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Pjusk * Nadia Struiwigh * Sonae

Sonae - ISWB

Sakne Verda

PJUSK – SAKNE VERDA  Also on Spotify

I don’t know which language this is, Norvegian I suppose since Pjusk (Jostein Dahl Gjelsvik and Rune Sagevik) are from Norway, but according to the liner notes Sakne Verda translates as ‘to miss the world – taking a short nap’. So this short three-track mini album by may be a reminder that Pjusk are still alive and not to be forgotten (their latest full album was released in 2014).
Translating it with Google Translate tells us it can also mean “Missing Values”… and when translated from the Latvian  language it means something like ‘Roots Up’.
So make of it whatever you want – maybe it’s best to not to try to translate it at all.

The tracks are three different Pjusk collaborations: Attende with Tortusa, Kviskra (meaning ‘Whispered’?) with Anne Garner (vocals) and Porya Hatami, and Bontelabo with Yui Onodera.
The result is a stunning mix of what we might call ‘pop ambient’ – crossing the borders of ambient experimental music and more radio-friendly sounds. Ánd taking the best out of both worlds.

As a result, this simply leaves us longing for more. Let’s hope this is a short preview of what’s to come soon.



I would never have guessed it myself, but WHRRU stands for Where Are You. Neither would I have guessed that Nadia Struiwigh is from Rotterdam, Holland. But she is.
Presenting herself as a’creative creator’, she is an editor/reviewer at Interface (Dutch magazine for musicians and producers), web/graphic designer, social media expert, composer and DJ.

Her second full album (follow up of 2017’s Lenticular) is released by Denovali, and will probably help gain the recognition she deserves to get. The album is impressive enough in itself, but watching her perform on the recent Rewire festival confirmed that she is an artist that will get herself known soon.

Her music is not easy to pinpoint… Denovali states she is ‘sitting somewhere between Biosphere and Boards of Canada’, but that seems to ignore her powerful techno background (especially when performing live). The ‘post-IDM’ reference to Warp (“electronic listening music for quiet nights and club drowsy dawns”) feels more to the point.
But why the references? Struiwigh definitely defines her own style. It’s ambient, and yet it isn’t. It’s techno, and yet it isn’t. It’s experimental electronics, and yet it isn’t.
In fact, it’s easier to write about what genre this is nót, than describe what it is. And that is always a good sign: a sign of a creative artist entering new territories!


Sonae - ISWB


Is it a just coincidence, or is a new wave of female composers/musicians/DJ’s currently re-defining electronic music? Artists like Nadia Struiwigh (mentioned above), Dasha Rush (mentioned earlier), and many others seem to unite in a musical feminist community, dedicated to prove the fact that “electronic music is not a boys club”.
“We Are Here”,
the title of the closing on Sonae‘s new album (released on Gudrun Gut’s Monika Enterprise), leaves no room for doubt about that. Better get used to it.

I Started Wearing Black” is a strong personal statement (“… resulting from an individual situation (lovesickness), I started to wear black(gaining weight and feeling ugly).”) as wel as a political one (“It was finished long before the black dresses were worn at the Golden Globes as a sign of protest against sexual violence.”).
Mixing ‘nerdy’ electronic music with personal emotions and politics: please welcome the new wave of electronic feminism!

Sonae‘s music on this album can be quite ‘black’ at times: “Sonae is not a kind of neo-romantic veiling with a tendency for escapist nebula.”
But, like in real life, “between the wrong things there are happy moments.”

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James Murray * Multicast Dynamics * Pjusk

Multicast Dynamics - Continental Ruins

Killing Ghosts


James Murray has regularly been featured this blog: recently with his album Eyes to the Heightand before that with The Sea in the Sky, Mount View and, of course, his work with Anne Garner on Be Life.
Each album building on his reputation of a sound wizard capable of linking the abstract to the accessible in a very unique and personal way.

Killing Ghosts
his latest, is released on the renowned Home Normal label. Label curator Ian Hawgood recognised Murray‘s talent to ‘blur the line between deep electronics and textured ambience. […] The combination of melody and careful design [that] takes a huge amount of skill, care, and patience.’
The label is obviously extremely proud to present this album. Given the reputation of Home Normal for their past releases, that is about the best recommendation you can possibly get.
And one that I can wholeheartedly support!

