Thursday, December 24, 2009

Top albums of 2009

I've been charting the music that I've particularly been enjoying over the course of each month for the whole year and now, as we draw towards 2010 I'd like to leave this year with a list of the ten albums I have enjoyed the most. Usually, when I write the lists each month, there is no order of favourite as such. With this list, I have decided to rank it in order of my favourite album of the year:

(1) Pillowdiver - "Sleeping Pills"
(2) Richard Skelton - "Landings"
(3) Seaworthy - "1897"
(4) Goldmund - "The Malady Of Elegance
(5) Richard Skelton - "Marking Time
(6) Nicola Ratti - "Esope"
(7) Lucette Bourdin - "Golden Sun"
(8) Le Lendemain - "Fires"
(9) Dirac - "Emphasis"
(10) Sylvie Walder and Entia Non - "Bewilderment"

Monday, November 30, 2009

Spheruleus - "Frozen Quarters" penned for release on Under The Spire

I can officially announce that the first Spheruleus CD-R venture is to be released on Under The Spire recordings. Below, I'll run through a couple of things I can confirm about the album:

The album, entitled 'Frozen Quarters' spans 14 short tracks that all feature recordings made in and around my locality in an attempt to preserve and capture my day-to-day environment.
I've recorded snippets from various household objects, sounds heard outside and some unusual ideas I've had along the way. The most unusual of these involved climbing into a huge empty waste-disposal skip to record instrument takes and picking up tons of natural reverb along the way...
I have completed an hour-long mix of all of the many recordings I made for the album and plan to release it on a netlabel as a precursor to the full album.

The melodic elements throughout 'Frozen Quarters' are mostly derived from various instruments I've acquired throughout the recording of this album. You can hear sounds of keyboard, zither, trumpet, piano, harmonica and guitar. I'd say around 95% of the compositions made with these instruments were done by myself through experimenting with different melodies and chords. This is an approach that is pretty new for Spheruleus, but one that I am becoming increasingly interested in. Although I do love electronic and synth based music, I am fascinated by how playing instruments to provide a sound-source for further electronic treatment can really add an organic warmth to my sound design. What's more, is that with the album concept being about preserving an environment to capture its essence, an organic and real experience has been lifted through means of these instrument recordings. Rather than create a synthetic representation of the environments, I have managed to actually been able to be part of the process through such instruments.
I would never normally refer to myself as a musician or instrument performer since I've never had any form of teaching. But my natural ear for sound and music has meant that I have been able to lift some interesting sounds and tone from this small collection of instruments.

Regarding the release of this album, not much is known or set in stone as yet. Although, I do imagine it shall be available in 2010. If it is too long for you to wait, you can check out four of the album tracks on the Spheruleus Myspace page:

Under The Spire is a British label set up this year by Christopher Edwards. The label and the artists that have released on it have had a solid year and for 2010, we can expect it to grow further with the inclusion of releases by some excellent artists, such as Ian Hawgood, Jasper TX, P Jorgensen, Ryonkt, Segue and many more...
The date for the new Spheruleus album is a while away from being confirmed of course but in the meantime, please check out Under The Spire and support this superb label:

Friday, November 27, 2009

New tracks on Spheruleus Myspace page

Indeed, I'm not a devout Myspace user and I can't proclaim to give the Spheruleus Myspace page the care and attention it deserves. Yet, I managed to get some new tracks on the player within the last couple of weeks, so please head over to have a listen if you will.

The tracks are from my forthcoming album Frozen Quarters which will be released on a CD-R label next year. The album features 14 short tracks totalling an hour long and the four tracks featured on Myspace are:



More on 'Frozen Quarters' soon...including the label announcement and more on the album concepts.

