Out Now! Guy Gelem + Susan Macintosh – Scenario

We’re pleased to announce the next edition in our recently launched digital series, <facets> which is in collaboration with Art North Magazine. This series will involve a range of composers and sound artists, teaming up with talented visual artists, for an audio-visual release. Next we welcome back Guy Gelem from Jerusalem, Israel. His work is accompanied by artwork by visual artist Susan Macintosh. Scenario combines the sound of guitar and cello along with additional subtle textures and the resulting 5 track EP was a back and forth collaboration between both the sonic and visual artist. You can see additional works of art created by Susan inside the PDF booklet, included with the download of this release.

Each <facets> edition will include either an EP or album of music available in a range of high quality audiophile formats, accompanied by a work of art as the cover image and a booklet PDF which contains art, profile imagery, background information and an interview, featuring both the sonic and visual artist.

Tense is released today, Monday the 21st of June. If you join our mailing list , we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear about future editions.

press release
“<facets> is an audio-visual series, co-curated between Whitelabrecs and Art North Magazine. This collection provides a space in our catalog for digital music, in which we aim to provide more than a few mp3s and a low resolution square image. Each edition of <facets> is pitched equally at both your eyes and ears. Sonic and visual textures overlap as we pair musicians, composers or sound designers with painters, sculptors or photographers. The work includes the music in a range of formats, specially created visual artwork and a PDF art booklet containing imagery, interviews and liner notes. Our collective aim is to create a coherent work of cross-media art, where the creative outputs of a sonic artist and a visual artist complement each other as a singular creative output.

In our third edition of this series, we welcome back Guy Gelem from from Jerusalem, Israel. Guy has released music with labels including Quiet Design, Mini50, Time Release Sound and Rural Colours. He also contributed the album ‘Entirety’ back in 2016, our inaugural year. ‘Scenario’ is an EP created using his signature instruments, cello and guitar, with which he has woven a collection of tracks reflecting on themes of creation. The concept considers the world and its processes; how everything is organised, and as one gigantic scenario.

After we received a couple of initial submissions from Guy, we handed the tracks to artist Susan Macintosh who began to sketch out preparatory works that had been directly informed by the music. We also introduced Susan’s artwork to Guy and he composed the remainder of ‘Scenario’, before returning the completed five-track EP. Further interpretations were created by Susan, as she immersed herself in the music. The end result of this collaborative challenge is a sensory blend of texture and colour, both sonically and visually; steeped in a palpable earthy charm that reflects the natural world.

credits

Music: Guy Gelem
Mastering: James Edward Armstrong
Art Direction & Editing: Ian McKay
Artwork: Susan Macintosh

Project Curators: Harry Towell (Music) & Ian McKay (Visual Art)

whitelabrecs.com
whitelabrecs.bandcamp.com
artnorth-projects.org

www.susanmacintosh.co.uk

Out Now! anthéne & simon mccorry – the equation of time

Today we announce the latest new addition to our series, which sees the return of anthéne who has joined forces with cellist and composer Simon McCorry.

The Equation Of Time‘ is an album which combines processed guitar and cello, to contemplate the enormity of time. It’s rounded off by the stunning collage artwork of Tom Tebby, who also designed the CD packaging which we’ll be revealing the packaging on release day.

Whitelabrecs low-run releases are likely to sell out fast. The best way to keep informed is to join our mailing list which can be located through our website menu or you can click HERE

press release
“We’re pleased to welcome back Toronto, Canada’s anthéne in the form of this collaborative album with UK cellist and composer Simon McCorry. Between them, they have released solo recordings on labels such as Home Normal, Archives, Past Inside The Present, Naviar and Fallen Moon. They’ve also both released on Polar Seas, a label helmed by Brad Deschamps, the man behind anthéne.

Both artists are comfortable collaborators, having worked alongside the likes of Ian Hawgood, Andrew Tasselmyer and Andrew Heath. It was in 2020 when their remote recording sessions translated into The Equation Of Time, combining and processing Brad’s guitar and Simon’s cello into a collage of droning textures. A concept sprang from their work together, during the unfolding pandemic and its resulting lockdowns, where time itself seemed to stand still, go backwards and go forwards, all at once. Add to this the the sheer geographical distance and time zones separating these artists, the often-explored artistic muse of time and space became the central theme.

The title ‘The Equation Of Time’ relates to the differences between the day of the earliest sun rise, the day of the latest sunset, the longest day. Each of these days are different, noted by the ancient Greeks and the Persians before them. The enormity of time and the ability for humans to occupy the same space as multiple predecessors is particularly fascinating when faced with something ancient, such as a cave painting, a forest or the ruins of a fallen civilisation. The track titles are aptly borrowed from parts of T.S. Eliot’s 4 Quartets, which also deals with the contemplation of time. You can surmise from these poems that ideally, one would focus only on the present, in order to make the most of each turn of the clock; the past cannot be altered and the future is unknown. Our memory can subconsciously serve us back our own recollection of past times, which can result in nostalgia, melancholy or both. Our minds can also influence our perception of the future, with feelings of either fear, excitement or both.

