Out Now! Nebel lang – Hand in mine

In our second physical edition for February, we welcome Kiel, Germany based artist Nebel lang who has had previous releases on Fluid Audio and Minui. Some may recall their piece ‘Sit Still For‘ which closes our recent Ennio’s Muse compilation. Their new album ‘Hand in mine‘ will be out this Saturday the 20th of February and features beautiful minimal piano compositions.

This limited edition CDr edition makes use of photography provided by Albarran Cabrera as well as a short story, written by Bailey Rose in the interior liner notes. This one makes use of our sleek minimal design template, new for 2021, complete with a vinyl-effect disc.

Our low-run releases will be made available suddenly without official release dates, meaning they’re 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
“Nebel lang is the latest moniker for a traveling artist, originally from San Rafael, Argentina who is currently based in Kiel, Germany. Previous releases include ‘Chapters’ on Fluid Audio as well as ‘00000’ and ‘motionless for a’ on Minui. That’s not to mention some self-released digital editions via his own Bandcamp page. The name Nebel lang combines the German words for fog and lifelong, to be taken metaphorically as ‘lifelong uncertainty’.

The Nebel lang sound is driven through improvisations, to capture chance moments that cannot be repeated. These sounds were impulsive, as if entirely natural, as part of the environment within a given moment in time. The tuning, environment and textural sound of a particular piano can never truly be replicated or reperformed.

‘Hand in mine’ is an album comprised of an opener, ‘situate’ which is a short piece to help the listener establish the volume and equalisation settings of their sound system. It is followed by two longform pieces of improvised piano compositions performed in Dordogne, (France), on a self-tuned upright piano. The first of the two album pieces is fluid, with a rhythm that ebbs and flows. The second is intentionally quieter and more sparse. This emphasises the need for ‘situate’ to establish with you the listener, your choice of volume setting. If moments sound quiet, it is entirely deliberate.

Two years on from the original recordings, the nuances and details of these sessions had long-since been lost. Additional artists were invited to collaborate and add an extra perspective to these recordings. Bailey Rose was asked to write some words and this lent the album its title as well as an accompanying story. Visual artists Albarran Cabrera were asked to provide the accompanying imagery from their ‘Kairos’ series, which represents their concept ‘the eternal present’, a fitting companion to these sounds.

credits
Written and produced by Nebel lang
Recorded in 2019 at “un temps, un lieu”
Mastered by James Edward Armstrong
Artwork by Albarran Cabrera
Words by Bailey Rose

Coming soon…Nebel lang – Hand in Mine

In our physical edition for February, we welcome Kiel, Germany based artist Nebel lang who has had previous releases on Fluid Audio and Minui. Some may recall their piece ‘Sit Still For‘ which closes our recent Ennio’s Muse compilation. Their new album ‘Hand in Mine‘ will be out this Saturday the 20th of February and features beautiful minimal piano compositions.

This limited edition CDr edition makes use of photography provided by Albarran Cabrera as well as a short story, written by Bailey Rose in the interior liner notes. This one makes use of our sleek minimal design template, new for 2021, complete with a vinyl-effect disc.

The album will be released on Saturday the 20th of February with no pre-order. If you join our mailing list using the link below, we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear.

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
“Nebel lang is the latest moniker for a traveling artist, originally from San Rafael, Argentina who is currently based in Kiel, Germany. Previous releases include ‘Chapters’ on Fluid Audio as well as ‘00000’ and ‘motionless fo a’ on Minui. That’s not to mention some self-released digital editions via his own Bandcamp page. The name Nebel lang combines the German words for fog and lifelong, to be taken metaphorically as ‘lifelong uncertainty’.

The Nebel lang sound is driven through improvisations, to capture chance moments that cannot be repeated. These sounds were impulsive, as if entirely natural, as part of the environment within a given moment in time. The tuning, environment and textural sound of a particular piano can never truly be replicated or reperformed.

‘Hand in mine’ is an album comprised of an opener, ‘situate’ which is a short piece to help the listener establish the volume and equalisation settings of their sound system. It is followed by two longform pieces of improvised piano compositions performed in Dordogne, (France), on a self-tuned upright piano. The first of the two album pieces is fluid, with a rhythm that ebbs and flows. The second is intentionally quieter and more sparse. This emphasises the need for ‘situate’ to establish with you the listener, your choice of volume setting. If moments sound quiet, it is entirely deliberate.

