Author Topic: Norman v. Infraction or Milieu's "warm wooden..." is album of the week  (Read 4205 times)

Infraction

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We just released Milieu's 'A Warm Wooden Hollow' and Norman Records in the U.K.
named it their album of the week :

Milieu- A Warm Wooden Hollow CD (Infraction Records)
We've had a lot of records in by Milieu this year. Some we've reviewed and the majority we've not reviewed. Mainly cos there's been so many we'd have to employ someone especially to do that and that, put simply, would be nuts. So here we are with another Milieu album and this time it's a proper release album on the Infraction label rather than one of the many CDR's which have arrived. The packaging is all lovely and pastoral which gives you a clue of what you're getting on the inside. The 12 tracks of 'A Warm Wooden Hollow' are quite a change in direction for Milieu as there's much more piano being used. Yes it's still pretty much ambience but the piano adds a different feeling to the music. It's much more spooky and eerie sounding than the usual lush warmth you get from his ambient albums. Float off and tune in for the duration of the album and you'll be sucked into a world of total beauty though. This guy makes some of the best ambient music money can buy and here's another fine example of his work. I'm totally loving the piano on this. I guess it's somewhere between Yellow 6 and William Basinski if you must know (or like a decaying Harold Budd - Ant x) Worra fantastic album!! Ltd to 300 copies in digipack... be quick!! Phil x


I love their reviews - good, bad or otherwise - and they are a discerning bunch.  So, this is a nice blurb to see!

They are here and are shipping now : www.infractionrecords.com/shop.html

Jason
infractionrecords.com

Undershadow

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Nice one, Jason. I’ve always liked Norman Records’ reviews too, even though they aren’t devotees of um… ‘our music’ – more coverage of indie-type stuff than anything. But they do cast their net fairly widely, and take in some experimental electronica and ambient, and basically if there’s something dodgy or whiffy, they’re good at calling it as such, unlike some better known sites (are you listening, boomkat?) whose endlessly drooling reviews can seem more like sales blurbs. Similarly, when the Norman guys identify something (non-indie) as quality, they’re pretty reliable, not to mention usually managing to be a good laff too. Anyway, looking forward to 'earin' this 'ere new Milieu from those esteemed New Backwoods Ambient-purveyors, Infraction.


Dave Michuda

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Combine Infraction Records with a review that mentions Yellow 6, William Basinski & Harold Budd and I'm good to go. :) Just ordered my copy.  Thanks Jason.

Infraction

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Combine Infraction Records with a review that mentions Yellow 6, William Basinski & Harold Budd and I'm good to go. :) Just ordered my copy.  Thanks Jason.

You mention Yellow 6 (as well as the review) and I admittedly haven't really picked up anything since one of his discs from the late 90's.  I know I'm missing alot, but the question is - what is worth getting?  He seems fairly prolific. 

Jason
infractionrecords.com

Onnow : Bible & Henry - Sound as Art

Undershadow

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I wouldn’t give any particular weight to the Yellow6 reference in the review. A salient fact here is that he had a few early releases on the Jonathon Whiskey label, which happens to be under the operation of none other than our reviewing friends, Norman Records. http://www.discogs.com/label/Jonathon+Whiskey
Hence the casual resort to him as a convenient close-to-hand ref. point for down-home lo-fi organically-sourced ambience. Yellow6’s material seems fairly insubstantial to me, but, out of respect for Dave, I’ll defer to his possibly better knowledge of the oeuvre.

(OK, maybe I won’t defer completely...  ;) I’ll just say that what I’ve heard has been fiddly flim-flam post-rock-lite with plenty of those pretty-pretty minor key morose guitar-plucking études, but of no great atmospheric resonance. Unlike what I would say of the best of Milieu’s work.)



Dave Michuda

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Admittedly I like pretty-pretty guitar plucking etudes more than you Alan, but you are partially correct.  Yellow 6 is not the most original music out there.  Post-rock-lite is a fairly good description. 

I have "The Beautiful Season has Past"  which can be a bit hit & miss.  But it hit enough with me that I listened to it quite a bit back in 2006 when it was released.  I'm a sucker for guitar-based ambient.

