Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Spheruleus 'Play My Tape' Mix

Track List:

Saddleback – Gerroa Thursday
Shaula – Gate Of Fulfil
Takeshi Nishimoto – Memory 4am
Brunk – Radiostoring
Mark Templeton – Pattern For A Pillow
The Green Kingdom – Into The Magic Light
Offthesky – Desert Poly
Damian Valles – The Rome Walkabout
Manrico Montero – One Minute For The Sun
Tim Hecker – October
Herzog – Lately, I’Ve Been Dreaming Of Drinking Sound From A Fountain
Marcus Fischer – Antarctic 3
Goldmund – The Gardener
Steven R.Smith – Valuska
Loren Connors – Many Miles More
Danny Paul Grody – Fountain (Field Recordings Extract)
Marcus Kuerten – Torcedora
Christopher Mcfall – The Persistance Of A Breakable Memory
Ekca Liena – The More I Add To Another (Spheruleus Remix)
Nest – Trans Siberian (+ Spheruleus Acapella Vocal)
Rafael Anton Irisarri – A Thousand-Yard Stare
Spheruleus – Hanging
Spehruleus – Disintegrate

After two recent full length mixes 'Marooned' and a mix for Hibernate Records, Harry Towell (aka Spheruleus) tones down the trademark hefty tracklists to create this mixtape for Earzine, a Russian web magazine.

This mix is still CD length as with the others, yet it focusses more on featuring a selection of ambient tracks that have particularly resonated with Harry over the years. The music has become the focal point for this, rather than quick harmonic transitions - although due care and attention has been paid to making it as smooth a mix as possible.

The mix opens with classical piano ambience from Saddleback before heading slowly through occasional guitar moments, most notably a 1993 classic by Loren Connors. Interluding these are various ambient releases and the stunning 'October' by Tim Hecker. The mix closes with Spheruleus pieces and remixes, with a track from recent album 'Decompose':


MDAC019 - Monthly Discerning Audio Chart, June 2010

Well, it's all starting to get a bit too much - virtually a part time job! I'm not complaining, because immersing myself in all things 'good music' is what I do best. But unfortunately, this reviews section is going to have to be scaled down a little. I am not going to chop it out of my to-do list all together, as I have always maintained a belief that it is important to show appreciation and support for fellow artists and labels. Just, with the Audio Gourmet netlabel growing, a new release from me and a lot of extra promotion work occupying the bulk of my time, it means I am going to struggle to compile a list of ten albums a month and write a couple of paragraphs for each one.

So, instead of scrapping it altogether, I have decided to list the ten albums/releases as normal and simply link to where you can download or purchase a copy, so that you can form your own opinion. You never know - perhaps this will be better than me rambling on and on about how great an album is! Just one click, and you can make up your own minds!

Anyway, here is June's picks...

CHRISTOPHER HIPGRAVE - Slow, With Pages Of Fluttering Interference [Low Point]

MAPS AND DIAGRAMS - Cubiclo [Fluid Audio]

WARMTH TERMINAL - Getting Close [Hibernate]

BEGINNINGS - Waiting On The Weather [Rural Colous]

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Hawk Moon Records: Volume One [Hawk Moon]

LUCETTE BOURDIN - Rumors From Cypress Town [Earth Mantra]

VARIOUS ARTISTS - One Minute For The Sun [SEM/IOD]

MARTA MIST - Distance/Skeletal/Union

SPHERULEUS - Decompose

Friday, July 9, 2010

Spheruleus - "Decompose" Review by Fluid Radio team

REVIEW ON FLUID RADIO, BY ALEX GIBSON:"When dealing with a release structured solely around the concept of physical disintegration, it would be a fair assumption that the material would be foreboding and gloomy – but not so on the album ‘Decompose’ by Spheruleus, recently released on Audio Gourmet. Based around the idea of organisms of all types breaking down into another form over time, the eight tracks are thematically constructed from what appear to have been carefully built loops and layers of field noise. These are in turn deconstructed in a process of “decomposition”, forming new pieces in their own right.
Proceedings open with “Corroding”, which sets the stage for the hour to follow. Both cavernous and aquatic, it introduces the mood and tone of the layers used in all tracks. The texture sounds are gritty without being abrasive, and are used to good effect in creating an environment best appreciated through headphones late at night. What appear to be guitar notes chime in a circular motif throughout, creating a subtle melody blending with well placed layers that rise and fall in both sides of the speakers.
As the process of disintegration is a long and slow one, most pieces are aptly lengthy, most being the best part of ten minutes each – the size of each track really captures the listener, and the album as a whole represents a real journey that envelops and commands attention. It wasn’t until the third or fourth listen that I even registered the absence of a defined bottom end – which is an entirely appropriate decision by the artist, given the subject matter. An exploration of graceful degradation rightly should not carry too much weight?

