Multi-talented artist and entrepreneur Mirt has yoked together three separate mini-albums on his Vanishing Land (BDTA LXXXII) full-length release. One outcome of this strategy is that the collaged whole amounts to a narrative, albeit one delivered in a layered and enigmatic fashion. Readers will recall that his Rite of Passage from 2013 could also be interpreted as a film soundtrack, and Mirt is entirely comfortable with this take on his output. As to the content of Vanishing Land’s scenario, Mirt remains cryptic and allusive in his notes, and the listener is given scant clues on the record: near-anonymous ambient electronic music, vague and ambiguous field recordings, and a story trajectory that requires a prodigious memory if you wish to follow it. The cover art, painted by Mirt, is like an imaginary still from a European road movie laden with symbolism. From September 2015.
To produce A Short Ride On The Arrow Of Time (ELECTRIC BRASS RECORDS EBR005), the duo Spaceheads recorded a substantial number of jam sessions over four days in the studio, and present the edited results on disc. Trumpeter Andy Diagram may be known to you for his work with James, or with Pere Ubu and Two Pale Boys, or even further back as a member of John Peel favourites The Diagram Brothers; he’s made the loop effect a big part of his trumpet’s signature sound, and creates pleasant half-melodies here that keep the listener buoyant with their suggestions of joyous whoops and balletic leaps. He’s supported as ever by drummer Richard Harrison, who’s content to be reprocessed until he resembles an identikit dance record rhythm track. Many pleasant moments on these lengthy extemporisations – they would prefer to call them “continuums”, a term calculated to preserve something of the integrity of their free-form work – but also a fair deal of flabbiness and meandering. I’m also surprised how often the music descends into bland, tasteful elevator music, not unlike what I’d imagine a 1970s Chuck Mangione album sounds like. From September 2015.
Barbara Morgenstern is yet another new name to these pages, yet this talented German composer and singer has been releasing avant-garde electropop material since 1997, with a number of albums released on Monika Enterprise. On Doppelstern (MONIKA ENTERPRISE 85), we have 11 examples of her craft, each one produced with a separate collaborator – mostly musicians, singers and writers published by Maobeat, as it turns out, and they all bring their own shades of emotional piquancy to the picnic. The precision and care that Morgenstern pours into her work is evident on every one of these compacted pop songs, each one arranged to perform like a flawless machine that folds cardboard cartons into place with a tolerance of two microns. Yet they’re also very human and romantic songs, and the wistful emotions are conveyed expertly and honestly by her unpretentious, spare singing voice. Fine item! Released 25 September 2015.