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DreamScenes 2017 – 6

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This month’s DreamScenes collection hopefully raises your curiosity to check out some of these recent releases:

tracklist:

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Various Various

Evidence of Intense Beauty

Evidence of Intense Beauty

EVIDENCE OF INTENSE BEAUTY

The Audiobulb label succesfully proves the existense of intense beauty with the release of this compilation of ‘pioneers in the field of ambient microsound and modern classical’, each selecting a track that ‘represents their conceptual sense of beauty’.
Among the list of contributors are Clem Leek, Wil Bolton, Sawako, Taylor Deupree, Autistici, Richard Chartier, Ian Hawgood, Marcus Fischer, Monty Adkins, Antonymes, Listening Mirror (to name only a few) .

Paul Dresher once said that human attention and counsciousness works by “holding onto a certain amount of familiarity, and then introducing a certain amount of newness. “‘ When the familiarity and the newness are balanced, the experience may be one of intense beauty.”

“Beauty” is different for everyone of course, it’s in the eye of the beholder. But this music is specifically targeted at an audience that “actively engage with music and who want to be taken on a journey”.
“Each track takes the ingredients of minimalism coupled with a strong sense of tonality to produce a slowly evolving narrative.”
And for that audience, this equals beauty indeed.

With a clear conceptual vision like this, the  17 tracks (98 minutes) are not only ‘evidence of intense beauty’, but also proof of the label’s consistent quality.

Also on Spotify


 Tranquility 6   Tranquility 7

FROM HERE TO TRANQUILITY – VOLUME 6 (THE RENAISSANCE) * VOLUME 7 (THE RENAISSANCE CONTINUES)

If you were into ‘ambient’ music in the 90’s, you’ll probably know the Silent (Records) label. If you discovered the genre later, you SHOULD know about the label, because it was hugely influential and set many standards in experimental electronics. Its founder and curator, Kim Casconeleft the label in 1996 to work as a sound designer for Thomas Dolby’s Headspace organisation. Without him, the label slowly disappeared until it finally shut down in 1998.

Early 2016, rumours emerged that a ‘renaissance’ was to be expected. One important part of this resurrection is the dedicated Silent Channel webstream on the famous Soma FM internet radio station, playing selections from the Silent catalog.
Another is the release of these two compilations: part 6 and 7 of the From Here To Tranquility series. Part 6 (16 tracks, 104 minutes) is available in a 2-CD version or digital download, while Part 7 is a download-only release because with its 24 tracks running 165 minutes it’s simply too massive for a physical edition.
Both editions are divided in a Light Disc and a Dark Disc, which is some indication about what atmospheres to expect.

“We shade our ambient in sound colors light and dark. Signals in and out of the calm and stillness of what is left unsaid. Treasured roadmaps. Coded experiments. We retouch the mindset of the past and turn to the future.”

The ‘renaissance’ collection simply picks up where the label left, with a lot of references to the original 90’s experimental ambient style while at the same time looking forward into new directions.
Although it is divided in two editions, it feels to me as one huge collection that immediately places the Silent label back in the forefront of experimental ambient music.
Welcome back, Kim!


Also on Spotify


Also on Spotify


Where Words Fail Music Speaks

WHERE WORDS FAIL, MUSIC SPEAKS

A sad cause triggered fund-raising charity release: it is intended to help cover the cost of treatment of Ania Mehring, who was diagnosed with Sarcoma Synoviale, an exceptionally malignant tumor.
Ania is the wife of Maciej Mehring, founder of the Zoharum label – a label regularly featured on Ambientblog. Santa Sangre Magazine curated this massive 7 1/2 hour compilation (digital download-only obviously), for which many friends and related artists provided a previously unreleased track.

There are many obscure performers (at least for me) on the list, but many well-known artists too: Robert Rich, Biosphere, Troum, S.E.T.I., Machinefabriek, Phurpa, Cindytalk, Alio Die, Mathias Grassow, Dirk Serries and Celer – the latter closing the album with a beautiful warm and comforting 59 minute track called The Rest Remembered.

