Dasha Rush – Sleepstep

At first listen, her new album Sleepstep (subtitled ‘Sonar Poems for my Sleepless Friends’) does not sound like a ‘typical’ Raster-Noton release… maybe because her sonar poems are ‘feminine, subtle and personal reports’ – nothing like the usual concepts of electronic music created by nerdy, predominantly male tech-wizzards.

But as the album progresses, the musical soundscapes get more abstract and gradually prove Dasha’s perfectly at home on the Raster-Noton label.

Thomas Newman & Rick Cox – 35 Whirlpools Below Sound

Thomas Newman is the widely acclaimed composer of more than 50 film and television scores, earned no less than twelve Academy Award nominations and six Grammy Awards for an impressive list of movies that are not exactly of the lesser-known kind.
Just to name a few: American Beauty, The Shawshank Redemption, Finding Nemo, Wall-E, The Horse Whisperer, The People vs. Larry Flynt…

Rick Cox is a composer and multi-instrumentalist, explorer of ‘prepared electric guitar’ techniques, who has played with the likes of Ry Cooder, Jon Hassell, and is no stranger to creating film music himself…hence their connection.

Knowing this, I expected to hear some well crafted and slick ‘movie soundtrack music’.
But I was wrong!

Monty Adkins – Unfurling Streams

Monty Adkins he often chooses a single instrument to work with and then starts exploring its possibilities and manipulating its sounds.
And while the starting point and sounds are very different to begin with, he manages to create a ‘sound-field’ that is immediately recognisable.

“Unfurling Streams”, his recent release on Crónica, is based on recordings of percussion instruments made by Jonny Axelsson (a much praised percussionist with impressive experience in playing contemporary music by composers like Stockhausen, Ligeti and Kevin Volans) and Monty Adkins himself.

Piano Interrupted; Cassie/Kearley; Bill Seaman; Juxta Phona; Yamaoka

This “shortlist” is categorized under “Other Music” which means it’s only loosely related to what we call ‘ambient’.

Listen to reconstructions of Piano Interrupted‘s “Unified Fields”, your Inner Voicings with Dan Kearley and Daryn Cassie; intensely touching music from Bill Seaman; a playful Juxta Phona (which turns out to be Jason Corder) – to finally immerse yourself in the rhythmic patterns of Yamaoka

Biosphere & Deathprod – Stator

Seventeen years – and quite a lot of releases – after “Nordheim Transformed”, Geir Jenssen and Helge Sten return to the split-album formula to release “Stator“, built on the same principles: each delivering individual tracks (three by Biosphere, and four by Deathprod).

In the history of ambient electronic music both Biosphere and Deathprod have gained legendary status. “Stator” shows why.

Michel Banabila & Oene van Geel – Music for Viola and Electronics

After they met when working together on Cloud Ensemble, Michel Banabila and Oene van Geel extended their collaboration which resulted in 2014’s “Music for Viola and Electronics”.

Both were so very enthusiastic about the new musical world that they had opened up, that they kept working on “Music for Viola and Electronics II”, which is released this month.

Judging by the (strikingly beautiful!) aerial landscape photography by Gerco de Ruijer on the cover, their collaboration will probably not end here: the crop of the (geometric) landscape on the Volume I cover photo is only partially harvested – by hand, line by line… a difficult, strenuous, but most rewarding work.

Machinefabriek/Rutger Zuydervelt: 3+1

Judged by his output alone, Rutger “Machinefabriek” Zuydervelt must be the ‘hardest working man in electronic showbusiness’.

This is a pick from the latest batch… but chances are that by the time you finished reading this post and listening to the samples his website will already have announced some newer releases…

Next to the recent albums “The Measures Taken”, “Sneeuwstorm” and “Loos”, you’ll also find a beautiful video registration of the Halfslaap performance with the Fox String Quartet at the recent 24 Hour Drone Fest at the LeGuessWho Festival in Utrecht last year.