ORGAN: Five (quiet) Musical Things – Bendrix Littleton, Noemie Nours, Thomas Azier, Jon Hassell, Sarah Davachi and…

noemienours

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Five more musical things that have come our way in recent days, quieter things for that is how it needed to be this week, five recommended piece of music that we feel we wish to share with you – here they are, with the links and the things you need to go find out more, five more pieces of music for a Monday morning. It is all about exploring, about sharing, about signposts and things that others might not cover…

1: Noemie Nours – “All-ages bear-saving plant-fueled non-ideological drug-free home-recorded slo-core from the forests of Sweden” so it says on the tin – fragile, fractured, brave, less is more, love the sparse production, the sctatch and scrape of it all, the textures, the nails on a blackboard, is this what the forests of Sweden sound like, I only know the battle of Epping Forest. Unquestioning unrequited? I do like the artwork, the art of it all, the dare of it all, the guts, it isn;t quite otherly, it isn;t quite anything and non of the songs properly end which I kind of admire, I like the way nothing is concluded, that everything just hangs there in the wind or in those trees or who reallyknows where. Sparse, not minimalists though, not haunting, not quite inviting, almost like ot listen is to intrude, I do like it rather a lot. Noémie sent it in herself,  it isn’t that clear who Noémie is? She sounds like a quiet cat at times, out there just out of sight, some of it seems sad, the saddest bears, meloncholic, thanks Noémie, I really like it, it seems very personal, I feel like I’m intruding but I do really like it  “All music, lyrics, artwork, recording, mixing, mastering by noemienours,  recorded on Fostex reel-to-reel 8-track in Stockholm, this is noemienours record #4. ”

 

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2:  Thomas Azier – a follow up to the video posted back in early April, “Thomas Azier’s artistic medium approaches music in a unique way, the same way a visual artist or a painter would approach their respective forms of art. The Intuitively short film for Hold On Tight was shot on 16mm with a small crew, reflects in its stark glimpses of spectacularly mundane humanity it’s the result of a conversation between the director and Thomas and their exchange on movies including slow cinema master Tsai Ming Liang’s Tapei Trilogy ‘The River’ and ‘Rebels Of The Neon God’, which explore youthful anomie, unspoken longings and familial dysfunction in ‘90s Taiwan”. More from www.thomasazier.com

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3. Bendrix Littleton – a track, a song, a video or what you will, a piece from ‘Deep Dark South’ by Bendrix Littleton, a track from an album due out on September 25th on NNA Tapes – the various places you can find more are listed here, dont say we don’t tell you these things. We could also tell you that “Bendrix Littleton is the writing and recording project of Nashville-via-Dallas musician Bennett Littlejohn”.

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You can find lots more details of the album via Bandcamp

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4: Jon Hassell  – ‘Unknown Wish’ is the second preview of the forthcoming Jon Hassell album, the press release insists this  is “an extraordinary piece of music, even by the out-there standards of the fourth world pioneer. Billowing in on a cloud of voice, strings and stuttering IDM-style percussion, it possesses an undeniable filmic quality. It’s the kind of music you can imagine soundtracking one of the gigantic billboard adverts in Bladerunner, or even further forward into a post-human world. The arrangement is incredibly loose without slipping into dissonance and all of the musical elements retain a beautiful harmonic interplay”, that’s what the press release says, we rather like it, if we didn;t the track wouldn’t be posted here, here it is, go hear, here here, here and now… .

Ndeya Records · Jon Hassell | Unknown Wish

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Once again the ever forthcoming Bandcamp page will tell you more and indeed let you hear a little more. , the album ‘Seeing Through Sound (Pentimento Volume Two)’is out on 24th July on Ndeya records. Even more via Jon Hassell’s own website we should imagine

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5: Sarah Davachi “announces new album, her own new label and shares a track” so reads the headline, the press release tells us that “Sarah Davachi’s masterpiece ‘Cantus, Descant’ is an 80 minute, 17 track double album meditation on impermanence and endings, framed by minimalistic organ études and careful harmonic layering, with two tracks featuring the artist’s own vocals for the first time”,  Here’s a taste…

Sarah Davachi · Stations II

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yes I know all this cut n’paste stuff is lazy, but you have the music and well, do you really need anything more than the information? I suspect you just listen to te tracka nd then click on hte links, I could type anything here couldn’t I?

