MANU DELAGO (Björk, Cinematic Orchestra, Anoushka Shankar) SHARES NEW TRACK ‘PARASOL WOODS’ & TEASER TRAILER FROM FORTHCOMING FILM AND ALBUM ‘PARASOL PEAK’
Recorded at various altitudes on an expedition in The Alps
Out September 7th
via One Little Indian Records
Pioneer of the hang (handpan), captivating musician Manu Delago has released brand new track ‘Parasol Woods’ and accompanying trailer taken from the forthcoming release of a unique and awe-inspiring short film and album, Parasol Peak – out September 7th.
Delago leads an ensemble of 7 musicians on a mountaineering expedition in The Alps. Along the way, the group perform a collection of brand new compositions in different locations, at varying altitudes. The expedition posed life-threatening conditions for the ensemble, which at times had Manu questioning the project. “There were several moments of physical struggle and anxiety in the group” says Manu, “but that makes playing music together even more emotional”. A drastic unseasonal temperature drop causing heavy snowfall complicated the journey further and made for a bigger challenge musically, with the group performing in exposed locations at freezing temperatures.
The Austrian-born composer was discovered by Björk, who first invited him to perform alongside on her Biophilia tour. He is now a fixture of Björk’s live lineup and has also toured with The Cinematic Orchestra and Olafur Arnalds. Further, he earned a Grammy-nomination for his work on Anoushka Shankar’s album Land of Gold, performed Hang on Poppy Ackroyd’s latest album ‘Resolve’ and appeared as a soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra.
It is for this reason that the musician spends a great deal of his life on the road and in studios, collaborating with various artists as well as writing, recording and performing his previous two critically-acclaimed electronic-driven albums Silver Kobalt and Metromonk. This was how Parasol Peak became an exercise in the artist removing himself from studios, tour busses and laptops, and seeking to compose and perform both within and as part of nature, using only totally acoustic instruments.
“On almost every location we faced a tough climb first, then very cold conditions (physically and also playing), snow, installation time of the audio, instruments out of tune and finally – the shooting. We sometimes could film only 2 takes, because the instruments were out of tune again, or the fingers too cold or the icy wind blowing too fast.
“The audio engineer, Michael Reisigl, installed a network of recorders, cables and microphones all over the rocks. On the right and left side there were sometimes more than 50m of vertical rock – so falling was no option. It was crazy how he performed. Further, we knew that the crew shouldn’t wait too long doing nothing because of the cold, the motivation and the instruments. And I knew that the filming had to be perfect first time – there won’t be another chance.”
The result of the struggle that the group endured is a completely rare, once-in-a-lifetime piece of work – both stunning visually and remarkable musically. The album could very much sit wonderfully amongst the contemporary classical giants of the present, but there is no escaping its distinctiveness – with flecks of European folk embedded in the brass and accordion melodies, as well as prog drones performed on the strings and handpan, ornamented by taps and whistles from various natural sources. Sonically, without the visual, the evidence of nature is present throughout.