NICK STORRING is a cellist, sound artist and composer from Toronto, best known for the electroacoustic specimens he’s been putting together since the 2000s. If the preview tracks for his forthcoming album, GARDENS, on the stellar label Scissor Tail Records, are any indication, he seems to now be leaning more towards the acoustic side of things than on past releases (like his gorgeous, early untitled album compiling tracks written between 2001 and 2005). On Gardens, Storring uses a ludicrous number of instruments, including banjo, rebab, piano and rainstick (but no guitar). In composing for ensembles of these instruments, he plays with formal structures, utilizing the knowledge he has accrued as a trained composer.
One of the two tracks released so far, “(Come to my) Thicket,” sounds like it is largely written in the pelog scale of Gamelan music (which Storring studied in college), but mixed with traditional bluegrass instrumentation; it grows more atonal as the track evolves. Despite drawing on sounds and harmonies so different from those found in Western music, Storring manages to evoke a warm sort of neo-folk sound. The second preview track, “Inside Every Man Lives the Seed of a Flower,” has a much cooler vibe. Drawing on broader influences from jazz and the most dissonant of modernist compositions, it seamlessly mutates between forms. Overall Gardens looks appears to be a killer example of an artist pushing the boundaries of ambient music. The album comes out on Oct. 24, and since it’s limited to a run of 200 CDs, you might want to pre-order it over here.