A few of the standout tracks are “Decay” – an even and percussive pulse which hints at a crescendo never quite arriving, swaying with well placed guitar flares, micro noise and almost perceptible layers. “Disintegrate” conjures an image of time lapse film of fallen birds becoming one with the earth, and “Recycling” alternates between metallic and organic tones – you can hear the fingerprints on the empty drink cans as they’re sorted to be melted down, moving towards the furnace.

Harry Towell and his brother Stuart have developed between them a statement on the ephemeral and transitory nature of the world we move in today.
Audio Gourmet’s recent releases have been based around the concept of “teabreak” length listens, slices of music that can be digested in 15 minutes or less – this represents a move towards “lunchbreak” length portions of music of an hour or more. The teabreak EP’s have been free downloads, however the “Decompose” project is a paid download due to the seemingly considerable time and effort that has gone into producing it. It’s as good a 5 pound download as one could hope to find as well, with striking cover art by French artist Eric Lacombe (Monstror). It’s available in the multiple file types (lossless included) that you’d expect from Bandcamp. It come up well in the 320k MP3 files I grabbed, but would doubtless shine even brighter as FLAC.
“Decompose” sat well in most environments – it was the first thing I listened to in the morning, and steadied my nerves before a demanding day at work – it wiped it away once I was done, and was also worthy of the complete attention given to it late at night. I’m uncertain as to how it was mastered, but it plays well both in headphones and hitting the air. It also displays one of the traits that good records possess – it changes form with every listen, and by concentrating on one particular part of the spectrum, another part displays itself in a way that it hadn’t previously.
As the tracks have been developed out of musical parts that have been treated and broken down, they retain a hint of their former shape. There’s a lot of implied melody, where after you’ve finished listening you’re left with a phrase that wasn’t actually there, but was a combination of parts operating in tandem to create the part in between your ears.
Can’t wait for the next one."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

'Decompose' was originally conceived as an album project when I got thinking the about method in which I create ambient music. Typically, I would perform or 'compose' a melody on an instrument and record this take when I was happy with it. Then, the next step is to record another harmonically compatible layer with a different instrument. This will continue with up to four or so compositions and then I would begin to 'decompose' them into an abstract ambient/drone soundscape.

As I began to gather the tracks for 'Decompose' my attention turned to the track titles and that's when the concept of the album began to branch out to reference and portray the seemingly endless cycle of the world around us. When an organism ceases, it decomposes and becomes part of something else - it will rot into the soil and the disintegrating fragments will eventually take form as something else. This is not just the case with living organisms; it is also the case with everyday house hold objects, buildings and seemingly everything. The world will naturally recycle - very little disappears completely.

Special thanks to my brother Stuart, who performed the guitar samples that helped form 'Decay' and 'Rots To Nothing?'

Artwork by Eric 'Monstror' Lacombe. Visit http://monstror.blogspot.com/ to view more of his superb artwork. With the album concept in mind, throughout the recording process I would constantly refer to this album cover image for inspiration. I'd like to thank Eric for allowing me to use his work for this album and also, for the artwork on my albums 'Frozen Quarters' and 'Tales From The Labyrinth".

With extra special thanks to friends, labels and fellow artists that have helped support both the Spheruleus project and the Audio Gourmet label

Rural Colours

Just thought I'd inform of a new netlabel/label run by Hibernate Records owner Jonathan Lees. It will contain free high-quality releases focussing on the exerimental folk, ambient and drone genres, available for free download through the website.
There is also a subscription option available, which will buy you a pack of three 3" CDrs and access to mp3s as soon as the masters arrive!

So far, we've had two superb releases from Beginnings and Listening Mirror...