viernes, 27 de agosto de 2010

Concert Silence - Rain Furniture

Genre: Drone, Electronic, Experimental
Label: Infraction Records

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In this project, we find Matthew Cooper, moonlighting from his Eluvium dayjob, communing with Charles Buckingham on a project dubbed Concert Silence - a recording captured then released. Word had hardly spread among ambience-chasers and Eluvium-spotters before it was withdrawn, taking on a mythical Shangri La-like aspect, to be ever-pursued - spoken of with a faraway wistful look.

Generally speaking these tracks work in a far more subtle way than on the album... The short opener 'With Bicycles' eases things in gently with a distant trebly rhythm working in the background while warm and soothing suggestions of melody battle it out for front place in the mix, until they eventually become a single enveloping, comforting somehow familiar friend.

'Strange Footing' continues with the same sound palette in a sort of dimmed down fashion to begin with, making the previous track sound like a distant memory. A little like a loop stuck in your head but somehow constantly evolving. For me this works on an almost dubby level and as the sounds are pushed to the fore they begin to develop their own idiosyncrasies; a slow yet functional muted percussive stomp becomes the skeleton for THAT hypnotic synth phrase, while small pops, glitches, crackles and rich ambient textures build into a fuzzy soundscape that constantly, but subtlety evolves. All the while the heartbeat of the drums is the underlying framework.

'For Leaves' works for me on many levels; the shimmering lead synth gives way to fractured micro rhythms which have a sort of reduced distortion which is all glitched up and feels like some ancient machine language magically crunching away. Then euphoric drones lift the track as it changes gear into a totally blissed out zone which eventually, gently retreats in a ghostly and emotionally resonant fashion with distant fading keys.

jueves, 19 de agosto de 2010

Kemialliset Ystävät - Ullakkopalo

Link Removed By Request of the Label
Genre: Experimental, Psych Folk
Label: Fonal

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Kemialliset Ystävät's Ullakkopalo is credited as having been recorded "where the horsefly slumbers." Its cover depicts hundreds of images, from lettuce to soft-serv ice cream and a snake, strung together in out-of-context, highly confusing fashion. And its liner notes are a juxtaposition of still images with stories about Emperor Ashoka of India, a market analyst and a 72-year-old man who hallucinated and beat his roomate to death. There's little doubt that Jan Anderzén, the man behind the unpronounceable-to-American-audiences project Kemialliset Ystävät serves to disorient. In fact, he has made disorientation into an aesthetic over numerous albums in the past decade, reaching a sublime level of hallucinatory lightness on Ullakkopalo.

KY's first album in three years, Ullakkopalo is a network of electronic collages unlike any other. Where some would use layers of electronic samples to build pretty or danceable soundscapes of warm and/or throbbing sound, Anderzén takes a decidedly batty approach, throwing gurgling, squealing and buzzing effects on top of one another, creating a messy and shaky thatched roof of sonic oddities over what are ultimately melodic, even beautiful compositions. This, in turn, has prompted many to classify the Finnish composer as a "noise" artist, due to the discordant and often abrasive nature of the elements he strings together. Yet, Ullakkopalo is not noise. It's not anything else either, though. One of its Last.fm tags is "Fonal," the Finnish label that releases Anderzén's work, along with like-minded avant-gardists as Islaja and Päävoharju, which is good enough evidence that KY, as well as the other artists mentioned, are creating music that exists outside of any known genre.

As truly bizarre as much of Ullakkopalo is, however, it's very much a captivating and exciting release. It's also a thing of obscure beauty. Its presentation may initially be off-putting, but with just the slightest bit of patience, its vertigo-inducing layers of buzz and whirr become stunning melodies. First track "Kajastusmuseo" doesn't make it any easier though; squeaks, drones and strange electronic noises battle each other over a steady plod, slowly reaching forward to make some kind of sense out of each confusing piece. And then-eureka!-the 80-second mark unveils an electric guitar riff that carries the song out on a raft of psychedelic majesty.

The album only grows more warm and inviting, albeit ever slowly, with each new track. "Kivikasan Rauhassa" finds Anderzén ushering in a descending minor key melody from the outset of the track, with distortion obscuring its ghostly, Finnish-sung vocals. The folktronic beauty of "Nitty Veden Alla" recalls a more left-field Tunng in its blend of accessible acoustic sounds and electro textures, while "Maksaruahoja" floats between a buzzing swarm of electronics and an electric-guitar shuffle that could have been pulled from a vintage heavy metal record. And "Ystävälliset Miekat" is a work of exotic wonder, blending Eastern-sounding samples with post-punk guitar a la The Cure.

