Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fennel - A Leap Across A Chasm

At long last, I feel my album is ready to share with the universe.

So... listen to it all for free here!!

Obviously reviewing my own album would be a bit ridiculous, but I'll write a few words about it here just to give people a sense of what I was going for. Since I discovered Shuttle 358 sometime in late 2007, I have been totally compelled and fascinated by the notion of ambient music. My interest in the genre stems from its versatility of purpose, its diversity of sound timbres and song structures, and its unrivaled capacity for sheer beauty.

At the beginning of my last quarter at UCSB a few months ago I started feeling really nostalgic and sentimental. Reflecting on the past four years at that place, it became clear to me that I had to make some sort of sonic tribute that would keep me from forgetting the sounds and feelings I associate with the school. Simultaneously, I was falling more and more in love with the music of Celer, two of whose albums I reviewed here in February, and I also wanted my album to pay homage to them.

About six weeks ago, when the album was around 75% done, I read online that Dani Baquet-Long of Celer (rest in peace) actually attended UCSB, and graduated two years before I enrolled. This came as a genuine shock given my internal reasons for starting this project. My final month at school was colored by the haunting realization that the two subjects I was honoring in music are actually inextricably connected. I wonder, is there something in the water at UCSB that drives people to the shelter of warm drones and subtle hums?

For the music, I combined field recordings from various locations around UCSB, including its beautiful lagoon, its nearby beaches, and on campus. On top of these raw recordings I added drony tones generated from piano, flute, voice, glockenspiel, guitar, and other instruments with a lot of reverb added. The harmonies employed are influenced by jazz and 20th century composition, especially Bill Evans and Toru Takemitsu.

Anyway, I hope I've gotten across that this has been an extremely personal endeavor. Very very big thanks go to Sarah, Daniel, Niv and Sepehr, who all made invaluable critical suggestions and creative contributions to the project. I'm currently working with Niv on getting artwork made and turning this into a physical package, but for now, I hope you enjoy it as a high quality digital download.

One last thing. It would be supreme hypocrisy if I made payment for this album mandatory. Hell, just look around this blog. So listeners at the bandcamp page have the option to download A Leap Across A Chasm for free or else make a donation. I'm not expecting to make much for this, but anything is a world of help for a recent college graduate that didn't land a mega job.

Please share this with anyone you can think of interested in independent art music!

More frequent reviews on Giraffe Kingdom incoming!