Markus Guentner / Empire - now available

 
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From fiery remnants, a universal rhythm emerged.
An ebb and flow of force and fate,
creating worlds within worlds,
forever connected by an infinite empire.

Markus Guentner’s story continues where his last album, 'Theia’  left off with another set of epic atmospheres and brave new worlds. This time Markus enlists the skills of harpist; Tom Moth, cellist; Julia Kent and fellow ambient storyteller; bvdub to complete the journey.

Head to the release page for more information and links to listen/buy or straight to Bandcamp.

 

Markus Guentner / Empire - Preorder available

 
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From fiery remnants, a universal rhythm emerged.
An ebb and flow of force and fate,
creating worlds within worlds,
forever connected by an infinite empire.

We're back with Markus Guentner's second album here on ASIP, where he continues the journey he started on his first vinyl release, Theia.

This time, he's enlisted the skills of cellist Julia Kent, harpist Tom Moth (from Florence and the Machine) and ASIP favorite, bvdub to complete another deep and mesmorizing excursion into the unknown. Then we have the talented Black Knoll on mastering, and Noah M / Keep Adding on the beautiful artwork. 

Head over to the album's release page for full details, links to purchase and audio previews. 

We'll leave you with this video teaser featuring music from one of the tracks starring the beautiful work of Julia Kent. 

 

Thesis Collected 01 - album stream

 
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May of last year we featured Gregory Euclide's Thesis Project here on ASIP, detailing the extensive craftsmanship and consideration that goes into each hand-made release. Since our words with Gregory, the series has gone on to host even more beautiful collaborations and some of my favorites of the project so far, including Rafael Anton Irisarri & Julia Barwick, and Anna Rose Carter & Dag Rosenqvist. Gregory's hands have not stopped cutting, shaping, producing, curating, packing and presenting ever since... 

Once you've amassed such an amazing collection of music, and poured hours over each release, I can imagine it being nearly impossible to not feel the urge to present it as a full compilation and unlock some of the beauty for more people to hear; as both an ode to the many artists featured so far, and a release that would no doubt stand on its own.  So here we are, with an exclusive stream of the full compilation below.  

Given these releases are only ever made available as physical items, this compilation is a first for the project and a blessing for anyone that's maybe not lucky enough to own a turntable, but wanted to get their ears on some of the beautiful music and artists featured within. 

It's only really when you read through the powerhouse of names that feature across the series such as; Julia Kent, Loscil, Dustin O'Halloran, Taylor Deupree, RAI, Benoît Pioulard and Kyle Bobby Dunn, that you are hit with how special this project is both its effort and curation. 

THESIS COLLECTED 01 is available as both a limited CD version and digital, and contains one track from each of the first 12 THESIS releases as well as two tracks from THESIS PRINT/TRACK 02 & 04. Along with a bonus track from THESIS PRINT/TRACK 01 (available only on the digital version). 

Read more about the full series in our interview from last year here, or dive into the full project at https://thesisproject.us.

Thesis Collected 01 is available on CD + Digital at Bandcamp.

Tracklist:

01 | Refém | Will Samson | PRINT/TRACK 02
02 | The Iron Town | S. Carey & Taylor Deupree | THESIS 01
03 | Snowfall/Hibernate | Tony Dekker & Kinbrae | THESIS 09
04 | Earth Bound | Sophie Hutchings & Julia Kent | THESIS 06
05 | Viscous | Loscil & Seabuckthorn | THESIS 02
06 | Prism | Anna Rose Carter & Dag Rosenqvist | THESIS 05
07 | Limehouse | Angus MacRae & InsaDonjaKai | THESIS 07
08 | A Pretty A Day | Benoît Pioulard & Dustin O’Halloran | THESIS 04
09 | B2 | Julianna Barwick & Rafael Anton Irisarri | THESIS 10
10 | Carried to a Place Unwinding | Aaron Martin & Tilman Robinson | THESIS 11
11 | Salve Regina | Kyle Bobby Dunn | PRINT/TRACK 04
12 | Early James | Andrew Hargreaves & Andrew Johnson | THESIS 13
13 | Rigor | Takeshi Nishimoto & Roger Döring | THESIS 03

 

Behind the scenes with the artwork from Earth House Hold's, Never Forget Us

 
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Earth House Hold's, Never Forget Us had a unique process behind the artwork, so I thought it would be worth telling the story behind it. 

Brock and I went around in circles for a few months trying to land on an iconic approach for Never Forget Us (often, with ASIP releases, the artwork takes longer than the music). Some artists have a very clear brief or idea for what they would like to see, but Brock wanted my take on the artwork too (I always try to collaborate as much as possible on artwork and appreciate whenever artists ask for my input and this album was a special piece for us both). We ended up going back and forth for a significant time, before we finally decided to use some amazing photography by Mamii - a close friend of Brock's. 

Mamii's photographs - a sample selection show above - were taken using a pinhole photography approach, giving them their unique, warm and 'in-motion', blurry feel. For anyone close to Brock's previous releases, you'll see a common theme and style in the photography he chooses and these photographs were a fitting tribute to his past, while offering a new perspective for his new record. 

