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Olivier Alary * Selffish

Sellfish

Olivier Alary

OLIVIER ALARY – FICTION – NON-FICTION Also on Spotify

Fiction – Non-Fiction may be Olivier Alary‘s debut album under his own name for the Fat Cat / 130701 label, but that does not mean it’s his first work. The French (now Montreal-based) composer has previously released music as Ensemble (on Aphex Twin‘s Rephlex label, among others). Those releases grabbed the attention of Björk, for whom he later worked as a remixer and co-composer.

Fiction – Non-Fiction is a compilation of previously unreleased work for film soundtracks he composed in the last five years: music for China Heavyweight‘, ‘Up the Yangtze‘, ‘Jo pour Jonathan‘ and Corbo‘. In addition to this soundtrack material, there are two variations of the minimalist Pulses: one for percussion and one for wind instruments.

Coming from soundtracks mainly, it’s no surprise that the music is highly cinematic – especially since Alary can work with large ensembles, film orchestras, a string quartet, saxophonist (Erik Hove), pianist and arranger Johannes Malfattiand many, many other musicians.

The result is a lush, organic sound – and a remarkable variation of styles: piano solo pieces (Arrivée, Qin), modern classical compositions (Juanicas, Canon, Flooding), polyrhythmic minimal music (Pulses), pieces on par with the best of Johann Johansson and Max Richter. Ánd even some real ambient drone pieces like Khaltoum – and (my personal favourite track): Epilogue, closing the album with a floating choir slowly fading into silence.

The desolate album cover image may suggest otherwise, but the music on this album represents many different moods and styles. Definitely one for the list of favourites!

As a bonus, here’s an exclusive track for you to enjoy (nót included on the album).
Piscine is a short track in line with the other ambient pieces on the album:


OLIVIER ALARAY – PISCINE (NOT ON ALBUM!)
 

(Note: The Bandcamp link below is for the digital version only. For physical editions click here)


Sellfish

SELFFISH – HE SHE THEM US

There are only a few releases on the Serein label every year, but íf they decide to release a new album it’s a safe bet it ‘s worth investigating!

He She Them Us is their first title for 2017. It’s the debut release of the oddly named ‘Selffish‘  (Andrejs  Eigus from Riga, Latvia). His  debut for Serein, that is: Selffish previously released two full length albums on the Thinner netlabel in 2002 and 2004, which can still be downloaded from Archive.org.

The inspirations for He She Them Us  came from the countryside around the city of Riga, where Andrejs often went to find solace in its stillness and beauty, and where he recorded the field recordings that he later used to recreate these moments of reflection.
“Each time I went to visit a secluded corner of nature outside my hometown, I usually felt a strong desire to produce music. Especially when hearing the sounds again at home.”

Like many other releases on Serein,  He She Them Us is a hard to categorize because it merges many different things. There is plenty of ambience, field recordings and electronics (the label info recalls music from labels like Mille Plateaux, Raster Noton and City Centre Offices). On top of that there’s the carefully balanced live instrumentation (grand and electric piano, double bass, bowed strings, saxophone and guitar) adding a jazzy, warm, and loungey touch. and played with a perfect sense of detail.

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Michel Banabila + Maarten Vos

Banabila Sound Years

Banabila + Vos

MICHEL BANABILA + MAARTEN VOS – HOME

Michel Banabila‘s musical tree has many roots. Those of you that have checked out his back catalogue (and I hope most regular readers have done), know that it includes experimental electronics, as well as world fusion, jazz, and many productions for theatre, dance, movies and documentaries.
Every branch of his output is interesting in its very own right, but I dare say that his work for theatre and dance productions may often be his most emotionally engaging, as well as the most accessible for audiences not particularly used to ‘experimentalism’.
There’s an impressive list of his work for theatre [here], in case you might know (listing in Dutch).

In the past Banabila  has regularly worked with Conny Janssen for her well-known dance ensemble Conny Janssen DanstFor their 25th anniversary production Home -currently touring the dutch theatres extensively-  she asked him to create the music in collaboration with Maarten Vosand play it live at every performance.

Maarten Vos is a classically trained Dutch cellist.  who also studied Live Electronics. His work combines the two musical areas, merging the two disciplines into a new one. He has collaborated with many other artists such as Julianna Barwick, Greg Haines, Loney Dear, Machinefabriek, The Kyteman Orchestra, and now of course with Banabila. 
Both artists worked together intensely preparing the soundtrack for Conny Janssens’ anniversary production, and their work is captured on this CD which is currently available at the performances. And hopefully – if stock permits – after the tour has ended.

