- asentimentalsong photo by Nathan McGlothlin.
- honeybrandy photos by Joanna McGlothlin.
This past Friday, asentimentalsong & honeybrandy traveled east to space out for the patrons of Cure Coffeehouse & Brasserie in downtown Norfolk. It was great to spread the HSAL love to the tidewater folk. Highlights included complimentary Bellinis, strange sounds emanating from delay pedals during Himalayan Belles’ set, & honeybrandy inadvertently lighting patch cables on fire. Many thanks to Todd Webb for show set up & hospitality! In related news, look for TLVS to make their way back to Hampton Roads in the coming months…
We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what inspired them last year. For the past month, we have posted a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Our sixth & final entry is courtesy of Ben Mauch. Originally hailing from Virginia, Mauch now calls the other side of the world his home. We were honored to release a cassette EP & a live set in recent months. Here’s what inspired Ben’s creative output in 2015:
#1: Eleh, “Homage” – I found and listened to this LP on a whim, having seen the name online but never delving into the music. I am very glad I did; this is a great representation of much of what I have come to enjoy listening to lately- long form drone pieces that grow and evolve (or devolve) slowly over time, emphasizing restraint. It’s intense minimalism.
#2: Sufjan Stevens, “Carrie and Lowell” – This album is pure gold. I also got the chance to finally see Sufjan play for the first time in Richmond, and it was life affirming.
#3: Vang Vieng, Vientiane, Laos – This was near the end of an almost 2 month excursion throughout Southeast Asia, and even though I was a little jaded of traveling at the time, this place stood out and reinvigorated me. Motor biking along the Karst Mountains with the sun slowly dropping is an experience I will never forget.
#4: George Saunders & Lane Smith, “The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip” – A very fun read, and inspiring to boot. George Saunders is a great author, and this is a unique representation of his work.
#5: Steve Hauschildt, “Where All is Fled” – His first album “Tragedy and Geometry” in 2011 was one of my favorites, and this ones tops it. Spacey, ambient, whatever you want to call it, it’s something that I will listen to for a long time.
We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what inspired them last year. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Our fifth entry is courtesy of Todd Webb. Todd’s “day job” has more of a visual bent – underground comic illustrations, crayon drawings, whathaveyou. Under cloak of night (UBER-dramatic) he creates sounds via the Seamonster moniker. Here’s what inspired Todd’s creative output in 2015:
#1: The Happy Reader – a quarterly publication from Penguin Books entirely devoted to reading. Its amazing, thoughtful, and very well designed!
#2: Domenique Dumont, “Comme Ca” – the head of my record label tipped me off to this record, its terrific and I listened to it nonstop for a period of days.
#3: “The Nothing That Is” – this was was a super inspiring group art show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Raleigh NC consisting of work from a TON of great artists, including a few of my favorites. I was honored to be asked to participate in the show, so had an excuse to visit the exhibit several times over the summer, and each viewing was better than the last. Super special.
#4: Polaris, “Live At Lincoln Hall” & #5: Deerhoof, “Fever 121614” – Two of my favorite bands put out live albums this year, Polaris (the band from Pete & Pete) and Deerhoof. Both were wonderful, but Deerhoof gets extra points on my list by surprising me by including a drawing I did in their album packaging!
I closed out 2015 finally getting to read Brian Eno’s “A Year With Swollen Appendices” which I’d been trying to find for what seems like forever. So far it is a great read. Honorable mentions in the music world: Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, and Mt Eerie’s latest offering “Sauna“.
We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what inspired them last year. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Our fourth entry is courtesy of Joe Morgan. As part of TLVS, Morgan has been an integral part of HSAL since its inception. He also performs solo as asentimentalsong. Here’s what inspired Joe’s creative output in 2015:
#1: Chihei Hatakeyama – Hatakeyama hails from Japan and just keeps on making great records. He does wonderful ambient soundscape work that is very calming and relaxing. His album “Mist” is definitely one of my most listened to records this last year. In addition to his stellar solo work, Hatakeyama also released a terrific collaborative album entitled “Magical Imaginary Child” with ambient artist Federico Durand. The album mixes the more drone-centered work of the former with the more natural organic textures of the later to create some extremely beautiful long form pieces of music.
#2: Andrew Weathers – In addition to being a good friend and a genuinely nice guy, Weathers put out a number of albums this past year including his first full length LP entitled “F*ck Everybody, You can Do Anything.” His maturity as an artist and improving quality of work is really exciting to follow. A wonderful mix of Americana, drone, folk, and a bunch of other quirky ideas provides a solid palette of sounds to indulge your senses into.
#3: Will Long – Will Long is an American who has relocated to Japan and puts out music under a variety of names including the moniker of Celer. Celer has to be one of the most prolific artists that I know of with a massive catalog of music. One may think such a large amount of output can lead to staleness in music but his 2015 output proves otherwise. His releases “Jima” and “How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I’ve Been a Liar All My Life” are amongst my favorite albums of the year. These albums showcase the beautiful loop based ambient soundscapes that Celer is known for and creates an environment that is both interesting to listen to and lose yourself in.
