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Fabio Perletta * Simon Fisher Turner * Mayforest

Ichinen

Ichinen

FABIO PERLETTA – ICHINEN 一念

The 一 (one) and 念 (thought) in the title refer to the shortest possible unit of time known as a principle of Zen practice: “a point of time which has neither the past nor the future.. “. The moment “where eternity cuts into time”, which exactly correspondents to what is know as Satori, which “takes place when consciousness realizes a state of one thought.”

That are some thoughts to ponder on for a while – and for that pondering Fabio Perletta provides a perfect soundtrack. Three untitled tracks (totalling 48 minutes – but put it on repeat and you can take all the pondering time you need).

On this album, Fabio Perletta explores the “emotional states experienced before, during and after a very long awaited trip”. The three different pieces are created using location recordings from Tokyo, Takayama and Kyoto, all heavily processed to unrecognisable abstract soundscapes using computer, feedback, magnetic tape and digital and ‘irreversible‘ sound processing.

Musique Concrête for the mind? In fact, words fail to describe it describe because “Zen does not follow the routine of reasoning, and does not mind contradicting itself or being inconsistent.”
Just listen. And try to look for that exact moment of ‘one thought’.

Ichinen 一念 is a digital-only release.


Giraffe

SIMON FISHER TURNER – GIRAFFE  Also on Spotify

From the very first cut-up fragments op Into Bush it’s clear that this is going to be an amazing journey. Simon Fisher Turner – composer, actor, sound designer – took his relatively simple recording devices (Roland Edirol R-09 and iPhone) around the world (Berlin, Lake Biwa, Cambridgeshire, Hammersmith, River Thames, Tokyo, Porto, Andalucia) and mashed all kinds of location recordings into kaleidoscopic tracks that ‘blur the line between sound design and song, machine severity and narrative sentimentality’.

There are amazing sounds heard in every direction, but they are kept together by the layered electronics, morphed into augmented field recordings.
Images of non-existent worlds, created from blended and altered every day sounds: “a sonic landscape where musical and non-musical elements are placed on a level hierarchy.”

Slight Smile is a spoken word poem by Emma Smith, adding to the psychedelic dreamlike visions of this album, ultimately dissolving into the incromprehensible realms: 
“You are the leader, and I wore funny clothes. We travelled together, and I wore leather. Lovely backstage photos…”

Travelling together is the key to this album. Travelling, and sharing the amazement and excitement of unexpected encounters…

One question remains… why the Giraffe’?
The fata-morgana-like cover image of a giraffe’s shadow looks nothing like an earthly creature, but it still is. It’s an altered image, in the same way the life sounds on this album are altered images of the world surround us.


SIMON FISHER TURNER – SAVE AS


Mayforest

MAYFOREST – MAYFOREST

The cover design and ASCII-art track titles like –∞–––––∞– or ––(–––––)–– may suggest the analytical kind of sound resembling the analytical Raster-Noton approach: mathematical more than emotional (though that’s always a subjective matter of course). But even in the first minutes of the opening track it’s clear that this is a misconception: Mayforest presents an organical ambient sound with many acoustical (-sounding) elements.
Mayforest’s music is definitely more ‘human’ than the package might suggest.

Mayforest is Christian Maiwald, living in Berlin and Szczecin (Poland).
There’s not much information on the background of his music, apart from the fact that there’s “no lute and no 808”.

The tracks are presented in order of their production date, because  Christian “likes to see where things lead me.” Wherever that may be, it’s a promising path, passing many enjoyable soundscapes in a strikingly original instrumentation.

At moments, the sound is not unlike that of the Stars of the Lid, and you might also hear elements reminiscing Bersarin Quartett….
Namedropping of course, just to give  an idea about some of the Mayforest sounds you can expect on this ‘off-radar’ album definitely worth checking out.

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Mind Awake, Body Asleep (Mix)

Mind Awake, Body Asleep

The moment I heard Rami Malek whisper “You lie in bed and repeat this mantra in your head: mind awake, body asleep” (Mr Robotseries 2) I knew this would be the inspiration for a new mix.
A mix about half-sleep, lucid dreaming impressions… ungraspable images… and about “letting go”.
After all, Mr. Robot’s tagline was “Control is an Illusion”.

