Ambientblog https://www.ambientblog.net/blog ... as ignorable as it is interesting ... Fri, 19 Jul 2019 18:00:48 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/emblemmatic-ambientblog-logo-127-50x50.png Ambientblog https://www.ambientblog.net/blog 32 32 76500155 Past Inside The Present https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-07-18/pitp/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-07-18/pitp/#comments Thu, 18 Jul 2019 18:06:41 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13360

The Past Inside The Present label presents"exclusive & previously unreleased tracks by prominent artists from across the globe."

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Past Inside The Present (or PITP in short) is a relatively young American label (their first release was from December 2018) focusing on ambient, ethereal soundscapes and minimal music. Their output in the first year was quite productive: 30(+) titles in seven months!
Not all of there were full albums, by the way: among the releases are also shorter EP’s – recognisable from their uniform label style cover layout.
The label intends to present “exclusive & previously unreleased tracks by prominent artists from across the globe.”
Remember: below is only a short introduction to what the label has to offer. There’s much more where that came from!

Portraits of Past

VARIOUS ARTISTS – PORTRAITS OF PAST VOL. I

The easiest way to get introduced to this label is to start with this compilation presenting exclusive tracks that were contributed in winter/spring of 2019. But bear in mind that this compilation was released in April 2019, when the label was only five months young. There were quite a few releases after that, but that is of course why it is called Volume I.
Among the relatively unknown artists like Hilyard, Naal, Warmth, 扎克 (Zakè, also label owner), Erinome, Warmth, Dawn Chorus and the Infallible Sea, Jack Hyde and Lauver are also more familiar names like Gallery Six and – most notably – Ian Hawgood.
This compilation shows that PITP will open up a few doors into unknown ambient territory!
The music is what I usually call ‘classic’ ambient warm, stretched, unhurried and droney. A great introduction to a label worth checking out!


Orchestral Tape Studies

ZÃKÈ (扎克) ORCHESTRAL TAPE STUDIES

The name is a bit of a puzzle: 扎克 translates to Zãkè but is in fact the alias of Zach Frizell, ambient artists, sound sculptor and also founder of the PITP label. There are a few more of his own releases on the label (of which S/T was mentioned earlier on this blog); Orchestral Tape Studies is the latest in this series. And perhaps slightly different from the others in regard to the sound.

As can be expected from the title, this (32 minute) album contains four tracks built from repeating orchestral loops, “paying homage to minimalist symphonic composers and orchestras”. Though the loops seem to repeat almost unaltered, they do so in such a natural way that they become engaging and hypnotizing. Think William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops, but without the deterioration. Instead, the orchestral loops are enriched by subtly incorporating field recordings and faint drone billows.
The result, ‘intended for low-volume listening’, is utterly relaxing – one to play on constant repeat.

The proceeds of this album are donated to the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, to support their youth and family program “developing life skills through the rehearsal and performance of music […] to engage youth in activities that discourage at-risk behaviors and keep them committed to staying in school.”

Orchestral Tape Studies is available as a digital download and on CD, but – of course – also as a (limited edition) cassette.


Wind Colors

GALLERY SIX – WIND COLORS

Wind Colors, by Gallery Six (Hidekazu Imashige, from Hiroshima, Japan) is PITP’s most recent release at the time of writing. It is a six-track (32-minute) collection of “blissful ambience saturated with field recordings”: Imashige calls them ‘landscape sound paintings’.

There’s a contrast between the soft atmosphere of the music and the industrial cover art design resembling a tape reel cover. The link between the two is the feeling of nostalgia:
“Wind Colors is a very nostalgic-inducing record. The music makes me think of old recorded tapes of family and friends enjoying themselves: smiling, laughing and being carefree.”

Gallery Six, by the way, boasts an impressive back-catalogue. He started out as a drummer but turned to creating ambient music in 2008 – mixing drone sounds with field recordings. Discogs mentions more than 33 (full) albums on his name; most of them self-released but also on Shimmering Moods, Lagerstatte and other labels. And if you really want to go all the way: check his Bandcamp page with more that 80 different titles. But to avoid being overwhelmed, just begin with checking out this PITP release.


Maryam Sirvan

MARYAM SIRVAN – SONGS OF AN EMPTY ROOM

Maryam Sirvan is an Iranian sound artist currently based in Tbilisi (Georgia). Songs Of An Empty Room is her second album, following 2018’s Untamed Terror. I don’t know that first album, but by the sound of its title I assume it’s not an easy listen. For her second album, she describes her sound as ‘a static inner journey into infinity, a story of a secluded room on a dull, grey summer evening’.

Sirvan‘s sound sculptures on this album can still somewhat be described as ‘noise’, but they are not of the violent, physical kind. They are restrained and fully controlled, exploring “sonic territories employing limited acoustic sources: electric guitar and voice. [The album] offers textural structures using digital manipulation and sampling, creating personal atmospheres and soundscapes.”

On the five relatively long tracks on this album (one hour in total), Maryam Sirvan fills the room (whether empty or not) with fascinating sound structures that get their extra dimension bouncing off the walls. If no room is available, just listen on headphones so your head may function as an empty room.


Warmth

WARMTH – PARALLEL INFLECTION

Parallel was originally released in 2018 on the Archives label, run by Agustín Mena (Warmth). Parallel Inflection (note the ‘l’) features ‘condensed compositions’ – meaning they have been brought down to shorter versions. Apart from that, there are also two added previously unreleased tracks: Concave (rework) and Parallel (rework).
I can’t tell whether the tracks gain strength in their shorter versions, because I do not know the originals. But what I dó know is that the tracks radiate warmth (I know that’s too easy, but that’s what they do) in the best ‘ambient’ way – probably helped by the mastering skills of Taylor Deupree.
Pure ambient music


Distant Spirals

HILYARD – DISTANT | SPIRALS

Apart from the may full album releases, PITP also features a series of ‘EP’ releases, most of them presenting two (relatively short) tracks. These releases are easily recognisable by their uniform cover layout. This one by Hilyard, for example, is only one of the 12 released in this MMXIX Digital Series until now.

(Bryan) Hilyard presents two tracks: Distant (06:44) and Spirals (08:56) of guitar drone improvisations “that were captured during late night sound design sessions in spring 2019.”
Perfect late-night listening, and a great introduction to the music of Hilyard as well as to the PITP label.

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DreamScenes – July 2019 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-07-14/dreamscenes-july-2019/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-07-14/dreamscenes-july-2019/#respond Sun, 14 Jul 2019 18:00:00 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13666

DreamScenes for July 2019: "Water Be My Road Now"

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Water Be My Road Now

the Dwindlers

 

Tracklist:

  • 00:00 DreamScenes – Intro (Susanna)
  • 00:41 Matthew Florianz – Capsule
    Mass Object, 2019, Self-Released
  • 04:19 The Dwindlers – Water Be My Road Now
    Beautiful Unfamiliar, 2019, self-released
  • 09:40 Ryuichi Sakamoto – This Is My Last Day
    Black Mirror: Smithereens OST, 2019, Milan
  • 10:29 Harnes Kretzer – 0Bligati0
    Horror Vacui, 2019, Unperceived Records
  • 14:58 Homin Lviv Municipal Choir – Vichnaya Pamyat
    Chernobyl OST, 2019, Deutsche Grammophon (vinyl release sept. 6)
  • 18:48 扎克 (zakè) – 000820001 OTS2 (edit)
    Orchestral Tape Studies, 2019, Past Inside The Present
  • 21:20 Jan Bang, Eivind Aarset, Samuel Rohrer, Erik Honoré- Mordechai (A Prophecy)
    Dark Star Safari, 2019, Arjunamusic
  • 25:15 Shasta Cults – Sine Waves With Subtle Phase
    Partials Vol. 2, 2019, Frequency Domain
  • 28:16 Tapani Rinne – Installation
    Radioton, 2019, Aani Records
  • 34:39 Wimme & Rinne – Elle (feat. Elle Sofe Henriksen)
    Human, 2017, Rockadillo Records
  • 37:44 Solo Collective – By The Tower, At Nightfall
    Part Two, 2019, Nonostar Records
  • 40:44 Multicast Dynamics – Observation Deck
    Lost World, 2019, Denovali
  • 44:54 Andrew Tasselmyer – From Out Of The Depths
    Surface Textures, 2019, Eilean Records
  • 49:01 Stavros Gasparatos – Aftermath
    Rage Park, 2019, Inner Ear
  • 53:47 Peter Edwards Ambient – Access Interlude
    Temporal.Divergence, 2018, self-released
  • 55:30 Matthew Florianz – Contour Mapping
    Mass Object, 2019, Self-Released
  • 57:48 Matthew Florianz – Capsule (fragment)
    Mass Object, 2019, Self-Released
  • 58:57 DreamScenes – Outro (Dean Hurley)

Play this edition on-demand from the Concertzender website.
OR:
stream it from Mixcloud:

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Purl & Protou * Sinius https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-07-10/purlprotou-sinius/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-07-10/purlprotou-sinius/#respond Wed, 10 Jul 2019 18:26:01 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13434

Purl and Protou create an immersive journey for dreamy minds *** Sinius documents the inter-dimensional interference he experienced.

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Sub Life

PURL & PROTOU – SUB LIFE Also on Spotify

Not many details are revealed in the album liner notes: the artists ‘conduct an emotional exploration of the natural world’, drawing energy ‘from primal forces constantly moving, around us and within us.’
And that the album contains ‘lush field recordings combined with human voices and instruments evolve into an immersive journey for dreamy minds’.
There – that’s all the information there is. No further information about the artists: Purl one of the many aliases of Ludvig Cimbrelius who released more than 25 albums since 2011 and ProtoU the dark ambient alter ego of classically trained violinist and choir vocalist Sasha Puzan from Kiev.

It’s true: more information than the short description is not needed: the music is what we’ve come to expect from the Dronarivm quality label. The five long tracks on this 59-minute album are very dreamy indeed, not necessarily ‘dark’ ambient by the way, but not exactly ‘new age’ either. It’s the kind of immersive ambient soundscapes that makes you feel like walking through unknown and spoilt landscapes. Just like it says in the album description…


Sinius

SINIUS – INTER-DIMENSIONAL INTERFERENCE Also on Spotify

I hadn’t heard of Sinius before, but when browsing around to find out more I noticed that he also released quite some work, a collaboration with Purl called Ocean Of Sound in 2016 among those. What a nice coincidence…

The album title and the cover image somewhat reminded me of the unsettling closing scenes of Kubrick’s 2001 (the inter-dimensional bedroom). This may not be a big surprise since British-Indian composer Daljit Kundi is also working as a film composer, apart from his work experimenting with signal processing and recording electronic voice phenomena (EVP) in abandoned locations (‘and beyond’).

After a personal and deeply emotional experience with ‘the dark forces that are everywhere in the periphery of our lives’ (which he describes in full detail on his Discogs profile page) he tries to capture the sounds that resemble this past experience in which he sees proof that ‘there’s an energy field within the realms of earth and heaven’.

And he does so quite effectively if you ask me! With its 1 hour and 43 minutes of playing time, Inter-Dimensional Interference definitely allows you to explore various dimensions!

“The sense of perception is through the realms of the subconsciousness, a deep well-hole within the mind that resonates with the unknown, revealing its source of energy into the stream of consciousness.” ​ 

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Radical Candor (Mix) https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-07-02/radical-candor-mix/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-07-02/radical-candor-mix/#comments Tue, 02 Jul 2019 18:30:20 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13558

The mix title, Radical Candor, comes from the (management) philosophy that argues that feedback (on behaviour) is most effective if it is 'challenging' but at the same time shows that you 'care'.
I felt there was a resemblance: the mix is 'caring' at times but can also be quite 'challenging' to the listener. At least, that was my intention. Now you decide.

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A word of warning first. This is not an ambient mix intended to relax or create a calm atmosphere. Also, it is not a showcase with full album tracks (you may want to check the DreamScenes editions for those).
It is a ‘create-your-own-movie’ soundtrack with some rather intense climaxes.
And 42 track fragments in less than one hour – almost none of those in full length: all tracks are cut-up, fragmented, edited, layered and re-assembled (but never altered sonically) – like creating a collage from torn pictures.
This also means that none of the parts represents the artists’ original intention (I hope they still can appreciate what I do here). For further exploration, the release details of the fragments are provided so you can check out the original full versions and support the artist wherever possible.

Radical Candor - mix sequence
Radical Candor – Mix sequence

The mix title, Radical Candor, comes from the (management) philosophy described by former Google and Apple executive Kim Scott. In short, it argues that feedback (on behaviour) is most effective if it is challenging but at the same time shows that you care.
A music collage is anything but a management philosophy of course. But still I felt there was a resemblance: the mix is ‘caring’ at times but can also be quite ‘challenging’ to the listener.
At least, that was my intention.
Anyway: I also just liked the way the words sound: Radical Candor. So here it is.

This mix is simultaneously published on the great Headphone Commute website:
“I’m honoured to welcome back a dear friend, Peter van Cooten for his multi-layered textured voyage which has become an art form in itself. Not satisfied with simply arranging his favourites in a particular order, Peter tediously hand-coats the soundscapes which often run six levels deep (just look at the sequence screenshot).”
Thanks, H_C!

radical candor

Tracklist:

[starting time] [fragment length] Artist name – Track title
Album title, release year, label

  • 00:00 02:08 Areni Agbabian – Garun A
    Bloom, 2019, ECM 2549
  • 00:52 01:49 Gideon Wolf – Self Portrait
    Replicas, 2019, Fluid Audio 060
  • 01:37 01:26 Kammarheit – The Indefinite Vaults
    Drone Islands – Land Raising, 2019, Eighth Tower Records
  • 02:43 01:34 Resina – Trigger (Abul Mogard Remix)
    Traces – Remixes, 2019, 130701/Fatcat Records LP1335
  • 03:36 02:23 Craig Leon – The Twenty Second Step As Well As The Tenth
    Anthology Of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 2, 2019, RVNG Intl RVNGNL55
  • 05:03 02:53 Angelina Yershova – Cosmotengri
    Cosmotengri, 2019, Twin Paradox
  • 07:02 02:55 Ashtoreth – Elemental I
    Drone Islands – Land Raising, 2019, Eighth Tower Records
  • 09:16 01:31 Robert Scott Thompson – Proximity
    Phonotopological, 2018, Acourant AWD 379561
  • 10:10 02:42 Alla Zakaykevych – Voice/Way
    Kaleidoscope – Experimental Music From Ukraine, 2019, Flaming Pines FLP079
  • 12:38 01:51 Snowdrops – Manta Ray
    Manta Ray OST, 2019, Gizeh Records GZH87
  • 14:13 02:20 Zeno van den Broek – Interlude Two
    Breach, 2019, Moving Furniture MFR072
  • 15:03 03:52 Jessica Moss – Fractals (Truth 4)
    Entanglement, 2018, Constellation CST138
  • 18:28 02:55 The London Sound Survey – Maplin Sands
    Thames, 2019, Persistance Of Sound PS003
  • 19:28 02:17 Rebecka Sofia Ahvenniemi – Winds
    Tacit-Citat-Ion, 2019, Ravello Records RAVL8011.2
  • 21:08 01:58 Giulio Aldinucci – The Burning Alphabet
    Disappearing In A Mirror, 2018, Karl Records KR055
  • 22:06 03:33 John Haniver – Black
    How To Live Like A Ghost, 2019, Linge Records LINGE089
  • 22:20 00:44 Anxious Bot – Check The Basement
    Crystal Bible, 2018, self-released
  • 23:38 01:56 Anxious Bot – Check The Basement
    Crystal Bible, 2018, self-released
  • 24:20 03:25 Carl Stone – Kuk II Kwan (1981)
    Electronic Music From The Seventies And Eighties, 2016, Unseen Worlds UW15
  • 26:07 01:22 Maxime Tanguay – Nain Field
    Sertraline, 2018, the end is near then012
  • 26:53 01:44 Colin Stetson – Second Seance, Pt. 1 (+ Reversed)
    Hereditary OST, 2018, Milan M2-36952
  • 27:42 02:06 Osa7209 – Osa 14
    Orchestral, 2019, self-released
  • 29:11 02:14 Sven Laux & Daniela Orvin – A Moment Of Silence
    The Writings, 2019, Dronarivm DR-59
  • 31:00 02:33 Jane Antonia Cornish – Lux
    Constellations, 2018, Innova Recordings innova 006
  • 32:28 02:34 Fiona Brice – Movement 1 (Holographic Field Rework)
    String Quartet No. 1, 2018, Bigo And Twigeti
  • 34:44 00:58 Goncalo F. Cardoso – Radio Zanzibar Étude 1
    Impressões De Uma Ilha (Unguja), 2018, Edições Cn ‎ECN19
  • 35:08 01:12 Juha-Matti Rautiainen – Void
    Above Me Weeps The Sky, 2018, Randomizer Media RDZCD05
  • 35:20 02:26 Joseph Dugan – Sit In The Center Watching And Forget That You’re There
    Swaha, 2019, self-released
  • 35:32 00:50 The Books – Bonanza
    The Lemon Of Pink, 2003, Tomlab tom 32
  • 37:15 02:36 Julia Kent – Through The Window
    Temporal, 2019, Leaf BAY 106CD
  • 38:54 04:19 The London Sound Survey – Alhallows Marshes Night
    Thames, 2019, Persistance Of Sound PS003
  • 39:03 07:40 Sleep Research Facility – Theta2Delta
    From Here To Tranquility Volume 9 – In Dreams, 2018, Silent Records
  • 42:33 03:14 Sarah Davachi – Evensong
    Gave in Rest, 2018, Ba Da Bing! BING 137
  • 44:31 02:39 Keru Not Ever – Équilibre De La Terreur
    The Wind Of ?, 2019, Infinite Machine IM071
  • 46:04 02:52 Bas van Huizen – Torrewolk
    Kulverzuchter, 2018, Moving Furniture Records MFR063
  • 47:40 01:32 Rafael Kolacki – Ra’s
    A’Za. Hearing Ethiopia, 2017, Zoharum ZOHAR 154-2
  • 48:20 02:00 Rauelsson – Mistral
    Mirall, 2018, Sonic Pieces 027
  • 49:40 01:05 Rafael Kolacki – Ra’s
    A’Za. Hearing Ethiopia, 2017, Zoharum ZOHAR 154-2
  • 50:02 02:36 Deaf Center – Undone
    Low Distance, 2019, Sonic Pieces 028
  • 51:54 02:55 Alla Zakaykevych – Voice/Way
    Kaleidoscope – Experimental Music From Ukraine, 2019, Flaming Pines FLP079
  • 54:03 03:11 Martin Ptak – The Source
    River Tales, 2018, Col Legno WWE 1CD 20441
  • 56:10 02:41 Dickon Hinchliffe – Return To The Forest
    Leave No Trace OST, 2018, Lakeshore Records
  • 58:52 End
Download Radical Candor Now 135Mb (58:51 min.)

[Alternative download from Archive.org]
[Surround-version (DTS.Wav or .WMA) here]


OR: Stream from Mixcloud:

 

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Matthijs Kouw * Yann Novak https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-06-28/kouw-novak/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-06-28/kouw-novak/#respond Fri, 28 Jun 2019 19:18:05 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13478

Matthijs Kouw teaches us about that what cannot be named and identified, but rather has to be experienced firsthand *** Yann Novak questions what an understanding of time can look like.

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the great image has no form

MATTHIJS KOUW – THE GREAT IMAGE HAS NO FORM   Also on Spotify

Esc.Rec (pronounce aloud) is a Dutch boutique label and platform for ‘adventurous music’. Its output is diverse, often with a strong relation to art projects, and – indeed – the best way to describe it is ‘adventurous’. Though some of their releases could be defined as ambient music, most are more ‘adventurous’ (duh) than that  – ‘experimental’ is a better description. Which is why you’ll only find a small fragment of their output mentioned here. Which obviously does nót mean the other releases are not worth checking out too!

Matthijs Kouw‘s The Great Image Has No Form may very well be their most minimal ambient release to date. Kouw is a Dutch experimental musician ‘exploring the relationship between movement and stasis – combining long-form drone with elements from acousmatic music, noise and microsound’. He does so on his solo work (often as MVK), but he also explores extreme minimalist drones in collaboration with Radboud Mens.

The Great Image Has No Form was inspired by Kouw‘s visit to the Wudang Mountains in China in 2007, where he studied Chinese meditation and martial arts as a result of his long-time interest in Daoism.
“Daoism teaches us that the foundational cannot be named and identified, but rather has to be experienced firsthand”.
This is perfectly captured by the five pieces on this album, ranging between 5 and 17 minutes, dwelling in the unnamed space of complex drones – the kind of sounds for which you need a certain detached state of mind to fully appreciate them.

It is ‘minimalist’ music, but these are nót minimalist drones: there’s a lot happening in the deceptively static sound field which is constantly moving and shifting.
“The drones slowly coalesce, evolve, and morph into metastable structures that linger on, only to slowly evaporate and dissolve into the undifferentiated.”

The album comes in a stunningly beautiful foldout sleeve with artwork by Xia Gui, a Chinese landscape painter of the Song Dynasty who lived from 1195-1224. The beauty of this image is somewhat contradictory to the album title… The Tao that can be named is not the real Tao.
Interesting enough to reflect upon while listening to Matthijs Kouw‘s sonification of the principles of Daoism. 


Stillness

YANN NOVAK – STILLNESS   Also on Spotify

In his ‘interdisciplinary work’ Yann Novak explores ‘perception, context, movement, and the felt presence of direct experience’, and seeks ‘to heighten the audience’s awareness of the present moment’. His performances and installations include ‘raw and altered field recordings, analog and digital sound synthesis, manipulated artificial and natural light, and projection, to produce slowly evolving and interrelated sonic and visual fields’.


A recording of Stillness can by definition only be a part of the project. To compensate for that, the album is released with a book with essays about the theme and photographs of three iterations of the installation. Nevertheless, it can still serve its own purpose: it is specifically mastered ‘for home listening’ by Lawrence English.

The two tracks, Stillness.Subtropical and Stillness.Oceanic, refer to the two climates that Novak has lived in: Los Angeles and Seattle, respectively:

“In these works, [Novak] investigates these climates’ almost static meteorological states and their emotional effect on their inhabitants. Constructed from numerous photographs of the horizon and shortwave radio signal tuned to static in each location, the source material is intended to capture a literal portrait of these climates. These elements are then digitally altered to create an ambiguous abstraction, leaving enough of the source to guide the experience and define the location, but abstract enough to create an immersive environment perfect for contemplation and personal reflection.”

The key word here is ‘static’: these are extremely minimalist drones – sound patterns of a complex nature that “ask us to question what can an understanding of time look like when it is not measurable, containable, or even expressible.”

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Hotel Neon * Sven Laux / + Daniela Orvin https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-06-25/hotelneon-lauxorvin/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-06-25/hotelneon-lauxorvin/#respond Tue, 25 Jun 2019 18:34:44 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13275

Hotel Neon creates Vanishing Forms *** Sven Laux and Daniela Orvin became friends working on The Writings *** plus: Sven Laux' solo album ODD.

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Vanishing Forms

HOTEL NEON – VANISHING FORMS   Also on Spotify

Vanishing Forms – isn’t that a beautiful title for an ambient music album? It’s the title for the newest album of Hotel Neon, a trio formed by Andrew and Michael Tasselmyer together with Steven Kemner. Their fifth official album according to their own website, their eleventh according to Discogs (also counting the self-released titles).

Hotel Neon creates ‘music to get lost in: atmospheric washes of guitar and electronics, paired with meticulously designed visual projections that combine for an immersive audio/visual experience.’

Even without the visuals from their live performance, it’s easy to get comfortably lost in Vanishing Forms, released on the Spanish Archives label: titles like The Time Between, Dark Becomes Dawn, Burning Mist, Falling Away will help you drift away.

Apart from the CD and Digital version on Archives, the Hotel Neon Bandcamp page also offers a vinyl version.


The Writings

SVEN LAUX & DANIELA ORVIN – THE WRITINGS   Also on Spotify

Daniela Orvin‘s second album, Home, was released in 2018 on Sven Laux Seasides On Postcards label. Both of them live in Berlin, so when Laux was working on his new album and felt there was something missing, the obvious next step was to ask Orvin to contribute some of her piano. She didn’t contribute ‘just’ her piano parts: The Writings became an album on which the two composers collaborated, ‘their own styles effortlessly colliding into a completed album project.’

‘During the process, Sven and Daniela became friends and the concept of the album itself has become about collaboration itself.’

The album contains five tracks where they perform together, and is completed by two ‘solo tracks’ each. As a result, ‘piano isn’t everywhere on this album, nor are Sven’s ‘Hollywood strings’. Both are present, along with many many more wonderful elements.’ 
Elements perfectly matching and complementing each other, together delivering a beautifully balanced atmospheric album.

The Writings is not released on Laux’ own label, as you might expect, but on Dronarivm.


Odd

SVEN LAUX – ODD

Just two months after The Writings, Whitelabrecs releases a new solo album by Sven Laux called ODD. The meaning of the title remains a mystery, the all caps suggest it’s an acronym but you can decide yourself from what.
ODD is not his first release on the ‘white label style’ label: it’s the follow up to 2018’s Schachmatt (which, coincidentally, álso came shortly after a Dronarivm release: Paper Streets).

ODD presents seven tracks, running over an hour and presenting different sounds and moods:

‘Whilst working on the album, he always had in mind that there are calm parts in life followed by faster parts. He depicts the peaks and troughs of our existence through soft swathes of orchestral ambience interspersed by moments of rhythmic strings and electronic pulses.’ 

It’s the first album Laux created in a new environment and stage of life: ‘following the birth of his daughter and a move to a new house with a new studio’. Alternating tension and release results in a very cinematic album, with a lot of strings – although no orchestra or real strings were involved: all sounds are created entirely digital. This way, the music is not strictly ‘modern classical’ but crosses over into more electronic realms of sounds, deepening its impact. The birth of his daughter ánd his new studio obviously inspired Sven Laux. I bet there will be more where this came from…

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Joseph Branciforte & Theo Bleckmann * Ann https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-06-21/branciforte-bleckmann-ann/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-06-21/branciforte-bleckmann-ann/#comments Fri, 21 Jun 2019 08:17:38 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13121

A fascinating mix of voice and electro-acoustics by Joseph Branciforte & Theo Bleckmann *** Ann's Certain Colors is a collection of deliberate mistakes (but does not sound like that).

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LP1

JOSEPH BRANCIFORTE * THEO BLECKMANN – LP1

In 2018, Grammy-nominated vocalist Theo Bleckmann and electronic musician and producer Joseph Branciforte were invited to play alongside Ryuichi Sakamoto. For their preparations, they retreated for two days in Branciforte’s studio to experiment ‘without a note of music prepared or a word of discussion, armed with an array of looping devices, guitar pedals, found objects and sound-making machines. Through the process of live asynchronous looping, the pair builds and dissolves complex sonic structures in realtime, achieving an impressively immersive sound without the use of studio overdubbing.
After recording their material, they assigned catalogue numbers to their improvisations (explaining the song titles on this album).
LP1 does not represent the raw material of these sessions, however: Branciforte spent the rest of the summer editing, mixing and manipulating.

The result is a surprising collection, perfectly balanced on more than one level. The combination of voice and electronics on one hand, neither taking the lead but both complementing the other, and the combination of darker (6.15 and 5.5.9) and brighter (3.4.26 and 4.19) atmospheres.

It is no surprise that it is surprising: Theo Bleckmann has previously performed with people like Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, Meredit Monk, David Lang, Kenny Wheeler, John Zorn, the Bang On A Can All-Stars (and many more), while Joseph Branciforte played alongside Ryuichi Sakamoto and Taylor Deupree.
If these references are enough to make your spine tingle, I’m 100% sure that LP1 will do so, too!

LP1 manages to walk a fine line between discovery and restraint, emotion and form, identity and dissolution — outlining an expanded vision of ambient music that embraces narrative and arc as much as landscape and line.”


Certain Colors

ANN – CERTAIN COLORS

ANN is not someone’s first name, but the alias of Marcus Block who started this project back in 2010. With Ann, he focuses on an experimental approach to music making: “Like all experiments, there will be ‘mistakes’, and, rather than discarding them, ANN embraces these as integral the process. Beauty in the imperfection”

Which does not mean that Certain Colors sounds is a collection of deliberate mistakes. On the contrary: the seven tracks (each named after a colour, obviously) sound well balanced and have a great depth and atmosphere.
Overall, the compositions are abstract, you won’t find much melody to sing along to. Sometimes, as in Ocre and Orange, a broken rhythm is added which may help you navigate into the depths.

“From the jumping-off point of minimal techno, elements of jazz, drone and dub are added to the mix, overlapping and morphing one another, deconstructing the typical rhythms and phrases of these genres until, through repetition, new forms emerge.”

Certain Colors is released on Sven Laux’ Seaside on Postcards label: “specializing in variations of ambient, classical, drone, and electronically-minded music”.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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John Luther Adams * Stavros Gasparatos https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-06-17/johnluther-stavrosgasparatos/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-06-17/johnluther-stavrosgasparatos/#respond Mon, 17 Jun 2019 17:16:21 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13337

John Luther Adams' 'Become Desert': "Close your eyes and listen to the singing of the light." *** Stavros Gasparatos explores the range of emotions of losing control, without any repercussions.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Become Desert

JOHN LUTHER ADAMS – BECOME DESERT  Also on Spotify

Five years ago Become Ocean was released: a Pulitzer prize-winning composition and Grammy award-winning recording by John Luther Adams, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard traditional classical chart. It was a spectacular recording, dividing the orchestra into three parts ‘to create a vast sense of undulating space and rhythm’.
Become Desert is comparable in its concept – after all, the fractal waves of an ocean are not unlike those of a desert – but explores an even larger scale: this time there are five different ensembles moving at (five) different tempos, as well as a large (100+) orchestra and (30+) choir – all of them surrounding the audience. The choir’s text is a single word: Luz (‘light’), relating to the score’s inscription: ‘Close your eyes and listen to the singing of the light.’

Catching an immersive experience like this in a stereo recording is a difficult task, of course: the immersive experience being an important part of the concept. That is why both Become Ocean and Become Desert also contain a DVD featuring a 5.1 surround mix of the performance recording. The Become Desert DVD also features a slideshow loop of desert images shot by John Luther Adams himself.
Even if you’re not in possession of a surround sound home system: the exquisitely detailed recording of the stereo version is definitely worth investigating! For the true surround experience, you can always hope to be able to attend a live performance of the piece.

The inspiration for the 40-minute composition Become Desert came from the birds, winds, sand and rock in the Sonora Desert, the hottest desert in Mexico (and parts from Arizona and California).

“However Become Desert is not a painting of any particular landscape. I imagine this music as a landscape of its own, a landscape that extends beyond the place in which it was composed. In the ears and the imagination if the listener, I hope this becomes a private desert of your own.”

The piece starts (and ends) with quiet, subtle percussion sounds, which may or may not depict sunrise and sunset, but in-between the music grows into a forceful, prolonged climax – like the blistering heat of the midday desert. Amidst this massive orchestral sound, the listener feels insignificant, maybe, in the same way, he would experience the forceful powers of the desert (or ocean).

‘Along the way, “You begin to feel that this music you had thought was suspended in time is slowly leading you somewhere, pulling you somewhere. It continues upward, rising with inevitable force, like the wind or the light.”’

Before Become Ocean (2013) and Become Desert (2017), both written for a large (and even larger) orchestra and choir, Become River was written in 2010 commissioned by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. It was scored for a much smaller setting, which matches the ratio of a river to the ocean. Until today, there is no official release of this ‘prequel’, although there is a premiere performance recording that can be heard online.

JOHN LUTHER ADAMS – BECOME DESERT (Fragment Edit)
(Please note: this is an unofficial edit)

Rage Park

STAVROS GASPARATOS – RAGE PARK   Also on Spotify

“What would happen if you let yourself lose control, break out, without any repercussions?”

