19.04.16 I HAM014 - Bracken 'High Passes 2xLP/CD - Release Date 10.06.16
We are beyond excited to announce details of a very special release from Bracken (Chris Adams - Hood). It's called 'High Passes' and will be released on double vinyl, CD and also digital on 10 June 2016. It's been a long time coming this one, but well worth the wait.....
After previously delivering albums for labels as high profile as Domino, Anticon and Slumberland, Chris has now hooked up with us for his most far-reaching and ambitious work yet.
‘High Passes’ is a record made for both huddled northern terraced streets and imaginary basement clubs. From the opening Portishead-ish kraut thump of ‘Slow Release’ to the sunny side up, LA inflected, hip-hop lollop of ‘Invest In Aquacar’, to the faded 70’s analogue synth swirl of ‘Branch Hid Sky’ and the sumptuous electronic pop of ‘Ghostly’, ‘High Passes’ is a calling card for Adams’ versatility and his remarkable production and songwriting skills.
We also get haunting, Ballard-esque, dystopian love songs (‘Still Here’) and even smudged, brooding, outsider house (‘Ravenser Odd II’) revealing ‘High Passes’ to be almost a distillation of everything great about electronic music in the last twenty years.
The prevailing influence of his highly acclaimed post rock troupe Hood is still much in evidence throughout, both in Adams’ wistful, treated vocals and in the effortless leap-frogging of genres. ‘Masked Headlands’ in particular recalls Hood’s ’Cold House’ high water mark with skittering beats and late night dub inflections, as does the superb ‘How Is This A Cure?’ where Burial meets Boards of Canada meets King Tubby on a Leeds inner city night bus.
In an age of click and switch phone browsing, ‘High Passes’ is an album to engulf you and take over your life.
29.02.16 I HAM013 - The Big Eyes Family Players 'OH!' LP
We are delighted to announce that The Big Eyes Family Players 'Oh!' LP has now hit the shops and has already attracted a good deal of critical acclaim (see below). Here is a beautiful video by Eva Gnatiuk to their song 'Across The Waves'.
The Big Eyes Family Players 'Oh!' - Textura 'Album Of The Month'
Broadcast fans still recovering from the band's premature end (due to the tragic death of Trish Keenan in 2011 from pneumonia) could ease their sorrow with The Big Eyes Family Players' latest collection, the group's first on Home Assembly. While the Sheffield-based quintet is no Broadcast clone, there's no denying the similarities between the groups' sounds; in fact, a couple of songs on 'Oh!' are so sonically and melodically reminiscent of Broadcast, they could easily pass for unreleased material by the group. And further to that, the album finds The Big Eyes Family Players trafficking in a '60-styled psychedelic pop sound not unlike what Broadcast was doing on its later albums (that one song's titled 'Pendulum' could even be taken for a direct nod, given that it's also the title of a 2003 Broadcast EP).
The album alternates between uptempo, high-energy material and winsome ballads. Instantiating the former, 'The Blind Punch' charges at a breakneck pace, its high volume attack punctuated by a wailing instrumental break that calls to mind The Master Musicians of Jajouka's playing on Ornette Coleman's 'Midnight Sunrise' (from the 1973 album Dancing In Your Head). Spotlighting the group's dramatic side is 'Joyce' which affectingly recounts the true story of Joyce Vincent, who was found dead in her London flat three years after she died with the TV still on and unopened Christmas presents around her.
As strong as such material is, the album's most affecting songs are ballads such as 'Across the Waves', 'Reeves' Lament', and 'Song For Thirza' due to the intoxicating effect of Ditch's lovely voice, the melancholy potency of the songs' melodies, and the songs' arrangements. And don't be surprised if a tear comes to your eye when the stirring Lal Waterson cover, 'Song For Thirza' plays....It's a hard heart indeed that could be unmoved by such a beautiful song.
"The 'new' Big Eyes Family Players give their best in their vanishing popsongs, floating in the outer atmosphere, from which flares of distant stars get clearer, along breezy melodies that can make come back to mind bands like Broadcast ('The Blind Punch' and the charming 'Desert Queen'). Links to folk roots are still present, but just wrapped in a new, kaleidoscopic sound, perfectly displayed in Lal Waterson's cover 'Song For Thirza'.
James Green and his ever changing 'family' keep looking at the past in their highly peculiar way, through a musical sensibility that in 'Oh!' combines, with a soft touch, surreal psych soundscapes and retro-pop elegance." MUSIC WON'T SAVE YOU
"....with Broadcast's chill approach to the cosmos, Arthur Russell's suspended melancholy, James Yorkston's civility and Wilco's grown-up Americana....there's a real charm to these odd songs: a melody can transcend genre hybrid, and even atmosphere, and so there are moments that twist and turn the synths...but sound as pastoral and folkloric as anything. 'Oh!' is wading happily through the swamp." NORMAN RECORDS
"Loving new Big Eyes LP. Nods to Stereolab, Chelsea Girls era Nico & various spooky 60s sounds." THE INKWELL
A timely release that's full of charm to warm winter nights." FLUID RADIO
"....Otherworldly and different." [SIC] MAGAZINE
"Record Of The Week" BEAR TREE RECORDS
28.02.16 I HAM013 - The Big Eyes Family Players 'OH!' LP - Album Launch Party
Saturday 27th February saw The Big Eyes Family Players host a party to celebrate the release of their 'Oh!' LP at the truly inspirational Regather Works in Sheffield. We went along and did a spot of DJing before being treated to a live set from The Big Eyes Family Players. It was a superb venue, great crowd, wonderful atmosphere and the Big Eyes set was just stunning.
Below is a video of Big Eyes performing their beautiful version of Lal Waterson's 'Song For Thirza' on the night.
26.02.16 I HAM013 - The Big Eyes Family Players 'OH!' LP - Release Day
05.02.16 I HAM013 - The Big Eyes Family Players 'OH!' LP
We are very pleased to welcome The Big Eyes Family Players to the Home Assembly roster.
A loose collective based around Sheffield artist James Green. It's been three years since the last Big Eyes album ('Folk Songs II' on Static Caravan) and a whole six years since they released an album of original material (not including 2011's superb reworked best-of, Family Favourites'). The group, who have previously collaborated with the likes of James Yorkston, Alasdair Roberts and Rachel Grimes, are now a slimmed-down 5-piece with a sound that veers closer towards the 60's psychedelic pop of the likes of United States of America and Broadcast than it does to the instrumentals or folk songs Big Eyes are perhaps best known for.
'Oh!' consists mainly of self-penned, vocal-led songs, written by James Green and Heather Ditch with themes ranging from family dysfunction, to hauntings, to fictional historical events. The centrepiece of the album is the dramatic 'Joyce' which concerns the true story of Joyce Vincent, who was found dead in her flat in London three years after she died, her TV set still on, unopened Christmas presents at her feet, whilst another highlight, the wonderful 'Song For Thirza' is the only cover on the album - a little-known song by Lal Waterson and a true-story about a girl who lived with the Waterson family, rescued from the workhouse back in the 1950's.
The sound of the album is perhaps best described as psychedelic pop, with fizzing organs and droning synths, flutes, reverbed guitars and bass and playful drums swirling around Heather's delay-soaked vocals. The album was recorded in Sheffield, UK, and produced by Sheffield music-maestro Dean Honer (I Monster, Eccentronic Research Council, Moonlandingz). Also guesting on the album is viola and saw-player Aby Vulliamy (National Jazz Trio of Scotland/Trembling Bells/Aidan Moffat).
The album is released on 26 February 2016 in an edition of 250 copies with beautiful artwork by Yorkshire design and print artist Laura Slater and comes with a download code.
04.02.16 I HAM012 - A New Line (Related) EP - KissChase Review
On vinyl with a postcard, so continuing a Sarah theme, and parading all the manifold virtues of fierce independence into the bargain. However distracting the song titles, the truth is that the music on this 4-track EP is exceptional, with the near-flawless title tune in particular a quantum leap forward even from last year's eponymous debut LP. 'Succour' is modern, somehow combining the whispering, shifting sands of ANL(R)'s ace 'Roomful Of Lovers' 7 inch with a more visceral appeal, a slinky, minimal Motor City-ish blend of house and techno: it boasts the same hypnotic qualities that made Jamie Ball's 'Love Song' such a hit with us just five short years ago.
Next, 'Belle Ile En Mer Dub Night' is more recognisably a bedfellow to the album's twinkling opening brace 'Vote Malcolm Eden' and 'A Withering Attack', but again it suffuses its beats in warmth, drawing out the rhythmic patterns. Over on the other side of the 12", "Nobody's Been in Touch" starts all clinical but soon gets progressively tipsy, swaying and sashaying decorously, as if MBV were trying to navigate their more fecund forests of miasmic minimalism without their guitars: it trips and dips and slurs and blurs its words before giving way to the similarly woozy textures of "They're Burning Northerners Fifteen At A Time And Firing Them Into The Sky To Light Up London" (we did warn you about the song titles), a gorgeous, undulating, swooning, seductively drunken, conclusion. The last drink makes me, and all that.
04.02.16 I HAM012 - A New Line (Related) EP - Boomkat Review
"Angry" Andrew Johnson (Hood, Famous Boyfriend, The Remote Viewer) lobs a new load of gorgeous, immersive ambient techno tracks - and related remixes - over the valleys to Saltaire's Home Assembly Music label following 2014's eponymous debut LP.
His three original tracks tentatively broach the dancefloor with nods to MLZ's Lancastrian techno grit and his background in more melodic pop realms seeping thru in the airy title cut, whereas Belle En Mer Dub Night peels off in underwater disco-house loops and Nobody's Been In Touch salutes vintage Theo.
Maxim Wolzyn provides a flickering electro-dub of the sardonically titled, sincerely stroked vibes in They're Burning Northerners Fifteen At A Time And Firing Them Into The Sky To Light Up London; his Hood pal The Humble Bee rustles up a tenderised mix of Belle En Mer Dub Night whilst Perfume Advert practically blow off the beats for a lush, poly-chromatic remix of the same elements, also heard as a torrent of industrial drums by Beppu.
04.02.16 I HAM012 - A New Line (Related) EP - Norman Records Review
Somewhere between Detroit and Berlin - Lancashire to be precise, dwells Andrew Johnson (The Remote Viewer / Hood). Between gobbling up his native cuisine of hot-pots he's managed to follow up his well received self-titled 2014 long player as A New Line (Related) - back on Home Assembly Music with a spanking 4-track 12 inch EP.
The title track kicks things off - if you don't happen to be a DJ spinning this one at a party, my advice here is wait until the neighbours have gone to the caravan for the weekend, and knock the volume up to eleven to fully appreciate the mesmerising hypnotic effects of the loops, repetition and nuance. It's a very classic techno sound. You can dance or simply lay back and let it rinse away all the mental detritus you've accumulated from this cruel world.
'Belle Ile En Mer Dub Night' is a lovely soothing, dreamy soulful, grainy dubby techno number with a partially buried vocal loop and ascending synth, building with metallic ticks and woody percussion until it reaches its fully formed bliss inducing state.
'Nobody's Been In Touch' has a more funked up, housier swing, all crackly dissolving effervescent effects, recalling Substance & Vainquer's productions on Scion Versions, maybe a dash of Sistol, Maurizio and Pole floating around in there too.
'They're Burning Northerners Fifteen At A Time And Firing Them Into The Sky To Light Up London' gets top marks for its title. A cut that blossoms with gently gurgling bassline, static, and multiple layers of f/x laden shimmering loops that float and hover. Brittle keys ripple in liquid mercury beneath a wall of grainy fuzz, rising like flames.
The EP often has a deceptively familiar sound palette, and on the surface treads a well worn path, but it's the sounds deeeeep in the mix that pull you in subconsciously, much like the emissions from echospace [detroit] or classic Basic Channel / Chain Reaction - this style doesn't rely on the skeletal, functional elements but on texture and how loops interact - revealing something intangible and partially obscured below the surface and in turn triggering something soul stirring inside the listener. There's an irresistible charm and melancholy to these tracks that's consistently warm and inviting, which makes becoming lost in them an effortless pleasure. Basically Andrew's nailed the style - but what makes this EP standout from a zillion sterile clones, is how he channels his personality and character into the sound - so by the time the EP ends, you feel like he's communicated something, like he's had a conversation with you through his machines.
24.09.15 I HAM012 - A New Line (Related) 4 Track EP - Now Taking Pre-Orders
We're delighted to announce details of our next release. It's a welcome return from Andrew Johnson in his guise as A New Line (Related). Entitled 'Our Lady Of Perpetual Fucking Succour' this 12" EP is housed in a black discobag and comes with download codes (including remixes).
It's out on 12 November and you can secure your copy now by taking advantage of our pre-order offer over at our 'Buy' page. The pre-order price is GBP10 which includes FREE DELIVERY to anywhere in the world.
This is the first new music from Andrew since his extremely well received self titled debut and it's accompanying (again) untitled 7" single. On the latter release Andrew collaborated with Miles Whittaker (Demdike Stare) and it is out of this meeting of minds that springs this well of new material. Whittaker's minimal take on Andrew's music has influenced him in the art of reduction and in stripping his sound right back to ultra repetitive beats and hypnotic dancefloor flavours.
The simple hypnotism of Detroit producer Terence Dixon is evidenced in opener 'Our Lady Of Perpetual Fucking Succour' with it's pounding beats and monochromic never changing techno landscape. 'Belle Ile En Mer Dub Night' is smoother and slower with distant grooves referencing Huerco S's experimental and grainy house. 'Nobody's Been In Touch' follows with clever stabs of percussion over Deepchord style effervescent loops but it is closer 'They're Burning Northerners Fifteen At A Time And Firing Them Into The Sky To Light Up London' that is the absolute apex of Andrew's creativity with billowing distorted loops over simple drum machine, the track exploding in intensity over it's lifespan and leaves the EP on a thrilling note.
Like his debut album, this EP uses basic production techniques to create deceptively layered deep techno, meanwhile Andrew's slight shift towards a harder dancefloor sound hasn't muted the evocative atmospheres he is so expert at.
The EP is limited to 300 copies and the first 50 website orders include a postcard featuring the label artwork and signed by Mr.Johnson himself.
You can sample the EP over on our 'Listen' page.
20.08.15 I Peptalk 'Driftwood' - [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]
20.08.15 I The Declining Winter 'The Year of 40' - Live at Wharf Chambers, Leeds
14.08.15 I HAM011 - Peptalk 'Islet' LP - Textura Review
It's a little bit hard to believe Islet is Peptalk's debut album, given the high quality of the material on the forty-minute outing. A quick scan of the personnel involved, however, begins to explain why the group's sound arrives so fully formed. Singer Angelica Negron (Balun), electronicist Michael Carter (Tyondai Braxton), and percussionist Shayna Dunkelman (Xiu Xiu) bring to the project distinctive individual backgrounds as well as a shared love for exotica artists such as Esquivel, Robert Drasnin, and Martin Denny known for conjuring tropical soundscapes using bird calls, synthesizers, percussion, and orchestral instruments. But Islet is no one-dimensional pastiche: Peptalk draws from other exotic zones, too, among them J-Pop, dub, electronic music, sci-fi, ambient, and cyberpunk.