The Equation Of Time grapples at these themes and ideas without the intention of ever truly being able to define time. A wash of faded memories, unknowns and current thoughts stir into one-another; ambient music itself always seems so able to reflect and evoke a sense of wonder, at things far bigger than we can ever comprehend.”

credits
Written and Produced by Brad Deschamps and Simon McCorry
Mastered by Ian Hawgood
Artwork by Tom Tebby
Packaging design by Tom Tebby

Out Now! Demetrio Cecchitelli + Jonathan Dickson – Tense

We’re pleased to unveil a short preview of the next edition in our new digital series, <facets> in which we’ll be collaborating with Art North Magazine. This series will involve a range of composers and sound artists, teaming up with talented visual artists, for an audio-visual release. Next up, we welcome Demetrio Cecchitelli  from Rimini in Italy. His work is accompanied by photography from visual artist Jonathan Dickson. Tense was originally composed for a theatre production but joins the <facets> series in which a new context was added in the form of Jonathan’s photography which focuses on a collection of burnt matches. The work plays as a series of abstract cinematic soundscapes that lean more towards Musique Concrete than modern classical composition. 

Each <facets> edition will include either an EP or album of music available in a range of high quality audiophile formats, accompanied by a work of art as the cover image and a booklet PDF which contains art, profile imagery, background information and an interview, featuring both the sonic and visual artist.

Tense is released today, Saturday the 22nd of May. If you join our mailing list , we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear about future editions.

press release
“Facets is an audio-visual series, co-curated between Whitelabrecs and Art North Magazine. This collection provides a space in our catalog for digital music, in which we aim to provide more than a few mp3s and a low resolution square image. Each edition of Facets is pitched equally at both your eyes and ears. Sonic and visual textures overlap as we pair musicians, composers or sound designers with painters, sculptors or photographers. The work includes the music in a range of formats, specially created visual artwork and a PDF art booklet containing imagery, interviews and liner notes. Our collective aim is to create a coherent work of cross-media art, where the creative outputs of a sonic artist and a visual artist complement each other as a singular creative output.

In our second edition of this new series, we welcome Demetrio Cecchitelli from Rimini, Italy. He has released music with labels such as Sounds Against Humanity, Healing Sound Propagandist and Dornwald among others. ‘Tense’ is an album that was originally composed for a theatre in Santarcangelo di Romagna and in its release as part of the series, it is given a new context. The record explores themes of tension, constructing moments of suspense and quiet, as it both surprises and lulls the listener.

The collaboration is complete with the photography of Jonathan Dickson, based in Ireland, whose artistic tangents saw him experiment with taking photographs of burnt matches. The imagery becomes a fitting companion to Demetrio’s themes of tension, as this brooding and dimly-lit cinematic soundscape is reflected visually. To complete this edition, Art North’s editor Ian McKay has produced a music video to the title track, using Dickson’s matches and photos of the Rimini backstreets to tie this concept together.

credits

Music: Demetrio Cecchitelli
Mastering: James Edward Armstrong
Art Direction & Editing: Ian McKay
Photography: Jonathan Dickson, N. Ricci, M. Stock, & D. Roszca

Featured artwork by Jonathan Dickson

Music & Artwork © 2021, The Artists (Demetrio Cecchitelli, Jonathan Dickson), All Rights Reserved. Video ℗ by Art North Projects. Music ℗ by Whitelabrecs, 2021

Project Curators: Harry Towell (Music) & Ian McKay (Visual Art)

whitelabrecs.com
whitelabrecs.bandcamp.com
artnorth-projects.org

www.instagram.com/demetriocecchitelli/
www.facebook.com/jonathandicksonartist

Coming soon… Demetrio Cecchitelli + Jonathan Dickson – Tense

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We’re pleased to unveil a short preview of the next edition in our new digital series, <facets> in which we’ll be collaborating with Art North Magazine. This series will involve a range of composers and sound artists, teaming up with talented visual artists, for an audio-visual release. Next up, we welcome Demetrio Cecchitelli  from Rimini in Italy. His work is accompanied by photography from visual artist Jonathan Dickson. Tense was originally composed for a theatre production but joins the <facets> series in which a new context was added in the form of Jonathan’s photography which focuses on a collection of burnt matches. The work plays as a series of abstract cinematic soundscapes that lean more towards Musique Concrete than modern classical composition. 

Each <facets> edition will include either an EP or album of music available in a range of high quality audiophile formats, accompanied by a work of art as the cover image and a booklet PDF which contains art, profile imagery, background information and an interview, featuring both the sonic and visual artist.

Tense will be released on Saturday the 22nd of May with no pre-order. If you join our mailing list using the link below, we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear.

press release
“Facets is an audio-visual series, co-curated between Whitelabrecs and Art North Magazine. This collection provides a space in our catalog for digital music, in which we aim to provide more than a few mp3s and a low resolution square image. Each edition of Facets is pitched equally at both your eyes and ears. Sonic and visual textures overlap as we pair musicians, composers or sound designers with painters, sculptors or photographers. The work includes the music in a range of formats, specially created visual artwork and a PDF art booklet containing imagery, interviews and liner notes. Our collective aim is to create a coherent work of cross-media art, where the creative outputs of a sonic artist and a visual artist complement each other as a singular creative output.

In our second edition of this new series, we welcome Demetrio Cecchitelli from Rimini, Italy. He has released music with labels such as Sounds Against Humanity, Healing Sound Propagandist and Dornwald among others. ‘Tense’ is an album that was originally composed for a theatre in Santarcangelo di Romagna and in its release as part of the series, it is given a new context. The record explores themes of tension, constructing moments of suspense and quiet, as it both surprises and lulls the listener.

