new writing

New Oren Ambarchi interview

My interview with composer and multi-instrumentalist Oren Ambarchi (whose records are ace) has been published at Cyclic Defrost. Here’s an excerpt:

“I’m chasing a feeling I get from some of my favourite musics. Something that’s transporting, otherworldly. Ecstatic free sound. I’m searching for something that is almost unknown to me, until I find it, that is. Some kind of beauty.
“I know it when I find it. Somehow everything falls into place – hopefully – at a certain point. I’m happy for this to take a while, so it’s a journey.
“There is some perfectionism but I’m trying not to be too anal about it all. I don’t want to suck the life out of it from refining, refining, refining. It still needs to retain a rawness, an unpredictability. There’s a fine line there, and I have to watch it.”

You can read the rest here.

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New Oren Ambarchi review

My review of Quixotism, Oren Ambarchi’s new album on Editions Mego, is now live at Cyclic Defrost.

(Spoiler: it’s really good. )

Here’s a sample:

There’s a cold feeling to some of the composition – ‘Part 2′ touches on the ground Gavin Bryars walks upon – but it’s leavened with the joyous humanity of ‘Part 5′. Organ notes, muted guitar picking and tabla are joined with swooning strings in an elegiac celebration. It’s humanity writ large, and gives the piece narrative – this burst of sad joy seems to tell the story of a machine gaining sentience, a soul, before relapsing.

You can read the rest of the review here.

New Howard Stelzer review

My review of Howard Stelzer’s Brayton Point album has gone live at Cyclic Defrost. Here’s a sample.

The album consists of manipulations of field recordings taken from around the Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, Massachusetts. The station is to be decommissioned in 2017, so Stelzer’s recording acts as a kind of memorial to the site; a document which initially captures working sounds of the area before transforming into a thrumming, windy meditation on the limitless potentials of power. The industrial grime of the power station is strongly present, though it’s not in the jackhammer way which one would associate with an Eraserhead ethic.

You can read the rest here. 

New Bruno Sanfilippo review

Another of my reviews for Cyclic Defrost has gone life. This time, it’s a look at Bruno Sanfilippo’s ClarOscuro album.

The music is uniformly quiet in a way you’ll be familiar with if you’ve heard Nyman’s The Pianosoundtrack (‘Absentia’), or perhaps the piano works of Gavin Bryars (‘Luciana’), Yann Tiersen (the titular opener) or (in her quieter moments) Elena Kats-Chernin. It’s lyrical and there’s alot of sustained notes, stretching into decay. There’s touches of the rainy-afternoon Erik Satie or Claude Debussy about the work, but I feel that’s just in terms of emotional association rather than in terms of execution: the sound of the piano played this way makes the listener feel this way, almost regardless of the content. It could be library music.

You may read the rest of the review here.