RYUICHI SAKAMOTO and TAYLOR DEUPREE
Isolation, solitude, contemplation. These are the themes that discreetly weave their way through Disappearance, the first collaboration album between 12k’s Taylor Deupree and pioneering electronic composer and pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto. The initial tracks for Disappearance were recorded at Sakamoto’s studio in New York City during rehersals for the April concert. The two immediately entered the same sonic mindframe that lead to hours of concentrated, hushed music. Sakamoto’s piano playing, both traditional and prepared, emerged as perhaps some of his most beautifully sparse in recent years, letting the sound of the room and shuffle of chairs take an active roll in the recording. Only the most minimum of essential notes, accentuated by silences and the scraping of the piano’s strings, plays alongside Deupree’s nuanced passages, created with analogue synthesizers, strings, and found objects. These warm, human tones became the means of communication between the two artists who effortlessly created a musical language.
The five tracks that make up Disappearance are delicate and composed, however, they’re not all peacefulness and placidity. Micro-tuned edges, bursts of noise, percussive prepared piano and the warble of old reel-to-reel tape keep the mood grounded and warm, turning it inward and asking the listener to reflect on their path. “Curl To Me,” the album’s final piece, is highlighted by the sounds of Ichiko Aoba, a major up-and-coming singer/songwriter from Tokyo. Both Sakamoto and Deupree have recently worked with Aoba in Japan and wanted her presence felt on the album. Emphasizing the solitude and stillness of the recordings, Aoba provided both her voice and the almost disturbingly intimate sound of her own heartbeat.
Disappearance is a soundtrack for holding breaths. Sakamoto and Deupree lay down worn roads, but don’t leave signs, for a journey woven together by the quiet celebration of the fragility of nature and life.
Two years after his landmark debut Aftertime, former Vex'd member Roly Porter presents his second full-length LP, Life Cycle of a Massive Star. The piece explores expansive scale and macroscopic processes through the thematic framework of the birth and death of a cosmic star system. The album is underpinned by a parallel investigation into the human response to this vast celestial order and its overarching dialogue with the infinitesimal lives we lead. The material considers the crucible of space as a poignant symbol of the brevity of existence and highlights humanity's part as both observers and participants in an endless cosmic cycle of creation and destruction. While the album continues on from Porter's previous work, through fractured eruptions and volcanic textures, it equally invokes a more historical mode of reflection, enacting a distant remembrance of the history of electronic music and a dream-like recollection of a Wagnerian landscape.
Quite A Way Away"is a singer/songwriter album, but the fact that it’s on Taylor Deupree’s 12k imprint should tell you it’s a great deal more than that as well. Glaswegian troubadour Dickson, who has played in Vashti Bunyan’s touring band and collaborated with Max Richter, writes and performs songs rooted in classic, cyclical folk-rock structures, with a finger-picking style openly indebted to Nick Drake and Bert Jansch. The similarities with the former extend further, to the deep blue timbre of his vocal phrasing and the melancholic ambience in which he sets his songs. His songs evince an incredible humanity, emphasised, not compromised, by his use of analogue delays and reverbs. The resulting album is a timeless work of chamber-folk, recommended to fans not just of Jansch and Drake but also Roy Harper, John Martyn, Michael Chapman and those other venerable knights of the British visionary tradition.
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