Aptly titled, 'Panorama' captivates the listener immediately with its luscious sonic design and epic sweep. All manner of sounds including vibraphone, trumpet, hand drums, wordless vocals, French horn, strings, and drums surface during this transporting dreamscape of somewhat Asian melodic character. Elsewhere, tremolo guitars, mallets, and synthesizers add to Peptalk's rich template. Negron becomes a natural focal point in 'Driftwood' when her soft enunciation of the song's English lyrics is shadowed by shimmering electronic treatments and mallet patterns, and with a dub bass pulse and clockwork rhythms prodding it along, 'Nilbog' calls to mind early Mum when Negron's airy rendering of its English lyrics ("I feel the sunshine / Bleed the daytime") are factored in.
So vivid as to be hyperreal, Peptalk's multi-faceted, pan-global music finds its suitable visual analogue in the photo that graces the album cover of a diorama inside of an old fruit crate (one Carter actually found on the street). Listening to the album, one quickly gets the impression that the three were painstaking in the way they assembled the pieces and in determining precisely which elements would appear within them. Each song is a sound collage packed with detail yet not so much that the material collapses under the weight of the final construction. When Negron sings "I am standing / Unfamiliar place around is new to me" during 'Driftwood', it doesn't take much to hear the lyrics as referring to Islet as a whole rather than one song only. While the album isn't sui generis (what musical creation is?), it definitely presents a novel soundworld that's pleasingly fresh and unfamiliar.
23.07.15 I HAM011 - Peptalk 'Islet' LP - [sic] Magazine Review
Each member of Peptalk also plays with bands and artists such as Yoko Ono, Xiu Xiu and Thurston Moore, so their musical credentials are certainly intact. They've grouped together to record an album which on first listen is otherworldly. This feeling doesn't really lift after a dozen or so further listens. It's definitely an album with a twist.
Islet is Peptalk's debut and it's released on the Home Assembly Music label, home to The Declining Winter, but this music feels about 10,000 miles away from Home Assembly's native Yorkshire.
The overriding feeling I have when I listen to Islet is one of transcendental meditation. The music carries me initially to places such as Thailand and Japan. Close your eyes and you really could be there. The band members themselves are based in Tokyo, San Juan and Los Angeles, so you can start to start to see why there are so many different musical styles on display.
Much of the album is instrumental. There are female vocals on a number of the tracks, and they're used almost like an instrument rather than a lead vocal. 'St Michael's Mount' is a case in point. 'Bow Chaser' has a dark edge; it could almost be the soundtrack to a gang being chased through the streets of Tokyo late at night. It has a brass element not unlike the sound of a pinball machine and features a weighty synth bass.
'Nilbog' is the closest we get to actual lyrics and a melody, certainly initially, and those vocals are sensual for sure. They give way to what sounds like a French accordion and the track takes on a more sinister sound, but eventually returns full-circle.
People who've travelled to the Far East will certainly see parallels between the music on Islet and the local music in countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Japan. But the album isn't completely Far Eastern in its outlook, 'Podesta', for instance, reminds me of a club in Sydney which I once visited. This music could be from anywhere and nowhere. The bassline and synth which kicks in at 1:17 on 'Podesta' could easily be coming out of a PA at 3AM in a chill-out club in New York.
Fans of avant-garde music are sure to enjoy this album. It's fair to say that fans of post-classical music such as A Winged Victory For The Sullen and Ryuichi Sakamoto (particularly on 'Locus') would also find much to enjoy here. Not that the album has a post-classical edge (it doesn't), but open-minded listeners will certainly appreciate its magic.
23.07.15 I HAM011 - Peptalk 'Islet' LP - Wake The Deaf Review
Peptalk are Mike Carter, Shayna Dunkelman and Angelica Negron. Carter, an electronic musician, and Dunkleman, the percussion from Xiu Xiu, met in Oakland, CA after bonding over a shared love of mid-century exotica artists like Esquivel and Martin Denny, who used experimental blends of synths, samples and orchestral instruments to create sonic interpretations of strange lands. Carter and Dunkleman upped sticks for Brooklyn, where they met Negron, a singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist. The trio decided to form Peptalk to create their own disparate worlds through music.
Debut album Islet is certainly a world of its own, with the band drawing upon their upbringings in America, Puerto Rico and Japan and to create a land informed by global cultures yet exotic and alien. The album artwork goes some way to visualising this place: a photograph of a world the band created in an old fruit crate they found on the street. The intricate scene represents the titular islet, a lush, nameless landscape full of arresting details and half-familiar echoes. So important is this fruit crate world that it features in the band's live performances, only the musical world they have created is far more complex than a fruit crate and some LEDs.
While many ambient acts could claim to conjure landscapes, Peptalk paint ecosystems, thriving arrangements of geology and biology where plants and animals and wind and rain follow their own instinctive patterns. However, things are not quite what they seem. While the components of the landscape are recognisable, their order is not. It's like seeing jungles and waterfalls and deserts and tundras all in one space, pines and palms and flat baked earth, mammals and marsupials and other taxa as yet unidentified. Unsurprisingly, there is a supernatural edge here, something akin to Twin Peaks where elemental forces take on familiar shapes and every so often reality ripples like a curtain in the breeze. By the end the scene seems less natural and more technological, an experiment in some cyberpunk laboratory or else a complex projection engineered by an advanced mechanical race looking for answers. Whatever Islet is, it certainly takes you on a journey.
23.07.15 I HAM011 - Peptalk 'Islet' LP - SoGutsy Review
You know that kind of album you listen to in the middle of night, lying outside under the Milky Way? The one that gives you chills when the wind caresses the back of your neck, or moves you when you're happy and lost at once? Well, this album is Islet by Peptalk.
Peptalk is a three-member band: Michael Carter (electronics), Shayna Dunkelman (percussion), and Angelica Negron (vocalist). Although the band is based in Brooklyn, each member derived from Tokyo, Los Angeles, and San Juan. These cities and their experiences were their main inspiration when creating Islet.
Islet is a beautiful mix of electronic music and exotic soundscapes. The band excels at taking the listener away from one city to another. There's an interesting European, American and Asian feel to all the songs, which are creatively and meticulously crafted, from the opening track 'Panorama' to the last, 'Locus'. Expect a few surprises here and there with songs like 'Bow Chaser', 'Nilbog', and 'Podesta', the most upbeat songs from Islet.
Not only is Islet a mix of several sounds and instruments, but also a mix of emotions. At times, like in 'Driftwood', Negron's voice expresses them perfectly, in a way that her voice is an instrument on its own.
18.05.15 I Peptalk 'Islet' LP - Available To Pre-order
"You know that kind of album you listen to in the middle of night, lying outside under the Milky Way? The one that gives you chills when the wind caresses the back of your neck, or moves you when you're happy and lost at once? Well, this album is Islet by Peptalk.
Peptalk is a three-member band: Michael Carter (electronics), Shayna Dunkelman (percussion), and Angelica Negron (vocalist). Although the band is based in Brooklyn, each member derived from Tokyo, Los Angeles, and San Juan. These cities and their experiences were their main inspiration when creating Islet.
Islet is a beautiful mix of electronic music and exotic soundscapes. The band excels at taking the listener away from one city to another. There's an interesting European, American and Asian feel to all the songs, which are creatively and meticulously crafted, from the opening track 'Panorama' to the last, 'Locus'. Expect a few surprises here and there with songs like 'Bow Chaser', 'Nilbog' and 'Podesta', the most upbeat songs from Islet.
Not only is Islet a mix of several sounds and instruments, but also a mix of emotions. At times, like in 'Driftwood' Negron's voice expresses them perfectly, in a way that her voice is an instrument on its own". SoGutsy Mag
19.04.15 I Peptalk 'Islet' LP - Release Date 15 June 2015
We are delighted to announce that we will be releasing the debut album from Brooklyn, NY trio, Peptalk on 15 June 2015.
Peptalk is Michael Carter (electronics), Shayna Dunkelman (percussion) and Angelica Negron (voice). The band was born in Oakland, CA where electronic musician Mike Carter and percussionist Shayna Dunkelman were inspired by how mid-century exotica artists like Esquivel, Robert Drasnin and Martin Denny used percussion with bird calls, synthesizers and orchestra instruments to envision strange faraway places.
Mike and Shayna upped and left for Brooklyn, where they met composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Angelica Negron. Drawing on their shared love of Exotica, J-Pop, Dub and the many variants of electronic music, Peptalk's visceral music combines numerous exotic instruments with lush electronic sounds and airy vocals. They are obsessed with creating a hyperreal world both sonically and visually by blending fragments of memory from their lives in Tokyo, San Juan and Los Angeles.
Each band member also plays with bands and artists such as Yoko Ono, Xiu Xiu, Thurston Moore, Balun, and Tyondai Braxton, but by joining forces, they create rich musical arrangements that are both highly original and, crucially, highly accessible.
We will be posting pre-order details very soon, so please keep checking back, and in the meantime, check out the album sampler on our listen page.
16.04.15 I The Declining Winter 'Home For Lost Souls' - KissChase Blogspot Review
It's amazing how much we're destined always to defer to our younger selves. If the teenage me hadn't borrowed Hood's 'Sirens' 7inch from a housemate in 1992, then in all likelihood we would never have been looking out for this record one hundred years (approx) later. Chance is a fine, but very fickle thing.
Right now, frankly we are the dispossessed of EC4; tired, ill, and disenchanted. So we draw positively *medicinal* succour from the rare beauty and sadness of the latest instalment of the Declining Winter's delicately looped and layered pastorals, a record which revisits the gorgeous, pantheistic trail they and their musical forbears have already carved out in the wilds of Yorkshire: that familiar, breathy landscape of fading hills, forlorn valleys and disused post-mills, decorated by tales of rustic houses and cold houses and their haunted upper hallways. And home is still - where it hurts: 'the house that brings me down' as they trill on the desolate, perfectly-crafted title track.
As you might expect by now, 'Home For Lost Souls' mixes dextrous, swirling post-rock instrumentals and samples with more fully-formed, if still wistful, percussion-driven ballads, whilst comfortingly familiar lyrical themes abound: Richard Adams sings of hillsides, leaves and fog formations nearly as often as Pete Astor once sang odes to precipitation. There are echoes throughout the album of the simple prettiness of last year's Memory Drawings set, but darker, more sombre forces are also at play: instead of the Drawings' elegant travelogue, these songs summon up doubt and hesitation in a swirl of autumnal hues.
And so it is that we'd happily traverse the coldest of moors for the secret behind compositions like magisterial opener 'This Sadness Lacks', the full-on jangle-folk of 'The Sweet Sound of North' or the more muscular but equally adroit crowd-pleaser 'Around The Winding Roads And Hills'. But the piece that this LP absolutely hangs on is the piano-driven 'The Right True End', its penultimate track and possibly the best song we've heard this year, which gradually unfurls itself over eight gorgeous minutes from stately near-stillness to a subtle crescendo of forward motion. The instant when the bassline eventually appears gives us the same magical shivers as some of our favourite Hood moments: this could almost be a refugee from 'Outside Closer'.
There's a bonus EP for good measure, a splendrous thing called 'The Waning Mill Chronicles' which we believe to be available separately via the wonders of the modern internet. In addition to the cheery 'The World Wide Ruin' and erstwhile bandcamp belter 'The Year Of Forty', it contains a couple of tracks which should for our money have found their way onto the LP proper - a longer, superior version of shimmering nr-instrumental 'Summer Circuit', and the easy cling of 'On Station Rise'.
All of which may help to explain why - and despite all the other baggage he's saddled me with over the years - sometimes I still want to high-five the teenage me.
07.04.15 I The Declining Winter 'Home For Lost Souls' - The Afterword Review
Very recently I picked up on Leeds post-rock band called Hood who released a brace of fine albums in the 90s/early 00s. They're now no longer active but I've gradually been picking up their CDs whenever I see them in second hand shops as they're now 'out of print'. As I'm such a latecomer I also hadn't realised that one of the key personnel, Richard Adams, has been making beautiful albums as The Declining Winter for a few years now so now I'm really playing catch up.
This latest one has all the hallmarks of Hood so if you liked them you definitely need to get into this. A somewhat wistful melancholy but strangely uplifting atmosphere prevails. The basic MO is a repeating, beautiful guitar figure which builds up with sometimes almost jazzy/motorik drum patterns and additional looping patterns of bass and other instruments added, and hushed vocals riding on top.
What I particularly like is the fact that the music feels like it's constructed much like dance music along a series of interlocking loops and pretty repeating figures except that it's played live and the instuments are mostly made of wood as far as I can hear. Everything is quite hazy and fuzzy so don't expect big brassy moments and dynamic shifts, the songs merge together as a whole and this is a record to immerse yourself in and enjoy the mood it sets up. It reminds me a bit of The Necks in that respect, albeit with much shorter tracks!
01.04.15 I The Declining Winter 'Home For Lost Souls' - [Sic] Magazine Review
'Melancholic', 'Pastoral', 'Reminiscent'. All these words could be used to describe the songs herein, 14 in total. Adams chooses to keep the music relatively simple and let the songs speak for themselves. As a result, percussion is basic and drums tend to be held back in the mix. Emotions, on the other hand, are turned up to max. There's an overall regressive feel to the music, as if Adams is laying certain ghosts to rest. Tracks can sometimes sound like 'extended ideas' or possibly even 'jams', but believe me when I say that's not a bad thing. I mean, who cares when songs sound this good? Mid-set tracks 'When Things Mattered' and 'Fog Forming' are good examples of this.
Title track 'Home For Lost Souls' is such a killer track. When that second guitar joins in 30 seconds into the song, you're simply drawn under its spell. Similarly, 'Around The Winding Roads And Hills' buzzes with its layers of guitars and vocals. There are moments of sadness, such as during 'The Wild Girl Laughed'. It's such a simple tune and works so well because Adams chooses not to litter the mix with drums, synths and layers of whatever else. Instead, the song retains a delicate, intricate charm. Many musicians fall into the trap of adding layers of unnecessary instrumentation because it's too easy to fall into that trap. A studio is like a candy store for some, an artist's easel for others. What Adams does is take simple ideas and beautifully extrapolates them such that the initial magic of each track is retained. 'The Right True End' mirrors this thought particularly well, it's like a scrapbook of memories about somebody special.
While 2015 has so far generated a number of great releases, this album really does stand out as being truly special.
29.03.15 I The Declining Winter 'Home For Lost Souls' - Fluid Radio Review
Punching through the bleak winter, the crisp and clear electric guitars come to pave the way for (hopefully) warmer days. 'This Sadness Lacks', with its softly spoken, introverted vocals and its speedy yet unhurried drumming lets us know in no uncertain terms that winter is on the decline. The Declining Winter sets in motion a constantly revolving orbit that leads out of the darkness and into the light. Richard Adams carefully constructs his music, and it's most assuredly easy listening. Home For Lost Souls is his second album for Home Assembly Music, and, like a cozy planet nestled close to a white-hot sun, everything spins around the guitar and its melodies, taking light, life and solace through its blazing notes.
