Zapaljenim morem Raúl Pastor Medall ugrijava hladne vjetrove. Pjesme su živa bića i napuštaju svog autora no jednako tako i sam se život osamostaljuje i postaje nešto drugo.
Rauelsson - Fluvial: vimeo
Rauelsson is probably best known for intimate guitar and vocal based songs with releases on Hush and even an appearance on the early sonic pieces album Portland Stories compiled by Heather Woods Broderick. With this in mind, Vora comes as a surprise in a grandeur way with its mixture of everything from piano solos, orchestrated classical music, synth buildups and even an shoegaze inspired organ piece sounding like Windy & Carl performing in an empty hallway.
Like a coastal dream impossible to differentiate summer for winter, Vora feels like cold winds slowly warming up. Made in the time Raúl moved from Portland, OR back to his native Spain, settling on the east coast, you can hear the influence of the endlessly forcing waves and empty off-season tourist cities left for the remaining few to discover in peace. Vora is a sure win for fans of Deaf Center´s Pale Ravine, Nils Frahm´s more melancholic moments or film musicians such as Philip Glass and Clint Mansell. - www.sonicpieces.com/sonicpieces017.html
Typically lush ambient, neo-classical, chamber pop and quasi-film-score music from Berlin's Sonic Pieces label, this time from Spain's Rauelsson. The album was recorded by the sea, and it really comes across in the music, which is self-consciously grand in scale and oscillates between the calm and the tempestuous. Piano is Rauelsson's main weapon of expression, and like so many artists in this sphere, Harold Budd and Philip Glass are his gods, his playing ranging from the digressive and heavy-reverbed to the driving and cyclical. It's hard not to feel like you've heard it all before - 'Fluvial' barely even bothers to disguise the fact that it has the same instrumental palette, harmonic progression and mood as half of Max Richter's Blue Notebooks. But when he loosens up, there are some mawkishly enjoyable moments: the string-laden 'Hourglass I' is a particular highlight, channeling the high sentimentality of Badalamenti's love themes with aplomb. - boomkat
Crossing the borders into unknown territory can be a daunting, intimidating experience. If you keep the faith, there’s no reason you can’t settle down after the initial acclimatization. As the location differs, so too does the culture and the climate; you may, initially, feel as if you don’t belong. It may take a little while. Vora charts a journey, not just of music but of the spirit, and of new discovery. There are daunting prospects in sight, exciting opportunities in store, but they mingle with an unbalanced mix of emotions, due in part to the heavy loss of leaving home. Home base can suddenly lose its appeal and lose its heart, depending on our moods and the incessant challenges that life throws our way. Music, then, also requires acclimatization. As we experience this emotional duality, so does the music. It’s the same result when the borders of music are crossed.
Music can be influenced by current situations (maybe it’s better to say that the music was already there, just waiting for the moment to surface). A trillion songs testify to the depth of music, and the inner, unbreakable link she has with our own thought processes. An attack of fear or anxiety may produce a frenzied atmosphere or a stressed note wrecked with dissonance, or it could call for some relaxing, ambient atmospheres well versed in serenity. There is always a duality, a call and a response, in music. Sometimes, this exists primarily for musical purposes, but at other times it can reflect an artist’s current situation; in this instance, Vora’s musical duality exists due to the artist’s relocation.
Vora’s dual atmospheres push and pull between here and there, never really settling until the mid-point of the album. There is a fine counterbalance throughout Vora; the classic symbols of yin and yang, darkness and light, masculine and feminine, are only worn out clichés if you let them be – there isn’t any chance of escaping the divide. Vora is cut finely down the centre; the music creates notes that are mirrored with symmetry, concealed out of sight, but also everywhere you look. Ambient atmospheres trace a line all of their own, while on the other side of the glass a piano rocks gently. On one side, electronic beats settle down to provide a solid rhythm, and on the other side, the classical, orchestral strings shake the air. The only noticeable similarity between the two lines is the presence of the piano, perching on both sides, occasionally passing through one and into the other, with no sizable gulf between the elements.
Vora was conceived during the musician’s relocation, away from Portland, Oregon, and back to his homeland in Spain. This is reflected in the music’s state of mind, torn between the two divides and the two nations, yet not overtly stressed or anxious about the trip. Vora isn’t immune to the turbulence of relocation, but the music retains a heartening tranquility, an ambient assurance that the transition will be alright. The soul is linked to both areas via the roaming piano, despite the incredible distances between the two continents of Europe and North America.
