Eleven years in the making, Fazio has produced a very different album unlike any in his history. A 70’s art / rock / ambient sensibility seen through the eyes of an artist with a reverence as well as a lightheartedness for the historical importance of our shared musical experiences. Through the past, fondly.
Fazio, known foremost for his beloved orchestramaxfieldparrish ambient project, is a veteran of the downtown NYC experimental performance scene of the 1980’s and college radio alt rock scene of the 1990’s has been part of hundreds of recordings, independent film soundtracks and modern dance recital music.
The Vast Apart is Fazio’s 35th recording on his Faith Strange imprint since 1992. Limited CD pressing in gatefold card sleeve | unlimited DL
Exquisitely recorded and mastered in 24bit / 96k high fidelity.
“Never one to overindulge himself, Fazio's textures and patterns service the tune far more than
any egotistical self-journey.” - Brainwashed
“Artfully navigating the interstices between experimental ambient and a distillate of neo-classical.” - Igloo Magazine
“Fazio’s hand is more than capable.” - WHITE_LINE
“This is music that is beautiful, powerful, intimate and cinematographic; the end of a great trilogy of some of
the finest ambient music; in whatever form Mike Fazio wishes to play this. He shows he has a few tricks up his sleeve.” - Vital Weekly
“In a perfect world, there would be a place for explorative music of such genuine quality
in thousands of receptive listeners' homes, but such a world, alas, doesn't seem to be the one we inhabit.” - textura
“one more reason to consider him amongst what I consider to be the unsung contemporary masters
of the Musique Concrete style of experimentalism alongside more well-known names such as Daniel Menche.” - Heathen Harvest
Mike Fazio: The Vast Apart Faith Strange
The Vast Apart presents a different and somewhat unexpected side of Mike Fazio's music-making but an immensely satisfying one nonetheless. In contrast to the long-form soundscapes associated with his orchestramaxfieldparrish alias, the new release is dominated by models of concision, vignettes that in some cases last little more than two minutes at a time. Calling it new, by the way, requires some clarification: as Fazio explains on the inner sleeve, the album's ten tracks originated as demo tracks (three or four albums' worth, apparently, and half of it obscure covers) recorded in 2007 for an intended live band project involving Fazio's (since-deceased) colleague Jeff Ladd. With that project never reaching fruition, the material remained archived until 2017-18 when Fazio rescued it from the vault to midwife it into its now-issued form.
The material exudes an ease and confidence that are natural byproducts of experience, which Fazio has in spades: the release is the thirty-fifth independent recording to have appeared on his Faith Strange imprint since 1992, and during his career he's participated in hundreds of sessions, soundtracks, dance productions, and independent live theater presentations. Fazio himself describes the album as “a collection of oddities,” though endearingly; originally conceived with the LP format in mind, The Vast Apart's tracks, brief by design, accord nicely with the two sides of a vinyl release, though the ten also work well when played sans interruption in the CD presentation.
A strong case could be made for The Vast Apart as a guitar album, but, ever the anti-traditionalist, the New Yorker rarely plays the instrument straight-up, preferring instead to reprocess its sound using digital filters and granular synthesis. Guitar histrionics are eschewed in favour of textural explorations, Fazio's focus as much on atmosphere as rhythm and compositional development. Such treatments lend the material a seductive quality that draws one in to attend closely and better appreciate the artistry in play. Such an approach also gives the tracks a rather stealthy character in the way they get under one's skin: what at first might seem a sketch or work-in-progress, reveals itself after repeated exposure to be subtly crafted sound design. In “The Empath (And Other Love Stories),” for instance, limpid lead guitar playing naturally functions as the primary focal point, but the pitch-shifting swirls and warbles fluttering in the background prove just as interesting.
