|August 1, 2019|
'Swallowed by the Sky', conceived & created as a tribute to Joni Mitchell, 'Swallowed by the Sky' presents original soundscapes by anthene, Slow Dancing Society, and orchestramaxfieldparrish that were inspired by her music & honor her in spirit.
1. anthene - 'Letters From Across the Sea' (16:50)
2. Slow Dancing Society - ' Devils and Deeds' (17:46)
3. orchestramaxfieldparrish - "The Clouds of Michelangelo (17:50)
Exclusively through textura
|Faith Strange is very proud to announce the release of not one but two new orchestramaxfieldparrish titles. There are only 100 copies printed of each of these cd's in gatefold digisleeves. Ordering / listening / downloading at this point is through Bandcamp (click on album cover or title to bring you to it's Bandcamp page). For those who just wish the limited edition CD's without downloads, please visit the Faith Strange Shop (link is in above main menu). Cheers. |
orchestramaxfieldparrish - Instant Light (fs32 / Archival Works No. 3)
Three years in the making, the first new orchestramaxfieldparrish album since 2010's beloved classic 'Crossing Of Shadows'. A masterful concoction of processed treated guitars, field recordings, singing bowls, metals and modular synthesis and electronics, solidly in the vein of the best Coil ambient masterpieces, this is truly moon music. Extraordinarily conceived and produced, and expertly recorded and mastered in the highest of fidelity.
preview on SoundCloud
|A Midsummer's Night|
orchestramaxfieldparrish - A Midsummer's Night (fs33)
2016 sees Mike Fazio revisiting his beloved orchestramaxfieldparrish project with not one but two new releases and with 'A Midsummer's Night' has produced yet another experimental guitar manifesto to add to his catalog of unconventional recordings. Stretching the conceived notions of what guitars can actually do, this album showcases a rare 1936 Gibson L7 archtop with an antique mellophone, a German lute guitar and a treated baby grand piano, very different acoustic instruments that sound nothing like you can possibly imagine them to sound after recording them through a series of unconventional effects. This album solidly stretches the limits of what experimental guitar is all about. Expertly recorded and mastered in the highest of fidelity.
preview on SoundCloud
orchestramaxfieldparrish - A Midsummer's Night [Faith Strange - 2017
A Midsummer's Night, released in 2016, is three years later still the most recent work from avant-ambient guitarist Mike Fazio's orchestramaxfieldparrish alias. Like all of Fazio's music, it is self released on his own Faith Strange label in a limited edition, an edition of 100 copies in this case. As a long time fan of Fazio's experimental guitarscapes, I am honored to own a copy.
The liner notes describe these pieces as 'music for prepared guitar & treatments', except for the last piece, which uses a piano. Fazio's digital processing transforms the guitar into a refined etheric mist, an unreal smooth momentum of astral dimensions. His plucks are stuttered and finely sliced into thousands of glittering granular beads, artificially charged with color and tone. The peak of brightness and volume near the end of opener "Head to Heart" is an exhilarating white rush of resonance, a manic thrill of godlike delusion.
As always, Fazio is content to dwell within free rhythm space, to emerge from the opacity of silence and then retreat back into it, to faintly tint the air of the space but leave it transparent. From swell to swell we move, happening at times upon chords and discordant shrouds. The rattling of strings is occasionally audible, but rarely a clear pluck or the punctuated beginning of a note, as this would disrupt the fluid glide of its unfolding.
Passages of his music come close to the lush compositions of melancholic classical ambient masters like Kyle Bobby Dunn or Stars of the Lid, who similarly utilize processed acoustic instruments. However, these artists favor gradually unfolding structured melodies in their work, and Fazio's tendency is toward a kind of exploratory anarchy, a continuous testing of the abyssal waters, a divination technique from which entities of ambiguous, asymmetric form emerge.
By the third piece, we've completely left the realm of recognizable guitar playing, and the sound is a howling solar wind, a metallic billowing with such a crisp, subtlely dimensioned layering that I would swear it was acoustic in nature. Further into the dreamlike and farther from the familiar, this point in the album is the deepest of night where emotions have distorted under the crushing weight of vertiginous currents.
The glittering blackness of lengthy closer "It Just Is" is truly nightmarish, an expression of fear and smallness in the face of all consuming vacuum. Perhaps a pessimistic ending, I am struck by Fazio's uninhibited spirit of embracing darkness. Snaking, smoking and eerie, this is certainly the most difficult piece on the album.
Fazio has surely stepped up his trademark methods of composition for this album, one of the most starkly vibrant and expressive of his career. His gift for morose melody is more thoroughly employed here, one of his most focused and directed feeling sets. While free association remains the core of his approach, I can really feel the emotional drive behind the choices he made for this album.
