The Star Pillow | Music For Sad Headbangers
Aidan Baker + Karen Willems | Awel
Aidan Baker + N | Doppellive
Scatterwound | MN
Thissquietarmy + Dirk Serries + Tom Malmendier | Hell
“A multiverse of ambient/drone” from Midira Records
A handful of drone/ambient cookies in CD format, to be collectively reviewed. Albums that have connections one with another. For starters, they are all released by Midira Records (Essen, Germany), being the label’s latest batch. Secondly, all artists have performed at Moving Noises, an experimental music festival curated by Midira Records, currently in it’s IV edition. Some artists appear in more than one collaboration. Last but not least, all albums contain extremely interesting music. Read on, tune in, drone out…
The Star Pillow
Music For Sad Headbangers
The Star Pillow is the experimental project of Paolo Monti, hailing from Italy. Enclosed in the 37 minutes of Music For Sad Headbangers,is an amalgam of guitar-driven, ambient/drone experimentation, combined with polymorphous post rock elements, some of them serene, with others quite harsh. Cinematically peaceful and earthly solid, eerie and heavy, minimally flowing and constantly floating, even ritualistic in some moments, this is an album of exquisitely composed experimental music. In the six pieces of Music For Sad Headbangers, some beautiful sonic landscapes will be explored, an overall tranquil atmosphere will be obvious and uplifting poetics are manifested. Also, a swan song, as this album is Paolo Monti last release under the The Star Pillow moniker. Presented as 4-panel digipak with matte finish, limited to 200 copies.
Aidan Baker + Karen Willems
Aidan Barker is a multi-instrumentalist musician, composer and writer hailing from Toronto, Canada. Known for his participation to projects like Nadja, Adoran, ARC, B/B/S/, Caudal, Hypnodrone Ensemble, Infinite Light Ltd., Mnemosyne, Orchard, Scythling and Whisper Room. In Awel he has collaborated -for the fourth time- with the Belgian drummer and percussionist Karen Willens, known for her participation to Inwolves. A ritualistic experimental dialogue between the two artists is captured in 37 minutes. Five pieces based on an ambient structure with a drone fine-touch, enriched with meditative and avant-garde percussive passages. Ambient, almost dark, merged with free jazz. Electronic vs acoustic instrumentation, haunting and illusive! Awel was recorded live at Christuskirche Bochum church, during Moving Noises festival of 2017. Presented as 4-panel digipak with matte finish, limited to 200 copies.
Aidan Baker + N
Doppellive is a collaboration of Aidan Baker with N, aka Hellmut Neidhardt, an experimental musician, hailing from Dortmund, Germany. Two dronish guitar vs guitar improvised performances are -fortunately- captured in this double CD; one took place aboard a ship in Hamburg, Germany, while the other, in an art gallery in Wuppertal, Germany, next to the river Wupper. Bright guitar work, two parallel personal symposiums, where the two artists embrace each other and come together to cultivate a combined exploding sound universe. The scenography is important to the result: an industrial cabin of a ship and a silent gallery room with a sky-train driving through every ten minutes next to the window, add or subtract something extra and special to the live recording. Furthermore, first part of the album (CD1) is rougher as expected due to the place performed, while second part (CD2) is absent of any external interventions, thus with a “cleaner” sound and atmosphere. Presented as a 6-panel digipak with reverse printed cardboard, without finish, limited to 200 copies.
Under the Scatterwound moniker, dwells a collaboration between N (Hellmut Neidhardt) with Dirk Serries, an experimental musician since early 80’s, in the diy industrial tape music scene, under -the legendary- Vidna Obmana moniker! MN is a live recording, containing the material Scatterwound played at Moving Noises festival of 2017. Again, guitar vs guitar, crunchy drones that collide and create huge and quite rough blocks of sound, unified and concrete, with melodies and moods still very apparent despite the -wonderful- harshness! A magnificent materialization of frenzy and yet, slow moving guitars on fire! Recorded at Christuskirche Bochum church, an environment that affects the sound greatly and transcends it into a mesmerizing holistic experience, even within the limitation of a recording vs the live experience. Nothing less than harsh guitar master-work! Presented as 4-panel digipak with reverse printed rough cardboard, limited to 200 copies.
Thissquietarmy + Dirk Serries + Tom Malmendier
The last of this reviewing lot involves a collaboration of
Dirk Serries with Thissquietarmy aka Eric Quach, an experimental guitarist hailing from Quebec, Canada (known from Destroyalldreamers and Mains De Givre & Ghidrah) and drummer Tom Malmendier hailing from Liège, Belgium (known from Escargot). Hell is an improvised piece for two guitars and percussion. Hell, a single piece album, is also where drone and free jazz meet and procreate miraculously! A solid improvised piece clocking in 41 minutes and delivering a portion of the mastery of those behind it. Lovely guitars create freaked-out but mild drones, percussion that goes along and has a strong martial climaxed intermission towards the end. Moody tunes for pure ear-lust; an audiophile venture to say the least! Presented as 6-panel digipak with matte finish, limited to 200 copies.
It is recommended that the albums above are listened in a single continuous session, one after another. A multiverse of ambient/drone will unfold before you, a multiverse of experimental music to the extent of free jazz! Five damn unique albums that merge and collide, let that be known! Grab these disks, dim the lights, press play, expand yourself, unify…