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Kid Koala + Emiliana Torrini * Mario Batkovic

Mario Batkovic

Music to Draw to

KID KOALA Feat. EMILIANA TORRINI – MUSIC TO DRAW TO: SATELLITE

No matter what specific genre you’re into, there’s always that moment that ‘sameness’ begins to bother you a bit. Too many people copying the familiar sounds, too few people pushing the boundaries. That is the moment that you’ll welcome a fresh wind, an album displaying an original point of view,  an unexpected surprise. Music to Draw To is such a surprise (at least for me).

The album title in itself refers to many classic ambient albums. It’s a reference to the live events where Kid Koala (Eric San, from Montreal) played his music while he invited the audience to draw. You can take this literally, too: the Deluxe CD version comes with a hardcover sketchbook.
But who would expect the scratch DJ/turntablist, known for his Ninja Tune albums and his live-sets with Radiohead, Beastie Boys, Arcade Fire, DJ Shadow and many more, would completely leave out the samples in favor of synthesizers, keyboards and guitar to create an album full of (18) atmospheric ambient pieces?

Music to Draw To is also the start of a new series featuring different vocalists, with Kid Koala writing and producing and performing.
The guest vocalist on this particular album is Emiliana Torriniwhose whispering dreamy voice and endearing Icelandic accent adds an irresistible romantic flavor to the seven songs on this album that feature her. Songs that “tell a tale of discovery and loss through the lens of lovers separated by an early space mission to Mars”.

It’s ‘ambient-pop’, more than ‘ambient’ by its strict definition.
But who really cares if it’s also music to make you dream? … Ánd draw?


Mario Batkovic

MARIO BATKOVIC – MARIO BATKOVIC (SOLO)

I saw many concerts at last year’s Le Guess Who festival in Utrecht, but the performance of Mario Batkovic was one of the most impressive I attended.
A Bosnian/Swiss guy, performing his solo work on his Zerosette Accordion to an audience that probably hardly knew what to expect apart from what they read in the festival program notes.

In Batkovic’ hands, the accordion sounds as powerful as a full orchestra. You have to look twice to check that he is only using his two hands… and then again to check that there really are no additional effects or electronics.
He filled the church completely with his majestic sound, and received  a well deserved ovation from a stunned audience.
This picture perfectly captures the experience (photo by Tim van Veen):

Batkovic LGW 16 photo by Tim van Veen

 

To give an impression of his mastership, here’s a video from an intimate session on the Eurosonic/Noorderslag festival in January 2017 (with thanks & credits to 3voor12):

 

Batkovic’s album was first released in 2015 on the Veruston label as “Solo”. It has been almost impossible to find until now, unless you were lucky enough to attend one of Batkovic’ performances.

Fortunately it is now (re-)released on Invada Records – including two additional tracks: Semper and Eloquens.

Most of the compositions on this album are built upon repetitive themes, in a way that reminisces the minimalist work of Philip Glass – but with the accordion as the full ensemble packed into one single instrument.
If you (like many) unfairly think the accordeon is an uncool instrument, not suitable for performing exciting music, this album proves you’re wrong.
And if you experience Batkovic performing live, without the help of any additional effect, you will realise you were VERY wrong.

Note: the Bandcamp link only offers the digital download version. Check the Invada site to obtain vinyl/CD version.


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Seabuckthorn * Jeff Pearce * Art Patience

Seabuckthorn - Turns

Seabuckthorn     Seabuckthorn - Turns

SEABUCKTHORN – I COULD SEE THE SMOKE / TURNS

The limited edition cassette I Could See The Smoke (now sold out, I assume, but still available as a download) is as impressive as it is short. In its 23 minutes (for 6 tracks) length, Andy ‘Seabuckthorn’ Cartwright paints a scenical view that is expressive and quietly ambient at the same time.
His acoustic guitar techniques of finger picking and bowing,  ‘combined with various open tunings to form a well curated mixture of approaches’ perfectly matches the vision of the new Dead West series of the Lost Tribe Sound label: ‘focusing on music built for exploring and soundtracking your environment, whether you’re deep in the middle of lush woodlands, or just laying back at home with rested eyelids’.

