Jana Winderen; Thomas Köner; Dronny Darko; Alphaxone

Jana Winderen - The Wanderer

Damn those extremely limited releases!! I cursed myself for missing the original release of this work: a beautiful 4Gb USB credit card that also included a surround (quad) version of this piece that was originally produced for a 16-channel installation. So I’ll have to do with the stereo version – which is so perfectly recorded that is is totally immersive too.
These field recordings may sound like a collection of strange animals, weird insects, wind, rain and an occasional drone sound. But sounds are deceiving: these sounds are hydrophone recordings from the Atlantic Ocean, from the realms of Zooplankton and Phytoplankton.
It would be interesting to know more about how exactly these recordings were made (how does one record the sound of Plankton?), but that detailed information is not included here.

comes from the Greek word Planktos, which means wanderer or drifter. Its importance can hardly be overrated:
‘Mammals, fish and crustaceans feed on zooplankton and they in turn feed on phytoplankton. Phytoplankton need two things for photosynthesis and thus their survival: energy from the sun and nutrients from the water. In the process of photosynthesis, phytoplankton release oxygen into the water. Half of the world’s oxygen is produced by phytoplankton photosynthesis.’

Half of the world’s oxygen!

With this half hour of ‘field’ recordings, Jana Winderen has created an impressive sonic monument celebrating the organisms at the very root of our existence!

Thomas Köner - Tiento De Le Luz
Thomas Köner‘s music is can best be described as the black hole of ambient music. Immeasurably deep, pitch black, and once you get near there’s simply no way to escape it.

Compared to most of his earlier discography, Tiento De La Luz is somewhat different.
While listening to the first track of this album I even began to doubt if this was a Köner recording at all: it was so bright, with a light piano theme that sounded more like Harold Budd than like Thomas Köner.
But of course it does. It should be ‘lighter’: after all, this is a Tiento (a form of keyboard music that originated in Spain in the mid-15th century) dedicated to the Light.

Tiento De La Luz is the second in a trilogy, following Tiento de Las Nieves (dedicated to snow), and preceding Tiento de la Oscuridad (the title promises a return to darkness).
If you look at the cover from left to right you see it begins with bright light, but it gets thinner to the right as darkness seems to overtake it. Somehow the six tracks on Tiento de La Luz follow the same pattern. When the sound of the piano moves to the lower register, and gives way to chords of horns, it’s as if the light slowly retreats yet remains present in the background.

According to Thomas Köner, ‘music does not exist’:
“The beat has no presence and can only point to the following beat, the insubstantial note depends completely on its neighbors in the melodic line, the chord is dispensable after its harmonic release, and one abstract noise obstructs the other. I contend that these musical elements are marginal and peripheral, and in my work, they are emphatically de-emphasized.”
“The only element that is independent and able to communicate itself is tone colour. The textbook definition of tone colour can only describe what it is not: qualities of sound that are not related to pitch, volume, or duration. Tone colour is therefore the absence and yet the total presence.”

There it is: the description of Köner’s music: ‘absence and yet total presence’

Also on Spotify


Dronny Darko Neuroplasticity

From Kiev, Ukraine, comes Oleg Puzan, a.k.a. Dronny Darko. His music is described as ‘ambient driven, drone influenced’.
Though that is a fitting description there’s also more to it than ‘just’ drones, as the opening track Mirror Neutrons proves.
Elements of musique concrête, sound-art, audio sculptures – ‘tiny sounds for those that pay attention’ -, noise eruptions that slowly build to a climax and then slowly fade again… But the frightening darkness is a constant..
The kind of deep pitch black darkness that is not comforting but unnerving because you’ll never know what you might find.
Neuroplasticity is presented as ‘an introverted journey through the psyche of the listener’, so you better be prepared for some surprises before you start listening.

Alphaxone - Echoes from Outer Space

As the Abscence compilation showed, Iran seems to be a fertile place for electronic experimental/ambient music. Alphaxone is Mehdi Saleh is another example.
This is his fourth full album for the well-named Cryo Chamber label, the follow-up to last year’s Altered Dimensions.
It’s a set filled with spacey drones, ‘droney dreamscapes packed with some serious analogue warmth – best enjoyed when relaxing with a cup of freeze dried coffee in zero G’ 

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