C120 + download
Update: The original blue twenty-two sold out, so we have not only reissued the release (on beautiful glitter-blue tapes!) but tripled it in length!
blue twenty-two now has three distinct movements - a suite of choral pieces known as Songs from Above; a version of Songs from Above reworked into an extended collaborative piece called Selene; and a set of remixes of the original recordings.
In its new expanded form, there’s a dreamy, time-lapse transition from those initial acapella skeletons to the warm, full-bodied compositions towards the end of the tape; it’s like you can feel and hear Alex’s friends and collaborators breathing flesh onto her bones, making her whole.
As a piece of work you can fall asleep to it, immerse yourself in its journey, or absorb small portions of its sound on a daily basis for weeks, grazing on it like psychic sustainance. Tapes save your place.
Nearly-not-words. Vocal tones that might be described as 'pure' if they weren't so smudged around the edges with reverb, obfuscating the words. Cadences heavy and almost sore, that angel of a voice struggling to lift.
Alex Alexopolous has previously recorded for Blue Tapes with her delicate, precise Kurosounds project (blue seven). As Wild Anima, Alex works with a select troupe of collaborators, applying her unique sound design skills to a set of minimal vocal studies.
Fans of blue eight (Katie Gately) and blue ten (EyeSea) will find much to love here. But where Katie crafted a kind of vocal-only future-pop - gibbering, amassed, wordlessly beautiful ADHD macro-melodies - Alex pares everything back to a monastic shaft of voice.
It's a voice that - on the first side of the tape, codenamed Songs from Above - appears to be deep in something that some people might call prayer, but is probably a lot more complicated than that.
The second side of the tape is one long piece constructed to evoke a lunar atmosphere: the transcendent Selene.
praise for blue twenty-two:
"Sitting somewhere between the madrigals of 16th century Italian composer Carlo Gesualdo, the decaying tape loops of 20th century minimalist William Basinski, and Enya, the music here is made up almost entirely of distant murky choirs. Side A was recorded on a farm in Devon back in 2013 before the project even had a name, deep under the spell of Tibetan culture and "feelings of compassion". The recording quality is muddy to almost alien degrees, as meditative repetitions of female voices seep into vast caverns of reverb. Keiji Haino’s short lived medieval music project, Nijiumu, springs to mind, if only for the sheer spiritual intensity of that vacant space. Side two’s side-long piece titled ‘Selene’ was recorded later, and integrates barely recognisable strings and echo-laden voices of Inuit shaman amid Alexopoulos’ epic vocals. The floaty amorphous soundscape strangely reminded me of The KLF’s trippy Chill Out - although perhaps swapping out Elvis Presley on a car radio for Pandit Pran Nath in a cave." - The Quietus
"Shamans’ chants weaving together to soundtrack a dream sequence where you can imagine the flashing lights and seemingly endless tunnel of that Willy Wonka psychedelic boat ride scene, only less scary." - Tabs Out
"It’s a meditative, internally explorative work, and the further her voice spreads outward, the deeper Alexopolous seems to journey into herself." - ATTN Magazine
"...revenant chants and keening, minimalist orchestration channeling both the echo-laden haze of Liz Harris’s Grouper and the crumbling tape loop melancholy of William Basinski into ethereal compositions that, despite their weightlessness, always seem anchored to the material world." - We Need No Swords
"...this feels like monastic chant in the best way possible. Think The Name of The Rose meets The Wicker Man." - Bandcloud