While these single tracks dropped one at a time I grabbed the ones I felt I "needed" most for economic reasons. Now that I've gone ahead and bought the whole series I'm very glad as I had missed some incredible gems. This series is so sophisticated and minimally refreshing. Once again Grainger manages to reinvent his approach yet keeping the Halifaxian vibes we all love. Highly recommend.
Ultra-Limited Edition 6xCD Box Set w/ 10x Polaroid Reproductions
Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album
Assembled by hand, one copy at a time, in the White Pillar Workshop! Six white 5" recordable discs, duplicated and printed via an Imation D20, held inside a black plastic multi-disc box (similar in size and shape to a VHS tape), with a wraparound kraft cardstock insert bearing a glossy 4x6" photo print on the front cover and custom text labels on the spine and back cover. Also includes ten 4x4" glossy photographic reproductions of the ten original expired Polaroids taken during the total solar eclipse in 2017, which were used as the basis of the design for the digital EP covers.
Includes unlimited streaming of Astral Salons [Compleat]
via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
Conceived in late 2020, Astral Salons issued nine EPs and three LPs, one per month, for the entirety of 2021. The series manifested from a number of reference points - nine expired Polaroids taken during the total solar eclipse on August 21st 2017 (as well as ten Instax photos taken the same day) provided a visual stimulus, while my desire to 'return' to a serial format of ambient techno EPs, in the vein of Static Pharming, provided the thematic details.
From there, focus was placed on a few different methods of synthesis and specific machines or effects processors that would aid in the work - samplers such as Korg's ES-1 and Volca Sample, Akai's S2800, the Boss RC-20, as well as monosynths such as the Arturia Microbrute and Korg Monologue, polysynths like the Roland SH-32 and Juno 106, Arturia's Microfreak, and FM synthesizers like the Yamaha TX81Z and the Korg Volca FM. All of these things were utilized in conjunction with a Vesta Fire MR-10B multitrack tape machine, a Tascam DP-008EX multitrack digital recorder, external FX devices like the Pioneer SR202W spring reverb, Alesis Quadraverb, PVDJ Grabber and many more effects/modulation opportunities within my growing R-EW Audioholistics modular system. Clearly, while this would be Coppice Halifax playing ambient techno music, it would be done in a way that I'd not really done it before, and that was important for a project that's been trying to find a way since 2005.
Musically, things began where you may have expected them to, with bouncy rhythms and spacious chords, but there was already a seed of something a bit more out there, the "astral" side of the music perhaps, shaped by my interest in amplitude modulation via VCAs, gate programming and the migration of almost microtonal tape material harvested from prior sessions like Silhouettes. As the series progressed, however, it came more and more into focus, with complex polymetric composition taking the lead, as well as bolder textures of FM synth and even vocal processing emerging throughout. By the end of the final three full-length "Tributaries" that close the set, it was easy to see that progress had been made, a path had once again been carved out, although, as a close friend put it, it was difficult to remember where we started by the time we found ourselves at the end.
I think there's something to that last sentiment, the notion that repetitive and hypnotic music, techno and psychedelic music specifically, displaces the listening mind from a state of awareness and takes it somewhere else, somewhere more vividly colored, where the feeling of the vibration provides the subconscious with environmental information, spatial awareness, temperature and so on. Not quite an out of body experience, but perhaps, an out of mind experience? I don't quite know enough about biology or physiology to comment definitively upon it, but I am certain that the Astral Salons recordings are doorways to other places, outside of time, and that anyone even somewhat familiar with Coppice Halifax recordings will find a lot to love on these twelve pieces. They've been made with joy, curiosity and playful experimentalism, and certainly have made such a distinct mark in my catalog that I am now moving forward with CH recordings that I think of as "post-Salons" recordings.
Something is always changing, and something else is always remaining the same, but you can never quite know which is which, can you?
released July 20, 2022
W/P by Brian Grainger. Recorded at White Pillar Workshop, January-December 2021. Mastered by The Analog Botanist. Photography by Brian using expired Polaroid film and Instax film on August 21, 2017. Text and design by ABM&D. This is Milieu Music number PHASE B. (C) + (P) Oscillog ASCAP 2022. All nights preserved.
supported by 8 fans who also own “Astral Salons [Compleat]”
As always, I am in utter awe at the vastness of our musical universe, comprised of beautiful stars for our ever-listening ears. Let the gorgeous waves of this incredible album wash over you, perhaps taking you to another realm, out of space & time. One of the most pleasurable experiences I have had in a long while. GoryLori