Various Artists – Sleep Mode

Relaxed Machinery: it’s a brilliant name for a netlabel presenting “organic ambient and techno music from scratch with only the purest of ingredients”.

John Koch-Northrup, label curator/coördinator, prefers to call it an ‘artist collective’, with a different business model: the artists ‘self-release’ their album, all profit is theirs, but the collective opens up distribution channels that are normally quite difficult to reach for a DIY-release: such as digital distribution via all major channels (by CD Baby), and CDR distribution by Hypnos.

Visionary Hours – The Road to Basho

The Road to Basho cover

From the first bars of the opening track “Everyday is a Journey“, one could get the impression thatThe Road to Basho” might fit in perfectly with the post-romantic classical chamber music releases so popular nowadays. 

But after a while things start to sound a bit different: although the music sounds like it is created with acoustical instruments, the theme itself does not really seem to gets looped over and over again – until it’s as hypnotizing as Gavin Bryars’ “Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet” (or as a William Basinski recording without the tape deterioration).

In fact, the only way to know your player is not stuck on repeat, is by recognising the (slowly increasing) phasing effects in the background.

Dakota Suite & Emanuele Errante – The North Green Down

The deepest grief can often inspire the most impressive art. 

The albums of Dakota Suite are not the ones to celebrate the happier moments in life, as can be seen from their titles alone.
They commemorate sadness, loss, pain, fear and loneliness.
But the (mainly acoustic) instrumentation also always leaves room for hope, for acceptation of the way life is. 

Previous Dakota Suite releases have brought some timeless masterpieces, like “The End of Trying”  and its remix companion “The Night Keeps Coming in” (you can still stream the Folio Radio show compilation of these two albums).
Dakota Suite’s latest release “The North Green Down” may prove to be their most impressive work to date. But the foundations of this album is of heartbreaking sadness once again…

Pleq – Ballet Mechanic + Good Night 2

Ballet Mechanic

According to Pleq (Bartosz Dziadosz from Warsaw, Poland)Ballet Mechanic”  is “his most personal, abstract and intellectual work to date, never to be repeated.

Ballet Mechaniccontains six tracks, over 70 minutes in total, “inviting the listener to travel through crackle, screech, squeak, sizzle and subtle drones”. 

Some of the tracks have a natural feel, like if it was created from field recordings instead of electronic sources. Other tracks  sound like distant machines humming while doing their work. 
All kinds of subtle shifts are happening in the immersive sound spectrum, but you’ll only become aware if you submerge yourself in the sound. The overall atmosphere is very calm and relaxing.

Shinobu Nemoto – Melting Loop Trip

Melting Loop Trip

Melting Loop Trip” by Shinobu Nemoto (from Kanagawa, Japan), should not be missed by anyone enjoying long-form drone music. 

It is released as a handmade 4CDR release if you want a physical copy, but it can also be downloaded (for free!) from the Resting Bell netlabel.  

It’s a massive download including sixteen loops, each loop between six and thirteen minutes long, totalling over two-and-a-half hour of deep drone listening.

 A fairly extreme release in size ánd content.

Michel Banabila – The Latest Research…

Research - Cover

For those familiar with the work of Michel Banabila  (and if not: you may check this mix presenting a broad range of his work), his new album The Latest Research from the Department of Electrical Engineeringmay come as a noisy surprise.

Created entirely from electrical sound sources that are fiercely mixed and meant to play LOUD, this has nothing much to do with his gentle ‘world-ambient’ output. In his catalogue it is loosely connected to the two “Spherics” released, that also contained strictly electronic music. But it’s different in sound and in using thumping industrial beats.

Dustin O’Halloran – Lumiere

Lumiere Cover

By now, we can safely speak of a “school of composers”, creating neo-classical, romantic, sometimes melancholic chamber music (sometimes with some electronic elements too): people like Max Richter, Johann Johannsson, Sylvain Chauveau and the like.
Music that sounds like the soundtrack of a movie you want to see just because of the soundtrack…

Dustin O’Halloran  is no ‘newbie’ in the genre. He wrote the scores for Marie Antoinette (2006) and An American Affair (2010), and has released two “Piano Solos” albums on Bella Union.

With this new release Lumiere, Dustin O’Halloran definitely settles firmly between the masters of the genre!