site info


Teruyuki Nobuchika * TamTam * Rhucle/Silentwave

Teruyuki Nobuchika

Teruyuki Nobuchika

TERUYUKI NOBUCHIKA – STILL AIR

The third album by Japanese electronic musician and soundtrack composer Teruyuki Nobuchika is released on the Oktaf label.
As a sound designer and composer for a multitude of (Japanese) TV dramas and movie soundtracks, he’s experienced in creating different moods and atmospheres in relatively short tracks.
His skills are convincingly displayed on this multi-faceted album, featuring “electronic abstractions and classic sensitivity influences in a minimal ambient music context”.

With eight tracks and a total playing time of just under 28 minutes, the only downside I can think of is that it is much too short. No doubt there must be much more where this came from!

Also on Spotify


TamTam Urban Dialog

TAMTAM – URBAN DIALOG

If your association with ‘Field Recordings’ and ‘Environmental Music’ is that it are recordings from the environment presented in the most authentic way possible, preferrably without alteration of any kind, then this 50 minute soundscape is an obligatory listen. And doing so is without financial risk, since it’s a Name Your Pice download.

TamTam is a Berlin duo of sound artists Sam Auinger  (electronics, field recordings) and Hannes Strobl  (electric bass, field recordings).
‘Sonic thinkers’, whose music is situated at the exact spot “where the sound environment becomes the instrument, and the instrument becomes the sound environment.”

The environmental sound recordings are taken from different urban situations, restructured and merged with a set of bass sounds and playing techniques.
“The piece is considered finished at the moment it can be performed in one take”.

Urban Dialog is an environmental symphony, a soundscape where there is no difference between music and sound. It simply is both at the same time.
The hectic soundscapes of everyday city life are transformed into an pleasurable urban symphony.


Night Life

RHUCLE & SILENTWAVE – NIGHT LIFE

Yet another enchanting beauty on Chihei Hatakeyama’s White Paddy Mountain label is this split from Rhucle and Silentwave.

Rhucle (from Tokyo, further details unknown) delivers five relatively short tracks that feel like a garden walk in the early morning – uplifting and bright music with titles like Tipsy, Leisure Time, Ice Lolly and Warm Rug.

The album closes with a 20 minute drone track by Silentwave (Nogushi Yoshinori from Yokahama, Japan). An improvisation aptly called Night Wave, which is considerably darker -by design- but still a very comfortable way to spend the night.

Tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

site info


Jonty Harrison; Sound Meccano + Jura Laiva; Chris Watson

Flow Moss Northumberland

Jonty Harrison - Voyages

JONTY HARRISON – VOYAGES
If ‘music is organised sound’, then this new album by Jonty Harrison is far more than a collection of seemingly unrelated field-recordings. It is a composition (or two, actually) in its own right, created by selecting sounds from a variety of locations, spaces, places, scenes and vistas ‘which we may or may not have experienced, but which we somehow recognise’.

The first piece of this acousmatic electroacoustic collection, Espaces Cachés, is a 14 minute ambisonic trip created from the original 30-track commission from Maison des Arts Sonores.
The second piece, called Going / Places is a one hour journey divided into 23 parts. The recordings come from all over the world and are often combined in such a way that they could never have existed on one location simultaneously.

The scenes, ‘one implying imminent motion, the other more restful and tranquil’, take you all over the world – unpredictably jumping between Europe, Iceland, Australia, North America, North Africa and parts of Asia.

“Sounds reach us as they would in everyday life, as if we were ‘there’: from multiple locations in different positions and at different heights and distances. In this sense we are closer to reality; but even the bounds of reality can be stretched by the agencies of motion and memory — unreality, surreality and hyper-reality are but steps along the route that can be taken by the imagination…”

Save yourself an expensive holiday this year: buy this album, put on a quality headphone, close your eyes – and let professor Jonty Harrison guide you to some unexpected corners.



