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Steve Von Till — A Life Unto Itself

Steve Von Till — A Life Unto Itself (May 11, 2015)

United States                       Steve Von Till — A Life Unto Itself 
★   There are few men in the world who possess a voice so powerful that it instantly sends tidal waves of soul–crushing emotion to the very fiber of your being. As vocalist and guitarist of sludge doom icons Neurosis, Steve Von Till’s tortured, colossal howl comes across with the subtlety of a nuclear bomb. Von Till is also a highly accomplished solo musician with three albums under his own name and three under the guise of Harvestman.
★   Von Till’s raspy, world–weary timbre holds dominion on his solo projects. He is accompanied primarily by acoustic guitar on his upcoming fourth release ‘A Life Unto Itself,’ another stunning juxtaposition of beautiful, non–traditional folk music against his powerfully profound delivery.
Location: Oakland, California, U.S.
Album release: May 11, 2015
Record Label: Neurot Recordings
Duration:    45:26
Tracks:
01. In Your Wings      5:30
02. A Life Unto Itself      7:12
03. A Language of Blood      7:47
04. Night of the Moon      7:03
05. Birch Bark Box      5:43
06. Chasing Ghosts      5:26
07. Known but Not Named      6:45
2015 Neurot Recordings
★   Photo & Album Art by Niela Von Till
Product Description
♠  2015 release, the fourth solo album from the musician best known for his work with Neurosis, Tribes Of Neurot and Harvestman. A Life Unto Itself is a perfect description for the 25–plus years he's spent forging a unique and influential sound. One can hear that deep musical history, and all the life experience that goes with it, on A Life Unto Itself. As with his previous solo works, Von Till's weathered, distinctive voice and sparse acoustic guitar provides the foundation. Quiet and subdued for the most part, these songs still evoke vast emotional power as Von Till's raspy whisper dives deeply inward and speaks of visions, memories and self–reflection in a way both seasoned and exposed. While his last couple albums took on a more traditional approach with respectful nods toward Americana and Celtic ballads, A Life Unto Itself ventures into a wider variety of sonic landscapes, often borrowing from the rural psychedelia of Harvestman, weaving in strains of vintage synth and electric guitars. Von Till was assisted in creating the album's myriad textures by viola master Eyvind Kang, pedal steel wizard J. Kardong and percussionist Pat Schowe, all under the supervision of engineer and producer Randall Dunn, with whom he recorded and mixed the album at Avast! Recording Co. in Seattle.
♠  A Life Unto Itself is his fourth solo effort under his own name (he releases as Harvestman as well), coming after 2008's A Grave Is A Grim Horse. Says Von Till of his thinking behind the album: “When you make a big life decision and then you hear a raven's call out in the sky, it wasn't chance — it was an affirmation, it was meant for you, even if that might seem ridiculous in a conventional sense. When you hear a melody and it takes you back a thousand years to a memory you're not even sure you were a part of. When folklore and history become ways of how you see the world, it allows things to become more mystical and take on deeper meaning. When you're walking through ordinary, mundane situations, you have this frame of reference that takes on great personal significance beyond surviving the day–to–day: it's surviving the day–to–day with meaning.”
REVIEW
By: Daniela Patrizi
♠  Steve Von Till demonstrates again to have a penchant for producing subtly immense and beautiful compositions as a solo artist. The front man of the immense band Neurosis is about to release a new solo album under the moniker of Steve Von Till. A Life Unto Itself is coming out on Neurot Recording on May 11th and no other title would give more justice to his commitment to music: he has spent about 25 years in producing music and, aside from the albums with Neurosis, this will be his fourth solo record and he also produced several albums and EPs with Tribes Of Neurot, the dark ambient project with Scott Kelly, and three under his alter ego Harvestman.
♠  The acoustic guitar based soundscapes of A Life Unto Itself reveal again the soft side of an artist that never stops discovering the power of sonic expansion and the brilliance in experimentation. The new full length album can be considered Steve Von Till’s most focused album to date. A Life Unto Itself presents the same minimalism of the previous records — the stunning As the Crow Flies just to mention one of my favourite albums from him — but he now adds to the winning formula composed by his distinctive voice and acoustic guitar, a wider range of textures. The mixture of the electric guitars, the percussion and the solemn strings that Von Till has crafted with the seven expansive songs of A Life Unto Itself is just some of his best material.
