Article from

July 25, 2009

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).


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