Ellis Island Sound
'Intro, Airborne, Travelling' (Out Soon)
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Where To Go (Video)
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'Where To Go'
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Snow Palms was initially conceived by composer David Sheppard (State River Widening, Ellis Island Sound, Phelan/Sheppard, etc) as a vehicle for instrumental pieces based around xylophones, glockenspiels, vibraphones, metallophones and other mallet instruments. Having set about more than two dozen such essays inspired by everything from Moondog’s Elpmas marimba études to Arthur Lyman’s faux-Polynesian exotica and Carl Orff’s Schulwerk children’s music, Sheppard hooked up with producer/arranger Chris Leary (Ochre) to sort the wheat from the chaff, adding layers of chamber orchestration and discrete electronic textures to many of the intricate, polyrhythmic superstructures. The duo then expanded the arrangements to embrace woodwinds, a string quartet, classical and electric guitar, harmonium, reed organ, prepared piano, omnichord and synths.
The result is a mellifluous, chiming sound-world, ineffably marrying liquid gamelan soundscapes with English orchestral pastoralism (‘Atoll’, ‘White Sea’), Krzysztof Komeda-esque soundtrack mystery (‘Snow Light’, ‘Swimming Figures’, ‘In Camera’), beguiling, Yann Tiersen-like themes (‘Premonition’, ‘Blue Yonder’) and playful woodwind/strings/percussion face-offs infused with the spirit of Moondog (‘Motion Capture’, ‘Delta Switching’).
Echoes of Terry Riley’s minimalist opus In C flicker amid the pulsing keyboards and interleaved raindrop xylophones of ‘Index of Rivers’ while the teeming, pointillist coda of ‘Light Museum’ nods to polymeter mallet master Steve Reich. For all that, Intervals (so named for both its musical architecture and for the episodic nature of its recording) remains an album with its own unique sonic character, guaranteed to compel and hypnotise with its relentless, intoxicating waves of rhythm, melody and harmony.
Formed in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2007, Mint Julep is the husband-and-wife team of Keith and Hollie Kenniff. Subsequently relocating to Portland, Oregon, the duo cut a limited release album, Songs About Snow, in 2008 – effectively a trial run for further recording in their home studio, the fruit of which is a sublime follow-up, Save Your Season, released by Village Green in Nov 2011.
Hallmarked by Hollie’s seductive, dreamy vocals and a succession of memorably soaring choruses, all of it
etched with Keith’s vivid, glinting keyboards, towering guitars and miscellaneous instrumental hooks, Mint Julep make lustrous modern pop music that is wistful and mellifluous yet simultaneously powerful, even epic – equal parts shoegazing romanticism and cool, Kraftwerkian polish. Their songs seem instantly familiar, like old musical friends, a ’classicism’ offset by the freshness and luminosity they exude as they usher you on a breathless ride through the sunlit uplands of electronic indie-rock.
Ellis Island Sound comprises the duo of inveterate gentleman adventurers in sound Pete Astor (The Loft, Weather Prophets, Wisdom of Harry, etc) and David Sheppard (State River Widening, Snow Palms, etc). The two began making acoustic-embellished electronic music together in London in 1996 - fellow travellers of the likes of Tortoise and the Beta Band, and, like them, given to deconstructing, then reconstructing in their own image. EIS deployed a mosaic of leftfield styles and sonics, always seeking the melodic and emotionally charged amid the assorted bricolage.
Since then, the band have happily navigated a path just below the radar - an idiosyncratic law unto themselves, popping up on delightfully obscure seven inch singles or distant European compilations, only to break ground unexpectedly with another full-length album only tangentially related to its predecessor. Or, as they did in 2008, to suddenly appear as a live act, beguiling the summer festival circuit with a sprawling 15-piece chamber-folk ensemble.
Olivia is the O in The Dø. Dan is the D. The Dø rhymes with ‘d'oh’.
The duo met in 2005 while recording the soundtrack to a film. They soon began collaborating on music for cinema, theatre and dance. In 2007 they recorded their first album without planning or anticipating a thing. ‘A Mouthful’ was released in France in early 2008, preceded by a growing interest on Myspace and led by the single ‘On My Shoulders’. The album hit n°1 in the charts in France.
Released internationally in November 2011, ‘Both Ways Open Jaws’, their second album was a jump into the unknown. White magic and black butterflies lurk in their new songs. The album unsettles: it's pop, it's indie, it’s arty, but it’s so much more.
echnically accomplished and full of rich orchestration and electronic flourishes,
‘Both Ways Open Jaws’ somehow still manages to keep a lightness of touch and an instant pop appeal, no doubt thanks to Olivia’s bewitching vocals and songwriting skills. Olivia says: "I'm constantly after the ideal song, I believe in a song’s healing powers. As long as the song exists in itself with just one instrument and vocals, then we can start arranging it in a million ways. The basic recipe will remain immutable."
