8/10 Jamie Staff review, 15 February 2017
These are troubling times, or maybe it’s just because it’s the middle of the week, but fret not for Michel Banabila is here to bring the balm. This lovely guy has a background in producing scores for film, documentaries, theatre and video art. Banabila finds uses for discarded objects and makes tapestries with these along with his electronics, field recordings and shortwave radio bites. The results are greater than the sum of these parts though, of course. The sounds he makes are spectacularly gorgeous and immaculately crafted, so let’s get into it now...
The record opens with the wondrously twilit ‘Close To The Moon’, acoustic oriental instrumentation gently plucked from some mystical faraway place and picking its way through some serene Fripp / Eno type sound bedding. Hints of guitar bubble up amongst the most luscious synth pads and subtle recordings of birdsong, low in the mix. This all segues seamlessly into some Frahm-ish piano and found sounds, Bjorkian vocals flitting in and out. The piano weaves a lovely melody gently around eastern instrumentation, gradually speeding up together with backwards vocals to create a slightly disorienting effect, before warm droning ambience washes back in. It’s as good as having the most relaxing bubble bath. Exotic birdcalls drift back in, soft lulling vocals and heavenly harp all combine to seduce this tired writer. Delicious. Is it time for bed yet?
8/10 PvC Customer review, 20th February 2017
Sound Years is a compilation of previously released tracks (with the exception of the previously unreleased opening track Close To The Moon). All are hand-picked by Michel Banabila himself and mixed into two continuous tracks – one for each side of the vinyl album. The selection is taken from various projects: some of them from theatre works, some of the more recent experimental electronic music, an occasional live recording, and a selection of his collaboration works with Oene van Geel and Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek).
The oldest tracks are taken from 2005’s Hilarious Expedition, the newest are from 2016. They are selected to create a continuous uninterrupted flow.
The sound is immediately recognisable as Banabila‘s – especially in his trademark use of ‘alien vocal’ samples (like in E.T. and Vuka Vuka!).
The set is a perfect demonstration of Banabila‘s mastership of creating moods and atmospheres. A soft, warm, comfortable selection that is slightly unnerving and ‘outerworldish’ at the same time.
Sound Years can perhaps be seen as Banabila‘s companion to KLF’s ‘Chill Out’ album: a slow walk through quiet (yet alien) landscapes. Unknown, full of surprises, yet always vaguely familiar.
Banabila has claimed that this could very well be his last physical release before going 100% digital. I wouldn’t take his word for that myself, but if it is, this beautifully packed (transparant vinyl) album (with a striking cover photo by Gerco de Ruijter) is a ‘perfect goodbye’ to the vinyl medium.
10/10 Nico van Hemmen Customer review, 10th February 2017
This record a extraordinary mix of recent music from Michel Banabila.
The Dutch master of soundscape is active in publishing music since 1983 when he published his first record 'Marilli', sincethen he has already made several records with, amongst others, beautiful music for films, documentary's and dance.
He cooperated with musicians as Hanyo van Oosterom (Chi), Holger Czukay, Eric Vloeimans and Oene van Geel and this record is a mixture of spherical music with sounds from all over the planet that Michel has brought together in the two sides of the beautiful medium VINYL!
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- Sound Years by Michel Banabila
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