microphones in the trees: March 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

guenter schlienz / alineko / lunar devotion

«"Night Music Bundle" is our new batch of gorgeous ambient & drone music received from great artists around the world! New full-length album by modular synth guru Guenter Schlientz, whose music we are proud to release; huge one-track work by Alineko, whose stellar drones we already had in catalogue; and, finally, long-awaited Lunar Devotion compilation album, featuring many different styles of ambient on one disc, all dedicated to the beauty of the Night! 

Bundle is available in collectors edition - hand-painted wooden box with many inserts, including mandala prints, postcards, moss & custom made star finder» ~ pantheophania

«Dedicated to the barely visible stars above your home town.» ~ guenter schlienz

In the gleam light of night streets we always see the same. City envelopes us, creating space inside itself, which is almost flat compared to the actual world around. Sometimes it seems that we live inside a dome of glass, like ones from sci-fi books about distant future in post-apocalyptic world. We don't look at the sky, unless it's raining, we are losing the feeling of vastness, of the universal endlessness, which surrounds our little tiny home planet. Cosmos doesn't fit in coordinate system produced by the rows of street lights. But still there are some dreamers, inspired by the blinking stars above the never sleeping towns, bringing the melodies of this elusive beauty, which hides between the city blocks, trembles over the rivers and dissipates in roars of the streets... This exquisite album by our favorite modular synth wizard Guenter Schlienz is a dreamlike journey over the routine of life, perfect companion for late night walks and leisurely stargazing.

«A lucid dream is a dream during which the dreamer is aware of dreaming. During lucid dreaming, the dreamer may be able to exert some degree of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment.» ~ wikipedia

Second full-length work by Alineko is an aural excursion to the ancient art of lucid dreaming, personal reflection of the interest in Yoga Nidra and modern dreaming techniques. Being minimalist drone piece only at first glance, «A Guide To Lucid Dreaming» reveals a truly mesmerizing deepness and variety during the listening, unfolding hidden, but always present possibilities of our mind. One may hear choir or orchestra, humming of the wind or murmuring water, distant voices, whale songs, etc. – but nothing of it is present here, only play of perception. This music can be anything: meditation session, simple relaxing background or a truly deep listening experience, depending on the one's mood and surrounding. 

various artists ~ lunar devotion (πάνθεον, 2017)

Nytt Land, Tmavy Kruh, SiJ, Чайник Болотных Богов, Med Gen, lost-radio, Ugasanie, Sunmoonstar, Gamardah Fungus, Nubiferous, Ongo Oruulaa

«Lunar Devotion» is a long-awaited successor of our «Solar Devotion» release made back in 2014. For this compilation we asked artists for their vision of the Moon and everything connected with it – seasons & cycles, religions & cults, dreams, fantasies, insomnia, cosmic landscapes... All of this can be found on this release, intertwined, slowly changing moods from light ambiences to deepest dark drones and back to purest silver light of our Mistress of the Night.

Monday, March 20, 2017

stag hare / crown of eternity

«Velvet and Bone is structured as a gothic fable. It is about the act of self reflection through knowing another. It is about seeing the shadow and knowing the shadow. It is about seeing death and knowing death. It is about bones, and the way they are shaped by the tensions put on them by various opposing muscles. It is about the swamps of depression. It is about love in its most tragic and therefore most beautiful form». ~ stag hare

