Thomas Koener – La Barca

Thomas Köner started his musical career in relative obscurity. His first four albums were release on the Barooni label (from Utrecht, Holland!) – you’ll have a hard time finding these and if you do, be prepared to pay for it. Even the Mille Plateaux re-release of two of them (Teimo/Permafrost), is very hard to find nowadays.

In his work, Köner explores the ‘soul of sound’, and he’s not afraid to use remarkable sources.
He treated cymbal sounds to the extreme and unrecognisable (Nungatak Gonggamur, 1990), or even the dusty crackling of an old 16mm film (Unerforschtes Gebiet, 2002). There will probably be no musical sounds as deep as his Daikan (2002).

But in using his sources, there’s always a delicate space left for silence and stillness, which gives his music a Zen-like feeling of eternity.
If you ever want to experience a feeling of floating in indefinite space, listen to Thomas Köner’s music!

Stephan Mathieu & Taylor Deupree – Transcriptions

Those of you familiar with Stephan Mathieu’s beautiful album ‘Radioland‘ (2008) will probably find this follow-up equally interesting.

The concept is more or less familiar: using analog (found) sounds to create immersive layers of ambient electronics, using a process technique that makes the end result sound very ‘natural’.
And it’s exactly that what makes Stephan Mathieu’s music stands out compared to others.

Jamie Drouin – A Three Month Warm Up


The ‘Warm Up’ this title refers to is the ‘cacophony of notes played by a symphony during warm up, where a single unified tone emerges out of the various intruments and voices” (from the liner notes).

In this ‘cacophony’ Jamie Drouin recognised the resemblance with the constant sound of traffic on a public square. He started recording these sounds at a public square in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The 124 field recordings from a period of three months were used to create this composition.

But this certainly is not ‘just another field recording’!

Acoustical Illusions (mix)

“Acoustical Illusions”, a part of the “Hum in the Room-trilogy” (2005), is dedicated to the environmental sounds that sound like distant choirs or orchestras.

Sometimes when you listen to sounds in your environmental background, they may vaguely sound like a full string orchestra, or like soft whispering voices.
An orchestra tuning? Cars passing on the highway?Sound that sound different from what they really are – Acoustical Illusions.

Like the other wo mixes in this set (“Mantra of Walls and Wiring” and “The Hum in the Room“) this is a very minimal, drone-oriented mix.

And probably, you’ll also hear some sounds that aren’t even in it!

Olafur Arnalds – Found Songs

Found Songs initially was conceived as a download-for-free internet-only project: 7-songs in 7-days.
But obviously the response was such that these songs, covering just over 20 minutes, are now releases in physical form too.
“From Twitter via Flickr to Traditional Record Stores”.

In fact, that feels a bit like if these songs did not really exist until they were released in the form of a 10″ vinyl limited edition, or as a Digisleeve limited CD edition.
Hey, we’re the online digital generation, aren’t we? Why bother with physical releases?


Machinefabriek – Dauw (videoclip)

What do you see when listening to ambient music?
I guess most answers would be something like: landscapes.
Desolate, comforting or alien, depending on the kind of ambient music.

I guess some of the images will be triggered by the track title.
So – what would a videoclip for Machinefabriek’s “Dauw” (“Dew”) look like?

when clicking the YouTube link to the video by Joost Meijer for this track, I was prepared for some abstract impressionist landscape shots. But I was not prepared for a heartbreaking story of an elderly couple growing apart.

Robert Henke – Indigo Transform

Indigo Transform

Once again Monolake genius Robert Henke delivers a masterpiece of tranquility: a 60 minute reworking of “Indigo”, the closing track of Monolake’s Cinemascope album (2001).

The original track is 8 1/2 minutes of layered sound and relaxing dripping water.
Swedish “installation artist” Fredrik Wretman contacted Robert Henke to use this track for a new installation called “Tap Tim“: ‘one single calm and focused work of art in a huge gallery space’.

But as expected this simple approach was not the route Henke would prefer to take. The original track simply was too short to just put on repeat.

On – Your Naked Ghost Comes Back At Night

On - Your Naked Ghost 

Although ON is mostly presented as a duo, in fact it’s better to say that it’s a trio. A trio with a very special approach to creating the music: I guess not much musicians immediately ‘kill their darlings’ after recording them. ON did: by handing over the completed recordings to be remixed and deconstructed completely.

ON is a collaboration project between Sylvain Chauveau (household name of Type Records, among others), and percussionist Steven Hess (Pan American).
For their (2004) album “Your Naked Ghost Comes Back At Night'”, they recorded their music and asked Helge Sten (a.k.a. Deathprod) to completely rework it.
And he did, in such a way that this is as much a Deathprod album as it is Chauveau/Hess’.

Beautiful Companions: Balmorhea

Balmorhea remixes

Excuse me for being ignorant, but until recently Balmorhea was unknown to me.
Which is sort of remarkable, since they mention Claude Debussy, Beethoven, Rachel’s, Max Richter, Arvo Pärt and John Cage as their influences, and, according to their Discogs Profile, they shared stages with Stars of the Lid, Eluvium, Helios, and many others.
Their latest album is titled ‘All is Wild, All is Silent”  

All is Wild, All is Silent‘ is far from ‘ambient electronic’. It may best be described as ‘jazzy instrumental folk-prog-rock’, if that is of any use. Touching themes in cleverly dynamic compositions that I’d enjoy but would not normally present on this weblog, simply because it doesn’t really fit the style..(there’s quite a lot of music that I thoroughly enjoy but not present here).