Maryam Sirvan ‘Songs of An Empty Room’
This is PITPCD02 | PITP MMXIX CD Series
Past Inside The Present is proud to present ‘Songs of An Empty Room’ from Iranian sound artist extraordinaire Maryam Sirvan, who also serves as half of the electronic duo NUM. ‘Songs of an Empty Room’ is Maryam’s second solo album: a static inner journey into infinity, a story of a secluded room on a dull, grey summer evening.
These works delve into the concept of detachment from the outer world and seek tranquility in an imaginary, non-existent inner space―a craving for otherworldly existence and exploration for a personal perception beyond time and space in a hallucinating manner. ‘Songs of An Empty Room’ is an exploration through sonic territories employing limited acoustic sources: obsessively, exclusively, electric guitar and voice. It offers textural structures using digital manipulation and sampling, creating personal atmospheres and soundscapes.
Composed, recorded, and produced by Maryam Sirvan in 2018-2019
Electric Guitar, Voice, and Processing by Maryam Sirvan
Additional engineering by Milad Bagheri
Art by Maryam Sirvan and Milad Bagheri
Album layout/design by 扎克
PAST INSIDE THE PRESENT SHOWCASE - JUNE 2019
Midwest friends, mark your calendars! PITP will be hosting an artist showcase on June 23 featuring, Steven Kemner (Hotel Neon), Wayne Robert Thomas, Isaac Helsen and Echoed Sycamore. It will be a wonderful, intimate evening of ambient and drone.
June 23, 6:00pm
3631 E Raymond St.
PITP is very excited to announce that ambient musician & guitarist, Viul is now part of the PITP artist roster!
PITP artist Benoît Pioulard's micro-label, Disques d'Honoré, released Viul's beautiful album 'Bright Decline' last month. This collection of pastoral arrangements are saturated with darkly beautiful, looped guitar work. You can expect more of these gorgeous tones and movements from an upcoming Viul release on PITP!
PITP is very excited to announce that guitar and tape-based ambient musician, Black Brunswicker is now part of the PITP artist roster!
Black Brunswicker is the moniker of midwest-based ambient guitarist Ethan Helfrich. He creates lush billows of lofi soundscapes primarily from a digest of recorded tape loops, a myriad of effects pedals and acoustic guitar. The result is a stunning array of warm, nostalgic sound treatments and rustic hymns.
His compositions beautifully complement the warm traits of magnetic tape and you can expect new arrangements on a cassette release in the near future!
PITP is excited to announce that Isaac Helsen has been hired as our in-house content writer and will also be taking on artist promotions. You can reach out to Isaac for exclusive PITP features, album premieres, demos, and promotional inquiries at: email@example.com
Isaac Helsen is a multi-disciplinary artist from Michigan, creating music, photography, paintings, and more. He studied Audio for Visual Media at Columbia College Chicago and has lived, worked, and created in various cities nationwide.
As a composer, Isaac seeks to consistently push his own boundaries, as well as the boundaries of his listeners. A brief involvement in Chicago's experimental music scene led to a significant shift in his technique, focusing on improvisation and embracing failure, while representing themes of nostalgia, loss, and mental illness, and taking inspiration from significant locations in his life.
Isaac has created original scores for dozens of short films and advertisements. His work has been featured by online ambient music curators and in several gallery spaces.
PITP is pleased to present ‘Remnants Vol. I' and 'Remnants Vol. II’ by Isaac Helsen. These arrangements have taken several forms over many years: A full-length album and a double album, before it was scrapped entirely; reborn as a four-part series of EPs, and scrapped again; finally, taking form as 'Remnants', an eight-part series to be released over the course of 2019 on Past Inside the Present.
The project is both an autobiographical examination of the artist’s struggles with mental health and an attempt to deconstruct the idea of an album, creating a new series of sounds by collecting broken pieces of varying styles and in scattered stages of completion.
