Stream: Ilm – “Tides”

The care, craft and consideration that goes into each Fluid Audio release is incredible.

Always put together by hand, each edition is comprised of cherishable artefacts to compliment the music they accompany.  Earlier this month, for example, the label issued Moss Covered Technology‘s And His Many Seas, an ambient album dedicated to the wide-ranging travels of the artist’s sick father as he embarks upon his most gruelling journey yet: the defeat of cancer. Not content with binding the album inside a handmade book lined with luxury Florentine paper, Fluid Audio also included a selection of antique Nories tables from the early part of the 20th century, nine very handsome prints featuring a variety of famous explorers, a collection of vintage inserts by the American explorer Elisha Kent Kane, and – as is the usual flourish with this most covetable of labels – some dried, pressed flowers. As if that wasn’t enough already, all this was contained within a hand-stamped, hand-numbered luxury hand-cut envelope.

And it’s not just every now-and-then Fluid Audio puts out such collectors’ items; it’s every single time they unveil new music. Incredibly, considering the thought that goes into them, this can be several times a month.  Mere weeks after Moss Covered Technology comes the debut collaboration by Ilm, which comprises pianist Lucia Adam and Olan Mill‘s Alex Smalley. Titled Gaya, label head Dan Crossley and his partner Jess describe the release as “the most complete since the label started out” and that it “perfectly captures the essence and nature of the project.” It’s hard to disagree.

The glass mastered CD comes enclosed in an oversized letter-pressed four panel cover, printed on embossed Buckram card. Inside you’ll find a sizeable collection of microscopic prints by Ernst Haeckel, a handwritten antique microscopic glass slide from the early part of the 20th century, and printed excerpts from antique zoology books by luminaries such as Samuel Maunder. In lieu of the pressed flowers, Gaya comes with its own scent.

The first piece of music to be released by Ilm is the lilting “Tides,” which you can stream below.  Its windswept ambience is lit up by Adam’s keys, which gleam and steam like dewdrops in the morning sun. Focusing on cellular details, Gaya, says Fluid Audio, “involves itself in nature, science, biological advancement, and the gradual ascension of evolution; baby steps which, over time, add up to mammoth amounts of progress.”

Gaya is available to pre order now.