jueves, 22 de diciembre de 2011

Sean McCann - Sincere World

Genre: Ambient, Drone, Experimental, Electronic

Sincere World, which was due out almost a year ago as I understand it, has finally been released for the world to enjoy. Sean McCann has worn many various emotions and experiments on his sleeve through his musical output over the previous years. Some are wild and zany, some are more serious and solemn, some are exciting and vivacious, and others have many different nuances within the same album yet all with the same creative stroke of genius that makes McCann such a master. Sincere World is more of the serious and solemn persuasion. It’s borderline ambient, yet with the McCannian twist of personified drone. In the same vein as Fountains and Leave Today as far as subdued and quiet nature, but it has a living and stirring nature that isn’t quite as restful as those two others. This is a restless, tossing-and-turning, insomniac series of drones. They stir with a baggy-eyed longing for respite, counting sheep, tossing back a nightcap, whatever it takes to settle down and catch some Z’s. There is a calm and nocturnal nature to the ambiance, but I just don’t hear a settling down, a final stillness. To me, they kick the covers and lie staring at the ceiling in frustrated sleepless torture. Everything feels dark with only the slightest illumination that highlights the shadows on the wall. Not dark as in black or foreboding, just lightlessness. And all the anguished sleep deprivation is not anything felt by the hearer. I just call upon this descriptive metaphor because there is a stillness and gentleness that reminds you of the night, yet not all is at peace. There’s still life and movement that’s pregnant within these tracks. The best comparison would be the actions of one in bed who cannot seem to fall asleep. That said, the timbre of this album is fairly tranquil and great for midnight boredom or late night soul searching.

lunes, 19 de diciembre de 2011

Grouper & Ilyas Ahmed - Visitor

Genre: Ambient, Drone, Experimental

Grouper's Liz Harris has just released a new EP in collaboration with shadowy freak-folkist Ilyas Ahmed. Titled Visitor, the EP is part of Social Music's Record Club subscription series. The opening track is everything you'd expect from Liz, an ethereal, dark beauty with the bleak shine of wet concrete.

lunes, 5 de diciembre de 2011

Ólafur Arnalds - Living Room Songs

Genre: Neo Classical
Label: Erased Tapes


Olafur Arnalds has always had a penchant for producing subtly immense and tragically beautiful minimalistic compositions. Approaching his music with an ear for getting a profound and grand sound out of as little as possible, Arnalds has become a contemporary darling. Since his humble beginnings somewhere around the middle of the last decade, the Icelandic artist has since rose to great prominence, with the full scope of his musical prowess becoming clear in last year’s exceptional …And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness. In creating his boldest record yet, Arnald discovered the power of sonic expansion, and the brilliance in experimentation. Yet unexpectedly, Arnald has shied away from his bolder sound, instead opting to find the beauty in introversion.

Living Room Songs is Olafur Arnalds latest release, and perhaps his most focused to date. It differs from everything he’s done before, but it’s certifiably his own sound. One can’t help but notice the techno emphasis featured on his earlier work rear their head hear, as well as the more minimalist aspects seen there as well. Despite sharing a more retracted sound with Eulogy for Evolution, Living Room Songs features the same focused feeling of his previous work. It’s in this mixture that Arnalds has crafted some of his best material to date.

As indicated by the record’s name, Living Room Songs was recorded in the artists very own living room in Iceland. Over the course of a week, Arnalds released each song with a corresponding video of the recording. In many ways, the videos represent the music itself. Surprisingly large crowds of musicians piled into the confines of the rather small living room. This could metaphorically be seen as the musician pushing the boundaries of his more minimalistic nature by expanded the core sound as much as possible.

Living Room Songs excels because it’s everything Olafur Arnalds needed to have made; a beautiful excursion that has substance to back it up. Nary a moment goes by that he doesn’t use to the fullest. Whether it is the swelling strings or the somber piano, each minute of the record’s 24 is full of purpose and deliberation. The song selection, despite lacking the flow of some of his other works, is simply wonderful. From the opening moments of “Fyrsta” to the final seconds of “This Place is a Shelter,” Living Room Songs displays that is in no short supply of brilliant selections. “Near Light” is the album’s strangest track, feature more electronic/techno elements than any of the other songs. The lush soundscapes created from the dichotomy of warm strings and cold electronics is sublime. Arnalds’ restraint with either element makes for a perfect blending as well. “Film Credits” polarizes this, as it features a lonely solemn violin, accompanied by mournful cellos. It’s a piece that truly displays the musician’s ability to craft something beautiful out of something so tragic. The production is yet another exceptional aspect. The little creaks of chairs and the soft movements of bows add an incredible layer of immersion to an already absorbing album.

sábado, 3 de diciembre de 2011

Andrew Pekler - Sentimental Favourites

Genre: Experimental, Electronic, Drone
Label: Dekorder

Pekler has been operating within forms of ambient, experimental and electronica since the late-'90s. As a solo artist he has no less than five full-lengths to his name, released through labels like Stefan Betke's ~scape and Chicago imprint Kranky. In collaboration, he's worked as a member of Bergheim 34, who put-out a string of release on Klang Elektronik during the early-'00s, and Groupshow, the trio which also includes Hanno Leichtmann and Jan Jelinek. 

Sentimental Favourites brings together 14 tracks borne out of an interesting exploration. As is the case with much of Pekler's music, the album looks into "an abandoned genre or aesthetic trope," which in this case explores a "strain of late 60's/early 70's easy listening which melded the sophisticated songwriting pathos of Burt Bacharach, Jimmy Webb or The Carpenters with a post-psychedelic attention to sonic detail."

Max Richter - Perfect Sense OST

Genre: Neo Classical, Electronic, Ambient

Another stunning score from this english composer. Enjoy it.
There isn´t a buy link because there is no fisical release. If you want it you have to buy it on Itunes. Sorry.

viernes, 2 de diciembre de 2011

Hauschka - Youyoume Ep

Sorry but there´s no download till Serein has sold
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Genre: Neo Classical, Electronic
Label: Serein

The breadth of sounds that now make up Hauschka's palette are the result of years of experimentation with different piano preparations. Of particular note is his uncanny ability to conjure sounds from the piano most often associated with electronic instruments such as drum machines and samplers.

Anyone who's been following Volker's output of late will know that he's been creating some incredible compositions inspired by house and techno music. The first side of this new record is taken up entirely by one such composition.

'So Close' is a thirteen minute long piece of deep, earthy music. Perhaps never before has Hauschka's interest in electronic dance music been more plainly heard. The piece moves with a great sense of purpose; from scattered notes and the clatter of makeshift percussion there emerges a steady rhythm - a note in the lower register becomes a bass drum, its staccato bass pluck sounding four on four. Further up the register, sharps and flats become hi-hats and shakers.

The beat builds and breaks several times throughout the piece, vanishing altogether only to re-emerge with its syncopation subtly shifted. The final break-down of the last few minutes is the longest of all, a gentle piano refrain plays out the piece while the percussive elements sigh, rattle and whirr until their last breaths.

The two pieces on side 'B' of 'Youyoume' serve as a gentle reminder of just how versatile a producer Volker Bertelmann is. Gone are the unrelenting rhythms of side 'A' and in their place, thoughtful, cascading melodies which hark back to some of Hauschka's earliest output. 'So Far' is a solo piano piece for unprepared piano, while 'Paige and Jane', the final track, features prepared piano and cello.

In all, 'Youyoume' is a unique record in Hauschka's discography bringing together some of the styles and ideas which have come to define his unmistakable sound.