MDAC012 - Monthly Discerning Audio Chart, November 2009

At last, I have sat down and sorted out my iPod so that any new releases and purchases can be listened to on the move! It has of course meant the deletion of everything that was already on my iPod...but the bulk of my music collection has been saved on an external hard-drive or I own a CD copy of it. This does however mean that I am to spend all my spare time sat feeding CDs into my laptop and waiting for iTunes to import it.
Still, I've plenty of new listening experiences for my iPod this month and thus I have 10 of my favourite listed below:
PILLOWDIVER - "Sleeping Pills"
Firstly, a mention and couple of paragraphs must be written about this stunning album by German guitarist Pillowdiver. As always, this list of music never tends to sway a bias as to which was my favourite album of the month but I think I can make an exception here with 'Sleeping Pills' since I have stumbled across an album that I am certain to enjoy for the rest of my time on this earth. Somehow, I missed it back in May when it was first released - for whatever that reason was, I regret not buying it sooner. I've seen the beautiful cover artwork dotted across pages ever since its release but failed to take the plunge and download.
Still, I have it now and have been thoroughly enjoying this work of art all month.
It is an album that chiefly features the languid guitar compositions of Rene Margaff, sat on a bed of droning feedback, noise, hiss and field recordings. My favourite piece has to be the first track 'Twenty -Nine'...
IAN HAWGOOD - "Before I Let The Sunshine Rot"
Ian Hawgood is a prolific artist both in the netlabel community and otherwise, who is responsible for the running of label Home Normal. 'Before I Let The Sunshine Rot' is an album that for Ian preserves many a memory from his travels across Seoul, Lecce, Paris and Pennsylvania. The melody is a delicate mixture of drone tracks, brief interludes and guitar songs. The sounds and noises that sit gently beneath are a collection of recordings I assume to have been made in his travel destinations - telling a story of many a moment throughout his excursions.
The title sums it up 'Before I Let The Sunshine Rot' - I can imagine this refers to releasing the album to preserve his experiences before his memory of them begins to fade.
for us, this is a thoughtful album with a strong concept and story to think of as we sink into this beautiful music.
Download here, for free:
TOMASZ BEDNARCZYK "Let's Make Better Mistakes Tomorrow"
Tomasz Bednarczyk is a young Polish sound designer and here with 'Let's Make Better Mistakes Tomorrow' we have a collection of ten delightful drones, deep and rich in form. The drones themselves are usually linear and change form only subtly; the detailed, gentle changes and nuances require great attention and focus. That said, it is all too easy to drift away and overlook these tiny details without thinking. The drones aren't huge pieces - instead they generally quite short, allowing you a brief pause of contemplation or time to spend a moment drifting off somewhere else. When track six 'The Sketch' arrives, we are given a moment away from the general feel of the album, as a delicately deconstructed piano arrangement covered in a dusty hiss stimulates our eardrums. Then, as gently as the overall feel of the album we are tuned back to droneland to see the remaining minutes out in typically delicate fashion. This is a fantastic album and I shall be keeping a close watch on Tomasz' future output.
DANNY NORBURY "Light In August"
British cellist Danny Norbury has previously worked on projects with Library Tapes, The Boats, Nancy Elizabeth and now he turns his talent to the Lacies Records label to release his own solo album 'Light In August'. This album is a cinematic arrangement of sorrowful cello melodies accompanied by light piano keys and although at times it feels melancholly and mournful, the real emphasis is on beauty. This is purely organic music in a modern classical sense but nevertheless, it is relaxing and Ambient in its gentle nature.
Another big release for 12k - a highly renowned label putting out all kinds of artistic electronic music. Here, we have '1897' by Australian
The album is a magnificent mixture of field recordings, musique concrete dark ambience, drenched with reverb and of course, most importantly a superbly assembled array of guitar melody. Reverb is the key ingredient to this superb album. Not the kind of reverb added as an additional studio treatment process but reverb cast live, inside a disused ammunition bunker in Newington, Australia.
It's this approach that really has me interested in Seaworthy. It really adds something to the album in an organic sense that is a really tangible listening experience.
This is an excellent album of drone, guitar, natural recordings and natural reverb. It is NOT to be missed.

THE LOWLIGHT MIXES - "Beyond This Window"

It is between two Ambient mix blogsites that I am to attribute my intense obsession with this mellow, relaxing and lazy style of music. One is The Hydrogen cafe and the other is Lowlight Mixes. Both provide long form mixes of sublime and gentle ambient music that got me hooked on this whole idea of Ambient music and made me want to find out more and eventually come to start writing my own material and exploring my own ideas. Mixes are a different experience to albums, E.Ps and tracks in the way they collaborate many different artists work together as a collage for the ears. The true talent of course lies within the individual artists' works, but the ability to assemble a mix of these works in a tasteful and ordered manner is an artform within itself. Here, Dave from Lowlight Mixes assembles his latest offering, including electro-acoustic pieces, drones dark and light, delicate piano pieces and underscoring field recordings. He's put together several classic mixes over the months and years but I think I shall be giving this a regular listen on long walks or periods of rest when I have time to soak into this wonderfully programmed listening experience. Download for free:

HERZOG - "First Summer And The Running Dream"

As Resting Bell slows down its release policy, we have time to soak into an album of artsy electro-acoustics and sound design by Bill Bawden who has also released as Herzog on quality netlabels 12rec and Serein. Like quite a lot of Resting Bell's releases this is a short album, lasting just half an hour. Short albums are not a bad thing of course! Ambient music is designed for times of rest and introspective contemplation and often in this culture of chaos and business time for a full hour-long listen is restricted. So, 'First Summer And The Running Dream' features five tracks of varying lengths containing an array of melodic tones that are littered with gentle, dusty, glitchy noise. The word glitch often puts me off music when used to describe it, as it conjurs up thoughts of losing an eardrum thanks to a harsh noisy din rammed down my ear canal. Fortunately, when I have used the term glitch here, I can witness that this album's 'glitch' credentials are of gentle, much more ambient nature. Little crackles, reduced hiss and noise all add texture to these mellow soundscapes. The wonderfully titled closing track 'Lately I've Been Dreaming Of Drinking Sound From A Fountain' rounds off this half-an-hour perfectly.

Download for free:

JASPER LEYLAND - "Sediments"

A shimmeringly beautiful release from back in 2008 here by Jasper Leyland is available for free download on the mOAR netlabel. Jasper Leyland is a North Yorkshire based sound designer who's real name is Jonathan Brewster and here with Sediments he concocts the perfect balance of mellow drones derived from acoustic instruments, field recordings and gentle instrumentation. This whole 6 track album is a window of mature sound design. Perfect balance is indeed the term for this project. There are occasional passages of near-silence, which as many know when done right, really add something to the overall pace of an album. The music slowly unfurls and reveals itself in new areas throughout this wonderful mellow set of tracks. Time stands still when listening to this album...Download for free:


Here we have a recent release by two highly talented artists. The mighty modern classical artist Peter Broderick meets prolific sound artist from the Netherlands Machinefabriek. The two masterfully craft this album of treated instrument passages and electronic sound manipulation into a collection of largely experimental abstract tracks. The two may seem an unlikely pairing but they have worked together before and here in 'Blank Grey Canvas Sky' it is evident that there is much respect for both artists different approach to recording ambient music. A fine balance has to be struck for two opposing artists to record a project together as one and you will hear, this ethos has been abided by for the recording of this album.

