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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


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.



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 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


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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Eilean & Dauw Dialog Tapes

Dauw - Dialog Tapes

In recent years it is not uncommon that artists work together without meeting each other in real life. On-Line collaboration is a common working method: sending work-in-progress to each other until it’s ready. It’s one of the many wonders the Internet brought us.

But as far as I know, two labels collaborating together in this way – matching their artists to work in duos on a collaboration track – has not been done before.

It’s a bold project by Eilean Records and Dauw to match 15 of their artists and let them make 14 collaborative tracks that are released as “Dialog Tapes” on two different media: a CD from Eilean and a Cassette tape from Dauw.

It’s a matching pair – the one should not be listened without the other. Just consider it a double album released on two different media – by two different labels…
No need to think about that too long, by the way: the physical editions will probably be sold outby now (though there may be some copies of the CD left at Experimedia or Stashed Goods). But luckily both releases are still available as a perfect pair of digital downloads.

Dauw - Dialog Tapes

One might expect a somewhat hectic clash of extremes when so many artists are paired, but it’s not. On the contrary: the fourteen tracks are pleasantly varied, often lo-fi, seemingly improvised, introvert, but néver dull, soundscapes.
The labels  – ánd their artists, at least those participating here – clearly share their view of what contemporary soundscapes should sound like!
(A honorouble mention is in place here for the mastering of Ian Hawgood)

14 tracks by 15 artists working in duo’s must mean there is one duo involved (Sokkyo is Heine Christensen and Ciro Berengues) which means that two tracks are created by a trio, not a duo. Not that that really matters, it’s just for those that want their math to be correct…

So, each artist that is present in two different combinations, each interacting with what the other party does best.
And beyond that, it is great to see labels not competing but working together.

The artist names to wet your appetite (find out the combinations yourself):
Stijn Hüwels, Danny Clay, Ruhe, TwinCities, Miguel Isaza, Monolyth & Cobalt, Wil Bolton, Leigh Toro, Aaron Martin, The Humble Bee, Sokkyõ, Masayaka Ozaki, David Andree, Dudal.

As demonstrated by this release, the result can indeed be much greater than the sum of its parts.

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Various Compilations


Compilation albums are a nice (and often inexpensive) way to get introduced to new artists you’re not yet familiar with. For a label, they’re a great way to present their artist portfolio. Or a way to raise some money to fund new projects.
Or … they may be used as an auditive sleeping pill…
Prepare for over 15 hours of assorted musical selections:

Elements 1-5

To celebrate their five years of existence, the renowned Home Normal label presents a massive five-album compilation set.
64 Tracks with an incredible artists line-up (I won’t even begin to start name-dropping here!). Apart from the five album set, the individual albums are also sold separately.
Profits of each album will go to five different charity organisations: one for each separate album.

According to the website, Home Normal label curator Ian Hawgood will be taking a (well deserved) break after rounding off the Elements compilation sets. Luckily, this does not mean we’ll have to do without this label’s music: this set alone is offering enough to keep on listening for months!

Ambient Sleeping Pill

For those that didn’t know yet, AMBIENT SLEEPING PILL is an internet radio station “streaming music for Sleeping, taking naps, and other more wakeful moments; Tranquil, Deep, Serene; no breaks, no ads, no beats, no new-age cheese.” (!).
In other words: an insomniac’s dream! And a healthy alternative for a sleeping pill, too.
For those that want to take their sleeping pills when off-line, there are currently three compilations available. Needless to say that these albums strictly contain quiet, soothing, drone-based ambient sounds.
(But NO new-age cheese indeed!)
Compilation 3 presents 9 tracks (80 minutes), with contributions by Nobuto Suda, Saito Koji, Erinome, Echo Grid, Not a Number, Purl, Porky214, Summons of Shining Ruins, Niko Bellanti.
For more information, Andrew J. Klimekstation and compilation curator – wrote extensive track-by-track notes on the Bandcamp page.
As the #3 indicates: there’s more where that came from: the previous Compilation 2 and Compilation 1 are both equally interesting. And yes: buying these albums supports running the radio stream!

EarthTones 2

The “Vol. 2” already reveals that this is not an ‘introduction’. It is the second in a series released on Tessellate Recordings, a label curated by Harry Towell, a.k.a. Spheruleus.
Selling this compilation is a way to help funding forthcoming physical label releases. It’s quite a massive set: 25 tracks, 2 hours of music, presented by well-known artists as well as less familiar names. To name just a few: Paper Relics, Darwin Raymond, Grzegorz Bojanek, Strom Noir, Green Kingdom, Rezo Glonti, Specta Ciera, Porya Hatami, Yann Novak, Michael Trommer, Tobias Hellkvist.
Along with their musical contribution, all artists also have included a picture image of their local surroundings, “as a sort of post card to you, the listener”.This is a great insight in the surroundings that have inspired them to create this music. The surrounding earth as a source of inspiration defintely results in a more lighthearted and often optimistic atmosphere. The styles cross different sections of the ambient music scene, but here is some more emphasis on using the guitar as the main instrument.

Soft Recordings

Soft Recordings is a brand new label founded by David Teboul (Linear Bells). To introduce his new label, catalogue # 001 is a 12 track compilation presenting a remarkable array of contributing artists.
Next to Linear Bells, we find familiar names like Leonardo Rosado, Monolyth & Cobalt, Darren Harper, Endless Melancholy, Sima Kim, Radere, Saito Koji, Bengalfuel (and then some).
Judged by this line-up Soft Recordings will be a label to keep an eye on.
Stylistically, most kinds of contemporary ambient music are present here: “drone, experimental, some noise, and a sprinkling of modern classical” .
“‘An introduction to Soft Recordings’ is an evening spent in a mountainside cabin, listening to the storm shake the trees in the darkness. Inside, all is still, hushed, waiting. The fervent glow of firelight, bright against frosted windows.”


This (pay-what-you-want) compilation is an introduction to another brand new (NET-)label. The Ache netlabel is dedicated to “lush soundscapes, dark drones, ethereal ambience, and atmospheric sounds.” Here are six bands/artists each presenting two tracks: Auteurist, Foresight, Swell Sounds, Black Light, Unruhe and Bellow from the Arms.
The names may be less familiar, but the music is as diverse and adventurous as the Soft Recordings collection mentioned above, although the overall sound is somewhat darker.

Ambient Selections 2

Another ‘sequel’ compilation, this time from the Cyan Music label, operating from Melbourne, Australia, run by Gus and Andrew Till and ‘The Gnome’. This compilation focusses on somewhat more melodic, ‘traditional’ ambient music – mainly created using synthesizers – sometimes crossing over to some ‘new agey’ sounds (but fortunately staying on the ‘right’ side of it… whatever that may mean)
I must confess that from the eight contributing artists Robert Rich was the only name I was familiar with, so there are definitely some new names to be checked out here!

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