That is the question Greek composer Stavros Gasparatos asks himself (and us) on this album. The music is recorded live in a 2018 performance by a quintet featuring strings (violin, cello), piano, percussion and electronics.
Rage Park consists of seven parts: an Introduction, three Chapters of rage slowly building up, followed by a Black Out, Aftermath and Echo. Of course, this means these parts can best be listened to in the order they are presented.

I’d be inclined to describe it primarily as a ‘modern classical’ piece, but that would not do justice to the remarkable interaction of the acoustic instruments with their electronic counterparts, which seem to be gradually taking over when the ‘rage’ seems to get out of control.
There are not many compositions that I know of where these instrumental counterparts are so well balanced!

Composer Stavros Gasparatos is considered one of the most important and prolific composers of the New Greek generation. He has composed music for over 100 productions for dance, theatre and cinema, as well as minimalist instrumental and experimental music and sight-specific sound installations. Most of these are not officially released separately: just compare the extensive list of works mentioned on his website to the four (!) releases mentioned on Discogs.

Rage Park is my first encounter with his work, and for me, it immediately places the composer on par with the famous contemporary composers such as Jóhann Jóhannsson, Max Richter etc. But unlike some of the other contemporaries, Gasparatos cleverly avoids the pitfalls of melodramatic sentimentalism: Rage Park is a serious work dealing with serious emotions. Impressive.


The music on this album is powerful enough to stand on its own, so the listener can relate to his own emotions. Nevertheless, director Stathis Athanasiou created a music video trilogy featuring actress-performer Serafita Grigoriadou which summarizes Rage Park‘s theme into a haunting 16-minute movie that can be watched on YouTube (in 3 parts) or on Vimeo. It shows that uncontrolled rage cannot be without consequences.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Offthesky * R Beny https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-06-13/offthesky-rbeny/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-06-13/offthesky-rbeny/#comments Thu, 13 Jun 2019 18:22:14 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13301

Surprising and hardly classifiable release by Jason 'Offthesky' Corder plus acoustic ensemble *** R Beny demonstrates what the opposite of decay sounds like.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Illuminate

OFFTHESKY – ILLUMINATE   Also on Spotify

We can safely say (Michael) Jason ‘Offthesky‘ Corder from Denver, Colorado is a very prolific artist: his back catalogue shows over 70 albums released in the last 15 years (which is an average of 4.6 titles every year!).|

Illuminate, released in the Eilean Records series as #66, may differ somewhat from most of his other work in that it is not a solo album but created with the help of an ensemble featuring Jacqueline Sophia Cordova (harp, voice), Rin Howell (voice, oboe), Julie Slater (viola, violin), Morgan Packard and Cody Yantis (sax), Jiah Shin (cello) and Rostila Rekuta and Andrejs Eigus (flutes, rainsticks and miscellaneous textures). With additional vibes, piano, prayer bowls, percussion, sound design by Jason Corder himself of course.

With an ensemble formation like that, you might expect some kind of modern classical music, but these compositions are nothing like that – at least not like the current standards. In fact, I cannot think of a current genre description this music fits into. It’s composed, improv, acoustic, experimental, global – all of that and more. Maybe it’s best to just simply describe it as surprising….

The music was composed and recorded in the fall of 2017 in various places: Denver, Poland, Latvia and Kentucky. Since then, it has ripened for over a years before Jason Corder finally polished and finalized them in the early months of 2019.

As most of the Eilean releases the physical edition is sold out, but at the time of writing, there were still some CD copies available from Offthesky‘s BandCamp page. When those are gone, only the digital version remains.


Echo's Verse

R BENY – ECHO’S VERSE   Also on Spotify

By now you probably can recognise the label from the artwork by Femke Strijbol: another beauty from Dauw, ‘the boutique label from Ghent’. A tape label usually, but this release is an exception to that rule: Echo’s Verse is not only released on cassette tape but also available on vinyl. They even offered a limited edition clear vinyl with an additional one minute tape each containing a unique loop. But, past tense indeed; by now only the vinyl edition and the digital download are available.

R Beny is no stranger to Dauw: they released his Saudade album back in 2018. The Bay Area-based artist (real name: Austin Cairns) uses his modular synth, mellotron and tape loops to create hazy soundscapes, celebrating the tape hiss as if it was a gentle summer rain.

The sound is deliberately lo-fi, but ‘decay’ would be the wrong word to use here. It’s not the sound of ‘dying away’ or ‘disappearing’, but the opposite: it’s the sound of creating calm, contemplative melancholic sounds out of raw material.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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DreamScenes – June 2019 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-06-09/dreamscenes-june-2019/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-06-09/dreamscenes-june-2019/#respond Sun, 09 Jun 2019 18:00:32 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13491

DreamScenes for June, 2019: "A Voice Like A Candle"

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“There’s a boy with a voice like a candle
Every turn that it takes I see
The flicker, the flicker, the flickering flame
Could vanish from me completely
All I have to do is move
All I have to do is blink and he
Could vanish from me completely”

 

Tracklist:

  • 00:00 DreamScenes – Intro (Susanna)
  • 00:36 Sebastian Maria – Sneeds Ferry (Lun 01.01.18)
    Lunitas, 2019, Self-released
  • 03:10 Kevin Richard Martin – The Surgeon
    Sirens, 2019, Room40
  • 05:23 Brian Eno – Over The Canaries (*)
    Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks’ – Extended Edition, 2019, UMC/Capitol
  • 09:42 Brian Eno – I Was Like A Spectator (*)
    Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks’ – Extended Edition, 2019, UMC/Capitol
  • 05:30 William Ryan Fritch – VII – Time Curves So Subtly
    Deceptive Cadence – Music For Film Volume I&II, 2019, Lost Tribe Sound
  • 08:50 Bill Seaman – Shared Lips _ Slowly Moving _ Darkened Sky _ Touching _ Against The Mouth Of Desire
    The Topologies Of Blue, 2019, Fluid Audio
  • 13:23 The London Sound Survey – Coryton Refinery Siren
    Thames, 2019, Persistence of Sound
  • 16:12 Craig Leon – The Earliest Trace
    Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 2: The Canon, 2019, RVNG Intl.
  • 18:57 Sebastian Plano – Éxta
    Verve, 2019, Mercury KX
  • 21:09 Fredrik Rasten – Pendulating
    Six Moving Guitars, 2019, Sofa
  • 22:18 Zbigniew Preisner – Moon
    Valley Of Shadows, 2018, Caldera Records
  • 23:22 Stephan Micus – The Moon
    White Night, 2019, ECM
  • 26:01 Earthen Sea – A Blank Slate
    Grass And Trees, 2019, Kranky
  • 30:33 Craig Leon – Departure
    Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 2: The Canon, 2019, RVNG Intl.
  • 35:54 Toby Marks & Andrew Heath – For Stone (West), Part 1
    Motion, 2019, Disco Gecko
  • 39:58 Chrystal Für – Déchoir I
    Déchoir, 2019, self-released
  • 42:28 Sinthetik Messiah – AN-03
    Ambient Noize Vol. 2, 2019, Self-released
  • 46:30 Rune Clausen – Barnsnød
    Tones Jul, 2019, Forwind
  • 49:11 Zhalih – Boy With A Voice
    Inrushes, 2018, Eilean Records
  • 50:28 Martin Ptak – Wings
    River Tales, 2018, Col-Legno
  • 52:54 Celer – Birds Inside The High Halls Of Hangzhou, (06.23.17) Shanghai Red Line, Metro Karaoke
    XièXie, 2019, self-released
  • 55:20 Arve Henriksen, Eivind Aarset, Jan Bang – Height Of The Reeds In The Wetlands
    The Height Of The Reeds, 2018, Rune Grammafon
  • 59:00 DreamScenes – Outro (Dean Hurley)

Play this edition on-demand from the Concertzender website.

OR:
stream it from Mixcloud:

(*) –  Please note: the two Brian Eno tracks were removed from the Mixcloud upload (as ordered by his Universal representatives) and were replaced with the William Ryan Fritch and Bill Seaman tracks.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Richard Norris * Jens Pauly * Innesti https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-06-06/pauly-norris-innesti/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-06-06/pauly-norris-innesti/#respond Thu, 06 Jun 2019 18:03:44 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12991

Time to relax with albums from Richard Norris, Jens Pauly and Innesti.

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Abstractions

RICHARD NORRIS – ABSTRACTIONS VOL. ONE  Also on Spotify

Although this is only his second solo album (and the first in an upcoming series of ‘warm, contemplative ambient/deep listening albums’), Richard Norris is not exactly new to the scene.
The British producer/musician/DJ was part of Psychic TV, was a founding member of The Grid (with Dave Ball), made an album with Robert Fripp – and that’s not all. He also worked as a producer and engineer with artists like Bryan Ferry, Marc Almond, Joe Strummer and The Pet Shop Boys.

That’s an impressive lot of ‘pop’ history of course, but there’s also an ambient side to his work which he displays with the release of this album, the very first release on Group Mind Records.

‘I’ve recently moved back to the city, and needed a reflective, meditative musical space,’ he says. ‘I’ve been increasingly drawn almost exclusively to ambient and drone music for listening pleasure. I’ve been working on it my studio non-stop for many months. It’s partly an aesthetic choice, but also a deeply felt inner need.
Ambient music is my soul music.’

Group Mind, by the way, is also the name of a new monthly ambient, experimental and deep listening club night at SuperMax, Kings Cross, London for which Richard Norris is one of the resident DJ’s. So when in London, you may want to check this out.

Abstractions Volume One opens with three shorter tracks (around 5 minutes) that are ‘classic’ ambient, before diving into the deep with Murmuration (15 minutes) and Confluence 2 (20 minutes). Floating (analogue?) synth pads, unhurried atmospheres that are best consumed in a relaxed state (or, if not yet relaxed, will definitely help you to reach that state). It’s easy to hear Richard Norris’ experience in the way he creates this warm, timeless and immersive ambient ‘soul music’.


Vihne

JENS PAULY – VIHNE  Also on Spotify

Jens Pauly is an artist from Cologne, Germany, with a background in punk and metal music and synth-based solo work as Ghostrider. But for his solo work, he chooses a more contemplative approach: ‘an electro-acoustic sound which is both sparse and engulfing yet at the same time warm and melancholic.’

This is his second solo album under his own name (following up r/f from 2017). Vihne is the soundtrack to a search between flickering lights and a cloudy sky, between emptiness and being alive’.
‘The music flows and feels weightless, as passages of guitars, piano, sine wave and cassette dictaphone recordings softly collide into a dreamy collage.’


Formless

INNESTI – FORMLESS  Also on Spotify

Formless is the second album by Illinois-based Innesti (R. Chris Fraley).
His albums are self-released – but that definitely does nót mean they don’t deserve your full attention!

On the eight ‘hazy, dream-like soundscapes created with field recordings, organic synthesis, hidden spaces and long-lost letters’, Innesti leaves track enough time to develop and become ‘formless, spacious, and ethereal’ – resulting in a very relaxing spacious atmosphere.

Based on this album, I’m sure we will hear much more from Innesti in the future – with or without a label.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Robert Lippok / Kaan Bulak * Alexandra Spence https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-06-02/lippok-bulak-spence/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-06-02/lippok-bulak-spence/#respond Sun, 02 Jun 2019 11:23:15 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12933

A live improvised concert by Robert Lippok and 'electroacoustic pianist' Kaan Bulak
***
Alexandra Spence studied the sonic textures of Europe (and beyond).

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Kubus

ROBBERT LIPPOK / KAAN BULAK – KUBUS  Also on Spotify

After a week of sessions in Karslruhe in May 2018, composer and visual artist Robert Lippok and ‘electroacoustic pianist’ Kaan Bulak presented the live improvised concert that is now released on this album.

Robert Lippok creates an electronic framework (‘from inventive rhythmic reflexes and fuzzy tones to glitchy twisted techno’) onto which Kaan Bulak layers his ‘augmented piano – a piano that, without losing its traditional phrasings, is extended in its articulations – acoustically and electronically.’
Berlin native Robert Lippok has roots in ‘dissident punk and post-punk in both East and reunified Berlin’ (To Rococo Rot), released music on Raster Media/Raster Noton, and collaborated with Klara Lewis and many others.
Kaan Bulak has combined his study of the piano with studying audio engineering and completed a master study in Sound Art at the University of Arts in Berlin.

It is a fascinating and adventurous set, in no way resembling the risk-free and smooth piano-based ‘modern-classical’ music that flooded the market in recent years. Not really a surprise, of course, considering the background of these two artists.


Alexandra Spenxe

ALEXANDRA SPENCE – WAKING, SHE HEARD THE FLUTTERING

“…My work is led by my materials. I begin with a sound that I like. The feel of this sound will then suggest to me another. And so on, until a form is suggested, and then following the form, perhaps an overarching concept
will reveal itself. I rarely begin with a concept.”

 

The basic materials for this album were recorded in the time Alexandra Spence spent in Europe, a period in which she also studied with David Toop and Chris Watson.
‘Gritty London, Scottish Highlands, Grunewald forest in Berlin, quaint British towns and European cities.’
All of the impressions – and recordings – in this time resulted in this debut album on Room40. It’s a highly personal impression of a journey into new territories, a study of textures, a journal of new experiences. Which, judging by the vocal and flute samples in Sleep in Nothingness, are not necessarily restricted to her travels in Europe.

“I am cautious in regards to the origination of my sounds – if I don’t understand the cultural or historical context of a sound, then I am less inclined to use it. […] I try to respect and acknowledge the context of my field recordings – as this often becomes the basis for the work.”

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Zachary Paul * Jane Antonia Cornish * Rune Clausen https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-30/paul-cornish-clausen/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-30/paul-cornish-clausen/#respond Thu, 30 May 2019 09:53:28 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12924

Zachary Paul showcases the textural range of the violin *** Jane Antonia Cornish is a must-listen for all lovers of modern-classical music *** Rune Clausen explores the mysteries of the Norwegian forests

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Meditation on Discord

ZACHARY PAUL – A MEDITATION ON DISCORD  Also on Spotify

Zachary Paul is a Los Angeles-based violinist and composer ”interested in perception, the transportive nature of long durations, and trance states. His work explores the contrasts between stasis and movement and questions the possibility of depicting both synchronously.”

This is important background information when listening to Zachary Paul‘s debut album for Touch because it describes exactly what he does.
A Meditation on Discord presents two live recordings, 32-minute Premonition and 12 minute Slow Ascent, both fully improvised on his violin, an assortment of pedals and looped vocals.
The third track, A Person With Feelings, is a score for a short abstract film that is yet to be released.

Apart from Stasis and Movement there is another duality in this music: it is tense and relaxing at the same time. ‘Tense’ especially in the high frequencies at the conclusion of Premonition. And more relaxing in Slow Ascent, which was an ‘inverted guided group meditation’ at the event celebrating the release of Yann Novak’s second album.
Compared to these two live performance recordings, A Person With Feelings is a lot more subdued, reflecting ‘the arc of the film and showcasing the textural range of my instrument’.


Constellations

JANE ANTONIA CORNISH – CONSTELLATIONS  Also on Spotify

I completely missed this one when it was released mid-2018. But thanks to Dave Michuda of Low Light Mixes I was able to catch up on this beautiful release of ‘the first female in history to win a British Academy Award (BAFTA).’

Jane Antonia Cornish grew up in England but now lives in New York City. She has quite a few scores on her name, apart from her four solo albums. (Seems I have some catching up to do).

Constellations easily stands up to the works by – let’s say – Max Richter or Johann Johannsson and will definitely appeal to the same audience. Quiet, subtle and emotional string arrangements, in a subtly restrained performance that will only leave those with a heart of stone untouched.


Tones Jul

RUNE CLAUSENTONES JUL  Also on Spotify

Rune Clausen was active under different names, but this is his debut album for the Forwind label. His inspiration comes from bands like the Smiths and the Cure, as well as from artists like David Lynch, Harold Budd and Biosphere. You’ll probably guess that the latter influences are the main ingredient here.

Tones Jul is influenced by ‘Norwegian folk music’ and ‘the rough and dark fates of 19th-century people’. To get the sound that he wanted for this album, Rune turned to ‘a cheap sampler, dying tech, a bass guitar and an old out of time analogue synth – to make it dirty and primitive like early 90s black metal.’
You should read that as a production note because apart from these starting points for the recording technique these subtle soundscapes have little to do with black metal. In fact, the conscious use of ‘off-tech’ results in a very detailed sound palette.
A sound palette reflecting the mysteries and impenetrability of the Norwegian forests, where creatures lurk that you probably prefer not to encounter (in Barnsnød, especially).

“The final track is called “500 years later” (500 År Senere) and the idea is that when I’m gone, the landscape I know and love will remain and the same species of birds will continue to sing without me.”

 

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Craig Leon * Slagmann https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-27/leon-slagmann/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-27/leon-slagmann/#respond Mon, 27 May 2019 08:35:58 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13098

Craig Leon further explores the music of the Nommos * Slagmann is a cross-pollination between ritualistic percussion (by Slagwerk Den Haag) and electronics by Talismann.

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Craig Leon

CRAIG LEON – ANTHOLOGY OF INTERPLANETARY FOLK MUSIC, VOL.2: THE CANON   Also on Spotify

In the 70s and the early 80s, Craig Leon was active as a producer for acts like Talking Heads, Ramones and Suicide, the Live at CBGB’s compilation, early Blondie and Richard Hell & The Voidoids records. You may let that sink in for a while, and then try to imagine the shock of surprise when in 1981 he released Nommos, followed by Visiting a year later: both albums displaying an otherworldly, mechanical, almost robotic collection of rhythms and pulses. With hindsight, they were too far ahead for their time and (almost) vanished into obscurity. Until, in 2014, they were released as a double set titled Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music, Vol.1.
This explains the title of this new set, which picks up where Visiting left.

To our spoilt ears, Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music, Vol.2 may not sound as alienated as its predecessors (depending on what you are used to, of course). The album opens with a somewhat uncharacteristic choral piece (The Earliest Trace), followed by two rhythmic tracks that definitely link to the early work. From there, there’s less emphasis on the rhythm but the overall sound is still the same since Craig Leon (and Cassell Webb as his partner) used many of the same synths and programs.
‘The alien sounds of the Nommos become more familiar to western ears and musical vocabulary as the album narrative thrusts forward.’

In case you’re wondering about the title(s): the inspiration for these albums came from an exhibition of Dogon art in 1973: ‘Leon remained fascinated by the Mali tribe’s creation myth that the Earth was visited in ancient times by the Nommos, a semi-amphibious alien race who travelled from the white dwarf Sirius B to impart their wisdom to mankind.’


Slagmann

SLAGMANN – KRYSALIS   Also on Spotify

There’s no way this could be filed under ambient, but it will definitely appeal to anyone that likes a little ‘genre-bending’ and cross-border experiments.

Slagmann is short for the collaboration of Talismann (Guy Blanken – a ‘techno DJ’ from Amsterdam) and Slagwerk Den Haag (Dutch percussion ensemble), joining forces with visual artist Heleen Blanken.

Talismann produced the album, embellishing the virtuoso percussion performance of Slagwerk Den Haag with his subtle electronics.
Percussion is the main ingredient here, but the atmosphere is enhanced by the added sound environments, ‘Sometimes dreamy and dark, euphoric and explosive at other times – a cross-pollination between ritualistic percussion and drum machines.’

The result is a mesmerizing set of tracks, best enjoyed on a volume that matches real-life percussion sounds.

Krysalis is only available as a 12″ vinyl album; a digital download including four extra tracks comes with the vinyl album purchase.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Angelina Yershova * Keru Not Ever https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-23/yershova-keru/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-23/yershova-keru/#respond Thu, 23 May 2019 18:32:19 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13372

Angelina Yershova stresses the importance of the protection of our planet's ecosystem on her stunning new album CosmoTengri *** Keru Not Ever's album is as disruptive as the name suggests

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Cosmotengri

ANGELINA YERSHOVA – COSMOTENGRI  Also on Spotify

CosmoTengri is Angelina Yershova‘s fourth album on her own Twin Paradox label. The impending atmosphere of the opening track and its video (created by Saltanat Tashimova, who, like Angelina, also comes from Kazakhstan) tells us the album deals with serious issues: ‘the protection of nature and of our planet’s ecosystem, the global issues related to deforestation and sustainability.’
The video is dedicated to “Kok-Zhailau”, a mountain plateau currently at risk of deforestation.

 

But not all of the album is as dark and gloomy as the opening track. Yershova explores many (sometimes conflicting) emotions, depicted in tracks that range from abstract soundscapes to haunting Shamanic techno rhythms.
The detailed production includes many references to her own cultural background – in sound as well as in symbolism. ‘Kobyzist’ Gulzhan Amanzol, for example, plays the kazakh instrument kyl kobyz on some of the tracks.

Despite the many cultural references, I would not classify this album as ‘world’ music (whatever that may be), because that would pinpoint it to a limited genre, and ignore its cosmopolitan blend of authentic roots, experimental electronics (check the title track to hear what I mean) and cross-cultural rhythms.

With this album, Angelina Yershova ‘proposes a radical change of inner awareness starting from the Earth towards the union with the Cosmos, meant as the universal spirit that we can feel in the last track on the album’.

Her arguments are overwhelming, to say the least.


Keru Not Ever

KERU NOT EVER – THE WIND OF ?  Also on Spotify

This album confused me on many levels – which usually is a good sign.

The artist name Keru Not Ever (alias for Montreal artist Justin Leduc-Frenette), the strange title, the cover image, and perhaps most of all: the music.
The opening track Tereza obviously refers to the 2017 debut release with the same title, but I don’t know in which way because I don’t know that album myself. The track quietly opens with a choir sample coupled with ‘the presence of a hyperventilating breath‘ but the tension rises to an extreme level near the end.

From there, the album displays extreme electro-acoustic experiments (the kind that that can be useful to dispel unwanted visitors), as well as beautiful mediaeval choir arrangements. And, weirder even: a combination of these extremes in single tracks.

Everything on this album is unusual. At first, I could not find a right moment to listen to it (it was way too intense for my housemates), but then I became intrigued and I found myself listening to it, again and again, trying to find out what was happening here.
Why the strange name?
The Wind of What?
Why the seemingly incompatible musical extremes?
What is the relation of this music to the cover image?
Why the puzzling liner notes?
What is Justin Leduc-Frenette trying to tell us here (and why does he name himself Keru Not Ever)?

‘[…] the album occurs as an exchange of glances and cracked voices, a mirror game between different and precarious vessels leading to a schizophrenic sensorium similar to the banal and dislocated experience of the new digital ennui. These parasitic breaks are presented as being necessary for the creation and the preservation of an event from which its truth could emanate: spring seems obvious now.’ 

There are many questions, and probably the answers are irrelevant. The main point is that I kept returning to this album trying to unravel its mysteries, which made this album one of the most intriguing that I listened to in a long time.

I assume that from the above you’ve understood that this album is not exactly for the faint of heart – and it definitely cannot be labelled ‘ambient’. But for listeners free from any dogmas this can be quite an exciting trip!


--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Mariska Baars/Rutger Zuydervelt * Celer https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-19/baars-zuydervelt-celer/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-19/baars-zuydervelt-celer/#respond Sun, 19 May 2019 19:13:27 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13143

Mariska Baars and Rutger Zuydervelt create a fractal bubblebath *** Celer manages to relax at 303 km/hr.

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Eau

MARISKA BAARS / RUTGER ZUYDERVELT – EAU  Also on Spotify

Mariska Baars and Rutger Zuydervelt (a.k.a. Machinefabriek) have been working together for many years, in different projects. Piiptsjilling comes to mind first, along with many other occasional projects featuring the Kleefstra Brothers, such as Fean, Seeljocht, and numerous other collaborations with various artist such as Drifts, Clay, Gris Gris and Zeeg.
This is not the first collaborative album from the duo (Drawn, Thole) – but it may very well be their most ‘experimental’.

Eau means ‘water’: the 30-minute composition paints a fractal aural picture of tiny waves moving on their own but also building larger waves together, using short fragments of Mariska‘s singing and rearranging them, or stacking them onto waves of musical tones, buzzes and crackles and lingering guitar sounds. ‘Like a babbling sonic stream of fractured audio debris. Or the equivalent of sunlight dancing on the ripples of a lake’s surface.’ 
Mariska does not only contribute her singing, by the way: she also plays guitar, kalimba and added field recordings.

The duos advise is to play this album on repeat, and ‘let the sounds hang in the room – let them co-exist with any other sound that’s there. Open a window if you wish’.
The structure and composition are quite unusual, ‘it functions more like an atmosphere that fills the space’. Mariska Baars voice is cut up to vocal punctuations that drift through the air in a way reminding me of Akira Rabelais’ reconstructed tape fragments on his Spellewauerynsherde masterpiece. The lo-fi stripped-down folk songs of her Soccer Committee releases (2005-2006) are long left behind.

‘Never look back’ seems to be the motto that connects these two artists: always exploring new territories, experimenting beyond expectations (even though there’s the risk that that in itself becomes the expectation).

As a side note (just a historic detail for musical archaeologists), I cannot help mentioning the Soccer Machine mix I created (way back in 2007!!) combining (early) Machinefabriek music with the songs of Soccer Committee. There’s no ‘real’ collaborative track in there, but I clearly felt that the stripped-down, emotional songs matched very well with the abstract experimental electronics.
Opposites attract, I guess: the two were always meant to work together. I think the mix is still worth listening – but it’s nothing like the sound of Eau.
They’ve come a long way since then.


XièXie

CELER – XIÈXIE  Also on Spotify

The cover image immediately brought back memories of my own trip to China in 2016. I think I made an almost identical picture in that high-speed train. And, like Will Long, we also bought a dictionary and phrasebook but never got beyond that word for ‘thank you’: Xièxie (谢谢).

Celer‘s XièXie is a double album (2LP/2CD) documenting his impressions from travelling in China in June 2017. Some of the tracks have a date and are field recordings with descriptive titles like Birds inside the high halls of Hangzhou, Shanghai Red Line, From the doorway of a beef noodle shop, or, indeed Maglev at 303km/h. Other tracks are Celer‘s distinctive loops, unhurried and intensely relaxing. There are eleven different tracks but they are mixed into two uninterrupted dreamlike journeys (the download contains two extra tracks with uncut versions of the album).

“Everything moves faster than we can control. Days are just flashes, moments are mixed
up but burned on film, and all of the places and times are out of order. […] Sometimes everything goes faster than you can control and you can’t stop, much less understand where you are.”

There’s a contradiction in the cover image of a train moving at 303 km/h and the slow music it contains. But looking out from a train at that speed the world seems to be moving slower, not faster.
XièXie is a recommended soundtrack for everyone that feels life is moving too fast.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Toby Marks/Andrew Heath * Bill Seaman https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-15/marks-heath-seaman/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-15/marks-heath-seaman/#respond Wed, 15 May 2019 09:03:26 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12906

Travelling to al corners of Britain (and all four elements) with Andrew Heath and Toby Marks *** Exploring the Topology of Blue with Bill Seaman.

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Motion

TOBY MARKS and ANDREW HEATH – MOTION  Also on Spotify

You may not immediately recognise the name Toby Marks, because for the last 30 years he has recorded and performed as Banco de Gaia. More recently he became interested in electroacoustic composition, particularly ‘in immersive sonic environments and the meeting point of deliberate and random composition.’
He is also the Disco Gecko label owner, which was originally a label for his own music, but has grown to be the home for other artists.

Such as soundscape artist Andrew Heath, who has released five solo albums on this label since 2014 (such as Evenfall, Soundings, and Lichtzin with Anne Chris Bakker)

Motion is the first full album on which the two work together. Travelling to all corners of Britain, they recorded all kinds of field recordings used in these compositions. These recordings represent each of the four elements: earth (slate caverns, stone quarries), water (ferry, canals), air (gliding club) and fire (railway – which possibly is a less obvious connection unless it was by steam train).
The recordings are embedded in widescreen compositions blending piano, guitars (reminding me of the Pink Floyd sound) and electronics.

The trip linking these (British) landscapes to the four elements is pictured in four long tracks, each about the length of a vinyl album side. It is a journey containing many surprises, alternating ‘accessible’ compositions with somewhat more abstract soundscapes. All presented in unbelievably detailed sound production.

“Sometimes evoking images of machinery, sometimes of nature, these pieces flow and twist, at all times maintaining a humanity and sense of personal experience at their core.”    


Topology

BILL SEAMAN – THE TOPOLOGIES OF BLUE

I might as well start this by mentioning this is a release on the Fluid Audio label, which means that the physical edition is almost sold out on pre-orders before its actual release date. At the time of writing, there were a few copies left on Bill Seaman’s Bandcamp page, but these are probably gone at the time of reading. In which case it will be hard to find unless the digital download is fine for you.

Bill Seaman returns to the label with a set of twelve tracks, each divided into multiple subtitles. The atmosphere is ‘faded grey’, as the photos of a distant past in the package. It is a return to the past:
“Housed within archaic architecture and old hospital wards, one finds a still piano and a set of cold, careful strings. Dense ambient textures are coloured in a heavy grey. […] The music is both doctor and patient. Abstract sounds puncture the air with the precision of a scalpel. Notes flow into the brain; the brain absorbs their medication…”

Bill Seaman is not painting these pictures on his own. His piano, samples, percussion, guitar and ‘non-location recordings’ are accompanied by Wei Ping Lin‘s violin solos, David Rothenberg‘s clarinet playing, Sid Richardson on upright bass libraries and Tim Bjorklund on electric guitar libraries.

The abstract music breathes a strange atmosphere. It’s beautiful and calm but there’s always something dark lingering behind the beauty too.
Indeed, like walking in the deserted and perished remains of an old mental health hospital, becoming aware of the physical remains that can be seen as well as the emotional remains that can only be felt.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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DreamScenes – May 2019 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-12/dreamscenes-may-2019/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-12/dreamscenes-may-2019/#comments Sun, 12 May 2019 18:00:19 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13341

Fog Horns, Trombones, Distorted Tones & Drones

(DreamScenes for May 2019)

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Fog Horns, Trombones,

Distorted Tones & Drones

Tracklist:

  • 00:00 DreamScenes – Intro (Susanna)
  • 00:18 Slagmann (Talismann & Slagwerk Den Haag) – Phase 8 (edit)
    Krysalis, 2019, Talismann Records
  • 04:27 Angelina Yershova – Khan Tengri
    Cosmotengri, 2019, Twin Paradox Records
  • 08:33 Tonaliens (feat. Hilary Jeffery) – Vesta Part 1 (edit)
    Vesta, 2019, Silent Records
  • 13:17 Luc Ferrari – Unheimlich Schön (short fragment)
    Music Promenade/Unheimlich Schön, 1971/2019, Recollection GRM
  • 14:07 Areni Agbabian – Anganim Revisted (fragment)
    Bloom, 2019, ECM
  • 17:00 Rapoon – Incinio
    Sol Laude: Mercury Rising 3, 2019, Winter-Light
  • 18:16 Offthesky – Lucere
    Illuminate, 2019, Eilean Records
  • 21:00 Michael Begg – Your Papers Are Approved
    Vanitas, 2019, Omnempathy
  • 24:30 Felix Blume – Horns in Fog Pt.1
    Fog Horns, 2019, Discrepant
  • 27:32 Kinbrae – Wave Propagation
    Landforms, 2019, Truant Recordings
  • 32:43 Ann – Vermillion
    Certain Colors, 2019, Seasides On Postcards
  • 35:26 Sven Laux & Daniela Orvin – Friends
    The Writings, 2019, Dronarivm
  • 40:45 Mariska Baars, Rutger Zuydervelt – Eau (edit)
    Eau, 2019, self-released
  • 45:36 Angelina Yershova – Kamlanie
    Cosmotengri, 2019, Twin Paradox Records
  • 50:11 Dakota Suite, Emanuele Errante, Dag Rosenqvist – Constanta, 1992
    What Matters Most, 2018, Karaoke Kalk
  • 53:17 Keru Not Ever – Limité I
    The Wind Of ?, 2019, Infinite Machine
  • 58:56 Slagmann (Talismann & Slagwerk Den Haag) – Phase 8 (intro only)
    Krysalis, 2019, Talismann Records
  • 59:00 DreamScenes – Outro (Dean Hurley)

Play this edition on-demand from the Concertzender website.

