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Various Artists: We Stayed The Path … * Gavin Miller

Meander Scars

VARIOUS ARTISTS – WE STAYED THE PATH THAT FELL TO SHADOW / WE STAYED THE PATH… (SUBSCRIPTION SERIES)

We Stayed The Path That Fell To Shadow is a Lost Tribe Sound compilation album, a benefit album supporting environmental and mental health charities:  We hold the belief that as our surroundings improve so does our mental health.” It also marks the start of a new subscription series with the same name which will run until the summer of 2019.

As a compilation album, We Stayed The Path… is a perfect introduction to the sound of the Lost Tribe Sound label. A unique sound, merging the use of (mostly) acoustic instruments into a hard-to-define style – experimental yet also firmly rooted in (folk) music tradition. “A rustic, brooding mix of classical, folk and otherwise indescribable sound.”

Some of the artists are new to the LTS roster, like The Phonometrician, Gavin Miller and Spheruleus (Harry Towell). Others were presented by the label before: Alder & Ash, William Ryan Fritch, KJ, The Green Kingdom, Mute Forest, From The Mouth Of The Sun, Seabuckthorn and more.
Each of these artist have their very own style and approach, yet it is remarkable how their choices come together in a clearly recognisable and unique Lost Tribe Sound trademark.

We Stayed The Path… kicks off the subscription series of the same name. If you want to hear a good introduction to the sound of the Lost Tribe Sound artists this is a very good start – especially since you’re also supporting a fine cause!

The full subscription series will include seven titles: four of them on CD (the compilation album, Gavin Miller‘s Meander Scars (2CD) , William Ryan Fritch’s Music for Film Vol. I & II (also 2CD’s) and The Phonometrician), and the other four on Vinyl (Spheruleus, 2 titles by Skyphone and again the Phonometrician album). Because the Phonometrician album is included in CD as well as Vinyl, the download option has seven titles, not eight.

So beware and note: the CD and Vinyl versions are nót the same; they contain different titles (only the Phonometrician album is released on both). If you want the complete series you will have to sign up for the CD+Vinyl package, or choose the digital download edition. Be sure to check the series website for further details.

To subscribe to a series of releases requires dedication and faith in a label’s quality selection. Those who follow the Lost Tribe Sound label, and especially subscribers to their earlier Prelude To The Decline series will probably know what to expect. But for those still in doubt (even after listening to the above compilation), there’s an introduction with example tracks  from the albums that will be released. This introduction sampler cannot be bought or downloaded: it is a is a streaming-only ‘teaser’ for the series.

And if, after hearing this, you still do not want to commit yourself to the full series, it’s good to know that the releases may also be available separately. But it’s a risk: only if copies are left, and you’ll miss the subscription discount.


Meander Scars

GAVIN MILLER – MEANDER SCARS

Together with the compilation, Meander Scars is the first release in the We Stayed The Path… series. Gavin Miller is known as one half of the duo Worriedaboutsatan. He also curates the This Is It Forever label.

Meander Scars are geological features that are “formed  by the remnants of winding or meandering water channels. They are caused by the varying velocities of current within the river channel. Due to higher velocity current on the outer banks of the river through the bend, more erosion occurs causing the characteristic steep outer slopes.” 

Meander Scars is a more ‘acoustic’ album than usual for Gavin Miller.
On the four parts of Upper Course, Miller teams up with cellist Aaron Martin. The second half of the album presents  Lower Course: different renditions of the same pieces but without Aaron Martin. All tracks are relatively long (8-10 minutes) and take their time to unfold and create a beautiful, almost unreal atmosphere.

“The long-form compositions were constructed from a series of slow churning rhythmic guitar loops, warm noise, soft synths and distant choirs which build over time into colliding patterns of pastoral bliss. The restraint used to give the listener just the right amount of interest and to keep the music’s progression moving forward is perhaps Gavin’s greatest accomplishment”


Shimmer

GAVIN MILLER – SHIMMER

While mentioning Gavin Miller‘s music, it’s also very much worth mentioning his recent (september) release Shimmer.
It is released on ’boutique’ record label Sound In Silence, from Athens, Greece. Which means the hand-made limited (150) edition is packed in hand-stamped cardboard envelope with a polaroid style photo attached to the front.

