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 or without extra words!
JEREMY KEENAN – IMMATERIAL
“Created largely from recordings of two journeys by boat, on the River Lee Navigation in London and the North Sea ferry to the Netherlands, Immaterial explores the abstraction of emotional and perceptual traces in sound relating to journeys. The title track utilises sound garnered from the Institute of Making in London, with direct recordings of engineered materials exposing the raw process of extracting the composition from recorded sound.
A combination of harmonic drones, pulsing bass, and delicate high frequency flourishes, Immaterial unfurls sonic vistas of acoustic sound recordings rent into fantastical aural shapes and textures.”
STEFAN FUNCK – SO FAR SO GOOD
From the incredibly deep, sub-level sounds this album starts with, to the sonic and somewhat disruptive bursts later on in this full hour track, this album is amazingly different from what can be considered ‘mainstream’ (meaning ‘relatively popular’) ambient or electronic music.
“Funck uses synthesizers and software to create slowly shifting layers of sound and combines them with all sorts of field recordings and found sounds. The impression is of travelling very slowly by boat on a canal and watching (in this case, listening to) the changes in the landscape going by.
If drone music is about flow, then this is a perfect example, but the real beauty of this work is in the way Funck balances the concrete and the abstract sides of ambient and found sounds.”
FRANCK CONDON – PURITY HALL
The Runningonair label claims its very own space in the ambient music spectrum with their releases that share a scientific, often mathematical, approach in one way or another. As a result, the music distinguishes itself automatically from the hausse of releases that are more ‘improvisational’, or ‘organic’, in nature.
Franck Condon (Wim Dehaen, originally from Leuven, Belgium), for example, focuses on “musical application of mathematical techniques and visual representation of sound”.
The tracks on this album all refer to one of his courses when taking his master’s degree in chemistry: “Every track is named after a part of the course that was particularly stimulating to my imagination”.
Although this knowledge may enhance your appreciation, you definitely do not need to have a master’s degree to enjoy this music!
THE GLITTERING HAND – SLOW APPROACH
“Monolithic decorative drones”.
A short but very accurate description of this three-track album, released on Textural Records as a free/pay-what -you-want download. And those three sparse words are about all information that can be found about the album or the artist: there is no clue about the who, what or whereabouts of The Glittering Hand.
But the music speaks for itself: the industrial electronic drones are not just ‘drones’: they are dynamic and adventurous.
KISSY SUZUKI – RUBBISH & BEAUTIES
Also a ‘long-form drone’ (it is in fact meant to be played as one single continuous track) but on the other side of the sound spectrum when compared to the sounds of The Glittering Hand mentioned before.
Operating from Paris, France, and named after a character from James Bond’s You Only Live Twice, this is Kissy Suzuki’s first release.
Using layers of live guitar combined with processed field recordings, this FREE DOWNLOAD offers a calm, gentle and relaxing soundscape.
Definitely a drone beauty – in fact I have no idea to which part the‘rubbish’might refer.