Introducing “We Stayed The Path The Fell To Shadow” – a new subscription series from Lost Tribe Sound. Also introducing two new releases by Gavin Miller (one of those not included in the subscription series).
Headphone Commute, Ambientblog and Slowcraft Records are proud to present a unique mix by a colleague and partner in crime, Peter van Cooten, of beautiful works from a beautiful couple: James Murray and
Claire M. Singer presents Fairge, for (church) organ, cello and electronics. Ben McElroy plays Songs of Iceland.
Around december 2007, I made a mix from Soccer Commitee’s music and music from Machinefabriek.
This mix is never published here before, because it was made for the dutch NPS-Folio radio show broadcast.
I don’t usually post the Folio broadcasts here, but it’s time to make an exception to that rule: a recent social media post about the beauty of Soccer Committee’s album sC made me decide it was time to dust off the 2007 mix and publish it again.
Because it’s still as powerful now as it was back then, almost 10 years ago.
Music that can best be stored under ‘unclassifiable’:
‘Settlers’ by Western Skies Motel, Andrew Tuttle’s ‘Fantasy League’, ‘Above’ by Star Pillow and the soundtrack from ‘Skörheten’ by Jakob Lindhagen.
There is beauty in darkness – and there is often darkness in beauty.
Both are present in these releases from James Murray, Offthesky, Mute Forest and Ugasanie (ordered by increasing darkness)
It’s probably best to keep awake and try not to fall asleep to the dreamy ambience of this month’s DreamScenes selection.
Because if you do, you’ll miss the rather weird operatic intermissions by We Like We and the timeless deconstruction of Irish Airs by Fovea Hex.
And the very special – and possibly somewhat unexpeced – track from Efrén Lopéz, of which the chours is the cry of alarm that the Cathars used in the 12th century:
In March 2013 and the months following, Benoit Pioulard (Thomas Meluch) caused quite a stir with “Hymnal“, his fourth release for the Kranky label. Inspired by ‘the ubiquity of religious iconography and grandiose cathedrals’ he had encountered throughout a year spent in southeastern England and on the European mainland, he presented a unique mix of hazy psych-folk songs and ambient instrumental tracks, with the aid of labelmates Felix (Lucinda Chua and Chris Summerlin) and Kyle Bobby Dunn.
Grouper (Liz Harris) is quite “Hot”.
And with that, I am not referring to the fact that she is female, which obviously is a rare feat in the male dominated world of ambient music (listeners, as well as musicians).
She’s ‘hot’ because she manages to appeal to a (relatively) large audience by merging different backgrounds, combining sleepy bedroom folk with laptop lo-fi and electronic minimalism.
Her recent performance (in my hometown) sold out quicky and raised a relatively fair amount of buzz. In her performance she did not touch any guitar, did not sing any tune – she just shuffled and mixed some cassette-tape recordings into an uncompromisingly minimal, William Basinski-like set of “Sleep” (from “Violet Replacement“).
Looking around and watching a silent (!) crowd (of about 150) listening to this slowly deteriorating piece, most of them with eyes closed, I could not help but wonder why I did not see most of these people at other ambient music performances.
Two days earlier I enjoyed a brilliant performance of Machinefabriek, Celer and Kleefstra-Bakker-Kleefstra – with only some 20 other people in the audience. Which was a shame, because this deserved to be heard by a lot more – I realised that most of this Grouper audience definitely would have enjoyed that performance too!
Most of Grouper’s previous recordings are not as minimal as this performance of “Sleep”. The fact that she’s crossing over from hazy bedroom electronics may very well be the reason why she guides her audience into the deep and sleepy realms of minimalist ambient music. Almost unnoticed..
Until yesterday, I had some doubts about reviewing “Foreign Body”, a new release by Mirrorring (a duo featuring Liz ‘Grouper’ Harris and Jesy ‘Tiny Vipers’ Fortino (these two names together should obviously raise attention), because it’s not an ‘ambient’ album as most on this blog.
But with these thoughts about the recent Grouper performance in mind, I decided this album was well worth the attention, because it will probably appeal to a lot of ambient music listeners, too.
So – how’s that for a lengthy introduction?
The music that is presented on “Here Is Where We Used To Sing” is not the kind of music usually presented here on Ambientblog.
But ever since their impressive debut release “Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent” I have a weakness for all things Fovea Hex.
Apart from that, they are closely connected to the ambient music scene because of the musicians involved in the project, and expecially for the extremely mininal drone remixes that come with the special editions of their albums.
*AR is the “collective pseudonym” of Autumn Richardson & Richard Skelton, and “Wolf Notes” is their first abum together.
But *AR is also “an archaic place-name element found in river names. (…) It is thought to mean ‘starting up, springing up, setting in motion’ “.
A further quote from the liner notes explains what this music is about:
It “is inspired by the landscape of Ulpha – a region of spare, rugged beauty in the west uplands of Cumbria, in Northern England. Wolf Notes derives its title from the word ulpha itself, while it is understood to mean ‘the hill frequented by wolves’.”
It must be something in the water or in the air over there in Portland, Oregon, resulting in a lot of remarkable music lately. Such as Bridge Carols, by Laura Gibson and Ethan Rose.
It’s labelled as “electro-pastoral music” and I really couldn’t think of a better description myself.
It’s not very often that I hear a new album that gives me the feeling it is exploring completely new territories by tearing down the limitations of existing styles and influences. Bridge Carols did exactly that. It got under my skin from the very first listen and felt like a mystery to be explored.
Peter Broderick is not afraid to try out some new directions. With his music (ranging from minimal electronics via minimalism to new-folk), as well as with the ways to distribute them.
Some of his records were released on fairly wellknown labels as Type and Kning, or on lesser known labels as Slaapwel Records and Fang Bomb. But also on cassettes, freely available mixtapes, and now even using Flickr (the web 2.0 photo sharing site).
As far as I know, he’s the very first artist creating a ‘Flickr Album‘ this way.
‘Opposites attract’. That’s quite appropriate when talking about Machinefabriek and Soccer Committee working together.
Their music seems quite incompatible at first: intimate acoustic folk vs. gritty electronics.
But Mariska Baars (Soccer Committee) and Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek) have been playing together more often in the past.
It’s hard to tell what it is exactly that touches me everytime I hear the songs of The Innocence Mission. Is it the pureness (innocence?) of singer-songwriter Karen’s voice, reminding me of early 10.000 Maniacs? (This connection is no coincidence: Karen and Don Peris contributed to Natalie Merchant’s Ophelia).
Is it the open, seemingly simple, acoustic arrangements played by Don Peris on guitar and Mike Bitts on bass?
Is it the combination? Does it matter, anyway?
What really matters is that The Innocence Mission released at least TEN records, and that none of these gained any serious attention in Europe. Please, notice them! You can start with ‘We Walked in Song’ and work backwards from there…