Zach Frizzell is quickly becoming one of those prolific musicians who is very difficult to write about. Why? First of all, I seem to fall in love with everything he’s part of. And that’s already a lot. How can I keep up, let alone write about his ever-growing catalogue of music? I think there were ten albums in 2023, which included collaborations with City of Dawn, Tyresta, Markus Guentner and James Bernard, among many others, and just this year, there are already half a dozen records. Besides the Zakè Drone Recordings, which Frizzell sets aside to publish his own material [as a sublabel of Past Inside The Present], he also gets noticed and picked up by others in our circles: Azure Vistaquiet details, and this time, Joachim Spieth‘s Affin imprint. The second reason that he’s making it difficult for me to cover his music [and yes, I think that this is all about me… of course, I’m joking] is that Dolere is comprised of only two tracks! Two long-spaning, slow-burning pieces, starting with one evolving over 38 minutes (!) and the other over 31, become the ocean waves outside my window in the night. So, is there much to hear in these cycling motifs? The answer is, of course, a resounding “yes”! Albeit this may easily fall into the “drone” category, for me, this is ambient at its finest because of how it moves, unfolds, and progresses through the rich tapestry of sounds layered at distinct velocities and timbres. And in these passages of time, one finds their own slow-burning story. “For this study of the ways in which time itself seems to stretch and slow during phases of sorrow and pain, the artist describes an inspiration from the feeling of being ‘suspended in the weight of emotions we cannot change.’” And suddenly, for me, this piece is very short – its half an hour passing, like half a year passing, and like a lifetime passing, in just a blink, a breath, and something else we find in between.

Mike Lazarev

Saturated Reworks

And now I want to share with you a short 5-track EP, collecting reworks of my latest single, Saturated Signals. You may think me vain for using my very own music platform to promote this work, but honestly, I’m absolutely terrible when it comes to talking about my music. So, instead, as usual, I’ll talk about the others. I kicked off the tracklisting on this digital release with a gorgeous introduction by Jason van Wyk, whose music has been an inspiration for its deeply textured cinematic soundscapes and this reductionist approach to breaking down what was once dance-oriented to a lovely ambient long-spanning bliss [something Jason and I share from our music in the past]. So it’s only fitting for his take to be a foreword to this story. We move on to the original piece, which, as I mentioned before, is a heavily layered sheen of synthesized blankets that I’ve built on from Sacred Tonalities, released on Past Inside the Present in 2023. We then allow the space to rumble and glow in the hands of my friend James Murray, who moulds my emotions into an all-organic slow-burn resolve. James also mastered this release with his keen ear for ironing out some folds of the fabric and leaving the others intact where they are. To push this piece into another territory, the one and only Ben Chatwin brings in his growl and stomp to plough through with tension and gentle release. This particular approach to sonic treatment is something I strive for in my sound design, but Ben seems to always be more than a few steps ahead here. I conclude this short journey with a rework by Fionnlagh, who wraps it all up neatly in a vivid kinematic scene. The lo-fi remedy of the speed fluctuation and the frequency wobble seems to be an appropriate conclusion to put this tale to rest. You can pick up this single along with the reworks directly on Bandcamp, and yes, I will be back to share some more…


En Sten For Solen

The last bit I want to cover in this SOUND BYTES column is a new release from the UK imprint’s quiet details. Again, just like with Frizzell’s output, which I wrote about before, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to cover this label’s discography because, then, I’d be honestly writing here about it every single month. All of my favourites are here, from bvdub to Arovane to Slow Reels and beyond. If you’re just waking up to this wonderful collection of modern ambience, you’ve got a fantastic journey ahead of you, my friend. I don’t think I’ve heard a bad release so far, and we are now on number seventeen. Its composer, øjeRum, has been on these pages for some time, sprinkling his particular style of textural ambience across many notable labels in the last decade: Opal TapesFluid Audio, Room40, just to name a few. On En Sten For Solen, which means “a stone to the sun” in Danish, we peel apart more quiet details among the tape hiss, lo-fi treated, sometimes barely audible synth chords and swells smothered in something distorted, fluctuating, and reverberating, and something else organic, becoming one with this incredibly dense blanket of a lull. “Gaseous clouds mix with disintegrating melodic phrases, beautifully designed auditory illusions come in and out of focus – all perfectly paced and subtly shifting as time goes on and the music draws you further in.” For more insight into this release, you can read some poetic words written by øjeRum on Bandcamp. To round up the package, I recommend you pick up the physical release, which features analogue photography of its composer’s original collage.