ASIP029 Halo - Song Of The Highest Tower


We’ve all experienced those moments when we capture a perfect image in our minds eye; those indelible scenes we can recall with perfect clarity. These snapshots might last a lifetime or disappear as quickly as they were realized but in that split-second, for composer Pasquale Riviezzo, it’s a preservation of a very personal kind. 

“I usually travel from Milan to Naples for my university studies. These are images of places that I saw in a misty morning while I was on the train, that were fixed in my heart for a moment, mixed with flowing feelings and thoughts. They maybe became different places after that, but this is a story I’d like to tell you, through notes. It’s how a common place becomes intimate, and then a strangely isolated place.” 

Inspired by transit and transcendence, misty mornings and fleeting connection, Pasquale’s EP is a collection that’s characterized by weighty piano chords, ethereal atmospheres and measured use of string to give tracks a melancholic focus. It allows ‘An Isolated Railway’ to drift along measured string and gentle piano, ‘Cloud Gate’ to swell with the soft vision of rolling Cumulus and the heavens opening, and the maudlin melody of ‘The Inner Realm’ to breathe through the dead space and atmosphere. 

‘An Isolated Railway is the abandoned station you see through the window while you’re travelling to another town,” Pasquale explains. “It’s an isolated place, vanishing in the mist, where few voices are heard and a train is passing by, and The Inner Realm is am indefinite sequence of places, a continuous flow of emotions that paints a landscape in the air.” 

‘Cloud Gate’ is when the gate of clouds opens wide and the rain starts falling and I’ll listen to ‘The Wastelands’ with closed eyes and see sounds painting a landscape in the imaginary space. I called that place ‘The Wastelands’ because it feels like a distant landscape brought back for a just moment, then, just like a dream, at the end you open your eyes and there's no trace left. Just a subtle sensation of having been there, somewhere, sometime.” 

Oisive jeunesse
A tout asservie,
Par délicatesse
J’ai perdu ma vie.
Ah ! Que le temps vienne
Où les coeurs s’éprennent.

Je me suis dit : laisse,
Et qu’on ne te voie :
Et sans la promesse
De plus hautes joies.
Que rien ne t’arrête,
Auguste retraite.

J’ai tant fait patience
Qu’à jamais j’oublie

Oisive jeunesse
A tout asservie,
Par délicatesse
J’ai perdu ma vie.
Ah ! Que le temps vienne
Où les coeurs s’éprennent.
— Song of the Highest Tower. Inspired by a poem by Arthur Rimbaud.

ASIP028 36 - Heather Spa


There’s always private pleasure in seeing beauty where others don’t. Sometimes it’s just a case of the personal outweighing the spectacular but in a part of the world as vast and stunning as Yorkshire, the abundance of scenery makes finding that place an infinitely easier coincidence. Ilkley or ‘Heather Spa’ is one such place for 36 aka Dennis Huddleston. A moorland area on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, it’s served as both a place of escape and inspiration. 

“It’s a place I’ve visited many times at various stages of my life,” he begins, “coming from Bradford, which has had its fair share of social and economic problems over the years, Ilkley provided an escape from the city and is somewhere me and my friends spent many days and nights. It isn't the largest, nor the most beautiful countryside in England, but it has an undeniable charm that’s felt by everyone who’s visited.” 

You feel that connection throughout ‘Heather Spa’. It’s one of familiarity and rejuvenation with the exhale of the strings evoking happiness and a gazing contentment. ‘Heather Spa (Burning)’ is just as poised and gentle with its slow, weaving melodies and whilst it’s more clouded and subdued, it leaves a determinedly resonant impression. 

“There was a huge fire in 2006 which destroyed vast areas of the moorland,” Dennis explains. “I had visited it only a few days prior and the lush green land was replaced by charred cinders, completely decimating the landscape. It was quite a sight to behold and there was an undeniable melancholy in the air. Reseeding efforts and the tough will of nature has reversed most of the damage and Ilkley Moor is alive once again.” 

The initial inspiration for the ‘Shadow Play’ album, this final instalment of ‘Heather Spa’ marks the culmination of Dennis’ personal trilogy, and helps the ‘Heather Spa EP’ feel like a very natural conclusion to a journey of transition, progression and redemption. 