The majority of the 62 tracks are (experimental) ambient and drone tracks. Understandably, this is not a happy-go-lucky playlist: most of the music is dark and ominous, with a range from quiet calm to deafening noise. There’s a section of industrial and ‘neofolk’ tracks too. This set may seem a bit of an odd detour from the ambient selections – but they are clustered together (track 17 – 32) so they can easily be isolated to a full album – a collection within the collection.

Even if you probably won’t like all of it, there’s enough material to select a few hours of fascinating music for everyone (well, almost everyone). That’s a good enough reason to pay EUR 9.99 for this set. An even better reason is knowing that you support a good cause buying this album: help Ania get her necessary treatment and help her get better!

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Ian William Craig * Serein (Various) * 130701 (Various)

Orbital Planes

Ian William Craig - Centres

IAN WILLIAM CRAIG – CENTRES

Ever since William Basinski transformed the sound of deterioration into sonic art, it has become part of the experimental mainstream – along with distortion and carefully arranged clicks and cuts.
Although I am old enough to recognize the nostalgia of analog hiss and vinyl crackle, I often get confused hearing intentional sounds that I have tried to avoid for a large part of my life (and for a large part of my budget). Too often, the result is that too obvious presentation of imperfection simply becomes irritating.

But, like Basinski, there are also artists that take things to a completely different level. Ian William Craig is one of them.
He’s a trained operatic vocalist with a beautiful voice, an orchestral composer capable of writing heartfelt arrangements that could easily become anthems for a whole generation. If only …
Play his music for an unprepared audience and eyebrows will definitely be raised!

“(Centres) was created using a mixture of sources – synthesizer, Hammond organ, guitar, accordion, wire recorder, loop station, Craig’s array of re-purposed tape decks and “cassette choir”. The songs were created manipulating tape loops through two or three decks at once to create strange deteriorating delays with different colors.
“Everything was manipulated through my customized tape decks,” explains Ian. “The most common hack is putting attenuators on the heads to keep them from functioning properly, and then running a loop of tape through so the sound builds and builds and spills over. Sometimes the same tape loop goes through two or three decks at once to create strange deteriorating delays with different colours.”
Continually honing and pushing this process, the album shows a quite brilliant attention to textural detail. Morphing, swirling, scouring, shimmering, it continually expands and contracts around you.”

Centres is Ian William Craig‘s ninth album (!), his third official release (and his first on the 130701 label). Compared to his earlier work, there is a bit more emphasis on song structures – the vocal arrangements (like in Purpose (Is No Country) and Arrive, Arrive) are moments of rest in the sonic sea of decaying sentimentality.

To demonstrate the impact, compare the albums opener Contain (Astoria Version) – a 10 minute piece with an anthemic instrumental second half that most artists would’ve probably placed as a climactic album closer – with its introvert counterpart closing the album: the ‘campfire arrangement’ (solo vocals and acoustic guitar) of Contain (Cedar Version).
Same song – different parallel universe.

Craig pushes ‘the beauty within degradation and deterioration’ to an extreme level. Só extreme that it becomes the aesthetic of the fundamentally distressed. It’s not an easy listen, because it requires full attention. The listener cannot simply ‘consume’, but has to work to uncover the beauty underneath.

Ian William Craig would probably be capable to write and perform the near perfect pop song. But why would he? Perfection is boring – true beauty is found in imperfect details.

Also on Spotify


Orbital Planes

VARIOUS ARTISTS – ORBITAL PLANES & PASSENGER TRAINS VOL. I

Some of you may remember that the Serein label started out as a netlabel way back in  2005, giving away a lot of music for free. (Check this Folio Broadcast if you’re interested in a mix of Serein music from 2005-2007).
After the label founder Huw Roberts teamed up with (Deaf Center’s) Otto Totland to form the near-legendary Nest, things got serious and Serein re-emerged as a ‘real’ label. (I don’t mean to imply that netlabels aren’t serious, of course: what I mean to say is that with the Nest release, Serein must’ve realised that they were giving away gold for free. )
The label “predominantly focusses on crossover ambient styles”, but refuses to limit itself to any one genre.

This is perfectly demonstrated in this compilation, presenting 75 minutes (16 tracks) of “the finest Serein selections”. It’s a wide range of ‘crossover ambient’ styles, that somehow perfectly match together.
Intended to soothe you during your daily commute – “making your journeys as pleasurable as can be” – but of course it can also be enjoyed from the comfort (and relative safety) of your home.

