Ambient Music Mixes & Reviews
Nov 15

Tussenlicht

The name may not immediately sound familiar, but "Anne Chris Bakker" should ring a bell if you carefully checked out the releases by Jan and Romke Kleefstra (internationally acclaimed for their Frysian soundscape poetry and Piiptsjilling collaboration with Machinefabriek and Mariska Baars).
Anne Chris Bakker
has worked with them on various releases"Wink", "Griis" and a live performance cassette released in March 2012.

"Tussenlicht", recently released on Somehow Recordings  (where the physical version is available), is Anne Chris Bakker's second solo project (after "Weerzien", 2012). Its dreamlike poetic atmosphere is definitely resembling the Piiptsjilling/Kleefstra recordings, and yet there is something remarkably different...

Nov 10

Autumn Trumpets
N.P. Molvaer + Moritz Von Oswald; Arve Henriksen; Saffronkeira + Mario Massa

This year's fall sees the (somewhat) simultaneous release of three albums that feature the trumpet as their main instrument, pairing its sound to an (ambient-) electronic background.
And here's this review's spoiler: if you like one, you'd probably like all three! 

Molvaer-Oswald

NILS PETTER MOLVAER & MORITZ VON OSWALD - 1/1
On his latest release, "Baboon Moon" (2011), Nils Petter Molvaer explored guitar-based soundscapes, but his latest takes a completely different turn. Of course, Molvaer's music has always searched for a delicate balance between the organic, emotional sound of the trumpet and abstract electronics - and Moritz von Oswald (of Basic Channel/Rhythm & Sound fame, to name just two of many) has previously ventured out into jazz areas, especially with the Moritz von Oswald Trio.
But this collaboration brings both artists' music up to a completely different level.
'1/1' sounds as if Nils and Moritz were destined to work together from the start.

Nov 01

Selaxon Lutberg

There is a remarkable discrepancy between the childhood excitement beaming from the cover photos, and the dark claustrophobic chords in the opening track of Selaxon Lutberg's " Simboli Accidentali".

And it's only about halfway into the album when the dark and gloomy atmosphere, created by almost unrecognisable sounds of guitar, cheap organ and worn tape/vinyl loops, gives way to a little bit more light, just before retracting again into a more comfortable darkness.

The liner notes reveal only slightly more about the purpose of this journey:

Oct 26

Antonymes

To celebrate its 50th release since 2009, Hibernate Records could hardly have chosen any better release than Antonymes' "There Can Be No True Beauty Without Decay".

Not only because Ian 'Antonymes' Hazeldine's music seems to represent all the things the label stands for ("both abstract and melodic but always with a hint of melancholy."), but also because the inspiration for this album came from his debut album "Beauty Becomes the Enemy of the Future", which was originally released in the same year, 2009.

Oct 13

Piano Interrupted

The collision of different backgrounds can sometimes yield amazing results.
As Piano Interrupted impressively demonstrates with their new album "The Unified Field".

Tom Hodge (UK) and Franz Kirmann (France) are not only from different countries, but also come from different musical worlds: Tom being a classical and minimalist composer, Franz coming from the world of electronica, pop and techno.
Combining such different backgrounds has of course been done before. Many tried, some succeeded, many failed.
But not often the result was as sparkling and refreshingly original like this.

Oct 13

Open

The ambient tree has many branches. In fact it's hard to pinpoint exactly what "ambient" music is. This has raised many discussions, as the music called 'ambient' ranges from strict and almost unchanging drones to techno beats one can even dance to.

As the genre evolves, some borders are crossed. "Ambient" music can sometimes involve introspective (and sometimes psychedelic) folk music, massive guitar chord walls... or even jazz.
Most of the times, ambient music also involves electronic sounds or processing acoustic sounds.
But not always: sometimes ambient music is created strictly using acoustic instruments.
Enter The Necks with their latest album called "Open".

Oct 08

tristesse - photo by Jenny Lyne

This mix was created especially for Headphone Commute.
Thanks to H_C for publishing it, and for the beautiful introduction words:

Autumn is here. Darkness slowly creeps up just a little bit earlier. Clouds get grayer and swell up with rain. Trees shed their colors and tighten their belts. And people begin to prepare for winter. But among all the shadows there’s a small ray of light. And with that glow comes the music… For today’s exclusive podcast, Peter van Cooten weaves in layers of haunting soundscapes spanning the gray-scale of the ambient universe. It’s a gorgeous soundtrack to the season of tears… I hope you will enjoy!

Oct 06

In the Shortlist sections, I will mention the albums that I enjoyed listening to, but couldn't find the time (or the right words) for a "full" review for.
Still, I definitely think they deserve your attention, with or without extra words!

Digitalsimplyworld

DIGITALSIMPLYWORLD - TOUT DEVIENT LA MUSIQUE
[FREE Download]
"Tout Devient La Musique" ("Everything is Music") offers 81 minutes of highly varied soundscapes "reaching to the ends of classical electronic music, where everything becomes different.".

Oct 05

Processes and Potentials

Over three years since the release of his impressing debut album 'Safn 2006-2009' (which collected some of his earlier solo work), Bjarni Gunnarsson (from Reykjavik, also known as one half of Einóma) presents the second full album release under his own name.

The beautiful package of 'Processes & Potentials' contains 7 colorful inlays, one for the cover and one for each of the six different tracks of this album.

Just like he did on 'Safn', Bjarni chooses his musical position wilfully, creating soundscapes that are remarkably different from most in current ambient/electronic music.

Sep 28

Aaron Martin - Christoph Berg

With only a few releases, the relatively new Moscow-based label Dronarivm found its status as one of contemporary ambient music's most important labels.

With the release of "Day Has Ended", with Aaron Martin and Christoph Berg contributing four tracks each, that status is definitely confirmed - if not enhanced.

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