WHERE WE WERE
on cd, double vinyl and digital, as well as the release of 2006-2012
, a collection of Greg's first three albums Slumber Tides
, Until The Point of Hushed Support
as triple cd and 5 x vinyl collector's box in May 2013.
WHERE WE WERE [CD|2xLP|DIGITAL]
“WHERE WE WERE”, the new album from GREG HAINES, may come as a surprise upon first listen. The cascading strings that played such an important role in his prior work have disappeared, and in there place are intricate layers of tape-worn synthesizers. Any recordings of piano have been transformed and affected until their sound is at times barely recognizable. Moments of quiet, slowmoving textures can still be found, but they are nestled between upbeat, rhythmically-driven tracks that at times could even be considered for deployment on open-minded dancefloors. Although taking a year to complete, the nature of this record is born in its spontaneity and impulsiveness. The acoustic instruments such as piano, vibraphone and other percussion that found there way on to the album were not the result of months of composing - rather they were entirely improvised and often left completely unedited and raw. At first the idea was these rough tracks, full of noises and hiss, would later be re-recorded, but as the process drew on, it became clear that these kind of loose, half-thought moments were what defined the album - often “out-oftime” or “out-of-tune”, but always adding another dimension to the hazy, analog world of sound. This hand-crafted approach led to almost everything being constructed in the old-fashioned way; not with mouse-clicks, but with two hands moving dials and everything running to an aged tape machine.
2006-2012 [3xCD|5xLP BOX|DIGITAL]
This album is the result of one person sitting alone in a room and creating something entirely personal, without the frustrations of organising large-scale sessions for other players or the laborious work of preparing scores. In fact, the few scored moments that were written were later disregarded, with a whole string session with PETER BRODERICK ending up on the cutting-room floor (sorry, Peter!), along with endless hours of other material. What is left is the condensed diary of a year of exploring old tape delays, analog synths and percussion - some of which played by percussionist/composer SYTZE PRUIKSMA (a member, along with Haines, of THE ALVARET ENSEMBLE, whose debut album was released in December 2012 by Denovali Records), and some of which played and recorded in a midnight daze at Haines' studio in Berlin. Working in this way led to a whole host of other long-term influences feeding into the music that had never found an outlet before. The experiments in dub conducted by the likes of KING TUBBY or LEE PERRY and continued by the likes of RHYTHM & SOUND had a profound effect, as did the iconic work of TONY ALLEN and other African composers. The spaced-out soundscapes found on early TANGERINE DREAM and KLAUS SCHULZE had always had a subtle influence on Greg's work, but now armed with an arsenal of dusty studio toys, those sounds became warmer, richer and more prominent.
The influences evoked here may at first appear at odds with Greg's previous work, but an affinity between the dense poly-rhythms of Africa and beyond have long been an influence for contemporary composers such as STEVE REICH, and their reach and importance on western music is undeniable. But now the lines have been blurred, and its impossible to say where one “style” or influence stops and another begins – something that was perhaps the only concept for this record. The symphonic synth crescendo of “So it Goes” would not have the same impact if it were not following the head-nodding drive of “Something Happened”. The delicate arpeggios of “Wake Mania Without End II” only exaggerate the unrelenting, rhythmical explosion of “Habenero”, and without starting with the intimate piano of “The Intruder”, the album's cavernous ending wouldn't feel so otherworldly. Its all in there or at least whats left of it after the hiss, the dirt and the degradation of the tape machine destroyed it, reworked it, and spat it back out fullyformed.
Mixed and mastered together with NILS FRAHM at his Durton Studio, Berlin.
Over the course of seven years, British born and Berlin based composer Greg Haines has carved out an intensely beautiful corner in the vast and ever-growing musical world. He has surprised music lovers around the globe with his unique and overtly personal approach to creating and performing a very patient and contemplative music, and with his numerous projects with other musicians and choreographers, including 2012's collaboration with the Dutch National Ballet and choreographer David Dawson, and his ongoing work with The Alvaret Ensemble, who recently released their debut as a 2xCD/2xLP with Denovali.
Perhaps his greatest contributions to the sonic world are three definitive solo albums, each on a different cult record labels. These striking works are now collected and rightfully presented as three movements of a singular musical vision in the box-set "2006-2012", which also marks the first time that they all are available on vinyl.
Slumber Tides (Miasmah, 2006) is Greg's debut album, recorded and released when he was merely a teenager, seemingly tapping into a timeless wisdom where age makes no difference. It might have made more sense if Slumber Tides was the work of a composer at the end of his life, creating that final display of all the things he wanted to say but for some reason never did . . . but since we love things that don't make sense, many music lovers around the world embraced the reserved yet bold music of this fresh young talent. The five sprawling tracks here introduce not only Greg's knack for experimentation with different instruments and atmospheric textures, but also his gift for heartbreaking compositions, perhaps only comparable to the ground-shaking works of Arvo Pärt.
Until The Point Of Hushed Support (Sonic Pieces, 2010) is something of a departure from the more isolated soundscapes of Slumber Tides, is comprised of a single long-form composition in four parts, with a core of five string players recorded live in Berlin's Grunewald Church. Whereas the first album comes across as a curious exploration of sound, Until The Point Of Hushed Support is a bold statement from a music lover who spent four years refining his craft. The beauty in this music is an ancient one, one which is only reached with dedication and patience. Also included on the vinyl edition is a brand new track, "The Traverse", which spans the length of Side D.
Digressions (Preservation, 2012) finds Greg returning to his own studio, delving more and more into the infinite possibilities of music production, where tiny accidental sounds can become emotional sonic moments, while adding recordings from a large student ensemble. Here, hints of woodwinds and brass are added to the instrumental palette of the first two albums. A universe of homemade sounds combine with processed layers of texture sourced from others players, such as the distinctive violin of Iden Reinhart, culminating in breathtaking crescendos which always seem to last just the right amount of time.
In light of Greg's looming fourth solo album, Where We Were, which marks a rather drastic departure in many ways, these first three albums can now be seen as a wholesome introduction to a composer who is sure to keep surprising us in the years to come.