A rolling piano phrase, rapidly speeding up and then slowing to a crawl, opens Vora. An unsettling air swings the mood on the whim of a breeze; in this piano lurks the uncertainty of the future, made ever more prevalent in the mind’s eye during an unpredictable period. The feelings of doubt and anxiety don’t last for long, though. ‘Fluvial’ is much more of herself, reassuring the listener with the aide of strings. The instruments quickly absorb themselves into the track, livening up the space and even obscuring the early piano phrases until every instrument is clustered into claustrophobia, cuddled together in tremors of excitement. Vora’s piano sections act as the foundation, like an anchor to the ship, but they never end up where they began. A prime example of this, and of the music’s dual nature, can be found in ‘Split’ (appropriate title, huh?) It catches the listener off guard – in a very good way – when the silky, contemporary, deep-cut beats enter. The track is almost dissected into two sections, a split all of itself, starting off with a minimalist piano phrase that is gently built upon in degrees, and then, before you know it, the track dissects itself, cutting between electronic synths, bass-driven arpeggios and tinted beats. The unexpected direction is a risk but a rewarding pay-off, and the newly-found rhythm really works to enhance and progress the track.
Up until ‘Hourglass I’, everything was sailing along quite contentedly. It is this piece, though, that really quickens the pulse, where orchestral strings ascend in a surge of loving adoration at the sight of a new found land. An apricot sunset comes into sight, and the lush vocals are blessed by a beautiful, female vocal, drenched in reverb. This piece is also divided into two sections, intersecting the music at the arrival of ‘Hourglass II’. Leading towards darker terrains and this time occupied by a masculine voice, the track vocalizes the split of emotions and dramatic mood-swings. Deep drones shield lighter tones inside the rising crest of ambience, and brave vocals search out the new horizon with excitement and opportunity. No fear here.
‘Dusk, Gravel, Dawn’ takes all of the previous elements and chains them all together as one, single entity; the duo into a sole being. It comes full circle, beginning with the opening sparse, cautious piano and an ominous sludge of deep drone, before coming out into the sun-swept melodies that promise a new day. Perhaps this is an excursion into our own thoughts when we face relocation; the initial fear and curiosity ebbing away like an ambient tide, towards the optimism of acceptance and comfort.
Before sinking back quietly, the music seems to wait, as if pondering the new horizon, and the precipice of a new homeland. A swoosh of a breeze tickles the face and ruffles the hair. It’s an ambient ending, one that rests in the new abode.
- James Catchpole for Fluid Radio
Witness the slow evolution of Rauelsson, a Spanish-born folk artist who has expanded his tonal palette considerably over the course of a half-dozen albums. Fans will be happy to welcome his latest work; those who lacked interest earlier should take another listen. ”But Rauelsson is a folk singer!” some will protest, recalling earlier works. Yes, but that’s not all he is.
Previous releases featured home-spun instrumentalism – always warm, always welcoming – and comforting, bilingual vocals. The first turning point for the artist arrived in 2010, as he recorded the album Réplica with Peter Broderick. While vocals featured prominently in the center of the two songs, the extended openings and closings provided evidence that Rauelsson was working on something even more sublime. The second turning point arrived in 2012, as he teamed with Peter Himmelman to compose the score to an independent documentary called From River to Sea. Now untethered from the realm of vocals (save for “Spring Bird”), the artist found a new and deeper emotion in his work.
This brings us to Vora, Rauelsson’s most accomplished album to date and the finest Sonic Pieces release in quite some time. The album is filled with surprises, beginning with a simple piano and developing into a full-blown work of modern composition, incorporating instruments including the marimba, harp, celeste, cello, viola, violin, dulcimer, pump organ and glockenspiel, along with field recordings. Vora is an eight-person affair, the work of a small orchestra. Nils Frahm is one of the players, but Rauelsson (Raul Pastor Medall) is clearly in charge.
The album is deeply personal, a reflection of inner feelings prompted by a relocation from Portland, Oregon back to coastal Spain. The liner notes mention “off-season tourist cities”, and the description seems apt. A melancholic streak runs throughout the recording, as if to reflect conflicting concepts of home. The first surprising bass note is struck at 1:49, eventually leading to a rising two-chord string motif straight out of The Matrix. More is going on than meets the ear. Midway through “Fluvial”, the doors open to the rest of the orchestra. But if these doors are simply nudged, “Split” throws them wide open, with a synthesized pulse and drums that would not be out of place in a Carpenter score.
