Hidden Shoal News
Summon the Birds’ latest album Blood Love is an inspired interweaving of song and story. The 6-track epic pulls you in right from the opening strains of ‘Funeral for a King’ and only lets go long after brilliant closer ‘London Tap Water’ rings out its last note. The band’s ability to immerse the listener in vivid scenes that feel somehow intrinsically Australian, even if their subject matter drifts abroad, sees them as kindred spirits with Australia’s Augie March and The Drones. It’s a very special thing indeed.
To get a peek inside the Bird machine we asked Jonathan Shaw from the band to pull three questions out of the bag…
What’s the best show you’ve ever been to?
In 2011, Milky and I went to the now-defunct Harvest Festival in Werribee and saw a whole stash of incredible acts, including Mogwai, The Flaming Lips and Kevin Devine. For me, the highlight was Portishead. Oh man. My heart. To hear Beth sing ‘Roads’ live transported me beyond the stars… so beautiful.
Which song of yours is most important to you and why?
I’ll nominate ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ from our new album because of its unrelenting ambition. I also feel that if you like that song, you’ll like Summon the Birds. Just to complete that track, all 9 minutes of it, and to actually evoke – sonically and lyrically – the falling of a man into the Centre of the Earth is – in my opinion – a huge artistic achievement for the band. It also completes the ultimate synthesis of STB – the music as narrative and the lyrics as sound.
What’s one of your favourite albums that’s unlikely to be featured on anyone else’s list of favourite albums, and why do you love it?
A big album for us in the making of Blood Love – and one that Milky and I bonded over particularly – is Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock, released in 1991. It is phenomenally good and as soon as I heard it, all I wanted to do was make music that good. The pace of it is what captured my heart. It unfolds at its own steady pace and weaves the listener into an unrelenting tapestry of beauty, wisdom, sorrow and light. I think it’s a colossal suite of songs and I can’t believe I only heard about it 8 or so years ago. We also based the final number of tracks on our record – 6 – on the number of tracks on Laughing Stock.
Hidden Shoal is excited to announce the forthcoming release of The Imperfect Tense, the new album by Swedish instrumental experimentalist Erik Nilsson. The album features the stunning new single ‘A Tap at the Window’ (out now!) and will see release via Hidden Shoal on April 3 2018.
From the cascading acoustic guitar loops of ‘A Tap At The Window’ through to the emotive found-sound, post-rock crescendo of closer ‘Once, I Held You In My Arms Forever’, The Imperfect Tense triangulates a musical landscape of potent melodic terrain, full of evocative details and melancholic shadows. Nilsson expertly interweaves the electronic with the acoustic, precision-crafting each track with an auteur’s ear for dynamics and space, resulting in an instrumental suite that is as accessible as it is experimental.
We’re excited to present the rollicking mania of new single ‘Do The Massabu’ (featuring Italian vocalist Pat Moonchy) from American experimental rockist and soundscaper Todd Tobias (Guided by Voices producer, Circus Devils, Robert Pollard collaborator). The track is lifted from Massabu Evening Entertainments which will see release via Hidden Shoal and Tiny Room Records on March 23rd. Album pre-orders are available now via Bandcamp.
This time Tobias breaks out a rollicking set of Middle-Eastern flavored psychedelia. Massabu‘s 13 breathless tracks evoke a night club grotto in some exotic port town filled with wild dancers and intoxicating fumes. Tobias is joined on three tracks by Italian vocalist Pat Moonchy, who lends a playful, otherworldly touch.
The quartet Combo Qasam is currently performing Massabu Evening Entertainments in The Netherlands as of March, 2018. Show dates: March 22, 2018 (Amsterdam/OCII), March 23 (Rotterdam / WORM) and March 25 (Utrecht / STUDIO PATRICK).
We’re excited to announce the release of ‘Dark Dogs’, the brooding first single taken from Chun Pop, the new album by experimental instrumental pop trio Connected View. The track is available for download via Bandcamp, for streaming via SoundCloud and is accompanied by a wonderful music video by Australian video artist and Hidden Shoal honcho Cam Merton. Chun Pop will see release on the 21st of March 2018.
The on-the-fly yet incredibly dreamy nature of Chun Pop’s magic feels like switching between hidden late-night radio stations after a handful of quaaludes. Whether it’s the filthy, sinuous bass of ‘Galacticraft II’ or the interweaving synth tones of ‘Energy Positive House’, all the musical decisions here feel inspired, without obtrusive thought. Right from brooding opening track and single ‘Dark Dogs’, the album feels like eavesdropping on a wonderfully flowing jam session, with each successive track a gleaming gem that radiates and reflects off its neighbours in fascinating ways.
We’re super excited to present ‘Calypso Wants’, the new the new single by English dream-pop artist Chloe March, taken from her acclaimed new album, Blood-Red Spark. The song is available as a free/pay what you want download via Bandcamp and as a stream via SoundCloud. Blood-Red Spark is available now on CD and in digital formats via Bandcamp and all good 3rd party stores.
