In March 2013 and the months following, Benoit Pioulard (Thomas Meluch) caused quite a stir with “Hymnal“, his fourth release for the Kranky label. Inspired by ‘the ubiquity of religious iconography and grandiose cathedrals’ he had encountered throughout a year spent in southeastern England and on the European mainland, he presented a unique mix of hazy psych-folk songs and ambient instrumental tracks, with the aid of labelmates Felix (Lucinda Chua and Chris Summerlin) and Kyle Bobby Dunn.
Almost one full year later, the 12 tracks from ‘Hymnal’ get extensive re-workings on “Hymnal Remixed“ – a 19-track double album released on the Lost Tribe Sound label.
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.
The original basic track for “47 Voice Loops“ can be found on the free (!) download album “In Other Words“ (track called “MltVz8″.) In reaction to some listeners comments, Banabila decided to create longer versions of this track. The result is now available as a separate album which clearly demonstrates these listeners were right!
With their new release ‘Terrestre’, Mathontakes a further step in creating their own unique genre.
Their music is, as always, consequently linked to geographical locations, describing “the coexistence of nature and civilization and also the contradictions between the two”. It is mainly created with acoustical instruments and stylistically closely related to the impressionist music known from the ECM-label.
Usually, ambientblog is not the platform to promote portuguese electronic pop music – however adventurous it may be. But after releasing Lylac – adventurous electronic cut-up pop music featuring Melissa Veras on vocals, :papercutzmain performer Bruno Miguel grew fond of the ambient genre (“much because of my love for movie soundtracks”) – and somehow managed to an impressive list of ambient music artists to rework the music on Lylac.
Let me begin with a warning: this mix is quite unlike the previous ones! Though there are quite a lot ‘ambient moments’ to enjoy, it cannot be qualified as ‘ambient music mix’ because it contains a lot of other musical elements too.
This mix was created especially for Frans Friederich – a dutch musician currently working on a megalomaniac project he started in 1997: Recyclopedia. One single full CD for each letter in the alphabet. 26 CD’s recycling and rewriting musical history associatively…!
Frans Friederich’s musical history shows a variety of styles: he played in jazz-, ska-, and big-bands, but also in experimental acts like Dull Schicksal and Trespassers W. This musical diversity is also heard on the Recyclopedia albums: it’s a musical roller coaster ride with Friederich himself joining the musical extremes in his own personal style.
In 2009, Friederich completed the “Recyclopedia Q” album – which contains beautiful ambient music created together with soundscape artist Robert Kroos. (So, by now, about 65% of this project is finished – with this average output the entire Recyclopedia will be completed around 2017!)
When I started this Recyclopedia mix, I originally wanted to focus on the many ambient music pieces throughout the series, creating an ambient mix and leaving out all other music. But the nature of the project decided otherwise.
“Mathon” is a project (named after the same titled location in the Swiss Alps) where for one week a mobile studio is installed high up in the swiss mountains, ands guests are invited to join the Mathon core musicians (Thomas Augustiny, Roger Stucki and Pete Leuenberger) and to create music inspired by the beautiful landscape surrounding them.
In december 2008, dutch musicians Frans Friederich and Michel Banabila met each other performing on the ‘RadioLines’ performance, organised by the (now almost deceased) radio programs Folio and Supplement.
Three musicians performing simultaneously, while live-mixed by one of the radio-makers. The musicians had no influence on the resulting mix in any way (there even was a possibility they were playing their parts without it being heard at all). (The musicians brave enough to take this risk were Michel Banabila, Frans Friederich and Floris van Bergeijk – the resulting music can be found and downloaded [here].)
For edition “P” of Frans Friederich‘s Recyclopedia, a series of 26 multi-styled CD’s (one for every single letter of the alphabet), Michel Banabila created a beautiful remix, inviting dutch trumpet player Eric Vloeimans to play the additional trumpet part. This track is unclassifiable: it’s jazz, pop, electronic, fourth world and maybe even more. It is also a perfect example of what can happen when open-minded musicians work together for the sake of music, not caring about whatever expectations there may be!
Excuse me for being ignorant, but until recently Balmorhea was unknown to me. Which is sort of remarkable, since they mention Claude Debussy, Beethoven, Rachel’s, Max Richter, Arvo Pärt and John Cage as their influences, and, according to their Discogs Profile, they shared stages with Stars of the Lid, Eluvium, Helios, and many others. Their latest album is titled ‘All is Wild, All is Silent”
‘All is Wild, All is Silent‘ is far from ‘ambient electronic’. It may best be described as ‘jazzy instrumental folk-prog-rock’, if that is of any use. Touching themes in cleverly dynamic compositions that I’d enjoy but would not normally present on this weblog, simply because it doesn’t really fit the style..(there’s quite a lot of music that I thoroughly enjoy but not present here).
‘The End of Trying’ is not a ‘typical’ Dakota Suite Release. Unlike most Dakota Suite albums (except 1999’s Navigators Yard) it is fully instrumental, with Chris Hooson, David Buxton and Colin Dunkley playing piano and David Darling playing cello. The latter fact may indicate the mood of the music on this album: it is extremely delicate, heartbreaking melancholic music. A ‘classic’ release that immediately struck me when I first heard it in the beginning of this year.
The track titles indicate the overall mood of this music: How Could You Let Me Go, Things We Lost Along The Way, All The Love I Had Was Not Enough, A Quietly Gathering Tragedy, and not forgetting “Een Langzaam Lekkende Wond‘ (A Slow Leaking Wound) which reminds us of the fact that Chris Hooson lived in Holland for quite a few years. This beautiful sad music is clearly not meant to brighten up your day. But it might soothe your sadness with rays of hope shining through empathic, understanding themes and fabulous cello sounds.
‘The End of Trying’ is one of the most beautiful albums I have heard this year, and it even gains strength with the companion CD that was released shortly after the release of the original: “The Night Keeps Coming In”.
The ‘Luchtkastelen’ (Castles of Air) Festival focuses on new music for church organ. |The festival will feature organ performances, improvisation performances, as wel as performers ‘remixing’ classical organ recordings. This follow up to the 2000 edition of this festival can be enjoyed on three days on different locations: April 22 in Utrecht, may 13 in Amsterdam and may 20 in Rotterdam.
Apart from all live performances, traditional church organ music will be remixed by Matthew Florianz, Arno Peeters and myself. “Asma Morgana” is my deconstructed version “Andante Cantabile“, played by famous dutch musician Feike Asma. Mixed by … yours truly !! (Click ‘Read More’ to listen)
Check the website link for more information and program details in English. [The remaining post is written in Dutch.]
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