Mortality Tables: Goodparley – Two Meditations For Freya

MORTALITY TABLES
GOODPARLEY – TWO MEDITATIONS FOR FREYA

digital EP released today | remixes by Alka & Xqui

mortalitytables.bandcamp.com

Two improvised pieces for guitar. Recorded by Oli Richards (Goodparley) on 10 February 2022 in response to a concept by Mat Smith.

1. Meditation Twenty-Four (i) (For Freya)
2. Meditation Twenty-Four (ii) (For Freya)
3. Meditation Twenty-Four (i) (For Freya) – Alka Remix
4. Meditation Twenty-Four (ii) (For Freya) – Xqui Remix

Response: Oli Richards
Concept: Mat Smith
Mastering: John@SEODAH
Design: Neil Coe

A Mortality Tables Product
MTP10

CONCEPT NOTES BY MAT SMITH

‘Two Meditations For Freya’ is a sound response to anxiety.

On 10 January 2022, my youngest daughter found herself too scared to sleep. She was never a great sleeper as a baby and toddler, and now, as a teenager, often struggles to relax enough for bed.

This night was different, however. She seemed to be gripped by an intense and unrelenting panic which she could not explain. In context, she had been receiving weekly cognitive behavioural therapy treatment for anxiety and depression through CHUMS, a Bedfordshire charity focused on helping young people cope with mental health issues. She’d had one of her weekly sessions earlier that day and it seemed to have triggered something inside her, but she could not – or perhaps would not – articulate it.

In an effort to help her, I offered to stay in her room so that she could feel safe and reassured enough to drift off. As she tossed and turned, I decided to practice some guided meditation in the midnight darkness of her room. She eventually fell asleep while listening to the rhythm of my breath. For the next week, we practiced short meditations together every night just before bed, and she slept better every night that week.

Around that time I was working with Oli Richards as he prepared his album Meditations Vol. 1 for release by Wormhole World. The album collected five improvised guitar ‘meditations’, each one recorded in the first few minutes after he woke up in the morning. Oli had begun releasing these pieces in November 2021, and I had been struck by their beauty and simplicity. I began seeing them as brief moments of acute stillness in which to detach from the world, and support my own meditation practice.

I approached Oli with the story of how Freya couldn’t sleep and asked if he’d consider recording an improvisation for her, to support the meditations she and I were doing together. His recordings were made on 10 February 2022 at his home in Cardiff. They were originally released through Oli’s Bandcamp page later the same day.

All proceeds from this release will go to CHUMS. CHUMS provides mental health and emotional wellbeing support for children, young people and their families.
chums.uk.com

ABOUT GOODPARLEY

Goodparley (Oli Richards) is a Cardiff-based musician and sound artist. His sounds are largely based around improvised ambient guitar loops and textures, manipulated in real-time using various modulating effects to create inherently experimental soundscapes.
goodparley.bandcamp.com

ABOUT MORTALITY TABLES

“In an effort to circumvent our unalterable mortality, we create. We make SOUNDS, ART, WORDS. These things are our INSURANCE against death.”
– Mortality Tables, On Mortality, Immortality & Charles Ives (2022)

E Peritia Ratio: reason from experience.

Nothing happens without context. Every event has a catalyst. There is no such thing as a blank page.

So it goes that each Mortality Tables Product must begin with an outline of an initial creative concept – a thought; a notion; a moment of serious whimsy; a considered reflection on life, memory, love, loss, trauma, death.

We document those ideas, then invite collaborators to respond freely to them.

They may ignore us. They may say no. They may say yes. Whoever we invite to participate shall be unencumbered by restriction, constraint, expectation, convention, limit or judgement.

There are never any right or wrong answers, because there are no questions. There is nothing more than the idea and the response.

Mortality Tables
Est. Bloomsbury, 2019
mortality-tables.com
Mortality Tables illustration by Savage Pencil

(c) 2022 Mortality Tables

Wonderful Beasts – The Art Of Whisper

Front cover

More than ever before, ambient music feels somehow necessary right now. It represents a vehicle through which to still one’s restless mind amid a tickertape feed of dystopian signals, harrowing statistics and only the briefest flourishes of hope. Whether as a tool for absorption or distraction, ambient music can centre you elsewhere, allowing you to regain focus and perspective.

Unfortunately, a lot of ambient music is also terminally boring, the equivalent of sonic wallpaper or a naff pastiche of inconsequential New Age reference points. That accusation thankfully cannot be levied at Wonderful Beasts, a pairing of electronic artists boycalledcrow and Xqui, whose first collaboration together is anything but music to drift off to sleep to.

For the most part, The Art Of Whisper is built from blocks of gauzy texture, etiolated clouds of sound that float past you and hover, mirage-like and just out to reach, before vanishing into nothingness. Sprinkles of delicate synth melodies are cast over pieces like ‘I Fell Into A Dream’, a languid pace and frosty atmosphere evoking crystalline structures and ghostly shimmer. ‘Love Her’ and ‘Quiet’ include what could be the heavily-processed sound of pealing church bells submerged under layers and layers of dense reverb so as to leave the merest trace outline of joyfulness.

Elsewhere, there are pieces that break free of these beatific soundworlds. ‘My Old Guitar’ has a firmness and drama, its delicate melodic gestures nudged forward with a murky bass undertow and a distant beat. The track opens with a distorted, over-amped synth passage, creating the sense of memory and nostalgia enshrined in the title. A similar effect can be found on ‘She Is The Melody Man’, wherein a pounded, tribal rhythm supports a framework of high-velocity sequences and plucked guitar-like sounds, simultaneously carrying a sense of threat but also a youthful vigour, like looking back on the adventure games you played as a child. ‘Into The Emerald Eye’ is perhaps the noisiest piece here, with squalling layers of angry noise that finally ebb away into the same stylistic terrain as the likes of ‘Love Her’.

What boycalledcrow and Xqui offer is a sense of narrative without once revealing the story, offering little more than glimpses of moments freighted with emotional, yet ephemeral significance. To do that within the context of ambient music is nothing short of remarkable.

The Art Of Whisper by Wonderful Beasts was released March 20 2020 by Wormhole World.

(c) 2020 Further.