Now to track down the newest full lengths from his A Guide for Reason and Mike Fazio aliases!
One of the Best Of 2016 at textura
from Musique Machine:
|Experimental ambient guitarist and composer Mike Fazio has been playing and performing for decades now, really coming into his own during the 2000's with a profific string of soundscape albums under a variety of aliases on his own Faith Strange label.|
Since the release of "Crossing of Shadows " in 2007, Fazio hasn't released any music under the orchestramaxfieldparrish alias, focusing on other aliases like A Guide For Reason and Sonic Arts Society, as well as putting out several albums under his own name. While there may be thematic ideas behind each alias in Fazio's mind, generally I find his style remains reliably consistent.
He tends to create a sort of tonal soup, a free rhythm soundscape fashioned from heavily processed instrumental noodling, awash in glints and glimmers. It is resplendently resonant, wet, and glowing, tuneful at times, but almost completely impromptu and unstructured. It is also immediately emotionally relatable, a sort of mournful, weary peace, with occasional brooding excursions into paranoia.
Fazio chose to resurrect the orchestramaxfieldparrish name in 2016 with two new albums. "Instant Light" is one of his most quiet and abstract works, in which his guitar is not immediately obvious. it is also one of his most complex and varied, new sounds emerging from the corners and crevices at a constant pace, completely transforming the ambient environment every three or four minutes. The improvised feel is diminished on this recording, which is highly composed and layered.
There are the mesmerizing sounds of bells, and natural recordings cleverly intermingled with their digital imitations: crashing surf, rain, and distant thunder. In the 2nd piece, I hear the soothing halcyon chords of dub techno, warmly flickering from behind a membrane of thick honey. Angelic, choral pads swell and surge out from the deep. I am reminded of the ethereal consonant zen of early ambient pioneer Iasos. As such, this is one of Fazio's most peaceful and contended albums, in contrast to the "Interiors" album from 2013 under his own name, with its brooding sampled musings about death.
The 3rd track feels much like classic 90's downtempo with its dreamy two chord alternation, taking the yearning tonalities of house and chillout music and floating them in an endless expanse, scrambling the rhythms into a mild flickering and shifting. Fans of Ishq or Vladislav Delay would likely enjoy this, as they have done a similar thing. Fragmenting the notes into scintillating tiny shards and refashioning sounds from the particles, the result is something of a tuned cloud. Are these obliterated chords sourced from a synthesizer, a guitar, or something else? With Fazio, it's impossible to tell, as digital processing is his forte.
There are no lapses into pure silence as one might find on an A Guide For Reason release. An airy drift underlying the entire piece, an infinite reverb contrail. Each of the three lengthy tracks begins with a return to field recordings of a thunderstorm. The bells from the 1st piece are reprised in the 3rd. There is a great thematic unity to the album as a whole. The album ends with a receeding siren wail, which lasts nearly ten minutes.
This is one hell of a beautiful space trip. It might even be my favorite Mike Fazio album, and I am a longtime fan. It is an ambient recording with astonishing textural beauty, compositional depth and complexity, engaging from start to finish.
orchestramaxfieldparrish: Instant Light Faith Strange Recordings
orchestramaxfieldparrish: A Midsummer's Night Faith Strange Recordings
Of all the group and solo projects with which Mike Fazio has been involved (A Guide For Reason and Gods of Electricity, to name but two), it's his orchestramaxfieldparrish that is my favourite. In fact, so dazzled was I by 2008's The Silent Breath of Emptiness, I contacted him about the possibility of creating something for textura's first label release, Kubla Khan; not only did he contribute the magnificent “Waning Moon Over Sunless Sea” to it, he mastered the album, too. Subsequent to that, Fazio released the mesmerizing Crossing of Shadows in 2007, as well as To The Last Man / Index Of Dreaming, though that set appeared in 2009 under the orchestramaxfieldparrish presents ÆRA alias. Issued on his own Faith Strange imprint, as much of his output is, Fazio has just made two new orchestramaxfieldparrish releases available, both of them well worthy of one's attention and equally distinguished examples of his highly developed artistry.
