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Machinefabriek Exclusive: Transform II * Michel Banabila

Machinefabriek - Transform II

Machinefabriek - Transform II

[Ambientblog Exclusive!]

This track can be downloaded FOR FREE (in various formats) from the AMBIENTBLOG BANDCAMP PAGE

Ambientblog is very proud to present this new and until now unreleased Machinefabriek track called Transform II as an exclusive (and FREE) download. This 17:05 piece is created using samples from Michel Banabila‘s track Transform (from his latest album Everywhere Else Is Just Right Here, more info below).

Michel Banabila and Rutger ‘Machinefabriek’ Zuydervelt have collaborated for a long time now. They released result of their fruitful cooperation on four albums: Banabila & Machinefabriek (2012), Travelog (2013), Error Log (2015) and Macrocosms (2016). (Rumours are a new release may be in the making but no details about that are available yet).
The two clearly share an artistic musical vision, and their different approach and perspective merge very well and add an extra adventurous layer to the result.

Transform II is Machinefabriek‘s vision on the original (much shorter) Michel Banabila track. Rutger Zuydervelt takes the original and almost tearing it apart, then rearranging the details in a different way. The result clearly be recognised as a Machinefabriek work: Banabila hesitates to call it a ‘remix’ because it must be seen as a complete new work. But it also remains true and respectful to its Banabila roots.
It’s a deep dive into electronic abstraction, but near the end of the track Machinefabriek introduces a ‘signature Banabila sound ‘: the melodica. It makes you feel as if you’re coming up for air again after a fascinating exploration of an underwater world.

Editing, processing and additional sounds by Rutger Zuydervelt, September 2018
Source material by Michel Banabila

This track can be downloaded FOR FREE (in various formats) from the AMBIENTBLOG BANDCAMP PAGE


Banabila Everywhere Else


Michel Banabila has released music since 1983 (that’s 35 years now, mind you!) and if you delve into his back catalogue you’ll discover an interesting development. Inspired by the explorations from Brian Eno/David Byrne, broadening his musical visions across many genres and borders, he created experimental music, music for theatre, dance and films, world music and sometimes music that could be classified as ‘new age’. Experimental but also accessible, balancing serious art with zany humor, comprehensible yet unorthodox. His strength – a diverse output across many genres – in fact became also a weakness in terms of marketing: unable to pinpoint him to their own preferred genre, ‘serious’ music lovers often ignored his musical genius. In my opinion Banabila never really got the recognition he deserved to get, especially in his ‘early years’.
But over time, and due to his untiring perseverance, that has changed.

Banabila’s music has changed too. His output became more experimental. His music slowly evolved (or dissolved – after al that’s just a matter of perspective) into ever more abstract electronics.
In recent years, his debut album Marilli was re-released in 2017 on Seance Centreother early works were compiled on Bureau B in 2016, and Voiznoiz recently saw a beautiful rerelease on Steamin’ SoundworksAt first, this renewed interest in his early material confused Banabila: this was music from the past, this is not what he stands for now, musically.

But possibly the renewed interest in his musical past also triggered something. On Everywhere Else Is Just Right Here Banabila revisits (and perhaps even re-animates) his own musical past, and connects it to his current musical vision. There are ‘abstract’ tracks, and these are arguably the ones that are mostly connected to his recent output. But there are also tracks that resemble his early work: rhythmic, filled with surprising (often found environmental) sounds, all presented in a wide-open production. Music with a very strong ‘theatrical’ quality.
The two closing tracks are not new but remasters from Des Traces Retrouvées II and III (1985/1987). They somehow complete the circle.

Banabila reinventing himself feels like coming home. But I guess we can safely assume that he won’t be staying ‘home’ too long: after all ‘change is the only constant’.

Everywhere Else Is Just Right Here is a digital-only release.
I ‘highlighted’ the Transform track below because it’s interesting to compare it to the Machinefabriek rework. But it may not be the most representative track from the album, so I strongly recommend to check out the rest too.

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OfftheSky * Tobias Hellkvist * Rasalasad


Silent Went the Sea


Releasing your 50th album (since 2003) requires an appropriate celebration: so many albums in just over 13 years while maintaining an artistic quality standard (perfectly demonstrated on this anniversary album) is a truly remarkable achievement!