“The latest album by Chloe March is another heady trip through electro pop… The air is thick with atmosphere throughout and March is a masterful creator of mood… a beautiful sound somewhere between The Blue Nile and David Sylvian” – The Underground of Happiness Best of 2017
‘Calypso Wants’ is a heady and sensual slice of ambient electronic pop. It’s delicate composition is teased into life by lush vocal harmonies, pulsing piano, strings and brushed drums. The titular Calypso refers to a nymph in Homer’s Odyssey, who charms Odysseus and keeps him prisoner until the gods order his release. Notions of concealment and revelation are played out in the song’s dynamics, creating a rarefied atmosphere that expresses a timeless longing.
In her fourth album, Blood-Red Spark, March continues her exploration of a rich musical seam in which songwriterly storytelling and imagistic soundscape meet. Beautiful ambient/electro-pop soundworlds of warm spaciousness and radiant sensuality are underpinned by a compelling pulse – a vital heartbeat of an album of emotional concealments and revealments, truth and trickery, loss, longing and desire.
March leads the listener through an immersive multi-layered world of melodic twists and unexpected harmonic shifts with the confident songcraft of a composer happily at home with her own distinctive musicality, occasionally reminiscent of Goldfrapp, C Duncan, The Cocteau Twins or David Sylvian, using her voice as intimate centre point and textural instrument. The single ‘Let It All In’ is at the heart of this intimacy, distilling the emotional magnetism that March brings to all her work into an intense shot of magic and liquid melancholy. Blood-Red Spark is further evidence of an artist gathering her musical forces and transforming them into shimmering gold.
Chloe March‘s stunning album of last year, Blood-Red Spark, has been featured in yet another best of 2017 list. The wonderful podcast Epileptic Gibbon honoured the album in a recent episode which can be streamed here. The new single off the album ‘Calypso Wants’ (out tomorrow!) was also featuring on BBC’s Introducing over the weekend.
If you’ve not had the pleasure yet then check out Blood-Red Spark over at Chloe’s Bandcamp.
We’re excited to announce the release of Blood Love, the stunning second album by Melbourne band Summon the Birds. The album is available now in digital and vinyl formats via the band’s Bandcamp page and all good 3rd party online stores. The album will be launched at a matinee gig at The Workers Club in Fitzroy on the 17th of March. Check out launch details here.
“a fine exponent of Brit-infused prog rock… Radiohead are a clear marker here… They create their own rich universe with narrative character and personality in abundance” – [sic] Magazine on single ‘London Tap Water
Summon the Birds flash out the shadows of the sky, spinning tales of fallen kings, dissected criminals, Arctic exploration, cloud riding and London rain. Labyrinthine pieces like ‘The Anatomy Lesson’ – based on the famous painting by Rembrandt – nine-minute opus ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ and instrumental tracks ‘Tactile Hallucination’ and ‘Cloud Cars’ realise the reach of the band’s ambition. Bookended by singles ‘Funeral for a King’ and ‘London Tap Water’, this six-track epic is testament to how powerful music can become when story and song interweave.
Summon the Birds ‘Tactile Hallucination’, taken from their forthcoming album Blood Love, is one of this week’s feature tracks at the wonderful Be sure to tune in (terrestrially or via stream) to get a sneak preview of the sublime Blood Love, produced by Tim Johnston (The Drones, Nick Cave, The Dandy Warhols), before the official release this Friday!
We’re excited to announce the release of the expansive ambient kosmische that is prologue: The Magic Lantern, the new EP from US-based ambient artist Slow Dancing Society. The EP is available now as a limited edition cassette and in digital formats via the SDS Bandcamp and all good online retailers.
While Slow Dancing Society’s 2017 series of EPs navigated intimate human spaces, The Magic Lantern creates a more expansive musical environment. The 20-minute title track’s five movements ebb and flow between gaseous ambient exhalations and more propulsive, kosmische passages, always with its eyes on the stars. A spiritual successor to 2012’s Laterna Magica, ‘The Magic Lantern’ is followed by three superb additional tracks taken from 2017’s My Blue Heaven sessions. The EP precedes Slow Dancing Society’s first full-length for 2018, The Torchlight Parade.
“To a secret and hidden place where the past and present merge in a luminous cascade of sights and sounds which few can discern. How far can one artist and their craft pull you out of your own life? Listen to this album and decide that for yourself, only don’t do it hastily and don’t expect it all to hit you at once. This individual clearly revels in the sublime, no note is out of place, no hint of beauty given up rashly. Everything is conceived and composed to hit all those sweet spots in your head which you thought no one else could. It’s divine here, think I’ll stay a while.” – Santa Sangre on The Cogent Sea
prologue: The Magic Lantern, along with the entire Slow Dancing Society catalogue is available for licensing through Hidden Shoal. Head here for more info.
Hidden Shoal MixTape
- Hidden Shoal Artists Featured on Rudy Maxa Soundtrack
- New Slow Dancing Society Single, Forthcoming Album
- Erik Nilsson “The Imperfect Tense” Out Now!
- Todd Tobias “Massabu Evening Entertainments” Out Now!
- Three Questions with Erik Nilsson