Jeremy de Tolly – Piano Nocturnes Volume One


Jeremy Tolly

“Nothing but a Grand Piano. No Synths, drones, pan pipes or tubular bells. I think it’s quite different. The music is very gentle, slow and quiet, more about the space between the notes than the notes themselves.”

Jeremy de Tolly ‘s introduction is a perfect introduction and an accurate description of his solo piano album “Piano Nocturnes, Volume One” .

“These pieces express emotions that have no specific name; the songs are meant to exist in the background of your life. It’s not archetypal music of any kind. It’s not really ambient, or classical, it’s definitely not jazz. It’s not depressing, nor is it happy.”

Nils Frahm – Felt

Although just under 30, self-taught pianist Nils Frahm has gained world-wide recognition for his delicate, yet fascinatingly dynamic, improvisational style of playing. He’s not afraid of starting with a brusque hammering of the piano keyboard and keeping that up for quite some time, until suddenly the underlying composition starts to show and may suddenly turn into an utterly moving, melancholic composition.

By recording his playing from the inside, the squeaking and groaning of the piano mechanism accompanying the bright piano notes has become one of his trademarks. 

Felt“,  his latest release, is perfectly in line with its predecessors Wintermusik andThe Bells, but it’s balance is even more mature.

A Winged Victory for the Sullen

“A Winged Victory for the Sullen”, “Sleep Hills of Vicodin Tears”, “Requiem for the Static King” … If titles like that remind you of the Stars of the Lid, you are right. Almost. 

For this project, Lid’s Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie teams up with Dustin O’Halloran. No real surprise, since they already worked together on O’Halloran’s latest album (Lumiere” ). 
 
With the help of some familiar (Peter Broderick, Hildur Gudnadottir) and some less familiar contributors the duo presents A Winged Victory for the Sullenwhich will obviously appeal to all Stars of the Lid fans. And a lot more people that probably don’t know this album even exists.

Maps and Diagrams – Get Lost

The traditional record industry is still having major trouble finding its place in the new age of music distribution.
But while they’re fighting what seems to be a death struggle, the artists that did not rely on this business in the first place seem to have settled for two different kinds of distribution.
The first is of course DIY independent digital distribution: you may have noticed that most of the releases mentioned here are distributed through Bandcamp.
On the other hand, there are the ‘labour of love’ labels, run by people definitely not into it “for the money”, releasing extremely limited physical releases mostly packed in hand-crafted artwork so delicate and complex that it would be impossible to create more than 50 copies of a release. 

One of these labels is Time Released Sound  –  “a lovingly hand made, limited edition release music label that is as much an art project as it is a musical outlet”. 
“Focusing primarily on classically infused and folk based ambient and electroacoustic sounds by the artists we know, love and admire, we will be striving at all times to produce visuals and packaging for these fine releases that are as original and uniquely beautiful as the music itself.” 

If you take some time to look at the TRS Releases, you will understand why most of these releases sell out very quick!
This may be frustrating for collectors that find out too late … but fortunately the limited releases are followed by a less limited digipack release.

Such as this particular example: Maps and Diagram‘s “Get Lost”  (which was TRS’s fifth release).

Mathon – Terrestre

Mathon - Terrestre

With their new release ‘Terrestre’, Mathon takes a further step in creating their own unique genre.

Their music is, as always,  consequently linked to geographical locations, describing “the coexistence of nature and civilization and also the contradictions between the two”.
It is mainly created with acoustical instruments and stylistically closely related to the impressionist music known from the ECM-label.

Dakota Suite & Emanuele Errante – The North Green Down

The deepest grief can often inspire the most impressive art. 

The albums of Dakota Suite are not the ones to celebrate the happier moments in life, as can be seen from their titles alone.
They commemorate sadness, loss, pain, fear and loneliness.
But the (mainly acoustic) instrumentation also always leaves room for hope, for acceptation of the way life is. 

Previous Dakota Suite releases have brought some timeless masterpieces, like “The End of Trying”  and its remix companion “The Night Keeps Coming in” (you can still stream the Folio Radio show compilation of these two albums).
Dakota Suite’s latest release “The North Green Down” may prove to be their most impressive work to date. But the foundations of this album is of heartbreaking sadness once again…

Peter Broderick & Machinefabriek – Blank Grey Canvas Sky

These artist names are probably familiar to everyone even remotely interested in ambient/electronic music.
Multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick (from Oregon, now living in Berlin) released quite a few impressive albums under his own name, and is currently touring as a member of Efterklang.
The number of albums Rutger “Machinefabriek” Zuydervelt (from Arnhem, now living in Rotterdam) has released can hardly be counted any more (quite some of them are featured on this weblog).

So when two such great artists start working together expectations are quite high!

The Notwist – Sturm O.S.T.

Although The Notwist generated a storm of hyped attention when releasing their Neon Golden album in 2002, that was never the music for me. And neither for this weblog, since it’s nowhere near ‘ambient music’.

My local record shop retailer recently insisted I’d listen to their recently released “Sturm” (Storm) soundtrack.
And right he was (Thanks Willem!)

Nest – Nest

Ambient music collectors no longer visit the local record shop to find the latest releases. Most of the times, the titles are not even stocked. Still, the genre is lively and growing bigger than it ever was. Not through the ‘old’ distribution channels and brick and mortar shops, but through the internet mostly. This weblog only covers a small tip of the iceberg of the music available.