 

Even without attending the dance performance it was written for, it’s an impressive and diverse soundtrack. A golden combo of electronics and cello  (Maarten Vos is a cellist primarily, but with a soft spot for modular electronics too), capable of conjuring a  multitude of emotions with diverse musical styles.

Their music constantly evolves, so it is doubtful that the music on the last performance will be the same as on the first. As mature and complete as the music on this album may sound, the music captured on CD can be seen as a ‘basic draft’, simply because the CD had to be manufactured before the tour started. This means that the music will have evolved further and some of the tracks will have seen many reworks over time.
Banabila and Vos have found a solution for this: after the tour ends, the music will be made available via Bandcamp in different versions: a complete version (containing the full CD version and various reworks), and an ‘additional’ version containing the reworks only (for those that have already bought the CD version at the CJD performances).

All this, of course, is about the music soundtrack only. But if you read this before the tour ends and live anywhere near Holland, I advise to go see one of the performances for the full Conny Janssen Danst experience. (If tickets are still available, that is).
For all others: keep an eye on the Bandcamp page to see when the full edition is released (which will be the first week of may).


Banabila Sound Years

MICHEL BANABILA – SOUND YEARS

Sound Years is a compilation of previously released tracks (with the exception of the previously unreleased opening track Close To The Moon). All are hand-picked by Michel Banabila himself and mixed into two continuous tracks – one for each side of the vinyl album. The selection is taken from various projects: some of them from theatre works, some of the more recent experimental electronic music, an occasional live recording, and a selection of his collaboration works with Oene van Geel and Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek).

The oldest tracks are taken from 2005’s Hilarious Expedition, the newest are from 2016. They are selected to create a continuous uninterrupted flow.
The sound is immediately recognisable as Banabila‘s – especially in his trademark use of ‘alien vocal’ samples (like in E.T. and Vuka Vuka!).
The set is a perfect demonstration of Banabila‘s mastership of creating moods and atmospheres. A soft, warm, comfortable selection that is slightly unnerving and ‘outerworldish’ at the same time.

Sound Years can perhaps be seen as Banabila‘s companion to KLF’s ‘Chill Out’ album: a slow walk through quiet (yet alien) landscapes. Unknown, full of surprises, yet always vaguely familiar.

Banabila has claimed that this could very well be his last physical release before going 100% digital. I wouldn’t take his word for that myself, but if it is, this beautifully packed (transparant vinyl) album (with a striking cover photo by Gerco de Ruijteris a ‘perfect goodbye’ to the vinyl medium.

Purchase of this transparent-vinyl album comes with a download that includes the unreleased Close To The Moon track as a separate bonus track.

DOWNLOAD CODE GIVEAWAY:

The vinyl version of this album is available now (and selling fast), but the digital-only version of this album will be released on March, 21.
Three free advance download codes are available for commenters that answer one of these two questions below:

  • Who would you like to see Banabila collaborate with?
  • Can you take a guess about his favourite fruit?

Entries close sunday february 26!

Winners will be drawn randomly.
Thanks to Michel Banabila for providing these download codes!

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Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto with Bryce Dessner – The Revenant OST

Revenant

Soundtracks are hot. And quite a lot of them border on ‘ambient’ music because of their inherent atmospherics. Or on ‘post-classical’ music because of their instrumental arrangements.
‘The Revenant’ combines the best of both worlds!

The movie’s director Alejandro Iñárritu chose to have a lot of layers of both acoustic and electronic sounds, and for that he invited Ryuichi Sakamoto to work together with Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto) as well as with Bryce Dessner.
A very impressive trio – but it must be noted that this album is first and foremost a Ryuichi Sakamoto soundtrack, with Noto and Dressner in strong ‘supporting roles’.

Ryuichi Sakamoto has a long and impressive musical history. He is no stranger to composing soundtracks, which he did for some quite remarkable movies, too.
Alva Noto is a near-legendary composer of electronic music but not a name you will easily associate with soundtrack music.
Bryce Dessner is known as a member of The National, and also for his compositions for Kronos Quartet, Bang on a Can and such, as well as for his collaboration with Johnny Greenwood.

