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Monty Adkins * Halftribe



MONTY ADKINS – MOEROR  Also on Spotify

With its 21’27” length this is not a full Monty Adkins album, but we will not complain about that – especially since Atkins and Crónica offer this single track EP as a free download (as they call it themselves, but I prefer Name Your Price and suggest to leave a donation to the artist and the label).

Moeror is Latin for ‘sorrow’ or  ‘grief’, and is dedicated to the memory of Jóhann Jóhansson. There’s a nostalgic, contemplative piano theme looping over a slightly distorted noise background, but it’s not a repeating loop. At times, the loop changes, starts repeating a part of the theme. The material repeats, “sometimes exactly, at other times with additional processing or temporally shortened.”

Adkins is examining and re-examining every single detail of the loop, over and over again, wondering why “repetition is so psychoemotionally enticing even in melancholic works.”
The answer to that question is hidden in these timeless 22 minutes.



I accidentally misread the title as For The Summer, Or Whatever  – which may not be too strange since I think this music fits every season and not only Summer. But there are definitely associations with the warmer seasons here, such as the birdsong in the title track and the soft wind in The Simple Things.
In this way the album is about the opposite of many other ‘arctic ambient’ releases.

Halftribe is Ryan Bissett, from Northern Ireland but living in Manchester, producer of “deep ambient and down tempo styled music”.
I’m not (yet) familiar with his back-catalogue so I cannot compare, but on For The Summer, Or Forever the rhythms are kept to a minimum, in favour of lush dreamy ambient, perfect for completing a warm summer evening.
Another memorable release on the Dronarivm label!

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Various Compilations

Music For Elevators

The end of a year is a popular moment to release a (label) compilation. Sometimes to look back, sometimes to look ahead…. and sometimes just because it’s compilation time. Here’s an (incomplete!) overview of some recent compilations presenting hours (and more hours) of listening pleasure.

Illuminations II


Dronarivm kicks off with this New Year Charity Compilation. No less than 30 track and almost three hours of music, priced ridiculously low to begin with… but of course you will want to pay more because of the amount of music, ánd because the profits go to 4Paws for Ability, an organisation that ‘enriches the lives of children with disabilities by training and placing quality, task-trained service dogs.’
(You can also donate directly of course, but why would you when you’re offered a batch of quality music in the process?)

The thirty artists presented here show why Dronarivm has become one of the most important labels in the ambient/experimental electronic genre. It’s an impressive array of which I will only mention a few names: Aaron Martin, Bruno Sanfilippo, Loscil, Jacaszek, Machinefabriek, Endless Melancholy, Legiac, Offthesky, Olan Mill, Sven Laux, Anne Chris Bakker, Antonymes, Giulio Aldinucci, Pleq, Hakobune, Pausal Chihei Hatakeyama. And that are just 17/30.

Even more impressive is the fact that all these tracks are exclusive – they have not appeared on earlier releases before. So this is what we call a ‘no-brainer’!
If you missed the first (2017) edition of Illuminations with another 28 tracks, you can still download it. It is a Name-Your Price release, but I strongly suggest to double your donation for Illuminations II. Simply because.


Tranquility 8


On a somewhat darker note, we find #8 in the From Here To Tranquility series on Silent Recordscurated and founded by Kim Cascone. Not specifically an end-of-year release, by the way, but edition 8 in the From Here To Tranquility series.

This edition ‘addresses the pervasive darkness we find in the world today’, and does so with 80 minutes of contemplative soundscapes with a retro-touch by Scott Gibbons, Kris Force, Chris Meloche, Dead Voices on Air, Michal Seta, Pragma, David Metcalfe, Legion Of Green Men, Aume, Meterpool, Mike Rooke and David Lee Myers.
Not the most familiar names perhaps, and the music can be quite different in nature (a quiet atmospheric field recording track by Chris Meloche can easily be followed by a rather aggressive noise track from Dead Voices on Air), but you can simply count on Kim Cascone’s experience in selecting quality sounds.



Not exactly a year-in-retrospect compilation, but an album to celebrate the twelve years of existence since Yann Novak relaunched his father’s record label Dragon’s Eye Recordings. The ‘steel’ in the title is ‘named after the traditional eleventh anniversary gift (due to miscalculation and a love for the cover art by Jake Muir)’.

