out now! various artists – a speechless body

Released today is a various artists compilation album called A Speechless Body. This is a concept album idea, originally conceived by Argentinian artist Mi Cosa de Resistance who then invited Andrew Heath, Ciro Berenguer, Hymns57 and Pepo Galan to create 2 tracks each, relating back to the previous track. The idea is that the album plays as a series of ‘chapters’, as if it were a book.

A Speechless Body is out now in a run of 100 copies! The best way to keep informed about our low-run releases, is to join our mailing list, and we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear!

press release
“Take five ambient composers from around the world. Ask them to create two pieces or chapters each which in turn relate, just as in a book, to the previous chapter but all constructed in two halves as a palindrome and you have an amazing and intriguing ambient work – A Speechless Body.

Originally conceived by the Argentinian experimental musician, Mi Cosa de Resistance, it quickly grew to include Ciro Berenguer, Pepo Galán, Hymns 57 and Andrew Heath and became an incredible journey from one place to another and then back again, taking in some beautiful ambient scenes along the way.

Diverse? Yes but delightfully so and it’s testament to these artist’s wonderful craft that everything works seamlessly. It guides you along this stunning ambient journey and is finally set into its own cohesive world by the mastering skills of James Edward Armstrong who frames the work perfectly. The stories and narrative within these ‘chapters’ is told through track titles, sound and the album artwork only. The rest, is to your own imagination.

credits
Written and produced by Mi Cosa de Resistance, Andrew Heath, Ciro Berenguer, Hymns 57, Pepo Galán
Mastered by James Edward Armstrong
Art and design by Andrew Heath

out now! various artists – sleeplaboratory3.0

Released today is a various artists compilation album called sleeplaboratory3.0. This is the third in the series, after a two year break and the concept for these albums is for the curated artists to produce their interpretation of sleep music. The result is CDr packed full of tracks designed to help induce the listener to sleep and this edition features work by the likes of Federico Mosconi, The Lifted Index, Stijn Hüwels, Tapes and Topographies, Andrew Heath and Ian Hawgood, who also mastered the album.

sleeplaboratory3.0 is out now in a run of 100 copies! The best way to keep informed about our low-run releases, is to join our mailing list, and we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear!

press release
“Sleeplaboratory3.0 is the third edition of Whitelabrecs’ long-standing concept compilation, a series that aims to induce the listener into a peaceful sleep. The series began in 2019 to mark the 50th release in the label’s catalog and was followed up with a second edition in 2020. It has seen contributions from the likes of Offthesky, Janek Schaefer, M.grig, The Green Kingdom, Warmth and Halftribe as well as artists from the label, including Mikael Lind, Gray Acres, Sven Laux, Glåsbird and Valotihkuu.

Sleeplaboratory compilations are typically released in January and after a two year break, 3.0 continues the themes established in the previous two records. Each artist in the line-up takes the brief of creating ‘sleep music’ and paints the sonic field with their own ideas. Some artists develop restful electro-acoustic compositions, whilst others sketch out soothing drones or vacant ambient textures. With a varied spectrum of warmth and cold, light and floaty, weighted and deep, this new collection features label-regulars such as Andrew Heath, blochemy and Pruski alongside the likes of Ian Hawgood, The Lifted Index, Federico Mosconi and Stijn Huwels. The track titles tend to tie back to the central album theme with words synonymous with rest, phases of sleep or calm places. This album can be experienced in many ways, such as at low volume with headphones, or streamed through hi-fi in a dimly lit room, consciously, or subconsciously.

credits
All rights reserved with the artists
Mastered by Ian Hawgood
Curated by Harry Towell
Art and design by Tom Tebby

Coming soon… Various Artists – A Speechless Body

We have another compilation album of sorts lined-up to begin this new year. This one is a concept album called A Speechless Body an idea originally conceived by Argentinian artist Mi Cosa de Resistance who then invited Andrew Heath, Ciro Berenguer, Hymns57 and Pepo Galan to create 2 tracks each, relating back to the previous track. The idea is that the album plays as a series of ‘chapters’, as if it were a book and this compilation album will be available for pre-order on Friday the 7th of January.

A Speechless Body‘ will be available in one of our typically low runs of 100 gatefold vinyl-effect CDrs, complete with art and design by Andrew Heath.

It will be released officially on Saturday the 15th of January. If you join our mailing list using the link below, we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear.

press release
“Take five ambient composers from around the world. Ask them to create two pieces or chapters each which in turn relate, just as in a book, to the previous chapter but all constructed in two halves as a palindrome and you have an amazing and intriguing ambient work – A Speechless Body.