#4: mewithoutYou – These guys were a favorite of mine in my younger years with their unique mix of the scream/yelling style with a post hardcore sound. Over the years I saw them mature as a band and also move away from that initial style that I enjoyed so much. With the release of “Pale Horses” this last year I feel they have mixed their maturity back with a lot of elements of their original sound and provided an album that not only feels new and exciting but also brings a lot of nostalgia into the mix.
#5: John Daniel – John Daniel is a true droner from Ohio. He has put out quite a number of albums over the last couple years including a ton of tape releases and a few LPs. His album “Encounter” is one I spent a ton of time with this last year in addition to a lot of other high quality work. I’m looking forward to big things from Daniel in the future as I feel he really has a handle on making great drone music.
…and just for good measure I can’t avoid mentioning the outstanding “s/t” album by Perils which is the collaboration of Kyle Bobby Dunn and Benoît Pioulard. These guys are both incredible artists who bring a lot to the world of ambient experimental music and having them work together creates one of the best records of the year.
We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what inspired them last year. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Our third entry is courtesy of Joanna McGlothlin. For all intents & purposes, Joanna is HSAL’s art director. She has also presented her mixed media work at galleries & independent storefronts across the mid-Atlantic for the past few years. Here’s what inspired Joanna’s creative output in 2015:
#1: Jennifer Orkin Lewis – Much like Joanna, Lewis works in multiple mediums. Her work is, for the most part, grounded in reality & occasionally seems to have a French flair to it.
#2: Julie Fei-Fan Balzer – Balzer gets her hands dirty on several different fronts. She isn’t afraid of incorporating all three dimensions into her presentation.
#3: Tanja Jensen’s tiny food – The attention to detail on such a small work surface has certainly spoken into Joanna’s work with the miniature houses & scenes she has built around the holidays!
#4: #dailybleeps by Todd Webb – Consider Webb’s 15 second compositions a daily ritual for Joanna. These single shot moving pictures with minimal synth accompaniment are not just captured memories, they’re what you’d see through the keyhole to Webb’s psyche.
#5: Alice & Martin Provensen – Joanna also spent some time with religious icons and imagery for specific projects. Santos cage dolls & ex voto Milagros in particular but especially the illustrations presented by this couple always serve to inspire.
We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what inspired them last year. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Lloyd Harmon, a songwriter from Maryland whose compositions lean into the avant-garde more than any strand of folk or pop, turned in:
#1: Carl Sagan, “The Dragons Of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence” (1st edition, 1977)
#2: Numerology – concept of a supernatural relationship between numbers & coinciding physical events.
#3: Edwin Abbott Abbott, “Flatland: A Romance Of Many Dimensions” (first published in 1884)
#4: Transhumanism – futuristic concept that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into different beings with abilities so greatly expanded from the natural condition as to merit the label of posthuman beings.
#5: Katshiro Otomo, “Akira” (manga, 1982 – 1990)
We have reached out to different people within & around the HSAL camp to find out what inspired them last year. In the coming days, we’ll post a series of lists. Our hope is that you will get an idea of where we are coming from. Here’s what Joey Wright, half of the improv duo honeybrandy, turned in:
#1: Battles, “La Di Da Di” – I am inspired by this album because of the intricacy of the melodies, rhythms, and tones used. The highly digital tones used by the instrumentation is very harsh. I struggle to get my own musical sounds to work with harsh tones, so hearing this helps me define what I can and can’t do with my own music. I like music that I don’t fully comprehend at first listen. This album really pushes me to understand rhythms and melody even when it feels almost random.
#2: Makoto Fujimura – This man’s philosophy on art and culture is astounding. He loves creativity and expression like very few other people I’ve heard of. I got into his beliefs because they inspired me to be better and work harder without belittling my preferences for expression however unconventional.
#3: The Duomo (Florence, Italy) – Previously the most inspiring place on earth in my humble opinion was Trevi Fountain (in Rome), but after seeing the Duomo in person all the architecture and history right in from of me was overwhelming. It is a place that forces you to consider what a group of people collectively can accomplish over time.
#4: “Ex Machina” (film) – The visuals and story were beautifully disturbing. The philosophy of the film had this question at heart; ‘what is consciousness?’. It is a compelling thought to me. It is a film that makes your confront your humanity or lack thereof. On top of that the ‘what is good and evil?’ and ‘could technology be either of these?’ undertones makes me consider what humanities future with technology will look like.
#5: Monument Valley (game) – I’ve always been inspired by Escher and other optical illusions. But being able to interact with one blows my mind. Imagining such a game let alone creating it inspires me to push beyond what I believe possible both conceptually and artistically.