Thursday, December 17, 2009

David Sylvian - Alchemy - An Index Of Possibilities

Label: Virgin
Released: 2003
Style: Abstract, Art Rock, Experimental, Ambient

"This newly compiled collection features the gorgeously ethereal Words With The Shamen mini album (recorded 1985) together with several rarities recorded during this period with Ryuichi Sakamoto. Also featuring the likes of Jon Hassell, Holger Czukay, Steve Jansen, Robert Fripp, etc., 'Alchemy An Index Of Possibilities' is yet further proof that David Sylvian's musical touch is as light and blessed as ever - taking you on a smoky journey through drifting territories that never once belies it was made over twenty years ago. Featuring the impossible to find 'Steel Cathedrals', this will serve as the perfect introduction or undeniable find to anyone's David Sylvian collection. Magic!" - Boomkat


1 Words With The Shaman (Part 1 - Ancient Evening) (5:15)
2 Words With The Shaman (Part 2 - Incantation) (3:29)
3 Words With The Shaman (Part 3 - Awakening - Songs From The Tree Tops) (5:18)
4 Preparations For A Journey (3:40)
5 The Stigma Of Childhood (Kin) (8:30)
6 A Brief Conversation Ending In Divorce (3:31)
7 Steel Cathedrals (18:58)

Steven R. Smith - The Anchorite

Label: Root Strata
Released: 2008
Style: Psychedelic Rock, Avantgarde

"Root Strata is proud to present the reissue of The Anchorite, a dazzling jewel in Smith's substantial discography. Performed live to two track with the aid of tape loops and prerecorded takes, the music maintains a drifting, painterly quality that easily evokes the American west as much as the European east which Smith so lovingly mines for his Hala Strana recordings. Sepia toned and tinged with a luminous distortion, The Anchorite, as the name suggests, is reserved, pulled back and solemn, some kind of hermetic prayer for the end of the world. " - Label


1 Stars Heaped Up Like Grain (3:52)
2 Procession (3:22)
3 Paths In The Bower (3:34)
4 The Anchorite (2:41)
5 Vine (4:35)
6 Ampulla (2:50)
7 Moss Landing (3:13)
8 Anastasis (4:02)
9 Closing (3:40)
10 Ascension (5:52)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Biosphere - Shenzhou

Label: Touch
Released: 2002
Style: Experimental, Ambient

"Geir Jenssen aka Biosphere often appears to need a creative cue, if not a concept, to kickstart an album. One inspiration for the glacial textures of his first set for Touch, Cirque (2000) was the story of the ill-fated Chris McCandless, who hitchhiked to Alaska in April 1992, skimped on is food supply, and was found dead four months later. Last year, Touch also reissue his 1997 quiet classic, Substrata, in a lavishly packaged, remastered and expanded version, which came out of a climbing trip he made in the Himalayas. But, far from the great outdoors, a French composer seeded his latest album, Shenzhou: the first ten tracks, confess the minimal sleevenotes, were inspired by the orchestral works of Claude Debussy. It's a testament to Jenssen that throughout the set Debussy's influence is always felt explicitly, even as it never threatens to overwhelm the production as a whole. The classical source material is frozen, sampled and looped, like an audio Polaroid, into short one- or two-bar segments of woodwind, strings and the occasional harp. These central motifs, repeated mesmerically, form the bedrock of a series of lovingly crafted atmospheres and zones, around which Jenssen pumps dense clouds of beatless ambience, ominously rumbling bass notes and endlessly shifting, impressionistic textures. Similar but never the same, the effect, over expanding repetitions, is lie watching the infinite variations of ripples in water.Jenssen still resides in Tromso, 30 miles inside the Arctic circle on the northern coast of Norway. No surprise, then, that critics astutely picked up on the 'iciness' of the sound of the albums he made for the R&S offshoot Apollo in the early 90s. On this showing, though, the overall feel is more pastoral and warm, a quality alluded to in track titles like "pathleadingtothehighgrass" and "greenreflections", and the CD artwork's photos of leaves, water, skies. Partly due to the disc's classical sound palette, perhaps, the rustic imagery makes more sense here than on other recent 'folksy' electronic releases. If the textures of Shenzhou don't exactly grab the attention, they do mirror the natural world with unusual subtlety." - The Wire


1 Shenzhou (5:04)
2 Spindrift (4:37)
3 Ancient Campfire (7:45)
4 Heat Leak (4:57)
5 Houses On The Hill (5:43)
6 Two Ocean Plateau (3:10)
7 Thermal Motion (4:27)
8 Path Leading To The High Grass (3:55)
9 Fast Atoms Escape (3:29)
10 Green Reflections (3:32)
11 Bose-Einstein Condensation (2:47)
12 Gravity Assist (7:04)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thomas Köner - La Barca

Label: Fario
Released: 2009
Style: Experimental, Ambient

"There are few artists in the world of recorded music who have such an innate understanding of the use of silence and atmosphere as Thomas Köner. Next to Helge Sten, The Hafler Trio or Mika Vainio, Köner is an acclaimed master of ultra-subtle ambient acoustics, providing some of the finest records on labels like Mille Plateaux, Die Stadt and Chain Reaction, both under his birth name, and as half of seminal techno act Porter Ricks. Like a friendly apparition emerging from the ether, his latest album - the first in nearly five years - has just dropped into our world, with little prior warning, to completely remove us from our day and place us within an environment coloured with moving air, tones of sublime melancholy and indistinct aural landscapes. The tracks are titled by a set of coordinates, which we're sure the more intrigued folks out there will be researching on Google maps, but those looking to leave the mystery intact can attempt to imagine the locations through their associated voices, languages and surrounding aura. For example, without checking, on '48º 52' N 2º 21' E' you could be standing in a train station in Azerbaijan, wrapped up in an intangible moment of cinematic bliss, while on '31º 46' N 19º 6' E' one feels like a ghost in the midst of a Central American pueblo, or somewhere completely unknown. This is music ripe for the imagination, from an unrivalled mind dedicated to enhanced auditory experience and deserves undivided attention from anyone unafraid to let themselves be taken by it. Amazing music - Essential Purchase." - Boomkat


1 35° 40' N 139° 42' E Hour One (6:36)
2 43° 42' N 7° 16' E Hour Two (5:06)
3 45° 26' N 12° 20' E Hour Three (4:50)
4 28° 41' N 17° 45' W Hour Four (4:59)
5 41° 53' N 12° 29' E Hour Five (4:55)
6 33° 31' N 36° 19' E Hour Six (4:56)
7 48° 52' N 2° 21' E Hour Seven (5:26)
8 30° 3' N 31° 14' E Hour Eight (4:46)
9 78° 54' N 18° 1' E Hour Nine (5:13)
10 31° 46' N 35° 13' E Hour Ten (5:20)
11 42° 7' N 19° 6' E Hour Eleven (5:00)
12 41° 24' N 2° 10' E Hour Twelve (6:07)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Claude Debussy - Debussy - Orchestral Works

Label: Decca
Released: 2004
Style: Classical

This doesn't need a review. Just download it.


More accurate tracklisting on the actual songs

1. Printemps - 1. Très Modéré 9:42
2. Printemps - 2. Modéré 6:18
3. Fantasy for piano and orchestra - Andante ma non troppo-Allegro giusto 7:54
4. Fantasy for piano and orchestra - Lento e molto espressivo 16:01
5. Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune 10:39
6. La Mer - 1. De l'aube à midi sur la mer 8:49
7. La Mer - 2. Jeux de vagues 6:12
8. La Mer - 3. Dialogue du vent et de la mer 8:00

1. Nocturnes - orchestral version - 1. Nuages 7:52
2. Nocturnes - orchestral version - 2. Fêtes 6:19
3. Nocturnes - orchestral version - 3. Sirènes 10:46
4. Images for Orchestra - 1. Gigues 7:28
5. Images for Orchestra / 2. Ibéria - 1. Par les rues et par les chemins 7:20
6. Images for Orchestra / 2. Ibéria - 2. Les parfums de la nuit 8:16
7. Images for Orchestra / 2. Ibéria - 3. Le matin d'un jour de fête 4:24
8. Images for Orchestra - 3. Rondes de printemps 7:31
9. Jeux (Poème dansé) 17:28

