I’ll confess that FatCat Records had fallen off my radar within the last two years or so. I lost track of the label, which was responsible for bringing such acts as Sigur Rós and Múm to the masses, and so wasn’t paying much attention to what they were doing these days. In fact, I think the last FatCat-related release that I paid any attention to was Max Richter’s The Blue Notebooks, which came out in 2004.
That all changed when I saw that FatCat was releasing Richter’s new album, Songs From Before. While looking into that album, I stumbled across a couple of other impending releases that got me incredibly excited — and got me looking through the label’s back catalogue in hopes of picking up gems that I had missed (budget permitting, of course).
The Twilight Sad is a Glaswegian quartet that channels the same sort of dark, melancholy, noise-drenched pop as The Great Depression or Calla. As soon as I listened to “That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy”, what with its pummelling drums and shimmering, mirage-like guitars just waiting to go all nova-like, my face broken into a nice big grin. And the accordion is just the icing on the cake.
Songs of Green Pheasant is the work of 30-something artist and teacher named Duncan Sumpner. If “Wolves Among Snowmen” is any indication, Sumpner is prone to wander through the same twilit pastoral fields that Dave Pearce and Graham Sutton have haunted in the past. The entire song, including Sumpner’s sleepwalking vocals, seems to be encased, amber-like, in a permanent drizzle of lo-fi guitar fuzz, whilst minimal drum programming percolates in the background. Perfect stuff to listen to on headphones with your eyes closed and your mind just drifting back through the autumnal years.
And finally, there’s Richter. You could bandy about terms like “minimalism” and “modern classical” when describing his music, but doing so would ignore the emotional warmth and incredibly poignant melancholy curled up in his mixture of string arrangements, electronics, drum programming, field recordings, and narration. Which, in the case of Songs From Before, consists of readings of Haruki Murakami. And if the previews, such as “Fragment” are any indication, Songs From Before will be just as lovely and evocative as Richter’s previous release.
All three of these discs will be released in November. For more information, go to FatCat’s “Records” page. And if you want hear full-length tracks from these releases, as well as other FatCat releases, select “New & Forthcoming” from the “Select Audio…” menu at the top of the FatCat website — or just click here.