For this special occasion, Jason ‘OfftheSky’ Corder releases his 50th anniversary album Silent Went the Sea together with a second disc, a DVD containing the video version of the 8 tracks of the album (+1 bonus video by Monolyth & Cobalt). And if that was not enough, the physical CD also includes an extra EP download code.

So much for the good news… now here’s the sad part: the celebration party is nearly over now. Meaning the special edition is sold out..
But as usual, the digital version remains available.


Many of these tracks were originally written as soundtrack for the accompanying films on the DVD, but they work very well without those too.

The Silence of the Sea refers to that special moment ” when all of the waves cease and there is a loud lull of silence before the waves start crashing again.”
It’s a most effective kind of (nearly) acoustic ‘ensemble ambient’, performed on violin, cello, water instruments, vibes, bowed crotales, vocals, with Jason Corder adding all other sounds.



There are quite a few mentions of works by Tobias Hellkvist on this blog, but Kaskelot is not among them. I don’t know why I missed this lovely original CD-R release (2011, on Tokyo Droninga Home Normal sidelabel), but I did.
So I’m happy to hear that 1631 Recordings presents a lovely reissue – with added bonuses!

The original EP contained 4 tracks – Kasekelot 1- 4 – with a total length of no more than 16 minutes. It is strikingly different from other Hellkvist‘s releases: not only because of the instrumental setting (organ, lap steel, piano, loop pedal, cymbals, guitar, vibraphone) but also how it came about:

“Originally sprung out of an idea conceived of 4 notes repeatedly played on a vibraphone and a grand piano, Kaskelot was composed and recorded on-the-go one late night in February, 2011 in Sigur Rós studio in Reykjavik, Iceland.”

Hellkvist slept on a camping bed in the recording room where he worked as an audio engineer on a different project, so he had the opportunity to use the instruments and gear available to play rather than getting sleep. With a fascinating – though relatively short – result!

For this reissue, the original tracks are remastered and slightly reworked, but still remain true to their original acoustical starting point. No heavy remixing or additional effects here: those are reserved for the six remixes that follow (50 minutes of extras in total). Almost unnoticeably subtle, the first remix (Seque) floats into into a more electronic setting, slowly building up to a noisy climax in the closing remix by Chris Herbert.

The remixers (Seque, Steve Pacheco, Pausal, Porya Hatami, Chihei Hatakeyama and Chris Herbert) all work with different details from the originals, but the different tracks match together perfectly into a beautifully diversified full album.



Rasalasad, a.k.a Fernando Cerquira from Portugal, ‘mixes spoken wordcore, drone, broken word, illbient, experimental, library music’.
He is also the founder of the Thisco label and of the Antibothis anthologiesa series of books released together with a CD compilation. A busy man, obviously, with a lot of connections in the experimental music scene.

Thismorphia is a collection presenting different collaborations, with some artists contributing spoken word pieces for Rasalasad‘s background soundscapes (Jarboe, Wildshores, Von Magnet, John Zerzan), while others deliver the sound sources ( (ext.), Emil Beaulieu, Merzbow, Smell & Quim, Antonym).

The list of contributora indicate that this collection may not be meant for the faint of heart. Be ready for some dark noisy pieces, intricately balanced with more subtle ambient and spoken word tracks.

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Autistici & Justin Varis – Nine (+ Remixes)

Autistici & Justin Varis

The work of David ‘Autistici’ Newman  (Sheffield-based sound artist and also Audiobulb label curator) has regularly appeared on these pages, but Justin Varis (from L.A.) was unknown to me until now – even though he has released Mountains in 2013 and appeared on various collections.

The two have worked together on their new album – Nine – in the familiar collaborational way, sending material back and forth as it developed.
The result is an 141 minute double album with eight tracks (not nine), completed by another eight remixes from artists ‘close to their universe’.
(Think: Marcus Fischer, Isnaj Dui, Christopher Hipgrave, Monty Adkins, Pillowdiver, Offthesky, Wil Bolton and Letters! on Sounds.)

All tracks are named after different colours. It took a while before I realised that they should best be experienced in a synaesthetic way: the sounds represent the colour characteristics – at least the way the artists experience them.
The opening track, Light Blue, evolves around a somewhat harsh synth sound which I did not find particularly pleasant at first. But light blue can be quite a harsh, sharp colour too. Realising this, my listening experience changed.