1. La Boîte à joujoux - Prelude 2:33
2. La Boîte à joujoux - Premier Tableau 11:24
3. La Boîte à joujoux - Deuxième Tableau 9:12
4. La Boîte à joujoux - Troisième Tableau 6:46
5. La Boîte à joujoux - Quatrième Tableau 1:51
6. La Boîte à joujoux - Epilogue 1:16
7. La plus que lente (L. 121) 5:16
8. Children's Corner - Doctor Gradus ad parnassum 2:37
9. Children's Corner - Jimbo's Lullaby 3:54
10. Children's Corner - Serenade for the Doll 2:41
11. Children's Corner - The Snow is dancing 2:43
12. Children's Corner - The little Shepherd 2:46
13. Children's Corner - Golliwogg's Cake-Walk 2:52
14. Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien - Fragments symphoniques - 1. La Cour des Lys 3:48
15. Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien - Fragments symphoniques - 2. Danse extatique et Final du 1er Acte 7:16
16. Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien - Fragments symphoniques - 4. La Passion 6:22
17. Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien - Fragments symphoniques - 5. Le Bon Pasteur

1. Petite suite - 1. En bateau 3:45
2. Petite suite - 2. Cortège 2:58
3. Petite suite - 3. Menuet 3:13
4. Petite suite - 4. Ballet 3:18
5. Danses for Harp and Orchestra - 1. Danse sacrée 4:36
6. Danses for Harp and Orchestra - 2. Danse profane 4:33
7. Marche écossaise 6:45
8. Berceuse héroïque 4:02
9. Préludes - Book 1 - 10. La cathédrale engloutie 6:36
10. Rhapsody for clarinet & orchestra 7:27
11. Suite bergamasque - Clair de lune 4:13
12. Khamma 19:59
13. Danse (Tarantelle styrienne) (L. 69)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hans-Joachim Roedelius & Tim Story - Inlandish

Label: Grönland Records
Released: 2008
Style: Modern Classical

"Describing the dream-inducing wash of sounds that is 'Inlandish', it is, at first listen, perhaps easy to call it ambient. Roedelius suggests that we should try a bit harder though: 'Ambient doesn't really express 'Inlandish''s complexity and beauty. 'Inlandish' is not easy to put in the category of what ambient music normally appears as in the listeners ears. Perhaps it's 'ambient at its best', but I would think it's a sort of new or contemporary classical music.'

They began the album by spending 10 days together in Story's Toledo studio laying down Roedelius's piano parts ('I'm just the piano-keyboard man,' says Roedelius somewhat disingenuously). After that, Story spent five months working on the tone of the record, adding the haunting twists and languid yet euphoric whooshes. Of the two, Roedelius is usually considered the groundbreaking electronicist but on 'Indlandish' it was Story who added the electronic parts and all the arrangements (Oboe, cello...). The result is an amalgam of pulsing, tinkling, voice-of-the-future sounds that touch on the dreamy and beautiful but also something darker, more melancholy and deeply existential. Says Story: 'Happy music always seems kind of dull and shallow to me, so I'm always drawn back to something with a bit more mystery, darkness or sadness. I'll take Bartok over Shostakovich, Boards Of Canada over Franz Ferdinand.'

This also being the reason for Story 'electronically subverting acoustic instruments like the cello,' or making electronic sounds feel organic, challenging the listener to ask what's what and how it makes them feel. It's something that Story takes from his love of Steve Reich and the great man's use of 'repetition and shifting perspectives.' But however much 'Inlandish' might sound like the soundtrack to a trip through the cosmos, this album is immersive rather than passive, both unsettling and comforting. For Roedelius, though, 'Inlandish' is simply a beautiful album that expresses how much fun the two have had together: 'We took breaks to eat nice food and to drink wine. We were also cooking together. I cooked my special French fish soup, which I learned running an art bar with friends at a beach in Corsica in the '60s. Everything really was as easy and beautiful as 'Inlandish' sounds.'" - Label


1 As It Were (5:05)
2 Inlandish (4:25)
3 Trouvé (5:56)
4 Downrivers (4:28)
5 Ripple And Fade (3:17)
6 Rooftree (1:56)
7 Serpentining (5:20)
8 House Of Glances (6:03)
9 The Orchardist (3:07)
10 Riddled (4:29)
11 Beforst (4:14)
12 Intermittent Haiku (1:39)

Solo Andata - Fyris Swan

Label: Hefty Records
Released: 2006
Style: Free Improvisation, Experimental, Minimal

"A very welcome contribution to Hefty's catalogue from this Australian duo, Fyris Swan is a distinctly cinematic affair. The pair conjure the most delicate and wistful of acoustic-electronic landscapes. At times there's only the most spartan of sonic elements at work and the whole album seems to be held together by the slightest of gestures and the lightest of touches, but all this understatement makes for an incredibly atmospheric, memorable album. 'Coastal Road Thoughts' is an especially blissful drift through gentle drones, incidental chimes and buried voices, whilst 'A Ballet Of Hands' is reminiscent in feel to the unearthly haze of Arve Henriksen's Chiaroscuro album. Recommended." - Boomkat


1 Her Face Soft As Sleep (5:17)
2 Old City Crowd (7:36)
3 The Echo's Left Behind (5:48)
4 A Ballet Of Hands (5:57)
5 Among The Olive Trees (5:55)
6 Beneath This Stone Wall (5:16)
7 Coastal Road Thoughts (6:54)
8 Dawn Chorus (7:08)
9 Together Apart (5:31)
10 Midnight (6:50)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Steve Reich - Music For 18 Musicians

Label: ECM Records
Released: 1978
Style: Post-Modern, Minimal

"How is it possible to write a 'review' of this record? It seems futile as Reich's influence, especially from this record, sent shockwaves across the music scene and seeped into genres far and wide. Without Reich would post rock sound the same? Would New York's experimental rock scene have developed so fully? Would experimental music have flourished so importantly in the 80s and 90s? Reich's influence is still felt today, with younger producers falling upon 'Music for 18 Musicians' and being shocked all over again; Ryan Teague, Max Richter, Colleen, Murcof, Soundhack, Cliff Martinez these artists have all been touched by Reich's epic vision. What is quite magnificent too is that the record hasn't dated at all, it is truly timeless, maybe due to the fact that it was so ahead of its time on release. Maybe 'Music for 18 Musicians' should be better classified as out of time, because it doesn't really feel like it should sit anywhere in particular in music history, unlike many classical pieces it is futile to place it in a period or culture. If you have yet to hear this stunning work then I suggest you remedy that pretty quickly with this amazing reissue, seminal in the very real sense." - Boomkat


1 Pulses (5:26)
2 Section I (3:58)
3 Section II (5:13)
4 Section IIIA (3:55)
5 Section IIIB (3:46)
6 Section IV (6:37)
7 Section V (6:49)
8 Section VI (4:54)
9 Section VII (4:19)
10 Section VIII (3:35)
11 Section IX (5:24)
12 Section X (1:51)
13 Section XI (5:44)
14 Pulses (6:11)


Drexciya - Neptune's Lair

Label: Tresor
Released: 1999
Style: Electro, Techno

"Though a quick glance at the track titles -- "Organic Hydropoly Spores," "Polymono Plexusgel," "Triangular Hydrogen Strain," "Oxyplasmic Gyration Beam" -- lends the impression that this is yet another Drexciyan work wherein the music, though stellar enough, isn't quite as important as the sub-aquatic science-fiction themes, Neptune's Lair proves as solid a piece of musicianship as the act has ever recorded. The album mostly disdains the froglike neo-retro vocal samples that often shifted emphasis away from the music on the Drexciya EPs, and simply pushes through with a set of midtempo, paranoid electro gems. The production is still reminiscent of the classic electro era, but never feels as tied to the vintage synth as before. Admittedly, there's a bit much to digest on the 20 tracks, but Neptune's Lair is yet another bright spot in the Detroit electro-techno revival. " - Allmusic


1 Intro: Temple Of Dos De Agua (1:00)
2 Species Of The Pod (3:53)
3 Andreaen Sand Dunes (6:15)
4 Running Out Of Space (1:54)
5 Habitat 'O' Negative (5:16)
6 Universal Element (1:55)
7 Drifting Into A Time Of No Future (3:33)
8 Polymono Plexusgel (3:08)
9 Surface Terrestrial Colonization (6:56)
10 Funk Release Valve (3:06)
11 Organic Hydropoly Spores (2:07)
12 Draining Of The Tanks (2:43)
13 Devil Ray Cove (2:49)
14 Fusion Flats (1:24)
15 Triangular Hydrogen Strain (3:55)
16 Oxyplasmic Gyration Beam (4:17)
17 Quantum Hydrodynamics (1:16)
18 Lost Vessel (5:52)
19 Bottom Feeders (3:25)
20 Jazzy Fluids (3:21)
21 C To The Power Of X + C To The Power Of X = MM = Unknown (2:35)


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Signaldrift - Set Design

Label: The Consumers Research & Development Label
Released: 2005
Style: Leftfield, House, Ambient

