VLNA – Turquoise Threads

Before you start listening, answer this: what associations do you have with a band name like VLNA?

Personally, I prepared for somewhat ‘unpersonal’ and possibly even ‘harsh’ sounds when I started listening.

But I was in for a surprise:Turquoise Threads is an ‘impressionist vocal’ album – an album with spoken words fragments, humming, whistling, intertwining with ‘a thick veil of atmospheric noir from threads of adapted violins, guitar’ (and electronic treatments).

Matthew Collings – Silence is a Rhythm Too

Matthew Collings (Scotland) has not only recorded and performed as a solo artist, but also worked together with Dag Rosenqvist (Jasper TX), Talvihorros and Ben Frost.
He has been performing live using custom-made software, and composed movie scores – such as a live score for “Man with a Movie Camera”.

Silence is a Rhythm Too is his second solo-album, and it turns out to be quite different from its more ‘minimalist pop’ orientated predecessorSplintered Instruments(which is rereleased together with the new album).

"Piano Acts"

Nils Frahm - Spaces

NILS FRAHM – SPACES
Possibly the most well-known artist mentioned here is keyboard wizard Nils Frahm. Whoever has seen him perform live will definitely remember that performance clearly. His music can be extremely melodic, making it accessible to a wide audience, yet he’s not afraid to search for some extremes during the process.
After each performance, people often asked him which of his albums best represented what they had just witnessed. Since such an album did not really exist, Spaces was specifically assembled with that question in mind. And indeed it perfectly captures a Nils Frahm performance.

The Necks – Open


Open

The ambient tree has many branches. In fact it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what “ambient” music is. This has raised many discussions, as the music called ‘ambient’ ranges from strict and almost unchanging drones to techno beats one can even dance to.

As the genre evolves, some borders are crossed. “Ambient” music can sometimes involve introspective (and sometimes psychedelic) folk music, massive guitar chord walls… or even jazz.
Most of the times, ambient music also involves electronic sounds or processing acoustic sounds.
But not always: sometimes ambient music is created strictly using acoustic instruments.
Enter The Necks with their latest album called Open“.

Sebastian Plano – Impetus


Impetus

IMPETUS is Sebastian Plano’s second full album release, the follow-up to his 2011 debut album Arrhythmical Parts of the Heart (which gets a well-deserved re-release for this special occasion, by the way).

Plano’s compositions are somewhat in line with a lot of contemporary ‘post-classical’ composers (like Ólafur Arnalds, Max Richter and Nils Frahm) and will definitely appeal to the same audience. I say ‘somewhat’, because there are some notable difference too.

Alio Die – Deconsecrated and Pure

For those not very fond of ‘ambient’ music, the sheer productivity and release rate of some of the artists can lead to sarcastic jokes about how easy it must be to create this “kind of music”. But numbers are often deceiving: some of these prolific artists manage to produce a surprising variety of well-constructed music that manage to surprise with almost every new release.

Alio Die  (Stefano Russo, Italy) definitely is one of those artists.

At the time I found out about “Deconsecrated and Pure” (which was released in march 2012, as his 56th release!), at least two new titles have been added to his impressive discography.
But just forget that release rate and focus on this very album.

Library Tapes – Sun Peeking Through


Library Tapes - Sun Peeking Through

Recording music since 2004, Swedish composer David Wenngren a.k.a. Library Tapes has a distinct personal style that perfecly matches the best in the  ‘acoustic ambient’/’post-classical’ genres.

His latest album Sun Peeking Throughflawlessly unites different kind of aspects from the genre: ambient electronics in the opening and closing Variations, romantic piano melodies combined with melancholic cello musings, all alternating with dark abstract ambient string soundscapes.

Title and cover image tell all there is need to know about this album: look behind the melancholy and sadness to find the Sun Peeking Through.