glove of bones

News from the Conning Tower: t.r. hand and Glauber K. de Souza

Ah, autumn, season of mists and mellow fruitlessness. Our release for the tail end of September is ‘Suburban Solitude’ from our resident mystic t.r. hand in collaboration with Glauber K. de Souza of the Amao Quartet.

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The album contains the field recordings and sound collages you’ve come to expect from t.r hand, but taken in new directions with electro-acoustic instrumentation from Glauber K.S.

It’s a meditative and subtle work, one that demands to be listened to at length; a soundscape that needs to envelop you and move you.

We’re delighted that this work has already picked up a positive reception; most of the tracks are too long to be radio-friendly but this album will reward the listener that seeks it out.

As with the previous t.r. hand album, we’re delighted to offer this album in both digital and physical editions. Suburban Solitude is available from our merch store as a deluxe book/CD package, designed by the radical design collective Glove of Bones. As you can see, it’s a beautiful thing.

 


In other news, we have some groovy stuff still to come this year. A very special album by Hans Castrup, new work from Leaving Richmond and Whettman Chelmets and the sophomore album from GOATS. Come get some!

News from the Conning Tower: t.r. hand

Everyone here at the Conning Tower was winding down, lowering the periscope, ready for the traditional English August of drizzle and traffic jams, when a most remarkable thing happened… a new EP from the reclusive guru of mind-training, self help/abuse and prison tattoos, t.r. hand, landed on the desk.

There’s a super-size serving of concept in the EP ‘The Checking’, and in addition to t.r’s trademark washes, sound collages, chops/screws and deep atmospherics, there are spoken vocal readings/recitals from Bonnie J. Currie which give the tracks a whole new focus and impetus. Once again t.r has coerced the Glove of Bones into producing the cover/track art and it is glorious.

05 Junk Devotion

After checking that the restraining order was still in place,  and that our A&R man’s tetanus jabs were up to date, we set out to get an interview with t.r. hand in a disused warehouse. This is what happened:

SBC: Can you give some explanation of the ideas behind this work and its points of reference?
TRH: Have you been watching One Punch Man on Netflix? It’s like that. If you get an idea, the last thing you should do is grab it and choke the air out of it. Tickle it, ask it questions. Listen, don’t talk.

SBC: There is a running theme in the work, a narrative. How did that come about?
TRH: From a broad suggestion. I didn’t choose it, other than signposting its huge source. I didn’t know the performer, nothing other than ‘some words’ was suggested.

SBC: Did the narrative alter the project?
TRH: Yes.

SBC: Can you explain?
TRH: No. Well, almost no. The grip on the idea wasn’t ever so tight that it couldn’t transform. Everything is transformation. A stick of charcoal in your fingers and a piece of paper. Both ask for transformation. When I received the narrative recordings they changed the project. Pretty much completely. The original project is probably flipping and flapping around somewhere waiting for an oxygen intake. Is that the natural selection of ideas? No idea. The critical thing though is I’d imagined some scattergun / sound bite content. That’s what I was geared up to work with. Bonnie’s work though was so full of understanding of the subject and passionate in it’s presentation, the original idea seemed trivial and it would have been wrong to strip it from it’s context and use little bits from here and there for effect or imposed meaning. I ‘get’ the source but of all the many words in books, this set are the most inviting for the imposition of personal meaning.

SBC: For any readers out there, what is the source?
TRH: They are from the Red Book by Carl Jung. Look it up, it’s not easily summarised. Go with the flow. Pretty sure civilization will come back to it after the apocalypse.

SBC: That isn’t very positive for a self proclaimed Guru?
TRH: Truth hurts, which probably explains the current global collision.

SBC: In your somewhat small public scope, you do use the hashtag #guru. Do you have any reason or explanation of this?
TRH: There’s an underlying, no, overriding sarcasm in that question isn’t there? The ‘Self Help’ industry is on the ascent, most of it is lunacy. It’s all very tribal. So, I’m happy to hit up on a level playing field. I’m pretty much in the peace and love wing, anarchic, left leaning libertarian sect. It’s niche but I’m sure there’s an audience. Albeit briefly.

SBC: Thank you.
TRH: Can I go now?

01 Whispering Knights

We are presenting The Checking as a digital download, or as a super-deluxe hardback book/CD package, including 24 pages of Glove of Bones’ designs. Both formats are available from the Bandcamp page.

Out Today: t.r. hand ‘Folke Meditation’

We are really excited to present the debut album from t.r. hand, ‘Folke Meditation’.