"Though Set Design is ten tracks long, six of those are brief, seemingly improvisational ambient interludes in between the four longer and more constructed -- though still pretty spacy -- pieces. Mastermind Franz Buchholtz plays almost all the instruments save for a bit of guitar, and although most of the album is going for the sort of Eno-inspired stillness suggested by his choice of an artist name, each piece has at least one inspired arrangement choice, such as the vinyl clicks and pops that add an undercurrent of tension to the otherwise placid "Children of the '70s" and the woody, marimba-like keyboard riff that twinkles through the long, droning pulses of "Long Goodbyes." The only fully developed song on the album, in the sense that it ends someplace other than where it began, is the percolating neo-motorik of "128," a 13-and-a-half-minute epic that remains compelling throughout, but the individual pieces of Set Design fit together nicely, making it a much more interesting listen than one might initially expect. " - Allmusic


1 And Yet... (1:39)
2 Yellow Leaves (6:25)
3 Undecided (1:47)
4 Dutch Assassin (6:02)
5 Children Of The 70's (1:56)
6 De De (5:36)
7 Purple (2:17)
8 Long Goodbyes (1:59)
9 128 (13:31)
10 Dripping Angels (1:59)


Friday, November 6, 2009

Markus Guentner - 1981

Label: Kompakt
Released: 2005
Style: House, Minimal, Ambient

"Just prior to 1981's release, Markus Guentner's Kompakt labelmate Justus Köhncke produced an album titled Doppelleben (German for "Double Life"). Köhncke's title was appropriate, signifying his constant fluctuations between dance tracks and pop songs, but Guentner's own recording career is more deserving of the tab, since his two working modes -- introverted ambient compositions and extroverted house singles -- are far more extreme. Titled after the producer's year of birth, 1981 is a continuation of Guentner's strictly ambient output for Kompakt, including 2001's In Moll and regular appearances on the label's Pop Ambient compilations. With a couple exceptions, the albums deals in transporting background music, indebted as ever to Brian Eno and Wolfgang Voigt, yet capable of leaving its own impression. Melodies either shift deliberately at a snail's pace or burrow into the subconscious with pensive repetition, carried by deceptively rhythmic atmospheric beds. Compared to In Moll, it's lighter on the chimes and bristles, heavier on the billows, and just as stimulating in its ability to spike ecstasy with a little paranoia. The most memorable moment of all is closer "Hotel Shanghai," a track that creates its own spellbinding world as efficiently as other ambient Kompakt charms like Jimmi Moon's "Lovelane" (off Total 2), Donnacha Costello's "Dry Retch" (off Pop Ambient 2002), and just about everything by Triola. "Jellyfish" is the good curveball, a low-key shuffler with a pronounced thump that could eat up another ten minutes without losing steam. "Hi-Jacked," the appropriately titled bad curveball, is built on an unpleasant jacking rhythm that only hijacks the mood and otherwise continuous excellence of the album." - Allmusic


1 Wanderung (8:30)
2 Wenn Musik Der Liebe Nahrung Ist (9:19)
3 Jellyfish (8:29)
4 Hi-Jacked (8:34)
5 Sommergewitter (8:56)
6 Umgebung (7:01)
7 Der Wüstenplanet (8:20)
8 Hotel Shanghai (6:27)


Friday, October 30, 2009

Harold Budd - Lovely Thunder

Label: Editions EG
Released: 1986
Style: Ambient

"The phrase 'Lovely Thunder' suggests a beautiful sound with an undertone of menace. One need go no farther than "Gypsy Violin," the last song and centerpiece of the album Lovely Thunder, to hear how Harold Budd takes the phrase and forges a musical equivalent. Underneath the plaintive melody of the synthesized violin and an occasional foghorn-reminiscent bass note lies a bed of synth chords that are present throughout, sometimes adding notes, sometimes dropping them, sometimes moving a chord up or down a key and into dissonance with the rest. The overall result is an undulating base that never quite lets the listener settle onto firm ground, giving the song a distinct edge.

Drones do figure prominently as a musical base for many of the album's other songs, yet the music is generally more akin to the reverberated keyboard treatments Budd utilized to stunning effect on his two collaborations with Brian Eno. Those looking to explore beyond The Plateux of Mirror and The Pearl would do well to give this album a listen, as they will most likely be both challenged and satisfied.

(Cocteau Twins fans will recognize the song "Flowered Knife Shadows" as a slightly edited version of the song "Memory Gongs" from Budd's collaboration with that group on the album The Moon and the Melodies.)" - Allmusic


1 The Gunfighter (3:10)
2 Sandtreader (5:28)
3 Ice Floes In Eden (3:20)
4 Olancha Farewell (2:15)
5 Flowered Knife Shadows (For Simon Raymonde) 7:11
6 Valse Pour Le Fin Du Temps (4:45)
7 Gypsy Violin (20:45)


Edgar Froese - Epsilon In Malaysian Pale

Label: Virgin
Released: 1975
Style: Ambient

"As lush and entrancing as listeners are led to believe from the exotic foliage on the cover, Epsilon in Malaysian Pale is the Froese solo record closest in sound to Tangerine Dream. The light sequencer trance and waves of statuesque synthesizer effects on "Maroubra Bay" are quite similar to TD's work on Rubycon (released that same year), and it's just as beautiful and hypnotic. The title track however, is an atmospheric flute piece that forsakes the sequencer for most of its length." - Allmusic


1 Epsilon In Malaysian Pale (17:00)
2 Maroubra Bay (17:15)


Monday, October 26, 2009

Higher Intelligence Agency & Biosphere - Polar Sequences

Label: Beyond, Beyond
Released: 1996
Style: Ambient

"A collaboration between Biosphere's Geir Jenssen and Bobby Bird of Higher Intelligence Agency, commissioned by the Norwegian government for live performance at the 1995 Polar Music Festival. Suitably frosty melodies and glacial textures provide the framework for compositions utilizing the natural environment of the Arctic Circle for inspiration and source material (snow falling, ice cracking and splitting, the clang of cable car mountain lifts, etc.), to often remarkable effect. Sparse beats occasionally bubble up, but the focus is definitely on the icy edge of Arctic life." - Allmusic


1 Cimmerian Shaft (13:11)
2 Snapshot Survey (8:21)
3 White Lightning (10:13)
4 Countdown To Darkness (6:21)
5 Corona (9:55)
6 Meltwater (9:18)


Friday, October 23, 2009

Manuel Göttsching - Dream & Desire

Label: Spalax Music
Released: 1991
Style: Krautrock, Electro, Downtempo, Minimal

"The '70s were a fertile period for Manuel Göttsching. Having pioneered the kosmische guitar freakout with Ash Ra Tempel, he had embarked on a new phase by mid-decade. Inspired by minimalist composers Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass, Göttsching traded musical visions of outer space for trance-inducing meditations on inner space. Between 1974 and 1977, Göttsching pursued this new aesthetic on Inventions for Electric Guitar, Le Berceau de Cristal, New Age of Earth, and Blackouts, immersing himself in an electronic environment that often fused his signature guitar work with sequencers and synths. Although not released until 1991, Dream & Desire was recorded in 1977. Its ambient and proto-techno explorations hold up reasonably well alongside Göttsching's previously released recordings from the mid-'70s, and also resonate favorably with the work of like-minded contemporaries such as Edgar Froese, Klaus Schulze, and Tangerine Dream. The half-hour "Dream" is appropriately oneiric. Prefaced by elemental atmospherics and soothing synth washes, it builds with sparse, delicate guitar lines. Göttsching crafts mesmerizing layers of intricate notes as the track gradually gathers momentum and settles into tighter, more defined patterns. In contrast with the cool, glacial aura of "Dream," "Desire" has a warmer, more energized feel, rooted in its relentless bass pulse, sheen of electronic percussion, and Frippertronic-style guitar. However, the components fail to coalesce to hypnotic effect; instead, they test the patience and sound somewhat dated. The more economical "Despair" succeeds where "Desire" falters, putting similar sonic elements to more compelling use. While the weaving, sinewy guitars infuse a melancholy air, the rhythmic dimension radiates optimism and dynamism that stand in ironic counterpoint to the track's title. Dream & Desire isn't, perhaps, as consistently strong as Göttsching's other recordings from the period, but this lost album provides further insight into one of his most innovative creative phases." - Allmusic

They rip on the 2nd track, but it's pretty good as far as I'm concerned.


