format: book, 2x 10″ vinyl
year of release: 2011
To celebrate its 100th anniversary (i.e. 100 releases), Dutch Tonefloat Records organised a festival and created a book chronicling the history of the label. Over the years, the label has come to be known for its unique philosophy and musical style (broadly defined as combinations of psychedelic, ambient, and experimental music in many forms) , and its dedication to the artists and the presentation of the releases. A book is therefore a lovely way to showcase these aspects of the label. And the result is lovely: a hardback with loads of images spread throughout its 108 pages, and something that caters to lovers of both records and books. Two sample pictures can be found here and here.
If that wasn’t enough, of course there is an auditory side to the release as well, in the form of seven tracks spread across two 10″ records, all unique and exclusive collaborations by a number of prolific Tonefloat artists. The first two tracks are taken care of by Sand Snowman, Steven Wilson and Theo Travis as a trio. As one might expect, the result is a nebulous, laid-back mixture of ghostly acoustic and ambient, and even a bit of tango on “Trevail”. “California Falling” is another dreamy song, this time Wilson together with Moonswift, Dirk Serries and Peter van Vliet. The fourth track continues in the same direction, but without Moonswift. Van Vliet then breaks the flow with the funky electronica piece “Through the Eyes of the Duck”. The last two tracks are back into ambient territory again, with Sand Snowman and Wilson pairing up for a long raga-lige piece dedicated to John Fahey, and Serries and Maarten van der Vleuten working together on the excellent “Murmlefish”. Particularly this final and new collaboration really has some chemistry,and is perhaps something to consider expanding towards future projects. Both artists are gifted and subtle composers, and in this rich track, with its hopeful melodic flow and varied instrumentation, this really comes to the fore.
All in all, a worthy piece to celebrate this anniversary, and pretty much essential for anyone who has followed the label, but also worth looking into for the music alone. Like I said, Tonefloat is a label that does not compromise when it comes to selecting its artists, and that shows from what some of them have put together for the occasion.
Reviewed by O.S.
1. Like Charcoal (9:07)
2. Trevail (1:27)
3. California Falling (4:26)
4. Pale Ghostlike Friend (3:59)
5. Through the Eyes of the Duck (2:46)
6. Song for John Fahey (11:19)
7. Murmlefish (9:35)