Control proved to be an illusion indeed, with these different, unrelated, fragments coming together like pieces of a puzzle, creating a mix “like its own cinematic score.” (H_C)

So let go, indulge yourself in this mix, and leave control to wherever the sound takes you.
But (as is this is not one of those ‘feel good, sleep well’ mixes) be sure to keep you mind awake at all times!

This mix was created for – and is co-hosted on – Headphone Commute – for which I am very very grateful!

“Peter van Cooten’s intricate storytelling with his favorite piece is the precise definition of a true curator. But it’s not just a collection of sequential tracks that makes a mix from PvC a transforming experience, it’s also his multi-layered approach to weaving in the dynamics and textures of individual compositions that truly create a brand new one, disabling your mind from peeling apart the individual pieces (see below the screenshot of the entire sequence). The mix becomes an event of itself – one that I am honored to share with you.”

Thanks, H_C,  for the helping in spreading lucid audio-dreams ! 

 

Mind Awake... sequence

 

Playlist

start time – fragment length – Artist – Title
Album Title, Year, Label Details

  • 00:00 00:53 Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil – Sloosha’s Hollow
    Cloud Atlas OST, 2012, Sony Classical 88765411202
  • 00:20 00:30 Rami Malek – Mind Awake, Body Asleep
    Mr. Robot, 2016
  • 00:50 02:02 Gideon Wolf – Disquiet
    Year Zero, 2016, Fluid Audio 038
  • 01:31 01:38 Kenji Kawai – Ghosthack
    Ghost in the Shell OST, 1995, RCA BVCR-729
  • 02:41 02:08 DirigentThe Perseids (Naviarhaiku 137)
    3 Years of Naviar Haiku, 2017, Naviar, Bandcamp
  • 04:11 01:22 Olivier AlaryXi
    Fiction – Non-Fiction, 2017, 130701 LP13-24
  • 05:14 02:19 Mayforest – –––––––
    Mayforest, 2017, Bandcamp
  • 07:13 03:00 Daniel WJ MackenzieAbandonment I (Moon Phase)
    Every Time Feels Like The Last Time, 2017, Eilean Rec 048
  • 09:35 02:59 Sij – Floating Clouds
    The Time Machine, 2017, Cryo Chamber CRYO 057
  • 10:08 00:26 Rami Malek – Mind Awake, Body Asleep
    Mr. Robot, 2016
  • 12:02 02:32 BJ Nilsen – Twenty Four Seven
    Eye of the Microphone, 2013, Touch TO:95
  • 13:10 02:19 Visible Cloaks – Wintergreen
    Reassemblage, 2017, Rvng Intl. RVNGNL37
  • 14:54 02:03 Stéphane Roy – III
    Migrations, 2004, Empreïntes Digitales IMED 0373
  • 15:57 01:10 Simon Fisher Turner – Burnt In
    Giraffe, 2017, Editions Meg EMEGO 231
  • 17:01 03:01 Max Richter – Morphology
    Three Worlds: Music From Wolf Works, 2017, Deutsche Grammophon 00289 479 6952 GH
  • 19:13 02:44 Angelina Yershova – Intermezzo 80 Hertz
    Resonance Night, 2017, Twin Paradox TPR004
  • 21:30 01:37 Gideon WolfNoise
    Year Zero, 2016,  Fluid Audio 038
  • 22:11 03:06 James MurrayAllways
    Killing Ghosts, 2017, Home Normal homen091
  • 24:40 02:47 Alva Noto – Gulf Night (For Peter Roehr)
    For, 2006, Line LINE_026
  • 25:49 02:17 Mario Batkovic – Desiderii Patriae
    Solo, 2015, Veruston VTR002 (2017: Invada INV16LP)
  • 27:07 04:00 J. Peter Schwalm – Endknall
    The Beauty of Disaster, 2016, RareNoise Records RNR059
  • 30:08 03:51 Abul Mogard – Tumbling Relentless Heaps
    Works, 2016, Ecstatic ELP020
  • 32:38 02:59 Lawrence English – Somnambulist
    Cruel Optimism, 2017, Room40 RM470CD
  • 34:43 01:54 Penjaga Insaf – Keinsafan
    Sama Sadja, 2010, Power & Steel PAS 27
  • 35:27 01:21 Olan Mill – Alve
    Orient, 2017, Dauw d21
  • 36:23 02:34 Jeffrey Roden – Threads of a Prayer
    Threads of a Prayer Volume 2, 2017, Solaire Records SOL1004
  • 38:50 01:40 Jóhann Jóhannsson – First Encounter
    Arrival OST, 2016, Deutsche Grammophon 4796782
  • 39:57 01:49 Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie – They Dream Of More
    Salero OST, 2016, Erased Tapes Records ERATP091CD
  • 40:23 00:14 Rami Malek – Mind Awake, Body Asleep
    Mr. Robot, 2016
  • 41:32 01:22 The Future Sound of London – Exerting Force or Influence
    Environment Six, 2016, fsoldigital CDTOT 70
  • 41:54 02:14 Andrew Wasylyk – Ghosts of Park Place
    Themes for Buildings and Spaces, 2017, Tape Club Records TAPCLB083
  • 42:43 02:57 Elegi – K-141
    Bånsull, 2017, Dronarivm DR-43
  • 44:43 03:02 DødsmaskinHeksetimen
    Fullstendig Brent, 2017, Malignant Records TumorCD104
  • 45:46 03:22 FM3 – Dui Xiang
    Ting Shuo, 2014, self-released CN-M69-14
  • 48:28 02:13 Scott Walker – Dream Sequence
    The Childhood of a Leader OST, 2016, 4AD CAD3620CD
  • 49:31 00:15 Rami Malek – Mind Awake, Body Asleep
    Mr. Robot, 2016
  • 50:00 03:47 Seabuckthorn – Passage of Old
    I Could See The Smoke, 2016, Lost Tribe Sound LTS-024
  • 53:07 01:50 Fabio Perletta – Ichinen Pt. 1
    Ichinen, 2017, Line LINE_085
  • 53:26 06:33 Olivier Alary – Epilogue
    Fiction – Non-Fiction, 2017, 130701 LP13-24