The two vocal pieces are also surprising in that they don’t highlight the voice of Rauelsson (which is used as instrument only), but of the beguiling Laurel Simmons. ”Hourglass I” includes the spoken / sung sentence, “Many times I turned around and went back to the shore, thinking, ‘I don’t want to be here when it turns upside down.” This plaintive wish reflects a spirit in disarray, stuck between two shores, for a short time at home on neither stretch of sand. On “Hourglass II”, the repeated refrain “I can write in the water, but only when it freezes” creates a further sense of alienation. (The full poem is contained in the liner notes.) Reminiscent of the writings of André Aciman, this pair of selections serves as a miniature version of a travel essay. Only with the sound of children on “Parasol” does a sense of homecoming begin to develop.
The album’s concluding piece, “Wave Out”, answers the opening track, “Wave In”, implying that the entire journey has been a single wave, carrying the composer home. And then back again this wave travels to the place once occupied, like a thought, like a memory, like a longing. This is not your only home. - Richard Allen
The making of Vora
Your latest album signals is a departure from previous vocal based works. It also came about after you moved back to Spain from Portland. Could you chronicle its genesis?
It basically started with coming back to Spain, and moving to this place by the sea. I had been dealing with this Tinnitus condition, a continuous ringing in the ears, since 2007, that actually started happening while doing some recording back then. When I moved back to Spain, on the East coast, close to the region where I grew up, I thought, “Well, maybe living by the sea it’s going to help” because some doctors really recommend having sounds to mask the ringing. Thankfully, the Tinnitus is pretty centred in my head, and not located in one ear or the other.
Living by the sea is beautiful for many reasons and after some years in Portland, which is gorgeous, but where it rains a lot during the year, it was nice to experience mild weather once again. During the nights, though, I could not really sleep because of the loud sound of the waves. It can get pretty windy in the winter. It sounds beautiful and almost romantic, but when you cannot turn the sound off it drives you a little crazy, and you need some time to get used to it. So I started walking along the beach at night with a tape recorder, taking field recordings, not only of the water, but also of rocks, gravel, and of me walking and messing around with things I would find on the beach. I would then listen back to those recordings on my headphones at home while improvising on the piano. That is how it started. I would also try to record the piano in a way that brought out a lot of the sound of the actual machinery of the piano, which is something that I like. The piano is a gorgeous instrument, but the most standard way of recording it focuses mainly on the tone of the notes, whilst there is much more of the sound of the piano that can be featured. Anyway, I started compiling these piano improvisations over the field recordings and got kind of engaged and amused by the way they sounded, especially after taking out the actual sounds of the sea and just leaving the piano. What I found interesting was that there were a lot of moments on those filed recordings that had a very steady tempo, which I used as a pattern to play the piano parts, and when I muted the sound of the sea, I ended up with just the piano with an underlying aquatic feel to it.
Then, I went back to Portland and started working on some strings arrangements and some analog synth sounds on top of that. The project eventually got a little out of control so I sent an email to a dear friend, Nils Frahm, asking him, “Hey, would you like to help me with this little monster I am fighting against?” and he said, “Sure”, so I went to his studio and we sorted out the sounds and worked pretty hard through three different sessions. Nils has been crazily busy lately, and I am really thankful that he found time to actually do this. It was in his studio that we really decided how to piece things together. He was of enormous help and I am very grateful to him.
Nils Frahm is reportedly very much on the analog side of things when it comes to production values and yet Vora has a certain electronic quality to it…
Yeah, even though all the electronic feel of the album comes from sounds of either the beach, the water, or the piano. So there is nothing really electronic, even when something sounds like a kickdrum, it’s me banging a rock on a piece of wood and then processing that sound. Nils is really good at this. He is really into the performance and the “humanity” in sound, I think, but he also enjoys big sound. The sound you get out of his studio can be really cinematic or filmic, but I think it is very organic. He works with equipment that is 40, 50 or 60 years old and yes, he uses old analog equipment, like lots of magnetic tape, tape echo, and all this technology that in a way has been used for decades, but he does so to create music that a lot of people nowadays make with computers. That is really unique, I think. Also, the way he treats sound is really detailed and very focused. You can spend hours with him just processing sounds, but all this never gets in the way of the essence of a song, and that is what I like the most. Nils is also an incredible piano player, and working with someone who has such a unique and super sophisticated understanding of what one can technically achieve with the piano can really help you go from A to B if you are making a record that features the piano quite prominently. It can be hard sometimes knowing where you would like to end up going and realising that you don’t totally know how to get to that point. He was the best partner in crime in terms of getting to that place and achieving what I was hoping to do on this record. Also, I believe his studio should be in photography books because it is gorgeous. It is a beautiful place with all that equipment and really well designed.
