Herion - Out and About
Title: Out and About
Label: Hypnos CD
2010. Herion is an Italian trio whose members include Emanuele Errante (known to Hypnos customers for Humus on Evan Bartholomew's Somnia label), Enrico Coniglio (Aqua Dorsa project collaborator with Oophoi for the album Cloudlands, he also released Sea Cathedrals solo on Silentes), and Elisa Marzorati.
They've created a beautiful and compelling combination of delicate musical structures with "glitch" components and strange, experimental little samples. Always a pleasant, peaceful listen, Out and About brings a blissed-out classical musicality into connection with an artful edge. This combination of elements results in an especially sensitive, moving set of mood pieces. Somewhere between chamber music and minimalism, between lightness and melancholy, this trio balances elements uncommon in ambient music.
"Emanuele Errante, Enrico Coniglio, and Elisa Marzorati have created a wonderful album that moves right to the soul of the listener. While I was familiar with Emanuele Errante, who released the excellent Humus album on Somnia in 2008, the other performers were a mystery to me. Marzorati’s piano motifs, mixed with Coniglio’s multi-faceted contributions involving melodica, harmonica, and treated guitar, all meld beautifully with Errante’s orchestral arrangements."
-–Review by Michael Vitrano for Fluid Radio
Hypnos is very pleased to release the first album this this trio. Out and About is not only a departure in terms of sound, but is also the Hypnos label's first release in digipak format. Here are pictures to give a sense of the package (click on images to see super-big version). See below for sample audio clips in mp3 format.
Out and About tracks, including mp3 sample clips:
01. Oxg MP3
02. Lindos MP3
03. Cab MP3
04. One Minute After the Sunset MP3
05. Moske Orgulje MP3
06. The Earth MP3
07. The Hanging Glacier MP3
08. Two Minutes To Sunrise MP3
09. Risvegli MP3
10. Solo MP3
Purchase direct for $12.99
Reviews"While surely stringently composed, the music flows freely. The experience is sort of like wandering through a whitewashed gallery with bold abstracts hanging from its walls.
The premiere house for darkish, interstellar, synthesized ambient since the late nineties, American label Hypnos hits an estimable peak with its first digipak release, the debut recording by a trio in which acoustic instruments take the star turns. Down the years, the label has helped new acts make a name for themselves and released some of the best work by respected veterans including Robert Rich, Oöphoi and Vidna Obmana. Herion is a combination of the two – newly-formed as a group, its line-up boasts two well-received young solo artists, Emanuele Errante and Enrico Coniglio, along with pianist Elisa Marzorati. The viola of Piergabriele Mancuso is also prominently featured.
Out and About is rich, uplifting chamber ambient. Laptops and synthesizers are featured in the arsenal mustered by Errante and Coniglio but are used sparingly. The acoustic properties of "Oxg," "Lindos," "Cab," "One Minute After the Sunset," expand and contract, emanating organic charm and clean, modern design. While surely stringently composed, the music flows freely. The experience is sort of like wandering through a whitewashed gallery with bold abstracts hanging from its walls.
An unfortunate watershed occurs about two-thirds through with a sound collage experiment called "The Hanging Glacier;" happily, it only takes up two and a half minutes of your time. But the three pieces which follow never seem to recapture the essence of what was making this record special; they seem to have lost their way. Fortunately, the very last impression Out and About makes on you is a restorative solo piano outing by Marzorati."
--Review by Igloo Mag
"What we have in Herion's Out and About is a work that is ambient chamber music in every sense of the term: spatial, intimate, classically based. Strip away the subtle wash of electronics that Emanuele Errante and Enrico Coniglio whisper beneath piano from Elisa Marzorati and viola by Piergabriela Mancuso, and what's left is a rich bed of beautiful compositions for traditional acoustic instruments. (Besides their laptop work, Errante and Coniglio also add strings, guitars and more.) One of the best compliments I can pay Herion is to say that I'd listen just to those elements, sans electronics, and still firmly enjoy the disc. With the opening track, "Oxg," Herion establish their acoustic-drone base, the metallic rasp of the strings adding not just a texture to the sound, but an equal sense of emotional warmth and humanity. It's part of the real beauty of Out and About -- the way in which we're intermittently reminded, as the disc goes along, that the sounds aren't all circuit-born. It's a good reminder, since it's easy to lose sight of that as Herion quietly wrap you in smooth sound- ribbons. There's a lot to like here, and much of begins with Marzaorati's piano work. Her playing is sweet, graceful and impeccable, whether it's thoughtfully wandering through Errante and Coniglio's misty landscapes ("One Minute Before the Sunrise"), holding a polite dialogue with a sighing harmonica ("Cab"), dropping like forgotten tears ("Lindos"), or giving itself over to electronic treatment to capture a sound-image ("The Hanging Glacier"). The disc closes with her playing alone on the appropriately titled "Solo," and it's a standout moment on an excellent disc. And while her playing is central to Out and About, it's the atmospheres that Errante and Coniglio craft around her and Mancuso that give the whole thing an amazing depth and a touch of the ethereal. The worlds are perfectly blended on the dramatic "Moske Orgulje," with all elements adding their voices in balance. From start to finish, Out and About moves from moments of soulful serenity to breathtaking beauty. Its organic roots run deep to ground the listener in the moment and the experience. Out and About is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD."
