Ambient Music Mixes & Recommendations
Mar 01

Lay-By Lullabye

There is something special with the sound of passing cars, especially when recorded at night. They always bring a feeling of loneliness, of things passing by and leaving you behind. They make you think of where to go...

For "Lay-By Lullaby", his latest album recently released on 12k, Janek Schaefer recorded the sound of cars passing by on the M3 Motorway ("Right at the end of the road where J.G. Ballard lived")

Feb 24

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 ór without extra words!

The Long Night

STEVE ROACH + KELLY DAVID - THE LONG NIGHT
With his impressive back-catalogue spanning over 30 years, Steve Roach may very well be counted as one of the Grandfathers of classic ambient music.
He has always remained true to his personal style: his deep soundscapes has become an example for many other artists.

Feb 21

Halfslaap II - Stiltetonen

I wonder if, looking back a few years from now, "Halfslaap II / Stiltetonenmay prove to be a turning point in Machinefabriek's discography - a cautious transition from 'improvised knob-twiddling' (his own words, not mine) to composed music played by musicians....
Listening to this version of "Halfslaap II", it's interesting to know that Rutger Zuydervelt is currently working on a transcription for a String Quartet version of this piece.
But that is a thing to happen in the (near) future - thís particular recording is a score for solo violin loops (played by Anne Bakker) and electronics.

Feb 17

Frequencies

Sometimes, from the first opening seconds of an album it can be immediately clear that this one is different...

"This one is different..." was what I felt immediately after hearing the first notes of Nicolas Bernier's new album "Frequencies (a / Fragments)".

Feb 16

More Piano!!
Otto A. Totland; Monochromie; 3+; Federico Albanese

A seemingly random collection of albums with the piano as the main instrument...

Otto Totland - Pino

OTTO A. TOTLAND - PINÔ
Half of Deaf Center. Also half of Nest. More introduction to the intricate piano sounds of Otto A. Totland should hardly be needed.
"Pinô" is his first full featured solo-album, packed in a beautiful gold-embossed hardcover sleeve that perfectly matches the music it contains: atmospheric, calm, intimate.

The music was recorded in Nils Frahm's (Durton) studio on a squeaky piano with a soft, velvety sound. The intimacy is enhanced by bringing the environmental sounds up front in the recording.

Feb 09

Since it was founded in 2005, the Denovali label has grown into one of the most important European independent labels, exploring different (mostly experimental) genres.
Apart from releasing new music, they also have a fine taste in finding albums worth re-releasing. Often, the re-releases are paired to the release of a new album by the same artist.

Origamibiro Collection

In the case of Origamibiro (an audio-visual collective consisting of Tom Hill, Andy Tytherleigh and visual artist Jim Boxall aka The Joy of Box), the new album "Odham's Standard" is accompanied by the release of a 3CD/4LP package called"Collection", presenting their previous albums "Cracked Mirrors and Stopped Clocks" (2007), "Shakkei" (2011), and "Shakkei Remixed" (2012).

Feb 04

More Research

With "The Latest Research from the Department of Electrical Engineering" (2011), Michel Banabila dived deeper into more experimental electronic territory he started exploring on releases like "Spherics" (2001, 2003) and "Signals from Krakrot" (2008).
The sounds on this album are radically different from his more romantic, more acoustic ethno-jazz releases, but they never lost the characteristic 'human touch'.

On "More Research from the Same Department", Banabila is vigorously searching for the heart and soul of electrical machinery, like an explorer presenting his discoveries.

Feb 03

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 ór without extra words!

Autistici - Attaching softness...

AUTISTICI - ATTACHING SOFTNESS
A collection of detailed microsound pieces including collaborative works with Calika and Henry Duclos. It includes the original full-length version of Attaching Softness to a Shell. About half of the (50 minute) album is reserved for the centerpiece "Attaching Softness to a Shell" (a track that also briefly appeared in the "Dream Calibration" mix from 2009).

Feb 01

Francisco López - Presque Tout
(Quiet Pieces: 1993 - 2013)

Presque Tout

Had this not been a release by Francisco López (who has been creating sound art and electronic music for over 30 years, continuously building on a massive catalogue of music and sound) on the Line Imprint label ("exploring the aesthetics of contemporary and digital minimalism" since 2000) - then I probably would have thought "Presque Tout" was a conceptual joke.

But it isn't.
It's perhaps the most radical release in ambient sound recording - its extreme minimalism perhaps only surpassed by the well-known '4'33"' by John Cage.

Jan 26

Broken Memories - Photo: Rxist13

If one of the criteria for 'ambient' music is that you can comfortably fall asleep to it, I guess you'd better skip this particular mix. Although it starts quiet and reassuring with soothing vocal chords from Silvestrov's "The Lord's Prayer", the mood disintegrates and sometimes can become rather unsettling - depending on your own personal 'incidental memories', of course.

For reasons I can't really explain, this mix works better if you listen on speakers instead of headphones - just let the airwaves flow for maximum immersion.