.  These Viennese veterans of other bands (including Gustav, broken.heart.collector and The Vegetable Orchestra, dedicated to “the exploration of the acoustic properties of vegetables” – really!) have now combined forces to produce music that can’t be imitated, because it doesn’t imitate anything else.  In fact, the only comparison we can make involves the “Emoticon” video, which shares the visual (although not the aural) tone of múm’s “They made frogs smoke til they exploded”.  Simultaneously playful and creepy, the childlike visuals are blended with extremely dark undertones, earning a parental warning without a single lyric.

Still with us?  Good.  Then you’ll definitely appreciate the album.  Perhaps the safest way to approach the music is sideways, so as not to alarm it.  The disjointed feeling of the combined instrumentation (bass clarinet, keyboard, DIY electronics) is mirrored by…

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REVIEW REBLOG – A Closer Listen -Far Rainbow ~ No Medicine That Can Cure A Fool

Discovered for myself Far Rainbow a while back but thanks to A Closer Listen glad to return and reblog this review.

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RainbowFar Rainbow are Emily Mary Barnett and Bobby Barry. On No Medicine That Can Cure A Fool they introduce the listener to a deeply colorful world that’s alive and blended together rather uneasily by rocky, experimental seas and the oh-so-still ambient sky. At first, the ambient drones prepare to take you deeper into the music. Diluted cymbals crash heavily. A pulsing bass tries to conceal the dawn chorus and its song of sweetness and light. Chirping birds eventually lose their voices and are replaced by electronic copies that bubble out of the music like a deep sea sonar. No Medicine That Can Cure A Fool is colorful music that slowly spreads its wings. A drum suddenly kicks in and provides a steady rhythm to the sailing drone which, incidentally, has its own rhythm – it just isn’t a beat – and the frequency of the drone wavers up and down…

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