The individual eight volumes will be released sporadically and unpredictably throughout the remainder of 2019, noting both the sporadic and unpredictable nature of these collections of sound as well as the processes in which they were conceived.
50% of all proceeds for the ‘Remnants’ series will be donated to Active Minds, a charity focused on opening the conversation about mental health through support services and education, aimed at students aged 14-25.
NUM 'False Awakening'
This is PITP-CD01
PITP MMXIX CD Series [LISTEN/PURCHASE]
PITP is excited to offer ‘False Awakening’ by NUM in both CD & digital formats. Limited to 50 units.
NUM’s latest effort is a haunting journey into the dark silhouettes of avant-noise; if there was a soundtrack to accompany a journey into a black hole, ‘False Awakening’ would be it. NUM have created an ominous sound that goes far beyond any beaten path, stretching and exceeding uncharted territories that spirals into an infinite abyss. The 32 minute arrangement is comprised of two movements that incorporate processed voice, electric guitar, field recordings, electronics and saxophone.
‘False Awakening’ is an electroacoustic experience that creates a cinematic aural scene depicting a chain of real dreams. NUM is an electronic duo formed by Milad Bagheri and Maryam Sirvan in 2010 in northern Iran where the Alborz mountains meet the Caspian sea. The duo is now based in the city of Tbilisi. The concentration of NUM is on experimental music where they can create unique atmospheres by combining processed acoustic sounds and natural sonic materials with electronics.
Maryam Sirvan: Composer, Voice, Text, Electric Guitar, Field Recordings, Electronics
Milad Bagheri: Composer, Audio Engineering, Electronics
Featuring Rezo Kiknadze: Saxophone, Electronics
Studios: NUM space (Tbilisi) / Tbilisi State Conservatoire
Art: NUM / 扎克
Past Inside the Present
This is PITP-CD01 | MMXIX
Past Inside the Present 'Portraits of Past Vol. I'
This is PITP-POP1
PITP MMXIX CD Series [LISTEN/PURCHASE]
Portraits of Past Vol.I is a compilation featuring artists who contributed exclusive tracks in winter/spring of MMXIX. Arranged and curated by Past Inside the Present. All arrangements featured on this compilation belongs to the respective copyright holders. Thank you to all artists and fans alike that have supported PITP.
Past Inside the Present
This is PITP-POP1 | MMXIX
Layout & CD design by 扎克
Warmth 'Parallel Inflection'
This is PITP-V007
PITP MMXIX LP Series [LISTEN/PURCHASE]
Celebrating the one year anniversary of his gorgeous third album, PITP is excited to announce a laconic version of Warmth’s 2018 monumental ambient release, ‘Parallel’ on both black and colored vinyl options. Available for the first time on vinyl, ‘Parallel Inflection’ features all arrangements from the ‘Parallel’ sessions, in addition to two previously unreleased versions / reworks of Concave and Parallel. This is limited to 175 units; 100 on black and 75 on transparent blue/black swirl. Pre-order LP and purchase digitally at PITP.bandcamp.com.
"Parallel has an almost spiritual quality to it. It is a soothing collection of weightless drones in one harmonious flow so hushed and still, so solemn and graceful that one cannot resist sinking into a state of tranquillity and deep reflection.”
"With a majestic mastering help of the one and only Taylor Deupree, Mena weaves slow-burning ambient textures that capture the frequency spectrum across its peaks and valleys, always evolving, and breathing, like waves. It’s easy to drown in its insistent washes that cradle the listener dully to sleep, but, if instead, you spend this hour as an active listener, you will discover the many intricacies hidden within, which always reward upon the numerous rotations."
"Warmth makes ambient music of a fearsome purity."
-- Spectrum Culture
"Parallel is the kind of album to offer truths as unique and varying as the individuals willing to seek them, drawing from memory and personal experience to create an aural landscape unique to each listener."
