Silver Lion.

July 26, 2009

Some more photos available here.

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Mapsadaisical: Various.

July 25, 2009

Where am I? How did I get here? I remember I was following a trail, I glimpsed something glinting between the trees…I set off in pursuit. Moss gave way to mulch, which in turn gave way to mire. I walked off the edge of the map, and off the end of the day. Darkness is dripping through the canopy, and energy is draining from my legs. I’ll stop here, rest a while by this stream. Close my eyes. Just for a few minutes.

Where am I? How did I get here: I remember I was following a trail, a trail which connected the music of Xela and the music of A Broken Consort’s Rich Skelton. I heard there was an enigmatic character operating under the name of Seasons (Pre-Din), someone who’d gone way up-river. I tracked him down, and for my trouble ended up with hours of these curiosities in handmade cardboard sleeves, wrapped in tissue and stuffed full of little paper leaves. The first to have been released was Above The Tides Fold, which features singing bowl whine buffeting wet wood, and lush organic-sounding drones, forested around a middle section of pregnant near-silence. The Canopy Falls takes this approach further from source, sampling idyllic river sounds and reinventing them as a nightmarish static which eventually melts away into daylight and birdsong. By The Banks Go Through is a collection of rough-hewn fragments, field recordings and delicate instrumentation; guitar, dulcimer and distant-sounding percussion permeating the early morning haze. It seems somehow appropriate that the track listing for this is in a state of constant fluidity: new channels are etched into the river banks, new roots sink deep into the water table.

This is music of the trees, of the river, and of the earth; yet this is music for the head and for the heart. Stop here, rest a while. Don’t close your eyes, keep them open, watching the inexorable changing of the Seasons – more new material is expected, but as is the nature of this music it seems, God only knows when.

Boomkat: [Thy-007].

July 25, 2009

A couple of months ago we listed an incredible EP by this artist and barely had a chance to even play it properly before it completely sold out – never to be seen since. Indeed, little is known about the shadowy Northern operative behind Seasons (pre-din); one minute we’re minding our own business and the next this pile of lovingly hand crafted cds get delivered. Really, we’re beginning to wonder if Herr Seasons may have travelled out to Wudang mountain for intensive training – there’s that much stealth in his step. Or maybe he’s just small; some things we’re too afraid to ask. Either way this latest special edition is another breath of haunted air from the Seasons production line. Fuller and more epic than his previous ‘Above the Tides Fold’ disc, ‘Har Habayit BeYadeinu’ takes the gentle soundscapes he has made his own and liberally coats them in a syrup of strings and tempered noise. Yet again a good reference point would be his friend and collaborator Richard Skelton – but as it ebbs and flows through its thirty minute duration it becomes clear that ‘Har Habayit BeYadeinu’ defies such simple comparison. Breathtakingly cinematic, it feels far from the singing-bowls and field recordings of his debut, yet there’s an incredibly delicate hand at work behind the scenes. As the shimmering strings rise and fall it is obvious that this is an album about the tiniest changes and the most subtle shifts. Like the works of William Basinski and Taylor Deupree before it, you get a sense that the best things come to those who wait. You should know by now that these aren’t going to last – we’ve got a measly 70 copies so BE QUICK!

Boomkat: [Thy-001].

July 25, 2009

The enigmatic Seasons (Pre-Din) has already found himself burdened with quite a follwoing with those in the know, having made his presence felt performing alongside the likes of Richard Skelton and Xela, and via an absolutely incredible archive of self-released albums and obscurities housing some of the most enthralling drone/field recordings we’ve heard in time. ‘Above The Tides Fold’ is the first release we’ve had available for sale here -and it really is quite something. Sculpting twenty minutes of intense deconstructed ambience, the parallels with A Broken Consort’s Richard Skelton become quickly and brilliantly apparent. Acoustic instruments – most prominently what sounds like a singing Tibetan prayer bowl a la Mark Wastell – combine with forest-bound environmental recordings and clangorous, untamed bowed tones, resulting in a brilliantly subtle exercise in drone-sculpting. In addition to the artists mentioned above, connoisseurs of all things microsound may well find themselves reminded of Keith Berry’s ‘The Ear That Was Sold To A Fish’, such is the pervasive sense of mystery – as if the music’s always drifting out of reach before you can really pin it down and work out what’s going on. Coy and ambiguous, these are truly amazing organic compositions that we just can’t stop listening to right now – and housed in gorgeous hand made packaging limited to just 50 copies, you know these just ain’t gonna last. Essential Purchase!

