Rhian Sheehan: Stories from Elsewhere (Loop)

 |   |  1 min read

Rhian Sheehan: La Boite a Musique
Rhian Sheehan: Stories from Elsewhere (Loop)

Given its title -- and that I wrote a travel collection called Postcards From Elsewhere -- how could we not be interested in this textured, electronica-cum-ambient outing from New Zealand's Sheehan? And here he brings a real human warmth and some fascinating musical references from a wide palette to this, his first full length album since Standing in Silence about four years ago.

This is very different from Standing in Silence in that here he works with real instruments and musician  who include Jeff Boyle from Jakob, Andy Hummel (Rosy Tin Teacaddy), Steve Bremner (The Adults), Raashi Malik (Rhombus) and Ryan Prebble (The Nudge).

Most tellingly too are members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra string section who must have felt right at home when their contribution erred towards the late Romantics and the evocative soundscapes of Delius and Vaughan Williams. Not that these are direct influences, but their ethos of naturalism is certainly evoked in some glorious passages here where you can imagine William Turner clouds above a vast landscape (La Boite a Musique).

There's also a playful quality at work too: the surface noise and use of a child's instrument on the cheerful Little Sines and the cheap computer sound of Nocture 1985 where old school electronics finds its place within a piece which tickles along on repeated figures and astral blips and swathes.

Kieran_Rynhart_crop.1Creation Myths seems to invite in Asian elements (sounding like some $2 electronic version of the sound of a Japanese koto which gets increasingly distorted) and at times you sense a refreshing child-like wonder at the sounds possible from low-rent or lo-fi equipment (an impression enhanced by the cover art by Kieran Ryhart who clearly has a career in childrens' book illustration).

So here are gentle floating pieces (A Thimble of Sorrow) morphing into evocative pieces which seem to have origins in wide-screen soundtracks (Nusquam is a cinematice string piece with melancholy undertones). And Fripp-Eno ambience co-exists easily with free-from-gravity passages of subtle beauty (Somnus floats in space but takes you perilously close to the capsule-melting sun at the end).

All these elements ease together into a rich, headphones-on whole and with subtle elelctrobleeps, this manage that rare feat of canny welcome-to-my-world humour while taking you on a long trip with many, various and often sublime digressions.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

Kyle - Mar 25, 2013

Gee that video is beautifully done. Stunningly well illustrated. Is that Kieran Ryhart as well?

sharina - Mar 26, 2013

Hi Kyle,

Yes that is Kieran Rynhart's work - Matt Pitt brought to life his beautiful illustrations!

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Fleetwood Mac, Mirage Expanded Edition (Warners)

Fleetwood Mac, Mirage Expanded Edition (Warners)

After the mega-success of their self-titled album in '75 and its follow-up Rumours ('77) which sold even more multi-millions, the Big Mac took a left turn with Tusk ('79, well worth... > Read more

Electric Wire Hustle: Love Can Prevail (Every Waking Hour)

Electric Wire Hustle: Love Can Prevail (Every Waking Hour)

Last month this album -- EWH down now from a trio to Mara TK and David "Taay Ninh" Wright -- got a very nice notice in the New York Times, noting their "knotty, disorienting studio... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER MADELINE BOCARO on twin-powered Japanese pop and Mothra movies

GUEST WRITER MADELINE BOCARO on twin-powered Japanese pop and Mothra movies

The Peanuts were one of Japan's first pop sensations, and the first to become well known internationally. Their career lasted from 1959-1975 and the diminutive duo comprised identical twin... > Read more

Good Morning, America

Good Morning, America (2005) wake early that is the time to see the other America . . . the young men picking through garbage collecting cans bagging bottles... > Read more