"It's come full-circle in a way,” Dennis muses, “Heather Spa as a concept was the catalyst for my latest album 'Shadow Play' and you can see three distinct yet fully-connected chapters on what is a single story; the inception with Heather Spa, the realisation with Shadow Play, and finally with this EP for the ASIP Places Series, an epilogue. I think they're some of the most emotional pieces of music I've worked on and I hope you enjoy taking this final journey with me, right back at the place where it started".

ASIP027 Module - The Frequent Sea


The ocean remains one of life’s great intangibles. For me, it’s always been something that conjures family-holiday sentimentality and a vast sense of escape and, even now, every time that first glimpse of coastline pulls into focus, there’s a child-like wonderment will that hasn’t ever dissipated. 

Module aka Jeramiah Ross has a similar fascination with the big blue, and ‘The Frequent Sea’ captures the rhythm of something constant and cyclically serene. It’s a track that builds in lapping swathes, moving with a liquid ebb and flow of breaking waves, and the split-second moment between the rippling aftermath of one cycle, and the insistent, rushing momentum of the next. The rolls and washes, the breaks and the split-second before the retreat and the cycle begins again. It’s perpetual and infinite, 

"I imagine each sound is like layers of clouds and it's rolling over the surface of the water,” he explains “and then it comes rushing in slow motion crashing down creating texture and patterns in the sand. I am inspired by the patterns found in nature and I guess you could say I am using music to express those shapes and movements across the time, light and sound energy fields."

ASIP026 Leandro Fresco - Almas Sin Prisa


Patagonia’s always held a personal fascination. With a small, Welsh-speaking population over 7,000 miles away from Wales, it’s an odd displacement, but for the 5,000 that speak Patagonian Welsh, it’s undoubtedly home. 

It’s a theme that poignantly plays out for Leandro Fresco – the lure of his parents’ house providing the happy, creative escape from the frenzy of Buenos Aires. 

“I wrote this song in a beautiful small city in Argentinian Patagonia where my parents live,” he explains. “This has been my favourite place to write for a long time, a place where I can escape from Buenos Aires.” 

And it was this transition from the hustle of the Argentine capital to the serenity of Patagonia’s San Martin De Los Andes that helped provide the snowy inspiration for 'Almas Sin Prisa' (‘Souls without Haste’). 

“I remember sitting in my room facing the window, watching the snowflakes fall and improvising on the keyboard,” Leandro reminisces. “Looking through the glass, I saw two people walking away in the storm, holding hands. These were the first minutes of the night when the sun was just beginning to hide and I kept on thinking about who these strangers were.” 

This sense of the unanswered lends ‘Almas Sin Prisa’ a baleful, blissful feel. Beautifully layered, you can almost feel the weight of the snowfall cloud your line of vision, those first delicate snowflakes amassing to become tumbling white walls; the delicate movement and feather-light melodies conveying a distance as they gracefully drift away; the subtle drone lending a dreamy finale as the snowy silhouettes fade out to white. 

“I’ll never know,” he smiles, “but while the music played, and I drank my cup of tea, I was happy to be in the warmth of my home and glad that I saw this simple show. Just two people in the storm. Just two souls without haste.” 

ASIP025 Stray Theories - Frozen Skies


We’re so busy navigating concrete jungles and determinedly juggling schedules with mindless routine, it’s a welcome rarity for many of us to experience true postcard perfection. But walking in the shadows of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, Micah Templeton-Wolfe found that the snow-capped surroundings stirred something as he travelled through the south of the country. 

“’Frozen Skies’ captures the feeling of the first time I travelled throughout the South Island of New Zealand in 2005,” he explains, “I was truly amazed by the raw beauty of the landscapes, from the stillness of the vast lakes to the majestic heights of the Southern Alps. Every time I’ve visited this place, there is an overwhelming feeling of solitude, of being totally immersed in the vast and striking textures of this beautiful place." 

A track that hums into life from atmospheric beginnings, it feels like Karin Dreijer Andersson’s warped yelp is lurking, ready to wickedly cut through the drone. Instead, ‘Frozen Skies’ evolves into a track of yearning discovery, its moody, glacial pace mirroring the cold beauty of the landscape that inspired it. 

Awash with fleeting builds and yearning strings, it feels like a mournful journey of a dying day; the sun sinking into the glacial lakes in the distance, a soundtrack to just staring ahead and seeing life, not death, in a ruggedly endless horizon.