Sydney jazz musician Mark Lau, now based in Manhattan, is Virculum. His debut album exhibits a style he describes as “emotive stochastic process”, but don’t let that put you off — we’re talking beautifully-recorded double bass and guitar melding with tasteful electronic processing, and emotive is certainly the right word. This is music that would fit the bill on Hefty Records, or Leaf perhaps, and the fact that it’s available as a download for a whopping $2 (that’s US folks – maybe AUD$3 will break your bank, I dunno!) is really under-selling it. The label, en:peg, is associated with N5MD and I don’t see why this release at least doesn’t get a proper release that might make someone a bit of money.
In any case, the sounds are really beautiful, reminiscent perhaps of another Aussie ex-pat, Inch-time. It’s perfect for a lazy afternoon, or a sleepless night, or for a headnodding headphone session; there’s plenty of detail in the subtle effects and electronic percussion, and when the double bass appears it anchors the mix with a rich, round sound underneath the synth washes, bells and other elements. It’s also lovely hearing bowed double-bass (or is it a cello?) in the mix, and clearly Lau is a man with a sharp ear, as everything’s pitched to perfection, and mixed deep and wide. Interestingly, the sampled muezzin’s chant on “Travels” reminds me of Severed Heads’ “We Have Come To Bless This House”, a weird blend, but it works.
Download Virculum’s Songs For Insomniacs from en:peg for next to nothing.