“Temporary signatures of time sweep across the house. They shift and morph across the day, creeping slowly, almost still.”
“Stranger to my room”, sonicbrat’s (also known as Darren Ng) latest and debut release on Kitchen. Label, is a beautifully crafted album of 11 instrumental tracks consisting of solo piano and pure acoustic recordings. Recorded entirely in his own house where he has been living alone for the past 8 years, “Stranger to my room” is an album exploring the personal relationship of time, space and being, reflecting upon a familiar yet alienating loneliness. The atmosphere of “Stranger to my room” is suitably intimate and warmly affecting – the track titles are reflective of small fleeting wonders observed at home that Darren has used as theme to base his compositions on, eliciting profound emotions from the simplest of metaphors.
Darren’s approach to producing is that of a classically-trained composer’s, which makes “Stranger to my room” not unlike a composition with 11 movements. The record opens with sparse piano improvisation played in the dark of the night, providing the listeners with nocturnal reverie and setting the mood for the album. As the record progresses, the arrangement shines and become fuller as cellos, violins, acoustic guitar and an array of acoustic instruments come into play. In parts, the album’s intimacy and textural quality is created by his recording techniques – from a closely mic’d upright piano to capture hammered hits of the piano, to microphones placed at various parts of his house where even the tiniest details and sounds are brought to the surface. The result creates a rich and natural environment recorded with the purest and most microscopic process. “Stranger to my room” is a deeply personal work which invites the listener to rediscover the forgotten in the familiar within the living space.
“Stranger to my room” is presented in a 16-page art book format featuring a collaboration with Helsinki-based artist Aiwei Foo. In a place where alienation and familiarity both become parts of existing within a space, Aiwei mirrors time shifts and one’s personal backdrop against changes and the environment in her parallel imagery. The album is mastered by label curator Ricks Ang (also one-half of ASPIDISTRAFLY), “Stranger to my room” is an album destined to pique the interest of listeners of classically aligned contemporaries such as Goldmund, Nils Frahm, Akira Kosemura and haruka nakamura. Presented, as always on Kitchen. Label, in a beautiful full colour book.