--Reviewed by John Shanahan for Hypnagogue
"Probably there aren't many groups on Hypnos: this ambient label usually releases albums by artists who work alone on their electronic, ambient music, but Herion is a group, a trio from Italy, with as its members Emanuele Errante, Enrico Coniglio and Elisa Marzorati (the latter of whom I never heard). Two firm names from the strong Italian ambient scene. The instruments at their disposal includes not just things with keys and knobs, but also field recordings, guitars, harmonica, bells, gong, rainstick, piano plus a guest role on some of the pieces by Piergabriele Mancuso on viola (or perhaps all tracks?). This gives the album a great quality, breaking away from the traditional ambient music, and expanding into the world of classical music with all these acoustic instruments. Especially the violin plays a strong role in defining that classical sound. The music here is pretty strong. Definitely moody and atmospheric, but also quite warm and acoustic. I was reminded of the CD by Modern Institute on Expanding Records (see Vital Weekly 518), which was also, curiously enough, Italian. A highly refined work."
--Reviewed in Vital Weekly #756
"Out and About" is the debut release of the Italian trio Herion, and at the same time also marks the first release in digipak format on the Hypnos label. The members of the ambient-glitch project Herion are Emanuele Errante (composer of the peculiar album "Humus" on Evan Bartholomew's Somnia label), Enrico Coniglio (Aqua Dorsa project collaborator with Oophoi for the album "Cloudlands", he also released "Sea Cathedrals" solo on Silentes), and Elisa Marzorati.
Next to synthesized sounds and patches, the musicians also implement field recordings, guitars, harmonica, melodica, bells, gong, rainstick and piano on "Out and About". These versatile elements make the sonic outcome venture in more acoustic territory while remaining comfortable, highly moody and atmospheric. It’s an introspective and rather melancholic affair though, as the instrumental music slowly progresses in a classical, minimal but also blissful manner.
The sensitive undercurrents within the ambient compositions make it even more intimate, evocative and reflective. This is music for the silent hours deserving close listening.
The beautiful art of ambient music already has many expressions, "Out and About" adds another dimension to it. Recommended.
--Review by Bert Strolenberg, Sonicimmersion.org
"Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi once claimed that a sound played for a long time "becomes so big that you start to hear many more harmonies, and it becomes bigger inside...[and] envelops you." And there are times during Out and About when Emanuele Errante, Enrico Coniglio, Elisa Marzorati and accomplices seem to be exploring their more celebrated compatriot's notion, albeit in a smaller scale setting. The trio known as Herion's instruments float and flit around a single tonal centre in a semi-structured post-chamber music, an occidental raga, each track seeming to seep into the next creating a whole flow, accruing effect from its predecessor.
Out and About may strike as slightly unfamiliar territory for long-established ambient and space music curators, Hypnos, but at heart there is congruence in this affiliation, and head Hypno-tist Mike Griffin has done well to refresh the imprint's in-house stylesheet without compromising its musical mission. Neither 'Ambient' nor 'Space' at first sight, the recording's refined blend of live instrumentation with subdued digital manipulations reveals itself a kindred spirit, as Herion's melding of post-classical sonorities with an expansive remit issues in a kind of spatial chamber music with shifting cadences which might be designated 'post-ambient'. Marzorati's piano motifs, mixed with Coniglio's melodica, harmonica, and treated guitar, all commingle sonorously in Errante's settings, seen to good effect on the keynote "One Minute After the Sunset." The classical influence is never felt in any turgid or grandiose gestures, the music's movements graceful and lilting, shifting subtly between blithe and melancholy. "Risvegli" finds glistening strings and piano peregrinations in incantatory communion. In "Two Minutes to Sunrise" tension comes from an ebb-flow motion that builds coalescing as if to climax but remaining teetering teasingly on the edge of resolution.