OR:
stream it from Mixcloud:

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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扎克 * Dawn Chorus and the Infallible Sea * Music for Sleep * Luna Monk https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-10/musicforsleep/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-10/musicforsleep/#respond Fri, 10 May 2019 14:54:43 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12864

Two self-titled 'classic ambient' releases on the Past Inside The Present label (扎克and Dawn Chorus And The Infallible Sea) as well as another two on Shimmering Moods (Music For Sleep and Luna Monk).

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Zach


扎克  – 扎克

I really have no idea how to translate 扎克 but Google Translate tells me it translates to Zakè– and I still have no idea what that means. Or who this is.
And Past Inside The Present, the label that released this self-titled debut album on cassette (and download) obviously has no intention to disclose too much information about this artist.
No problem, of course: it’s the music that speaks.

Discogs states that 扎克 is “an ambient artist that resides where water harmonizes with earth and air.” And I guess that’s good enough for a description for this music that radiates peace and harmony.

The cassette (/download) contains 4 tracks, three of them relatively short and the last one lasting 20 minutes of “evocative drone work, from the faint abyss to luminous, jettisoning abandon.”


Dawn Chorus and the Infallible Sea

DAWN CHORUS AND THE INFALLIBLE SEA – S/T   Also on Spotify

Dawn Chorus And The Infallible Sea is an ambient collaboration project by Marc Ertel and Zach Frizell – known by some from their post-rock band Pillars. This is their debut album, originally self-released in 2018 but now re-pressed for a release on Past Inside The Present (the ambient music label from Minneapolis).

As they describe their music themselves: “restrained ambient compositions with a sense of impenetrable mystery”.  And in fact this is a fitting description to which there’s little I can add.
In the seven tracks on this 43-minute album, DCATIS presents calm and slowly evolving soundscapes which may not be unlike anything you heard before – but that needn’t always be the criterion to judge music by. After all, it’s also nice to re-visit the beach and watch the sea – even if the sea is not unlike anything you’ve seen before.


 

Waterforms

MUSIC FOR SLEEP – WATERFORMS

The alias tells it all. Music For Sleep is Berlin-based Sardinian Musician Andrea Porcu. Waterforms is the fifth album under this alias, but the first to be released by Shimmering Moods Records.

The one-hour single track is exactly the kind of ambient music you expect from an act called Music For Sleep: soft and calm (modular) synth chords embedded in sounds of water.

‘A composition that experiments the dilatation of sound (in the true sense of the word) within a scenario that can be for example near a lake or on the shores of an isolated sea, still uncontaminated.’

The liner notes state that it ‘must be listened to with a certain attention’. But, like most ambient music does or should do, it also works well when played in the background to create a comfortable, peaceful,  ‘uncontaminated’ atmosphere.


Silent Odes

LUNA MONK – SILENT ODES

Silent Odes is released on the same Shimmering Moods label. Not one single track on this release but six, totalling just over 30 minutes.

It’s hard to find any information about Luna Monk online, not even who is behind it. The Soundcloud page states it’s an ‘Afro diaspora artist, launching various emotions on various objects to transmit waves and messages from the Afro space age.’ Which is a bit confusing because this ‘classic ambient’ music has very little in common with what is usually considered ‘Afro space age music’. Apart from the ‘space’ part, that is.

The music on Silent Odes is made from sounds recorded in Welsh valley and the Lake District, representing ‘an acceptance for reality, finding closure in self and life, the beauty in the bleak, indescribable feelings and the poetry in being alone in nature.’

As quiet and peaceful as the cover image suggests.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Michael Begg * Marcus Fischer/Burke Jam https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-07/vanitas/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-07/vanitas/#respond Tue, 07 May 2019 19:31:19 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13161

Michael Begg and Marcus Fischer & Burke Jam each explore "Vanitas" (a symbolic work of art showing the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death, often contrasting symbols of wealth and symbols of ephemerality and death) in their own way.

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“A vanitas is a symbolic work of art showing the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death, often contrasting symbols of wealth and symbols of ephemerality and death.
Common vanitas symbols include skulls, which are a reminder of the certainty of death; rotten fruit (decay); bubbles (the brevity of life and suddenness of death); smoke, watches, and hourglasses (the brevity of life); and musical instruments (brevity and the ephemeral nature of life). Fruit, flowers and butterflies can be interpreted in the same way, and a peeled lemon was, like life, attractive to look at but bitter to taste.”

Wikipedia

vanitas

MICHAEL BEGG – VANITAS  Also on Spotify

Michael Begg’s music is located in the place where formal composition and electronic erosion meet; a liminal space coloured by longing and discomfort.”

You may know this award winning Scottish composer from his work with Human Greed or Fovea Hex. Or from his solo work, such as Titan: A Crane Is A Bridge, the commissioned work that won him the New Music Scotland Award for New Electroacoustic / Sound Art work.

On Vanitas, he plays more acoustic instruments than usual: piano, guitars, bass, but apart from that he built a series of instruments like “sampled wood burning stove, tuned martini glasses, e-bow autoharp, stolen French music box, loose piano string droner, and a blow torch treatment of glass sheets.”
The opening track Invocation is a ‘sonification’ in which he programmed NASA information about a particular lunar eclipse early in the 16th century, which he mapped onto a series of 6 solfeggio frequencies. “I don’t necessarily subscribe to the mystical qualities accorded to these frequencies – but there is something undeniably affecting about them.” 

“(This recording) is what happens when someone with cheap tools and the ghost of a sound to realise gets out of his studio and into the workshop to make doomed instruments from all the junk in the village. It’s what happens when a man with no formal musical education takes it upon himself to score and orchestrate an ensemble. It’s where ‘I can’t do this’ meets ‘I must do this’.”

While this may be true, it’s also too modest. It’s clear that Michael Begg knows what he’s doing and controls the tools he uses. The music he creates with his cheap tools and his doomed junk instruments bears every sign of a brilliantly creative composer… the kind of artist that does not conform to imposed rules but pushes the boundaries into unknown territories to be explored.


Vanitas

MARCUS FISCHER / BURKE JAM – VANITAS  Also on Spotify

Coincidentally (I presume), an album with the same title is released on Dragon’s Eye Recording. Same theme, album artwork according to the traditional Vanitas use of symbols – but a different output result (although both albums can perfectly be enjoyed together).

Marcus Fischer and Burke Jam created this collaborative performance ambient series Bloom in both artist’s home town Portland. The album presents three tracks: relatively short opener and closer (Cold Open and Detritus), and the 32+ minute title track in-between.

Marcus Fischer‘s work ‘typically centers around memory, geography + the manipulation of physical audio recording mediums’. The music on Vanitas is a great example of the ‘slowly unfolding melodies and warm tape saturated drones (that) have become a trademark of his recordings’.
Burke Jam is an artist I was not familiar with until now, although he has released a few albums before. In his work the ‘artist, composer, curator and educator’ researches ‘environmental sounds and methods of listening, the intersection of field recording, composition, sound ecology and the Anthropocene.’

Together, they create a musical landscape that one can easily surrender to – either focusing on the subtle details in the soundscape, or contemplating ‘the inevitability of change, the transience of vanity and the ephemerality of human life.’

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Dave Wesley * Dr.Nojoke https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-03/wesley-nojoke/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-03/wesley-nojoke/#respond Fri, 03 May 2019 18:37:34 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12944

Dave Wesley breaks through the fourth wall with cinematic references in atypical dub-techno... while Dr.Nojoke also explores unbeaten tracks (with his bass guitar).

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Fourth Wall

DAVE WESLEY – FOURTH WALL Also on Spotify

“The fourth wall is a performance convention in which an invisible, imagined wall separates actors from the audience. While the audience can see through this “wall”, the convention assumes, the actors act as if they cannot.”
(Wikipedia)

Dave Wesley is a Minneapolis-originated (but now based in Porto, Portugal) ‘veteran producer of dub techno, experimental and ambient music, using production techniques based on the principles of sacred geometry.’
I don’t really know what that principle means, but somehow it links the opening sequence of Diegesis to a 70’s Parliament/Funkadelic album intro introducing you to their intergalactic space travel concept.
It’s clear immediately: lose your preconceptions, open your mind, and you’ll be in for something completely different.

There are many cinematic references on Fourth Wall: titles referring to shots, cuts, light, action, etcetera. The music is heavily cinematic too: conjuring strange images induced by using unintelligible voice fragments, sometimes repeated until they get on your nerves (the repeated shrieking laugh in Continuity Cut irritates me as much as it fascinates me – probably because I cannot understand the punchline…)

‘He’s extremely particular’ (as quoted in Backlot) might as well refer to Dave Wesley himself, because this is a sound that doesn’t seem to care about the current widely accepted standards. Yes, it can perhaps be described as Dub Techno, but it is not the Dub Techno you’d come to expect coming from other Dub Techno albums.
Ambient? No, it’s too disturbing for that.
It’s different.

The Arctic Dub (Sursumcorda), founded by Dave Wesley describes itself as a ‘post-dub techno, ambient and experimental music label’, with ‘deep influences of Basic Channel, echospace, and the early days of Deep Mix Moscow.’
Great reference indeed, guaranteed to raise your interest (or at least it should do so).
But remember: it’s different.


Dr.Nojoke

DR.NOJOKE – RECONSTRUCTED ELECTRIC BASS GUITAR

It’s a weird name: dr.nojoke with a contradictory effect when read as english. Dr. No Joke – are you serious? But Frank Bogdanowitz definitely is serious. Definitely is no joke, I mean.
The Berlin-based producer is ‘a leader in minimal techno (or ‘clikno’ as he describes it)’, striving for ‘a synthesis of club, arts, moods and spaces between process and presentation, improvisation and composition, intuition and intention, between man and machine, hi-sci and lo-fi, that is transformed into a lively and playful performance!’

The name of the label, Abandoned Audio, a sublabel of 31337 Records, leaves no doubt: this is serious shit! Abandoned Audio focuses on unconventional sound design (e.g. experimental, ambient, electroacoustic, dub), interdisciplinary collaborations and research’.

After all, we do not often hear experimental (/ambient) music that is created with a bass guitar, exploring ‘the instrument’s waveform through recording, transformation, modulation and digital processing […] taking the instrument out of its traditional role and context to create a new music focusing on the instrument solely.’

The music of Reconstructed Electric Bass-Guitar is quite different from Dr.Nojoke‘s beat-heavy dub-techno sound (which is definitely worth checking out also, but does not particularly classify as ‘ambient’ music).
It’s a rewarding venture off the beaten track, that’s for sure. Eight tracks that have no titles, only numbers, and two ‘intermissions’ (Trans and Inter) to indicate a slight change of style.

Hard to categorize, and ignoring the common denominator … that is exactly what separates the Interesting from the Predictable, isn’t it?

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Arovane/Hatami * Hatami/Martin/Attanasio https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-01/hatamifriends/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-05-01/hatamifriends/#respond Wed, 01 May 2019 11:13:52 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13139

Porya Hatami and friends: Arovane, Aaron Martin and Roberto Attanasio. Quality contemplative releases from Karl Records and Dronarivm.

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CHRONOS

AROVANE/PORYA HATAMI – C.H.R.O.N.O.S.  Also on Spotify

German producer Arovane (Uwe Zahn) and Iranian sound artist Porya Hatami have an impressive collabortative history: they worked together on five albums. Organism, Organism Evolution, Monads, Kaziwa were previously recommended here so if you’re a regular reader I assume you already know their names. Ánd know their work will be worth checking out.

Unlike Organism Evolution, which presented 23 short tracks, C.H.R.O.N.O.S. presents five longer compositions, focusing “on creating a contemplative, zen-like atmosphere of subtle beauty”.

Each track represents an *oid that might be further investigated (Ellipsoid, Cycloid, Catenoid, Helicoid, Cissoid), but for now I simply leave that for what it is and simply let the music impress me.

And impressive it is… Music as enigmatic as its album cover.


Sallaw

PORYA HATAMI/AARON MARTIN/ROBERTO ATTANASIO – SALLAW  Also on Spotify

I must admit I am not familiar with the work of Roberto Attanasio (and was somewhat surprised to see the list of albums he has released since 2014), but the names of Porya Hatami and Aaron Martin, combined with the fact that this is a release on the Dronarivm label, were enough to convince me that this was worth checking out. And it is!

“Sallaw is a Kurdish word that expresses the passing of time. Four tracks of slowly unfolding ambience make up this collection, each piece named after different months, again in Kurdish. The four sections represent the different seasons and their movement through time.”

Google Translate tells me that Pûşper means June, Rêbendan means Januari, but Xakelêwe and Gelarêzan are not recognized. We are lucky enough to have Wikipedia to find out that they represent July and October.
But this is not necessary knowledge, since this music works well in all seasons.

A perfect balance of Hatami’s electronic soundscapes, Martin’s cello and Attanasio’s keyboards.

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Stijn Hüwels (& Friends) https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-27/stijn-huwels/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-27/stijn-huwels/#respond Sat, 27 Apr 2019 09:17:55 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13115

Three albums by Stijn Hüwels released (almost) simultaneously: his solo album that got the inspiration from samples and fragments of various friends, and collaborations with Tomoyoshi Date and Norihito Suda.

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Curating the Slaapwel Records (sleep well) label obviously results in healthy sleep that gives Stijn Hüwels a lot of energy to work on his own music. But it probably also helped building a network of like-minded musicians and friends.
The result: three different albums almost released at the same time, on different labels – each celebrating fruitful collaborations.

tomodachi

STIJN HÜWELS – TOMODACHI

Tomodachi (‘Friend(s)’) is released under his own name, but it is not simply a solo-project, even though all music is created by Hüwels himself. The base materials for these pieces come from different artist, people he respects and whose work he likes. People like Heine Christensen (Ghost and Tape), Ralph Steinbrüchel, Sylvain Chauveau, Yves De Mey, Christoph Bergh, Dirk Serries, and even some more.

“I asked them to send me ‘something’, a sample, melody or fieldrecording I could use to create a new piece of music.”

The different source materials he received forced him to work in a somewhat different way than he usually did to, “without abandoning my main gear (guitar and laptop)”.

The result is an inspired album that consistently presents the music of Stijn Hüwels himself, but also reveals the spirit of the contributing artist in each track.

Tomodachi is released on the Dauw cassette label, ‘the boutique label from Ghent’, which means handmade limited editions – in this case an edition of 89, which was already sold out at the release date (march 22). But there’s still the digital edition of course.


Hochu-ekki-tou

STIJN HÜWELS & TOMOYOSHI DATE – HOCHU-EKKI-TOU

Home Normal is the label that almost simultaneously releases this collaboration album with
Tomoyoshi Date – a Tokyo-based artist that may be known for his collaborations as Opitope (with Chihei Hatakeyama), Illuha (with Corey Fuller) and Melodía (with Federico Durand).

I can’t tell if there’s a meaning to the title of this album, or if it just the combination of the titles of the three pieces it presents. Three long-form compositions (18, 23 and 11 minutes) that “transform within itself, the various melodies and the sources of these melodies fluctuating in subtle and gentle ways.”

Label owner Ian Hawgood describes the music as “the patter of snowflakes that dust the floor outside, quietly turning to water as the air warms by mid-morning.”
Which is a beautiful description of this calm and peaceful “organic minimalism”.


Sansui

STIJN HÜWELS & NORIHITO SUDA – SANSUI

And to close this trilogy there’s Sansui (‘Watering’) from Stijn Hüwels and Norihito Suda – also released on Home Normal.
It is no coincidence that Sansui and Hochu-Ekki-Tou were both recorded with Japanese artists and released on this label that is partly based in Japan: the music for both albums was recorded when Hüwels toured Japan in 2015.

Sansui has the same slowly developing peacefulness, but a more ‘dusty’ sound due to the fact that it was deliberately recorded “on some used 1/4” tape.”
Stijn‘s “slowly enveloping and grainy guitar echoes” are embedded in field recordings, such as the sounds of a night in the suburbs of Kyoto:
“the cicada’s on the trees, people enjoying their time in the muffled distance, and all the while those guitar echoes fading out to sleep.”

Whenever you listen to this album, it will transport you into a lovely daydream.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Andrew Tasselmyer * Ciro Berenguer * Kenji Kihara * Ian Nyquist https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-23/eilean-quartet/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-23/eilean-quartet/#respond Tue, 23 Apr 2019 19:43:17 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13075

Eilean Records' imaginary map is almost complete. Two albums for the winter season (Ian Nyquist and Kenji Kihara), and two celebrating spring (Andrew Tasselmyer and Ciro Berenguer).

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Eilean Records‘ imaginary map is almost complete. Here’s an overview of four of their recent releases: two albums for the winter season (Ian Nyquist and Kenji Kihara) and two albums celebrating spring (Andrew Tasselmyer and Ciro Berenguer)

Surface Textures

ANDREW TASSELMYER – SURFACE TEXTURES  Also on Spotify

Andrew Tasselmyer explores “audible nostalgia”: “I like using sound to express the connection I feel to specific places”.
On Surface Textures he does so with field recordings captured in Japan, China, Europe and the USA.
“It is an album focused on painting a picture of unnoticed corners of the world, and a reminder that sometimes, the greatest satisfaction is found by looking past the immediate and into the peripheral textures of a place.”

The titles of the (eight) tracks do not reveal where the field recordings come from. As a result these are audio impressions of unknown places, pictures that can be painted in the mind of the listener.
In this way, it also paints a spot on the imaginary landscape map of Eilean Records, a map that will be completed (probably later this year) when there are 100 points marked.
Surface Textures is map point 04 (but the map numbers are not assigned sequentially).

You may know Andrew Tasselmyer from his work with Hotel Neon. On this solo-album, Hotel Neon member Steven Kemner also adds ‘additional textures’ on three tracks.


El mar de Junio

CIRO BERENGUER – EL MAR DE JUNIO

This is my first encounter with Argentinian composer Ciro Berenguer. Discogs only mentions this current recording so we may think this is his debut release. But in fact it is his second: his Bandcamp page (and Spotify) shows his real debut album is from 2013: La Tour De Rêves.

Berenguer‘s influences come from many musical traditions and genres: “from European contemporary music to jazz and folk, to south American and African rhythms”.

The guitar (played “both traditional and non-traditional”) is his main instrument, but he also plays a bowed psaltery, xylophone, ukulele – and mixes and merges these with loops, electronics and field recordings.

The result is a very relaxed (and relaxing) open sound, that feels like the fresh air and sunlight in a (Japanese) garden walk.


Dawn

KENJI KIHARA – DAWN

From Hayama, Japan, comes Kenji Kihara (known by some as Sphontik too). Like the other albums mentioned (and every other release in the Eilean Records series), the inspiration came from the surrounding nature near to the sea and mountains.

But, at the same time, the sound on this album is somewhat different; which is also reflected in the cover image. It’s a bright, crisp, light-hearted sound, a“glittering and dense palette of sounds, beats and ambient.”
It is not strictly electronic: at least I assume that the bells and pottery percussion are ‘real’ and not sampled.

As far as I know, this is Kihara‘s second solo album. His website shows that he has considerable experience in creating music for TV Ads – experience that he now uses to create more abstract music with a lovely bright atmosphere

Cuan

IAN NYQUIST – CUAN

Ian Nyquist is a composer from Dublin, Ireland. Cuan is Irish for ‘Bay’ or ‘Harbour’. All of these nine tracks refer to specific places from the area near Dublin where he lives.

Apart from a self-released digital album (Variations, 2014), this is Nyquists debut album. And it has found a perfect home on Eilean Records indeed!

Nyquist ‘s music is created from field recordings and collected sounds, sounds that are tied together by the use of acoustic instruments (such as the additional strings by Kristin Nyquist).

The places on the map are not further specified (it is map point 61 on the now rapidly completing Eilean Records map – but it is obvious that the Dublin surroundings are adventurous and inspiring landscapes.

 

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Ian Hawgood – Impermanence https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-20/impermanence/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-20/impermanence/#respond Sat, 20 Apr 2019 10:02:17 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12892

Ian Hawgood's love letter to ageing synths, warped reels, and recording at low light.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Impermanence

IAN HAWGOOD – IMPERMANENCE  Also on Spotify

Impermanence is my love letter to ageing synths, warped reels, and recording at low light.”

This short statement by Ian Hawgood exactly captures the atmosphere of Impermanence, his recent album released on James Murray’s Slowcraft label.
As the title of this album already indicates, this is an unashamed lo-fi recording, not covering up imperfectness such as tape hiss or distortion. Each track articulates “the poignantly brittle beauty of decay”.

It is interesting to hear how a seasoned and experienced musician, mastering engineer and label curator prefers to create his music with unpolished sounds of reel-to-reel tape recorders, analogue synths and processed guitar textures – and refuses to smooth them out in post-production.

In the words of label curator James Murray:
“I’ve always adored restraint, saying much with little, never forcing, painting with patience. It’s at the core of the minimalist aesthetic that keeps me engaged with music both as composer and curator.”

Ian Hawgood consciously avoids using computers in creating the final result: the hiss, wow and flutter of the recording devices (see the Bandcamp page for details on what was used) is extensively featured as if they were instruments of their own.

The resulting music is highly personal statement, yet also appealing to a wide audience receptive enough to feel its intentions. Which is exactly why this release fits so very well on
James Murray‘s Slowcraft Presents series.

Impermanence is an understated, finely wrought work that honours process and outcome equally, exhibiting a rare tonal and conceptual elegance throughout.” 

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Sebastian & Daniel Selke * Robert Heel https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-18/selke-heel/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-18/selke-heel/#respond Thu, 18 Apr 2019 18:03:31 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12997

Two different projects that demonstrate that 1+1 = 3: Q3A by Sebastian & Daniel Selke, and Robert Heel's In Between.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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I do not usually post about singles, but there’s an exception for everything. This vinyl 7″ and 12″ singles do not only contains beautiful music, but are also proving that 1+1 can definitely be 3.

Q3A

SEBASTIAN & DANIEL SELKE – Q3A

The music is created by Sebastian and Daniel Selke, otherwise known as CEEYS and also curators of the ’boutique music festival’ Q3Ambientfest held in Potsdam, Germany.
The single is titled Q3A, named after the festival which in turn is named but after the prefab building type ‘Querwandtyp Nr. 3, Variante A’ (Cross-Wall Construction), used in the 1980’s for the prefab building estates that were built in the area where the Selkes grew up.

The two tracks on this 7-inch, however, are called For Sebastian and An Daniel (an is German for for).
The two brothers wrote these pieces for each other – Daniel with his keyboards and Sebastian on cello.

And here’s the catch: the two tracks are exactly the same length (4:55) and can be combined to a third version. This will of course be a little hard to do with the physical 7-inch editions (unless you have two copies and two record players exactly in sync).

But don’t worry: the combined version of both tracks can be heard in the April 2019 DreamScenes edition.

Sebastian Selke – An Daniel

In Between

ROBERT HEEL – IN BETWEEN

Robert Heel‘s 12″ vinyl release In Between is based on the same conceptual idea: two tracks that can be combined into a third. The music is quite different, though.

The inspiration for this project came when he ‘brought together a glitched out track with a reverb drenched drone. The sound world that opened up by this mix was utterly beautiful and made me feel this two tracks were meant to be listened to simultaneously.’ 
Apart from that, ‘it was also a test to see where we stand right now production wise, the supposedly analog warmth vs. harsh digital artifacts. As with so many things the right mixture might just do the trick.’

While the two tracks have the same length (9:36), in this case they don’t have to be played exactly in sync: combining them can ‘become particularly interesting with shiftings and offset. For example when played at different speed, when started slightly off etc.’ 
So here, you cán experiment with two physical versions and two turntables.
Apart from the unfortunate fact that the vinyl 12″ versions are sold out on pre-order, before the actual release date. So if you want to hear the combined version, or experiment with it yourself, you will have to go for the digital version too.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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DreamScenes – April 2019 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-14/dreamscenes-april-2019/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-14/dreamscenes-april-2019/#respond Sun, 14 Apr 2019 18:00:51 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13179

"My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless. Neither body or soul."

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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“I am not from the East or the West, not out of the ocean or up from the ground,
not natural or ethereal, not composed of elements at all.
I do not exist, am not an entity in this world or in the next,
did not descend from Adam and Eve or any origin story.

My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless. Neither body or soul.”

Excerpt  from ‘Only Breath’, poem by Rumi (1207-1273),
lyrics for ‘Placeless’. Translation by Coleman Barks


  • 00:00 DreamScenes – Intro (Susanna)
  • 00:38 The Future Eve ft. Robert Wyatt – 04.02 Kitsune Ring Version
    Kitsune / Brian The Fox, 2019, Flau
  • 01:22 Slagmann (Talismann & Slagwerk Den Haag) – Phase 11
  • 01:51 Slagmann (Talismann & Slagwerk Den Haag) – Phase 12
    Krysalis, 2019, Talismann Records
  • 03:18 Quest – Into A Forest (fragment)
    Yesternights, 2019, St.an.de
  • 05:19 Michel Banabila – Solar Waves
    Uprooted, 2019, Tapu Records
  • 11:54 Mahsa Vahdat & Kronos Quartet – Placeless
    Placeless, 2019, Kirkelig Kulturverksted (KKV)
  • 14:58 Joseph Dugan – Washing My Colored Mind (fragment)
    Swaha, 2019, self-released (release date june 1)
  • 19:53 Joseph Branciforte & Theo Bleckmann – 6.15
    LP1, 2019, greyfade (release date june 21, pre-release from June 1)
  • 27:45 Deaf Center – A Scent
    Low Distance, 2019, Sonic Pieces
  • 31:01 Sebastian Selke / Daniel Selke – An Daniel/For Sebastian
    (2 sides played simultaneous)
    Q3A, 2019, Oscarson
  • 35:48 Monty Adkins – Part 8
    Sound And Stone, 2018, Composer Built
  • 40:08 Lustmord – Hanstown Kills
    First Reformed, 2019, self-released
  • 43:59 Anthéne – Lucky
    Asymmetry, 2019, Whitelabrecs
  • 46:50 Anna Homler & Steve Moshier – Deliquium In C (fragment)
    Deliquium In C, 2019, Präsens Editionen
  • 49:00 Alexandra Spence – Flora (For A Friend)
    Waking, She Heard The Fluttering, 2019, Room40
  • 50:21 Ian William Craig – Sfumato
    Tresholder, 2018, 130701
  • 51:05 Michel Banabila – Breathe
    Uprooted, 2019, Tapu Records
  • 56:40 Daniela Orvin – Sudden Farewell
    The Writings, 2019, Dronarivm
  • 59:00 DreamScenes – Outro (Dean Hurley)

Play this edition on-demand from the Concertzender website.
OR:
stream it from Mixcloud:

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Michel Banabila – Uprooted https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-09/uprooted/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-09/uprooted/#comments Tue, 09 Apr 2019 19:04:08 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13165

Michel Banabila does what he has wanted to do for a long time: releasing an 'orchestral' album merging an acoustic ensemble with samples and electronics.

(FREE download codes for 5 Ambientblog readers who comment to this post in the first week!)

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Uprooted

MICHEL BANABILA – UPROOTED

Michel Banabila‘s 36 year career (his first release was Marilli, in 1983) has known many surprises. Many unexpected turns and genre-crossovers made him hard to pinpoint in one specific area, but also became a trademark of his versatility.
I’m not going to repeat too many details here: you can just search his name here on this blog to see quite a few of his releases recommended.

In recent years, Banabila moved toward more abstract experimental electronics. He has collaborated with many artists with whom he co-created the music, or who delivered fragments and sample parts that Banabila used to further create his music with.
When collaborating with violinist Oene van Geel in 2014 (for Music For Viola And Electronics), a seed was planted: the desire to create arrangements for a more acoustic ensemble.

This album is the (first?) culmination of that wish – the music is performed by a remarkable ‘ensemble’ of guest musicians: Peter Hollo (cello), Alex Haas (synth, electronics), Gareth Davis (bass clarinet), Oene van Geel (viola, stroh violin), Stijn Hüwels (guitar, electronics) and Gulli Gudmundsson (electric bass, double bass and e-bow). Of course, Banabila himself also contributes to this (midi instruments, sampling and electronics) – but his main role is the creator/director of this ‘ensemble music’ he wanted to make for many years.

And so, Uprooted marks yet another important direction in Michel Banabila‘s already impressive catalogue.

I don’t know if I would have recognized this as a Banabila project if this had been presented anonymously and without context. Mainly because the overall sound is so very different from his earlier work.
But gradually, I started to recognize some of his musical trademarks. Which is also true for the creative process: the compositions a result of extensively manipulating the sampled material.
It’s authentic ‘Banabila’ music but with a different instrumentation that sounds like they are, or could be, performed live. Which, according to Michel is not exactly the case:
“From these five tracks, only the first (Dragonfly) can actually be performed live; the others consist of so many edits and treatments that they are more like a ‘sketch’, a sketch of a possible new future for me, an atmosphere or genre where acoustic instruments and electronics melt together.”

I’m not entirely sure, but I guess the ‘ensemble’ is a virtual collective who never met each other to play together during the creation of this album. The middle part of Collector, for example, “feels like Oene, Gareth and Peter are reacting to each other but nothing was played live or even on the same track.”
Knowing this, it is even more amazing to hear how ‘organic’ the compositions sound. I can still imagine them being performed live by this ensemble collective (and I really hope that we’ll live to see this happen sometimes in the future)!

The music itself is hard to categorize: there are elements of improvisation, parts that sound ‘composed’, ‘post-classical’, with many elements referring to ‘ambient’ soundscapes.
But ‘uncategorizable’ is how we have come to know and appreciate Banabila‘s work.

In the liner notes for this album, Marc Weidenbaum uses the word ‘orchestral’ and I think that word simply covers this exciting new direction in Banabila’s musical path – a promising venture into new territories!

Free download codes!

Michel Banabila offers five download codes for the (digital) version of Uprooted to give away to Ambientblog readers! 

If you want a chance to receive one of these codes, simply add a comment below expressing any thoughts related to Michel Banabila or his music.

One week after publishing this post, five commenters will be randomly chosen (not based on the comment content) and receive a download code via e-mail.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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[Law-Rah] Collective * Transtilla https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-07/law-rah-transtilla/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-07/law-rah-transtilla/#respond Sun, 07 Apr 2019 09:46:16 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13007

Noisy yet subtle soundscapes by The [Law-Rah] Collective (Martijn Pieck and Bauke van der Wal) and Transtilla (Romke Kleefstra and Anne-Chris Bakker).

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Innovation

THE [LAW-RAH] COLLECTIVE – INNOVATION Also on Spotify

If you check the biography page on their website The [Law-Rah] Collective looks like a collective indeed, but basically it is a duo consisting of Martijn Pieck and Bauke van der Wal. The rest of the collective are occasional contributors and friends.
The (Utrecht-based) duo has released music ever since 2000, exploring the many facets of drone and experimental electronic soundscapes.
Nót the sleep-inducing kind of drones, by the way: the soundscapes can be quite noisy. At times Innovation (which, this time, is recorded as a duo) sounds like environmental recordings made on immense industrial plant.

Truth is that there are no environmental recordings involved at all. “All of the sound sculpting was done with modular synthesis. All sounds have been created from scratch, which was long trajectory of pulling and patching cables and intensive listening until the sound was what it needed to be.”

In this creative process, Pieck and Van Der Wal wanted to step away from the compositional habits they had developed in their 25 years of working together.
Hence the title of the album: Innovation.
“The workflow of creation was considerably different than any other album by the [law-rah] collective.”

The result is a set of ‘massive drones, or if you prefer noisy soundscapes, not intended for your average background listening sessions’. But it is not the ‘noise-for noise-sake’ kind of noise that some ‘power-ambient’ presents: these are soundscapes that open up a fascinating virtual world with ‘sounds all over the frequency spectrum’.


