BLACK RAIN (I)
July 3rd 2020 • Digital / September 11th 2020 • CD
Black Rain (I) takes the form of three extended pieces of new music from A-Sun Amissa, written and recorded by Richard Knox during the early months of 2020. Focusing on a more ambient and cinematic approach, Black Rain offers another texture to the A-Sun Amissa palette.
Lulling, melancholic atmospheres are the order of the day here as intricate layers of sound weave in and out of each other, forming a bleak and sentimental tone. Never one to repeat himself, Knox has taken the more ambient elements of previous releases and developed them into a more consistent whole. The three pieces of music found here work beautifully in unison as orchestral drones lay the foundations for each movement while heavily processed guitar, synth and piano jostle for the shafts of light that intermittently penetrate the gloom.
The soundscapes drip with warmth and hopeful fragility, yet the signature doom-ridden nervous tension is present throughout, seeping into the subliminal textures and impressionistic, distorted swells of noise. There is a great deal of restraint used here and certainly the minimalistic approach gives the tracks on Black Rain the space to breathe and evolve in a very natural way.
The record was written over a three month period where Knox had a self-imposed deadline of completing one piece of music per month to then be released digitally with immediate effect at the beginning of the following month. A deliberate move to be more impulsive and instinctive during the writing process and, for him, a new way of looking at releasing a record. The final piece of music will be released on July 3rd and a CD edition of the album arrives on September 11th.
AIDAN BAKER / SIMON GOFF / THOR HARRIS
August 28th 2020 • LP/CD/Digital
The Bit is the second recorded collaboration between Aidan Baker (Nadja / Hypnodrone Ensemble), Simon Goff (Jóhann Johannsson / Hildur Gudnadottir) and Thor Harris (Swans, Shearwater, Thor & Friends).
Following on from 2017’s Noplace album, The Bit treads a similar path in terms of the recording process as the trio spent a day improvising at Voxton Studios in Berlin whilst on a European tour. The result was then edited and moulded into six hypnotic tracks that ebb and flow with beauty and ease.
The Bit finds the trio painting with a lighter touch than on its predecessor. Thor Harris’ motorik beats still underpin the music but the atmospherics take a more prominent role and there is a pure and cohesive path to be found throughout the record. Much like on Noplace, Baker’s guitar and Goff’s violin weave together beautifully, forming a deep bed of melody, ambience and reverb.
Given the trios credentials it’s not surprising they have created another immersive and stunning record.
June 26th 2020 • Digital
September 25th 2020 • LP/CD
FFO: Godflesh, ISIS, Kowloon Walled City, Neurosis
‘GROUNDSWELLS’ is the third chapter in Wren’s seasonal lore exploration, and their first through Gizeh Records. These six melancholy-shrouded sonic ruminations swell between intimate performances devoid of adornment, and evolving soundscapes of auditory ruin. Tracing an elemental arch, 'GROUNDSWELLS' captures Wren delving into earthen awakenings.
Launching into a monochromatic dirge, ‘Chromed’ announces the LPs stylistic intentions, forgoing the trappings of traditional harmony with deliberate pendulums of pitch and tone. Swarms of percussion drag the track to its conclusion in a collage of insidious feedback, with oscillations sculpted by the record’s producer, Scott Evans of Kowloon Walled City.
Elsewhere, swift variance is displayed in Wrens’ deft handling of genre and form, refusing to be solely one of either. The record courses between rigid post-punk, broad waves of dreaded sludge, and austere choral reverberations. Pulsating Krautrock themes present in their previous work are revisited, with a focus on embracing archetypal motorik technique, as the LP stretches compositions to their furthest tensions through profuse repetition, straining the cracks between.
Inviting physical, elemental surrounds into ‘Subterranean Messiah’, Wren allow space for the sudden cloudburst of Middle Farm Studios in the introductory passage via location recording, embracing the interplay between source and locality. Combined with the painterly fretwork and ghostly chants of Fvnerals, the collaboration seeks an emotive new path of melodic vulnerability. In contrast, the closing elegy is layered with disharmonious cycles of agonised cello from Jo Quail. As with other conclusions on the LP, the track's commitment to strained repetition is rewarded with sonic climaxes of blackened psychedelia, led by stalagmitic spirals of atonalism.
Throughout the LP, Wren draws from their long-standing apologue, with a partnership of vocalists showcasing a lyrical and vocal interplay thick with a dense lore new to their compositions. 'GROUNDSWELLS' brings Wren to an equinox in their earthly contemplations. Ruminating on the decaying inanition that engenders renewal, this record is a revelry in the cyclical, repetitious infinity of planetary permanence.
Recorded by Scott Evans at Middle Farm Studios in South Devon, assisted by Chris Edkins.
Mixed by Scott Evans at Antisleep Audio in Oakland.
Mastered by Magnus Lindberg at Redmount Studios in Stockholm.
Additional Vocals and Guitars on 'Subterranean Messiah' performed and recorded by Tiffany Ström and Syd Scarlet of Fvnerals. Additional Cello on 'Subterranean Messiah by Jo Quail. Artwork by Joey Pearson of Smokin' Bones Club.