Though different instruments are used on the four tracks of A Midsummer's Night, an impression of unity is achieved when processing treatments are applied liberally to all four. Two pieces were created using prepared archtop guitar, another pizzicato lute guitar and mellophone, and the fourth piano. The opening “Head To Heart” illustrates Fazio's mastery at sculpting sound and handling pacing and dynamics. For nine minutes, shimmering swaths of archtop guitar advance and recede, the thrum and rumble of the instrument suggestive of waves rippling ashore. The sound tapestry expands on “In These Long Years” when rapid, spidery strums of the pizzicato lute guitar are countered by the muted, horn-like murmur of the mellophone, whereas the treatments applied to piano on the twenty-three-minute “It Just Is” radically transform the instrument into an uninterrupted, pulsating stream wherein piano clusters occasionally surface. In all four settings, sounds advance with a precision that feels almost scientifically calibrated, the elements' movements managed by Fazio with the kind of sensitivity that comes from a lifetime of musical practice.
Though recording info beyond that already mentioned doesn't appear on A Midsummer's Night, one guesses it's the more recently recorded of the two sets when details included with Instant Light clarify that its two parts were recorded in 2013 and 2009, respectively; a note on the inner sleeve reveals that Instant Light comprises “private, archival works not originally intended for release,” and a detailed account of the background leading up to the release appears, too. The range of instruments on Instant Light is also greater than On A Midsummer's Night, with Fazio augmenting his customary electric guitar (prepared, processed, glissando, treated) with singing bowls, metals, electronics, modular synthesis, and field recordings (collected between 1988 and 2013).
The presence of singing bowls and field-recorded rain on “...They Would Fly Upwards” immediately individuates Instant Light from A Midsummer's Night. Not only is the sound palette different, but there's also a tonal shift whereby the former's direct connection to the physical world makes the latter seem more ethereal by comparison; further to that, the resonant ping of the bowls lends the peaceful setting an almost Gamelan character, something absent on the other recording. Far stormier is “And Be Carried Off and Vanish,” which also threads generous helpings of Fazio's guitar playing and bold electronic treatments into a swirling mix that grows ever more celestial as it advances towards its nineteen-minute end. The recording's so-called second part “When Your Dreams of a Perfect Tomorrow Come True” perpetuates the texturally rich soundscaping style of the first with shimmering, metal-tinged surges that convulse, reverberate, and billow with controlled regularity.
If there's anything regrettable about this exceptional pair, it's that only 100 physical copies of each have been produced (though they are available digitally, too). In a perfect world, there would be a place for explorative music of such genuine quality in thousands of receptive listeners' homes, but such a world, alas, doesn't seem to be the one we inhabit.
from Vital Weekly:
orchestramaxfieldparrish - A Midsummer's Night (CD by Faith Strange)
orchestramaxfieldparrish - Instant Light (CD by Faith Strange)
Did I hear of orchestramaxfieldparrish before? I don't recall, and it is a strange name, so I would have
probably remembered, I guess. This is another project by Mike Fazio, who works also as A Guide For
Reason and Sonic Arts Society, though I know him best under his first moniker. He is also part of
Chill Faction, Gods Of Electricity and Life With The Lions. I must admit to be a bit at a loss as to the
exact musical differences between his various projects. I do know however the difference between
these two releases.
'A Midsummer's Night' has four pieces and seems to have recent recordings. For each of these
pieces the cover explains what is going on here, so the first is 'music for prepared archtop guitar and
treatments', the second is 'music for pizzicato lute guitar, mellophone and treatments', etc;
obviously I have no real clue what these preparations are or in what way Fazio plays them, let alone
what kind of treatments he applies. I can only assume that he plays his instruments in a more or
less improvised way and then adds a whole bunch of electronic sounds, and/or feeding them through
modular synthesizers to arrive at what becomes a cross-over between something more improvised
and ambient music. Via the extensive use of reverb and such like he suggests all this great space
and atmosphere, and somewhere buried along we find the origins from the instruments. It makes
that 'A Midsummer's Night' is not your standard ambient album, as orchestramaxfieldparrish makes
it sound grittier perhaps, atmospheric but with a fine twist, and as such this is quite a fine album.