Out of context, almost nothing about Ullakkopalo makes any sense, from artwork to liner notes, to the hundreds of head-trip samples that erupt throughout its 14 tracks. Funny thing, then, that when the pieces come together, they come to form nothing less than mesmerizing sonic art. It's disorienting, discordant, and sometimes just outright weird, but extremely rewarding for those that dare attempt to soak in all of its head-spinning magic.

martes, 17 de agosto de 2010

Rafael Anton Irisarri - The North Bend

Genre: Neo Classical, Ambient.
Label: Room40

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The work of Seattle based sound artist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Rafael Anton Irisarri delves into immersive explorations of dense layers of sound, incorporating a minimalist subtlety in conjunction with an enveloping approach to audio processing. Over the past five or so years Irisarri, under his own name and also as The Sight Below, has forged an individual aural aesthetic through the use of drones, processing, heavy use of reverb and a nod to contemporary classical sounds. Over this time, Irisarri has performed across North America and Europe whilst releasing music on labels including Thrill Jockey, Ghostly International, ROOM40 and Miasmah. Of his compositional methods, Irisarri confirms this, saying that “I’m working from a classical and post-minimalist foundation” when creating beds of sound for his works.
Adding to his already significant back catalogue, Irisarri has completed a new recording created in time for his upcoming debut Australian tour. Titled The North Bend, Irisarri explains that the album is inextricably linked with the aesthetic and imagery of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, where he resides.
“The record is inspired by this region, and not just with the fairly obvious ‘rainy, gloomy skies’ clichés, but more in the folk, cultural traditions and pop-culture references (think of David Lynch and his television-defining narrative Twin Peaks). They sort of helped me create an audio postcard of this beautiful area of the United States.”
An accomplished manipulator of abstract and melodic textures, Irisarri goes on to describe the compositional and artistic rationale and development of The North Bend, saying that “from a performance and compositional standpoint, the album itself is a progression from my prior works, mostly replacing the focus on the piano in favour of electronic manipulation of samples (either my own playing or from old classical vinyl records) and guitar playing. In fact, it barely contains any piano, only one track has a piano melody, and it is not even in the forefront, more of a textural melodic element in the background. Aside, I’ve continued to develop my guitar bowing techniques, furthering my palette and helping me craft new musical vocabulary in the process.

martes, 29 de junio de 2010

Simon Scott - Traba

Genre: Drone, Experimental, Ambient
Label: Inmune Recordings

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Traba is a brand new mini-LP from the UK's Simon Scott. In the early '90s Scott was the drummer for renowned shoegaze band Slowdive. Recent years have seen Scott running the KESH recordings label from his base in Cambridge, performing in the group Seavault with Anthony Ryan (ISAN) on Morr Music, and also working as a sound designer for television, film and sonic art installation. 2009 saw the release of Scott's debut solo album Navigare released on Miasmah Recordings (run by Erik Skodvin of Svarte Greiner/Deaf Center).
Traba contains four tracks that were written at the end of the sessions for Navigare. When the deadline for completion of the album came and went these compositions were unfinished, but over the course of the summer and autumn of 2009 they were completed in Scott's o3o3o Studio in Cambridge. Traba continues and expands on the themes of submergence, being lost at sea, and intoxication. Opening track "She Came From The Sea", with it's distant swirling brush stroke drumming, haunting vocals and deep processed textures, captures the almost overwhelming physicality of being at sea, miles from home, yearning for loved ones and a physical embrace. Though this is the first track on the record it was the last one to be written and completed after the Navigare sessions. "The Water Loop" tackles themes of addiction, obsession and urban decay via a Max/MSP manipulated loop that initially feels warmly narcoleptic but grows into something anxious and intimidating. The music evokes warmth and adventure but slowly unfolds into a dark tone of emotional weakness and paranoia. An influence of Stanley Kubrick shines out here as this is a musical landscape occupied by Droogs on Molotov cocktails threatening to impose themselves on you.

"Lamina" is about a short spell of tinnitus that Scott had which resulted in a brain scan. The uncertainty of what caused the hearing damage mixed with the possibility that something had indeed grown inside his brain affected Scott in a heavy way. "Feeling like I had half of my head submerged underwater somehow matched the themes I was writing about so it inspired me to finish the track. Luckily my head was fine and the frequencies returned just in time to mix the piece". The digitally processed acoustic instruments are blended together with field recordings taken from his local East Anglian Coast line as well as vocal samples. These elements ebb and flow until the smoldering finale that recalls the sinister imagery of the Quay Brothers, David Lynch or the Brothers Grim. Scott's uncle was a submarine officer in the British Navy who died of alcoholism. His life away at sea fueled his fraught family life and kept his battle with drink alive until his death. Traba's closing track "An Avalanche" is directly inspired by the moment his uncle's heart stopped. Coming ashore after months at sea, his uncle drank himself to death. He was brought to a hospital where he was shortly brought back to life, but quickly returned to his death bed as a direct result of his eldest son's disapproval.
Learning of the heartache surrounding the inspiration for this mini-LP, one could infer that its consummation was a cathartic release but even without knowing the anguish that gave rise to this work, the listener would be reminded of the ocean, of being lost at sea and of submergence. The sea holds great importance to Scott and the sense of melancholia, yearning and loss are ever looming.

lunes, 28 de junio de 2010

Noveller - Desert Fires


Genre: Ambient, Drone, Experimental
Label: Self Released

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'Desert Fires' is the second, full-length release from Sarah Lipstate, the woman better know as Noveller. Hailing from Texas and currently living in NYC, Noveller creates experimental music for guitar using a combination of effects and a number of "non-standard" objects with which she plays the guitar strings.

While her music in the past has usually had a heavy, noisy tone, her new songs take on a more ambient and minimalistic feel, with sounds ranging from the odd to the angelic.

martes, 22 de junio de 2010

Olan Mill - Pine


Genre: Ambient, Electronic
Label: Serein

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It seems to be becoming quite fashionable these days to record modern classical music on location, particularly within a church setting due to the elegant, almost haunting cadences it can imbue, and excellent examples of this can be heard in releases by Greg Haines or Dustin O'Halloran on the Sonic Pieces imprint. But there's more to the music on Pine than simply the echo, reverb and cloistered space provided by the small church setting in which it was recorded and it all comes down to the ingenious use of the minimal array of acoustic instruments used coupled with a unique approach to their production and arrangement.

