Posts Tagged ‘Textured’

Ahead of the release of their second album, Inviolate, Dystopian Future Movies release ‘Black-Cloaked’ as a follow-up to ‘Countenance’, which came out in January.

Check it here:

Midira Records – MD080 – 13th December 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

It’s new year’s day, 2020. Like many, I’ve spent the last few weeks reflecting on the passing year: I usually do around this time, remembering where I was a year ago, two, three, five, ten years previous. Wondering precisely what I’ve got to show for it. that slow, sad, weight of nostalgia as the images captured in memories fade and curl around at the corners. Wondering: was I actually happier then, less prone to panic, or is this simply rose-tinting, psychological refuge in the comfort of the known, the life lived, rather than the fearful prospect of the unknown future? Such conflict, such dichotomy and dilemma.

And so, another year is indeed over, and here we are, staring into the void. Teetering on the brink of the abyss of a new decade in a post-fact, post-truth world where the capitalist world teeters on the brink of self-induced collapse and global climate catastrophe. And there is no success like failure.

We’ve failed as individuals, and as a species. The year is over… so what is there in prospect?

Open to the Sea’s new album, released late December provides the soothing backdrop to my existential strife, and it’s barely there for the most part. And yet, it’s there just enough: understated, yet still clearly stated.

The press release provides some useful insight into the album’s origins and its creators: ‘Open To The Sea is the collaboration project of Matteo Uggeri and Enrico Coniglio and Another Year Is Over is their second album. While Coniglio focusses on guitar, synths and other instruments, Uggeri adds samples and field recordings to create a soundcosmos full of tiny melodies and themes with appereance by some guest musicians on drums, trumpet and cello. That would make a perfect experimental ambient album with jazzy moments, but Uggeri & Coniglio push this release further by adding some vocals to most of the tracks by inviting guest singers like Dominic Appleton (This Mortal Coil) or Lau Nau from Finland.’

Minimal post-rock forged from sparse piano notes which drift into a rarefied air, spun with subtle, near-subliminal swirls of ambience, and stammering, glitching beats that hammer like a palpating heartbeat rattling in a tense ribcage, and picked guitar notes waft into the ether.

With different vocalists contributing to the various tracks, the tone and feel changes: ‘Heavy Like a Falling Leaf’ is soft, airy, yet poised, while ‘Uninvited Ghost’ and ‘Crystal Dog Barks’ feature a spoken word lyrical delivery, which in some respects changes both the dynamic and balance, and the function of the musical accompaniment, rendering the piece less a song and more of a narrative with instrumental backing.

‘Duduk Confession’ is hushed, brooding, with haunting strings and ominous hums lingering in the shadows, and on ‘Tapes and Cows Pt 1’, lonely brass wails softly over low notes to produce the most forlorn jazz imaginable. Scraping strings and frosty synth flickers accompany the deepest woe, which gradually evolves into warped space-age electro that melts into some warbling jazz trumpet.

The penultimate composition, ‘facing the waves’ is by far the most conventionally ‘songy’ of the ten, with a straight-ahead drum rhythm and solid piano providing the primary instrumentation on a whispy indie/shoegaze work. The fading refrain of ‘time now to start again’ is sung by a layered-up vocal set and, unexpectedly, Interpol come to mind.

The final song, ‘Another Year is Over, Let’s wait for Springtime’, with its whispering dialogue and soft dulcimer shimmers and soft, snowy strings that glide smoothly into the darkest corners, reminds me of my urge to hibernate, but also the fact that everything passes in time and everything is cyclical. Yesterday, today, tomorrow – they’re all points on a circle, and as linear as life lived is, as sure as birth and death, one year will follow the last, and so it will go on, whether we’re here or not.

