A Silver Mt Zion (as the band was first known) was formed by Efrim, Thierry and Sophie (all of GY!BE) at the beginning of 1999, and after a debut performance at Constellation's Musique Fragile concert series, the trio recorded this sublime debut record on 8-track at the original Hotel2Tango in November of that year.
Starting with simple, stirring piano themes written by Efrim, the music swirls and sways with multiple violin tracks from Sophie and plucked contrebasse from Thierry (his first recording on upright acoustic bass). What initially began as a single long, sparse chamber piece evolved into more fully-orchestrated movements, interspersed with tapes, drones and loops, along with some vocals.
Guest musicians include Aidan Girt (GY!BE, Exhaust, 1-Speed Bike), Gordon Krieger (Exhaust) and Sam Shalabi (Land Of Kush).
Additional taped fragments are from Efrim's archives, with contributions from Aidan. The resulting series of plaintive ensemble pieces shivers with intimate sadness. He Has Left Us Alone. is among the most requested records in our catalogue for film projects.
The album was dedicated to Efrim's dog Wanda.
There's a fine balance when it comes to combining classical textures with contemporary composition; on the one hand you're left with copious strings padding out a lack of ideas, whilst on the other there's a tendency to become esoteric in a fashion that alienates all but a hardcore of listeners. Max Richter is neither of the above... Classically trained and with a proven track record that numbers production work for Vashti Bunyan alongside his own 'The Blue Notebooks' release, Richter makes the kind of cinematic music that is difficult to describe without resorting to hyperbolic clichés... But we'll give it a go.
Possibly more subtle than his previous work, 'Songs From Before' is nonetheless a grand sonic gesture - with Richter combining cello, piano, violin, and viola around a central production style that is discreet without becoming muted. Melancholic and uplifting, 'Songs From Before' opens with 'Song'; a stunning sweep of piquant strings and muffled soundscapes that recall Cage, Arvo Part and Glass, whilst retaining a distinct Richter flavour. Describing himself as "post-classical", Richter's music has a submerged quality - as if you're hearing something that's just out of reach and thereby coaxing the ear deeper and deeper until you're totally absorbed by the music. Just as 'The Blue Notebooks' featured Tilda Swinton reading excerpts from Kafka, so 'Songs From Before' employs the same convention - here drafting in Robert Wyatt to pensively narrate passages from Haruki Murakami to create a reflective focal point that bestows the music with even greater gravitas.
Opening 'Flowers For Yulia' with a narrative thread that discusses city at dawn, the mealy crackle of vinyl slowly melts away into some glorious strings that are both eulogistic and contained, suggesting the poignant atmosphere of day break. From here, the sleight piano of 'Fragment' is the perfect juxtaposition to the proceeding grand gesture, 'Harmonium' twinkles into view with a iridescence that is genuinely beautiful, whilst 'Autumn Music 2' exploits the murky quality of the 16 track 2 inch analogue tape he recorded on through epic strings and a snow fall of background noise.
Epic yet personal, 'Songs From Before' is a joy that firmly cements Max Richter at the forefront of contemporary composition.
Prolific and critically acclaimed composer Johann Johannsson releases his Deutsche Grammophon debut album. 'Orphee' is his highly anticipated new studio album - the first in 6 years!
Johannsson's genre-blending score represents all facets of his previous works - from intimate string quartet pieces, to large string orchestra works, featuring electronics, drones, organ, piano, choir, as well as enigmatic shortwave broadcasts to create an evocative and immersive sound.
'Orphee' is a melancholic, yet optimistic musical journey inspired by the Orpheus myth - Orpheus rising from the underworld, trying to escape darkness into the light.
This new and welcomely out of the blue Tim Hecker release is composed of sketch pieces recorded in 2010 in preparation for what would become the outstanding Ravedeath, 1972 (KRANK154) album.
All of the compositions are piano driven and minimal in nature. This is not a new Tim Hecker album, but rather a peek behind the curtains into the working process.
That these pieces stand on their own as compelling soundworks is a testament to the fact that Tim Hecker is at the absolute top of his game at the moment, and has been for years.
MATTHEW COLLINGS is a Scotland-based composer. Not only being a solo recording and live artist, he collaborates regularly with artists from all kinds of fields including musicians (e.g. Dag Rosenqvist from JASPER TX and Denovali label mate TALVIHORROS), dancers and filmmakers. He’s responsible for several installations using custom-made software, which have been exhibited at Burning Man Festival in San Francisco or Glasgow's Centre for Contemporary Arts. His work for films includes a specially commissioned live score for Dziga Vertov’s 1929 silent classic, ‘The Man with the Movie Camera’ and an invitation to work on ‘The Invisibles’, a commission from Amnesty International.
