Grounding Sounds #001: Spheruleus

Spheruleus.jpg

Spheruleus is Lincolnshire, UK based sound artist Harry Towell. His work has graced labels such as Home Normal, Hibernate, Time Released Sound and his own imprints Audio Gourmet and Tessellate Recordings.

Harry has been heavily into music for as long as he can remember and places more importance on buying and enjoying the music of others than his own artistic creations. His love of vinyl from a young age saw him amass a large collection of obscure electronica, spanning trip-hop, deep House and minimal techno genres to name but a few. He began DJing across the midlands before getting into ambient genres in 2007.

For more information on Audio Gourmet, visit http://www.audiogourmet.co.uk
For more information on Spheruleus, visit http://spheruleus.bandcamp.com

PART ONE
‘Part One’ of Harry’s contribution for Grounding Sounds spans the more ‘low key’ genres of his music taste, featuring music from ambient, folk, lo-fi, jazz, modern classical, drone to post-rock sub genres over the last 70 years

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO PART ONE

John Cage – In A Landscape [1948]
“I open the show with possibly the oldest piece of music I own, from the absolute godfather of piano/prepared piano – John Cage. I got this when I first got into ambient music and it was perhaps the first hint of my interest in classical music. It is a long piece for a radio show, but it’s worth every second as I’m sure you’ll agree”

Aphex Twin – Petiatil Cx Dui [2001]
“I own the crazy Drukqs album by Aphex Twin and it is absolutely nuts. What Aphex does to particularly interesting effect is offset the heavy electronic sounds with brief moments of incredibly beautiful piano. It doesn’t get better than when Petiatil Cx Dui come in. I remember listening to it for the first time late one night and being blown away. I’ve never listened to the album in full as it’s 2 discs long so it probably took me a couple of years before I’d even heard it”

Brian Eno and Harold Budd – Late October [1984]
“Naturally, Eno and Budd were the first port of call for my developing taste for ambient music. I think Eno is at his best with Budd on his side and this piece is just captivating. I can’t believe how old it is – it sounds so ahead of its time. This for me is some of the best work either artist has done”

Popol Vuh – Kyrie [1972]
“I chanced across Popol Vuh from a friend’s recommendation several years ago and although I haven’t been bowled over by much of their work if I’m honest, this track has always stayed with me as I have listened again and again. It’s a clever piece of guitar, piano and voice driven music – with lots of twists and turns.”

Loren Connors – Child [1993]
“One of the most beautiful short pieces of music I own, from a truly gifted guitarist. I have Connors’ Hell’s Kitchen Park LP and it gets a regular rotation but this is my favourite piece he has done, in which he collaborates with vocalist Suzanne Langille.”

Tim Hecker – October [2001]
“Again, at the time of discovering ambient music, Tim Hecker was already well established and an obvious discovery. His ‘Haunt Me…’ album is full of excellent hiss and static drenched moods and ‘October’ is quite possibly my favourite ever drone based ambient piece.”

Richard Skelton – Heys [2008]
“I’ve been massively influenced by Richard Skelton’s work in my own sound experiments – it’s just the earthy rural feel to it that really strikes a chord with me. This one is my favourite of all his work from the fabulous Marking Time album. It’s gut-wrenchingly melancholy but so incredibly beautiful at the same time”

Hannah Peel – Unwound [2011]
“Brightening things up slightly, a piece from Hannah Peel’s marvellous The Broken Wave album. It’s about as poppy as my music taste gets but I love the use of instruments and quirky/folky feel to her work. Despite having only recently been released, the album has made a truly lasting impact on me that will likely go on for years to come”

Nick Drake – Things Behind The Sun [1972]
“I discovered Nick Drake far too late, but still, I’ve a lifetime ahead of me to get to grips with his modest discography. Things Behind The Sun is a piece I often set to repeat on my iPod as I’m out and about. His guitar playing was excellent and his voice even better.”

F.S Blumm – Laichteich [2001]
“Beautifully wistful rural lo-fi folk sounds from F.S Blumm, off the brilliant Mondkuchen album released on Morr Music. The whole album is top notch material but this piece has always stood out for me, with its key changes and pastoral charm.”

Fennesz – Laguna [2004]
“Perhaps many of my peers are more inspired by Christian Fennessz’ noisier pieces but not I. Whilst I enjoy it, my favourite Fennesz moments lie with Laguna, on his Venice album. The guitar piece is pretty obvious and could easily be a pop song, with vocals etc. It works better for me as an instrumental to me and is a joy to listen to”

The Gentleman Losers – Salt Of The Sea [2006]
“I absolutely love The Gentleman Losers’ eponymous album as it’s full of lo-fi guitar goodness, vinyl static and a whole lot more. I’ve listened to this album over and over again and it never wanes its effect on my ears. Salt Of The Sea was what I plumped for, although it was tough!”