This way, each track has his own different characteristics, some bright, some soft, all built from microscopic details.

Experiencing colours also proves to be a personal experience: the longest track – subtitled Sleep Test for Erik and a perfect track to doze away on – is called Amber; a colour close to yellow and orange and so one not immediately associated with ‘sleep’ (to my eyes, I should add).

The remixers all take a slightly different approach, adding layers of sounds to the basic material, which is like putting the original colours into the perspective of their surrounding landscape.
Together, these two cd’s are a truly kaleidoscopic collection!

To conclude, here’s the (usual) sad news:
although the release date for Nine is set for January, 16, the physical copies are already marked sold out!
But pay attention if you’re interested: the last few copies may soon become available directly from Autistici, from Stashed Goods (UK) or from Experimedia (US). Of course, the digital version will remain available for everybody else.

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Various Artists – Marilli Remixed

Marilli Remixed

I still clearly remember hearing an unknown artist performing on a sunday afternoon radio program in 1984 (‘Spleen, VPRO). I learned that Michel Banabila had self-released his debut album called Marilli  – which I immediately bought from the only record shop in Amsterdam that stocked it.
That was the beginning of a long and adventurous fan-relationship: I have been following Banabila’s music for over 30 years now!

The music he currently creates is very different from what he created back then: Banabila considers his debut as a ‘quite simplistic and somewhat hilarious recording […] Quite embarrassing, really […] The overall effect is extremely naive, the sounds were nice and organic, but my “composing” process was not’.

While this may be true from the viewpoint of the artist that has grown and looks back on his early work, the original album still has the same feeling for me… it presented new sounds, a new freedom, a new ‘world fusion’ music (remember: this was relatively short after the release of Eno/Byrne‘s ‘My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts’).
(Marilli also marked the start of a new collective called Chi  which did some remarkable multimedia ‘fourth world ambient’ performances.)

“You can’t change the past”, Banabila concludes and he decided that there will be no re-release of the original Marilli. 

But things took a different turn when 2015 saw renewed interest in the debut album.
Former Chi-members Hanyo van Oosterom and Koos Derwort made a remix of the first album track and that became was the launch of a new project named Marilli Remixed: 23 remixes of the original analog recording by artists from all over the world (including Michel Banabila himself).

‘I asked them (the remixers) to skip the voices in their remixes, and to only use sounds from the record itself. (They) Came up with these really amazing works to transform the album into a more minimalist 2015 version.
It has become a remarkable collection, especially for those that still can remember the original album, of course.
But that’s not necessary – those that dón’t know the original will find pleasure in the 2015 remixes too.
No matter Banabila himself may think of his original work, it clearly was worth remixing: the respect for the original material is felt in all details.

Marill Remixed is available as a FREE (Name Your Price) download!

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Bruno Sanfilippo – Upon Contact Reworked

Upon Contact Reworked

Though the album is presented as if it were a remix-album (and in fact it also ís)the basic track is not taken from a previous release from Bruno Sanfilippo‘s extensive discography. The title track and opener of Upon Contact Reworked is a new composition which is the basis for further reworks, reconstructions and remixes by different artists.

Upon Contact (the original)  is a very quiet, satie-esque piano composition, leaving a lot of space for the notes to breathe.

The title track is then reworked by Francesco Giannico, Olan Mill, Leonardo Rosado, Jorge Haro, Quivion and Hior Chronik respectively.

I assume the contributors have never met while making this album, but judged by the resulting tracks on this album they must’ve been communicating telepathically. All of the remixing artists have added their own views and watermarks, but overall they kept very close to the original atmosphere.
There are no disturbing exceptions or exceptions that break the spell.

But still: you can hear the subtle differences in every approach; the acoustic piano composition slowly morphing into more electronic areas before returning to the sound of the piano in the closing Hior Chronik version.

There are quite a lot remix compilations floating around, but rarely have they been presented as a conceptual unity like this album, which feels like it could’ve been the work of one single artist.
I guess that proves the strength of the original underlying composition of Upon Contact.