The album's not without surprises, too. During “Traveling South by Southwest Just Me and My Baby in a Pink Cadillac (Big Hit Single),” Fazio lays across a relaxed 4/4 groove funky, wah-wah shadings that wouldn't sound out of place on a Meters record; he also includes his own singing on the cover of “Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair (Funny How Time Flies),” and while his delivery of the still-legible words has been liberally altered into ghostly form by treatments, the vocal is nevertheless haunting. Needless to say, the oft-recorded traditional has never been interpreted quite like this before, one more sign that Fazio never stops evolving and exploring.
from Vital Weekly:
|MIKE FAZIO - THE VAST APART (CD by Faith Strange)|
The new album entitled 'The Vast Apart (A Collection Of Arcane Scenarios - Volume Two)' has been approved for pressing. This will be a very limited CD pressing of 100 copies in a 4 panel mini-Japanese style wallet. End of September release date is scheduled.
orchestramaxfieldparrish - A Midsummer's Night voted one of the Best Of 2016 at textura
Two new orchestramaxfieldparrish titles released mid-October 2016 on Faith Strange. Details on the orchestramaxfieldparrish page. Cheers.
On ongoing music diary (or journal of sorts) has been started in order to release new music in digital form only (for the time being at least) without the constraints and costs of traditional pressing plants can be found here.
A new interview with guitarist Mike Fazio has been published in Musique Machine.
Fazio - Interiors (fs17)
(24 bit digital and 16 bit digital albums)
Originally recorded during the long hot summer of 2010 and part of Music From The Strange Box, which was a small micro, private pressing of a 4 cd box set, only given to record labels for promotional use only. The first 50 copies of A Guide For Reason - Iconography will have a printed insert with a free download code for 16 bit FLAC (or MP3, AAC, etc) digital files for Interiors. Interiors is also available separately as either a 24 bit digital album or as a 16 bit digital album in the faith strange shop.
Interiors as well as A Guide For Reason - Iconography will be released in 24 bit and 16 bit digital file sets and both levels of fidelity sound wonderful, whichever one chooses, and we feel the deluxe edition of Iconography that include copies of Interiors will be a nice surprise for those who purchase Iconography and a special thank you for their interest. Interiors consists of 3 tracks and are guitar based whereas Iconography consists of 4 (lp side long tracks) and is predominately electronic based, making the deluxe version the equivalent to 3 albums for the price of one.
The deluxe version of Iconography with Interiors is now sold out. There is a very limited number of the regular version left. To purchase the regular version of Iconography, please see the faith strange shop page.
Iconography will also be available separately in 24 bit or 16 bit digital albums as of July. The CD version in gatefold sleeve is an extremely limited run and will not be reprinted once it is sold out.
We feel the FLAC formats have the closest fidelity to the original hi definition studio recordings and strongly recommend these over mp3s or Apple Lossless. iTunes can play FLAC files with an easy update if your installed version does not have it already. For further information about FLAC digital files please see:
160 kbps soundclips:
faith strange recordings on soundcloud
Included in this collection are works by Nick Robinson, Giuseppe Farinella, Michael Frank, Fabio Anile, Mike Fazio, Michael Peters, Milco Montagna, Anders Östberg and Norelpref.
The entire album including artwork can be downloaded or streamed at:
from MUTE REACTIONARY:
This is a concept album; a collection of different artists furnishing music to accompany famous orations. I liked it so much that it took me a long time to write a review, I've been listening to it all week.
Firstly, there's no question this is full of substance. Presidents, Prime Ministers, despots, visionaries, leaders of change and even cult figures all get their turn. The music varies from non-rhythmic soundscapes, to hip-hop, to pure sonic experimentation, definitely never overtaking the text but never sitting meekly in the background, either.
First is Nick Robinson, accompanying Winston Churchill. The repeating and the vocal treatments point out the musical value in speech, the rhythms and pitches suddenly making sense when presented in a context. Statements like "we shall go on to the end" take on an even more immense gravity when isolated and repeated. The discordant pitches that emerge towards the end belie the horror that awaited many of those who heard these words in their original time. A masterful start.