‘variety of styles, processes, practices, techniques, and most importantly points of view’ is presented in this Name-Your-Price download featuring unreleased tracks by artists that recently released work on the label. Such as: Steve Pacheco, Tobias Hellkvist, Robert Crouch, Yann Novak, Jake Muir, Fabio Perletta, Geneva Skeen, Mark Kate and wndfrm.

78 Minutes of sheer minimalist joy.

Rusted Tone Sampler


Rusted Tone Recordings does not look back to 2017 because it did not exist in 2017. It is a new independent label, curated by James Armstrong‘specialising in ambient, drone and experimental music’.

Judged by this introduction sampler the label will definitely be worth keeping an eye on: it introduces artists that will be releasing albums on Rusted Tone in the coming year.
Think: Darren Harper, James Osland, Wil Bolton, Green Kingdom, Spheruleus – along less familiar names like Gallery Six & Oblivia, Net, Kepier Widow, Saltings and Kevin Buchland.
Suffices to say this introduction succeeds in raising interest for the label!

This, too, is a Name-Your-Price download if you want. But please keep in mind that proceeds ‘will go towards supporting physical releases and sustaining Rusted Tone Recordings.’

Grenzwellen I


A somewhat different beast (and with that I mean considerably less ambient) is this massive compilation supporting the German radio show Grenzwellen,  hosted by Ecki Stieg and broadcasted on Radio Hannover.
Grenzwellen started in 1987 so it exists for more than thirty years now! It can be heard every wednesday for three hours starting at 9 pm CET via the Radio Hannover livestream.

But even if you can’t listen to their show this compilation is a great introduction to the music that can be heard on this show. Almost 4 hours of all kinds of experimental/electronic music in a mix of well- and lesser-known artist. I won’t mention them all, but here are just a few of the names that I recognise: Giulio Aldinucci, Gabi Delgado, Ulrich Schnauss, CEEYS, Marsen Jules Trio (with a 15 minute string version of Étoiles de la Nuit), Bersarin Quartett, Bartosz Dziadosz, Hecq, Arovane,Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Sven Laux, Sankt Otten, Markus Guentner, Richard Chartier, Hotel Neon. 31 Tracks, and most of them previously unreleased.

Grenzwellen host and compilation curator Ecki Stieg advises to play the compilation in its entirety: “please listen in the order given. Don’t use the random button!.”

Music For Elevators


And, while on the subject of massive compilation projects this one cannot stay unmentioned. Only recently I became aware of a series of (free download) releases by the Mahorka netlabel called “Music for Elevators.A nice reference to many ambient “Music for …” releases,  as well as to ‘Elevator Music’ – which is usually referring to anonymous ‘Muzak‘.

The first edition of this series was released way back in 2002, followed by Vol. 2 in 2005, Vol. 3 in 2007, Vol. 4 in 2012. The three-part set Vol. 5, which is said to conclude the series, was released in 2017 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

You can still find the complete set online: the first four editions can be found on (free downloads), the three-part Vol. 5 on Bandcamp (Name-Your-Price).  So that is quite an impressive batch of unknown music to discover. Unknown – because in the tradition of netlabels, Mahorka presents the work of artists that are largely unknown – with the occasional exception depending on how ‘deep’ you are into the scene.

“You are on board for a pushing all kinds of boundaries trip through what ambient music can be and what can be ambient music.”
‘Ambient’ is not a very strict definition here, probably ‘experimental electronic’ would have been a more appropriate label. There are quite a few tracks that would probably scare the hell out of any ordinary citizen who got stuck in an elevator. But in a collection like this, everyone will find a lot of sounds to his/her liking!

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Andrea Belfi * Tsone * Arovane/Hatami

Tsone - Intimate Haze



Iikki releases – the physical editions – include a vinyl album as well as a hardcover art book. They are ‘the result of a dialog between a visual artist and a music artist’.
You can buy both separately: vinyl only, book only, or even a download-only if you wish… but of course you’ll miss out part of what these releases are about. Still… not everyone is able to spend €59 on the book+vinyl option, so it’s great that Iikki also offers the download option to enjoy with a video preview of the book:


Alveare is the second Iikki edition, and it presents the music of Andrea Belfi paired with the photography of ‘urban landscape explorator’ Matthias Heiderich.
I have not seen the book (apart from the video included above), but I can imagine there can be an interesting interaction when watching the images while listening to the music at the same time.
But it’s not strictly necessary to enjoy both at the same time.

