Featured Label: Just Music
Just Music is proud to be in its 15th year. With its great roster of artists the independent label continues to put out albums of exceptional quality in the field of electronica, ambient and downtempo and this month sees the much anticipated release of iconic ambient band Marconi Union’s 7th studio album, Weightless (Ambient Transmissions Vol 2):
“Marconi Union has drummed up the world’s most relaxing song: Weightless…aural bliss” – Time Magazine, Best Inventions of the Year.
“If an electronic track can be a limpid pool, this one is. Not a ripple touches the surface, not a single speck of dust clouds the glassy stillness. Weightless the album contains five more similarly translucently gorgeous tracks” – The Sunday Times
“An ethereal sense of eternally free flowing dimensions…worth the wait” – DJ Mag 8/10
“Two years after [Weightless] was declared ‘the most relaxing tune ever’ they’ve delivered five further, equally calming, pieces worthy of men once asked to remaster the Eno’s back catalogue” – Uncut 8/10
This is an astonishingly beautiful piece by a talented young director, Ritchie Johnston – this is what he says about it:
‘As I listened to the track I was captivated by the way the song slowly developed. The melodies were very gradual and captivating so I decided it was important that the video remained as one continuous shot, subtly interacting with the progression of the track. After discussion with the band we settled on using a digital technique I have been developing recently. It draws inspiration from photographic studies pioneered by Eadweard Muybridge in the late 1880s. His studies were used to map a sequence of movements that are unperceivable to the naked eye. After experimenting with a range of different subject matter I settled on the idea of using a drone. Its primary function is in aerial mapping and geological surveys, however its grace in the air and precise flight capabilities made it the ideal subject for the shoot. I choreographed a three dimensional aerial ballet for the craft to perform in conjunction with the track “Weightless”. Orchestrating the routine together proved challenging as I was using a technique that revealed unperceivable patterns which I was unable to fully comprehend until the project was finally finished’
For Marconi Union the inspiration for the new album came after they were commissioned to collaborate with a sound therapist to write a piece of relaxing music, the first “Weightless” track. The plan was that the track would then be scientifically tested for it’s effectiveness and the research reported that the music slowed the heart rate, reduced blood pressure and decreased levels of cortisol, a steroid hormone that is released in the response to stress. When it was made public there was an instant and intense media reaction with many newspapers, radio stations and television shows picking up on claims that “Weightless” was ‘the most relaxing song ever!’, one national newspaper even warning motorists not to listen to the track while driving!
During the process of recording the track, a number of musical ideas captured MU’s imagination and unable to explore the all in one piece but keen to work further on them, they decided to make more music using the same approach. It soon became apparent that this was turning into a an album length work and a natural follow up to Beautifully Falling Apart ( Ambient Transmissions Vol 1). The new album comprises 6 tracks, simply entitled Part 1 to Part 6. The tracks are minimal, combining warm drones and drifting sounds with occasional sparse rhythms. Part 1 is the original “Weightless” track, which almost appears to have a heartbeat running through it, slowing down very gently throughout the piece, encouraging a deep sense of relaxation in the body with its specific rhythms, deep bass tones, frequencies and intervals inducing an almost trance like state in the listener. It has attracted over 12 million worldwide views on youtube and nearly 5 million plays on soundcloud.
Another highlight of Just Music’s year has been Echaskech’s 3rd album for the label, Origin, released earlier this year, which drew rave reviews from the press:
“A mighty piece of work. The sonic scale of this music is massive” – DMC World 5/5
“Glorious…a journey back to a time when electronic music had reached the perfect fusion of dance floor dynamics and ambience” – Drowned in Sound
With a couple of great videos accompanying the singles ‘Form | Function’ and ‘Sovereign System’, the ‘Form | Function’ track has now become the signature to the global TV ad for Taylormade Golf – ‘Go The Distance’.
The Ambient Zone compilation has become the label’s most successful compilation ever, with a second volume being compiled at the moment for release early next year, charting consistently in the Billboard New Age Catalogue chart, its highest recent position being placed at no 4.
And finally, Just Music alumni, Jon Hopkins, now signed to Domino Records, having sold out four of London’s most prestigious venues since Immunity’s release (on Domino) last June has announced a final audio visual special at the legendary Brixton Academy on April 24th next year. The night promises to be a true celebration of the album, pairing Jon’s performance with live – re edits of the stunning videos and visuals that have been the signature of this tour. This show is not to be missed.
Just Music recently released Hopkins’ soundtrack to the motion picture ‘How I Live Now’, which featured alongside Hopkins’ impressive score his brooding and sensual collaboration with Natasha Khan (Bat For Lashes), ‘Garden’s Heart’ and his early albums Opalescent and Contact Note remain two outstanding gems in the Just catalogue.
And 2015 promises to be yet another exciting year for the label!