The shimmer of the reverb, and the open yet dazed sound of the vocals swirl around in safe circles, together locked in a tight embrace. The vocals are wise and mature, they've lived a long life and it's taught them a lot of valuable lessons and the lyrics gradually become more introspective. They silence themselves from time to time; the music's peppered with a couple of instrumentals. In fact, 'When Things Mattered' cools the mood considerably. A little slice of the guitar and her floating melodies, plucked lightly on a string or two, settles things down. 'Fog Forming' carries just a hint of a vocal, and it's seemingly lost in its own cloudy swirl of reverb. The light sound of the guitar is incredibly bright. The bubbly, faster chord progressions and the lyric-focused vocals seem intent on placing the music somewhere close to the genre of folk-pop, but a sky high fence separates the two genres. Intricate melodies flutter around in the still, temperate air. Like a stunningly blue flash of electricity, the excitement fizzles in the air; spring is coming. Dissonant notes hover around the music, occasionally touching down beside the splayed chords that sweetly sustain, but they never stay for long.
Later on, 'A Field Defunct' turns things slightly funky, and it becomes harder to pin-point a genre at all. But who needs them? Music is music. Electro-shocked synths dart around and thus the record changes again. 'The Right True End' breezes past with its cooler chords, and the piano progression hints at some kind of underlying melancholy. It never hangs around for long, though. As the spring light comes to take winter away, the now declining winter, the birds begin to sing and the trees start to bloom with apple and cherry blossom. And the music's in perfect sync with the unfurling of the petals.
10.03.15 I The Declining Winter 'Home For Lost Souls' LP - Shipping News
A massive thank you to everyone who pre-ordered The Declining Winter 'Home For Lost Souls' LP. The response to this release has been tremendous. So much so that we have now sold out. Here is our shipping schedule (not long to wait now):-
International orders outside of Europe were shipped last Friday (6 March).
European orders are due to be shipped this Friday (13 March).
UK orders will commence shipping from Monday (16 March).
This should ensure that you receive your order on or before the release date (23 March).
If you've missed out on our offer and you're quick, you may still be able to snag one at Boomkat (UK) or Linus Records (Japan) on the date of release (23 March). Both of these stores will be carrying a limited stock of the record.
Other than that, we will be issuing a very limited edition re-press towards the summer months, so keep an eye on our website for details.
To while away the hours before your record is delivered, here's another video. This time it's the title track of the LP, 'Home For Lost Souls'.
08.02.15 I The Declining Winter 'Home For Lost Souls' LP - Release Date 23 March 2015
Richard Adams and his The Declining Winter project return to Home Assembly Music with an impressive second album for the label, 'Home For Lost Souls'.
Taking it's name from a hostel that Syd Barrett was alleged to have stayed at in the early '70's, the album's title points to the subject matters that preoccupy Adams in his songwriting. From the cost to one's sanity at just making it through another wearisome 9-5, to the ominous beauty of the North Pennines landscape, and love in a time of austerity.
But far from being austere, the 14 songs presented here are generous, warm, deceptively simple, multilayered compositions. From the upbeat openers, 'This Sadness Lacks' and 'Home For Lost Souls', to whimsical instrumentals, 'Golden Terrace' or 'When Things Mattered', all the way through to the outrageously catchy 'Hurled To The Curb' or the melancholy introspection of 'The Wild Girl Laughed' and the quietly epic 'The Right True End'.
As you might expect from Adams, he wears his heart and his influences on his sleeve. At times it feels like listening to a glorious combination of Disco Inferno and Talk Talk, Robert Wyatt and even Felt, with occasional smatterings of Radiohead as well as a brief hint of PiL on the rustic, 'The Summer Circuit' and 'A Field Defunct'.
But really it's none of the above. It's Richard Adams. It's The Declining Winter. Only it's better this time, that's all.
The record comes bundled with mp3 download codes with the additional bonus of the EP 'The Waning Mill Chronicles"
20.01.15 I The Declining Winter 'This Sadness Lacks'
07.11.14 I HAM008 - Insecto 'Post Edit de un Cromosoma' 2xLP - Now Taking Pre-orders
We are delighted to announce details of our latest release. It comes from Jimmy Pizarro (Insecto), is issued on double vinyl (bundled with download codes) and will be released on 1st December 2014.
For the next fortnight we will be making this title available to pre-order direct from us at a reduced price of GBP15.00, with the added bonus of 'Free Delivery' to all UK addresses and a reduced shipping fee of just GBP2.00 to anywhere else in the world! After that, we'll be replacing the Paypal Button with the Norman Records logo, as they will be handling the sales for us from the 1st of December.
Chilean producer, Jimmy Pizarro (Insecto) presents his first UK full length release for Home Assembly Music. In many ways a more musical re-imagining of the classic Clicks & Cuts sound, most readily associated with the Mille Plateaux label, but adapted for a 2014 audience.
Rather than sticking to the austere aesthetic of the likes of SND (a professed influence), Pizarro has expanded the sound palette of his lush, expansive arrangements.
So now, as well as the intricate, skittering micro beats, we have jazzy chords, glistening ambient pads and a smattering of spoken vocal snippets thrown into the mix, creating a tuneful machine funk which at times recalls Mount Kimbie's earlier works.
But it's ruder than that, as the crystalline synths, swirling samples and fizzing hi-hats are all anchored down by some seriously deep sub-bass pulses.
A massive recommendation for fans of anything from SND, through Aphex Twin, to Mount Kimbie.
Head on over to our 'Listen' page for a taste of what's on the record and if you like what you hear, bag yourself an early xmas pressie while it's still cheap.
04.06.14 I HAM009 - A New Line (Related) 2xLP - Leonard's Lair Review
In a long and distinguished history in music, Andrew Johnson is chiefly known for his time as a former member of both Hood and The Remote Viewer. The first album under his new solo identity, A New Line (Related), confirms him as an expert manipulator of deep house, dub and techno.
This is just the ninth release on the small Home Assembly Music label but they seem to have the Midas touch when choosing artists. The early signs are certainly understated but as the track 'Vote Malcolm Eden' develops, the rhythm and intensity begins to increase and by the time the track ends, it feels like the aural equivalent of being surrounded by a horde of hungry insects. 'A Withering Attack' follows a not dissimilar course but the atmosphere is eerier still thanks to a combination of pulsing beats and a chilling melody.
Even the less strident material, such as the moody 'The Slow Sounds Of Your Life' contain mesmeric and involving delights. 'People Kissed Underneath Me' resembles the idea of waking up at dawn to the sound of farm machinery whilst 'Three Octave Voice' touches on the early global techno sounds of 808 State. The most hypnotic moment, however, can be found on 'Repetition (for Pryzbylewski)', which is dominated by clanging, bell-like patterns. After seven minutes it should become irritating but the constantly shifting backgrounds ensure the track is disorientating in all the best ways. Finally, the shuddering yet blissful 'Great Palaces' is a great way for Johnson to sign off.
The album clocks in at just over an hour which could have been a mistake for a record which certainly celebrates the beauty of repetition. However, the music is chilled, complex and blessed with so much nocturnal longing that it is perfect for a late night headphone listen.
10.05.14 I HAM009 - A New Line (Related) - Off The Tracks Review
Andrew Johnson, formerly of The Remote Viewer, The Boats and Hood, returns here as A New Line (Related) both band project and album name. It's reminiscent for me of discovering Michael Morley's Gate project, grainy ambient electronica with a hint of punk and post-rock spirit, however set to slow burn.
So A New Line opens with the hypnotic, softly gurgling Vote For Malcolm Eden before rolling into A Withering Attack. Here remnants of house music mingle against the ticking of the tempo-marking pulse before the mushy Claude's Up.drum LP.do Music takes you ever so slightly towards Aphex Twin, even if just because of the madness of the song title. The sound collage styles break off for the low-key, charming groove of The Slow Sound of Your Life and that late-late-night-meets-early-early-morning feel is so perfectly straddled. The album's overall feel is similar to some of Matthew Herbert's experiments, playing with old equipment and finding new sounds.
The slightly darker side of ambient music creeps in on the second half of this journey as warmth gives way to wash on the Ben Frost-like People Kissed Underneath Me and the slightly Burial-esque A European Medium. Repetition (For Pryzbelewski) is an iPhone app in the hands of a Drukqs-d up Richard D. James and Didn't We Almost Have Etoiles is noise-meets-soundscape in the way of Copeland and, again, Frost. The soothing pulse of soft house again, think Herbert returns for Three Octave Voice and then we close out with the sneaking, creeping Great Palaces. So soft at times you'll wonder if you've even been listening to an album, more easily comparable to an album-length art-installation soundtrack, this is a headphone album through and through. Glorious, delirious, creepy and lovely all at once. A New Line (Related) is a strange but often calming glimpse of musical magic.
08.05.14 I HAM009 - A New Line (Related) 2xLP - Igloomag Review
Andrew Johnson is an original sound alchemist and multi-instrumentalist from Great Britain who has released a vast collection of texturally drone ambient, downtempo, post-rockin' efforts since a few years now. He is at the head of the independent micro-labels Mobeer / moteer where has signed a number of his own materials. He also actively collaborates with Craig Tattersal (Cotton Goods, The Humble Bee) I discovered this artist one year ago thanks to Richard Cunliffe's essential and unique radio program It's just music baby on Soundart Radio (UK), whose musical register covers some of the most interesting releases in vibrantly harmonious organic ambient and dream pop instrumental electronica, from musicians who appear to represent a cohesive artistic community.
To see this last Andrew Johnson published on Home Assembly Music is a really welcomed surprise. This label is already known for its impressive catalog in deep ambient music and micro-tonal experiments, notably responsible of a wonderful 2xCD from Yuri Lugosvskoy. In this new album Andrew Johnson operates under the moniker of A New Line (Related).
The music delivers accomplished, refined, picturesque and electronically-generated pulsating ambient scenery, in a sensitive narrative style. Very sculptural from the technical angle, emotionally intimate, rhythmically meditative and poetically moving. Conceived as a double LP and released the 24th of January, this new album offers temporal sound paintings meticulously elaborated with a ravishing and constant taste for luminously electronic motifs that create a hauntingly sound environment. The sound structures alternate reverse-looped sequences as in 'Claudes Up', minimal-kinetic electronic moves in 'A European Medium' fuzzed drone-out sound tapestries in the aerial 'People Kissed Underneath Me' and absolutely gorgeous cinematic atmospheric shimmers as in the closing track 'Great Palaces'
This album presents a lot of diversity, rich challenging ideas, tasteful arrangements, quiet dynamics and a palette of musical textures that will ravish anyone into glitch-ambient isolationism, post-techno realms and cyclic / process music. A splendid and colorful ambient electronic release.
21.02.14 I A New Line (Related) - Boomkat Review
It's been a while since we heard anything new from Andrew Johnson, former member of Hood and The Remote Viewer. Back In the days when he used to make music with Craig Tattersall we'd sometimes get to hear tapes of unreleased recordings the pair had made and wonder why the picky old bastard was so unwilling to release any of it - it was just so good. So, we're pretty excited that just as we thought he'd more or less stopped working on music altogether he's re-emerged with a new project and a whole new album, released under the A New Line (Related) moniker. Made from what sounds like a rudimentary setup, the sound here is warm and brittle, yet dynamic and even (dare we say it) heavy. We always loved The Remote Viewer for finding delicate balance between fragile production underpinned by super dense bass weight (something that Johnson himself claims to hate) - and on the evidence of these tracks here he continues to master the fine art of keeping those two elements intact. The 11 tracks here veer from the shimmering drone of "People Kissed Underneath Me" to the out-and-out punchy percussive Boogie House of "The Slow Sound of Your Life", dropping in on nicely swung Garage offcuts with "Late Period (Insert Band)" and even a final dose of Hood-style vocal bliss on album closer "Great Palaces" - making for one of the most surprising and cockle-warming albums we've had in for a while, and a real treat whether or not you've encountered any of Johnson's music before. Highly Recommended.
21.02.14 I A New Line (Related) - Norman Records Review
One thing that keeps the momentum of music interesting for me is when artists explore genres they don't necessarily have roots in or are associated with (not counting fashion victim band wagon jumping sheep). For example techno has recently been invigorated by artists migrating from genres to create their vision of the sound. Cue A New Line (Related) a pseudonym of Andrew Johnson (Hood/ The Boats/ Remote Viewer). Under this handle he explores the emotional capabilities of old machines through a sort of dub techno template he's blown wide open. As much as I like dub techno I can't deny it's heavily formulaic and has reasonably strict parameters. Or does it? For every shining dub techno 12 there's at least fifteen weak, diluted ones. This however is more than a disposable flirtation side project working within the format. The opening track makes me imagine waking up late at night with the radio still playing. Interference appears and then from the crackle emerges some radio station on a faraway planet transmitting the ghosts of Chain Reaction using Gescom as mediums. There's that sort of crunch but it's not a harsh digital one, rather a warm analogue fuzz. The eerie groove emerges hypnotically, as crystalline synths and brittle glassy electronic sounds nestle together in perfect harmony to mesmerising effect. All the while the machines speak of an untold sadness. That's what's different about this record compared to a lot of classic Berlin school dub techno clones. This has personality, a very distinct character with a very direct line of communication through his machines to the listener.
The second track begins with a lush melancholy fluttering melodic synth loop that recalls prime early UK ambient techno, specifically The Black Dog/ Artificial Intelligence/ Warp era. Sure there are loops but rather than sterile patterns, these are very intricate and clearly from someone that can really 'play'. Balancing the hypnotic qualities of repetition with evolution so things feel like they're in a constant state of flux but held down by a groove.
Before you get too comfortable though things switch gear slightly over on the second side with a foggy industrial, darker ambient track conjuring images of battleship grey future skies with the odd glimmer of light piercing through the thick haze. Again heavy emotional resonance on this one. After the rains have passed the sun shines once again via some steady downtempo dubby house with delayed rimshots and multiple textured layers to tune in and out of; all draped around a Chain Reaction/ Maurizio flavoured groove. Finally on the last tune Andrew shows James Blake how it should be done. I can picture Blake legging it down the street with his Mercury Music prize in an Aldi carrier bag "I'm the king!!!!"
As pleasant enough as this record is, just spinning away in the background, if you really lock into it, it'll get ya.
30.01.14 I HAM009 - A New Line (Related) - Uncut Magazine Review
"Techno and beyond, direct from British bedrooms.
The new project of Andrew Johnson from British electronica heads Remote Viewer, A New Line (Related) sits closer to the dance floor than any of his previous music. This self-titled debut album is an object lesson in graceful dance music, building blocks of dub-techno from the gaseous ambience of the Chain Reaction label and the rigid insistence of Detroit's finest but its wilder than that yet. 'Didn't We Almost Have Etoiles' swoons with the same hypnotic density as MBV's 'Glider' while the lock-groove lullaby of 'Repetition (For Pryzbylewski)' is as joyously maddening as Steve Reich's early tape loop pieces." 8/10
30.01.14 I HAM009 - A New Line (Related) - Decoder Magazine Review
"Malcolm Eden, lyricist with the far-left 80s indie band McCarthy, has been cited as an influence by many a political rock act in the decades since they disbanded. McCarthy drifted into obscurity after a brief spell of Thatcher-baiting and John Peel-impressing, but Eden's name continues to strike a chord with left-leaning musicians, a fact borne out by his guest spots on French band That Summer's Clear album in 2005. Almost a decade later and former Hood and Moteer Records man Andrew Johnson is tipping his hat in McCarthy's direction (to the left, natch) with 'Vote Malcolm Eden', a blissful seven minutes of minimalist pulse under his newly adopted moniker A New Line (Related). Johnson describes A New Line (Related) as being 'stupid and basic', and he's half right; the beats, made with age-old samplers and dust-coated drum machines, certainly sound pretty straightforward, but the cerebral effect they have on the listener is profound. Comparisons with Axel Wilner and Wolfgang Voigt are apt, but Johnson has allowed a layer of grit to settle and add texture where there would otherwise be sheen.
