After the devastation in Japan, hundreds of artists, labels and individuals came together to support and raise money for the relief effort. It’s humbling to see things like this happen, especially when it’s artists that I have come to love and respect for other reasons, and who then go the extra step to help those unfortunate enough to be affected by such disasters.
Several compilations have stood out for me, number one being the momentous effort from Keith Kenniff (aka Helios) and his wife, Hollie. Their compilation, ‘For Nihon’, is probably the best ever line up to grace a tracklist. It’d be hard to talk about this compilation in its entirety because of the sheer amount of artists involved, so here’s just a few words which will hopefully help paint the picture. I’ve also included five other great compilations set up specifically for Japan’s relief efforts.
Let’s start with Ulrich Schnauss and his contribution, ‘Balcony Sunset'; a brand new track from his new collaboration with Mark Peters (The Engineers). Mark brings in the shoegaze for this instrumental approach to Ulrich’s sound with more emphasis on the guitars – very similar to Ulrich’s collaboration with Jonas Munk in ‘Epic’.
Jon Hopkins treats us to one of his more ambient/soundtrack styled productions, but still manages to give it an edge, the only way he can. An angelic vocal from Hollie Kenniff provides one of the stand-outs – an absolute dream of a track.
There’s an exclusive from Rhian Sheehan’s stunning new album, ‘Seven Tales of The North Wind’, (as featured last week) and ambient veteran Biosphere contributes with a typically stripped back but hugely engrossing ambient number.
Neo-classical maestro’s Max Richter Olafur Arnalds, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Nils Frahm and Peter Broderick also take to the stage in typical, piano masterpiece style and Japan’s very own aus does what he knows best, molding climatic drums, whispering female voices and tinkering pianos.
And just when you thought it was all about the black and white keys, Alva Noto drops a dark, glitchy electronic piece to pick things back up again, just before the 38 tracks come to a close and you float back down to reality.
The artists involved and the quality of the music is second to none. I haven’t even got around to mentioning Rafael Anton Irisarri, Hammock, Harold Budd, Near The Parenthesis or Keith’s own contributions as Helios and Goldmund. I’ll leave those up to you…
You can purchase the compilation over on the Unseen website for a donation of $20, with all proceeds going towards the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Scroll to the bottom of this post for a full tracklist.
A Collection Box
If you enjoyed aus’ and Ametsub’s contributions to ‘For Nihon’, then you can also download their dedicated EP set up to support the Japanese Red Cross. Along with Miyauchi Yuri, they’ve put together a six track release which comes straight from the heart of three of Japan’s best loved experimental producers.
Only Light To Clear Away
Distance Recordings have been behind three of Devin Underwood’s releases (two as Specta Ciera and one as himself) and is another label I’m keen to dive into more. Compiled between June 2010 and January 2011 ‘Only Light To Clear Away’ is now committed to donating all proceeds to the Japanese Red Cross. Devin has of course contributed as Specta Ciera, and we’re also lucky enough to see tracks from Loscil and Sons of Magdalene (Josh Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv).
fall n; rise n+1
I’m yet to listen to this in its entirety, but thought I’d include it as the previews sound great and I don’t recognise one single artist … perhaps a gateway to even more great music?
The Sun Will Rise
This was one of the first Japanese relief compilations I came across shortly after the earthquake. Kevin Stephens was a man on a mission and i’m really pleased to see this one come together and feature some outstanding music. Check out ‘Bubble – Silence’ below for just one instance of pure ambient bliss. Again, this looks to be a gateway to several more artists i’m not yet aware of.
Kompakt Benefit Compilation for Japan
And lastly, how could we not forget Kompakt’s monumental effort. Spanning the ever growing spectrum that is Kompakt’s artist roster, we’re treated to an exceptional range which only Kompakt could muster. The opening track proves the highlight for me, where Marsen Jules is joined by his brothers on piano and violin performing as The Marsen Jules Trio, in an exceptional piece of music worth the donation in its own right.
That just leaves me to say thank you to everyone who has gone to the effort of contributing and compiling. If you’ve come across any other compilations dedicated to supporting the efforts in Japan, please leave a link in the comments below.
‘For Nihon‘ Tracklist:
1. Rhian Sheehan – Places In Between
2. Arms and Sleepers – Crash
3. aus – Daylight
4. Christina Vantzou – Your Changes Have Been Submitted
5. Dustin O’Halloran Featuring Adam Wiltzie – Opus 43
6. Peter Broderick – Quiet Long Enough
7. Ryuichi Sakamoto – Kizuna
8. Cokiyu – Volar
9. Clem Leek – A Light To Guide You
10. Biosphere – Inner Ohm
11. Last Days – Hanami
12. Robin Guthrie & Harold Budd – We Enter The Night
13. Goldmund – Nihon
14. Amman Abbasi – Fragmented Earth
15. Ex Confusion – Chapter 5
16. Colin Kenniff Featuring Hollie Kenniff – Wind and Distance
17. Hammock – Sora
18. Sawako – Lightlit
19. Deru – Days Then
20. Hollie Kenniff – This Time Tomorrow
21. The American Dollar – Near East
22. Joseph Mineado – Roads
23. Bexar Bexar – Gold 1
24. Ametsub – Opening
25. Olafur Arnalds – Edalaus II
26. Nils Frahm & Anne Muller – Aussenseiter
27. Jon Hopkins – Abandon Window
28. Rafael Anton Irisarri & Goldmund – Dissolution
29. Helios – Sing The Same Song Twice
30. Ulrich Schnauss & Mark Peters – Balcony Sunset
31. Taylor Deupree – For A Morning When
32. Alva Noto – Is Otto Roessler Right?
33. Balmorhea – Candor
34. Near The Parenthesis – This Too
35. Little Phrase – Time Is Golden
36. Ryan Teague – Even Space
37. Rob Simonsen – 2.4 Metres
38. Max Richter – Bach Mirror