1 Dream 30:14
2 Desire 22:56
3 Despair 8:29


Monday, October 19, 2009

Wagon Christ - Musipal

Label: Ninja Tune
Released: 2001
Style: Leftfield, Breaks, IDM, Downtempo

"Vibert Returns, this time round on Ninja Tune, with a follow up to his Virgin-released 'Tally-HO' LP. Marking a return to upright feelgood funkiness that made his name with 'Throbbing Pouch' and 'Big Soup', this is purely joyful, easy music. Elements of Hip-Hop, breaks and after-hours chillouts, this is such an incredibly undemanding LP, beautifully constructed, seamlessly flowing and always with a heavy dose of feel-good engineering. Recommended." - Boomkat


1 The Premise (3:28)
2 Bend Over (4:46)
3 Tomach (4:31)
4 Thick Stew (7:47)
5 Natural Suction (7:33)
6 Musipal (4:00)
7 It Is Always Now, All Of It Is Now (4:55)
8 Receiver (3:24)
9 Boney L (2:01)
10 Cris Chana (4:50)
11 Tomorrow Acid (3:42)
12 Step To The Music (6:30)
13 Perkission (5:31)


Allan Holdsworth - Sand

Label: Relativity
Released: 1987
Style: Space-Age, Fusion

"Brit guitar hero Allan Holdsworth, ex of the Soft Machine, Gong, U.K., and Bill Bruford and Annette Peacock's solo projects, has been wildly inconsistent when it comes to his solo projects. Completely bonkers for technology, he's employed every gadget he can get his hands on own records, and has gotten results that range from the near sublime to the kind of dross one usually associates with prog excess. But Sand is a different animal, a respite from the relentless kitchen sink approach Holdsworth was mired in through much of the late '70s and early '80s. Utilizing a new contraption, the "Synthaxe," a guitar that has the tonal and sonic possibilities of the synthesizer but can be played straight as well, it seems to satisfy the artist's technology jones, and allows him to compose sensitively for the instrument while not forgetting he's a guitarist first. Guitar fans might be a little put off by the sounds and textures of the synthaxe, which allows for a guitarist to subvert its limited range of tones and colors for rounded off keyboard sounds and warm textural aspects. In other words, the traditional sound of the electric guitar -- and, in particular, Holdsworth's trademark sound -- is nearly absent. In place is a near keyboard sound played in the same way he plays guitar. The six compositions here range from the knotty, mixed tempo, arpeggio-rich title track to the reflective, near pastoral grace of "Distance Vs. Desire" to the electronically astute, fast and furious jazz-rock fusion of "Mac Man." The only time a keyboard actually appears is Alan Pasqua's solo in "Pud Wud," where the guitarist wields his traditional instrument and rips free of the constraints of his own composition for some truly fiery pyrotechnics. The rhythm section of bassist Jimmy Johnson (a killer electric jazz bassist who has also played with Percy Jones and Brand X) and drummer Gary Husband are more than equal to the task of accompaniment, and, in fact, are creative foils for Holdsworth, who allows his sidemen plenty of room to shine -- also unlike many of his earlier projects. Is Sand the mark of a new contentment and refined aesthetic for Holdsworth? Only time will, but it is safe to say that this is one of his most innovative and texturally beautiful to date." - Allmusic


1 Sand (5:26)
2 Distance vs. Desire (5:17)
3 Pud Wud (6:43)
4 Clown (5:14)
5 The 4.15 Bradford Executive (8:28)
6 Mac Man (4:02)


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ashra - New Age Of Earth

Label: Virgin
Released: 1977
Style: Leftfield, Krautrock, Experimental, Minimal, Ambient

"The first album for Virgin was New Age of Earth, an album that since became a classic. Although it is credited under the group name Ashra, New Age of Earth is actually performed by Manuel Göttsching alone. Relying more on synthesizers than his usual guitar, Göttsching created four richly-textured compositions that are both intriguing and stimulating. [...] It is no doubt that New Age of Earth is Manuel Göttsching and Ashra's finest album. [...] In all honesty, no music collection should be without Ashra's New Age of Earth." - D. Kaufmann, "Beyond the Horizon"


1 Sunrain (7:26)
2 Ocean Of Tenderness (12:36)
3 Deep Distance (5:46)
4 Nightdust (21:52)


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thomas Fehlmann - Lowflow

Label: Plug Research
Released: 2004
Style: IDM, Dub, Electro, Downtempo

"After extensive forays into more physical, club-related tracks with his series of releases (on Kompakt) Lowflow, recorded on and off over the last years, now heralds a return to his slower, more experimental side and provides a surprisingly concise description of the album's overall feel.

Both minimal and expansive, Lowflow allows its tracks to float across and into each other, an infinite, gentle mix to which Fehlmann playfully introduces the soft murmur of chimes, pedal steel guitar or his very own trumpet.

From opener "Goldhaar" and the disjointed fascination of the decidedly unslinky "Slinky" with its hypnotic, focused distortion via the briefest of Alice Coltrane homages on "Interstellar" to the almost rocky determination of "Alice Springs" and the classic, minimalist house of "Andrea is Delighted," Lowflow nevertheless retains a distinctly dubby, German flavor, a seamless pleasure that loves to pause and interrupt itself to create its very own, idiosyncratic flow.

Everything on this record was generated by Thomas himself, except the cover supplied by seminal artist Raymond Pettibon (Black Flag, Minutemen) who was his only contact when he first came to LA 15 years ago, as well as three short, connecting interludes growing out of a collaboration with Detroit artist Dabrye (Ghostly International)." - Label


1 Goldhaar (3:25)
2 Prefab (5:12)
3 Interstellar (1:31)
4 Lindt (4:34)
5 Slinky (4:26)
6 Intertwine (0:39)
7 Hana (5:11)
8 Alice Springs (5:21)
9 Springer (5:12)
10 Andrea Is Delighted (6:51)
11 Intersect (1:11)
12 Feat (5:33)
13 Fellmaus (6:02)


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lone - Lemurian

Label: Dealmaker Records
Released: 2008
Style: Instrumental Hip-Hop, Downtempo

"Wonky heads take note - if you're into the whole Flying Lotus / Samiyam / Rustie / Lukid thing - this is just the ticket. Deriving its name from a lost, mythical continent, Lemurian has little to do with lost undersea cities and the like, although there is something ever so slightly fantastical about these heavily compressed instrumental hip hop productions and their evocative song titles: 'Lens Flare Lagoon' conjures up the glistening, watery effect suggested by its name, and 'Buried Coral Banks' has a Boards Of Canada-meets-Jacques Cousteau feel that's hard not to love. Incongruous with all this, interlude tracks like the gratuitous '80s soul sampling of 'Green Sea Pageant' steer the tone in a different direction, but divorced from the implied Jules Verne elements of it all, Lemurian makes for a sick collection of bass-heavy beats and quasi-ambient textures. Really good stuff - highly recommended!" - Boomkat


1 Koran Angel (1:02)
2 Cali Drought (3:17)
3 Interview At Honolulu (3:51)
4 Banyan Drive (2:37)
5 Green Sea Pageant (1:08)
6 Girl (3:13)
7 Orange Tree (0:49)
8 Maya Codex (2:04)
9 Atoll Mirrored (1:15)
10 Sea Spray (3:52)
11 Under Two Palms (1:32)
12 Lens Flare Lagoon (3:10)
13 Borea (3:30)
14 Buried Coral Banks (0:54)
15 Phthalo Blue (3:36)
16 Sunken (2:01)
17 Minor Suns (2:48)


Bersarin Quartett - Bersarin Quartett

Label: Lidar
Released: 2008
Style: Dark Ambient, Modern Classical, Ambient

"Some lovely modern classical/electronic stuff now with Bersarin Quartett. Opener 'Oktober' is a fine track that manages to bridge the gaps betwen hip-hop, classical and dub. A gorgeous track with lazy beats, lush strings and effects washes. Max Richter, Johan Johannsen, Sylvain Chaveau, Ryan Teague and Angelo Badalamenti all spring to mind. As far as this kind of orchestral stuff goes this really is as good as it gets. Phil has likened this to Arovane's Tides and Brian has mentioned Telefon Tel Aviv.There's some clever sound design going off and all. Track 6 even has some jazzy drums. There are haunting piano moments too Phil's just clocked the press release and informed me that this is 10 tracks composed for imaginary film scores. It does have a real soundtrack feel that just lets your imagination run wild. This is one you'll want to bang on all cuddled up with a glass of wine. I dont know what else to say other than this is simply lovely stuff. Digi-pak CD with fantastic sleeve on Lidar." - Norman Records


1 Oktober (6:26)
2 Geschichten Von Interesse (4:56)
3 Inversion (5:42)
4 St. Petersburg (5:16)
5 Und Die Welt Steht Still (8:52)
6 Die Dinge Sind Nie So Wie Sie Sind (8:05)
7 Nachtblind (4:04)
8 Es Kann Nicht Ewig Winter Sein (4:28)
9 Endlich Am Ziel (4:38)
10 Mehr Als Alles Andere (5:47)