Undershadow

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Dave, I may have sounded overly dismissive of the Yellah fellah. It’s just that I find his sound a tad thin and 1-dimensional, and too obviously ‘pluck-y’. To clarify, I’m a(n ex-)guitarist myself, but I do like to hear the more natural sound of plucked or finger-picked guitar veiled, blurred and/or stretched by FX or technology. Anyway, as a reference point for Milieu, I don’t see the Norman reviewer’s invoking of Yellow6 as especially appropriate. True, Brian Grainger (aka Milieu) occasionally plucks a guitar, but he pays a lot more attention to the surrounding grain/texture of sound (i.e. ambience, by any other name) – things to do with *interventions* at the recording and post-production stages between source sound and actual output. This is where, for me, a lot of the interest is created by the likes of Infraction artists, adding something over and above the more WYSIWYG style of Yellow6. I guess I’d refer to the likes of David Tagg (see Waist Deep Seas of Milk) or Jason Sloan (see esp. Still) as ‘altered states’ guitar-toters who work along the lines I prefer. Then again, what they produce is often far removed from the kind of that ‘natural’ guitar sound that many devotees of the instrument enjoy - a sound more in the Labradford/GYBE! (quiet bits) tradition.
Anyway, I haven’t heard the latest Milieu release yet - apart from the track in the Infraction myspace player, and that plucked thing sounds more like a harp than anything.



petekelly

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Not wishing to hijack this thread, but I think it might be interesting to open out the 'ambient
guitar' discussion into a wider er, forum. So I've started a separate thread in the 'Everything and
Nothing' section, if anyones interested.

cheers
Pete

Brian Bieniowski

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Looking forward to this record very much.  My feeling is that Grainger is MILES better than anything I've heard by Yellow6, but I can see the comparison. 

My copy arrived today, but I've been too busy playing the excellent Parks CD all afternoon thus far ...

Undershadow

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Not quite Album of the Week, but another episode in the Norman v. Infraction love-in, this time with the Parks album:

"We always await a new release on Infraction with great excitement here at the towers. The labels output always brings a calming, soothing atmosphere to the office which is fantastic as it gets a bit chaotic here sometimes. So here is the latest offering on Infraction and it comes from Parks (Igor Bystrov) and to be perfectly honest 'Umber' is an absolute fucking stunner. This is a reissue of an obscure Russian album from 2000 on Zvezda Record. The sound of distant trains create hypnotic rhythms while heavenly strings and ambient sounds and shimmering drones just grab my heart and wont let go. Listening to this has given me goosebumps. 'Topaz' is a perfect track and an immediate classic for me and I don't say that lightly. It has a kind of nostalgic melody reminding me of a golden era in electronic music / early ambient/ chillout sharing late nights with friends and just completely immersing myself and becoming lost in the magical beauty of music and sound. A mighty fine album and limited to just 300 copies. So I've got back home from a hard days work and after putting the kids to bed the first thing I do is pour a glass of wine and revisit 'Umber' by Parks. Listening to these tracks on headphones have had a profound effect on me. I'm literally melting into my armchair as I write these words. This is a lot more "musical" than much of the more drone based current wave of ambient music. Big up to Infraction for digging this one out of the vaults. ( Just paypal $10,000 to ant@ambient_bribe.com ) I can't believe that my radar missed this masterpiece first time around. If you're one of the lucky people that will have this music in your lives then I'm sure it'll be something you will treasure. Okay so now I'm gonna peel myself off of the floor and pour another glass of wine. Igor if you're reading this then thank you so much. Your sounds have really touched me. Timeless stuff, a real gem in the Infraction catalogue and an absolute joy to behold..." http://www.normanrecords.com/records/97973



« Last Edit: April 26, 2008, 04:31:45 AM by Undershadow »

Infraction

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Wow, just seeing/reading this for the first time...thanks for posting Alan.  I'm going to forward this on to Igor now.

Jason
infractionrecords.com

Onnow : Billy Gomberg - untitled

Brian Bieniowski

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As much as I was excited about the new Milieu, I have to say the Parks CD is the clear winner between the two for me.  LOVE it, and the press release description couldn't be more right on the money, Jason.  It really does sound like a lost classic from the 90s.  The Stalker sample on "Trains" is something I was always hoping an electronic artist would attempt—totally brilliant.