26 April 2010

New Rafael Toral LP reviewed at Sound Projector

Most excellent newie from Rafael Toral, whom I previously knew only for his excellent solo albums of processed guitar work. On Space Elements Volume II (STAUBGOLD DIGITAL 5), he’s exploring his collaborative endeavours and working with some topnotch musicians including Manuel Mota and Evan Parker. The instrumentation here (vibraphone, trumpet, percussion, Fender Rhodes) isn’t too far away from what you’d expect to find at any Miles Davis session recorded after 1970, and perhaps it isn’t too fanciful to suggest Toral is attempting a contemporary update on electric free jazz. Of course, this album is far more restrained and abstract than Agharta or Dark Magus, curbing the excesses of free improvisation into a carefully-constructed suite of space-age sounds, with oodles of ‘white space’. On the strength of this, I’d expect Toral to be awarded a pavilion to himself at the next world’s fair where he shows us the living room of the future with its weightless bookcases and music imprinted on little sugar-coated pills. This’ll be out at the end of April 2010.


22 April 2010

Douglas Quin "Fathom" LP printed at Studio on Fire

Studio on Fire in Minneapolis letterpress printing the packaging for the upcoming Douglas Quin Fathom LP

20 April 2010

Douglas Quin "Fathom" LP excerpt

Douglas Quin Fathom LP posted here.

Douglas Quin’s Fathom brings together four extended underwater soundscapes—two each from the Arctic and Antarctic. The recordings have been gathered over a period of 15 years, capturing an extraordinary palette of sonic voices, events, spaces, and textures. To the human ear, these soundscapes are haunting and otherworldly; yet they are very much of this world—out of earreach. The tracks are minimally edited and are his first field recordings to be archived in vinyl. Included with the release is a sealed envelope containing an insert with specific locations, animals, and other elements heard, giving listeners the option to absorb sound with or without association. The envelope is printed with liner notes and comments from Dutch journalist and music critic RenĂ© van Peer. Mastered by James Plotkin, cut direct to metal and pressed on 200 gram virgin-vinyl, Fathom comes packaged in custom letterpressed materials and is presented as a limited edition of 1000.

Douglas Quin is a sound designer, naturalist, public radio commentator, educator, and music composer. For over 20 years Quin has traveled widely, documenting the natural soundscape—from Antarctic ice to Arctic tundra and from African savannah to Amazon rainforest. His recordings of endangered and disappearing habitats represent one of the most unique and extensive collections anywhere. Quin recently created the sound design for and mixed Werner Herzog's Academy Award® nominated film, Encounters At the End of the World. He contributed to the sound design for Spore, a game from Maxis/Electronic Art, and has also worked on exhibits for the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, American Museum of Natural History, and the Polish Academy of Sciences, among others.

Quin is an Associate Professor in the Television, Radio and Film Department at the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He is currently involved as a bioacoustics researcher with the Kagu Recovery Plan and Conservation Research New Caledonia in conservation efforts to protect the critically endangered kagu bird. Quin recently collaborated with clarinetist F. Gerard Errante on his CD release, Delicate Balance, and is composing a new work for the acclaimed Kronos Quartet featuring soundscapes and interactive electronics using the K-Bow—a new bow controller by instrument builder Keith McMillen.