SEREIN "RE-INTRODUCTION" (Compiled and mixed by Huw Roberts)

This hour long mix by Serein label owner Huw Roberts forecasts a selection of forthcoming label releases set for 2010 and is blended with some familiar tracks from Serein's netlabel days. Most notably, there is a track 'Wheatstone' from the highly anticipated Nest album 'Retold', which is to be released on January the 31st 2010. The turn of a new year is always an exciting prospect for music enthusiasts, since a lot of artists and labels prefer to hold out for the end of a year and release their new material as the new year is upon us. And as you can see from the tracklisting, we're in for some treats from this label which has always been superb. I thoroughly enjoyed much if not all of the netlabel output in the past and I am certain to add myself to the customer list as the year turns and get myself a copy of Nest's 'Retold'. Expect a review too... In terms of this mix, it's been well assembled by Robert's - the tracks are placed perfectly and it's a very compelling, delicate listen. I had this on a few times in the evening, slumped back on the sofa with a cup of coffee. It's going to be a great 2010...

Download the mix for free:

Friday, October 30, 2009

MDAC011 Monthly Discerning Audio Chart, October 2009

October - one of my favourite times of the year, when the leaves are turning and it is beginning to turn nice and cold...I have had a mammoth month of listening to new and interesting music. I've enough new material to fill countless of these charts! I'm going to have to condense it somehow down to the usual ten...

RICHARD SKELTON - "Marking Time"
It has been a good while since I ordered any vinyl and in 'Marking Time', I've bought myself an absolute gem. This record is going to be a piece of vinyl I will never grow tired of for as long as I shall live. Skelton is an absolute master at recording multi-layered modern classical music. He runs his own label Sustain-Release and is responsible for putting out his wonderful work, packaged in stunningly beautiful artwork, created by his late wife. His music is haunting and often laced with melancholy. It gives you a sense of being transported back in time. I find his music, his approach and his ideas unbelievably inspiring. I'm working on a little something myself and although it sounds nothing like what Skelton writes, I would cite his work as the main influence on my new venture. This man is a genius!
This is a limited edition record though - you'll be hard pressed to find it anywhere! I've just taken a quick look at Juno and Boomkat, and it's sold out there unfortunately. It does come with my strongest recommendation this - if there is any chance that you're able to get a copy then do so!

Richard Skelton again...he produces under so many monikers and here as 'A Broken Consort' he's carved another masterpiece. Four pieces of powerfully haunting, melancholy music. It can be downloaded from Boomkat in either mp3 or FLAC at the following link:

SLOW - "Dual Box"
Resting Bell have recently released this new album by Russian composer Sergey Suokas and I have thoroughly enjoyed soaking into its many depths this month.
I have Slow's previous release 'Room Phive', also on Resting Bell but this record really does push the boundaries further. It's different to 'Room Phive' in the way that it is deeper, more loose and less electronically sequenced. It is much closer to being Ambient music than just electronica. Which to me, is what separates the truly talented artists in this field. My favourite track is 'Miracle' which features a bitter-sweet drone with delicate and playful instrument takes draped on top. This is such a beautiful album - I'm bowled over by it. I shall be keeping a very watchful ear on Suokas from now on...
Download your copy for free here:

MORGAN JENKS - "Sound To Activate Space"
Not everything I've been listening to is brand new - I don't always get time to give old albums that second or third listen and can occasionally forget about some records. I am guilty of doing so with these two longformers by Morgan Jenks, released on Test Tube back in 2008. Not an awful lot is known about Jenks - obviously you have a good look round for newer material when you discover an old album in your record collection you'd forgotten about! But I can't seem to find anything else by him. So, I am left to bask in these two stunning soundscapes he's crafted. The first 'Gemini' is full of shimmering tone that will leave you feeling still, calm and refreshed. The second 'An Anthem For The Bats And Their Prey' is different in the way that the tone seems to be derived from acoustic instrument composition and the field recordings tell the story given away in the track title. It's an excellent album on the whole. One of the best I've heard in fact!
Download for free here:

VARIOUS ARTISTS "The Hundredth Mantra"
Any netlabel that reaches its centenary of releases is to be commended, and this month it was Earth Mantra that was celebrating its 100th release. Many will of course be aware of the prolific Earth Mantra netlabel, but for those who aren't then this 4cd compilation will serve as the best introduction as you could possibly get!
Near enough every artist that has ever released on the netlabel has managed to get together a piece of ambient music to go on this excellent compilation.
The beauty of Earth Mantra is that it doesn't just release one or two styles of Ambient, it is passionate about everything from Electro-acoustic works to space music. So, this compilation is a huge cross section of all the different styles the label covers and represents all of the talented artists that have featured on it.
Of course, being a previous contributor to the label myself, I put a short track together for the compilation and it is entitled 'Five Dozen Centuries'. It's not necessarily a piece that sums up my production style, but when I wrote it I was inspired by the work of Tim Hecker. One of my favourite Hecker tracks 'October' features a melody that almost endlessly repeats. Buzzing away underneath it, there are feint harmonies and accents. And this is the approach for 'Five Dozen Centuries'...
Please download and enjoy this mammoth release:

dreamSTATE - "A Decade Dreaming'"
A real treat for us here - Ping Things have released this album of selected works by legendary Ambient outfit dreamSTATE to celebrate ten years of live performances.
The album features work with several collaborators and is a pleasure to listen to.
Download your copy for free:

Martin Dot - "For You"
I've recently been scouring back catalogs of all kinds of Ambient netlabels and burning CDs of those big releases I missed. This album, by Rain netlabel boss Martin Dot is an absolute joy to listen to. It has been downloaded over 10,000 times and is obviously a hit with those who have been listening to it ever since it came out - it is well commented on too! Somehow though, I missed it and have only just grabbed my copy this month. Dot's usual output is largely deep electronic drone based ambient. With 'For You' he demonstrates his ability to play the piano with such finesse. It's a beautiful album to stick on in the background - it feels cold, it feels warm - it's full of gently unfurling tone.
If you missed this one too, download it here:

I've downloaded a fair bit of Kiritchenko's old netlabel output and I've always been impressed with his experimental projects. This month, I stumbled accross his work on Spekk and I am very impressed indeed...'Misterrious' is not to be filed under ambient music nor jazz, but it somehow sits between the two. The approach was of both music styles in equal parts and it is an extraordinary listen. It has all the credentials of Ambient music with its field recordings and tone. It has the credentials of jazz, with its instrumentation and composition. Somehow though, it is neither. Once you rid yourself of concern for classifying its genre, you can begin to thoroughly enjoy this delightful record. This really is a superb album.
Download here:

RUDI ARAPAHOE - "Echoes From One To Another"
This record is simply sublime. I've had it for ages and I just never tire of hearing its playful, sometimes melancholy charm. It's absolutely full of different sounds, instrument takes and vocal musings and the overall feel for me is of medieval nature. It's a quirky album and one you will enjoy. You have to get to know it - lending it a few listens. My favourite track is Conversation Piece...

RYONKT - "All The Things Which I See"
I'm a big fan of Japanese sound artist Ryonkt. I've recently been listening to this release of his, on the Lunar Flower netlabel. I've heard that Lunar Flower are to stop operating as an active netlabel for various reasons - but at least we will be able to download the backcatalog. If you are unfamiliar with Lunar Flower, be sure to download yourself a copy of this album. It is so unbelievably gentle - it makes you feel completely still and at rest. It is indeed subtle, as the notes inform - but in all its subtletly is a wealth of shimmering detail. Download it here:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

MDAC010 - Monthly Discerning Audio Chart, September 2009

This month I have managed to listen to plenty of music and soundscapes, of which I shall share with you all in hope that I might spread the good word of this excellent material! It's been a month where my eardrums have mostly been stimulated by the warm fuzz of the Ambient drone...I am still lacking internet access at my house and so I have to check the computers at work for new releases and download/burn them at my parents house. Typically, I will take 4 CDs to the house and scour the netlabel world for new or interesting material. Then, it's back to mine for extended listening over a coffee.

For the first two tracks, I have selected my favourite two cuts from an old Nick Luscombe CD I bought this month. The first track 'Zeus' on this CD had me hooked with its cinematic hooks set at a leisurely pace. It so delicately fuses instrumentation over a superb rhythm and it will soon become theme to whatever journey you take.

MAKI MANAMI - "Moon Palace"
Also on the same Nick Luscombe track is this superb mood piece by. It is an intelligently arranged soundscape featuring a lovely piano performance. It starts off playful and laidback before taking an epic and cinematic turn. It is the closing track on the CD and ensures this mix goes out with a gentle bang. The only thing is, you may have some trouble tracking this down. A reason to purchase this mix compilation if ever there was one! It's a superb track.
ENNIO MAZZON - "The Possibility Of Joy"
After we were blown away by Ennio Mazzon's 'Muffled' release on Audiotalaia, we are now able to download this short follow up release on Resting Bell. We loved muffled because it was power ambience that dropped to interludes of shimmering beauty and delicacy. This territory has been further exlpored with his new work 'The Possibility Of Joy'. It opens with 'Numbed Feet' which starts off so atmospheric and eerie, before giving way to slightly muffled tones and variations that keep this short opening track interesting. 'De La Lutte' is a shorter piece again featuring playful and elegant tones draped in a bed of gentle muffled noise. '26 Of September' opens with glitchy treated sound grains giving way to those brief moments of bliss we have come to associate with Ennio's work. Last but not least, with 'In A Year', the album is concluded in line with the prevailing theme. The final track opens with a bed of noise and glitched drones, giving way to shimmering tones from time to time.
This is a pleasant and short album that further illustrates the sheer talent and thoughtful sound design that Ennio Mazzon is getting a name for.
You may also be interested to know that Ennio has just started a new CD-R label called Ripples Recordings, visit:
OFFTHESKY - "Subtle Trees"
Almost everyone who is a regular downloader of netlabel ambient/drone/sound design works is familiar with Jason Corder who's main project is Offthesky. All Offthesky releases are absolutely stunning and delicately put together. His work 'Subtle Trees' is by no means a new album; somehow, it slipped the net. Corder releases at such a prolific rate, that this is no crime! There is so much Offthesky material to download that you can be forgiven if you miss out. Just be sure to eventually track back and check his discography for bits you have missed! I missed 'Subtle Trees' and what a mistake that has proved...This is now actually one of his favourite pieces of work to date! It opens with an absolutely wonderful piano piece 'Enter Off Colour Tear' - this is such an excellent piece of music. Quite often, an album will draw you gently in as the artist chooses to position the most minimal or sparse composition as the opening track. Other artists opt to select an opening track to really draw the listener in - and that's what Jason has done with this. First impressions stick - just stick on track one and you will feel compelled to immerse yourself in this stunning world of sound he paints.

DOWNLOAD FOR FREE: (scroll down to 'Subtle Trees' on Rope Swing Cities)

TLON - "Acoustic Lazy Dolls"
As I mentioned, I've been scouring the netlabel world and burning CDs of albums I am yet to be blessed with in my collection. Here is a classic release on Autoplate by TLON that was originally released back in 2002 on Canadian label Oral. I've featured some TLON tracks in old mixes in the past, but never stumbled accross this gently unfolding album that is simply full of tone and subtle motifs. The write up reads that it is derived from a selection of pieces by Jon Hassel and Brian Eno. TLON's Jean-Sebastien Roux cooks up a feast of intelligent sound design by warping recording takes of some of his favourite records beyond recognition. It is not straight up ambient music as it veers away from longform drones in favour of loops and samples re-arranged in a minimalist dubby form with occasional percussive elements.
This really is an absolutely superb album. It comes highly recommended.