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Klaus Schulze - Timewind

Label: Virgin
Released: 1975
Style: Electro, Experimental

"Dedicated to Richard Wagner, Timewind is a 60-minute electronic expedition that is broken up into two half-hour tracks, "Bayreuth Return" and "Wahnfried 1883." The first 30 minutes involves icy pulsations and lengthy tonal flights that unnoticeably converge into each other. While one rhythm gains momentum, the other one slowly fades into a bubbly electronic bath of bright swirls and meandering keyboard waves. Similar to early Tangerine Dream, the music here rises and falls above a distant sonic horizon, and the effect is truly mesmerizing. One specific flow can last for minutes, while small, detailed noises adhere themselves to the main electronic run. On the second track, more of the same far-off synthesized altering takes place, but the washes of keyboard become inoculated with a sharper, more precise sound. Longer notes build into resilient pieces with the same comforting result. This album will sketch a barren wasteland in the mind through the wispiness of the wind-like effects. Timewind serves as splendid mood music, and the ears are forever kept busy following Schulze's electronic wandering. " - Allmusic


1 Bayreuth Return (30:22)
2 Wahnfried 1883 (28:37)


Monday, September 28, 2009

David Sylvian & Holger Czukay - Flux + Mutability

Label: Venture Records
Released: 1989
Style: Abstract, Experimental, Ambient

"David Sylvian and Holger Czukay are fairly eclectic and diverse musicians. In the European ambient scene, they are fixtures. Flux + Mutability is an album with two long-form compositions. "Flux" is "a big, bright, colorful world" and "Mutability" is "a new the offing." These pieces are deep, expansive atmospheres with eerie samples and vacuous walls of sound. The second piece features only guitars, keyboards, and an African flute. The first piece has a much wider sound. It is a safe bet that it has the only ambient flugelhorn ever (by Markus Stockhausen). The real essence of this disc comes from the sound design, mixing, and processing. Sylvian and Czukay present this collection of atmospheres as a tight and cohesive soundscape. The gentle sway of the ambience is deep and comfortable. There are no dark overtones. Fans of Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, Markus Reuter, and Liquid Mind will like this CD. It is an important selection for fans of electronic minimalism. " - Allmusic


1 Flux (A Big, Bright, Colourful World) (16:52)
2 Mutability ("A New Beginning Is In The Offing") (21:02)


Friday, September 25, 2009

Peverelist - Infinity Is Now / Junktion

Label: Tectonic
Released: 2008
Style: Dubstep

"The man like Peverelist drops an absolute killer joint for Tectonic. This producer has been a delight to watch in development recently, from the early shockwaves emitted from the 'Erstwhile rhythm' just over a year ago, the Bristol scene stalwart has kept us on the edge of our collective seat waiting for more of his patented hybrid dubstep techno machinations, thankfully we were satiated with the awesome 'Die brucke/roll with the punches' 12" and the equally fantastic Appleblim hookup a few weeks back, but this solo outing for tectonic really cements his position as a purveyor of the finest strain of dubstep/techno. 'Infinity is now' takes the finest route possible between the motorik qualities of Berlin dub techno and swung UK garage rhythms and arrives at an intersection combining the two into a fantastically immersive dancefloor experience. Taking a typically teutonic longview approach to his compositions, rather than simple soundsystem friendly bass drops and arpeggiated hype, Peverelist opts for churning techno styled undercarriages and in this case a lead synthline that could come from a Japanese telecom production, to forge a headstrong and esoteric style quite like no other. 'Junktion' arrives at another crossing point between dubstep experimentalism and techno's eternal drive, with skipping kick drums sounding closer to a British Murder Boys pattern than anything remotely dubstep, it's only when the rolling pressure of the subs wamp their way in that you realise where he's coming from. This is some proper heavyweight, forward thinking tackle which we URGE you to get on staright away! Your life will be far better for it." - Boomkat


1 Infinity Is Now (8:23)
2 Junktion (8:26)


Thursday, September 24, 2009

2562 - Love In Outer Space / Third Wave

Label: Tectonic
Released: 2009
Style: Techno, Dubstep

"Dubstep release of the week comes from 2562 with the shocking 'Love In Outer Space' and 'Third Wave' cuts dropping smart and heavy on Tectonic. It's hard not to fall for 'Love In Outer Space', easily one of the most abstract and stylish cuts we've heard from Dave Huismans casuallystepping forward from the minimalism of previous efforts with large splashes of melodic colour strewn across the tipsy-pitched rhythm. On the flip 'Third Wave' is a slightly more standard 2562 cut, but that's no bad thing as this reminds us of his 'Techno Dread' or 'Hijack' tracks with uptempo 4/4s offset by crafty drums and minimised vibes on the keys. Just try and hold yourself back from this!" - Boomkat


1 Love In Outer Space (4:55)
2 Third Wave (6:06)


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kawabata Makoto - Hosanna Mantra

Label: Important Records
Released: 2007
Style: Abstract, Psychedelic Rock

"Guitarist, violinist, performer on numerous traditional instruments, composer, leader of the Acid Mothers Temple, Kawabata Makoto expresses in this solo performance all his mantric cosmical vocations and spins them into space sonorities! He took inspiration from the Popol Vuh album of the seventies Hosianna Mantra, during his visit to A Silent Place headquarters in late Winter 2006. In a sunny Sunday noon spent in the country-side, eating and drinking Apulian specialities and listening to some great experimental records, Makoto and his Italian friends Pierpaolo and Pasquale, took the decision to start this cooperation. A few days later, back in Japan, Makoto recorded the Hosanna Mantra album at the Acid Mothers Temple between March 12th and 13th, using electric guitar, bouzouki and sitar. The result is this new fantastic sound coming from the cosmos. A simple gem of crystalline beauty." - Label


1 Scarlet Phenomenon (20:11)
2 Hosanna Mantra (19:32)
3 Door Of Your Enigma (7:06)
4 You Are All Of My Love (7:10)


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Harold Budd - Avalon Sutra

Label: Samadhisound
Released: 2004
Style: Modern Classical, Ambient

"On Avalon Sutra, Budd’s valedictory release, he has created brief, snapshot like compositions, made all the more fragile and impermanent by his glistening piano work, Avalon Sutra has a bittersweet, autumnal quality – the composer’s trademark “loveliness” deepened and perturbed by the brevity of these pieces. If “ambient” music characteristically works to sustain a mood of intimacy, warmth, meditative ecstasy, such moods, which are certainly present in Budd’s work, are never allowed to last too long on Avalon Sutra. There’s a cumulative sadness and beauty to the way that these mood pieces linger briefly, stop and transform into something new. Budd’s gorgeous, angular string arrangements amplify this feeling." - Label


1 Arabesque 3 (2:40)
2 It's Steeper Near The Roses (For David Sylvian) (1:02)
3 L'Enfant Perdu (2:14)
4 Chrysalis Nu (To Barney's Memory) (1:59)
5 Three Faces West (Billy Al Bengston's) (2:49)
6 Arabesque 2 (3:02)
7 Little Heart (7:40)
8 How Vacantly You Stare At Me (4:01)
9 A Walk In The Park With Nancy (In Memory) (5:55)
10 Rue Casimir Delavigne (For Daniel Lentz) (5:28)
11 Arabesque 1 (1:56)
12 Porcelain Ginger (2:01)
13 Faraon (1:23)
14 As Long As I Can Hold My Breath (3:47)

The second disc isn't necessary. As Boomkat would say, "Essential Purchase."


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Manuel Göttsching - E2-E4

Label: Inteam GmbH
Released: 1984
Style: Minimal, Ambient, House

"E2-E4, one of the few records Göttsching released under his own name, has earned its place as one of the most important, influential electronic records ever released. It's also the earliest album to set the tone for electronic dance music; simply put, it just sounds like the mainstream house produced during the next two decades. Similar to previous Ashra albums like New Age Of Earth and Blackouts, it does so with a short list of instruments -- just the nominal drum machine and a pulsing guitar line in the background plus some light synthesizer work. What sets it apart from music that came before is a steadfast refusal to follow the popular notions of development in melody and harmony. Instead, E2-E4 continues working through similar territory for close to an hour with an application to trance-state electronics missing from most of the music that preceded it. Though the various components repeat themselves incessantly, it's how they interact and build that determines the sound -- and that's the essence of most electronic dance music, that complex interplay between several repetitive elements." - Allmusic


1 Ruhige Nervosität (13:00)
2 Gemäßigter Aufbruch (10:00)
3 ...Und Mittelspiel (7:00)
4 Ansatz (1:00)
5 Damen-Eleganza (5:00)
6 Ehrenvoller Kampf (3:00)
7 Hoheit Weicht (Nicht Ohne Schwung...) (9:00)
8 ...Und Souveränität (3:00)
9 Remis (3:00)


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ashra - Blackouts

Label: Polydor
Released: 1977
Style: Leftfield, Krautrock, Minimal, Experimental

"Blackouts is a classic CD from Ashra. (As an aside, it is included in the Ambient Three Pack box set along with Aqua by Edgar Froese and Blackdance by Klaus Schulze. While those are all excellent CDs, they are not, by any stretch of any imagination, ambient.) This disc features Manuel Göttsching at his best. His guitar work just glides around dynamic Berlin school sequences. The electric guitar riffs give this album rock & roll overtones. So, classic is the word for this set. It is a classic Berlin school/rock & roll hybrid. The gentle moments are smooth, and the dense moments are heavy. It is a great mix of the two styles." - Allmusic


1 77 Slightly Delayed (6:42)
2 Midnight On Mars (6:50)
3 Don't Trust The Kids (3:30)
4 Blackouts (4:18)
5 Shuttle Cock (8:25)
6 Lotus Parts I-IV (16:58)


Friday, August 28, 2009

Out Hud - S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D.