Speaking of people you have worked with, after collaborating with Peter Broderick on previous occasions, you also seem to have developed a closer interest in the actual texture of sound.
Working with Peter was a dream come true. He is one of my all time favourite artists. It sounds weird to say that about someone you know and is a friend of yours, but, to me, Peter is up there with the best artists of many music genres. For me he is pure magic and working with him was absolutely great. With Peter I was able to develop a bit more my interest in sound as much as that for songs and melody. It was also very relaxing and fun. I realized that the way music is recorded sometimes focuses only on one aspect of the sound of an instrument. If one pays attention to the different features of the sound of an instrument, it opens up a lot of possibilities to achieve different sounds. Something that comes from the hammers of the piano, for instance, or the fingers on the frets while playing guitar can become a percussive sound, and you might need no other source of rhythm.
Vora feels very organic even though the tracks are quite different from each other. At what stage did you get an overall idea of what the album would end up like?
I have to admit, both Nils, and especially Monique at Sonic Pieces, were really good at having more perspective on it than I did at the time, in terms of helping shape the final version of the record, because I had recorded hours of piano improvisations which I did not want to edit, I didn’t want to cut and paste. I was essentially listening back to the recordings and deciding which ones were the best moments, like from here to there, and I wanted to work around those moments. I didn’t want to edit, I just wanted those parts to be played as they were. The problem was that I ended up with so much material that it wouldn’t have been possible to fit it on a single vinyl, for instance. When you are the writer you are somehow attached to every single part of your work and sometimes is hard to take things out. Monique was especially good at suggesting a more focused collection of songs. At the final stage of recording and mixing, we finally realised that it really risked becoming a double album, which was probably a little too much, so we took three songs out. At first I was resistant but now I can clearly see that it has made it a better collection of tracks, even if it might sound to some people a little too diverse.
Could you tell me something about the orchestration of the tracks?
I didn’t want to do a piano and strings record, that was not my intention, but there were some songs where I could hear strings and I do really like orchestration and the sound of strings.
I am not classically trained, so I am not able to write arrangements for a small chamber orchestra or a quartet. I just have these melodies in my mind that I try to translate into something that a string player can play. Ideally, I prefer not writing down the notes, but communicating with other musicians by playing the melody a little bit, or by just singing and talking about the melody. Sometimes I might have a score of sorts but to me the process is more about communication. I like musicians to be able to have a say and add their own thing. So far, I have been lucky enough to work with people who don’t just read from a score, play and go. In the States, for instance, I have played with Amanda Lawrence, who is an excellent viola player, and who played with artists such as M Ward, and in the past also with Heather Broderick on cello, and of course Peter. Here in Europe I have been playing with Anne Müller who is a sweetheart and absolutely incredible.
I tried to sequence the songs on the album in the order that they were recorded. The first track, Wave In, was one of the first experiments I did which got me interested in those sounds, and the last song Wave Out was one of the last ones, if not the last. So the sequence tells a story, but as a “time story”, that doesn’t necessarily need to translate to the listener. Although, I hope it does. To me, it was important that the album documented a journey. Getting to a place, getting used to the sounds of that place, trying to be creative with them, using that to go somewhere and, finally, kind of leaving the place, or rather, leaving the project, in the sense of completing it, of saying, “this little collection is over”, we are going somewhere else now. The project was about coming and going and having a very spontaneous reaction to a place, that was my goal, I didn’t want to think too much about it. It was more about just saying, I am here, and I am going to see how I respond to this place.
The obvious question now… What made you decide to produce Vora as a predominantly instrumental album and avoid singing?
It was not something I actually thought about. I like singing, especially with other people, but I really need to have no doubts about it or about the lyrics. If they come naturally that’s great. With Vora, that didn’t happen. I didn’t even try. Even though some people might get a little confused, this is a direction I would like to carry on exploring for a while. After all, confusion is not a bad thing.
