Teaser track from follow up to Dear and Unfamiliar album released in 2011 by Denovali (denovali.com/shop/product_info.…OvTfuCzAAN9i1XY3-2)
Vocals by: Alicia Merz (@birdsofpassagemusic)
Music by: Leonardo Rosado
Sounds // We’ll Always Have Paris // by Birds of Passage and Leonardo Rosado
Visuals // David Wexler [Strangeloop]
Photographed Particle Systems // Ben Olsen
Produced by Teaching Machine and the Institute for Cinema Studies
I am a bit speechless about this. Dear and Unfamiliar reviewed at Silent Ballet
A “collaboration” is at its best when the very idea evaporates in wake of a unified expression. New Zealand non-scenester vocalist Alicia Merz and Portugese ambient maestro Leonardo Rosado could have bound this project together more tightly with a shorter name, but it is each of their strengths (and production from Nils Frahm) that make this a very special listening experience.
Merz’ stark and personal debut as Birds of Passage certainly gained a bit of attention, but Rosado’s musicianship and complementary textures push Merz’s vocal delivery into unforgettable territory. Rosado continues to impress with his high quality releases this year. The vocals are easily heard throughout Dear and Unfamiliar, yet they sound as if they are emanating from the haunted ambience. The album gives the impression of having existed long before it was tapped into and committed to tape.
When the two musicians met in 2009, they decided to do an album based on a film. For those who have never seen the iconic Casablanca, Dear and Unfamiliar serves as a treat of cultural apocrypha. The 1942 film has crept into our minds whether we know it or not, and when the words “Here’s Looking At You Kid“ creep through the ether, we can’t help but recognize them. A song like “We’ll Always Have Paris” could have failed as a lyrical reinterpretation, but Rosado’s pulsating chords and rich bed of sonic soil blend everything into a somber yet vivacious piece. Merz’s delivery becomes something more heart-breaking, as if we are hearing the fateful mantra inside the lost lover’s mind just a shade shy of the final hour.
Rosado and Merz escape the trap of sounding too melancholic or sad due to a playful experimentation. “To Wander Slow With Me” creates one of the most memorable environments, with stark, faux-tribal percussion (reminiscent of Fever Ray) ritualizing earnest vocals around a blue fire. A muffled, reversed skipping creates the backbone to the title track. Often this technique reeks of arty nonsense, but in Rosado’s hands it is quite natural. In this almost liminal space between worlds, Merz delivers the most optimistic sounding vocals on the record as echoing tremolo guitar weaves between the gaps. Folks might try to compare this work to artists like Grouper or Julianna Barwick, but Rosado and Merz are exploring virginal territory, and as a result, they don’t sound like anyone else.
“I Wonder If You Sing It Now” is one of the year’s most evocative pieces. The voice is cast like a fog under a street light; an organ-like luminance drones, and piano notes drop like the water after the rain. This track becomes the entire world as soon as it starts. It expands like lungs; to stop it would be to die.
The album is a tale of two sides, each concluded by Rosado’s trademark: animated drones and instrumental escapades. “A Kiss Is Just a Kiss” enters with a faucet of eastern drones and turns up the water pressure until the crescendo. These lyric-less bookends, as well as enchanting elements like the sitar on “Of Your Charm”, ensure that Dear and Unfamiliar stretches time. Each piece is paced a little differently, but on the whole they all create a living dreamspace so that the 43 minutes seem a lot longer, putting time and place on notice. Casablanca is in Morocco, but that raga sounds Indian, and the players are from two other completely different countries. Where is this beautiful place? Somewhere dear and unfamiliar. Let’s hope this isn’t a one-time collaboration between these two highly talented artists.
Track from the Dear and Unfamiliar album
electronics - Leonardo Rosado
piano - Tiago Morais Morgado
'Endings and beginnings' taken from the album 'Dear and Unfamiliar'. available to pre-order on limited edition colored vinyl, cd, and as a digital album, here:http://denovali.com/birdsofpassage/
"…Alicia Merz from Birds of Passage has recorded a cinematic concept album together with Leonardo Rosado from Portugal. It is a good choice to work together with Rosado because the dark minimalistic pop music is even better worked than on the debut ‘Without the World’. It makes ‘Dear and Unfamiliar’ easier to digest and more interesting to hear…"
review at http://www.asice.net/reviews/4230/
vinyl image of my album with Birds of Passage
cover artwork by Bruno Merz.
FLUID RADIO review of Dear and Unfamiliar my collaboration album with Birds of Passage, to be released the 28th October at Denovali in LP, CD and digital versions. Pre-orders very soon. And if you want follow us at Facebook and/or Souncloud, for updates.
"…There are hints of classical Indian drone in the music you are listening to now – more classical than those European and American ambient soundscapes that often lay claim to the name ‘drone’. And yet there is a woman’s voice, she sings about Paris and lullabies and kisses, not in Hindi nor Brajbhasha but in English. The voice hangs heavy over fuzzy guitars, synths and manipulated acoustics like a heat haze over the horizon. The lush, warm sounds leave you unsettled and disarmed. They are as vague and intense as a dream, and they will not let you rest easy. “Dear and Unfamiliar” would seem a strikingly appropriate title…”
'We'll always have Paris' by Birds of Passage and me, has been included on the compilation album 'SEQUENCE 1', curated by Michel Waring. It will also be on our forthcoming album 'Dear and Unfamiliar' - due to be released in october by Denovali.
Released by: Denovali
Release date: Oct 1, 2011