 

Download Mind Awake, Body Asleep Now 140 Mb (60:00 min.)

[Surround-version (DTS.Wav) here]

Or: Stream in on Mixcloud:

 

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Juha-Matti Rautianen * Bing Satellites * Bethan Kellough

Juha-Matti Rautianen

Juha-Matti Rautianen

JUHA-MATTI RAUTIANEN – THE ENDLESS NOW – MUSIC FOR STAGNATION

Sometimes Art flourishes on imposed restrictions.
Finnish bass-player Juha-Matti Rautianen can tell you all about this: he cut the tip of his right index-finger in an accident on New Year’s Day in 2014. Pretty disastrous for a professional bass-player playing over 15 years on stage and in various bands and various genres.

But Rautianen obviously is a man who doesn’t accept limitations – instead he took up the challenge: composing and performing live ambient music with his primary instrument, using an array of effect pedals.
“My accident gave me the opportunity to examine the aesthetic of focusing on the present – the moment right now. “

“I think the most intriguing music is born when you set limits to yourself” –  I can almost imagine Brian Eno’s smile affirmative here.
The limitation is not only his broken hand, but also the instrument: a bass guitar is not often the instrument of choice for ambient music. “I tried to use my bass guitar as unorthodoxically as possible.”
The result: a refreshingly imaginative, ‘mindful’ album.

But please: do not read this as an invitation to break your fingers or otherwise hurt yourself… It’s better to remember this advice from Eno’s ‘Oblique Strategies“: “Honor thy error as a hidden intention”

Also on Spotify


Bing Satellites

BING SATELLITES – EXTENSIONS OF REALITY

Let’s discuss ‘prolific’…. The artist known as Bing Satellites (real name Brin Colemanhas produced over 61 albums since 2015 under this name – and that’s not counting the releases under different aliases like Blocker, Ghost Harmonics, The Ambient Visitor, The Lovely Moon and probably more.
I can’t say I’m really familiar with all of his work, so Extensions of Reality is a fairly random pick – especially when considering that another eight titles were releases (at time of writing) after this particular one from December 2016.

That said, Extensions of Reality is a fine way to start exploring Bing Satellites‘ catalogue; especially since the download version is a Name Your Price release,
The music on this album is heavily inspired by Brian Eno’s generative music concept, sometimes you even hear fragments reminiscing Fripp & Eno’s heavenly guitar loops. The three king tracks are built from improvised layers, generative loops with slightly different lengths, so the output is different each time: “they interact in ways that could not be foreseen.”

Indeed: think Music for Airports.

