Leonardo Rosado – The Blue Nature of Everyday

Blue Nature

Misfortune struck last week when Heart and Soul and Feedbackloop label curator Leonardo Rosado got robbed and found that the burglars took his laptop and SLR camera.

Though he was wise enough to have his files backed up elsewhere (be honest: do you store your important personal files in a location outside your house? Please do so!) – for a label owner in this digital age this is a downright disaster. 

Leonardo had just finished his own solo album The Blue Nature of Everyday”  (which sounds like an appropriate title now).
So, unintended, this album is now also his own charity release to help fund his new laptop and camera.

Peter James, Wil Bolton, Tomoko Sauvage, Five Pieces, Elements 01

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.

Landfall

Peter James – Landfall
Well-balanced, deep and extremely relaxing drones on this 25th Relaxed Machinery release.
“I’ve always considered landfall to be a part of a journey, not the final part, or the start, just a part of it …. Not now. Not then. Just sometime, somewhere, someplace. “

Under a Name...

Wil Bolton – Under A Name That Hides Her
Combining drone backgrounds with environmental sounds and sparkling guitar themens, Wil Bolton manages to create music that sounds every bit as fresh as the cover image indicates.
“He wanted to create something that sonically presents his nostalgia, sounding submerged or decaying, as if heard through a veil the way memories and images become distorted over time. The album title ‘Under A Name That Hides Her’ is a quote from ‘The Space of Literature’ by Maurice Blanchot and is a reference to the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.”
(Vinyl album; release date May 16)

Various Artists – Escala 2.3

It was a rather casual remark from Pleq, promoting his own track on this set, that led me to Escala 2.3 . 

Following his advice, I found an amazing set of 3 albums, presented by the Escalared netlabel and Sísmógrapho Radio 3 from Spain. 

46 tracks of new ambient, drone, soundscape and electro-acoustic music – over 4 hours of music in a free download package … you can even choose to download it in MP3, OGG or FLAC format!

Celer + Machinefabriek – Greetings From…


postcard set

It’s almost impossible to keep up with the speed of Will ‘Celer’ Long and Rutger ‘Machinefabriek’ Zuydervelt. 
By the time I have finished writing this review, I guess probably at least three new releases will have emerged which are all also worth hearing… 

Following up their 7″ collaboration (Maastunnel – Mt. Mitake” ), they recently did a short tour through Holland (and Brussel).
Recordings of these sets have now been released simultaneously with the duo’s second 7″ single Numa – Penarie

And, to conclude this batch: the CDR “Bliksem“, recorded by Celer especially for this tour (in a very limited physical edition of 10) is now also available as a digital download.

Olan Mill – Paths


Paths

Paths” is the follow-up to Olan Mill‘s debut release Pine” (released in 2010 on the Serein label). 
Their second release (now on Facture) continues to explore their “unashamedly romantic music”, with a well-merged blend of violin, pipe organ and processed guitar.

Olan Mill‘s sound is somewhat comparable to the sound of the Stars of the Lid and A Winged Victory for the Sullen and will definitely appeal to the same audience.

afarOne – Lucen

Stefan Ruggeri is a classically trained pianist “with a core of teenage rebellion, and a love for rock’n’roll.”
“I was used to going to the conservatory with Pearl Jam on the headphones and, a few seconds later, trying to climb to an impervious prelude of Rachmaninov”.

As afarOne, he has been working for three years on his debut release Lucen“, recently released by German label Karl Records

Lucen is one of those albums that immediately stand out on the very first listen – the kind that get stuck on ‘repeat’ almost automatically.

Steve Roden + Machinefabriek – Lichtung


Lichtung

The very first release on a brand new label called Eat, Sleep, Repeat brings together two remarkable men from the electronic/improv scene: Steve Roden and Machinefabriek (Rutger Zuydervelt)

Lichtung is the soundtrack created for an audio-visual installation at  Galerie Vayhinger, featuring visuals by Sabine Bürger, inspired by the Mindelsee lake in Germany.

This CD version does not feature the video part of the installation, but the images from the inlay booklet  are a good impression of how beautiful this installation must have been.

Bersarin Quartett – II

In 2008, no-one knew what to expect from this “Bersarin Quartett” and, although it received unmatched critical acclaim,  it has always been somewhat below the radar – a “cult” release that still deserves to find a much larger audience.
(Don’t worry: it is still available as CD or digital download. A special limited 2 x 12″ vinyl picture disc edition can also be pre-ordered!)

Four years later, suddenly there’s the follow up, the ‘difficult second album’ – simply named II“. 
The big difference: this time we’re prepared!  

Greg Haines – Digressions


Digressions

When the relatively short opening track from “Digressions” slowly fades into the second track, “Caden Cotard”, an unexpected, jaw-dropping massiveness starts to build – a full orchestral sound that I did not expect to hear on this third Greg Haines album.

It’s not ‘loud’, it’s not ‘noise’ – it’s beautifully restrained, but it’s just…massive.

But then, within the same track, the intensity drops to a much quieter level to become much more intimate. 
With this flow of tension and release, “Digressions” somehow compares to a post-rock album, however with a different instrumentation.
Musically, it feels more like it’s a full classical symphony.

Atom TM – Winterreise


Winterrreise

Winterreise is Atom TM ‘s (Uwe Schmidt, a.k.a. Senor Coconut) follow up to 2009’s Liedgut“. 
It will be released as a standard CD on Raster-Noton, in their familiar classy packaging, but has previously been  available in the form of a “Play Button“: a new music medium combining the classic pin-button with a built-in music player. 

Musically, Winterreise” is quite different from “Liedgut”. 
It’s far more abstract and experimental, with more accents on textures and soundscapes (and less direct  references to the music of Kraftwerk). 
It’s more ‘serious’, in a way, although it never gets too serious – you can definitely trust Uwe to find a perfect balance between ‘art’ and ‘fun’.

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.

Injya

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.

Hydrophones

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.