--Stone In Focus
‘Parallel’ is a deeply meditative album that further proves the Valencia-based artist is a forerunner in Minimalist Ambient."
Written and produced by Agustín Mena
Mastered at 12K Mastering by Taylor Deupree
Photography by Alexander Kopatz, www.go70north.com
Layout & LP design by 扎克
PITP is very excited to announce that Tyresta is now part of the PITP artist roster! Tyresta is the solo music project of Chicago-based social worker and musician Nick Turner. He started the project in 2016 in hopes to create music that would encourage both himself and others to breathe, slow down, and connect with the present moment. Nick utilizes various instruments including modular and semi-modular synthesizers in order to create emotive and engaging instrumental music.
PITP is very excited to announce that drone/ambient duo NUM is now part of the PITP Roster! NUM is an electronic duo formed by Maryam Sirvan and Milad Bagheri in 2010 in northern Iran. The duo is now based in Tbilisi, country of Georgia. The concentration of NUM is on experimental electroacoustic music where they can create unique atmospheres by combining processed acoustic sounds and natural sonic materials with electronics. NUM's music merges processed instruments, human voices, field recordings, and electronics to create an atmospheric, personal and colorful ambience.
Expect both physical & digital releases by NUM in MMXIX!
Rafael Anton Irisarri's latest effort, 'Solastalgia' became available for pre-order on 4/9/19 through Room40's Bandcamp page. You are able to stream the hauntingly beautiful track, 'Coastal Trapped Disturbance'. The physical releases are very limited, so head over to Room40's page and pre-order a copy today!
"We find ourselves increasingly in a swell of solastalgia. Day to day, a vision of what might come to pass builds; one dystopian impression at a time. Solastalgia is not a new phenomena however, rather it has haunted us over the centuries. Change has never been humanities’ strong suit, but it has been our shadow. The perpetual ruptures in what we know and how we live are an inevitability; time takes no prisoners, no matter how tightly we might grasp things from moment to moment....
PITP is very excited to announce that Warmth is now part of the PITP Roster! Warmth is the recording moniker of Agustín Mena. Agus is also the founder of the amazing ambient label, ARCHIVES based out of Spain, having released a multitude of monumental ambient albums such as: Robert Farrugia, Hotel Neon, Gallery Six, & Purl to name a few.
We will have a very special announcement on 4.23.2019 regarding an upcoming release by Warmth. Be ready!
PITP is excited to announce an LP on the horizon titled, 'Low Priest ' by Erinome. These arrangements encompass perfectly orchestrated drone work that are immersive and vaporous. Multiple layers of manipulated field recordings and guitar work flawlessly converge, producing thirty minutes of angelic transmissions.
All tracks were written, mixed, and produced by Aaron Hansen. Limited to 200 units. The album is currently being manufactured and information concerning pre-order and release dates will be announced soon.
PITP is excited to announce an LP on the horizon titled, ‘Wind Colors’ by Gallery Six.
Six beautiful arrangements, saturated with field recordings and blissful ambience.
“The field recordings for this album were especially intense. Captured during the winter months, there were many days when the temperature was higher than average with strong winds. Initially dissapointed with too much wind noise, I discovered, and was quite surprised, with the results of these captured field recordings. The collection of field recordings became the foundation of these arrangements and consequently became the all encompassing title of these compositions, ‘Wind Colors’.”
Regarding the design, 扎克 states, “The album artwork & design aesthetics are not what you’d expect from an ambient album. It really came to fruition after multiple listens of these gorgeous arrangements. ‘Wind Colors’ is a testament and a soundtrack to a life once lived for me. It is a very nostalgic-inducing record. It inspired me to design closely to an old blank duplicate-ready VHS tape from the early 90’s. The music makes me think of old recorded tapes of family and friends enjoying themselves: smiling, laughing, and being carefree; a time once lived where it was light, optimistic and everyone had a sense of naivety about the world. It is direct reflection of Hidekazu’s arrangements on Wind Colors.”