This is Belfi‘s sixth solo album, not counting many other collaborative records on various labels. Belfi manages to create a unique atmosphere with his expressive yet restrained percussion and drumming style. Embedded in mysterious layers of electronic soundscapes, it somewhat reminds of legendary Can recordings. (But of course comparisons like that always fail.)

Not many ‘experimental ambient’ albums are centered around complex percussive compositions, for it is quite hard to use percussion instruments to create atmospheric music. Unless you master these instruments like Andrea Belfi does!

Tsone - Intimate Haze


I’m afraid I can’t really reveal much about this release since I don’t know very much details – apart from the fact that Tsone is an alias of Anthony (Tony) Obr.
Though there is some recent activity on Tsone’s soundcloud page, Obr‘s website updates seem to heave stopped around 2014.  
The lack of background info is a bit weird, since Discogs lists no less than 23 releases under this name (many of them self-released).
But why care about that? Music can speak for itself, doesn’t it?

Intimate Haze is released on Stereoscenica label closely related to the Ambient Sleeping Pill internet radio station.
This is an indication of what you can expect from this highly immersive ‘classic’ ambient album of ‘progressive ambient of at least 9 distinct movements between the 3 tracks – ranging from epic to mysterious, chaotic to tranquil.’



No less than 19 tracks on this album, 7 of which are relatively short interludes called Rhizome. Rhizome is a botanical term for a ‘stem of a plant, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes…If a rhizome is separated into pieces, each piece may be able to give rise to a new plant’. The short interludes may have the same function, they are musical entities from which another composition may grow.

Uwe ‘Arovane‘ Zahn (from Berlin) and Porya Hatami (from Iran) may come from a different background, but both artist’s skills merge perfectly into an (ehhh…) ‘organic’ sound design.
They have worked together in the past (most recently on last year’s Kaziwa) – in fact, this is their fourth collaboration album!

On Organism they focus on a dark, mysterious, but extremely detailed sound – as alive and moving as nature’s finest organisms.
Organism celebrates the 10th anniversary of Karl Records from Berlin: ‘an outlet for puzzling sounds that question today’s pigeonholes of reception’. Unlike most of their other releases, this is a download-only release.

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Various Various

Homework Year 1

A selection from the many label compilations that were recently released – looking ahead at 2017, looking back at 2016, or maybe even looking back at the last 15 years:

anticipation of an uncertain future


The near future of 2017 may be unpredictable on a worldwide political scale, but fortunately this 40 minute (9 track) compilation of recent and upcoming Preserved Sound releases is reassuring: there will always be great music to take a break from everyday absurdity!

Artists include Visionary Hours, Aaron Martin, Richard Youngs, Max Ananyev, Endless Melancholy, Poppy Nogood, Adrian Lane, Ales Tsurko and CovarinoIncorvaia.
A wide range of instrumental genres show all kinds of beauty this label has to offer. There’s influences from ambient, folk, improv,  jazz, post-rock, neo-classical and experimental electronics (the Ales Tsurko track [Grusha] uses regular expressions to generate music from random Wikipedia articles!)

Generously offered as a Name Your Price download.



I am not sure if all tracks from this massive Dronarivm compilation are previously unreleased, but the subtitle “The New Year 2017 Free Compilation” suggests so.
But even if they were previously released, only the most dedicated label addict would recognise all of the 28 tracks on this two-and-a-half hour compilation.
The collection is presented without any notes but a quote from Arthur Rimbaud’s ‘Illuminations VI‘:
“… The colours proper to life deepen, dance and detach themselves around this Vision in the making…. .

Currently, Dronarivm is one of the experimental ambient genre’s most important labels, and the line-up of this collection shows why: Olan Mill, Giulio Aldinucci, Autistici, Spheruleus, The Green Kingdom, Offthesky, Aaron Martin, Dag Rosenqvist, Elegi, Legiac, Maps and Diagrams, Strom Noir, Wil Bolton, Enrico Coniglio, Christopher Bissonnette, Porzellan and Bartosz Dziadosz  – and that is only about two-third of the contributors!

