Benjamin Dauer – Burning of Wine

Although Burning of Wine” is presented as Benjamin Dauers debut album, it is clear from the very first notes that this is not the first music he created.  
The tracks are extremely well-balanced, and created with a restraint that shows Benjamin’s musical maturity. 

From the very first play I realised that this album would be among my favourite ambient music releases this year!

And here is another pleasant surprise: this album can be downloaded for free from the Distance Recordings netlabel website.

Celer – Engaged Touches

Celer’s Engaged Touches’ was the second release on the Home Normal label in 2009 – which in fact sold out before it even went on sale. 
This fact alone justifies this (1000 edition) re-release.

The somewhat misleading cover photo may trick an unsuspecting passenger into thinking this is a new Konono No. 1 or Staff Benda Bilili release (though on second view the image isn’t even remotely african) – but the music tells quite a different story.

“…an absorbing combination of classic ambient, minimalism, and – perhaps as the most distinct characteristic – overwhelming romanticism. Longing, melancholy, nostalgia, and the like seem to be recurring themes in Will and Dani’s works.”
(original liner notes)

Joe Evans + Craig Burston – Systems out of Chance

Ambient/Electronic albums with an added DVD have my extra attention, especially when the DVD includes surround version of the music. 

In this respect, Systems Out of Chance is a feast for the senses, because it not only contains fascinating music on CD, but also a beautifully constructed “three way dialogue between text, image and sound” (as Sam Gatherole, art writer, described it) on DVD.
Including a surround mix on the DVD! 

The Systems Out of Chance exposition was presented at the Parfitt Gallery in Croydon in march, 2010, as a result of a collaboration between Joe Evans (sound) and Craig Burston (images). 
“Six speakers and three portrait monitors were synched to create an immersive audio-visual triptych born out of a shared love of systems, chaos and the everyday’

Slow Dancing Society – Under the Sodium Lights

Slow Dancing Society is Washington based musician Drew Sullivan.
Under the Sodium Lightsis his fourth full album release for the Australian label Hidden Shoal Recordings.

Though the music on “Under the Sodium Light” can definitely be “filed under ambient”, it also has a ‘pop music’/’post-rock’ feel that may also appeal to listeners outside the ambient genre.

Matthew Florianz – Koude Handen

Koude Handen

Along with two other (dutch!) musicians Machinefabriek and Michel Banabila, Matthew Florianz is one of the three “all time favourite artists” in my profile.
This obviously means I was eagerly awaiting the release of Matthew’s new album “Koude Handen” (“Cold Hands”), his follow up to 2008’s Maalbeek

“Koude Handen” is presented as a free download from Matthew’s website – available as high bitrate MP3 or even as 24 bit FLAC (which, mind you, is even a better bitrate than standard CD can provide!). The album page also offers the complete artwork, as well as some beautiful promo videos.
And, to celebrate the release of this new album, Matthew also offers his previous release “Maalbeek” as a free download!

Solo Andata – Ritual

Although their debut “Fyris Swan” was released in 2006, Solo Andata gained the recognition they deserved with the release of the Solo Andata” album on the 12k label in 2009.

The fact that their work was mastered by Taylor Deupree and Giuseppe Ielasi – household names in the world of ambient / electronic music – will probably have helped to attract the attention, but the music created by Kane Ikin and Paul Fiocco in itself was (is) impressing enough to immediately classify Solo Andata as ‘classic material’ of ambient soundscapes. 

Their new album, “Ritual” is the debut release of a brand new label: Desire Path Recordings.
And what a debut it is to start a new label with!

Minamo & Lawrence English: A Path Less Travelled

Together with the recent release of Rafael Anton Irisarri  another recent Room40 release came to my attention: “A Path Less Travelled by Minamo and Lawrence English.

An album very well titled, since the five sonic electro-acoustic pieces on this album are indeed uncovering some musical ‘paths less travelled’