The base palette of Pine consists merely of piano, violin, guitar and perhaps most importantly the church organ. Indeed it is this last element that proves to be the key that unlocks the door to Pine's ever elongating corridors of time, an omnipresent exhalation of voluptuous cushions of soft, sometimes cavernous bass drones that are as much felt as they are heard. Pine also views the world through sepia tinted spectacles, bathing it in honeyed tones, golden hues and sweet, syrupy textures. Whether it is the hay-smoked strings, hazy piano keys and caramelised, melted subterranean organ drones of "Country", "A Heavy Leg Cycle," "An Obedient Ear" or "Spare Smoke Template" or the bright gold filigree of twinkling piano keys that dapple "Cotton Access," "Pine" or "Disempowered," these binding agents are ever-present.

The spell is briefly broken by the totally unprocessed, plangent piano solo at the head of "The Prescribed Individual," accompanying strings later languishing in its wake, which sees the album veering dangerously towards overt sentimentality. It's not that there is anything wrong with the piece, in fact it is one of the most emotionally moving tracks on the album but for that reason it seems almost to belong to a different album and has somehow crept in here unnoticed. Luckily the enchantment is quickly recast.

The stretching of time reaches its apex on closing track, "Flume," consisting of scarcely more than broadly spaced, single piano chords that initially ebb woozily into the depths before they are folded back on themselves by reversed guitar distortions. A final chord is hit a mere one-and-a-half minutes into the piece and time effectively comes to a standstill as it stretches this warm decay and resonance over seemingly impossible lengths, an oddly comforting stasis that continues literally to "Flume"'s conclusion some four minutes later.

Pine is an almost dangerously understated that would be easy to overlook if given a merely cursory glance, but rest assured it is worth the very modest amount of your time that it demands, if only to remind us all that sometimes we need to escape from the stress and celerity of modern life. Olan Mill don't attempt to hypnotize us here; this isn't about trickery or illusion. Instead these brilliant alchemists have transmuted the smallest array of source materials into what can only be described as bottled eternity that, if taken, can transport you out of time and into a realm of mesmerising tranquility and statuesque stillness. Review from Igloo Magazine

miércoles, 9 de junio de 2010

Mains De Givre - Esther Marie

Link Removed by Request

Genre:
Experimental, Ambient, Drone
Label: Textura

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The project of Montreal-based violinist Emilie Livernois-Desroches and experimental guitarist Eric Quach, Mains De Givre is the first signing of the label set up by Canadian magazine Textura. Both already respected musicians in their own right, Quach for his ambient work as thisquietarmy and with instrumental rock band Destroyalldreamers amongst others, classically trained violinist Livernois-Desroches for projects spanning a wide range of genres, from metal to folk, the pair met over seven years ago while playing in two different bands, but only began working together a year ago. The result, Esther Marie, is a stunning collection of deeply atmospheric and dark experimental compositions.

Built from early jam sessions, and assembled into four striking pieces, each with its individual tone, Esther Marie progresses especially slowly, as guitar and violin layers, processed into exquisite textures, become entangled and appear weighed down by their own gravity. There is a natural flow running through the whole album, especially as there is no clear demarcation between the first two tracks, as the vast clouds of distortions generated by Quach freely stretch from Un Chœur D’Ames En Detresse into Le Cercle Des Mœurs, and while the last two tracks are more distinct, they are carved from similarly dense soundscapes, as to permanently enforce the quietly abrasive and sombre nature of the record.

martes, 1 de junio de 2010

Loscil - Versions Ep

Genre: Ambient, Piano, Experimental
Label: Self Released

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The EP is aptly titled Versions and features reworked versions of Emma from First Narrows, Estuarine and The Making of Grief Point from Endless Falls. Emma and Estuarine both feature Dan Bejar on guitar and Josh Lindstrom on Vibes and were first performed as part of New York’s Wordless Music Series in 2009. The Making of Grief Point is an instrumental version of the track from Endless Falls which featured Bejar’s spoken word. All of these tracks compliment the originals quite nicely so I thought it was worth making them available.

miércoles, 26 de mayo de 2010

Peter Broderick - Three Film Score Intakes


Genre: Neo Classical, Piano
Label: Schedios

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Released on 3” CD, the three tracks on display here combine piano, strings and field recordings. A signature of the Broderick classical sound is his ability to take a minimalist approach to composing and through his blending of pre-recorded sounds or looping his own instruments he adds significant complexity to his music. So, for example, “Part 1” in essence a fairly simplistic, but nonetheless beautiful piano composition is supported by undertones of violin and given a distinctly gritty edge through the recorded sound of a train passing by. “Part 2” which seamlessly integrates from the first track, gives the strings a more prominent role and the resulting sound is an emotionally charged, melancholic one. “Part 3,” reverting to a greater piano focus again, is the most melodic of the three tracks yet Broderick again through his ambient intuition, ensures there is not an overriding burden of romance to the composition. There is a narrative link between the tracks, the title of the EP alludes to a cinematic quality, and as with the film scores we are accustomed to seeing on the silver screen, the three tracks here certainly feel connected. Despite its micro nature both in the few tracks at hand and the small physical format it’s released on, Broderick as ever succeeds in creating an expansive and complex, yet immediately accessible selection of recordings. With only 200 copies, make sure you are quick, as this is a necessary addition to the music collections of any musical enthusiast.

martes, 25 de mayo de 2010

Ous Mal - Nuojuva Halava


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Genre: Ambient, Experimental, Neo Classical
Label: Preservation

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Ous Mal is the recording project for 22-year old Olli Aarni. With previous CD-R releases for both Finland’s 267-Lattajjaa and the UK’s Under The Spire, Ous Mal has already gained fine notice for his expansive sound, further developed in widescreen ways on Nuojuva Halava, his first full-length.