JONTY HARRISON – ESPACES CACHÉS


Sound Meccano + Jura Laiva

SOUND MECCANO + JURA LAIVA – SIRELI AIG
Continuing the excellent Corollaries series – compiling works resulting from the Active Crossover: Mooste residency (Estonia) curated by Simon Whethampart IV introduces Sound Meccano (Latvia-based Rostislav Rekuta-Dzhordzhevich) collaborating with Jura Laiva (Jurii Santalov, also from Latvia).
All of the Corollaries recordings rely heavily on the environmental recordings of the location, which are often stunningly realistic, and Sireli Aig is no exception.
Adding Jura Laiva‘s guitar drones and glitchesand Mirva Tarvainen‘s double bass and occasional vocals to Sound Meccano‘s field recordings, electronics and sound processing brings a whole new dimension, resulting in impressive soundscapes that are ‘environmental’ as well as ‘musical’.
A fresh taste of the northern hemisphere, available as a Name Your Price download.


Flow Moss Northumberland

CHRIS WATSON – DAWN CHORUS
While on the subject of field recording: if you’re interested in the bright and lively sounds of nature you might as well check out this free download of Chris Watson – the unsurpassed master of environmental recording.

Not only does he record his material in unexpected locations, the page on which these files can be found is a bit of a surprise too: it’s a blog post on the Bowers & Wilkins site dedicated to their speakers and headphones.
(Which undoubtedly are perfect companions to these binaural recordings, by the way – but don’t worry, this is not gonna be a sponsor-driven blogin the future. It’s really just a coincidence that I found these files offered here).

Two incredibly realistic – and refreshing – recordings, from Northumberland and Suffolk respectively, are offered for free as  high-quality WAV files.
And that’s not all: the download also includes a Dawn Chorus remix by Richard Norris.
The recordings were made and offered on occasion of the International Dawn Chorus Day (May 1).



RICHARD NORRIS – DAWN CHORUS

Tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

site info


Tetherdown; Cyril Secq/Orla Wren; Gamardah Fungus; Luke Howard;

Gamardah Fungus

Tetherdown - First Flight

TETHERDOWN – FIRST FLIGHT
Tetherdown is a new trio formed by Anne Garner, James Murray and Mark Beazley (Rothko), and this is their … ehhh … First Flight.

Anne and James created one of my favourite albums from 2015, so I was somewhat surprised to hear them taking quite a different direction with Tetherdown. Not very different, though: it’s just that First Flight contains no ‘vocal songs’ like Be Life, but there’s the same subtle, dreamy treatment of sounds… Four pieces – each around the 10 minute mark – of unprepared improvisations that “emerged unforcedly in a single setting and is presented here exactly as played without edits of overdubs.”

In a way, the interplay of Mark (electric bass), James (processed guitars) and Anne (Flute, Keyboards and vocals) remind me of the very early ‘Cosmic’ improvisations of Tangerine Dream (Zeit and Atem era) – though that comparision clearly fails when you listen to them both. (I don’t really know why – I guess it’s the use of the flute and some of the guitar sounds that triggered my memories).

It’s a true Flight indeed… and if this is what this trio is capable of producing without preparations or expectations, I really hope that more of these flights will follow!

Also on Spotify


Branches

CYRIL SECQ / ORLA WREN – BRANCHES
Strikingly bright recordings of acoustic strings played by Cyril Secq (member of Astrïd), backed by subtle electro-acoustic processings by Orla Wren (Tui). That is the setting of this unique setting: “a duet between acoustic strings and processing, field recordings, edits and organic arrangements. The tunes woven together and untwine again as branches shaken by the wind”.

Cyril Secq‘s guitar parts were recorded earlier, for a solo project that was never released. Orla Wren took them as a starting point for his processed electronics which remain modest and calm, strictly serving the purpose of the bright atmosphere of the guitar pieces.
Although they never played together in real life, the music sounds as if they are really interacting with each other.
Refreshingly different!

Also on Spotify


Gamardah Fungus

GAMARDAH FUNGUS – HERBS AND POTIONS
Artemisia, Bryophyta, Beladonna, Mandragora, Hypericum“each track is named for a herb which can both heal and harm”.