Evident in all this is Errante's sleight of hand in choreographing these delicately interwoven soundscapes, his facility in harnessing production methodologies to synthesize acoustic and electronic to optimal effect; it's as if it's his pleasure to leave instruments free to frolic self-consciously before gently dissolving them, or washing them lightly in a mercury of digitalia. While piano, viola and guitar all play cameo roles on Out and About, it's the spirit of the ensemble, and the skilled design of its assembling that are the stars of Herion's quiet drama."
--Review by Alan Lockett for Furthernoise
"Though the Italian trio Herion boasts Emanuele Errante, Enrico Coniglio, and Elisa Marzorati as its members, the outfit is clearly more than the mere sum of its parts, especially when their multi-instrumental contributions to Out and About are complemented by the luscious viola playing of Piergabriele Mancuso. The trio members themselves function as a veritable mini-orchestra, with Marzorati's piano playing augmented by the guitars, strings, harmonica, synthesizers, melodica, field recordings, and laptop processing of her colleagues. What results is a richly detailed and rewarding collection that's often affectingly plangent in tone, not to mention stirring. Herion's electronically enhanced chamber music is artful without being precious and soulful to boot, and a quiet emotional sensitivity colours the album's forty-six minutes in a way that helps distinguish the recording from the competition.
Marzorati plays in an impressionistic and restrained manner that's in keeping with the meditative character of the album's ten pieces, while the wistful quality of the melodica often creates a mood of longing. Errante and Coniglio typically fashion silken webs of multi-faceted design against which the contrasting voices of Marzorati and Mancuso resound. That's never more apparent than during “Two Minutes To Sunrise” when the piano flickers and viola shudders amidst a gleaming backdrop of fluttering detail. Elsewhere, an ambient setting, “Oxg,” inaugurates the album splendidly, with the serenading wheeze of the melodica and harmonica punctuated by piano chords, synthetics, and the drone of the viola. Pairing its melancholy cry with Marzorati's gentle sprinkle and a rich backdrop of textures imbues “Lindos” with a pastoral beauty that elevates the album. A slightly darker tone pervades “Moske Orgulje” when an underlying metronomic rhythm, punctuated by the viola's interjections, urgently nudges the material forward. One final contrast surfaces when Marzorati's given the spotlight during the peaceful, album-closing “Solo.”
While there is a subtle ambient dimension to Out and About that's in keeping with Hypnos releases in general, Herion's music aligns itself more closely to a style one might call 'chamber electronic-classical.' Regardless of labels, the album is a distinguished collection of enchanting mood settings that again speaks highly for the strong reputation Hypnos has acquired throughout its history."
--Reviewed by Textura.org January 2011
I wanted to make sure I gave this album a number of spins before commenting, plus its always a strange balancing act to review a CD on label, when you yourself are on the label as well, but anyway...in simple terms, I freaking love this cd. It is one of the few new ambient albums in the past 3 or 4 years to truly grab my attention and excite me.
When I hear discs like this I start feeling like ambient/space/electronic music is actually vital again. OK so why?
Well for me this disc combines 3 key elements that I find essential for me as both a musician and a music fan.
1. The music acknowledges tradition
In other words, this CD moves back to and hints at the paradigms set up by early EM pioneers like Eno. It also hints at older minimalist classical works like the old school electronic music practice of not creating electronic music with synthesizers, but instead using electronics and effects to make acoustic instruments sound electronic.
It moves nicely beyond the stereotypical drone and reverb drenched "same old same old" that has been dominating our genre for the better part of the decade.
All of this to say that this CD has a healthy dose of retro coolness to it without being copy catish, and that is what makes it sound fresh and modern.
2. Its real
Again, I love the fact that these are real acoustic instruments for the most part.
This also means that microphones and "air" where involved. This was a recording project, not simply an in the box capture and render project. For me this adds a vibe and space to this album that would not be possible with soft synths, loops and or samples. Not that those types of records cant be done well, it just allows this one to be set apart into a different sonic landscape.
Also, these are real players/musicians and as such this album has a language to it that would have been harder to achieve with programing, again another one of its unique points for me.
3. Tradition be damned
Similar to part 1, but this is just a good cd of (capital M) Music that happens to be ambient and spacious with twinges of processing and treatments, rather than being an ambient or space music album.
Ok, so is it perfect? I am not saying this is the greatest album of all time or anything like that, but man is this a breath of fresh air and nice new avenue for Hypnos and our genre in general.