“Cartwright wields his weapons wisely, choosing a minimal, yet powerful arsenal made up of various twelve string guitars, a well-worn resonator guitar, and deep accents of percussion.”

In line with the Western Skies Motel ‘Settlers‘ release earlier this year, the album invokes a feeling of almost lost folk tradition. But despite its ‘folky’ sound, the music defines its own tradition. Tagging it is a difficult task – Americana, British Folk, modern classical, drone: it’s all there and it’s none of that, too. (And usually this is a sign of something special.)

The ideas from the tracks originated whilst on tour throughout Europe, and were recorded and mixed in no more than two weeks after returning to Bristol.
“I opted for a threatening, even apocalyptic EP title. I thing most of the songs can offer up a tranquillity to counteract the gravity of these uncertain times, a calm inside the eye of a storm.”

Also on Spotify
Turns is the full album immediately following up the I Could See The Smoke EP. It further explores the direction named ‘American Primitive, modern classical’ solo guitar music, performed on various twelve string guitars, a resonator guitar and various percussion.
“Fellow friend of rustic orchestration” William Ryan Fritch plays double bass on three of the tracks.

The 10-track 40 minute album is “seamlessly transitioning between hypnotic long-form pieces, minimal harp-like ballads and the primal stomping world-builders that have become Seabuckthorn’s calling card.”


Jeff Pearce Follow The River Home

JEFF PEARCE – FOLLOW THE RIVER HOME

I’m usually very wary of music that is primarily tagged ‘new age’. It’s hard to explain why exactly – but who feels it, knows it. But a tag is just a tag, and music should be listened to without prejudices, shouldn’t it?

Jeff Pearce has operated in the ambient/new age community ever since 1993. The guitar is his primary instrument, floating in ambient textures of processed guitar sounds.

Follow The River Home has that warm and pleasant atmosphere of returning to a place you have longed to be. A place that feels like home, even if you haven’t been there before.
Most of the tracks are around four minutes in length, presenting Pearce’s soft and warm guitar themes.
Gathering Stars is an exception to the rule: there are no recognisable guitars in this ambient textured piece that gently floats around for over 20 minutes.

Also on Spotify

 


Art Patience

ART PATIENCE – THE RECOGNITION

The “File Under: New Age, Healing” will probably scare away many ‘serious music’ listeners. But hardcore experimentalists are clearly not the main target audience of Heart Dance Recordsa ‘new age’ label by definition.  The Recognition operates in the same vein as Jeff Pearce’s album, aiming to ‘to create music that would help people from all walks of life, lifting up the listener, while inspiring a sense of contemplation and relaxation’. No more, but certainly not less!

The harmonica rarely occurs in ambient music, but the instrument lends itself very well to a combination with the gentle electronic ambient music that is – on this particular album – created by John Herrera. 

Art Patience (that’s his name, by the way, not an alias) has a life-long experience playing the harmonica, an instrument firmly rooted in Blues music. He pushed the (R&B) limits by playing with pianist Scott Cossu,  with whom he toured for nearly 20 years.
And now, he ‘incorporates his skill and knowledge of that genre to blend it with New Age nuances and textures to create a one of a kind album which reflects travelling across the country through the Badlands, the Deep South, gentle forests with the sounds of nature, and more.’



Art Patience – Winds Of Change
 

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Elegi * Alphaxone & Protou * Lustmord

Bansull

Bansull

ELEGI – BåNSULL

Ten years after his chilling debut Sistereis (and eight years since Varde), Elegi is awakened from his slumber by the curators of the Dronarivm label in their search for “unsung melodies from our century”.

Tommy ‘Elegi’ Jansen (from Norway) claims Bånsull is an old and rare Norwegian word for lullaby.
But you’d better not fall asleep to this music: it’ll probably be the soundtrack to your most frightening nightmares.

 
 

“Folk tales from around the world that have scared small children for centuries. When I became a father some years ago it was only natural for me to write my own bedtime stories to lull my baby to sleep. For some strange reason these gave her nightmares and she did not sleep for years.”

Let this be a warning to you: you cannot un-listen this!

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Alphaxone & Protou - Stardust

ALPHAXONE & PROTOU – STARDUST

When released on Cryo Chamber, you can bet it’s dark. And cold, like the label name suggests (though the label is now based in Oregon, USA, its roots are from Sweden).
Not ‘dark ambient’ in the inverted new age sense, with chanting monks, church bells and such nonsense, but dark in a fascinating way. Let’s call it IDM –  Intelligent Dark Music.

