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:

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:


(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.


Return to Sea and Sardinia

AW Artmag

Ennio’s Muse


Drifting, Almost Falling Interview

Harry Towell our label curator was fired a few questions by the Drifting, Almost Falling blog this month, focusing on all things Whitelabrecs. It’s been a while since we’ve done an interview so it’s always nice to check in, talk about how things have been going lately and maybe hint at the odd plan for the future.

You can listen read the interview on the Drifting, Almost Falling site by clicking HERE and perhaps read some of the other articles and musical recommendations whilst you’re at it?

Alternatively, the full interview is included below…

DAF: You record under the Spheruleus name (as well as Magnofon) and run the Tesselate, Audio Gourmet and Warehouse Decay labels while also writing for the Irregular Crates Blog. What was the impetus in starting another label? Are you a workaholic? Are Tesselate and Warehouse Decay still active?

HTI am indeed a workaholic. I have no idea how I find the time. But then I don’t truly see music as work so it’s not hard. With all the labels and pseudonyms, I guess like many artists, I have a habit of starting something new! Some creators end things by closing doors neatly behind them when they intend to open a new one. Others, like me, tend to leave doors open and chop and change between projects. Audio Gourmet for instance could have stopped a couple of years back when I was working more on Tesselate and Warehouse Decay, but I am glad I left the door ajar , as this year I’ve been putting out free EP’s again and really enjoyed it, with some great support.

Currently Warehouse Decay is inactive and I’ve no immediate plans to get it going again. I’ve always loved House music and wanted to be a part of the scene and use my experience running Ambient labels to make a go of it. Unfortunately it proved a tough nut to crack and apart from a few friends who supported it loyally, I felt pretty alone. It’s interesting that Ambient music fans, artists, labels etc have all taken different paths to stumble on the genre, many from Post Rock, Metal or IDM, many from the New Age or ethnic Ambient genres too. It seems that Deep House is not such a conventional route and so I didn’t have as many interested contacts or a connected audience.

Tessellate is not fully closed, despite being inactive of late. I always feel it could be another window if I felt like splashing the cash on some more luxurious packaging but the trouble is the risk as to whether I’d make enough back to justify a bigger release.

I launched Whitelabrecs after an idea which was the blueprint for the packaging and I recalled how well Under The Spire did as a label when starting out, when they released things in simple rubber stamped cardboard packages. I had also recently been reunited with my record collection and was feeling very nostalgic about the days when I’d visit local record stores, purchasing white label vinyl as I got to grips with DJing. Often records would have nothing other than a sticker or rubber stamp, sometimes even just an etching on the black plastic space near the label. So I did the usual, set up a website, a Bandcamp page and started asking around to see if anyone would want to release on this new label of mine. Thankfully there was a lot of interest and here we are today!

DAF: How important is the visual identity to the label? Compared to the Tesselate releases, Whitelabrec’s releases have the hand-made aesthetic. Was it important for the label to have an aesthetic to encompass a concept?

HTFor Whitelabrecs this has become crucially important – it was the idea behind the label and I’ll keep it going for as long as I can. I think this is also why I slowed down with Tessellate, as the packaging is different for pretty much every release and the label never truly found an identity. When the idea struck for Whitelabrecs, I truly connected with it and wanted this to be the plan for all releases on the label. I knew there’d be the odd detour but for general releases, I decided that it was very important to follow the pattern this time so I could build an identity.

DAF: Is the label genre bound or do the releases float over various genres?

HT: The label isn’t genre-bound as it will be rooted in my own music taste which is incredibly varied. So far releases have been generally within the modern Ambient scene, perhaps encompassing most of the sub-genres from floatier drone stuff, to glitch electronics and onto Modern Classical, Folk and even Jazz. This has generally gone down well with listeners. I’m open to pushing the boundaries in the future and taking one or two detours so watch this space! But generally, I’m looking at releasing introspective, thought-provoking music and can’t see that changing. In other words, I’m not likely to rekindle my failed dreams from Warehouse Decay by releasing dancefloor-ready Tech House!

DAF: A glance at the catalog reveals a mixture of familiar names with those that are new (or side projects). How important is it to you to expose people to new artists? Does this become a factor when deciding what to release?

