Friday, 25 February 2011

Spheruleus - Forgotten Outland (Resting Bell)

Resting Bell, February 2011

The sound-art of Spheruleus is produced by British artist Harry Towell with a previous discography including releases on the likes of Under The Spire, Earth Mantra and Test Tube as well as his own label Audio Gourmet. Intrigued by all things old and rustic, his music is often inspired by the rural Lincolnshire surroundings in which he lives and his first outing of 2011, here on Resting Bell, is intended to really captured this.

A short collection of deliberately loose and degraded instrument samples and field recordings, ‘Forgotten Outland’ is presented as if it were an old record found discarded inside a derelict farm building on disused land.
It comprises of blurred melodic passages and offers a faded insight into times gone by when the farmland thrived. Just like the physical state of the farm itself, the record sounds timeworn, warped and a shadow of its former self.

The instrument leads and various sounds climb over one another as if fighting for a voice. Nothing seems structured or in order, although amidst the deluge of disjointed melody, subtle detail can be focused upon to reveal parts of this purposefully concealed soundtrack.

Release Date

All sounds performed, recorded and arranged by Harry Towell between spring 2010 and winter 2011
Instruments used: Guitar, Vibraphone, Zither, Bugle, Keyboard, Harmonica, Trumpet and Violin

Photography by Jonathan Lees, Cragg Vale Photography

Additional Photography, by Harry Towell:

Friday, 18 February 2011

18/02/2011 Spheruleus - Debris [Audio Gourmet]

Audio Gourmet, February 2011

For the first Spheruleus outing of 2011, Audio Gourmet label curator Harry Towell has scoured his hard-drive to put together a collection of tracks that are born out of unfinished samples and discarded parts of previous projects. They have been presented as a four track EP which is aptly titled 'Debris'.

The source material was drawn from the usual collection of instrument samples that Towell's work typically comprises of, although heavily processed with 'vintage' style ambient production techniques. The resulting soundtrack is loose and drifting with moments of hiss and static - a production style that you might not always associate with the work of Spheruleus.
The aim was to draw out the near 24 minute duration as long as possible, giving the impression of time standing still and allowing these otherwise unused sounds a chance to have their 'day'.

2011 is to be a big year for Spheruleus, with CD album 'Voyage' scheduled for release on Hibernate this summer and another short album coming out on Resting Bell at the end of February. Not to mention the debut Paper Relics album recorded with brother Stuart due out in March/April...
creditsreleased 18 February 2011
Recorded and produced by Harry Towell
Photography by Stuart Towell

Hibernate Records/Rural Colours forecast mix...

Hibernate/Rural Colours Selection by Fluid Radio on Mixcloud

Jonathan from Hibernate and Rural Colours has put together a mix for Fluid Radio that delves through the catalog of forthcoming releases on both labels.
I've an album coming out on Hibernate myself this summer called 'Voyage'. An unmastered and un-final edit of a track from this called 'Submerged' is included in this forecast - click play to hear for yourself....

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

15 questions to Harry Towell/Spheruleus | Interview on Tokafi

INTRO (Tobias Fischer, Tokafi)
There's nothing inherently mysterious about working with sound. Sometimes, in fact, it simply means giving in to the simple pleasures in life: Not all too long ago, at a time when most of Britain was hiding from an unexpected bout of „snow of considerable proportion“, Lincolnshire's Harry Towell put the extreme climatic conditions to good use by spending the entire day roaming the countryside with childlike curiosity, trudging through the white with his portable recorder and listening to the soles of his shoes creating gnashing, grating and gritting little patterns in the snow. Back home, most likely over a hot, steaming cup of coffee, he then arranged his found sonic objects into what would become the 2009 debut album of his Spheruleus project, The Disguised Familiar. It is telling that Towell didn't just degrade the field recordings resulting from the hike as a backdrop to his drones and ambient textures, but rather respectfully treated them as music in their own right, aiming for his melodies and harmonies to bring out the beauty of the sounds and not the other way round. The episode, recounted in more depth on the artist's MySpace site, may seem trivial. But it goes a long way in defining the territory which has served as a home for Spheruleus ever since: Perhaps due to Towell growing up in a rural surrounding, nature plays an essential role in his oeuvre, its quietude, moods and beauty extolled by the covers of his releases, its sounds seamlessly integrated into the textures of the compositions, its shapes mimicked by their organic architecture and flowing arrangements. Rather than seeking to conceptually translate physical landscapes to the world of sound, Towell is creating his own, personalised environments, equally intimate and mysterious spaces marked by „blurred perspectives“ and „silent collisions“, by rot and decay – in short, by the eternal cycle of life and death. It is a kind of music which doesn't just re-attune the senses of the listener, but effectively makes them perceptive to the seemingly imperceptible hidden underneath the surface: On the follow-up to The Disguised Familiar, A Vision Obscurred, time first stands still and then it fades away completely, leaving nothing but an infinite horizon over a solitary landscape of absolute forms and objects across which, with spectre-like weightlessness, the dreamy guitar lines of his brother Stuart sail like blood red clouds. This time, propelled by „deeply personal reflections“, the path was leading inwards, to the subconscious as a place of unworked-through emotions. As in a surrealist painting, one can still clearly identify the multitude of metaphors and references – anyone who's read Towell's list of favourites knows the eclecticism of his taste as well as his insatiable appetite for new and fresh sounds – but their meaning has been strangely deformed. If these scenes should occasionally seem to take on Freud'ean qualities, then that is by no means a coincidence: Towell's only release so far under the guise of Eyes Flutter Beneath wasn't called Inside the Dream Laboratory for nothing after all, and quite a few of the fifteen-minute EPs of his Audio Gourmet label are marked by a similar feeling of spinning out into the fantastical. This, of course, is the real reason for the outwardly mysterious facade of working with sound in general and Spheruleus's oeuvre in particular: The mere act of juxtaposition and re-contextualising can turn even the simplest, every-day items into spiritual symbols.

INTERVIEW: (Tobias Fischer, Tokafi with Harry Towell, Spheruleus)
VISIT to read the full interview