You have always sang in Spanish, rather than English, which, commercially speaking, is not the most obvious choice…
When I moved to Portland, I had some home recordings I’d made, which Chad from Hush surprisingly liked and wanted to release. Those songs were already in Spanish, as it comes more natural to me to sing in Spanish. I really like the English language, but when I moved to the United States, I had this clear vision that I was not “one of them” even if Portland felt and feels like home. Some people in the States did appreciate that I didn’t and do not try to sound like some guy who grew up in Nebraska or something, because I didn’t. They may loose the connection with the lyrics, but having said that, when I played in the States or I toured Japan, that didn’t seem to be a problem. I have done some singing in English too, which is a great language to sing in, for sure, but in general I feel more comfortable singing in Spanish. Who knows what I’ll do next though.
Even though this is indeed a mostly instrumental album, the tracks Hourglass I and Hourglass II, which in a way represent the core of the album, do contain vocals by Laurel Simmons, could you tell me something about the lyrics?
I wrote this text about some dreams I was having at the time. One of them was a dream that I used to have when I was about eight years old. I was really surprised to have the same dream again once I went back to live in the same region of Spain. At first, I didn’t know what to do with this text. Initially, I was just going to include it in the booklet with the album, but then I felt that it could be nice to have those words spoken or even sang. I did write the text in English even if I was in Spain because I had been spending so much time in Oregon that it takes a few weeks for my brain to switch between languages. When I went back to Portland, I thought it would be nice to have my friend Laurel Simmons singing it. I do use my own voice in a couple of moments on the album, but I use it more like an instrument. For this particular text I thought of Laurel, though, she has such a beautiful voice, really airy, and it really fits in well with the album, I think.
What were the dreams about?
When I was about 8 or 10 I used to go to a rocky beach with my parents, which was beautiful and not too crowded. Back then I had this dream in which the beach would turn upside down at night like an hourglass with the sand vanishing by the morning, just as my family and I were about to go to the beach. It wasn’t really a nightmare as such, but it wasn’t pleasant either. It was more of an anxiety dream. Everyone was sleeping in the dream except for me. I would see what was happening at night and didn’t really want to be there because I had this fear of the sand and the water coming down on top of me.
When I moved back from Portland, I had a very similar dream that left me a bit disturbed, which was also related. It was about a fictional world where water was the only means left to write, so one had to freeze water in order to be able to write, which is a bizarre dream to have.
I didn’t know why that was happening and I wrote something down as I woke up so I did not forget my dream. So that text reflects my reaction to those two different dreams. I was impressed by how powerfully my subconscious brain was being affected by being by the sea. So I wrote that pretty much without caring about the poetry, I just wanted to capture the impression of the dreams. I then changed the words a little and Hourglass I and II are based on those dreams.
Has making Vora helped you reconnect with the place?
I think so. I really like to focus on capturing how I first react to a place without having too much time to think about things. Over time, I realised that I always use music to connect to a place, so I guess this record has a lot to do with trying to find my place in a new environment since, even if this was the region I grew up in, I still felt quite detached. It was a weird feeling. I should’ve felt comfortable, but as I’d been away for so long it still felt strange. Music was my way of reconnecting to that place, I guess.
The album is very layered, how do you translate its complexity in terms of a live setting?
I honestly had no idea. I knew I could not do solo piano shows, that was not what I wanted to do. I am not a classically trained piano player. I use the piano more as a source of sound and melody, even though it might be my favourite instrument. At the same time, travelling with many other musicians, it makes things complicated on a logistical level.
At the time, I also started listening to a lot of electronic music, some of it very different from what I do. I am very attracted by its language, sometimes more so than by some of its outcome, so I began experimenting with sequencers that allowed me to take the looping idea a little further. So, what I am now doing basically is, I am recording myself live playing different parts with different sounds – like I have a couple of analog synths, and an old apparate sample piano – and all the sounds I use are either analog synths sounds or samples from real instruments that I sampled myself. I am not using any commercially available library sounds for instance. I also use a tape cassette recorder with one-minute loop tapes. As a result the set is maybe a little more rhythmic and has a more electronic feel than the record, even though it still has some quiet moments.
You are a neuroscientist by trade?
Yes. I am now teaching part of the year in a university in Spain and I practiced in Portland for a while as well. I did research at college and then got a PhD in behavioural neuroscience. It is a pretty fascinating world, and I like to do something else apart from music. It helps me to balance my life and it helps paying the bills as well.
What are you currently working on?