Originally conceived by the Argentinian experimental musician, Mi Cosa de Resistance, it quickly grew to include Ciro Berenguer, Pepo Galán, Hymns 57 and Andrew Heath and became an incredible journey from one place to another and then back again, taking in some beautiful ambient scenes along the way.

Diverse? Yes but delightfully so and it’s testament to these artist’s wonderful craft that everything works seamlessly. It guides you along this stunning ambient journey and is finally set into its own cohesive world by the mastering skills of James Edward Armstrong who frames the work perfectly. The stories and narrative within these ‘chapters’ is told through track titles, sound and the album artwork only. The rest, is to your own imagination.

credits
Written and produced by Mi Cosa de Resistance, Andrew Heath, Ciro Berenguer, Hymns 57, Pepo Galán
Mastered by James Edward Armstrong
Art and design by Andrew Heath

Coming soon… various artists – sleeplaboratory3.0

 

We kick off what is sure to be another exciting year of releases, with the long-awaited return of our Sleeplaboratory compilation series. We’ve had a two year break since the last edition, and we welcome 3.0 to the series, and a line-up including label artists such as Andrew Heath, Tapes and Topographies, Lauge and Simon McCorry as well as artists that are new to the label, such as Ian Hawgood, The Lifted Index, Federico Mosconi and Stijn Hüwels. This compilation album will be available for pre-order on Friday the 7th of January and if the previous two releases are anything to go by, this will be quick to sell-out.

sleeplaboratory3.0‘ will be available in one of our typically low runs of 100 gatefold vinyl-effect CDrs, complete with art and design by Tom Tebby.

It will be released officially on Saturday the 15th of January. If you join our mailing list using the link below, we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear.

press release
“Sleeplaboratory3.0 is the third edition of Whitelabrecs’ long-standing concept compilation, a series that aims to induce the listener into a peaceful sleep. The series began in 2019 to mark the 50th release in the label’s catalog and was followed up with a second edition in 2020. It has seen contributions from the likes of Offthesky, Janek Schaefer, M.grig, The Green Kingdom, Warmth and Halftribe as well as artists from the label, including Mikael Lind, Gray Acres, Sven Laux, Glåsbird and Valotihkuu.

Sleeplaboratory compilations are typically released in January and after a two year break, 3.0 continues the themes established in the previous two records. Each artist in the line-up takes the brief of creating ‘sleep music’ and paints the sonic field with their own ideas. Some artists develop restful electro-acoustic compositions, whilst others sketch out soothing drones or vacant ambient textures. With a varied spectrum of warmth and cold, light and floaty, weighted and deep, this new collection features label-regulars such as Andrew Heath, blochemy and Pruski alongside the likes of Ian Hawgood, The Lifted Index, Federico Mosconi and Stijn Huwels. The track titles tend to tie back to the central album theme with words synonymous with rest, phases of sleep or calm places. This album can be experienced in many ways, such as at low volume with headphones, or streamed through hi-fi in a dimly lit room, consciously, or subconsciously.

credits
All rights reserved with the artists
Mastered by Ian Hawgood
Curated by Harry Towell
Art and design by Tom Tebby

Favourite Records of 2021

Our label owner Harry Towell has finalised his top 20 list of favourite albums of 2021, complete with a mix. See below a few words from Harry on his year in music, followed by the top 20, each with a link, a brief commentary and artwork. You can check out the mix Harry created by clicking the picture above, which counts down with a track from each of his favourite albums. Alternatively, there’s a player below and you can click play whilst you read on…


“2021 has been a year of forging onwards, back ‘to normal’ after the pandemic, returns to work, business as usual etc. However, it doesn’t feel completely the same, with climate change, destruction, scandal, social and political unrest all around us and the constant shadow of a pandemic that’s still very much here to stay. That’s before we even talk about Brexit, in particular the challenges it has brought to running the label. All that sounds pretty negative, but the year for me has been positive on so many fronts and all the while, the year has been soundtracked by some fantastic music the whole year through.

I think this year, I may well have explored more music than ever before, with a mixture of homeworking, commuting and leisure-time listening which covered a wide range of genres. I focused on a few scenes in particular; in the summer I went mad on Deep House music again, as I launched my Wallofhouse blog. Then I’ve been fascinated by Modern Classical music and the volume of sheer quality that is emerging from this scene. And Ambient, drone, electro acoustic styles, being the focus of Whitelabrecs, also dominated my listening.