Label: Kranky
Released: 2002
Style: House, Abstract, Indie Rock, Experimental, Disco

"Here it is, the first kranky release aimed at your ass as well as your head. Out Hud deliver the rhythm and the restraint; recalling the dry, brittle funk of early 80s UK post-punk, Sherwood’s beat-mashing across the On-U Sound catalog and even acid house and hip hop. The five piece doesn’t sound hopelessly retro or preciously muso. At the core is an airtight, energetic live band transformed in the mix into a pounding system with a wide melodic range." - Boomkat


1 Story Of The Whole Thing (4:58)
2 Dad, There's A Little Phrase Called Too Much Information (7:30)
3 This Bum's Paid (5:04)
4 Hair Dude, You're Stepping On My Mystique (4:21)
5 The L Train Is A Swell Train And I Don't Want To Hear You Indies Complain (12:19)
6 "My Two Nads" (Dad Reprise) (4:43)


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Chihei Hatakeyama - Saunter

Label: Room40
Released: 2009
Style: Ambient, Acoustic

"Saunter is in some ways an auditory interpretation of the monochromatic Chinese painting style ‘Sansui-Ga’. An approach concerned with the themes of landscape, ‘Sansui-Ga’ seeks to express a sense of philosophical consideration for the form and shape.

Saunter follows this approach, casting out lush layers of texture that seem to sound out the edges of landscape. The sounds dynamic fluctuations suggesting structures, trees, fields and other aspects dotting the landscape in which Hatakeyama finds himself.

Focused particularly on the transition from Fall to Winter, this record is a graceful and considered work. Elegantly crafted with an attention to subtle melodic variation and harmonic richness Saunter is a ‘visionary’ collection from one of Japan’s finest composers." - Label


1 Treads Echoing Far Away From Sea Coast (7:17)
2 The Room In Past (9:27)
3 Images Of Broken Light (8:29)
4 A Stone Inside The Box (5:06)
5 Small Pond (4:22)
6 Landscape On A Hill (8:32)


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Klaus Schulze - Moondawn

Label: Brain
Released: 1976
Style: Electro, Experimental, Ambient

"Klaus Schulze is one of the most legendary e-musicians of all time. He is also one of the best and most original. Moondawn is one of the true classics of the genre. For many serious listeners, this was the first and/or most important electronic music purchase. There is good reason for such sentiment — this is a great album. It is definitely hardcore Berlin school electronica and much more. Like his contemporaries, Schulze added some extra flair to his style. This album has loads of ambient atmospheres accompanying the deep sequences. While the original album is an analog creation, it still holds its own with new millennium digitalia and is uniquely old school. This CD bears comparisons only to Schulze's peers of its era: Jean Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream, Edgar Froese, T.O.N.T.O.'s Expanding Head Band, and Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company." - Allmusic


1 Floating (27:15)
2 Mindphaser (25:22)


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Scott Tuma & Mike Weis - Taradiddle

Label: Digitalis Recordings
Released: 2009
Style: Abstract, Drone, Folk, Experimental, Ambient

"Weis is the drummer in Zelienople, and since Zelienople never had much cause for a proper drummer, Weis manages to be super creative behind the kit, or maybe more accurately, with an arsenal of cymbals and gongs and chimes, creating textures and layers more than rhythms. Which is precisely what he brings to this collaboration. Tuma is of course doing what he does best, weaving lush landscapes of sound, his guitar keening and moaning, drifting and twanging, sounding underwater one minute, weightless and spacey the next, those sounds are given a whole new context when paired with Weis's unique percussion. The drums here seem to consist mostly of a sort of soft cacophony, manic skitter, clouds of tinkling chimes, bowed cymbals, the deep tones of BIG cymbals or gongs, plenty of clatter and clang, but all sort of smeared into a living backdrop, reacting and interacting with Tuma's guitar, the result is often like a strange Souled American free jazz mashup, which might not sound good, but actually is, although elsewhere the results are a bit more subtle than that.

The guitars slip from hazy and underwater sounding, to gently shimmering, acoustic guitars unfurl woozy Appalachia, bits of twang, soft strums, all gently laid over a sea of skitter and thump, the deep shimmer of reverberating metals, the result is gorgeously murky and indistinct, less like two players playing off of each other, and more like two people contributing to the same sprawling sound. The first side plays out like the two getting acquainted, a delicate dance, their unique sounds quickly finding common ground and melting seamlessly into each other, culminating in a gorgeous track of hushed minimalism, introducing piano, Weis's percussion kept to a whispered thrum, everything wreathed in lush reverb and delay, so lovely.

The second side, features several longish tracks, where Tuma gets to try something a little more distorted and aggressive, the duo creating extended bouts of deep ominous dronemusic and thick caustic buzz, each player's contributions still distinct, at least with close listening, but step back, and the various parts take on surprising shapes, long stretches of heaving, droning, mesmerizingly meditative and surprisingly fluid drones, that manage to be warm and melodic as well as darkly mysterious. " - Aquarius Records


1 Dropsy (3:39)
2 Soire (2:25)
3 On Cox (2:20)
4 Off Bellows (1:34)
5 Tried (4:00)
6 Rubadub (6:00)
7 (Dub) (2:21)
8 Enearthed (7:05)


Friday, August 14, 2009

Laraaji - Ambient 3: Day Of Radiance

Label: Editions EG
Released: 1987
Style: Ambient

"Laraaji uses an open-tuned instrument with some degree of electrification (and, presumably, with studio enhancements courtesy of Eno), which creates a brilliant, full sound. The first three pieces, "The Dance, Nos. 1-3," are rhythmically charged and propulsive, with tinges of Irish hammered dulcimer music mixed with a dash of Arabic influence. The layered production gives them a hypnotically captivating quality and an echoing vastness, inducing a dreamlike state in which the listener happily bathes. The two parts of "Meditation" are arrhythmic, ethereal wanderings, still effective if less immediately riveting. Day of Radiance is considered an early new age masterpiece and, while it shares certain aspects with the genre (including a heady mystical aura), it has far more rigor, inventiveness, and sheer joy of playing than the great majority of its supposed descendents. It possesses a sense of timelessness that has enabled it to quite ably hold up over the years." - Allmusic


1 The Dance #1 (9:04)
2 The Dance #2 (9:46)
3 The Dance #3 (3:18)
4 Meditation #1 (18:38)
5 Meditation #2 (7:58)


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Gustavo Lamas - Mañana

Label: Kompakt
Released: 2000
Style: Ambient, Techno

"What is beautiful? Flowers, butterflies, diamonds, fluffy clouds, sunset, Kylie Minogue.... and Pop Ambient! Especially if it comes from Buenos Aires' finest: Gustavo Lamas. Already known for his fantastic releases on Traum and Fragil Discos (Argentina) he now presents his guest performance for Kompakt. Amazing dreamy textures layered around a subliminal groove. "Manana' means 'tomorrow'. It seems like there's a vision of a better one on the other side of this planet. Hi-tech-kitsch for all people that are sick of depressive IDM stuff." - Label


1 Mañana (4:16)
2 Jovenes (10:39)
3 Resbala (11:16)


Various - A Brief History Of Ambient Volume 1

Label: Virgin
Released: 1993
Style: Leftfield, Abstract, Space Rock, Ambient

"Although it seemed to arrive out of nowhere in the early '90s, ambient music actually has a long and varied history, leading back to Brian Eno and Kraftwerk's electronic experiments in the 1970s, right up to Aphex Twin's textural techno soundscapes. As an introduction and history lesson, the two-disc A Brief History of Ambient Music can't be beat; it shows that the ambient-techno trend has roots that most fans wouldn't even realize existed." - Allmusic


