Sound Bytes : Graham Reynolds, Lumisokea, Melorman and Signal Hill
Before Midnight OST
It is through labels, which dedicate their time and resources into a particular project, that I continue to discover new and noteworthy artists. One of such labels is Milan Records, which specializes in soundtracks and film scores. This is the same label that brought us music by Clint Mansell and Cliff Martinez, and now, although not exactly new to the world, I am introduced to Graham Reynolds and his soundtrack to Before Midnight. Reynolds is a Frankfurt-born and Austin-based composer, with multiple award-winning film and theater scores, as well as five symphonies, two operas, countless chamber pieces and his jazz-oriented Golden Arm Trio. Whew! For Before Midnight, the third film in the series of Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004), staring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, Reynolds partners up with the director of the trilogy, Richard Linklater, to compose the music to the story full of reflection on life and its fleeting moments. As such, the soundtrack collects short vignettes, often revolving around an early introduced theme, featuring solo instruments, such as piano and guitar, to paint a pensive and slightly nostalgic picture. Since one of the main settings in the film is Greece, the release includes a few traditional Greek pieces by Nikos Kalogeropoulos and Haris Alexiou, one of the most popular singers in the country. A beautiful score which great for a hot summer night, or a cold winter morning, and recommended for both.
I’ve been definitely digging a lot of darker experimental sounds lately. Something that growls just a tiny bit through its roughed up dirty feathers. Something that scratches at its cage, trying to break free through the captivated noise. Something that pounds its hollow claws at the invisible walls of suffocation. And this somewhat random stumble on a record by Lumisokea delivers such a captive beast. This second release is a six-track digital and a limited 180g 12″ album on Eat Concrete, an independent Dutch label that is responsible for glitchy IDM by Roel Funcken, Baconhead, and Aardvarck… but as I already mentioned, Selva is a whole other monster. Lumisokea is a Belgian-Italian duo, comprising of Koenraad Ecker and Andrea Taeggi. The music by the group is self described as “at once highly physical and rich in texture, using both acoustic (cello, prepared piano) as well as (analog) electronic instruments to create a dark and introspective listening experience.” And with this promise they deliver. Multiple layers of sound are cut through with chugging rhythms. The atmosphere is dense and stifling, reminding me of sounds by Ben Frost, Matthew Collings, and Paul Corley. There is the breathing energy of growing torrents similar to Tim Hecker mixed with the pulsating organic matter of Vladislav Delay. Be sure to also check out the group’s debut release, Automatons (Eat Concrete, 2011). Highly recommended for fans of the above mentioned names!
Sun Sea Sky
There are a few occasions when I have used the terms “melodic IDM” and “emotional electronica”. Many have reacted, asking what I mean by those alluded genres. But when I listen to Melorman‘s music, the words creep up again, and so instead I point you to his latest album, titled Waves. Here, gentle synth lines, swirling pads, and glitchy rhythms float through the endless skies of frequencies and wavelengths. Music floats on tiny pockets of air, emotion, and warmth. These are the sounds perfect for the blue skies, still seas, and sunny light. It’s no wonder that Antonis Haniotakis took his Melorman project to Sun Sea Sky Productions, an Illinois (US) based independent label, which has already graced us with the albums by Lights Out Asia, Boy Is Fiction, Northcape and many others. From my past Interview with Melorman I learned that Haniotakis is inspired by “the afternoon light running through my curtain in my room” and “long car rides by the sea when the day is nice“. These tiny glimpses into the artist’s motivation are reflected in the calm chords, neutral textures and downtempo beats throughout the album, just like the tiny droplets of water in Earth’s atmosphere reflect visible sunlight, creating a beautiful rainbow. Be sure to check out Melorman’s past releases, After Noon (Sun Sea Sky, 2011) and Out In A Field (Symbolic Interaction, 2009). Recommended if you’re into Tycho, Sun Glitters, and of course, Boards of Canada.
Chase The Ghost
Sun Sea Sky
I must confess… Ever since the demise of The Silent Ballet, I’ve been a bit at loss when it comes to finding amazing rock and indie bands. In all honesty, I don’t even read any other sites much these days, and am mostly closed off from the world of music recommendations by being confined to my studio, slowly sifting through the ever growing stack of promos. So where do I get my post-rock fix? Thankfully some of the labels I respect and follow put out a gem or two alongside their somewhat regular programming. Such is the case with Sun Sea Sky Productions, a label already mentioned in this Sound Bytes entry with Melorman‘s Waves. This time it’s a four-member band called Signal Hill. After their self released debut, More After We’re Gone (2009), the instrumental rock quartet gets picked up for a proper CD / 2xLP pressing titled Chase The Ghost. Although the nine-track album does not push the boundaries of the genre beyond its comfort zone, it is precisely that familiarity of music that I crave. All of the ingredients of post-rock are here [minus the long winded titles]: the clean plucked guitar, the slowly built chord progressions, the tightly produced drums. The album references Explosions In The Sky, American Dollar and Mogwai, describing the music “comforting and familiar like an old warm coat on a chilly day.” And I couldn’t agree more! A coat so soft and fuzzy I want to make a pillow for the wintry nights to come…
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Tags: ambient, dark ambient, electronica, modern classical, soundtrack