With 12 Oscar nominations, The Revenant has had its share of attention by now. There was no nomination for the score, however, but the soundtrack wás nominated for the 2016 Golden Globe award.  I don’t really know what Oscars and Golden Globes réally mean… after all it’s your own personal experience that counts.. And for that matter: I haven’t heard a better soundtrack in a lóng time.

These are not “full” compositions re-arranged into thematic fragments to fit the screenplay.  It’s a ‘true’ soundtrack in the basic sense: most of the pieces are fairly short (with some exceptions), and thematically they are often mere sketches, but each with an intense and haunting atmosphere.
The themes are  restrained and supportive, a very subtle approach to background music design. There are some remarkable performances by Hildur Gudnadottir on cello, and Motoko Oya on Ondes Martenot.

Movie soundtracks have become a genre in itself, and there are many to choose from. But if I had to pick one to listen to this year, It’d be this one – even though it’s only still January!

This album features the original music specifically written for the movie. But The Revenant features a lot of other music too. In fact, a jaw dropping list of contemporary music is credited in the end titles: compositions by John Luther Adams, Alva Noto (some of his Xerrox work), Eliane Radigue, Hildur Gudnadottir, Olivier Messiaen, Ryoji Ikeda and Vladislav Delay.
How many Oscar/Golden Globe nominated movies can boast a soundtrack like that?!

links: [Amazon US] [Amazon UK] [Amazon DE]


Also on Spotify


Ryuichi Sakamoto/Alva Noto – The Revenant Theme (Alva Noto Remodel) 

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From The Mouth of the Sun; Christina Vantzou; Lyken / Dove; Olafsson / Futuregrapher

No. 3

From the Mouth of the Sun - Into The Well

FROM THE MOUTH OF THE SUN – INTO THE WELL
I won’t go into detail about the exuberant packaging of this Fluid Audio release, because it’s one of those releases that are probably sold out by the time you read this. If you want to know what is (or: was) included in the 2×3″CD package, you’ll find the details here.
Into the Well is the second album from From The Mouth Of The Sun(FTMOTS) – the follow-up to their 2012 debut Woven Tide.
FTMOTS is Dag Rosenqvist and Aaron Martin performing most instruments, but with the additional horn section and vocal assistance this album has the sound of a full chamber orchestra setting. Some of the music has been compared to that of Sigur Rós, a comparison most obvious in the track called Bodies in Fog.
But for me personally, this music has more impact because it avoids the obligatory ‘post-rock climatic eruptions’. Which – paradoxically – enhances their impact.
And, talking about paradox: the cover art, plotted maps and photo’s included bear strong war-time references: ‘an uncompromising and evocative tribute to sacrifice’. But to my ears, it is peaceful and consolatory music – music beyond fear.


Christina Vantzou - No. 3

CHRISTINA VANTZOU – NO. 3
When listening to Christina Vantzou‘s albums (No. 1 in 2011, No. 2 in 2014, and now: No. 3)  in sequence, you can almost feel her grow as a composer. She’s still connected to her roots (linking her to Stars of the Lid/A Winged Victory for the Sullen since working with Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie in The Dead Texan), but working with a 15-piece ensemble of strings, horns, woodwinds and choir clearly opened up new possibilities.

‘Whereas 100% of the music of No. 1 and No. 2 was composed without time structure or steady click, the pillars on No. 3 adhere to a solid mathematical scheme.”

But, instead of venturing into more ‘modern classical’ compositions, Vantzou directs the ensemble straight back into performing otherworldly drones. Which proves to be the very right choice!
The ensemble’s arrangements are a perfect accompaniment to Vantzou’s synth parts, performed on DX7, Yamaha CS20, Roland Juno-6, and a selection of Eurorack modular synths.

There’s an eerie atmosphere to the cover, which is even multiplied by the mesmerizing movements on the Official 16 mm film accompanying the release.  But if you strip away the eerie overlay, there is a profound beauty underneath.
It’s the synths that show (and honour) some of Vantzou’s sources of inspiration. Most clearly in the track Laurie Spiegel, but on other moments I even imagined hearing Tomita’s ghost tucked away in the background (or is that just my mind playing tricks? Check the second half of Cynthia..).
But in the end, this is a Christina Vantzou album, not just a collection of references. An album that easily meets the expectations set by its two predecessors.
If Christina continues her own traditions, I guess we can look forward to the No.3 Remixes, too. 