This year my wife and I welcomed our second daughter Emily, into the family and so we’ve turned the music studio into a little bedroom for her. My physical music collection is in storage for now and so my listening has been much more digital than ever before. I know there’s a lack of a fair deal for musicians with Spotify in particular, but it has enabled me to cast the net much wider as I search for albums to indulge in. I still can’t help but feel that ‘liking’ an album on Spotify so I can scroll through some menus and stream it again on demand, is more than a little soul-less. But for the time being, it has suited our circumstances and I have committed to buying physical versions of the music I feel will stay with me forever. I.e, albums that make my best of list!

Onto my best of lists, and Bandcamp followers or my Spheruleus Mixcloud followers will have seen my historic best-of list mix shows being uploaded. This summer I added an iPod playlist of all the mixes I’ve made each year and I was bowled over by the nostalgia each one brought to me. Listening to the music literally transported me back in time, so I decided to get them all uploaded to Mixcloud, add them to a playlist and I’ll maintain this going forward. As of today, we have 12 years of listening to tons of records, whittling them down to a list, and recording a show to listen back to.


Below is my final list then – my favourite 20 albums of the year each with a few thoughts and a link where you can find out more about an album for yourself. Then there’s mix show featuring a track from each album, which I’ve made as a countdown with the help of my wife Beth who recorded the numbers a few years back. The cover artwork this year was taken on our holiday in Tenby, Wales, our first as a family of four.  We love Tenby, a family-favourite holiday destination and it was particularly beautiful on the morning I took the photo. I woke up to the sound of the sea, which was less than 100 meters away from our apartment. I looked out of the window and saw the sun rising impressively over the sea and had to take a walk along the promenade to take photos. Of course, with the sepia polaroid effect I’ve added, you can’t see the sun…


1st:
Origamibiro
Miscellany
Denovali

Towards the second half of a year it’s not unusual for me to put out a social media message, asking people to recommend albums for me to check out, as I begin to refine my end of year list. I did so this year and Brian from Stationary Travels recommended Miscellany, by Origamibiro. I’m familiar with the artist’s work from several years ago and within very little time, this moved its way to the very top of my list. And stayed there. It’s experimental, playful, good fun and full of ideas, moments of satisfying calm, moments of decaying, clanking rhythms.

https://origamibiro.bandcamp.com/album/miscellany


2nd:
Eydís Evensen
Bylur
XXIM Records

Over the last ten years, there’s been a real wealth of quality modern classical music and talented composers are springing up each year. Some countries have a knack for producing a greater percentage of these and Iceland is at the top of the list. The latest name to appear is Eydís Evensen and it’s been on heavy rotation this year, and a record that I can easily listen through from start to finish. The thing I’m finding with modern classical these days, is that there’s so much of it, that the works managing to really stand out need that added magic. Bylur is one such example; there are rich strings against which the piano is more sparse, and then more piano-led pieces. Overall, the mood really is magical and this is at its peak in the vocal track ‘Midnight Moon’.

https://eydisevensen.lnk.to/bylur


3rd:
Sebastian Plano
Save Me Not
Mercury KX

Argentinian cellist Sebastian Plano is an artist I’ve been following since enjoying his album Impetus as well as his collaboration with Ben Lukas Boysen, both of which I own on vinyl. I jumped on this record as soon as I became aware that it was out and it’s right up there with the best, this year. I can’t really call it between the top three of this chart, and this could/should be higher given that it soundtracked some dramatic walks along the high promenade of the Tenby cost, as I walked to fetch breakfast on our holiday in September. Plano may be a cellist, but I have always seen him as an all-round composer; this one’s beautiful, rich, melancholy and imaginative.


4th:
Addex
Eko
Limitation Music

In the warm summer of 2020 I made a dub techno mix and discovered how beautiful this genre of music sounded in the sun. This year I set up a blog called Wallofhouse and spent a few months scouring for House music in all its guises. Yet my best (very loosely linked) ‘House’ discovery of the year is this dub techno/ambient record by Addex. ‘Eko’ is a spacious hour and a half of blissed-out, poolside chill and I found myself reaching for this record over and over this summer. The album also sounds great when the sun is well and truly down, late at night, with its minimal techno micro beats and lush, infinitely cascading pads.

https://www.beatport.com/release/eko/3314244


5th:
Mikael Lind
Geographies
Dronarivm

In 2019 i became aware of Mikael Lind’s work through his album for Archives and I’ve since been lucky to welcome him to Whitelabrecs with his album Give Shape To Space, followed by an EP with S.hel. His album this year for Dronarivm hasn’t left my car CD player and the packaging from this top label makes Geographies an all round spectacle I’m only to glad to appreciate time and time again, on my long commutes.