A couple of different things. One is a project that has to do with photography. When I went on tour in Japan last year I took some photographs with disposable cameras, so I am trying to do a little book with some of those photos and with music as well, basically music for photography. I am also doing music for an audio book which is something I am very much enjoying. A friend of mine is writing a book of short stories, and each story is being scored by a different musician. Also, I am now very slowly working on a new album. It seems like playing live quite often helps your creativity so I have been writing some new songs using piano and getting a bit playful with rhythm. But mostly, though, I am focusing on translating Vora to a live act. I want to have a whole year of touring with this and see how it develops. I really hope I can maybe play some shows with a small orchestra in the near future, and more of course solo, like the ones I have been playing. I have already played about 20 shows with this album, which I am pretty happy with.
Are you planning any shows in the UK?
Probably at some point next year, yes, I hope so. I would love for instance to take part in one of those Fluid Radio gigs in Bristol!
- Gianmarco Del Re www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2013/11/rauelsson/
Born in Spain, but self-considered an adopted Oregonian, Rauelsson experiences
the joys of living in Portland several months a year. He sings songs and
attempts to connect the Spanish-east coast Mediterranean light that saw him
growing up with the intense green landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. A friend
called him: another case of “old world meets new world”. Rauelsson cares about
the idea that songs are living creatures that end up having independent lives
and lifestyles, and exist beyond the composer; postcards in time constantly
sent to the writer and the listener. He likes HUSH records and, in case you
haven’t noticed yet, he sings en Español.
Exclusive! Download the separate audio and 720p video files of this stunning performance. Please support the artist with a suggested donation. (We only ask for you to provide the details for a customer login to demonstrate how our download shop works.)The last couple of years have been busy for Raúl Pastor Medall (aka Rauelsson). While things like relocating to Spain, touring in Japan, welcoming his first son, Oliver, to the world, working on an instrumental piano-influenced album (to be released later this spring), were happening, Raúl found the time to get together with the improvisation ensemble Grup d’Autoajuda and gave form to a live version of Réplica, in its integrity. They performed this live version of the record on several occasions in Spain, including the Tanned Tin Festival. One of those shows was especially remarkable as they were honored with the presence on stage of Peter Broderick, the other mind behind the creation of Réplica. Luckily, the performance was nicely captured and recorded, and Raúl has decided to offer it as a welcome-2013 gift to you all. Of course, if you feel grateful and want to give back, you can support. Réplica Live was performed at Teatre Municipal de Benicàssim, Spain on June 10th 2011, and has been mastered by Nils Frahm at Durton Studio, Berlin, on December 2012. - hushrecords.com/
La Siembra La Espera y La Cosecha
In ‘La Siembra, la Espera y la Cosecha’, Rauelsson expands his inviting sense of melody and arrangement yet the organic construct of its songs remains based on his willingness to work with a simple, though evocative, palette of acoustic ingredients. Produced by Portland’s finest Adam Selzer (M.Ward, The Decemberists, Mirah, Laura Gibson, Loch Lomond, etc.) and co-produced by Dave Depper and Raúl, the album presents a noble collection of eleven songs which grandeur resides primarily on their well captured subtle sensibility. With emotive, dynamic transitions between austere to rich, sombre to bright territories, the production’s prevailing mission was to respect the original conception of the album: a cohesive musical and thematic observation of the fragility of life and the immenseness of love as a response to such fragility. Since nature and its untamed energy provided a lyrical and sonic motif to the majority of these tracks, an organic, earthy sound corresponded. The core of the album was recorded at Type Foundry, Portland, OR, during the fall/winter of 08/09, with Dave Depper (Jolie Holland, Loch Lomond, Norfolk and Western, etc.) and Rachel Blumberg (M.Ward, Jolie Holland, Mirah, Norfolk and Western, etc.) as the spine of this vertebrate ensemble. Without much rehearsal or pre-production, Dave and Rachel followed their intuition and tracked most of their material live to a 2” tape machine, layering pianos, bells, bass and percussion over Raúl’s fingerpicked nylon and acoustic guitars. Reel-to- reel magnetic tapes awaited for Raúl’s return as, back in Spain, he retreated in the Mediterranean country side to concentrate on lyrics. Surrounded by a mountainous scenario, with a small recording equipment, he tracked most of his vocal parts in ancient stone-walled houses, searching for spaces where natural reverb could propel words and sounds and integrate with the music as another instrument. Returned to Portland, Raúl worked with Adam for a couple of weeks at Type Foundry on finishing and mixing these songs. During those days, the springtime blossoms brought friends/HUSH cohorts to the studio, and they contributed with vocals (Laura Gibson, Loch Lomond’s Ritchie Young), strings (Amanda Lawrence, Heather W. Broderick) and other instrumentation that spooled together into a cohesive whole. ‘La Siembra, la Espera y la Cosecha’ also features cameos by singer-songwriter compatriots Santi Campos and Julio de la Rosa.