A beautiful selection of (all new?) tracks from artists that have worked with Serein before but also some names that are new to the label: Otto A. Totland, Brambles, Ametsub, Benoît Pioulard, Strië, Donato Wharton, Yui Onodera & Chihei Hatakeyama, Olan Mill (and this is not the complete list!).
It will make you look forward to the upcoming Serein releases.
Ánd to Volume II of this series!

Release date: August 19, but can be pre-ordered here.



STRIË – 87 BILLION SUNS


 

11into15

VARIOUS ARTISTS – ELEVEN INTO FIFTEEN

130701 started as a Fat Cat sublabel 15 years ago: the label name is in fact the date it came to life with the first Set Fire To Flames album.
Since then, it has become one of the most influential labels in various areas of modern classical music – home to many influential and, by now, well-known artists.

After a three year hiatus the label re-emerged at the end of 2015, and now it celebrates its 15th anniversary with this impressive compilation of unreleased work by some of their familiar artists while at the same time introducing some new names.
Eleven tracks – as you might have guessed from the title – that prove the power of the label curators: there’s a range of modern classical styles – from melancholic piano compositions to abstract string drones – but also some tracks that fall outside of this categorisation yet perfectly blend in.

All tracks are exclusive and previously unreleased, which instantly turns this into a not-to-be-missed release for fans of Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Hauschka, Dustin O’Halloran, Set Fire to Flames, Sylvain Chauveau. Ánd for the ‘early adopters’ that are already familiar with Ian William Craig, Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, Dmitry Evgrafov, Resina and Olivier Alary.

The album title might as well have been Sixteen into Fifteen, since it comes with an added bonus called “New Blood” – presenting 5 extra tracks by artists that have recently published music on 130701 or will do so in the near future: Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, Dmitry Evgrafov, Olivier Alary, Ian William Craig and Resina.

The limited CD version of this bonus were distributed in UK indie stores but quickly sold out but is now a free download with every purchase of Eleven Into FifteenIt can also be obtained separately – but in fact I cannot think of a good reason why you’d want to do that when you get it for free with the Eleven…  compilation.



OLIVIER ALARY – YANGTZE

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1631 Recordings Selection

Endless Melancholy

1631 Recordings is a new label run by David Wenngren (Library Tapes) and Mattias Nilsson (Kning Disk).
The label focuses on contemporary classical music mostly.
In the first months of 2016, they’ve unleashed an incredible amount of releases featuring new material as well as a bunch of re-releases. And there’s no sign this will stop soon.
On the occasion of ‘Piano Day 2016’, here’s a selection from their recent releases:

Cave in the Sky

CAVE IN THE SKY – SÖNGHELLIR
When Cye Wood visited Iceland, he became lost looking for the Snæfellsjökull Glacier. When he finally found it, he also found the ‘Singing Cave’ that gave this album its name: Sönghellir.
Cye Wood  (who previously released an album with Lisa Gerrard in 2010: The Trail of Genghis Khan) plays guitar, violin, bass viola, Rhodes bass and piano. He is assisted by various musicians playing acoustic instruments, so – apart from a sporadic field recording – this is all but ‘electronic’ music.
The ensemble setting somewhat reminded me of the sound of a ‘matured’ (in terms of the compositions) Penguin Cafe Orchestra:  pleasing and unclassifiable compositions: it’s neither folk music nor jazz, it’s not ‘pop’, it’s not ‘contemporary classical’, but it’s not ‘experimental’ either – it’s a great combinations of impressionistic compositions with influences from all over the world.
Ánd it has a great sound too: the mastering was done by Valgeir Sigurdsson (Björk, Feist, Sigur Ros) and the album was mixed by Paul Corley (Ben Frost, Tim Hecker, Daniel ‘OPN’ Lopatin).
Also on Spotify


Le Lendemain

LE LENDEMAIN – FIRES
Re-release of the album that was originally released on Home Normal in 2009. Le Lendemain is David Wenngren (piano, field recordings) and Danny Norbury (cello, dulcitone). A delicate, intimate dialogue between instruments, with sparsely added environmental recordings or electronic effects.
“The music from this album is a journey of two instruments and the outside world, what it adds up to is a soundtrack to the moments of unconsciousness, of times when one is dreaming, or the beautiful in between state.” 

