Exclusive: Billow Observatory Album
We are really proud to be sharing such a lush album with you guys this weekend from Billow Observatory. I finally was able to sit all the way thru it today and it really came together as one of the most cohesive albums of the year. The sound is submerged in Loscil like drones but every so often you feel like everything comes up for air.
Time. It all comes back to time.
The self-titled debut album from Billow Observatory — the duo comprising Danish producer Jonas Munk, aka Manual, and Auburn Lull guitarist Jason Kolb — is a record that has been nearly a decade in the making, and a record that unfolds at a stately, unhurried pace, its subtleties revealing themselves with repeated listening. Its sound reflects its creators’ diverse backgrounds — Kolb’s ambient guitar work, along with Munk’s experience in film music and the minutiae of sound engineering — as well as their patience and devotion to their craft.
The genesis of Billow Observatory came in summer 2004, when Munk was first introduced to Kolb’s work with Auburn Lull. A split EP between Manual and Auburn Lull was mooted, and although this didn’t materialize, the duo began exchanging ideas and audio files, finally meeting in person during 2007 when they played a show together in Michigan.
As time passed, their work began to coalesce into what would become Billow Observatory — as Munk says, “We never expected to be working on material for six years, but something very exciting took shape as soon as we started working together and we had to follow that idea to the end.” The process of following that idea was slow and deliberate, one that required meticulous attention to detail and nuance. The resultant album is the work of two musicians at the top of their game, pouring years of experience and expertise into the creation of a record where every sound is there for a reason.
Munk adds, “The basis for most of this material comes from guitars and effects devices but every bit has been processed and treated with software… I didn’t use a lot of different effects – the focus on my part has been on shaping each bit of sound to perfection, still maintaining the character of a guitar but turning it into something that doesn’t sound ‘played’. I think of a lot of this material as sounding as if it comes from surroundings rather than from hands touching instruments.”
The music the duo have created is immersive and somehow timeless, evoking places and ambiences as exotic as some of those that give the songs their names. “I remember we would sometimes ask each other questions about random places with interesting names that we thought the other person would know something interesting about,” Kolb explains. “I would ask Jonas about the Baltic Sea, Scandinavia, or something in that general area of the world and he would ask something similar about Michigan or the Great Lakes. I think we were influenced by the idea of creating music that told vague, semi-fictitious histories of places we knew very little about.”
In an age where we race from one instant to the next, never stopping to think about the moment we’re inhabiting, Billow Observatory is a record that rewards patience and, yes, time. “[The album] is dense with emotion and meticulously crafted,” says Munk, “while feeling light and airy when listening to the song as a whole. I have had this album for over a year and it still withstands the test of time.”
12 Comments Leave A Comment
Steve Blair says:November 23, 2012 at 9:14 pm
Wowza. This is beautiful. Really nice find.
Ryan says:November 23, 2012 at 11:29 pm
Wow, what a coincidence. ISO50 is my homepage and I just logged on to my computer to try and pre-order this album… and you do a showcase on it! Nice I gotta get it.
Sebastian buccheri says:November 24, 2012 at 1:14 am
Since hearing and owning a copy of Confluence I have been hooked on the music of Manuel. This album (which I received a few days ago) does not disappoint. It is stunning. The sounds are rich and warm. Buy it on vinyl it makes you sit down, pay attention and listen. Beautiful stuff.
Douglas says:November 24, 2012 at 8:17 am
this is heartbreakingly beautiful music. especially #4: Pankalia – bless the people who create such inspirational art to better mankind.
Jakub says:November 24, 2012 at 9:43 am
I highly suggest getting the full length from bandcamp that includes: Bilocation part 2 & 3
Kaöoro says:November 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm
Pre-ordered the vinyl once i heard one of the songs here earlier. Thanks for sharing it, so i can listen to it tonight!
Kaöoro says:November 24, 2012 at 2:46 pm
I’m happy (^-^V
Owen says:November 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm
Man… this is incredible.
Consider me your newest fan.
Spencer says:November 24, 2012 at 8:02 pm
Jonathan says:November 25, 2012 at 7:59 pm
New favorite. Amazing.
Bronthor says:November 26, 2012 at 7:37 am
thx for sharing this great artist , his work reminds me a lot of Loscil .
Can’t wait to get my hands on this LP !
Carmelo says:November 27, 2012 at 11:25 am
Pre ordered today! Woot woot!