The collaboration is complete with the photography of Jonathan Dickson, based in Ireland, whose artistic tangents saw him experiment with taking photographs of burnt matches. The imagery becomes a fitting companion to Demetrio’s themes of tension, as this brooding and dimly-lit cinematic soundscape is reflected visually. To complete this edition, Art North’s editor Ian McKay has produced a music video to the title track, using Dickson’s matches and photos of the Rimini backstreets to tie this concept together.

credits

Music: Demetrio Cecchitelli
Mastering: James Edward Armstrong
Art Direction & Editing: Ian McKay
Photography: Jonathan Dickson, N. Ricci, M. Stock, & D. Roszca

Featured artwork by Jonathan Dickson

Music & Artwork © 2021, The Artists (Demetrio Cecchitelli, Jonathan Dickson), All Rights Reserved. Video ℗ by Art North Projects. Music ℗ by Whitelabrecs, 2021

Project Curators: Harry Towell (Music) & Ian McKay (Visual Art)

whitelabrecs.com
whitelabrecs.bandcamp.com
artnorth-projects.org

www.instagram.com/demetriocecchitelli/
www.facebook.com/jonathandicksonartist

Coming soon… anthéne & simon mccorry – the equation of time

Cover

It seems to have been a while since we last released a CD in our catalog so we’re excited to announce this new addition to our series, which sees the return of anthéne who has joined forces with cellist and composer Simon McCorry.

The Equation Of Time‘ is an album which combines processed guitar and cello, to contemplate the enormity of time. It’s rounded off by the stunning collage artwork of Tom Tebby, who also designed the CD packaging which we’ll be revealing the packaging on release day.

The Equation Of Time will be released on Saturday the 22nd of May with no pre-order. If you join our mailing list using the link below, we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear.

press release
“We’re pleased to welcome back Toronto, Canada’s anthéne in the form of this collaborative album with UK cellist and composer Simon McCorry. Between them, they have released solo recordings on labels such as Home Normal, Archives, Past Inside The Present, Naviar and Fallen Moon. They’ve also both released on Polar Seas, a label helmed by Brad Deschamps, the man behind anthéne.

Both artists are comfortable collaborators, having worked alongside the likes of Ian Hawgood, Andrew Tasselmyer and Andrew Heath. It was in 2020 when their remote recording sessions translated into The Equation Of Time, combining and processing Brad’s guitar and Simon’s cello into a collage of droning textures. A concept sprang from their work together, during the unfolding pandemic and its resulting lockdowns, where time itself seemed to stand still, go backwards and go forwards, all at once. Add to this the the sheer geographical distance and time zones separating these artists, the often-explored artistic muse of time and space became the central theme.

The title ‘The Equation Of Time’ relates to the differences between the day of the earliest sun rise, the day of the latest sunset, the longest day. Each of these days are different, noted by the ancient Greeks and the Persians before them. The enormity of time and the ability for humans to occupy the same space as multiple predecessors is particularly fascinating when faced with something ancient, such as a cave painting, a forest or the ruins of a fallen civilisation. The track titles are aptly borrowed from parts of T.S. Eliot’s 4 Quartets, which also deals with the contemplation of time. You can surmise from these poems that ideally, one would focus only on the present, in order to make the most of each turn of the clock; the past cannot be altered and the future is unknown. Our memory can subconsciously serve us back our own recollection of past times, which can result in nostalgia, melancholy or both. Our minds can also influence our perception of the future, with feelings of either fear, excitement or both.

The Equation Of Time grapples at these themes and ideas without the intention of ever truly being able to define time. A wash of faded memories, unknowns and current thoughts stir into one-another; ambient music itself always seems so able to reflect and evoke a sense of wonder, at things far bigger than we can ever comprehend.”

credits
Written and Produced by Brad Deschamps and Simon McCorry
Mastered by Ian Hawgood
Artwork by Tom Tebby
Packaging design by Tom Tebby

Out Now! Mikael Lind & S.hel + Rachel Jutková – RAMMI

Today we’re proud to launch our new digital series called <facets> in collaboration with Art North Magazine. This series will involve a range of composers and sound artists, teaming up with talented visual artists, for an audio-visual release. For this first edition, we welcome back Icelandic artists Mikael Lind and S.hel who both released solo albums on Whitelabrecs last year. They’ve been paired with Slovakian painter and artist Rachel Jutková who took her one metre square painting out into the fields to shoot photographs of it, which placed the art in a new ‘frame’. RAMMI is coincidentally the Icelandic word for frame, as Mikael and Sævar re-contextualised piano sounds within the plush surroundings of Valgeir Sigurðsson‘s renowned Greenhouse Studios.

Each <facets> edition will include either an EP or album of music available in a range of high quality audiophile formats, accompanied by a work of art as the cover image and a booklet PDF which contains art, profile imagery, background information and an interview, featuring both the sonic and visual artist.

RAMMI is released today, Saturday the 24th of April with no pre-order. If you join our mailing list , we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear about future editions.


press release

“<facets> is an audio-visual series, co-curated between Whitelabrecs and Art North Magazine. This collection provides a space in our catalog for digital music, in which we aim to provide more than a few mp3s and a low resolution square image. Each edition of <facets> is pitched equally at both your eyes and ears. Sonic and visual textures overlap as we pair musicians, composers or sound designers with painters, sculptors or photographers. The work includes the music in a range of formats, specially created visual artwork and a PDF art booklet containing imagery, interviews and liner notes. Our collective aim is to create a coherent work of cross-media art, where the creative outputs of a sonic artist and a visual artist complement each other as a singular creative output.

In this inaugural edition of <facets> we welcome back two artists from Iceland who each released solo albums with us in 2020. This four track EP combines the contemporary modern classical work of Mikael Lind with the prepared-piano sound of S.hel. ‘RAMMI’ was recorded at Valgeir Sigurdsson’s Greenhouse studios in Reykjavik. The collaboration is complete with Fine Art BA (Hons) student Rachel Jutková, who has contributed her painting ‘Morning fog and walking on painting’. This is a mixed-media intuitive painting which was created in her studio and then later placed outdoors in a foggy field.