LOMOV - "Holzwege"
After being so impressed with TLON's 'Acoustic Lazy Dolls', I delved further into Autoplate territory and downloaded this album by Lomov. Lomov's Axel Bergk also produces dance oriented electronica, but as a fan of Ambient and experimental forms of electronic music I am more interested in the territory he explores in 'Holzwege'.
The album opens with a delicate forest song featuring a new-age style electronic instrument composition. Typically, I can often find the use of such instruments a little irritating at times - but the delicacy of this track does draw me into listening to the rest of the album and it sets the scene perfectly. The rest of the album slowly edges forward, deeper into the forest and explores a huge array of sound texture all interspersed with deep soothing dronescapes.
Another superb Autoplate release from the archive.
SUNDUMMY - "Mighty Voids Collide"
In the early 2000s, Sundummy released a string of Ambient drone projects that attracted a lot of attention in the netlabel scene. With 'Mighty Voids Collide', I have only just discovered the material of Sundummy and I have enjoyed soaking into these soundscapes and drifting off to nowhere. There's not a high level of detail in these drones, but effects and sound processing motifs are not necessary on this album. The subtlety lies within the drones as they expand and change shape as you listen. The compositions are often quiet, mid-length and vary in tone from light, to dark to a complete nothingness.
PETAL - "The Last Season"
Our friends at consistently top-notch Ambient netlabel Earth Mantra have recetly released this album by Petal. It is a concoction of acoustic compositions and murky, noisy drones. An album of sheer darkness with pulsing, dischordant, non-directional noisy dronescapes is not my cup of tea personally as they lack direction and detail.
So, with this one, it opens with a peaceful acoustic composition of a laidback, melancholy nature. This gives way to an album interspersed with more of these little acoustic pieces and darker, drone pieces. It is this juxtaposed album ethos that makes it all so effective. It is so beautiful! It is amazing how wonderful a couple of minutes of melancholy acoustic music can sound when it follows a wash of dark drones and noisy static sounds.
The final track is what fully won me over to this album - 'We Never Spoke Of The Plans We Never Made'. One final acoustic piece to leave you smiling and feeling relaxed, satisfied and introspective.
STROM NOIR - "Kueyen"
German netlabel Resting Bell have a reputation for releasing an unpredictable array of experimental electronic music artforms. Here, Emil Matko has created a beautiful drone album
under the project name Strom Noir. 'Kueyen' throbs and swells between a wash of drone tones; at times dischordant and at times shimmering a lightness this album is a constantly interesting listen. Parts of the soundscapes are straight up dark ambience of the ghostliest kind and parts feature a murkiness that hides optimistic hints of light Ambience. There is always an underlying depth of darkness, sinister tones and noisy static to this record. But the sheer variation of sounds and those occasional silent, lighter moments will entice you to soak into this one.

SLEEPING ME 'Lamenter'
Finally on this list of discerning audio, we have a superb album by Clayton McEvoy who operates as 'Sleeping Me'. The album 'Lamenter' opens with gentle acoustic guitar work which opens out to include a swelling bed of light ambient drones. The album moves forward and creatively with more of the same - Ambient music evolved purely from the use of a guitar, further treated in McEvoy's studio. There are many moments of melancholy, many moments of beauty and many moments that induce an introspective emotional state. It is an excellent short album/E.P that is strongly recommended.

Friday, September 11, 2009

AGCD037 Spheruleus "A Vision Obscured"


  1. A Hindered View
  2. Augrun
  3. Clouds
  4. Blurred Perspective
  5. Opaque
  6. The Redundant Filter
  7. Time Stands Still
  8. Time Fades
  9. A Silent Collision
Artwork based on the painting "Mgla Wiosenna (Springtime Fog)" by Stanislaw Witkiewicz, from a public domain photo on Wikimedia Commons at

Many thanks to my brother Stuart for providing me with the original guitar sample for the track 'A Hindered View'.

I have spent a long and slow six months tweaking the third Spheruleus album and finally it has all been tied up and released on the Earth Mantra netlabel.
The album is called 'A Vision Obscured' and I have given only the title names away as hints to what the album is about; it is up to the listener to supply a story of their own as they listen to these works. This may sound a little thin as an album concept - maybe it gives way to thoughts that I may have rushed the concept? This couldn't be further from the truth. I've spent more time than usual thinking about 'A Vision Obscured' and the whole theme fits the album perfectly.

Each individual has hopes, dreams and objectives...and achieving these are seldom plain sailing. In fact, most of the time it requires hard work, dedication and focus on that objective to weather the wealth of troubles that can stand in your way. Many will simply give up - drowning in a sea of obstacles that gulf their first vision of hope.

In terms of letting on how this relates to me, I don't think it is necessary to go into detail at all. I would rather let the theme of the album, the foggy, melancholy sound content and the beautiful artwork conjur up thoughts of how this all relates to you personally.
If you stay alert and focussed, you will see this perfect vision for yourself. If you allow the deep murky obstacles to take hold of you, they will obscure your vision and you will sink to the depths, never to achieve your goal.

Friday, September 4, 2009

MDAC009 Monthly Discerning Audio Chart, August 2009

August has been a month that has posed a heavy restriction on my ability to source new or previously undiscovered music for my listening pleasure. I have just moved into a new home and establishing internet access has been somewhat difficult, to say the least! So this month, the chart will be themed largely around tracks I've had in my collection for some time and around new CDs I've ordered online. As is often the case of late, I'm pressed for slightly shortened reviews/blurbs will accompany each piece!

