Piano Magic – Heart Machinery: A Piano Magic Retrospective 2001 – 2008

The unveiling of this second volume of Piano Magic singles, EP cuts and sundry extra-curricular pieces comes with the news that the band - which began way back in 1996 - may have amicably called it a day, for at least an extended indefinite hiatus.  Whilst many long-time devotees of Glen Johnson’s forever-evolving London-based but internationalist … [Read more...]

Artists On Albums: AOA#37 (Colleen on Moondog 2)

Colleen on… Moondog’s Moondog 2 (Columbia Records, 1971) I first encountered Moondog’s music around 2001, discovering him – like so much other music in my life – at a time when going to the music libraries of Paris had become an essential part of my life. I had just finished my studies and had very little money, so my favourite way of … [Read more...]

Ghostwriter – Dimensions EP

Having made such an impression with 2010’s esoteric - and now highly collectible - The Continuing Adventures Of The Strange Sound Association album for Second Language, the Devon-based Mark Brend has been biding his time in gestating a follow-up release for his Ghostwriter project.  Thankfully though, the wait has been worth it, even if this brief … [Read more...]

Richard Moult – Yclypt / Various Artists – End Of A Season

Although the release rate of Second Language’s subscription-led enterprise has slowed a little in pace during 2012 - perhaps partly to give larger-scale releases like Piano Magic’s Life Hasn’t Finished With Me Yet a little more room to reach out beyond core label aficionados - there is certainly no drop in the care and attention that goes into each … [Read more...]

FAO#33: Land Observations & Dead Rat Orchestra

Although instrumental music is so intrinsic to our daily life, whether it’s deadly lift muzak or the enthralling score to an on-screen drama, it’s still considered somewhat of an oddity for your average music fan to stock up on releases with a wordless voice-free remit.  Which is a shame, as good instrumental music can often be a life-line for … [Read more...]

Piano Magic – Life Has Not Finished With Me Yet

With 2009’s Ovations (the last official Piano Magic album if we exclude 2010’s self-revisiting limited edition Home Recordings) Glen Johnson and co. had arguably taken Piano Magic's most electric guitar-driven phase to a logical end. Hence, in the spirit of the band’s cyclical ritual for reinvention - that has expanded and sustained Piano Magic’s … [Read more...]

Second Language releases Memory Drawings debut

Newly-released on the ever-evolving Second Language  - with the label’s usual mixture of surprise and understatement - is Music For Another Loss, the debut release from the pan-global Memory Drawings. This first instrumental album from the freshly-formed trio of hammered dulcimer player Joel Hanson, violinist Sarah Kemp (Brave Timbers, Last … [Read more...]

Tyneham House – self-titled

Although the Second Language label has certainly embraced pan-European creativity across its catalogue to date, arguably its collective character has been defined predominantly by a distinctively English sense of mystery, invention, history and eccentricity.  This thankfully has not presented itself in jingoistic small-minded traditionalist forms … [Read more...]

Various Artists – Music And Migration II

Whereas Second Language’s last compilation from earlier this year, Minute Papillon, went for grand conceptual ambition (featuring 60 artists contributing 60 second pieces), this latest compendium goes for a far more manageable 14-track thematic sequel to 2010’s acclaimed Music And Migration.  Whilst in lesser hands, another collection of pieces … [Read more...]

FAO#31: Mark Fry / The A. Lords, Meg Baird, Jeffrey Lewis and Savaging Spires

Although much is made of the egalitarianism and creative freedom bequeathed on the musical landscape by punk, it could be argued that folk music has been much more liberating and far-reaching for artists the world above. Whether it comes from its timeless flexibility or the crude fact that electricity isn’t always required to sow the initial … [Read more...]