The String & Return is a 4-piece indie rock outfit from Kansas City, Missouri, originally emerging in 1999 to play their first shows and record their first album, ‘INVISIBLE CITY’, released on SUNSEASKY in early 2001. The band followed up in 2005 with ‘WHAT CHEER’ on Anodyne Records before entering an extended hiatus during which members recorded and performed in projects such as In The Pines and the Caves. Occasionally reuniting to play shows throughout successive years, The band released an EP of odds and ends called ‘LOST SONGS’ in 2015 until eventually reaffirming full-time status by touring with slowcore legends Idaho in Summer 2021 and recording new songs. Enduring with a sound recently described as “slowly evolving, heartbreakingly beautiful, and explosively punctuated,” Placidyls marks The String & Return's first studio album in 18 years. Read more »Less
Neo-Classical Electronica Artist Gunnar Spardel finds comfort in music, as a way to contemplate life and death. In his introspective work, Spardel's atmospheric music draws from nature and life itself, most recently portrayed in his upcoming album "The Fade to Afterlife".
Born in Germany and now based in the United States, Gunnar Spardel is primarily known for his work as Tigerforest, a chill electronica project that leans towards an upbeat soundscape. However, after the turbulence of recent events Spardel wanted to write under his own name for intimate and personal expression and to understand the new world around him. ‘The Fade To Afterlife’ follows his stunning 2020 release ‘Simplicity in a Complex World,’ which won the Schallwelle Award for Best Artist in Germany.
“‘The Fade To Afterlife’ tells the story of a person facing his final stages of life,” explains Spardel. “Each song tells a story about facing a journey’s end and the uncertainty of what will happen once we pass away.” The songs, which were written on the piano and synthesizers, tell stories of life, loss and love. Gunnar Spardel created the arrangements on his computer, before working with session musicians to cement the ideas and breathe organic life into the pieces. As the album was written during the pandemic, and the musicians could not work together in the studio, they recorded their parts separately. Nonetheless, the album still holds the essence of community, and emotion is felt in every note.
Opening the 8-track album is ‘Gone Into the World of Light,’ a free-spirited and thoughtful composition, constructed of soft mallet arpeggiators. A delicate cello sings above layers of synthesizers and strings, blending together real instruments with electronic sounds. The result is cinematic, especially as the epic, but minimal percussion is introduced, bringing energy without overstepping the melodic elements.
‘The Missing’ brings warmth through strings that shimmer with tremolo. The lone sound of a cello cuts through, eerie yet compelling, insinuating sorrow and hope. The sprinkling of piano adds a warm brightness, and the textures and tones of the soundscape, swirl and bubble, glide and churn intertwined with each other, into an atmospheric crescendo.
‘In The Shadow of Memories’ welcomes back the piano, alongside the gentle swooshing of ambient pads. A harp brings new textural elements, once again combining orchestration with ambient electronic synthesizers. There’s a gentleness and tenderness to this album, and each song is purposeful and thought-provoking.
‘The Light Remains’ experiments with delayed effects which create fascinating interest. There’s a brief moment where the tinkling of the piano pauses before the song drops back in with a sense of urgency thanks to the tapping of a cymbal and a piano arrangement that opens the song. This is the first track on the album where a full drum kit is introduced and it’s a refreshing new layer without overpowering. Brass instrumentation and angelic vocals are also a welcomed dynamic, leading the piece into a new direction.
'On The Quiet Path of Dreams’ is dream-like, as the title suggests. Soft and euphoric, the gentle and sparse piano flourishes over ambient synths and a mournful cello takes centre stage. As the song builds, so does the rhythmic element, arpeggiating synths swell and blossom.
‘Carpe Momentum’ brings lightness, like a sigh of relief, with its delicate, whimsical piano notes. The addition of electronic drum patterns is an uplifting turn of events, but the signature string instrumentation remains for a harmonious fusion of contemporary production.
‘Towards Silence’ opens with the low bass of a piano, slowly but thoughtfully moving forward. The song experiments with percussion and ethereal brass, before dropping and down tuning offering new energy, with the strumming of an electric guitar, played by Brian Eno’s guitarist, Leo Abrahams, and the joyful kit, recorded by Ólafur Arnalds’ live drummer Chris Tschugnall. It feels like a turning point of acceptance, as the brass once again elevates the piece, sprinkled with synths, harps, and vocals for a triumphant and cinematic crescendo.
‘The River,’ a 10-minute finale closes ‘The Fade to Afterlife’ and explores the concept that life is like a river, forever flowing. Even when it changes course, it cannot be stopped. Life always goes on and Gunnar Spardel captures it beautifully, through graceful piano and synth melodies that move effortlessly with one another.
‘The Fade to Afterlife’ is a journey. Reflective, thought-provoking and inspirational, Gunnar Spardel has captured what it means to be alive. The album is scheduled for release on SUNSEASKY in Spring 2023.
