Of To Run The Easting Down, Radio Free Midwich said “Three long tracks composed over three years, Feery and Tanner stitched a lot of this release together using transatlantic delivery methods (boats?) but you really can’t tell. The production on this release is so slick – at times you are tricked into thinking Feery’s beautiful voice must have been split into several pieces or that the duo hired in voice doubles. The layered vocals on the first piece, ‘Squarepushers’, come across as a wonderful choral effect with enough reverb to make the listener feel as though they have come to church to hear this. Which church would that be? The Church of Drone, of course! Following on from the choral vocals are massive, dark, murky drones offset with light bell sounds and an emotional solo violin. I felt weirdly sentimental on hearing this first piece but not sure what for.
A similar feel carries on throughout the other two pieces, a combination of light and dark contrasts between drones and additional instruments. There’s a lovely piano part played on the second track with buckets of reverb added creating a serene aural landscape, a muted pallet of sounds. Lie back and relax, let your thoughts go where they want to go, listen to this album if you need to escape into the drone zone for a while.”
Rockerilla said “Che Michael Tanner sia il Brian Eno del nostro tempo lo avevamo già capito. Quello che non riusciamo a capire è come faccia a sorprenderci a ogni sua uscita con un capolavoro sempre più intenso.
Lavorando con febbrile e instancabile devozione verso la sua amata Inghilterra rurale, partendo da un folk primordiale, lunare, condiviso, antropologicamente consapevole, che regali gemme a tiratura limitata a proprio nome, Plinth, The Cloisters o quant’altro poco importa.
Questo nuovo lavoro registrato in duo con Amanda Feery, giovane e talentuosa compositrice irlandese, tocca fondali profondissimi grazie a pattern vocali che rimandano alla raccolta spiritualità del John Cage di Litany for the Whal, verso un sincretismo linguistico di evocativa bellezza: una rapsodia notturna dalle mille voci sussurrate nelle quali strumenti strani come lo Strohviolin (strumento valacco a metà strada tra un corno e un violino) si insinuano rifrangendo armoniche arcane, stillando gocce di rugiada dal pianoforte, come rintocchi di campanili sepolti da incontenibili acque fluviali.
Tre brani di impressionante intelligenza e densa comunicativa emozionale.
Un album melanconico, di struggente bellezza. Un omaggio silvano e crepuscolare, un capolavoro straordinario che spaccherà il cuore degli ascoltatori sensibili alla poetica del suono.”
Fluid Radio said of Tuning Loops “interesting source material and concept wouldn’t matter so much if the music didn’t sound good, and Tuning Loops emphatically does. The two trumpet tracks are especially beautiful; the improvisations (a million miles from what you might usually imagine an experimental trumpet improvisation to sound like) weave themselves into the drones effortlessly, occasional phrases coming forward with a soft, drawn-out melody to counterbalance the rumbling lower-end or, in the case of “With Dark Trumpet” providing the tension with unstable intervals whilst the drones follow the general trend towards airiness. The two middle pieces pleasingly blur the line between “Toy Piano” and “Piano”, the former often sounding more solid and heavy than the latter. Both meander teasingly un-melodically and carry some beautiful reverberation.
Dollboy makes a convincing argument for the value of in-between spaces on their own merit, not as functional points between two better things. Tuning Loops draws a rich and varied sound out of one such. As many experimental composers may have known for a while, sometimes the tuning up is as good as the ‘music’ afterwards.”
Of Four Sacred Mountains, The Quietus said: “‘On Four Sacred Mountains, a double-cassette on the Awkward Formats label, Colohan expands these ideas to fill the grand landscape of the American west. Joined by regular collaborator Vicky Langan, Mike Gangloff of Pelt and his wife Cara Joyce Gangloff, Colohan moves between quiet, calm drones, expansive movements and string-led rasps over the course of 80 minutes. It’s almost too much to take in during a single setting, its length and breadth forcing a certain wavering of attention. As one drifts in and out, the melodies and chord progressions become like ghosts, echoing themselves throughout the individual tracks, appearing once and reappearing an hour later in a different context, triggering memories already half-forgotten.
When the Gangloffs join in for ‘At The Confluence Of The Colorado & Little Colorado’, the laboured micro-tonal fiddle bowing so reminiscent of Pelt becomes central. Like with Pelt, as the techniques and patterns of traditional American music are picked apart, the sound breaks down into tiny movements, focussing the ear on each distinct figure while the whole pictures comes into being around it, vital yet almost imperceptible. Langan’s approach to the fiddle on the final track is more European in nature with slow, soft, sustained notes blurring into each other and into Colohan’s even softer drones underneath. The result is similar to Richard Skelton’s explorations of the British moors and the coastlines on the west of Ireland, a breathless, tense atmosphere that switches at some indistinct point into the sound of calm acceptance of humanity in the face of an awesome nature.”
Repose Sound said “Superb acoustic drones (using a mountain dulcimer among other unique sounding instruments [totally badass]) by Raising Holy Sparks. Released by Awkward Formats, it comes as a double tape boxed with inserts and all sorts of cool stuff. I absolutely dig that kind of effort. 80 minutes in length, very cinematic sounding, sometimes dark, other times beautiful. It’s certainly a journey.’
“What’s in the box? A well-designed box can seem like a gift in itself, and when extras are added, the recipient’s enjoyment can go through the roof. One need look no further for evidence than Johann G Winther‘s I Have a Heaven Ending and Weaving Thin Threads of Darkness from the Light that Was Given, on the aptly-named Awkward Formats. The cassette is accompanied by a set of durable cards, but it’s the latched box with the burnt, etched cover that draws the attention. Clearly a labor of love, this box feels like it holds a treasure, and puts one in the right frame of mind to enjoy the music inside.”
Fred Nolan at Fluid Radio wrote that “the best news stories are those that are still brewing, the articles that are out-of-date as soon as they are published. The music and artwork of Johan Gustavsson Winther is such a story.
There are his various stage names and band memberships (Johan G. Winther, Johan Gustavsson, Tsukimono, Blessings, Heathers/Hollows, Scraps of Tape, Conduo Orchestra, The Roaring, and several more). He hosts three blogs, in various states of upkeep: Field Hollers, Time Canvas and Your Son-Shine. He paints and draws, both for uncommissioned works and for cover art. His compositions range from horizontal piano pieces to groovy samples-based electronica, and from rootsy no-fi to chalky, cold-formed ambient. Heart Attack Money (Kalligrammofon, 2009) displays all of this under a single cover: compare the chirpy, reedy and rhythmic “I Am Going” to the stretched and ringing “Blood Turns to Soymilk.”
Winther’s latest release I Have A Heaven Ending And Weaving Thin Threads Of Darkness From The Light That Was Given takes the latter composing style and submits a near-hour of “violin, piano, pump-organ and various e-bowed string instruments. All of it processed through tape echoes, delays and various homebuilt boxes.” Even the soymilk reference remains intact: I Have A Heaven is ivory-hued, engineered, tasty.
In a way this is an anti-album: meditation stands in place of exhilaration, tones in place of topography. A steady, directional drone resembles prevailing wind, with a gust here and there of acoustic resonance. Side 1 is melodic and ethereal. It creaks at times, like a house settling in. Side 2 is unabashedly drone, hence weaving and darkness, respectively.
I Have A Heaven Ending And Weaving Thin Threads Of Darkness From The Light That Was Given is available in a limited edition of 50 in cassette format, packaged in custom boxes, courtesy of Awkward Formats. Come along with Winther as his story develops.”