Finding common ground between the dusty tenor of old-school hip hop cassettes and the fog of deep ambience as a base, the music of Ous Mal also takes on an ingrained influence of traditional Finnish folk for an epic, otherworldly take on sound and song. These atmospheric pieces can slowly swell into ecstasy or settle into hazy shades and spring into moments of joyful pop abandon. That line back to tradition – with some pieces using the age-old Finnish stringed-instrument, kantele and others drawing from old Finnish hymnal albums - makes for a lyrical imagery that evokes an elusive sense of place. It’s a sound with the lingering presence of the past but with one eye set firmly on taking it into the future. Roughly translated, ‘nuojuva halava’ means ‘swaying bay willow’. The way things in nature change through time and surroundings is a recurring inspiration for Olli’s music, heard especially in the way he often takes his textures towards compelling points of decay.

viernes, 21 de mayo de 2010

Michael santos - Memory Maker

Genre: Ambient, Drone
Label: Home Normal

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London-based artist Michael Santos, whose name you may recognise from works for such fine purveyors of electronica as Benbecula, U-Cover and Baskaru. One of the first things to strike you about Memory maker is the unusually physical presence it has: 'Alphaville' for starters feels like a gust of hot air, full of blustery drones and tactile crackles - it's a great way of announcing yourself. From here onwards you might notice a counterpoint between the album's all-round mellifluousness and the recurrence of a kind of intensive, buzzing belligerence that recalls the aesthetics of certainRaster Noton records, or the more stringent moments in Steinbruchel's catalogue. One or two shorter pieces lodged into the album's centre offer an oasis of out-and-out loveliness, with the natural harmonic plucks and floating tones of 'Magenta Dayline' sounding sufficiently blissful and summery to have hayfever sufferers sneezing with delight. 'Slowdance' and the exquisite 'Hollowing Out' represent two late, long-form highlights, purveying yet more needling and pristine digital timbres once again striking up that deftly ambiguous balance between absolute ornamental loveliness and intrepid sonic experimentation.

jueves, 13 de mayo de 2010

Larkian - Un Disque Pour Ne Pas Danser

Genre: Ambient, Drone
Label: Cathedral Transmissions

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Tracks based on the saturation of various effects using a guitar mixed with drones, field recordings and some beats. Nice recording with a light atmospheric sound.

lunes, 10 de mayo de 2010

miércoles, 28 de abril de 2010

Gareth Davis & Steven R. Smith - The Line Across

Genre: Ambient, Drone, Experimental
Label: Alt.Vinyl

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Outside of the Jewelled Antler outfit Thuja, Steven R. Smith doesn’t play much with others. Instead the Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist records alone at home, assembling moody soundtracks for inward journeys back to the age of steam.

So it means something when the guy records with anyone else, and it means more that he’s made two LPs in a row with Gareth Davis. Given that the Amsterdam-based clarinetist tends to play modern classical repertoire and records with the likes of Martin Stig Andersen and Machinefabriek, they aren’t an obvious pairing, but that might make it an even better one.

The Line Across, much more than their first LP Westering, is a departure from Smith’s body of work. While analog effects, exotic instruments like the spike fiddle and nail violin, and a warmed-up tube amp define his sound, Smith is at heart a tunesmith, a writer and player of melodies.

But not here - The Line Across is all about texture and time. The LP comprises two side-long pieces composed of layers of feedback, resonance, and seriously low reeds (Davis plays contrabass and bass clarinets throughout) that pass over each other like banks of mist and low-lying clouds. You have to wait for the melodies because they emerge so slowly and are mixed so low that they’re more like extra blankets on the bed than the top spread. The music’s slow motion makes it more potent; by standing in opposition to an everyday life of data overload, it offers a powerful antidote.

viernes, 23 de abril de 2010

Lexithimie - Stroll Into The Shade For A Moment


Genre: Ambient, Drone
Label: SRA Sounds

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The title, "Stroll into the Shade for a Moment", is extracted from the book "Heart of Darkness" by the English author Joseph Conrad and is a perfect phrase for creating this environment as an image, the precise image needed in the mind for creating these sound-works.

viernes, 16 de abril de 2010

Rafael Anton Irisarri - Reverie

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Genre: Ambient, Electronic, Neo Classical
Label: Inmune Recordings