Philipp Buckle's video focuses on an everyday scene in an unidentified city square and allows the viewer to write their own narratives around its inhabitants. The longer you watch, the more comes to light: the uncanny parallels, the sudden flurries of activity, the warm wind rustling the trees. As a visual reflection of Johnson's music, it fits perfectly."
29.01.14 I HAM009 - A New Line (Related) - Irregular Crates Review
"We were recently sent an exquisite album from the infrequent but consistent Home Assembly Music imprint, a label which artists such as The Green Kingdom, Fieldhead and The Declining Winter have previously called home. Their latest output comes courtesy of former member of Hood Andrew Johnson, with his first set of solo recordings.
We're a huge fan of Hood but we're also massive fans of murky, lo-fi Deep House which is exactly where Johnson has chosen to explore for his first venture into solo territory. Of course, Hood were not averse to using electronics in their work and that was part of their whole appeal but with the use of guitar, vocals and other instruments, their material usually veered towards the pastoral. Andrew's work here as A New Line leans towards the urban and sub-urban, with old drum machines, keyboards and techniques pushed to the fore......this one promises to be something very special indeed."
10.01.14 I HAM009 - A New Line (Related) Double Vinyl - Now Taking Pre-Orders
We are delighted to announce that we are now taking pre-orders on our latest release - HAM009 'A New Line (Related)' which comes from Andrew Johnson
Andrew was originally the drummer in acclaimed post-rock group Hood (Domino Records), playing on their first four albums before joining fellow Hood alumnus Craig Tattersall (also of The Boats) in Remote Viewer, an electronic project who released records on Domino, 555 and their own imprint, Moteer, and has since worked on the collaborative On Fell project. A New Line (Related) represents his first completely solo work
Utilising tools from the early days of home produced underground dance music (such as SK5 sampler keyboards and vintage drum machines) Andrew has unearthed a beautiful album of downbeat, lamp-lit techno, industrial grade ambience and sonic experimentation which at times recalls early Warp Records, Gescom and raw, 313 area Beatdown House, as well as the more modern breed of electronic and techno travellers such as Actress, Mark Fell (on 'Late Period') and even Theo Parrish (on 'The Slow Sound Of Your Life').
Despite (or maybe because of) the antiquated sound sources, these tracks pull and tug at the emotions. Rattling drum machines pick out rhythms while underneath, carefully played warm synths and a mesh of samples slowly emerge, introducing melody and texture into the pieces. All culminating in a spacious, evocative and unhurried work. As well as the more beat-driven tracks, there are moments of intense stillness ('People Kissed Underneath Me'), Steve Reich-esque, gamelan style hypnotic nodders ('Repetition') and probably one of the most beautiful tracks you're likely to hear this year ('Great Palaces').
The release is strictly limited to 250 copies and comes bundled with a download code, so you can stick it in your iPod and enjoy while on the move. To avoid the disappointment of missing out on this very special release, please go to our Buy page and pre-order your copy.
19.12.12 I 'It's Just Music Baby' - Radio Show
A couple of tracks from Yuri Lugovskoy's double CD will be featured on Sound Art Radio's monthly show, 'It's Just Music Baby' this Thursday (20 December).
Sound Art Radio is a pioneering community station operating out of Totnes in Devon (U.K.), an area that we're particularly fond of here at Home Assembly.
"...That's where Soundart Radio, a community and arts radio station for Dartington and Totnes in Devon, is so cheering: its setting couldn't be further from urban cool you can often hear birdsong in the background and yet its output is resolutely challenging. I've been hooked for quite a while, relishing its oddness, its risk-taking anyone can volunteer for the station and its blend of the highly local and impressively far-reaching". Elizabeth Mahoney, The Guardian.
'It's Just Music Baby' is the brainchild of Richard Cunliffe and his monthly show celebrates "the music of Moteer / Mobeer / Cotton Goods and the family of labels that orbit around them". It's definitely worth investigating as Richard's mixes are beautifully assembled. Full of narrative, warmth and most importantly, musicality. If you don't manage to catch his show 'live', then you'll get another chance as his mixes are streamed via Soundcloud. His 'November' mix is available now and we'd heartily recommend it, as it's a gem!
24.11.12 I HAM007 - Yuri Lugovskoy 2xCD - Norman Records Review
My first encounter with Yuri Lugovskoy's music was around two and a half years ago through his debut CD (also self-titled) on Moteer. The Ukranian artist's sophomore album is released on West Yorkshire's own Home Assembly label and comes in a lovely 6-panel digipak complete with a second disc which is a superb remix package featuring William Ryan Fritch, Mugwood (Antony from Isan), Brave Timbers, The Humble Bee (Craig from The Boats), Tokyo Bloodworm, Panoptique Electrical, INSECTO, Strategy, Chessie and Fjordne.
Inspired by Dub Techno, Lugovskoy strips that sound to its very core, peeling back the layers and reducing it to it's bare elements. This minimalist reduction approach reveals the simplicity and stark beauty that lurks within the sound. Dispensing with the beats and distilling it into eight ambient works that rely on the hypnotic properties of repetition and the nuances of subtly tweaked loops. Once you're in the overall effect becomes quite mesmerising. The dusty loops and lush atmospherics are what I imagine Gas and William Basinski would get up to in a fictional collaboration.
On the surface things appear fairly simple and I guess to a certain extent they may well be, but simplicity should never be underestimated and this is a case in point; for increased volume reveals hidden details and of course those big sub-bass frequencies deserve to be cranked up to hit their full potential. With Taylor Deupree of 12k at the mastering controls, he's ensured everything is where it should be. At just over 30 minutes duration each track is concise and makes its statement. Many albums in this field can tend to overstay their welcome but this get's it just right. Having said that a couple of tracks ended just as I was getting into an almost meditative zone but hey, you can always hit repeat! Recommended.
22.11.12 I HAM007 - Yuri Lugovskoy 2xCD - Boomkat Review
Yorkshire-based Home Assembly Music follow up that ace Northerner album with Yuri Lugovskoy's new LP, backed with remixes from The Humble Bee, Tokyo Bloodworm, William Ryan Fritch, Strategy, Chessie and more.
Ukranian, Lugovsky's original disc, much like his one for Moteer, is concerned with minimal, meditative practice, yielding eight fuzzy, dusty pieces of looping melody and seeping filter adjustments thru to canny subbass movements and windswept modulations.
Remix highlights appear from Mugwood with their mottled ambient swoon; a cutely creased and folded re-arrangement from The Humble Bee aka Craig Tattersall; and Tokyo Bloodworm's doomy, creaking surprise hitting the vibe somewhere between Burial, Cuushe and Raime.
21.11.12 I Norman Records Mail Order
We're very pleased to announce that as from Thursday 22nd November, Norman Records in Leeds (UK) will be handling all our website orders.
Norman Records has been trading since 1996 and has built up a fine reputation for quality, speedy delivery of orders and knowledgable, helpful and friendly customer service.
Importantly for us - and in their own words - "We are, always have been, and always will be truly independent".
As far as our website customers are concerned, there will be little discernible change to how you purchase our titles. The only visible difference will be that instead of clicking a 'Paypal' button on the Buy page of the website, you will now click on the 'Norman Records' logo and this will take you through to the Norman Records secure site where you will check out your orders.
If you're not already familiar with Norman Records, as an introduction, and for a limited period, we will be offering a 'sale' on all of our back catalogue titles. Many of the titles will be seriously reduced, so now's the chance to snag yourself a real bargain. Check out the Buy page of the website.....
12.11.12 I HAM007 - Yuri Lugovskoy 2xCD - Igloomag Review
Brilliant, in-depth review from Philippe Blache, writing in specialist electronic music magazine, Igloomag....
"The collection of tracks compiled for this double album provides an absolute exquisite sense of electronic isolationism. Static, deeply moving winter-like ambiences and textures which progressively rise on the surface with fragile sound undulations, micro-variations and transparent minimal patterns....
....To sum up things, this self-titled release develops absolutely mind-blowing microtonal sound tapestries for a magically essential listening. Warmly recommended to everyone interested in trance-like picturesque music for the soul. A masterpiece in expressive minimal-dreamy like music. Album of the year."
The full, in-depth review can be found at Igloomag
08.11.12 I HAM007 - Yuri Lugovskoy 2xCD - Textura Review/Release Date
The release date for the Yuri Lugovskoy 2xCD has been put back a couple of weeks to 26 November. However, all pre-orders through our website will be sent out immediately. Here's a great review from Textura magazine....
"Yuri Lugovskoy's self-titled release for Home Assembly is an unusual, even curious affair in one respect more than any other: in the dramatic degree of contrast between the Ukrainian artist's own disc and the accompanying disc of re-interpretations by guests. Lugovskoy's half is as enigmatic as the producer himself, about which little is known aside from the fact that he's released a debut album on Moteer and been one-half of a split seven-inch single. Apparently PR photos aren't plentiful either, as an internet search yields a few photos of a bearded figure in the woods and onstage but not much more. Further to that, the disc's eight ambient-drone miniatures (they weigh in at a modest thirty-one minutes) are untitled, minimalistic, beatless, and hermetic. There's an elemental, even crude quality to the material, and its severely reduced character makes it sound like early electronic experiments conducted at some remote research facility. In a couple of pieces, blurry transmissions suggest incoming data from a lost satellite, while another's stuttering flow suggests the hooting of an owl from within a darkening forest. Ripples of grainy static murmur insistently in a way that suggests the amplified soundtrack of the body's inner workings.
Though Lugovskoy's disc possesses a strange attraction for its mystifying qualities, it's the forty-seven-minute second half that'll likely bring listeners back for repeat visits, especially when the likes of Strategy, Fjordne, William Ryan Fritch (aka Vieo Abiungo), Mugwood (Isan's Antony Ryan), and The Humble Bee (The Boats' Craig Tattersall) are among those appearing on it. In one very real sense, Lugovskoy's tracks are the ideal material for remixers in that being so reduced they allow for all manner of interpretative possibilities, and the guests do much to impose their individual stamps upon the original settings. As a demonstration of just how amenable the source material is, consider the differences between Strategy's beatless dub reverie and Chessie's dive-bombing dissonance.
Fritch's opening piece is as luscious as anything in his own Vieo Abiungo catalogue, dressed up as it is with strings and other sounds; the Lugovskoy track can still be heard, however, in the grainy industrial atmospheres haunting the background. A lovely pastoral meditation for piano, acoustic guitar, and swooping strings, Brave Timbers' contribution is similar in style to Fritch's, even if virtually no trace of Lugovskoy remains in the interpretation. Changing things up even further, Panoptique Electrical overlays Lugovskoy's electronics with a laid-back, acoustic jazz series of piano and drums gestures, while Insecto re-imagines the originating material as a breezy electro-funk workout that's heavily electronic by comparison. The Mugwood setting rises from the depths of a thick bath of pops and hiss to offer up a series of broken melodic figures that are as corroded as Lugovskoy's originals, while The Humble Bee's treatment is similarly textural, just as one would expect given the kind of material Tattersall's issued as part of The Boats."
28.10.12 I HAM007 - Yuri Lugovskoy 2xCD - Headphone Commute Review
"Yuri Lugovskoy's self titled album is a bit of a mystery. First of all, there's a shroud of enigma around the artist himself. You won't find much about this Ukrainian musician, except perhaps for his appearance on The Remote Viewer's Moteer label, back in 2010. To add to the confusion, that last release was also titled Yuri Lugovskoy, and contained eleven untitled tracks. The album of this particular review, contains just eight tracks. These, however, are also untitled, leaving one in desperation for knowledge (or not). The press release describes the music as influenced by the Berlin dub techno scene, but make no mistake, there are no Basic Channel beats on here. Instead, the pulsating tones are deconstructed beyond their original mysterious source, hovering somewhere between the sonic textures of beatless Gas and micro-dissected low-range oscillations of bvdub. These are short loop-based studies, slowly evolving in the mid and upper register of the frequency spectrum, until they take on a trance-inducing state of mild euphoria. The sound source is obscured, although I'm told it contains samples of old 70s movies, processed beyond recognition. The second disk is even more interesting, as it contains reworks of the originals from the likes of William Ryan Fritch, Brave Timbers, Mugwood, and Fjordne. These are ten beautiful, ambient and modern classical pieces. A welcome surprise from Home Assembly Music, a West Riding of Yorkshire (England) based independent label!"
04.09.12 I HAM007 - Yuri Lugovskoy 2xCD - Release date - 12 November 2012
We are now accepting pre-orders on our latest release from Yuri Lugovskoy.
The website purchase price is GBP10 which includes postage and packaging.
All pre-orders will be shipped before the end of October to ensure that they reach you in good time (on or before the release date).
We have uploaded a number of tracks from the album on to our 'Listen' page, so please feel free to sample for yourself.
Further details on all our releases can be found throughout the site.
We have also reduced the price of our back catalogue titles, so please go to our 'Buy" page and snag yourself a bargain.
23.08.12 I HAM007 - Yuri Lugovskoy - Coming Soon....
It gives us great pleasure to announce initial details of our next release which comes from the enigmatic Ukrainian artist, Yuri Lugovskoy. Not a lot is known about Yuri Lugovskoy and a search of the internet doesn't reveal a great deal of information other than his debut album was released on the excellent Moteer label and there has recently been a well received split 7" single. We have had the good fortune to have Yuri contribute a number of remixes to our release catalogue and from the very first remix he submitted (for Northerner's 'The Ridings' album) we were smitten by his rhythmically, meditative sound.
The latest self-titled, Yuri Lugovskoy album will be a double digipak affair, featuring eight original, immersive tracks on Disc One and on Disc Two individual tracks were selected and handed over to a few of our favourite artists to remix/re-interpret as they saw fit. The results of these adventures are nothing less than stunning.
The artists included on the remix disc are William Ryan Fritch, Mugwood (Antony Ryan from Isan), Brave Timbers, The Humble Bee (Craig Tattersall from The Boats), Tokyo Bloodworm, Panoptique Electrical, INSECTO, Strategy, Chessie and Fjordne.
Full details will be posted soon, as well as a few tracks for you to sample on our Listen page, so please keep checking back.
11.04.12 I HAM006 - Northerner 'I Am On Your Side' Tasty Fanzine Review
"The follow up to 'The Ridings' sees Bradford based guitarist Martin Cummings delve into a range of new, and at times slightly surprising, genres.
Diverse throughout, this is a bold and hugely elaborate release. The acoustic guitar melodies that typified Northerner's earlier offerings seem content to take a back seat as almost each track is taken for a spin by a new genre. Sampled soul vocals, minimal house and dubstep are a few of the unforeseen styles at the wheel. However, despite the great variety of sounds on display there is an impressive cohesiveness to this album and it flows gracefully throughout. Great care and attention has clearly gone into the sequencing of the album as well as each individual track.
Northerner clearly displays that he is a master, not jack, of many trades".