Also on Spotify


NO.3 – OFFICIAL 16 MM FILM

Christina Vantzou – Robert Earl
 


Mirror Lands

MARK LYKEN / EMMA DOVE – MIRROR LANDS
Scotland-based artists Mark Lyken and Emma Dove worked together on this soundtrack – ‘a lovely combination of minimal pastoral piano infused arrangements, industrial and natural field recordings, voice overs and evocative electronics’.
As usual for Time Released Sound releases, this comes in two editions: a standard digipak version as well as a Deluxe Edition. The latter is packed in a vintage 7″ square reel-to-reel tape box, filled with vintage prints of the Scottish Highlands, antique fold out maps and pages from 100 years old travel books.
Also included is a printed link to a private viewing of the award-winning Mirror Lands film in which ‘preconceived ideas of Highland life are challenged and the complex interactions between nature and culture are brought to the fore.’
With the soundtrack performed by six speakers forming a circular sonic space from the screen, I guess viewing Mirror Lands must be an impressive experience. Since the Deluxe Edition will probably sell out soon, I do hope the film can still be viewed in some way or another.
But even without its accompanying images the soundtrack stands firmly on its own, perfectly balancing electronics with field recordings and ‘natural’ instruments.


Also on Spotify


Eitt

JÓN ÓLAFSSON & FUTUREGRAPHER – EITT
Take two musicians from Iceland, combining piano with electronics and field recordings, and you knów you’re in for a treat!
Jón Ólafsson (piano) is an experienced keyboard player: he has played with numerous artists (Emiliana Torrini and Björk among them), and received the Icelandic Music Awards as ‘best keyboard player’ twice.
Árni ‘Futuregrapher‘ Grétar weaves a sonic tapestry with synthesizer, effects, and field recordings.
This is their first release together, and hopefully it won’t be their last: their contemplatice music sounds ‘fresh’ (- nót ‘cold’! – ), with a bright – ECM-like – production.
A bit like sunny days in spring. (In Iceland, that is).


Also on Spotify

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Inner Vision Laboratory; Strom Noir; Atrium Carceri; OfftheSky; Colbets

The Old City

Austeros

INNER VISION LABORATORY – AUSTEROS
The third release by this ambient project of Karol Skrzypiec presents deep, dark and ominous sounds. It could be called dark ambient – but it’s completely free from the ritualistic brouhaha often present on ‘dark ambient’ releases.
Inner Vision Laboratory “unites sounds from the surrounding reality […] torn alive from random, lost radio broadcasts, the cacophony of everyday life, or unspecified ether.”
It’s not exactly a bright and happy surrounding reality, it seems… more like a post-apocalyptic vision – but the dark suspense is frightening and beautiful at the same time.


Glaciology

STROM NOIR – GLACIOLOGY
From Slovakia comes Emil Mat’ko, more familiar as Strom Noir. The four tracks on this album cover the glacial territory that ambient music is so often associated with. Not because the music is ‘cold’ (often the opposite), but because it paints desolate landscapes.
So does Strom Noir in these “static drones that resemble a snowy picture. They unravel very slowly and subtly into one another.”
 The “four songs about Snow and Ice” are completed with an additional 20 minute bonus track, “Niekedy Sa Vracajú”, which originally appeared in a shorter 16 minute version on the Tanec Rusaliek” cassette release (still available digitally too)


The Old City

ATRIUM CARCERI – THE OLD CITY (OST)
There’s a close relation to ambient music and  movie and games soundtracks. It’s not hard to see why: ambient soundscapes are all about creating moods and atmospheres.
The “soothing string like atmospheres, distorted drones and brooding atmospheres” of these 15 tracks were created for the ‘narrative philosphical’ game called The Old City: Leviathan” – where “the player is put in the shoes of a sewer dwelling isolationist in a decaying city from a civilization long past.”
Now this probably appeals to a lot of ambient music devotees, but even if you’re not a sewer dwelling isolationist this beautiful and melancholic soundtrack could still very well appeal to you!


Also on Spotify


Light Loss

OFFTHESKY – LIGHT LOSS
The beginning of spring may not be the right season for listening to this new OfftheSky (Jason Corder) album “describing a change of seasons – from fall into winter when the sun hangs low and the day’s shy light dominates. It describes the heavy mood and psychological affect that comes with this seasonal evolution and the changing tide of friendship and love alike that occurs through this seasonal shift”.
On the other hand, every seasonal changes has its similar disturbances and it’s not just ‘darkness’ creeping in on this album: there’s still enough light to cling on to. From the rather indeterminate and abstract beginning “lighter melodic sounds are coupled with darker atonal noise moments to create a rich dynamic hue.”
It’s interesting to pair listening to Light Loss” to Corder‘s recent Juxta Phona project: the two albums relate to each other as night to day.
Or better: as Fall to Spring.