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Reverie pairs two brand new compositions with an interpretation of Arvo Pärt's classic 'Für Alina', arriving in an edition of 500 copies pressed onto clear virgin vinyl, complete with download code. The A-side begins with 'Lit A Dawn', a typically dense and immersive composition that integrates pensive, tentatively paced piano figures with arcs of vaporous background ambience. The compressed and muffled quality of the recording only heightens the impact of the music itself: as slow and purposeful as it may be, it somehow also feels as if its on the verge of rupturing or breaking at the seams. After this lyrical opening, 'Embraced' takes on a more mysterious quality, sliding what seems to be submerged guitar figures across Eastern-style scales while a soupy, filtered production style lends an aloof, washed-out feeling. Taking up the entirety of the B-side, the extended 'Für Alina' is rendered with a reverent beauty, observing the meditative economy of Pärt's triadic 'tintinnabulation' style. Here the bell-like sonorities prompted by sustaining overtones is as important to the central harmonies themselves, and Irisarri certainly exhibits an understanding of this kind of detailed approach to minimalism. The piece is supremely graceful, dictated by a free flowing tempo and a mood of poised introspection. It fits Irisarri's own style of composition and performance perfectly, and he makes for an apt interpreter.

jueves, 15 de abril de 2010

Federico Durand - La Siesta del Ciprés

Genre: Ambient, Electronic
Label: Spekk

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This compelling new microsound work on Spekk was inspired by what its author describes as "the sensations produced by listening to music while falling asleep." Federico Durand set about producing some wonderfully foggy, suggestively melodic miniatures for this album, each brilliantly capturing the kind of between state your senses are in at the moment of waking up, or drifting off to sleep. The slow moving, gauzy sound designs mirror sleep-tinted perception in all its languid, fuzzy warmth, and invitingly drowsy tracks like 'Mi Pequeno Mundo De Papel' and 'Los Alerces Del Patio' feel every bit like the conduits to the land of nod they were intended to be. Marking Durand's album as an alternative to the more commonplace laptop-generated ambient records out there, La Siesta Del Cipre's was laboriously assembled on an ancient PC with cassette tapes. While the process was distinctly lo-fi, the end result is anything but, and despite the snooze-centric concept the record proves to remarkably well-crafted, lending a special kind of quivering, filtered precariousness to a piece like 'Pudu, Tu Nombre es Tobias?'. Another outstanding release from Spekk, occupying the same upper echelons of the micro-ambient world as Chihei Hatakeyama or even the most accessible works of Stephan Mathieu and Taylor Deupree.

martes, 13 de abril de 2010

Tobias Hellkvist - Evolutions

Genre: Ambient, Electronic
Label: Home Normal

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Evolutions is the third album from Swedish producer/multi-instrumentalist Tobias Hellkvist, a new artist on the increasingly impressive Home Normal roster. Apparently prior works from Hellkvist were based upon acoustic guitar elements, but here he exhibits a deft command of highly textured, composerly soundscapes. 'Fresh Start' introduces the album with a flutter of dulcimer-like tones and a growing cloud of ambience fashioned from various instrumental timbres and some discreet electronic processing. Like a kind of stealthy fanfare this densely constructed piece serves as a great introduction to the sort of delicate, finely poised flow of sonorities that's to come. Soon, 'Patience' arrives with its bitcrushed tones and steel-strung acoustic meanderings, before the altogether less pastoral 'Scars And Stripes' billows into earshot. For this track Hellkvist treats sustained piano keyings in a juddering, Tim Hecker-like fashion while ear-caressing glitchy noises bubble away in the corners of the mix. After the washed-out, wintry splendour of 'White Hole', 'Arms' proves to be rather special, sounding like an eroded tape recording of old clock chimes resonating together - the whole quivering sound mass gradually ascending into a plume of pealing bell clamour. The label's curator, Ian Hawgood clearly thinks very highly of this record, citing it as "the archetypal Home Normal release in many ways", and undoubtedly Evolutions is worthy of that praise.

viernes, 9 de abril de 2010

Valet / Richard Youngs -Tsuki No Seika: Volume 2

Not The Original cover art
Genre: Experimental
Label: Root Strata

The theme behind the Tsuki No Seika series is a restriction to acapella music, so each contributor has to operate within vocals-only guidelines (whilst supplying their own artwork for the sleeve, incidentally). Kranky artist Valet (aka Honey Owens) offers what ostensibly seems to be a radical cover version of Mudhoney's seminal 'Touch Me I'm Sick', which here is rendered within a swarming, groggy swirl of edited vocal tones that brings a kind of cloudy beauty to the piece. At times it sounds as though it's got some oral percussion going on in there too, which is most welcome. Richard Youngs is no stranger to this acappella lark (take a listen to his Summer Wanderer LP, for further details), and his hypnotic 'Fen Flowers' manifests itself as a minimalist, abstracted, multitracked take on the traditional, Ewan MacColl school of hand-on-ear folk singing. It's a strange blend of disciplines, but his hypnotic delivery has real weight and resonance to it. Tremendous stuff from both parties.

lunes, 29 de marzo de 2010

Greg Haines - Until The Point Of Hushed Support



Genre: Ambient, Neo Classical
Label: Sonic Pieces

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I won’t lie, I like my ambient music to be of a certain stripe. For me, the genre is most ideal for that unnamed twilight comedown of lying on a bed in the late evening, staring at the ceiling, and feeling unspeakable emotions race through one's heart and head. Bands like Hammock effortlessly evoke a mental snapshot of endless winter fields of dead, withered grass, stretched away under gray skies beside grayer Interstate highways; the music itself is mournful, forlorn, somber, subtle, overwhelming, and a bit heartbreaking. That’s how I like my ambient music. It’s that old cliché of a score for a film not yet written, the film of the listener's life. Perhaps no other genre makes one feel more like every moment is a crucial one, a crystallized melodramatic pause to consider weighty, life-changing turning points of stunning magnitude. Good ambient music makes the audience the star of its own soap opera.

