“Early Riser/Shqipëria” is the new split album from ambient musician Tom O’Connor’s project Union Hall and Polish duo Piotr Cisak & Paweł Oleksiński respectively. Released via American label Illuminated Paths on cassette or to download via bandcamp, it is a chilled affair with the two artists sitting well side by side.
Union Hall’s music is melodic and minimal. Many of the songs lack percussion or a beat, making for a dreamy, trippy vibe, sounding positive and bright throughout. This is definitely not the type of music you’ll see hitting the charts any time soon. The release consists more of electronic soundscapes than songs in the traditional sense of the word, and would be best suited to listening to whilst winding down or in a, how should I say, “psychedelic” mood. I’m not saying you need drugs to enjoy this music, just to enhance it.
Side two of this release, “Shqipëria” is an altogether darker sounding affair. The sprawling title track a droney, noisy piece full of feedback and with occasional samples of birds tweeting, it sounds almost apocalyptic at times, while also rooted in the natural and earthly. Clocking in at just under fifteen and a half minutes, yet again this isn’t the type of music that will fill the dancefloors in your local nightclub. Well that is unless your local nightclub is located in the Peruvian Amazon or perhaps in a corner of your own mind.
If ambient electronic or drone music are your thing then I would recommend giving this a listen. Also if you are just on the lookout for something chilled and spacey or something to come down to this may be the soundtrack you are looking for. Overall it was a very enjoyable collection, not something I would listen to regularly, but definitely would revisit should the mood arise.