Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie: Salero (Erased Tapes/Southbound)

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Lithium, The New Era
Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie: Salero (Erased Tapes/Southbound)

One of the more interesting and left-field labels around is the London-based Erased Tapes, now entering its 10th year of operation and with a roster of more than 20 artists (some solo players also appearing in, or under, band names).

Elsewhere has been picking up on a few of these releases and all have had a sense of thoughtful introspection but also an engagement with the wider world of the collective (sub)conscious.

Belgium-based composer Wiltzie – who has appeared at Elsewhere as A Winged Victory for the Sullen – works in the world of movie and doco scores (or evocations of such) and this 14-track sonic landscape is for a doco of the same name by Mike Plunkett.

That film explores the lives and work of the saleros of Bolivia who have, for generations, mined a massive salt flat – see the cover photo – but now find themselves at the interface of rapacious commerce with the discovery of lithium reserves, a product essential in the hi-tech industries.

Initially recorded in his own studio with guitar sheen, gentle percussion and a small string ensemble, the music was then given a wider-screen treatment with a Hungarian string orchestra.
But even so, these pieces do not evoke images of vast and featureless salt flats any more than they might do that of deep space.

So at one level they stand independent of the accompanying film as ambient music, and the world is hardly short of that at the moment.

Most people could make do with about three ambient albums for those downtime/down tools/time out moments in life. If you have three it's unlikely you would require this, if you don't it's one worth putting on the shortlist.

The film looks extraordinary, footage is used in the accompanying clip here.

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