15.03.12 I HAM006 - Northerner 'I Am On Your Side' Boomkat Review
"Northerner forges an engrossing diversion into dubbed-out and rhythmic electronics with 'I Am On Your Side' for Saltaire's Home Assembly Music. If you know him from the ambient guitar works on 2009s 'The Ridings' 2CD or early releases on Misplaced and Hibernate, this album may come as a shock - but let's be fair, there's only so much soporific ambience a man can take before he's driven to the eternal kip! It's not a wholesale departure, but it is a fairly radical one, from the subtle Arthur Russell-sampling dub lope of 'Hey Come On, It's Love' to the heartwarming deep House melancholy of 'Health and Safety' and even slo-mo Electro on 'Line Noise' or Balearic disco on 'Whistleblower'. But fear not, sleepy pastoral types, his Vini Reilly-esque guitar is still at the core of the album, it's just used in different ways, sometimes lending tender strokes to supple disco grooves or sometimes taking centre stage against crisp, minimalist machine rhythms, but always with that sensitivity to soulful emotion. Fans of owt from Sandro Perri to aXXo, Hood or Robin Guthrie should be very pleasantly surprised by this".
12.03.12 I HAM006 - Northerner 'I Am On Your Side' Norman Records 5 Star Review
"The Clint (Norman Records) home stereo is the most fickle of mistresses with its Roman Abramovich style approach to hiring and firing each hopeful release daring to kneel before its crown. One disc that has managed to escape its wrath over the past month or so has been this, the excellent third album from West Yorkshire based Northerner. Northerners previous releases have showcased a sound sandwiched somewhere between the plaintive guitar twiddling of Vini Reilly and the type of drifting ambience served up by hip micro labels such as Hibernate (on which Northerner released its second album '1976'). This record though is a much braver step into a sound that crosses genre's almost improbably, taking in all manner of influence from dub techno, funk, dub step, hip hop, distorted ambience and eerie electronica yet always retaining the original evocative guitar playing as its core. At times recalling Vini Reilly if signed to Basic Channel or a Pennine-based Burial, each track has its own distinct feel, from the soulful samples on the Bibio-esque opener 'Hey Come On, It's Love' to the gorgeous late night melancholy of the Detroit house styled 'Health and Safety'. 'Duty Paid' hits the nail firmly on the head with a gorgeous Tape-like acoustic guitar melody gradually disintegrating, replaced by dubby delay and distorted church bells. If the albums remit is to place Martin Cummings heavily affected, delicate guitar into as many differing musical landscapes as possible then most of the time it works splendidly, particularly on the outrageously slinky night time atmospheres of 'Cala Macarelleta', the Durutti Column-with-beats title track or the bleak, beaten closer 'To Where?'. An impressive, highly original album which importantly unfurls more of its charms on each play".
06.03.12 I HAM006 - Northerner 'I Am On Your Side' Exclusive Website Edition
We are now taking orders for Northerner's new album, 'I Am On Your Side', which will officially be released on 12 March 2012. We are offering a special, limited edition which will only be available from ourselves and a few carefully chosen independent retailers. You'll get the CD plus a postcard featuring the same artwork as the CD and on the back of the postcard is a sticker containing a website address and a code which will allow you to download a further six remixes from the likes of The Declining Winter, Part Timer, Fieldhead, The Green Kingdom, Yuri Lugovskoy and H.A.M. We think these are the best set of remixes we have offered to date with all the artists moving out of their comfort zones to produce some astonishingly beautiful pieces. We have to give a special mention to Richard Adams and his The Declining Winter project at this point, who has shocked and delighted us all with a truly stunning remix - The Declining Winter, as you've never heard them before!
"Cummings touches on many stylistic bases on the fifty-minute I Am On Your Side, with dub, hip-hop, post-rock, and a great deal more included, and uses his atmospheric electric guitar playing as a unifying thread.
'Hey Come On, It's Love' eases the listener into his world with a dreamy downtempo groove that's equal parts laid-back funk and hip-hop and an arrangement fleshed out with soulful sampled vocals, keyboard textures, and crystalline guitar shadings. That funkier side of the Northerner style re-emerges to good effect on 'Line Noise',which even includes subtle traces of electro and acid. On 'Shipley Hush', Cummings tries his hand at deep, rootsy dub of the Sly & Robbie kind and manages to pull it off convincingly. 'Health and Safety' likewise impresses as a credible stab at late-night Detroit club music, with a lithe pulse acting as a solid foundation for his guitar flourishes and synth atmospheres. A funky variant of Afrobeat seeps into 'Whistleblower',which Cummings nicely sprinkles with marimbas and congas, and on a more languorous tip, the slow breeze of 'Cala Macarelleta' plays like the sonic equivalent of a carefree afternoon spent lolling at the beach, while the slightly more energized 'I Am On Your Side'captivates with its own brand of guitar-drenched dreamscaping". Textura.
"Northerner returns with an album that places funk, house and dub influences within unlikely British experimental guitar and electronic settings... think Durutti Column meets Arthur Russell with faint echoes of Basic Channel or Massive Attack-esque dub excursions... a really fine, refreshing record that confounds expectations and strikes out on its own..." Jumbo Records (Leeds, UK).
10.01.12 I HAM006 - Northerner 'I Am On Your Side' Coming Soon....
We are very pleased to announce details of our first release in over a year. It comes from Northerner, is entitled 'I Am On Your Side' and is due for release in March 2012.
Northerner's previous full length, 'The Ridings' (now sadly sold out) dealt in hushed, glacial, ambient guitar soundscapes. 'I Am On Your Side' marks something of a departure from this sound, soaking up all manner of leftfield influences from dub techno to micro house, instrumental hip hop, funk, soul and dubstep to chilling post industrial noise in order to create an album of wildly varying textures, but all held in place by Cummings' gorgeous, heavily effected, Vini Reilly inspired guitar playing. We're very excited about this release.
Full details will be posted shortly, including a website exclusive 'remixes download' and we will also be uploading a couple of tracks on our 'Listen' page, so please keep checking back.
15.12.10 I HAM004 - The Green Kingdom 'Prismatic' - Headphone Commute Review/Interview
Headphone Commute, "an independent resource of candid words on electronic and instrumental music" have written up this thoughtful review of The Green Kingdom's 'Prismatic' CD.....
"....Within his arrangements, melody and space work in tandem in an attempt to manifest what Cottone has called an 'optimistic nostalgia'for the listener 'an aural experience that can provide a momentary reprieve from the frenetic, fast-paced world that surrounds us'. And indeed his music is perfect for contemplative mornings and quiet evenings, where the vibe is to slow down and to reflect, and while listening this comes about quite naturally, as the familiarity of his work launches you back into memories of warm summer evenings past and gone, while at the same time, makes your heart beat ever faster for the future.... The full review can be found here.
In addition they have conducted a very interesting interview with Mike Cottone which casts some light on the many and varied influences that affect his approach to music making. It's definitely worth a look and can be found here
27.11.10 I The Declining Winter - 'Scenes From The Back Bedroom Window' (SFH-9)
Fans of Richard Adams', The Declining Winter project may be interested in this special treat which comes courtesy of the Italian imprint, Secret Furry Hole. It's a four track, 3" CD entitled 'Scenes From The Back Bedroom Window' and arrives packaged in a subtle, understated yet beautifully precise and stylish fold out card sleeve.
"With 'Scenes From The Back Bedroom Window' I was trying to make something a little more minimal with long stretched out notes. I wanted the whole thing to sound a little like it was underwater. It was recorded in the depths of winter with snowstorms so bad I had to walk six miles to get to work. I hope some of that feeling of detachment and isolation comes across in the music". Richard Adams.
"Four stifled/suffocated titles, the acoustic muted and the singing veiled, revealing a facet of the Declining Winter far more atmospheric than usual". Autres Directions.
"Organ chords, granulated vocals, and judiciously applied reverbs combine to form a slow burning, steady state piece, elemental and commanding, this is a far cry from anything released under the Declining Winter moniker thus far". Fluid Radio.
"The ability of the piece to retain its instrumental-ness even in the presence of a voice says a lot about the accomplishment of the instrumentation, a heavily reverberant hall of sonic mirrors in which guitar strings flutter endlessly". Disquiet.
'Scenes From The Back Bedroom Window' is currently available to order direct from Secret Furry Hole (Italy) or from Norman Records (UK) and further details including more images, tracks and even a stunningly evocative video made by Brooklyn based filmaker, Giacomo Belletti can be found at The Declining Winter website.
14.11.10 I HAM001 - Northerner 'The Ridings' Limited Edition 2xCD - Sold Out At Source
We have now completely sold out of Northerner's debut album, 'The Ridings' (HAM001). You may still be able to pick up a copy from the odd record store in the UK, such as Norman Records.
There may be a chance that we are able to retrieve a handful of copies (but it will only be a handful) from our distributors at some point and if we do, we'll update the website accordingly.
It is, of course, still available to purchase as a download from the usual outlets (iTunes, Amazon etc) and a higher quality FLAC version is available at Boomkat where you will also find all the Home Assembly Music releases in this format.
28.10.10 I HAM004 - The Green Kingdom 'Prismatic' Limited Edition 2xCD - Textura Review
Another nice review here, this time from Canada's Textura magazine....
"No one's nerves will be set on edge during the playing of Michael Cottone's latest The Green Kingdom collection, Prismatic, and that's no bad thing. There's certainly more than enough to get stressed about in these turbulent times, so another finely wrought helping of ambient electro-acoustic pastoralia goes down just fine in these parts, thank you very much. Tampering little with the formula he's worked with on previous outings, Cottone again brings into being quietly uplifting meditations filled with evocative micro-sound detail and wistful summer splendour. The prototypical track by The Green Kingdom embeds tiny slivers of processed bell tones, treated guitars, electronic textures, and thumb piano plucks within placid ponds of thick crackle and surface noise, and warms the results with harmonious rays of early morning ambiance.
'Radiance Reflected' finds The Green Kingdom paddling through the same waters as The Boats, as fragments of melody shimmer like sunlight reflections off a water's surface while a faint bass drum pattern resounds down below. A luscious microcosm of The Green Kingdom style, 'Wetlands' also shows how close in sensibility The Green Kingdom sometimes is to The Boats. In this case, the gentle swirl of piano accents, acoustic strums, vinyl crackle, and assorted other textures coleasces into five slighty hallucinatory minutes that's like a sunstroke-induced daze. In another's hands, 'The Largest Creature That Has Ever Existed' might have been an overwhelming onslaught designed to mimic the titular creature's size; in The Green Kingdom's universe, the creature must be a friendly giant of some kind, judging by the delicate swells of haze and crackle that slowly drift through the song.
Bolstering Prismatic's appeal is the fact that the limited edition release includes a hour-long, ten-track remix CD featuring contributions from The Boats, Part-Timer, Fieldhead, The Declining Winter, and Bvdub, among others. Bonus CDs are often footnotes to the release proper, but this one's clearly the exception to the rule. Insecto's 'Claude's Ghost'enlivens the original's sleepy countryside ambiance with syncopated clicking rhythms, H.A.M.'s 'A Prayer'becomes a velvety disco swoon powered by a breezy acid-inflected pulse, Northerner recasts 'The Largest Creature That Has Ever Existed'as a haunted techno thumper scented with opium, The Boats turns 'Radiance Reflected'into a surprisingly aggressive beat workout that distances itself dramatically from Cottone's original, and Bvdub stretches 'Wetlands' into a thirteen-minute 'Crossing Changxi' mix whose silken loops of piano droplets and electronics bear Brock Van Wey's indelible signature (though the breakbeats that suddenly charge in do come as a bit of a surprise). If anything, the stylistic range exemplified by the remixers' versions suggests multiple pathways Cottone himself might be wise to consider pursuing in order to keep The Green Kingdom project from settling too comfortably into a singular, predictable style". Textura
11.09.10 I HAM004 - The Green Kingdom 'Prismatic' Limited Edition 2xCD - Boomkat Review
Nice review here from Boomkat (Manchester, UK).....
"This latest edition from the Home Assembly camp is a double-disc affair, packaging the new album by The Green Kingdom (aka Michigan's Michael Cottone) with a bonus remix CD, featuring contributions from the likes of The Boats, The Declining Winter, Part-Timer, Northerner, Inch-Time and Bvdub. Mastered by Taylor Deupree, Prismatic invites plenty more comparisons with the 12k label's discerning microsound agenda, presenting whirled electroacoustics and quiet, melodious drones across forty-five wonderful minutes. It's easy to get bored of this sort of sound nowadays - the sheer volume of material like this coming our way at the moment is just staggering - but while it's playing, Prismatic feels like the only micro-ambient record you need ever hear. It's an unwaveringly lovely piece of work, produced to the highest standards, and it really doesn't matter that you've probably heard these sorts of crackly, tuneful laptop tones and processed bell chimes several times before, The Green Kingdom manages to make this stuff sound like fertile territory, at least for a little while. 'Claude's Ghost', 'Wetlands' and 'Bonfire [Tec]' are all especially good, each getting that all-important balance between harmony and texture just right. The hour-long, ten-track remix collection serves as a great bonus too, with particular highlights coming from the Burial-esque Northerner take on 'The Largest Creature That Has Ever Existed' and 'The Declining Winter's violin-laced take on 'Woven'.
06.09.10 I HAM004 - The Green Kingdom 'Prismatic' Limited Edition 2xCD Released Today
We are delighted to announce that The Green Kingdom's new album, 'Prismatic' is released today.
"This is another of those sublime, richly detailed & sensual excursions into sound that only truly works when there's nothing to detract from your purely solitary enjoyment of these crystalline, organic passages & gently massaging folds of near-tropical wonderment. Immerse yourself in this beauty, you may be gone sometime! A very elegant addition to the ever-expanding canon of modern sound-art & ambient classics out there! Limited initial copies arrive with a remix disc featuring the talents of bvdub, Inch-Time, Declining Winter, Fieldhead, Part Timer & The Boats (i.e. an all-star cast!!)." Norman Records (Leeds, UK)
"An immediately warm and comforting album, 'Prismatic' features a wide range of gentle and innovative sounds. Soothing crackling sits atop ambient drones, while bubbles of melodies casually float skywards before disappearing often as quickly as they emerged. Flowing steadily throughout, deviations in pace are rare but the journey is never a dull one with layers of inspired samples. Content to sit pre-dominantly in the electro-acoustic genre, The Green Kingdom add a sense of understanding and emotion to their music: qualities so often lacking in othersoutput". Tasty Fanzine
14.08.10 I HAM004 - The Green Kingdom 'Prismatic' Limited Edition 2xCD
It is with great pleasure that we announce details of our latest release, The Green Kingdom 'Prismatic', due on 6th September 2010.
The Green Kingdom is Michigan (US) resident Mike Cottone, a graphic designer and self taught musician. Having previously released CD's on SEM Label (France) and Own Records (Luxembourg) we are delighted that he has chosen to work with us for this release.
Utilizing a similar musical palette to last year's acclaimed 'Twig And Twine' CD and once again expertly mastered by Taylor Deupree (12k/Line), on this outing Mike ventures deeper into the landscape of The Green Kingdom with a collection of beautifully crafted, intricately detailed, organic/electronic instrumentals. Sitting comfortably amidst the field of electro-acoustic music production, what makes Cottone's work stand apart from his contemporaries is the warmth, emotion and true understanding of melody and harmony so evidently on display within these expansive arrangements. There is a real sense of space and depth to this collection which filters elements of dub, techno, folk and electronic experimentation through the prism of processed guitars, strings, bells and other sampled instruments.
