Welcome to Habitat Sounds !
We are so excited to announce the launch of Habitat Sounds , a new record label and publishing created out of my cultural studio Sound Health Habitat. Habitat Sounds will produce albums and recordings of traditional music, contemporary music, and sound pieces inspired by and focused on the environment. Habitat Sounds will also publish sheet music scores, books, essays, and sound maps.
Co-run and co-produced by my self and Jake Landau, we are thrilled to bring you our inaugural release of 3 amazing albums by Alex Peh, Azeddine Ait Faraji, and Merche Blasco. Soon ! I am excited to say, and also after a milestone summer and move, my book Rhythm In Nature: An Ecology of Rhythm is releasing with the album releases! Thank you to all who have pre-ordered. Here is the link if you haven’t
Rhythm in Nature dives into the studio and onto the field with percussionist, composer and sound artist Susie Ibarra. In this narrative Ibarra shares her studies and explorations and her practice guide to discovering rhythm daily in the world natural sounds. From soundmapping glaciers source to sink to listening to the equation of a rhythm of an ocean wave in motion, to studying tree fractals and creating rhythms from the anatomy sounds of trees, Ibarra invites questions and uncovers rhythm amidst these equations and recordings. She invites listening to birdsongs filled with rudimentary rhythms and examines polyrhythms in the equation of fragility in the desert. Landing amidst the giant canyons lay echos of resonance which she researches in congruence to gongs.
The book accompanies my online course, Drum Labs: Rhythm in Nature, a weekly study of listening, field recording, spatial mapping, playing, practicing and notations of rhythm in the natural world
Thrilled to announce, Alex Peh will release his debut solo piano album, Attune, playing composers work from Myanmar, Greece, Iran, and the U.S.
Attune is about the collaboration between two musicians, bonded in a process of attunement to one another as they co-create new music. Composers featured include U Yee Nwe, U Thet Oo, Ne Myo Aung, Anna Clyne, Hafez Modirzadeh, Pooyan Azadeh, and Nikos Ordoulidis. This album tracks the piano as it moved eastward from Europe into Greece, Iran, and Myanmar. The work on this album comes from the myriad syncretic musical practices that flourished as a result of this migration. It celebrates the messy space that occurs when cultures communicate To create new forms and sounds.
Alex Peh is a pianist, improviser and scholar who explores the piano in global classical, contemporary, and improvised practices. A 2021 Fulbright Global Scholar, Peh explores contemporary piano repertoire, finding new approaches to tuning, pedagogy, notation and musical transmission. Peh is a member of Talking Gong, an improvising trio with percussionist, Susie Ibarra and flutist, Claire Chase. As a 2019 Asian Cultural Council fellow, Peh travelled to Yangon, Myanmar to study Burmese piano, a classical style that the Burmese call Sandaya, from legendary pianist Dr. U Yee Nwe. Peh began his studies in Sandaya from Kyaw Kyaw Naing and collaborated with him to create the first Burmese Saing Waing ensemble in America, comprising students, faculty and community members at SUNY New Paltz. Peh earned his doctorate in piano performance from Indiana University where he mentored with Arnaldo Cohen, Menahem Pressler and Evelyne Brancart. He pursued undergraduate studies at Northwestern University where he worked with Sylvia Wang. He attended the Banff, Aspen and Tanglewood music festivals where he studied with Emanuel Ax, Pamela Frank, Claude Frank, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, and Peter Serkin. He is an associate professor of piano at SUNY New Paltz.
Merche Blasco will release an E.P. Called Fauna , a solo electronics album of built instruments. Because of their performative nature , this work is something that until now Merche has only played live and not released on record. Together we chose this recording from her performance at Bennington College where she was invited by Senem Pirler because we felt how musically beautiful and special it was to release this piece that normally could only be heard in live performance.
Fauna is a live improvisation with a set of custom-made instruments and re-purposed technologies used to process field recordings, incorporating body movements and the live exploration of intricate material textures. The composition comprises three movements, each defined by the nature of the instruments they feature.
Merche Blasco is a multimedia artist and composer based in New York, and currently living in Berlin. She designs and builds imprecise technological assemblages that catalyze embodied forms of live electroacoustic composition and new modes of listening. Through her constructed devices, Merche attempts to establish a more horizontal relationship with other entities, distancing herself from parameters of precision, power, and control. As an alternative form of performance, she engineers collaborative spaces with instruments that are given their own agency, in compositions where her body and the live exploration of organic materials are central elements. Her work also increasingly focuses on designing participatory sound performances in public spaces to connect strangers and their surroundings through collective music-making and listening.
Merche has presented her performances and installations at the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Shed, CTM Festival, MaerzMusik , Sonar Festival, La Biennale di Venezia, NIME conferences, Tsonami International Sound Art Festival in Chile, The High Line in New York, SONIC Festival, Mapping Festival (Geneva), Queens Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago de Chile, among others. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, El Pais Semanal, and The Wire magazine.
Merche is a DAAD Music & Sound Fellow in 2022-2023.
Azeddine Ait Faraji will release his debut album of Gnawi Spirituals entitled Welad Bambra. We are so excited to introduce Azeddine and the deep and spiritual music he plays from the South Sahara in Morocco. Jake and I met Azeddine through our work and collaboration with Joudour Sahara Music School in M'Hamid El Ghizlane, South Sahara, Morocco and Playing For Change Foundation. We were honored to meet and record Azeddines ensemble in 2021 in Morocco for the Splice Soundpack Sounds of the Drâa Valley. In 2022 we came back to perform with Azeddine and many other groups from Morocco, Ghana, and Mali at the Zamane Festival in M'Hamid El Ghizlane. After the festival performance, we stayed an extra few days to record this album for Azeddine on site. We are so excited to bring it to you here !
Welad Bambra is an album consisting of 6 songs that tell the story of black slaves and their suffering through slavery and servitude and compares them to their African roots. The term ولاد بامبرا (Welad Bambra) is the name of the first stage of the Gnawi spiritual night, in which singing is mixed with individual and group dancing. The lyrics on the album are a mixture of Arabic and the original language of the slaves, and are interspersed with the remembrance of God and supplication.
Azeddine Ait Faraji is a Gnawi artist. Born in Zagora in the south-east of Morocco In 1988 from the Gnaouia family. His father and grandfather are also musicians who play the Guembri, Dandoun (bass drum) and Qaraqab. Azeddine participates in a range of local and national cultural and artistic activities and events. Among the most prominent is the Gnawa and World Music Festival in Essaouira, Morocco.
Azeddine Ait Faraji (left)
This is a milestone inaugural release for Habitat Sounds with such amazing artists we are so proud to support. We can not wait for you all to hear the music and learn more about the musicians. Release dates along with more info are to follow soon !
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See you soon !