Greg Haines’ music is not subtle. The Berliner’s twisted new-classical compositions are all Sturm und Drang: shrieking violins, deathly funereal organ, and haunted banshee wailing, the darkest expression of instrumental music this side of Constellation Records. Until the Point of Hushed Support is no Brian Eno affair; call it “Ambient #5: Music for Gulags.” While there are moments of stark, Stars of the Lid beauty, such as the restless feedback loops and rustling static of “In the Event of a Sudden Loss,” mostly this album is pretty bleak, Godspeed-style Gothic pomp. The aptly-titled “Marc’s Descent” could be a veritable descent into Dante’s Seven Layers, while the hushed quiet of opener “Industry Vs. Inferiority” masks a strange, eerie tug of foreboding like a dread undercurrent throughout. The only redemption from the disorienting siren voices and soul-crushing keys here comes in closer “Until the Point of Least Resistance," which carries an almost willfully defiant air of stubborn, beautiful, fragile hope. Still, it’s the hope of unsure survivors wandering dazed about the wreckage of a nuclear Holocaust or city-leveling tidal wave, everyone blinking at each other or gazing horizon-ward, more frightened and confused than ever, wondering what comes next, after the horror has subsided.

That is how Mr. Haines’ latest opus leaves one feeling on the first, even second and third listens: bewildered, lost, and a little scared. Until the Hushed Point is an exhausting, hard-won emotional experience, not without rewards, but definitely not a feel good album of soul-searching reflection in one's bedroom late at night. This is not pedestrian paint-by-numbers ambient, this is tragedy music, the moment when the doctor says, “We did all we could” in the fluorescent-washed hospital waiting room, the knock on the door and splash of police light-bars against the bedroom walls at 2 A.M., the down-cast eyes of a lover who says, “We need to talk.” This music is a soundtrack to those darkest of moments, never cheery listening, but certainly meriting a place there in some black corner of one's collection for when its malign comfort is needed. This album should perhaps come with a sticker reading IN CASE OF EMERGENCY OR DEVESTATING EVENT, BREAK GLASS, INSERT DISC, AND PLUG IN HEADPHONES.

And from that perspective, this album is without a doubt an unqualified, riveting, devastating masterpiece, powerful, affirming, and harrowing all at once. Who says all great music needed to make us tap our feet to the beat and smile, anyway?

Review from The Silent Ballet

Scott Tuma - Dandelion


Genre: Ambient, Experimental Folk, Drone
Label: Digitalis Industries

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Box Ensemble’s Scott Tuma draws us inside a reverb-soaked world of droned-out field recordings and elaborate ornamentation with plucked banjos, eerie music boxes, and whispering pianos.”Red Roses for Me” is a perfect exemplar of this odd variety of the sounds of traditional music meeting the mind of a modern psychedelic. His vocals also give a bellowing haunt to the recordings, as featured on “Hope Jones (for Jason)” behind the creaks of Tuma’ moving around the acoustic guitar.

With all the different variations of drone music floating around on the LP market today, Dandelion really stands out as a force to be reckoned with. Throw this record on after your summer come down, pass around nature’s finest, enter the mellowed out world of Scott Tuma

martes, 23 de marzo de 2010

Field Of Hats - The Active Node


Not The original Cover Art

Genre: Ambient, Drone
Label: Durable Stimuli

My Space

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Hand-numbered edition of 75 copies with solo guitar/synth work from one half of Fragments, Mr Jeff Hatfield. Field Of Hats has aspects in common with Emeralds, the same commitment to dissolving strings and synths into endlessly liquid melodies, but Hatfield gets even more abstract, with long tracks that sound like the afterimage of melodies hanging motionless in cold black space. Bleakly beautiful.

sábado, 20 de marzo de 2010

Fabio Orsi - Winterreise


Genre: Ambient, Drone
Label:
Slow Flow

My Space

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With an entrance that displays the cold reaches of a surrounding, creeping fog, Fabio Orsi's 'Winterreise' is an immediate, enchanting production, reaching with the building swells of instrumental openness, and climactic ascendance. Fabio Orsi is an Italian electronic musician, reknowned for his work in the combination of the languages of popular tradition, and the avant-garde, while using field recordings, found sounds, guitar, piano, and synthesizer. After releasing on such labels as Digitalis Industries, A Silent Place, Last Visible Dog, Preservation, Low Point, Small Voices, and Ruralfaune, Orsi contributes his new work here to the Japanese label Slow Flow, for their second CD release.
Throughout the nearly 50-minute release, 'Winterreise' proceeds through hollows of inward movement, amounting in sonorous reaches to the realism of the field recordings of the natural world within, soundtracked by a delicate, free richness. With no less than mythical symbolism leaning in through the natural above, there is little left without a nonplussed pacification, while still proceeding to the far limits of overcoming interference. Orsi's 'Winterreise' breathes just as easily as it gives way, in ultra exception of impressionism into the listeners' ears, not only, but into their surroundings, and resting there within them, with unembellished grandeur.

martes, 9 de marzo de 2010

In a few days I will answer all the mails and repost the Andrew Pekler record.
Actually, I´m very busy with my job but soon I will be here again.
Thanks for your patience.

viernes, 5 de marzo de 2010

Epic45 - Steps To Further Winter (Tour Cdr)


Not the original cover art

Genre: Electronic, Ambient
Label: Wayside And Woodland Recordings

My Space

Great record with songs written between 2003 and 2009.