1-01 Harold Budd - Flowered Knife Shadows (7:05)
1-02 Tangerine Dream - Thru Metamorphic Rock (Edit) (9:46)
1-03 Robert Fripp / Brian Eno - Evening Star (7:30)
1-04 Amorphous Androgynous - Mountain Goat (4:28)
1-05 Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Sea Of Vapours (3:49)
1-06 Hawkwind - The Forge Of Vulcan (3:01)
1-07 Killing Joke - Requiem (A Floating Leaf Always Reaches The Sea Dub Mix) (10:35)
1-08 Brian Eno - An Ending (Ascent) (4:11)
1-09 Richard Horowitz - Marnia's Tent (2:58)
1-10 Irmin Schmidt & Bruno Spoerri - Rapido De Noir (6:32)
1-11 Ashra - Kazoo (5:36)
1-12 Harold Budd & Brian Eno - Their Memories (2:38)
1-13 The Grid - Leave Your Body (4:46)
1-14 Christopher Franke - Electric Becomes Eclectic (3:39)

2-01 Tangerine Dream - Phaedra (Edit) (10:25)
2-02 Jon Hassell & Brian Eno - Delta Rain Dream (3:20)
2-03 William Orbit - The Monkey King (4:49)
2-04 Gong - Castle In The Clouds (1:02)
2-05 Hawkwind - Lifeform (1:40)
2-06 Laraaji - The Dance #2 (9:04)
2-07 Sheila Chandra - Sacred Stones (5:26)
2-08 Michael Brook - Earth Floor (4:44)
2-09 Faust - Läuft...Heisst Das Es Läuft Oder Es Kommt Bald...Läuft (3:19)
2-10 Jon Hassell - Gift Of Fire (4:41)
2-11 Material - The End Of Words (3:46)
2-12 Edgar Froese - Panorphelia (9:35)
2-13 Roger Eno - Voices (2:15)
2-14 Holger Czukay - Träum Mal Weider (7:21)
2-15 David Sylvian - Home (4:14)

Disc 1
Disc 2

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chihei Hatakeyama - Minima Moralia

Label: Kranky
Released: 2006
Style: Experimental, Ambient

"Chihei Hatakeyama concentrated on the textures of sound in creating Minima Moralia, consciously avoiding the use of electronic sounds; instead using sound fragments made by guitars and vibraphone he played himself. The fragments were processed and reprocessed in live performances on laptop. The contention between the analog sound sources, digital processing and the musician's choices are what give Minima Moralia its positive, warm, and physical presence.

Minima Moralia presents the listener with tones that are familiar and tones that are foreign. Specific points of sound appear and velvet clouds elevate and disperse over the course of the album. Jumbles of melodies reveal and then resolve themselves. At all points Hatakeyama's directing hand is at work; in the shiver of a guitar string, the bright ring of the vibraphone, and the strategic use of silence. The naturalistic song titles suggest every day moments, sensations and experiences." - Label


1 Bonfire On The Field (8:13)
2 Swaying Curtain In The Window (8:25)
3 Starlight Reflecting On The Surface Of The River (7:00)
4 Towards A Tranquil Marsh (4:46)
5 Granular Haze (7:21)
6 Inside Of The Pocket (4:31)
7 Beside A Well (11:30)


Ilyas Ahmed - Goner

Label: Root Strata
Released: 2009
Style: Lo-Fi, Folk

"Portland, OR. bedroom wanderer Ilyas Ahmed emerges from the shadows and offers up his first new batch of songs in some time. Over a year in the making, 'Goner' sees Ahmed telescoping his previous acoustic wanderings into fuzzed out rockers and a hypnotic set of beautifully tight knit nocturnes. The kick off of 'Earn Your Blood' is probably the most amped up and stoned out Ahmed has ever sounded, a heavy blown out thump of hiss & electric strum. From there 'Goner' really gets lost. Loner howls, model hypnosis, desolate vamps... it's all here. The comedown into 'Exit Twilight' with Grouper on vocals is as haunting a broadcast you'll hear all year, for sure to knock around in your skull for days." - Label


1 Earn Your Blood (5:22)
2 Love After Love (4:32)
3 Some Of None (7:03)
4 Enter A Shadow (9:36)
5 Out Again (5:59)
6 As Another (4:16)
7 Two Breaths (6:51)
8 Exit Twilight (5:45)


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pillowdiver - Sleeping Pills

Label: 12k
Released: 2009
Style: Abstract, Minimal, Ambient

"Sleeping Pills is the debut release from Germany’s Pillowdiver, whose concepts of simplification and minimalism led him to self-imposed limitations for the creation of this work. Utilizing primarily a Fender Jazzmaster, with a small amount of synthesizer and field recording, Pillowdiver took advantage of very lo-fi and modest mediums such as 4-track cassette and various guitar stomp boxes.

Appropriate to its title, Sleeping Pills is a dark and dreamy album of often-melancholic, post-rock influenced ambience. Most tracks rely on a bed of one or two simple loops over which guitar melodies, incidental sounds and harmonies are overlaid, enveloping the listener in a sleepy din of tape distortions and warm noise.

Sometimes about dreaming, sometimes about escaping, Pillowdiver’s focused approach is a unique voice among artists who tread the fine line between experimentalism and indie rock." - Label


1 Twenty-Nine (4:58)
2 Two (5:30)
3 Fifteen (5:29)
4 Nineteen (4:45)
5 Eleven (4:50)
6 Seventeen (6:38)
7 Seven (6:00)
8 One (3:43)
9 Twenty-Seven (5:28)


Friday, April 10, 2009

Alva Noto - Xerrox Vol.2

Label: Raster-Noton
Released: 2009
Style: Experimental, Ambient

"Part two of Alva Noto's Xerrox series takes up right where the last one left off, continuing on in a much more buzzy, blissy, droney vein, way more textural and melodic than many of the AN records that have come before. In the review of volume one we mentioned Pop Ambient, and if anything volume 2 is even more washed out and shimmery, right out of the gate, AN offers up a warm wash of muted buzz, and thick gristly whir, softly pulsating, layered and warm, seemingly gone are the harsh tones and glitchy clicks and pops found on most Raster-Noton releases. Could be that Xerrox is just a concept record, but we have to say, as much as we loved the clipped minimalism of other Alva Noto records, the sounds here are quite divine. But this is an Alva Noto record, so even these warm whirls of drifting ambience, are laced with bits of static and hiss, super high end sine waves, but they're woven deftly into the sound, and serve to simply add more texture. There's a brief bit of super minimal beep and rumble, but then it's right back into that gorgeous drifty haze, that could just as soon be a Tim Hecker record.

"Xerrox Meta Phaser" follows suit, at least in the beginning, a soft whirring soundscape, that quickly escalates into an almost Sunn like dirge before exploding into a squall of blown out white noise. And then we're back to the dreamy dronemusic, this time, stretched out strings, smeared into soft summery swells, laced with a patina of gritty hiss, and so it goes, the whole record is a dark swirling expanse of muted minimal melodies, warm textures, mysterious drones, and delicate hazy drifts, the usual glitch and buzz, relegated to accents and filigree, rarely interfering in the rest of the record's blissy sprawl. Any one of these tracks would be right at home on the newest, more Kranky-fied Pop Ambient comp, and thus, this might be the first Raster-Noton record that might just appeal to all the drone and dirge folks as much as the glitch and pop people." - Aquarius Records


1 Xerrox Phaser Acat 1 (12:11)
2 Xerrox Rin (0:51)
3 Xerrox Soma (7:11)
4 Xerrox Meta Phaser (6:23)
5 Xerrox Sora (6:54)
6 Xerrox Monophaser 1 (8:04)
7 Xerrox Monophaser 2 (5:31)
8 Xerrox Teion (2:03)
9 Xerrox Teion Acat (5:26)
10 Xerrox Tek Part 1 (5:28)
11 Xerrox Monophaser 3 (6:14)


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. - 41st Century Splendid Man Returns

Label: Essence Music
Released: 2007
Style: Noise, Psychedelic Rock

"Motorik krautrock rhythms work side by side with interstellar signals, ghostly female voices and analog synths. Bursts of damaged psych brilliance and free guitars open and seal the album, healing the aural wounds for/from the mammoth droney, mysterious and transcendental ambient experience of the title track, built with the aid of a non traditional array of instruments, like sarangi, sitar, zurna and tibetan trumpet. Definately not of this world.