Tiempo De EP & Pacifico EP
Tiempo de e.p & Pacífico e.p is a collection of fourteen delicate folk-pop, word-conscious, narrative songs presented in a double cd package conceptually designed to present music in two acts; act I (the need to love) and act II (the need to be loved). Songs, they talk to each other. Simple, yet full in texture, the sound involves pianos, brushes, acustic and nylon guitars and other instrumentation backing softly-sung words. Written and recorded in chronological order, completed song after completed song, these tunes were documented in living rooms, basements, outdoor spaces and studios in Spain (Castellón and Madrid) as well as in Portland, OR using an old, rare 12-track, portable 2-inch tape machine and a digital recorder device from the pre-laptop era. Slowly cooked, it was recorded during the late 06 and full 07 with the great help of friends in Spain (members of Amigos Imaginarios, Pleasant Dreams, Litius) and the Americas; you can hear the beautiful voices of folk singers Laura Gibson, Ritchie Young (Loch Lomond) and Bay Area’s pop maestro Bart Davenport plus the mandolin and cello of members of Weinland and Horse Feathers, respectively. - hushrecords.com/
From River To Sea
Over the last five years Raúl Pastor Medall (aka Rauelsson) has been crafting a collection of compelling albums to warm acclaim. A common trait, easily found in Raúl's musical personality is his ability to translate emotions, via his curiosity about sounds and instruments, into a world a cinematic ambience. From Rauelsson's debut double EP, the more lo-fidelity and bedroom recording-oriented 'Tiempo de & Pacífico' (Hush Records; HSH077, 2008) to his more recent fully grown-up LPs in 2010 (La Siembra, la Espera y la Cosecha; HSH091) and, especially, his 2011 collaboration with Peter Broderick (Réplica; HSH096), Raul's music has always had a natural touch for the imagery and the figurative visual language. It was therefore a matter of time that Rauelsson's music would find its way into accompanying film work. That time arrived early in his career, albeit the results of that work have not been really shared until now. From River to Sea, a documentary directed by L.A.-based filmmaker and photographer Susan Fink, was Rauelsson's first score work. Built around layered, yet sparse acoustic instrumentation, the score for From River to Sea combines a number of small vignettes and widescreen compositions lush in melody and genuinely engaging. Ornamented with gentle instrumental and vocal harmonies, piano and strings, this album compiles a delicate collection of 18 songs that sways back and forth upon the edge of preciousness, yet they are somehow loose, simple and raw. Maybe the more visceral side of some of these pieces had to do with the limited time available for composition (due to deadlines associated with the Film Festival Calendar); deadlines, however, turned out to beneficial for the writing process, fueling improvisation and a more intuitive and emotional approach into the recording sessions. The core of From River to Sea's music work parallels the personal and geographical journey featured by the main character (Susan Fink herself) on the film; a series of travels in seek of repair and healing, travels that witnessed joy, reunion, but also void and sorrow. Likewise, wander, wonder and motion are musical themes present in Rauelsson's soundtrack. This sense of motion, of vivid search is present on the music, moving naturally from easy and lightfooted, lilting melodies to heavier clouds of sound. One would say that journeys are generally inspiring and wide eye-opening experiences. However, for every important journey also involves confronting demons, traveling can also be challenging and a source of turmoil. In accordance, the music written for From River to Sea seems to want to find a place somewhere between a tender balm of comforting sounds and that of suspense and tension. Somehow, Rauelsson recognizes with this work that extremes are inspiring places to visit, not necesary to stay. The score for From River to Sea was recorded between Spain and Portland, OR. His Oregon friends were especially helpful on the two tracks that include main vocals. The voices of Rachel Blumberg and Heather Woods Broderick are featured on 'Places' and 'Spring Bird' respectively. For the audience familiar with Rauelsson's music, the unhurried elegance of this album will work as a perfect bridge between the earlier work seen in the 'Tiempo de & Pacífico' EPs and his two recent LPs. In a way, the making of this record served as a laboratory of ideas from where many of the nostalgic imagery, gifted tact and poise seen later in Rauelsson's music started growing. The tasteful digipak version includes two bonus tracks: alternative versions of 'Places' (by Adam Selzer and Nicholas Marshall) and 'Spring Bird' (by Chad Crouch). - - hushrecords.com/
