May 20, 2014
The third installment in Spectropol’s microtonal compilation series, this collection is another highly varied snapshot of current xenharmonic practice from international artists. As with the previous albums in the series, the stylistically diverse tracks here explore just intonation, equal divisions of the octave, mixed tunings, fretless instruments, and extended playing techniques.
The music here ranges from chamber ensemble spectralism to catchy electronica, from surreal soundscapes to strange funk, intimate classical guitar work to electric feedback, and from free improvisation to evolving drones.
With contributions from Taylor Brook, Paulo Chagas, Brendan Byrnes, Susan Ann Brewster, Greg Hooper, Jon Lyle Smith, Agustín Castilla-Ávila/Giacomo Fiore, Elis Czerniak, MonoNeon, Ben Wylie and Peter Nagle.
We hope you enjoy this playlist as much as we do; please share widely!
SpecT 32, May 2014
May 10, 2014
Spectropol Records is delighted to announce the release of Septimal by UK composer Joe Evans. A 46-minute album available as a Digipak CDR and high quality download, Septimal features fourteen superlative tracks that explore the sonic and expressive potential of the autoharp.
Joe Evans writes: “While I initially conceived of Septimal as a study of microtonal harmony, it has developed into something far more complex and personal.
The word Septimal, meaning “Pertaining to all things Seven” is not widely used outside of the world of scales and temperaments, where it refers to intervals derived from the 7th harmonic. These intervals are often poor relations of intervals derived from the 3rd & 5th Harmonics, fighting for space on an otherwise occupied keyboard. By removing any notes derived from the 5th harmonic, the space opens up to allow the character of septimal intervals to shine, a coup within the harmonic series, perhaps?
Septimal was created from recordings of improvisations on the autoharp. Each piece attempts to explore the nature of the scale as well as the character of the instrument. Each note (string) is independently tunable, making it ideal for experimental scales. In Addition, the instrument lends itself to other experiments, exploring sonic possibilities such as taps, bumps, string scrapes and other mechanical noises of the instrument that make up so much of its character. This has led to a number of pieces where the tuning is far less relevant or even obscured, although always present.
From the early stages of this project, a potential narrative became apparent, hinted at in the track titles. While I think this is better left open to interpretation, themes of abuse, tyranny and war are clearly stated.
The tracks “The Front” and “Forget me not” were among the last produced and are reflections on the war time losses of my family during World Wars 1 & 2.”
Stream or download it now! CDR ships May 20.
April 19, 2014
A fascinating collection of de/re-constructed experimental pop tracks from Marcus Rubio.
SpecT 30 – I don’t think I see a difference
“Last year, I became fascinated with the acoustic possibilities of the banjo in conjunction with various electronics and pedals and created a number of works that utilized these alien sounds while still warping them into folk songs of sorts. However, as I delved further into the instrument’s extended technique, I realized that there were ways to create a kind of polyphony with just the acoustics of the instrument itself and set off working on many of the pieces heard here. With these particular songs, I wanted to both play with the instrumental specificity of the banjo but also try to reduce those sounds and the formal elements of pop songs to their most basic elements. These pieces are equally indebted to the work of reductionist composers/improvisers like Tetuzi Akiyama and Taku Sugimoto as they are to the folk music of Washington Phillips and Abner Jay. As such, most of these works were built off of the raw banjo/voice material and feature minimal overdubs save for some vocal harmonies and organ on a few tracks. The banjo material on the album (tracks 1-5) is very concerned with how much of a song/sound you can remove yet still have it resemble that thing and the remaining two pieces are further non-banjo explorations of this idea. “the war on christmas” places a cynical pop song into a minimalist/modular situation notationally while the bagatelles take extremely small melodic song fragments and spreads them out very quietly over an extended period of time.”
April 12, 2014
Spectropol is excited about the release of Marcus Rubio’s “I don’t think I see a difference” next Saturday (April 19). It’s a compelling album of banjo/voice-centered deconstructed pop songs that’s as pleasing as it is challenging.
Here’s a tiny teaser:
Here’s a cool piece on Marcus from last summer.