‘RAMMI’ is Icelandic for frame and this takes on its loose meaning to reflect the processing and techniques of the pianos that Mikael and S.hel created, as they aimed to extend beyond the framework of piano music. The rearrangement of the recorded sounds is also reflected in the track titles, as the letters of RAMMI are shuffled to give way to new meanings. This links into Rachel’s idea of placing her work outside of its usual context, physically, to allow for alternative meanings to be reflected upon.


credits
Music: Mikael Lind & S.hel
Mastering: James Edward Armstrong
Art Direction & Editing: Ian McKay
Additional Camera Work: Rachel Jutková

Featured artwork by Rachel Jutková: ‘Morning fog, walking on painting’ 100 x 100 cm, 2021

Music & Artwork © 2021, The Artists (Mikael Lind, Sævar Helgi Jóhannsson, Rachel Jutková), All Rights Reserved. Video ℗ by Art North Projects. Music ℗ by Whitelabrecs, 2021

Project Curators: Harry Towell (Music) & Ian McKay (Visual Art)

whitelabrecs.com
whitelabrecs.bandcamp.com
artnorth-projects.org

mikaellind.com
facebook.com/shelmusik
instagram.com/racheljutka

Out Now! Sven Laux – Scattered Fragments of Separation (The Complete Story)

We’re to announce today this new double album by Sven Laux, who has adapted last year’s Home Diaries album ‘Scattered Fragments of Separation‘ with a new album of material. This is available now in a special double gatefold CD edition, with the 2 discs containing a total of 17 tracks.

Whitelabrecs low-run releases are likely to sell out fast. The best way to keep informed is to join our mailing list which can be located through our website menu or you can click HERE

press release
“In 2020’s mammoth Home Diaries series, Berlin composer Sven Laux contributed the 25th edition in this collection, which focused on the lives of sonic artists from across the globe and their own unique experiences during the pandemic.

Sven was handed an unplanned hiatus from creating music, due to staying some 100 kilometres away from his studio. He was based with relatives for childcare purposes and the weeks away from his art led to him returning home alone. He knew that whichever path he took, a compromise was required as he had to either be away from his family or separated from the creativity that so defines him. Separation became the theme to an immersive collection of ‘fragments’, which was created almost instinctively over a short period of time following his return.

Later in 2020, sunken and heartbroken, Sven set about exploring these themes once again. The result is an expansive double album, containing both the original 9 pieces that were released as the Home Diaries edition and 8 new pieces. This is a record that is unapologetically cinematic, presented by an artist who is adept in sound design and writing music for film. The honest and reflective portrait photography by Polina Georgescu cements this as an auto-biopic experience, Laux’s most personal album to date. Scattered Fragments of Separation (The Complete Story) follows the ‘Schachmatt’ and ‘ODD’ albums released in 2018 and 2019 respectively and marks four successive years of releasing music with us. Sven has also released with labels including Archives, Dronarivm and Fluid Audio.

In the liner notes on the CD, it is stated that this is ‘music for the brokenhearted, written by a broken heart’ and in just under 2 hours of sound texture, the music will both break and restore you, as melancholy moods are interspersed with moments of drama, peace and acceptance.

credits
Written and produced by Sven Laux
Mastered by James Edward Armstrong
Photography by Polina Georgescu
Art and design by Andrew Heath

Coming soon… Mikael Lind & S.hel + Rachel Jutková – RAMMI

We’re excited to unveil a short preview of the very first edition in a new digital series called <facets> in which we’ll be collaborating with Art North Magazine. This series will involve a range of composers and sound artists, teaming up with talented visual artists, for an audio-visual release. First up, we welcome back Icelandic artists Mikael Lind and S.hel who both released solo albums on Whitelabrecs last year. They’ve been paired with Slovakian painter and artist Rachel Jutková who took her metre square work out into the fields to shoot photographs of it, which placed the art in a new ‘frame’. RAMMI is coincidentally the Icelandic word for frame, as Mikael and Sævar re-contextualised piano sounds within the plush surroundings of Valgeir Sigurðsson‘s renowned Greenhouse Studios.

Each <facets> edition will include either an EP or album of music available in a range of high quality audiophile formats, accompanied by a work of art as the cover image and a booklet PDF which contains art, profile imagery, background information and an interview, featuring both the sonic and visual artist.

RAMMI will be released on Saturday the 24th of April with no pre-order. If you join our mailing list using the link below, we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear.

press release
“<facets> is an audio-visual series, co-curated between Whitelabrecs and Art North Magazine. This collection provides a space in our catalog for digital music, in which we aim to provide more than a few mp3s and a low resolution square image. Each edition of <facets> is pitched equally at both your eyes and ears. Sonic and visual textures overlap as we pair musicians, composers or sound designers with painters, sculptors or photographers. The work includes the music in a range of formats, specially created visual artwork and a PDF art booklet containing imagery, interviews and liner notes. Our collective aim is to create a coherent work of cross-media art, where the creative outputs of a sonic artist and a visual artist complement each other as a singular creative output.

In this inaugural edition of <facets> we welcome back two artists from Iceland who each released solo albums with us in 2020. This four track EP combines the contemporary modern classical work of Mikael Lind with the prepared-piano sound of S.hel. ‘RAMMI’ was recorded at Valgeir Sigurdsson’s Greenhouse studios in Reykjavik. The collaboration is complete with Fine Art BA (Hons) student Rachel Jutková, who has contributed her painting ‘Morning fog and walking on painting’. This is a mixed-media intuitive painting which was created in her studio and then later placed outdoors in a foggy field.