The Changing of Seasons
Published by trym on Jul 06, 2009

Artist: Season (pre-din)
Label: Thy-Rec
Format: Self-released CDs

At the beginning of the year we were head over heels here at Soundscaping with Richard Skelton and his self-released special editions, and spurred on by this fascination we came across a limited re-release entitled Above The Tides Fold at boomkat. A few days later, another exquisitely packaged release – later learned also to be self-released and pain-stakingly put together – turned up in the mail on the enigmatic Thy-Rec imprint bearing the name of the artist signed Seasons (pre-din). Ok, google name straight away and find more information about this mysterious artist, yield the typical myspace search results but only another mysterious musician’s page with sound clips and little info and an e-mail address. So, feeling somewhat on the treasure trail looking for the spot marked X, feeling the lure of the carrot that was to learn more of this enigmatic musician, we got in touch to learn more of just how this musician works, experiences with running a DIY-operation and how come we all of a sudden come across so many highly talented artists in England.

After a long and interesting dialogue – one which also saw us presented very gratefully with an excellent compilation of Thy-Rec releases featuring nearly the entire repertoire of Seasons – we have a pretty good picture of this remarkable musician and feel the need to share this with you. Seasons is first of all a very enthusiastic person – passionate about music and the process of releasing his own music, as well as having very clear and understandable ideas about this manner of working – and last of all being very keen on sharing his thoughts on these subjects. Thy-Rec is basically Seasons’ own imprint, a manner in which his releases share a connection and in such a way that his music is not necessarily tied down to being released as just Seasons (pre-din). As is often the case on the music scene, small labels often can only offer limited pressing, e.g. a volume of 250, of a release with compensation in the form of promo records to the artist, at a date far later than the actual creation date which means works stand the trial of being dated but also leaving the musician with several releases penned to paper but failing to see the light of day in a long time.

So, in short, Seasons uses Thy-Rec as a signature of his own music, putting the music together in – sometimes excruciatingly tedious – processes, wandering into the local music shop – which just happens to be boomkat – and managing to complete the release cycle in as little as 2 weeks. The end result – lots of hard, manual labour – but complete control over the end result and no reigns or boundaries on artistic freedom – the musician himself wears all hats through production, design and manufacturing. The obvious benefit – the musician gets everything to the pinpoint of his creative vision and reaps all economic rewards, etc. The downside is of course the time and management needed for this part of the process which for some musicians means precious time spent not on music-making but coordination and administrative tasks some may not want a part of. And even Seasons admits this, that usually after finishing a record the last thing he wants to think about is making covers, but on the other hand he also admits to being a perfectionist (ed. actually the term used by himself is ‘bloody nightmare’ but as a label owner too we completely understand the concerns raised) – and who could fault him for that – and that it is difficult to be pleased with the end result of one’s own music when interpreted and released at the hands of a third party.

As for the records and packaging, Seasons places much emphasis on the presentation too, taking the approach that the very first copy is like an edition of one. Of course, the excruciating part is then to sit back after completing one, appreciating the result and realising he will be doing this same, repetitive task for the next week and a half, as happened in particular with The Canopy Falls. At the time it seemed like a good idea cutting the tiny, paper leaves with a little cardboard cutter, but after two weeks the wrists were useless due to repetitive strain injury. Having stated never again, Seasons still takes the leaves from the box he made up of them back then when sending out packages, but once they run out he is at a loss what to do, “I don’t expect any reissues of that to be coming up any time soon”, probably sums it up.

The music of Seasons is gentle and romantic, spacious soundscapes flowing over glitchy sweeping strings – and as yours truly has been to Nepal recently – it was pleasing to find the mixture of field recordings with light drones of singing bowls on Thy Rec’s first title, Above The Tides Fold, as the sound emanating from the singing bowl is allowed to grow in volume and recede at various points to let the creaking, splashing field recordings prevail. The theme feels like one of being near the docks, a shipyard of sorts, the natural elements of the sea meeting the mechanical aspects of the wharf. For another of Soundscaping’s favourites, By The Banks Go Through, we see Seasons take on a somewhat more instrumental folk-influenced ambient with his new direction fusing field recordings and lush, organic drones, light percussive rhythms and acoustic instrumentation based around guitar and dulcimer. A more recent offering from Seasons (pre-din) is the seventh title on Thy-Rec, Har Habayit BeYadeinu, which may be likened to that of his peer and collaborator in Richard Skelton, but also other contemporaries like William Basinski, Christophe Bailleau and more. The strings are swirling across the four pieces with glitchy electronics – very reminiscent of Bailleau – building to a climax of chimes and droning ambient bliss as the songs reach maturity – very orchestral and cinematic at times, dramatic and sounding inherently warm to the touch – as with the entire nature revolving Seasons and his music. So, we hope you realise this is a musician to look out for, these days you can listen to one of Seasons’ new tracks on Xela’s new mix for Type radio which reveals a bit of surprising news in light of this article; namely Seasons with an upcoming release on Type Records. Of course, nothing would please us more and we eagerly await future works from Seasons (pre-din).