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Matthew Florianz * Max Corbacho * Robert Scott Thompson

Onontgonnen

Onontgonnen

MATTHEW FLORIANZ – ONONTGONNEN

I have been a dedicated follower of Matthew Florianz‘s music ever since his 2001 releases Molenstraat and Grijsgebied, when his alias was still Liquid Morphine.
In these 15+ years, there has been a steady stream of album releases, each exploring an ambient style, most of them connected to a specific place, environment, where Florianz lived or had lived.

Apart from releasing his own albums, Florianz is a professional game sound designer. He has worked on  award-winning game titles like Jurrasic World Evolution, Planet Coaster, Elite: Dangerous and of course Spellborn (remember these two compilation mixes of the music of Spellborn?). He still works with the same clear vision of how he wants his music to sound, but at the same time his extensive professional experience in creating sound atmospheres and ambience can be heard in his musical development – especially in his latest release Onontgonnen.

‘Onontgonnen’ is a dutch word best translated with unexplored, but also with uncharted or maybe even uncultivated Instead of relating directly to an identifiable place on the map (like Molenstraat, Maalbeek), it is as if Florianz creates his own world completely from scratch. Starting with almost nothing; after all it is yet uncharted. A gentle, barely audible drone, carefully adding different musical elements and field recordings, slowly unfolding different views of a new world.

What struck me on this album was its complete unhurriedness, the  way it made me lose all sense of time. It feels as if the 60 minutes of Onontgonnen comprises a history of thousands of years.  And yes – that  feeling of timelessness is a quality of true ambient music. There are many great albums in Florianz’ discography, but with its harmonious balance this is one of his very best!


Source of Present

MAX CORBACHO – SOURCE OF PRESENT  Also on Spotify

This 73 minute Max Corbacho album featuring six tracks of various lengths starts with the 23 minute The Beginning Of Remembering … and you’ll immediately begin to remember what immersive ambient soundscapes like:
“…the music moves slowly as cosmic, nebulous, expansive stratums, orbiting into the boundaries of consciousness.”
This majestic opener is followed by three shorter tracks, before the album is closed with two full LP-side length  tracks: Source Of Present and On This Journey.

No need to buy yourself a flotation tank – just turn down the lights and play this album on the right volume and you’ll immediately float away on the serene soundscapes. Soundscapes that may make you feel small and insignificant, by the way, because of their cosmic proportions.

“Gradually, this music manages to install us in a mental zone only established in the present moment, like a disconnection from all the noise and mental chatter that surrounds us in daily life.”


ROBERT SCOTT THOMPSON – ALPHABET OF THE TREES  Also on Spotify

Self-described as a ‘musical alchemist’, Robert Scott Thompson combines electroacoustic, contemporary instrumental and avant-garde music ever since 1976, naming Chopin, Satie, Stockhausen, Varèse, Cage, Bowie and Eno as his greatest inspirators. He runs his own label, Acourant Recordshome to different artists but also for his own (rather high) output (though it seems the label website is not updated since september 2016: later activities have been transferred to Bandcamp).
Robert Scott Thompson is one of those artists that seem to breathe music: his Bandcamp catalogue presents  83 album titles! (Discogs lists only 33 of these, so there’s some work to do there..)

On Alphabet Of The Trees,  presents eight dreamy and mysterious ‘classic ambient’ soundscapes,
Voice samples play a particularly important role on the tracks on the first half of this album. Sometimes up-front, sometimes hidden away, but ever-present angelic choirs, or like the spirits of the trees this album is dedicated to.
Most of the album is quite comforting (with titles like ‘Travelling In Dreams’ you’ll probably know what to expect), but with the Twin-Peaks-like atmosphere in Nights, Darkest To Fall the album ends in a relatively dark and ominous mood.

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Veroníque Vaka; Dirk Serries; Robert Scott Thompson; Damián Anache

Erlendis

VERONÍQUE VAKA – ERLENDIS
Originally from Montréal, Canada, Veroníque Vaka moved to Iceland to become infected with whatever creative virus it is that the geysirs breathe into the air.
Erlendis (the word translates to ‘a place that is foreign to you’) is her relatively short debut EP (released on Moderna Records), – on which she presents the beautiful music she created with some gifted –sons and –dottirs.
It has all the classic qualities, we’ve come to know of music from Iceland: an intriguing combination of string ensemble, piano, wind instruments, field recording and voice: all with in mind ‘the purity and breathing of acoustic instruments and their sensibility’.
Ánd of course a strange, somewhat alienated atmosphere. 
The album is co-produced and mixed by Alex Somers, known for his work with Jónsi & Alex, Sigur Ross and Damien Rice. 

 


Dirk Serries - Disorientation FlowDIRK SERRIES – DISORIENTATION FLOW
If you limit your search to just Dirk Serries you’ll find only a handful of album releases, but add one of his many aliases (Fear Falls Burning, VidnaObmana, Continuum, Microphonics, Stream of Consciousness, Yodok III) and his discography expands to frightening proportions.
Disorientation Flow presents Serries in his most basic form: fully improvised and recorded in real-time with an electric guitar and just a handful of effects. It “touches upon the introspective character of  Serries’ musical language. String-like chords, subtle waves and dynamic warm drones are the sonic ingredients, playing with notation of extended time and isolation.”


Palimpsest

ROBERT SCOTT THOMPSON – PALIMPSEST
In his extensive discography that goes all the way back to 1991, Robert Scott Thompson has explored many different facets of electronic music. His sound can sometimes reflect ‘old-school’ ambient artists like Klaus Schulze, Brian Eno or Steve Roachbut it can also choose a direction to reflect the more experimental music by musique concrête artists like Francis Dhomont or Todd Dockstader.
His latest album is a good example of his musical versatility: starting out with the acousmatic sounds of small rocks and pebbles, but slowly drifting into more ethereal ambient textures (and back again).
It’s exactly that combination of choices that makes Thompson stand out from the contemporary electronic music mainstream.
He “manages to refrain from the harsher electroacoustic sounds, while still capturing the tension inherent in that school. Combined with a modern ambient approach, his recordings often take on pleasant overtones, albeit with darkness on the horizon.”
The album title Palimpsest refers to the fact that this new material is created using material that has been developed for previous Robert Scott Thompson projects.


Capturas del Unico Camino

DAMIÁN ANACHE – CAPTURAS DEL ÚNICO CAMINO
The deluxe edition of Damián Anache‘s debut CD Capturas del Único Camino… comes in a hand-cut carton box, also including art prints dedicated to Damián Anache‘s creative influences: John Cage, Brian Eno, Erik Satie and Alan Watts. This includes extensive information about the score, unfortunately (for me) all written in Spanish (Anache comes from Argentina).
There’s also a more moderate standard CD release – but for those that don’t need a physical copy the digital download release is available as a free (!) high resolution (48/24 FLAC) download!
The soundscape (recorded in Ambisonic-UHJoffers a natural kind of Generative Music –  the ‘chance music’ generated by computer algorithm which is constantly changing and slightly different at every occasion.
Generative Music was extensively explored by Brian Eno and has since then become a computer music genre in itself (remember Sseyo Koan software? That was over 20 years ago!!)
Capturas… may be ‘computer music’ because of its use of complex software algorhythms, but Anache uses the software to control acoustic sounds of instruments, voice and recordings of water.
The result is a bright natural, ever-changing yet also constant sound painting – a pleasure to have it playing in the background. Or, of course, for ‘accompanying a lull or relaxation, offering a beautiful object for passive contemplation.’

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