Nº 7 ASPIDISTRAFLY – A LITTLE FABLE
In the autumn/winter of 2010, Singapore-based April Lee and Ricks Ang of ASPIDISTRAFLY (also founders of Kitchen. Label) embarked on the recording of their second album A LITTLE FABLE in Japan in collaboration with several artists. Fascinated by the patina of time and themes of
folklore, A LITTLE FABLE narrates a surrealist procession of tales, twelve compositions simmering one into the other lyrically and picturesquely. This album sees the duo returning to a warm, organic palette of closely-whispered vocals, fingerpicked guitar, string arrangements and their trademark texture-focused arrangements. Featuring guest collaborators Kyo Ichinose, Seigen Tokuzawa, haruka nakamura, Junya Yanagidaira (ironomi), honagayoko, Akira Kosemura, Janis Crunch and more.
A dusty bottom drawer of forgotten memoirs is unlocked, and the album opens with a mourning, solitary cello while a harmonium drone forebodes an oscillating motif of glockenspiel tones, or sprinkled stars if you will. In LANDSCAPE WITH A FAIRY, a tale of loss and longing during the earliest dawn mist – the world in its daily transition – is daubed in the hues of intensified sunlight, foliage or shadows, only to be diffused and faded by time, not unlike Andrei Tarkovsky’s polaroids of the Russian countryside. April Lee’s intimate vocals and acoustic guitar gently break the silence of a cold morning, backed by graceful string flourishes arranged by Kyo Ichinose. Kitchen. Label’s very own haruka nakamura and Junya Yanagidaira (ironomi) add harmonizing colors of the guitar and piano respectively.
Tracing the mysterious migration routes of nocturnal animals, HOMEWARD WALTZ skips home along a breadcrumbed-path with ephemeral glimpses of forest sights, ornamented by violins and other curious sounds before fulminating into a amorphous guitar drone, as Seigen Tokuzawa’s improvised cello strokes drift and wander with split-second apparitions in the night sky. Sounds of wooden creaks and early morning spoon-in-coffee stirrings permeate the spontaneous atmosphere of COCINA. honagayoko’s quaint and chopped piano phrases waltz with spliced vocals and flute.
Emerging from the darkened foliage into a vast, cryptic hemisphere, the second half of the album teeters on the frailty and transitoriness of the world. A LITTLE FABLE’s voyage reaches a turning point by SEA OF GLASS. Ricks Ang constructs a prolonged arpeggio of sonorous looping guitar motifs that float in and out of focus, reverberating almost like a narcotic percussion across tumultuous oceans. Now distanced and gauzy, sounds of surging waves open COUNTLESS WHITE MOONS in a misty indefiniteness, yet held together charmingly by Akira Kosemura’s luminous piano. The elusive narration in LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS tells of a deliberate escape from the passage of time with a folkloric enchantress who wordlessly casts her spells. In GENSEI, April Lee relates an unspoken anguish in her tender, wavering vibrato while Janis Crunch’s somber piano and chorus vocals loom like a harbinger of death. The last chapter TWINKLING FALL, the second track to feature haruka nakamura, now shuts the drawer of secrets, dissipated monochrome colours restored once again to full bloom.
A LITTLE FABLE is available on CD and the digital format on 15th December 2011. The physical CD copy comes in a 48-page artbook edition (21 x 15cm) featuring photographs and collages by April Lee and Miu Nozaka, with styling by Rika M. Orrery, who have, from their expeditions during the making of this album, directed a dream sequence around the encompassing atmosphere of a secluded hilltop cottage, a forest hued in the splendor of autumn and distant, rocky shores.
From Singapore, ASPIDISTRAFLY consists of composer and vocalist April Lee (b.1984) and producer Ricks Ang (b.1980). The duo play a flickeringly filmic mixture of ambient folk with gossamer-like vocal harmonies and guitar-based drone wrapped in a delicate lo-fi haziness. April’s beguiling visions and lyrics form the backbone of ASPIDISTRAFLY’s storytelling. — Read more
- CATALOGUE NO.
