emphemetry - a lullaby hum for tired streets

  • Cat No : tto9
  • Label : Time Travel Opps
Compact Disc


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Emphemetry is Richard Birkin, a musician and writer from Derby, UK. In 2003 Birkin started the Time Travel Opps label to release a Christmas single as Emphemetry, as well as a 7” by his then band The Little Explorer. The label has since released a series of chap-books and CD-r singles. It’s mainly an outlet for Richard and friends to share with other people what they do with their time.

The new album by Emphemetry comes from moments in between moments, specifically those that are often missed by people with normal sleeping patterns. ‘A Lullaby Hum For Tired Streets’ takes its name from a line in the first chapter of Jon McGregor’s debut novel ‘If Nobody Speaks Of Remarkable Things’. This introductory chapter perfectly captures in words what musician Richard Birkin wished to capture in musical composition.

Beginning with distant ambient swells of guitar, opener ‘After Catalunya’ builds gradually with the addition of sparkling acoustic harmonics, seemingly cold but soon warming around the listener with the addition of pianos, bass, and violins. Followed by the almost voyeuristic folk song ‘Four Million Silhouettes’ the album layers different aspects of dwelling in the middle of a busy city at times when most people are inside and asleep, using a wide palette of music including intimate folk songs, ambient crescendos, reversed tape loops, thunderous post-rock, solo piano, strings, field recordings, and an accapella quintet.

Recorded during the winter of 2009/2010, the album brings together complementary pieces from the wide collection of sketches and demos recorded by Richard over the latter half of the decade. It was mapped out at the start of that winter, and used most of the recording facilities Derby has to offer for its individual parts, which were then put together with pianist and producer Nils Frahm at Durton Studio in Berlin, as Spring was trying to arrive.

Over the summer of 2010 Richard has been working with two violinists to assemble all the pieces into something they can tour through 2011 in a live show that has all the dynamics of the record, but can be created from scratch in a public setting by a minimum of two people.

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