Ukrainian duo Gamardah Fungus (sound designer Igor Yalivec and guitarist Segey Yagoda) delve deep into their grandparents’ folkore and wisdom of herbal healing practices to find the inspiration for this soothing (I almost wrote ‘healing’, but I guess that’s a word better avoided) album:

“Using herbal concoctions our grandfathers were able to treat any disease and even bring up a dying man on its feet. Also, they were able to do the opposite – bring anyone to dementia, injury or another disease.”
Listening to the peaceful improvisations, there’s no need to fear for the latter. After all, the duo’s name Gamardah Fungus “refers to a substance made according to ancient recipes of natural herbs and minerals to help you open your mind to the universe. Not a drug, but an elixir of wisdom.”

Maybe because they’re from Ukraïne (with, in Igor’s own words, “an experimental music scene that is still poorly understoond and remains something unusual for the most listeners over the world”), or maybe it’s the setting of the guitar improvisations with the field recordings background, but their music sure has a unusal pleasing atmosphere.


Luke Howard - Forgotten Postcards

LUKE HOWARD – FORGOTTEN POSTCARDS
Luke Howard is a composer/pianist from Melbourne, Australia, whose debut solo album ‘Sun, Cloud’ was nominated for the 2013 Australian Music Prize that year.
Forgotten Postcards is his fifth solo album.
The opening track, Homeless,  and the closing title Shift are noteworthy for the way he transposes short repetitive themes using the full range of the keyboard. From the lower register to the upper, and back again, and before you realise it the slightly melancholic theme has anchored itself in your subconscious.
It is the perfect soundtrack for shifting through a box of forgotten postcards, which will bring back forgotten memories.
I guess it will also do so even if you do not have a box of forgotten postcards yourself.

Also on Spotify

Tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

site info


France Jobin; Nils Quak; Vlad Nedelin; No Mask Effect

No Mask Effect

Singulum

FRANCE JOBIN – SINGULUM
France Jobin (Montreal, Canada) is a sound artist whose work reveals ‘a minimalist approach to complex sound environments where analog and digital intersect.’
Her latest release on Line is a collection of four  ‘sound sculptures’ recorded using the Serge and the Buchla 200 modular synthesizers as well as the Nord Modular. Subtle, non-intrusive pieces you’re hardly aware of, but with a lot of details to be discovered if you listen carefully.

“I put field recordings through a series of editing and manipulation processes which result in very different sounds from their origins. These manipulations affect time, timbre, harmonics and the essence of each sound, whereas composition influences how they relate to each other.” 

Singulum represents an unattainable goal, the process of decay while conserving a continuation of information.”



FRANCE JOBIN – M


Ad Interim

NILS QUAK – AD INTERIM / IN GIRUM IMUS….
Two cassette releases from Nils Quak that (luckily) are also available as a download:
Ad Interim has a ‘introspective, relaxed kind of vibe – not unlike staring in your TV’s static for approximately six hours’ (this description comes from Nils Quak himself).

In Girum Imus Nocte et Consumimur Igni (‘We are lost in the night and consumed by fire’) is a collection of modular synth pieces that – again in his own words – is “like this wonderful acid trip that turns into your personal nightmare: abrasive, disjointed, noisy. The perfect soundtrack for your romantic dinner.”
Personally, I have some slight doubts about that last statement…


Vlad Nedelin Postante

VLAD NEDELIN – POSTANTE
Jazz drummer and composer Vlad Nedelin was born in the Soviet Union, has lived in Israel, and is currently residing in Stockholm, Sweden.
This is his first fully electronic album, and an impressive debut it is, too!
Nine tracks, seamlessly sequenced, drawing influences from ambient, industrial and musique concrête. Soundscapes with an adventurous ‘sci-fi’ touch, reminiscent of that of Biosphere, but with a somewhat sharper edge.