HAROLD BUDD & BRIAN ENO "The Plateaux Mirror"
This classic Ambient/neo-classical album from 1980 by two heavyweights in the genre is an absolute must for any fan of Ambient music. Budd's Mellow piano compositions resonate peacefully over Eno's sound design.

This is a varied Ambient/Electronic/Experimental live album that pairs multi instrumentalist Ian Boddy with Ambient heavyweight Robert Rich.

NEST - "Trans Siberian"
This is a track from Nest's self titled album that I've had on my iPod for quite some time. The whole album is one of the finest netlabel releases I've ever heard, and if you haven't already been enjoying this classic, then you'd be advised to head over to the link below to get a copy. Delicate piano compositions are draped exquisitely over some sublime sound design. Nest is the collaboration of trained pianists Otto Totland (Deaf Centre/Type Records) and Huw Roberts (Serein). Interestingly, Serein has just undergone a rehaul by Roberts, and you can check on his label's progress here:
DOWNLOAD (and enjoy) 'Nest':

NRVNET - "Music For Sunrise"
Quite often, I will scour the backcatalog of Nrvnet's Hydrogen Cafe blogspot mixes and listen to an hour of relaxed, introspective music. 'Music For Sunrise' has a wonderful earthy feel to it, fusing beautiful classical pieces featuring strings, piano and many other instruments. Having just moved into a new house, there has been much hard work needed - particularly in the garden. What better soundtrack to listen to than this, whilst removing unwanted foliage? DOWNLOAD:

Despite having strong tendencies towards Ambient, experimental and acoustic/organic musics, I must never forget that my routes in music date back to Deep House music. Some days, nothing else will suffice. I will often flick through my many records, turn the volume up on my amp and listen to some excellent House records that I've collected over the years. And here, a true classic, Soldiers Of Twilight dates me way back to when I was a mere infant to the world of music. This has been an all-time favourite.

GOLDMUND - "The Malady Of Elegance"
What record collection could be complete without this timeless classic? 'The Malady Of Elegance' is Keith Kennif's (also known as Helios) finest hour thus far, in my opinion. This delicate piano soundtrack is so unbelievably beautiful. Glimpses of obvious piano melody are punctuated by eerie, playful drones and gentle noises that leave you hanging, longing for the next note. I've stuck this one on a few times in the background and just allowed it to fill my house with its pleasant yet eerie charm.

DARREN HARPER - "Time Forgotten"
Thanks to Earth Mantra, a label I am pleased to be associated for my projects as Spheruleus, we are introduced to Darren Harper, with this piece called 'Time Forgotten'. Earth Mantra have really cranked it up of late - churning out release after release of quality Ambient music, all under creative commons and we're approaching their 100th edition to the catalog. Number 94, 'Time Forgotten' lets you just sit back and float blissfully away, just as good Ambient music should. This one is special, and will likely feature in my list of top Ambient releases of the year - like many of Earth Mantra's material... DOWNLOAD:

ARTICOLOGY - "Eternal Now"
The last Articology release on Earth Mantra 'Haven', out at the beginning of this year has been featuring on my playlist ever since and has been a true classic for me. Now, with 'Eternal Now', Brit Dale Humphries has managed to keep things consistent and at this high level. This album is so shimmeringly beautiful - it is certain to become a true classic in my record collection and sit rightfully beside 'Haven' as an excellent follow-up. DOWNLOAD:

Intelligent sound design fusing electronic effetcs, ambient drones and a gently epic piano composition make this track Broadway Project every bit a compelling listen. I've been listening to a lot of electronica featuring the piano of late, and this is certainly a stand out piece.

As I mentioned, I've spent much of the month looking through old classics and forgotten tracks. I am utterly ashamed to have forgotten this masterpiece! Partridge and Budd are in fine form here with this track 'Through The Hill'. It will have you sipping your coffee with a smile on your face, slumped back in your chair, in awe of this wonderful piece of music...just as I have been doing so over the last few weeks!

Monday, July 27, 2009

MDAC008 - Monthly Discerning Audio Chart, July 2009

July has been a very busy month for me, as I am moving house so much work to be done! Yet I have still managed to find plenty of time to soak into some good music, so I shall be sharing some of the months top sounds as usual...

Straight at the top of the list is this truly excellent double disc album released on Earth Mantra by Lucette Bourdin. I enjoyed her previous work 'Silver Moon' earlier this year on the same label, but this ambient offering will completely blow any fans of the genre away. It's masterfully produced ambient music, given away for free; an absolute must is this. Earth Mantra really have been consistent in providing some of the very best netlabel ambient music in the world - it is strongly advised that any fan of the creative commons scene or ambient music in general keep close tabs on this label:

IOD on SEM Label occasionally releases short E.Ps of top quality Ambient/drone works. I often check back to the label to see whether anything new is out and fortunately this month, there is a stunning E.P of Montero/Navarro re-jigs. The Green Kingdom rework some of this project into their own lush Ambient style - delicate instrument notation arrangement, crackling field recordings and distant vocals will soothe your ears. Segue open their take with a loop repetition that builds into a wash of ambient chords. Offthesky open things with dischordant noise and field noise that gives way to those beautiful tones and intelligent sound design you come to expect. Finally, Fax provide a ticking electronic rhythm draped with warm Ambient drones and distant guitar echoes.