Relatively little is known about t.r. hand; we received a somewhat cryptic press release from his (?) intermediaries at Glove of Bones, which had the (presumably intentional) effect of leaving us knowing less about t.r. than before we’d read it. Frowning emoji.

However, the album is a cracker, even if we do say so ourselves. Elsewhere we described it as a melange of of cut-ups and ambient and experimental beats and sound collages. It’s pretty much the kind of music that resists any sensible attempt at categorisation and has to be heard to be understood. It is also entirely possible that the ‘Folke Meditation’ title is a little misleading.

We’re making it available on Bandcamp and the other major digital platforms. Also, the tame art elves at Glove of Bones have made a strictly limited set of deluxe hardback CD packs, with a full colour booklet. These are beautiful tactile items and the photo doesn’t do it justice:

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Hear ‘Folke Meditation’ here:

Review: Dream Topography

Rob from SBC and Beltism reviews Argali Records’ new experimental compilation, Dream Topography:

In the interests of full disclosure, I should point out I was delighted to have a Beltism track included on this compilation. But let’s pretend I’m impartial and concentrate on the other tracks.

Argali Records is the brainchild of John Lithium (aka Nathan Carter) and continues its reputation for promoting new independent experimental music with this compilation, loosely themed around dreams.

What immediately struck be about this compilation is the variety of artists taking part; in addition to the usual suspects who frequent my quarter of the ambient and experimental nether regions of the Internet, there were several artists completely new to me. And the other notable feature is the quality of the submissions. As we at SBC can testify, you never know what you’re going to get with an open-call compilation, and it’s difficult to please all tastes, so ultimately it’s pretty rare to produce a compilation that doesn’t involve reaching for the Skip button at some point, but the quality on this one is consistently high.

The album opens with one of its most melodic tracks, Cousin Silas’ evocative ‘Fever Dreams’, with its repeated piano motif full of half-memories and yearning. Glove of Bones’ ‘Psychopomp (Fuck Turquoise)’ that follows shortly after is an altogether more disturbing affair – the dreams that inspired this dark and damaged piece were the result of blue cheese and peyote buttons before bedtime. Mean Flow’s ‘Dream Land’ is a short drone, dark but also meditative, unsettling but cleverly textured.

One of my favourite tracks is Ars Sonor’s ‘Shattered Dreams’, a barren haunting soundscape, redolent of winter, possibly a nuclear one. James Lowe’s ‘Transparency One’ continues in the same vein, a fragile and chilling peace which unfolds into a collage of disturbing sounds that would work nicely in a Tarkovsky film.

Jack Hertz’s ‘Half Moon Dream’ is delightfully textured, rich with unnerving sounds drifting in and out of focus; I don’t think this is a particularly happy dream, but to answer Bill Nelson’s question, I’m fairly sure Jack dreams in colour. Jaime Munarriz’s ‘Out of the Dark Zone’ swirls ominous bell-like (campaniform?) sounds, cleverly teasing us that something beautifully melodic, or terrifyingly anarchic, will happen, but much like trying to read a newspaper in a dream, we never get a clear view for long enough to be sure.

Playman54’s music is always a delight, and ‘Ghost Echoes 2’ on this compilation is no exception. I don’t know Colin’s influences, but I often find there is something in his music that makes me think of Harold Budd or Roger Eno; he has a way of making his reverb sound reassuringly expensive, I just want to sink back and wallow in it.

My two favourite tracks on the compilation appear back to back, starting with ‘Liquid Tale of a Dying Star’ by Citiborax. One of the longer tracks on the compilation, this track takes the listener on a journey, reaching a threatening peak midway through, then at the ten minute mark a beautiful and haunting guitar refrain, joined later by scattered analog synth reassures you that it’s all going to be OK and it was only a dream.

The following piece, ‘Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia’ (that’s the single, right there guys) by Sharpen!Strokes is another track that cleverly forms beauty from chaos. Initially suggesting you might be in for seven minutes of harsh noise, the saw waves give way to melodic burst of bleeps and an underpinning of mechanical rhythm. I can’t find the words to do it justice, but it’s genius.

This is a very solid compilation; if you like experimental or dark ambient music, I would strongly recommend this album as you’ll find many tracks that you will want to return to again and again. If you’re new to experimental music, or just experimental-curious, do give this a try; it’s relatively free of white noise and static and packed with ideas and ingenuity. It’s ‘name your price’ on Bandcamp, so you really have no excuse not to own this album.