https://dronarivm.bandcamp.com/album/geographies


6th:
Andrew Tuttle and Padang Food Tigers
A Cassowary Apart
Bedroom Suck

I’ve followed Padang Food Tigers for many years now, since their EP ‘Born Music’ on Under The Spire. I am less familiar of Andrew Tuttle’s work, although I was aware of him as an artist – I’d just not explored his work before now. In this record, Padang Food Tigers’ signature folk sound combines into beautifully warm electro-acoustic drones; a record that I’ve had towards the top of my list all year.

https://andrewtuttle.bandcamp.com/album/a-cassowary-apart


7th:
Gaspar Claus
Tancade
InFine

A record I returned to throughout autumn this year is Parisian cellist Gaspar Claus’ debut album Tancade. When you think of grand, stirring modern classical music, you think of the cello. Its deep, rich texture and bass tones are so satisfying and powerful. But it can also sound excellent when the limits of conventional playing are stretched. Here, Claus uses bowed strings alongside plucked and rhythmic patterns and I’m led to believe the entire compositions are made purely from the cello. This is quite incredible given the detail and fully orchestrated pieces of music on offer.

https://gasparclaus.bandcamp.com/album/tancade


8th:
Fabiano do Nascimento
Ykytu
Now-Again

LA based Brazilian Fabiano do Nascimento was a discovery I made last year and his last album Preludio made my chart, after sound-tracking walks in a sunny pandemic-stricken UK. I was eager to check out his new album ‘Ykytu’ and this one is somehow even better than last year.

https://fabianodonascimento.bandcamp.com/album/ykytu-2


9th:
Valgeir Sigurðsson
Kvika
Bedroom Community

I’ve been following Valgeir Sigurðsson’s music and Bedroom Community label for many years now and was excited to learn of his film score release KVIKA, used in the film MALÁ RÍŠA which features various musicians including violinist Daniel Pioro. The album’s title is the Icelandic word for magma, which is fitting given the eruption at Fagradalsfjall which began in March, when this record was released. This record is sprawling with a wealth of orchestral timbres, through the multiple musicians that performed in the score but there are also plenty of electronics and effects that underly the mix, which help make this a fascinating listen all the way through its 21 tracks.

https://valgeir.bandcamp.com/album/kvika


10th:
The Lifted Index
Sanctuary
Seil

Seil Records have been storming it this year and I could have had a few inclusions from their catalog this year, that didn’t quite make the list in the end, notably albums by Jogging House and Thme. But the stand-out for me and my favourite electronic ambient album is Sanctuary by The Lifted Index. I’ve been working with artist Tom Tebby this year and he recommend I check out The Lifted Index, and this one really stood out. There’s no clear concept, it’s just seriously good ambient/post rock, created with synths, guitars and pedals.

https://theliftedindex.bandcamp.com/album/sanctuary


11th:
Balmorhea
The Wind
Deutsche Grammophon

“I’ve enjoyed Balmorhea’s work for many years and ‘The Wind’ was eagerly anticipated, and did not disappoint. Contemporary classical music befitting of Deutsche Grammophon but some folk moments and guest musicians, including Clarice Jensen, give this record a variation that makes it easy for me to enjoy in one sitting. The artwork is minimal, classic and striking and a loose theme around the natural world provides food for thought as you listen.

https://www.deutschegrammophon.com/en/catalogue/products/the-wind-balmorhea-12219


12th:
Olivia Belli
Sol Novo
XXIM

The high bar that is classical music is something I’ve already touched on and this is another example, of yet another talented composer, Mantova, Italy’s Olivia Belli. She says that dawn is her favourite time to compose and intended for this album ‘Sol Novo’ meaning new sun, to be filled with light. A further example of an artist inspired by the world around them and the result, is some exquisite modern classical music, centered around the piano, joined with gently stirring strings.

https://oliviabelli.com/sol-novohttps://silmus.bandcamp.com/album/laaksum


13th:
Schreel Van De Velde
Balts
Blickwinkel

There were some excellent guitar-driven records this year, that nodded back to post-rock from the early to mid 2000s in particular. I discovered this one by Schreel Van De Velde in the summer and whilst in reminded me of Tape with its use of guitar instrumentals, it has a sound of its own. Schreel Van De Velde is a Belgian duo combining the surnames of Lucas Schreel, who creates the melody in this project and Casper Van De Velde, who provides percussion.

