Akira Rabelais – Caduceus

The Samadhisound label, founded and curated by David Sylvian, simultaneously released three impressive titles. Together they present a landmark of the current experimental/electronic/ improv scene.
Be prepared: none of these albums are ‘easy listening’ music – in fact, a lot of this music wouldn’t even be considered ‘ambient’.

If I would compile a list of all time favourite albums, Akira Rabelais’ Spellewauerynsherde (also released on Samadhisound) would definitely end up in the highest regions. 
Thus, expectations were mile-high when SamadhiSound announced the release of a new Rabelais album called Caduceus.

Laura Gibson & Ethan Rose – Bridge Carols

It must be something in the water or in the air over there in Portland, Oregon, resulting in a lot of remarkable music lately. Such as Bridge Carols, by Laura Gibson and Ethan Rose.
It’s labelled as “electro-pastoral music” and I really couldn’t think of a better description myself.  

It’s not very often that I hear a new album that gives me the feeling it is exploring completely new territories by tearing down the limitations of existing styles and influences. Bridge Carols did exactly that. It got under my skin from the very first listen and felt like a mystery to be explored.

Marsen Jules – Yara (Remastered)

Marsen Jules’ (Martin Juhls, from Dortmund, Germany) “Yara” was originally released on Autoplate in 2004.
The (six) tracks were only available as MP3 downloads (in 192 kbps only!). And unfortunately disappeared completely in 2006 (together with the tracks from the preceding MP3 album “Lazy Sunday Funerals“) .
Marsen Jules continued to release more beautiful music on the City Centre Offices label, such as 2005’s Herbstlaub.

Lucky for us, the Oktaf label decided to re-releases both lost albums. They are now available as a physical CD as well as digital downloads (with better bitrates). The tracks are fully remastered and the Yara CD also contains two additional tracks: ‘Harfenklang’ (Harp Sounds) and the 15 minute long ‘Yara Variation‘.

Jana Winderen – Energy Field

Field Recordings  come in many varieties. From the documentary recordings, as true to nature as possible, to environmental soundscapes, using recorded sounds to create a completely new environment.

Presenting music by recording artists like Jacob Kirkegaard, Chris Watson and Jana WinderenTouch Music is definitely one of the finest labels in presenting this form of sound-art.

After releasing her beautiful (live) recording “Heated: Live in Japan” last year, Jana Winderen‘s “Energy Field” is her new full album on Touch.
More-than-full, actually, for  (on-line) buyers also receive a free download of Jana’s live performance on the Today’s Art festival in Den Haag, in 2009.

Olan Mill – Pine

Olan Mill is the name of the duo (Alex Smalley and Svitlana Samoylenko) presenting Pine, the long-awaited second release of the british Serein label.  

Serein started out as a net-label a few years ago. Following the succes of their Nest-release they reformed completely, and re-released their greatest succes as “Retold” – one of the most praised (re-)releases of 2009/2010. (BTW – the Serein website does not mention it, but most of their netlabel releases – including the original NEST EP – can still be found on archive.org.)

Following up a release like that is not an easy task. But Olan Mill lives up to the expectations, without simply ‘copying’ the Nest success formula.

Various Artists – Herfsttonen

As the musical part of the “Landtonen” festival in november 2009, “Herfsttonen(Autumn Sounds) celebrated the local district of “Okkenbroek“, near Deventer (in Holland).

This may sound as if it is interesting to local citizens only.
Not true! – That would mean the large part of the world would miss this great project!

The three compositions presented here are very different from each other, but they are linked by the theme, and by the environmental sounds of Okkenbroek. This album deserves to be heard out of the local context, too, because it is dedicated to preserving the kind of rural life that may disappear all too quickly.

Loscil – Endless Falls

In the last ten years, Scott “Loscil” Morgan has built himself quite a reputation in creating fascinating ambient music.
“Endless Falls” is the follow up to 2006′ “Plume” (not counting last year’s EP “Strathcona Variations”). 

The cover image immediately takes us to the main theme of this album: Rain.
Pictured through a bright glass window. Not too dark – fresh – welcome even, to settle down the dust.
That’s in fact a description of the atmosphere of the album,  too.

[Antonymes] – Beauty Becomes…


[antonymes] (Ian Hazeldine, UK) released his album, titled Beauty Becomes The Enemy of the Future” , in different formats.
Unfortunately, the special edition (a beautiful clothbound book with photographs and litho prints) was only released in a limited edition of 30 and quickly sold out!

If you want to see what you (and I) missed, you can still visit these Fluid Radio webpage, who made it album of the month. The special release package will surely have helped in this decision, but not the package alone. The music still makes the other two versions worth checking out!

The Black Dog – Music for Real Airports

Music for Real Airports

Music for *Real* Airports…” ?? Reading the liner notes, I guess another proposed title for this album could have been “*Real * Music for Airports” :

…a contemporary reply to Brian Eno’s work from the 70s.
“…a more accurate update to Eno’s work, and a to a degree, a riposte.”
“…Some members of The Black Dog were disappointed by Eno’s treatment of the subject in 1978 and have been considering how to produce a more meaningful response ever since.”

Wow…The Black Dog re-defining and upgrading the classic album that practically defined the ambient music genre???