‘RAMMI’ is Icelandic for frame and this takes on its loose meaning to reflect the processing and techniques of the pianos that Mikael and S.hel created, as they aimed to extend beyond the framework of piano music. The rearrangement of the recorded sounds is also reflected in the track titles, as the letters of RAMMI are shuffled to give way to new meanings. This links into Rachel’s idea of placing her work outside of its usual context, physically, to allow for alternative meanings to be reflected upon.

credits
Music: Mikael Lind & S.hel
Mastering: James Edward Armstrong
Art Direction & Editing: Ian McKay
Additional Camera Work: Rachel Jutková

Featured artwork by Rachel Jutková: ‘Morning fog, walking on painting’ 100 x 100 cm, 2021

Music & Artwork © 2021, The Artists (Mikael Lind, Sævar Helgi Jóhannsson, Rachel Jutková), All Rights Reserved. Video ℗ by Art North Projects. Music ℗ by Whitelabrecs, 2021

Project Curators: Harry Towell (Music) & Ian McKay (Visual Art)

whitelabrecs.com
whitelabrecs.bandcamp.com
artnorth-projects.org

mikaellind.com
facebook.com/shelmusik
instagram.com/racheljutka

Glåsbird Interview for AW Artmag

Followers of Whitelabrecs in the last couple of years will likely be familiar with the work of anonymous composer Glåsbird, whose works embark on a sonic travel from one perilously cold location to the next. This year, all being well, there will be an expedition to Sardinia to retrace the steps of writer D.H Lawrence and this will culminate into a documentary film.

The project is being run by photographer and film director Daniele Marzeddu and Glåsbird has agreed to write the music as a soundtrack. The pairing is a great fit, with Glåsbird showing an ability to capture the essence of a place, to channel the environment into the senses of the listener.

Glåsbird has kept a pretty low profile, allowing the mystery and rumours to circulate. Recently they gave their first interview after being active for a couple of years and this was with Italian site AW Artmag: https://www.awartmag.com/en/node/253

We’ve translated the interview for you to read and hopefully gain a little insight into Glåsbird and their work with Return to Sea and Sardinia:

Interview:

(1).Noticing that you are inspired by imaginary trips and, especially trips to remote islands, I’d like to know more about your background as composer?

From the beginning, my journey creating music goes back many years. I started experimenting with electronic music. It was a noisy, musique concrete sound, as I messed about with handheld recorders, field recordings and anything that made a sound. Over the years I’ve collected lots of instruments and built an extensive collection of digital sound libraries. My music has already been released on a few labels before I started working with Whitelabrecs in 2018 and I decided to just do something completely new and completely anonymous. The whole idea to complete a series of travel based albums just came to me, the name for the artist and everything else just seemed to fall into place one day. My approach to making music changed completely too as I wanted to sound different to my more renowned artist name. I wanted to focus more on creating the stirring moods one can hear in film music. I think a big thing central to Glåsbird projects is all the research I do into my themes. For an album on a location I’ll look at film, photography and maps as well as explore Google Earth for a few hours. I’ll try to understand the culture too and will look to see if I can buy cheap acoustic instruments specific to the area. I don’t think I’ll ever get to visit these sorts of places, so making a soundtrack is my way of connecting with these wonderful places and help bring them closer to me and others too. Maybe it can bring to life the fact that there’s an enormous world out there, full of delicate eco systems which are being damaged.

In terms of composing, so far my work has been used in some documentaries and film as well as a short advert. But I did not compose something new for these. So the Return to Sea and Sardinia project is my first opportunity to do this.

2) How would you describe the influence of travel literature and visual arts on your music?

I must admit, I’m not much of a reader. I certainly don’t tend to read fiction books. Not because I don’t like them, I guess I’ve always got something else to do with music and don’t get much time to get my head into a book. That being said, I do find geography and the Earth to be so fascinating and all of this plays a part in my work. I’m currently reading Sea and Sardinia for the first time and I love how descriptive Lawrence is in his writing. He brings it all to life – if I can get anywhere near as evocative with the compositions I make then it will be a real achievement.

Visual art for me is something which definitely inspires me. Both film and photography; particularly landscape photography. I remember in the early 2000s many ambient album artwork covers were landscape images and I really loved these! People started to get a bit fed up of them but I’m pleased that Whitelabrecs have been able to find some wonderful photographers who capture beautiful landscapes! We wanted to use scenes that the listener could really put themselves into as a window into each location.

As for film, I find that I am able to draw inspiration from most top quality movies. Particularly slow moving crime dramas. However, I do tend to get lost in a sense of atmosphere and the sound too, so I often miss the point of a storyline!

3) How much, in your opinion, Ennio Morricone’s work has marked a boundary in music compositing?

I think the bar that Morricone has set is extraordinary. He was so prolific and devoted his whole life to composing but what makes his work all the more impressive, is that he seems to have been able to have turned his hand to anything. Each time, with new ideas which are still unmistakably his. He was able to score for westerns and became a signature sound in this movie genre, he was at home writing music for comedy – yet he could produce haunting or beautiful compositions too. I think he had the background of performing and being a student of music which many modern composers do not always start from these days (me included). He used that as a platform to have an incredible career which has covered so much ground. To answer the question, the one boundary he has shown us, is that there aren’t boundaries or limits to what you can achieve.

4) What did you find particularly attractive when you took the decision to take on this assignment following the legacy of DH Lawrence?

I had already been really keen to compose music for a film from scratch, to test myself in this regard. But when Daniele first contacted me, the fact that the composition will be based around retracing a journey from history, in a curious island named Sardinia it just seemed too perfect to turn down. I find a clear concept or idea to be really important when I am writing music and this gives me the passion and energy to create. What’s more, I am able to approach this in a way which almost feels like a part of the ‘sonic expedition’ series I am working my way through. I am not likely to be able to visit Sardinia any time soon. Whilst I’ve been to Italy, I don’t know much about Sardinia so this is a chance to put in motion my thirst to learn and I am already making good progress in transcribing my thoughts into music.