Also on Spotify


And Silence

COLBETS – AND SILENCE
Japanese duo Saitoh Tomohiro and Kari Takemoto release their fifth studio album, full of “silent music of resounds, time sleeps and warm air.”
Five atmospheric tracks take their time to evolve around the Takemoto’s guitar sounds, Tomohiro’s synth and trumpet playing, with guest appearance of cello player James Bryan Parks. The physical edition is extremely limited to 50 (as usual on the Twice Removed Records label).

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Stephan Mathieu – Sacred Ground

Sacred Ground

The music of Sacred Ground” is created for a documentary film  (by Tim Grünewald and Ludwig Schmidtpeter) about the Wounded Knee and Mount Rushmore memorial sites in South Dakota:

“Two memorials in the heart of America. Two hours’ drive but worlds apart. Mount Rushmore is an icon of the United States, attracting millions of visitors each year. The Wounded Knee Massacre Site receives just a handful of visitors each day.”

“Do the (Mount Rushmore) visitors know that the granite spires of the Black Hills into which the presidents were carved are sacred to the Indians of the Midwest? What happens when the perspective is reversed?”

 

The music is inspired by (and dedicated to) the legendary  Florian Frickewho created soundtracks with Popol Vuh for many Werner Herzog movies

Could a documentary on this subject originate from within the United States itself? Or is is a view from the outside, a foreigner’s view, from someone wondering how this could have come to be?
In any way, the alienating effect is multiplied by Stephan Mathieu‘s immensely desolate drones, which are about the exact opposite of all kinds of ‘Native American Music’.

It may be difficult for ‘outsiders’ to understand the impact of the comparision between Wounded Knee and Mount Rushmore.
Or, as is stated in the short vocal snippet opening the album: “And you don’t know unless you’re here…You.just.don’t.know.”

Released as download-only album on his very own Schwebung weblabel, Sacred Ground” is available in standard digital formats, but also as 24/96 kHZ FLAC for those that want to hear every subtle detail.
The download also contains  a 11-page PDF booklet, designed by Caro Mikalef, containing black & white movie stills for every different track.



STEPHAN MATHIEU – THE ONCE GREAT PEOPLE

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A Winged Victory for the Sullen – Atomos

The second album of A Winged Victory for the Sullen (let’s just call them AWVftS from here) – the follow-up to 2011’s self titled debut – was eagerly anticipated.
The release of the preceding 12″ EP last april (featuring Atomos VII with an additional remix version by Ben Frost) was an appetizer for the october release of the full Atomos album this month, coinciding with their tour around Europe, Australia and the US.

AWVftS is often referred to as a duo consisting of Adam Wiltzie (core member of the legendary Stars of the Lidguess there’s no further introduction needed) and pianist/composer Dustin O’Halloran. But AWVftS  would not be AWVftS without the (now 7-member) string section and the additional modular synth sounds created by Francesco Donadello. Together they present a full orchestral sound with a fascinating balance of string arrangements, melancholic piano melodies and (somewhat unsettling) synth embeddings.

Composing for Atomos started when Random Dance Company‘s choreographer Wayne McGregor asked Adam and Dustin to write the score for his new dance production. They got full carte blanche for their compositions, which also brought them the freedom to let it grow into a full album release.


Random Dance Company – Atomos

While the compositions are more dynamic in nature than the “tired sounds” of the Stars of the Lid ever were, the -s-l-o-w- music of Atomos still seems to be a bold choice for a dance production soundtrack – but probably that’s the exact reason McGregor chose them.
Whether the sounds match the dancers moves is something I better leave to be judged to experts of modern dance (and to those that have witnessed a Random Dance Company performance).
As a separate audio-only release it loses none of its imaginative power.

