Saturday, 10 November 2012

Hawk Moon Records Volume III
Spheruleus piece 'Under Respite Vision' is featured on Hawk Moon's third compilation installment:

For our third Hawk Moon compilation, we charged a small band of selected artists with the brief of creating ‘music to sleep to’. If you look right back to the very roots of ambient and drone music, this idea is something that’s been explored many times over the years. Not striving for mere cliché, we wanted to give a current crop of artists the chance to express themselves with this oft-explored theme. We wondered what new techniques and textures might crop up and if our chosen few would draw influence from sounds explored previously for this conceptual venture.
Often in works such as these, the sound is drawn out to allow the subtle nuances of a drone to develop and activate the subconscious; an ideal state of mind for drifting off to sleep. So to avoid any timeframe issues in the curating process, we kept the list of artists approach to an absolute minimum, thus allowing them the time to work on something a little longer, if necessary. Most selected mid length pieces, some put a shorter slant on their work and somehow, the compilation has turned out to be exactly CD length.
We hope you enjoy listening to this collection of sleepy soundscapes, whether subconsciously or otherwise…


released 17 September 2012
Artwork by Lauren Honey

Spheruleus - The Late Surge Of Gold [Analogpath]

Copies are still available at the time of writing, from the link above. Digital version coming soon

The Late Surge of Gold was composed specifically for Analogpath,
recorded during last year’s Indian Summer in the UK, a phenomenon in
which the sun shines deep into autumn. This is an album which
documents warm and hazy summer, the bright sunshine that extends
through autumn before eventually descending into the cold of winter.

The sounds are a typical example of Spheruleus’ work, pooling together
fragile acoustic recordings from the artist’s instrument collection.
They are joined by field recordings, static and subtle drones which
amount to a lo-fi pastoral tale, unfolding the full spectrum of
seasonal colours from the warmth of yellow and orange, fading slowly
to grey and darkness.

Artwork by Johan Söderberg, except from the image which features a
building. This was taken by Harry Towell on holiday in the Peak
District at the height of the Indian Summer.

Ekca Liena and Spheruleus - Mapping The Boundary Layer [Home Normal]

Mapping the Boundary Layer is the fruits of a collaboration between Ekca Liena and I, first established back in 2009. It took place after I remixed a piece of his work for a planned remix album which never came to be. Dan of Ekca Liena liked my remix so much that we spent the following two years talking about a possible collaboration album of our combined sounds. For one reason or another, nothing took place until eventually, things started to click and we started creating atmospheric tracks influenced by the weather.
It was released on the mighty Home Normal label in a run of 500 digipack copies, still available to purchase from some places, if you do a bit of searching.  Digital copies can also be obtained from various distributors including iTunes.

We all agreed to do something different for the press release and presented it as a sort of interview, conducted by Home Normal boss Ian Hawgood:

IAN: Hello lads
DAN: Good morning Ian…
HARRY: Good morrow sir.
IAN: What exactly is ‘mapping the boundary layer’ then?
DAN: Well in atmospheric terms it’s basically the bottom, the section closest to the earth… essentially the part of the atmosphere in which we live and experience the different weather systems first hand. The inspiration for the music and textures on the album came from the concept of exploring or tracing a thread through these weather systems, through the turbulence and serenity of the air around us. As well as the environmental field recordings, a direct and blatant link to the subject matter at hand, the music plays a significant part in representing the abstract sense of drama some associate with the changing weather. That strange, oppressive tension of a gathering storm; the contented lushness of a spring breeze rolling through the willows…
HARRY: Absolutely on the nose Dan - there’s really not a lot to add to that!
IAN: How did the collaboration start?
HARRY: It began after Dan had approached me about doing a remix/collaborating with him 3 years ago. The eventual piece became what is now Summing Elements and formed the start of our project. We did leave it though for an awfully long time - I guess we picked it back up in early 2011 and from there it all came together from nowhere, it seemed. Although we never wanted to rush it and were prepared to take as long a necessary, we managed to strike a natural flow and bounced off one another really well. I’m sure I can speak for us both in saying that some collaborations can be difficult to establish and carry through but this, it just seemed to happen. And smoothly, at that!
 IAN: There’s a heck of a lot going on in the album…what gear did you use if you don’t mind me asking?
HARRY: I always use my collection of acoustic instruments as the main ingredient in my work and it was no different here. When I received work from Dan, I’d add zither, violin, harmonica, ukulele, voice, glockenspiel etc - whatever worked. Then on the most part, I’d use some effects to get them sounding how I wanted and then passed the whole thing back to Dan. So it was literally just cheap or second hand acoustic instruments, a mic and a laptop from my end. I’m also well into using radio static, tape hiss and vinyl crackle too. I’ve a lot of samples recorded from real sources on my hard-drive and I’m always recycling them or adding to the collection. So this is also a prominent feature in the album.
IAN: The artwork is fantastic. Can you tell me a bit about it?
DAN: Harry sourced this image from an artist friend of his I believe, it’s exactly what I’d imagined when we were creating the album.
HARRY: Yeah, at around the time Dan and I re-established this project last year, I got an email from a Swedish artist called Johan who expressed an interest in working with me. He sent just a couple of images and this one just fit with our vision perfectly. It’s a painting that he made late one night when struggling to sleep. It kept him up for hours and was a real labour of love - it’s a special picture that really gets our concept of atmospheric weather conditions across, with its textured stormy aesthetic.
It can be viewed in two ways, from what I get from it. You can either imagine that it is a stormy sea, with a big sweeping wave or it looks like an overhead view of mountain-tops during a heavy storm.
All music by Ekca Liena and Spheruleus 
Mastered by Ian Hawgood 
Cover art by Johan Soderberg
01 Apparatus and Installation
02 Enclosed Low
03 Windwards
04 Advection
05 Landspouts
06 Scrambling Radiosonde
07 Fog Bound
08 Summing Elements
09 Derecho Belt
10 Storm Waning / Calm Warning