I know nothing about the musicians on this recording, but Nice Job guys!!!
--informal review by Paul Vnuk Jr. on the Hypnos Forum
"Certain music has a way of defining the space one inhabits as well as permeating through, connecting one’s particular space with its immediate surroundings…
Ambient music, especially, is designed in part to enhance the connection the listener has with the world around them. While pop music is played and directed at the listener, who either rejects the stimuli or embraces it, ambient music envelops the listener, creating a unique relationship that affects his/her whole being. One feels oneself carried away, both internally and externally, at, what I like to call, "the point of departure," which arrives upon immediately pressing play on Out and About.
Emanuele Errante, Enrico Coniglio, and Elisa Marzorati have created a wonderful album that moves right to the soul of the listener. While I was familiar with Emanuele Errante, who released the excellent Humus album on Somnia in 2008, the other performers were a mystery to me. Marzorati’s piano motifs, mixed with Coniglio’s multi-faceted contributions involving melodica, harmonica, and treated guitar, all meld beautifully with Errante’s orchestral arrangements.
The intermittent viola flourishes courtesy of Gabriele Mancuso also provide the songs with even more nuance and detail. With the sheer number of sounds, the music is never heavy-handed or grandiose, it’s movements are graceful yet subtle and give the listener unexpected shifts in mood and tone. On "lindos," the glistening orchestral movements glide along while interspersed with drifting piano notes, creating an enchanting and beguiling piece. For "two minutes to sunrise," the anticipation is felt by the ebb and flow of sounds building to a crescendo that never arrives and the treated guitar notes that flit around only to disappear while orchestral movements fill the space and signal their arrival again.
Each track gently flows into the next creating a very cohesive and rewarding listening experience. Out and About is an excellent work that reveals more of itself on repeated listens."
--– Review by Michael Vitrano for Fluid Radio
"My copy came in the mail Monday and I brought it to work, where it has practically been playing non-stop. It's "only" 46 minutes long, but seems to pass by in 20. I just keep starting it up again. It's very "transparent" and maintains a consistent album "feel" without becoming repetitive. I think that Lynn will really like this one - but I'm reluctant to bring it home now.
I'm also very happy with the cover. The photography and colour treatment really suit the feel of the music."
--informal review by Scott M2 on the Hypnos Forum
"WVKR-FM "Secret Music" Top 25 Albums of 2010
#16. Herion - Out and About - Hypnos"
--Scott Raymond, WVKR Radio "Secret Music
"For me, this is like "dreams came true" project, because it features Enrico Coniglio and Emanuele Errante who are resoponsible for some remarkable ambient solo albums released during the last few years, with some guest appearances of Elisa Marzorati, highly respected pianist. Now these three extremely talented musicians are teamed up in Herion project and landing on Hypnos. You can't go wrong with that, but I think this collaboration was as much exciting and challenging also for Hypnos as it marks new direction for this label thanks to Herion's ambient strongly influenced by classical music with the use of many acoustic instruments. Even if quite new territory to Hypnos, it fits more than perfectly to them. Thanks to virtuosity of all three members plus highly notable performance on viola by Piergabriele Mancuso, "Out And About" is absolutely beautiful, evocative, intimate and warm collection of compositions masterfully bridging filigree acoustics with gentle amount of electronics and field recordings. Perfectly crafted in every detail and even if quite minimalistic at times, always very expressive and effective in keeping the attention of each listener during the each of 46 minutes. The opening "Oxg" immediately elevates the album into untouchable heights and will never step down during the next 9 compositions. Absolutely splending mix of piano, viola, harmonica, melodica, rainstick with some synthesized sounds. Angelic beauty is not measurable, but it's certainly called "Oxg". Just the same could be said on melancholic "Lindos". Dreamy "Cab", "One Minute After The Sunset" and "The Earth" recall all your hidden memories while "Moske Orgulje" and "The Hanging Glacier" get more darker and tense. Cheerful "Two Minutes To Sunrise" and moody "Risvegli" and "Solo" close the album with all their tranquillity. I already used a lot of superlatives, but I still don't get enough when listening to this sonic pleasure, Herion can be easily described after Suspended Memories as another "Ambient Supergroup" and Emanuele Errante, Enrico Coniglio and Elisa Marzorati are the rising stars of ambient genre and bringing some new fresh wind to it. A pure masterwork!!!"
--Reviewed by Richard Gürtler (Bratislava, Slovakia) on Amazon.com