Opening with a sequence quoting from Philip Glass’s compositional techniques, AWVftS soon leaves the trodden paths to create their own unique blend of surprises – combining the smooth strings with unusual electronics (and some haunting sub-low synths).
On superficial listening this album leaves a somewhat superficial impression. But it isn’t: on closer listening, you’ll hear all subtle details. Listen, for example, to the sound manipulation of the piano note overtones in the opening of Atomos III.
For ‘post-classical’ soundtrack music, there’s always a risk of drifting into one-dimensional, somewhat melodramatic arrangements.
But AWVftS miraculously avoid these pitfalls and create a 62 minute symphony displaying their firm grip on this musical idiom.

Strangely enough, there’s no number IV among the twelve parts of Atomos. The question is even posed on the album cover notes: “Whatever happened to IV?”
My guess is that the nature of this part was probably too different from the others so including it on the album would break the spell. But we’ll probably find out about this in the future when the missing track will find its way out.

Shortly after its release the album charted up the UK Record Store album chart – which is a remarkable feat for any ‘indie ambient soundtrack’ album.
This may prove to be the Winged Victory of the Ambient String Superstars ! (No acronyms  here, please)



A Winged Victory for the Sullen – Atomos II

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Simon Fisher Turner – The Epic of Everest

Epic Everest

“The Epic of Everest” is a classic documentary (from 1924!) about George Mallory and Sandy Irvine’s attempt that year to climb the Mount Everest. The fateful expedition was filmed by Captain John Noel in the harshest conditions:
“The pair were last seen when they were about 800 vertical feet (245m) from the summit. Mallory’s ultimate fate was unknown for 75 years, until his body was discovered on 1 May 1999 by an expedition that had set out to search for the climbers’ remains. Whether Mallory and Irvine reached the summit before they died remains a subject of speculation and continuing research.”
The film is also among the earliest filmed records of life in Tibet.

For the BFI restoration of this move, a completely new score was composed by Simon Fisher Turner.
And this score turns out to be an impressive sonic document by itself!

Simon Fisher Turner (UK, 1954) has been creating music (and not only soundtracks) since 1974. His movie soundtracks includes Derek Jarman´s “Blue” (1993) and “Caravaggio” (1986).
Shortly before “The Epic of Everest”, he also composed the score for “The Great White Silence” (also 1924; about the Terra Nova expedition by Robert Scott).

The soundtrack score of The Epic Of Everest is a perfect match of location recordings, atmospheric ambient soundscapes, and subtle brass arrangements, with a remarkable cameo appearance of Cosey Fanni Tutti playing cornet (“Like a real Tibetan”) on “Makalu”.

Of course this should preferrably be experienced together with the movie it was intended for, but as a standalone soundtrack it works very well too: the album feels like the missing link between Geir ‘Biosphere’ Jenssen’s “Cho Oyu 8201m and KLF’s classical“Chillout” album!

Also on Spotify


Simon Fisher Turner – Makalu

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Dutch Harvest: Barnhoorn – Veldhuis – Tamea – Banabila

Here’s a batch of most interesting recent releases by dutch artists (that definitely should be heard outside Holland):


Antichamber

SIDDHARTHA BARNHOORN – ANTICHAMBER
Siddhartha Barnhoorn‘s relatively young biography (since 2004) already boasts a great number of soundtracks for movies and commercials. His latest release is the soundtrack for the “Antichamber” game (released through Steam) – a game that does quite well in the gaming community as far as I can tell by the ‘metacritic score’ of 82/100.
I cannot tell anything you about the game experience (if anyone reading this has played the game please share your experience in the comment section) – but as far as the music goes: this is spectacularly atmospheric, breathing a calm that seems to be the complete stylistic opposite of the preview images’ atmosphere.

Creating game music is quite different from creating soundtrack music, as games are mostly unlinear, and it’s never known how long a player will remain at a certain scene. So it’s all about creating an atmosphere, especially one that you would love to stay in longer … and this is what Barnhoorn does very, very well.

He takes his time, creating long drone-bases tracks slowly introducing subtle rhythmic details. And, most important for this release: the music stands firm even if you listen to it completely outside of the game context.
For prolonged environmental pleasure, there’s an additional CD with (only) the environmental field recording sounds from the same game, released by Robin Arnott. No ‘musical’ content, yet very pleasurable to listen to… so I advise you to check out the “Antichamber” double packfor three hours of sounds and music.



