Various Artists – "Hidden Landscapes"

Hidden Landscapes

The Audio Gourmet netlabel, run by Harry Towell – a.k.a.Spheruleus- quickly became one of the major netlabels on the ambient music scene.  At time of writing, their impressive catalogue presents about 30 releases, most of them E.P.’s, around 15 minutes long, and thus created to fit your daily coffee/tea break perfectly. 

Though Audio Gourmet have a clear policy about what they want and what they don’t want (no beats!), the musical horizon broadens with every release. For example, the forthcoming release by Paper Relics  (Harry and Stuart Towell), ‘Recovered Artefact’would be better described as ‘improv folk guitar’ than ambient music.

Trevonic – No Red Lights, No Red Lights

Since 2005, the Polish label AudioTong has been building a remarkable catalogue of “so-called experimental music and sound-art….Music outside of the “mainstream” (especially from outside of the mainstream in the underground)”. 
Note the last part of this quote!

For those that feel that there is too much “sameness” in ambient music recently, the recent AutioTong release by Trevonic, No Red Light, No Red Light  maybe a welcome change.

Various Artists – Underwater Noises

Apart from creating his own fascinating music (like the beautiful Poor Henriette Marie’  EP, released on Hibernate), Nigel Samways also runs the Ephre Imprint label, releasing electro-acoustic drone, ambient and experimental music. 

Underwater Noises is Ephre Imprint‘s latest compilation, a joint release with the Lost Children netlabel:

“The theme running through all tracks of this work is ‘water’ (and its numerous concerns risen around the globe). Each artist was prompted to submit a track inspired somehow by the notion of water, according to their individual angle. The upshot is a multilayered work, giving voice to the umpteen facets of a theme which has always created a particularly deep and serious attraction for musicians working in the drone/ambient scene.”

At the first glance on the tracklist of this compilation I knew that there was a complete new world for me to discover, since all of the artists included were unknown to me…!

Danny Saul – Kinison-Goldthwait

Kinison - Goldthwait

The cover image and title of Kinison – Goldthwait may raise some questions, especially for those not living in America. From the website notes, we learn that “Saul is taking some form of inspiration from the well documented public feud between the American stand up comedians Sam Kinison (foul mouthed ranter), and Bobcat Goldthwait (Zed from the Police Academy films). The dispute (supposedly over who stole whose act) came to a head on U.S. ‘shock-jock’ Howard Stern’s radio show, when a boozy sounding Kinison called up Goldthwait live on air, leading to a rather fiery showdown.”

From what I read and heard about this incident, to me this just sounds like a pitiful, embarrasing moment of horrible, (so-called) shock-radio. So it’s fascinating to find that this particular incident is the source of inspiration of this new Danny Saul album.
As Saul says about this: “The track titles may provide something of an ‘ambiguous narrative’ which the listener can take or leave.”

On second thought, there is a remarkable resemblance between this album and the radio incident it was inspired by.

Wil Bolton – Time Lapse

Time Lapseis the first album released under his own name, but Wil Bolton is no stranger to music.
Since 2004, he has been recording as Cheju, but a he also created quite a lot of fascinating site-specific works.
Some beautiful examples can he heard on Bolton’s website (I strongly suggest you take your time to listen to all sound samples provided there!)

Although “Time Lapse is labeled as Bolton’s debut release, every single track (of which there are nine) demonstrates his experience in music and sound design. 
And the power of restraint.

Mystified – A Pale But Lasting Hope

Mystified - APBLH

Mystified is Thomas Park, a classically trained musician originally playing trombone and piano. From 2002 he started releasing electronic ambient music after working together with Robin Storey (Rapoon) and Nigel Ayers (Nocturnal Emissions). 

His discography is quite impressive (nine separate pages on Discogs!), and although his music is mostly categorized as atmospheric ambient/drone music, you’ll also find more industrial sounds and noise among these titles. 

“A Pale But Lasting Hope” is one of Mystified’s latest releases. A diverse 5-track album mastered by the renowned Robert Rich.

Mendel Kaelen – Remembering What Was Forgotten

Mendel Kaelen RWWF

The first minutes of Mendel Kaelen‘s “Remembering What Was Forgotten”  are perfectly in line with its cover image: building from silence, slowly out of nothing, but gradually becoming clearer, crescending into an immersive and overwhelming wave of sound… before fading back to eternal rest.

The near 70 minutes of this album seem to breathe an immersive calm, the sound of nature’s inevitability…maybe also the sound of ‘Satori, a Buddhist term for ” a flash of sudden awareness, or individual enlightenment”.

Acrifolia – Lament

Acrifolia Cover

Lament is the first full CD release by Acrifolia: a duo formed by Martin Corral and Duncan Meadows (the latter also joined Marconi Union in 2010)

There’s not very much information about this duo, apart from the fact that both are using “acoustic and electronic recording techniques to produce an ambient sound world in which traditional instrumentation combines with contemporary soundscapes.”

In fact that sums up Lament perfectly well, too.

Kyle Bobby Dunn – Pour Les Octaves

pour les octaves

Personally, I’m not particular fond of analog storage media. In fact I’m glad we could leave these behind us and go digital.

But since digital music seems to be available anytime, anyplace and anywhere, there’s a counter-trend of releasing music in a storage format that can not be easily copied – and thus appeals to collectors especially. 
Part of me can understand that when I hold an oldfashioned vinyl album cover, but I cannot really understand why anyone would prefer to release his music on audiocassette only. 
Still, there are quite some cassettelabels releasing music nowadays. 

One of these is Peasant Magik, that recently released a 30 minute (C30) two track casette by Kyle Bobby Dunn, called Pour les Octaves.