– OUT NOW : PAK YAN LAU & DARIN GRAY : Trudge Lightly

Pak Yan LAU & Darin GRAY : Trudge Lightly
By the Bluest of Seas #2, double 10″ – March 2020

 » (…) Pak Yan Lau, one of the most original pianists of the new European creative scene, has the ability to build complex formal architectures starting from minimal materials – insistent rhythms, barely hinted melodies, electronic effects as evocative as they are mysterious. Darin Gray uses his long experience as the backbone of many improvisational groups with a painstaking work on timbre and a deep and multiform sound, providing a solid support to extemporary creations that have the solidity of pondered compositions. The music of the duo develops on wide structural strings, elegantly combining the continuous surprise of free improvisation with the material suggestions of electroacoustic experimentation, in a game of references and narrative developments almost cinematic, which tell a fascinating sound world, strangely familiar yet constantly new and surprising. « 
(Nicola Negri, Centro d’Arte Padova, Italy)

Pak Yan Lau : prepared piano, toy pianos, synth, objects, electronics
Darin Gray : double bass, preparations, objects, electronics

Recorded by Giovanni Di Domenico at Studio Grez, Brussels, March 2016
Additional recordings by Pak Yan Lau, Brussels, June 2017 and March 2018
Mixed by Giovanni Di Domenico, December 2019
Mastering and Vinyl cut by Fred Alstadt at Ångström Mastering, Brussels, 2019

Photos by Beata Szparagowska, Sweden and Finland (2013, 2019)
Artwork by Isabelle Vigier, Brussels, September 2019



Yoshio MACHIDA & Cal LYALL : Premeditation
By the Bluest of Seas #1, double 10″ – April 2020

In the early 2000s, Tokyo’s SuperDeluxe was a meeting point for many experimental musicians, both international and Japanese. This duo sprung from a live collaboration at the venue in 2006, where Machida was experimenting with processed steel pan and Lyall was largely performing using a tabletop guitar setup with a range of electronics. Many subsequent encounters were heavily experimental, ranging from densely layered noise music to sound collage.

Through the years, the collaboration shifted to a more tonal approach, with standard tunings and stronger compositional elements. Both musicians have a deep interest in traditional improvisational forms, so there was a natural evolution towards structural ideas—based on minimal scalar patterns—as the sound became more acoustic. The most recent instrumentation explores the unusual combination of steel pan, slit drums and banjo, while also delving deeper into the characteristics of the instruments themselves.

Yoshio Machida : steelpans, gamelan, metal slit drums
Cal Lyall : 5-string banjo

Recorded by Yoshio Machida at Smallaxe, Yokohama (2016-2017)
Mixed by Cal Lyall and Yoshio Machida at Subvalent Studios, Tokyo and Smallaxe, Yokohama (2018)
Mastered by Harris Newman at Grey Market Mastering, Montréal (2019)
Vinyl Cut by Fred Alstadt at Ångström Mastering, Brussels (2019)

Photos by Beata Szparagowska, Finland, USA, Belgium, Italy, Poland, France (2013-2017)
Artwork by Isabelle Vigier, Amsterdam, summer 2019