Bridge Carols is the meeting of two artists with unique timeless approaches to music. Neo-Americana folk singer Laura Gibson is gifted with a soft and singular voice (not unlike the voices of Josephine Foster and Joanna Newsom) and writes songs that could date back a century or foretell a future rural life. Electronician Ethan Rose is vested in antiquated instruments and technologies – a sonic recycler who, out of the old, has been creating a new form of ambient music.
Both are from Portland, Oregon, USA. Their collaboration started with ambient backgrounds and Gibson vocalizing around unused bits of verses from her notebooks. Around these quasi-melodies, Rose has woven ambiences using acoustic sounds (mostly strings, but also piano and bells) and very light electronic textures. Then, Gibson redeveloped her vocalizations to fully inhabit that shared space. Finally, Rose recombined her interventions into new poems. This process has resulted in a CD of insidiously beautiful electro-pastoral music entitled “Bridge Carols”.
Named after a Hitchcock-esque nightmare in which he was set upon by a pair of hard-winged, marauding cuckoos, David A Jaycock’s second album is step forward from the pastoral motifs of his debut, incorporating an expansive country-folk sound alongside the indigenous qualities and general oddness that have made his name.
I first came across Marihiko Hara’s work in 2007, with his ‘Cesura’ release on the excellent Italian net-label – Zymogen. It really drew me in more than most other work that was doing the rounds at the same time. It had the sort of organic details and attention to beautiful subtle developments that I had only really heard in offthesky and Nicolas Bernier before (both label mates on Zymogen I should add). It became my soundtrack to that year and an album I returned to almost daily during the winter months. After this I followed Marihiko’s work carefully, from his rather fantastic 2009 ‘Icon’ release on Cotton Goods to his recent ‘Prosa’ collaboration with Tomas Phillips on Tench Records.
With The Rules of Another Small World, M. Ostermeier has arrived at an elegant voice – otherworldly and strangely beautiful, much like the desolate Taiwanese San-Zhr Pod Village gracing the album cover.
While elements of electroacoustic, modern classical, jazz, glitch, drone, ambient, and even lounge weave in and out of the record’s eleven compositions, The Rules of Another Small World is the converse of an eclectic collection of songs.
Jesse Johnson and Paul Dickow, collectively as Sound People, present Teatime, a document of their multiple sessions of sonic exploration during 2008 and 2009. Fueled by countless cups of high-powered exotic teas, these vivid and lush recordings reveal the two friends united in their search of new dubbed out sound worlds on the fringes between ambient coasting and rhythmic syncopations.