John Martyn – Smiling Stranger [1977]
“A friend introduced me to John Martyn and although a lot of his work is not my cup of tea, there is much in his discography that is real quality. Smiling Stranger is the stand-out in this, lots of percussive sounds, guitar effects, sax, strings and Martyn’s unique voice”

Boduf Sounds – I Am Going Away and I Am Never Coming Back [2010]
“Like many, I got quite into Post-rock, with its more melancholy and repetitive approach to rock/indie music and with its impossibly long track titles. I Am Going Away and I Am Never Coming Back is a good example of this, on all counts (well, it’s not that repetitive!) but it certainly has the long track title. That aside, this piece is something I often listen to when in need of something conscious to perk me up first thing in the morning before work.”

Hood – L.Fading Hills [2004]
“Whilst always being aware of them and having got lots of the subsequent Boats material, I’m somewhat of a late-comer when it comes to Hood. Upon discovering though, I delved through their whole back catalog and was amazed. The band’s music is incredible and different to a lot of their peers. Guitar, voice, piano, samples, violin, trumpet…all sorts of instruments and techniques, flowing together as a liquid post-rock/ambient sound. L.Fading Hills is my favourite piece however, as it has more of an upbeat feel to it than most of their work which makes it stay long in the memory.”

Bohren Und Der Club of Gore – Still Am Tresen [2008]
“Deep, moody jazz sounds here with Bohren Und Der Club Of Gore. The album is loosely labelled as late night jazz, which I love. But it is the strong low-slung ambient feel to their work that has had me hooked.”

The Cinematic Orchestra ft. Fontella Bass – All That You Give [2002]
“I’m a huge fan of Ninja tunes and it was very tough whittling down their discography. The stand-out piece for me is by The Cinematic Orchestra, who I’ve followed and enjoyed for over a decade now. Fontella Bass’s vocals here ride beautifully over harp, percussion, strings and deep bass. Such an incredible piece of music”

PART TWO
‘Part Two’ covers more electronic ground with trip-hop, dub and deep House music genres, whilst still retaining an overriding organic warmth. It begins with downtempo material for the first 45 minutes before going into a vinyl-only House mix for the last half an hour.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO PART TWO

Saddleback – For Crying Out Loud [2007]
“This is the only piece of what could be considered ambient music on Part Two. It has a playful almost IDM feel with its use of drums and I felt it would work well as an intro, not to mention that it’s from one of my favourite albums – the fabulous Night Maps. The whole record is full of detailed acoustic instrument parts, arranged impeccably and almost with a Ninja-tune style sense of humour at times.”

J-Boogie’s Dubtronic Science – Golden Nectar [2003]
“I first heard Golden Nectar on a Cafe Mambo mix CD by Pete Gooding and I was instantly blown away. You’ll soon see why, once you hear it – the sitar and flute carry themselves melodically over laid-back hip-hop beats, making for a seriously chilled-out slice of downtempo goodness.”

Boozoo Bajou – Lava [2001]
“I’m very much into deep dub sounds like this and the whole album (Satta) is full of soft deep sounds like this with muted hints of instrumental flair. It was tough picking a favourite as every piece is a winner but I chose Lava because it just about stands out above the rest. Just!”

Joseph Malik – Evil Things (Bobby Hughes Reconstruction) [2003]
“I remember listening to this track for the first time, which came free with Breakin’ Point magazine in the summer of 2002. I was awaiting the delivery of my first turntables. On the free compilation CD, for some reason, this track was used three times! Quite why I’ll never know, but at least it meant I really began to get attached to it. The unique-sounding beats, laid-back organ keys, licks of guitar and Malik’s vocals are wonderful. This is actually a remix and it is far better than the original.”