So completist collectors: beware!
Think again before you start listening to this album: there may be no way back from checking out many many other releases.
(But then again: most of the Bing Satellites releases are available as a Name-Your-Price download.)



Bethan Kellough - Aven

BETHAN KELLOUGH – AVEN

Touch label release from last year’s august that I missed somehow but still want to recommend to those that missed it too.
Reading Aven‘s liner notes it’s clear that field recordings are the main ingredient here: recordings made in Iceland and South Africa. The impressive rumbling sound of ‘underground geothermal activity escaping to the surface through a small shaft’ gave the album it’s title: such shafts are called ‘Aven’.
But by augmenting the field recordings with various drones and melodic violin passages,  Bethan Kellough transforms the recordings into a symphonic fantasy, imagining entering unknown underground environments.
If you want to hear one example of how environmental field recordings can be turned into a full-featured symphony, try Aven

Bethan Kellough (a.k.a. Bethan Parkes) got the PhD in Sonic Arts in 2015 at the University of Glasgow. She is researching “immersive sound-worlds, spatial aesthetics and the interactions between sonically and visually articulated spaces”,  her music “inhabiting the boundaries between music and sound design”.

Aven is her debut album release – a live recording, recorded in April 2016 in Los Angeles as part of the Touch Conference.

Also on Spotify

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DreamScenes 2017-4

DreamScenes Logo

The April DreamScenes edition features a collection of fine tracks from recent releases – meandering from ambient dreamscapes to abstract expressionism to jazzy modern classical, overtone throat singing suites and distorted choirs…
All in one night’s dream….

Tracklist:

  • 00:00 DreamScenes – Intro (Susanna)
  • 00:48 MayForest – -)(-
    Mayforest, 2017
  • 04:43 Olivier Alary – Epilogue
    Fiction – Non-Fiction, 2017
  • 10:57 Christopher Chaplin – Je Suis Le Ténébreux (Tim Story Remix)
    Deconstructed (Remix EP), 2017
  • 14:50 High Plains – Ten Sleep
    Cinderland, 2017
  • 17:55 Jacaszek – Love
    Kwiaty, 2017
  • 20:11 Tobias Hellkvist – Where No One Can Hear You
    Forest Psalms, 2017
  • 24:28 Olan Mill – Molanret
    Orient, 2017
  • 31:54 Second Woman – 05 ////\
    SW, 2017
  • 35:50 Simon Fisher Turner – Save As
    Giraffe, 2017
  • 36:40 Hauschka – I Can’t Express My Deep Love
    What If, 2017
  • 39:50 Enabl.Ed – To My Daughter
    Tipsy Haux 2.0, 2017
  • 44:17 Lorenzo Masotto – A Tree In The Snow
    Aeolian Processes, 2017
  • 47:30 High Plains – Blood That Ran The Rapids
    Cinderland, 2017
  • 50:46 Phonothek & Cities Last Broadcast – Last Melody
    Red Moon, 2017
  • 55:41 Olan Mill – Alve
    Orient, 2017
  • 58:00 Ocoeur – Crystal
    Touched 3, 2016

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Joshua Sabin * Christian Bouchard * Blessed Initative

Christian Bouchard - Broken Ground

Joshua Sabin - Terminus Drift

JOSHUA SABIN – TERMINUS DRIFT

Terminus Drift is released on the Subtext Recording label, which is also the home of Paul Jebanasam. That’s is no coincidence: both sound artists use the same kind of methods to create their overwhelming and ineluctable soundscapes.
Played at the appropriate level (which means ‘loud’), it feels as if you’re witnessing something larger-than-life..

Jebanasam’s ‘Continuum’ feels as if you’ve become a part of  the Big Bang (especially in a live setting, with visuals by Tarik Barri). But Joshua Sabin‘s focus is the universe close by: he exclusively uses field-recordings captured in transit through Kyoto, Tokyo and Berlin, in addition to electromagnetic field recordings captured in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

“Sirens reverberating through station tunnels, fluctuating harmonics of subway engines, echoing tannoy systems, piercing screams of electromagnetic fields.”

However, this does not mean the sound will be more familiar to you everyday life. It’s a disruptive and unpredictable trip that feels like you’re exploring outer space (or inner space, if you prefer).
Sabin reveals details that you never thought were here, and most of them are not exactly comforting.
So it’s a good thing that the closing track, Eki, ends relatively calm, carefully returning the listener back to where he started.