Transtilla

TRANSTILLA – TRANSTILLA I Also on Spotify

Another duo performing under a new name: Transtilla is Anne-Chris Bakker and Romke Kleefstra. They have worked together in various combinations, such as Kleefstra/Bakker/Kleefstra and Tsjinlûd.
Romke Kleefstra will probably be familiar with anyone familiar with Piiptsjilling and/or The Alvaret Ensemble (among many other occasional formations). Anne-Chris Bakker has also released some beautiful solo albums, one of them together with Andrew Heath.

Live performances involving these two are often introspective ambient/improv sets with quiet moments that, at times, can also turn into more noisy and harsh
soundscapes.
It was this noisy aspect of their music that the duo wanted to explore, a sound ‘somewhat more expressive and experimental, but still dark and with this constant underlying tension.’

Like the Innovation album mentioned above, this does not result in ear-splitting physical power-ambient noise, but in soundscapes that are noisy in their own way yet at the same time subtly restrained.

The Transtilla I debut album, released on Opa Loka Records, presents three long tracks (10-15 minutes along with two shorter ones. The additional I in the album title suggests there is probably more where that came from, so this probably won’t be the last of their explorations.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Snowdrops * Sonmi451 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-04/snowdrops-sonmi451/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-04/snowdrops-sonmi451/#respond Thu, 04 Apr 2019 18:46:10 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=13040

Soundtrack for 'Manta Ray' created by Mathieu Gabry and Christine Ott (Snowdrops), and Nachtmuziek (Night Music) from Bernard 'Sonmi451' Zwijzen.

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Manta Ray

SNOWDROPS – MANTA RAY (Original Soundtrack) Also on Spotify

Snowdrops is the name of the duo Mathieu Gabry and Christine Ott. Manta Ray is their soundtrack for Phuttiphong Aroonpheng‘s movie of the same name.

“The Thai film trains a poetic look at the void of humanity through the story of two men, a Thai fisherman and a nameless stranger supposed to be a Rohingya of Myanmar, whose continuing persecution is constituting one of the biggest human rights scandals of
our time. The realism of this story melds with magical elements into a complex whole leaving plenty of room for interpretation.”

By chosing to create their sounds from keyboards of different generation, such as the Ondes Martenot, Mellotron, MS2000, Snowdrops filled the soundtrack with such magical elements too.

They did not only create a set of standalone compositions, but were also involved in the movie’s full sound design. Conversely, a lot of that sound design is included in this soundtrack: environmental sounds, spoken fragments (that are uncomprehensible for those that do not understand the Thai language). And the intensely moving song (Hot Springs) by Thai singer Rasmee, who also acts in the movie.

These elements add a level of emotionality that many other soundtracks lack. It feels like an intense journey into an unknown world – especially if you haven’t seen the movie. Yet.


Nachtmuziek

SONMI451 – NACHTMUZIEK

The Astral Industries label – the label that can be recognised from its consistent album cover art – often presents ‘forgotten’ ambient music that is worth to be rediscovered. Not exclusively: some of their releases are new, unreleased music.
In the case of this Sonmi451 release, the (six) tracks are taken from two earlier releases: Vladivostok (2005) and Probes and Prisms (2008). Early work from Bernard Zwijzen (who took his alias from the character from Cloud Atlas), from releases that were limited at that time so can now hardly be found. So, for most people, this might as well be a ‘new’ release too. And the good thing is: it sounds as fresh as if it was new.

Nachtmuziek (literally: Night Music) is the descriptive title for the calm, laidback and dreamy Sonmi451 soundscapes: “mini-universes where field-recordings and lovingly crafted samples are combined with carefully chosen atmospheric ambiences.” 

One of Zwijzen’s omnipresent (or perhaps I should call it Sonmipresent) trademark sounds is the (often Japanese) vocal samples, that sound like they are whispered softly right next to you. ASMR avant la lettre… The use of these vocal samples combined with soundscapes that are acoustic as much as they are electronic is what defines the music of Sonmi451.

There’s a lot more music where this comes from (10 albums, to be exact) – but if you are not yet familiar, or missed the original limited releases, Nachtmuziek is a great introduction to start enjoying Sonmi451‘s music.

Nachtmuziek is available on vinyl and as a digital download.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Matthew Burtner * Saba Alizâdeh https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-01/burtner-alizadeh/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-04-01/burtner-alizadeh/#respond Mon, 01 Apr 2019 19:41:42 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12231

'Eco-acoustician' Matthew Burtner turns parts of the melting glaciers into instruments .... Saba Alizadeh merges his virtuoso kamancheh playing with cutting edge electronics

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Glacier Music

MATTHEW BURTNER – GLACIER MUSIC  Also on Spotify

‘Ecoacoustics of Glaciers’, is this albums subtitle, so it’s no surprise that the environmental recordings of Alaskan glaciers are the central sounds here. Dripping meltwater, cracking or thundering breaking ice, sound of snow… with the global discussion about the climate becoming more urgent every year this is a serious topic.
Watching the ‘behaviour’ of glaciers closely leaves no room for any discussion: ‘standing as the threshold between mountain and ocean, glaciers are highly sensitive to global warming, and their state indicates just how rapidly the globe is heating up.’

But this is not an album of environmental sounds only. After the introduction of the Matanuska Glacier sounds ‘demonstrating the warning signal behaviour of glaciers’, a string ensemble joins in. The compositions are created merging environmental recordings, modern classical music and electroacoustic sounds.

The 23 minute opener, Sound Cast of Matanuska Glacier, was written upon request for President Obama’s 2015 Glacier Conference. The warning signals of the glaciers may be urgent and demand immediate action, but the music here describes their beauty.

‘Eco-acoustician’ Matthew Burtner turns parts of the glaciers into instruments: in Syntax of Snow the performers play the glockenspiel with one hand and (amplified) snow with the other. Muir Glacier, the longest composition on this album, ‘follows a linear timeline from the healthy glacier’s beginnings to its ultimate demise’, using sounds from glaciers in various states of retreat.

Glacier Music is performed by the Rivanna Quartet, the Albemarle Ensemble and by percussionists Brandon Bell and Trevor Saint.
Ánd by various Alaskan Glaciers, of course.

Matthew Burtner – Threnody (Sikuigvik)


Scattered Memories

SABA ALIZÂDEH – SCATTERED MEMORIES  Also on Spotify

Saba Alizâdehs own website claims Scattered Memories is his debut album. But this is only partly true: it is a reworked version of the self-released album from 2017 – with a somewhat different tracklisting (only a few tracks are on both versions). It was then released on his own, local, platform Noise Works. But now, Karl Records re-introduces the album to a wider audience. And rightly so!

There are two sides to Alizâdeh‘s work: one is the virtuoso kamancheh (spike fiddle) player, soloist and collaborator. The other is the musician exploring the experimental realm by merging his instrument with electronics, samples of (Persian) music instruments and field recordings from Tehran. The combination is a fascinating blend of ‘persian experimental’ music.

‘Tradition meets modernism, eastern sounds meet western production, folklore meets contemporary electronics. An album that will appeal to an open-minded “world music” audience as well as fans of current streams like ambient or drone in its most subtle forms.’

With artists like Siavash Amini, Porya Hatami and Saba Alizâdeh, Iran can claim an important position in bringing experimental music to a new and exciting level.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Shub-Niggurath * Peter Edwards Ambient * Elnath Project https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-29/shubniggurath-edwards-elnath/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-29/shubniggurath-edwards-elnath/#respond Fri, 29 Mar 2019 08:48:11 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11352

A two hour long collaboration soundscape dedicated to H.P. Lovecrafts' dark deity Shub-Niggurath... and a soundtrack for your time travel experiences by Peter Edwards Ambient....plus the 'almost biological' sounds of the Elnath Project

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Shub-Niggurath

SHUB-NIGGURATH – A CRYO CHAMBER COLLABORATION Also on Spotify

Maybe the Cryo Chamber label is to dark ambient music what H.P. Lovecraft was for the horror fiction genre. The label honours the original master with a series of albums each dedicated to a dark Lovecraft deity.

Shub-Niggurath is the fifth in this series, preceded by Cthulthu (2014), Azathoth (2015), Nyarlathotep (2016), and Yog-Sothoth (2017).

“The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young” is a ‘perverse fertility deity’:

“An enormous mass which extrudes black tentacles, slime-dripping mouths, and short, writhing goat legs. Small creatures are continually spat forth by the monstrosity, which are either consumed into the miasmatic form or escape to some monstrous life elsewhere.
Of all the mythos deities, Shub-Niggurath is probably the most extensively worshipped.” 

As expected,  the music is as dark as these woods supposedly are. The 2CD album features two hour-long tracks: a continuous mix of a roster of artists associated with Cryo Chamber: Atrium Carceri, Dronny Darko, ProtoU, Northumbria, Randal Collier-Ford, Council of Nine, Alphaxone, Ugasanie, and 12 more.
However, this is not a compilation album. Like the earlier releases, all these artists worked together – ‘linked their studios and sound for over a year – to complete this huge collaboration project.

“With the proper occult paraphernalia, Shub-Niggurath can be summoned to any woodlands at the time of the new moon.”

I recommend you to be careful in trying! Maybe just leave the proper occult paraphernalia where they belong and just enjoy this dark trip. On its own, or perhaps as a background soundtrack for reading in Lovecraft’s Cthulthu Mythos.


Peter Edwards Ambient

PETER EDWARDS AMBIENT – TEMPORAL.DIVERGENCE Also on Spotify

Peter Edwards Ambient is a sound designer living in the desert wastelands of New Mexico, USA. I don’t know why the Ambient is consistently added to his name, probably to distinguish him from many others with the same name, or to indicate that he can make other music than ambient too… but anyway it leaves no doubt about what kind of music to expect.
In this particular case: “Ambient music for time travellers”.

Temporal.Divergence “is a science-fiction-inspired dark ambient music journey designed to immerse the listener in a continually evolving back story of time travel and humanity’s struggle against the darker powers of Artificial Intelligence.”

The ‘widescreen’ production and immersive pads do a fine job in creating an outerspace/Sci-Fi atmosphere. This cinematic approach is even enhanced with the narration on Gravfield.Theory (spoken by Randy Savage) and The Quantum Mechanics Of Time Travel Through Post-Selected Teleportation (! – spoken by Seth Lloyd, MIT-Quantum Mechanic).

An exciting hour-long trip out of time, into the dark and unknown outer space.


 

Elnath Project

ELNATH PROJECT – “~”   Also on Spotify

Alessandro Ciccarelli is a trumpet player with an academic background – but you’ll have a hard time locating a trumpet sound on his first solo album. Of course I do not really know what the actual sound sources were for the samples he used, so there may be a trumpet involved after all, but the result is strictly electronic. (*) And rather deep.

These pieces reflect on the idea of composer Giacinto Scelsi:
“Music cannot exist without sound. Sound exists by itself without music. Music evolves over time. The sound is timeless. It’s the sound that matters. Sound is strength.”

The background notes on the six compositions are rather academic: the first three tracks, recorded live, are all based on subtractive synthesis, resulting in ‘a magmatic sound, a minimal and stratified drone”. The next piece (PRW7~) is based on additive synthesis, facing us with ‘a dialogic process between sound programming that executes instructions according to Gaussian distributions for some parameters, and the musician who intervenes in real-time, following his ear, on parameters related to the effects.’
Are you still with me here?

The academic background of the creation of this music may be interesting to everyone that is creating electronic music him- or herself. But the most important thing is that you can just leave this as it is, and immerse yourself in these fascinating,  ‘almost biological’ sounds.

(*) – edit: 
Allessandro explains:
“Since you were wondering about the sound sources, I tell you: no trumpet here. First 4 tracks are composed and programmed with Pure Data software, so generative sounds (synthesis). Last two tracks mix field recordings and generative sounds (Pure Data) in Ableton Live!”

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Trio Ramberget * Ian Vine https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-26/ramberget-vine/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-26/ramberget-vine/#respond Tue, 26 Mar 2019 08:43:20 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12112

Acoustic ambient: Trio Ramberget creates music to fall asleep to with double bass, bass clarinet and trombone... Ian Vine's 24 Still Pieces can be played in any random sequence.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Trio Ramberget

TRIO RAMBERGET – MUSIK ATT SOMNA TILL Also on Spotify

 

Musik Att Somna Till best translates to Music to fall asleep to. So the intentions of Trio Ramberget for this album are very clear. A sleep music concept that is not unknown in ‘ambient’ music of course – but it is the setting of this trio that is unique.
A trio featuring a double bass (Johanna Eckholm), a trombone (Gustav Davidsson) and a bass clarinet (Pelle Westlin): yes, this is fully acoustic ‘sleep music’.

Musik Att Somna Till best translates to Music to fall asleep to. So the intentions of Trio Ramberget for this album are very clear. A sleep music concept that is not unknown in ‘ambient’ music of course – but it is the setting of this trio that is unique.
A trio featuring a double bass (Johanna Eckholm), a trombone (Gustav Davidsson) and a bass clarinet (Pelle Westlin): yes, this is fully acoustic ‘sleep music’.

Playing quiet unhurried sleep music on acoustic instruments is harder than using electronic instruments. Vvolk/Book Of Air takes this to the conceptual maximum (check them out if you haven’t), but Trio Rmberget chooses a different path to get the desired result. They don’t aim to play drones, but unhurried arrangements that border on slowed down jazz music .
Their second full album “is a step in a more minimalistic and ambient direction than our earlier releases” and aims to find a “common ground for people who enjoy jazz, ambient, minimalism, post-rock, modern classical music and so on. “

It only took me a few minutes to fall for their music. The sound of their instruments, the careful balance between jazz/classical and improvised music (all these tracks are freely improvised, but they sound as carefully thought-out compositions), but first and foremost the extremely relaxed atmosphere…


Still Pieces

IAN VINE – STILL PIECES Also on Spotify

Many, if not most, drone pieces are created with electronic means. After all, it is quite difficult to maintain a long stretched note on most acoustic instruments.
This is why this release by Ian Vine immediately caught my attention:
“twenty-four pieces for flute(s), accordion, acoustic guitar(s), piano, electronics, which combine to form an hour-long work.”

Ian Vine is a composer from Manchester “who works with acoustic instruments and electronics in the concert hall as well as for installation and recorded media. His music is characterised by stillness and sustained sound, extreme economy and material revealed at a glacial pace.”
His website lists an enormous body of works since 1994. Gradually, the concept of his works evolve to explore endless combinations of similar object or events. Most of the works are described by their titles: Fifty Objects, Fourty ObjectOver 5000 Individual Works, [2520] Individual Works For Violin, etcetera.

Still Pieces is meant to be hears as one single hour-long piece, with 24 shorter fragments played by an ensemble of flute(s), accordion, acoustic guitar(s), piano and electronics.
The pieces can be played in any order: “there are 620,448,401,733,239,439,360,000 permutations.” (I haven’t checked that, by the way).

I called it a drone, which is an proper description for each of the parts, but not for the whole piece: the parts slightly differ in tone, and each piece starts with a recognisable chord which is sustained throughout the rest of the fragment.

Playing this set in one continuous setting is bewitching enough, but it also reveals a conceptual flaw (at least to me): the fragments cannot be played seamlessly because of a fragment of a second of silence at the end. A seamless random play would be impossible on a CD-player by definition: the player would have to search for the next track and thus skip a moment. But most digital players are perfectly capable of playing random tracks seamlessly so in that case the skipping moment of silence somehow ruins the continuous listening experience – random and sequential.
This moment of silence between each part may of course be intended, I don’t know. But personally I prefer to hear this work without the gaps. So I set myself to work and chopped off the silences of each part, creating my own gapless version to enjoy.
So there may be a bit of work to do before you can really enjoy these pieces in gapless permutations, but it is definitely worth the effort.

Anyway: this is my first encounter with the work of Ian Vine, but – regarding his immensely interesting body of work – it’s definitely not my last!

Edit:
Ian has explained his decision to include the gaps between the pieces:
“There is meant to be a gap (it’s an eighth-note rest); I thought about this for ages…. and in the end that was my solution – I found the ’seamless gap’ to be too jarring – this feels like the quartet are taking a breath before playing the next piece.” 

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Corey Fuller * Glåsbird https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-23/fuller-glasbird/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-23/fuller-glasbird/#respond Sat, 23 Mar 2019 10:40:49 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12256

Corey Fuller's 'Break' addresses 'the universality of human struggle' in a highly emotional album. Anonymous artist Glåsbird creates a soundtrack for an imaginary film about Greenland.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Corey Fuller - Break

COREY FULLER – BREAK  Also on Spotify

Corey Fuller – also known as one half of the Illuha duo – presents his first solo album on the 12k label. Not his first solo album, mind you: previous albums were released on Dragon’s Eye Recording (Seas Between, 2009) and White Paddy Mountain (Euphotic, with Chihei Hatakeyama, 2016). But hist first on 12k.

The album opens with an impressive 15 minute work called Seiche, divided in three parts: Adrift, Asunder and Aground. Another long-form piece is Look Into The Heart Of Light, The Silence with 13+ minutes. The other tracks are relatively short.
But all the tracks have the same impact: a striking balance between daring sound sculptures and emotional melodies.

Break ‘focuses intensely on melody and harmony, on carefully composed progressions. Highly melodic, the work pulls and churns between harmony and tension, weight and air, the crash of a wave, the pull of the undertoe. […] An emotional riptide where violence and rest struggle to be the last voice.’

This (unusual?) display of human emotions (in the use of voice especially) embedded in sometimes soft, but sometimes also rather physical soundscapes, is where this album differs from many other more ‘academic’ and ‘formulaic’ ambient/electronic music. This music is not just a set of fascinating soundscapes to listen to, its message directly touches the heart.
It is, indeed, a ‘highly emotional’ album, ‘addressing the universality of human struggle – the idea that we as humans all share many of the same difficulties.’

It may very well be my interpretation, but I feel that Break tells us that we all have to be very careful not to lose things that we will dearly miss when they are gone forever.


Glåsbird

GLÅSBIRD – GRØNLAND

Harry Towell’s Whitelabrecs label tirelessly continues to release interesting music. Usually the releases are available in limited editions (50), but for this debut Glåsbird album it is increased to 100 copies.

Glåsbird is an anonymous artist: no further information is provided. For this ‘sonic expedition around Greenland’, (he? she?) they imagined that ‘they were assigned the task of scoring a soundtrack to a film about Greenland and spent a great deal of time researching the subject.’

The music is beautifully orchestrated – like a soundtrack indeed – with lush string and piano sounds, moving somewhere between ambient music and modern classical music.
It is described as ‘glacial’ and ‘icy’: “We’re told that the artist even recorded some sections of sounds to cassette before placing the tape in the freezer to give an added chill factor.”
But in fact I experience it more as warm and comfortable.
Perhaps like imagining sitting near the fireplace in the little house on the beautiful cover image.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Yann Novak * Modelbau https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-20/novak-modelbau/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-20/novak-modelbau/#respond Wed, 20 Mar 2019 16:26:20 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12860

Synaesthetic drones from Yann Novak *** A live performance from Frans 'Modelbau' de Waard (as well as a personal story of fate)

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Scalar Fields

YANN NOVAK – SCALAR FIELDS  Also on Spotify

Yann Novak is a multidisciplinary artist exploring ‘notions of perception, context, and movement through the construction of immersive spaces that seek to heighten the audience’s awareness of the present moment’.
In sound, this means drones. In vision, he focuses on the aspects of colors and their interaction. And, of course, the two are intensely related.

Scalar Fields
Scalar Field Triptych (f9bf3b, fde3a7, 4183d7, 1f3a93), 2016

The concept is not unusual in ambient/drone music and in combination with visual experiments:
‘I wanted to explore slowing down video to the point that change was imperceptible and create sound with no attack or decay, only sustain. My intent was to create a time-based piece that could be experienced more as a painting or sculpture could: a static object that gains meaning though prolonged observation.’

This release documents the sound elements form two of the audiovisual installations in this series: Scalar Field (f9bf3b, fde3a7 , 4183d7, 1f3a93 – or:  yellow, blue, yellow) and
Scalar Field (f89406, f2784b, f64747, f62459 – or: orange, pink, orange).
Music that evolves so slowly that changes are hardly noticed. But the end is definitely different from the beginning.

A short, sped-up, but great example in this Vimeo excerpt:

One question nags me though: do synaesthetics see exactly thése colours when listening to these tracks? Or is it a personal connection, different for everyone?


Modelbau

MODELBAU – BACK THERE

It’s hard to profile Frans de Waard and his importance in the (dutch) electronic/experimental music scene in a few sentences. I won’t even try, and just refer to his discogs page and his biography. Check out his aliases, variations and the groups he’s been in and you get the idea. Apart from his own music, you may know his name from his work for Staalplaat (and the book he wrote about that period) and his Vital Weekly newsletter. Modelbau (one of his aliases) alone already boasts 18 albums and 13 EP/Singles since 2012 (and Back There is not even mentioned yet).

Back There is a 31 minute digital-only release capturing a live performance made at the Oude Kerk Charlois in Rotterdam in january 2019. The cover shows an impressive image of the church organ used in this performance. But don’t expect the usual intimidating thundering sounds here: the church organ is well-balanced with the electronics (both are performed by Frans ‘Modelbau’ de Waard.)

The slowly evolving drone starts with a high-pitched note. Slowly the low registers are added to create a more firm foundation for the sound, until they take over the sound spectrum completely. From there, the sound gets harsher, inescapable, culminating in a piercing high note on a ghostly background. The piece ends with bells, gongs, and soft haunting vocals – ánd an applause to remind us this is a concert recording.
One would hardly notice this was a live-recording, if not for the live sounds of people moving, sometimes coughing, all with the reverb of the church. It all adds to the atmosphere of the recording and to the feeling you are part of the audience in this performance.


Dust

MODELBAU – DUST

And, while checking Modelbau‘s Back There, you may as well check Dust. Which is easy, because it is a Name Your Price download (which of course also includes a free option but for karmatic purposes a donation to the artist is preferred).


Dust is a 15 minute drone piece dedicated to all the victims of war. It depicts a highly personal story, definitely putting the drone soundscapes into a darker perspective:

“At the end of the morning of February 22nd, 1944 my mother, then 5 years old, went home for lunch. Which was odd, as she usually stayed over at school in the centre of Nijmegen. Not that day. Around 13:30 the city of Nijmegen was bombed by the Americans, who returned from a failed mission in Germany and were looking for a secondary German target in occupied Europe. One was the railway station in Nijmegen, which was hit, but also a part of the city centre, including my mother’s school. Around 800 people were killed (or more) making it one of the biggest air attacks on a Dutch city in World War 2.”

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Hugh Marsh * Saffronkeira https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-16/marsh-saffronkeira/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-16/marsh-saffronkeira/#respond Sat, 16 Mar 2019 18:42:16 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12139

Hugh Marsh's Violinvocations shows his admiration for Jon Hassell *** Saffronkeira's Automatism is a 'journey through the vastness of the unconscious'

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Violinvocations

HUGH MARSH – VIOLINVOCATIONS   Also on Spotify

Put your hands up if you immediately recognise the name Hugh Marsh.

I assume that there must be many readers with their hands up now, since Marsh has an incredible track record. Regarded as Canada’s leading improvising violinist, he has worked with (best sit down here) The Brecker Brothers, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Jackson Browne, Don Byron, Bruce Cockburn, Mercan Dede, Flea, Lisa Gerrard, Emmylou Harris, Barenaked Ladies, Daniel Lanois, Caroline Lavelle, Loreena McKennit, Peter Murphy, Alanah Myles, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Robert Palmer, Trevor Rabin, Bonnie Raitt, Leroy Sibbles, Soul Asylum, Rod Stewart, Sonny Stitt, Mel Torme, Conway Twitty, James Blood Ulmer, Andreas Vollenweider, Dionne Warwick,;Jamaladeen Tacuma, Dhafer Youssef, Hans Zimmer, Jon Hassell
– and that is just a selection of the artists he worked with that I know of!

Why namedrop this extensive list? Because it shows that the work of Hugh Marsh almost covers the entire spectrum – with the possible exception of classical music (but I’m not even sure about that).
Compared to this list of references, however, Violinvocations is an eccentric experimental album. The music was recorded in daily sessions while he spent six months living in L.A. with his ‘friend, mentor and fellow soundbender Jon Hassell’. Marsh recorded at least one piece of music every day, all of which had to be completed before 10AM ‘at the behest of Jon Hassell’.
There are many moments where Hassell’s influence can clearly be heard, such as in Thirtysix Hundred Grandview. But Marsh’s need to experiment is larger than just that. In most tracks, the use of his violin is hardly recognisable. In A Beautiful Mistake, for instance, it sounds like a guitar solo. Miku Murmuration (using a guitar effect pedal themed around the animated pop singer of the same name) and Da Solo Non Solitaro trigger vocal samples in a way reminiscing Laurie Anderson’s experiments with a violin played by a tape-stringed bow.

For a listener with a preference for a specific genre, this album may feel as somewhat incoherent. But approaching this collection with an open mind will guarantee some jaw-dropping moments of musical pleasure.
It “functions as the lab notebook of an eccentric scientist, encapsulating his inner life without interference from his conscious mind”.
After all these different experimental explorations, the album closes with the heartbreaking track She Will, an “inadvertent elegy for Marsh’s mother who would sadly pass away shortly after his return to Toronto”.


Hugh Marsh – Thirtysix Hundred Grandview


Saffronkeira

SAFFRONKEIRA – AUTOMATISM

Automatism is Saffronkeira‘s fifth album, follow-up of 2015’s Synecdoche. Like all of its predecessors, it is released on the Denovali label.

On his new album, Sardinian artist Eugenio Caria deals with ‘various forms of unconscious behaviour, such as the unconscious creation of art which sees its culmination in pictures created by generative adversarial networks, a particular kind of artificially intelligent systems that can create artificial images, sound or text which are indistinguishable from real or human-made creations.’

‘Partly a journey through the vastness of the unconscious and partly an unconscious creation itself’ it says. But this album does not feel like ‘generatively created’ music ‘created by artificial intelligent systems’ at all.
On the contrary: it feels like a well-balanced set of thoroughly composed tracks that cover a range of emotions in its 70 minutes playing time.

It’s not particularly ‘ambient’ (though there is ‘ambience’ in abundance) … there may be somewhat too much dynamics in the compositions to be labeled as such. The twelve tracks explore all kinds of emotions, using soundscapes, beats, sequencer patterns, and whatever fits.
It could have very well been a striking movie soundtrack – and I assume it will not take a long time before a more adventurous movie director will find out about Caria’sskills

No one can predict what the future will have in store for him, but I feel like with this album, Saffronkeira has found the ultimate form for what he wants to present with his music.


--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Chi Factory * Snow Palms https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-13/chi-factory-snow-palms/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-13/chi-factory-snow-palms/#respond Wed, 13 Mar 2019 19:21:10 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12974

'Beautiful innocence' of Chi Factory's Fourth World Music, and revived minimalism of Snow Palms.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Mantra Recordings

CHI FACTORY – THE MANTRA RECORDINGS   Also on Spotify

If you are not yet familiar with Chi or its incarnation as Chi Factory, it will take you less than a minute to know which artist is their main source of inspiration. Their music literally breathes Jon Hassell from all its pores – in the wind instrument arrangements (or samples), as well as in its Fourth World Music rhythms and field recordings.
But they add an extra layer to that: an almost psychedelic layer of spirituality – possibly seeking the connection between Fourth World and New Age.

Though relatively unknown, Chi Factory are not exactly newcomers to the scene. Their history started in 1984, as Chi – a multimedia performing group in the forefront of the Dutch ambient/experimental music scene. Michel Banabila was one of the core members at that time, along with Hanyo van Oosterom, Jacobus Derwort, Jurgen Brouwer and Willem Cramer.

As important as their explorations may have been for the development of the Dutch (ambient) music scene, their original music (the self-titled cassette Chi from 1986) remained obscure, known to few, until the Astral Industries label decided it was time to renew attention in 2016 (30 years later, mind you!!).
Since then, more releases with (newly recorded) music of the reformed collective appeared on the same label.

The Mantra Recordings contains four tracks, each exactly 21 minutes in length. The music is dedicated to ‘self-exiled hermit’ Robert Lax who lived on Patmos, Greece, who Jack Kerouac called ‘one of the great original voices of our time, a Pilgrim in search of beautiful innocence.’
In what way his minimalistic poetry influenced this music is known to the makers, and up to the fantasy of the listeners. But one thing is clear: this music is also full of ‘beautiful innocence’


Snow Palms

SNOW PALMS – EVERYTHING ASCENDING  Also on Spotify

This is clearly nó ‘ambient’ music, as probably it will make your blood pressure rise in reaction to the pure energy that comes from the two short tracks on this 18 minute 12″.

Everything Ascending, the title track on side 1, starts like a techno-dance track but quickly turns in a complex rhythmic track which style can perhaps best be described as Philip Glass Reborn.
“An undulating, inexorably unfurling odyssey, oscillating seamlessly between passages of
mesmeric electronic pulse, choral-enhanced minimalism and immersive, gamelan-like ambience.”

If Philip Glass serves as a reference to that track, then Circling (side 2) can perhaps best be referred to Michael Nyman. Not a big surprise, knowing Snow Palms member Christian Forshaw also is (or was) a member of the Michael Nyman Band.
Other Snow Palms members are David Sheppard (electronics, glockenspiel), Matt Gooderson (synths, tapes, piano) and Megan Gooderson (vocals).
Circling, by the way, is ‘a bold orchestral reimagining’ of a track from their album Origin and Echo from 2017. Which – in comparision – is quite different in sound!

One could say these two tracks follow all the rules of post-classical minimal music. Compositional principles that were so over-used that they have become boring in some hands. But Snow Palms approach the genre with such an unbridled refreshed energy, that I noticed myself (the easily bored and spoiled person that I am) suddenly sitting more upright while listening to these tracks.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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DreamScenes – March 2019 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-10/dreamscenes-march-2019/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-10/dreamscenes-march-2019/#respond Sun, 10 Mar 2019 19:00:23 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12949

'Wise Words... Wild Words... D'You See' - DreamScenes - March 2019

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D’you see

Wise Words

Wild Words

D’you see

Mark Hollis – A New Jerusalem
  • 00:00 DreamScenes – Intro (Susanna)
  • 00:34 Joana Gama I Luis Fernandes – Lucid Stillness
    At The Still Point Of The Turning World, 2018, Room 40
  • 04:23 Rune Clausen – Sølje
    Tones Jul, 2019, Forwind
  • 08:05 Snowdrops (Matthieu Gabry, Christine Ott) – Losing A Friend To Death
    Manta Ray OST, 2019, Gizeh Records
  • 10:58 Nivhek (Liz ‘Grouper’ Harris) – Crying Jar
    After Its Own Death, Walking In A Spiral Towards The House, 2019, Self-released
  • 12:53 Toby Marks & Andrew Heath – For Stone (West) Part 1
    Motion, 2019, Disco Geck
    o
  • 17:17 Julia Kent – Crepuscolo
    Temporal, 2019, Leaf
  • 21:08 Saba Alizâdeh – Greetings To Earthfire
    Scattered Memories, 2019, Karl Records
  • 24:10 Laurie Spiegel – Three Sonic Spaces I
    Unseen Worlds, 1991/2019, Unseen Worlds
  • 25:28 Eleni Karaindrou – Tous Les Oiseaux: Lament
    Tous Des Oiseaux, 2019, ECM
  • 28:10 Porya Hatami, Aaron Martin, Roberto Attanasio – Pûşper
    Sallaw, 2019, Dronarivm
  • 34:44 Purl & Yamaoka – Voice To Voice
    Sculpture, 2019, Shimmering Moods
  • 42:28 Corey Fuller – Lamentation
    Break, 2019, 12K
  • 44:53 Olan Mill – Beneath Today
    Curves, 2018, Shimmering Moods
  • 47:24 Erik K. Skodvin & Rauelsson with Otto A. Totland – Breathe
    A Score For Darling, 2018, Sonic Pieces
  • 50:40 Mark Hollis – A New Jerusalem
    Mark Hollis, 1998, Polydor
  • 55:39 Akira Rabelais (+ Stephan Mathieu) – If Error And Upon Me Proved
    CXVI, 2019, Self-Released
  • 59:00 DreamScenes – Outro (Dean Hurley)

 

Play this edition on-demand from the Concertzender website.