Initial copies of 'Prismatic' come with a bonus disc of remixes from the likes of bvdub, The Boats, Part Timer, Insecto, H.A.M., Yuri Lugovskoy, Northerner, Fieldhead, The Declining Winter and Inch-time. These artists take the original compositions into some unexpected and exciting new musical territories.
11.07.10 I Fieldhead 'Riser' 10" Vinyl EP (Gizeh Records) - Release Date 26 July 2010
Those of you who bought Fieldhead's excellent debut album 'They Shook Hands For Hours' may want to investigate this beautiful new EP which is to be released by Gizeh Records on 26 July. Available as a download and (much more appealing) a limited edition of 250 numbered 10" vinyl (first 100 copies with special edition screenprint by TWODUCKSDISCO). We don't expect this to be hanging around for too long. Here's what the label have to say about it:-
"Riser was borne out of a desire to bring the sound of the human voice to the core of Fieldhead's music, and to rally against an idea of it as peripheral, as an afterthought to the music. The EP continues the love of tape hiss, grainy textures and dusty loops married with brevity and melody to be found in the album preceding it ('They Shook Hands for Hours'), but this time the palette has been stripped back to just the human voice and minimal, organic synthesisers.
Each track on this EP started life as a series of vocal recordings supplied by one of the five contributors: Anna-Lynne Williams (of Trespassers William), Chantal Acda (of Sleepingdog), Anneke Kampman (of Conquering Animal Sound), Elly May Irving (of Glissando) and Esker (of The Boats and The Sea). These recordings were then shaped and coloured to form the base for the music to grow from and to merge with. The result is a beautifully coherent whole, the warmth of the human voice working hand in hand with the emotive tonal drifts of Fieldhead's electronics."
Fieldhead's 'Riser' EP is available to pre-order from Norman Records (Leeds, UK) and should be available from all decent record shops (both real and digital) from 26 July.
22.06.10 I The Declining Winter 'Official World Cup Theme 2010' - Download Now Available
For those of you who favour downloads, this and all our releases are available to purchase in download format from the likes of iTunes, Amazon and Boomkat, as well as most other digital music dealers.
And for those of you who prefer the physical object, the exclusive website edition of this release has now all but sold out. We are now down to the last few editions, so if you want the extra freebies with this we recommend that you place your order soon to avoid disappointment.
Here's an extract from another review on the God Is In The TV website...."Beneath the driving drums, throbbing bass line and reverb drenched guitars though lays a rousing sing-along chorus. Ok, I doubt that you'll catch the England fans giving the team a version of the song's 'bring back the old silverware' chorus but the lyrics are there, along with commentary from John Barnes wonderful 1980 solo goal against Brazil to inspire football dreams and memories. Overall though this isn't a typical World Cup song and, title aside, the connection will soon be forgotten. Leaving instead an epically yearning tune from a very, very promising band who you might just fall head over heels in love with, and who won't leave you in tears after yet another penalty shoot out nightmare". The full review can be found here.
16.06.10 I HAM005 - 'Official World Cup Theme 2010' Norman Records 'Single Of The Week'
First of all we'd just like to thank once again, all of you who pre-ordered the website 'exclusive' edition of this release. All orders were shipped on Thursday and Friday of last week so if you haven't received it yet, please be assured that it's on its way. If you haven't ordered yet and would like to have the additional lyrics postcard and 'Panini' style stickers of all the band members, please don't delay as we have literally a handful of this edition still available.
We're beginning to notice some quite interesting reviews of the single and Norman Records (Leeds, UK) have awarded it 'Single Of The Week' status, "It's a million miles away from the usual World Cup song fare, assuredly melancholic, hauntingly sad yet strangely rousing... hits the back of the emotional net with a great piece of build up play from the strummed acoustic guitar and flair from both wings contributed by the lush string section". You can read the full review here and here are a few more.......
"Yearning and mournful resignation are the themes. Triumphalism and hubris have been wisely avoided. My personal World Cup 2010 Top Tip if you care more for music than goals" (8/10) Whisperin & Hollerin
"Has about as much to do with the World Cup at heart as Colourbox's Official World Cup Theme - even the sampled commentary is from a non-World Cup game, being of John Barnes' famous goal in the Maracana - but the Hood side project do good things marrying the influence of striped sunset sound of the Go-Betweens, Lucksmiths etc to pre-Ibiza New Order" Sweeping The Nation.
"a well timed curio about the current Pan-Galactic Soccer Tournament, and it is not half bad. This seems a feat of strange magnificence given our other World Cup musical options........." Drowned In Sound.
08.06.10 I HAM005 - The Declining Winter 'Official World Cup Theme 2010' Shipping News
We're very pleased to announce that we now have the CD's back from the manufacturer and are hoping to ship all website pre-orders this Thursday (10 June). Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered this item.
In addition to the 3 track CD Single we will also be including a limited edition, collectors postcard with lyrics printed on the reverse and a set of 6 'Panini' style stickers (see example, left) featuring all the members of The Declining Winter team.
We have a very limited number of this special website edition still available, so if you want the extra freebies, we recommend that you act fast and place your order now to avoid future disappointment.
17.05.10 I HAM005 - The Declining Winter 'Official World Cup Theme 2010' Limited CD Single
When Richard (Adams) told us, at the beginning of this year, that he had written a song for the forthcoming World Cup we were a little sceptical to say the least. Now the months have passed by and the World Cup is almost upon us and we had forgotten all about this song, when just last week Richard sent us the finished version. We couldn't believe our ears, it's fantastic!
All the ingredients are there; great lyrics, a stirring string section, punchy drums, trademark Adams bassline, emotional commentary and a rousing, singalong chorus. It's a rollicking great tune!
We decided immediately to try and pull out all the stops and have it manufactured in time for the start of the competition. You can pre-order this very special, limited edition CD Single (3 tracks in a full colour card sleeve) now on our Buy page and we'll be including a little extra something for the first 100 website orders. Whilst your ordering treat your ears to the excerpt that we have provided here. It really does have to be heard to be believed.
28.04.10 I The Declining Winter 'Goodbye Minnesota' - Limited 180 gram Vinyl Issue
Those of you who bought last years 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' 7" Single/CD Set might be interested to note that The Declining Winter's excellent debut album 'Goodbye Minnesota' has had a very limited vinyl issue. At the moment the only place on the planet that you can obtain a copy is at Norman Records in Leeds (UK)
"I guess the meaning behind the title 'Goodbye Minnesota' and that helps understand the delicate, organic & wistful beauty behind these tingling downtempo grooves. A mingling of simple acoustic guitar codas, dub textures, star gazing ambient electronics that give you goose bumps, melancholic 1 note keyboard lines, sad, graceful drums & reserved, tender vocals. I reckon that we've got ourselves an altogether sensual, pure & quietly exhilarating album that will delight fans of (especially) mid period Hood & the legendary Bristol indie underground. Includes help from his lil' bro Chris (track 6, a more upbeat & cerebral number could just be a classic Hood track!) and Manyfingers' Chris Coles on peerless backing duties. 180 gram vinyl packaged in a discophile sleeve with stickered artwork designed by Craig Boats, insert and unique postcard in each one. Amazing!" Norman Records
If you would like to purchase a copy, please click on the above link for Norman Records and it will take you straight to where you want to be.
25.03.10 I Fieldhead - April European Tour Dates
We're very pleased to announce details of Fieldhead's forthcoming European tour dates. It's been a busy year so far for Paul Elam and Fieldhead. Following a recent whistle stop tour of the UK and Europe with The Declining Winter he is now preparing to set off once again on a short European tour throughout April and will, amongst other things, be showcasing his brilliant debut album, 'They Shook Hands For Hours'. Organised in association with The Sleepsound Agency the tour kicks off in Prague on Thursday 15th April, then moves quickly on to Germany for dates in Leipzig and Berlin. After a short break it then takes in Belguim (Antwerp) on 24th April and finishes in The Netherlands (Dordrecht) on 25th April. Paul will also be accompanied on all dates by violinists, Sarah Kemp and Elaine Reynolds who complete the Fieldhead live ensemble. If you are local to any of these venues then please do try to go along and experience what should be a powerful and exciting live recreation of tracks from the album. For more information and ticket details please click on any of the links below.
20.02.10 I HAM004 - The Green Kingdom 'Prismatic'
It is with great pleasure that we announce initial details of our fourth release, due in the spring of 2010.
It comes from Michael Cottone, a graphic designer and sound artist based in Michigan (US) who records his solo works as The Green Kingdom. Michael's compositions blur the line between soundscape and structure, utilizing a variety of processed acoustic and electronic sources, sampled textures and field recordings. Further details will follow soon, so please keep checking back.
19.02.10 I Follow us on twitter.....
If you'd like to keep up with all the relevant news relating to the artists and releases on Home Assembly Music then please click on this link to follow us on twitter.
We'll try not to bore you with details of what we're having for our tea but will use it to alert you to details of any special offers or limited edition releases, plus news of any live dates that may be coming up and there will be links to where you can find more in-depth information.
01.02.10 I The Declining Winter/Fieldhead Live Dates and other news
Following the success of last year's 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' 7" Single/CD release, The Declining Winter will be playing a number of live dates throughout February 2010 both in the UK and Europe. They kick off in Birmingham (UK) on 13th February, followed by dates in Welwyn Garden City and London (UK). Then it's over to Europe for three nights in Belgium followed by concerts in France and Luxembourg. They will be ably supported on all dates by Fieldhead, the solo project of band member, Paul Elam who will be showcasing his critically acclaimed 'They Shook Hands For Hours' CD release. For more information and ticket details, please click on any of the links below.
13 - Birmingham (UK) | Colour at Island Bar
14 - Welwyn Garden City (UK) | Ludwick Family Centre
15 - London (UK) | Wilmington Arms
16 - Gent (BE) | Cafe Video
17 - Antwerp (BE) | Kavka
18 - Brussels (BE) | Les Ateliers Claus
19 - Metz (FR) | L'Emile Vache
20 - Luxembourg (LU) | D:Qliq
The Declining Winter's 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' featured in many a 'Top Albums Of 2009' round up, most notably in the 'Top Fifteen' at Norman Records (Leeds, UK) and Denis Frelat of French webzine 'Autres Directions' made it his No.1 Record Of The Year.
We've also noticed that Fieldhead's 'They Shook Hands For Hours' cropped up here and there in the 'end of year round-ups' with Ron Trembath of Seattle's Fensepost webzine including it in his favoutite albums of 2009 and a showing in the Top 25 of Liam Morley from Manchester's Boomkat Records. Jan Willem Broek also contacted us from the Netherlands to let us know that he had included it in his Kaleidoscope webzine's 'Top 20 Albums of 2009'.
More excellent reviews of 'They Shook Hands For Hours' continue to gain our attention and below we've included a number of excerpts with links to the full reviews, should you wish to read further.......
"....it really is a most beautiful collection of ambient soundscapes and delicate textured hip hop. An album featuring the most delicate of beats falling somewhere between the mellow hip hop of Four Tet and the dubstep of Burial. It's full of layered sounds which sees live instruments seamlessly merging with all manner of glitchy digital soundscapes. This is probably one of the finest ambient electronic albums we have heard all year...." Road Records(Dublin).
"Elam's music is as enconsed in the now as any. He draws heavily from the expansive drones of Machinefabriek & Jasper TX (both of whom appear on the limited remix CD), and incorporates folktronic cut-up acoustic guitars & violin, but also the bass and off-beat tocks of dubstep and 2step. Even better, often all of these elements end up in the one song....It's tempting to draw comparisons (given the nature of Fieldhead's beats) to Burial's rain-soaked atmospheres, but Burial's hauntological technique specifically references 90's club music in generating its wash of nostalgia. Elam is probably borrowing directly from contemporary genres like dubstep, but is interested in the sound for its own sake rather than evoking ghosts of the past. He has created a remarkably consistent sound despite the disparate influences. It's extremely effective and highly recommended".Cyclic Defrost
"'They Shook Hands For Hours' is steeped in subtlety. There is no instant gratification here. Instead, the listener is rewarded for this patience with an aural feast as layered textures interweave to create a feeling of loss, isolation, and redemption. Each melody and timbre takes a careful and considered approach; every sound appears at exactly the right time to have the maximum affect, showcasing Elam's compositional craft. Whether it is through found sounds, processed loops, or instrumentation, the creation of rich melodies is what drives the album, an approach that recalls the likes of Boards of Canada and Fennesz".The Silent Ballet
"...Tapes hiss, static crackles..... a record of real beauty as bleak and sparse and haunting as the landscape on the cover of the record. Like most minimalist electronic music it would be easy to dismiss this record and listen to something more accessible. However, that would not be doing this intelligent piece of art justice. Something about it keeps drawing me in. Keeps me listening over and over. The attention to detail on this record is indescribable....This is a brilliant record".
The Steinberg Principle
"....rather than a collection of loose ideas, They Shook Hands for Hours manages to combine seemingly contrary energies into a compelling fabric. A microcosm of the album is presented in opener "The Train is a Rainbow," with a Fennesz-inspired hydration of digital noise that coheres midpoint into lurching minimal beats....Melodies jitter like gate-caught film loops as generations of dust create halos around the projection. Perhaps not hauntology at its root, but haunted nonetheless".Exclaim!
"A friend of mine has a useful phrase for electronic music like this: 'music for staring out of windows to'. These washes of fizzing sound and gently tapping beats are exactly that, in a thoughtful, sophisticated and emotionally complex way. Seductively sad music for mindful chilling out".
Joe Muggs - The Arts Desk
20.01.10 I Fluid Radio - Home Assembly Music Mix
In November 2009 we were invited to contribute a mix of Home Assembly Music releases for broadcast on Fluid Radio.
We put together an hour long mix of specially selected tracks taken from our first three releases, together with some absolutely stunning remixes from the likes of Machinefabriek, Part Timer, aus and Pausal (amongst others). There was also an exclusive new unreleased Northerner track tucked neatly within the mix.
Altogether there were twenty-eight tracks, all edited and blended to create an hour long seamless mix, showcasing the variety of styles (we were surprised ourselves) and just plain gorgeous music that we have had the privilege of releasing so far.
11.11.09 I Fieldhead 'They Shook Hands For Hours' - Jumbo Records 'Pick Of The Week'
Jumbo Records in Leeds (UK) have named Fieldhead 'They Shook Hands For Hours' as their album of the week.
"Stunning solo album from Paul Elam of Declining Winter. Glitchy electronica, tape hiss and gaseous ambient are combined with organic instrumentation within a set of short tracks which condense avant garde styles into near pop formats. Fans of Machinefabriek, Philip Jeck or Stars Of The Lid should check - there's even a touch of Flying Lotus about the more beat-oriented tracks here. Excellent stuff".
Another couple of reviews that have caught our attention are from God Is In The TV and FensePost....