5) How can you describe your cinematic sounds of Sea, Sicily and Sardinia (Ennio’s Muse) and what’s your perception of an imaginary trip across those lands in 2021?

Daniele and Harry (from Whitelabrecs) came up with the theme of making cinematic music, based around an image taken near to Sardinia. I like how the artists invited will all have their own ideas and interpretations of the same theme and I imagine this album will be a kind of imaginary soundtrack to the journey taken to get to the beginning of the actual journey. The piece I’ve created makes use of silence in places, as the strings and piano keys fade down. I am more than a bit influenced by the late Jóhann Jóhannsson it’s fair to say and he’d often talk about what happens in the space between notes. I used these rises and falls in places on my most recent album Novaya Zemlya, so this felt like a good place to pick up from.

The title of the track is Lavender Sea in Italian and it takes on a term Lawrence used to describe the sea as he set off on his journey towards Sardinia. This compilation album feels like the start of an exciting journey ahead of us in which we hope to create a beautiful work of art and it’s a great idea to try to raise a bit of money to hopefully make this happen. The sea is more than a bit fierce at times and its scale and enormity can be very unnerving. Especially for me as I can’t swim! I hope some of the drama in Lavanda di Mare gets this across. Lawrence referred to this particular stretch of sea as ‘Lavender Sea’ also suggesting a hope, promise or beauty. So I tried to contrast the drama in the track with a bitter sweetness. I also thought that I would really limit the use of electronics or ambient soundscaping effects in this piece, as I wanted to try to make it into more of a classical feel, to think back to 1921 before we had synthesisers and sine waves.

Links

Return to Sea and Sardinia

AW Artmag

Ennio’s Muse

Glåsbird

Whitelabrecs Best of 2020 List

It’s been a strange old year, as pretty much anyone reflecting on 2020 is likely to conclude. I’ll see if I can write this without mentioning Covid-19. Failed already.

As many of our followers will know, our schedule of physical releases hit an unplanned break in April, due to the closure of our local post office. We also felt that even if it were to be open, it wouldn’t be right to stand in a queue of people to ship packages a few times a week. So we decided to stop all of our plans completely. Before long, we launched into another project: Home Diaries. 30 albums from 30 artists later, we were into the warmth of July and were delighted to release our CDs again! We summarised Whitelabrecs related things in our last post, so I think the Whitelabrecs story ends here for now as far as this post is concerned.

Aside from a seriously busy year of running Whitelabrecs and even making some of my own music, I also feel that in 2020 I was able to listen to more music than I ever manage in an average year. I’ve been working from home as well as having time away from work altogether, which resulted in lots of DIY. Any household chore or job for me will always involve music. The washing needs to go on the line – it takes 5 minutes – that’s a track that can be played. Glossing every radiator in the house for example, gives time to take in a few albums! The shortlist really swelled this year and as always, my list is not about the best executed record or the perfect sound. It’s about the feeling it created for me, and how well I connected with it. I want to listen back to the records in this list in a decade or so and be taken back to this year, as strange as it was.

I stopped writing on the Irregular Crates blog a while back and this is where I’d normally announce a ‘best of’ list. But we set up Wallofambient this year alongside some other ambient labels and it’s been a bit of a consideration on whether I would post my list there. As I finalised it though, I realised several albums I’ve chosen are not ambient… so I didn’t want to annoy the ambient purists too much.

So I’ve decided to share it on the Whitelabrecs page this year and I’m sure there will be a few Ambient purists that are disappointed in my selections! Hopefully you’ll find some gems here though still. I’ve made no secret of my wide open taste in music, probably influenced by my microscopically successful DJ career, which I still look back on nostalgically. This influences my curation of Whitelabrecs and the sound we put out. Sure, the label sound is ambient overall, but you’ll see that generally I favour a melodic, melancholic or textured sound. I’m sure this is linked to a taste that dabbles in Dub Techno, Drone, Jazz, Liquid Funk, African Music, Chillhop, Deep House, Modern Classical, Funk, Folk, Field Recordings, Bossa Nova and many other styles.

So if you click the big yellow image of Port Isaac in Cornwall (from our holiday in September), you’ll be able to listen to a mix which is a countdown show of a track from each album in my top 25. My wife Beth has kindly leant her voice to provide the countdown and I added some delay and reverb effects just for fun. Below you can see a gallery of the cover art for the list of 25, as well as my thoughts on each album:


1st:
Bibio
Sleep On The Wing
Warp

At the top of my list ever since the night I noticed this new Bibio record emerged on Warp. Definitely the soundtrack to late summer for me, and I played it in the car on our family holiday to Cornwall a lot this year. So this will be a very nostalgic record for me in years to come. The use of instrument, particularly strings is a perfect blend and it’s one of those albums you can easily listen through in full. It retains your interest too with its variety of moods.