Epic45 is, was and always will be a home recording project/collective based round the ideas and inspiration of childhood friends Ben Holton and Rob Glover.

viernes, 26 de febrero de 2010

Simon Scott - Nivalis

Link Fixed

Genre:
Ambient, Electronic, Drone

Label: Secret Furry Hole

My Space

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Fast forward a few months and Scott is releasing Nivalis (Latin for "covered in snow"), a short, sixteen-minute release created while he was (what else?) snowed in for a couple of days. The piece was created extemporaneously; as the snow fell, Scott continued adding to the pieces, mixing the results as the hours passed and chucking in some field recordings of the event as well. In many ways that mirror Wixel's year long project from last year: it gives us the opportunity to peak into the life of an artist during a delineated amount of time.

On some level it's difficult to be critical of the work because it's so obviously created as an experiment and was not a planned musical moment. But, then again, it is being released for public consumption, so all's fair game, right? What is good about the track is that it's mostly unassuming. Scott does a good job with the production and everything has a impromptu air to it. It's kind of strange hearing an ambient track that's been improvised, but, hey, it's not so bad. What it lacks is almost everything that made me interested in Navigare: subtlety, brevity, purpose, and heart. Since the track was created as the snow raged outside, it's not difficult to find the moments when Scott becomes bored with the project, apparently stunned that the snow is still falling, and returns to his instruments to mash out a few more minutes. It's a nontrivial glimpse into the world of a musician, trapped in this studio for two days, but not something that needs to be tracked down for those who aren't completists.

It's safe to say that Simon Scott has finally kicked the bug that's been following him around since his Slowdive days and can finally step out into the world as a new musician. Navigare is a strong debut, and Nivalis is a welcome experimental release. Scott's on his way to an exciting second career as a solo musician, and something tells me that his best work is ahead of him yet.

Laura Gibson & Ethan Rose - Bridge Carols


Genre: Ambient, Electronic
Label: Holocene Music

My Space

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Bridge Carols, the new project from Laura Gibson and Ethan Rose, takes the listener to a place that exists between the notes and behind the words ofmodern music. The project began as a conversation of mutual appreciation and curiosity a shared desire to challenge old ways of working. Rose had mostly distanced his music from words, while Gibson had often felt bound by them. Inspired by her voice, Rose began building soundscapes while Gibson looked through piles of notebooks, coming across old phrases that never found home in verses or rhymes. As the project developed, Gibson began improvising lyrics and wordless vocalizations that tumbled out in long, trailing waves.Rose then reshaped tones and sounds around her wordsand the resulting pieces developed into Bridge Carols, a record of deep atmosphere and an almost sublingual resonance.

miércoles, 10 de febrero de 2010

Simon James French - Anthem


Genre: Ambient, Drone
Label: Hibernate Recordings

My Space

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Simon James French is a sound artist currently based in London, UK. His work is increasingly involved in the art of field recording but often transcends the gap between phonography and sound design. Interested in cross-media work, Simon’s work often contains field recordings, synthesis, and live electronics.

Heavily inspired by the compositional techniques of György Ligeti, Simon’s first release Anthem is full of dynamic movement and heavy textures that, in its entirety make for an ever changing body of work that invites the listener to fall headlong into this world of sinuous, melodic drones, evocative motifs and cleverly incorporated real-world sounds.

Nice Review in this place

lunes, 8 de febrero de 2010

Nest - Retold

Genre: Ambient, Neo Classical
Label: Serein

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Nest is the collaborative project of Otto Totland (Deaf Center; Type Records) and Huw Roberts (Serein Label owner).
The first six tracks on this album were originally released in 2007 on the eponymously titled Nest EP; they are presented here again having been remastered alongside five new pieces composed in 2009. A revised edition of the track 'Cad Goddeu' was created especially for this release.
Taking cues from film soundtracks and contemporary classical music, the story is woven using a myriad of instrumentation. Dulcet piano tones are backed by string and horn arrangements, unidentifiable plucked instruments and the sound of the Welsh harp; often heavily processed, Retold is an album that has as much in common with experimental electronic music as it does with modern classical composition.

lunes, 25 de enero de 2010

Andrew Pekler - Entanglements In The Orthopedic Sensorium

Link fixed

Genre:
Electronic, Experimental
Label: Schoolmap Records

My Space

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In an age where genres are invented on a whim and where mislabelling an artist in any sort of public forum is grounds for the thrashing of a lifetime, the tag “experimental” is thrown about willy-nilly. Is anything outside the norm to be labeled experimental? When is music weird enough to be experimental? And conversely, does experimental music have to be weird?

Andrew Pekler, however, is an artist who is indisputably experimental—that is to say, Entanglements in the Orthopedic Sensorium is an experiment more than a traditional album. Thirty-eight minutes (very neatly filling both sides of the limited LP) of clips and excerpts culled together from seemingly everywhere: beats, bursts of noise, recognizable instruments and entirely alien sounds all come together and, surprisingly, actually end up being something cohesive.

