JG Thirlwell & Simon Steensland: "Heron"

As one looks for comparisons when attempting to explain a musical arrangement as gratifying and cinematic as "Heron" by JG Thirlwell and Simon Steensland, I immediately went to Mahavishnu Orchestra and Magma and Kōenjikyakkei and Alain Goraguer. The vocal passages are lovely and the composition itself wasn't what I expected from the guy from Foetus. Granted the mood conveyance of "Heron" isn't particularly uplifting, but the overall tone shifts greatly from some of those early Foetus tracks, (thought the immense, ensemble feel is intact), and benefits from lush melodies and moments of respite. 

That said, "Heron" is the first peek at a new album from the Thirlwell/Steensland combo called Oscillospira. As an early intro to this album, I am looking forward to this one. It's out via Ipecac — a true mark of quality — on 4/24. 

All info on the release has been provided by Rarely Unable.



Brooklyn based composer/producer/performer JG Thirlwell (
Foetus, Manorexia, Xordox) - who has collaborated with the likes of Zola Jesus, Melvins, Swans, Kronos Quartet and many others, and is the composer for the highly acclaimed animated TV series ‘Archer’ and 'Venture Bros’ - and Swedish multi-instrumentalist and theatre music composer Simon Steensland collaborate on a new album Oscillospira due April 24th on Ipecac Recordings.

Different yet complementary, both creators make idiosyncratic music that can be characterised by dramatic intensity, shadowy suspense, darkness and light, sometimes breathtaking and always evocative cinematics.
Oscillospira is an odyssey of dark chamber prog with a cinematic bent, largely instrumental album with eerie choral parts.

JG Thirlwell and Simon Steensland's journey together first began in 2017 in Stockholm at a workshop for the Great Learning Orchestra, a collective that operate on the model of an experimental music ensemble from the late 60s, Cornelius Cardew’s Scratch Orchestra, using musicians from a variety of backgrounds and abilities.

JG Thirlwell recounts
"I had been a fan of Steensland’s work for some years through his albums like Led Circus and Fat Again. I admired the dark power in his work and it seemed adjacent to a lot of music that I love and inspires me - groups in the Rock in Opposition and Zeuhl worlds such as Magma, Univers Zero and Present, as well as 70’s era King Crimson and Bartok."

Taking JG Thirlwell's commission for Great Learning Orchestra as a starting point, the pair exchanged ideas and extended the work into a new collaboration which eventually became Oscillospira. The extraordinary drummer Morgan Ågren (Mats/Morgan band, Zappa, Devin Townsend etc) plays on all the tracks, bringing them to life in an explosive manner. The record also includes contributions from a variety of guest musicians playing oboe, bass clarinet, violin, voice and further sonic embellishments to enrich the album.

JG Thirlwell and Simon Steensland truly exist in their own world, and we're delighted to be welcomed into it on April 24th.

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