Emusers Guide to Damian Valles

edited March 2010 in Ambient
March 2011,
I have edited and added to this post and changed the topic to Emusers Guide:

This artist deserves his own thread:

Damian is a Canadian multi-instrumentalist who creates ambient/experimental works based mainly on solo guitar. He utilizes a wide range of sources to expand his sound which include a variety of percussive elements, piano, and field recordings. Past releases include a full length on the excellent Under The Spire imprint, and a 3" EP on Standard Form. The latter being the first in a series of limited 3" releases called “Rural Routes” that he is curating for the label.
- Last.fm

On Emusic:
Rural Route No. 1 - Standard Form 2009
Bandcamp - 4 CAD
These three instrumental pieces are a response to Valles' recent transition from an urban to a rural home. They are influenced by unfamiliar surroundings, quietness, darkness, and solitude. Moving away from his previous programmed work, these tracks build on live performances, processed guitar and percussion.
And a brand new free album on the Resting Bell Netlabel:
RB081 – Damian Valles – Bow Echoes - (26.03.2010)

“Bow Echoes” contains 6 audio-tracks with a duration of about 40 minutes and a 10-minute video for the opening track “Ground Truth”. Compared to his other releases, Damian put his focus more on drone- and ambient-scapes; however, “Bow Echoes” still has a very, very strong melodic center. The dominant washed-out and fading guitar-work give the whole release a touch of beauty and sublimity. Blurry shades, dimly lit landscapes, and warm colours layer and fade into each other. In addition, the video for “Ground Truth” perfectly visualises the sound and feel of the complete release.
- Resting Bell.


  • Checking out the RB release right now. I'm starting to wonder whether there is any point to purchasing ambient and free jazz given the quality of free releases available.
  • edited June 2011
    On Audio Gourmet:

    For his E.P on Audio Gourmet 'In The Shadows Of The Occluding Body', Valles has explored darker territory than in previous releases. Throughout this atmospheric 2 track journey, the overall listening experience is riddled with a sense of doom as Damian explores an array of carefully sculpted guitar-based drone textures.
    This really is an excellent peice of work and we are extremely pleased to be able to bring it to your ears through Audio Gourmet. The fact that Damian Valles has released an E.P through the Audio Gourmet netlabel collection hints that we mean business as a label - long may we continue to present you work from artists of this calibre!
    - released 17 May 2010 - 0,50 GBP or Free @ The Archive.
  • edited March 2011
    This sold out album from Under The Spire label is now available on Bandcamp:

    released 01 November 2009 - 7 CAD
    The pieces that make up 'Count(r)ies' were recorded and assembled in various places and stages during Valles' exodus from the big city to a small farming community in Eastern Ontario. They highlight the slower-pace, quietness, and peacefulness found in the vast countryside; while simultaneously amplify the tension, darkness, and loneliness found in unfamiliar places. Originally released on the U.K. imprint, Under The Spire Recordings in an edition of 100.
  • edited June 2011
    The Waves That Destroy
    - Released 24 March 2011 - 4 CAD @ Bandcamp.
    ‘The Waves That Destroy’ is a single, 20 minute piece based on guitar combined with a variety of percussive elements, piano, strings, and field recordings. The physical edition was released by Hibernate Recordings as part of their Postcard Series and is limited to 100 copies. Mastered by Jannick Shou"[/i]
  • - Brand new @ Bandcamp:

    - (released 01 May 2011)
    "Fixtures' contains 9 tracks that expand on the darker, more noisier elements found in the droning/ambient soundscapes Valles has been experimenting with as of late. A blend of distorted sounds, dusty acoustic guitars, old pianos, and field recordings mixed with slowly evolving tones and brooding passages."
  • edited July 2011
    - A Soundcloud preview of the opening track from the upcoming release, Skeleton Taxa, out on http://driftingfalling.com, August 2011:

  • edited August 2011
    a three-inch “postcard” E.P. for Somehow Recordings sister label, Twisted Treeline. It is called ‘Old Tin Will Cry’ and will be available on August 04/2011 in a limited run of 100 copies only. The CD contains two pieces with a running time of just over 21 minutes.
  • edited August 2011
    Thanks GP . . .
    Skeleton Taxa is on the Drifting Falling label and is likely to show up on Bandcamp and/or Emusic.
  • edited September 2011
    - Just dropped in @ Emusic:


