For the first time since 2001, Labradford’s Mark Nelson and Robert Donne are back together as Anjou. Joined by percussionist extraordinaire Steven Hess (Fennesz, Cleared, Locrian). Anjou’s sonic bedrock largely consists of wavering ribbons of syrupy synth pads. But where Nelson’s earlier records used distended drones in service of songs, Anjou aims for something far more alien, which helps set them further apart from contemporaries like A Winged Victory For The Sullen. Anjou is similarly thrifty and minimal in its instrumental and tonal choices (much like the legendary Labradford), but with the addition of Hess’ floor tom fire bombs and delirious, kaleidoscopic noise bursts, Anjou have given drive and new purpose to their iconic opiated sound.
High Plains is the duo of Scott Morgan and Mark Bridges. Morgan, based in the Canadian Pacific Northwest, is predominantly known for his drifting, textured soundscapes released under the pseudonym loscil. Bridges is an accomplished, classically-trained cellist residing in Madison, Wisconsin. The two met in Banff, Alberta while they were simultaneously there on residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 2014.
They first collaborated when Bridges contributed cello parts to Morgan’s generative music app ADRIFT, recorded in Seattle in 2015.
In early 2016, the duo embarked on a collaborative set of compositions in the oxygen thin air of Wyoming, spending two weeks holed up in a refurbished school house outside the town of Saratoga, where this album was recorded. Inspired by Schubert’s Die Winterreise and the rolling landscapes of their surroundings, the collaboration culminated in a collection of recordings that evoke a shadowy, introspective and dizzying winter journey. Cinderland takes cues from classical, electronic and cinematic musical traditions but is mostly a product of the rugged, mythic landscape; vast and sprawling with a wild, uncertain edge.
The recording was made with a portable studio and all sounds were sourced on site, most notably from Bridges’ cello, the resident Steinway D piano, and field recordings collected from the local soundscape.
The results are a site specific, wide scope view of the high valley terrain the duo worked in, a mix of analog and digital, neoclassical and modern electronic sounds, a complemental series of tracks to become absorbed in, a truly deep listening experience.
The cover art for Cinderland was created by London-based artist, Peter Liversidge. The album will be released March 31, 2017 on kranky.