https://warp.net/releases/189049-bibio-sleep-on-the-wing


2nd:
Melody Gardot
Sunset In The Blue
Decca

I was sat listening to jazz fm in the car when an advert for Melody Gardot’s album came on. It was starting to get pretty wintry and thoughts turned to Christmas – the lush string arrangements in the snippet of audio I heard urged me to listen to the album on Spotify. I literally listened to the album over and over that whole weekend; I decided I couldn’t live without the double LP too. This isn’t necessarily my usual taste as it’s singer-songwriter stuff. But it really is just so so good all the way through. The Philharmonic orchestra certainly help, as the whole arrangement in every single track is perfect. Nearly my album of the year, this…

https://store.universalmusic.com/melodygardot/


3rd:
Offthesky & The Humble Bee
We Were The Hum Of Dreams
Laaps

This record for me was the clear winner for 2020 right up until I discovered the top two in my list. It came out at around the time the lockdown kicked in here in the UK. I was doing lots of DIY jobs around the house and the expert sound design from these two masters was just the perfect tonic to long, slightly strange days stuck indoors. There’s so much detail to get lost in, yet it still sits in the ambient genre which allows you to drift as you listen.”

https://laaps.bandcamp.com/album/we-were-the-hum-of-dreams


4th:
Loving
If I Am Only My Thoughts
Last Gang

Out in January, this one escaped me to the point when the vinyl versions had long since gone. This is a small band creating hushed ‘indie’ music, dare I say. The tones of the guitar, keys and vocals are warm and enveloping. Every single track in the album is excellent and again, the sign of a top album is one you can listen to in one sitting, without feeling the need to hit ‘skip’.

https://loving.bandcamp.com/album/if-i-am-only-my-thoughts-2


5th:
Inventions
Continuous Portrait
Temporary Residence

This album was always set to be good with the combination of talented artists Eluvium and Explosions In The Sky. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting however, as this set of fun folk ambient tracks are full of twists and turns. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and some of the samples or recordings will make you smile, whereas there are also plenty of moments that are truly beautiful.

https://inventions.bandcamp.com/album/continuous-portrait


6th:
Mute Forest
Riderstorm
Lost Tribe Sound

It was another solid year for Lost Tribe Sound with another excellent series of releases. My favourite was Mute Forest’s Riderstorm, a blend of soft rock, folk, Americana and the lightest touches of electronica. Some of the pieces are instrumental whereas others make use of Kael Smith’s song-writing and vocals. There is a generous palette of instruments used throughout but a sparse, intimate feel to it too.

https://muteforest.bandcamp.com/album/riderstorm


7th:
Mathieu Karsenti
Bygones
Slowcraft

Over the years, Modern Classical ambient music has featured heavily in my favourite records of the year. Generally, I’ve relied on household names such as Arnalds, Frahm or Jóhannsson but this year, I discovered Bygones by Mathieu Karsenti as my favourite classically influenced record. The strings and arrangement of the instrument tones are as rich and lavish as you’d find in music by these household names and that’s likely due to the fact that Karsenti is a film score composer. Only gripe is that this one’s digital only… would love to own it on vinyl!

https://slowcraft.bandcamp.com/album/bygones


8th:
Matthew Halsall
Salute To The Sun
Gondwana

I’ve been following the work of trumpeter, jazz artist and Gondwana label owner Matthew Halsall since his album Colour Yes and pretty much own all of his albums. There’s a rich and vibrant feel to all of his work but this latest album, ‘Salute To The Sun’ there’s a slightly more exotic, ‘world’ feel to it in places with more than a nod to Pharoah Sanders and Alice Coltrane. I’ve listened to this a lot since the beautifully designed CD arrived and wonder whether this might be higher up the list if I’d have been listening back in the summer.

https://matthewhalsall.bandcamp.com/album/salute-to-the-sun


9th:
Less Bells
Mourning Jewelry
Kranky

Kranky have a knack for releasing some real acoustic ambient classics and some of the finest albums blending acoustic instruments into melancholy drones. Stars of the Lid are the obvious stand out. This one by Less Bells was subject to a lengthy pre-order with a sample track available to whet my appetite. I knew this would be right up there from that very first listen and this one’s been a regular in my playlist this year. It has everything – variety, strings, texture, tasteful choral vocals, echoes of other stringed instruments and swells of cathedral drone.

https://lessbells.bandcamp.com/album/mourning-jewelry


10th:
Roméo Poirier
Hotel Nota
Sferic

There was a repress this year of Romeo Poirier’s excellent Plage Arriere but before this, the jazz flecked electronic sound art of Hotel Nota really impressed. An inevitable comparison to Jan Jelinek or Jon Hassell can be drawn but you’ll get past that to enjoy Poirier’s approach to composition and enjoy the enveloping detail of these works. I own it on vinyl and that really adds an extra layer of dust that gives another dimension.

https://sferic.bandcamp.com/album/hotel-nota


11th:
Alabaster DePlume
To Cy & Lee: Instrumentals Vol. 1
International Anthem

“I listened to a fair bit of jazz this summer, particularly the more experimental or hushed works or slower, spiritual jazz. Discovering this album by Alabaster DePlume was quite something and from the opening moments of Visit Croatia, these restful woodwind, strings and guitar compositions were a welcome sonic backdrop for warm summer days indoors.

https://intlanthem.bandcamp.com/album/to-cy-lee-instrumentals-vol-1


12th:
Soulstatejazz
Annwn
Banoffee Pies

I’ve followed the work of Tom Ellis for years, since my DJing days. He originally produced a deep, minimal micro House style and it was interesting to see him branch into a live approach, focusing on jazz and soul. This year I’ve spent a lot of time listening (and mixing) house music and it’s disappointing to me that I don’t represent this in my end of year list. However, this record bridged my attempts to make DJ mixes again with my taste for jazz music too. It starts with a beautifully deep sax and Rhodes reprise and there are some slow, leisurely House jams intersecting this beautifully deep record.