The photo perfectly captures the mood of the album, a short, shimmering 23 minute instrumental piece in six parts.
“Dreamy soundscapes and soothing atmospheres, blending gentle strumming guitar melodies, eerie synths, sparse bass lines, dark piano chords, hazy background drones, cinematic strings and indistinct vocal samples.” 

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James & Anne (Mix)

Anne & James - Eyes

The inspiration for this mix came after attending separate performances of James Murray and Anne Garner.
The music they perform is quite different: James exploring various kinds of abstract experimental electronic soundscapes, Anne performing her poetic emotional songs blending jazz, alternative pop, folk,  spectral lullabies and tender neo-classical arrangements.
As different as their output may be, it still fits together very well – which is no real surprise knowing that Anne & James are a couple living together, and James produces and contributes towards  Anne’s music.
I wanted to find out how it would work out when mixing some tracks from their past and recent albums together.
And I found out it works very well, as you can hear yourself in this mix. It also shows that, if the ingredients match, 0ne plus one can be much more than two!

James & Anne H_C cover

A collaboration of forces between three separate entities, 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 Anne Garner, culminating a selection of compositions they released individually, as well as together under various project names. Peter then carefully compiled these pieces together into a gorgeous journey of ambiance and voice, and now, along with the appearance on the Podcast, we are honoured to offer this little gem to you as a digital download (lossless, of course) via the new entry of Headphone Commute Presents on our Bandcamp! Whew!
Headphone Commute

 

Tracklist

This mix is published as  part of the “Headphone Commute Presents…” series.
A High Quality WAV version of this mix can be downloaded from the HeadPhone Commute Bandcamp page

 


JAMES & ANNE (Peter van Cooten Mix)

Buy the lossless (WAV) version of James & Anne (Mix) now

Or:
Stream it from Mixcloud:

 

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Claire M. Singer * Ben McElroy

Songs Of Iceland

Fairge

CLAIRE M. SINGER – FAIRGE  Also on Spotify

Fairge (meaning ‘ocean’ or ‘sea’ in Scottish Gaelic) is a 21 minute composition for organ, cello and electronics written and performed by Claire M. Singer.
The piece is commissioned by the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam (the city’s oldest building, now a museum), and was written especially for its remarkable Ahrend and Brunzema organ. “As every organ is unique, the piece will differ on other organs but that’s what makes writing and working with the organ so fascinating.”

Fairge builds up slowly, starting from the sounds of the breathing organ pipes, then introducing an almost shy cello accompaniment gradually gaining confidence and moving to the foreground. Getting stronger and louder (like ocean waves in a storm) – a massive and impermeable sound dominated by the sound of the church organ – ‘a lush harmonic backdrop against the harmonics and melody of the haunting cello’.
The sound of a church organ in full power can make man feel humble and small, and so does this ‘expansive soundscape full of intricate textures, rich overtones and powerful swells.’

The wind through the pipes of this organ can be precisely controlled using mechanical stop action. When the piece ends – the ocean storm retreats – one can hear the last breaths of air leaving the church pipes: the powerful dominance gone and replaced by a feeling of uncertainty that creeps back in together with the surrounding silence.


Songs Of Iceland

BEN MCELROY – SONGS OF ICELAND

Ben McElroy has never visited Iceland himself – the inspiration came from the stunning photography by Natasha Edmondson.
‘He hasn’t laid out a clear concept for this short EP. Instead, he’d prefer this to be open to interpretation as you draw your own conclusions.’

It may not be Icelandic folk music, but still the stripped-down minimal folk presented here, on this 15 minute free (Name-Your-Pice) download from Audio Gourmetconjures images of desolate but beautiful landscapes like the one on the cover image.
Sometimes close to traditional instrumental folk music, at other times drifting away into more abstract minimalism: Ben McElroy cites Pauline Oliveiros, Sharron Kraus and Ralph Vaughn Williams as some of his influences and all these can somehow be traced back to this music.

It’s a refreshing step away from the ordinary, a new sound with deep historical roots.
After these 15 minutes I just wanted to hear more like this.