Also on Spotify


Christian Bouchard - Broken Ground

CHRISTIAN BOUCHARD – BROKEN GROUND

If you just listened to the Joshua Sabin album, I recommend you to keep your seatbelt fastened for this new album on Empreintes Digitales,  home of electroacoustic and acousmatic music, musique concrète, soundscapes, audio art and art sonore. 

Broken Ground was commissioned for the Broken Ground exhibition by Derek Besantthat has been presented on various locations since 2012 (in 2017 in Madrid, in 2018 in Tokyo). The exhibition “looks at seven cities over ten years, and how redevelopment infrastructure changes our perception of cityscapes. The collision of the imaging with Christian Bouchard’s electronic soundtrack builds the exhibition installation into a hypothetical representation of the constant change cities are in over time, and how components leave traces or clues to the ones that might have existed here… Even in destruction, there lies the possibility for beauty and reinterpretation.” 

The relation with cities, cityscapes and redevelopment infrastructure may suggest that the basic material for these soundscapes might be taken from environmental and location recordings. In fact there are no recorded sounds in Broken Ground – all sound sources are electronic. The sound samples were completely dissected and augmented to create a new sound environment to accompany the exhibition completing “a hypothetical representation of the constant change cities are in over time, and how components leave traces or clues to the ones that might have existed here…”.
In 2016, the music was remixed to prepare it for this release.


Christian Bouchard – Resistant Materials


Blessed Initiative

BLESSED INITIATIVE – BLESSED INITIATIVE

The bright white cover pictures a stylish, immaculate white car that is about to be hit by a wave of blue paint. This image, from Josephine Pryde‘s series ‘Relax (blue)’ was chosen ‘as a materialization of tension’.
And tension is what is delivered on this album by electro-acoustic composer Yair Elazar Glotmanfrom the first to the very last minute.
It’s as if a giant unknown creature is trying to break through the ground below your feet (… maybe better use your imagination to conjure your own fitting images).

“Blessed Initiative suggests a dissonant, coexistent state of extreme highs and lows. Opposite states coincide, contrast and reflect, creating moments of uncertainty and insecurity. Absurdity and at times even bliss are possible results.”

Not an album to quietly fall asleep with… but of course it wasn’t intended to do so. These intensely energetic compositions will probably raise your adrenalin level and that can be satisfying in its own special way. But I would definitely discourage listening to this album unprepared.

Also on Spotify

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Michel Banabila + Maarten Vos

Banabila Sound Years

Banabila + Vos

MICHEL BANABILA + MAARTEN VOS – HOME

Michel Banabila‘s musical tree has many roots. Those of you that have checked out his back catalogue (and I hope most regular readers have done), know that it includes experimental electronics, as well as world fusion, jazz, and many productions for theatre, dance, movies and documentaries.
Every branch of his output is interesting in its very own right, but I dare say that his work for theatre and dance productions may often be his most emotionally engaging, as well as the most accessible for audiences not particularly used to ‘experimentalism’.
There’s an impressive list of his work for theatre [here], in case you might know (listing in Dutch).

In the past Banabila  has regularly worked with Conny Janssen for her well-known dance ensemble Conny Janssen DanstFor their 25th anniversary production Home -currently touring the dutch theatres extensively-  she asked him to create the music in collaboration with Maarten Vosand play it live at every performance.

Maarten Vos is a classically trained Dutch cellist.  who also studied Live Electronics. His work combines the two musical areas, merging the two disciplines into a new one. He has collaborated with many other artists such as Julianna Barwick, Greg Haines, Loney Dear, Machinefabriek, The Kyteman Orchestra, and now of course with Banabila. 
Both artists worked together intensely preparing the soundtrack for Conny Janssens’ anniversary production, and their work is captured on this CD which is currently available at the performances. And hopefully – if stock permits – after the tour has ended.

 

Even without attending the dance performance it was written for, it’s an impressive and diverse soundtrack. A golden combo of electronics and cello  (Maarten Vos is a cellist primarily, but with a soft spot for modular electronics too), capable of conjuring a  multitude of emotions with diverse musical styles.

Their music constantly evolves, so it is doubtful that the music on the last performance will be the same as on the first. As mature and complete as the music on this album may sound, the music captured on CD can be seen as a ‘basic draft’, simply because the CD had to be manufactured before the tour started. This means that the music will have evolved further and some of the tracks will have seen many reworks over time.
Banabila and Vos have found a solution for this: after the tour ends, the music will be made available via Bandcamp in different versions: a complete version (containing the full CD version and various reworks), and an ‘additional’ version containing the reworks only (for those that have already bought the CD version at the CJD performances).

