Posts Tagged ‘Field Recordings’

Channelers

It’s probably a bit obvious to state that cruising through the junkship, scroll-addled future of 2019 comes with a few stressors. Its hard to block out the noise and settle, even when ladled full-stop into the arms of nature it’s hard to let the brainwaves cool and enjoy the sounds and soft green light. The latest release from Channelers, aka Sean Conrad, takes a gentle swipe at easing that tension, or at least placing the listener in a sealed containment unit of perpetual bliss. Conrad lifts the burble of streams, the chirp of birds, the calm, yet vibrant rhythms of nature for his own use and drops them into his own imagined landscapes of synth float and dulcimer yawn. It’s not new territory to create utopian space via the musical landscape, but Conrad is deftly weaving his field recordings with just the right amount of meditative melt.

The Depth of Rest plays on the listener’s core of calmness, evoking what Conrad claims is a form of magical realism – virtual reality splayed on the backs of the eyelids and reaching into the upper echelons of the human condition. The record isn’t wallpaper or noise cancellation, it’s a full reset of the psyche. Between the imagined woodland respites and streamside oases listeners begin to feel the weight lift off of their minds and the everyday grip of sociopolitical body horror release for as long as they exist inside Channelers’ realm. It always ends, as I suppose it must, but while the red light of playback glows, its nice to be alone in this cocoon of calm.




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Padang Food Tigers

Its been a few long years since London duo Padang Food Tigers’ last outing, the sorely underrated album Bumblin’ Creed on Northern Spy in 2016, but they’re wafting back into view with a new record for Texan enclave Blue Hole Recordings. As ever, the works of PFT are hushed and delicate, built on their patient acoustic assemblages and the soft lap of field recordings nipping at the elbows of each track. Spencer Grady and Stephen Lewis are steeped in the traditions of Takoma, while showing equal reverence for the Jewelled Antler Collective’s crumbling vision of four track folk. The songs ache with life, cracking awake, wincing and weaving through the background buzz of life until the gorgeous moments peek through. For the rushed and ragged, these moments are likely lost. No time to wait through full minutes of hiss and hum, the harried listener would miss out on the slow opening of Padang’s songs. They lie in wait, as if so connected to the fragility of nature that they show themselves only to the gentle warming of the sun’s rays.

The band blends the wisdom of predecessors like Scott Tuma, Steven R. Smith, Kemialliset Ystävät, and the Blithe Sons into a record that’s spun like silk. It feels like even the gentlest nudge might upset these songs but breathing in the the rarified air around them bolsters the spirit and reaffirms the rightness of life. Each of the duo’s songs works like a vignette of bittersweet simplicity brought to sparkling life—like the whole-hearted whims of children presented in innocence but laid heavy with the promise of age, angst, and the alchemical loss of that whimsy. There’s sadness here, but also joy and in many moments they’re one and the same. Much of the befuddlingly titled Wake Up, Mr. Pancake feels like smiling and crying all at once—a heart breaking and mending on an endless loop, but the pair pull it off like the most accomplished aural artists. They paint delicate strokes on a complimentary field, but finding joy among the ridges and textures is endlessly engrossing. The album was worth the wait, but don’t let it slip by. This one won’t kick up a lot of dust, but once found it doesn’t let go.




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Cool Maritime – “Sharing Waves”

Cool Maritime blends the rippling strains of Kosmiche with the mossy, woodsy intimacy of field recordings. In the video for the title track off his upcoming LP, Sharing Waves, Sean Hellfritsch builds the perfect scene, utilizing his “lunchbox” modular synth in the hazy morning woods far from the concerns of the rest of humanity. The track, like the bulk of Cool Maritime’s work, is reflective and peaceful – a virtual volume knob for the screaming world outside clamoring for attention. The LP, his second for Leaving Records, promises a full-time dropout from the din, but in the meantim this is a nice little respite from mounting angst.

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Evan Caminiti – “Toxic Tape (Love Canal)”

Evan Caminiti’s Dust Editions label has been quiet over the last couple of years, since about the time he released his last album Meridian, but the imprint is cranking back up for his follow-up to that acid bath of electro-acoustic fallout. The first track from the upcoming, Toxic City Music, is bubbling under with the crackle of static electricity, gently nudging and creeping its way towards the sound of fried synapses. The album is built from an array of field recordings captured in Caminiti’s now home of NYC, in fact “Toxic Tape” pulls sounds from the artist’s own kitchen sink, flipping one’s environment into a backdrop of noise and squelch in the best Matmos tradition. Its also a return to Caminiti utilizing guitar under his given name, though the instrument is buried deep below layers of crust and crackle. The album features sympathetic souls Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and Rafael Anton Irisarri, notable names if any and finds its way out in early March.


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Padang Food Tigers

The summer sun has come and gone, the autumn hours are shortening, but there’s still time for one more slip into the sunlight with Padang Food Tigers’ Bumblin’ Creed. For this release the duo of Stephen Lewis and Spencer Grady are aided by Norwegian harmonium player Sigbjørn Apeland. The pair’s sound hearkens back to a time when the Jewelled Antler reigned supreme (at least in some circles) and there was a wealth of folk that captured the pastoral hum of a quiet afternoon spent alone in the woods with instruments picking. Padang Food Tigers, like many of the Antler collective, most predominantly The Blithe Sons, and with a direct line to formative bands like Heron before them, mix the tranquil meditative qualities of drone folk with an immersive ear for field recording.

The sounds of the forest are high in the mix on Bumblin’ Creed, but not in a way that seems distracting or gimmicky. Instead the album feels recorded in the elements, responding to the burble of waters and the wind in trees, playing off of nature as if it were just one other member in an ensemble of improvisers gathered for an afternoon spent vibing off the creaking hum of Apeland’s harmonium. The pair bend and pluck at their guitars with a subtle nuance and never let pristine be a word that enters their headspace. The hum of the tape, the rustle of the trees, the chill in the air can almost be felt right through the microphones. It’s an album that brings back a flood of feelings for the early aughts. There were plenty of albums that let in the perfect equilibrium that psych folk had to offer and this is the kind of crowning jewel that ruled the scene. I’ve been personally pining for a bit of this to come eking back and the Tigers and Apeland have captured the magic that made ’03-’04 a time of hushed beauty. Truth is no time can hold a recording like this, its as timeless as it its boundless, and for that reason worth a run through your headphones ASAP.

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