https://blickwinkel.bandcamp.com/album/balts


14th:
Andrew Heath
New Eden
Disco Gecko

I’ve been in touch with Andrew now for over a year, working with him for his release for Whitelabrecs, a collaboration with Anne Chris Bakker as well as having him help with our label’s design work. We have more planned from Andrew in 2022 but also this year, he had been sending me his other releases. All are unmistakably excellent but New Eden stands out as the big one for me. I’ve listened to this over and over towards the end of 2021, a truly complete listen, urging the listener to search for a purer, more natural world; a better place. It works well as a sleep album but also, there is so much detail in the drones, electric piano and superb field recordings, that you can turn this up to a reasonable volume and allow your ears to explore.

https://andrewheath.bandcamp.com/album/new-eden


15th:
Teis Ortved
Parks At Night
Bathurst

Last year I listened to a lot of Jazz music and this year, less so. I think it may be due to listening to Jazz FM less and also, I didn’t go out searching for as much in the genre. However, I did stumble across this debut album by 17 year old Danish musician and composer, Teis Ortved. He comes from a musical family so you can expect a degree of competency in his approach to his first album. But listening to this album, I have been repeatedly bowled over at the talent oozing from the production of every beat, every synth and every sound. It’s such an accomplished first step into releasing an album that I’m excited to track Teis’ future career.

https://teisortved.bandcamp.com/album/parks-at-night


16th:
Philip G Anderson
Figment
Self Released

I have been following American composer Philip G Anderson’s career for a couple of years now and instantly jumped on his self-released album Figment, when it came out in June. His album ‘Wilderness’ was a firm favourite Modern Classical discovery last year and I’m sure it would have made my 2019 chart had I discovered it at the time. Figment does not have a clearly stated concept other than a single line talking about it being a personal reflection of struggle, growth and evolution. The album artwork shows the composer casting a downward glance, but these grand, technically brilliant, sonically fascinating compositions show that any struggle is paying off, if it relates to his musical career. His work is exceptional and I’m sure he’ll go far.

https://philipganderson.bandcamp.com/album/figment


17th:
Seaworthy and Matt Rösner
Snowmelt
12k

“Many years back during my early ‘ambient years’, when I’d first got into 12k, Seaworthy was one artist in particular that really got into a more acoustic version of ambient music. 1897 was out of this world for me back then and shortly after, Cameron Webb did a collab with Matt Rösner called ‘Two Lakes’, another exceptional piece of music on 12k. Several years on, the duo made a follow-up which I instantly took to exploring. Exotic field recordings, plaintive guitar and acoustic drones make for a truly compelling listen. And as always, beautiful artwork too from 12k.”

https://12kmusic.bandcamp.com/album/snowmelt


18th:
Oliver Patrice Weder
The Pool Project
SA Recordings

I’m a follower of Spitfire Audio, a quality company offering sample libraries for musicians and composers. I watch a lot of their videos and one of the video presenters is Oliver Patrice Weder, who unveiled the immersive Pool Project, in which an album was recorded inside an indoor swimming pool, at a beautiful location. Guests were involved in the process and Weder pulled everything together into this fantastic ambient/cinematic album, full of warmth and an airiness. Not to mention an accompanying and affordable sample pack available through Spitfire.

https://oliverpatriceweder.bandcamp.com/album/the-pool-project


19th:
Miguel Angel Tolosa
Nostalgia (Circa 1987)
LINE

Another discovery on the advice of a friend; James Armstrong dropped me a note to let me know I might want to check out this record. He knows I’m a fan of vinyl-crackle and ‘vintaged’ sound aesthetics and he was right on the money. I’ve had these snoozy, antiquated piano and orchestral loops on a lot this year – an exquisite record on Richard Chartier’s LINE imprint.

https://lineimprint.bandcamp.com/album/nostalgia-circa-1987


20th:
Prequel
Love Or (I Heard You Like Heartbreak)
Rhythm Section

“I went mad on House music again this year after setting up a new blog, Wallofhouse. Posts have been sparse in the last 6 months but during the summer, I was scouring new releases daily. What I’ve found over the years is that in the House music genre, albums are often geared towards retrospectives, or a collection of dancefloor tracks. The best albums contain a concept and here with this one by Prequel, it joins an impressive Rhythm Section catalog and already stands out. It’s a record I can listen to from start to finish; lots of deep loops, dusty samples and percussive breaks.”

https://prequel.bandcamp.com/album/love-or-i-heard-you-like-heartbreak

Out Now! Darkroom – The Last Sense To Fade

Released today is an album called The Last Sense To Fade by UK duo Darkroom, which follows their Home Diaries album for Whitelabrecs in 2020. This is a double-disc album, full experimental textures, drones, bass clarinet deepness and guitar tones.