All this, of course, is about the music soundtrack only. But if you read this before the tour ends and live anywhere near Holland, I advise to go see one of the performances for the full Conny Janssen Danst experience. (If tickets are still available, that is).
For all others: keep an eye on the Bandcamp page to see when the full edition is released (which will be the first week of may).


Banabila Sound Years

MICHEL BANABILA – SOUND YEARS

Sound Years is a compilation of previously released tracks (with the exception of the previously unreleased opening track Close To The Moon). All are hand-picked by Michel Banabila himself and mixed into two continuous tracks – one for each side of the vinyl album. The selection is taken from various projects: some of them from theatre works, some of the more recent experimental electronic music, an occasional live recording, and a selection of his collaboration works with Oene van Geel and Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek).

The oldest tracks are taken from 2005’s Hilarious Expedition, the newest are from 2016. They are selected to create a continuous uninterrupted flow.
The sound is immediately recognisable as Banabila‘s – especially in his trademark use of ‘alien vocal’ samples (like in E.T. and Vuka Vuka!).
The set is a perfect demonstration of Banabila‘s mastership of creating moods and atmospheres. A soft, warm, comfortable selection that is slightly unnerving and ‘outerworldish’ at the same time.

Sound Years can perhaps be seen as Banabila‘s companion to KLF’s ‘Chill Out’ album: a slow walk through quiet (yet alien) landscapes. Unknown, full of surprises, yet always vaguely familiar.

Banabila has claimed that this could very well be his last physical release before going 100% digital. I wouldn’t take his word for that myself, but if it is, this beautifully packed (transparant vinyl) album (with a striking cover photo by Gerco de Ruijteris a ‘perfect goodbye’ to the vinyl medium.

Purchase of this transparent-vinyl album comes with a download that includes the unreleased Close To The Moon track as a separate bonus track.

DOWNLOAD CODE GIVEAWAY:

The vinyl version of this album is available now (and selling fast), but the digital-only version of this album will be released on March, 21.
Three free advance download codes are available for commenters that answer one of these two questions below:

  • Who would you like to see Banabila collaborate with?
  • Can you take a guess about his favourite fruit?

Entries close sunday february 26!

Winners will be drawn randomly.
Thanks to Michel Banabila for providing these download codes!

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James Murray * Michael Begg * Finglebone

Daubigny - Landscape by Moonlight

Eyes to the Height

JAMES MURRAY – EYES TO THE HEIGHT

James Murray is the label owner of Slowcraft RecordsHe is also the one that created the music of Anne Garner’s bewitching album Be Life, one of my personal favourite albums.

As a solo artists, his albums are always a surprise, because you’ll never know what to expect. Murray is always exploring different styles of electro-acoustic and experimental music: “switching things around when the time feels right.”

Eyes to the Height
, his seventh solo album, is “a ten chapter story reflecting the fragile beauty of life and loss, memory and function.”
It’s labeled ‘modern ambient’, but in fact it rises above a genre tag like that.
With the use of rhythms without losing the ‘ambient’ touch, this album manages to create a delicate balance of ‘pop’ and ‘ambient’ where many others have failed.

There’s a great attention to every detail: in sound production as well as in composition. The album is fully instrumental, but each of the ten pieces feels like a complete “song”.
Wouldn’t it be a nice experiment to create a vocal version of this album using these tracks? There are a lot of albums with instrumental versions of previously vocal tracks, but I’ve never seen that done the other way around.
It’s fun to think about where that would lead to. But let’s be clear: I don’t want to suggest that  something is ‘missing’ on this album. On the contrary!

There are only very few people capable of creating ‘quantum ambient’ music: music that is ambient and isn’t ambient at the same time.

Also on Spotify


A Moon That Lights Itself

MICHAEL BEGG – A MOON THAT LIGHTS ITSELF

In 2016, Michael Begg was commissioned to compose music based around the 19th century painter Charles François Daubignywho is considered an important precursor of Impressionism.
The music was performed in september at the Scotland National Gallery, by Michael Begg accompanied by cellist Clea Friend. After this performance, Begg completed the work in his studio.