OFFLAND - 'The Commute'
It's been some time since I've downloaded any Offland, but I was very much drawn to the concept of this album released on the Resting Bell netlabel, since I have endured many a commute in my time. I am always intrigued by real-time recordings used to portray a scenario somewhere else in the world - it is fascinating to think that someone has actually taken the time to make these recordings and that each sound you hear actually took place in the ever moving wheel of another society. So that is what drew me to the album initially...these drones really do leave you slumped back into your chair and deeply soaked into the environment they create. Free download here:

LARRY HEARD - 'Fantasy'
Moving onto something more Housey - here is a superb Deep House track by the exceptional Larry Heard. I'm constantly re-discovering old works by him that for some reason I overlooked. I think with lots of Heard's work, the real stand out pieces are the ones with the vocals; they really are beautifully performed and that is why I have come to enjoy his work so much. Up there with Missing You, Deep Inside and DejaVu - this one will be a lifelong classic in my record collection.

JAMES MASON - 'Sweet Power (Your Embrace)'
Speaking of classsics, here is an awesome jazz/funk/disco track from James Mason's 1977 album 'Rhythm Of Life'. I first heard this piece a few years back on an old Gilles Peterson mix CD in the times when I didn't have an iPod. I'd take a bag where ever I went with a portable CD player and a load of CDs and get my late night music fix on slow, lazy walks home. This process meant that I accidentally misplaced or lent that mix CD out and have not seen it since...I'd even forgotten about this superb track and only recently have I tracked down a copy of 'Rhythm Of Life'. Much of this CD is not to my taste as it sways a little too far into cheesy disco territory for me. But 'Sweet Power (Your Embrace)' was fully worth the £10 odd that I paid for this CD. It is a superb track that is well worth tracking down!

MONODELUXE - 'Don't Ask'
Irresistably deep downtempo/IDM work here from Monodeluxe...superb deep keys, chilled beats, funky bass and subtle trumpet samples collide to make a late-night stew of electronic funk. Further into this short track, jazzy keys cut in to really round off a superb piece of music.

In my huge rack of vinyl, I have a few old Nuspirit Helsinki records and so recently, I decided to see if I could download anything for iPod listening. This track takes a much deeper turn than the Nuspirit Helsinki sound I was used to - but this is an excellent piece of music that comes with strong recommendation. It's just so unbelievably deep!!

AES DANA - 'Forest Fish'
I've some unusual tribal ambience from the likes of Tuu, Jon Hassel et al and this track by Aes Dana runs along similar lines. I always find tribal ambience like this to be so unusual; almost otherworldy. Upon listening, you are transported to the deepest, most desolate of places. To begin with, the track takes more of a classic ambient drone stance, before giving way to vocal chants, delicate strings and tribal percussion.

HELIOS - 'Eingya'
This album comes with my highest recommendation. It is what is being described these days as post rock and it is a wonderful album of delicate instrumentation and melancholy texture. Lots of classic piano, guitar (both electric and acoustic) and gentle percussion. It is all arranged into a lazy soundtrack for cold winter nights, late walks home or introspective listening. Beautiful music.

My first introduction to Chauveau is this track from a 'pop ambient' compilation on Kompakt. Given the very very dire state of the charts (don't even get me started!!!!!!), I was initially put off by the term 'pop' ambient. Since, how could a genre so deep, cultured and discerning be given a genre label associated with awful popular mass culture? I am glad I am a man who will think 'what's in a name?' from time to time...since this is far from what you would associate with the term popular! This is a short, largely classical affair that is very moody and would not sound out of place draped over an emotional scene in a movie.
I must bid you all farewell for now...I'm off to download more Sylvain Chauveau!!!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

AGCD036 - Spheruleus "Tales From The Labyrinth"

I am very pleased to further establish the name of Spheruleus as a guise for my Ambient/Drone/Soundscape work with this second album, on Portuguese netlabel Test Tube.

Test Tube is a netlabel focussed on releasing obscure experimental albums from talented artists accross the globe and I have been fortunate enough as Spheruleus to be listed amongst these with 'Tales From The Labyrinth'.

I actually had the album finished early this year, but such is the scale of the operation at Test Tube, I've had to wait patiently for a release date as there were many others confirmed to be published first. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it was this window of time that gave me chance to arrange the front cover design. Normally, the cover artwork is not something I would enlist as a forte of it was great to have the time to arrange with Eric Lacombe (Monstror) to put something impressive together for me.

On Eric's blog you will find a wealth of highly detailed images that are simply captivating. The idea behind 'Tales From The Labyrinth' was to get a seemingly minimal cover image that with closer inspection, gives way to subtle intricacies and delicate detail. This reflects the music and the album concepts:

"A labyrinth, unlike the maze, has one clear/unambiguous/obvious routeto the centre. Whereas a maze has many complex and difficult tonegotiate pathways."

"The ancient ideas behind the labyrinth was to create a spirallingpathway to the centre where say a holy shrine or statue would be. During the walk through the labyrinth's spiralling pathway, the personon the journey would feel separated from the outside world and itwould give time for reflection and to focus the mind."

"It is this whole idea of reflection whilst in solitary confinement ora quiet space that opens up the theme to the album. Those four trackshave been created as an audio version of the labyrinth and createspace for the listener to confront any thoughts they may have orproblems they may have been posed."

"It is intricate yet minimalist 'music' and adheres to the old visionthat Brian Eno had when he first created Ambient music. It is asignorable as it is listenable, which means the listener willconstantly be fluttering between the conscious and subconscious stateof mind. It is during this state that clearer thinking can beachieved."