Erykah Badu – No Love [1997]
“Erykah Badu is as close as I’m likely to get to actual chart music – I’ve spent years listening to her music and it’s always stayed with me, whatever style I’m getting into at the time. Her ‘Baduizm’ album was introduced to me by a friend in my DJ days and I’ve been listening to it over and over ever since. A real classic for me”

Flying Lotus – Tea Leaf Dancers [2007]
“Flyting Lotus have done wonders for modern electronic music and it’s really great to see such a forward thinking artist grab the headlines in the experimental music scene. A lot of their material leans more towards the electronic than the warmer more soulful sounds but Tea Leaf Dancers goes great length to show the depth of talent. It’s such a deep deep tune, full of soul. One of my all time favourites, which says a lot considering it’s a relatively recent piece”

DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World [1996]
“I had to download this piece from the absolutely classic album Entroducing album, as my disc is so worn that there is a constant ‘ticking’ to the tracks. This shows how ‘loved’ this album has been over the years and a first listen to the album will show you just why. This is a classic, not just for me, but for a generation. There are some excellent pieces on this album but Midnight In A Perfect World is what I plumped for”

James Mason – Sweet Power Your Embrace [1977]
“This is a really timeless disco/funk infused piece that has always been popular in the underground scene. I discovered James Mason through mix CDs by Ron Trent and Gilles Peterson and I ordered Mason’s album. A lot of the material isn’t quite my cup of tea but Sweet Power Your Embrace is a track I regularly come back to – it takes some time to build up before the vocals come in and then there’s a beautiful electric guitar and saxophone crescendo to wind things up on a high. Great record.”

Madlib – Stepping Into Tomorrow [2003]
“Shades Of Blue is an incredibly good record all the way through, winning over fans of downtempo, jazz, electronica and of course, Hip Hop. Every piece of music is a true artform – with Madlib remixing the back-catalog of jazz label Blue Note Recordings. It is given a modern slant of course, whilst retaining a great respect for the originals. It was tough picking a piece for this mix and with time slots of the essence, I could easily have gone for a shorter track. Instead, I chose the longest – Stepping Into Tomorrow really takes its time to build and is full of detail. The bass, piano work and key changes are just incredible!”

Moodymann – Long Hot Sex Nights [1995]
“I kick off the closing House section of this show with a personal highlight from Moodymann. I love his stuff and have many of his records. I think Kenny Dixon Jnr is at his best when working with Norma Jean Bell and here, she provides the saxophone and lead vocals – as you’ll discover in the funny little intro. There’s a really deep feel to this piece so I only ever played it out once in my DJing days – and that was when I was drunk! But it’s a joy to listen to, despite its length. So I had to include it here”

Joey Youngman – Body and Soul [2005]
“I struggled to bring this one in seamlessly, as you’ll have heard already but I don’t care, as this record needed to be played too. Body and Soul is a piece from my first Joey Youngman EP and it was the first of many. I used to play this EP regularly in clubs and bars and it’s a special record for me, out when I was in my ‘prime’. Joey was an extremely talented producer and he worked hard for a few years and then he quit whilst he was ahead and did away with ‘Joey Youngman’ as a pseudonym.”

Falko Brocksieper – Off The Rack [2007]
“When I bought this, I was in my last year of DJing as I was getting into ambient music. I did play it regularly, as it always got a strong reaction and as you’ll hear, this is largely thanks to that bass line! Minimal techno/house was pretty big back then and I dabbled of course. I prefered the records that were minimal, but had an edge in some way and this piece is as good an example as I’ve got.”

Martin Woerner – Shingles [2008]
“I only got a couple of opportunities to play this record before hanging up my headphones, but my memories of playing it to a packed and receptive room are cherished. The percussion and occasional flairs of hiss are another example of an otherwise minimal piece having that extra edge to it”

Brendon Moeller – Birth [2006]
“I never mixed with this record live, as the opening always proved taxing and just too risky in front of a crowd. I had quite a few records like this and they would often come to be my favourites. This is definitely the case with Birth, a deeeep dubbed out House/techno track that throbs with detail. I decided to include it in this mix regardless of any potential mixing struggles and somehow it worked!”
Slowhouse – Track 4 [2008]
“Towards the very end of my DJing career, I put in an order for some vinyl that included this EP by Slowhouse. I was growing frustrated by the fact that clubs and bars were not including turntables as standard and as I didn’t drive, this would often hinder my DJing opportunities. Everything seemed to be going digital and I wasn’t going to back down. I gave it all up in the end but it was refreshing that towards the end, I discovered Slowhouse, who only do vinyl releases. I wasn’t alone! All four cuts on this EP are awesome and I know that in my day, these would have been on heavy rotation. Instead, it’s been a fond ‘listening record’ over the last few years”

Mollison and Malone – To The Rhythm [1995]
“I love the old school sounds of House music and to me, they represent the true roots of the genre, however predictable. When I first got into DJing, my mate had loads of old House records that his cousin had given him. I’d often go round to haggle some of his best 12s off him, swapping or buying him a pint or two. This track is one of my favourite ever House cuts and despite this, I didn’t really play it out that much because it had a nasty scratch on the record. So…for this mix, I ordered a replacement from Discogs!”

Advertisements