VLAD NEDELIN – AN ISLE


No Mask Effect

NO MASK EFFECT – QUICK SMART
After many years of running a label (Psychonavigationand listening to hundreds of demos, Keith Downey decided it was time to release some of his own music.
His main inspiration for this album was (again) Geir ‘Biosphere’ Jensen’s music – most clearly so in Grass that could’ve been taken directly from Jensen’s Cho Oyu album.

There’s an important role for everyday environmental sounds: ‘the sounds that we all encounter on a daily basis, be it the sound of traffic, people’s conversations at a local market, the sound of someone cutting the grass perhaps or even just the lovely sounds of birds singing in the trees, basically anything or everything you might experience from taking a walk around any town or city.”

Strip away the radio signal sounds from the opening track, Downtown, leaving just the synth pads and bird sounds, and you may experience the same feeling of summer heat as on Wendy/Walter Carlos’  landmark album Sonic Seasonings (from 1972).

Enough references to classic ambient material, but it’s also a very personal vision of what makes (environmental-)ambient so interesting to listen to. Or not listen to.
Also on Spotify

Tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

site info


Ebauche; Todd Tobias; Arash Akbari; Darren McClure & Jose Soberanes

Vanishing Point

ebauche - adrift

EBAUCHE – ADRIFT
Alex Leonard (Ebauche) used to live in Dublin, Ireland,  but is currently based in Zakopane, Poland. So when he uses field recording to colour his soundscapes his obvious choices are the northern coastline of Ireland and the forest of the Carpathian mountains in Poland. But Adrift also contains locations recordings from the Kirirom national park and the ancient temples of the Angkor WatCambodia.
The result is a lush journey, covering half the globe.
“Lush drones underpin layers of intricate details, a minutiae of sonic touches which rise to the surface and drift away again, moving the listener through the soundscape in an almost hypnotic way.”


Tristes TropiquesTODD TOBIAS – TRISTES TROPIQUES
For Tristes Tropiques (‘Sad Tropics’), Todd Tobias “sought to evoke far-fung places where indigenous cultures have either vanished or are in the process of being swallowed up by an ever-expanding global civilization”.
The inspiration for this album (as well as its title) comes from the 1955 book by french anthropologist Claude Levi Strauss.
Do not expect to hear tropical field recordings and ambient drones here: these are atmospheric, melancholic, instrumental sound-paintings with “a luxuriant yet downcast tone”.
Todd Tobias
is a multi-instrumentalist and producer known for his production work for Guided by Voices and collaborating with Robert Pollard. This is his fourth solo-recording.
release date: june 9, 2015! 



TODD TOBIAS – MARAYOOR


Vanishing PointARASH AKBARI – VANISHING POINT
This is my first acquantaince with Arash Akbari (from Iran), and it’s a surprise to find out that this is already his fourth soloalbum.
Listening to the album it’s immediately clear that this is not Akbari’s first exercise in the field of ambient music: its sound is mature an very well balanced.
Graced with a beautiful cover painting, this album “nestles into inbetween places, revelling in the indistinct, the delicate and the mysterious.”
Akbari’s guitar and electronics merge perfectly with the (hardly perceptible) background of Iranian field recordings, but this does not mean this album pinpoints itself geographically: its sound is definitely global.
“This is a late night album, an album which soothes, a set of sounds to think to.”


Shelter

DARREN McCLURE & JOSE SOBERANES – SHELTER
Speaking about ‘global’: this collaboration between Darren McClure (living in Japan) and  Jose Soberanes (Mexico) is released on the Éter label, based in Colombia. In these six soundscapes field recordings – particularly birdsong – play a more prominent part, used as extra instruments. But the music and effects add to the ‘enhanced’ reality of these varied soundscapes.

Tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

site info


Forrest Fang; New Composers; Caught in the Wake Forever; Marsen Jules; Lucas Alvarado

The Places Where I Worship You

Letters to the Farthest StarFORREST FANG – LETTERS TO THE FARTHEST STAR
With over 90 minutes (including the three bonus tracks), this is an exceptionally long album release. But Forrest Fang  brings a lot of musical history, and combines a lot of different background influences into the Fourth World music of his 13th release. It almost feels like a trip around the world, even more because “Fang’s sound is anchored by an Asian sensibility that reflects his fondness for stringed and percussion instrument from China, Indonesia and Turkey.”
Besides creating electronic music, Fang studied violin and classical composition, but also Chinese classical music on the gu-zheng (zither), Balinese Gamelan and gagaku (Japanese court music). He manages to melt the ‘exotic musical influences of his past and present’ it together into a very fresh and personal style that defies simple genre definitions. A style that has power to appeal to many many listeners!



FORREST FANG – THE UNREACHABLE LANDS: IV. HERMITAGE


Boring Music

NEW COMPOSERS – BORING MUSIC
There is of course a fair amount of self-irony in the album title, ánd in the groups name: the New Composers aren’t exactly new composers: the conceptual, St. Petersburg-based, duo has been creating music since the early 90’s (some of it on the Fax label) and have worked with a remarkable array of artists – with Brian Eno and Pete Namlook among them.
Their latest release “Boring Music” is presented as Psychonavigation Records 100th release (according to the releasenumbers: this one is PSY100). Stylistically it’s a trip through the history of electronic music seems to encompass all sorts of ambient electronic music with obvious references to the fertile krautrock area.
For those that cannot wait to delve into the group’s history: a remastered re-release of Smart” –  originally released in 1999, featuring contributions by Brian Eno on 4 of the 8 tracks) is scheduled to be released on June, 12, 2015.
 


Also on Spotify


The Places Where I Worship YouCAUGHT IN THE WAKE FOREVER – THE PLACES WHERE I WORSHIP YOU
Packed in a beautiful embossed cover, ‘old-book cover style,  Caught in the Wake Forever (Fraser McGowan) presents six ambient tracks inspired by the intense calm of the Isle of Arran, Scotland. They were created using environmental recordings of the island and old 78rpm recordings bought in a charity shop at the ferry port. The album is beautifully mastered by Porya Hatami. 
“I felt a better person in this environment. When I arrived home I spent the next 6 months trying to ccreate an aural document of my experience.”
As a result, this album clearly transcends the islands atmosphere. It may be a personal document for Fraser McGowan to help him remember the time “being away from the general pace of modern life”, but it may also inspire others to visit Arran for the same reason.

Also on Spotify


Empire of Silence

MARSEN JULES – THE EMPIRE OF SILENCE
A relatively short time has passed since the release of his “Sinfonietta last december. In february the remarkable 24 hour (!!) USB-drive re-release of The Endless Change of Colourfilled the gap – and now a new full album is released, exactly 10 years after this debut release “Herbstlaub”.
It’s “a soundtrack to the epic power and beauty of nordic snow and ice-landscapes”, pictured in “elegiac, warm and romantic symphonic string-sounds”.
The eight track titles refer to different Inuit words for Snow, and it’s inspiring to know their poetic meaning: “Tlaslo” (snow that falls slowly), “Kayi” (drifting snow), “Skrinya” (snow that never touches the ground), “Naklin” (forgotton snow), and not forgetting “Chathalin” (snow that makes a sizzling sound as it falls on water).
I needed some time to get accustomed to this album: at first I thought the eight tracks were sounding rather same-ish. Being an eight track album, I probably expected some more variety in the sound of the different tracks. But ‘expecting variety’ is a strange statement from someone like me, also thoroughly enjoying a 24-hour version of a single track… It’s like I had to learn to see the subtle differences in the snow (it’s not all just ‘white’).
So I listened to this album as if it was one single composition split in different parts – each of which depicts a different kind of snow. That’s when The Empire of Silenceopened up for me.
If you order the album directly from Bandcamp, the download version also includes the 45 minute bonus track “Astrila”!