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Soccer Committee / Machinefabriek: “Soccer Machine Mix”

Soccer Machine

A few days ago, Wouter van Veldhoven mentioned his praise for Soccer Committee‘s album sC (2007).
‘It’s almost ten years old now’, he wrote, ‘It is also probably the best minimal album ever made, regardless of subgenre. The album would likely be labeled minimal folk/songwritery music, but please give it a good listen, because this is way way more than just songs.’

I remember seeing (and hearing) Mariska Baars (Soccer Committee) for the very first time when she played support for a Stars of the Lid show in Utrecht in 2007, and I remember feeling the same way: these are not ‘just songs’ – there’s something more to them, something that is hard to grasp and explain.

Around that time (december 2007), I made a mix from Soccer Committee‘s music paired to that of Machinefabriek. This mix was never published here before, because it was made for the NPS-Folio radio show broadcast.
The Folio shows are archived in this Mixcloud profile, but I don’t usually mention them here. Time to make an exception to that rule: Wouter van Veldhoven’s post 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.

Connecting Soccer Committee‘s acoustic, minimalist and pure songs to Machinefabriek‘s experimental electronics may seem like a strange conjunction of opposites, but it works very well (at least, for me it does): it seems to bring out a somewhat hidden, ‘peaceful and true’ emotional layer to their music.
And it’s not such a strange combination as it seems to be: Mariska and Rutger have been working and performing together for many years in projects like Piiptsjilling and various other combinations.

A lot has happened since 2007. Machinefabriek‘s musical career (and his discography) has exploded to worldwide acclaim, and while Mariska Baars is still incidentally performing music in various projects, Soccer Committee is not active anymore: she now expresses herself through her paintings mainly.

Soccer Machine SequenceThis mix contains Soccer Committee Songs:

  • Here I go again (sC, 2007)
  • Moi et mon Coeur (Soccer Committee, 2005)
  • Le Jardin (Soccer Committee, 2005)
  • Carps (sC, 2007)
  • Stripping the Nude (sC, 2007)
  • Blessed (sC, 2007)
  • True (Soccer Committee, 2005)
  • Look at You (Soccer Committee, 2005)
  • White Stone (sC, 2007)

…interspersed with (fragments of) tracks by Machinefabriek:

  • Het waait over (Fabriek + Fabriek, 2007) 
  • Maris (Weleer, 2007)
  • Licht (Bijeen, 2007)
  • Stoffig Stuk (Wouter van Veldhoven – Ruststukken, 2007)
  • Stofstuk (Stofstuk, 2007)
  • Carps (Remix) (Carps (Machinefabriek Remix), 2006)
  • Fluister (Weleer, 2007)
  • Donderwolk (Weleer, 2007)
  • Verdrinkwater (Bijeen, 2007)
  • Zeeg (Baars, van Veldhoven, Zuydervelt – Zeeg, 2007)
  • Slaapmiddel (Slaapzucht, 2007)
  • Wieg (Huis, 2007)
  • Bloesem (Huis, 2007)
  • Schaduw (Huis, 2007)
  • Polderlicht (Fabriek + Fabriek, 2007)
  • Thole (Thole, 2007)
  • Zucht 2 (Slaapzucht, 2007)
  • Slaapzacht (Huis, 2007)
  • The African Guy (Manchester, 2005)
  • Kinderboerderij (Huis, 2007)
  • Piano.wav (Bijeen, 2007)
  • Curb (Manchester, 2005)
  • Het is weer vroeg donker (Bij Mirjam, 2004)

Download SOCCER MACHINE Now (95Mb; 60:00 min.)

Or stream it on Mixcloud:

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Western Skies Motel; Andrew Tuttle; Star Pillow; Jakob Lindhagen

Fantasy League

WSM - Settlers
WESTERN SKIES MOTELS – SETTLERS
Title and cover tells us this is not what we call ‘ambient’ music. The opening tracks are acoustic guitar folktunes that reminded me of the music that was released through the Windham Hill label years ago. But gradually, atmosphere kicks in and the melodic arrangements move to the background.
Somewhat.

