Antonymes – There Can Be No True Beauty Without Decay

To celebrate its 50th release since 2009, Hibernate Records could hardly have chosen any better release than Antonymes “There Can Be No True Beauty Without Decay”.

Not only because Ian ‘Antonymes’ Hazeldine’s music seems to represent all the things the label stands for (“both abstract and melodic but always with a hint of melancholy.”), but also because the inspiration for this album came from his debut album “Beauty Becomes the Enemy of the Future”, which was originally released in the same year, 2009.

Piano Interrupted – The Unified Field

The collision of different backgrounds can sometimes yield amazing results.
As Piano Interrupted impressively demonstrates with their new album The Unified Field.

Tom Hodge (UK) and Franz Kirmann (France) are not only from different countries, but also come from different musical worlds: Tom being a classical and minimalist composer, Franz coming from the world of electronica, pop and techno.
Combining such different backgrounds has of course been done before. Many tried, some succeeded, many failed.
But not often the result was as sparkling and refreshingly original like this.

The Necks – Open


Open

The ambient tree has many branches. In fact it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what “ambient” music is. This has raised many discussions, as the music called ‘ambient’ ranges from strict and almost unchanging drones to techno beats one can even dance to.

As the genre evolves, some borders are crossed. “Ambient” music can sometimes involve introspective (and sometimes psychedelic) folk music, massive guitar chord walls… or even jazz.
Most of the times, ambient music also involves electronic sounds or processing acoustic sounds.
But not always: sometimes ambient music is created strictly using acoustic instruments.
Enter The Necks with their latest album called Open“.

Digitalsimplyworld; Ashes of Piemonte; Sam Genovese; Orphax; Eren Silence

In the Shortlist sections, I will mention the albums that I enjoyed listening to, but couldn’t find the time (or the right words) for a “full” review for.
Still, I definitely think they deserve your attention, with or without extra words!

Digitalsimplyworld

DIGITALSIMPLYWORLD – TOUT DEVIENT LA MUSIQUE
[FREE Download]
“Tout Devient La Musique” (“Everything is Music”) offers 81 minutes of highly varied soundscapes “reaching to the ends of classical electronic music, where everything becomes different.”.

Bjarni Gunnarsson – Processes and Potentials

Over three years since the release of his impressing debut album Safn 2006-2009 (which collected some of his earlier solo work), Bjarni Gunnarsson (from Reykjavik, also known as one half of Einóma) presents the second full album release under his own name.

The beautiful package of ‘Processes & Potentials contains 7 colorful inlays, one for the cover and one for each of the six different tracks of this album.

Just like he did on ‘Safn’, Bjarni chooses his musical position wilfully, creating soundscapes that are remarkably different from most in current ambient/electronic music.

Aaron Martin + Christoph Berg – Day Has Ended

With only a few releases, the relatively new Moscow-based label Dronarivm found its status as one of contemporary ambient music’s most important labels.

With the release of Day Has Ended“, with Aaron Martin and Christoph Berg contributing four tracks each, that status is definitely confirmed – if not enhanced.

Banabila & Machinefabriek – Travelog


Travelog

It took some time before Michel Banabila and Machinefabriek, both living in Rotterdam, finally met and started working together. But after the release of their first album, they soon decided there would be more like that.
Not just because their first CD was very well received critically, but also (probably even more) because their collaboration was so fruitful that the new ideas started to roll in soon, and simply begged to be continued.

So now, some 9 months after its predecessor, Travelog is presented.

The Seaman and the Tattered Sail – Light Folds


Light Folds

“Why wait 25 years to release a Special DeLuxe Anniversary Edition when you can release such an edition right away?”

Something like that must’ve been the thought of the people at Fluid Audio/Fac-Ture when they were planning this incredibly voluptuous Light Folds release by The Seaman and the Tattered Sail (Craig Tattersall and Bill Seaman).

In these times of ongoing discussions about the decline of the music industry’s physical distribution, it seems like a daring adventure (and a somewhat ironic provocative statement) to release a single package containing:

  • 2 clear (see-through) heavyweight vinyl albums in gatefold covers
  • 2 CD’s
  • 1 Audio DVD (together with CD’s in a six panel cover)
  • Two 12″ prints, 4 A6 prints, and an A2 poster

… All in twelve different design varations…

When I first read about this release, I assumed that there were various configurations of the original material to be chosen from: Vinyl, or CD, or DVD, or Digital download…
But that was not as it was intended: the artists decided it was to be released the way it is: as one single package – meaning this package contains more than eleven hours of their music scattered over all these different kind of physical media.

Stray Theories; Rudi Arapahoe; Lucy Claire; Milkweed Assassin Bug; Jeremiah Pena

In the Shortlist sections, I will mention the albums that I enjoyed listening to, but couldn’t find the time (or the right words) for a “full” review for. 
Still, I definitely think they deserve your attention, with or without extra words! 


Stray Theories

STRAY THEORIESTHOSE WHO REMAIN
With his latest release Stray Theories (Micah Templeton-Wolfe) adds another level of refinement to his already impressive (and independently produced) discography.
Micah is a master of widely cinematic arrangements and melancholic compositions, seemingly evolving out of nothing into a melodic hook that sticks with you for a long time.

Sebastian Plano – Impetus


Impetus

IMPETUS is Sebastian Plano’s second full album release, the follow-up to his 2011 debut album Arrhythmical Parts of the Heart (which gets a well-deserved re-release for this special occasion, by the way).

Plano’s compositions are somewhat in line with a lot of contemporary ‘post-classical’ composers (like Ólafur Arnalds, Max Richter and Nils Frahm) and will definitely appeal to the same audience. I say ‘somewhat’, because there are some notable difference too.

Ken Camden; Sense; Purejunk; Seabat; 70 Years of Sunshine

‘Electronic music’ sound design is often searching for ‘new’ and (if possible) previously unheard sounds.
But others prefer to look back – back to the time when electronic music was a new frontier to be crossed, the time when the sounds of (analog) electronic music was automatically related to space travel.
Here’s a roundup of some new retro sounds.

KEN CAMDEN – SPACE MIRROR
On this second release for the Kranky label, Ken Camden “allows the listener to be suspended in a gravity free environment”.
You may not immediately recognise it, but his ‘vessel of choice’ is the guitar, electronically modified into pulsating loops and sequences that “could be a soundtrack to an epic 60’s science-fiction film, or a long forgotten grade school educational film strip explaining how humans would be living on Mars early in the 21st century”.
“Back to the Future” is simply the most appropriate description here!


Ken Camden – Antares


Bruce Gilbert & BAW – Enrico Coniglio – Chris Watson – Felix Gebhard

Field recordings are often an important part of ‘ambient’ recordings. But there are many variations: from heavily processed, almost unrecognisable sounds to strictly natural representation – and everything inbetween.
Some impressive examples: 


Diluvial

BRUCE GILBERT AND DAW – DILUVIAL(*)
(*) – Release date: sept 2 – link will be replaced when available
With the basic material including field recordings from beaches in Suffolk and London (recorded by Naomi Siderfin, half of Beaconsfield ArtWorks), “Diluvial” originates from “local preoccupation with rising sea levels – a work that dwells on the dynamics of flood geology and global warming; creation stories and climate change”.
The basic material may consist of field recording of natural sounds, but the synthesized sounds generated by Bruce Gilbert (founding member of art-punk band Wire and experimental music researcher since 2004) and David Crawforth (the other half of BAW) in response to those recording take it to a completely different electroacoustic level.