This is one of the many incarnations of the band, a combo also featuring, at the time of the recordings, the beautiful vocals of Cotton Casino and the appearance of Tatsuya Yoshida from Ruins as one of the special guests. As always, monster guitarist and mastermind Kawabata Makoto leads the troup to ensure a safer trip." - Label


1 Ruck Zuck (7:08)
2 41st Century Splendid Man (14:49)
3 Genesis Of Humanity (Amoebae - Volcanoes - Dinosaurs - Humanity - Civilization - War - Extinction - Robots) (9:15)
4 Dalai Gama (4:40)
5 Hello Eskimo Or Polyhedral Mu (14:21)


Kode 9 - Black Sun / 2 Far Gone

Label: Hyperdub
Released: 2009
Style: Dubstep

"Steve Goodman continues to shift his style towards the Funky light wih two more brilliant cuts for Hyperdub further removed from his previous dread bass dubstep explorations. 'Black Sun' is quite the shocker, sounding like the mutant basschild of Drexciya and 4 Hero with rippling junglist/dubstep subbass wrapped around a bobbling square-wave bassline and tucked under the tidiest rhythm syncopations this side of Anthony Shakir. That's not to mention the unruly synthline that just owns the whole thing, sounding like James Stinson jamming with Quartta 330 with a seriously ear-worming effect that will hold any audience captive for it's duration. It's seriously smart gear. The dread vibes of his previous work rears it's darkened head on flipside track '2 Far Gone', leaning heavily on the synthline vibes with murkily resonant pads building the tension before skip-swinging patterns find their groove and suck you into some irresistable dance inducing polyrhythms. The dislocated vocal intoning "'s too far gone" sets a severely ominous tone for the whole thing, balancing out the feminine and floor friendly rhythms with a skunked out paranoia dense and lush enough to fall madly in love with. This is a mindblowingly good single and we'd even say it outstrips its predecessor '2 Bad' quite easily. Obviously, if you like Burial, 4 Hero or Drexciya you really need to pick this up. Awesome." - Boomkat


1 Black Sun (5:25)
2 2 Far Gone (6:10)


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Labradford - Labradford

Label: Kranky
Released: 1996
Style: Minimal, Ambient

"Though still wafting in a saline bath of 4AD-esque ambiance, Labradford have solidified into a more coherent whole by their third album. Labradford mixes the spare, whispered vocals of their previous LP, A Stable Reference, with smart bits of percussion and a warm, clean fusion of guitars, analog synths, a violin or two, and loads of effects units. The group have trimmed the noodly fat that cluttered previous efforts in assembling their best, most listenable release to date." - Allmusic


1 Phantom Channel Crossing (4:43)
2 Midrange (6:29)
3 Pico (5:46)
4 The Cipher (3:12)
5 Lake Speed (6:47)
6 Scenic Recovery (4:52)
7 Battered (7:57)


Hildur Gudnadóttir - Without Sinking

Label: Touch
Released: 2009
Style: Modern Classical, Contemporary, Experimental

"Hildur Gudnadottir is a gifted cellist with an impressive history of collaborations that includes work with Pan Sonic, Throbbing Gristle, Johann Johannsson, Skúli Sverrisson and Ben Frost among many others, as well as being a member of Iceland's notable Kitchen Motors collective. She first came to our attention on Pan Sonic's epic 'Katodivaihe' album from a couple of years back, her intense, blackened cello adding another dimension to Vainio and Väisänen's icy tundras. "Without Sinking" (her second solo album and first for the Touch label) is, however, by far the most cohesive and engrossing release of her career to date. It's not often that sales notes offer much by way of an insight into the real thought process or inspiration behind an album, but Gudnadottir's description of many hours spent on flights around the world looking at clouds really does encapsulate the atmosphere and semi-opaque wonder of these recordings. "I wanted to have open space for single notes and let them breath, like single clouds in a clear sky. As a contrast I also wanted create denser and heavier compositions which were more thundercloud like. I like the way clouds form, how many tiny droplets can form such dense forms and then slowly evaporate into thin string-like forms." The sound Gudnadottir's cello makes paints these mysterious landscapes with an almost mystical purity, opening track "Elevation", for example, manages to outline an increasingly intense, almost mournful picture with seemingly simple layering techniques and barely perceptible processes submerged by the pregnant sound of Gudnadottir's hugely evocative instrument. But the album also includes contributions from a number of guests - most notably Johann Johannsson, Skúli Sverrisson and even Hildur's father Guðni Franzson, with tracks like "Aether" introducing Harp and wind instruments with a gentle economy that's so fragile and simple it's just nothing short of heart-stopping. The album closes with the dense "Unveiled", an ominous drone undulation steered by those cautious, towering strings and barely perceptible found sounds. It's the space between the notes, the restraint and expectation, that packs the biggest emotional punch on this incredibly moving recording, never allowing those 'cinematic' qualities to get in the way of the genuine dread and catharsis resting at the core of this utterly magnificent album. Amazing music." - Boomkat


1 Elevation (5:58)
2 Overcast (3:18)
3 Erupting Light (2:22)
4 Circular (4:19)
5 Ascent (4:43)
6 Opaque (3:51)
7 Aether (5:11)
8 Whiten (4:52)
9 Into Warmer Air (6:11)
10 Unveiled (7:12)


Monday, March 16, 2009

Markus Guentner - In Moll

Label: Kompakt
Released: 2001
Style: Dub Techno, Minimal, Ambient

"Squelches and whirrs nestle in rolling hills of fuzzy dreamy drones as clicks and pops struggle for air beneath a downy blanket of suffocatingly gorgeous billowy clouds of synth wash. Sound good? It does.

In creating "In Moll," Markus Guentner has done more than his part to fill the void created by Voigt's unusual absence, with a disc that captures much of the feel we liked so much about the Gas records, a sort of dreamy melancholy that manages to be both wistful and hopeful, lonely and warm. Jeff thinks it has a real "change of seasons" vibe, that harkens, again, to Gas. And while the Gas comparison is surely accurate (if you haven't caught our drift already, let's state: fans of Gas should pick this up without a second thought!), Guenter does add his own flair to Voigt's signature sound though, creating a more varied and more dynamic soundscape than Voigt's pastoral hum and thump." - Aquarius Records


1 Untitled (8:42)
2 Untitled (6:44)
3 Untitled (10:00)
4 Untitled (6:40)
5 Untitled (6:07)
6 Untitled (6:53)
7 Untitled (16:08)


Emanuele Errante - Humus

Label: Somnia
Released: 2008
Style: Minimal, Ambient

"“humus” unfolds slowly through a symphony of organic minimalism, evolving and growing over a course of 11 tracks. classical flourishes adorn warm and inviting textural sketches, and subtle electronic manipulation pervades a humid ambient environment. reich inspired microcosmic rhythms unfold and undulate beneath wide pastel landscapes." - Label


1 Fecunda (6:31)
2 Lucus (8:55)
3 Ros (3:56)
4 Humi (9:59)
5 Radio Hopes (6:40)
6 Leaves (1:45)
7 Aquatic (7:48)
8 Primo Tema (3:23)
9 Ant's Trail (4:29)
10 Magic Wood (5:32)
11 Ultimo Tema (3:14)


Lotus Plaza - The Floodlight Collective

Label: Kranky
Released: 2009
Style: Shoegaze, Indie Rock, Pop

"Lockett Pundt's first full length is an expansive meditation on the modern history of the pop song with an obvious appreciation for the atmospheric vocal harmonies of the 50's, the Brill Building writers of the 60's, and the sounds of the early 80's postpunk uk scene.

The production is multi-multi-layered with a seemingly endless amount of subtle detail in each track, while the vocals are generally low in the mix and add yet another layer to the sound.

There are certainly references to Lockett's day job here, and it can be no other way as he is an integral part of that "other" group. But he clearly stakes a claim to his own sound here." - Label


1 Red Oak Way (4:12)
2 Quicksand (5:09)
3 These Years (2:54)
4 Different Mirrors (4:07)
5 Whiteout (4:14)
6 What Grows? (2:56)
7 Sunday Night (4:55)
8 Antoine (7:22)
9 The Floodlight Collective (4:36)
10 A Threaded Needle (4:29)


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Evan Bartholomew - Secret Entries Into Darkness

Label: Somnia
Released: 2008
Style: Minimal, Ambient

"evan bartholomew brings another example of sonic storytelling to somnia, moving from atmospheric float into pulsing minimal electroid rhythms.fractaline analog grooves and micro beat construction establish a hypnotic base for a composed layer of ambient exploration to unfold. presenting a balance of analog moduler synth elements and complex dsp processing, 'secret entries into darkness' further's somnia's approach to cinematic modern music." - Label


1 Secret Entries Into Darkness (9:53)
2 Cracks In The Fabric Of The Known (6:32)
3 Soft Spots In The Tyranny Of Matter (11:10)
4 Where Forgotten Days Slumber (9:11)
5 And Ancient Hurts Dwell (8:34)
6 Light Reflecting Black In Shadow (6:54)
7 Freedom Found In Surrender (3:23)


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