Also on Spotify


Endless Melancholy
ENDLESS MELANCHOLY – A QUIET RECOLLECTION
With a name like Endless Melancholy there is no need to try to describe the kind of music. This is not a new album from Oleksiy Sakevych (Kiev, Ukraine), but a recollection of the albums he made from 2012 (when his debut Music for Quiet Mornings was released) until now.
His work slowly evolved from minimal piano pieces to modern composition, a bit of post rock and to ambient electronic soundscapes.
This release is a great way to start exploring Endless Melancholy‘s music. The first seven tracks on this release focus on his piano-centered works  (with one new composition: Unsaid), while the second half features more ambient electronic  tracks

Also on Spotify


Luke Howard - Forgotten Postcards
LUKE HOWARD – FORGOTTEN POSTCARDS
The opening track, Homeless,  and the closing title Shift are noteworthy for the way Luke Howard uses the full range of the keyboard repeating the theme from the lower register to the upper, and back again. And, before you realise it, the slightly melancholic theme has anchored itself in your subconscious.
Luke Howard is a composer/pianist from Melbourne, Australia, whose debut solo album ‘Sun, Cloud’ was nominated for the 2013 Australian Music Prize that year.
Forgotten Postcards is his fifth solo album. It is the perfect soundtrack for shifting through a box of forgotten postcards, which will bring back forgotten memories. I guess it will also do so even if you do not have a box of forgotten postcards yourself.

Also on Spotify


Alex Kozobolis

ALEX KOZOBOLIS – ALEX KOZOBOLIS
Like the Endless Melancholy Recollection, this is not a re-release but a ‘best of’ compilation selected from the previously released work of Alex Kozoboliswho is not only a composer but also photographer and filmmaker – so it’s not surprising his music would perfectly fit a movie soundtrack.

Also on Spotify


Piano Cloud

VARIOUS ARTISTS – PIANO CLOUD, VOLUME 1
Much of the contemporary classical music releases use the piano as the main instrument, so it’s fitting that 1631 Recordings releases a compilation album of piano music from their artists (and friends).
Piano Cloud, Volume 1 presents 20 relatively short compositions for solo piano (1 hour total) . It is a collection of ‘light’ neo-classical music, romantic in style mostly, never ‘experimental’ or ‘difficult’.

The collection opens with one the genres’ most important pioneers (I almost wrote pianeer): Nils Frahm. But there are many more familiar names: Library Tapes, Peter Broderick, Fabrizio Paterlini, Anna Rose Carter, Stray Ghost, Lucy Claire, Hior Chronik, Endless Melancholy, Akira Kosemura.
And that is only half of the bunch: the other half are names somewhat less familiar but that definitely does not mean their work is inferior!
A great overview of the popular genre. A kind of mission statement for 1631 Recordings too (although their releases are not limited to solo piano music only).

Also on Spotify


Keys

VARIOUS ARTISTS – KEYS
A second piano-centered compilation, subtitled “A Comprehensive Collection of Contemporary Piano Compositions”. A celebration for Piano Day (March 28), featuring exclusive contributions from Rafael Anton Irisarri, Peter Broderick, Nils Frahm, Richard A. Ingram, Library Tapes, Machinefabriek, Gabriela Parra, Sommer and Krater. A great overview of how different (acoustic) pianos can sound from each other, depending on the use, the recording technique, and on the post-processing of course: from bright to muffled, from clean to creaky. And everything in-between.

Also on Spotify

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DreamScenes 2015-11

DreamScenes

Seductive Strings, Wordless Vocals, Sleepy Soundscapes, Deep Dreams and a Reassuring Ending.