OR:

stream it from Mixcloud:

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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S.E.T.I. * Frame https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-06/seti-frame/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-06/seti-frame/#respond Wed, 06 Mar 2019 20:12:31 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12160

S.E.T.I. delivers 8(!) hours of music for your hibernation on your quest for extra-terrestrial intelligence... Frame's journey stays closed to home: exploring our own galaxy

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Sleep Environments

S.E.T.I. – SLEEP ENVIRONMENTS FOR INTERPLANETARY SPACE TRAVEL

Normally it’s already a challenge to give all the music sent to me the attention it deserves. The challenge even gets bigger when receiving extreme long-form ambient sets like this one: 40 tracks with an average length of 12 minutes (which can range from 4 to 22 minutes): a total set length of eight hours and three minutes!
Now here’s what we call long-form ambient!

S.E.T.I. is one of the ambient music projects from Andrew Lagowski, who has been creating electronic music since 1982. The abbreviation stands for Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, which refers to an actual scientific institute founded in 1984. The context of this album is thus indicated by its creator’s alias as well as from its title (which, by the way, can be abbreviated to S.E.I.T.)

Due to its length the project can be compared to Robert Rich’s Sleep Music projects like Somnium and Perpetual. (And, to a lesser extent perhaps, to Max Richter‘s famous Sleep). Each of these works last around eight hours, which is somewhat of a good night’s sleep.
But there’s the conceptual difference of course: Robert Rich focuses on the science of sleep cycles, guiding the listener through various sleep phases – but S.E.I.T. is meant to accompany us through long periods of hibernation while travelling through space:

“You are on a journey to other worlds, using wormhole navigation and cosmic guidance. You’ll go through parallel universes. A lot of the time, you will need to sleep in order to maintain sanity and these sounds can accompany you if you’ll allow them in. They’ll comfort you, remind you…
There will be echoes of your past lives, encounters and tangential moments. Darkness, beauty and noise will be your companions…”

Even so, it still somewhat follows a night’s sleep cycle: starting lively, slowing down gently, slowly getting quieter and deeper, until it comes back up again near the end (even to wake you up from your hibernation with a repeating alarm beep in the last track Nebulo 8).

Even if you’re not especially into Sci-Fi fantasies of intergalactic travel, this music is still worth checking out. The sounds are very immersive, relaxing and evolving through various levels of activity. I had no problem playing this set continuous all throughout the day without getting bored for a single moment.
However, I assume it will be quite hard to fall asleep with this set in the background, because the music at times beg for attention and probably wake you up again should you have fallen asleep. Or in other words: it simply isn’t ‘boring’ enough to fall asleep to…
It may be nice company if you suffer from insomnia, though.

To digest this set in one continuous go, you need the digital version. There’s a physical edition 8(!)-CD set too, but then of course you will need to change the CD every hour. Not very easy to do when you are in deep hibernation – but it may be the preferred option if you want to digest this set in smaller sessions.

This massive set was released on December 21, 2018. Which probably was too late for mentions in any end-of-year list. Which is a bit of a shame because this is a very impressive set. So, at the end of this year, let’s just pretend this is a 2019 release.


Frame - The Journey

FRAME – THE JOURNEY   Also on Spotify

S.E.T.I. may be your soundtrack for intergalactic travel, but if you want to stay closer to home and have no plans to cross the borders of our own galaxy, Frame may be the soundtrack of choice.

With its titles all referring to the planets in our solar system (and the last track on the album named The Arrival), you know that this is gonna be a journey into the outer edges of our galaxy. Which is somewhat of a departure from the usual arctic focus of the Glacial Movements label.
But, according to the artists, ‘silence in glacial environments and in space are very similar, both in a figurative sense and in terms of perception.’

Frame started in 1992 with the idea ‘to re-create the atmosphere of a movie theater in a musical show.’ So it’s not surprising that Eugenio Vatta and Andrea Benedetti create a deeply cinematic sound. A sound especially created for Glacial Movements, with a ‘focus on silence’.

That ‘silence’ should not be taken too literally – it’s not the John Cage 4’33” kind of silence. It’s the kind of silence we know from the music accompanying floating-in-space scenes in Sci-Fi movies.
An extremely immersive trip

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Benoît Pioulard * Josh Mason * Velgenaturlig https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-02/pioulard-mason-velgenaturlig/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-03-02/pioulard-mason-velgenaturlig/#respond Sat, 02 Mar 2019 15:47:28 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12059

Benoît Pioulard and Josh Mason with their releases on the Dauw label. Plus: Velgenaturlig's 'Kundalini'

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Pioulard

BENOÎT PIOULARD – SLOW SPARK, SOFT SPOKE (Extended) Also on Spotify

The Dauw cassette label has a strong and consistent conceptual view, for their artwork (each release features the beautiful, light artwork of Femke Strijbos) as well as for the music they represent. They are also not very selfish: on their bandcamp page they suggest you buy the music straight from the artist page to support the artist directly!

The music of Benoît Pioulard perfectly fits this label. Slow Spark, Soft Spoke was originally released in 2017 on cassette, but sold out quickly on pre-order alone.
That’s the trouble with sympathetic DIY handmade label releases: this Extended Edition vinyl repress with two extra previously unreleased tracks (With this, I disappear and Athanasy, 1993)… sold out quickly too.

So now there’s only the digital edition left. Which should be no real problem since the music is equally beautiful regardless of the medium: beautiful, unhurried, lo-fi minimalism created with guitar, bass, voice, tape and some field recordings from Iceland and France.


Josh Mason

JOSH MASON – L+ Also on Spotify

Josh Mason‘s recent release on the same label is a perfect companion to Benoît Pioulard‘s, and demonstrates the Dauw label’s conceptual consistency.

The notes accompanying this release are somewhat enigmatic, as are the album and track titles:
L+ is a full circle. A dusting off of epidemiological ideas previously (and haphazardly) explored as a younger person. A cleaning out of the proverbial closet. Wisdom from a t-shirt.”

But the music – “derived from a variety of tools and various processing environments, both analog and digital, examining themes of family, community, mental health and location. feels very personal and intimate” – feels very personal.

Ehhh… I díd mention that the cassette release edition (100 copies) are sold out, did I?


Kundalini

VELGENATURLIG – KUNDALINI

I do not know what the meaning of Velgenaturlig possibly could be. I only know that it is the alias of the Portuguese sound sculptor Ivo Santos, who has released music since 2003 on various labels.

The meaning of Kundalini is easier to find: the Sanskrit word refers to ‘a form of primal energy (or shakti) said to be located at the base of the spine’. An energy that can be ‘awakened’ through various methods,which reportedly can result in ‘a distinct feeling of electric current running along the spine.’

Velgenaturlig attempts to awaken this energy by ‘creating vast musical landscapes to traverse within the minds eye’.
The album’s 75 minutes playing time (in twelve tracks) create a meditative moment of rest and introspection, weaving “an infinite pathway between the light and the dark”, best played in one uninterrupted sequence.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Robert Scott Thompson * Basinski/English https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-02-26/rsthompson-basinski-english/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-02-26/rsthompson-basinski-english/#respond Tue, 26 Feb 2019 18:59:13 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11997

The adventurously bright acousmatic soundscape Phonotopological by Robert Scott Thompson is beautifully contrasted by the dark Selva Oscura of William Basinski and Lawrence English.

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phonotopological

ROBERT SCOTT THOMPSON – PHONOTOPOLOGICAL  Also on Spotify

The extensive discography of Robert Scott Thompson goes all the way back to 1976, when he started composing music using a Moog Series III and two 4-channel tape recorders. In most of his work,“the blending of the acoustic and the synthetic – the real and the imaginary – has been a guiding idea.”

Phonotopological can best be described as an acousmatic work: “Sound elements are often obscured from their acoustic origins due to significant transformational processing and recontextualization.”
The 13 sections of this 80 minute piece (which can best be played in one continuous session) are created “from 125 complex sub-elements. Each one of these sub-elements, themselves created from a number of individual sound sources, is used only once in the work. Relatively continuous in sound, the composition has a clear formal design of contrast and internal development.”

The result is a fascinating wondrous collection of abstract (but pleasant) otherworldly soundscapes that seem to fill the room completely, due to the detailed spatialization created with ambisonic techniques.



Se;va Oscura

WILLIAM BASINSKI/LAWRENCE ENGLISH – SELVA OSCURA  Also on Spotify

Sometimes I simply skip a recommendation of an album, simply because I assume that the artists in question are so well-known that everyone interested will immediately know about it. Such was the case with this album, a collaboration of two giants of the genre Lawrence English and William Basinski. I guess they don’t need any further introduction at all.

But ever since this album was released (october 2018), I found myself playing it over and over. I do not make end-of-year lists for various reasons, but if I did, this album would definitely be among the most impressive releases of the year.
So I guess there’s no harm in mentioning it – for the very few that may have missed the release.

Selva Oscura translates as Twilight Forest.
“The phrase draws its roots from Dante’s Inferno. It metaphorically speaks to both those who find themselves on the unfamiliar path and more explicitly the nature of losing one’s way in place and time.” 

This aptly describes the nature of the two long compositions on this album, called Mono No Aware and Selva Oscura. Each of these are around 20 minutes long: the perfect length for a vinyl edition of course. (On Spotify, however, both tracks are divided in 4 parts each – which seems a strange decision to me because of the rough cutoffs of the parts. But luckily the spotify player is perfectly capable of playing them seamlessly). 

“The works each dwell in an ever shifting, yet fundamentally constant state of unfolding. As one sound fades away, another is revealed in its place, creating a sense of an eternal reveal.”

 

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Robert Rich * Erik Wøllo https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-02-22/rich-wollo/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-02-22/rich-wollo/#comments Fri, 22 Feb 2019 08:45:35 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12196

Two immersive albums 'for stillness and reflection': Robert Rich's double album 'tactile Ground' and Erik Wølllo's 'Infinite Moments'.

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Tactile Ground

ROBERT RICH – TACTILE GROUND Also on Spotify

Ever since he built his own analog modular synth way back in 1976 at the age of 13, Robert Rich has become one of the GrandMasters of ambient music. He is the originator of the Sleep Concerts concepts (all-night performances), later resulting in long-form (literally: 8 hours) compositions Somnium and Perpetual.
His (Discogs) discography boasts 55 albums by now, most of them solo works, but also collaborations with artists like Lustmord, Alio Die, Steve Roach, Ian Boddy, Michael Stearns, Markus Reuter.

For reasons unclear to me, his work is often classified as New Age music. Possibly simply because it was there before ‘ambient’ became the common classification. Perhaps also because he doesn’t care about hypes and trends and simply does what he feels is needed, which may mean including flute (or whale) sounds when necessary.
For many (myself included), New Age music’s bad reputation is a no-go zone: too superficial, easy-going, effect-oriented. Which is exactly why Robert Rich‘s music does NOT belong in that category – it is way too intelligent and ‘deep’ for that. So let’s just forget about that classification and simply give the respect due.

Tactile Ground is a 2-hour (2-CD) set divided in two chapters; Location and Dislocation. The album comes with a beautiful set of ink-works – abstract images that somehow illustrate the music perfectly. It is a major release, even in the vast history of Robert Rich‘s music.

Location opens with a soft piano piece and softly flows into the kind of dreamlike music that is Robert Rich‘s trademark. As expected from its subtitle, Dislocation is a bit more abstract in sound: the fleeting melodies that can be heard on Location retreat further, the instrument sounds are less recognisable, even more emphasis on the atmosphere. Until, near the end (in Elevations), Robert‘s wailing guitar sound returns and brings you back to the surface… slowly coming back to where you were when you started listening.

Tactile Ground is available in a 2-CD version and digital download. For those interested in high-resolution digital there’s also a 24 bit/96 kHz download version (for the same price).
But that is not all: there is also a surround sound version available!!
I am very happy that Robert Rich goes the extra mile for this, because this kind of music is very suitable for immersive surround sound listening. There should definitely be more surround ambient music! 
You can find the surround version on surroundmusic.one (as well as 8 other surround version of other Robert Rich’s album!). The download of the surround album also includes optional download of a 24/96 bit FLAC version and a MPR 320 kbps version.


Infinite Moments

ERIK WØLLO – INFINITE MOMENTS Also on Spotify

Norwegian composer Erik Wøllo has released his music since 1983. His discography shows more than 40 albums in a steady flow. In recent years, most of his albums are released by Projekt Records, and so is Infinite Moments.

All of these parts were made without the use of synthesizers. They are performed entirely on electric guitars ‘processed with the diffused sustain of the EBow and layered note structure of harmonizers. Each loop was recorded live in the studio using a different type of guitar creating rich ensembles of unity.’
The result is a unique distinctive sound, immediately recognizable as Wøllo‘s.

An inward meditative journey for stillness and reflection.
A satellite floating weightless in space.

liner notes

The looped guitar melodies are like yearning, lonely cries. But at the same time, the music is far from dark: it is accepting the beauty of the vastness.
All track have the same title, and all have a similar calm, longing and endless feeling:
‘The tracks retain a similar suspended level throughout. Here are no crescendos or high points.’

Best experienced in one continuous session for maximum ‘floating’ effect.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Gideon Wolf * Gentleman Losers https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-02-18/wolf-gentlemanlosers/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-02-18/wolf-gentlemanlosers/#respond Mon, 18 Feb 2019 10:39:27 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12055

Memories of 'Brutal London' as remembered by Gideon Wolf (Tristan Shorr), and quiet ambient-post-rock from The Gentleman Losers to help wait for the season to change

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Gideon Wolf

GIDEON WOLF –REPLICAS

Derelict, the opening track of Replicas opens with a heartbreaking violin lament, a theme retreating to give way to dark and brooding soundscapes evolving into scary ritual drum patterns. The rest of the album is equally dark and haunting… as if you’re in a place where the light struggles to get through.
The accompanying photographs (by Craig Tattersall) depict depressing concrete landscapes of recent past.

Part history ( ‘this album goes back to my roots: a council flat in South East London’), part present (‘at points angry and born out of frustration and angst for the times we are living in […] reflecting the blackening of the Union Jack and the dark position into which the United Kingdom has sunk’)
A metaphor for what Brexit could possibly bring, if you want. But in fact is it based on Tristan (Gideon Wolf) Shorr‘s memories of London, his memories compared to its current state of decline.
‘A melting pot of cultures, music and people’ in memory, but ‘gentrification and regeneration has slowly erased the marginal, changing the culture of a single borough and dissolving communities’ as well as ‘increasing the poverty divide’.

Not exactly a bright and optimistic picture is painted here. But, as often, there’s a striking beauty in decline, as well as beauty in memories of the past – especially with this instrumentation of electronics, violin, and cello.

Replicas is released on the Fluid Audio label, with 20 A6 (and 1 A5) photo prints from Craig Tattersall‘s Brutal London series, hand-stamped and numbered, scent, in a glassine bag, etc.etc.
You probably know what that means. Too late by now….
Or maybe not yet: at the time of publishing this post a few copies are still available at Gideon Wolf’s Bandcamp page.
(Digital copies also available)

 


Gentleman Losers

THE GENTLEMAN LOSERS – MAKE WE HERE OUR CAMP OF WINTER Also on Spotify

Compared to the Fluid Audio releases, an edition of 500 copies can hardly be called ‘limited’. Still all 500 copies of this The Gentleman Losers album are also hand-made, packaged in ‘a hand-stamped cardboard envelope with the front covered image printed on a Polaroid style photo paper and two insert sheets’. DIY hand-crafted releases rule, if you are a physical collector! But that is the package, the medium, about form, not content. So let’s talk about the music.

The Gentleman Losers are Samu and Ville Kuukka from Helsinki, Finland. This is their fourth full album release since 2006. Their aim was to create a spontaneous, simple, quiet record – and definitely succeeded. As the title implies, the album ‘has a sense of introversion to it, a feeling of winter approaching, and of holing up to wait for the seasons to change.’
All quiet and with a nice lo-fi analogue sound, this is as much ‘ambient’ as it is post-rock – with a sound palette ‘that blends layers of haunting guitar melodies, slowly picked lap steel guitar, warm analogue synths, subtle bass lines, minimal beats and spoken word ‘ (in the track Fish Roam In Winter Water).

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Akira Rabelais – CXVI https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-02-13/rabelais-cxvi/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-02-13/rabelais-cxvi/#comments Wed, 13 Feb 2019 19:45:55 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12801

"a 1000 Laws of Æthelred iii. c. 13 §1 (Schmid) And þar þeᴁen aᴁe tweᴁen costas lufe oþþe laᴁe and he þonne lufe ᴁeceose. 1432–50 tr. Higden (Rolls) I. 99 Oreb‥the mownte of fere and of luffe [L. mons terroris et fœderis]. Ibid. II. 347, IV. 123. a 1500 in Arnolde Chron. (1811) 90 Yf ther bee ony persone wythin the warde that is not vnder francpledge that is to saye under loue and lawe."

Akira Rabelais - CXVI

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CXVI

AKIRA RABELAIS – CXVI

Everything Akira Rabelais does is enigmatic. Just look at his website. Or try to understand the manual for his Argeïphontes Lyre software, designed for creating music in a way unrivalled by any other software.
I assume that, many years from now, musical archivists and linguistics will try to interpret his rediscovered music annotations in the same way that scientists unravel the mystery of ancient runes. Will they understand what this was all about? I doubt it. But if they do, it will probably lead to the same questions that arise when listening to his music. Because Rabelais does not conform to current standards, ignores any cool hypes-of-the-moment, and creates music that forces the listener to use his imagination and step outside of any expectation. Surprise is the only constant…

Forms: 1 lufu, (lufo), 2–4 luve, 3 lou, 4, 6 loove, 5 louf, loof, 4–5 lof, lofe, 5 luf, lufue, (Sc. 4–6 luf(e, luff, 5, 8 luffe, 6 luif(e, 6, 8 luve, 6 luwe, luyf, luiff, lwiff, loif), 3– love. 

Liner Notes

The underlying concept for this album is quite clear: it is all about Love (or ‘lurvvve’ – as I recall Woody Allen pronounced it just to emphasize its importance).
The album title CXVI refers to William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116:Let me not to the marriage of true minds.‘ This sonnet gave each album side its own title; the individual tracks are named after their contributors.

The liner notes, however, are strictly academic and hardly leave room for any romantic emotion:
“1. a.1.a That disposition or state of feeling with regard to a person which (arising from recognition of attractive qualities, from instincts of natural relationship, or from sympathy) manifests itself in solicitude for the welfare of the object, and usually also in delight in his or her presence and desire for his or her approval; warm affection, attachment.”
… or even more detached references to archaic mediaeval descriptions.

c 1000 Prayers of Exeter Bk. iv. 115 Wæs a cearu symle lufena to leane.    c 1200 Moral Ode 314 in Trin. Coll. Hom., Þe þe þos two luues halt and wile hes wel healde.    1595 Shakes. John iv. i. 49 What good loue may I performe for you?    1632 Lithgow Trav. v. 189, I met with an English ship‥whose loues I cannot easily forget.    a 1853 Robertson Lect. i. (1858) 25 The same feelings and anxieties and loves. 

Liner Notes

The physical release is a double vinyl album: the digital download has each side as one track. But the sides are in fact divided in different tracks, named after their contributors: ‘Dramatis Personae’ like Ben Frost, Harold Budd (side 1), Kassel Jaeger & Melanie Skriabine (side 2), Kassel Jaeger & Karen Vogt (Side3), Geir Jenssen, Bogdan D. Smith, Stephan Mathieu (side 4).
The exact process remains unclear and is entirely left to your imagination: what is the input of the contributors, and what did Rabelais exactly do to their contributions? I guess most of the music was heavily treated with the Argeïphontes Lyre software, but I don’t really know.

Some of the tracks feature spoken word. In Star To Every Wandring Worth’s Unknown, the text is recited in French, with a soft seductive voice as if spoken, whispered, through a telephone. I don’t know the french language enough to be able to hear if this is a coherent text, but perhaps that is not very important. The message is in the sound of it, the syllables, the pronunciation of the vowels and consonants, the ‘ASMR effect’ of listening to a poetic voice without understanding it.
(edit: thanks to James Catchpole I now know that the text comes from Max Ernst ‘s la femme 100 têtes).

In If Error And Upon Me Proved, the text is in English, so this is more understandable to most listeners. But the ‘ASMR effect’ of Karen Vogt’s voice is similar.

The tracks are different from each other in nature and atmosphere, causing quite some mood changes. To top it all off, the closing track by Stephan Mathieu features a haunting opera singer embedded in floating background reminiscing the Spellewauerynsherde album.

(Whenever I mention the work of Akira Rabelais I cannot resist to mention this Spellewauerynsherde album, originally released in 2004 on David Sylvian‘s Samadhisound label, one of my all-time favourite albums. If you are not familiar with this album please do yourself (and me) a favor and check it out. A radio show special, including some exclusive private and unreleased recordings from Akira Rabelais can be found at the bottom of this post.)

Let me not to the marriage of true minds 
Admit impediments. Love is not love 
Which alters when it alteration finds, 
Or bends with the remover to remove. 
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark 
That looks on tempests and is never shaken; 
It is the star to every wand’ring bark, 
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. 
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks 
Within his bending sickle’s compass come; 
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, 
But bears it out even to the edge of doom. 
If this be error and upon me prov’d, 
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

Free download codes!

Akira Rabelais is a generous man: MAC-using musicians can download his Argeïphontes Lyre for free (it’s almost enough argument to buy Apple just to use this), he previously submitted special remixed versions of Spellewauerynsherde as an exclusive Ambientblog Christmas gift

And now he offers five download codes for the (digital) version of CXVI to give away to Ambientblog readers!
If you want one of these codes, add a comment below expressing any thoughts related to Akira Rabelais (or any thoughts about lufu, (lufo), luve, lou, loove, etcetera. if you prefer). One week after publishing this post, five commenters will be randomly chosen (not based on content) and receive a download code via e-mail.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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DreamScenes – February 2019 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-02-10/dreamscenes-february-2019/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-02-10/dreamscenes-february-2019/#comments Sun, 10 Feb 2019 19:00:50 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12282

"What place has no wind?"

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“what place has no wind?”

Golden Palominos – Victim

Tracklist:

  • 00:00 DreamScenes – Intro (Susanna)
  • 00:40 Eleni Karaindrou – Tous Des Oiseaux: The Wind Of War
    Tous Des Oiseaux, 2018, ECM Records
  • 02:50 Dag Rosenqvist – Home
    Reliance (v/a), 2019, Unknown Tribe
  • 07:30 Hugh Marsh – She Will
    Violinvocations, 2018, Western Vinyl
  • 16:17 Corey Fuller – A Hymn For The Broken
    Break, 2019, 12K
  • 20:21 Julia Kent – Conditional Futures
    Temporal, 2019, Leaf
  • 24:02 Working Titles – Nagloed
    De Tuin, 2019, self-released
  • 27:54 Janek Schaefer – Night In Narnia
    Sleeplaboratory 1.0 (v/a), 2019, Whitelabrecs
  • 34:03 Trio Ramberget – Eb Dur – Torpet
    Musik Att Somna Til, 2019, self-released
  • 36:57 Evelyn Glennie and Roly Porter – Part One
    One Day Band 17, 2019, Trestle Records (rel. march 1)
  • 39:40 Annelies Monseré – You’re On Your Own
    Happiness Is Within Sight, 2018, Stroom 〰
  • 43:16 Luciano Lamanna – Spina Nel Cuore
    Sottrazione, 2018, Boring Machines
  • 45:40 Black To Comm – Double Happiness In Temporal Decoy
    Seven Horses For Seven Kings, 2019, Thrill Jockey
  • 48:57 Dickon Hinchliffe – Drive To The Farm
    Leave No Trace OST, 2018, Lakeshore Records
  • 51:00 Golden Palominos – Victim
    Dead Inside, 1996, Restless Records
  • 56:40 Olafur Arnalds – They Sink
    Re:member, 2018, Mercury KX
  • 58:44 DreamScenes – Outro (Dean Hurley)

The last thing I hear is a click.

Golden Palominos – Victim

 

Play this edition on-demand from the Concertzender website.

OR:

stream it from Mixcloud:

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Eraldo Bernocchi * Martin Ptak https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-02-07/bernocchi-ptak/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-02-07/bernocchi-ptak/#respond Thu, 07 Feb 2019 19:43:12 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12052

Eraldo Bernocchi writes a soundtrack for a documentary about Cy Twombly * Martin Ptak depicts the flow of a river from its spring to its destination.

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Bernocchi

ERALDO BERNOCCHI – LIKE A FIRE THAT CONSUMES ALL BEFORE IT  Also on Spotify

This 18 track album plays like a set of beautiful standalone miniature soundpaintings, but in fact it is the soundtrack for Cy Dear, a documentary about the American painter, sculptor and photographer Cy Twombly. The cover image is one of his paintings: Fifty Days at Iliam (Part V – The Fire That Consumes All Before It), from 1978.

Italian (now London-based) composer Eraldo Bernocchi ‘s discography covers quite some ambient music. In the past he has collaborated with an impressive list of artists: Mick Harris, Bill Laswell, Nils Petter Molvaer, Harold Budd, Russell Mills, Toshinori Kondo, DJ Olive, Markus Stockhausen, Robin Guthrie and many others. This list alone indicates that Bernocchi is a musical force to reckon with!

Which, once again, is confirmed with this atmospheric soundtrack.
 “This work bears my signature. It’s a side of me that’s always been there. Note after note, take after take, I became part of this story. I brought my memories. This work had actually started as a soundtrack but in the end it became a story — his story, their story, my story. There are a lot of personal things in the music, mostly private. There’s a deep sense of memory in the documentary, a sense of time gone, brief meetings.”

Often disguised by the use of echo, delay and reverb, the guitar is Bernocchi‘s main instrument.
“I approached the guitars like an orchestra, layering part after part, singing aloud what I was hearing in my head and heart. And when the music was emotionally taking over, I chose and selected those parts pushing on the edge of feelings.” 

Like a Fire That Consumes All Before It is released on the RareNoiseRecords label, of which Bernocchi is one of the co-founders.


River Tales

MARTIN PTAK – RIVER TALES  Also on Spotify

Martin Ptak, composer, pianist and trombonist, grew up in the small Austrian town of Krems, near the Danube (Donau) river.
On River Tales he paints the flow of a river: from its source, through cities and countryside, until it reaches its destination and slows into the sea.

Like a river, the music can range from quiet to turbulent. Ptak’s compositions are performed by the “River Tales” ensemble, a combination of strings, trombones, tuba, trumpet, Fender Rhodes, and of course the piano. Prepared piano samples are inserted percussively and sampled live. 

The compositions cover a range of styles: modern-classical strings sections alternate with minimal piano themes and jazzy soloing. It’s like a river flowing through completely different landscapes.

Apart from his own projects, Martin Ptak has worked and played with Steve Bernstein, Elliot Sharp, Jim Thirlwell, Bill Reichenbach, Count Basic, and many others. Which may explain some of the versatility displayed on this album.


MARTIN PTAK – MERGING

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Masaya Kato * H. Takahashi https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-02-03/kato-takahashi/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-02-03/kato-takahashi/#respond Sun, 03 Feb 2019 10:30:30 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=10857

Two releases that are as relaxing as a walk in a Japanese garden: Masaya Kato's Contact and Hiro Takahashi's Low Power.

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Masaya Kato - Contact

MASAYA KATO – CONTACT

There are many pleasant surprises in the steady releaseflow of Harry Towell’s Whitelabrecs. Such as this album by Masaya Katoa Japanese artist who previously released music on Time Released Sound and Somehow Recordings.

Contact is an immensely quiet set of Fender Rhodes chords, presented with long pauses filled with layers of magnetic noise that come from tape reels, vinyl, 8 mm film and VHS.

“The tone of Rhodes keys is typically an immediate rush of melody, instantly recognisable and usually used in soul, house and jazz genres for its deep tones. When used to create Ambient drones, the feint swells of decaying chords serve as the subtlest blend. Against the hiss, crackle and pop of the magnetic noise sounds, the minimalist melodic textures were created as Masaya has strived to extinguish his body into the empty air around him.”

The warm sound of the Fender Rhodes contrasts nicely with the magnetic noises, creating a relaxing, dreamlike effect.


H. Takahashi - Low Power

H. TAKAHASHI – LOW POWER  Also on Spotify

H. (Hiro) Takahashi‘s Low Power is just as relaxing as Contact. And like most other releases on Chihei Hatakeyama’s White Paddy Mountain label: obviously Japanese music are masters of “the philosophy of simple timbre composition and placement.”

The instrumentation is different: minimal keyboards and synth settings instead of the Rhodes, and no static noise. But Takahashi’s minimalism –  inspired by Japanese Minimalists Yoshimura and Ashikawa, Satie, Cage, as well as Brian Eno and Roedelius – has the same refreshing and relaxing effect.

The cover shows an image of an exhausted person, definitely on Low Power.  If that is how you feel, I recommend taking a break to relax with the album (or even: these albums) playing in the background.

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Iluiteq * Hirotaka Shirotsubaki * Clearlight & Owl https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-01-31/iluiteq-shirotsubaki-clearlightowl/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-01-31/iluiteq-shirotsubaki-clearlightowl/#respond Thu, 31 Jan 2019 14:52:44 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11404

Italian duo Iluiteq presents their soundtracks for winter departures *** Hirotaka Shirosubaki prepares for the end of the Japanes Heisei era in which he grew up *** Belgian duo Clearlight & Owl take you to your deepest thoughts.

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Iluiteq

ILUITEQ – SOUNDTRACKS FOR WINTER DEPARTURES  Also on Spotify

I have literally no clue what to make of the name of this duo, Iluiteq. But of course not everything necessarily must have a meaning..
Soundtracks for Winter Departures is the first album under this name created by Sergio Calzoni and Andrea Belluci from Italy. both with a long history in the Italian experimental scene.
Their aim is to explore the many facets of ambient music, using “a unique palette of sound timbres, a wide range of sampling and synthesis techniques: granular, wavetable, FM, additive….” Electric guitar, acoustic piano and field recordings are added on top of that to create a collection of tracks to evoke “the act of leaving for uncertain destinations.”


Last Goodbye

HIROTAKA SHIROTSUBAKI – LAST GOODBYE  Also on Spotify

Hirotaka Shirotsubaki grew up in a small town in Kobe, Japan. He uses his sampled guitars to create his landscapes “dreamy landscapes and emotional textures moving the listener in a quiet and safe inner dwelling.”
Since 2011, he has released about 12 albums, most of them self-released but others on the Naviar and Organic Industries label. Last Goodbye is released on Krysalisound.

Hirotaka‘s music resembles that of Chihei Hatakeyama – in sound as well as in peacefulness.
The title of the album refers to the Japanese Heisei era which started in January 1989 and will end in April 2019, an era in which he lived until now. The end of an era in which one is born and lived all of his life feels like parting and is a moment to look back on the past:
“The six tracks that make up this album have my memory fragments scattered around.”


Inverted Horizon

CLEARLIGHT & OWL – INVERTED HORIZON

Clearlight & Owl are two Belgian artists, Lucas D’Haeyaert and Pierre Nesi. They have worked together before on various occasions, both creating music since 2009.

Inverted Horizon
 is released on the independent Belgian label 306 Recordings.
Ten tracks with alternating atmospheres, from calm ambient music to somewhat unnerving electronics, taking you “to your deepest thoughts, travelling between darkness and enlightment, to the deepest, darkest & inverted horizon.”


 


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Stephan Haluska * Ecovillage * Rhucle https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-01-27/haluska-ecovillage-rhucle/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-01-27/haluska-ecovillage-rhucle/#respond Sun, 27 Jan 2019 22:32:39 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11327

Presenting three releases on the Constellation Tatsu label: Stephan Haluska, Ecovillage and Rhucle.

