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)


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