Various Artists – "Hidden Landscapes"

Hidden Landscapes

The Audio Gourmet netlabel, run by Harry Towell – a.k.a.Spheruleus- quickly became one of the major netlabels on the ambient music scene.  At time of writing, their impressive catalogue presents about 30 releases, most of them E.P.’s, around 15 minutes long, and thus created to fit your daily coffee/tea break perfectly. 

Though Audio Gourmet have a clear policy about what they want and what they don’t want (no beats!), the musical horizon broadens with every release. For example, the forthcoming release by Paper Relics  (Harry and Stuart Towell), ‘Recovered Artefact’would be better described as ‘improv folk guitar’ than ambient music.

There are some beautiful sounds to discover on the Audio Gourmet download page. Of course there’s music by Spheruleus, but there’s also Maps and Diagrams, Herzog, Carl Sagan’s Ghost, Ibreathefur, Entia Non (and many others).

Audio Gourmet is definitely not into it for the money, since all releases can be downloaded freely from their website.

Distributing their E.P.’s for free using the Bandcamp download system is a great idea, but unfortunately (though understandably) Bandcamp changed their download policy to accomodate only a limited number of free downloads. 

One way Audio Gourmet make sure the downloads stay is to backup them to, but another (and maybe even better idea) is to release a full length compilation album in collaboration with the Hibernate Recordings label. 
This compilation should provide funding the Bandcamp download costs, so buying Hidden Landscapes is in fact also a donation to help keep other releases available for free.

Hidden Landscapes offers “fourteen pieces of music in which the artists were briefed to compose something particularly wintery to match the mood of the colder season. (…) Perhaps once the ice melts and the temperature begins to rise, parts of this album will reveal themselves to you and sound different in the warmth”.

Hidden Landscapes is not only a perfect introduction to what Audio Gourmet has to offer, but it’s also a beautiful overview of the current state of ambient-drone-soundscape scene. Guitar drones as well electronic, comfortable sounds as well as harsh noises, familiar names as well as new ones to discover: Offthesky, Maps and Diagrams, Ibreathefur, Hessien, Machinefabriek, Green Kingdom, M. Ostermeier – and that’s only half of them!  

Spheruleus – Frost

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