On 'Instant Light' there are three pieces, and from what I gather the sounds used are a bit older
and this is the one that started Fazio off thinking about orchestramaxfieldparrish again, after an
initial flow of releases between 2007 and 2010. These three pieces are less rooted in the world of
instruments it seems but it might use a lot of sound effects, field recordings, singing bowls, metals,
modular synthesizers but according to the cover also guitar on the final piece, 'When Your Dreams
Of A Perfect Tomorrow Come True', but whereas on 'A Midsummer's Night' the instruments play an
important role and it all sounds a bit more improvised, the music is all the more ambient. Everything
is covered with a sufficient amount of reverb, delay and with the soft tinkling of bowls it all becomes
very meditative. In 'And Be Carried Off And Vanish' no more bowls and just a delicate process of field
recordings. Whereas I did enjoy both releases, I must admit that if I had to choose between the two,
I would go for the 'Instant Light' release, perhaps because it had a great flow of electronically
processed sounds, some great production and maybe for a calm Sunday afternoon the most fitting
All of this made me curious to the older works by orchestramaxfieldparrish and why I never
heard those in the first place. Both CD are limited to 100 copies and have the usual high quality
––– Address: http://www.faithstrange.com/
|orchestramaxfieldparrish - The Silent Breath Of Emptiness (CD by Faith Strange)|
orchestramaxfieldparrish - presents AERA (2CD by Faith Strange)
orchestramaxfieldparrish - Crossing Of Shadows (CD by Faith Strange)
All right first of all, I know I set some 'rules' when it comes to reviewing old stuff and so, when I
wrote in Vital Weekly 1054: "Did I hear of orchestramaxfieldparrish before? I don't recall, and it
is a strange name, so I would have probably remembered, I guess. This is another project by Mike
Fazio, who works also as A Guide For Reason and Sonic Arts Society, though I know him best
under his first moniker", it wasn't an exactly an invitation to get his much older releases, but
Fazio offered them anyway to send to me as mp3, just to check out, not to review, but lo and
behold, he didn't find the mp3s but then send me the three first releases, that followed 'Tears',
his debut in 2002. Sucker that I am, I feel obliged to do a full pay back and review them anyway.
I played them in the order they were released. Or not.
On 'The Silent Breath Of Emptiness' the guitar is the primary instrument, an electric one,
and, so I assume, there is most likely quite a few audio processors, mainly the delay pedals at
work here, along of course with a dashing amount of reverb. All of this was recorded live in the
first four parts of this, while the fifth piece is a studio reconstruction using those parts in a
different configuration. With his electric guitar and sound effects, plus what I assume is an
e-bow, regular bow or otherwise methods of getting his strings to sustain on some end, Fazio
creates quite dark atmospheric music here, and it is not something that is without any force.
In the third part his guitar sounds like an organ at times and towards the end almost like a
conveyer belt, but it's not in anyway industrial music. In the other pieces Fazio takes the Fripp
textbook on how to play ambient guitar quite literal and he does a great job, adding his own
slightly darker and experimental edge to it. The reconstruction doesn't sound too different from
the other four pieces, and I might be missing a point here as to the nature of the piece; it seems
a bit denser, with a few more layers, but otherwise not too different.
'Presents æra', in with the first A and E are glued together is a double pack and sees the
expansion of the sound of orchestramaxfieldparrish, through the use of field recordings,
synthesizers and rhythm, all sitting next to the use of the guitars. I am not entirely sure what
'Presents Aera' means, as both discs have a separate title; maybe this was the (false?) start of
a new name? I am not sure, as it also seems a one-off in his catalogue. From the lot that I heard
first, a few weeks ago, I got the idea that orchestramaxfieldparrish was indeed all a bit orchestral
like and that is the feeling that I have here too, especially on the first disc, which has a great
variety in orchestral approaches; not only with a piece that contains rhythm, as in 'Ennoae', but
also with the sampling of string sounds and playing a kind of Arvo Pärt like clusters of sound. On
the second disc it seems as if Fazio returns to the world of ambient music, and it's just not just
the titles, '1/1', '2/1' etc. that reminded me of Brian Eno's first ambient record; the use of vocals,
humming quietly yet choir like does the same thing. Yet Fazio knows how to give a bit of edge,
through a mild form of distortion here and there.
'Crossing Of Shadows' was already recorded in 2006, but the CD version came out in 2010,
in a re-mastered form, which is the one I have here. Here the orchestral approach of the music is
taken to a more extreme level. Fazio uses field recordings and improvised electronics, in order to
play around with processed as well as unprocessed versions of it, adding guitar, piano and voices
to create quite a rich sound here. Like in most of his work he stretches out his sounds quite a bit
and let them develop in a natural way, following their own course, but there might also be the
possibility that there is a sudden crescendo and/or a sudden break; a bang on the can as it
were and the pieces takes on a different course after that. With the addition of field recordings,
not the most common feature in orchestral music, even of the sampled variety, he adds a fine
different element to the music, something that gives it the quality of a radio drama maybe,
certainly when the voices are talking, such as in 'A Walk Amongst The Raindrops'. This is music
that is beautiful, powerful, intimate and cinematographic; the end of a great trilogy of some of
the finest ambient music; in whatever form Mike Fazio wishes to play this. He shows he has a
few tricks up his sleeve. (FdW)
|orchestramaxfieldparrish -Crossing Of Shadows (fs12)|
| REVIEWS (The Silent Breath Of Emptiness):|
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