Okada’s darkly cinematic debut album

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While the weather is getting hotter in May, we come with a breath­taking ambient & electro acoustic record. We never release any album we don’t really like for any reason, all the albums in our catalogue are the albums we think they are the albums which must be in our personal music archive as well. Okada label debut is even beyond that, it has already become one of our favourites of ambient & electro­acoustic genres.

Okada is a project by Greg Pappas from Alabama, US. Initially known to the music world as ZXYZXY, Greg used it as a vehicle for experimentation and refinement of his writing technique while dabbling in electro­acoustic, ambient, post­rock and even wonky genres. It wasn’t until the Summer of 2014 that he felt his music clicked into place seemingly out­of­nowhere under Okada.

This time around the only constant in the creative process was that there was no focus on any one way to bring out the music. No guides. No genre sign posts. Just as long as the road to the final product was a visceral experience.

Okada (album) is darkly cinematic, but it’s never bleak or depressing. In fact, the bubbly female vocals haunt the music, lifting it up with caring hands out of the dark mire and into a subdued electronic coloring that sits easily with the listener. It’s a bruise that discolors the music’s original pale skin, her original pale genre, and the vanilla blooms into a new, shady gem right in front of our eyes. The low, dull sound of classical instrumentation has been brushed aside like a September cobweb, cleaned of its original timbre. An ambient layer peels itself away, and later a hushed electronic beat shuffles itself and the music forward, proving that electronic rhythms can indeed be subtle, caring and sophisticated.

Conflicting emotions cycle through the music. It can lead to serenity but it can also bring a flood of intense love. It’s gentle, fragile, the cycling beat and the melancholic black and white notes flowing naturally, freely. It’s graceful music that lives and breathes a seemingly simple life in the face of musical complexity. There are a lot of layers underneath its surface; a slowly shifting labyrinth of sound that continually takes you by surprise.

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Inner Trip’s Moments of No Time

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Inner Trip is a project from Iran created and represented by Saman N (born in 1984, graphic artist and musician).

Saman’s third album “Moments of No Time” is a next step on a journey which began with his debut album “Somewhere Near the Pulse”, released by Fluttery Records a few years ago.

This album contains seven tracks with seven different atmospheres but under the same genre of electronic music and mostly with down tempo cinematic elements. The title of each song is related to the particular scene Saman had in his mind during his musical journey while recording the tracks.

One thing that Saman N tries to achieve with his music is to create imaginary images for audience. That’s why his music floats over different genres from Soundtrack to Trip Hop. He believes making music is like painting. You might choose just one or two colours for your entire canvass or you may decide to use all the colours in your palette for just one scene.

The most important thing is what art looks like at the end and the way it exposes your inner word. Individuality could be the identity of any type of art. With “Moments of No Time”, Saman did once again follow his inner voices to depict a new scene raised of the individuality of the artist.

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Cold Cold Heart debut is an album to adore

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Cold, Cold Heart is a post-rock / ambient band from London, UK. Robert, Chris and Adrian assembled in early 2014 out of friendship and a shared admiration for bands such as Stars of the Lid, Low and Sparklehorse. What started as a simple coming together to craft percussionless compositions in a spare bedroom turned into something more focused after recognition for their first release, ‘Stand/still’. Encouraged by appreciation from Simon Raymonde (Bella Union, Amazing Radio) and Kara Manning (Rolling Stone, WFUV Radio) amongst others, Cold, Cold Heart was born.

‘How the Other Half Live and Die’, as a collective work, is built around the concepts of love and loss. In ‘Megan’, ‘Anna’ and ‘Hannah’, the band have written songs that soundtrack the beauty and challenges in their romantic relationships, whilst ‘Stand/still’ and ‘An Elegy (for Martha)’ capture the sadness and nostalgia left behind in the wake of departed loved ones.

The album is Cold, Cold Heart’s shared soundtrack to life; to the fear and beauty in death; to infatuation and devotion; to the band’s personal battles with illness. It has been featured in various shows on BBC Radio 6 and become one of the most pre-ordered releases in the Fluttery Records history.

With Robert’s 10-year struggle living with multiple sclerosis a constant backdrop, delicacy and simplicity resonate in all that the band does. The most important instrument is the listener’s imagination.

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OP3’s “Hope” is a story you can feel

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Our forth and last release this January is coming from OP3, what is a musical experiment­ based in Greece, addressing an ambient and atmospheric musical journey, borrowing elements from different genres of music such as modern classical composition, jazz, electro and folk rhythms all coming together to provide the listener with a unique audio experience.

