Montreal-based Frenchman Olivier Alary is a highly talented composer, who has previously collaborated with Bjork and released albums on FatCat and Aphex Twin’s Rephlex label under the name Ensemble, Over the past five or six years Olivier has moved away from that song-based project to focus on composing material for a stream of films and artistic collaborations. In 2007, Olivier’s director friend Yung Chang asked him to score his feature-length debut, 'Up the Yangtze' which premiered at Sundance. The film was critically acclaimed and became a reference in the field, opening up a natural transition into film music for Olivier. Since then he has soundtracked more than twenty feature-length fiction films and documentaries, several of which have received prestigious awards and screenings worldwide (Cannes, Berlinale, Sundance, TIFF, Locarno). As the album title alludes, ‘Fiction / Non-Fiction’ is a compilation of this film music, dating from from the past five years, none of which has been previously released. Olivier’s material here might sit somewhere among the likes of Jóhann Jóhannsson, A Winged Victory For The Sullen, Stars Of The Lid, and Set Fire To Flames, while having the same masterly ear for sonic detail as Oneohtrix Point Never or Tim Hecker, but throughout the tracks are imprinted with Olivier’s own, signature sound. Largely self-produced, the material on the album was recorded at a variety of dates and locations, and utilizes a range of instrumental set-ups. It features performances from the Babelsberg Filmorchestra, The Wroclaw Score Orchestra, Saint Stanislas de Kostka Choir, members of the Warhol Dervish String quartet, as well as pianist / arranger Johannes Malfatti, saxophonist Erik Hove and many other musicians from the hyper-dynamic Montreal music scene. With a beautifully broad range across these 17 tracks, they shimmer and hang like a shifting series of little dreamscapes. Each track witnesses Olivier’s precision and attention to harmonic and textural detail, confirming his sheer talent at layering / arranging sound. From the rich, smoky, deeply atmospheric saxophone-led tracks like ‘Yu Shui’ and ‘Flooding’ to the lusciouslytextured ascension of ‘Nollywood’ (the closest-sounding thing here to Ensemble), they showcase the emergence of a composer of considerable talent.
Following the release of their acclaimed 2012 debut, Everything Touching, Tall Ships were championed by both the BBC and NME, selling out shows across the UK and headlining the BBC Introducing Stage at Read- ing & Leeds Festival. Their debut earned a wealth of critical praise, with Pitchfork citing its penchant for “the more swashbuckling strains of Okkervil River and Modest Mouse, M83's downcast glimmer, and Sigur Rós' misty yawn,” and BBC Music claiming, “the trio’s debut displays dizzying craftsmanship.” After a patch of personal turmoil and a falling out with their record label, the band found themselves at a crossroads. Where lesser band’s might have crumbled under the weight of expectation and adversity, Tall Ships regrouped and retreated to keyboardist Jamie Field’s country home to re-adopt a similarly DIY recording process to that which birthed Everything Touching years earlier. As such Impressions bristles with a fresh intensity: it’s a set that feels constantly on a knife edge of unpredictability, capable within a single song of being both disconcertingly tender and universal - easily the most ambitious and anthemic music the band has ever written, marking them out as one of the UK’s most promising rock bands but one worn with the battle scars of doubt, fragility and lessons learned the hard way.
FatCat Records’ 130701 imprint has played a pioneering role in the development of today’s vibrant post-classical scene. It has introduced the likes of Max Richter, Haus- chka, and Set Fire To Flames, and has been home to Sylvain Chauveau, Jóhann Jóhannsson, and Dustin O’Halloran. With its fifteenth anniversary approaching on 13th July 2016, 130701 is celebrating with the release of a compilation featuring eleven exclusive tracks - one from each of the artists to have graced the roster over the past fifteen years, plus three new signings - Ian William Craig, Olivier Alary and Resina - whose first 130701 albums are each set to appear this year. Curated and compiled by 130701’s David Howell, none of these tracks has previously seen a physi- cal release. Opening with the sumptuous textural shimmer of Olivier Alary’s ‘Yangtze’, the album moves through the poignant, prepared-piano and string sweep of Dustin O’Halloran’s ‘Constreaux No. 2’ and the wobbly solo piano lyricism of Dmitry Evgrafov’s ‘Anthem’ before taking a somewhat darker, more intense turn on Set Fire To Flames epic ‘Barn Levitate’. A ten-minute track featuring members of Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Fly Pan Am, and others from the hyper-creative Montreal community of the early ‘00s, it is the first new SFTF material to appear since their sophomore album ‘Telegraphs In Negative’ came out way back in 2003. Another new signing, Polish cellist/ composer Resina’s track ‘June’ follows organically on from here, her solo cello swelling and slowly flowering through the frost. Hauschka’s ‘Quiet’ dates from the Ferndorf’ album period (2008) and sees the German artist paring down to just his trademark prepared piano on this beautifully lyrical little track. French artists Sylvain Chauveau and Emile Levienaise-Farrouch are paired beside one another - the former’s ‘NB’ follows on in a shimmer of suspended guitar delay before Levienaise-Farrouch’s ‘Alethia’ dances through an echoing web of piano. Max Richter, who released five albums with 130701 between 2004 and 2012, contrib- utes the wonderfully unravelling ‘Bach Study’, whose decay-shroud is echoed in Canadian Ian William Craig’s too-brief gem, ‘Tender Fire’ – Craig’s classically trained vocal layered and processed through his customised tape to tape decks. The album ends on a stellar live recording of Jóhann Jóhannsson’s ‘They Being Dead Yet Spea- keth’ (from ‘The Miners’ Hymns’ project), recorded with the Wordless Music Orches- tra, conducted by Gudni Franzson for New York Public Radio at the World Financial Center Wintergarden, NYC, 31st January 2012. A glowering, stunningly executed 12-minute piece, it feels like a suitably epic way to bring down the curtain on acompi- lation celabrating a wonderful first 15 years for the label. 2016 marks an invigorating injection of fresh blood for 130701, and the 15th anniver- sary celebrations planned for this year will be marked by further new signings / releases, and live activity.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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