Meanwhile, here’s a nice review of LiL’s THE SPACE BETWEEN from What’s Up! Magazine.
And here are some thoughts on the tracks of Possible Worlds Vol. 2 from the esteemed Music Street Journal.
Get the albums here:
March 19, 2014
‘desolation’ is an album of sonic hauntings, a collection of experimental ambient explorations by two longtime collaborators. This release continues Spectropol’s side project of unearthing older gems from the back catalogs of interesting artists, as these tracks were recorded in 1999. Bennett and Galloway have since collaborated many times, recently in the west coast based psychedelic-electroacoustic band Respectable Citizen. ‘desolation’ has aged wonderfully, with composer Bennett putting his considerable synthesis & keyboarding expertise to use against Galloway’s trademark experimental guitar work. It’s full of force and beauty and beckons new listeners in 2014.
Streaming and name-your-price download available at the bandcamp site:
B & V over the years...
February 27, 2014
This collection of acousmatic pieces from Saint-Petersburg’s Ilia Belorukov melds electroacoustic, ambient-chill, and free improvisation into a unified whole. Granular soundscapes fuse with hypnotic pads, providing shifting moods and often a calm repose. Processed saxophone enters the picture, weaving insistent loops and beautiful lines through forests of gentle noise.
Check out the album on the bandcamp site where you can stream & download I Did What Was Possible to Quiet Us.
more about Ilia: http://www.belorukov.blogspot.com
February 18, 2014
Excellent thorough review of La Géographie Sans Regret from the fine folks at The Sound Projector.
You may be excited to hear that a new edition of this album…remastered and with added bass…is coming out next month alongside a wonderful new collaboration from Christian (Brazil) and Mehata (Japan) with the great Paulo Chagas (Portugal).
January 16, 2014
Soundtrack to Travels With H: a series of short films by Raeshma Razvi
A beautiful collection of tracks from instrument maker and microtonalist composer Paul Rubenstein.
Stream the album or purchase the download or CDR from the bandcamp release page.
Check out the films here.
“I was very excited to work with Raeshma on this project. We had worked together some years before on her documentary film, “Home”. “Travels with H” is about the continuing influence of the medieval Persian Sufi poet, Hafiz. It is less a portrait of Hafiz and his work directly than it is about contemporary people and how his work resonates through their lives today. I attempt to mirror this in the music by drawing on Persian scales and technique and filtering it through a modern lens through the choice of instruments, use of electronic effects and drawing on other musical styles.
This project gave me the opportunity to re-visit musical ideas from my time in Bakshish, my collaboration with Viren Kamdar in the 1990s in Seattle. “The Garden Still Sleeps” is a look back at one of our pieces from that time, “Sleeping Garden”. “Alice’s Journey” is a tribute to Alice Coltrane, especially the work she did in the 1970s with Pharoah Sanders, particularly “Journey in Satchidananda”, one of my favorite albums of all time.
I am very grateful to Raeshma for the opportunity to create this music, and for her generous hospitality, and thanks to her husband Raj as well. ”
Check out his earlier Spectropol release (Solo Trios) here.
January 3, 2014
Polish artist Marcin Tomczak has been producing music and sound art for well over 15 years. His early work involved audio collage, as well as programming early drum machines and the Commodore computer. His BRUIT project (late 1990s) mixed spoken word poetry with sound collages. He then began mixing and composing with various sound sources under the alias LIL. The hypnotic, ambient music on THE SPACE BETWEEN was completed in 2013 and combines field recordings with subtle electronic textures and processed voices. LIL frequently collaborates with other artists and has an upcoming solo release on Tom Flesh Records/Sirona Records in the first quarter of 2014.
Stream, download (name your price), or purchase the CDR from the bandcamp link.
December 26, 2013
Here’s a round-up of some recent reviews.
Andrea Borghi – Musica per Nastro in Wonderful Wooden Reasons and in Kathodik (Italian)
C Dufallo/P Derivaz – Bass Violin, & Vincent Bergeron – Il y a seulement des apparitions in Monsieur Délire
J.C. Combs – Gazing, Andrew Young – Inkplaces, & Joel Taylor – Night Stories in Vital Weekly
Get the albums: