'To Will A Space Into Being' Album Artwork

'To Will A Space Into Being'

Hidden Notes Records announce release of Josh Semans new album featuring ondes Martenot, Juno and Strings
August 9, 2023

Following his debut album and two EPs, Hidden Notes Records have announced the 15 September release date of Josh Semans’ sophomore full-length album: To Will A Space Into Being.

Ahead of the September date, two singles from the album are scheduled for release in the coming weeks: On 18 August, the ethereal 'In Shafts of Dust and Light' will be available, followed by the equally captivating 'Last Traces of Infrastructure'.  Both tracks - as with the entire album - are layered with exquisite electronics, string arrangements that wash over the listener - and of course the otherworldly sounds produced from the ondes Martenot, a Juno 6 and a string quartet, represented visually by manipulated AI imagery.

Josh Semans (Image: Ryan Mole)

Since his last outing on Hidden Notes Records, Josh has shared the stage with Charles Hazlewood and Portishead’s Adrian Utley, performing improvised drone works inspired by the writings of saint, poet and composer Hildegaard Von Bingen. Josh has also been enlisted as pianist and synth-player in Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres’ latest performances at The Barbican and Bristol’s St. George’s Hall.

Back in the studio, Josh has recorded for the likes of Volker Bertelmann (Hauschka) and Alex Baranowski, produced a bounty of reworks for artists such as Garreth Broke, Larkhall and Simeon Walker, and worked in collaboration with Spitfire Audio in the creation of the LABS Ondes Musicales virtual instrument

For his latest project, Josh has created a world that is entirely his own; combining the retro-futuristic sound of the vintage Juno 6 synthesiser; the classically-coded string quartet; and the otherworldly ondes Martenot - one of the earliest electronic instruments, born in the trenches of the First World War.

Inspired by the ethics and intentions of brutalist architecture, ‘To Will A Space Into Being’ expresses a reverence for its raw materials, the space they occupy, and the world they create.

'In Shafts Of Dust And Light' Artwork

Buildings like the New Street Signal Box in Birmingham, The Barbican in London, and the pumping station on Rotherham’s Marsh Street make no attempt to hide their means of construction. ‘To Will A Space Into Being’ channels a similar honesty of materials. The hiss and warble of old tape machines remind the listener of poured concrete taking on the texture of the wooden boards used as moulds for walls. Interlocking floors and elevations are represented in repeating, polymetric string arrangements.

Josh was led to ideas of retro-futurism - visions of the future from decades ago. The now 40-year-old Juno 6 is at one point on this timeline, centuries ahead of the instruments of the string quartet. Then, the ondes Martenot navigates the years of space between them - oscillating between past and future effortlessly.

Reminiscent of the soundtrack sensibilities of Vangelis and John Carpenter, the outsider explorations of Daphne Oram and Delia Derbyshire, and the organic synth stylings of Jon Hopkins and Rival Consoles, the electronics of 'To Will A Space Into Being' are adorned with cinematic string arrangements and ethereal ondes Martenot lines. Suspended textural interludes are woven between bigger, bolder set pieces.

The artwork for this album has been created by Miriam Bean as part of her ‘These Places Do Not Exist’ project. Working collaboratively with artificial intelligence, she carefully prompts imagery into existence to then be curated and manipulated using a variety of digital and manual techniques. Almost 300 versions of the album artwork were made, and carefully examined before a selection was made. Adam Hinks’ (graphic designer and Hidden Notes co-founder) graphical contributions to the vinyl packaging utilise similar techniques - digital text made physical, distorted by hand on the way back into the computer.

To Will A Space Into Being is not only a sumptuous and expertly crafted piece of art, but the album might just encourage anyone who listens, to explore any number of incredibly rich and enlightening tributaries, as a result.

Josh Semens

For the latest information on Josh, the project and the Hidden Notes label, visit joshsemans.com and hiddennotes.co.uk/label

ARTIST: Josh Semans

ALBUM: To Will A Space Into Being

FORMAT: LTD Edition Transparent Vinyl / DL

Header Image: To Will A Space Into Being Album Artwork