Deluxe, limited version, in an edition of just 70 copies, comes as sort of “case file”…something that might be found hanging at the foot of a patient’s hospital bed. Each of these files is made from an antique, art deco photo folder, of varying shapes and sizes. Each file contains a photo of a particular patient, with a vintage glass, brain specimen slide hinged and overlaid on it. Each has stapled in it some papers of said patient…vintage medical forms,handwritten sheet music, original mimeographed poetry sheets, notes from books on the study of the brain, sagittal section diagrams of their brain as well, and other ephemera appropriate to the case. The outer files are hand stamped, labelled and notated. Each contains a factory pressed disc in an inner envelope, in a cotton sleeve.
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.
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.
The compilation features 12 tracks from some of the globe’s most talented sound-designers. It is a subtly rewarding headphone listen from start to finish; curated and ordered to purposefully induce a state of sleep. Starting off minimally, gradually gathering tone and atmosphere, the experience goes on without ever boiling over or reaching a crescendo. Parts of the album are light and restful whereas traces of it tread darker territory. All in all, the imagery that the album conjurs sits perfectly as a soundtrack to the dreams one experiences during a nights sleep.
This 44 minute piece may structurally resemble a classical composition – divided as it is into several interlocking stanzas – but it’s difficult to place it comfortably within the realm of modern music. If anything, ‘The Rest….’ evokes the otherwordly, fantastical obsessions of the Victorians (Conan Doyle, Lear, Grandville, Wellcome, etc) through means of meticulously manipulated instrumentation, samples and voice.Plinth, of course, is no stranger to Victoriana.