About this special free offering from HUSH: Dear listener, I have made a new album. It is called La Siembra, la Espera y la Cosecha, and it will be released January 12th 2010 on HUSH Records. To celebrate the release of the record we thought we would like to share some music with you: a five songs e.p. that we called Debutantes e.p. 1. Debutantes will open La Siembra, la Espera y la Cosecha. It is the only song of this e.p. that appears here as it will be on the record. It was recorded and mixed earlier this year 2009 at Type Foundry, in Portland, OR. Adam Selzer recorded, produced and mixed it, and Dave Depper was of really great help co-producing and playing a number or instruments. Debutantes also features Ritchie Young on vocal harmonies. 2. Elefantes y Niñas is a cover of Elephants and Little Girls, by Loch Lomond, one of my favorite bands. Originally I wanted to recreate the song limiting myself to using only vocals and sounds I could make without “instruments”. However, soon after I started recording I had the chance to use an old beautiful pump organ and a marxophone, and that changed the original idea quite a bit. I recorded this song at home in SE Portland, in a cabin by the Columbia River Gorge in Stevenson, WA and at Sean Ogilvie’s Wooden Fences Studio in Sellwood, in October / November 2009. Sean helped me a lot finishing the song, and he mixed it. 3. Palideces is Chad’s Crouch version of Palidez (un Aviso), a song also included on the record. I am very pleased that he had done an alternative version of one of my songs. I have always liked his vision of sound (I really loved his ‘Sound of Picture Vol. 3: Ambient’ album) and his ability to interpret other people’s music, so I feel very honored to be “rearranged” by Chad. 4. Depredadores and 5. Desbocados are previously unreleased songs that were recorded during the sessions for La Siembra, la Espera y la Cosecha. Most of the tracking for these two songs was done live at Type Foundry with Rachel Blumberg and Dave. These songs were recorded and arranged very collaboratively, which was really exciting. Dave and Adam played electric guitars and it felt good to play Pop music. - hushrecords.com/
Rauelsson w/ Peter Broderick - Réplica
‘Réplica’ is a new Rauelsson record. Spanish-born, Portland OR-based Raúl Pastor Medall and multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick recorded and co-produced ‘Réplica’ collaboratively. The album comprises of two pieces of music, most of which revolve around layered guitars, reverberating pianos, strings, and haunting, atmospheric vocals. In appreciation to the renaissance of the vinyl era, the two pieces of music were born to be side -a- (14:29 min) and side -b- (21:56 min) of a record. After some preliminary work sending tracks back and forth via electronic correspondence for more than half a year, Raúl and Peter finally got together in Oregon in July 09, and spent an entire week finishing the album; recording pianos in a pre- elementary school class, opening windows in a house in SE Portland for the chance sounds to be a part of their recordings, placing a field recorder on a tire swing that was hanging from an old oak tree, recording themselves running in circles around such oak tree, using bushes and stepping onto rocks as percussion, retreating for a couple of days to finish the album on a barn near Carlton, OR, where Peter’s dad lives..., they just let their imagination go free with not other principle than enjoying music and their time together. ‘Réplica’ is a sonic fountainhead, a journey of sounds and words. Rich in texture and structure, even epic and quite experimental on some passages, the record also presents the most introspective and bare folk songs Raul’s has written to date. Beyond his role as co-producer and player of a wide-range collection of instruments, Peter’s main contribution in ‘Réplica’ is a series of interludes and improvisations created to interconnect Raúl’s songs within each piece. Some of these improvisations were recorded over foggy soundscapes created by multi-talented music/visual artist Chad Crouch. Peter’s sorrowful violins rise and fall delightfully, opening and closing spaces, and he clearly shows here that he has found a lucid place in his vocal performance that is plastic enough to be used without limitations. Peter’s sister, Heather Woods Broderick, also participates on the record; she played flute, sang, and helped arrange cello parts for the record, which are grand though their character is often so unobtrusive that music breathes simple in their nature. Not afraid of its ambiances, sparse or epic moments John Askew (Tracker) classily mixed the album in his Scenic Burrows studio, in Portland OR. The record has been mastered on magnetic tape by pianist/sound maestro Nils Frahm in Berlin, Germany. - hushrecords.com/