Sound Wonders LP
Sound Wonders: A Series of Epics is music inspired by the long poems and narrative verse works that have detailed deeds and adventures since the dawn of storytelling.
Featuring: Elori Saxl, Matthewdavid’s Mindflight, liila, Emile Mosseri, Yialmelic Frequencies, Nailah Hunter, Green-House, Emily Ritz & SK Kakraba.
Released Worldwide October 8th, 2021
Limited Run 12" LP / 33 RPM
Photography by Aubrey Trinnaman
Design + Layout by Some All None
Sound Wonders: A Series of Epics is the second compilation from Touchtheplants, the imprint and multidisciplinary creative environment founded by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Sean Hellfritsch (aka Cool Maritime). Following 2020's Breathing Instruments, the new collection features sonic responses to a new prompt. Like its predecessor (which explored music as an extension of the human body and the natural world), the medium of focus here dates back to ancient civilizations. Smith invited artists to compose music based on the idea of epics: the long poems and narrative verse works that have detailed deeds and adventures since the dawn of storytelling. The musicians — some of today's most exciting practitioners of experimental sound design, instrumentation, and synthesis — took this directive loosely, realizing a series of vibrant and transportive songs evoking wondrous visions, subjects, and locales.
The set begins on a bed of moss in a shaded forest, courtesy of composer Elori Saxl. Reflecting on the experience that inspired "Moss II," she remembers "feeling like the world was pulsing all around me and I never wanted it to end and also being very aware that it was already slipping away." With Robbie Lee on woodwinds and Helen Newby on strings, Saxl re-creates that fleeting sensation. The chamber piece builds and exhales with awe, able to capture the lush and verdant vision, if only for a moment.
On the next track, Matthewdavid looks beyond the forest floor to engage "the fungal network that binds all," layering flute and textural production into a serene orchestra of spore-like sounds.
Next, Danielle Davis and Steven Whiteley, aka Liila, reach for the infinite sublime. Their composition "appa wú wéi" is dynamic, nuanced, and mercurial, gliding buoyantly on a bright, Reich-ian marimba sequence.
Emile Mosseri followed his instincts with the word "epic," pursuing the two vast frontiers that first came to mind, cowboys and outer space. The composer's otherworldly hums and organ keys set the celestial scene as guitar strums converse with fluttering chimes; the effect is pure cinematic majesty. From there, over washes of static and alien chatter, Diva Dompé opens a portal to Yialmel, the cross-dimensional destination of her therapeutic instrumental music project, Yialmelic Frequencies.
Two vocally-driven songs guide the second half of Sound Wonders. Multi-instrumentalist Nailah Hunter's mystical number, "Naiad's Lament," channels the water nymphs of Greek mythology. She sings of spells; her voice flows in and out of earshot as if echoing across a pond. Emily Ritz's "Tempest" cycles soulful, elemental verses above bedroom pop percussion she shaped "like a big wave in a calm sea or a sudden gust of wind."
Breathing between those moments are two rhythmic instrumentals. As Green-House, Olive Ardizoni contributes an ode to the strange and beautiful phenomenon of starling murmurations. Synth and xylophone tones dance overhead, mimicking the moves of birds grouped in synchronized swoops. The set ends in the vibrational patterns of SK Kakraba playing the gyils, a Ghanaian xylophone. The wooden instrument's distinct buzz resonates to a joyous, frenetic peak, a final entry befitting of this far-reaching compilation. Taken as a whole, Sound Wonders: A Series of Epics splays out like chapters in a panoramic account of endless possibility, intrigue, and appreciation for all that surrounds us.