Generously offered as a Name Your Price download.

Home To Wander


Home Normal looks back to 2016 with this 11-track (58 minute) overview featuring tracks they ‘were lucky enough to release in 2016’.
It’s a kaleidoscopic overview of the versatility of this quality label that cannot be pinned down to one style but always guarantees a journey into adventurous new paths.

Artists include David Cordero, Altars Altars, Giulio Aldinucci, M. Ostermeier, Ian Hawgood, Stefano Guzetti Ensemble, Isan, Asuna, Stijn Hüwels/Dudal and A New Line Related.

Generously offered as a Name Your Price download.

Homework Year 1


In an ascending order of track count and playing time, this compilation comes last.
52 tracks that fill up seven (7!) hours and 40 minutes! And, apart from that, áll of the tracks are new and previously unreleased.

The concept of this overview is a bit different: is doesn’t look back to 2016 only, or looks ahead at 2017, but it celebrates the 15 years of existence of the Taâlem label. And they do so in a special way: asking every artist that ever had a release on Taâlem to contribute an unreleased track that was recorded or finalised in 2016 – so it’s all brand new music, not a retrospective!
The list of contributing artists is not complete: some of the artists could not be retraced, others have stopped making music, etc. But the result is imposing enough as it is!

Due to the label’s nature, the music is more abstract and experimental than usual, presenting a lot of sound experiments, field recordings, musiqe concrête and industrial soundscapes – so it’s also the most ‘hardcore experimental’ compilation in this short list. But the tracks are thoughtfully arranged: playing the collection feels like complete overview of all corners of experimental electronics and ambient music.

I cannot mention all of the 52 contributing artists here, so I’ll randomly pick a few familiar names: Aidan Baker, Mathieu Ruhlmann, Emerge, Yui Onodera, Tobias Hellkvist, Encomiast, Simon Whetham, Fabio Orsi, Strom Noir, Pleq/Lauki, Philippe Lamy, Enrico Coniglio, Yannick Franck and Jeff Stonehouse.

And the best news, once again: generously offered as a Name Your Price download.


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Various Various

Into The White

Dronarivm kicks off the new year with an impressive 21-track (almost 2 hours) sampler, offered as a free (or better: name your price) download!
One short look at the contributors and you know you’re in for something good.
I won’t begin to mention anyone since I would have to include them all – so just check the Bandcamp link for more details.
I am not entirely sure, but as far as I know all tracks are previously unreleased works. Together, they are a perfect overview of what contemporary ambient music – and, more specifically, the Dronarivm label – has to offer.
So why wait?

Eilean 2015

Eilean Records ended 2015 (or started 2016 if you wish) by looking back at the year and presenting this compilation of tracks by artists that were involved with the label in 2015.
But again: all 17 tracks (72 minutes) are previously unreleased!
The limited metal box edition is sold out now, but the beautiful music of the download is exactly the same, fortunately.
The collection includes some less familiar artists, among names like Bill Seaman, James Murray, Ruhe, Lee Chapman and Dag Rosenqvist.



Not one, but two separate collections, from a series that started earlier in 2015: Volume 1 was released in March, Volume 2 followed in December (and Volume 3 will follow somewhere in 2016).
We Are Invisible Now is  ‘a project about absence, memory, silence, seeing without being seen, reconciliation, resolution, stasis, kites, aeroplanes, the last cup of coffee of an entire life, sleep and descent’.
It’s a ‘no-profit’ series: no money is involved and all music is contributed ánd offered for free. An interesting way to discover new artists: the collection involves relatively few familiar names – most of the contributors were hitherto unknown or ‘invisible’.



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Inner Vision Laboratory; Strom Noir; Atrium Carceri; OfftheSky; Colbets

The Old City


The third release by this ambient project of Karol Skrzypiec presents deep, dark and ominous sounds. It could be called dark ambient – but it’s completely free from the ritualistic brouhaha often present on ‘dark ambient’ releases.
Inner Vision Laboratory “unites sounds from the surrounding reality […] torn alive from random, lost radio broadcasts, the cacophony of everyday life, or unspecified ether.”
It’s not exactly a bright and happy surrounding reality, it seems… more like a post-apocalyptic vision – but the dark suspense is frightening and beautiful at the same time.