All tracks were written, mixed, and mastered by Hidekazu Imashige. Limited to 200 units. The album is currently being manufactured and information concerning pre-order and release dates will be announced soon.
PITP is excited to announce an LP on the horizon titled, ‘The Last of Our Time Together’ by Hakobune. The album consists of two long pieces, encompassing the subtle and beautiful landscapes that Takahiro Yorifuji is known for. 32 minutes of serene, peaceful ambience.
Limited to 200 units & mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri.
The album is currently being manufactured and information concerning pre-order and release dates will be announced soon.
PITP is excited to announce a split LP on the horizon titled, ‘RÁS’ by Wayne Robert Thomas and Isaac Helsen. ‘RÁS’ is derived from a Faroese word, which roughly translates to “a strong current in a narrow passage which links two seas”, mirroring the outcome of Thomas’ & Helsen’s independent arrangements, cultivating a strong bond or link between their compositions. This will be limited to 200 units. Mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri. Information regarding pre-order and official release date will be announced soon.
Wayne Robert Thomas:
'Cantus In Memoriam Mark David Hollis' is a very personal piece that mourns the loss of a very talented human being whose presence will be deeply missed in this world. He's had such a profound influence on me as well as many others and now I feel that his music carries any even greater weight than before when listening to it. This one is for Mark.
'A Grey Morning, Later Lovely Sunshine' was what Alexandra Fyodorovna described the day of July 16, 1918. Unbeknownst to her and the rest of the Russian royal family they were to be brutally murdered late into the night. I felt that this line described perfectly the month of February for me, a month that was full of loss and grief, as it had several overcast days and then sunlight would appear only for something tragic to happen.
Composed & recorded by Wayne Robert Thomas at the The Winter Dacha in Fairland, Indiana, February 26-27th of 2019. Arranged for electric guitar.
It is often only in hindsight that we are able to fully conceive the spaces we have traversed, notably in those metamorphic shifts of the mind. In looking back, our vision widens and clarifies; the darkness—once so intrusive and internal—is recast. Held against the light, its burden lifts and takes a different shape. The melancholy remains but is buoyed by a new hopefulness, a landscape unfolding, a bright contentment with what is and has been.
Guitar, piano, tape, and electronics composed and performed by Isaac Helsen. Strings composed and performed by Jeffrey Niemeier. Arranged by Jeffrey Niemeier and Isaac Helsen. Recorded, arranged, and mixed at La Chambre de Rêve by Isaac Helsen in January and February of 2019.
Historically, experimental electronic music has been a field in which the work of men has taken precedence over that of women. Among the big names of those men who pioneered the artistic use of new technology, women such as Elaine Radigue, Wendy Carlos, or Laurie Spiegel may be mentioned less– though they had an equally important role in the development and proliferation of experimental techniques in music.
Radigue was one of the first women to experiment with the use of analogue synthesizers in the early 70s. She created minimalistic long-form pieces comprised of a series of hypnotic, sustained tones. Despite the noisier, drone-like quality of her work, Radigue could arguably be considered one of the fore founders of ambient music; in her compositions there exists a sublime quality that so much of today’s ambient still embodies. Listening to her 1998 release, Trilogie De La Mort, one could easily slip into a deeply meditative state.
Today, though women and non-male artists are slowly making progress in the world of experimental music– ambient is a genre in which female artists are still often seemingly forgotten. There are, however, numerous women who are currently producing note-worthy work in ambient.
Some of the most well-known women in the genre are artists Liz Harris, who produces under the moniker Grouper, and Julianna Barwick. These two have often been grouped together as the “token” women of ambient, although their work is highly distinct.
On many of her tracks, Harris makes use of airy vocals and drifting, melancholic melodies to carry listeners through visions of ever distant memories. And though her more recent releases are more lyric-based, in her early albums, such as 2005’s Way Their Crept or 2006’s Wide, the voice serves as nothing but a haunting reflection of the underlying hum of synths. In addition to releasing 10 albums and collaborating with other notable ambient artists such as Lawrence English and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, she also creates stunning, optically complex visual art, and her drawings and wall-paintings have been displayed in numerous solo and group exhibitions.
