Ensamble Acústico - Un Exceso de Luz

FH002 #

Ensamble Acústico - Un Exceso de Luz #

Released on 2024-01-19 - Buy

Originally released on Perro Andaluz (Uruguay) and Circe (Argentina), 1989

  1. Cuando La Nostalgia Guía
  2. Otoño del 83
  3. Dis-solución
  4. Reposo De La Hierba
  5. En Los Campos De Colonia
  6. Fabula
  7. A Ras De Cielo
  8. Un Exceso De Luz

Ensamble Acústico was conceived in the early 1980s by Billy Pereyra and Eduardo Roland in Blancarena, a resort on the coast of the Río de la Plata, east of Colonia, Uruguay. In 1989, after only a few performances, the duo released their first and only album: a cassette of eight songs titled ‘Un Exceso De Luz’ (‘An Excess of Light’), co-released by independent labels Perro Andaluz (Uruguay) and Circe (Argentina).

Despite being limited to just 500 copies the album was critically acclaimed and lauded as the first ‘new age’ project to come out of Uruguay. Yet lumping ‘Un Exceso De Luz’ into that most vast and heterogenous confluence of musical genres, akin to ‘world music’, dismisses the alchemical breakdown of minimalism with gestures of contemporary jazz, exemplified by the shifting harmonic figures of ‘En Los Campos de Colonia’ (‘In the Fields of Colonia’).

Pereyra and Roland sound strings in tandem, forming harmonic compositions that generate unexpected resonances. Together they build a climatic character that gives the sound of Ensamble Acústico its most distinctive seal, sharing more with the aesthetics of contemporary jazz than the nebulous new age label. The opening track ‘Cuando la Nostalgia Guía’ (‘When Nostalgia Guides’) raises not a question so much as a provocation that hints at its own temporal limitations - as an unfinished sentence. ‘Reposo de la Hierba’ (‘Repose of the Grass’) meanders through grassy fields before ‘A Ras de Cielo’ (‘Flush With Sky’) reveals the ‘Exceso’ of the title track. These are the great ungroundings of modernity that saw the heavens open and dissolve the celestial sublime, leaving us with a godless excess of space and time.

Perhaps ‘new age’ is a more fortuitous classification than we originally suspected. As Roland tells us, ‘music is the expression of a new world’.

Gruuel - Elite Controller / Softness on the Other Side

DEV001 #

Gruuel - Elite Controller / Softness on the Other Side #

Released on 2023-11-06 - Buy

  1. Elite Controller
  2. Softness on the Other Side

‘Elite Controller’ c/w ‘Softness on the Other Side’ is the second 7” single containing two of four tracks produced by transcontinental duo ‘Gruuel’, featuring James Vinciguerra and Beau Wanzer, between 2019 and 2023. The duo appear here in an expanded form with third member and Vinciguerra ‘Act Now’ collaborator Tarquin Manek, heard as multi instrumentalist jack-of-all-trades performing guitar, bass guitar, synthesiser and bass clarinet to accompany Wanzer’s hazy drum machine patterns and Vinciguerra’s mutated vocals.

The single is the first release on Elations Recordings’ ‘Deviations’ imprint, focusing on the outer realms of experimentation and fringe expression. Two subterranean, science-non-fiction snapshots capturing the spirit of the forward looking art-experimental groups of the late 1970s and early 1980s that were lumped in with the punk movement.

The a-side ‘Elite Controller’ is the more immediate of the two tracks; a paranoid fever dream of raw, psychedelic guitars underpinned by dub bass and Vinciguerra’s deranged mutant vocals; while the b-side ‘Softness on the Other Side’ takes a more self-reflective turn. A passive, spoken word cautionary telling of the dangers while searching for personal nirvana accompanied by Manek’s tortured bass clarinet impressions. Recommended for fans of Chrome, Tuxedomoon or K. Leimer’s experimental “artificial” band ‘Savant’.

Adam Halliwell - Freedom Lapse

ELA002 #

Adam Halliwell - Freedom Lapse #

Released on 2023-05-05 - Buy

  1. Memory Gold
  2. Banana Leaf
  3. Freedom Lapse
  4. Cygon Dance
  5. The Cycle
  6. Two Water

Recorded over a four-week period in early 2020, Freedom Lapse is the debut solo release of Australian multi-instrumentalist and composer Adam Halliwell. A versatile improviser and lover of performance, Halliwell has been an active contributor to numerous musical communities in recent years. The release of Freedom Lapse marks an exciting stage in Halliwell’s journey as an artist with the culmination of several important musical facets that are now becoming foundational to his practice.