    "Canadian musician, Damian Valles has been performing for more than a decade with bands that run the musical gambit from punk, post-hardcore and math rock to electronic and post-rock. Over the last two years he's concentrated more on solo work, creating experimental ambient and drone based soundscapes. With several releases already under his belt (a number of limited CD-R's, a cassette, two Netlabel releases, and several compilation appearances), Skeleton Taxa, is Valles' seventh release to date. It's also his first "proper" full length CD and his first for the Drifting Falling imprint. Mastered by Taylor Deupree (12K), Skeleton Taxa is a return to sounds first explored on his debut release, Count(r)ies (Under the Spire), but with an even stronger emphasis on instrumentation and song structure as opposed to the drawn out drones and ambient pieces he's explored in his recent work. Most of the tracks fall under five minutes and tend to have clear "parts" and passages, heavily guitar oriented with spatterings of piano, organ, field recordings and a healthy dose of percussive backdrops. The ambience and dronings are still present, but are there to fill out and carry the sound, rather than dominate the piece. Also, a new element is present on this release, the human voice, with samples and recordings of dialogue, manipulated or not, strewn throughout the course of the album. The track, "Bell And Arc", features vocals by Damian's wife, Heidi Hazelton. Says Damian, "I feel like it's my most accomplished work to date. The concept behind Skeleton Taxa is as a collection of individual pieces that work better as a whole, a patchwork of sorts. Some of the tracks have been sitting dormant for months to years, some are reworked tracks from a previous life, and some are fresh out of the box; hints of traditional song compositions intertwined with sound collage that, somehow, seem to fit together to create a cohesive 'entity' or 'body'."
    - Drifting Falling 2011.
  • - And just dropped in @ Bandcamp:

  • 162768881-1.jpg - Now available for streaming @ Bandcamp.
  • EXPLP023-S.jpg
    Nonparallel (In Four Movements), is composed and arranged entirely from samples from the recordings of avant-garde Western classical composers and computer music released by the Nonesuch label in the 60s and 70s. In working with the material, Valles wanted to enter into its very lineage, to forge a dialogue with it, to both extrapolate something essential from it and contribute to its legacy by using it to create an original work some three decades later. Divided into four movements, it is a nuanced album of subtle complexities that took roughly three years to complete. The process started with recording small sections, randomly selected from pieces written and performed by the likes of Elliot Carter, William Bolcom, Charles Ives, Charles Wuorinen, Stefan Wolpe, et al. The source material was then carefully cut up, rearranged, stretched & heavily manipulated. In addition, the decision to sample directly from the original vinyl editions was important in order to capture the crackles and noises generated from the records themselves. In using them to create a backdrop for the new pieces, the intent is for the old sounds to mix with those generated from the newly pressed work to create another aspect to the overall soundscape. A striking departure from Damian’s previous recorded output, ‘Nonparallel’ is equal parts anthropology and alchemy, at once documenting the prescience, relevance and richness of his chosen source material and creating something bracingly new from it.
  • edited June 2012

    Coming June 10:
    IN LATE 2011, textura approached two of its favourite artists, Ben Chatwin (aka Talvihorros) and Damian Valles, to ask whether the two might be interested in contributing to a split release featuring newly created works by them. Much to our delight, the two, seeing themselves as simpatico artists, agreed and shortly thereafter produced the magnificent original material featured on Monuments and Ruins. What they created amounts to an incredible and immersive listening experience whose detail has been mastered in all its resplendent glory by James Plotkin. Those wishing to draw a connection between the album title and the musical content might hear Chatwin's two-part work as having rendered the majestic character of a monument into aural form, while Valles' piece conjures a vision of ruins.

    Talvihorros's From Within A Hollow Body begins with bowed tones panning forebodingly between left and right channels before growing ever more grainy and epic. A sound-world of immense power declares itself as various layers of bowed and plucked guitars swell into a seething mass, until the storm lifts and a gradual lessening of intensity brings about a relative sense of calm. The work's second part unfolds in an elegiac haze as guitars shudder against a smoldering backdrop of soot and grime, before a beautiful series of strums emerge during the final minutes to bring the piece to a graceful close. Valles' Hollow Earth Theory emerges gradually from a swamp of scrapes and flutter like some diseased phantom condemned to roam the blasted remains of unidentified terrain. Gothic and bluesy, the music unspools in a dust-coated stream of piano shadings and grainy drones, before its equally portentous second half finds it dramatically expanding in scale and detail.
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