Two years on from the original recordings, the nuances and details of these sessions had long-since been lost. Additional artists were invited to collaborate and add an extra perspective to these recordings. Bailey Rose was asked to write some words and this lent the album its title as well as an accompanying story. Visual artists Albarran Cabrera were asked to provide the accompanying imagery from their ‘Kairos’ series, which represents their concept ‘the eternal present’, a fitting companion to these sounds.

credits
Written and produced by Nebel lang
Recorded in 2019 at “un temps, un lieu”
Mastered by James Edward Armstrong
Artwork by Albarran Cabrera
Words by Bailey Rose

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

Out Now! Various Artists – The Home Diaries

We’re delighted to get back to making CDs again after our break over December. It was good to have some down time and to do some planning too but it’s wonderful to be back, with our exciting schedule for 2021.
We’d like to thank all of those who supported us over this period, getting involved with our winter sale. Our stock cupboard is looking lighter and at last there is some space in the drawer for this year’s release schedule!

First up is the double-album Home Diaries compilation, which includes a track from each of the 30 Home Diaries releases from last year. For those unfamiliar, Home Diaries was an invitation to artists to write a record about their situation in lockdown. It was a digital only series, put together to keep our label going after we had to stop releasing CDs.

We know that many prefer a physical edition and so we wanted to create something so that those who do are able to experience this series in some way. So we decided to go all out on the packaging for this one. There is a standard double gatefold edition as well as an ultra deluxe edition, in which the double gatefold CD is contained within a gold foil-printed matchbox, which also includes a booklet which contains a photo of each artist’s home.

There were only around 65 copies of the ultra deluxe to sell after artist allocations, and these have sold out already having been snapped up quickly by our subscribers. However, at the time of writing we have around 50 copies of the standard double album edition, which we feel is still quite a spectacle in itself. It’s complete with the cover artwork, which is an oil painting by Adrian Lane who re-imagined the original series cover.

Our low-run releases will be made available suddenly without official release dates, meaning they’re 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
“It’s fair to say that the events of the year 2020 will go down as quite a year and may form a large part of the history curriculum for the children of tomorrow. The pandemic is of course just part of the story, against a backdrop of political unrest, climate change and injustice too.

Whitelabrecs was affected with the closure of our local post office, meaning we were unable to ship our CDs. We also felt we had a duty not to hold up a queue of people and decided to stop production of our catalog. During that time, to make sure we still had a label left to return to, we launched the ambitious Home Diaries series. It ran for 3 months and in that relatively short space of time, the series reached 30 releases!

Home Diaries was an invitation to artists and musicians to create an album or EP to document their personal experience during the lockdown or social distancing conditions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. The series reflects a range of sounds, styles and ideas, as each artist portrayed their own reflections uniquely, available as a digital only edition including a bonus interview and photos.
Each of the 30 digital editions in the Home Diaries series is an individual work of art, created to share the varying experiences felt by each artist.

This compilation album pulls together a track from each record, sequenced in a way that flows as a specially curated environment, over the course of two CDs. We have two versions available as follows:

A standard edition, which is a double-disc gatefold vinyl-effect CDr album, featuring a re-interpretation of the original cover artwork, painted by Adrian Lane.

A deluxe matchbox edition, in which the double-disc gatefold vinyl-effect CDr is housed inside a gold foil-etched box, which also contains a booklet which includes a photo from each artist’s home during lockdown. This version serves as a time capsule into the original series; a keepsake which is limited to just 70 copies.

If you opt for the digital version, this also includes the photo booklet as a bonus PDF item.

credits
Released January 23, 2021

Painting and artwork by Adrian Lane
Booklet images provided by each respective artist
Packaging layout by Harry Towell
Compilation curated by Harry Towell

All tracks mastered by James Edward Armstrong, except:
12 ‘Out In The Open’ Mastered by John Hannon
17 ‘Distance Learning’ Mastered by Michael Southard
29 -‘Stanze e Distanze (part 2)’ Mastered by Francis M. Gri

Coming soon…Ennio’s Muse

Ennio’s muse: Cinematic Sounds of Sea and Sardinia

Today, the 4th of January 2021 marks exactly 100 years since D.H Lawrence set out with his wife Freida to travel through Sardinia. He captured the thoughts, sights and events of his journey in the book Sea and Sardinia and now, a century later, a return exploration of the locations in the book is planned.

Daniele Marzeddu and his team plan to retrace Lawrence’s steps this year and will capture their experiences through photography and a documentary film. The music to accompany the film will be composed by Whitelabrecs’ very own Glåsbird and so we’re keen to help with the fund raising efforts required realise this exciting project. Click the button below to find out more:

We are pleased to announce that as a precursor to the film and Glåsbird soundtrack, we are curating a compilation album called Ennio’s Muse. The album will feature artists from our roster, some we plan to work with later this year and friends of the label. It will be digital only and all money raised will be donated to the Return to Sea and Sardinia team for a period of 12 months. We’ll announce more news soon, including a preview of some of the tracks and confirmation of the release date.