Tracklist:

  • 00:00 DreamScenes – Intro (Susanna)
  • 00:31 From the Mouth of the Sun – Path for Air
    Into the Well, 2015
  • 04:38 Autistici – The Grotesque Physicality of Waiting
    Temporal Enhancement, 2015
  • 08:13 Cryxuss – Dazed
    Naviar Haiku 6, 2015
  • 14:45 Iskra String Quartet – Heliopause
    Iskra, 2015
  • 20:28 Jan Grünfeld – Come Gentle Spring, Come at Winter’s End
    Music for Plants, 2015
  • 23:46 Dronny Darko & Protou – Primate (50 Million Years Ago )
    Earth Songs, 2015
  • 29:28 Graveyard Tapes – Ruins (Caught in the Wake Forever Mix)
    I’m on Fire (White Rooms Remixes), 2015
  • 34:45 Max Richter – Path 5 (Delta)
    From Sleep (Bonus Disc), 2015 – please note: bonus disc sold out
  • 40:28 Stephan Mathieu – Stasis 8 (Kane’s Dream)
    Before Nostromo, 2015
  • 45:46 Gideon Wolf – Passenger Two
    Near Dark, 2015
  • 48:50 Me Raabenstein – Ad
    Language is a Spy, 2015
  • 52:18 Ken Camden – Renewal
    Dream Memory, 2015
  • 54:34 – Anne Garner – Wherever You Go
    Be Life, 2015
  • 58:36 DreamScenes – Outro (Pink Floyd)

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DreamScenes 2015-06

DreamScenes

The DreamScenes selection for this month features exciting (and sometimes mysterious) music from Norn, Glass Candy, Banabila/Machinefabriek, Heezen, Mathias Delplanque, Cello + Laptop, Veroníque Vaka, Andrew Weathers Ensemble, Ben Salisbury/Geoff Barrow, Darren McClure/Jose Soberanes, Todd Tobias, Macheteoxidado and Anne Garner.

Lie down & enjoy!

Thanks for listening and please tell others if you like what you hear…

Tracklist:

  • 00:00 Intro (Susanna)
  • 01:05 Norn – Vanuit de Nevelen
    Usotsuki, 2015
  • 02:23 Glass Candy – Shell Game 
    Lost River OST, 2015
  • 05:14 Banabila & Machinefabriek – Stemmenspel
    Error Log, 2015
  • 12:11 Heezen – Automat
    Abandoned Memory, 2015
  • 16:01 Mathias Delplanque – Débris (for Ephraim Wegner)
    Siebzehn Bis, 2015
  • 20:25 Cello + Laptop – Welcome
    Segments, 2015
  • 27:33 Veroníque Vaka – Minning Um Himinn
    Erlendis, 2015
  • 32:33 Andrew Weathers Ensemble – Shout, O Glory, Sing Glory Hallelujah!
    Fuck Everybody, You Can Do Anything, 2015
  • 37:15 Ben Salisbury, Geoff Barrow – Ava
    Ex Machina OST, 2015
  • 38:54 Darren McClure & Jose Soberanes – Mind Scanner
    Shelter, 2015
  • 44:12 Todd Tobias – Teluk Dalam
    Tristes Tropiques, 2015
  • 46:31 Macheteoxidado – Hay Tantas Cosas 
    Viento De Las Montañas, 2015
  • 52:14 Anne Garner – Soft Eyes
    Be Life, 2015
  • 56:38 Anne Garner – Be Life
    Be Life, 2015
  • 58:37 Outro (Pink Floyd)
  • 60:00 End

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Russ Young; Richard Ginns; Troum; C. Reider; Retracking Val

CP1500

RUSS YOUNG – COMMON POND

On Common Pond“, Russ Young recreates places, events and objects around him “by assembling manipulated audio sources – re-imagining the impression with sound”.

Each track has a different background story, like:
‘Phil’s House’ is made from recordings of a friend’s 8 upright pianos he kept in his house.
I ended up erasing the notes leaving the mechanics behind. I think it sounds like rain on his roof or rain playing his pianos.”
“‘Lamy’s Sound and Light’ is a local ‘disco equipment’ rental shop at the end of my street. He leaves a cluster of neons flashing all night.”
With this approach, Young creates a new and refreshing concept of ‘environmental soundscapes’.


