Multi-instrumentalist Michael Grigoni (formerly M. Grig) and electronic musician and sound artist Stephen Vitiello collaborate to produce mesmerising ambient album, Slow Machines.

Ambient music is not for everyone.  Personally I am fan and over the years albums by the likes of Boards of Canada, Tangerine Dream, Sigur Rós and Brian Eno have made a healthy contribution to my record collection.  Artists that have shifted moods and taken us to new places.

More recently I came across the beautiful, Field Notes (2016) by M.Grig.  Michael Grigoni (formerly M. Grig) is a multi-instrumentalist who specializes in dobro, lap steel guitar, and pedal steel guitar.  His music combines electric and acoustic textures, field recordings, and dense layering techniques. While he seeks to display the personality of the steel guitar in ways both familiar and strange, he also creates sonic landscapes in which the personality of the instrument is buried, at times to the point of erasure.

And that brings me to his latest release.

Slow Machines brings together veteran Stephen Vitiello and 12k label newcomer Michael Grigoni, whose debut for the New York based label, Mount Carmel made an impression for its merging of the pedal and lap steel guitars with a hushed, ambient sound. With both calling the southern mid-Atlantic region of the United States home, the two met up and discussed a collaboration in which Grigoni would provide the guitars and Stephen the electronics and processing with a goal of combining each of their artistic languages into a new form.

Slow Machines is an accessible ambient album – the two musicians produce a soundscape of dreamy electronics and an array of treated pedal and laptop steel guitar passages.  It creates an otherworldly and alluring listening experience.  The melodic and quiet soundscaping make it an interesting and striking collaboration.

Stephen Vitiello

Vitiello, whose work is steeped heavily in the installation and art world, utilized both his trademark field recordings as well as recordings from the oddly whimsical kinetic sculptures of artist Arthur Ganson. The clicking and rattling sounds of these sculptures were the inspiration for the album title as the metal forms whirl and whir in repetitive motion like slow machines.

Michael Grigoni

Michael Grigoni has worked as a session musician and composer for independent film, since moving to North Carolina he has released several instrumental albums, Field NotesStill Lifes, and Millpond Way on Other Songs, and Mount Carmel on 12k.

Slow Machines is available now direct from 12k or via Bandcamp.