Earth Awhile is the first collaborative release by Japanese sound artist Chihei Hatakeyama and American musicians Michael Grigoni and Stephen Vitiello. Grigoni and Vitiello formerly collaborated on Slow Machines released by 12k in 2020, which was selected as NPR Music’s “Top 10 Albums of February 2020.”
Earth Awhile was a chance to reach out during the isolation of the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic and craft a project that bridges Hatakeyama’s ambient soundscapes with the signature sound of Grigoni’s steel guitar and Vitiello’s compositional sensibilities and seasoned resourcing of field recordings. Also an instrumentalist, Vitiello’s acoustic guitar and piano playing appears on this recording as well. Expanding the geographic footprint of the project, the trio was also joined for one track by Australian guitarist Cameron Webb (Seaworthy).
Earth Awhile presents six compositions, allowing for an expansive approach to time. The tracks feature lap steel and pedal steel guitar, dobro, modular synthesizer and layers of processing that rise and fall in a series of expansive compositions. The album’s title is borrowed from a poem by Robert Frost titled “Birches” — “I'd like to get away from earth awhile. And then come back to it and begin over.” The track titles reference “Birches” as well, grounding these soundscapes in territories of light and air.
released January 29, 2021
Dobro, lap steel guitar, pedal steel guitar, and loops by Michael Grigoni.
Modular synthesizer and electric guitar by Chihei Hatakeyama.
Acoustic guitar, piano, samples, and loops by Stephen Vitiello.
Ebow guitar by Cameron Webb on Dry In The Sun.
Cover photo by Paul Thulin-Jimenez.
Recorded and mixed at the homes of Michael Grigoni in Durham, North Carolina,
Chihei Hatakeyama in Tokyo, Japan, and
Stephen Vitiello in Richmond, Virginia in 2020.
Mastering by Chihei Hatakeyama at White Paddy Mountain in 2020.
Michael Grigoni's 'Mount Carmel' is the best thing to happen to lap / pedal steel based music in a while. Such attention to detail in every note, not a sound is wasted. Alive and energizing yet meditative and somber all at the same time. Lost Tribe Sound
When so much ambient music out there is poor or mediocre, it's a real delight to listen to this release! My favorite ambient release of 2020. Loved Michael Grigoni's Mount Carmel release also on 12k as well. Don't have a favorite track- I like it all. joeschmoe4idaho
I have been a Taylor Dupree fan for years. Like everyone else, I experienced the music, went out and found other music, lived some years, only to circle back around and re-discover it again. This album is ambient brilliance. I listen to it often, and it never disappoints. Michael K. Gause
Such a gorgeous collection of subtle, reflective sonic gems, and a beautiful collaborative effort. The tracks meander peacefully but not without purpose, and light up and glow like stars on a clear night. As always with 12k releases, the artwork can set the tone so eloquently. Take some time out to familiarize yourself with this gently mood-elevating recording. s.loya