♠  A Life Unto Itself is an extremely contemplative record and intimacy is at the heart of it. Each note of the new album provides the mood and the environment. Von Till’s emotional outpour and unique approach make this record an engaging listening: lay down and let the music have you and you’ll truly feel as if you’re sitting in the same room where the artist is performing. Very few artists are able to achieve this kind of personal connection, but he perfectly does it. In other words, this is an amazing record.
♠  The title track is an example of the special relationship the musician establishes with the listeners: the opening percussion, his bassy, warm voice and the very modest guitar arrive directly to your heart and bring space and light into your house and let your emotions exploding from the very first beginning of the song.
♠  From the opening ‘In Your Wings’ the intensity of the “beautiful Celtic balladry, haunting folk songs, dark psychedelia and expansive Americana” may strike some listeners. ‘A Language Of Blood’ is full of melancholic beauty and it’s so intense and deep that, closing your eyes, you can practically see the acoustic guitar strings dancing like elegant figurines around you. There are moments of this track so emotion packed that it’s very hard to remain untouched by them.
♠  Another milestone of A Life Unto Itself is ‘Night Of The Moon’ that’s the most different song of the album. Its dark psychedelia is brilliant and when Von Till starts singing he gently brings you into another world where notes reverberate form everywhere and the sound wraps you and it’s so deep that you can touch it.
♠  ‘Birch Bark Box’ might be my favourite moment of this brilliant record for the amount of emotions is able to send to every fibre of mine. Von Till’s voice is just pure excellence here and the guitar lines are laced with and emotional depth only obtainable with acoustic guitars.
♠  Forty–five minutes of Steve Von Till and his guitar playing from the heart are never enough. ★  http://echoesanddust.com.previewdns.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SteveVonTill
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SteveVonTill
Website: http://www.vontill.org/
BLOG:
★   STEVE VON TILL’s most immense, celestial solo journey yet, A Life Unto Itself was captured at Avast! Recording Co. in Seattle with producer Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))), Wolves In The Throne Room, Marissa Nadler and Rose Windows), presenting over forty–five minutes of harrowing textures which drill their way immediately to the core of your bones, gnaw your heart’s defense mechanisms to their foundations, and invoke a wellspring of emotions. In bringing these newest visions to fruition, STEVE VON TILL was joined by viola master Eyvind Kang, pedal steel wizard J. Kardong and percussionist Pat Schowe, and enshrouded by cover art by Aaron Turner (Sumac, Isis, Old Man Gloom, Hydra Head), A Life Unto Itself conjures the man’s most diverse but wholly composed solo creations yet, recalling Harvestman and prior unaccompanied albums under his own name. A possible new bearing on navigating life seems to lie at the heart of A Life Unto Itself, but that decision is ultimately up to the listener.
★   The gritty hymn, “In Your Wings,” sees its public debut courtesy of New Noise Magazine, who recently interrogated the multi–instrumentalist on his boldest solo outing yet, the upcoming feature issuing in part, “There are few men in the world who possess a voice so powerful that it instantly sends tidal waves of soul–crushing emotion to the very fiber of your being. As vocalist and guitarist of sludge doom icons Neurosis, STEVE VON TILL’s tortured, colossal howl comes across with the subtlety of a nuclear bomb... VON TILL’s raspy, world–weary timbre holds dominion on his solo projects. He is accompanied primarily by acoustic guitar on his upcoming fourth release A Life Unto Itself, another stunning juxtaposition of beautiful, non–traditional folk music against his powerfully profound delivery.” ★   http://officialneurosis.blogspot.com/
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Steve Von Till — A Life Unto Itself

 

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