From Slovakia comes Emil Mat’ko, more familiar as Strom Noir. The four tracks on this album cover the glacial territory that ambient music is so often associated with. Not because the music is ‘cold’ (often the opposite), but because it paints desolate landscapes.
So does Strom Noir in these “static drones that resemble a snowy picture. They unravel very slowly and subtly into one another.”
 The “four songs about Snow and Ice” are completed with an additional 20 minute bonus track, “Niekedy Sa Vracajú”, which originally appeared in a shorter 16 minute version on the Tanec Rusaliek” cassette release (still available digitally too)

The Old City

There’s a close relation to ambient music and  movie and games soundtracks. It’s not hard to see why: ambient soundscapes are all about creating moods and atmospheres.
The “soothing string like atmospheres, distorted drones and brooding atmospheres” of these 15 tracks were created for the ‘narrative philosphical’ game called The Old City: Leviathan” – where “the player is put in the shoes of a sewer dwelling isolationist in a decaying city from a civilization long past.”
Now this probably appeals to a lot of ambient music devotees, but even if you’re not a sewer dwelling isolationist this beautiful and melancholic soundtrack could still very well appeal to you!

Also on Spotify

Light Loss

The beginning of spring may not be the right season for listening to this new OfftheSky (Jason Corder) album “describing a change of seasons – from fall into winter when the sun hangs low and the day’s shy light dominates. It describes the heavy mood and psychological affect that comes with this seasonal evolution and the changing tide of friendship and love alike that occurs through this seasonal shift”.
On the other hand, every seasonal changes has its similar disturbances and it’s not just ‘darkness’ creeping in on this album: there’s still enough light to cling on to. From the rather indeterminate and abstract beginning “lighter melodic sounds are coupled with darker atonal noise moments to create a rich dynamic hue.”
It’s interesting to pair listening to Light Loss” to Corder‘s recent Juxta Phona project: the two albums relate to each other as night to day.
Or better: as Fall to Spring.

Also on Spotify

And Silence

Japanese duo Saitoh Tomohiro and Kari Takemoto release their fifth studio album, full of “silent music of resounds, time sleeps and warm air.”
Five atmospheric tracks take their time to evolve around the Takemoto’s guitar sounds, Tomohiro’s synth and trumpet playing, with guest appearance of cello player James Bryan Parks. The physical edition is extremely limited to 50 (as usual on the Twice Removed Records label).

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Marsen Jules – Sinfonietta – At GRM


When referring to a Symphony“, the common reference is to an extended musical composition in Western classical music, most often written for orchestra – symphony and chamber orchestras, concert bands, chamber ensembles, organ, piano, choir, or combinations of these resources.”

Pythagoras is accredited for “discovering the simple fact that the pitch of a musical note depends upon the length of the string which produces it. This allowed him to correlate the intervals of the musical scale with simple numerical ratios. His discoveries in the fields of music and astronomy led him to his most profound realisation, namely, ‘The Harmony of the Spheres’, wherein he proposed that the planets and stars moved according to mathematical equations, which corresponded to musical ratios, therefore producing a symphony.”
Aristotle wrote: “[the Pythagoreans] saw that the … ratios of musical scales were expressible in numbers [and that] .. all things seemed to be modelled on numbers, and numbers seemed to be the first things in the whole of nature, they supposed the elements of number to be the elements of all things, and the whole heaven to be a musical scale and a number.”
(quotes taken from ‘Ancient Wisdom‘ website)

If a ‘symphony‘ is “music of the spheres, embracing the concept of an ethereal harmony”, then the Sinfonietta”  must represent a miniature model of the universe.
And that is exactly what Marsen Jules new album conveys: an interplay of orchestral harmonics, a celestial reflection of universal movement in which the sense of time is completely irrelevant.

is a 45 minute composition that has neither beginning nor end, and hardly any perceptible progression: it just ‘is’.
There is a peaceful, natural (or even ‘cosmic’ if you prefer) harmony within the orchestral (yet synthetic) sounds.
For the impatient listener these 45 minutes may prove to be too long.
But for the listener who is receptive to what Martin Juhls tries to capture here, the piece may not nearly be long enough. I can in fact be played on repeat without losing its power.

