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Jacob Kirkegaard – Labyrinthitis

Ambientblog

Labyrinthitis

You can trust Jacob Kirkegaard to come up with fascinating concepts. After recording the sounds of deep earth in Iceland and those of the deserted rooms of Tchernobyl, he now turns inward to record the sound of his own inner ear, using a medical technique used to diagnose hearing problems on young children. The recorded tones of his cochlea were used to create a fascinating installation for the Medical Museion in Copenhagen – which, judging by the photos of it – was visually as attractive as it was aurally.



Banabila – Precious Images

Ambientblog

precious images 

The music of Michel Banabila has been on the top of my personal playlist favourites for years (check my last.fm account if you want the details).
Considering the strength of his versatile output, it really is a shame he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves (in terms of sales, that is).
In the past few years, his music has found its way into theatre productions (by well-known Dutch company Orkater, for example) and television documentaries. Some of this work has been compiled earlier on the self-released double-CD ‘Hilarious Expedition‘ and on ‘Traces‘.

Dutch record label Steamin’ Soundworks released a new compilation, fully titled “Precious Images – Datafiles 1999 – 2008“. The two CD’s are hand-picked and remastered by Michel Banabila himself and show an interesting duality in his work.

Hector Zazou & Swara – In the House of Mirrors

Ambientblog

swara

When you listen to this album you hear quiet (Indian) Music – tambur, oud, violin, slide guitar, flute – with an occasionally added non-indian touch (like the trumpet of Nils Petter Molvaer, or (REM’s) Bill Rieflin’s percussion).
But when you listen closely you will hear all kinds of things are happening behind this music.
Fragments and splinters bounce around like light in a house of mirrors (hence the title, of course).

Janek Schaefer – Extended Play

Ambientblog

extended Play

At first listen, the ‘post-classical’ music on Janek Schaefer’s new CD “Extended Play (Triptych For The Child Survivors Of War And Conflict)” resembles the quiet peacefulness of the compositions of Arvo Pärt – especially in the beautiful 24 minute piece “acoustic ensemble”.
But there are some disturbing details: most artist would go a long way to avoid the vinyl crackle-and-pops for a CD release like this. The parts of the acoustic ensemble piece are also represented as solo piano, cello and violin piece, which contain some  stops and re-starts breaking the flow of the composition quite unexpected.
Janek Shaefer is, after all, not primarily know as a post-classical composer but as a ‘turntablist‘…. 

The installation picture on the cover explains the performance we hear:

Hammock – Maybe They Will Sing for Us Tomorrow

Ambientblog

Hammock

The ‘making of’ of this album is a nice story to tell:

Hammock (Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson) released three full albums (not counting ‘The Sleepover Sessions’) since 2005.
Most of these filled with quiet, guitar-driven ‘post-rock’, with some crossover to the ambient realm.
If that description sounds a bit like Sigur Rós – so does some of their music.

The Inventors of Aircraft – Unknown Language

Inventors

The Serein netlabel once again lives up to their expectations. With their latest release, ‘Unknown Language’ by The Inventors of Aircraft, the label now offers 17 free album downloads. All of which are quality ambient music, albeit in different styles. 
The latest one (#17) is “Unknown Language” by “The Inventors of Aircraft”.

Spiral Staircase / Mock Interiors

Ambientblog

To be honest I had never heard the name of Esther Venrooy until recently, when I was struck by a track on a compilation CD ‘Avontuurlijke Muziek in Brabant’ (‘Adventurous music from Brabant’, a freebie with a recent Gonzo Magazine). This fragment from her CD ‘The Spiral Staircase’ (released on Entr’Acte) definitely proved checking out in full.

Stephan Mathieu – Radioland

Ambientblog

Stephan Mathieu - Radioland

 Holger Czukay always used to mention ‘shortwave’ (radio) in the instrument credits on his album. The mysterious, vaguely distorted sound of shortwave radio has always seem to trigger the imagination of those interested in sounds of the unknown and unreachable.
Shortwave radio is a direct connection with uncharted territories. Its distortion and strange sweeping filter effects add another dimension to the radio broadcasts: the fleeting connection may be lost any moment. It’s as if you’re transferred through time and space to a world you did not know until then.
All of this magic gets lost when technology improves. The same stations may lose their attractivity when heard in full quality. They become part of normal everyday life (and then mostly prove to be as boring as the local stations).

In this time of world wide web global connectivity, where no place on earth seems out of reach, there’s an enhancing interest in shortwave sounds. For example, take “A Ghost in the Phase“, the latest in the series of the beautiful Low Light Mixes created by Dave Michuda. t’s a collage of shortwave samples and ambient sounds of artists using shortwave samples. Haunting and definitely worth listening.

Some of the shortwave fragments in this mix can be found on the Shortwavemusic weblog, strictly dedicated to found shortwave sounds.
Also included in this low light mix is a track from the latest CD by Stephan Mathieu, Radioland (‘Auf der Gasse’, also included below).

Machinefabriek & Jan Kleefstra – Piiptsjilling

Ambientblog

Piiptsjilling

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

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