It reinvents itself at every turn. “To mix a Wurlitzer with a vibraphone and kitchen tool percussions, that's what we like. We're looking for the diversity and richness of sound, surprises in the details, orchestral colours,” says Dan, we like the types of music that follow no map.”
A Pennsylvanian by birth, Keith Kenniff is an honours graduate of Boston’s esteemed Berklee College of Music, Keith Kenniff is best known as the brains behind dulcet ambient/electronic practitioners Helios and the fingers on the ivories of post-classical piano minimalists Goldmund (the latter’s music once described by no less an authority than Ryuichi Sakamoto as “…so, so, so beautiful…”).
A succession of albums under those aliases has made Kenniff the darling of discerning critics and his music has also been widely used in film, television and advertising, not least on the soundtrack to Harmony Korine’s 2007 comedy-drama Mister Lonely and the trailer for the 2009 Academy Award-nominated Revolutionary Road, directed by Sam Mendes.
‘Branches’ is a collection of cinematic dreamscapes utilising the ambient electronic elements of Helios and the modern classicality of Goldmund to create a stunning work of instrumental beauty. ‘Branches’ will appeal to fans of Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Nils Frahm and Hauschka.
Based in Bristol (UK), Ryan Teague is a composer, producer and guitarist working in the field of electro-acoustic & minimalist composition. His music combines contemporary instrumentation and arrangements with electronics and processing. He also produces music and sound design for various Film and TV productions.
Working with an array of instruments and sound sources, Ryanʼs music often blurs the line between organic and processed sound resulting in a unique range of soundscapes. The results are incorporated into a minimalist framework combining structured composition with improvised spontaneity making for highly original contemporary works.
Ryan has released music on labels such as Type Records, Sonic Pieces and Village Green, and has contributed to numerous compilations and other releases. He has subsequently worked with an array of musicians and ensembles and has toured internationally in support of these releases.
With a background in electronic music Corker, alongside early collaborator Paul Conboy, started out experimenting with samplers and varied live instrumentation in Manchester in the 90's, recording under several different aliases. A parallel career developed writing film scores, culminating in recordings with the Nuremburg Symphony Orchestra for Berlin director/cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister’s Three Degrees Colder. More recently Corker has written the music to The Way of the Morris, a feature documentary about arcane British folk ritual, the soundtrack was released by Trunk offshoot OST and voted top three ‘Soundtrack Release of the Year’ by Mojo Magazine.
He has also just completed the score for the BBC period drama The Village which featured collaborations and performances from Sam Amidon and John Matthias amongst others. Finally an ongoing new project curated alongside Paul Stolper is’ The Silence Between: A Series of Exhibitions Concerning Sound’, a twelve-month series of shows and installations which invites artists, including Jem Finer, Chris Watson, Rie Nakajima and Richard Skelton to use the silence between the main exhibitions as a starting point for exploring sound.
Angèle David-Guillou’s is best known for a brace of critically acclaimed electro-acoustic dream-pop albums under the alias Klima, for her signature contributions to cult Anglo-French ensemble Piano Magic and for cameos on albums by the likes of The Go! Team and Peter Astor.
John Matthias is a musician, composer and physicist. In 2008, he won the PRS Foundation New Music Award (The 'Turner Prize' for music) with Jane Grant and Nick Ryan for the development of a huge sonic installation across the UK entitled 'The Fragmented Orchestra'. He has released three albums; 'Smalltown, Shining' (Accidental Records 2001), 'Stories from the Watercooler' (Ninja Tune 2008), 'Cortical Songs' (Nonclassical 2008) with Nick Ryan, which includes remixes by Thom Yorke, Simon Tong and Jem Finer and was listed as one of the top ten classical albums by Time Out (Chicago) in 2009.
John is Associate Professor in Sonic Arts at Plymouth University and is co-director of the Art and Sound research group in the School of Art and Media. He has collaborated with many recording artists including Radiohead and Coldcut and has performed extensively across the world including at the Wordless Music Series in New York, The Pompidou Centre in Paris and at Shepherdʼs Bush Empire in London. He has recently collaborated with artist, Stanley Donwood in San Francisco, the Rambert Dance Company with Nick Ryan in London and Andrew Prior and Company Chameleon in their new contemporary dance-theatre work, 'Eden' which had its London Premiere in November 2013 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.