Marsen Jules at GRM

Sinfonietta” is released barely a month after the release of a different Marsen Jules album: Marsen Jules at GRM“, and it’s interesting to note the similarities between these two albums as well as the differences.

At GRM” was created during a two week residency in the legendary GRM-Studios in Paris in 2009. The Groupe de Recherches Musicales is an institute for the exploration of electroacoustic music, founded  in 1958 by composer Pierre Schaeffer.

“Especially these ideas of defining every acoustic event as possible music and the approach to explore the individual universe of such a sound, have always been a big inspiration for the music of german Martin Juhls.
For the two tracks created at GRM Jules dives deeply into the level of subatomic sound-particles. Clusters of string crescendos emerge from a nearly psychoacoustic sound-wall of warm drones in which they disappear with ultra long fade outs and reverbs.”

Compared to the  bright and uplifting sounds of “Sinfonietta” , the stretched immersive drones of at GRM”  are rather dark and very, very minimalistic.
In a way, the albums relate to each others like day relates to night.
But they also have a lot in common: in both albums, the notion of time is completely irrelevant. It is only the sound that is important.

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Memum; Chris Russell; Sava Marinkovic; Halcyon Chamber; Past Disappears
– shortlist –

became a leaf

In the Shortlist sections, I will mention the albums that I enjoyed listening to, but couldn’t find the time (or the right words) for a “full review” for. But still, these albums definitely deserve your attention!

became a leaf

Packed in a strikingly beautiful handcrafted wooden box (including a unique wooden medallion), Became a Leaf” is the kind of release every collector of physical editions would immediately fall for (well Í did, anyway).
Memum is a new ambient project by David Georgos, who few of you may know under his Locoto alias.   “Became a Leaf” was recorded in Berlin and Turku (a town in the South-West of Finland) and it almost literally seems to breath the fresh air of spring.
“Gently layered dreamscapes recalling a reflection of subtle melancholy, tones of beauty, cloudy noise and ambience of deep woods”.
The 36 minute (6-track) album is completed with additional remixes by Henrik José, Hior Chronik and Noemi Bolojan.


On Illuminoid“, Chris Russell explores the interaction of ambient soundscapes and vocal music – (Gregorian) Chants, choirs, (boy) soprano and overtone throat singing. On some tracks, the vocals are sampled into manipulated layers, but there is a lot space left for the ‘untouched’ vocal parts, too.
All vocals are taken from the Spectrasonics Vocal Planet library – which was a bit of a surprise for me to find out because they sound very convincing and ‘live’.
The combination of religious vocals often results in a very dark and ominous ‘gothic’ kind of ambient, but not here: Chris Russell remains close to the deeply spiritual atmosphere of the original vocal music and so “the album reveals itself like a beam of sunlight through the clouds.”


The relatively young (b. 1991) Serbian musician Sava Marinkovic started his solo career in 2013. His music is “an experimental approach to ambient music, free improvisation and minimalism”, inspired and influenced by artists like David Sylvian, Christian Fennesz and Eivind Aarset.
“Evocation” is his second album (the first was 2013’s Nowhere Near). Though most of the album breathes a dark, desolate atmosphere of layered soundscapes and improvised guitar, the variety of the different tracks is striking. All tracks are instrumental with the exception of “Blindfold (She is I!)”, featuring outstanding vocals by Kristina Grebenar. 

halcyon chamber

Philadelphia based Halcyon Chamber features Aaron Martin on cello. This is their first album.
Probably because of the ethereal vocals by Jasmine C, my first association when hearing these tracks was with Julee Cruise’s estranging vocals for the Twin Peaks series.  But it’s not just her voice, it’s also the music itself. The soft and gentle ensemble pieces sound remotely familiar, with the arrangements for keyboards, cello, guitar and percussion (and some electronics of course) – yet it also has a beautiful strange and dreamlike twist.