Alphaxone (Mehdi Saleh, from Iran) and ProtoU (Sasha Cats, from Kiev, Ukraine) work together on this spacey album that helps you ‘float weightless into the void to the sound of exploding supernovas.’
The ‘exploding supernova’ bit suggests a collection of loud explosions, but actually this album has the trance-inducing calmness and timelessness of endless space travel.
Recommended for lovers of space ambient and old school science fiction soundtracks.’

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Lustmord - Dark Matter

LUSTMORD – DARK MATTER

A bit late to the party, perhaps: this album was released september 2016. But while on the subject of dark and space, we simply cannot ignore this gem. After all, Brian ‘Lustmord‘ Williams is widely credited as the originator of the Dark Ambient genre!

The vast expanse of the Universe, ‘far larger than we are able to comprehend’, was the inspiration for this album.
Three long-form tracks (Subspace, Astronomicom and Black Static) created from sounds derived from an audio library of cosmological activity, gathered from sources like NASA, The Very Large Array, National Radio Astronomy Observatory and more.

“Behind the world that we experience lies a veil of darkness and much is hidden between, beyond and unseen.”

Created from the sounds coming from space – the sound that ‘exists as naturally occurring electromagnetic vibrations’, coming from sources like ‘interstellar plasma and molecules, radio galaxies, pulsars masers and quasars’ – the ambience of this album is dark but not scary.
After all:  ‘The universe began of darkness, not light.’

Dark Matter is enigmatic yet comforting. And a spacey dark ambient classic.

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Lawrence English * Monolog & Subheim * Pinkcourtesyphone

Monologue & Subheim - Conviction

Cruel Optimism

LAWRENCE ENGLISH – CRUEL OPTIMISM

Can ambient music be politically or socially engaged? Raising the question is answering it: yes, of course.
But if you’re in doubt consult Lawrence English – and his latest album release in particular.
Cruel Optimism could hardly have been released at another time-frame than the current, I think.
And although English tries all he can to focus on the ‘optimism’, things are not looking too good. ‘Cruel’ has taken over – almost.

Cruel Optimism is a confronting, hard-hitting album, and not exactly easy listening. But, contrary to some others in the ‘power-ambient’ scene who enjoy turning up all amps up to eleven and leave it there or even try to stretch it up to twelve, Lawrence English never forgets that a real story needs dynamics.
Tension and release.
Suspense can be a lot more frightening than horror.

Cruel Optimism “meditates on how power consumes, augments and ultimately shapes two subsequent human conditions: obsession and fragility.[…] A meditation on the challenges [of current times] and an encouragement to press forward towards more profound futures. This record is one of protest against the immediate threat of abhorrent possible futures.”

Unlike many of his previous projects, this album is a result of interchanging ideas and perspectives of many other artists. Among the many collaborators on this album are Norman Westberg (guitar), Tony Buck (drums), Brodie McAllister (trombone), Heinz Riegler (guitar), Chris Abrahams (piano), Mats Gustafsson (saxophone), a choir of Australian Voices, and many others. But you’ll probably have a hard time to distinguish their particular contributions, because they all have been subjected to English’ musical vision.
A vision that tells us that the future may look grim and dark, but it’s our own inescapable responsibility to make the best of it.

Also on Spotify


Monologue & Subheim - Conviction

MONOLOG & SUBHEIM – CONVICTION

That last sentence above is also a seamless introduction to Conviction, a collaborative work from Monolog (Mads Lindgren) and Subheim (Kostas Katsikas).

Conviction is dark and heavy yet full of light and hope, expressing the closing of important chapters and the beginning of new ones”

Monolog and Subheim are both Berlin residents. The atmosphere of the city has been a source of inspiration: “Berlin’s night sky, the urban scenery, faces and places, action and reaction, the calm before the storm as well as the storm itself.”

The ‘ambience’ of this relatively short album (5 tracks, 24 minutes) is provided by Subheim mainly, Monolog‘s drum rhythms and slow basslines make sure that we don’t lose connection with earth and the Berlin cityscapes. The thundering rhythms from the first tracks slowly dissolve until, in the closing track Colorful Flight we finally drift away into more etheric dimensions.