Blue Forest

WOUTER VELDHUIS – BLUE FOREST
It’s easy to keep floating from the “Antichamber” soundtrack right into Wouter Veldhuis’ “Blue Forest“, which is released on Organic Industries in one of the label’s distinct foldout packages with a beautiful photography determining the atmosphere
(I know, I know, I’m late again, sorry: only 5 copies left at the time of writing – but luckily the digital download remains available still).
As the cover image already indicates, the atmosphere gets somewhat darker from here, but Veldhuis‘ drone soundscapes are also of an indefinite calm. It must also be noted that “all tracks are made out of captured and processed pre-heard, found sounds and field-recordings. No samples, synthesizers or electronic audio sources were used during the production process”.



Atomism

MARK TAMEAATOMISM
If you’re already familiar with the previous work of Mark Tamea (if not, you may want to check out this 2009 mix), you know this will sound different from both releases mentioned before. These are not ‘drones’ but fragmented pieces of sound, electronic as well as (semi- )acoustic. Post-classical sounds, avant-garde-like composition techniques, musique concrete mixed with environmental field recordings and short melodic fragments – but always recognisable as ‘genuine Tamea’ because of that bright sound that is different from what most contemporaries do.

This is not ‘easy music’ – it requires dedicated listening because it’s as abstract as the web site liner notes. But if you dive into it it really pays off!
(Physical edition limited to 25 copies).



Banabila EP

BANABILA, ERKER, MACHINEFABRIEK, ZENIAL
MICHEL BANABILAZOOMWORLD
I don’t think Michel Banabila needs any further introduction here.
Even apart from his work for theatre and dance performances, his musical output has accelerated with lightspeed, meandering from electronic experimental music to eclectic world music. Shortly after the Machinefabriek collaboration and the (name your price) “47 Voice Loops“, here are two new titles also worth investigating!
Apart from some new tracks,Zoomworld is built around samples and fragments of tracks that you may recognise from his earlier work (In Other Words, 47 Voice Loops, Mltvz7). But the overall feel is quite different, as if the light has shifted completely. These new versions are created in collaboration with sound artist Radboud Mens,with whom Banabila engaged in live performance sound ‘battles’. The musical result surpasses the ‘ambient’ genre label in any possible way, but it definitely is some of the most engaging electronic music you may encounter.

BANABILA, ERKER, MACHINEFABRIEK, ZENIALis a limited vinyl release showcasing some of Banabila’s diverse collaborations along with a few new tracks. Tracks earlier released are “Deep in the Forest” (from “Route Planner“) and “More Signals from Krakrot” (from “The Latest Research From The Dept. of Electrical Engineering“). “Crowds”, however is an excitingly different version than the one known from the Sum Dark 12 release. The two new tracks are the opening track “Ill Rave” (with Machinefabriek) and the delicate “Drops”.
B-E-M-Z.clearly demonstrates Banabila’s versatility. But then – most of his albums do!
The impressive artwork is also very much worth mentioning: it’s taken from a collection of kite aerial photographs by Gerco de Ruijter.

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Stephan Mathieu – Un Coeur Simple


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Shortly after reworking David Sylvian’s “Blemish” on Wandermüde“, Stephan Mathieu presents another impressive work.

“Un Coeur Simple” (“A Simple Heart”) is the soundtrack of a play based on Gustave Flaubert’s novel, which was published in 1877 as the first of three tales.

In creating his personal soundscapes, Mathieu has always preferred using old source materials, things of the past, like wax-cylinders and 78 rpm records, as his source material….“a fascination for the past expressed through cutting-edge tools”.

>There’s a intriguing resemblance in cover art which links the music “Wandermüde” to “Un Coeur Simple”.
The source material is different, yet these sounds are immediately recognisable as the intimate work of Stephan Mathieu.

I would definitely love to see how the stretched drones that make up most of this album fit into a stage play rendition of Flaubert’s original work.

All ‘drone loveliness’ gets a sudden dramatic change of style at about 2/3 of this album, when the source material for “Devenir Sourd”(“Becoming Deaf”) consists of a distorted (78rpm vinyl style) choir recording slowly merging with morse signals and sounds of utter distortions and collapse.

This uneasy feeling is kept up for a while with the contradictive sounds in “Felicité” (felicity, or ‘happiness’), before the album concludes and slowly retreats to eternal rest with the 15 minute drone sounds of “Trace”, which seems to recall all that came before.

Apart from the album release on Baskaru, Stephan Mathieu’s own platform, Schwebung, also offers a 24bit FLAC download version for those of you that want to obtain the best sound quality available.


STEPHAN MATHIEU – PERROQUET

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