Miss Fliss, writing in God Is In The TV....."At its finest, post-rock is the modern day equivalent of classical music for me. The power lies in the instrumentation with no need for vocals and it transports the listener into the extreme ends of emotion. With it, it conjures imagery, pastoral, ambient and grand. Fieldhead are at the experimental end of the post-rock spectrum, where sounds are cryptic and electronic....the sonic textures are rich with eclecticism. Chiefly, we're exposed to all manner of blips, bleeps, whirs, howls, and drones. Sometimes a song gives you a physical sensation - such as brilliantly titled opener, This Train is a Rainbow, which feels like someone is shaking your head under water. Other times, there is a minimalism, the clunking of beats with the bare amount of synth strings and bass intertwining. There are clacks and booms, synth strings fazing in and out, violins heaving sad sighs, and an overall mood of contemplative melancholy that's bittersweet. Other songs resemble marine research, and make radar noises and seemingly track wave activity.
This is very much head music, or indeed headphones music. Sounds that form a tapestry, that can only be deciphered and rendered appreciated in the quiet of solitude. Anyone in search of new beat-driven ambient music of the minimalist variety, would do well to give Fieldhead an explore. There is much here to enjoy, with mind expansion into the bargain". The full review can be found here.
Ron Trembath, writing in Seattle based music blog FensePost...."Fieldhead's 'They Shook Hands For Hours' is that midnight hour electronica album anyone can enjoy. It is a true aural ambiance filled experience. As well as a digitalized scratch to the face. P. Elam (of The Declining Winter notoriety) has successfully broken out on his own with this fine first full-length solo release. At times it is very easy to criticize the instrumental electronica artist (a.k.a. laptop jockeys) for lack of vocals, but this album can easily rid these stereotypes by basically being plain directive and superior to others.
There is something oddly personal in this mixed bag of warm emotion and total freedom. P. Elam has a distinct and obvious sense of organized obscurity. His tracks are fuzzy at times, but always glistening. Ultimately this album is more than impressive. It exemplifies all that is good and well in a disturbing setting that seems so lost and lonely at times. A cure all for an anxiety filled existence.
With the release of They Shook Hands For Hours, this Leeds native should find his place in the English underworld of art. All it takes is a little creativity and an abundance of incomparable talent. And Fieldhead is a terrific demonstration of both. Any album that can leave you puzzled, amused, and disturbed all at once is definitely one to be considered renowned and well rounded. Which is exactly what this is".
02.11.09 I Fieldhead 'They Shook Hands For Hours' - Released Today
We're very pleased to announce that Fieldhead's debut album 'They Shook Hands For Hours' is released today. Initial copies include a special, limited edition, bonus CD of remixes from the likes of Machinefabriek, Jasper TX, Seaworthy, Northerner and The Declining Winter and you can find further information, as well as sample tracks from the album throughout these pages. To purchase your copy and avoid missing out on the limited remix CD please go to our Buy page.
The album has been receiving some excellent reviews and here are a few more......"Paul Elam first came to my attention earlier in 2009 as a member of The Declining Winter. Now the Leeds-based artist sets his course for a solo ambient project. Taking a similar approach to music as Talk Talk's Mark Hollis, Elam's theory is that 'a note is only there because it has to be'. Elam is true to his word but still manages to create some deeply evocative soundscapes.
'This Train Is A Rainbow'sets the agenda for the glitchy electronica and tape hiss that become notable features throughout the album. For 'Document One', some low-slung guitar work and warm ambient textures form a melody that is almost comforting. Listening to'Of October' at the end of this month makes perfect sense and it's infused with an appropriate chill factor that promises another cold English Winter. Meanwhile, mournful strings underscore the dark loveliness of 'He'd Found The Sea'and 'Songs Well Known'.
'They Shook Hands For Hours' never comes close to being the highbrow exercise in experimentation it could have been. Instead, Elam always manages to convey emotions and there's a constant sense of loneliness and despair to these tracks. In fact, one could imagine this album being the perfect accompaniment to walking through disused buildings on a cold autumnal day in Yorkshire". Jon Leonard - Leonard's Lair
"....Merging his love for drone & contemporary sound design with melodic electronica & glitch, this CD pulls you in from the off with the stripped back beats & drowsy phasing of 'This Train is a Rainbow' to the drifting, spectral drone/ambience of 'Half Names' & the looped, atmospheric eeriness of the title track.....his love for melancholy electronics, field recordings & ponderous neo-classical movement is most apparent, his pieces are lovingly structured and flow quite beautifully and his feel for both space & rhythm is well considered making this a treat to listen to". Norman Records
"....Paul Elam creates highly immersive electronic soundscapes full of glitch, ambient, growling and snarling sounds and obscure, sometimes up-tempo beats. The haunting character, the desolation and the hypnotic sounds all make sure you soon loose any touch with reality, in a nice way. The gritty sounds seem to fall like snow on a deserted landscape.... It is breath-taking. The melancholic beauty in three of the ten tracks is given even more splendour by a violinist....Hearing is believing in this case. Overwhelming beauty!" Jan Willem Broek - Kaleidescope
28.10.09 I Fieldhead 'They Shook Hands For Hours' - Boomkat Review
This excellent review at Boomkat just about nails it for us...."Following on from releases by Northerner and The Declining Winter, the Home Assembly Music imprint makes it three-from-three with this excellent solo outing from Paul Elam (a full-time member of the aforementioned Declining Winter). On the accompanying press notes, the label itself levels comparisons with Machinefabriek and The Caretaker, and you can certainly hear where they're coming from, although neither of those artists is especially likely to be dishing out Dilla-esque beats on their opening track the way Elam does on 'This Train Is A Rainbow'. Similarly, 'Document One' is very much in the same vein as Lone or Keaver & Brause - perhaps even Bibio's recent work - in its re-jigging of modern beat compressions with old, faded source material. There's enough beatless material here to destabilise those sorts of categorisations however: during 'Of October's scratchy glitch orchestrations and the Tim Hecker-style tonal drifts of 'Half Names' a different picture emerges. This hauntological hip-hop opus is really quite special, and certainly with songs like 'I'm Fond Of Maps' (think Burial, circa 1920) and 'He'd Found The Sea' there's an indication of exciting things to come from this artist. Highly recommended".
28.10.09 I Fieldhead 'They Shook Hands For Hours' - Tasty Fanzine Review
"Often, I find electronica a bit predictable....Then along comes an album such as 'They Shook Hands ...' and heard-it-all cynics such as myself are reminded that they posess more prejudices than they actually thought they did, and also that a lot of really good, orignal and innovative electronic music doesn't actually get heard very widely....At various points Fieldhead reference dub minimalism, spacey prog rock, adding moments of elegaic acoustic interplay, even just blank soundscapes that require the listeners imagination to bring them to life. The album is constructed with a clarity and attention to detail that some electronics performers miss out on....there is a proper aspect of minimalism to Fieldheads sound, and if there's one album I've heard this year that would bring a defined ambience to a large art gallery, then that album is most definitely 'They Shook Hands ...'. Quality." (Jon Gordon - Tasty Fanzine). The full review can be found here.
27.10.09 I Fieldhead 'They Shook Hands For Hours' - Autres Directions Review
Denis Frelat, writing in Autres Directions...."Fieldhead's work is more or less in the same range as his stablemate Northerner, which we can describe as electronica: instrumental, minimal, ambient. But far from just being musical wallpaper, They Shook Hands For Hours shines with emotions, inscribed by confident melodies and an impression of sensitivity radiates through the whole work". The full review can be found here and our translation from the French (courtesy of Caroline Cummings), can be found here.
19.10.09 I Fieldhead 'They Shook Hands For Hours' - Fluid Radio's 'Album Of The Week'
Fluid Radio have named Fieldhead's debut album 'They Shook Hands For Hours', their 'Album Of The Week'.
"Fieldhead's debut album looks like being another special release from the Home Assembly label....Been listening to this gorgeous album over the last few days and it easily warrants album of the week". It can all be found here and Fluid Radio is definitely worth tuning into.
19.10.09 I Northerner - New EP/Mini LP '1976' on Hibernate Recordings
Northerner has a new EP/Mini LP entitled '1976' which is due to be released on the Hibernate Recordings imprint (hb04) any day now. Pre-orders are being taken on the Hibernate Recordings website and further details can be found on our Releases page.
"Avoiding the familiar, Cummings sets about transporting the listener down new paths, where gossamer guitar textures mingle with shimmering, bucolic atmospherics, forgotten voices and deftly laced found sounds...."
18.10.09 I Fieldhead 'They Shook Hands For Hours' - Adequacy.net Review
"Fieldhead are.... making a bigger, louder, and more intriuging noise than, given any of my own preconceptions about music of this type, I was entirely prepared to hear.... a name to watch out for, as producers, performers, or just the faceless mavericks they undoubtedly are. Play loud". The full review can be found here.
12.10.09 I Fieldhead 'They Shook Hands For Hours' - More Reviews
Online music magazine Whisperin' And Hollerin's review of Fieldhead's debut album 'They Shook Hands For Hours' starts with these words......"This elegant album communicates integrity and substance in the few seconds it takes to open the case and start listening to the first track, "this train is a rainbow". The decisive minimalism of the graphics and the carefully dense texture of the music announce a wish to be known and listened to, with an assurance that there will be a lot to hear and nothing dropped carelessly in simply because it can be (9/10)". The full review can be found here.
And here's one from Die Shellsuit Die......."To be brief, 'They Shook Hands For Hours' sounds like Merzbow doing a chill-out album. Yes, it is that good - and disturbing. Minimalist without being minging, drone without being dirge, Fieldhead conjures up a variety of soundscapes to lose oneself in, like opening a door and suddenly being swamped by the cut-up soundtracks to late-night films.....". The rest of the review can be found here
06.10.09 I Fieldhead 'They Shook Hands For Hours' - Dutch Review
Here's the first review we've found of Fieldhead's debut album 'They Shook Hands For Hours'. It's from the Dutch website 'IkEcht' and the full review can be found here. Below is our best translation.
"....The album clocks in at just short of 40 minutes. It is filled with sounds that for the lack of better description I will just call rhythmic ambient soundscapes, or something like that. Hard to pigeonhole. It clearly is electronic music, somewhat minimal, but not forgetting to write real songs and add melody. The warmth of "real" instruments is used at times as well.
No matter how we describe the music, some pieces of the tracks could just be dark (not too dark, but dark still) ambient, but when they progress they get more and more structure and rhythm. At times it even makes you think of the somewhat more obscure acts on the Funkwelten label. Then again a few seconds later you are listening to hiss again. It for sure is an intriguing album.
An album that I dare say is good. Songs grow on you every time you spin them, reveal another bit of themselves. This effect is not reached by making the songs very bombastic, there isn't bombast in here at all. These are very well-crafted songs. I at least can sit, listen and enjoy...."
'They Shook Hands For Hours' will be released on 2nd November 2009. To pre-order your copy and ensure that you will also receive the additional bonus disc of remixes from the likes of Machinefabriek, Jasper TX, Seaworthy, The Declining Winter, Northerner etc, please visit our buy page.
22.09.09 I Fieldhead 'They Shook Hands For Hours' CD - Pre-order Details
We're very pleased to announce that we are now taking advance orders on Fieldhead's debut album 'They Shook Hands For Hours'. The official release date is 2nd November 2009 and initial copies will come with a limited CD of remixes from the likes of Machinefabriek, Jasper TX, Seaworthy, The Declining Winter and Northerner (amongst others). Full details can be found on our 'Releases' page and we have also uploaded tracks from the album on our 'Listen' page. To ensure you receive the bonus disc of remixes we would recommend that you pre-order your copy on our 'Buy' page.
21.08.09 I The Declining Winter - More Reviews
Fluid Radio have included The Declining Winter 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' in their top ten list for August. An excellent online radio station and definitely worth a look/listen.
A couple more reviews of 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' have also come to our attention. The first is from the online music magazine The Line Of Best Fit. "The dark snowy scenes that act as The Declining Winter's album covers are very apt, the strangeness of snow covering once familiar places, white pitching out in the dark, the incredible sense of loneliness (which can be comforting as well as terrifying).......". The second comes from Birmingham's We Are Colour. "Haunt The Upper Hallways is a fascinating continuation of a journey; the hallways of the title perhaps representative of Adams obsession with a particular sound, with this a meticulous documentation of his findings within them. It will be interesting to see what he does next, whether these preoccupations become spectres in the background of a new sound or continue to dominate his work".
Succinctly encapsulating the essence of 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' in just a couple of sentences. To read the full reviews or visit Fluid Radio, please click on the respective links.
29.07.09 I HAM003 - Fieldhead 'They Shook Hands For Hours'
It is with great pleasure that we announce initial details of our third release, due in the autumn of 2009. It comes from Leeds resident, Paul Elam, who records his solo works as Fieldhead. Paul is a full-time member of The Declining Winter and recently contributed a remix to the bonus CD of 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' (HAM002). His remix of 'Cull' is also featured on Northerner's CD 'The Ridings' (HAM001). 'They Shook Hands For Hours' will be his debut album and a limited number of copies will be issued with an accompanying CD of remixes from the likes of Machinefabriek, Jasper TX, Seaworthy, The Declining Winter, Library Tapes and Northerner (amongst others). Further details, together with sample tracks and information on how to pre-order your copy and ensure you get the bonus CD, will be posted throughout these pages very soon, so please keep checking back.
29.07.09 I The Declining Winter - Bonus Remix CD Sold Out
The limited edition bonus CD of remixes of The Declining Winter 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' has now completely sold out. The only place you may still be able to get hold of a copy is from Linus Records in Tokyo who are stocking a small supply.
The original 7" Single/CD set is of course still available either from our Buy page or most decent record shops.
25.07.09 I The Declining Winter - Subba-Cultcha Review
"....makes for some stirring listening.......opening with the title track, the tone is immediately set for an opulent, dynamic affair. Via intertwining melodies, deep-bass hooks and ghostly disembodied vocal tracks. At once the music is both somewhat esoteric and deeply involving. Being at once atmospheric, engaging and somewhat sensual.....In conclusion then it's an engaging, relaxing, atmospheric pretty special record, that seemed to come out of the middle of nowhere. Inspired". The full review can be found at Subba-Cultcha.com
24.07.09 I Norman Records - 'Single Of The Week'
The Declining Winter 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' has been awarded 'Single Of The Week' at Norman Records......"Haunt The Upper Hallways marks the return of The Declining Winter and introduces, what I assume to be an innovative new release format. 'Haunt the upper hallways' is ten tracks spread over a 7" and a CD. Certainly a cool way of providing plenty of content without faffing about trying to find an affordable MP3 download service provider. I like this format a lot oi tell thee. You've got a nice rekkid for home use and a less expensive product you can lend to your pals or play in your vehicle on your way to wherever....it's versatile see! Now the single (mini-album?? i don't know) is totally mint and fully in keeping with what I'd expect from one half of the brothers Hood.....Seek this out quick and you'll also be treated to an additional remix CD (exclusive to NORMAN RECORDS)". You can find their full review here at Norman Records where you can still get hold of the additional CD of remixes.