Next is Giuseppe Farinella, with Benito Mussolini (!). The cheers that follow the statements are pretty creepy, then nicely become part of the gentle tonal bed. When an overdriven, aching guitar solo emerges through the shouts, it sounds like a wordless voice of reason above the din. The baby cries at the end are an unexpected surprise and a great addition. It would be interesting to have heard even more of the rhythmic "Muss-o-lin-i" chants.
Then, a touch of humor from Michael Moore over a stark hip-hop background from Michael Frank, which fits perfectly with the melodramatic declarations. I love the guitar commenting in between his phrases, sometimes hinting at the dark reality behind the funny statements, sometimes chuckling along. (However, I'm pretty sure the powerful voice is Lewis Black reading Moore's text; if I'm correct, it should be noted as so).
Event organizer Fabio Anile is next, providing a beautiful background for Mahatma Gandhi. His accompaniment adds strength to Gandhi's voice which on its own is almost humorously thin, and sometimes a butt of jokes. The distant, minimal drums are wonderful. Really matches the title, "Mysterious Power".
Mike Fazio takes on the unenviable task of dueting with Reverend Jim Jones. The atmospheric, watery background is a great complement, and the well-timed chords, as well as the spacious use of the voice, are very effective. It's quietly terrifying, especially the cries. "If you'll be quiet... if you'll be quiet...". Whew. It's brave to tackle this one.
Back to another great figure, with JFK (and then NASA ground control and astronauts) backed up by Michael Peters. Some crazy vocal treatments here, probably the most unusual use of the voices as raw material. Hearing a spoken word seemingly turn into the sound of a liftoff is astonishing...! Having heard that, it may be that much of the music comes from the voice, I can't really say but it's a bold and otherworldly piece.
Milco Montagna provides a highly "composed" musical passage, with two accounts of the Challenger tragedy superimposed on each channel. Instead of necessarily supporting Reagan's attempt to inspire and encourage the nation with an uplifting soundtrack, the music itself mourns, gravitating more towards underscoring the dry radio commentary with a reading of the true drama. The radio voice covers the event from liftoff to explosion, beginning with the standard liftoff announcements. But then there's a musical pause and strange thump partway through, after which the voices begin to describe the problem - "Obviously a major malfunction. We have no downlink...", and finally, calmly, "The vehicle has exploded". Very moving.
Anders Östberg generates a screaming wash of what seems to be white noise, a real wake-up call, which soon reveals its tonal qualities before subsiding to allow Dr. Albert Hofmann to espouse. The music then returns, bookending the speech, its impossibly high, overtoned flood of sound like a chemical rushing through the cerebral cortex.
Norel Pref then gives us the only multi-voiced piece, a free-wheeling intermixing of presidential quotes, over a flowing, portentous rhythmic background with chordal stabs that sometimes seem to be triggered by the voices themselves, a great effect I'd have liked to hear even more of. It's a rich blend of hilarity and deep thoughts, rather broad in its focus but fascinating.
Anile then returns again, delicately ushering in possibly the most powerful text, taken from Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech (interestingly avoiding the most commonly-heard phrases). It's a great touch to have a long introduction to establish the music and to insert long spaces between statements. The balance of voice to music is excellent, the speech becomes part of the music, as opposed to a film documentary soundtrack that would place the music clearly in second place. A gorgeous piece that works wonderfully with the vocal.
The only suggestions I'd make for improving this concept in the future is that on some tracks, the noise between words, combined with quick cut-offs after a phrase, can be distracting when listening closely. If there is tape hiss from an old recording, it would probably help consistency to find a way to include and integrate it over the whole piece. Also, the inclusion of applause sometimes works, becoming part of the music, and other times seems like an intrusion.
But these are minor quibbles. This is a fully-realized, ingenious project. Kudos to all. Best of all, it may be downloaded free in its entirely.