‘FORGETTING’ – Vierzig Skizzen (Self-Released)

'Forgetting' - Vierzig Skizzen (Self-Released)

Vierzig Skizzen, AKA Daniel Stuhr, self releases ‘Forgetting’, a seven track album available for digital download or on limited run (20) cassette. Recorded between December 2017 and October 2019, ‘Forgetting’ is Stuhr’s first release since August of last year, when ‘II’ dropped.

The album begins with ‘fall song (quiet)’, a peaceful acoustic affair, where gentle guitar plucks are underpinned by a low recording hiss. ‘from windows’ presents itself with long, powerful drone soundscapes, which are complemented by muffled spoken word recordings.

‘In erwartung’ pushes the album in a slightly more abstract direction, with guitar based loops, sporadically interspersed with distorted mechanical notes. The album’s mid point ‘snow at the bottom of the well’ actually evokes a feeling of cold as Stuhr plays with more grainy and industrial sound layers. A soft 4×4 kick is warmly welcomed in the title track ‘Forgetting’, arguably the most ‘pop’ sounding track on the release, as dreamy, effect-laden guitars return as the most prominent element.

Ending on a much darker tone, ‘Gate Opens’ and ‘(security)’ round things off with twenty minutes of harsh sound experimentation. The former literally sounds like the gates of hell are opening, and all manner of nightmares are spilling out (I’d love to know where the quiet spoken word recording / effect is sampled from / produced). After five and a half minutes of blistering noise, it’s almost as if the gates shut, peace returns and a contemplative ambience ensues. The latter again uses quiet guitar strums to contrast against heavy distortion.

Another great find and some really interesting work coming out on tape from Stuhr. 

‘Antemortem’ – Volunteer Coroner (Adversary)

'Antemortem' - Volunteer Coroner (Adversary)

Kaninhal (Kaninhål) translates into ‘rabbit hole’ and this name was chosen for the blog due to the nature in which I enjoy finding new music the most. Whether it be online, in stores, or discussing music with friends, I’ve made some of my most notable discoveries by following my nose and ‘venturing down the rabbit hole’.  I stumbled across a great find yesterday – Adversary Electronics, an experimental tape label based out of Georgia (USA), who have put together a fine discography over the last five years. 

Over the last few years, the label has predominantly been an outlet for two artists; Grant Evans and Motion Sickness of Time Travel, but have confirmed that 2020 will see the label will open up for releases from friends and like-minded artists. 

The start of February saw the label push out three new releases; ‘Antemortem’ by Volunteer Coroner, ‘Fake Spells’ by Sparkling Wide Pressure and ‘The Pessimist’ by Grant Evans. Volunteer Coroner AKA Preston Weippart has been releasing experimental / drone on a handful of labels over the past 18 months and four-track ‘Antemortem’ marks his first appearance on Adversary. It’s a really well balanced release, with Weippaert blending an interesting mix of field recordings atop of noisey droney soundscapes. Favourite track goes to ‘Carved Into Wood, a Test of Time’ – nicely composed and slightly less industrial than the other three tracks. 

I find myself being drawn more and more to cassette labels (particularly those with a more DIY feel). Keeping physical editions limited (and number quite low) and having full autonomy over artist collaboration, design and production is ensuring that these imprints are doing a great job in carving out niches within the Ambient / Experimental genre. I’m really looking forward to seeing what 2020 has in store for Adversary.

‘Worn’ by Robert Farrugia (Lontano Series)

Robert Farrugia - Worn (Lontano Series)

Berlin-Based imprint Lontano Series strengthens an already impressive discography with their first release of the new decade; ‘Worn’ by Robert Farrugia. The Maltese artist is probably best known for his three releases on Archives (the independent label run by Agustin Mena AKA Warmth), but marks his debut on LS with some of his finest work yet.

Recorded in the summer of 2019, ‘Worn’ is beautifully constructed and flows seamlessly from start to finish. The opener ‘Routing’ is deep and powerful and sets the tone of the release perfectly, with sweeping ethereal sounds taking centre stage. Subtle instrumental additions; warm kicks on ‘Cicada’ and gentle piano keys on ‘Wading’ sound even better against the sketches when played loud. 

The considered composition of the mid section of ‘Puddles’ gives the feeling of watching rain lightly fall and disturb the stillness of a small pool of water, and the release reaches its climax with ‘Segments’, a slightly more sombre track that uses the last 90 seconds to slowly ease you back to reality. For almost 40 minutes, you are lost in Farrugia’s world, surrounded by nature and seeing the world turn slightly slower than usual.

On the release page, he adds these notes; ‘In many ways, this album has been turning in my head since 2015, when my studies took me to Finland. During this period, my roommate and I found this dead fox in the snow, taking this photograph. Since then I’ve found myself thinking about the grass and the fox, and the dead fox and the grass, and how beautiful their colours both were. Sometimes it seems to me that life’s a process of wearing and of being worn, and, just like the tape, in many ways my process began back then, with the fox and its colours.’

Available digitally and on limited edition compact disc via the Lontano Series Bandcamp page.