Brock sent me scanned copies of the original photographs, which I then replicated and had printed again as polaroids (meta!) - around 50 different images, with 4 copies of each (200 total). The idea we had, was to shoot the photographs from above to create an abstract and detailed pattern for the front and inside vinyl artwork. 

Close up, you'd see the many memories. Far away, it'd become an intriguing pattern.

I asked my friend, designer, photographer, Mike Marquez to help out with the photography, styling and ultimately the layout. We jumped into the studio, and despite my original idea to shoot just a couple of photographs on the front, it seemed a little forced and empty behind the camera, so we began to throw more and more photographs on to the pile.

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When you try and make something like the above appear natural and random, it becomes harder then you'd expect. We spent most of our time rearranging the photographs so that the imagery, colors and detail were balanced across the spread. Throwing photos from above and letting them land naturally, then fussing over the details. Mamii's photographs ranged from cityscapes, to views from a train, flowers, fields and a house, so I decided to try and keep similar subjects close to each other to tell a story as you followed the overall pattern.

Once Mike and I were happy with the front, we continued to add more photographs to extend the same approach for the inside gatefold. I always try to provide additional detail, and a new layer to the story with the inside gatefold on our releases. With this one, it was easy to extend the story we started on to the inside.

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I originally imagined the edges of the photos to signal the edges of the pattern on the front, but we decided that it looked better cropped into a square - appearing cleaner, and also giving the impression of a window into the journey (gatefold) inside.

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Once we aligned on the front and inside layout, we then had to tackle the vinyl color.

For those that are wondering, vinyl color choice is not taken lightly for ASIP releases... aesthetics and quality are always considered side-by-side.

Rarely do we know the color of vinyl before aligning on artwork. If we want it to compliment overall, it makes sense to decide after, but sometimes the artwork really doesn't help with the vinyl color decision or point to an obvious color. Case in point here due to the many colors included in the photographs. Potentially, too much choice... 

To make matters worse, I have to try and decide on a vinyl color using small samples (I'm lucky enough to have these - many people don't), which appear slightly different when photographed - so using vinyl plant catalogs and sending pictures over to the artist is never an exact science if you're looking for a perfect color match. The listed Pantone references they provide are nothing like the real thing in many instances either, so coloring them in a mock in photoshop is never realistic enough.

I ended up sending Brock several of the below photographs that showed a sample set against a print out of the artwork mock. I now realize, I'm taking photos, of a photo, that has multiple photos, reprinted as polaroid photos, that were scanned photos, from original pinhole photos.... 

Those with a keen eye, may see that we ended up going with the above transparent blue (which actually photographed a little turquoise above, but ended up even better than imagined in real life). 

Once the vinyl color was decided, the order was sent... then, it's in the hands of the vinyl gods, as we wait for anything up to 3-months to see your creation - hopefully - turn up looking just how you wanted it. This one did. 

Lastly, I had a selection of Mamii's photographs printed on very high quality card and placed inside the package for anyone who purchased the record with me direct on Bandcamp, as an added bonus. 

Thanks to everyone who has purchased the record and made some very kind comments on the artwork (and the music, of course). And thank you to Mike for his helping hand, photography and keen eye. 

Buy Earth House Hold / Never Forget Us.

Watch a video using a selection of Mamii's photographs, here

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Earth House Hold / Never Forget Us - now available

 
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Whilst his ambient output is the holy grail of music here on ASIP, Brock's Earth House Hold project has a special place in my heart. We're both big fans of early house music, and this album is a meeting in the middle of those worlds. The very best atmosphere and emotion from ambient music, meets the unique elements and passionate drive of deep house music. View full release details

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A noticeably deeper and more evocative evolution from the first Earth House Hold release, Brock has built an album focused on progression, starting with deep, slow-churning ambient cuts, gradually introducing House elements as the album evolves. Using only instruments and sounds from the early House-era, as is the ethos of Earth House Hold, Brock builds an effortlessly sequenced collage of deep, mystifying, and emotional pieces, combining his signature ghostly vocals with rumbling off-kilter bass-lines and slowly rising atmospheres. 

As with many of Brock’s productions, ’Never Forget Us’ is an ode to some of the many memories and experiences that helped influence the producer he is today. From his trademark ambient epics, to his unique brand of ambient house, each reflecting his history, forever lingering in his years DJ-ing ambient chill rooms and deep house basement affairs beginning nearly thirty years ago . With the return of Earth House Hold, the story is told not only through the reflective nature of the music, or the collage of original pin-hole photographs taken by his good friend Mamii, but the mutual appreciation for a sound from years gone-by, brought to life again, yet living its own life, in a way only someone like Brock could. 

‘Never Forget Us’ is available in both transparent-blue (300 copies) and black (200 copies) X2LP vinyl editions, housed in a gatefold sleeve, including digital download card. 

Links to listen and buy