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Run by Mark Harwood / Astor, Penultimate Press operates mainly in the fields of music concrète, electro-acoustic composition & processed sound. Unheard of underground alongside crucial reissues.
Vang Circular is the first outing from Timo van Luijk (La Scie Dorée, Af Ursin, Elodie) and Mark Harwood (Penultimate Press, Astor). Employing vibes, mellotron, natural reader, an iron ant, synth, metal pipes, slide guitar, and a double bass, these audacious souls conjure a wonky musical vision that gently peels away the familiar. The results are a surprising synthesis of the two individuals somewhat oppositional agendas. From the farthest reaches of the galaxy to the highest celestial plane, the core of this haunted and bewitching release exists as a spectre at the edge of time. Recorded over a weekend at Kulta Saha studio, Belgium in the summer of 2017.
1. Alone 4:522. Armenia - 5:283. Myopia - 2:054. SXDF-NB1006-2 - 7:36 5. Peake Haus - 5:546. Crystal Shuffle - 13:24
Timo Van Luijk & Mark Harwood – Vang Circular
Mark Harwood‘s third album under his Astor moniker slips away from the obtuse atmospheres and concrete field recordings of Alcor and Inland (released on Graham Lambkin‘s KKY label in 2012 and 2013 respectively). Lina in Nidasits more in a melodic electronic framework covering a wide range of sonic and emotional states.
“The East” initiates proceedings as a proposed anthem for Britain during a potential invasion by ISIS. Things soon move into the uncomfortably claustrophobic “The Landowners,” where an oblique narrative by Estonian artist Kris Lemsalu spirals into a blurred fantasy of musical roads, nocturnal wanderings, and entrapment under floorboards. The B-side relocates itself further out as “They Cling to Each Other” hovers over uncharted ketamine lows while “The Sleepwalkers” lurches around a spider-like environment. “Amusement” tackles a cosmic music, but one that hurtles itself far beyond the outer regions of the cosmos, while “5:00am” contains within the greatest sound known to mankind. As a further shift from reason, Lina in Nida is a thrilling expose of intense atmospheres, emotional states, and ecstatic physics.
Astor – Lina in Nida
Originally released on Graham Lambkin's KYE, Alcor is the debut LP by a voice from the Australian wilderness - Mark Harwood. Alcor gathers together the prime of Harwood's previous CDR micro-editions and presents the material as a seductive and puzzling new whole. Field recordings of humble organic activity bend against a foundation of discreetly processed electronics/piano, creating sonorities that are as undefinable as they are unforgettable. Alcor is the ideal record for fans of fringe position electro-acoustic study, Delphic audio confusion, or anyone who pines for the days when Small Cruel Party still roamed the earth. Mastered by Graham Lambkin.
1. Montenegro - 4:462. II - 5:193. III - 4:424. Q - 4:215. Trumpets - 4:42 6. Guns - 8:007. November - 6:25
Astor – Alcor
Advancing the cause of 2012's 'Alcor' LP, 'Inland' finds Mark Harwood complicating reason with dark and circuitous audio constructs.
Taking its inspiration from Gerard Murnane's 1988 novel of the same name, 'Inland' explores a personalized perception of space, both real and imagined, returning a fabricated dreamworld which teases logic and tricks the ear. Conceived with piano, bells, tapes, gong, autoharp, hammer, t.v., organ, and dry ice pellets, 'Inland' cuts the face of expectation to expose a 10 part fractal sonic geography, governed by its own laws, and flushed with all the beauty and horror of the natural world.
Mastered by Graham Lambkin.
1. Out - 2:142. Inland - 6:523. Summer - 3:334. Fire - 3:345. Space - 5:356. Eh - 4:347. Island - 6:258. Leaves - 5:249. Aliqua - 2:509. Mimosa - 2:40
Astor – Inland
Debut LP from New York's Derek Baron. Baron’s work muses on the interior and exterior via explorations of history, memory, listening, domestic ambience and the collective understanding of sound as amorphous matter. Crooked Dances presents a series of Erik Satie’s piano works as played in a flatshare with various interruptions by those who also contribute to the electricity, water and internet bills.
Crooked Dances is a melancholic, playful journey rooted firmly in the real.
"Satie’s Danses Gothiques (1893) and other keyboard sketches are interspersed/interrupted by conversation, drones both accidental and deliberate, and the ever changing mise-en-scène of rooms opening out onto further hidden rooms." The Wire
Bland photographs supplied by Baron.
Derek Baron – Crooked Dances