HTI have always worked with both newer names to the scene and more established artists and in the Whitelabrecs catalog there is a blend. I don’t dwell too much on whether an artist has released before, how successful their other work was or how many Instagram followers they have. We’ve only got 50 copies to make and sell, of which the artist gets 10. So I only have to worry about those 40 copies and they tend to shift regardless of how well established an artist is. Sure, it certainly helps to have some familiar names –releases by Tsone, Steve Pacheco and Guy Gelem took little in the way of a push! I’m also delighted to give some other artists their first taste of releasing a physical album however, such as Sea Trials, Ludmila and Ben McElroy. I remember how exciting this felt when I first held a copy of ‘Frozen Quarters’ which I released as Spheruleus on Under The Spire.

Looking at the future of the label there are no plans to just attract well-known artists now it’s a bit more established. We have demos queued up until WLR043 and in that queue we’ve got some well-known artists as well as new comers so the blend will continue.

DAF: You’ve recently done a cassette release and the 20 cdr box set. What other plans do you have for the future? Do you plan quite far in advance?

HTThere’ll likely be another box set for those that don’t mind waiting a year or two to play catch up. I did this so that there’s a way for people new to the label to not miss out completely and also, because I was getting asked about out of print releases. I’ve always said I wouldn’t reissue anything individually, but since box set orders are always likely to be low due to the price tag, I took the decision to do this just so there is a way for new collectors to join in the fun.
I enjoyed making the mix tape too and was surprised at the level of interest having never worked with this format before. I’ll certainly be doing more mix tape releases in the future and perhaps get into the local fields and continue the photography theme for the artwork.

There are no other clear ideas just yet as I’m currently just getting my head down and working my way through the discography queue. I think another compilation could be in order at some point but there’s no overall rush on that. There will be new ideas though – with both the box set and the tape, the ideas struck me suddenly and it doesn’t take me long to pull it all together once ideas such as these set in.

With schedule, I’ll take in demos and add them to the back of the queue once approved. I’ll leave them until I get nearer – perhaps drop in with the artist and have a chat now and again. Some artists are very keen and understandably so, so we organise things well in advance so everything’s ready. Other artists are happy to leave it until the few weeks in the run up to the release and wait for me to get back in touch.

There is a lot to do for each release but we’ve followed a similar formula since the beginning, so I’m quite used to it now, 28 releases in – so the work isn’t too daunting. I guess burning the CDs is the most time-consuming thing but that gives me a chance to work on other things, listen to music and relax bit too.

Sounds Of A Tired City interview

Sounds of a tired city profile image

Our label boss Harry was recently contacted by Swedish blog Sounds Of A Tired City to put together a mix under his artist name Spheruleus. Naturally he obliged and made a vinyl-only mix, blending Modern Classical and Ambient/Drone records using harmonic mixing techniques. Since Whitelabrecs is inspired by Harry’s love for vinyl, this was a fitting opportunity to chat to SOATC about Whitelabrecs, vinyl and Harry’s other commitments such as the Audio Gourmet netlabel.

You can listen to the mix by clicking HERE or the images above, which features tracks from artists such as Richard Skelton, Peter Broderick and Greg Haines.


You can read the full interview that was featured below or visit Sounds Of A Tired City site by clicking HERE

SOATC: If we look at your music-related activities, we gotta say you must be a rather busy man! You’ve been prolific with Spheruleus and you’ve been running the Audio Gourmet netlabel for six years now. What can you tell us about these projects?

HT: Indeed, I have no idea how I manage sometimes as I have two jobs too! What I’ve done more recently is slow down a little, take my time with work as Spheruleus and the labels too. Followers of Audio Gourmet will notice that releases are very much few and far between these days, but we’re still going – slowly! I think a lot of artists, labels etc. get to a stage when everyday life ‘gets in the way’ or becomes more important and then they decide the logical thing to do is to just stop. I’ve just made a decision not to be rushed, pushed to deadlines or stress about any of it – as this whole thing is supposed to be enjoyable at the end of the day. So I tend to self-release a lot of my own work these days, or with labels I know well so that I can go at my own pace.

I also suffer from a condition that many artists have – I’m not sure of its name, but it’s basically when you are working on a project and decide to start a new project… so I have 4 labels and a few recording aliases as well as a blog.

I think the main thing that motivates me is making music available to the world, without worrying about what will ‘sell’. This gives me a chance to work with new or unknown artists and if I can move them one step further forward, then the labels are a success.