The Last Sense To Fade is out now in a run of 100 copies! The best way to keep informed about our low-run releases, is to join our mailing list, and we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear!

press release
“Darkroom is a duo, each hailing from a UK capital city, with Andrew Ostler based in Edinburgh and Michael Bearpark from London. They have been active since the late nineties with music released through labels such as 3rd Stone, Champion Version and Burning Shed as well as their own Bandcamp. Their evolving live performances have been a particular feature for Darkroom, and much of their studio work begins with live performances. Those live performances had to cease in 2020 as a result of the pandemic and this prompted them to join our Home Diaries, in which they provided the penultimate edition of the series.

We had been in discussion with Darkroom prior to this point for some time, with the intention to release an album of their work and this also had to be paused as a result of the pandemic. This period of time provided an opportunity for all of us to reflect and prepare for something special, against a backdrop of uncertainty and disappointment. It is therefore fitting that this double album includes guitar extracts from the last live Darkroom duo performance to date, re-set into a new context in which remote performance and distant communication became not just workarounds but offer new ways of working for the future. Further live takes have been repurposed or adapted, alongside guest musicians and new material. The old and the new burn together alongside one another, like memories.

The seed for this album was Billy Connolly’s ‘Made In Scotland’ documentary, and these are the thoughts he shared about his neurodegenerative illness:

My life is slipping away. But it doesn’t frighten me. It’s as if I’m being prepared for something, some other adventure, which is over the hill. I’ve got all this stuff to lose first, and then I’ll be at the shadowy side of the hill doing the next step or summat in the spirit world.

After watching this deeply affecting meditation, Mike created the extended guitar improvisation that initiated this album. As part of a performance by Andrew, this became ‘The Shadowy Side Of The Hill’ as the first album piece completed. Additional guitars were recorded by Jon Durant when he visited the UK and by Bill Walker remotely from Santa Cruz in California. By chance, the album’s title was identified; it’s left deliberately ambiguous as to whether ‘The Last Sense To Fade’ is about dying, or sleeping. By late 2019, the first of what became two discs had been completed and the mood felt dark, both in the recordings themselves and the world around.

A balancing light slowly emerged as Darkroom began to explore their ideas for the second disc. A key part of concluding this double album was coming to terms with the loss of deep connections, and of damage catching up after a long time – when, for a time, it became difficult to think at all, compounded by pandemic lockdown restrictions. The decisive creative moment came in realising that the album was somehow about all of this, such that completing it took on a new and urgent significance. The closing thoughts of Connolly’s documentary seemed an apt spearhead with which to move on:

You can volunteer to take life seriously, but it’s going to get you. You know they’re going to win over you. It’s harsh. You can either break down and complain about how miserable your life is, or have a go at it and survive. I think that’s the basis of it all.

‘The Last Sense To Fade’ in its completed form is more positive than almost anything Darkroom has ever recorded. It is very much of its time, and a reaction to it, while also managing to stand outside of being defined by any particular time. The cover photography was taken less than two years before the album’s release and the world looked so different. Now, in retrospect, this image captures something of that difference; of foundations about to give way. The warm and beautiful evening light anticipates the next day’s sunrise, but also suggests destruction, both personal and global; a familiar landscape being transformed before our eyes. This album came from a new determination that it’s nevertheless worth creating in response to this, that loss is an open door but also an invitation, and that there will be new ways of seeing the world even if they won’t last forever.”

credits
Recorded by Andrew Ostler
Additional guitars recorded by Michael Bearpark
and Bill Walker
Edited, mixed, and produced by Darkroom
Mastered by James Edward Armstrong

Music:
Andrew Ostler – bass clarinet, tenor saxophone,
modular synths, laptop
Michael Bearpark – guitar, field recordings
Jon Durant – fretless guitar
Bill Walker – slide guitar

Cover photograph – Michael Bearpark
51°36’56.8″N 0°17’11.7″E
Photo restoration – Arber
Darkroom portrait – Rob Blackham
Art and Design – Andrew Heath

Special thanks: Elif, Jon, Bill, Kamil Kowalczyk
(Soundscapism), Ian Faragher (Sonic Imperfections,
Telegraph Hill), Anil Prasad, Arber / Curated Doom, Rob,
Mike Whitfield, Billy Connolly, Neil the Professor, Looper’s Delight, H&K Red Box, SG8’s Jubilee
Wood and Long Barrow, EB / JB / ZB. And dearest LB:
after ten thousand days, we lost our way… this is dedicated
to what we could share, before our damage caught up.