Also on Spotify

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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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Antonymes – There Can Be No True Beauty Without Decay


To celebrate its 50th release since 2009, Hibernate Records could hardly have chosen any better release than Antonymes “There Can Be No True Beauty Without Decay”.

Not only because Ian ‘Antonymes’ Hazeldine’s music seems to represent all the things the label stands for (“both abstract and melodic but always with a hint of melancholy.”), but also because the inspiration for this album came from his debut album “Beauty Becomes the Enemy of the Future”, which was originally released in the same year, 2009.

Re-visiting his debut album, Antonymes composed seven new tracks, and had them remixed by Ian Hawgood, Isnaj Dui, Offthesky, Field Rotation, Wil Bolton, Spheruleus and James Banbury to complete this album.

“There Can Be No True Beauty Without Decay” presents the original and the remixes unpaired, so you’ll have to re-shuffle the album to hear exactly how the remix compares to the original. Surprisingly, the remixers are not credited with the exact track in the liner notes, so it’s a bit of a guess who exactly did what particular remix track. But obviously they all share the same vision with what Antonymes and Hibernate stand for: the different tracks could have easily been created by one single artist.

One might be tempted to listen to the originals and the remixes as ‘true beauty’ vs. ‘decay’, but of course it’s not just that simpe – since the one cannot be without the other.
Beauty‘ is often presented in Ian’s majestic and melancholic piano themes, while ‘Decay‘ may be found in the electronic remix deconstruction. Ánd in the sound of worn-out vinyl grooves, which seems to re-create that familiar but not yet forgotten sound of different times.
(As far as I know, the album is available as a CD-album and digital download, and not on vinyl – but wouldn’t there be some irony in getting it on a high quality heavy vinyl pressing, to faithfully reproduce the familiar crackling sound of a low-quality worn out one?)

Looking at the track titles, the decay often brings sadness:“Forever Without Hope”, “Misshapen Beauty”, “Borne of Sadness”, “The End of Everything”… 

But after listening to this album over and over again, I can only conclude one thing: it’s a Beauty!

Antonymes – Means of Escape (I)

In anticipation of this album’s release and its 50th birthday, Hibernate have asked five of their artists to compile an album of 10 of their favourite Hibernate tracks. The compilations, created by Antonymes, Wil Bolton, Isnaj Dui, Caught in the Wake Forever and Offthesky, are available as a FREE (or better: Name your Price) download!
So if you were not yet familiar with what the Hibernate label stands for, here’s your chance!

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Michel Banabila – 47 Voice Loops + Gardening (Extended)


47 Voice Loops

Two surprising new albums by Michel Banabila, both based on some of his earlier work yet remarkably different from most albums in his extensive catalogue.


The original basic track for 47 Voice Loops can be found on the free (!) download album In Other Words (track called “MltVz8”.)
In reaction to some listeners comments, Banabila decided to create longer versions of this track. The result is now available as a separate album which clearly demonstrates these listeners were right!

As the title indicates, the basic ingredients for these tracks are 47 layered and looped recordings of Michel’s own voice – and since each loop has a different length the result is a choral work in endless variations in which the same combination of fragments will hardly ever be repeated (a generative music principle often used by Brian Eno).

Although the originating process and the philosophical fundaments may differ, those of you that paid attention at experimental music history class will probably immediately recognise The Great Learning, Paragraph 7 as composed and performed by Cornelius Cardew and the Scratch Orchestra in 1971 – a piece that Banabila acknowledges to be one his greatest musical influences ever.

The result is “MltVz9” – a mesmerisingly calm vocal ocean, whispering messages probably only your subconscience will understand…

But it does not stop there.
The second version of this track repeats the process but with the loops heavily processed and mutilated, feeling like washes of instrumental noise unrelated to human vocal. Next, the album concludes with a mix of these two versions, in which the voices seemingly struggle with their unnatural counterparts.

Throughout his work, Michel Banabila has always been experimenting with all aspects of the human voice. This album is his ultimate hommage to the composer and the musical score he has admired for all his life.

“47 Voice Loops”



Gardening Extended

The first version of Gardening was released in august 2012 as a digital only release. The compositions of structured field recordings, based on found sounds and recorded objects also shows a radically different side of Michel Banabila.

