McDougall + Sasajima; Hydrophones; Francisco Lopez; Pleq a.o.

In the Shortlist sections, I will mention some of the albums that I enjoyed listening to, but couldn’t find the time (or the right words) for a “full” review for. Still, I think they deserve your attention: use the links to find more info and hear previews.


James McDougall & Hiroku Sasajima – Injya
Using environmental sounds from Australia and Japan, McDougall and Sasajima create a new virtual world by rearranging and manipulating the original recordings. Their carefully crafted collages manage to maintain the ‘natural’ feeling of the recordings yet at the same times creates a non-existent landscape that is fascinating to listen to. One of the best environmental soundscapes I know.


Various Artists – Hydrophones
Using only (publicly available) recordings from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), carefully manipulating the underwater sounds of ships, earthquakes, “air guns”, whale sounds and some unknown sources, this free download includes three immersive sub-aquatic ambient soundscapes created by Michael Hendley, Beau Finley and Keep.


Francisco Lopez – Untitled (2009)
When a double cd-album with 14 tracks (all called ‘Untitled’, with only numbers to distinguish them, ranging from 2 to 20 minutes) opens with a recording of a loud snore, you know you may be in for some surprises. Francisco Lopez approaches the sounds of this world like watching it through a microscope. Even the tiniest detail may sound massively impressing. This is sound art at its most abstract – obviously not for everyone, but very rewarding when you’re open for it. “What is real, what is masqueraded, transmuted? Can we believe our ears at all?”

Pleq and Lauki

Pleq and Lauki –Perceiving Perspective
Released on a limited C30 cassette, Pleq (Bartosz Dziadosz) and Mike Lauki “combine forces once again to document the delicate middle ground between modern compositional structures and widescreen ambient soundscapes.”
Absolute standout track is Lauki’s – “Deconstruction (Pleq Remix)”, with a beautiful solo violin part played by Heike Grafe.Let’s hope these tracks will also be made available as a digital download once the cassette release sold out (which will probably be quite soon).

Time and Language

Pleq, Hiroku Sasajima, Spheruleus – Time and Language
This album was released on vinyl at the end of 2011, but can also be downloaded digitally for just a few bucks. And it’s definitely worth doing so, because these four tracks contain a beautiful blend of “Hiroki Sasajima’s field recordings and drones, carefully adapted by Pleq with the addition of gentle drones and glitching textures, with Spheruleus weaving in subtle acoustic sounds using his instrument collection”.

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