Ken Camden; Sense; Purejunk; Seabat; 70 Years of Sunshine

‘Electronic music’ sound design is often searching for ‘new’ and (if possible) previously unheard sounds.
But others prefer to look back – back to the time when electronic music was a new frontier to be crossed, the time when the sounds of (analog) electronic music was automatically related to space travel.
Here’s a roundup of some new retro sounds.

Krank 180

On this second release for the Kranky label, Ken Camden “allows the listener to be suspended in a gravity free environment”.
You may not immediately recognise it, but his ‘vessel of choice’ is the guitar, electronically modified into pulsating loops and sequences that “could be a soundtrack to an epic 60’s science-fiction film, or a long forgotten grade school educational film strip explaining how humans would be living on Mars early in the 21st century”.
“Back to the Future” is simply the most appropriate description here!

Ken Camden – Antares

Sense - The Dream

The darker droning of the first first tracks do not immediately reveal it, but when the sequencer patterns slowly begin to surface it’s clear that Adam Raibeck also draws his inspiration from the rich history of electronic music. The view of the future is considerably darker here, yet for Adam “this album is about the constant realisation of ‘reality’ and the ‘dream’…”
At the time of writing, only 12 physical copies of this limited release are still available. But luckily the download version will remain after that.

Sense – Nonlineareally

Pure Junk - Dreamachine

(*) Release date – september 9, check Pedigree Cuts label website for details.
Including this album in a ‘retro overview’ like this particular post does not exactly do it justice, since it does not ‘just’ draws its inspiration from the past.
This album is as eclectic as the music of the artists that Tim ‘Purejunk’ Handels has shared the Crammed Disc label with in the past: artists like Hector Zazou, John Lurie, Fred Frith but also Carl Craig, Kevin Saunderson and Juryman clearly left some of their inspiration for him to use.
Flowing from retro-style synth sequences to melancholic piano intermezzo’s and warm guitar tracks, this albums offers “Sixty minutes of pure, unadulterated daydreaming, a stream of consciousness, ranging from pure and awe inspiring musical imagery to dark and mysterious ethereal realities. The sounds are musical alpha waves and sensory soundtracks, each coming from a different emotion, from a different place”.

Purejunk – Aural Evolution (Mute)

Scattered Disc

With the opening sounds like a soundtrack from a Hollywood multi-million-dollar production, NYC ambient duo Seabat introduce their ‘full length space opus’, claiming your full attention.The cinematic reference is clear, since their inspiration comes from filmmakers Tarkoswsky and Kubrick and ‘cosmic synth pioneers Vangelis, Tangerine Dream and Cluster’.
Name-dropping is always dangerous, especially if you drop names like these, but Seabat live up to their claims, taking ‘the listener into the cold reaches of outer space – where the views are awe-inspiring and beautiful, but ultimately inhospitable to humanity’.

70 years of sunshine

From Outer Space right back to you Inner Conscience: celebrating the 70th anniversary of Dr. Albert Hoffman‘s accidental discovery of the effects of LSD in 1943.
70 YEARS OF SUNSHINE is the follow up of 1993’s remarkable 50 Years of Sunshine” compilation, once more compiled and curated by Kim Cascone.
Judging by the numbers alone, he probably should’ve wait another five years to make the jump from 75 on to 100, but listening to this album album I’m glad he didn’t.
To be honest I have no experience in using LSD (and no desire to do so), but these two albums (divided into ‘Ascent‘ and ‘Descent‘, obviously) clearly are an enjoyable auditory equivalent to a psychedelic acid trip.
Kim Cascone 
has managed to build an incredible line-up, with contemporary artists as well as some firmly rooted in the history of psychedelica. Too much to mention, so just a selection: Legendary Pink Dots, Andrew Liles, Makyo, Chihei Hatakeyama, Rafael Anton Irisarri, Rapoon, Mystical Sun, and a host of (for me) unfamiliar names.
“Consider ’70 years of Sunshine’ to be a much-anticipated software update. One that will hopefully make your auditory operating system run smoother and more colorfully.”

Legendary Pink Dots – Don’t Worry Dear, I’ll be Holding Your Hand

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