24.07.09 I Boomkat - 'Album Of The Week'
Boomkat have awarded The Declining Winter 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' 'Album Of The Week'. Here's an extract of their review."....leading with a title track that instantly transports you to the kind of idiosyncratic acoustic frameworks that held together classic Hood recordings. It's a familiarly stark, rustic sound-world, full of tumbling beats and sweeping, harmonised violins, yet in this context it takes on an altogether poppier discourse. 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' is full of colour and lyricsim, yet it's also packing a bit of a punch thanks to the hip-hop-in-a-barn quality of the drums. 'My Name Is In Ruins' follows suit with a line in plucked dulcimers and whooshing layered vocals, while the strings really start to take hold during 'Hey EFD' - it's a wonderful thing......Gorgeous music - Highly recommended". You can read their review in full here, Boomkat.com
21.07.09 I The Declining Winter - God Is In The TV Review
Here's an extract from God Is In The TV online music magazine's review of The Declining Winter 'Haunt The Upper Hallways'.".....Largely instrumental, 'Haunt the Upper Hallways' is a delicately sad affair. Thrums of electronic bass underpin cascading keyboard tones, creating layers of lush and monumentally sad sounds. Sometimes these keyboard sounds fall like rain (as in the recurring Hey EFD), sometimes they soar like string sections.....Slow, sensitive, subtle ambient electronica is the order of the day with The Declining Winter, and 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' stands as another fine achievement in Richard Adams' canon. To read the full review please follow this link God Is In The TV
18.07.09 I The Declining Winter - Remixes CD Offer - Sold Out
The offer of the free CD of remixes, included with the first 100 website orders of The Declining Winter 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' has now closed. You can still purchase the 7" Single/CD set direct from us but if you're also after the additional CD of remixes then please follow this link to the Norman Records website where they have an exclusive supply on offer.
17.07.09 I The Declining Winter - Web Order Shipping News
We are pleased to report that we have finally taken delivery of The Declining Winter 'Haunt The Upper Hallways'. To all our customers who have ordered this item through the website, we once again thank you for your continued patience and confirm that all orders will be dispatched on Monday 20 July. This release should then appear in the shops on Monday 27 July.
14.07.09 I The Declining Winter - Penny Black Music Review
Chris Jones, writing in Penny Black Music online magazine......."All those adjectives that work for Hood tracks -- pastoral, somber, autumnal, haunting, ... -- work equally well here. This album continues from there along a path which has enough familiar landmarks to draw you further along before suddenly you realize that you aren't on the path you thought you were. Strings and dulcimers pop out with an almost eerie quality. The vocals too have been altered and shifted in ways to lend them a netherworldly quality. Drums skitter and stagger at times throughout the journey, but manage to compel one onward. At this point, what at first seemed like a familiar landscape has clearly been distorted and rearranged to a much greater extent than expected. It's as if Adams took the elements from past Hood works and stripped them bare, examined them, modified them, added to them and then reassembled the whole lot using different hands and ears. After all these years of listening to Hood and Hood related bands, I'm not sure why I didn't expect this album to be unexpectedly fresh and engaging, but I'm looking forward to going down a familiar new path again sometime soon". The full review can be found at this link Penny Black Music
11.07.09 I The Declining Winter - Further Delays
We're sorry to have to report that there is another delay on The Declining Winter 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' Single/CD. We were promised that we would have it delivered to us on Friday but disappointingly this did not materialise. We realise that this is totally unacceptable as far as those of you who have ordered your copies through the website are concerned and once again offer our sincere apologies. We too, are extremely unhappy about this situation and are doing all we can to bring it to a speedy conclusion. We have now been promised that it should ship to us (from the Czech Republic) early this coming week, so we're hoping to be in the position to dispatch all our website orders by the end of next week. We will of course post any further details on this site as soon as we have them and once again thank you for your continued patience and understanding.
10.07.09 I The Declining Winter - Kaleidoscope Review
Jan Willem Broek, writing in Caleidoscoop online magazine in The Netherlands, has kindly provided us with an English translation of his review of 'Haunt The Upper Hallways'. It goes like this "......it must be said, with his release 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' Richard Adams is giving us quite a treat. You get not only a 3-song 7" Single, but also a CD with 10 tracks. After Northerner's debut, this is the second release on the prestigious Home Assembly Music. Richard focuses on atmospheric post-rock with elements of ambient, neo-classical music and experimental electronics. Beside the electronics you hear various acoustic instruments like strings, guitars, thumb pianos (or sounds of it) and percussion. They form a ghost-like symbiosis, supplemented with samples and real singing. Richard let's all sounds converge in an unusual way and experiments with different rhythms, which often has a peculiar effect. Dreamy and folk like, but within the boundaries of the genres named above. The atmosphere is sultry and subdued. Think of a highly original hybrid of Helios, Rachel's, Peter Broderick, Talk Talk, Centenaire, Dirty Three, The Boats, Manyfingers and of course Hood. If you're really fast you'll also receive an extra remix-cd with great mixes of Part Timer, Fieldhead, James Yates, Library Tapes, Winter North Atlantic, Northerner, Trap Remit, Strategy and one of the band itself. In short, a triple thick release which is way too good to be true!"
08.07.09 I The Declining Winter - Autres Directions Review
The review of The Declining Winter 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' by Denis Frelat, writing in Autres Directions online magazine goes something like this....."If, like its predecessor (Goodbye Minnesota), 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' has been recorded on home equipment, it is significantly less electronic. Cut through with acoustic instruments and carried higher by breathy vocals spliced with heavenly choirs, the album also strives to blend experimental sounds with harmonies, austerity with empathy, silences with spectacular sweeping sounds. Excessively ambitious given the means at his disposal? No, certainly not, for Richard Adams approaches his arrangements with meticulous design, with melodies at the same time ethereal and shattering, punctuating these soaring compositions here and there with silky chords, intimate guitar touches and sultry choruses......'Haunt The Upper Hallways' is where the artist hones his craft, transcending melancholy with passion". Autres Directions (translated from French).
07.07.09 I The Declining Winter - Crumbs In The Butter Review
Crumbs In The Butter online magazine review of The Declining Winter 'Haunt The Upper Hallways'......"Anyone familiar with 'Hood', will find much to enjoy within this release, Adams has taken lessons learnt and has crafted his own unique vision of days gone by. Where Hood mixed it up and added everything from Rappers to mad electronic soundscapes, Adams has laced his own moniker with oboes, violins and ghost like vocal warbles. The overall effect is stark but brimming with depth and moments of gratifying heartache....This album could cool the sun if only my speakers would reach that far."...... The full review can be found at a click of this link Crumbs In The Butter
06.07.09 I The Declining Winter - Release Update and Reviews
We have now been advised by our manufacturers that we can expect to take delivery of The Declining Winter 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' this coming weekend. This means that we should be in a position to ship all our website orders early next week. So to all our website customers, thanks for your continued patience and hopefully the wait is coming to an end.
"....an album of darkly beautiful, slightly unsettling, slowburn songs....Using an array of interesting instruments Adams creates something that is at once unique and compelling". echoesanddust.com
"The title track ('Haunt The Upper Hallways')....it's a great mixture of acoustic guitar, shuffling percussion and sighed harmonies, rounded off by a mournful brass finale. A great lost Hood track, one might say. 'My Name In Ruins'is another winner with its queasy changes of pace and Adams' melancholic enunciations making up a very unusual and melodic song....an adventurous solo performer with a gift for conveying comfort and warmth amidst the bleak fog". Jon Leonard (Leonards Lair).
"The throbbing bass, gentle strings and guitar motifs of the title track are perfectly judged, creating a somnambulant atmosphere that drips with opiate influence. 'Where The Severn Rivers Tread' is a wonderful amalgam of staccato strings, swelling bass, jazz infused drums, and all manner of percussion. musicOMH
28.06.09 I The Declining Winter 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' Review In Opus.fm
Here's a small taste of what Jason Morehead, writing in opus.fm, has to say about 'Haunt The Upper Hallways'....
"Think of the long, pastoral moments from The Cycle of Days and Seasons (Hood 1999) and Rustic Houses, Forlorn Valleys (Hood 1998) injected with post-classical fragments from Rachels and Steve Reich as well as some small amounts of dub and folk and then all of it filtered through the sort of autumnal, melancholy, overcast haze that Hood and the rest of their Nostalgist ilk are so inclined towards and you're getting close".
"I won't pretend otherwise and not say that the title track is easily one of the best Hood-related songs in a good long while. The song is thrilling to listen to if only to hear the graceful and evocative manner in which Adams and his collaborators weave together the expected elements. Churning feedback, shuffling percussion, acoustic guitars, strings, shimmering keys, and ever-so-breathy vocals over the song's nearly six minutes".
To read Jason Morehead's comprehensive review in full, please visit opus.fm
27.06.09 I 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' Remixes
For a flavour of what to expect from the additional CD of remixes, included free with the first 100 website orders of The Declining Winter 'Haunt The Upper Hallways', please visit our listen page where you'll find a couple (Part Timer and Northerner respectively). The full line up of remixers on this additional bonus CD is Part Timer, Fieldhead, James Yates, Library Tapes, Winter North Atlantic, Northerner, Trap Remit, Strategy and one from Richard Adams himself.
25.06.09 I The Declining Winter 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' Delayed Release
We're disappointed to have to announce that due to delays with our manufacturer the release of The Declining Winter 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' has had to be delayed. We have been assured by the manufacturer that full production is underway and it shouldn't be too much longer (we are hoping days rather than weeks). To all those who have pre-ordered this release through our website we offer a sincere apology for any disappointment this will cause and thank you all for your patience and understanding. Please be assured that we will do all we can to get your orders out to you as soon as possible and we will post any further details on this site just as soon as we have them.
17.05.09 I The Declining Winter 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' Pre-order Details
29th June 2009 sees the release of the first new material from Richard Adams' The Declining Winter project since last years critically acclaimed CD 'Goodbye Minnesota'. 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' is a luxuriously packaged 7" single which also includes a 10 track CD album. In addition to this, the first 100 website customers will also receive a bonus CD of remixes of 'Haunt The Upper Hallways' from the likes of Part Timer, Winter North Atlantic, Northerner, Fieldhead and Richard Adams himself (among others). Full details can be found on our releases page and you can also find a couple of full audio tracks on our listen page. To pre-order your copy of 'Haunt The Upper Hallways', please go to our buy page.
02.03.09 I Northerner 'There'll Be Other Holidays'
An extremely limited number of Northerner's debut EP 'There'll Be Other Holidays' have been made available on the Misplaced Music website. The EP can also be purchased as a digital download at Boomkat in both mp3 and FLAC versions.
"....a lovely CD of electronic wonderment. Simple, understated beats, gliding textures & manipulated guitars prevail to provide us, the mere listener, with an all enveloping aural hug....just gorgeous, suspended ambient bliss with a smooth, worry-free brow. Seven varied and compulsive tunes..... Simply divine!". Norman Records.
"Although there's an electronic sheen cast over everything, the central creative force behind this record is Cummings' delicate, effects-laden guitar, plotting out resonant, reverberant lines on pieces like 'No Gloom' while 'Mule', 'UV' and the atmospheric, string-driven 'Looking Up' bring a more textural approach to composition, reigning the guitar into more ensemble-based productions. Lovely home listening fare, no doubt". Boomkat.
28.02.09 I Crumbs In The Butter
Crumbs In The Butter online magazine review of Northerner 'The Ridings'......"The naturalistic approach of less being more is here in abundance. The quiet moments of reflection create anticipation of something more beautiful arriving and in each song new awakenings force you gently to take a back seat and listen. This musical world satisfyingly drifts by but pulls you in, leaving you sated and sedated. This will definitely be one of the albums of the year and I can safely say that, even though we are in February. Ambience at its most innovative and original"...... The full review can be found at a click of this link Crumbs In The Butter
23.02.09 I Piccadilly Records - 'Record Of The Week'
Piccadilly Records have made Northerner 'The Ridings' 'Record Of The Week' in their 'avant-post rock. drone' category. Their full review can be found at www.piccadillyrecords.com
21.02.09 I Norman Records - 'Album Of The Week'/Boomkat - 'Recommended Release'
Norman Records have awarded Northerner's debut album 'The Ridings' 'Album Of The Week' and Boomkat have included it in their list of 'Recommended Releases'. You can read their full reviews at www.normanrecords.com and www.boomkat.com.
15.02.09 I 'The Ridings' Release Date/Pre-order Details
The release date for Northerner's album 'The Ridings' has now been confirmed as 23rd February 2009 and is available to pre-order on our buy page. The first 50 website orders will also include a free set of Home Assembly Music postcards. (please note, we have now sold out of the postcard offer although the double CD is still available).
06.02.2009 I [sic] Magazine/Leonards Lair
Jon Leonard, writing in [sic] Magazine and Leonards Lair has described Northerner's debut album 'The Ridings' as "....likely to be one of the most significant releases of the year" and "....the first great album of 2009". Click on either of the two links (above) to read his full review.
02.02.2009 I The Garden Of Earthly Delights
Head Gardener Shane Quentin has named Northerner's debut 'The Ridings' as his album of the month in his February chart. The Garden Of Earthly Delights broadcasts on radio station CRMK Online in the UK on Fridays at 10pm and is well worth tuning in for.
24.01.2009 I HAM002 - The Declining Winter 'Haunt The Upper Hallways'
We are pleased to confirm that the next release on Home Assembly Music will be from The Declining Winter, the solo project of Richard Adams (founder member of Hood, along with brother Chris). Both Richard and Chris (in his guise as Bracken) appear as remixers on Northerner's debut album 'The Ridings'. The Declining Winter's release is scheduled for spring 2009 and we will be posting further information on this site very soon, so please keep checking back.
29.11.2008 I HAM001 - Northerner 'The Ridings'
Northerner's debut album, 'The Ridings'is now ready for release in early 2009. As it is also the debut release from Home Assembly Music we have invited a number of artists to remix tracks from the album and the whole thing will be presented as a double CD package.
'The Ridings'is made up of eleven beautifully crafted instrumental pieces for guitar and other instruments. Ranging from deceptively simple acoustic variations to moments of warm, ethereal, drifting ambience to more complex compositions incorporating sampled 'found sounds'to create a sometimes melancholic, always deeply involving listening experience.
The additional CD of remixes takes these compositions into new musical territories, so you'll find Fieldhead's powerfully raw and emotional 'wall of sound' followed by Chris Adams' Bracken project delving into the oscillating, sub bass depths of magnetic dub last explored on the mysterious aXXo 12inch single, released on the Killtone imprint. Tokyo's Yasuhiko Fukuzono (aus) presents a remix of staggering beauty and emotion (hear for yourself on our 'Listen' page) and Richard Adams (founder member, along with brother Chris, of influential indie experimenters, Hood) offers an intensely moving, quietly epic overhaul complete with additional vocals in his guise as The Declining Winter. Taking the prize for fastest remixer in the southern hemisphere is Australia's John McCaffrey (Part Timer). We emailed the files to him one morning and seven hours later a fully formed work of crunching beats and elegant guitar flourishes arrived back in our inbox. Glen Shipley ups the BPM's a little on his piece of grinding MPC driven funk which is followed by Gareth S Brown's dazzling piece of modern composition. Anyone who has been stunned by his two albums 'Iron Henry' and 'The Gallows/Royal College O'Surgeons', released on Misplaced Music, will know what to expect. The brilliant Epic45 duo provide an eerily nostalgic, drifting piece of ambience conjuring up late night LW radio transmissions followed by Make Mine Music labelmate, Portal whose uncanny knack for melody makes for a beautifully subtle and lilting remix. Rounding things off are Winter North Atlantic whose somewhat menacing, swamp blues evocation rapidly evolves into a piece of utter majesty and the truly beautiful and deceptively complex, rhythmic ambience of Yuri Lugovskoy. Altogether, a wonderfully eclectic companion to Northerner's original work.