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

RICHARD CHARTIER – SUBSEQUENT MATERIALS (2006 – 2012)
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.

Philippe Lamy + Pleq (3 Titles)


SlowFast

Philippe Lamy (France) is an artist combining various art-forms. He’s a painter, but also teaches ‘plastic arts’ at the School of Architecture in Toulouse. He started creating music about ten years ago, “feeling that his paintings and music resonate together”.
His soundscapes indeed resemble paintings: they are incredibly detailed, almost organic, including a wide dynamic range of sounds.

His latest solo album,SlowFast, is recently released, following up two recent collaboration projects with well-known Polish artist Pleq.

Time Released Sound: the Chocolate Box series

I can’t really decide if I should consider Time Released Sound primarily an art or a music label.

I can drool when watching the incredible (handmade!) art that is created for each initial release. Carefully handcrafted, with regards to every detail, but consequently they also carry a price tag that seems to aim at art collectors more than the average music lover.

These special releases are always very limited and often quickly sell out. Luckily for those of us not fast (or rich) enough, Time Released Sound often immediately re-release these titles as a standard 5″-CD with a regular picture sleeve.

Below are some of the highlights of the latest batch: theChocolate Box” series. This, of course, refers to the Deluxe packaging of each individual title. Check the website for more details about that: I’ll leave out the notes about the packaging and will just focus on the music.

McDougall + Sasajima; Hydrophones; Francisco Lopez; Pleq a.o.

In the Shortlist sections, I will mention some of the albums that I enjoyed listening to, but couldn’t find the time (or the right words) for a “full” review for. Still, I think they deserve your attention: use the links to find more info and hear previews.

Injya

James McDougall & Hiroku Sasajima – Injya
Using environmental sounds from Australia and Japan, McDougall and Sasajima create a new virtual world by rearranging and manipulating the original recordings. Their carefully crafted collages manage to maintain the ‘natural’ feeling of the recordings yet at the same times creates a non-existent landscape that is fascinating to listen to. One of the best environmental soundscapes I know.

Hydrophones

Various Artists – Hydrophones
Using only (publicly available) recordings from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), carefully manipulating the underwater sounds of ships, earthquakes, “air guns”, whale sounds and some unknown sources, this free download includes three immersive sub-aquatic ambient soundscapes created by Michael Hendley, Beau Finley and Keep.

Interesting Collaborations

In the Shortlist sections, I will mention some of the albums that I enjoyed listening to, but couldn’t find the time (or the right words) for a “full” review for. Still, I think they deserve your attention: use the links to find more info and hear previews.

Night Blossom

The Beautiful Schizophonic & Yui Onodera – Night Blossom
The Beautiful Schizophonic 
(Jorge Mantas, Portugal) and Yui Onodera (Japan), two renowned sound artists,  continue to refine their collaborative work that started in 2009, with “Radiance”. 
Immersive, yet restrained, beauty. 

Woven Tide

From the Mouth of the Sun – Woven Tide
From the Mouth of the Sun is the name of the first project of Dag Rosenqvist (Jasper TX)  and Aaron Martin. Just mentioning these two names should raise your interest!
“Out of the charred embers of dusk Woven Tide emerges with an incandescent glow. Each glimmer cast by the sustained notes of ebony keys, the taut strings of the cello, and the rampant buzz of guitar lights our way, gives us hope, brings us into the dawn of a new day. As From The Mouth of the Sun, the duo act as our torchbearers, scrawling messages along the walls of an elongated cave, toiling through the decayed remnants of fetid matter to create eight illuminating pieces.”

Specta Ciera; Sense; Pleq + Lauki; Ujjaya; Sequence 2

In the Shortlist sections, I will mention some of the albums that I enjoyed listening to, but couldn’t find the time (or the right words) for a “full” review for. Still, I think they deserve your attention: use the links to find more info and hear previews.

Underpass

Specta Ciera – Underpass
Specta Ciera 
is the pseudonym for sound designer Devin Underwood from Cambridge, MA. Underpass” is the latest in a line of 15+ releases combining ambient drones, field recordings and avant garde electronics. The four tracks on this (FREE) FeedbackLoopLabel release are warm, immersive and slightly dark. (In fact there are three tracks, because the title track returns in a Darren Harper mix). This great EP only scratches the surface of the compositional style and approach Specta Ciera employs, so it may be a good starting point for checking out his back-catalogue.

sense - selected moments

Sense – Selected Moments Vol. I
With his vintage synth sounds, Sense, aka Adam Raisbeck, brings back “the golden era of 90’s ambient music”. The sounds are beautiful analog, but the music itself is far from ‘retro’. The compositions are warm and nicely balanced. In Adam’s own words: It’s about selected moments of my life over the last 5 years and consequential realisations from looking at those moments individually it’s about change and growth its about opening hearts and healing. My ultimate goal is create an interface via my music whereby people listening to it will totally feel what’s happening and understand what I was feeling at the time I was making the music, it’s something that is to me – beyond-sonic.”

Pleq, Spheruleus & Various – "A Silent Swaying Breath"

When they decided to work together on a charity fund-raising album “for those that has beenaffected by the recent unrest that ravaged cities across the country” (referring of course to the recent UK riots), Pleq (Bartosz Dziadosz) and Spheruleus (Harry Towell) chose a different approach.

