Machinefabriek & Jan Kleefstra – Piiptsjilling

Piiptsjilling

Just mentioning Rutger “Machinefabriek” Zuydervelt’s releases could fill a blog on its own. In the high quantity of releases he’s able to maintain a very high quality standard, making it hard to pinpoint highlights in the continuous stream of new releases.
But there’s no doubt ‘Piiptsjilling’ belongs in the ‘Best of Machinefabriek’ list!

Piiptsjilling, by the way, is the name of a bird:Wintertaling, or Teal (Anas Crecca), in the Frysk language spoken in Friesland, northern Netherlands.

Lull – Like a Slow River

Lull - Slike a Slow River

It is hard to imagine that there’s a direct link between Napalm Death and extreme ‘isolationist’ ambient. But there is, and ex-Napalm Death drummer Mick (MJ) Harris is the linking pin.

As Scorn he has created post-industrial dub (working with Bill Laswell, among others), and as Lull  he has createst some of the deepest, abstract ambient imaginable.

Variations in a Constant Drone

Constant Mix 

One definition of ‘drone’ music might be: ‘finding the least thing necessary for pleasurable listening’.
Although it’s not it’s not a very good definition (because of the ‘pleasurable’ which may prove to be a bit ehh…subjective. And what’s a “thing”?), it fits the purpose for describing the intention of ‘drone music’. 

“Constant” is the well-chosen title of the drone Mystified (Thomas Park) originally ‘found’, and which he thought impressive enough to listen to it constantly. It has the basic soothing drone quality of distant humming machines…reassuring and comforting sounds to listen to, to ignore, or to help disguise other, unwanted sounds from your environment.

Matthew Florianz – Maalbeek

maalbeek

In an interesting article about ‘web 2.0 fan-based fundraising’, Kevin Kelly (founding editor of Wire Magazine) states that any artists only needs “1000 True Fans” to make a living out of music.
“A ‘True Fan’ is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.”

Bersarin Quartett

bersarin quartett

The Bersarin Quartett is a bit hard to classify. If a subgenre called ‘lounge ambient’ (not to be shortcutted to ‘lambient’, please) existed, the Bersarin Quartett would be one of the first to fit in. Or maybe even define it. 
The Bersarin Quartett is not a quartet at all, as you might’ve expected: it’s just “Thomas”.  Thomas “Bersarin’s” music can best be described floating somewhere between Biosphere’s ‘Shenzou’ and Cinematic Orchestra without vocals.
‘Cinematic’ this sure is: string orchestra samples are used to full effect. It’s a widescreen soundtrack to non-existent films.
And it’s full of mixed emotions….

Jasper TX – This Quiet Season

Jasper TX

“This Quiet Season” is aptly titled for a release on Slaapwel Records (Sleep Well). Slaapwel is a small DIY label from Belgium that focuses on ‘music to fall asleep to’ and releases it in limited amounts (because the packages are handmade). 
While the releases on this label all have a recognizable package format, each release gets a handmade cover that perfectly fits the musical content.

Jasper TX (named after a city located in Texas) is also knows as Dag Rosenqvist from Sweden. Apart from earlier releases under this name,  he also released titles together with Rutger Zuyderveld (Machinefabriek) such as Vintermusik and Feberdröm.

Entia Non – Sub Routine

Entia Non - sub Routine

I can’t remember how I found the Resting Bell netlabel website – must have been on someone else’s weblog. The website layout looked promising enough, so I downloaded some of the albums available.
Starting, of course, with the latest release: Entia Non’s Sub routine.
The quality of the music of this album is impressive. Created by Australian artist James McDougall, it bears many references yet still maintains a completely personal sound.
It’s Entia Non’s first release on Resting Bell, after releasing other titles on U-Cover and Test Tube.

Wouter van Veldhoven – Ruststukken

RustStukken

Wouter van Veldhoven ‘s Ruststukken is recently released on the new Belgian label ‘Slaapwel’.

Slaapwel means Sleep well.; Label owner Wim Maesschalck tells us:
“I set out, looking for people that would be good at making mind-soothing songs. I ask them to write a sleep-inducing record, I listen to it, and when I fail to reach the end because I fell asleep, I release it as a musical record with whatever means are available to me.”
Well that’s a heart-warming concept to me!

Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent

Bloom. Huge. Allure. The Explanation. The Discussion. An Answer.
This is quite a special case (literally!).

Carefully scheduled in the last three years, Fovea Hex released three EP’s, each containing three songs, with a bonus cd containing remixes/reworks by The Hafler Trio (H30) for every initial release.
Concluding this series, in 2007, a beautiful box is released (as could be expected) containing all 3 EP’s and, if you want it all, also including the bonus cd’s.

Robert Fripp & Brian Eno – Beyond Even (1992 – 2006)

Fripp & Eno

There have been quite a few mediocre (‘fans only’) releases by Brian Eno in the last couple of years. The 2004 collaboration with Robert Fripp was a remarkable exception, and so is their collaboration sketches overview “Beyond Even (1996 – 2006)”.
I call this a ‘sketches overview’ because  it feels like that: a collection of works that sound like good yet unfinished ideas. Which does not mean they sound like second hand outtakes that should not have been released. Most of these tracks are very beautiful indeed, and do deserve a life on their own. However some of this tracks still feel a bit outdated, even a bit mushy sometimes.

Murcof – Cosmos

Cosmos

2005’s Remembranza was a remarkable release, partly because the warm organic sound that made the music feel quite different. Cosmos has the same sound detail, but it sounds less melancholic and more dark and threatening.
Of course, with a theme and title like this it’s no wonder it sounds like some retro-futuristic science-fiction movie soundtrack. Murcof sets himself a high standard, partly referring to to the great modern composers such as Pärt and Ligeti. The heavy crescendo’s will not appeal to everyone I guess: this is NOT ‘drone’ ambient – No chance to softly dream away.
Still, he’s living up to his reputation easily, settling himself firmly between the great artists of this genre.

BTW – Murcof will be headlining the Interzone Ambient Festival in Utrecht on September, 26.

Sleep Research Facility – Deep Frieze

Deep Frieze

Sleep Research Facility should be credited for one of the best names in ambient music. Apart from that, Kevin Doherty was also responsible for the Nostromo release a few years ago. Nostromo was based on the first minutes of sound from the first Alien movie (Nostromo was the name of the spaceship) (*), and the music was as deep as outer space. (By the way: you cannot find this release anymore by now, but Cold Spring Records has announced a re-release later this year).