Coming soon… Darkroom – The Last Sense To Fade

 

Our final release of a busy 2021 will be available for pre-order on Friday the 3rd of December, a special double album from UK artists Darkroom. We have been planning this one for quite a while now and during the height of the pandemic, Andrew Ostler and Michael Bearpark, the duo behind this project, created the 29th edition of our Home Diaries series.

The Last Sense To Fade‘ will be available in one of our typically low runs of 100 gatefold vinyl-effect CDrs, complete with art and design by Andrew Heath.

It will be released officially on Saturday the 11th of December. If you join our mailing list using the link below, we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear.

press release
“Darkroom is a duo, each hailing from a UK capital city, with Andrew Ostler based in Edinburgh and Michael Bearpark from London. They have been active since the late nineties with music released through labels such as 3rd Stone, Champion Version and Burning Shed as well as their own Bandcamp. Their evolving live performances have been a particular feature for Darkroom, and much of their studio work begins with live performances. Those live performances had to cease in 2020 as a result of the pandemic and this prompted them to join our Home Diaries, in which they provided the penultimate edition of the series.

We had been in discussion with Darkroom prior to this point for some time, with the intention to release an album of their work and this also had to be paused as a result of the pandemic. This period of time provided an opportunity for all of us to reflect and prepare for something special, against a backdrop of uncertainty and disappointment. It is therefore fitting that this double album includes guitar extracts from the last live Darkroom duo performance to date, re-set into a new context in which remote performance and distant communication became not just workarounds but offer new ways of working for the future. Further live takes have been repurposed or adapted, alongside guest musicians and new material. The old and the new burn together alongside one another, like memories.

The seed for this album was Billy Connolly’s ‘Made In Scotland’ documentary, and these are the thoughts he shared about his neurodegenerative illness:

My life is slipping away. But it doesn’t frighten me. It’s as if I’m being prepared for something, some other adventure, which is over the hill. I’ve got all this stuff to lose first, and then I’ll be at the shadowy side of the hill doing the next step or summat in the spirit world.

After watching this deeply affecting meditation, Mike created the extended guitar improvisation that initiated this album. As part of a performance by Andrew, this became ‘The Shadowy Side Of The Hill’ as the first album piece completed. Additional guitars were recorded by Jon Durant when he visited the UK and by Bill Walker remotely from Santa Cruz in California. By chance, the album’s title was identified; it’s left deliberately ambiguous as to whether ‘The Last Sense To Fade’ is about dying, or sleeping. By late 2019, the first of what became two discs had been completed and the mood felt dark, both in the recordings themselves and the world around.

A balancing light slowly emerged as Darkroom began to explore their ideas for the second disc. A key part of concluding this double album was coming to terms with the loss of deep connections, and of damage catching up after a long time – when, for a time, it became difficult to think at all, compounded by pandemic lockdown restrictions. The decisive creative moment came in realising that the album was somehow about all of this, such that completing it took on a new and urgent significance. The closing thoughts of Connolly’s documentary seemed an apt spearhead with which to move on:

You can volunteer to take life seriously, but it’s going to get you. You know they’re going to win over you. It’s harsh. You can either break down and complain about how miserable your life is, or have a go at it and survive. I think that’s the basis of it all.

‘The Last Sense To Fade’ in its completed form is more positive than almost anything Darkroom has ever recorded. It is very much of its time, and a reaction to it, while also managing to stand outside of being defined by any particular time. The cover photography was taken less than two years before the album’s release and the world looked so different. Now, in retrospect, this image captures something of that difference; of foundations about to give way. The warm and beautiful evening light anticipates the next day’s sunrise, but also suggests destruction, both personal and global; a familiar landscape being transformed before our eyes. This album came from a new determination that it’s nevertheless worth creating in response to this, that loss is an open door but also an invitation, and that there will be new ways of seeing the world even if they won’t last forever.”

credits
Recorded by Andrew Ostler
Additional guitars recorded by Michael Bearpark
and Bill Walker
Edited, mixed, and produced by Darkroom
Mastered by James Edward Armstrong

Music:
Andrew Ostler – bass clarinet, tenor saxophone,
modular synths, laptop
Michael Bearpark – guitar, field recordings
Jon Durant – fretless guitar
Bill Walker – slide guitar

Cover photograph – Michael Bearpark
51°36’56.8″N 0°17’11.7″E
Photo restoration – Arber
Darkroom portrait – Rob Blackham
Art and Design – Andrew Heath

Special thanks: Elif, Jon, Bill, Kamil Kowalczyk
(Soundscapism), Ian Faragher (Sonic Imperfections,
Telegraph Hill), Anil Prasad, Arber / Curated Doom, Rob,
Mike Whitfield, Billy Connolly, Neil the Professor, Looper’s Delight, H&K Red Box, SG8’s Jubilee
Wood and Long Barrow, EB / JB / ZB. And dearest LB:
after ten thousand days, we lost our way… this is dedicated
to what we could share, before our damage caught up.