CD + ARTBOOK / Digital
Folk, Ambient, Experimental
21.0 x 15.0 x 0.6cm
2 fold die-cut cover, 48 pages, offset printed, perfect bound, full color on uncoated paper.
- RELEASE DATE
December 15 2011
- “Aprilの深みのある美しい歌声とアコギのシンプルなフォークサウンドに、ストリングスやエレクトロニクスがドリーミーな表情を付けていく、秀逸フォークアンビエント。Vashti BunyanやLinda Perhacsなど、ブリティッシュフォークからアシッドフォーク、そしてエレクトロニカ〜アンビエントファンまでを魅了してしまうでしょう。サウンドと同じ世界観の写真集のヴィジュアルや、パッケージのディテールも本当に素晴らしい作品です。” – Inpartmaint Inc / p*dis Staff Best of 2011 No.1
— Inpartmaint Inc / p*dis, Japan
- “With a hushed, wispy voice in the spirit of Vashti Bunyan… “Landscape With a Fairy” and Aspidistrafly’s gorgeous second album, A Little Fable, have more in common with ambient composers like Max Richter — and, along the way, have found their own leaf-covered path.” NPR Song of the Day 21st March 2012
— NPR Music, USA
- “しみじみと奏でられる朴訥としたアコギのアルペジオ〜ぽろぽろとこぼれ落ちるようなデリケートなピアノ、ストリングスなどによる温かみのあるアコースティック・サウンドと、Vashti Bunyan〜Judee Sillなどの60〜70年代の女性シンガーも彷彿させる女性ヴォーカルApril Leeの味わい深いうたでじんわりと優しく胸に染み込んでいくように聴かせる、優雅で美しいフォーク・ロック。” – Linus Records Best of 2011 , No.16
— Linus Records, Japan
- “遅い朝の台所だったり、昼下がりや、ある場所の夕暮れ、星がきれいな夜空…などの、日常の風景の時が止まり、古いものと新しいものとが交差した夢と現実、時間と空間の境界線から解き放たれる、aspidistraflyの描く世界。” – Pastel Records Top Seller December 2011
— Pastel Records, Japan
- “A LITTLE FABLE is the most complete picture of ASPIDISTRAFLY that we have received yet; the ideas here are fully formed and the duo has never written better tracks. Artist of the week.” 7.5/10, The Silent Ballet Top Albums of 2011, No.66
— The Silent Ballet, USA
- “The second album by ASPIDISTRAFLY is something special indeed, and not just because their contributions are enhanced by the talents of others, including Nakamura, Kosemura, and Crunch. It’s a long-form serenade of delicate, organic sounds complemented by an array of time-worn textural detail.” – Textura Album of the month
— Textura, Canada
- “A LITTLE FABLE is a story of stolen seasons… Just try to imagine Max Richter at the bedside of Linda Perhacs… A small masterpiece, certainly” – AUTRES DIRECTIONS Playlist of the month
— AUTRES DIRECTIONS, France
— 雨と休日, Japan
- “April Lee’s dulcet tone, recalling Vashti Bunyan, has over the years deepened into a Karen Dalton-like preciseness of phrasing. For these tone poems she sings, with the crowning glory of Homewards Waltz, are creatures of absolute, gooseflesh beauty.”
— NYLON, Singapore
- ”A LITTLE FABLE” is a beautiful nymph-like album, full of sweet and evocative tracks that transport the listener back to a primordially experiential state akin to the tabula rasa of a child’s framework for reality – a state open to possibilities, magic, and fantasy; it’s a little pocket of escape, and if you need some, you should hear it.”
— Fluid Radio, UK
- “A LITTLE FABLE is another perfectly designed Kitchen. Label release.”
— Electroacoustic Tales, Germany