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MONOLOG + SUBHEIM – MAKE STONES CRY


Taking into account ....

PINKCOURTESYPHONE – TAKING INTO ACCOUNT ONLY A PORTION OF YOUR EMOTIONS

The music of Richard Chartier in his Pinkcourtesyphone disguise is usually rather dark, but never without humor. But that does not mean the music is to be taken lightly… humor can be a serious matter!

The music bears reference to music from The Caretaker, Angelo Badalementi, William Basinski and stuff like that. But this namedropping like this is a bit offensive, since it could also be the other way round: Richard Chartier himself is a reference artist… top shelf when it comes to experimental electronic music. 

Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Richard Chartier and Pinkcourtesyphone show different aspects of the same personality.
Pinkcourtesyphone is a more emotional, dare one say musical side of his work. Dark but not arch, with a slight hint of humor. Amorphous, changing, and slipping in and out of consciousness.”
There have been many collaborations with diverse artists like Cosey Fanni Tutti, Kid Congo Powers, William Basinski and dutch harpist Gwyneth Wentink. 

Taking Into Account… is a solo project, a set of “new coded messages of sumptuous distant drones and glacial orchestral heartrendings” are “poised and polished slow motion pulsations tug at your emotions (but only a portion of them)”.
One that comes with slightly ominous instructions: “Please don’t hang up. This call is important. You’re coming with Pinkcourtesyphone… leave everything… it’s getting late.”
Unnecessary instructions, by the way, because once you start listening it’s impossible to hang up.

(Trivia detail: dedicated readers/listeners may recognise the samples in Reference Point Intermission 1 and 2: the original Reference Point was generously submitted as one of the track for last year’s Ambientblog Anniversary Collection)

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Kleefstra/Bakker/Kleefstra (x3) * Tsjinlûd

Dize

2016 has been a relatively quiet year for the Kleefstra Brothers Jan and Romke, the nucleus of many different projects involving ambient improv music and Frisian poetry. Until the end of the year, at least, when several releases appeared within one month. Followed shortly after that with their latest CD: Dize.
The four  releases were not meant to be released so close to each other but due to unforseen release schedule changes they did.
So – you can now start binging…

Dage    Desimber   Dize

KLEEFSTRA / BAKKER / KLEEFSTRA – DAGE / DESIMBER / DIZE

Two of the new releases are cassette (and digital download) releases with Anne Chris Bakkerknown from previous collaborations but also for his great solo albums Tussenlicht and Reminiscences. 

Dage, released on the Low-Point label, is the trio’s sixth collaborative release. It presents four tracks, including Widzjende Treast which some of you may recognise from last year’s Ambientblog Anniversary collection (it was this track that gave the anniversary mix its title).

Theirs is a familiar recipe by now: the track take their time to slowly build up from a quiet drone, accompanying Jan Kleefstra’s recitals in the Frisian language of the northern Dutch, a language only to be understood by the Frysians. Dreamlike, yet inevitably building up to a climax – an “ever-morphing musical backdrop, created by nothing more than the inventive use of bowed, looped and processed electric guitars”.

The two tracks on Desimber – another cassette release, this time released by Tombed Visions Records – have the same trance-inducing atmosphere. But with 36 and 26 minutes respectively, they take even more time to develop. The two tracks were recorded on a short tour in December 2015 (hence the name), and are a showcase of what a Kleefstra/Bakker/Kleefstra may sound like. ‘May’, because they are always spontaneous improvisations and thus will sound different every time.

The physical (cassette) edition is housed in a remarkable, though also impractical to store double-sized case. The Tombed Vision Records site only offers the cassette release (including the download of course), but if you’re not a cassette type person the Kleefstra Bros Bandcamp page also offers a download-only version.

The third title of this  Kleefstra/Bakker/Kleefstra trilogy is Dize (which translates to ‘Mist’), released as a CD by Midira Records.
Its content is simply summarized with the description “Frysian spoken words coated by a massive floating soundwall, made by two guitars.”