Hope by OP3 from Greece is a concept album with a unique story written by Dimitris Mitropapas. A short and symbolic title that seems to be the best choice in order to fully express what the main theme of the album is all about. The storyline goes as follows: A girl named Melanie wakes up inside a strange room, in a futuristic city. She doesn’t seem to know the reason of her appearance there. Melanie tries to find a way to connect all the clues leading to this event as well as an escape out of there.

”The sound of the album is focused on the atmospheric, ambient elements provided by the minimalistic piano themes, haunting cello lines and heart­touching violin melodies. Electronics and the use of a variety of home made sounds, gave the album an even more unique “feel” to it.”

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The sonic world in Iván Muela’s “Unsound”

Iván Muela is a young multi-instrumentalist, composer and engineer based in London. His music relies heavily on warm sounding pianos, strings and abstract surreal sounds, ultimately resulting in a sway of beautiful melodies and fascinating textures. Perhaps influenced by being immersed in the lo-fi/punk scene, Iván brings this attitude to his music. Placing special emphasis in capturing the moment, his compositions are splattered with improvisation and chance. Iván is fascinated by the way technology can become an essential part of the compositional process, therefore pushing the rigid boundaries that for so long have characterised classical music.

The sonic world created by the young composer in “Unsound” is a swirl of emotions. The melodies and textures captured in its 11 tracks bring the listener into a different dimension in which feelings like desolation and hope walk hand by hand. This time Iván’s exploratory spirit took him to traverse new musical territories, blending classical-sounding passages with modern electronic elements. Unsound, Ivan’s most ambitious work to date, features several upright and grand pianos, modular synthesisers, guitars, bass, upright bass and even a 9-piece string ensemble recorded in a church.

While not being necessarily a conceptual album, Unsound is heavily inspired by the composer’s everyday life. Some tracks are little snippets of his thoughts, reflections of personal events and some sound passages are reflecions of life in a big metropolis. “Trying to find beauty in a hectic city like London is sometimes tough. Hope, worries, calm, bliss, elation, feeling like exploding inside… There are a lot of emotions put into this music but what each person makes out of them… that is very personal”.

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Mathew Row’s modern classicals: Immersion

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We are starting December with a very special classical music record. Immersion is Mathew Row’s first endeavor into the world of modern classical music, and his first serious pursuit of album production as well. The result is just amazing, that’s why we felt a strong desire to get him in our label as soon as we listened to his pieces. We hope that you will enjoy this artist from Ithaca, New York as we do.

Immersion also has a very cosy feeling. For him, the experience of doing all the production work himself was “terribly important”. Mathew says “If I had sent the music off to be recorded / mixed / mastered by a professional which I was tempted to do many times, it would have come back to me in a different language, the intimacy would have been lost.”

Before talking more about the album, let’s have a look at his musical background. Mathew began his musical career behind a drum set. He played the drums for close to 15 years, playing out around town and touring with various metal acts. During these years he also taught himself to play guitar and a little bit later, he fell in love with piano, too, when he found an old electronic keyboard from his childhood. On this keyboard “Tiger Lilly” was written.

The kickstart to what happened next was on behalf of the kindness of Mathew’s great uncle, Harold, who, after talking with Mathew about his interest in the piano, bequeathed to him his wife’s piano; a Kranich and Bach upright console. The next year was spent in an intensive retreat into music, where Mathew wrote, practiced, recorded, and produced the album “Immersion”, on this very special piano, which was released in the summer of 2014. Harold was able to hear the finished version of the album, before passing away the next year.

After this Mathew embarked upon a 6 week journey with his aunt, Cathryn Smith, to walk the Camino de Santiago, a 500 mile trek across Spain. He describes this as a very transformative event in his life and incorporates much of what he experienced into the current musical projects he is working on. You can easily pick up on this with Mathew’s more recent compositions in the walking tempo of the pieces and the frequent and repetitive motif’s that echo the slow, steady, and simplistic lifestyle on the Camino.

Mathew Roth’s debut album, Immersion, is an introspective journey into the more subtle rhythms of the Earth and the human experience. Written and recorded in “The Tea House”, as he fondly refers to the 10×10 hut where he resided in Virginia for the year that this album took to produce, Immersion incorporates many nuances and “imperfections” that add to the ambience of the experience, such as footsteps, sliding piano keys, a crackling fire, and bird calls. Mathew refers to the production of this album as “a way for me to bring what was hidden into the light.”

What made us made us fall in love with his music before signing him to the label was mainly his amazing piano / strings driven compositions which brings us to lands of other worlds. (Personally it makes feel walking on bare foot on a meadow made of grass and tiny little flowers.)

Let’s give the last words to Mathew Roth. “Every song on this album is about a very profound and particular experience for me. My writing process involved taking a freeze frame of a memory or emotion, and taking a magnifying glass to that very specific moment, and expanding it into music.”

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