Spheruleus - Revolving Fields [Rural Colours]

"Revolving Fields is a single long form piece composed with the idea of an imaginary time lapse film, focussing on active farm land. Over its duration, the sped-up video footage would document the changes in appearance to agricultural fields. Carefully prepared soil turns to slowly germinating seeds, which grow to larger crops before being harvested. Then back again, ready for the cycle to repeat itself. A shift in weather patterns and a clearly visible change of colour tones blend seamlessly into one. Browns to greens to gold and then back again. Revolving fields, never static. Always changing form." 

released on Rural Colours, July 2012
All instruments performed and produced by Harry Towell 
Artwork by Johan Soderberg 
Mastered by Jason Corder

Spheruleus - Cyanometry [Tessellate Recordings]

The cyanometer is a circular measuring instrument made from graduating shades of blue, originally created as means to measure the blueness of the sky. It was invented in the late 1700s by Horace Benedict de Saussore to assist his studies and fascination with the sky. He correctly supposed that the level of blueness visible in the sky was as a result of the amount of suspended particles present in the atmosphere.
In recent times, not much has been written about cyanometry and a quick scour of the internet will yield you little in the way of further reading. 

It was on a particularly crisp blue day, the sort that would have had Saussore engaged, cyanometer at the ready when Harry Towell (Spheruleus) happened upon the concept for his latest project. He embarked on a long walk through the surrounding countryside in Lincolnshire, UK with the intention of drawing inspiration for a new body of work.
He had hoped that the quiet farmland, trees, fields and electricity pylons would provide the spark required to propell his work with sound yet on that day, it was the sky that fixated him and thus Cyanometry was born.

Back in the studio, Harry set about weaving his collection of acoustic instruments into his usual style of rustic melancholy. Inspired and fresh from his walk with a theme in mind, he allowed the resulting lo-fi sounds to retain their melodic properties and set them against a backdrop of noise, radio interference and vinyl crackle.
Field recordings taken during the walk and at other locations filter into the mix; an old lady pushes her trolley through the backstreets of a sleepy village, ice cracks under foot on a cold morning and the cogs and gears of a bicycle turn, all the while permeated by fragments of forgotten radio broadcasts.
The final stage of the recording process saw Harry team up with work colleague and piano owner Neil Winning to round off this set of short recordings with an additional element.
After a short period of tweaking, the final outcome was married with track titles to reflect the varying moods of the sky.



released 12 July 2012
Recorded and produced by Harry Towell
Piano by Neil Winning
Cover photo by Paul Randall
Artwork by Harry Towell
Additional photography by Harry and Baz Towell

Instruments used:
Piano, classical guitar, violin, duduk, ukulele, harmonica, glockenspiel, trumpet, bugel and keyboard

Bonus remixes by Tom Honey, Hummingbird and Harry Towell. Remix photography by Harry Towell and Hummingbird

CD print design by: Christian Roth

Pleq & Spheruleus - Quietus Gradualis [Time Released Sound]

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of collaborating with Pleq again, as we had done on the 'A Silent Swaying Breath' album. We were invited by Time Released Sound to create work to spread across two 3" CDRs as part of their special chocolate box series, with Colin from the label creating unique artworks for packaging. There were two editions on offer in limited supply, the primary being an insane and elaborate edition of 80 which have since sold out. The took the form of a pop-art inspired game, complete with pieces, also housing both discs containing our contribution to the series.
The second version of pairs both tracks onto a 5" CD, contained within a wallet. This is still available to order (at the time of writing) from Time Released Sound:

Sound wise, Pleq and I worked hard to create two slowly developing soundscapes, full of subtle detail and accompanied by a helping of tape hiss. The theme for the project and concept behind the titling is centred around the slow and gradual process of decay and disintegration. The sounds condense this lengthy journey that all objects, buildings and people are subjected to as a simple existence is slowly warped and changed by the hands of time. The two individual tracks are titled to reflect the different angles of this process. Apologue refers to the stories, legends and folklore that rise from the passing of something. The folky feel to the track swells and falls to indicate the changes that the story carries with it. Slowly with time, it becomes diluted.
Vestiges refers to the physical evidence that remains; things that are left behind and refuse to disappear completely. This piece is consequently much deeper and contains a gritty power to it. You can listen to a sample here:

Monday, 7 May 2012

[escala 2:3] vv.aa. – escala 2.3

A massive three part compilation album with some of the finest names in the scene, completely free!

Some of you may be familiar with the Escala netlabel and others may have noticed the Sismografo Spanish national radio program that regularly hosts shows featuring top quality experimental music. I was honoured to be invited to get in on the action and teamed up with American artist Jared Smyth, whose recent work on new Japanese label ANALOGPATH has been one of my personal year highlights from 2012. Our short piece is called Transignal and is the starting point for a collaboration EP that will be available for free on Audio Gourmet later this year.

escala 2.3 is a joint project between Escala netlabel and Sismógrafo Radio3. A massive release divided into three volumes which brings together many of the best ambient, drone, soundscape and electroacustic music producers.
A unique compilation to keep abreast of the latest proposals in advanced music that presents a matchless quality among the experimental scene, both because of the artists who make it up and of the included unreleased tracks.