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STEPHAN HALUSKA – EMPTY ROOM  Also on Spotify

A Harp is not often used in ambient settings. Maybe because of its fairy-like sound that can be associated with ‘new age’, maybe because it is a plucked acoustic instrument that is easier to use in modern classical/minimal music than in ‘ambient’ setting.
Stephan Haluska, however, proves all possible prejudices wrong on one of the most dreamy and relaxing albums I recently heard – using just his harp (and a fair amount of echo).

With an MFA in Harp Performance, Haluska (from Cleveland, Ohio) often focuses on “blending traditional and non-traditional harp playing through extended techniques, preparation, tools, electronics, and effects pedals.”

“The harp has developed a mystical identity in western culture as the sound of angels in heaven, magic, and dream sequences. Considering these stereotypes, Haluska attempts to expand the instrument beyond its preconceived notions, creating new roles and opportunities for it, and to (de)mystify the harp.”

The album is released on Constellation Tatsu (‘adventurous with spiritual artistic sensibilities’) on cassette and as a download. 40 Minutes (four tracks) of plucked sounds and floating atmospheres. At moments, the gentle tones swirl down like autumn leaves, but Haluska also leaves a lot of quiet space between the quiet notes (New Windows).

The improvisations (I assume) reminded me of the legendary Laraaji album Day Of Radiance, released in 1980 as #3 in Brian Eno’s genre-defining Ambient series. The difference is of course that Laraaji plays a zither, not a harp, but the impact of the album is similar. Unfortunately Haluska does not have the advantage of a well known artist producing, but this album definitely deserves recognition.


Ecovillage

ECOVILLAGE – SACRED WORLD  Also on Spotify

After having worked together on various projects since 2001, Emil Holmstrom and Peter Wikstrom travelled through Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos in 2006. The trip inspired them to create Ecovillage.
Sacred World
 is their fifth studio album as Ecovillage. 

The concept literally breathes “New Age”: “a project that wants to explore this spiritual path to union with Life’s Essence, The Source of all that is.”
Add to that the instruments of their guest musician Gayle Ellett: harmonium, dilruba, surmandal, wooden flutes, e-bow, tanpura, udu, ocean drum, windchimes… and, prejudiced like me, you might be inclined to toss this album aside to the New Age bin.

But that would be a waste. Because actually, Ecovillage is living proof that New Age music can be a rewarding listen, too. It’s positive vibrations all over, of course – no ‘dark ambient’ to be found here – but unlike most ‘New Age’ music that I know of, I think this album really is ‘good for the soul’. 


More Beautiful Than Silence

RHUCLE – MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN SILENCE  Also on Spotify

Tokyo-based Rhucle is a prolific artist: his discography shows over 50 releases since 2014 (!). He uses “whatever sounds are generated around him” as a source material, then adding his synthesizer, field recordings, piano and sampled source.

More Beautiful Than Silence is a cassette-release (+ digital download) on Constellation Tatsuas are the two other releases mentioned above. (This Rhucle album is their 100th release, by the way!)

Whether this music really is more beautiful than silence is open to debate, but it is beautiful beyond doubt.

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Geneva Skeen * Kate Carr https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-01-24/skeen-carr/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-01-24/skeen-carr/#respond Thu, 24 Jan 2019 21:18:04 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11383

Using environmental recordings to create musical compositions: Geneva Skeen is inspired by a geological phenomenon, Kate Carr by a poem about wreck-diving.

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Geneva Skeen A Parallel Array

GENEVA SKEEN – A PARALLEL ARRAY OF HORSES  Also on Spotify

The opening track Sonorous House sets a quite scary mood with its recordings of a Mojave desert wind storm. For the rest of the album the storm settles down a bit:  the atmosphere changes  into a (relatively) calm night mood in Los Angeles Without Palm Trees. Flutter In Place, the album closer, features a recording of the world’s largest colony of Mexican free-tailed bats departing their cave to roam the summer night air of Southeast Texas.

But this album is not built from environmental recordings alone: ‘sounds on this album are both recorded and produced. Interspersed are a variety of electronic instruments and processes, and compositional techniques that are variously clear-cut or intentionally buried by digital processing.” Two of the tracks (the title track and Frain, Refrain) are entirely created using only her voice.

 


Geneva Skeen – Los Angeles Without Palm Trees


A Parallel Array Of Horses
 (the title is derived from a geological phenomenon) is Geneva Skeen‘s personal reflection on the current state the world is in:
“As I’ve tried to understand what is happening now without judgement––a collapse of systems, boundaries, and symbols that crumble faster with each forcible attempt to reinstate them––I am finding equal failure in streamlined, singular methodologies for both comprehension and composition.”

Complex times require complex soundscapes and thus dedicated listening:
“What we see is not what we hear, what we hear is not what we think, what we think is not what we feel, and so on.”

A Parallel Array Of Horses is a Room40 download-only release (no physical edition).


Kate Carr The Thing Itself

KATE CARR – THE THING ITSELF AND NOT THE MYTH

Following her inspiration from the poem from Adrienne Rich “Diving Into The Wreck”, Kate Carr created this album entirely from sounds “gathered underwater an along many shorelines”, recorded in Iceland, Ireland, Scotland and France.
Furthermore, she used “drones played by a synchronised swimming speaker broadcasting into a fjord, many spluttering radios, morse code, and geese.”

So, The Thing Itself And Not The Myth first and foremost is an album built from environmental recordings. But by carefully adding subtle electronics, Kate Carr created a musical compositions which is a perfect aural companion to the poem describing the adventurousness of solitary wreck-diving:

I am having to do this 
not like Cousteau with his 
assiduous team 
aboard the sun-flooded schooner 
but here alone.

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Juha-Matti Rautiainen * Less Bells https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-01-21/rautiainen-lessbells/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-01-21/rautiainen-lessbells/#respond Mon, 21 Jan 2019 10:09:48 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11242

Juha-Matti Rautiainen's second album is dedicated "to those who carry humanity within their hearts in the middle of a conflict" - while Julie 'Less Bells' Carpenter finds her inspiration in the quiet expanse of the Joshua Tree desert.

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Rautiainen - Weeps

JUHA-MATTI RAUTIAINEN – ABOVE ME WEEPS THE SKY  Also on Spotify

Finnish musician Juha-Matti Rautiainens second solo album, the follow up to The Endless Now (2017). Like its predecessor, most of the music was made using a bass guitar. But this time including some more sounds, like field recording and a CPAP machine (I had to look that up: apparently it’s a device used as a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea: CPAP stands for  Continuous Positive Airway Pressure).

Rautiainen acknowledges that “music is (and should be) an interplay between the composer and the audience, so every listener will form their own view and understanding about the music”. Yet this album is based on a very strong concept of his own concerns about the current political state of the world. 
“The album is inspired by Judith Isaacson’s experience at a concentration camp during the Second World War. It is a tribute to the immunity of a persecuted soul that cannot be stolen.”

As a result, Rautiainen states that this music is not ‘ambient’ in the strict definition of the genre: “many of the compositions on this album are not calm, nor do they give much space for thinking”. It may be minimalistic and slowly evolving music, but at the same time “expressiveness that is often absent in ambient music is a vital ingredient of this album as well.” 

The album is dedicated “to those who carry humanity within their hearts in the middle of a conflict.” 

 


 

Les Bells

LESS BELLS – SOLIFUGE  Also on Spotify

When Kranky chooses to release your debut album, you know you have done something right. Les Bells is the debut album of Julie Carpenter and het long-time collaborator Dain Luscombe. After moving from East Los Angeles to the ‘quiet expanse of the Joshua Tree desert’, a dreamy composition style emerged, “inspired by August monsoons rolling in over the mountains, others by clear, starry
nights.”

The music floats somewhere between ambient, post-classical arrangements and vocal themes. A wide array of electronic and acoustic instruments were used to create these soundscapes: cello, electric piano, optigan, omnichord (Julie Carpenter), synth, organ (Dain Luscombeand voice (Leah Harmon).
Most tracks are relatively short, and have a relatively ‘familiar’ sound. Sort of exception to that is the 13 minute track Milwaukee Protocol, a 13 minute track that revolves around slow string drones that seem to sink ever deeper before coming up for air again. 

“Carpenter’s versatility and embrace of flux fills these songs with a living, breathing quality, restrained but responsive, adapting to shifting conditions and emotions beneath the surface.”

Music that is hard to pin down to one single style – which is exactly why it is so very interesting.

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Machinefabriek – Short Scenes / With Voices https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-01-17/short-scenes-with-voices/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-01-17/short-scenes-with-voices/#respond Thu, 17 Jan 2019 19:56:40 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11647

Short Scenes / With Voices - two examples of the versatility of Rutger 'Machinefabriek' Zuydervelt: working on improvised tracks recorded by violinist Anne Bakker as well as experimenting with various vocalists.

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With Voices

MACHINEFABRIEK – WITH VOICES  Also on Spotify

With a discography that boasts almost 200 titles since 2004, Rutger ‘Machinefabriek’ Zuydervelt may very well be called ‘the hardest working man in electronic show business’.  
But it’s not just the numbers that count: even more impressing is that he manages to stay surprising by constantly shifting his challenges – ánd those of the listeners. Not simply repeating what he already did before, but looking for new creative explorations.
His output is too numerous to cover everything, so here are two recent releases that show this unique ability.

On With Voices, the human voice is the starting point (as you probably expected from the title). But this doesn’t mean these are ‘songs’. The voices are ‘featured as musical instruments rather than mere vehicles of lyrical content, resulting in a sub-linguistic mosaic of primordially stirring moods.’ 

The different vocalists were all asked to improvise to the same base track, ‘be it talking, reading, singing, or wordless, guttural intoning.’
Contributing vocalists are Peter Broderick, Richard Youngs, Marissa Nadler,  Chantal Acda, Marianne Oldenburg, Zero Years Kid (Joachim Badenhorst), Wei-Yun Chen and Terence Hannum. 
Their improvisations were the starting point for Zuydervelt to add musical elements that he seemed fit to complete the piece.

The result is a stunning array of experimental works that are quite unlike anything heard before. Machinefabriek honours his guest vocalists by letting them have the lead role in each piece, but manipulates them into an otherworldly context. To avoid any possible substantive direction, the pieces are simply titled I to VIII.

With Voices demonstrates Zuydervelt’s ability to ‘merge humanness with abstraction, harshness with beauty, and unintelligibility with familiarity.


Short Scenes

MACHINEFABRIEK with ANNE BAKKER – SHORT SCENES  Also on Spotify

Quite different in sound is this Short Scenes album, released on the Zoharum label.

Rutger Zuydervelt and Anne Bakker have often worked together before, on memorable releases like HalfslaapDeining and Crumble. Their new collaboration on Short Scenes came to life when working together on a soundtrack.

Like on With Voices, there was no preconceived plan for the album – short violin improvisations of Anne Bakker were the starting point for further editing and constructing.

With the violin as the main instrument, backed by adventurous electronics, this is as much ‘contemporary classical’ music as it is ‘contemporary experimental’ music.
The 20 tracks (or ‘vignettes’) are short (totalling 40 minutes), but effective: “we were still working in the ‘soundtrack modus operandi.'”

“None of them ended up being used in a score, but from the very beginning I felt these little vignettes would form a darn fine album. And here it is.”

A darn fine album, indeed. Once again.

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DreamScenes – January 2019 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-01-13/dreamscenes-january-2019/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-01-13/dreamscenes-january-2019/#respond Sun, 13 Jan 2019 19:00:20 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=12099

The first edition of this year's DreamScenes series is a mixed bag of sounds - navigating from post-classical to analogue electronics and some things inbetween. And back again...

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The first edition of this year’s DreamScenes series is a mixed bag of sounds – navigating from post-classical to analogue electronics via some things inbetween. And back again.

  • 00:00 DreamScenes – Intro (Susanna)
  • 00:36 Gideon Wolf – Derelict
    Replicas, 2019, Fluid Audio (tba)
  • 05:07 Goncalo F. Cardoso – Radio Zanzibar Etude 1
    Impressões de Uma Ilha (Unguja), 2018, Edições Cn
  • 06:43 Maxime Tanguay – Nain Field
    Sertraline, 2018, The End Is Near
  • 09:10 Sonmi451 – Shadowland
    Salaam for Yemen, 2018, Hibernate/Dronarivm
  • 13:47 Guilio Aldinucci – The Bridge
    Salaam for Yemen, 2018, Hibernate/Dronarivm
  • 17:32 Richard Youngs, Frans De Waard, Peter Johan Nyland – FPR_III_Track_3_Remix_Mk2
    Onder/Stroom, 2019, Moving Furniture Records
  • 20:36 Dahlia’s Tear – Forlorn Whispers On A Moonlit Path
    Through The Nightfall Grandeur, 2018, Cryo Chamber
    26:04 Machinefabriek & Anne Bakker – Scene 20
    Short Scenes, 2018, Zoharum
  • 28:34 Geneva Skeen – Frain, Refrain
    A Parallel Array Of Horses, 2018, Room40
  • 32:10 Jochen Arbeit, Paolo Spaccamonti – I
    CLN, 2018, Boring Machines
  • 34:43 Yui Onodera – Cromo 3
    Pop Ambient 2019, 2019, Kompakt
  • 37:26 Kassel Jaeger – Mántis
    Scale, 2018, Schwebung
  • 40:50 Moss Covered Technology – Andalusion Dogs
    Salaam for Yemen, 2018, Hibernate/Dronarivm
  • 42:26 Ümlaut – Dot
    Musique De Film, 2018, Audiobulb
  • 46:36 Abul Mogard – Quiet Dreams
    Above All Dreams, 2018, Ecstatic
  • 52:52 Monty Adkins – Still Juniper Snow: III Spiral Paths
    Bozzini+, 2018, Huddersfield Contemporary Records/NMC Recordings
  • 58:44 DreamScenes – Outro (Dean Hurley)

Play this edition on-demand from the Concertzender website.

OR:

stream it from Mixcloud:

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Delusional (Mix) https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-01-06/delusional-mix/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-01-06/delusional-mix/#comments Sun, 06 Jan 2019 22:00:25 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11493

"For me, personally, a mix has the most impact when it feels like I'm watching a movie. With ups, downs, some drama, sentiment, moment of joy, climax and anticlimax. And yes: tension and release."

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When I started working on this mix, its working title was Wonderlust, simply because I liked that word: a variation on wanderlust (‘a desire to travel’) which the Urban Dictionary describes as ‘the desire to be in a constant state of wonder’.
But as the mix progressed, the title didn’t fit very well. There were too many dark and unsettling moments… moment that may evoke their own ‘state of wonder’ but of a completely different kind.

The Questions in Anja Garbarek‘s track are crucial to this mix and gave it its title: a few simple questions to diagnose severe psychotic disorders, a delusional state of mind. There may be quite a few of these delusional moments in this mix, but they are alternated with moments of joy in an almost melodramatical equilibrium.

For me, personally, a mix has the most impact when it feels like I’m watching a movie. With ups, downs, some drama, sentiment, moment of joy, climax and anticlimax. And yes: tension and release.
So then, if this was a movie, the Jon Hopkins track would be the last scene, and the Metropole Orchestra (or  Metropool Orkest as they are named in Holland) version of Brian Eno‘s classic track ‘An Ending’ would be the track under the end credits rolling.
End credits crediting no less than 45 fragments crammed together in a 59 minute soundscape compilation of music that was never conceived to be heard in a context like this.

Delusional - Sequence


This mix is premiered on Concertzender Nederland in Bob Rusche’s ‘X-Ray‘  radio show on Sunday, January 6, 2019. Thanks, Bob!

Tracklist:
(first time is the start time, time in brackets is the sample length)

  • 00:00 (01:13) Angelo Badalamenti/City Of Prague Orchestra – Mulholland Drive Theme
    Mulholland Drive soundtrack, 2001, Milan 74321 89823 2
  • 00:59 (00:59) Allesio Ballerini – Wiwanana
    Wiwanana OST, 2018, Fluid Audio 054
  • 01:43 (01:49) Martin Ptak – Storm
    River Tales, 2018, Col-Legno WWE 1CD 20441
  • 01:57 (00:32) Goblin – Suspiria (Celesta & Bells)
    Suspiria OST, 1977/2012, Cinevox CD OST 702/s
  • 02:30 (02:04) Jóhann Jóhannsson – Seeker Of The Serpents Eye
    Mandy OST, 2018, Invada LSINV203CD
  • 03:11 (02:57) Monty Adkins – Still Juniper Snow: Distant Waters
    Bozzini+, 2018, Huddersfield Contemporary Records HCR19CD
  • 05:38 (01:08) Anja Garbarek – Questions
    The Road Is Just A Surface, 2018, Drabant Music, DM58LPPER
  • 05:52 (03:17) Gryllus Ábris – Post_02
    Post_, 2017, Farbwechsel FARB026
  • 08:01 (01:51) Autechre – Sinstrailab Air
    NTS Sessions 2, 2018, Warp Records WARPCD364 
  • 08:30 (02:31) Jessica Moss – Fractals (Truth 3)
    Entanglement, 2018, Constellation CST138
  • 10:09 (01:58) Rudolf Eb.er – Ishikiri
    Om Kult: Ritual Practice Of Conscious Dying- Vol. II, 2018, Om Kult OM-2
  • 10:27 (00:25) Anja Garbarek – Questions
    The Road Is Just A Surface, 2018,
  • 11:05 (01:17) Ulnar – Daylight Fireworks
    Dreaming Of Sailing Further West, 2017, Colectivo Casa Amarela CCA003
  • 11:41 (02:42) Jean C. Roche – Rancho Grande
    Birds Of Venezuela, 1973/2018, Sub Rosa SR411LP
  • 12:05 (03:08) Arve Henriksen – Sanmyaku
    Sakuteiki, 2001, Rune Grammofon RCD2021
  • 14:12 (02:34) The Newton Brothers – Feel Nothing
    The Haunting Of Hill House OST, 2018, Wax Work Records
  • 16:23 (02:22) Thomas Vaquié – Ecume
    Ecume, 2016, Antivj Recordings 
  • 18:31 (02:56) From The Mouth Of The Sun & Seabuckthorn – Lesser Still
    We Stayed The Path That Fell To Shadow, 2018, Lost Tribe Sound
  • 21:21 (00:43) Maria W. Horn – Atropa
    Kontrapoetik, 2018, XKatedral XK12
  • 21:44 (01:35) Bass Communion – Drugged IV 
    Reconstructions And Recycling (Bass Communion Remixed), 2003, Headphone Dust BCCD5
  • 22:30 (03:07) Alea Saxophone Quartet – Arvo Pärt: Solfeggio
    Arvo Pärt Anima, 2017, Col-Legno WWE 1CD 20437
  • 24:52 (02:57) BJNilsen – Table Of Hours
    Focus Intensity Power, 2017, Moving Furniture Records MFR062
  • 26:40 (04:06) Illuminine – Dear, Utopia (feat. Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie)
    #3, 2018, Ferryhouse Productions FHP 42617
  • 26:42 (01:27) Michael Fahres – Het Gesloten Ogenblik
    Gäbrik (music from the book by Marc Legendre), 2018, Vlaamse Onafhankelijke Stripgilde
  • 29:33 (02:20) Mathieu St. Pierre – 23.0785729, 143.9554413
    These Elephants, 2018, Se;f-released (Bandcamp)
  • 30:46 (01:22) Janek Schaefer – To Row Against The Tide
    What Light There Is Tells Us Nothing (For Robert Wyatt), 2018, Temporary Residence Limited TRR305
  • 31:53 (01:05) Mothertape – Problem 4
    In Progress Vol. III, 2018, Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej “Łaźnia”
  • 31:57 (01:54) Murcof – Chapitre VI
    Lost In Time, 2018, Glacial Movements Records GMO35
  • 33:22 (02:16) Varg, Annamelina – Stonewall Poem
    Nordic Flora Series Pt. 5 – Crush, 2018, Posh Isolation 209
  • 33:52 (02:03) Ipek Gorgun – Mileva
    Ecce Homo, 2018, Touch TO:106
  • 34:45 (02:16) Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch – Rain
    Blade Runner 2049 OST, 2017, Epic 19075800852
  • 36:11 (02:47) Machinefabriek – Hanging
    Engel, 2018, Self-Released (Bandcamp)
  • 37:44 (02:30) Adam Mankowski – Próba
    Dźwięki Z Offu, 2018, Attenuation Circuit ACU 1013
  • 39:06 (03:35) Les Horribles Travailleurs – Keizersrande 4 (ft. Anja Kreysing)
    Off Track, 2018, Esc.Rec 62
  • 40:53 (01:06) Rudolf Eb.Er – Licht (Unborn Light)
    Om Kult: Ritual Practices Of Conscious Dying – Vol. 1, 2018, Om Kult OM-1
  • 41:32 (04:47) Claudio F. Baroni – Solo VIII-Air
    Motum, 2018, Unsounds 61U
  • 41:40 (02:41) Ed Alp – RTPVC
    unreleased, 2009, private collection
  • 44:31 (03:00) Monty Adkins – Still Juniper Snow: Spiral Paths
    Bozzini+, 2018, Huddersfield Contemporary Records HCR19CD
  • 47:02 (01:23) Minco Eggersman – Melisma & Gurian
    Kavkasia, 2017, Volkoren 73
  • 47:30 (02:32) Jacob Lindhagen – Kenopsia
    Paces, 2017, 1631 Recordings FR1-015
  • 49:14 (02:05) Jonty Harrison – Going Places (2015)
    Voyages, 2016, Empreintes DIGITALes IMED 16139
  • 50:01 (01:18) Cadeu – Echoic VIII
    Echoic, 2018, Esc.Rec 60
  • 50:50 (02:50) Colin Stetson – Mothers & Daughters
    Hereditary OST, 2018, Milan M2-36952
  • 53:35 (01:33) Jóhann Jóhannsson & BJ Nilsen – Carkeys (reversed)
    I Am Here OST, 2014, Ash International Ash 11.1
  • 54:36 (01:13) Jon Hopkins – Prologue
    Monsters OST, 2010, Double Six DS036D
  • 55:35 (04:07) Brian Eno & Metropole Orchestra – An Ending (arr. Dick Bakker)
    Shutov Assembly Live Paradiso, 1999, unreleased
Download Delusional Now 136Mb (59:43 min.)
[Alternative download from Archive.org]
[Surround-version (DTS.Wav or .WMA) here]



OR: Stream from Mixcloud:

 

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Bjarni Gunnarsson * For Pauline https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-01-01/gunnarsson-pauline/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2019-01-01/gunnarsson-pauline/#comments Tue, 01 Jan 2019 12:22:58 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11210

Bjarni Gunnarsson's fourth full album is called 'Lueur', meaning 'glow' *** For Pauline is a heartfelt tribute to Pauline Oliveros by Isabelle Latorres and Edu Comelles.

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BJARNI GUNNARSSON – LUEUR

After Safn 2006-2009, Processes & Potentials and Pathsthis is the fourth full release by Bjarni Gunnarssonand it is no coincidence that each of them are recommended here at Ambientblog. I’m a dedicated ‘fan’ of the sound of the Icelandic composer (now based in Den Haag, teaching algorithmic composition and computer based music at the Institute Of Sonology).  Not only for his impressive albums but also after seeing him perform live (a part of this particular live-set can still be heard on this Concertzender recording of the Fluister show).

Gunnarsson has a distinct personal sound signature that is hard to describe. It is not at all ‘ambient’ because there are many layers of noise, yet the electroacoustic compositions are calming in their own way. The ‘exploration of process as much as tone and texture’ uses generative processes that often appear directly entangled, that are set in motion and activated while maintaining their own degree of autonomy.’

Lueur 
(‘glow’) refers to ‘faint, quiet but unsteady light sources’. The four compositions on this album follows its own ‘unpredictable’ path, ever-changing paths with a lot of adventurous sounds. But they fit together very well – it is not a collection of conflicting extremes. It’s a bit like walking through a forest , observing every detail, without losing sight of the complete picture of the forest. (If this sounds like gibberish to you, I suggest you start the Bandcamp stream and listen for yourself.)

For vinyl collectors: the vinyl’s sleeve artwork is ‘procedurally-generated’, meaning that ‘variations of each layer are combined to make 16 unique sleeve designs.’


Isabel Latorre - Edu Comelles

ISABELLE LATORRE / EDU COMELLES – FOR PAULINE

A few months before Pauline Oliveros passed away (November 2016), Edu Comelles commisioned a concert by accordionist Isabelle Latorre meant to be a free musical interpretation of Oliveros’ ‘Deep Listening‘ theories. The concert, premiered at the Ensems Festival early 2017, thus became a very special tribute to the life, work and philosophy of Pauline Oliveros.

Latorre’s performance takes up side A of this cassette release on Crónica It’s a single 22 minute piece that starts with quiet prolonged notes but slowly builds up to an emotional climax and then slowly releases its grip again. Not often you will hear the accordion played this way – unless you are already familiar with Oliveros’ work, of course.

For La Isla Plana, the second piece on this cassette, Edu Comelles sampled Isabel’s instrument and arranged the samples into a completely different composition. He connects the recorded samples using a Shruti Box to create a background drone La Isla Plana sounds organic (because of its sound sources) and detached at the same time.

A very honest, heartfelt tribute to a legendary artist, who taught us the art of ‘deep listening’.

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Robert Kroos – BrainwaveSet (Free Download) https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-12-24/brainwaveset/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-12-24/brainwaveset/#respond Mon, 24 Dec 2018 17:00:25 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11436

Another fine Ambientblog Exclusive to celebrate the end of the year and the beginning of a new one: a FREE DOWNLOAD of Robert Kroos' 30 minute 'Brainwave Set'
Sit down, relax, and let Robert Kroos take you down to the very lowest (Delta) frequencies..

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Robert Kroos - Brainwave Set

Robert Kroos is a Rotterdam-based musician, sounddesigner, field recordist and DJ, exploring sounds and music in all its manifestations. He started with house and techno in the 90’s but soon broadened his view to more experimental music and artforms. 

His ‘noise’ works gained quite some wordwide respect – and though this is not exactly the soundscapes we are referring to here there is an interesting relation between noise and ambient.

“Noise and ambient can be opposites but they are both within the same musical spectrum. I am interested in making music sound beautiful and pleasant but I am equally challenged in making music sound gloomy and dark. I like working on a concentrated micro level, but also like losing myself  completely, just surrendering to raw energy”.

One specific area of Kroos’ ambient output concerns brainwave-soundscapes. Generously, he offers a striking (29 minute) example of his Brainwave Set as a free (+ lossless) download exclusively on Ambientblog!

Brainwave-soundscapes have always fascinated me, partly because I never understood how they might work yet often find them strikingly beautiful to listen to. 
Here’s some short (and definitely incomplete) background info provided by Robert himself: 

Your brain is made up of billions of brain cells called neurons, which use electricity to communicate with each other. The culmination of millions of neurons sending signals through the brain is commonly called a brainwave pattern.
With the discovery of brainwaves came the discovery that electrical activity in the brain will change depending on what a person is doing. For instance, the brainwaves of a sleeping person are vastly different from the brainwaves of someone wide awake. 
Most of the brainwave frequencies between wide awake and deep asleep are below 20hz which is below human hearing capacity. With special techniques you can embed these unaudible frequencies in an audible tone. These tones can then be used in a musical way as ‘brainwave-soundscape’.” 

Assuming that every person is unique, the personal brainwave probably are somewhat different for every single person. Why then would ‘brainwave music’ have the same effect on everybody? What effects can a user expect when listening to ‘brainwave’ music? 

“When you listen to the music your brain responds by synchronizing its own electric cycles to the brainwave frequencies that are embedded in the music. Simply put I can take your brainwave patterns up or down. So our brainwave patterns could initally be different but we are both taken to the same state.
In this performance I take the listener down to the very lowest (Delta) frequencies that usually can only be reached in a deep sleep state.
Don’t expect too much and enjoy a half hour music-nap time.” 

Maybe you think we’re entering ‘new age’ territory here, but Kroos has a distinct meaning about that:

“Most music with brainwaves available is with new agey keyboards and flutes that make my skin crawl. I first of all want to make something musically interesting. If the brainwaves have effect on you it is an added bonus.  If not, I hope the music itself is still rewarding and relaxing to listen to…”(

So here’s my advise: sit back, relax, and simply let Robert Kroos‘ mindful Brainwave Set wash all over you. And if you like what you hear and want to hear it again, download the FREE lossless Ambientblog Exclusive version from Ambientblog’s Bandcamp page

 

(As a sidenote, not really related to Robert Kroos‘ piece: the 1977 (!) Pythagoron release claimed it could “get you high with sound”. Check this yourself in this archived edition of the Folio radio show from 2008).

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Various Compilations https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-12-21/various-compilations-2/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-12-21/various-compilations-2/#respond Fri, 21 Dec 2018 22:23:39 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11376

Three compilations: the Salaam for Yemen charity compilation (Hiberbate/Dronarivm), Eilean's #92 with exclusive tracks, and Pop Ambient 2019 curated by Wolfgang Voigt.

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Salaam for YemenSALAAM FOR YEMEN  Also on Spotify

Hibernate and Dronarivm combine their forces in  this 26 track (almost 2 hours) charity compilation. 100% Of the profits from this album are donated to War Childto help ‘children and young people to grow up free from fear and violence, to develop to their full potential and contribute to a peaceful future – for themselves and for their communities’.

spotify:album:

This, of course, is a good cause regardless of time and place – but now Yemen needs your support more than any other country.
So no need to hesitate: order your copy of the 2CD version (or the digital download) now! You’ll be rewarded with a tasteful choice of tracks by various artists, including The Green Kingdom, Isan, Olan Mill, Birds Of Passage, Øjerum, Giulio Aldinucci, Sven Laux, Anne Garner, Hotel Neon, Aaron Martin, offthesky, Sonmi451, Pausal – and that is just a selection of the artists present here.

This album does not claim to present exclusive/unreleased tracks only, and I’m not sure which tracks may be exclusive. I do recognise some of the works, so possibly you’ll find some familiar music too. But with 26 different tracks by different artists, you’ll definitely discover some beautiful new music. Which can be a good starting point to check out the artist’s other works.

Salaam For Yemen is released only a few days before Christmas, but christmas time should not be the reason to buy. Regardless of the season, the charity cause is you motivation. Yemen needs your/our help.
The music presented on this compilation will probably help in making this an easy decision!


Eilean 92EILEAN 92

From the start of its existence, the concept of Eilean Records was to release 100 titles and then…stop:
“The label is based on a map with 100 points. Each point is associated to a number. Each number to a release.”

This means that 2019 will be the last year to see releases from the label that has become legendary over the years for its concept and the quality of music released.

The compilation that closes 2018 has map point 92 and demonstrates the mission of Eilean Records with 17 tracks (73 minutes) from artists that were involved with the label this year.
A limited selection of contributors: Aries Mond, Benjamin Finger, Ben McElroy, Cyril Secq + Sylvain Chauveau, Ian Hawgood, Ljerke – just check the rest on the bancamp page.

The music on this compilation cannot be simply labeled as ‘ambient’, because over the years Eilean Records has defined its very own ‘out of borders’ musical style. Otherworldly music that fits the map image of a nonexistent world.

Eilean 92 is released is a special metal box edition. Or, to be honest, it WAS released like that, because that box is sold out already. By now only the digital download remains. But, as always, that doesn’t mean you should not check it out anyway.


Pop Ambient 2019

POP AMBIENT 2019  Also on Spotify

The Kompakt label celebrates its 25th years of existence. And since 2001, there were 19 editions of the yearly Pop Ambient compilations, curated by Wolfgang (‘Gas’) Voigt.
And yet, for unknown reasons, none of these compilations were featured on Ambientblog – until now.

Kompakt stands for ‘a broad-minded, genre-defying entuty that has set out to cross-pollinate all kinds of music inventions within the realm of electronic music’.
The Pop-Ambient series are ‘100% kickdrum-free’ compilations that want to ‘add a certain pop-elegance to a sound that was recognized as chillout music that could be heard in seedy techno club back rooms and forgotten festival areas.’