As Halliwell tells us, Freedom Lapse owes its genesis to an epiphanic moment experienced whilst traversing a mountainous passage in Mexico, a place where ‘the past present and future stretch out in one place’. Entranced by this environment, its colours, the villages and local life, Halliwell listened to music that inspires him (he cites Jon Hassell here). The result: ‘complete aural, visual and spiritual completeness’, a moment of discovery, he explains. Shortly after, the material that now comprises Freedom Lapse was recorded, distilling this powerful sensorial experience into a body of music that he has now invited the world to share with him.

Throughout these recordings restrained improvised phrases and melodic ideas feature, often appearing as long refrains that soar above idiosyncratic beds of fractured percussion and junkyard bass-work. This use of contrast, which is central to the work, allows Freedom Lapse to tap the lucidity-chaos juxtapositional-style that lies at the heart of all good music in the ‘fourth-world’ idiom. Halliwell’s sensitivity to dynamics, form and narrative is potent on these recordings, which allow his winding, free-improvisations the space to unfold and extend patiently. All instruments on Freedom Lapse were written and recorded by Haliwell, with additional trumpet on Cygon Dance supplied by regular-collaborator Reuben Lewis. Freedom Lapse was mixed and produced by Halliwell and Jim Rindfleish.

J. Walker - Spectra!

ELA001 #

J. Walker - Spectra! #

Released on 2021-09-10 - Buy

  1. Acne Dusk
  2. Resentment Rose
  3. Salmon
  4. Burnt Orange
  5. Amber
  6. Metallic Spit / Silver Place
  7. Chalk Apple
  8. Basted Salami
  9. Stainless Steel
  10. Eggplant
  11. Radiant Orchard
  12. Crimson

Spectra! represents a lone, anomaly release by illusive producer and recording artist J. Walker of Perth, Western Australia. Recorded and produced in 2016, Spectra! comprises a collection of 12 instrumental works composed in response to an imagined brief investigating the refined shades and pigments of colour.

Whilst stylistically somewhat comparable to library music recordings from Europe released throughout the 1980’s, Walker’s compositions never step too closely toward facsimile. Instead, they maintain a unique sense of identity, one closer akin to a born-too-late contemporary interpretation of the sentimentality and lost moods that allowed library music it’s point of difference and charm in the first place. Unlike many modern artists who flirt with the past, Walker isn’t concerned with carbon copying the sound palate and tape hiss of yesterday. In these works, antecedent emotional and harmonic bodies are given new life and form by means of modern studio hardware, Recommended for fans of the Coloursound Library and Joël Vaandroogenbroeck.

Singing Dust - Singing Dust

FH001 / ES021 #

Singing Dust - Singing Dust #

Released on 2021-08-20 - Buy

Originally released on Cleopatra Records, 1986

  1. Involution
  2. Let Me Take Your Name
  3. Song of the Reed
  4. Sweet Agony
  5. Love Flower
  6. Love Is Lovely and Lowly
  7. Desert Chant

Newly formed archival label Fresh Hold Releases presents one of Australia’s most mysterious jazz long players - Singing Dust, in collaboration with Efficient Space. Almost bound for obscurity from its inception, the eponymous creation of Queensland-based jazz pianist Robert Welsh was originally issued in 1986 on Melbourne independent Cleopatra Records. Resembling a unique fusion of Bill Evans and Jarrett’s classical jazz, devotional Indian classical music, English folk and flourishes reminiscent of Debussy’s impressionism, Singing Dust bears little similarity to the dominant commercial and subcultural music of its time.

Representing a culmination of Welsh’s influences in and outside of music, the collection of seven compositions accompany the Ghazal devotional poems translated by Australian poet Francis Brabazon. Whilst Singing Dust sits loosely within the spheres of exploration that many jazz players took into world fusion in the ’80s, it stands alone in its bright searing light of truth, love and austerity. A true work of dedication and posterity that will appeal to many serious music lovers.