Compared to earlier works, where his compositions sometimes felt like they were ambient instrumentations of vocal pieces (and sometimes they also were), James Murray takes a step further into creating abstract soundscapes. Killing Ghost is darker than its predecessors in this way. It’s different compared to earlier albums, in a way. But not thát different because it has all the great marks that we have come to know by now: personal, emotional, and with unequalled sound design.

The beautiful artwork from this album is painted by Małgorzata Łapsa-Malawskawhose motto is ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’. (Which can be shortened to ‘Less is More’).

Also on Spotify

Multicast Dynamics - Continental Ruins


Not even a year has passed since Samuel van Dijk (Multicast Dynamics) completed his four-part series Scape, Aquatic SystemScandinavia, and Outer Envelopes. Finland must be an inspiring country to live in!
His new album, Continental Ruinssounds like it could have been part of the quadrilogy: Van Dijk continues his sonic observations uninterrupted. But the concept, the story behind this album is slightly different: it is “inspired by decayed infrastructure – a sound documentary about sunken cities and continents, landslides and islands.”

‘Arctic’, ‘gloomy’, ‘submerged’, ‘desolate’ may be the key words to describe the musical palette created with “analogue synthesizers, arcane effect and manipulated field-recordings”, but at the same time the beauty of decay is attractive in a strange way. And very calm and organic, too. Probably because it bears the promise that new things, new life, will always grow from the ruins.

Also on Spotify


Pjusk - Syklus


With three tracks (23 minutes), this (download-only) EP by Norwegian duo Pjusk (Jostein Dahl Gjelsvik and Rune Sagevikwill probably leave you hoping there’ll be more of this in the future.
Their last album (Drowning In The Sky, with Sleep Orchestra) was from 2014. Since then their output was limited to short 3-track EP’s, like this one. But does it matter? Three EP’s make up a full album, don’t they?

Syklus is a “celebration of friendship”: each track is a collaboration of the duo with a different artist, coming from every corner of the world: Canada (Loscil), Kurdistan (Porya Hatamiand China (SHAO).
Each of these artists has their own influence on the tracks, but the mini-album still manages to retain the consistent sound that we have come to know (and love) from previous Pjusk albums.

Also on Spotify

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Pjusk – Solstøv


Not counting their recent collaboration Drowning in the Sky“, with Sleep Orchestra, “Solstøv” is Pjusk’s fourth release – and their third for the 12K label.
Since their debut in 2007, the Norwegian duo (Jostein Dahl Gjelsvik and Rune Andre Sagevik) have built themselves quite an impressive reputation.
With “Solstøv”, (Sol – Sun / Støv – Dust) they don’t disappoint – to say the least!

While maintaining their original ‘glacial’ sound, the original starting point from this album is quite different: the complete album is created using the sound of the trumpet (played by Kåre Nymark jr.).
A bright natural sound to start with, but it is also heavily processed to create the characteristically delicate sound layers. (Taylor Deupree added extra sonic manipulations that he created using the Kyma Sound Design System).
But how strange and alienating these sound manipulations may be at times, the music always stays connected to its natural source: the trumpet.

The use of the trumpet in ambient soundscapes is not exactly new: think Jon Hassell, Arve Henriksen and – to some extent – Nils Petter Molvaer. (It can hardly be a coincidence that, apart from Jon Hassell, these musicians also come from Norway?)
Pjusk manages to take the the music to another level of abstraction. The ‘jazz’ connection is still vaguely present, but it’s a shimmer in the background, hovering behind the ‘sparkling and fractured textural fragments’.

“This is an album that channels the Norwegian landscape in all of its stark beauty; its cold, its warmth, and its place in the universe. To listen to Pjusk is to sit quietly in an endless night.”

The ambient music genre in general may be in danger of collapsing under a ‘sameness overload’, but Pjusk restores faith with this new album.

“Solstøv” feels like waking up.


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Richard Chartier; Pleq+Philippe Lamy; Pjusk+Sleep Orchestra; Thomas Tilly

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In the Shortlist sections, I will mention the albums that I enjoyed listening to, but couldn’t find the time (or the right words) for a “full” review for. Still, I definitely think they deserve your attention, with ór without extra words!

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Where most releases nowadays are focussed on a physical release on a vinyl album and thus do not cross the 40 minute mark, Richard Chartier chooses a different approach and squeezes the most out of the possibilities of a digital release: Subsequent Materials (2006 – 2012) offers no less than three hours of his characteristic electronic music.