You probably don’t need more description than that, especially if you’re already familiar with their work or have listened to the two releases previously described.
There ís a small difference, however: the atmosphere is slightly darker than usual. Especially in the opening track De Holle As Asem and the album closer Moannegat – with its loud feedback climax.
They give this album a slightly more abrasive feel than usual. But apart from these moments, the album is as atmospheric (and misty) as ever.

Dize presents four tracks: two of them around the 8 minute mark, the other two even more unhurried with 12 and 14 minutes respectively.
This time, Jan Kleefstra‘s poems are printed on the CD-cover including the english translations.


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Tsjinlûd

TSJINLÛD

Though the project unmistakably bears the characteristics of a Kleefstra-involved project, the history of the Tsjinlûd release is somewhat different, and has taken a long time to come to life.
It’s a CD presented in a hardcover book (or a book including a CD), featuring works by a collective of Frisian artists. The book contains poems, pictures, paintings and photographs in addition to the music and spoken poetry on the CD. But it’s not ‘just’ a lyric book: the poetry included in the book only partly overlaps that on the CD.

The Tsjinlûd collective project started in 2006, and has evolved into an impro- and soundcollective, combining soundscapes with poetry, spoken word and film. One of its resulting projects is the ongoing Klanklânskippen (‘Sound Landscapes’).

This self-released book includes poetry by Jan Kleefstra, Elmar Kuiper, Grytsje Schaaf, Remco Kuiper, photo’s by Romke Kleefstra, Anne-Chris Bakker, and pictures by Elmar Kuiper and Christiaan Kuitwaard. They all also contribute to the tracks on the CD, which were recorded early 2015. Compared to the KBK releases mentioned above, these tracks are somewhat more experimental, a bit more rough and unpolished.

The project is an uncompromising celebration of the Frisian culture: there are neither translations of the poems nor of the liner notes.
Those that don’t understand it, can only guess about the meaning of the words – though for those speaking Dutch it may help a bit to read the lyrics out loud to understand some fragments.

I can’t help but wonder if it is satisfying for the poets who wrote this to know that most listeners will not understand what they are talking about… I assume they prefer their words to be understood.
But on the other hand: nót understanding their words somehow adds to the magic of this music: its message still comes across.

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DreamScenes 2017-3

DreamScenes Logo

DreamScenes for March:

Music for the end of winter….

Tracklist:

  • 00:00 DreamScenes – Intro (Susanna)
  • 00:38 Olivia Louvel – Good Queen Bess
    Data Regina, 2017
  • 04:20 Angelina Yershova – Intermezzo 80 Hertz
    Resonance Night, 2017
  • 08:16 High Plains – Song For A Last Night
    Cinderland, 2017
  • 12:54 Teleferick – Lumen Reign (Teleferick Reworks Illuminine)
    Sixteen Frames (2003-2013), 2017
  • 16:14 Abul Mogard – Desires Are Reminiscenses By Now
    Works, 2016
  • 25:00 Ceeys – Hover, Over, Me
    Concrete Fields, 2017
  • 30:26 Visible Cloaks – Terazzo (ft. Motion Graphics)
    Reassemblage, 2017
  • 33:35 José Silva – Does It Get Easier
    Modulated Tones No. 1 – Music For Framed Works, 2017
  • 37:11 Pjusk – Xue (Feat. Shao)
    Syklus, 2016
  • 42:40 Loess – Bowhead
    Pocosin, 2017
  • 44:53 Artists For Oona – Alpenglühn – Darren McClure Stem
    AlpenOO, 2017
  • 48:48 Masayoshi Fujita & Jan Jelinek – Parades
    Schaum, 2016
  • 57:57 Dead Light – The Ballad Of A Small Player
    Dead Light, 2016

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James Murray * Multicast Dynamics * Pjusk

Multicast Dynamics - Continental Ruins

Killing Ghosts

JAMES MURRAY – KILLING GHOSTS

James Murray has regularly been featured this blog: recently with his album Eyes to the Heightand before that with The Sea in the Sky, Mount View and, of course, his work with Anne Garner on Be Life.
Each album building on his reputation of a sound wizard capable of linking the abstract to the accessible in a very unique and personal way.