Also on Spotify


Lo Inconcluso Invisible

LUCAS ALVARADO – LO INCONCLUSO INVISIBLE
A soundscape in two parts, commissioned by the Tsonami Festival in Valparaiso, Chile, in december 2014, and based on sounds that are recorded in the same city. Starting with lively recordings of church bells ringing, then leaving the church to explore the surrounding city, the environment seems quite hectic and busy at first, but gradually gets calmer in the second part – “El recuerdo de lo impermanente” (“the memory of the impermanent”).
Concluding the Valparaiso Tour at the place where we started, is a piece of church organ music performed by Rodrigo Quinteros.
This piece is not simply a piece of merged environmental sounds – it is a form of program music, telling a story using sonic elements that usually “remained invisible, forgotten and abandoned by the individual in its daily transit.”

Tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

site info


John Kannenberg – Cordolium

Cordolium

John Kannenberg is an artist creating “quietly reflective work in image, sound, words, and performance that blurs the boundaries between intention and accident.”

“My work as both a sonic and visual artist is focussed on breating atmospheres conducive to meditative thought. While using elements of repetition, reduction, combination and transformation, the images and sound I present are rooted in an atmosphere of calm.”

His sound material often uses found sounds and environmental recording, but they are always used and transformed in such ways that they become “devoid of any direct references or overt meanings.”
“The pieces I create are designed to assist their audience in turning their attention inward by contemplating their own relationships to the piece’s content.”

Kannenberg’s discography/list of recorded works is quite impressive (and contains quite a few works that are freely downloadable, by the way), but if you’re unsure where to begin Cordolium” is a good starting point!

Cordolium”   literally:  ‘Heartfelt grief’: from cor (heart) + dolor (pain, sorrow) –  is a (digital download only) album presenting seven “Laments for the heart in flux”.
The basic material comes from field-recordings from all over the world but they are edited and processed in such a way that the track become true compositions: “Audio poems of love, loss, longing and heartache in all its forms”.

Included with the download is a collection of photographs that are not specifically collected for their aesthetic beauty, but to add “another layer to the stories embedded within the sounds”.

Tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

site info


Kate Carr – Fabulations

Fabulations

There are many different kind of Field Recordings. Often, environmental recordings are used to enhance or manipulate the (background) atmosphere of musical compositions. At other moments, the goal is recording the sound of a particular environment as detailed as possible to reproduce it ‘as it is’.  Also some collages of field recordings that become a musical composition in itself, thus creating a world that only exists in the imagination of the listener.

Kate Carr has been recording and publishing ‘environmental music’ since 2010. Or, to be more exact: from 2010 she has been “investigating the intersections between sound, environmentalism and technology both as an artist and a curator.”

“I use sound to interrogate the ways we come to understand, cherish and mark special places whether these be sites of important memories, or everyday places which soothe. I’m interested in the ways we get lost in places physically and emotionally and the ways we find our way again.”

Apart from that, she was also founder of the Flaming Pines label, “one of the leading proponents of experimental/ambient music centred on an exploration of place.”

Kate Carr‘s new album Fabulations, however, is not released on “Flaming Pines”, but on the “Soft Recordings” label, a French label run by David Teboul (aka Linear Bells).

Impeccably mastered (as always) by Taylor Deupree, this album takes you on a journey to unexpected and nonexistent places.
“A soundtrack for made up stories set in out of the way places”, for which the basic sound recordings were made in Marseille, Nice, Cefalu, Catania, Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dungun and Barcelona.

Some atmospheric instrumental layers are added, but the environmental recordings are nót the background for those instrumental parts – it’s the other way around: the environmental soundscape is the composition at the centre of attention – the musical parts are added to the background to enhance their impact.

Creating her narrative environmental soundscapes this way, Kate Carr takes the concept of environmental soundscapes to a whole different level.

At the end of every year,  everyone remotely involved with music seems to be obsessed with creating all kinds of ‘end-of-year’ lists. Releasing an album in the very last week of the year means it’ll probably fall through the cracks of those lists: too late for the 2014 list, and to early for next year’s. I have no doubt that Fabulationswould’ve been included in many lists if it had been released earlier.
But now that it hasn’t: just forget about your lists and start listening again.

Tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.