‘There’s a timeworn, arid, and almost badlands quality to René Gonzàlez Schelbeck‘s hypnotic, cyclical guitar style. It seems to perfectly capture the lonely, barren landscape of the American West.”

This is especially remarkable, considering the fact that René ‘WSM’ Schelbeck comes from Denmark – “far removed from any upbringing in the rough-hewn Americana style of folk guitar.”
His music crosses geographical border, to appeal to all of us that are not familiar with the American West: “Regardless of our conceived themes or geographic locations, it tells a story that is lasting and instantly familiar.”

“Settlers” is available as a digital download and in 180 gram vinyl (including download). The limited physical edition (170) also includes a free bonus EP: “Generations” (first 50 only)


Fantasy League

ANDREW TUTTLE – FANTASY LEAGUE
It’s Andrew. Not Harry! I’m sorry, but everytime I hear the name Tuttle I immediately connect it to Terry Gilliam’s ‘Brazil‘ – and as a result the music is immediately framed into a retro-futurist Sci-fi setting..

But, in fact, that comparision may not even be that far off.

The weird contradiction between (broken) retro technique in a future society in Gilliam’s Brazil is, in a way, also reflected in (Andrew) Tuttle‘s blend of acoustic and electronic instruments: the banjo and electric guitar somewhat out of place in an environment of synthesizers and computers.
The question remains: is Andrew Tuttle‘s fantasy environment utopian or dystopian?
Or both?

For those that want to know: Andrew Tuttle (Brisbane, Australie) decided to use his own name in 2013. Before that, he was known as Anonymeye



ANDREW TUTTLE – FORGOTTEN PASSWORD


Star Pillow

STAR PILLOW – ABOVE
Time Released Sound have done it again: releasing an insanely packed album that you cannot buy because it’s already sold out. So you can look at the special edition that you’ve missed, but we’ll simply talk about the music and the standard CD release (which also has a great cover by the way).

Star Pillow is Paolo Monti (Italy), a name hitherto unfamiliar to me but a glance at his bio learns that he has an impressive track record. And that is something this album shows, too.
Above was recorded live, ‘in a solitary afternoon concert with closed doors and an empty club’. However: it sounds like a carefully crafted and well balanced studio recording.
The music is reflected by the image on the cover: it takes you on a weightless voyage, ‘a soothing, slow-motion floatation sensory trip into the atmospheres of your own mind..’


Fragility


JAKOB LINDHAGEN – SKÖRHETEN (FRAGILITY) OST  Also on Spotify
Skörheten is a Swedish documentary by Ahang Bashi about ‘mental fragility’, and this is its short but beautiful soundtrack created by Jakob Lindhagen.
Not the happiest music, as expected from the documentary’s subject, but not the saddest either.
It ‘is fragile and poetic but with a large dose of warmth and compassion, constantly pending between hope and despair.’

There are some delicately melancholic piano melodies, some ambient atmospheres and, remarkably, some soft jazzy pieces inspired by and reminiscing Swedish folk-jazz artist Jan Johansson (not to be confused with Johann from Iceland!).
Judged by the music on this short soundtrack album (which is available as a ‘Name your Price’ download), I guess that we will find the name Jakob Lindhagen on a lot more soundtracks in the future. And that is definitely something to look forward to.

Edit June 2017:
Skörheten (the documentary) has done quite well: it has been nominated in the “Best film” category at the Swedish Academy Awards, and was also awarded “Newcomer of the year”. But even more good news is that the soundtrack will be re-released by 
1631 Recordings, fully remastered and with three additional bonus tracks. I’ve updated the links in this post to the new locations.

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James Murray; Offthesky; Mute Forest; Ugasanie

James Murray - The Sea in the Sky

JAMES MURRAY – THE SEA IN THE SKY
The Sea In The Sky is James Murray‘s sixth solo album (or seventh if you also include his collaboration with Anne Garner on their magnificient Be Life earlier this year).
While often abstract, his music is also very personal: dream-like, immersive drones unhiding a distinct melody (which may sound like a contradiction, but it really isn’t), electronic as much as acoustic never dark but focussing on etheric beauty instead.