With this mission, these compilation series differs from most other in the ‘ambient’ genre. Ambient (or ambience) is the common denominator, but there is always a more light-hearted touch: the ‘pop’ factor.

Pop Ambient 2019 demonstrates the limitation of ‘ambient’  as a genre label: it features neo-classic, atonal music as well as ‘the most beautiful aural kitsch imaginable’. 

The compilation presents tracks from Morgen Wurde, Gregor Schwellenbach, Max Würden, Thomas Fehlmann, Yui Onodera, as well as some lesser known names (to me) like Thore Pfeiffer, Coupler, The Black Frams, Kenneth James Gibson, Leandro Fresco, Triola, Last Train To Brooklyn. 

The digital download includes 13 full tracks as well as a 73 minute continuous mix. It is also available as a 2LP vinyl, which you might very well choose for the cover alone.

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Mzungu * Bionulor https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-12-18/mzungu-bionulor/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-12-18/mzungu-bionulor/#respond Tue, 18 Dec 2018 20:48:42 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11173

Mzungu sheds a different light of the four seasons, while Bionulor recycles fragments of Alexander Scriabin.

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Mzungu

MZUNGU – MOONTIDES

On Moontides, Jonah ‘Mzungu’ Hebron covers the four seasons in four  very long tracks: the total album playing of the album is almost 80 minutes! Each track contains a collection of samples, stretched sounds, that ‘start at the same time, but due to their differing lengths they never ‘complete’ together’. Due to the repeated playing of the samples, a slow and unpredictable rhythm occurs.
It was Mzungu’s intention ‘to do away with scales and notation and see what happened. All of the keys and scales are by ear, elements are pitched according to feeling, not rule. Tones clash, do battle and drift apart falling into harmony then dissaray’.

One might of course argue that all these elements have been used before. The four seasons as inspiration: check Wendy Carlos (not to mention Vivaldi, whose ghost is definitely present here). The generative ever-changing effect of using loops with different lengths: check Brian Eno. The rhythmic effects of out of phase loops: check Steve Reich. Seemingly endless tracks with almost unnoticeably changing orchestral loops? Check William Basinski.
But is it fair to make these comparisons? Personally, I don’t think so – I could argue that 90% of the ‘ambient music’ I currently hear has been ‘done before’ in a way. So if that ‘new’ is a serious criterium I could stop this blog. Fact is that these pieces are an extremely pleasurable listen and take some surprising turns in their very own way – especially in the use of orchestral string samples in Autumn and Winter.
In creating this ‘butchery of beauty’, as he calls it himself, Mzungu delivers an album that sounds surprisingly fresh and original.

I don’t know anything about the background of Jonah Hebron, apart from the fact that he has worked three years on this particular album. (And that his Bandcamp page also contains a 2016 release titled “Songs For My Own Death”).
Ánd that he is a modest and generous man, who offers his music as a free download for everyone to enjoy.


Bionulor

BIONULOR – A.S.

Somewhat related (in using orchestral samples I mean) but also very different is this new album by Bionulor (Sebastian Banaszczyk).
One of his earlier album, Erik (2013), de- (and re-)constructed the music of Erik Satie. This time, the A.S.in the title stands for Alexander Scriabin, who now gets the “100% sound recycling” treatment.

“100% Sound recycling” means that “every track is created solely on the basis of processing only one sample deriving from a specially selected source sound, without any additional sounds or instruments.”
This restrained, minimalist approach is very effective: each track is circling around (and diving deep into) the original fragment, with sparkling result. Bionulor deliberately keeps the tracks relatively short, as a result of his self-imposed limitation to use only one single sound fragment as a basis of the piece.
I would not dare to say if the initiated listener would recognise Scriabin’s work in this music, since it can zoom in into the tiniest of details. But I’m sure these pieces shed a different light on the original sources.

A.S. is Bionuloreighth solo album. Part of his work is also created for theatric plays and for multimedia performances (such as Stary Pisarz, “the old writer”, dedicated to William S. Burroughs)

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Tom Hodge/Franz Kirmann * Harnes Kretzer https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-12-14/hodge-kirmann-kretzer/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-12-14/hodge-kirmann-kretzer/#respond Fri, 14 Dec 2018 09:02:11 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=10955

Different kinds of cinematic: Tom Hodge and Franz Kirmann's score for 'The Man Behind The Microphone'. Harnes Kretzer's Black Noise is not a movie soundtrack but it could very well have been one.

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Man Behind the Microphone

TOM HODGE / FRANZ KIRMANN – THE MAN BEHIND THE MICROPHONE  Also on Spotify

From the very first track of this album it is clear that this is not the first music created by Tom Hodge and Franz Kirmann. They are experienced artists, having collaborated for more than 10 years and released three albums as Piano Interrupted.
This is the second soundtrack they worked on together, although one may actually called it their first because the recording started long before the soundtrack for McMafia for BBC One.

The Man Behind The Microphone tells the story of Hedi Jouini, known as ‘the godfather of Tunisian music’, the ‘Frank Sinatra of Tunisia’. Director Claire Belassine found out by chance that her grandfather was a legend and made a portrait the reflects ‘on the nature of fame, culture, heritage and homeland.’

Hodge and Kirmann were loosely inspired by Jouini‘s music, using small musical phrases, or using harmonies and chords in a relative key to use as a starting point for their pieces, but  they did not recreate traditional Tunisian music. More so, their music ‘echoes the melancholy and investigative nature of Claire Belhassine’s quest for her grandfather and the mysterious and fragmented aspects of the story.’
Kirmann
‘s electronics and Hodge‘s piano and clarinet parts completed by the London Contemporary Orchestra string quartet.  

Even if you haven’t seen the documentary, this is a strikingly beautiful score, ‘oscillating between post-classical, minimalist and ambient music.’


Black Noise

HARNES KRETZER – BLACK NOISE  Also on Spotify

With Black Noise as the album title and an opener called Fucked Up Anthem I expected this to be an album full of loud agressiveness. But to my surprise the nine tracks were nothing like that at all. On the contrary, most of them are gentle, carefully orchestrated compositions that would perfectly fit a movie soundtrack. With ‘carefully orchestrated’, I mean to say that it’s not the average big-budget large-screen Hollywood sound: there are some nice gritty distortions involved (try the slowly deteriorating Drops In An Ocean for an example, or Pressure Principle). But overall, the atmosphere is soft, cinematic, perhaps even ‘romantic’.

Harnes Kretzer is inspired by early synth pioneers like Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream as well as composers like Erik Satie, Nils Frahm and Dustin O’Halloran. By consciously ‘downgrading’ the acoustic instruments using old tape recorders and adding various effects, he creates a personal lo-fi sound that immediately stands out from many others.
This is not a soundtrack recording, but it could have very well been one. And a good one, too.

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DreamScenes – December 2018 (#50!) https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-12-09/dreamscenes-december-2018-50/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-12-09/dreamscenes-december-2018-50/#respond Sun, 09 Dec 2018 19:21:39 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11357

The FIFTIETH edition of DreamScenes!

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DreamScenes is a Concertzender radioshow since july 2017, so as far as the Concertzender editions go this is the 18th edition. But befóre it became a radio show, there it was a monthly feature on Ambientblog ever since  October 2014. This means that this months show is the 50th edition!!

I tried to make this edition an example what I want DreamScenes to be. ‘Dreamlike’ is the only constant, which means you can doze away comfortably while listening. But  be prepared: like in your dreams the journey may take some unexpected turns. Some parts may get a bit weird, scary perhaps, but overall it’s peacefully floating.
Musically it’s a combination of ambient, electronic, atmospheric acoustic, or modern classical music…. mostly recents, sometimes older. To be honest, there’s no fixed format – except whatever sounds ‘dreamlike’. Basically, it’s just whatever fits the (or: my?) mood of the moment.

I am VERY proud that Concertzender Nederland broadcasts these compilations (on the second sunday of every month) and makes them available for a worldwide audience to explore. Because that is ultimately what this is all about: exploring. Finding new music that perhaps you hadn’t heard about before, a starting point to dig deeper into the works of all these awesome artists.
Thanks for joining me in this journey – and if you can: please spread the word…

You can listen to all previous and future DreamScenes editions on DreamScenes.nl,  or on the Mixcloud channel. The Concertzender editions can also be streamed from their website.

DreamScenes

Tracklist: 

  • 00:00 DreamScenes – Intro (Susanna)
  • 00:44 Eraldo Bernocchi – Like I Wasn’t There
    Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It, 2018, self-released (Bandcamp)
  • 05:04 Steven M. Halliday – Hears Wishing
    Unreleased, 2018, private collection
  • 09:24 Monty Adkins – Still Juniper Snow; I. Still Hollow
    Bozzini+, 2018, Huddersfield Contemporary Records
  • 16:36 Machinefabriek – III (With Peter Broderick)
    With Voices, 2019, Western Vinyl
  • 21:03 Bjarni Gunnarsson – Aperture
    Lueur, 2018, Tartaruga Records
  • 25:53 Barry Adamson + Pan Sonic + Hafler Trio – The Hymn Of The 7th Illusion (BBC Mix)
    Earthen – A Cold Spring Sampler, 2018, Cold Spring
  • 31:13 Angelo Badalamenti & David Lynch – Frank 2000 Prelude
    Thought Gang, 2018, Sacred Bones Records
  • 32:18 Radboud Mens & 1605Munro – Layers
    Layers, 2018, Self-released (Bandcamp)
  • 40:06 Akira Rabelais – Se Tourner Et Tourner
    Scale, 2018, Schwebung
  • 47:07 Monty Adkins – Empire (Excerpt)
    Empire, 2018, Line
  • 52:30 Alea Saxophone Quartet – Arvo Pärt: My Heart’s In The Highland
    Arvo Pärt: Anima, 2018
  • 59:00 DreamScenes – Outro (Dean Hurley)

Play this edition on-demand from the Concertzender website.

OR:
stream it from Mixcloud:

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James Murray * Gri + Mosconi https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-12-05/murray-gri-mosconi/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-12-05/murray-gri-mosconi/#respond Wed, 05 Dec 2018 20:01:02 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11222

Less than two months after Falling Backwards, James Murray presents his new album: Landscape Of Lovers. Ánd presents a new release in his 'Slowcraft Presents' series: Between Ocean And Sky by (Francis M.) Gri and (Federico) Mosconi.

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Landscape Of Lovers

JAMES MURRAY – LANDSCAPE OF LOVERS

Less than two months after Falling Backwards James Murray presents his new album. This time one of those spectacular handmade released on Fluid Audiothe kind that come with an incense stick, vintage photos, nostalgic slides (from 1910 – 1940) and more exuberant specialties. (And, as you may know, the kind that sell out on pre-orders immediately – although there are rumours that Boomkat seems to have a few left in stock though I seriously doubt that).

James Murray always creates the most personal ambient music imaginable. Falling Backwards was about his own individual childhood memories, on landscape Of Lovers he chooses a shamelessly romantic road: “honing in on and finding the essence of love, and of what it means to love.” 

“Murray, while recognising the falling away and dying of many a love, doesn’t take the world-weary and sardonic views to heart: he’s a firm believer that love is to be found everywhere, that the heart can renew itself instead of clamming up after a painful episode of heartbreak, even amid a ruined world and its ongoing Nightmare on Earth Street. The coming together and parting are central themes, with both yin and yang orbiting a couple. The birth, the middle, the ending.”

Most of the times, interpreting the context of ambient music is in the mind of the listener. Abstract soundscapes can tell different stories depending on the listener’s mood, and the context can change with its environmental surroundings. But in choosing his notes and atmospheres, Murray manages to convey the weightlessness as well as the burden of love: not only the ‘crush’ when love hits (and ‘your feet leave the ground’), but also “the heart-wrenching tug of two lovers as they say goodbye, if only for a while. Landscapes of Lovers explores both zones: the sentimentality of separation as well as the more obvious moment of first sight and first touch.”

It can hardly be denied that the framing of this music helps interpreting it: the album title, the track title And So Goodbye For Now, the notes on the album, James’ previous releases. I can’t help but wonder how the music would be experienced if it was packed in a completely different context, with different titles and such.
But why would we?
After all, James Murray presents us his music in the way every musician should: an honest interpretation of his personal emotions, in a way every listener (or at least those with a heart) can relate to.


Gri + Mosconi

GRI + MOSCONI – BETWEEN OCEAN AND SKY  Also on Spotify

Apart from working on his own music, James Murray also runs his own label: Slowcraft Records. The label originally released his own music and that of his wife (Anne Garner), but earlier in 2018 James decided to broaden its scope and invite artists he admired to release albums in the Slowcraft Presents series.
After Alapastel and Neotropic, the third release in this series is Between Ocean And Sky by Francis M. Gri (piano, synths, electronic and ebow guitar) and Federico Mosconi (guitars, live electronics).

Francis M. Gri previously released his work on Krysalisound, Whitelabrecs and Time Released Sound, and has collaborated with Giulio Aldinucci. Federico Mosconi graduated in classical guitar and multimedia composition, and performs a broad range of music from classical, contemporary and electroacoustic music.
Their broad range of musical experience can easily be felt on this album, on which they merge ‘ambient, drone, neoclassical and post-rock into a singular, cohesive and resonant statement’. In the course of one single track the bright piano theme may dissolve into waves of noise, a gentle tinkling piano may grow into a gritty wall of sound.

“With apparent ease the duo have effectively merged musical identities, interweaving layers of manipulated guitar and textured piano, grounding and innervating one another throughout six exquisite instrumentals that wordlessly bridge depth and height with crystalline tenderness and tidal strength.”

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Radboud Mens * & 1605Munro * & Matthijs Kouw https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-12-01/mens-1605munro-kouw/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-12-01/mens-1605munro-kouw/#respond Sat, 01 Dec 2018 13:23:56 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11140

Drones and overtones from Radboud Mens, on solo albums as well as collaboration with 1605Munro and Matthijs Kouw.

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Radboud Mens is a dutch composer and sound designer that seems to be operating somewhat below the radar. ‘Seems to’, because over time he has released an impressive body of work – solo releases as well as collaborations with artists like Stephan Mathieu, Janek Schaefer, voice artist Jaap Blonk, Michel Banabila and more recently with Matthijs Kouw.
His first album was released in 1999 and since then many interesting albums have appeared in a more or less steady flow. 2018 looks like an especially productive year, with the release of two solo albums, a collaboration with 1605Munro (and two successors of his drone work together with Matthijs Kouw). 

Upper Partial Tones

RADBOUD MENS – THREE PIECES FOR UPPER PARTIAL TONES

I’m afraid I was not sure what upper partial tones are, and there is no explanation on the release page on this albums background. So, usually that’s where Wikipedia comes to the rescue:
“An overtone is a partial (a “partial wave” or “constituent frequency”) that can be either a harmonic partial (a harmonic) other than the fundamental, or an inharmonic partial. A harmonic frequency is an integer multiple of the fundamental frequency. An inharmonic frequency is a non-integer multiple of a fundamental frequency.”
OK. So I’ll probably have to read that article more closely later.
But for now: better let the music do the talking.

It’s easy to hear that this album is about but I could simply hear that this album was about composing with overtonesRadboud Mens opens the album with a relatively short – and very relaxed – Polyrhythmic Ambient Drone, which sets the mind for the two longer Pieces for Oboe and Electronics (in C and in G, respectively). In these pieces (23 and 32 minutes respectively), the true magic happens ‘above’ the drone created by the stretched oboe sample.
By carefully manipulating this ‘fundamental’ electronically, Mens creates a melody of floating overtones which become the true centerpiece of this music. When listened on speakers, it is as if these notes float through the listening space looking for their place in the room, its emphasis changing with every move of the listener’s head.
It may need some dedicated listening, but once it grabs you there’s magic in the air.


Radboud Mens - Ambiguity

RADBOUD MENS – THE AMBIGUITY OF AN APPARENTLY STATIC PHENOMENON

The Ambiguity Of An Apparently Static Phenomenon was originally released as a limited (100) cassette edition on No Rent Records, but can be downloaded for free from their Bandcamp page now since the cassette has sold out (a few signed copies are still available directly from Radboud Mens himself).
The No Rent Records Bandcamp page lazily mentions Side A and Side B as track names, but from Mens’ page we learn that there are different track titles: Sequence, Tongue, A Temporary State of Relative Positions and the three part title track.

The Ambiguity …investigates how ‘apparently static’ (drone) music can still be an interesting listen. In this case Radboud Mens is not primarily focusing on using overtones, but creates soundscapes using bass guitar, electronics, organ, synthesizer, a Granulator II sampler and electric guitar.
The question is what exactly is ‘ambigue’ about the ‘apparently static phenomenon’, because this is a very pleasant listening experience – at least for anyone who can appreciate ‘apparently static’ drone music.


Layers

RADBOUD MENS & 1605MUNRO – LAYERS

After this healthy dose of drones it can be good to return to somewhat more ‘down-to-earth’ music (with the emphasis on ‘somewhat’ of course).
This collaboration with 1605Munro sheds some light on a different aspect of Radboud Mens‘ music: ‘warm intelligent soundscapes that feel brilliantly open, thoughtful and oh so quiet. A contemplative and entertaining study in the art of skipping unnecessary notes.’ (Roel Kruize in the liner notes).

1605Munro is a somewhat weird-sounding alias of Andrés G. Jankowski – born in Buenos Aires, but ‘radicated’ in Berlin. And there’s a definite Berlin touch in this 10-track collection of electronic paintings, from  frivolous rhythmic tracks to dead-serious soundscapes. Each track treasuring an original Krautrocky touch – a slightly lighter touch perhaps than the drone-recordings, but adventurous in their own personal way!


Mens - Kouw - 3/4RADBOUD MENS & MATTHIJS KOUW – 3/4

If you want to dive even deeper into Radboud Mens‘ drone experiments: the collaboration with Matthijs Kouw (1, from 2017) gets no less than two follow-up editions: and 3/4 – the latter being a 2-CD album. Due to production complexities the release order got unintentionally mixed up: is now scheduled to be released early next year, while 3/4 is already available now.
Be prepared for the more extreme minimalist drones, Eliane Radigue style, with Radboud playing long magnetic strings and analog filters and Matthijs playing modulars.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Janek Schaefer * Erik Griswold https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-11-27/schaefer-griswold/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-11-27/schaefer-griswold/#respond Tue, 27 Nov 2018 20:15:42 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11254

Janek Schaefer visits Cuckooland using samples from Robert Wyatt's 2003 album. * Erik Griswold further explores the possibilities of the prepared piano.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Schaefer - What Light

JANEK SCHAEFER – WHAT LIGHT THERE IS TELLS US NOTHING  Also on Spotify

The slow crackle in the intro, the vocal drone and the Robert Wyatt sample that gave this album its name… Janek Schaefer manages to set the atmosphere right from the very start.  And once you start the ride, you do not want to get off before it stops… simply enjoying the trip, wondering what surprising turn is in store in the next moments…

What Light There Is Tells Us Nothing,
 the title track of Schaefer‘s new album, is created entirely from elements of Robert Wyatts Cuckooland album (Also on Spotify). The 21 minute piece, created with his custom-made two tone-arm turntable, effect pedals and ‘digital collage’, was originally created as a multi-channel composition for 2014’s Sounds New Festival in Canterbury. With Robert Wyatt’s blessing, of course.
The atmosphere is defined by a steady background drone, over which the different samples and fragment are layered. The collage-like structure and use of different musical fragments have the same mesmerizing effect as KLF’s ‘Chill Out’ (1990) – which over time has become one of the classics of the ‘ambient’ genre. It’s a wonderland ride, ‘transforming the power of half-forgotten memories into otherworldly works, that are ambiguous as they are evocative’.

The B-side on the (transparent gold virgin vinyl) album offers seven shorter tracks. These tracks are not based on Wyatt samples, but they still ‘exist in the same wondrous space’ – radiating the feeling that Alice must have felt while walking in Wonderland.
This is music that ‘inhabits the spaces between sadness and joy, and relish in the unpredictability of emotional gravity’.
A musical wonderland that only Janek Schaefer can create …

BTW –  It’s also available on CD but for unknown reasons this is not offered on the Bandcamp page which only mentions the vinyl and the download version. Try Boomkat if you’re looking for the CD-version.


Griswold

ERIK GRISWOLD – YOKOHAMA FLOWERS  Also on Spotify

At first listen I thought that Alone Time (the opening track) was performed by a gamelan orchestra. It sounded like that, but it did not have the specific tuning. From the liner notes I learned what I probably should have heard: this is nothing like a gamelan orchestra, but a collection of works for prepared piano. My first association was not thát strange it seems: one of the tracks is called Wind-Up Gamelan. 

Erik Griswold has perfected playing the prepared piano in such a way that it does sound like a completely new instrument, and not just like a piano with beer caps between the strings.

“Griswold’s compositions remind us that the piano is never truly knowable, or known. Each composition collected here reveals another detail or way of knowing the piano. The preparations release something in excess of the instrument itself.”

At moments the piano sounds like a piano, but more often it sounds like an unknown plucked string instrument, or bells, or something unknown. Or like a gamelan orchestra. But preparing the piano is not the  goal in itself: it is the means to create a playful kind of music that is a pleasure to listen to. Music in which ‘the language of the piano is born and reborn.’

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Benjamin Finger * Lee Yi https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-11-23/finger-yi/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-11-23/finger-yi/#respond Fri, 23 Nov 2018 10:27:44 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=10824

Benjamin Finger's respectful disregard of genres *** Lee Yi expresses his fascination for natural pigments and fond memories.

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Into Light

BENJAMIN FINGER – INTO LIGHT

Apart from his filmmaking (he is a director at the Film and TV Academy NISS in Oslo), Benjamin Finger is also a multi-instrumentalist ‘with a healthy disregard for genres.’
Some of this ‘respectful disregard’ is exposed on Into Light, merging ambient with electro-acoustic and modern-classical elements, a ‘classy meld of analogue synths, guitar and field recordings’.

There are four tracks: two short ones of about 3 minutes, and two long pieces about eighteen minutes each. Perfect lengths for the limited vinyl edition.

Gravity’s Jest 
starts with a haunting cinematic cello part (performed by Elling Finnanger Snøfugl) that slowly seems to fall apart and is gradually taken over by sweeping atmospherics, until in the last third of the piece the mood suddenly changes with the introduction of Inga-Lill Farstad’s voice. 
Paradox Route, the dreamlike ‘a hazy weave of voice, instrumentation and analog colours that feel like a warm embrace from your headphones’, somehow mirrors Gravity’s Jest: it starts with Farstad’s voice, slowly submerges into more abstract electronics fragments, to end with a (more distorted) cello.  The circle is complete.


Dissimilar Lake Pigments Eslandtika   

LEE YI – DISSIMILAR LAKE PIGMENTS  Also on Spotify * ESLANDTIKA  Also on Spotify 

I’m afraid I’m  a bit late to the show: these albums were both released in July this year. But better late than never, and after all: the music is still available, so…

Dissimilar Lake Pigments  is a cassette (or download) released by Rottenman Editions from Spain. The gentle music is inspired by Lee Yi’s ‘fascination with natural pigments and the many sensations
that the impact of seeing its wide range of intense colors produced.”
Seven songs, spanning 30 minutes, ‘composed with organic dyes and a pink aura.’

The cassette is available in two editions: the Deluxe edition has a special wool fabric sheath, manuafactured and dyed by hand with natural pigments from Marocco. But that one is limited to only ten copies (only 2 available at the time of writing).

Eslandtika, released by Shimmering Moods, is available as a CD, a cassette and as a download. It is a collection of improvisations ‘recorded entirely on micro-cassettes’ – hence in this case the cassette is an appropriate medium for this album.
There is no detailed information about the album, but I guess the artist statement tells enough:
“Eslandtika is a bunch of small memories that I would like to keep forever. Ordinary people, without any pretention; who have shared an instant of their lives and who have left. 
It is a tribute to a simple & beautiful past.”

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Monty Adkins * Eliane Radigue https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-11-19/adkins-radigue/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-11-19/adkins-radigue/#respond Mon, 19 Nov 2018 09:47:07 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11271

Monty Adkins' alternate soundtrack to Warhol's static 8 hour 'Empire' *** Eliane Radigue's ever-changing sonic stasis on a 14-CD box set. Ever moving, ever standing still.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Empire

MONTY ADKINS – EMPIRE

It is easy to listen to this piece of music without considering its background: just sit back, relax and enjoy. Empire may remind you of some of the best of Brian Eno’s generative music works.
And that’s quite enough for a recommendation in itself, isn’t it?

But then – consider the cover.
If you see a black square, zoom in – notice the subtle shading at the sides. It seems to tell us that there’s more to this than you may initially think. And indeed there is.

In fact, this composition is everything BUT generative. It is carefully structured, using a bell ringing pattern from NY Littleport Caters. The bell ringing sequence (and I’ll simply quote the liner notes here) ‘is an example of change-ringing technique – in which the nine bells are permuted continuously for several hours. From this Adkins created a nine-chord harmonic sequence each with nine layers of sonic material including old instruments and other ambient sounds recorded in large architectural structures.”

It’s even getting more complex knowing that this piece is created as an alternate soundtrack for Andy Warhol’s movie Empire‘ (1964) – an 8 hour long seemingly static (and originally silent) movie of the Empire State Building, showing the building during sunset into the night – the last part of this movie showing only complete darkness.

Being from 1964, this film is stored on 10 film-reels of 48 minutes each. In Adkin’s piece, nine permutations of the bell-patterns occur every 48 minutes, ‘the combination of layers being unique in each occurence. The final reel, of the Empire State Building in almost total darkness, is accompanied by extended filtered materials from previous sections.’
However, this album is not the full 8 hour alternative  soundtrack. The 51 minute version ‘presents the prime sequence of materials with the nine harmonic sections in their original order (1 to 9) and concluding with a section of the sound for the tenth reel.”
It is near this dark end sequence where the sounds start to drift off somewhat and some layers of distortion are added to the bright sounds – emphasizing the increasing sense of being lost in total darkness.

It’s fascinating to realise that there’s such a complex, thought-out pattern behind music that sounds so ‘natural’. I never really realised that there could be a deliberately chosen complex sequence in the ringing of bells. Things can obviously more complex than they seem to be. But when this underlying concept seems a bit too hard to grasp, you can of course still simply sit back, relax and intensely enjoy the beautiful, mindful, immersive sounds of Empire

By way of a bonus:
Three gorgeous Monty Adkins tracks, Still Juniper Snow 1-3 are included on a 2CD-set called Bozzini+ on Huddersfield Contemporary RecordsThese pieces are reworkings of original acoustic pieces performed by Sarah-Jane Summer and the Bozzini Quartet. With their 21 minute playing time, Adkins‘ reconstructions are only a minor part of this CD-set; the rest of the album presents new music pieces for string quartet and piano quite different in style. So be sure to check out the full album first, or just enjoy Monty Adkins’ contribution to this album on Spotify  Also on Spotify


Eliane Radigue - Oeuvre Electronique

ELIANE RADIGUE – OEUVRES ÉLECTRONIQUES

To anyone even remotely interested in drone music I usually recommend to check out ‘s Trilogie De La Mort. Inspired by the root text of the Bardo Thödol (the Tibetan Book Of The Dead), this work (for me) symbolises the abscence of time and the infinity of space better than any other composition I know. For me, this 3CD (3+ hour) album (Also on Spotify) almost makes all other drone recordings seem superfluous. If you’d have to choose one single album of drone music, choose this one!

The ‘mother of this mother’ is Eliane Radique, a French electronic music composer, born in 1932, who singlehandedly set the standard for time-defying electronic music.
She chose her path when she first heard musique concrête, and studied and worked with Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry in the late 60’s.

In the early 70’s, she developed her electronic music using the legendary ARP 2500 which she bought in New York and shipped to Paris.
“It arrived without a keyboard. Eliane had deliberately left it with the New York seller, as she had already sensed the machine needed to be taken over per sé, in what it could produce without resorting to the classic play of keys, which easily changes the sounds and whose attraction would be to immediate, too obvious.”  

From then, her attention focuses on creating electronic music.
“Once the frequency of the oscillators which produce the sound are set, Eliane’s play consists in gradually modifying anything in the machine that can modulate its ‘voice’. She does so with such a degree of subtlety and slowness that her pieces often wrongly appear as static. Then they move and evolve like an ocean, whose motions are slow, quasi-imperceptible when looked at from a distance. To feel it’s flow, one must be right beside it.”

She continues to create electronic music, all of her work created in her Paris apartment until 2002, when she moved on to create acoustic works, often to be performed by a single performer who understands her work and what she aims to achieve.

INA-GRM (Groupe De Recherches Musicales) now honours her work by releasing a box set containing 14 CD’s (!!!) and a 80 page booklet. The box set is a 15+ hour trip into sonic eternity. It is not intended as the definitive overview of all of Radigue’s work: there is no early musique concrête and no acoustic compositions from after 2002 either. This set is dedicated to her electronic works. And since these works are so very consistent, it can almost be enjoyed as one continuous of work of 15+ hours! That, of course, was not the original intention, so luckily the works are presented in their original form so they can also be enjoyed in shorter sessions.

Included are Chry-ptus (in 2 versions), Geelriandre, Biogenesis, Arthesis, ψ 847, Adnos I-III, Les Chants de Milarepa (featuring the voice of Robert Ashley and chanting by Lama Kunga Rinpoche), Jetsun Mila (2 parts), Trilogie De La Mort (Kyema, Kailasha and Koumé) and finally L’Ile Re-sonante. 

The best news, especially for those who may be hesitating to buy such a massive body of work, is the pricing of this box set. INA-GRM offers this massive set for  a friendly price of 60 euro (without shipping that is), obtainable via Metamkine. That is €4.29 per CD, actually – almost free for this glimpse into sonic eternity.

Wait… you’re still here reading this???


Understandably, Metamkine does not offer any preview options for this set.
It’s no use either to publish a short excerpt from her work.
So – by way of as an exception – here’s a link to a Youtube post of Kyema (from Trilogie Des Morts)
 

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Various Artists: We Stayed The Path … * Gavin Miller https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-11-15/path-miller/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-11-15/path-miller/#respond Thu, 15 Nov 2018 19:59:11 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11090

Introducing "We Stayed The Path The Fell To Shadow" - a new subscription series from Lost Tribe Sound. Also introducing two new releases by Gavin Miller (one of those not included in the subscription series).

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VARIOUS ARTISTS – WE STAYED THE PATH THAT FELL TO SHADOW / WE STAYED THE PATH… (SUBSCRIPTION SERIES)

We Stayed The Path That Fell To Shadow is a Lost Tribe Sound compilation album, a benefit album supporting environmental and mental health charities:  We hold the belief that as our surroundings improve so does our mental health.” It also marks the start of a new subscription series with the same name which will run until the summer of 2019.

As a compilation album, We Stayed The Path… is a perfect introduction to the sound of the Lost Tribe Sound label. A unique sound, merging the use of (mostly) acoustic instruments into a hard-to-define style – experimental yet also firmly rooted in (folk) music tradition. “A rustic, brooding mix of classical, folk and otherwise indescribable sound.”

Some of the artists are new to the LTS roster, like The Phonometrician, Gavin Miller and Spheruleus (Harry Towell). Others were presented by the label before: Alder & Ash, William Ryan Fritch, KJ, The Green Kingdom, Mute Forest, From The Mouth Of The Sun, Seabuckthorn and more.
Each of these artist have their very own style and approach, yet it is remarkable how their choices come together in a clearly recognisable and unique Lost Tribe Sound trademark.

We Stayed The Path… kicks off the subscription series of the same name. If you want to hear a good introduction to the sound of the Lost Tribe Sound artists this is a very good start – especially since you’re also supporting a fine cause!

The full subscription series will include seven titles: four of them on CD (the compilation album, Gavin Miller‘s Meander Scars (2CD) , William Ryan Fritch’s Music for Film Vol. I & II (also 2CD’s) and The Phonometrician), and the other four on Vinyl (Spheruleus, 2 titles by Skyphone and again the Phonometrician album). Because the Phonometrician album is included in CD as well as Vinyl, the download option has seven titles, not eight.