Brian Froh’s alias (ghost) began as a way to write music in the comfort of his own home. After many years of playing in bands, as a DJ, and other musical ensembles he sat down with a laptop, a copy of Logic, and a small two-octave keyboard to create. In 2013 we saw this come to fruition with the album 'Departure'; a combination of acoustic elements he was familiar with, combined with a familiar 00’s era IDM sound. Shortly after Brian moved to Denver, CO to pursue music and meet other like-minded musicians. It wasn’t long before these new ideas culminated into the album 'A Vast and Decaying Appearance' and the likely titled 'Elas' EP. The following release 'Everything We Touch Turns To Dust' was much darker, and closely shadowed the struggles that existed in Brian’s life at the time. For the time being, (ghost) was almost nonexistent. Aside from remixes and compilation tracks the artist stayed dormant, not appearing on any social media or playing any live events.
After what has been almost a five year hiatus, (ghost) returns with his new album ‘Effloresce'. Inspired by the passing of his friend, this album is the beginning of a new chapter. (ghost) takes everything he has worked on for the past ten years and refines it to create his own signature sound on this record. Expect to hear familiar synth tones, subtle guitar, and crushing drums set to a somber yet somewhat hopeful timbre. As the album title suggests this is just the beginning of a much lighter hearted and beautiful journey that (ghost) will soon take us on.
Inspired by modern day minimalism and baroque like orchestrations, Simplicity in a Complex World is a meditation on the complexities of the modern way of life. It is, for Spardel, both a reflection and recreation of the inner space we must all find for ourselves in a world that is constantly shifting beneath our feet.
‘Deep Code’ is the 7th studio album from acclaimed artists Saso which is to be released by Sun Sea Sky Productions on 12” vinyl in Mar 2021.
The album continues Saso’s recent musical direction of instrumental compositions using analog synthesizers, upright piano and electronics.
Saso were formed in Dublin, Ireland in 2000 by Jim Lawler (compose /multi instrumentalist) and Ben Rawlins (producer/recording engineer) who share a unique artistic relationship as a composer and producer partnership.
The inspiration for ‘Deep Code’ comes from Ben’s desire to revisit a soundscape from his formative years as a young musician and avid film fan.
“I was inspired by movies and tv shows from the late 70s and early 80’s with the music of John Carpenter a major influence. Those films helped me learn about music. Dark, brooding, synth laden themes. They weren’t orchestral. They were minimalist and evocative” (Ben)
Ben came up with the concept and Jim picked up on this direction and sought to investigate this soundworld.
“I didn’t know where I was but somehow picked up on the sonic themes. I felt drawn to the unknown and wanted to let go of preconceived beliefs and seek purity of expression. This became a theme. Being lost. Being curious. Letting go of how I normally compose music. Trying to get into flow state” (Jim)
Saso committed to the performance aspect of just playing and recording live. No click tracks were used. There were no restrictions on how songs should be structured. The tools were vintage synthesizers and an analog valve desk which were of that time. Nothing was locked to a grid. Most of the compositions were improvised.
The result is an evocative and atmospheric work, which is expansive in nature. Layering a hybrid of textural synthesis and organic composition, Saso takes the listener on a cosmic journey to an unseen world.
Using '80 synths, piano, guitar, field recordings and an intricate mix of programmed and live drums, Isophene's cinematic downtempo music is as lush as it is melodic. Drawing from a similarly vibrant musical palette as Boards Of Canada, Helios and Tycho, Isophene immerses the listener in sun drenched waves of emotive sound.
The first new music in three years from Signal Hill and fresh off the heels of the 10th anniversary remaster of More After We’re Gone, this new limited edition 7” teams them up with UK’s Good Weather For An Airstrike with one new exclusive song from each artist.
Ten years later, Signal Hill's "More After We're Gone" (MAWG) still represents one of the most memorable and iconic albums in the genre. Now completely remastered by Taylor Deupree and featuring all-new artwork, the album is being properly reissued on limited edition 12" double vinyl and digital formats.
Vinyl is limited to 100 copies (white) and 150 copies (black) on 180-200g virgin vinyl. 18pt (350gsm) full-color gatefold jacket w/5mm spine and matte machine varnish finish. The release also includes a special photo collage insert commemorating the band’s history and release of the album.
Originally released on Compact Disc in 2003 on Germany's Elektrolux imprint, Ruxpin's classic IDM/Lovetronica album "Avalon" has been completely remastered and features all-new artwork/illustration by shift. (www.futurorg.com). The release has finally been given the vinyl treatment it deserves, and will made available as a limited 2xLP including a BONUS and accompanying 6-song "Fields Of View" Digi EP (feat. never before-released tracks) with purchase.
“Holding In My Arms” marks the debut full-length release on Sun Sea Sky Productions for prolific Seattle-based producer and sound designer Branden Clarke, who has previously contributed several remixes for releases on the imprint.
Signal Hill's debut release on the label, "Chase the Ghost" (or CTG) is an elegantly restrained instrumental post-rock gem that continues to be met with positive reviews as the band increasingly garners more and more fans across the globe each consecutive release.
The song of Lewis and Clarke is a craft of beautiful and subtle intensity through the timeless sound of guitar, Rhodes piano, drums and voice. The sound strikes the human chord. Hailing from the rural anthracite region of northeast Pennsylvania where the fever of isolation burns from an underground blaze, Lewis and Clarke was formed as an extension of singer/songwriter Lou Rogai's solo work and features a cast of friends that contribute on the recordings.