It begins innocuously enough with a section titled “Left Right Test” that lives up to its name before going through a series of accurately titled movements—“Excerpt from the Pre-Paid Piano” and “Rough Cut Strings Reversed” aren’t exceptionally deceiving monikers. These movements begin to blend together into something surprisingly songlike, something that can perhaps be loosely approximated as “ambient electronic,” but which treats that label as a point of reference rather than a definition; Pekler’s music here is well and truly an experiment that defies easy categorization.

Entanglements really hits its stride as the movements become more vaguely named: the rough grouping of “Hazy Timbre - Severe Glitter Uplift - Vacuum-packed Clusters - Waltz For Minor Planet” lives up to the formless sort of mental image that the laundry-list title conjures, and the piece’s latter half - “Korla Loop - Meet The Mice - Backmasking In Exotica” is a tumbling mess of strings over a plodding beat that feels unexpectedly well-composed considering the circumstances of the record.

Equal parts a mosaic and a melting pot of different ideas, Entanglements is a refreshing example of an experiment that feels entirely consistent instead of self-indulgent. This isn’t an experiment to test the limits and preconceptions of the audience, but one that actually makes a successful effort to be enjoyable. It is indeed experimental in the truest sense of the word, but it is a work that doesn’t forget that it is indeed music, something that too many experimental musicians seem to overlook.

lunes, 18 de enero de 2010

Black To Comm - Wave UFO 2x7"


Genre: Experimental, Ambient, Drone
Label: Dekorder

Web/My Space

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Black To Comm follow up the excellent Type LP with a double 7" set on Dekorder. As soon as the needle hits the first 'Wave UFO' record (to be played at 33rpm) I'm in some kind of odd alternate dimension with stuttering rhythms like an alien train that is about to derail. There are fluid, gloopy electronics and sinister spooked organ sounds with some smatterings of fuzz applied. Actually it feels like a deranged ghost train ride into oblivion. This is followed by weird processed vocals and the sounds of possessed crickets accosting me in some kind of daymare. The final track on the first 7" is an unexpected fucked up dub number, gloriously heavy on the delay with some suitably mind warping mid-range frequencies. 'Wave UFO II a' has a military snare rhythm with hypnotic music box type melody and hovering electronic bleeps and pulses. A very majestic yet playful feel to this one, evoking melting toy soldiers marching on acid. The set closes with a beautifully mysterious and uplifting synth workout with sparse slow building percussion. It's a gorgeous, well crafted piece of electronic music that is very colourful and yet It feels dark in essence. An ace one to get lost in during the late hours in a candle lit room. Limited edition in tasty foldout collage sleeve with smart red and yellow inner bags. Great stuff!

jueves, 14 de enero de 2010

Interbellum - Over All Of Spain The Sky Is Clear

Link Removed By Request

Genre: Ambient, Neo Classical
Label: FlingcoSoundSystem

My Space

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FlingcoSoundSystem is a relatively new Chicago based label spearheaded by Bruce Adams, who back in 1993 was one of the co-founders behind Kranky. OK, do I have your attention? Now settle down and keep listening. With this fourth label release, Over All of Spain the Sky is Clear, FSS is introducing us to Brendan Burke, aka Interbellum. On the album, we hear Burke behind the piano, while Fred Lonberg-Holm softly plays the cello. The tracks are recorded in their open ended form, following a minimal restraint digital and acoustic manipulation, with the help of applied mathematics and durational processing. I’d be lying if I said I really understood the mathematical formulations in this piece, but it is the end-result that’s important here. And it speaks for itself.

Fans of long form and improvisational modern classical pieces would be absolutely delighted to hear this duet. While none of the pieces overpower the mind with concrete melodical structure, the overall drifting experience is that of pure musical exploration. Throughout the album, the sound vibrates, travels, and floats in and out of our peripheral hearing, until the slightly audible voice becomes almost coherent, only to drown again in the harmony of bowed and struck strings, which flips between the major and minor scales, like a child laughing through the tears after a fall. This unobtrusive wondering through musical modes becomes especially apparent during the second track on the album, The Life and Death of Anne Zimmerman, which is over twenty minutes long. Add to that some distant crackling, echoed machine buzzing, and you’ve got yourself a requiem for the living.

Interbellum [in its definition of the word], is a period of time between wars (World Wars I and II to be more specific). Perhaps such definition will explain the more somber mood of of this unfolding album, which, as with all other FSS releases, is meant to be listened to in one sitting, as a collection of sequenced tracks, making up a coherent album as a whole. Recommended if you like Machinefabriek, Richard Skelton, and Sylvain Chauveau as well as some acoustic pieces by The World’s End Girlfriend.

martes, 5 de enero de 2010

Machinefabriek And Nils Frahm - Perform Dauw 7'

Genre: Ambient, Electronic, Neo Classical
Label: Dekorder

Buy

To celebrate the video release of “Dauw“ Dekorder put out a small edition vinyl 7“ with one of the most popular tracks we have released on Dekorder so far (originally appearing on a CD with the same title). For the B-Side Nils Frahm has recorded a gorgeous piano version in a church in his current hometown Berlin. Frahm has released a highly accclaimed solo album on Kning Disk this year.
Mastered by Guiseppe Ielasi. Metallic print on grey cardboard stock.