All these qualities prove to be a perfect combination for picturing ‘the skies above’:
‘Ever-changing, unpredictable, suffused with esoteric patterns and directed by unseen forces, these oceans are a vast, dreamlike seascape of surreal dimension and spectacular, impossible beauty.’


Offthesky - The Serpent Phase

OFFTHESKY – THE SERPENT PHASE
Jason ‘Offthesky’ Corder’s ‘Serpent Phase’ has been five years in the making. It was originally conceived with the aim to create a series of piano sketches, taking recordings from Chicago, Switzerland, England, Canada, Colorado and Kentucky.
Other instrumentation was added later: vibraphone, guitar, synth, drums, vocals (Pillow Garden), violin (Julie Slater) and – of course – some textural field recordings.
The collection is contemplative and very atmospheric, but it is up to the listener to give it a deeper meaning: they “allow us to explore the religious, spiritual and moral connotations of dark and light periods in life.”


Mute Forest - Deforestation

MUTE FOREST – DEFORESTATION
“Deforestation” is not exactly a positive connotation, and if the very first vocal line is “I lie by your grave…”, you know this isn’t going to be about a happy day experience.
It’s a fundamentally unnerving theme: returning home to find things are not how you remember them to be. To find your childhood forest is slowly dying:
In a seemingly ceaseless acreage near his childhood home in the Rockies of Colorado, Kael Smith takes a deep breath and listens critically to the forest. It is not the same sound he remembers as a youth, when he’d disappear for hours deep into these woods. No, the sound he hears today is unfamiliar and vapid. Muted, really. Since Smith’s departure to the city of Denver, the Mountain Pine Beetle has moved into these woodlands and decimated the trees; devouring their insides and leaving empty husks in its wake.”
Though the instrumentation, with its elements of minimal electronic, ambient and folk, is somewhat different, the overall atmosphere of these songs is not unlike that of Boduf Songs, especially in the use of the hushed whispered vocals.
But there is beauty in depression, there is beauty in decay … and that is the kind of beauty that Mute Forest perfectly captures in these songs of loss.


Eye of Tunguska

UGASANIE – EYE OF TUNGUSKA
But we know destruction does not always come from the inside. In 1908, there was a large explosion near the Tunguska River (Russia), flattening 2000 square kilometers of forest (80 million trees), but causing no casualties. The cause of the explosion is thought to be a meteor, though no impact crater was found: the meteor is thought to have burst in mid-air. For 100 years this has been the source of many scientific studies.
But such an event can also be the source of legends and conspiracy theories.
One of these inspired Pavel Malyshkin (Ugasanie) to created this pitch black and icy cold release based on a ‘strange incident in the late 1990’s:
“A group of students went hiking to to see this legendary site. They lost their way after they decided to spend the night in one of the winter huts built by hunters of the land. Their mutilated bodies were later found near an old abandoned geological base with radiation burns.”

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DreamScenes 2015-05

DreamScenes

It’s probably best to keep awake and try not to fall asleep to the dreamy ambience of this month’s selection by Dasha Rush, Alva Noto, Thomas Newton & Rick Cox, Monty Adkins, Peter Grech, Visionary Hours, Northumbria, Triac and Atrium Carceri.
Because if you do, you’ll miss the rather weird operatic tracks by We Like We (“I Began To Fall Apart”) and the timeless deconstruction of Irish Airs by Fovea Hex.

A very special – and possibly somewhat unexpected – spot is reserved for the track Lo Boièr – Iria from Efren Lopez’ album El Fil Del Llop (“Son of the Wolf”).
This particular track is a reworking of a traditional hymn, with lyrics which refer to a cryptic form whose coded message are about the extermination of the Cathar people by the crusaders sent by Rome in the 12th century.
Its chorus is the cry of alarm that the Cathars used:

“A…E…I…O..U!!!”

Tracklist:

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Benoit Pioulard – Hymnal Remixes

Pioulard Hymnal Remixes

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.

Almost one full year later, the 12 tracks from ‘Hymnal’ get extensive re-workings on Hymnal Remixed – a 19-track double album released on the Lost Tribe Sound label.