The compilation draws influence from film scores and modern composition, inspired by the late Maestro, Ennio Morricone as well as glistening or atmospheric Ambient sounds. The cover artwork was taken by Daniele Marzeddu; a pedalo just out to shore under the starry Mediterranean sky. Early contributions to the compilation include work by artists such as Logic Moon, Autistici, Lauge, Glåsbird and Adrian Lane. More names will join soon and we’re actively looking for submissions; if artists wish to get in touch, please visit our contact page.

In the meantime, there is a Go Fund Me page if you wish to support the project directly and there are some extra opportunities listed below, depending on the amount you choose. You can click on the link button below to find out more and any support you can give is greatly appreciated:

  • £20.00 / €25 gives you a funders credit on the travel guide/photo book. (includes a copy or the limited edition of the book)
  • £50.00 / €60 gives you a funders credit on the Return to Sea and Sardinia. (includes a limited edition of the film
  • £125.00 / €140 gives you a funders credit on both the Return to Sea and Sardinia film and photo book. (includes both a limited edition of the film and copy of the book)
  • £400.00 / €430 gives you a 4-day photography tuition class aboard the train routes Lawrence used while travelling in Sardinia (the Trenino Verde).

Supporters of the project will be given an opportunity to have themselves credited on the book and/or film produced as record.


Compilation album Press Release

Ennio’s Muse is a digital compilation album, released by British record label Whitelabrecs, as a means to generate funds and interest into an ambitious project called Return to Sea and Sardinia. 2021 marks 100 years since D.H Lawrence’s travel book Sea and Sardinia, in which he documents his travels from Sicily, through the Mediterranean Sea and up through Sardinia, before returning to his Sicilian home.

In Return to Sea and Sardinia, photographer and film maker Daniele Marzeddu plans to retrace Lawrence’s steps, a full century on since the original voyage. The journey will be captured through photography and a documentary film, which will be scored by Glåsbird. This ambitious plan is currently underway as we work together to hopefully obtain the funding needed to realise it.

Whitelabrecs have decided to curate a digital compilation, in which all proceeds will be donated to Return to Sea and Sardinia for a period of 12 months. The album is themed on cinematic scoring, inspired by the late great Ennio Morricone and throwing forward the themes of Mediterranean travel that lie ahead. The artists invited have been asked to produce a piece of music, as if they are scoring for an imaginary film. The result is a series of dream-infused pieces, in which you can expect modern classical composition and ambient moods, all draped under a clear-night-sky canopy of stars. The artists each pull in their own direction but collectively, Ennio’s Muse is bound as a cohesive whole.

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

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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

End of 2020 Sale – 30% Off

On Friday for Bandcamp day, we announced our winter sale for the month of December and into January before we begin our schedule for 2021. This year’s sale double’s the amount off from last year; a massive 30%!

The reason we’ve gone over the top this year is by way of thanks for all the support we received to keep us going in a tough year, but also, because our storage cupboard is overflowing with unloved CDs!

So until midnight on the 14th of January 2021, you can enjoy an extra 30% off all of our catalog, both physical and digital.

Simply enter the following code into the discount box provided when you check out to access the 30% reduction on all items:

CODE: extra30
LINK:
https://whitelabrecs.bandcamp.com/merch

If you’re new to the label and not sure where to begin, please see a few select items from our 2020 catalog that are low on stock. These might be a good place to start if you want to check out our catalog – simply take a look below and hit ‘play’ on the embedded mini players. You can then click the player or image to be transported to the release page.


Various Artists “Home Diaries”
April-June| Digital Only

A feature to pretty much everyone’s 2020 has been the outbreak of Covid-19, it goes without saying. In March we had to stop all of our planned CDr releases, due to the closure of our local post-office. With nothing to release and bills to pay, we launched the Home Diaries series, in which 30 artists contributed an EP or album which we sold digitally. Each record in the series featured a recurring image of a lonely house in a field, with varying colour filters and there’s a bonus PDF interview with the artist included with each one.
This details what the artist’s situation was during lockdown or social distancing conditions, as well as their plans and what equipment they used to create their work.

You can check out a landing page below, which summarises each release in this series. We’ll be releasing a double compilation album in January next year, featuring a track from each album, so watch this space!

https://mailchi.mp/971a27fff884/homediaries


Glåsbird “Novaya Zemlya”
September | 15 copies left

Now having landed at 4 different geographical locations, Glåsbird’s most recent edition to this series is a trip to the isolated and sparsely populated island Novaya Zemlya. This destination is two islands split in two by the Matochkin Strait. The northern island is pretty much all glacier whereas the southern island is currently inhabited by just over 2000 people and was also the site of the largest ever nuclear bomb test, the Tsar Bomba. Glåsbird uses icy static, strings and hints of brass to weave some of their most dramatic compositions yet.


thme “that’s what it will be like”
September | 30 copies left

Something which may have escaped the radar, this tonal, textured Ambient record by Parisian artist thme has been enjoyed by those who have checked it out with some nice feedback being received. Field recordings, samples and damaged piano keys drape over this idyllic but surreal soundtrack, with collage artwork provided by artist Arctic Sun.


