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Kalte * Jake Muir

Lady's Mantle

Covalencies

KALTE – COVALENCIES

Kalte is the abstract ambient project of Deane Hughes and Rik MacLean. According to their discography, Covalencies is their fifth full album, ‘inspired by Kubrickian geometry, abstract forces and cold fusion’. (As  Sub Zero Arts the duo also creates interactive multi-media installations).

The duo uses natural sources that are digitally altered and reassembled. Their interest in ‘chemistry and mathematics and scary sounds designed to give you chills’ is clear from the four tracks on this album: the overall sound is ‘cold’ and somewhat industrial (or arctic, or isolationist – as you please) but a very fascinating deep listen.
After titles like Isomerization, Periglacial Zones and Electronegativities the closing track title sounds a bit odd – but Framheim Station was the name of Roald Amundsen’s base in Antarctica during his quest for the South Pole in 1911/1912.
So yes – definitely ‘arctic’.


Lady's Mantle

JAKE MUIR – LADY’S MANTLE   Also on Spotify

From the arctic cold to the warm beaches of the American West Coast: you probably won’t recognise it it if you don’t know it, but it definitely does determine the atmosphere: Jake Muir took many samples from an (uncredited) American pop group and rendered them  into impressionist ‘abstract half-heard surf rock melodies’.
Merging these samples, stretched and manipulated into unrecognizabilty, with aqueous field recordings from all over the world, he creates a unique sound bearing subliminal marks of the West Coast sound (which Muir knows all too well since he’s from Los Angeles himself).
The result has little in common with the original 60’s surf pop anthems, but it ‘loosely limns a wide sense of space and place with its fading harmonic auroras.’

Lady’s Mantle is available as a digital download as well as a transparent vinyl edition. It is Muir‘s second album under his own name (follow-up of last year’s Acclimation).
Before that, he has also released under the Monadh alias.

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Sava Marinkovic * Hannu Karjalainen * Toàn

Karjalainen

Sava Marinkovic

SAVA MARINKOVIC – THROUGH THE AIR

Sava Marinković is a musician from Serbia. He plays guitar in various bands and projects, but on his solo albums he has developed an ‘experimental approach to ambient music and free improvisation and minimalism’.
Marinkovic‘s Bandcamp page 
shows three album titles, but there’s at least one other released by the DOF label in 2013 (Evocation, mentioned here).

Actually not much more than these simple facts is known; the album did not come with any information and the Bandcamp page doesn’t tell us much more details either.
Which means it’s just the music that counts: the album has to speak for itself.

And it does so convincingly: in the five tracks (34 minutes) Sava creates lush images of deep  ambient sounds of the warmest kind. Each track slightly different in nature but all fit together perfectly.
The guitar may be his main instrument, but it’s definitely not the only one used to create this atmosphere.
Just surrender yourself to this music and you’ll probably soon feel like floating through the air.
(Digital Only)


Karjalainen

HANNU KARJALAINEN – A HANDFUL OF DUST IS A DESERT

Some artists release three or more album in one year. Hannu Karjalainen is not one of them: this is his third full album since 2007’s Worms In My Piano and 2009’s Hintergarten (which were released as Hannu, without his last name).
At other moments, the Finnish composer worked with  Simon ‘Slowdive’ Scott, Monolyth & Cobalt Chris ‘Dakota Suite’ Hooson (remember The End of Trying?).
Chris Hooson co-composed the track Love Is A Black Lion, which features a sample from The End Of Trying (Part III). 

Karjalainen‘s music “draws inspiration from ambient, drone, modern classical and dream pop.” The sound of his music is widescreen cinematic, which is not a real surprise since he’s a filmmaker also. From the multilayered piano loops in the short title track to the pop-ambient of A Year In A Day, the sad nostalgic melancholy of Love Is A Black Lion and the yearning vocal loops and threatening pulses in the closing track Breaks My Heart She Aria: this album covers many evocative styles.

“This is the kind of desert you won’t mind getting lost in and even take pleasure in roaming through the expansive sonic landscapes and horizons it embodies.”


Histos Lusis

TOÀN – HISTÓS LUSIS

Anthony Elfort is a French musician currently living in Britain. His name was unknown to me until now: according to the bio he’s a “beatmaker who has produced several albums mixing jazz and hip hop influences”. So maybe some of you know the work he released as Qiwu Selftet.

As Toàn, he focuses on a different kind of music: a sort of free-form mix of ambient and modern classical. All tracks for this album were composed in Angoulême and Cruguel, France. One can only wonder the influence of the location of the music, which is intensely atmospheric, as can be demonstrated with this video of Post Tenebras:

 

The video is assembled from “excerpts of various documentaries”, just like the tracks are composed using “samples found on old records, live instruments and field recordings”.
All of the parts carefully assembled into a unique style – a delicate balance of electronics, modern classical and  acoustic world music.

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Abby Lee Tee * Jake Muir * James Osland * Nao Otsuka

Penguin Kids

Abby Lee Tee

ABBY LEE TEE – RIVERSIDE BURROWS  Also on Spotify

This nice little 20 minute 10-inch vinyl album (download available too) starts with layers of field recordings, to immediately give that nice outdoor feeling.
But Riverside Burrows is not just field recordings: there are also instrumental parts – drones, synth layers, chimes – that seem to fit in perfectly with nature’s sounds.

Abby Lee Tee (from Linz, Austria. It’s an alias, by the way, not a person’s name) paints a nice atmosphere, “a cinematic journey though imaginary valleys full of running water, chirping birds, squeaking otters, oinking pigs and clandestine odd sounds”.

You can almost smell nature’s freshness right from your listening chair!


Jake Muir

JAKE MUIR  – ACCLIMATION  Also on Spotify

The basic elements of Acclimation are field recordings, natural sounds as well as the sound of machinations. But it would not do the album justice to call it an ‘environmental’ album. It is, in a way, but also it isn’t, because Jake Muir has treated the recordings in such a way that they become musical elements, parts of a full scenic composition.

Acclimation is based on a live set that was created for a performance at the Seattle’s Corridor Festival in the Georgetown Steam Plant.
Given the context of this setting, it was based “solely on industrial and aqueous field recordings”, made on various locations in Los Angeles, Vancouver, Iceland and Washington.
Some of these recordings were previously “deemed not useful” but found their place in this new context, an environmental recording of a nonexistent place.
A storytelling soundscape, somewhat comparable to the work of Chris Watson.
(Digital Only)


JAMES OSLAND – DEPARTURES

Departures opens with refreshing bird sounds and breaking waves that set the atmosphere. At Once We Felt Safe, indeed.
There are field recordings from all over Europe, South-East Asia and Australasia – the sounds of nature, dialogues and environments merge perfectly with the drones accompanying them.

Listening to this album feels like reliving memories of faraway journeys to unknown destinations – even if they weren’t even your own personal journeys.
You can simple be an armchair traveller and let James Osland guide you: “It Was All So Unfamiliar And That Was Nice”.
(BTW – it officially says unfimilliar on the track title but I guess that must be the New Zealand accent 😉 )


Penguin Kids

NAO OTSUKA – PENGUIN KIDS

Concluding this virtual field trip around the world with the sounds of Nao Otsuka from Japan. Like Shimmering Moods Records labelmate James Osland above, he (or she – not much information is known about the artist apart from a Soundcloud page) merges the field recordings with unobtrusive music that is effectively enhancing the relaxed atmosphere.

Quiet, calm, and well-balanced like a Japanese garden: perfect music to enjoy at the end of a warm summer day.

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