Killing Ghosts
his latest, is released on the renowned Home Normal label. Label curator Ian Hawgood recognised Murray‘s talent to ‘blur the line between deep electronics and textured ambience. […] The combination of melody and careful design [that] takes a huge amount of skill, care, and patience.’
The label is obviously extremely proud to present this album. Given the reputation of Home Normal for their past releases, that is about the best recommendation you can possibly get.
And one that I can wholeheartedly support!

Compared to earlier works, where his compositions sometimes felt like they were ambient instrumentations of vocal pieces (and sometimes they also were), James Murray takes a step further into creating abstract soundscapes. Killing Ghost is darker than its predecessors in this way. It’s different compared to earlier albums, in a way. But not thát different because it has all the great marks that we have come to know by now: personal, emotional, and with unequalled sound design.

The beautiful artwork from this album is painted by Małgorzata Łapsa-Malawskawhose motto is ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’. (Which can be shortened to ‘Less is More’).

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Multicast Dynamics - Continental Ruins

MULTICAST DYNAMICS – CONTINENTAL RUINS

Not even a year has passed since Samuel van Dijk (Multicast Dynamics) completed his four-part series Scape, Aquatic SystemScandinavia, and Outer Envelopes. Finland must be an inspiring country to live in!
His new album, Continental Ruinssounds like it could have been part of the quadrilogy: Van Dijk continues his sonic observations uninterrupted. But the concept, the story behind this album is slightly different: it is “inspired by decayed infrastructure – a sound documentary about sunken cities and continents, landslides and islands.”

‘Arctic’, ‘gloomy’, ‘submerged’, ‘desolate’ may be the key words to describe the musical palette created with “analogue synthesizers, arcane effect and manipulated field-recordings”, but at the same time the beauty of decay is attractive in a strange way. And very calm and organic, too. Probably because it bears the promise that new things, new life, will always grow from the ruins.

Also on Spotify

MULTICAST DYNAMICS – ANIMATED BEING


Pjusk - Syklus

PJUSK – SYKLUS

With three tracks (23 minutes), this (download-only) EP by Norwegian duo Pjusk (Jostein Dahl Gjelsvik and Rune Sagevikwill probably leave you hoping there’ll be more of this in the future.
Their last album (Drowning In The Sky, with Sleep Orchestra) was from 2014. Since then their output was limited to short 3-track EP’s, like this one. But does it matter? Three EP’s make up a full album, don’t they?

Syklus is a “celebration of friendship”: each track is a collaboration of the duo with a different artist, coming from every corner of the world: Canada (Loscil), Kurdistan (Porya Hatamiand China (SHAO).
Each of these artists has their own influence on the tracks, but the mini-album still manages to retain the consistent sound that we have come to know (and love) from previous Pjusk albums.

Also on Spotify

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Bruno Sanfilippo * Daniel W J MacKenzie * José Silva

Modulated Tones

Bruno Sanfilippo - Piano Textures 4

BRUNO SANFILIPPO – PIANO TEXTURES 4

On this fourth edition of his Piano Textures series, Bruno Sanfilippo continues his exploration of ‘minimalist piano concepts’, combining the sounds of the piano (and sometimes prepared piano) with electro-acoustic backgrounds.

In his own words: “Sometimes they ask me if I am a piano player who ventures into electronic music, or an electronic musician who ventures into the piano. […] I do love the sound of the piano just as much as I love electronic-based music. I know some times I can get some listeners confused by this, if I do, I’m so sorry. But, at the moment I will passionately explore both fields.”

Minimalist and modern classical piano music is a crowded genre nowadays, it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. But for his restrained but emotionally engaging compositions, his perfect sound quality and combining the sound of the piano with more experimental electro-acoustics, Bruno Sanfilippo can stand the comparison with fellow contemporary classical composers like Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson and Harold Budd.

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Daniel WJ MacKenzie - Every Time Feels Like The Last Time

DANIEL W.J. MACKENZIE – EVERY TIME FEELS LIKE THE LAST TIME

Eilean Rec.’s first release for 2017 is Daniel W.J. Mackenzie‘s Every Time Feels Like The Last Time. The title promises dense, atmospheric melancholy and that is exactly what you get.
The album opens with modern classical piano compositions, but as it progresses the music crosses a bridge to more abstract experimental and ambient territories. (This may not be a complete surprise if you know that Mackenzie  has also released quite a few albums as Ekca Liena since 2008). By doing this, the album ignores some ‘traditional’ genre definitions and claims a unique position.