This is the first release on Davachi’s own label, Late Music, which has been set up with the partner labels division of Warp Records, who also work with Duophonic UHF Disks (Stereolab), Ndeya (Jon Hassell), All Saints Records (Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Laraaji) and more. Below is commentary from Sarah on the concepts, recording and instrumentation of the new album:

“The title of the record – ‘Cantus, Descant’ – has both literal and metaphorical meaning and, in a way, this is something like a concept album that addresses the relationship between the two. In medieval music, the Latin ‘cantus’ was used as a general term for unadorned singing or chant and by the end of the Middle Ages it came to represent the highest voice of a polyphonic choral texture, often improvised. ‘Descant’, at that time, was used in part to denote the structures of polyphony and counterpoint, the harmonious play of two or more voices against one another. Harmony is a musical device that is particularly meaningful to the material on this album, especially in the ‘Stations I-V’ series and its use of a sixteenth-century meantone temperament, but the inherent dialogue that persists between the individual (the cantus) and the larger time and space that it occupies (the descant) came to inhabit a more significant presence in the ideas and feelings that inform the album as well. In this way, the album takes solace in a suspension of the private within the collective, and the moment within the mythic.

I spent a lot of time while working on this album thinking about impermanence and endings, which led me to change my understanding of ‘vanitas’ and ‘memento mori’. These concepts arise allegorically across classical antiquity and Buddhist thought, among many other sources, but they were most obsessively expressed during the Renaissance in still lives and miniatures that contrasted the simultaneous passing and stillness of time. My interpretation is completely secular, softer, and more benign, but the awareness of a moment’s feeling remains. There’s a lot of symbolist imagery in the work titles, references to place and nature; the ‘Stations’ series in particular is a reconfiguring of the idea of states of being. The pervading affect on the album is one that gives reverence to the suspension, the epoché, a space where we welcome and attempt to reconcile impermanence. It is an opportunity to go inside – oneself, one’s sound – in order to simultaneously commune with our comforts and that which we mourn, perhaps not unlike the function of a hymn.
This album focuses on the organ in its various forms as the central instrument – pipe organ, reed organ, and electric organ. There are four different pipe organs featured: a smaller one based on a design from 1479 that I recorded in Amsterdam, and three larger ones that I worked with in Chicago, Vancouver, and Copenhagen. The majority of the album uses the organ in Amsterdam (in the ‘Stations I-V’ series) as well as a large reed organ I’ve been composing with privately for a few years in Los Angeles. Most people are familiar with the overwhelming aspect of organs, their ability to fill a space and take the listener over, but I’m equally interested in the intimate and private nature of organs, which is also what I was sifting through here, especially with those two organs. The organ in Amsterdam was particularly inspiring for me since it’s tuned in a Renaissance meantone temperament (which is unfortunately fairly uncommon in early music revivals) and since its bellows are pumped by hand, by another individual, rather than by an electric blower. The combination of the two yields what I think are some of the most interiorized and psychedelic textures I’ve ever experienced from an instrument. The minutiae of space and that sense of dialogue between near and far is I suppose another iteration of the cantus-descant metaphor that ended up being a more literal reference in the record. I’ve long been interested in the Renaissance approach to texture and timbre, and ideas about suspension that you see in a lot of sacred music, so I went a bit further into that here.

The first recordings I made for this record were actually back in the summer of 2017, which I gathered in Vancouver via an instrument I had had the privilege to work with on a regular basis since about 2013. I knew at this time that I was just beginning to enter a period of intense exploration, so I spent 2018 figuring out how to articulate my voice within the organ, what I wanted to say with the instrument and the space around it. I had a lot of wonderful opportunities in live performance to do this, so most of my organ shows that year were various studies on a few different gestures, sometimes incorporating other instruments like horns, the voice, strings, or electronics. I began recording the rest of the album in earnest in February of 2019, and wrapped with the acoustic organ recordings in August of that year in Amsterdam. The studio work came a bit later in the fall of 2019, at my home studio (‘Alms Vert’) in Los Angeles. My love of electric organ runs parallel to my love for orchestral textures and that style of production in popular music, and tape-based technologies like the Mellotron and echo devices. There’s a lot of personal catharsis imbedded in this record, and the two songs that I ended up creating actually felt like a really nice foil to the instrumental structures that I’m better known for.”

Here’s the rather beautiful video….

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and…

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