Subsequent Materials (2006 – 2012)is the third release in a Richard Chartier compilation series, following up “Other Materials” from 2002, and “Further Materials” from 2008. It presents a collection of (out-of-print) compilation tracks, soundtracks for visual pieces, unreleased and previously unavailable works, and compositions previously only available as bonus tracks.
17 Tracks in various lengths (the shortest is 00’34”, the longest 34’32”), but fitting together perfectly as a sampler of Chartier’s ingenious “reductionist” electronic soundworks.


Sans Titre

Two prolific experimental artists combining their talents (again): Pleq (Bartosz Dziadosz, from Poland) and Philippe Lamy (from France). There are five untitled tracks (counting from “Sans Titre Zéro” to “Sans Titre Quatre”), and three impressive additional remixes by Pjusk, Marcus Fjellström and Ben Lukas Boysen.
The suspenseful minimalist, fragmented textures get a nice extra ‘Film Noir’ layer with the lush french spoken word fragments of Sandrine Deumier in some of the tracks.


Pjusk + Sleep Orchestra


Also on Spotify

Another fruitful collaboration: this time between Christopher Pegg (Sleep Orchestra, UK) and Pjusk (Rune Sagevik and Jostein Dahl Gjelsvik, Norway). They met at the Barcelona Storung Festival, after Christopher was recommended to listen to Pjusk’s “Tele”.
Drowning In The Sky “creates a soundtrack of ambient soundscapes and drones that move you slowly and steadily through an ever changing landscape of water, fog and the clouds in the sky. This is the type of music to listen to when you just want to float away to another world.”
And that is exactly the kind of sound that the Dronarivm label (which is curated by Pleq, so that completes the circle) specializes in!

Script Geometry

(Physical Edition HERE)
Field Recordings always present some difficult questions. Is it music, composition, or just ‘captured sounds’? Yet sometimes these questions are not relevant, because the result can be enjoyed as if it were composed soundscapes. Chris Watson has some fine releases proving that. But this Thomas Tillyproject is another fine example!
These sounds are recorded at the heart of the tropical rainforest in French Guiana, and presented without any electronic treatment (apart from an occasional low-cut filter and sometimes some mixing and editing).
Of course there are the inevitable familiar cricket sounds, but are also a lot of strange sounding creatures, that at times sound like they were electronically created.
“There exists something in a tropical forest that sounds like and plays within the realms of electronics, music and electronics noise; something characteristic of an era long before the birth of biotopes that form this forest and create this sound.”
It’s a massive 2.5 hour project: the (beautifully designed!) physical edition contains 2 vinyl LP’s and one CD (the CD containing a one hour ‘reference recording’). Mastering was done by James Plotkin, which is worth mentioning since his mastering skills definitely enhance the impact of these sounds. Sounds that seem to come from a different world – but don’t.

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Pjusk – Tele


With previous releases by Rapoon, Lull, Skare, Bvdub, Loscil and Stormloop, the Glacialmovements label (founded by Alessandro Tedeschi) has become a sort of quality trademark in itself. A trademark for“glacial and isolationist ambient”.

PjuskTele, the label’s latest release, firmly establishes this reputation.

For non-norwegians, “Tele” may not have the right associations: it is the Norwegian wordt describing frozen underground water.

Tele is a journey of snow, ice and cold.”
 …and the beauty within, I might add.

Pjusk (Rune Sagevik and Jostein Dahl) create their music from a cabin high up in the Norwegian mountain, “framed by snowy peaks and the sound of cold streams”. 

Previously, Geir (Biosphere) Jenssen also found his inspiration (for Polar Sequences) from the very same landcape, and in fact the music is somewhat linked in mood and atmosphere.

Starting slow and quiet with glacial sound effects, the mood is soon set with the sound of what seems to be a gigantic fog-horn. From there, the journey continues deep into the harsh Norwegian landscapes.
Slowly building up the underlying rhythms, then deconstructing them again until returning back to the sound of the foghorns in the closing track “Polar” .

The 9 tracks on Tele”  are carefully crafted and ordered in such a way that the sequence feels like its telling  a story. The story of a Norwegian round-trip, maybe.

If for you, “Snow”, “Ice” and “Cold”  are words with mainly negative connotations, listen to this release and think again.
And, if possible, book a trip to Norway!

Pjusk – Polar


Spotify– (Also on Spotify)

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