A Moon that Lights Itself is dedicated to the work of Daubigny, who painted his nocturnal scenes from his  boat studio. It is conceptually linked to the invention of the phonautographthe earliest known device for recording sound, by Edouard-Lean Scott de Martinville in the same period (years before Edison’s phonograph!). The first ever recording of a human voice was Au Clair De La Lune.

That is a lot of conceptual background information, I know. But it helps to get the feel of this album, its atmospheres, and explains the reason for the ghostly Au Clair De La Lune theme in the track The Birth Of Modernism. 

You can trust Michael Begg to come up with a haunting album that matches this concept in every detail. Overall, the music is dark, like nocturnal music should be. But it’s not a darkness to be afraid of. It’s a darkness to dwell in… just imagine you’re drifting in a boat on a quiet lake, watching the night sky and the moon, and trying to capture that in painting.
Or in music.


Sunlit Plumes of Dust

FINGLEBONE – SUNLIT PLUMES OF DUST

Whitelabrecs (one of Harry Towell’s outlets of experimental electronic/acoustic music) rounds off its first year with this release by Finglebone, aka Adam VarneyAn album crossing the thin lines between folk/post-rock and electronic ambient. Adam’s finger-picking guitar adds a refreshingly bright sound to the imaginary landscapes, creating an “introspective world inhabited by the gosts of memories, the looming spectre of death and the passing of time.”

But it’s not a ‘dark’ album at all: the guitar strings, soundscapes and found sound mix is expressing “melancholy, reverie and the feeling of alienation.”
It’s a very personal album, “loosely based on Adam’s experience caring for his Grandfather during his final weeks. He witnessed how dementia would render him silent, lost in his own mind, but then release him back into reality.”

All but one of the eight tracks are instrumental pieces around 3-4 minutes in length. The exception to this is the 12 minute track Blazing Golden Sun, which features a poem by James E.M. Smith, “Grovely”, describing the local woods where Adam spent many hours as a child.

As usual for Whitelabrecs releases, the physical CDr edition has only 50 copies which will probably be gone soon.  

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Gideon Wolf – Year Zero

Gideon Wolf Slow

Gideon Wolf Year Zero

GIDEON WOLF – YEAR ZERO

The Fluid Audio label has built itself quite  a reputation for their releases: for the quality of the music as well as for their luxury packaging. As a result, most of their releases are sold out before the official release date, on pre-order alone.
Since there was no sign of a digital release, I hadn’t considered a recommendation of the new Gideon Wolf album, since no one would be able to buy the album by the time I wrote about it.
But things changed along the way: a small batch of physical releases popped up unexpectedly (some 25 at the time of writing, so not much left by now I guess), and the release was made available as a digital download on Gideon Wolf‘s Bandcamp page.

Gideon Wolf is the alias of Tristan Shorr, and Year Zero is his 4th album since 2012. It’s a solo album, in a way, but it could not have come to life without the contributions of a small ensemble of artists that played improvisations or ‘incoherent and strange phrases/notes’ that were later reassembled into the resulting pieces.
The music could be labeled ‘neo-classical’, because of its instrumentation: a cello, two violins, a synth. But it’s not the kind of melancholic cinematic music usually connected to this genre tag. The arrangements are much more abstract and adventurous, each track with a different sound balance, exploring different structures and string arrangements. Some are almost ‘classical’ or ‘minimal’, but most of the tracks explore a more ambient or experimental structure.
The closing tracks Noise and Nova introduce the additional vocals of Tristan’s daughter and his ‘partner in life and work Rachel Champion. 

Working the other way around – composing pieces from instantaneous improvisations and a collection of short phrases – has  given this music a refreshing element of surprise. And it’s exactly that element that makes this album stand out among many others.
Thát, ánd the luscious packaging of course.
But I won’t spend too many words on that: you can simply check this page or check the original Fluid Audio release page for details.
The (25) beautiful photo prints included in the package are also included in the download set, which also includes a bonus track (so download it even if you bought physical) and some screensaver images.

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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

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.


Illuminations

ILLUMINATIONS

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 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

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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DreamScenes 2017-1

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Let’s kick off this brand new year of monthly DreamScenes with a selection to tickle your inner eyelids and induce a variety of images:
some movie/series/game soundtrack tracks, a bit of drone, post-classical piano, and some pieces a bit harder to classify.

Tracklist:

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