Mackenzie is accompanied by Ecka Rose Mordecai’s cello playing and many location recordings from Tromsø and various locations in England and South Africa.

The physical edition of this album is almost sold out already, apart from a few last copies available from Daniel Mackenzie‘s Bandcamp site.
So don’t hesitate if you’re interested in a CD-copy. The digital edition will of course remain available.


Modulated Tones

JOSÉ SILVA – MODULATED TONES No. 1: MUSIC FOR FRAMED WORKS

Debut album of South American artist José Silva, born in Venezuela but now based in Ecuador.
Multi-layered ambient soundscapes – created with guitar pedals, field recordings and a compressor – are the cinematic foundation for the soft, slow, often Harold Budd-like piano themes.

The music on this album  is inspired by Silva‘s interest in photography. It provides “a soundtrack for surveying a photographic collection to provide space for a slow introspective processing of the shots, as thoughts or memories flicker in your mind.”

So: randomise your photo collection, pick 10 of them, start playing the music, and then take your time to link what you see to what you hear!

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Marconi Union * Steve Hauschildt * Orchestramaxfieldparrish

Instant Light

Tokyo +

MARCONI UNION – TOKYO +

Strictly spoken, this is not exactly a new album. Tokyo was originally released in 2009, but it was exclusively available in Germany in a very limited edition. For this re-release, the original music was revisited and some tracks (the ones with the ‘+’) were completely ‘reconfigured’ – which is not the same as ‘remixed’: new loops and parts were taken from the original stems and combined with improvised live playing, together with their live drummer Phil Hurst.

The newly added ‘plus’ versions are a welcome addition to the original album, offering some nice alternative views. But the original tracks also sound as if they were created recently: the pulsating techno beats, rhythmic pop-ambient may be more ‘pop’ than ‘ambient’, perhaps, but it’s definitely atmospheric .

The music on this album is inspired by images of Tokyo but has no intention to represent the reality or include “authentic” Japanese music:
“Neither of us had ever been to Tokyo and we realised that our entire conception of the city originated from films, TV and books. We liked this idea of creating music for a place that only existed in our minds”

Also on Spotify


Steve Hauschildt

STEVE HAUSCHILDT – STRANDS

“I wanted to try and capture that moment in nature and society where life slowly re-emerges through desolation, so it has a layer op optimism looming underneath. The music represents this by seemingly decaying at times but then reforms and morphs in a fluid way back into its original state.”

Steve Hauschildt describes the music of his latest album, Strandshis fourth title for the Kranky label.
Like strands from a rope, the (eight) different tracks are separate units, but together they form a new organic whole. Hauschildt‘s spacey electronics meander from ambient soundscapes to modular sequencing and back again, shifting between soft sounds and harsher noises in a way that is symbolically depicted on the album’s cover.

Also on Spotify


Instant Light  Midsummer's Night

ORCHESTRAMAXFIELDPARRISH – INSTANT LIGHT / A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT

There has been quite a long gap between Mike ‘Orchestramaxfieldparrish’ Fazio’s  last release in 2010 (Crossing Of Shadows, which was in fact a remix from the 2007 release), but 2016 suddenly saw the simultaneous release of two titles.

One is called A Midsummer’s Night and features four abstract soundscapes created on a ‘rare 1936 Gibson L7 archtop with an antique mellophone’, a german lute guitar and a treated baby grand piano. Three string instruments ‘that sound nothing like you can possibly imagine them to sound after recording them through a series of unconventional effects.”

The other, Instant Light, is every bit as abstract, but its sound is very different. Here, the sound of processed treated electric guitars is mixes with field recordings, the bright sound of singing bowls and metals, and modular synthesis and electronics. Due to the instrumentation, it has a somewhat ‘brighter’ overall sound.
But in the end, both releases explore the same puzzling kind of landscapes.


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DreamScenes 2017-2

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Music for the last days of Winter….

The february DreamScenes edition may feel darker than usual.
Possibly due to the dark winter days or, perhaps,  the general darkness of current times.
But don’t worry: there’s a sweet surprise at the end. So keep listening!

Tracklist:

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