So beware and note: the CD and Vinyl versions are nót the same; they contain different titles (only the Phonometrician album is released on both). If you want the complete series you will have to sign up for the CD+Vinyl package, or choose the digital download edition. Be sure to check the series website for further details.

To subscribe to a series of releases requires dedication and faith in a label’s quality selection. Those who follow the Lost Tribe Sound label, and especially subscribers to their earlier Prelude To The Decline series will probably know what to expect. But for those still in doubt (even after listening to the above compilation), there’s an introduction with example tracks  from the albums that will be released. This introduction sampler cannot be bought or downloaded: it is a is a streaming-only ‘teaser’ for the series.

And if, after hearing this, you still do not want to commit yourself to the full series, it’s good to know that the releases may also be available separately. But it’s a risk: only if copies are left, and you’ll miss the subscription discount.


Meander Scars

GAVIN MILLER – MEANDER SCARS

Together with the compilation, Meander Scars is the first release in the We Stayed The Path… series. Gavin Miller is known as one half of the duo Worriedaboutsatan. He also curates the This Is It Forever label.

Meander Scars are geological features that are “formed  by the remnants of winding or meandering water channels. They are caused by the varying velocities of current within the river channel. Due to higher velocity current on the outer banks of the river through the bend, more erosion occurs causing the characteristic steep outer slopes.” 

Meander Scars is a more ‘acoustic’ album than usual for Gavin Miller.
On the four parts of Upper Course, Miller teams up with cellist Aaron Martin. The second half of the album presents  Lower Course: different renditions of the same pieces but without Aaron Martin. All tracks are relatively long (8-10 minutes) and take their time to unfold and create a beautiful, almost unreal atmosphere.

“The long-form compositions were constructed from a series of slow churning rhythmic guitar loops, warm noise, soft synths and distant choirs which build over time into colliding patterns of pastoral bliss. The restraint used to give the listener just the right amount of interest and to keep the music’s progression moving forward is perhaps Gavin’s greatest accomplishment”


Shimmer

GAVIN MILLER – SHIMMER

While mentioning Gavin Miller‘s music, it’s also very much worth mentioning his recent (september) release Shimmer.
It is released on ’boutique’ record label Sound In Silence, from Athens, Greece. Which means the hand-made limited (150) edition is packed in hand-stamped cardboard envelope with a polaroid style photo attached to the front.

The photo perfectly captures the mood of the album, a short, shimmering 23 minute instrumental piece in six parts.
“Dreamy soundscapes and soothing atmospheres, blending gentle strumming guitar melodies, eerie synths, sparse bass lines, dark piano chords, hazy background drones, cinematic strings and indistinct vocal samples.” 

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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DreamScenes – November 2018 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-11-11/dreamscenes-november-2018/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-11-11/dreamscenes-november-2018/#respond Sun, 11 Nov 2018 19:00:50 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11189

"Child, your roots are strong enough to grow through concrete and steel"

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“Child, your roots are strong enough to grow through concrete and steel”

Tracklist:

Play this edition on-demand from the Concertzender website.

OR:
stream it from Mixcloud:

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Matthijs Kouw * BJ Nilsen https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-11-08/kouw-nilsen/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-11-08/kouw-nilsen/#respond Thu, 08 Nov 2018 20:56:07 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=10994

Explaining the obscure by the more obscure: drones by Matthijs Kouw and BJ Nilsen

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Matthijs Kouw - Obscurum

MATTHIJS KOUW – OBSCURUM PER OBSCURIUS  Also on Spotify

Operating under his own name as well as MVK and Swerve, Matthijs Kouw (his second name is Vincent, hence the V) has released music since 2011. Solo work as well as collaborations, works for dance, film theater and installations. Most recently, he focuses on long-form drone pieces, often in collaboration with Radboud Mens (follow-up albums of 1 are about to be released).

Obscurum per obscurius is a latin phrase that can be translated as ‘(explaining) the obscure by means of the more obscure’. A well-chosen title for this collection of investigations of ‘obscure’ (or mysterious) drones. Drones that ‘were composed over an extended period of time through a laborious and intensive practice, in which moments of creative inspiration and creation, fraught with possibility, have ultimately become obscured in the final work presented here’.

Sometimes, a subtle rhythm seems to emerge from the depth: in Untitled 3 I can’t help to hear a pulse that sounds like an offbeat reggae rhythm guitar. But this is an exception (and hardly anything you will want to dance to): most of the material presents otherwordly gazes into deep alien sounds, found by Matthijs Kouw trying to explain ‘the riddles of matter involved the projection of yet another mystery, namely the alchemist’s own gaze and approach, into what was to be explained’.


BJ Nilsen Focus Intensity Power

BJ NILSEN – FOCUS INTENSITY POWER  Also on Spotify

Swedish (but now Amsterdam-based) sound artist BJ Nilsen may be primarily associated with his albums using impeccably recorded field-recordings, but his albums were always more than just ‘archival sounds’: by careful re-arranging and subtle manipulation he investigates ‘the sound of nature and its effect on humans.’
For Focus Intensity Power, however, the main sound sources are not exactly ‘natural’ but strictly electronic. Maybe the difference is not that great after all: electronic sources, hums, buzzes, clicks and radiation are an unavoidable part of our aural daily environment.

Nilsen recorded the album during a short residency at the Willem Twee Electronic Music Studio in Den Bosch, where he must have felt like a child in a candy store among all the anachronistic analog sound devices and vintage synthesizers (such as the legendary ARP 2500 modular synth pictured here). As the liner notes say: ‘he exchanged his wax rain coat for the white laboratory mantle.’

Focus Intensity Power reflects his improvised sessions using modular synths, tone generators and test and measure instruments collected in this studio. The album is filled with  a ‘red thread of analog pulse, droning waves and subtle and surprising noise interventions’.
According to Nilsen there is no underlying concept to the record, but for the listener it’s not very hard to find one. This is the sound of machines talking to us in a strange language, a language we can hear but barely understand. It is a sound to get lost in completely – if it weren’t for the fact that Nilsen accentuates the machines dependency by suddenly ending a track, cutting it off as if he flips a switch.

If you are remotely interested in the nature of electronic sound, in the very soul of electronic devices, this is an album to investigate.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Sound and Stone * Dialog Tapes II https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-11-05/stones-dialogtapes2/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-11-05/stones-dialogtapes2/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2018 18:22:02 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=10819

Various artists explore the Fessman Sound Stones * Eiléan and Dauw present musical soulmates in various combinations.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Sound And Stone

VARIOUS ARTISTS – SOUND AND STONE  Also on Spotify

With the release of Sound And StoneSteven M. Halliday concludes a two years research project of the Fessman Sound Stones for his thesis submitted to the Huddersfield University.

Hannes (and his father Klaus) Fessman‘s ‘Klangsteine’ are fascinating sculptures that are not only very beautiful to watch but also to listen to. They produce an incredible deep resonating sound seemingly connected to thousands of years of the Earth’s history, and which seem to have therapeutic effect too: since 2009 the effects on Alzheimer memory treatment, micro circulation, increased white blood cells, muscle relaxation and depression are investigated. The stones definitely produce a ‘mindful’ sound…
The stones of Hannes and Klaus Fessman were a continuation and further exploration of the research of Elmar Daucher in the 70’s and 80’s (more on this later).

Sound speaks louder than words, so instead of spending more words on how beautiful these stone sculptures can sound, it’s probably better to watch this introduction video by Hannes Fessman himself. It’s 11 minutes long but definitely worth watching (and listening) to the end:

For this compilation album, the sounds of these stone sculptures were sampled and then the ‘virtual sound stones’ were given to some of the world’s most forward-thinking music producers’ to work with. And that’s an impressive array of artists indeed: Jasmine Guffond, Paul Jebanasam, Tomonari Nozaki, Leyland Kirby, Machinefabriek, Monty Adkins, Yves de Mey, Farwarmth, and of course Steven M Halliday himself.

The result is an intriguing collection…. of electronic music.
And exactly this is what intrigued me: I’m sure the original deep, organic, resonating sounds of the stones are used throughout, bit still this feels like electronic music in the first place. Understandable, of course, since they worked with samples as their basic material, they do not play the stones themselves. On second thought this isn’t a real surprise: “unfortunately, the logistics of getting the Hannes stones around Europe became impossible. Not only do you need a flatbed truck and crane to transport them, but there is also a considerable cost involved too.”
So the samples would have to do as the base material – and so the original sounds are manipulated and reconstructed into these new pieces, with each artist’ own sound characteristics.

As much as I love listening to this album, I still think it would’ve been great if some of the original sounds were more prominently included in this album (like demonstrated in the video above) too. The sound of the stones is so ‘complete’ that one may wonder if further treatments of these sound can really add anything to that.
This is perhaps why the download of this album also contains a sample pack of the original sounds. If you have a sampler, DAW of can process samples in any other way, you can create your own version of the Sound Of Stones. (The cassette version does not contain these samples for obvious reasons, but if you buy the cassette version it is included with the digital download. Problem solved…)

As an extra, it might be interesting to mention Stephan Micus’ album The Music of Stones‘ from 1989. On this album Micus uses Elmar Daucher‘s resonating stones, and with ECM’s immaculate recording they can be heard in full effect. Being Stephan Micus, this music is more eastern-oriented in style (adding shakuhachi and tin whistle) and not as ‘experimental’ as Steven Halliday’s collection, but if you’re interested in musical stones you should definitely check it out too.


Dialog II Eilean Dialog Tapes II Dauw

VARIOUS ARTISTS – DIALOG TAPES II: EILÉAN / DAUW

Three years ago, the labels Dauw and Eiléan released the first Dialog Tapes‘: a collection of tracks working together in various combinations, collaborating to create the music they love with like-minded souls. According to the labels’ release policy, the Dauw edition was released on tape and the Eiléan edition on CD. A great concept, demonstrating that many artists share a musical vision and can work together regardless of geological borders.

The same applies to Dialog Tapes II, released after the same concept. Ánd on the same physical editions – but if this is the first time you read about this you can forget about physical that because those already sold out.
Don’t worry too much about that: the digital downloads remain available and it’s all about the music isn’t it?

Like Dialog Tapes I this release-pair should be considered as a single unity: a double album release on two different labels/media. The one is not complete without its other half.
Almost all of the artists are performing on both albums with a different partner. With a few remarkable exceptions: Autistici (only on Eiléan) and Yadayn (only on Dauw). And Monolyth & Cobalt and Dudal break the ‘change partner’ rule by re-appearing as Dudal & Monolyth & Cobalt. 

I’ll simply namedrop the other performing artists here, in order of appearance: Olan Mill, Øjerum, Humble Bee, Toàn, Stijn Hüwels, Offthesky, Benoît Pioulard, Josh Mason, Machinefabriek, Emmanuel Witzthum, R. Beny, Omar El Abd, Steve Pacheco. I’m assuming that these names are enough to get an idea of the resulting sounds.

The remarkable result of this shared musical vision is that these two albums also sound as if it was one single group of artists performing: there are variations in details, other accents, but generally speaking the music is all in the same vein – a coherent compilations without unexpected extremes.
All of these artists have been releasing their music on these labels so if you’re familiar with the labels you know what to expect. An ‘attempt to connect a musical field through its own creative forces. It’s about connectivity and making new unexpected musical ties between individual actors’. 

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Siavash Amini * Amini & Umchunga https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-11-01/amini-umchunga/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-11-01/amini-umchunga/#respond Thu, 01 Nov 2018 18:11:03 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=10756

Solo work from Siavash Amini covering places behind shadows where darkness looms, and his collaboration with Umchunga reinterpreting dead composers beyond recognition.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Foras

SIAVASH AMINI – FORAS  Also on Spotify

Foras (meaning ‘Outside’ in Latin) is Siavash Amini‘s sixth solo album in six years, and his second release for Hallow Ground. With four track covering 38 minutes it is a relatively short album, but Amini does not need more than that to express what he wants to.

The opener First Came Their Shadows warns us for what’s to come, with sonic outbursts as well as foreboding calm. The track titles reveal that the atmosphere will not get much ‘lighter’: Aporia (‘the expression of doubt’, definitely the noisiest track of the set), The Beclouding, Shadow of their Shadows.

Foras want to explore ‘how individual sorrow relates to and is triggered by space’, focusing on ‘how landscapes and buildings connect to and transform the inside world and thus the psychological experience’.
Using field recordings he made ‘in places over which a deep sense of darkness looms’, he blends ‘harsh electronic noise with lush granular synthesis and classical composition techniques.’ With four intense, deep soundscapes as a result, a ‘complex sound world that is haunted also by hope and compassion’.


Amini - Umchunga

SIAVASH AMINI & UMCHUNGA – THE BRIGHTEST WINTER SUN

The Brightest Winter Sun was released almost simultaneously with Foras, but on a different label (Flaming Pines). Here, Siavash Amini teams up with Umchunga (Nima Pourkarimi, also from Iran) who released his debut album Should Have Been Done By Now  on Hibernate in 2015.
The depth and emotional impact of these soundscapes are similar to those on Foras, but the ‘tone of voice’ is quite different: widely cinematic, more open perhaps, more optimistic even?

This may have something to do with the fact that this is a collaboration. But it may also have originated from the underlying concept: the ‘disoriented drunken drones’  are ‘drawn from the work of long dead composers.’
Amini and Umchunga reinterpret (piano) compositions of late 18th and 19th century composers in a way that renders them completely unrecognisable – ‘by depriving these compositions of one their most prominent characteristics namely thematic and tonal development and progression’.

For most tracks, you will have a hard time recognising the composers and their compositions. But the titles are a clue: each track points to the year in which the composer in question passed away. So Google is your friend here. You’ll probably be surprised (I was).

The Brightest Winter Sun is released on cassette and as a digital download.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Giulio Aldinucci * Murcof https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-10-29/murcof-aldinucci/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-10-29/murcof-aldinucci/#respond Mon, 29 Oct 2018 10:09:53 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=10909

Dark and suspenseful drones, gritty noise and orchestral choir arrangements present inescapable dystopic -but fascinating- views on current times.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Disappearing in a Mirror

GIULIO ALDINUCCI – DISAPPEARING IN A MIRROR  Also on Spotify

Apart from his various collaboration and split releases, Disappearing In A Mirror is Giulio Aldinucci‘s follow-up to 2017’s Borders and Ruins; it’s his second release for Karl Records. If you thought Borders And Ruins depicted a rather dark view on the state of the world, you’d better be ready for this new album.

“Where “Borders …” was a reflection on the instability of borders and their impact on the relationship between people and territory, “Disappearing In A Mirror” raises the very personal question of identity.”

Aldinucci manages to create a sonic version of a hall of mirrors, where you can get completely disoriented from the images of yourself trying to find a way out.
In a striking combination of gritty distorted sounds and distant orchestral/choral arrangements that sound like a stretched Beethoven symphony, the first two tracks present a frightening dystopic view. But from there, Aldinucci restores the balance (somewhat) with Notturno Toscano – as if he doesn’t want to scare the listener too much. But even in this track the intensity slowly increases again. There’s no way out of the mirror maze, it seems…

In the words of Giulio Aldinucci himself:
Disappearing In A Mirror focuses on the fluidity of the identity concept, highlighting the harmonious coexistence of contradictory elements and the transitional features that characterize every transformation. It is a reflection on the current situation of change and disruption and at the same time it is a gaze into the human timeless soul and its inner soundscapes.”

A ‘Hall Of Mirrors’ is an entertaining maze as long as you realise you will find the way out at some point. But what if there’s no way out but to disappear completely?

If the sweat in the palms of my hand is an indicator of emotional intensity, this album definitely belongs on the top the list!


Murcof Lost In Time

MURCOF – LOST IN TIME  Also on Spotify

It took me some time to find out this was actually a re-release. I don’t usually cover re-releases but this one is an exception, since the original 2014 release on Casino Luxembourg was vinyl-only and destined to virtually disappear from the radar into cult territories. (Fun fact: the original release still seems to be for sale from Casino Luxembourg).

Lost In Time is Murcof‘s soundtrack for a video by Patrick Bernatchez, which in turn was a sound project that was part of explorations around Bach’s “Goldberg Variations”. The choral aria of the Goldberg Variations, as performed by Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal is merged by the – rather ominous – Murcof soundscapes.

 

The result is quite different from most earlier Murcof releases. Much, much darker and more suspenseful than you would have expected based on his earlier work.
The choir arrangements sound otherworldly, alienated – I wouldn’t have guessed that they are based on a Bach aria, because it sounds more contemporary in this context.
The combination with the (mostly electronic) soundscapes is downright chilling. Which is why Glacial Movements is the designated label for this fascinating (re-)release!
So praise to the label for re-releasing this album and making it available again on CD and digital download!

This particular edition features a bonus track available with the download, Chapitre N, which was especially composed for this Glacial Movements release.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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VVolk * Claudio F Baroni * Olivia Block https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-10-25/vvolk-baroni-block/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-10-25/vvolk-baroni-block/#respond Thu, 25 Oct 2018 18:47:03 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=10746

Vvolk may very well be the only 'ambient orchestra' in the world * Three works inspired by (perpetual) motion by Claudio F. Baroni * Olivia Block's '132 Ranks' will make you feel humble.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Se (In) De Bos

VVOLK – BOOK OF AIR: SE (IN) DE BOS

This is the third edition in the ongoing Book of Air project curated by Stijn and Bert Cools. The first release in this series was performed by the relatively small Fieldtone ensemble, while the second and third editions are performed by VVolk – a group of 18 improvisers with roots in jazz and classical music. Vvolk may very well be ‘the only ambient orchestra in the world’: (they also perform all night ‘laying down concerts’).

It’s incredible to hear such a large group of improvisers play so restrained, each member playing his/her part but no one claiming the lead, although the instrumental setting constantly shifts and there’s a change in dynamics like ebb and flow.

Vvolk investigates performing and improvising music, in close relation to present time; what are the possibilities in playing music, when changes in this music pass by unnoticed? How do we as musicians relate to the running time of a performance? This clearly challenges the improvising musicians, and makes audience and performers discover new territories in collective improvisation.”

 

 

If you don’t listen carefully, you might get the impression the complete orchestra suffers from narcolepsy – only to be kept awake by the slow but throbbing pulse of the three interwoven bass lines that the (somewhat enigmatic) album title Se (In) De Bos seems to refer to. But that would deny the adventurous beauty of this composition.
There is actually very múch happening in this 60 minute piece , but it requires attentive listening to recognise the constant change ‘inspired by the fluctuating objectivity of our daily observations’.


Motum

CLAUDIO F.  BARONI – MOTUM

Claudio F. Baroni is a composer from Argentina, where he studied piano and sonology. In 1997 he moved to the Netherlands, studying composition at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. His website presents an extensive work listbut for those not familiar with his work this release on Unsounds is a great introduction.

Motum (meaning ‘motion’) presents three different works performed by different ensembles.

In Circles II
in four movements of 8 minutes each, is performed by Ensemble Modelo62It is a piece ‘in a constant in-between state’. Reminiscent of Morton Feldman and Louis Andriessen’s ‘De Tijd’, the stretched chords are accentuated by various kinds of percussion instruments. The piece is defying the awareness of time, ‘through subtle shifts in timbre and register, tiny variations in intonation of common pitches [that] start acting between the instruments, along with the acoustic effects of the intervals and overtones themselves’.

Solo VIII-Airis performed by Ezequiel Menalled (artistic director of Modelo62, also from Argentina) and Claudio Baroni on organ. This composition is dedicated to Phil Niblock which may give an indication of what to expect.
“Pedals and manual keys are pressed down during the piece, but it’s not quite notes we are hearing. Instead the piece consists of registration changes, the knobs for registers being manipulated very slowly, and never fully pulled out. The result is a subdued, unpredictable, fluctuating sonority, an almost-organ, the sound of a complete choir of partial voices, with sometimes hints of a tone emerging.”
The impressive and overwhelming sound of the church organ, the breathing organism and the thundering low registers, is haunting, if not downright scary – especially when played at an appropriate volume.

With its 12 minutes and 13 seconds, Perpetuo Motum(performed by Quartetto Prometeo) is the shortest composition in this collection even though it it dedicated to ‘perpetual motion’. Compared to the previous two it is also the most demanding piece of the album.
“Whenever a player plays, it is on two strings: one stable note on an open string, and one slow glissando on a neighboring string. The result is a fascinating superimposition of two incommensurate musical logics. On the one hand, drone harmonies based on open fifths; on the other hand, a Xenakis-like world of pure glissando counterpoint, not based on harmony at all.”


Olivia Block 132 Ranks

OLIVIA BLOCK – 132 RANKS  Also on Spotify

Some of the works above may be be described as ‘minimalist’ to some extent. But perhaps they are ‘maximalist’ compared to Olivia Block‘s 132 Ranks, a sound installation for six speakers playing white noise, sine tones and pre-recorded organ sounds, combined with live performance on the enormous Skinner organ at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in Chicago. (However: there is an interesting similarity with Baroni’s ‘Solo VIII-Air’ mentioned above).

“The piece included both the lowest pedal notes, felt in the body, as well as the highest bell tones, played at extreme dynamic levels. At times, sounds were isolated in discrete locations to emphasise the chapel’s shape.”

It must have been an impressive performance. A church organ is one of the very few instruments that cannot be disconnected from its environment. In fact, the entire building it is located in is a part of the ‘instrument’. An organ like this, in an environment like this,  is impressive enough in itself, but even more when combined with a multichannel surround installation where the audience can walk freely, noticing ‘how the acoustics, materials and shape of the space altered the live and recorded organ sounds as Block performed.’

The live recording of Olivia Block‘s performance inevitably includes the sound of the audience moving around through the space. In some weird way this gives extra depth to the result. You can almost hear how small and insignificant people are compared to the large setting and the massive and inescapable sound of the Skinner organ.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Machinefabriek Exclusive: Transform II * Michel Banabila https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-10-21/transformii/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-10-21/transformii/#respond Sun, 21 Oct 2018 08:37:59 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11102

Celebrating 13 years of Ambientblog with an exclusive (and free) Machinefabriek track download "Transform II" * Michel Banabila's latest album re-explores his musical past (and also contains the original "Transform")

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Machinefabriek - Transform II

MACHINEFABRIEK – TRANSFORM II
[Ambientblog Exclusive!]

This track can be downloaded FOR FREE (in various formats) from the AMBIENTBLOG BANDCAMP PAGE

Ambientblog is very proud to present this new and until now unreleased Machinefabriek track called Transform II as an exclusive (and FREE) download. This 17:05 piece is created using samples from Michel Banabila‘s track Transform (from his latest album Everywhere Else Is Just Right Here, more info below).

Michel Banabila and Rutger ‘Machinefabriek’ Zuydervelt have collaborated for a long time now. They released result of their fruitful cooperation on four albums: Banabila & Machinefabriek (2012), Travelog (2013), Error Log (2015) and Macrocosms (2016). (Rumours are a new release may be in the making but no details about that are available yet).
The two clearly share an artistic musical vision, and their different approach and perspective merge very well and add an extra adventurous layer to the result.

Transform II is Machinefabriek‘s vision on the original (much shorter) Michel Banabila track. Rutger Zuydervelt takes the original and almost tearing it apart, then rearranging the details in a different way. The result clearly be recognised as a Machinefabriek work: Banabila hesitates to call it a ‘remix’ because it must be seen as a complete new work. But it also remains true and respectful to its Banabila roots.
It’s a deep dive into electronic abstraction, but near the end of the track Machinefabriek introduces a ‘signature Banabila sound ‘: the melodica. It makes you feel as if you’re coming up for air again after a fascinating exploration of an underwater world.

Editing, processing and additional sounds by Rutger Zuydervelt, September 2018
Source material by Michel Banabila

This track can be downloaded FOR FREE (in various formats) from the AMBIENTBLOG BANDCAMP PAGE


 

Banabila Everywhere Else

MICHEL BANABILA – EVERYWHERE ELSE IS JUST RIGHT HERE

Michel Banabila has released music since 1983 (that’s 35 years now, mind you!) and if you delve into his back catalogue you’ll discover an interesting development. Inspired by the explorations from Brian Eno/David Byrne, broadening his musical visions across many genres and borders, he created experimental music, music for theatre, dance and films, world music and sometimes music that could be classified as ‘new age’. Experimental but also accessible, balancing serious art with zany humor, comprehensible yet unorthodox. His strength – a diverse output across many genres – in fact became also a weakness in terms of marketing: unable to pinpoint him to their own preferred genre, ‘serious’ music lovers often ignored his musical genius. In my opinion Banabila never really got the recognition he deserved to get, especially in his ‘early years’.
But over time, and due to his untiring perseverance, that has changed.

Banabila’s music has changed too. His output became more experimental. His music slowly evolved (or dissolved – after al that’s just a matter of perspective) into ever more abstract electronics.
In recent years, his debut album Marilli was re-released in 2017 on Seance Centreother early works were compiled on Bureau B in 2016, and Voiznoiz recently saw a beautiful rerelease on Steamin’ SoundworksAt first, this renewed interest in his early material confused Banabila: this was music from the past, this is not what he stands for now, musically.

But possibly the renewed interest in his musical past also triggered something. On Everywhere Else Is Just Right Here Banabila revisits (and perhaps even re-animates) his own musical past, and connects it to his current musical vision. There are ‘abstract’ tracks, and these are arguably the ones that are mostly connected to his recent output. But there are also tracks that resemble his early work: rhythmic, filled with surprising (often found environmental) sounds, all presented in a wide-open production. Music with a very strong ‘theatrical’ quality.
The two closing tracks are not new but remasters from Des Traces Retrouvées II and III (1985/1987). They somehow complete the circle.

Banabila reinventing himself feels like coming home. But I guess we can safely assume that he won’t be staying ‘home’ too long: after all ‘change is the only constant’.

Everywhere Else Is Just Right Here is a digital-only release.
Note:
I ‘highlighted’ the Transform track below because it’s interesting to compare it to the Machinefabriek rework. But it may not be the most representative track from the album, so I strongly recommend to check out the rest too.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Scanner * Mathieu St. Pierre https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-10-18/scanner-stpierre/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-10-18/scanner-stpierre/#respond Thu, 18 Oct 2018 18:54:25 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=10936

Extended version of the prophetic Scanner performance with Jim O'Rourke and Robert Hampson * Mathieu St. Pierre incorporates Google Street View to illustrate his glitchy soundscapes.

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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Mass Observation

SCANNER – MASS OBSERVATION (EXPANDED)  Also on Spotify

“There were three performers and one witness.”

Mass Observation was recorded 24 years ago, somewhere in a London appartment. The performers were Jim O’Rourke, Robert Hampson and Robin ‘Scanner‘ Rimbaud (the witness being Mike Harding from Touch). In that time in the mid-90’s, Scanner’s groundbreaking experiment with found sounds captured with radio scanners inspired many experimental artists: Björk, for example, sampled a fragment of Mass Observation on her Possible Maybe single.

In one way, this is some sort of re-release and at the same time it is not. One of the two recorded mixes – a 25 minute version – has been released in 1994 on Ash International. This new release is the other recording: ‘expanded’ to  over 53 minutes.

The way Scanner explored ‘the relationship between the public and private spheres’ is now – twenty years later – even more relevant than it was in the 90’s. Public surveillance, data collection, China’s ‘social score’ – we may all be concerned about that but we’ll have to acknowledge that it’s too late now. There are no secrets anymore, there is no privacy. Everything you say or do is being recorded somewhere. And not just by Mr. Rimbaud. Realising this adds a ‘deep sense of drama  to these found cellular conversations within a contextual electronic score’.

It’s also a very engaging listening experience. There’s something quite ironic about the thought that this will be played in rooms where Siri, Alexa, Google Home and whatever other devices are also listening in…

BTW – for completists and everyone else interested: Scanner has also published the Ash 1.7 (Remaster 2018) which includes remasters of the original 1994 release as well as four extra tracks.


These Elephants

MATHIEU ST. PIERRE – THESE ELEPHANTS

Canadian visual artist Mathieu St. Pierre, now living and working  in Seoul, Korea, specialises in ‘glitch art’. This mainly refers to his visual art, but glitches are also omnipresent in the soundscapes he presents on These Elephants. The stretched, slowly evolving soundscapes bear some resemblance to the work of Alva Noto on his Xerrox project.

On this debut album, St. Pierre ‘explores the relationship of ambient sounds with the medium of the internet’. This means the listener has to do some homework (or of course simply decide not to, but then you’re missing an interesting layer) by copying the track title into Google Maps and the use Street View to browse the location. This way, each of the tracks points to a specific place on the map, from which the individual track illustrations are taken. For example: the opening track is called -23.0785729, 143.9554413, which brings you to the heart of Bogota, Colombia.

This way, the eight tracks of the album bring you to remote and exotic locations on the planet. The relation of the music itself to those locations is a whole different matter; you’ll need to use your imagination for that. (Let’s just say that the Bogota street scene is not exactly accompanied by a blaring cumbia hit from a passing car…)
In the end, checking the coordinates for the different titles is an entertaining interactive element, but the music can very well be appreciated on its own too.
A striking combination of ‘digital glitches, generative art and net art.’

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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DreamScenes – October 2018 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-10-14/dreamscenes-october-2018/ https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/2018-10-14/dreamscenes-october-2018/#respond Sun, 14 Oct 2018 18:00:27 +0000 https://www.ambientblog.net/blog/?p=11004

"No hay banda: there is no band. This is all a tape recording... And yet we hear a band... It is all recorded. It is all a tape. It is an illusion."
(Silencio scene from Mulholland Drive, 2001)

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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“No hay banda – there is no band
This is all a tape recording…
It is all recorded
No hay banda
It is all a tape
It is – an illusion
Listen!”
(Silencio scene from Mulholland Drive, 2001)

Tracklist:

  • 00:00 DreamScenes – Intro (Susanna)
  • 00:42 Katharina Ernst – X-06
    Extrametric, 2018, Ventil Records 
  • 02:54 Ital Tek – Adrift
    Bodied, 2018, Planet MU
  • 05:54 Low – The Son, The Sun
    Double Negative, 2018, Sub Pop
  • 08:17 Murcof – Chapitre VI
    Lost In Time, 2018, Glacial Movements
  • 11:03 Jóhann Jóhannsson – Horns of Abraxas
    Mandy OST, 2018, Lakeshore Records/Invada
  • 12:16 Maria W. Horn – Atropa
    Kontrapoetik, 2018, Portal Editions/XKatedral
  • 14:44 Dakota Suite, Dag Rosenqvist, Emanuele Errante – De Ziekte van Emile
    What Matters Most, 2018, Karaoke Kalk
  • 17:55 Houston Chamber Choir – John Cage: Five (Edit)
    Rothko Chapel, 2015, ECM Records
  • 20:36 Rutger Zuydervelt – Stay Tuned Laznia
    Various Artists: In Progress Vol. III, 2018, Gdansk
  • 24:00 Ensemble Modelo62 – Claudio F. Baroni: In Circles II (Mov.I)
    Motum, 2018, UNSounds
  • 32:55 Murcof – Chapitre N (Piste Audio Exclusive Sur GM)
    Lost In Time, 2018, Glacial Movements
  • 35:42 Angelo Badalamenti – ‘Silencio (No Hay Banda)’ sequence from Mulholland Drive
    Mulholland Drive, 2001, Milan
  • 38:44 Michel Banabila – Transform
    Everywhere Else Is Just Right Here, 2018, Tapu Records
  • 44:56 Minco Eggersman, Theodoor Borger, Mathias Eick – Tangible
    Unifony, 2018, Butler
  • 46:18 Jóhann Jóhannsson, BJ Nilsen – I Need A Fix
    I Am Here, 2014/2018, Ash International
  • 47:50 Arve Henriksen, Eivind Aarset, Jan Bang – The Swans Bend Their Necks Backward To See God
    The Heights Of The Reed, 2018, Rune Grammofon
  • 53:40 Low – Always Up
    Double Negative, 2018, Sub Pop 
  • 58:37 DreamScenes – Outro (Dean Hurley)

Play this edition on-demand from the Concertzender website.

OR:
stream it from Mixcloud:

--- originally published on Ambientblog ---

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