'A Requiem for Edward Snowden' is a large scale live audiovisual performance piece that has been performed among others at the Glasgow Centre for Contemporary Art and the Gaudeamus Muziekweek in Utrecht. The piece focuses on a number of themes which are extremely relevant to our lives in the 21st century, based around the actions and decisions of whistleblower Edward Snowden; loss of faith and security, the hacking of digital media, invasion of privacy and personal sacrifice.
The documents released by Snowden reveal that we live in a world in which we are totally reliant not just on methods of communication, but on daily routines in which our privacy is completely compromised. The piece explores the consequences of this situation through a combination of electronic sound, acoustic instrumentation and live visuals. The gestures and performance from two live electronics performers, a clarinetist and string section are analysed and interact with real-time visual work by Jules Rawlinson (pixelmechanics.com), exploring the piece's central themes at sonic and visual levels.
'By turns politically muscular and poignantly nuanced, Collings' excellent piece is a heartening reminder of the quality of new music being created and performed in Scotland today' - The Herald Scotland
This album constitutes the entire musical part of the performance. However, as the piece was conceived as an audio-visual piece, the visuals are included as downloadable content.
The Blue Hour from Federico Albanese is an album of rich neoclassical drones created with cello, piano and subtle electronic processing. Albanese’s loop-based structures borrow the rise and fall crescendos of techno, but his arrangements are sparse and minimal, built from delicate melodies and yearning harmonies.
Never were the way she was is guided by the metaphorical narrative of the life of a girl who ages slow as mountains; excited, exalted, and ultimately exiled in her search for a world that resembles her experience. The album's expansive sonic trajectory and multiplicity of structures and voicings belies the fundamental economy of two acoustic instruments combining in real time.
The result is a musical chronicle that powerfully establishes its own spatial and temporal horizon, a soundtrack that requires no images but profoundly compels the imaginative. From the filigreed ostinato polyrhythms of “The sun roars into view” and “In the vespers” to the stately long tones of “And they still move”, the dark drone-inflected sea-saw waltz of “With the dark hug of time” to the growling, pulsing thrust of the album’s epic centerpiece “The rest of us”, Stetson and Neufeld offer up an incredible (and impressively diverse) integration of composition, performance, timbre and texture while holding their respective instruments in sparkling juxtaposition. Never were the way she was is a sum quite definitively and thrillingly greater than its parts.
Richter is considered a bit of a genius himself in contemporary classical music circles . . . "Sleep Remixes" represents yet another milestone for one of classical music's most original voices, whose creativity and imagination only serve to expand the boundaries of the genre.
Petrels second album draws on a fascination with how we deal with what is left over, both physically and mentally. With this thread running through Onkalo, the album also takes inspiration from speculative science, immense time scales, retro-futurism, personal history, and how the post-war optimism of the dawn of the atomic age has come up against a more uncertain vision of the future.
“This music could be written on a lonely island or onboard of a spaceship looking on our planet. Time becomes a new unit and feelings become more weight.” That’s exactly the feeling Bersarin Quartett still conveys on this album. References to STARS OF THE LID, ULVER's Perdition City, BOHREN & DER CLUB OF GORE and CINEMATIC ORCHESTRA are fully justified.
Max Richter's emotive and minimal score to Damon Lindelof's TV series about a post-apocalyptic global event where 2% of the world's population disappears without explanation.
Richter's approach explores the feelings of the protagonist's family, the Garveys, through intimate, small scale music.
He tackles this psychological landscape by bringing a ritual quality to the score, while themes of departure and loss are represented by a sense of sonic decay, relying on the instrumentation of a few sustained tones on pianos, harps and celesta.
Max Richter is a classically trained composer that defies boundaries. Trained at the Royal Academy of Music and finishing his studies under the tutelage of avant-garde composer Luciano Berio in Florence, Richter's career has followed many paths.
His musical output ranges from ballets (Wayne MacGregor's Infra), reinventions of classical works (Vivaldi's Four Seasons), collaborations with The Future Sound Of London, Roni Size and Vashti Bunyan to writing scores for film and TV (Waltz With Bashir, Lost and Found, Last Days on Mars) and solo work (Memoryhouse, The Blue Notebooks, 24 Postcards In Full Colour).
"This might just be the most beautiful sounding score of 2014." Soundtrack Geek "For every moment of sheer beauty, there's another of desolation and these contrast so well, the extremes of each simply exaggerating the effect of the other.
I can't remember the last time I heard music this good." Movie-Wave 5* "Listen to this score, because you will not forget it." Soundtrack Dreams