NAAL is an eclectic music project led by Chicago composer Dave Mantel. This talented musician has a true passion for great melodies and haunting musical textures. His blend of ambient, shoegaze and experimental drone music feels personal and unique, echoing the work of artists such as Slowdive, Boards of Canada or Sigur Ros, just to mention a few.
Recently, NAAL released a brand new studio effort, A703, in its deluxe edition.
This release marks the artist’s debut and this deluxe version is another significant musical milestone for the project, who is quickly gaining positive receptions and support from critics and audiences alike.
The seven tracks featured on the album have a surrealistic sonic signature, with a cinematic atmosphere that ranges from uplifting brightness to eerie darkness.
The melodic drones that fuel many of the songs seem to bleed into one another. The apparent stillness of this music is actually far from being a lack of motion: every song evolves slowly, as the drone acquires more harmonic, different texture characteristics, new octaves and even new tonal directions. These lush instrumental compositions are deceptively simple, yet the production aesthetics are rich and full of beautiful layers. The stunning artwork cover also deserves a mention here. The minimalistic approach to design reflects the understated musical compositions that you will find in this release.
The Deluxe edition of this work features a few extra add-ons and surprises for fans and new listeners alike.
Through the project’s official website, there are a wide variety of packages to choose from, ranging from digital downloads to cassette tapes and cool t-shirts, and any combination of the above. The cassette tape edition is super-limited and completely DIY, available in 50 copies made especially by the artist on high-grade equipment. Buyers will also receive other cool content, such as unique pictures, thank you notes and more.
A703 strikes for its cohesive vision, dark ambiance and great production values. This release is remarkable because it definitely pays a sincere tribute to the group’s influences, yet starkly affirms his own personality and approach.
Ali Murray is an ethereal folk songwriter/musician from the cold isle of Lewis in the north of Scotland. He writes dark atmospheric folk music with lush sweeping dreamy soundscapes and Celtic-twinged instrumentation. His new album LAND OF EVERGONE strikes a balance that is intimate and soaring, peaceful and haunting, sad and quietly joyful, delicately reverberating with Murray's dreamy voice and guitar playing.
Orellana is a neo-classical/post-rock collective hailing from Bristol, UK. Their new album “52”, released in late December, brought in the new year with it’s explosive and intricate sound. The project’s music transcends genre definitions in order to focus on a broad, diverse concept that is more emotional than tangible. This particular release is full of rich and diverse arrangements, but it is also a powerful exercise in minimalism, one that showcases the strength of very few notes placed in the right spots. The simplicity of the arrangement is actually one of the strongest aspects of this entire release: there’s a palpable stillness created by the long, drone notes in the background, which almost makes you feel like the world is happening in slow motion. When the chords and notes change, it feels quite monumental due to the beautiful contrast between the stillness of the background textures and the expressive sound of the guitar-based melodies.