Polaroid Notes “Ghost Sounds”
November | 10 copies left

These have literally been flying out the door since we released this latest album by Polaroid Notes last month. Although not intended to necessarily be festive, this record feels apt for this kind of year as we’re in winter holiday season, or at least over here in Europe anyway. Polaroid Notes used piano and synth to create deep and cinematic soundscapes, with some spooky undertones. The cover artwork is particularly striking we think, with the artist providing photography from the Black Mountain region of Southern Germany across the four panels of this package.


Mikael Lind “Give Shape To Space”
July | 10 copies left

We were thrilled to be working on the release of this album by Iceland’s Mikael Lind, an artist whose work featured right at the top of our favourite albums of 2019. Unfortunately we had to delay the release of ‘Give Shape To Space’ and we’re thankful Mikael stayed patient with us. This record features a generous selection of strings, synth and textural sounds along with artwork by his partner, Sigga Björg


Jens Pauly “Below”
June| 21 Copies Remaining

In June, we were delighted to get going again with our CDr releases. First on the list was the return of Jens Pauly, who had contributed ‘Vihne’ to our catalog last year. As with his last release, Jens completed the full packaging creation himself and put together a combination of black and white photography with sleek, minimal design. The music is a further selection of electro-acoustic manipulations, carefully blended with filigree detail.


Out Now! Glacis & Gavin Miller – Nothing Hurts Forever

We’re just about to head into the penultimate month of a crazy 2020 and we will do so, with our penultimate batch of two releases. First up, due out this Saturday the 31st of October is a collaboration between British artists Glacis and Gavin Miller. ‘Nothing Hurts Forever‘ was originally planned for the early part of this year before we halted our catalog and somehow, summer didn’t feel the right time to release this. The tail-end of October on the other hand is perfect… expect raw and honest piano accounts from a family home, joined by textured strings, licks of guitar and the occasional drone.

This limited edition CDr edition makes use of photography by Ali Safavi against a minimal white border, with dark green inner panels with contrasting text and a beautiful gold vinyl-effect disc.

Our low-run releases will be made available suddenly without official release dates, meaning they’re 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 join our mailing list by clicking HERE.

 

press release
“Glacis is Euan Millar-McMeeken, originally from Dundee but currently residing in London after a recent move South. Gavin Miller is an artist from Bradford, a city tucked away in the shadow of Leeds and he also records as Worriedaboutsatan. This British duo have released solo records through labels such as Lost Tribe Sound, Sound In Silence, Fluid Audio, Facture and Shimmering Moods to name but a few and in ‘Nothing Hurts Forever’ they have undertaken an exercise of collaboration, to sensitively compliment one another’s sound.

The result is a raw and intimate set of ten pieces for piano, strings, guitar and drone, which stop just short of what you might call modern classical music. Euan’s piano compositions retain an authentic character which deliberately documents the original recording environment, as marks are left on this album by creaking chairs, scraping floors and a family environment. Gavin’s strings and guitar adornments add a richness to these, emphasising texture and heightening a melancholic mood.

‘Nothing Hurts Forever’ is free from a clear concept, as Euan wrestled with homesickness having moved to England and was looking for a creative outlet in which to channel his feelings, or perhaps escape them. He was struck one day whilst listening to Frightened Rabbit, whose lead singer Scott Hutchinson had passed away in 2018. He recalled words that were said back then: ‘nothing hurts forever’. He remembered thinking at the time of Scott’s death that this wasn’t always true, as some things do in fact hurt forever. Perhaps this statement is more useful, to provide reassurance during a period of discomfort or unease. Adapting to changes, such as moving home or changing jobs for example. For bigger things, perhaps the hurt can lessen or fade over time or perhaps it never truly goes. From this point, the record felt like a follow-on to the previous Glacis album ‘The World Is A Little Lonelier Without You’, a tribute to his father.

With the adaptation and sensitive expansion of Euan’s piano environments, Gavin has retained all of the personal character which is so important to his peer. Yet the stories are given an extra dimension and something so personal becoming a collaboration opens this out to be a space for our own interpretation as the moods and track titles provide food for thought.

credits
Written and produced by Euan Millar-McMeeken
Mastered by Gavin Miller
Photography by Ali Safavi
Packaging Design by Harry Towell