This album is now also available as a limited edition digipack CD, and the reason that I menton it again is because it now also includes additional remixes based on the original tracks by: Machinefabriek, Radboud Mens, Lukas Simonis, Zenial, Naoyuki Sasanami and…. (surprise!) even one created by me…!
It’s probably needless to say that I am very very proud that Michel Banabila included my own humble remix along with some other remixes from artists that I do greatly respect!.

Please note that the download version of the album does NOT contain the remixes: the remixes are exclusively limited to the physical CD version, which is a limited edition of 100 copies only.
Also, the Bandcamp page only previews the original tracks, not the remixes.

So, the track featured below is an ambientblog exclusive preview of the Gardening Trigger Mix by Peter van Cooten, created for Banabila’sGardening – Extended Version


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Mathon – Terrestre


Mathon - Terrestre

With their new release ‘Terrestre’, Mathon takes a further step in creating their own unique genre.

Their music is, as always,  consequently linked to geographical locations, describing “the coexistence of nature and civilization and also the contradictions between the two”.
It is mainly created with acoustical instruments and stylistically closely related to the impressionist music known from the ECM-label.

The basic tracks sound as if this music was improvised, yet completed using (post-) production techniques more familiar in the ambient/electronic soundscape genre.

Mathon (Pete Leuenberger, Roger Stucki  andThomas Augustiny from Switzerland) invited at least one guest-musician for each of these six compositions. The resulting pieces were sent to various video artists (including Zeitkratzer‘s Maurice de Martin, presented below), and to other musicians to remix them (among them Kenneth Kirschner, Steinbrüchel, I8U) .

Terrestre  is not only ‘different’ in content, but also in the form it is released in: the physical release contains a vinyl LP album (with the six original tracks) as well as a DVD that additionally also includes seven remixes and four videos.

Quite a desirable package, that is! And a real pleasure to listen to, too.

Mathon – Sublim
Video “Welcome – Thank You – Goodbye” by Maurice de Martin (Zeitkratzer)

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:Papercutz – Do Outro Lado De Espelho


Well here’s for something completely different!

Usually, ambientblog is not the platform to promote portuguese electronic pop music – however adventurous it may be. But after releasing Lylac – adventurous electronic cut-up pop music featuring Melissa Veras on vocals, :papercutz main performer Bruno Miguel  grew fond of the ambient genre (“much because of my love for movie soundtracks”)and somehow managed to an impressive list of ambient music artists to rework the music on Lylac.

To get you interested: “Do Outro Lado De Espelho – Lylac Ambient Reworks”  contains remixes by folks like Helios, Emanuele Errante, Simon Scott, Taylor Deupree, Autistici, Christopher Bisonnette, Jasper TX  and that’s not even everybody on the list!

Names like that are enough to trigger anyone interested in contemporary ambient music to check out this album.
I was going to write “to run to their record store” – but I’m afraid most records stores will not stock music like this so you might check out the audiobulb website to order it directly from there.

While Lylac  is adventurous enough to be enjoyed in it’s own right (one seldom hears an album defying the borders of different genres so effectively) – for Do Outro Lado De Espelho (“From the Other Side of the Looking Glass”) Bruno Miguel can be credited for opening a whole new perspective on ambience in music.

It still pop music, still, but with a dreamy, ethereal and cinematic twist seldom heard otherwise.

All remixing artists add a personal dimension to the original tracks. Their work is not ambient music in the ‘soothing’sense: some of the reworks are emotionally quite harsh confronting.
But on the other hand there’s some extremely romantic and touching remixes, like the Taylor Deupree version of Do Outro Lado de Espelho or the Helios Lylac remix.

Ambient music has its own unwritten conventions of how it should sound, of when it’s “deep” and of when it might even be “art”. From out of nowhere, this stunning :papercutz release overthrows all conventions and shows there can be a perfect blend of ambient-, electronic and pop music.
All contributors to this album should be credited for that, as well as audiobulb for releasing a gem like this

“‘Do Outro Lado de Espelho (Lylac ambient reworks)’ marks the end of a chapter for :papercutz and simultaneously opens a door for a new one.” Bruno Miguel states.
So who knows what the future may bring…!

:Papercutz – Do Outro Lado Do Espelho (Taylor Deupree remix)

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