RUSS YOUNG – COMMON POND
 



Richard GInns

RICHARD GINNS – FALL, RISE
The basic inspiration for this album came from a rather frightening experience when visiting the French Alps in winter “I was alone and the weather was turning fast, a snowstorm completely took over and visibility was next to zero. Far from home, cold, tired and in fear of my surroundings, the reality of where I was really hit me. […]
A path would lead me home … A voice in the distance, to which direction it was coming from exactly I couldn’t tell … I began to trek knowing my ears would guide me … Bringing me back home!!”
The album (later recorded in Manchester), does not focus on the ‘fear’ of the occasion – in which case it probably would have turned out rather dark – but on the ‘guiding voices’ instead. The reassuring positivity of nature’s guidance is what lingers in the guitar-based drone sounds, found sounds and field recordings.



Dreaming Muzak

TROUM – DREAMING MUZAK
Originally released in 1998 (on cassette) as Troum’s second album, and rereleased as a limited CDR in 2006, the Zoharum label now re-releases a remastered edition of this fascinating album. Two tracks, about 26 minutes each, “created as a muzak tuning our brainwaves into the proper dreaming stadium”.
Don’t let the ‘muzak’ and ‘dreaming’ connotations misguide you: the drones are in fact rather ‘noisy’: they could be created from the sounds of faraway industries, busy highways, passing freight trains, etc. But at the same time this sound indeed induces an adventurous calm state of mind.
Incomparable in result, of course, but in a way these tracks reminded me of Lou Reed’s legendary album “Metal Machine Music” .



The Plangents

C. REIDER – THE PLANGENTS

“Plangent” [adjective]:

1. Having a loud deep sound
2. Resonant and mournful in sound

On “The Plangents”, C. Reider recreates some of the musical themes he has heard in his dreams: “Music in my dreams is very repetitive, and this music reflects that.”

[Name Your Price download]



Retracking Val

RETRACKING VAL – RETRACKING VAL
A Collection of recordings by Matt Moore (Retracking Val, UK) – selected from his ‘not so terrible’ recordings (his own words) from the past years. A remarkably fresh set, with some nice ambient soundscapes, but also some tracks that drift off into other musical territories.

[Name Your Price download]


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Various Compilations

Compilation albums are a nice (and often inexpensive) way to get introduced to new artists you’re not yet familiar with. For a label, they’re a great way to present their artist portfolio. Or a way to raise some money to fund new projects.
Or … they may be used as an auditive sleeping pill…
Prepare for over 15 hours of assorted musical selections:

Elements 1-5

ELEMENTS ONE – FIVE
To celebrate their five years of existence, the renowned Home Normal label presents a massive five-album compilation set.
64 Tracks with an incredible artists line-up (I won’t even begin to start name-dropping here!). Apart from the five album set, the individual albums are also sold separately.
Profits of each album will go to five different charity organisations: one for each separate album.

According to the website, Home Normal label curator Ian Hawgood will be taking a (well deserved) break after rounding off the Elements compilation sets. Luckily, this does not mean we’ll have to do without this label’s music: this set alone is offering enough to keep on listening for months!


Ambient Sleeping Pill

AMBIENT SLEEPING PILL COMPILATION VOL. 3 (+ 2, + 1)
For those that didn’t know yet, AMBIENT SLEEPING PILL is an internet radio station “streaming music for Sleeping, taking naps, and other more wakeful moments; Tranquil, Deep, Serene; no breaks, no ads, no beats, no new-age cheese.” (!).
In other words: an insomniac’s dream! And a healthy alternative for a sleeping pill, too.
For those that want to take their sleeping pills when off-line, there are currently three compilations available. Needless to say that these albums strictly contain quiet, soothing, drone-based ambient sounds.
(But NO new-age cheese indeed!)
Compilation 3 presents 9 tracks (80 minutes), with contributions by Nobuto Suda, Saito Koji, Erinome, Echo Grid, Not a Number, Purl, Porky214, Summons of Shining Ruins, Niko Bellanti.
For more information, Andrew J. Klimekstation and compilation curator – wrote extensive track-by-track notes on the Bandcamp page.
As the #3 indicates: there’s more where that came from: the previous Compilation 2 and Compilation 1 are both equally interesting. And yes: buying these albums supports running the radio stream!