Being a huge fan sometimes stops me from writing reviews – maybe it's just subconscious feeling that words can spoil the fragility of music, especially when the music is as personal as Stag Hare are. There are so many kinds of art, of sound, ways of expression, but not that many artists are interested in putting their true emotions into art. Looks like image and the presentation are more important than revealing the personal side  of life and it's understandable. But when the image contradicts to inner story it may say something about our ability to feel the difference. What I like about Stag Hare (and the whole Inner Islands roster, actually) is sincerity, openness, fearless sharing of life as it seen by the artist, reflecting everything in music, telling stories which at some level are universal for all human beings – we just go through them by our own patterns. So, here it spins, new tape with Stag Hare's songs and this time they're actually songs with lyrics printed on j-card! «Opening (Depression)» starts with deep drone tune and it's actually not so dark, as drone ambient can be, but it has this longing which fades in second track – slowly, but confidently building sparkling layers of blissful folk song and entering the same territories Stag Hare known for, but this time with the strong presence of the new kind of energy. Dreamer has awakened and discovered that real world is the challenge and was never separated from the dream. The inner and the outer are not that different categories, simply matter of viewpoint. These songs are still dreamy and so magical, they bloom like astral flowers from the deepness of psychedelic revelation, but at the same time the thickness of the physical is present, like never-ending drone – it simply stitches once separated into whole... Natural & urban, transcendence and routine, simply life as it is. Aspiration to non-duality is primal to every spiritual being, but the ability to separate things is not less important, it's actually the only way our mind can work, endlessly dividing and then synthesizing at new levels of understanding, just to separate again... Okay, think I went too far, so let's say it's just wonderful music for everything you want from it. «Velvet and Bone» can be just beautiful background for your daily activities as successfully, as the impetus for philosophizing (which is clear in my case), it chills and gives energy, it brings joy and contains many different moods at the same time. Music of high potential to unfold. Truly personal, but universal – you may learn something from it, consciously or not. In any case, you won't regret hearing it. 

«Dream Architecture contains the deep and complex harmonics of 11 gongs, as well as the sonorous tones of more than 60 bells, sound plates, sound triangles, tuned metals and singing bowls. Crown of Eternity carefully and patiently blend and orchestrate their instruments to create harmonic fields that invite the listener to dive in and not only explore the nature of the sound current, but also their inner landscape». inner islands

Some things change and some not. But it depends on the perspective, of course. Music of gongs, singing bowls and similar stuff was in the New Age genre since its inception. Of course it existed before, but not as music, but more as a spiritual practice. And this function of primal metal instruments vibrations resonating through your body remains unchanged – you'd rather hear such music at some yoga place, than in the concert club. Same private and personal feeling is present at this tape, as with Stag Hare release above. We are left alone with resonance, created with carefulness. It nurtures your senses, sets the right mood for relaxing contemplation, it gives landscape for your inner gazing... The experience of listening to such tape may be rewarding, but I guess it's nothing compared to Crown of Eternity live sets. The amount of gongs, plates, bowls and other metal resonators seen on photos has its own impression even without hearing the music! But if you had the chance to join such session at least once in your life, then you know what I mean. Here the point which turns spiritual practice into music – the act of recording. Same can be told about about any "sacred music" like tibetan monks' throat singing or orthodox chorals: when you are out of the moment of actual happening, when this is recorded or even just put into the studio or onto stage – it turns into completely different story. But this is really one big theme and it leads us away from music itself. Which is, by my humble opinion, can be always regarded as thing in itself without looking at its context and further analysis. Call me consumer, but some things need to be simply enjoyed. This tape is highly enjoyable even if my sound system is unable to produce same effect as live session with all those beautiful resonating stuff. But still, the sound resonates with my soul and think that's the most important here. Usually I listen recordings like this (Klaus Wiese, Danny Becher, Karma Moffet to name just a few) when I'm tired of any other music and it's always refreshing, kind of pleasant pause in the never-ending stream of music and always-present daily noise. Harmony & meditation, and nothing else here actually. What else do you need? 