The list of artists remixing these tracks reads as a ‘who’s who’ of the contemporary ambient music scene:
Fieldhead, Green Kingdom, Brambles, Field Rotation, Part Timer, Segue, Loscil, Radere, James Murray, Ruhe – not mentioning alll! Benoit Pioulard himself delivers a remix of “Reliquary”

On the original album the vocal tracks alternate with the instrumental, bit on this remix-CD’s they are placed together so you can choose according to your mood: the first disc is more ‘rhythm-oriented’, leaving the second disc to explore more ambient territory.
Some tracks re-appear in different remixes by different artists, which offers great insight in their different approach of the material.

Most of the remix tracks are considerably longer than their original counterparts. Surprisingly often, the remixes remain quite true to Pioulards’ original ‘feel’, just adding subtle details or manipulating the original sound – although some of the ‘ambient’ tracks are pushed into more ‘noisy’ territory than their originals.

Hymnal Remixed is a very adventurous listen, focussing on different aspects and details of the original “Hymnal” album.
It also helps us remember what a fine album Benoit Pioulard’s “Hymnal was (and still is!)

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Mirrorring – Foreign Body

Mirrorring

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?

Foreign Body” is a Grouper/Tiny Vipers co-production that came about through a songwriting session in Portland, Oregon, in 2011.

Jesy and Liz work together in perfect harmony, each one adding to the other’s performance. Yet they have their own very personal style, which can be easily distinguished if you know any of the previous works of these performers.

The album opens with “Fell Sound” , which is mainly a Grouper track celebrating her distinct vague and sleepy style.

In style, this is quite different from the second track (“Silent from above”) which is “genuine Tiny Vipers“: Jesy’s tracks are firmly rooted in traditional folk and, accompanying herself with minimalistic repeating acoustic guitar theme, she has a bright, yearning voice to immediately fall in love with.

After these introductions, their respective style seems to merge into one perfect new sound, combining the dreamlike abstract with the utterly romantic. Like I said before, this has nothing to do with “ambient” music, apart from its uniquely strange, unearthly yet somehow familiar atmosphere. It is also worlds apart from the Sleep ambient music performanceBut, joining their forces on this release, Grouper  and Tiny Vipers nothing less but define a complete new sound, the kind of music that may help listeners cross over from “pop folk” to “ambient” – and vice versa.


Mirrorring – Drowning the Call

 

Spotify– (Also on Spotify)

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Fovea Hex – Here Is Where We Used To Sing

Fovea Hex

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.

With eleven tracks (including three instrumentals) Here Is Where We Used To Sing” is a perfectly balanced album in itself, but if you are interested in ambient/electronic music (and I guess you are or you probably wouldn’t be reading this here), you should definitely go for the limited special edition that features a 31 minute bonus EP with fascinating remixes of the original source material by Michael Begg, Colin Potter and William Basinski.

Like its predecessor, this album defies any genre tag. It is rooted in a tradition that feels utterly English, it connects to folk music – but it isn’t. The arrangements are complex and adventurous, yet appear soft and soothing – the music is as poetic as the lyrics.

“Here Is Where We Used to Sing” follows the same path as “Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent”, but somehow feels more mature. This may be because the contributors have become more of a collective, since they have performed live in recent years.
And an (impressive!) list of contributors it is: Laura Sheeran (Clodagh’s perfectly matching vocal sidekick), Michael Begg, Brian Eno, Colin Potter, Julia Kent – just to name a few.
But after all, the shining star of this project of course remains writer and singer Clodagh Simonds.

Once again, this album deserves to be heard by a wider audience, but it will probably ‘go cult’ like the previous album did. My advice: don’t miss it!

At the time of writing, the limited edition with bonus CD is still available.
MP3 and FLAC versions can also be downloaded from Janet Records or BandCamp.
Spotify also features Fovea Hex releases.


Fovea Hex – excerpts

Note:
The track presented here is a ‘mini mix’ featuring some parts of the album; it is not included on the album in this form.  This ‘mini-mix’ includes (parts of) the following tracks: Fall Calling (bonus), Jewelled Eyes, Love for the Uncertain, Cup of Joy (bonus), Glaze (bonus).

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