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年份 2022
專輯   Altar of Dreams (Azalea Pink vinyl) (LP 12")
廠牌   Kitchen. Label
樂風   Ambient, Experimental, New Age, Singer / Songwriter

949 加入購物車

LP: Azalea Pink vinyl in cover sleeve with capped obi-strip, 290 x 235mm 12-page booklet, 290 x 290mm posters – 4 sheets, 165 x 160mm sticker. Ltd. 1000

由 April Lee 和製作人 Ricks Ang 組成的新加坡環境民謠組合 ASPIDISTRAFLY,同時也是廠牌 Kitchen Label 的創辦人,距離 2011 年發行的《A Little Fable》已過了十年,今年不但將上一張專輯變成黑膠,更帶著全新專輯《Altar of Dreams》回歸樂壇。

ASPIDISTRAFLY 的世界覆蓋著一層朦朧的詩意,褪色的記憶在模糊的維度概念中交錯,每次聽都有種被丟進抽象的時間中懸浮的錯覺,April 時而飄渺時而飽滿的人聲,在朦朧又不失精緻的樂器之上,閃爍著夢境般的氛圍,《Altar of Dreams》擁有 ASPIDISTRAFLY 所有標誌性的特色 — 無限延伸的情感輪廓、鬱鬱蔥蔥的弦樂、超現實主義和溫柔飄忽的質感。

首先釋出的單曲〈The Voice of Flowers〉,由 haruka nakamura 與 Kyo Ichinose 編排弦樂,加上 ARAKI Shin 的管樂器演奏,一如既往地在豐富的音樂中營造開闊的空間感,長笛、單簧管、高音薩克斯風和鋼琴取得漂亮的平衡,不只在原聲樂器上有突出的表現,專輯中也有富含未來感的實驗性歌曲,扭曲的頻率、自然環境聲和電視音效相互碰撞,ASPIDISTRAFLY 彷彿創造了跨維度的音樂世界,把人推向了超現實的夢境殿堂。

“By deathly pale light, silent is the night. Alone, to disappear; where the same images recur.”
ASPIDISTRAFLY, the Singaporean duo comprising April Lee and producer Ricks Ang, return with Altar of Dreams, their first studio album in a decade.

While their last album A Little Fable introduced the world to their bucolic and wispy brand of folk songwriting, Altar of Dreams sees the duo – also the founders of KITCHEN. LABEL – harness their experiences over the past decade to create a wholly new and inspired vision. In this new and third album, they drew upon a rich palette of shapes, sounds and movement: straddling between the visionary photography of Serge Lutens and Dora Maar, 80s Japanese ambient pop, musique concrete and the mournful strings of Béla Bartók.

The world in which ASPIDISTRAFLY once inhabited was foggy and awash in faded memory. A feeling of being suspended in time felt inescapable with each listen. In Altar of Dreams, the fog is clearing up. At nine songs under 35 minutes, the album possesses all the defining hallmarks of ASPIDISTRAFLY – poetic lyricism, cosmic introspection, lush strings, surrealism, tenderness and texture. But what was once seemingly inscrutable has now been explored with astounding clarity, the duo maneuvering through a space-time continuum with delicate leaps.

How To Meet A Marblewing, the opening track, is a heady sound collage of early internet sounds, film, anime, and chopped-and-screwed 90s J-pop. Its a presence deeply embedded throughout the record, a method Lee describes as “a form of environmental/tape treatment”.

The compositions glimmer with sincerity, addressing all at once destruction, mystery, uncertainty, hopes and dreams. The resulting music is backed by an opulence only possible with a line-up of guest musicians. The Voice of Flowers is stirring in its balance of flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone and piano, bolstered by a string quartet. KITCHEN. LABEL artist haruka nakamura features on the track alongside Kyo Ichinose (who arranged the strings for the album) and wind instrumentalist ARAKI Shin.

Interlude: Chrysalises and Larvae takes the heavy path downward, adopting its name from the 1973 surrealist odyssey The Hourglass Sanatorium. It leads into Companion to Owls, a gothic pop paean to mortality inspired by the Book of Job.

Before the namesake centrepiece of the album, another interlude arrives in A Ceremonial Ode, both of which were stirred by a series of regal Shiseido ads from the 1980s starring model Sayoko Yamaguchi. Altar of Dreams is haunted by the lucid dreams that once provided escapism for Lee. Its tranquility belies a simmering tension, just as how a lucid dream would offer control in the face of the unknown. “In one of them, I was floating in a vast darkness safe and secure, and then I fell into a turbulent mirage where I willingly allowed myself to be swept away further and further from reality, hoping that I would never wake up,” she says. “Needless to say I did, and ended up writing this song on one of these dead nights.”

If the title track replicates the feeling of falling deep into that spiral, Silk and Satins is a direct analysis of the phenomenon. Warped frequencies collide with nature and television sound effects – the latter sourced from 80s Singaporean horror series Mystery – within an inter-dimensional music world. The track was made with featured artist SUGAI KEN, whose own work is an endless scroll of intoxicating found sounds.

Quintessence, the sweeping closing track, distills all the elements scattered across the album into a coda that beautifully refuses to resolve. At first an exercise in guitar looping, the song was then written without a beginning and end in mind. “Id like to think of it as poetry that sung,” says Lee.

In Altar of Dreams, ASPIDISTRAFLY are renewed and hopeful. Theyve emerged from a decade spent reframing the world they see through vivid dreams and memories. Now, its all yours to experience.


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