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29th November 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

For me, there are few things worse than a story untold and only alluded do. Tell it or don’t! The press release for Cologne-based Roman Jungblut’s solo debut tantalisingly informs us that ‘His mainly improvisational musical live performances – in varying constellations since 1996 – are temporarily reduced to a few selected appearances in Cologne since 2009, due to reasons’. First and foremost, of course, my thoughts are with the artist: we all have our reasons for done – for not doing – things. Sometimes, they’re painful, or we simply don’t want to talk about them. But a story-half-told can lead to speculation. Not that I’m about to speculate on anything here, and shall instead focus on the sonic document presented in the form of Back To Where It Never Started, which comprises four pieces which explore a broad territory in a short span of time.

The blurb goes on: ‘After a ten-year full abstinence of recorded output besides contract work – and only ever having released music as a member of bands or collectives – Roman finally found it to be inevitable to not only release some music, but to do it as a solo artist, not hiding behind a pseudonym, an ensemble or even ironic distance. “Back to where it never started” is the first product of a long time filled with lots of artistic and personal moments of growth, of finding the courage for imperfection and embracing the potential of constraints’.

The most striking thing about the EP is its diversity.

‘Detox – Retox’ packs a lot into just five minutes, as a trilling top synth that surges and builds tension suddenly gives way to a plunging, thumping bass pulsation that’s low and low, and registers around the lower abdomen, before spiralling scraping drones evolve around it, conjuring a cinematic, texture-heavy soundscape that resonates in ever-expanding ripples.

‘78-7-88’ is radically different, a piano-led piece that’s almost jazzy in its stylings – but not so jazzy as to be irritating. Long, drawn-out notes hang and taper over the jaunty, mellifluous babbling backdrop, while ‘Einsicht’ is a space-age bloop-out, with whistles, bleeps, and whirrs hovering in zero-gravity slow-mo.

The final composition, the eleven-minute ‘Two for Tooth’ takes the form of a sparse yet layered ambient work that gradually grows warmer as it develops, slowly and subtly, around a rippling repetitive wave.

In some respects, the fact the set tapers out after so many shifts and ups and downs feels vaguely disappointing, but ultimately, its slow ebbing departure seems fitting as the listener’s journey ends with Jungblut meandering toward the horizon.

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The Helen Scarsdale Agency – HMS048 – 17th August 2018

The pitch for Maps’ as ‘minor-key’ where ‘tear-stained notes of piano, organ, and guitar veer along elliptical orbits as a soft-whisper lilt of Ekin’s voice narrates more by emotive decree than by literary couplet’ is but a flavour.

The album is largely inspired by her first winter on an island in the Sea of Marmara, away from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul, Maps is a completive work that reflects on experiencing silence and isolation. It’s relatable, and as is so often the case, in the personal lies the universal.

Isolation is not necessarily geographic, and distance doesn’t need to be great (the Sea of Marmara lies within the greater metropolitan umbrella of Istanbul) to have an effect on the psyche. Distance also needn’t be geographic: there’s no distance more isolating than emotional distance. It’s immeasurable, impossible to quantify, but manifests as a relentless ache, a sense of emptiness that sits in the gut and echoes around the chamber of the chest cavity. Mere inches in physical terms count for nothing when there’s that separation, and it grows to a pulling desperation, a gap that can’t be bridged. So close, and yet so far… just out of reach. There’s no-one to turn to, nowhere to go. Because you’re alone. And there are no words. Maps charts a journey through inner space, its hesitant notes representing the hesitant steps into unknown territory, alone.

On Maps, there are no words: this is the language of sound which communicates the message in its entirety. The warm-tones and sparse arrangements define the atmosphere of Maps. Fuzzy-edged guitar notes hanging in rarefied air for an eternity allude to Fil’s delicate, understated approach. Her music is sparse yet warm, delicate yet rich.

It’s a remarkably quiet, soft, understated work. It isn’t that nothing happens, but that evens unfurl discreetly, subtly, solely, with a certain delicacy. Organ wheezes as feedback whines on ‘Away’, while on the majority of the compositions, it’s a soft, echo-soaked piano that provides the main focus for this hushed, sparse song sequence which drifts together to create a very natural flow.

Maps doesn’t offer a direct route from A to B. But it does remind that the map is not the territory, and that the geographical terrain is not the mental space.

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