Out Now! Tapes and Topographies – Amplitudes

Also out today is Amplitudes by US-based artist Tapes and Topographies, which follows releases on Dronarivm, Shimmering Moods and Past Inside The Present. This record is a sleepy cocktail of vacant and melancholy tones and features macro photography by our label owner, Harry Towell.

Amplitudes is out now in a run of 100 copies! The best way to keep informed about our low-run releases, is to join our mailing list, and we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear!

press release
“Tapes and Topographies is US based artist Todd Gautreau, who has had music releases on labels such as Past Inside the Present, Dronarivm, Shimmering Moods and his own imprint, Simulacra. His project has been active since 2014 following his previous alias Tear Ceremony and he also produces a downtempo as Sonogram.

With each new album, Todd follows a different workflow to achieve new details and results in his sound. Increasingly, his work has been aided by the use of hardware and outboard effects.
In his latest album Amplitudes, he has taken a set of sounds and fed these through a looper, experimenting with altered loop speeds. He used FM synthesis for the first time in this body of work, alongside some of his tried and tested methods, joined by field recordings.

These nine compositions clock in at almost 50 minutes; a compelling listen through dreamy, organic textures. Todd has created a lot of music in the last 18 months and Amplitudes is the latest in his continuous process of distilling his sounds and ideas down to their essence.
The album’s artwork is a macro-photograph of a stone, as the fine details are ‘amplified’ by the magnification effect of the camera’s lens. There is not a clear concept but inspiration is drawn from film and literature, as well as self-reflection, memory, loss and dreams. As these compositions play out, you’ll find yourself concentrating on fine details, whilst at other times, in a blissful state, zooming out to absorb the bigger picture.”

credits
Written and produced by Todd Gauthreau
Mastered by James Edward Armstrong
Macro photography by Harry Towell
Art and design Andrew Heath

Out Now! Simon McCorry – The Illusion of Endings & Beginnings

We have another two physical editions set to release on the 13th of November following a Bandcamp Friday pre-order on the 5th of November. The first of these is from Gloucestershire, UK based cellist and composer Simon McCorry, who had previously collaborated with anthene for Whitelabrecs in May’s The Equation of Time. Simon has released with labels such as Naviar, Polar Seas and most recently, Rusted Tones. In this new album, he has also enlisted the help of pianist Simeon Walker, to close out the album.

The Illusion of Beginnings and Endings is out now in a run of 100 copies! The best way to keep informed about our low-run releases, is to join our mailing list, and we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear!

press release
“Simon McCorry is a cellist and composer from Gloucestershire, UK who has released music through the likes of Polar Seas, Naviar and Rusted Tone. He has also been a regular collaborator, most recently with anthéne, with whom he created The Equation of Time, released here on Whitelabrecs in May 2021.
Simon has prepared a new solo album called The Illusion of Beginnings & Endings, which draws upon a body of work he composed for a contemporary dance film production.

For this release, Simon has worked once again with visual artist Tom Tebby, who has designed the packaging around imagery techniques using a camera and paper. The result provides a stark and obscure focal point, which projects itself into the cinematic textures of this album. The concepts and ideas behind The Illusion of Beginnings & Endings are based loosely around ambition. We all have different views on ambition and what this means for us, and the artist states that their preference is to live for the moment. This album reflects that this idealistic view on the world is at odds with a society that pushes us to constantly strive for a brighter future. To some, this is a grey cloak of fear; a fear of failure or underachievement. To others, taking stock might be hard.

The drama of this sound, its deep pensive cello, pulsing modular synth movements and transcendent piano, provides a space in which we can ponder upon our own ambitions. The lens through which we see ourselves may differ from one person to the next. Perhaps you will feel an urge to be present, or the opposite; an urge to feel vacant? Either way, the weight of our own ambition may feel that bit lighter as a result, as we decode the contents of this album.

-“You can never get outside it; you must always turn back. There is no outside; outside you cannot breathe. Where does this idea come from? It is like a pair of glasses on our nose through which we see whatever we look at. It never occurs to us to take them off”- (Ludwig Wittgenstein)

credits
Written and produced by Simon McCorry
Mastered by James Edward Armstrong
Piano on track 10 by Simeon Walker
Art and Design by Tom Tebby