Past Disappears


This 93 minute compilation is released as a Christmas present from the illustrious Dronarivm label, and a true present it is: it’s a name your price download!
But it will also last for very long after christmas has passed.
It’s a compilation presenting unreleased tracks from many of the fine artists from this label’s portfolio, most of which you’ll probably know by name: artists like Aaron Martin, Frozen Vaults, Strom Noir, Offthesky, Godot (which is the follow up the Marsen Jules Trio, by the way), Porya Hatami, Green Kingdom, Maps and Diagrams, Giulio Aldinucci, Piiptsjilling, Pleq and Hakobune, Anne Chris Bakker and Snoqualmie Falls.
This compilation of unreleased tracks is a must-download for those that already know the label and its artists, as well as for those that are new to the label and are interested to hear what music Dronarivm has to offer. Merry Christmas, everybody!

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Porya Hatami – The Garden

Porya Hatami

2014 is a good year for Porya Hatami (based in Sanandaj, Iran).
After releasing two collaboration albums (with Lee Anthony Norris and Lcoma, respectively), and a solo album (“Shallow”) earlier this year, his new album The Garden is now released on the Dronarivm label.

There’s the digital download, of course.
But there are also two versions of the CD (both limited to 150):
The regular CD comes in a beautiful ‘discbox slider’; for the ‘special edition’ it is lavishly packed in a “tea and grass handmade colored envelope sewn up in hessian bag”, together with “a lavender flower, 6 photo inserts (12×12 cm) on matte paper (200 gr.)”.

The Garden - Special Edition

Poryama Hatami‘s music on this album is every bit as beautiful as the package promises.

The tracks are all named after the small wildlife creatures you might find in your garden: “Firefly”, “Spider”, “Snail”, “Ladybug”, “Bee” and “Ant”.

Hatami adds his own electronic sounds and processed acoustics, carefully balanced with the environmental sounds, so that both seem to enhance each others relaxing effect.

Throughout, there is some undefined crackling – which could very well be the amplified sound of the garden insects – merging with the delicate sounds of a gentle rain, wind- and bamboo chimes.
“The soundscape of  The Garden forms from whispers and murmurs of rural nature, from that noiseless noise which lives in the summer air that are captured in a macro mode, so one can almost touch.”

The atmosphere is like a refreshing rest in your garden on a late summer night.
“Atmospheric in a summer way, meditative in the Oriental style and just beautiful music”.
A soundtrack for the summer night you’re always longing for…

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Anne Chris Bakker – Reminiscenses


A few months ago I wrote some words about Anne Chris Bakker‘s beautiful album Tussenlicht“, a self released limited edition CD-R. (If you haven’t checked this one yet: the digital edition is still available!)

It’s a pleasant surprise to find that his new (first “official”) album Reminiscenses is now released on Dronarivm, the (Moscow-based) contemporary ambient and modern classical music label curated by Pleq and Dimitry Taldykin.

While “Tussenlicht” can be described as one single composition in four parts, the six tracks on Reminiscenses are more separate, stand-alone tracks, each with a somewhat different instrumentation.

Like on his earlier albums, Anne Chris Bakker plays all instruments himself.
In style, the music is loosely related to that of the Kleefstra brothers (known from their work with Piiptsjilling and the Alvaret Ensemble, among other projects), with who Bakker regularly performs. This also means the music comes from improvisation sessions mostly:

“Reminiscences existed with no detailed plan. It is more the result of spontaneous playing and recording over a period of 5 months using guitar, pedals and and a violin bow.
During playing lots of images came up in mind, quite similar to the half sleep state of mind where images and situations flow and bind in an unstructured way.
While playing and listening to the material it opened up a map of lost memories.
This is how I recollect. Reminiscences.”

The album’s opener “Between the Garden and the Lake” is a striking opener, because it is extremely unhurried. A statement of calm that sets the atmosphere for the rest of the album.
“I thought my heart was calm” starts with a quiet, indefinite, whisper – and takes its time to slowly build a climax which is quite noisy yet still manages to retain its inner calmness.

These two tracks make for the first half of the album. The second half contains 4 shorter tracks (between 2 and 7 minutes in length): piano themes merging with field recordings, drones and a closing ambient track called with the great title “Droesem” (= Dregs).

After “Tussenlicht”, my expectations for this album were sky-high.
I’m happy to find that Reminiscenses easily lives up!

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