Alone And Together At All Times

by Zhel

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about

ENG:
Every loss is an interruption that tears itself out from the space in which it previously belonged, a space that never closes. Like a crater, it becomes a witness to the formal presence of an object or force. After the death of my father, I started thinking about that space. That is what grief does: brings rapid encounters with volatile joy and peaceful sadness. Inner reality becomes more vivid while the outer world seems shrouded in fog. What I have found most captivating during the last year have been memories that started to flood the empty space. They’d project themselves forcefully into my consciousness from places long forgotten, impose themselves without warning or mercy. Most came from my childhood years—stripped of any context and barely coherent but powerful passageways between present and past. Fragments of that time, my father’s rowing a half-sinking plastic canoe or another relative mumbling, seemingly insignificant as they flitted across my mind but deeply resonant as they sunk into it—would come to me, which I’d snobbishly compare with Antonioni’s cinematic gaze. Other memories were less pleasing, from the recent past and suffused with painful reflections on illness, love, and memory itself. These flashbacks were fragmented and undeveloped, meaningful parts of my life’s narrative but not narratives unto themselves. Their source was psychological but their effect visceral.

The way I was processing grief began to influence the way I created music in a sense I hadn’t experienced and didn’t recognize initially. In 2015 I started recording an album, not this one, with five sketches of songs that I wanted to develop fully. Soon, though, I realised I couldn’t complete a single track or even retain interest in one of my many ideas. The process of creation felt contrived and I ceased to enjoy it. To distance myself from frustration, I began taking breaks to wander around parks, through libraries, on trains, across beaches, documenting everything and nothing I heard on my pocket audio recorder. When I returned I’d try to complement the sounds of the outside world with instrumental ones, both digital and analogue, in short sessions that lasted anywhere from twenty seconds to five or six minutes. One day, while backing them up, I decided to arrange them across a single timeline in the same way I’d recorded them—chronologically. And at that moment, I realised that this was the album I’d needed to make, precisely the album that not only reflected the last twelve months in the most accurate and artistic way possible but had been unconsciously creating itself. So I decided to keep the song structure intact but add sounds and verbal reflections where I felt inspired to. I didn’t know how the tracks would turn out, only that they had to represent spaces —emotional, physical, psychological--from which something had been taken, spaces that must remain open and permeable.

'Alone And Together At All Times' is Zhel's fourth official studio album.

HR:
Svaki gubitak istovremeno je i prekid koji se otkida od prostora kojemu je prethodno pripadao, prostora koji se poslije toga više ne zatvara. Poput kratera, fizički vidljiv, znak je prisutnosti određenog objekta ili sile. O tom sam prostoru počeo razmišljati nakon smrti oca. Žaljenje donosi iznenadne, kratke erupcije veselja i tugu koja smiruje. Unutarnji svijet oživljava, dok je vanjski obavijen maglom. Tako su me prošle godine zaintrigirala sjećanja koja su navirala u taj prostor. Projicirala su se nasilno, dolazeći iz davno zaboravljenih mjesta, nametala se bez upozorenja ili milosti. Preplavljivala su prazninu. Većina ih je bila iz djetinjstva, ogoljena od konteksta, nepovezana, ali kao snažna veza između sadašnjosti i prošlosti. Fragmenti vremena. Moj otac koji vesla napola potopljenu plastičnu sandolinu ili neki daleki rođak dok mrmlja nepoznatu melodiju; naizgled beznačajne slike koje lepršaju mislima, ali duboko rezonantne kada se u njih počinju slagati. Ostala sjećanja iz nedavne prošlosti bila su manje ugodna, prožeta stalnim razmišljanjima o bolesti, ljubavi i konceptu memorije. Te fragmentirane i nerazvijene retrospekcije, značajni su dijelovi moje životne priče, ali nisu priča sama za sebe. Njihov izvor je psihološki, a njihov učinak visceralan.

Način na koji sam procesuirao tugu počeo je utjecati na moj proces stvaranja glazbe kakav do tada nisam doživio, a niti sam toga u početku bio svjestan. 2015, s pet skica pjesama počeo sam snimati album, ali ne ovaj. Uskoro sam shvatio da ne mogu završiti niti jednu pjesmu, proces je postao neprirodan, a ja sam prestao uživati. Da bih napravio odmak od tih frustracija, u pauzama sam lutao parkovima, sjedio u knjižnicama, vozio se vlakovima, odlazio na plažu, i svo to vrijeme na mobilni audio snimač dokumentirao zvukove oko sebe. Primjenio sam isti princip i s instrumentima, digitalnim i analognim, snimajući fragmente koji bi trajali od dvadesetak sekunda do pet ili šest minuta. U jednom trenutku, dok sam sav taj materijal prebacivao na kompjuter, odlučio sam sve snimke složiti redom kako sam ih i zabilježio. Tada sam shvatio da pred sobom imam koncept albuma kakav trebam napraviti. I to ne samo album koji savršeno odražava mojih posljednjih dvanaest mjeseci, već i album koji se nesvjesno sam stvarao. Zbog toga sam odlučio zadržati netaknutu izvornu strukturu pjesama, ali sam dodao zvukove i verbalna razmišljanja gdje sam osjetio da je to potebno. Nisam znao kako će pjesme zvučati, a niti sam ih gurao prema nekoj određenoj žanrovskoj ili temporalnoj formi, već mi je jedini cilj bio da predstavljaju taj prostor - emotivni, fizički, psihički - prostor iz kojeg je nešto uzeto, istrgnuto. Prostor koji zauvijek mora ostati otvoren i porozan.

'Alone And Together At All Times' je Zhelov četvrti studijski album.

credits

released December 8, 2015

composed, recorded, mixed and mastered in London and Pula between 6th July 2015 and 7th December 2015.

All songs composed and recorded by Zhel apart from drums and vocals at 'Circling Like Dogs, Hissing Like Snakes' played by Saša Petković and Franka Strmotic respectively, recorded at Blackhill Studio, Pula-Croatia. Main vocal on 'Gasping for Barbair' sang by Franka Strmotic recorded at Blackhill Studio, Pula-Croatia.

All songs mixed by Branko Crnogorčić at Blackhill Studios apart from '31', 'I Know, I Know', 'Men With Harmonicas' and 'One Thing Learned' which are mixed by Zhel. All tracks are mastered by Zhel and Branko Crnogorčić. Produced by Zhel.

cover photo by Zhel
cover design by Parabureau

"cockpit" voice, by Artie Lange, excerpt from 'Too Fat To Fish' © 2008.
Sample voice on 'One Thing Learned' by John Cage.

special thanks to Amanda Coutts, Maja Radešić, Siniša Radolović and Boris Popović.

© Zhel 2015, All Rights Reserved

tags

license

all rights reserved
Track Name: Screamstation
guitars, vocals, sound programming: Zhel