https://soulstatejazz.bandcamp.com/album/annwn


13th:
Tomotsugu Nakamura
Literature
Laaps

Laaps has quickly established itself as one of the finest ‘ambient’ labels around, following on from the success of the Eilean imprint. This one from Japanese artist Tomotsugu Nakamura has been in my car CD player for most of the year and has been a calming ‘return to the office’ record, sounding particularly nice in the sun. Acoustic sound sources, reversed notes and clicks and cuts nod nostalgically back to the mid-2000s.

https://tomotsugu.bandcamp.com/album/literature


14th:
Okkyung Lee
Yeo-Neun
Shelter Press

This record by Okkyung Lee has caused quite a stir this year and I’ve seen plenty of positive reviews and comments in the press. Lee is a South Korean cellist and her album goes far beyond the cello, as piano, low slung bass and harp amongst other creaks and clangs which makes for a playful but at times, spooky record.

https://shelterpress.bandcamp.com/album/yeo-neun


15th:
Sinerider
Moonflowers
Dronarivm

Dronarivm is a label that you tend to expect to provide high quality year-end list esque material every year. In 2020, pick of the bunch for me is this beautiful ambient album by Sinerider, a range of woozy, hazy sun-speckled guitar drones. Some of the tracks are blurry, some are more open loops but this for me has to be one of the finest ambient-leaning albums of the year, something you can easily sink into at any time, and drift away.

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


16th:
Gastón Arévalo
Terrain
A Strangely Isolated Place

When I first discovered ambient music, through netlabels, I also fell across the work of Gaston Arevalo whose sound was often a mixture of field recordings and experimental, electronica influenced ambient. I must admin, I have not followed his discography for a good number of years but this mammoth collection of deep listening-drones on A Strangely Isolated Space was a big hit for me this year, particularly late at night. At an hour long, it needs plenty of time to give it your attention and is best enjoyed as a whole.

https://astrangelyisolatedplace.bandcamp.com/album/terrain


17th:
Morimoto Naoki
Dusk To Dawn
Lontano Series

“Lontano Series have emerged as a strong label in the ambient scene and this album by Morimoto Naoki is really quite something. It’s a collection of static-riddled electro-acoustic moods, full of warmth and light melancholy. It’s difficult not to think of the 12k label when listening to this and for me, it’s easily one of the finest ambient records of the year.”

https://lontanoseries.bandcamp.com/album/dusk-to-dawn


18th:
Andrew Wasylyk
Fugitive Light and Themes of Consolation
Athens Of The North

.

https://andrewwasylyk.bandcamp.com/album/fugitive-light-and-themes-of-consolation


19th:
Mell-ø + Ambulo
Afloat Again
Chilled6Cow

I’ve been a fan of chillhop for a few years now and several of these short, chilled instrumental hip-hop eps and mini albums are in my headphones over the course of any given year. I was really impressed with this one by Mell-ø & Ambulo, with beautiful licks of smooth guitar taking centre stage.

https://mellomusicnl.bandcamp.com/album/afloat-again-ep


20th:
Footshooter
Libations & Movement
Dance Regular

“I discovered this one early this year and it sort of started my interest in beat driven music as I looked for some styles to help keep a level of positivity throughout the pandemic and its lockdowns. This one’s billed as an EP but the length is more like an album. The tracks use a street-wise London approach in the beats and vocals, but there’s a nu-jazz, broken beat and house influence running through too with some really clever production. There’s even a short ambient piece in amongst these tracks!”

https://footshooterbeats.bandcamp.com/album/libations-movement-dance-regular


21st:
Session Victim
Needledrop
Night Time Stories

I’ve got all of the Session Victim albums and have long since been a fan but Needledrop is easily a favourite, and an early contender for album of the year. This artist is often filed under house but in this record, there’s a beautifully adept ability to create downtempo, soulful tracks too. Waller and Pierce for me is the stand-out track with smooth and deep soulful vocals.

https://sessionvictim.bandcamp.com/album/needledrop


22nd:
Misha Panfilov Sound Combo
Days As Echoes
Funk Night Records

“.”

https://mpsc.bandcamp.com/album/days-as-echoes


23rd:
Leon Revol
Enter A Zircon
Church

I’ve been enjoying Ryan Bissett’s work as Halftribe for quite some time now and a jaw dropping moment occurred not long after I hit play on ‘Backwater Revisited’ from the trusty Dronarivm label. The record features synth and electro acoustic tones, drenched in reverb and a tasteful hint of chorus. Plenty of crackle and space between the lines to allow for a glistening, wintry backdrop. The artwork features an adaptation of open source imagery by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis from back in 1908 and this rustic, vintage cover fits in perfectly with the blanket-like folds of Ambience Ryan created here.

https://www.juno.co.uk/products/leon-revol-enter-a-zircon/773858-01/


24th:
Fabiano do Nascimento
Preludio
Now-Again

“I’ve always been into bossa and Latin music since my late teens, so occasionally I’ll discover something within these categories that I end up playing a lot, particularly in the summer. This one by guitarist Fabiano do Nascimento got some serious hammer and I found I played it a lot at around breakfast time. It’s got great variety and depth and has been pretty uplifting for a heavy old year.”

https://fabianodonascimento.bandcamp.com/album/prel-dio-2


25th:
Domenique Dumont
People On Sunday
The Leaf Label

“It happens every year; I finish agonising over my end of year list after months of shuffling my ‘chart’, casting an eye over everything I left out… then I happen to discover something wonderful in December. I’d already made my end of year mix and just had to swap in this album by Latvian artist Domenique Dumont, which had been on repeat all day. There’s a child like sense of wonder about all of these playful synth melodies and rhythms that I just can’t escape. I’ll state the obvious: a few more weeks of owning this, how high up this list might it have been?”

https://domeniquedumont.bandcamp.com/album/people-on-sunday