EarthTones 2

EARTHTONES VOL. 2
The “Vol. 2” already reveals that this is not an ‘introduction’. It is the second in a series released on Tessellate Recordings, a label curated by Harry Towell, a.k.a. Spheruleus.
Selling this compilation is a way to help funding forthcoming physical label releases. It’s quite a massive set: 25 tracks, 2 hours of music, presented by well-known artists as well as less familiar names. To name just a few: Paper Relics, Darwin Raymond, Grzegorz Bojanek, Strom Noir, Green Kingdom, Rezo Glonti, Specta Ciera, Porya Hatami, Yann Novak, Michael Trommer, Tobias Hellkvist.
Along with their musical contribution, all artists also have included a picture image of their local surroundings, “as a sort of post card to you, the listener”.This is a great insight in the surroundings that have inspired them to create this music. The surrounding earth as a source of inspiration defintely results in a more lighthearted and often optimistic atmosphere. The styles cross different sections of the ambient music scene, but here is some more emphasis on using the guitar as the main instrument.


Soft Recordings

AN INTRODUCTION TO SOFT RECORDINGS
Soft Recordings is a brand new label founded by David Teboul (Linear Bells). To introduce his new label, catalogue # 001 is a 12 track compilation presenting a remarkable array of contributing artists.
Next to Linear Bells, we find familiar names like Leonardo Rosado, Monolyth & Cobalt, Darren Harper, Endless Melancholy, Sima Kim, Radere, Saito Koji, Bengalfuel (and then some).
Judged by this line-up Soft Recordings will be a label to keep an eye on.
Stylistically, most kinds of contemporary ambient music are present here: “drone, experimental, some noise, and a sprinkling of modern classical” .
“‘An introduction to Soft Recordings’ is an evening spent in a mountainside cabin, listening to the storm shake the trees in the darkness. Inside, all is still, hushed, waiting. The fervent glow of firelight, bright against frosted windows.”


Ache

ACHE – COMPILATION 001
This (pay-what-you-want) compilation is an introduction to another brand new (NET-)label. The Ache netlabel is dedicated to “lush soundscapes, dark drones, ethereal ambience, and atmospheric sounds.” Here are six bands/artists each presenting two tracks: Auteurist, Foresight, Swell Sounds, Black Light, Unruhe and Bellow from the Arms.
The names may be less familiar, but the music is as diverse and adventurous as the Soft Recordings collection mentioned above, although the overall sound is somewhat darker.


Ambient Selections 2

CYAN MUSIC – AMBIENT SELECTIONS VOL. 2
Another ‘sequel’ compilation, this time from the Cyan Music label, operating from Melbourne, Australia, run by Gus and Andrew Till and ‘The Gnome’. This compilation focusses on somewhat more melodic, ‘traditional’ ambient music – mainly created using synthesizers – sometimes crossing over to some ‘new agey’ sounds (but fortunately staying on the ‘right’ side of it… whatever that may mean)
I must confess that from the eight contributing artists Robert Rich was the only name I was familiar with, so there are definitely some new names to be checked out here!

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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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Various Artists – Earthtones


EarthTones

Tessellate Recordings is a new label started by Harry Towell, well-known for curating tons of fine music for the Audio Gourmet netlabel, ánd of course for his own music as Spheruleus.

“Earthtones” is a massive compilation (26 tracks, over 2 hours) of well- and lesser known artists that all contributed a track to this album which is intended to raise funds for the next CD-releases.

Just picking a few names from the contributor list: Caught in the Wake Forever, Wil Bolton, Maps and Diagrams, Savaran, Ekca Liena, Bartosz Dziadosz (Pleq), James Murray, Damian Valles, Monolyth & Cobalt, Lauki, Offthesky, Radere, The Inventors of Aircraft. – I guess that’s enough to get you interested….

Not only did the artists contribute a musical track: they also provided “an image of their local surroundings to accompany it to help further drive home the theme”.
The tracks contain these images as a personal ‘track cover image’, so when playing back the album “you’ll transport across the globe and back again, acting as a sort of postcard from the artist to you, the listener”.

Contributors come from all over the world, and together they present a wide array of different styles that are nowadays filed under ‘ambient’.

Tessellate Recordings has made an impressive start with these first two releases, and it’s definitely worth spending a few bucks to help fund their future releases.

Especially when these bucks also get you a compilation album like this!

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