SOATC: You have the soul of a curator. What are you looking for when you release or write about other people’s music? There is so much to discover constantly, what is that makes something for you more special, different? How can something stand out these days?

HT: For me, when curating it’s best to keep an open mind and listen to lots of different styles of music. Whenever I receive a demo I’ll listen to it with positive thoughts – I tell myself, I want to like this record. If I just can’t, then I have to leave it there. I also try to listen to a record in different contexts: I’ll listen in the morning on the way to work in the car or I’ll listen last thing at night – it’s amazing how much the listening environment can influence on how music is received. For Whitelabrecs, we’ll specialise mainly in ‘Ambient music’ I guess, but I’m more interested in ‘sound art’ – how people express themselves with sound.

The great thing with that, is that this allows for artists who want to do something different – maybe experiment with beats, something dark, a little noise or minimalism. So it’s all about giving new ideas a chance and then packaging them into something that listeners will enjoy or ‘get’. I believe that the sound is only really 80% of the story – good mastering, track titles, artwork and a write up helps bring everything together and can enhance a listener’s experience overall. When I write a press release, I’ll ask the artist a load of questions to get them thinking about their work, their ideas and how they approached the work. Then I’ll put together all the most relevant points. I hate this part of releasing a record but it’s so important

SOATC: You’ve recently launched your new label called whitelabrecs. What do we have to know about it and what are your plans with it?

HT: Yes, yet another project! I guess Whitelabrecs is the label I’ve always wanted to run – it is influenced by my love for vinyl, there are no set rules although the packaging takes a steady format: vinyl effect CDrs inside a vinyl style sleeve, rubber-stamped text and cover artwork as a polaroid photographic print. Everything is hand-stamped, burnt by hand so again, it takes a bit of time but to keep it all manageable I’ve capped the editions at 50 copies for each release. That way, there’s a bit of a collectible impulse from our listeners which means that each release should sell out quickly, meaning I can keep on going! I’ve got loads of demos confirmed and ready to go – I think we’re up to the 15th release behind the scenes, which is fantastic. Genre-wise, I’ve not settled on any particular style and plan to just keep evolving it – who knows what sounds we’ll put out. At the moment everything is pretty much within the Ambient scene with modern classical, drone, field recordings, glitch, folk and electroacoustic music being represented. I’d love to put out some jazz, post-rock, dub techno or trip hop someday! Who knows where we’ll go.


SOATC: Could you tell us a bit about the selection of tracks in your mix?

HT: I have quite a large vinyl collection covering all different styles of experimental music and I basically just pulled out my ‘Ambient’ section and selected records that were based around modern classical, drone or electroacoustic elements. I mixed the records using my Technics 1210 turntables through 10 year old styli that are as good as useless – they are worn and tired, so there’s lots of extra crackle and lo-fi texture in the mix that wouldn’t be on there otherwise. I’ve recently purchased some new needles and this mix is the last thing I’ve recorded with the old needles.

When buying vinyl, I only really buy albums that I feel are going to stand the test of time – records I’ll still want to hear time and time again. This is simply down to the sheer price of vinyl these days so I have to choose wisely when buying!

For me, Peter Broderick’s ‘Float’, Richard Skelton’s ‘Marking Time’ and Christoph Berg’s ‘Paraphrases’ are absolutely phenomenal records and these are perfect examples of the ‘quality control’ methods I go through when buying vinyl.


01 Taylor Deupree and Marcus Fischer – Cloudline
02 Willamette – At Length And Dead Horse
03 Field Rotation – Swayed By The Wind (Awakening)
04 Goldmund – Getting Lighter
05 Wil Bolton – Blackpoint
06 Scissors and Sellotape – It’s A Long Slog
07 Jared Smyth – Burnout
08 Simon Bainton – Porlock
09 Willamette – Images D’une Longueur de Cheveux
10 Peter Broderick – Another Glacier
11 Greg Haines & Wouter Van Veldhoven – On Waiting
12 Lowered – Lattitude 33 Degrees North, Longitude 40 Degrees West
13 Richard Skelton – Heys
14 Olan Mill – Amber Balanced
15 From The Mouth Of The Sun – Color Loss
16 Christoph Berg – Quiet Times At The Library