Colour Fields by Anthéne Hibernate Postcard Series n° 37
One of the most enjoyable parts of the spring months is watching everything burst into life. The flowers begin to bloom, the trees become reinvigorated and the animals slowly spring from their hibernation, this wonderful sense of hope and possibility seems to fill the air as we all look forward to the promise of summer. You can imagine my delight on hearing that one of my favourite labels Hibernate was stirring once more, bringing itself out of its gentle slumber to once again bless us with its unique brand of experimental ambience. Since its inception in 2011 Hibernate has released an impressive back catalogue of music featuring some of the most sought-after names in electronic and ambient music. With releases from artist such as Will Bolton, James Murray, Porya Hatami and Isnaj Dui I was extremely excited to see what 2018 had in store for this wonderful label.
Continuing where it left off with its Postcard series Hibernate has brought us two wonderful new releases available in their trademark CDR postcard format. The first release comes curtsy of Polar Sea’s curator Bradley Deschamps AKA Anthéne and the second from well established Norwegian composer Helge Tømmwevåg, AKA Mind Over MIDI. It really is no surprise that both releases sold out of there limited edition CDRs in a matter of days, each release is so clear, concise and poignant, delving deep into the realms of sonic possibilities, enticing the listener to submerge themselves in the rich and contemplative narratives.
I was first introduced to Anthéne through his album ‘Black Carbon’ released via Assembly Fields in 2016. Since this time he has had a wealth of releases through various labels including Pyramid Blood Recordings, Cathedral Transmissions and his own label, Polar Seas. I have always admired the tranquil atmosphere that each of his albums seems to bring, long evolving pads and deep hypnotic drones slowly layer themselves creating a rich tapestry of texture allowing you to slip into a world of calm and peaceful reflection.
“Colour Fields’ continues to develop Bradleys distinct sound, drawing on his previous releases ‘Colour Fields’ presents us with a well-rounded EP, perfect for the upcoming summer month. The EP starts with my favourite track ‘Twenty Four Hours’, the tone of the album is set almost instantly luring us into his charming world of shimmering pads and deep contemplative tones. At 5 minutes and 20 seconds, this is the longest piece of the album, slowly introducing us to the warm and comforting pallet of sounds that will pepper the rest of this release. Reminiscent of Brian Eno or Stars Of The Lid, ’Twenty Four Hours’ builds a long evolving atmosphere forged from soft pads, subtle guitar melodies and reverberated field recordings. Time almost seems to stand still as layers of texture, frequency and tone pass over each other creating a deep sense of tranquillity.
The second track of the EP ‘Cordelia’ opens with a heartwarming motif that repeats throughout the piece, this charmingly simplistic melody swirls around and around as soft strings and keyboards gently harmonise with each other creating a luscious bed of swelling tones. I can’t help but think of a warm summers evening sat on a porch watching the sun slowly fade into the night as it bathes the world around me in a beautiful orange glow. Its message is short but sweet, reminding us to sit back and enjoy each moment, however fleeting it may be.
As we reach track 4, ‘Red Letter Day’, we begin to hear a more classic Anthène sound emerge, deep weightless pads bring about a slightly more ominous tone, shifting the narrative of the EP temporarily. These deep hypnotic chords gently swell and subside giving the piece great depth and space allowing you to note all the subtle shifts in texture and timbre. High-frequency feedback tones slowly emerge filling in the spaces and connecting the dots.
As the EP draws to its conclusion we are presented with its title track, ‘Colour Fields’. Dusty guitar loops and synth work form the foundation of the piece whilst subtle ocean recordings flicker in the background. A slow crescendo allows for the swirling pads to grow and expand within the piece, deliberately taking centre stage, bathing everything in the distinctive warm pallet of sounds we have come to expect from this EP. Fields of beautiful primary colours run through my mind as the EP slowly and calmly begins to decay, gently droning out of focus. This EP feels like it is over to soon, but yet you are left completely satisfied by what you have experienced. It says everything it needs to and leaves you with a wonderful sense of renewed energy.
I have always admired the postcard series for there beautifully simplistic design, a homage to the minimalist approach that many of its artists have taken. Each CD is so carefully prepared and presented that you can’t help fall in love with each new release, making them a true collector’s item. Both these release are no exception, a beautiful return to form from a truly wonderful label. The only difficult thing will be waiting for the next release.