Like Harris, Barwick also places an important emphasis on vocals, incorporating her classically trained voice into a heavenly cascade of gorgeous, layered loops. However, many of her tracks have a lighter and more atmospheric feeling, as exemplified in her highly praised 2011 release, The Magic Place. Tracks such as “Vow” or “Flown” evoke a sensation of rapturous clarity. Barwick often cites her time spent singing in church choirs as inspiration for her looping reverberations; this becomes even more evident in her enveloping live performances, where listeners may feel as though they are standing in an infinitely expansive cathedral echoing with sound.
Other notable women in ambient are Emily A. Sprague, Angela Klimek, and Christina Vantzou.
Sprague is a synthesist based out of Los Angeles who uses her modular synthesizers to create precise, yet natural pieces. Her debut album, Water Memory and most recent release Mount Vision are equally impressive in their technicality and charm. The gentle, looping synths and piano melodies on Mount Vision have a graceful delicacy that opens up space for quiet reflection. The album was featured on Bandcamp’s “Best Ambient Albums of 2018” list. Sprague also has a Youtube channel where she demonstrates the use of her synths in a variety of short, mesmerizing clips.
Angela Klimek, otherwise known as poemme, creates angelic soundscapes that have an especially feminine quality in their encircling comfort. Moments in Golden Light is a healing embodiment of the magical “golden hour” of light at sunset. Klimek’s work has a particular optimism that sets it apart from much of the more melancholic ambient being produced today. In Cleveland, she and her husband Andrew run ambient label, Stereoscenic as well as an online radio stream called Ambient Sleeping Pill.
Composer and experimental filmmaker Christina Vantzou was first recognized for co-founding The Dead Texan alongside Stars of the Lid’s Adam Wiltzie. The pair released a self-titled audio-visual CD/DVD on Kranky in 2004. Since then, Vantzou has produced four solo ambient-classical albums, accompanied by short abstract films. Her most recent 2018 release, No. 4 feels like surrendering to the current of a dark, slow-churning river. There is a comfortable heaviness to each track that pulls the listener forward through a seemingly unending sleepwalk. Similar themes are explored in her films– in videos such as Shadow Sun, a hazy unreality is present, calling to mind the dream-like work of experimental filmmaker Maya Deren. Vantzou has made other abstract videos for various musical artists as well.
Giving more exposure to female artists working in the ambient and experimental genre is vital in order to promote inclusivity and encourage other women to create.
This push for representation is exemplified in vocalist and field-recordist Megan Mitchell, who currently runs Many Many Women, an online music index for female and non-male experimental composers, improvisors, and sonic artists. Mitchell also produces under the alias, Cruel Diagonals. Her latest album, aptly titled Pulse of Indignation, is a powerfully dark and heavy expression of the exploitative experiences that many women and non-men have faced in a male-dominated music industry.
There is something unique and dynamic about the female perspective that should be more regularly acknowledged in the world of ambient music. Whether it be modular synth loops, grandeouis orchestral compositions, heavily manipulated found-sound, or ethereal vocals, women have a lot to contribute to this genre, and deserve not only to be recognized for their phenomenal work, but to also have their own space beside men to continue creating outstanding music and art.
More need-to-know artists such as Sarah Davachi, Felicia Atkinson, Vanessa Amara, Cecile Schott (Colleen), Wild Adoration, and Leila Abdul-Rauf, are featured on PITP’s Essential Listening playlist, Women of Ambient.
Written by contributing PITP writer, Giovanna Lenski. Giovanna is an ambient artist based out of Chicago, under the alias, 'Phoebe'. You can listen to her latest release 'Reminder | Lucent' HERE.