Instead of asking fellow artists to contribute a complete track, they teamed up with SoundFjord (UK Sound Art Gallery), and started asking their (immense) network of ‘artists, musicians and the general public’ to contribute just a short (under one minute) sample for this project. 
Then they started working on these samples, creating this one hour album with twelve full length tracks.

Pleq and Lauki; Jan Kees Helms; Nigel Samways and Ennio Mazzon

Two  releases on the Ephre Imprint label, and a collaboration from the label curator Nigel Samways with Ennio Mazzon. That’s a lot of fascinating material!


Gravity Lens

Pleq and Lauki – The Gravity Lens
Though they have never worked together (as far as I know), there’s a remarkable resemblance between Pleq (Bartosz Dziadosz from Poland) and Machinefabriek (Rutger Zuydervelt from Holland). Both are very prolific artists (their discographies can easily fill a single blog), not afraid to combine gritty electronics with aesthetic acoustic sounds and field recordings, and both are collaborating with a surprising array of adventurous artists. 

On The Gravity Lens, Pleq teams up with Lauki (Barcelona), to create a cinematographic “single longform piece which moves through several mournful, atmospheric sections. The arching melodies and harmonics reveal themselves further over time, rising in and out of submerged bass notes and fizzing field recordings.

Pleq and Lauki – The Gravity Lens (Excerpt)

Various Artists – Just a Moment


Just a Moment

The Japan Earthquake and the Nuclear Disaster following it seem to have vanished from the media radar completely.
Which is strange enough, since the effects of the latter will be felt for decades (at the very least), and it’s unlikely that the people that were directly affected bu the earthquake have recovered from the disaster by now.

There have been some heartwarming beneficial releases by ambient/experimental artists until now, most notably the “Kanshin” and “For Nihon” albums. But for causes like this, there’s never ‘enough’ that can be raised for those that have suffered.

So, Harry ‘Spheruleus‘ Towell  teamed up with Bartosz ‘Pleq‘ Dziadosz  to curate another compilation in support of those affected by the Japan March disaster.

Just a Moment is released through the Audio Gourmet label, originally specialized in the short 15 minute  ‘coffee/tea break’ EP editions.

Field Rotation; Wil Bolton; Anna Rose Carter + Pleq; Umber; Simon Whetham

In this “shortlist” section, I will mention some of the albums that I enjoyed listening to, but couldn’t find the time (or the right words) for a “full” review for. 
Still, I think they deserve your attention (use the links to find more info and hear previews).

Field Rotation

Field Rotation – And Tomorrow I Will Sleep
“After countless nights of work for university suspending my circadian rhythm at last I decided to compose some pieces to set myself on sleeping mode. – Christoph Berg (Field Rotation)
This beautifully calm album was released a few months ago, but somehow slipped through the cracks and was never reviewed here. It should have been, since  the album keeps returning to my player to prove it is one of the best releases I have heard this year. 

Chimes for a Wall Drawing

Wil Bolton – Chimes for a Wall Drawing
Remarkably bright-sounding live recording of a 2009 performance at Tate Liverpool, inspired by the gallery’s display of Sol LeWitt’s ‘Wall Drawing #1136’
“In the spirit of Sol LeWitt’s use of seriality and arbitrary systems, this electro-acoustic composition used the artwork as an inspiration and graphic score, mapping its seven spectrum colours onto the corresponding notes on coloured chime bars. Chimes, handbell and electric guitar were processed live into elongated tones and drones, layered with electronics and field recordings made within the gallery and surrounding area.”

Pleq – Ambientblog Mix

Ambientblog proudly presents a new “Guest mix”,  contributed by Bartosz Dziadosz a.k.a. Pleq

After reviewing his latest releases, I did not hesitate when Bartosz asked me if he could contribute a mix to the ambientblog podcasts.

This Pleq Ambientblog mix is not a mix of his own music, but a mix of Various Artists that gives great insight in the kind of music that inspires Pleq.

It kicks in fairly heavy with the high pitched noise of Go Koyashiki’s “Silhouette”, which when it suddenly drops feels like it has prepared your mind to ‘open up’ for the sounds to follow.

Bartosz’ mix balances the almost industrial electronic sounds with the more organic romanticism of (for example) Library Tapes, Max Richter and Spyweirdos.  

Before closing the mix, two previously unreleased tracks are included: a collaboration with Hakobune and another with Natalia Noeila Siebula. 

Pleq – Ballet Mechanic + Good Night 2

Ballet Mechanic

According to Pleq (Bartosz Dziadosz from Warsaw, Poland)Ballet Mechanic”  is “his most personal, abstract and intellectual work to date, never to be repeated.

Ballet Mechaniccontains six tracks, over 70 minutes in total, “inviting the listener to travel through crackle, screech, squeak, sizzle and subtle drones”. 

Some of the tracks have a natural feel, like if it was created from field recordings instead of electronic sources. Other tracks  sound like distant machines humming while doing their work. 
All kinds of subtle shifts are happening in the immersive sound spectrum, but you’ll only become aware if you submerge yourself in the sound. The overall atmosphere is very calm and relaxing.