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

check out ~ the book

«CHECK OUT is a project involving sound, images and words. It is divided into sections (chapters / tracks) and has three main granularities, i.e. excess, exposure, and death» ~ horschaft

This is simply gorgeous. No exaggerating, this is the first and second and third impression on this release. Even before hearing the music, holding this beautiful LP-sized book with matte-finished hardcover, full of atmospheric photographs and collected impressions makes my heart beating faster. Maybe just because I like photography and work in printing business, but I don't think it is the only reason. The book unfolds masterfully captured moments of fleeting beauty, seen in tiny details, in landscape, in urban and naturalistic, in simple movements and casual glances. And while the music starts its weaving, your attention is already caught by spells of this creation. It is really hard to make something outstanding in times of ambient music abundance, which we are facing now. Revival of physical formats paves new ways of representation of highly subjective artistic visions and it results in variety of forms – handmade editions, special inserts, quests for ordering, etc. But despite the common idea that music must speak for itself, it's actually a new level of music production – making not really a product, but an art object. Imagine yourself visiting art gallery: some pictures on the walls, subtle music playing... Your impression is fleeting, it depends on so many factors and lies under so much pressure of the modern life-style and its rhythm, that it dissipates as quickly, as the morning dew under the sun since you leave the gallery... Subjective means personal, and personal art it's always just a tiny window, a glance inside the world of the Other. The less objective you are trying to be, the bigger this window gets, expanding the ways of perceive and understand each other. Simple idea, but not that easy to follow when it comes to practice. But if you have the exhibition delivered right at your place, carefully prepared for revisiting its virtues, hiding some details for attentive exploration... Probably it gives much more freedom both for you and for the artist. Ability to explore deeper is a luxury in a modern world.

I won't divide the music and pictures of this edition, I'd rather tell that they are as inseparable as our five senses. Interconnection of impressions creates polarity, accumulates the impulse to discovery, and that's a very good approach in case of ambient music. It creates the deepness and instead of hearing just another melodic guitar ambience and dusty, melancholic soundscapes we plunge into the world of CHECK OUT without hesitation, exploring sensation of every tiny detail of mood, which appears only once – right now, right at this page, with this exact transition of the sounds. This album gives us an environment so fragile and sensitive to any change. It seems that CHECK OUT is about capturing the fleetness of our life, about unavoidable death of every beautiful thing...  But at some point of deepening inside it you may realize that this is happens all the time and that's what life is, a game of perception, of the novelty and excess, of discovery and forgetting... This album not just captures something, but brings the deeper level in the game.

Friday, March 03, 2017

electric sound bath

Sound form perception of moon found within in order to perceive its lunar gift vision of itself at a hearts arms magnetic pulse distance ~ fluere tapes

Latest release from Sweden cozy label Fluere Tapes follows the aesthetics of best ambient-drone outfits blossomed on tape scene in 2009-2011 – shimmering lo-fi soundscapes taken from guitars and synths, slowly evolving atmosphere, calming/meditative touch, feeling of something personal, as if played on private event for a few friends... Seems predictable at first glance, especially for one who's not that much into lengthy drone tapestries, but hides gorgeous moments of serenity and pure bliss for those who know how to listen. Nothing special, actually – get rid of any expectations, turn off analyzing parts of your mind, make yourself comfortable and simply enjoy the ride of slow waves of sound. Then every change of mood in music seems so natural to current time and space – something that was truly needed right-here-right-now but wasn't clear until the very moment of appearance. Expected and surprising at the same time – that's the magic of this tape. Quite often perception of music has certain competitive aspect, like you're testing the ability of musicians to surprise you, evaluating their skills, knowledge of technical side, etc.. And a lot of artists and listeners are good with that, even at ambient/drone scene... Yet, ambient music shouldn't be perceived such way, it's purpose and it's possibility stretches far more forward. Without getting too new-agey, I'd say that music like "Moon Drip" (which is actually a very fine example of non-centered sound continuum usually called ambient) is a wonderful mood changer – calming and transparent, gentle enveloping wave full of bright glares and distant echoes, yet dynamic enough and always changing, every time at any angle if you look close enough. Highly enjoyable background for evening chill and perfect companion for morning walk along the waterfront. And don't forget about the last track "Music For Train Stations", which spans over 40 minutes and suits its name very-very well. Now you know which tape you should take to the next train trip!