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Nest – Body Pilot

Starting out as a netlabel, distributing free releases such as the original Nest EPSerein took an unexpected sudden turn and resurfaced as a ‘standard’ label. 
Re-Told”  – a remastered version (with additional tracks) of the original Nest EP – was their incredible “initial”release and immediately set themselves a difficult high standard.

Re-Told was immediately and widely recognised as a classic release and got sort of legendary status for all those that found it. (To modestly illustrate this: the short review from 2009 has been on top of the ‘most read’ ambientblog list ever since).

(Only) Three other releases have followed since this initial masterpiece – and then, finally, a new Nest release calledBody Pilot”  was announced.

For those that did not know yet: Nest is Huw Roberts (Wales, Serein label owner) and Otto Totland (Norway, of Deaf Center fame). They have crafted a unique combination of acoustic piano and electronic ‘sample manipulation’ with additional field recordings. 

There are quite a lot of releases in this musical area, crossing over electronic sound art with acoustic post-classical romanticism – but what distinguishes Nest from a lot of other contemporary artist is their ability to create a delicate balance. Their music is sweet – but never too sweet.

To illustrate this: the opening track ‘Stillness’, with its quiet introvert piano theme, is quite different from Koretz’s Meteor, which is mainly electronic and starts with a a SF-like tension that is almost threatening. 

Roberts and Totland are not only mastering delicate balance, but also ‘restraint’: the piano parts are effective but modest, and the release only clocks 20 minutes (four tracks).

This may be the only downlside if this release: however fine they are, these delicate 20 minutes only leave us wanting for more.
So let’s hope that it won’t take another five years to see the next Nest release! 

Body Pilot” is released as a 10″ EP, as part of the Serein Seasons 10″ vinyl series. Limited to 500 worldwide – only a few copies left so hurry if you want the physical copy. For those that prefer digital, the music is also available in digital download format (MP3 as well as lossless FLAC). 

Nest – The Ultimate Horizon

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Olan Mill – Pine


Olan Mill is the name of the duo (Alex Smalley and Svitlana Samoylenko) presenting Pine, the long-awaited second release of the british Serein label.

Serein started out as a net-label a few years ago. Following the succes of their Nest-release they reformed completely, and re-released their greatest succes as “Retold” – one of the most praised (re-)releases of 2009/2010. (BTW – the Serein website does not mention it, but most of their netlabel releases – including the original NEST EP – can still be found on

Following up a release like that is not an easy task. But Olan Mill lives up to the expectations, without simply ‘copying’ the Nest success formula.

Olan Mill “A Heavy Leg Cycle” from Pine (2010)

Pine” is a relatively short album (10 tracks, 35 minutes – which nowadays seems to become a new sort of standard for CD length).
Few instruments were used in this recording: piano, violin, pipe organ and guitar. The sounds are not always easily recognisable as such, because of the reverb of the church they were recorded in (or maybe because of the post-processing).
Most of the tracks are somewhat more ‘abstract ambient’, which makes “Pine” stand out from the flood of recent post-classical ‘chamber music’ releases.
Still, the compositions are clearly romantic by nature, and the moments the piano (or violin) part takes its place in the foreground, it is immediately clear that Olan Mill are Nest “label-mates”.

If you favoured Nest‘s Retold, or if you enjoy anything from Olafur Arnalds to Stars of the Lid, Olan Mill‘s Pine should take a prominent place on your want-list.

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Nest – Retold


The Serein netlabel was founded in 2005 and released quite an impressing batch of quality ambient and electronic music. In 2007, Serein released it’s ‘flagship title’: the Nest EP.

Nest is the collaborative project of Otto Totland (Deaf Center; Type Records) and Huw Roberts (Serein Label owner).

The beauty of their music was quickly recognised, the blogosphere caught on and the EP was features in a lot of favourites-lists that year.

Then, early 2009, the Serein site closed down.

With the response to the Nest EP (and the other releases too, by the way, let’s not forget those!), Serein decided ‘to explore some commercial avenues’.

So here’s the good news: Serein’s rebirth will be a fact when Retold will be officially released on january 31, 2010.

Retold is a full cd completing the six tracks from the original EP (including a revised version of Cad Goddeu) with five new tracks of equal extraordinary beauty. Wheatstone , the track previewed here, is one of the new tracks.

Nest’s purpose is “to produce beautiful music free of pretense“.
In doing so, they have created a CD of impressively pure art.

You may be wondering what has happened to all the other great music Serein made available between 2005 and 2008? Well, in fact all music is still downloadable from This includes the original Nest EP so if you can’t wait till januari you can have your preview here.

But be sure to make Nest your starting point for exploring Serein by downloading some of the other titles too.

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The Inventors of Aircraft – Unknown Language


The Serein netlabel once again lives up to their expectations. With their latest release, ‘Unknown Language’ by The Inventors of Aircraft, the label now offers 17 free album downloads. All of which are quality ambient music, albeit in different styles.
The latest one (#17) is “Unknown Language” by “The Inventors of Aircraft”.

As you may notice, that’s ‘Aircraft’…not ‘Aircrafts’. In fact, there’s only one ‘Inventor of Aircraft’ called Phil Tomsett.

The artwork of this release does not provide very much information, but checking out reveals some of the binay code displayed.

“These obscure symbols lend themselves well to the music, for ‘Unknown Language’ has very definite leanings towards the world of science and indeed science fiction. The album has a vast, almost monolithic sound that builds relentlessy. On the track ‘Passing’ it is not difficult to imagine that the title may be a reference to some gargantuan satellite, a slow paced yet immovable object casting a shadow over some desolate alien landscape far below.
The pieces meld into one another flitting between earthy and organic soundscapes to more overtly electronic and droney pieces.”

(release info)

Compared to the NEST release, this music is more electronic, although the occasional clicks and pops definitely give it a “natural” feeling.

I can heartily recommend downloading it. As I do for all other Serein releases.

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Nest – Nest


Ambient music collectors no longer visit the local record shop to find the latest releases. Most of the times, the titles are not even stocked. Still, the genre is lively and growing bigger than it ever was. Not through the ‘old’ distribution channels and brick and mortar shops, but through the internet mostly. This weblog only covers a small tip of the iceberg of the music available.

There are quite a lot specialised webshops online (if you got any tips for readers to share, please use the react link below and share it with us), and there are a lot netlabels that release the music – purely out of passion for it.
Sometimes for a small fee (a direct support of the artists), but often for free. And if you think that ‘free’ music must be inferior hobbyist music, here’s the proof that it isn’t:
try the Serein netlabel. And especially try their NEST release.

Nest is the collaborative project of Otto Totland (Deaf Center / Type Records) and Huw Roberts (Serein). If you want names to compare: their music sounds like music from people like Harold Budd, Goldmund/Helios, Murcof and even Biosphere (on this track featured here: Cad Goddeu).

It’s beautiful atmospheric and it’s feel is more organic than electronic.
With netlabels offering music like this, who needs record companies??

Nest – Cad Goddeu

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