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The Floating World & The Sorrowful World

by Sontag Shogun, Stijn Hüwels

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    12" x 12" Archival photo print on heavy 300 GSM Cotton Rag Paper. Signed in pencil by the artist and numbered in an edition of 10.

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The Floating World and the Sorrowful World is an improvised collaboration between New York / Montreal electronic experimental trio Sontag Shogun and famed Belgian minimalist guitarist/tape manipulator, and curator of Slaapwel Records, Stijn Hüwels. This minimalist, yet engulfing album was captured in improvisation together at his house in Leuven, Belgium in 2018, and includes some additional sonic decor added in Montreal and Brooklyn. We took inspiration from the abstract, binary meanings of the Japanese word "Ukiyo"—which in different contexts conveys both "the sorrowful world" and "the floating world"—a homophone that highlights an important dichotomy in the human condition. The world exists simultaneously as a place of great emotional heft, and one of surreal hedonistic detachment. Through a constant play of gravity, our lives oscillate between the two, often leaving us feeling transient and unstable. Through swirling, drifting, evolving tonescapes we attempt to capture this beautiful, nebulous, intermediary place—an abstraction measured by the radius separating pleasure and pain. This record delves into the chasm formed by the complex emotional tapestry woven into the fabric of our beings and is a reflection on the limitations of a binary system. We endeavor to exist amid two worlds, satiated by the myriad states within.



released February 20, 2020

Stijn Hüwels - guitar
Jeremy Young - sine and square waves, tape loops
Jesse Perlstein - vocals, field recordings
Ian Temple - organ, flickering piano

Recorded in collaboration in Leuven, Belgium in 2018. Additions and mixes done in Montreal and New York City. Mastered by Lawrence English. Artwork by Gregory Euclide. Published by THESIS.


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