A): There Are More Than Four Walls
B): Escape Escapism
C): Where Does The Answer Lie?
D): It Sits On A Shelf Inside My Skull

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

MDAC007 - Monthly Discerning Audio Chart, June 2009

The more observant visitors to this site will have noticed, that I failed to produce a Monthly Discerning Audio Chart for last month. This is of course absolutely awful and will likely contribute heavily to the further detriment of the global financial crisis. So, for that I sincerely apologise. However, like any true politician, I shall attempt to cover it up with a sentence of absolute rubbish that will make it seem like a positive thing.
This month, due to the lack of a chart for May, we have amalgamated the last two months particularly well-received audio into one list of ten. So the list still will still be ten-strong, meaning I will have to drop some excellent music that didn't quite make the list...This list really will be a chart of top quality discerning sounds. So if you are to heed the recommendations of any Audio Gourmet list , this should be the one. (That is assuming that I don't start to 'forget' to compile these on a regular basis...)

Enough babble and cover-up stories - here is ten albums/ or tracks that I have particularly enjoyed over the last two months:

EXUVIAE - "Intrinsic Luminance"
We'll kick off with an excellent full Ambient album by the multi-directional Exuviae, recently released on Dark Winter's light-ambient spin of label, Endless Ascent. The sheer level of detail woven into this album is simply mesmerising. It is essentially Ambient music of classic drift format, the type you're supposed to just disappear off to a world of thought...that kind of music is typically of a stripped and minimal nature. This is something different - it is so very well produced and so very detailed. The track 'Lost in the details' completely sums up this album - it is incredibly detailed and intricate, yet still allows the listener to just soak into it and basque in its drifting beauty. I've fallen asleep to this album almost every night over the last two can too, by downloading it from:
If you are intrigued by Exuviae's music, you can delve further on their website:

SYLVIE WALDER & ENTIA NON - "Bewilderment"
I've been raving about the sound design talent of James McDougall (Entia Non) since I discovered his work at the beginning of this year. I've downloaded all of his backcatalog spanning labels from SEM/IOD to Test Tube. James is a truly talented producer channeling a multitude of sounds and tones into a melting pot of drifting ambient sound. He has teamed up here with Sylvier Walder to create a sheer masterpiece. This four-tracker on Resting Bell will have you drifting off to another world in no time at all. It is so very detailed without becoming obvious and it will have you hanging on for those sprinklings of piano notes and instrument takes. My personal favourite has to be 'Le Petite Lac'; beautiful! I'm sure you will the full album for free here:

HENRIK SCHWARZ/AME/DIXON - "The Grandfather Paradox" (Mix CD)
Picked up this CD last month having been intrigued by the liner notes and the tracklist. It incorporates the genre-defying approach to DJing and music loving that I hold so dearly myself. As a mix CD, it doesn't stay to just one genre and the latest releases in it. It carries an underlying theme, spans several genres and the sound library has been truly opened up to more than just the 'Just In' section. I think as a DJ, you are in grave danger of playing just the latest releases for mere promotion purposes. You're not doing anything different to anyone else and you are ignoring an entire history of music. So for many reasons, this looked to be an excellent idea as a mix CD. Upon doesn't disappoint. All sorts of different sounds, textures and rhythms in this one - nothing over the top. Just a celebration of 50 years of good minimlaist music...
My pick of the bunch is the soulful 'Feedback' by Green Pickles.

JOHN MARTYN - 'Smiling Stranger'
One of the big joys of being a connosieur of music is having such an abundant collection, that you manage to forget and then 'rediscover' some fantastic records. I used to listen to this wonderful John Martyn track on repeat a couple of years back and I'd completely forgot I'd ever had it! Early leftfield music from 1977, drawing elements from several genres - rock, funk, folk, orchestral, jazz...this is a truly superb, if short piece of music that comes with my strongest recommendation.

This has been a big big record for me over the last couple of months. I was going to buy it on 12" when it first came out, but just couldn't muster the funds at the time. So I am a bit late on parade with this one. But I eventually bought at the beginning of May as the sun started to shine and things began to warm up here in the UK. This is going to be the summer record that will forever remind me of 2009. Deep House, Jazz or Soul? Which genre sits best? Does it really matter...? This record is truly excellent. I love the way the moody jazzy opening gives way to a dubby Deep House rhythm and those excellent vocals by Joseph Malik.

I've been downloading music by Philip Wilkerson and Tange ever since I first got into Ambient music. Together as a unit, the pair truly complement one another. I feel this is their best effort yet from what I've heard. Released on Earth Mantra records, there are four desolate mid-length Ambient tracks that are perfect for relaxing, thinking or sleeping. The drones aren't linear - they are detailed arrangements and compositions that are mastered perfectly, shimmering gently into one another. What really adds to any Ambient music releases, is a beautiful instrument accent to just sit on those flowing drones. Here, the lap steel guitar is played blissfully to accompany a wash of gentle Ambience. This is an absolutely top quality Ambient release and comes highly recommended. Free, as well...

KAI ALCE - "Ooohhh!" (Dubbyman Remix)
I've been a huge Deep House head for more than I can remember and it's a genre that needs to be done just right for it to have its desired effect. This E.P is good, but sounds a little flat in places...On remix duty for the track 'Ooohhh!' is Dubbyman, and this is a fine example of how to just make everything sound full; he brings the track to life! This is well worth the purchase! I've got quite a bit of his stuff and nothing fails to impress. I've a sneaky suspiscion that he makes use of an old Chez Damier sample for the remix...could be wrong.

CONJOINT - "A Few Empty Chairs"
Just bought a few tracks from this excellent album and it sounds absolutely magnificent. Jazz is something that is of fascination to lots of sound artists and many people interpret their own versions of 'new' jazz with use of electronica. Conjoint fuse tastefully crafted electronic sounds with smooth, languid guitar licks and subtle vibraphone tones and it makes for a very enjoyable listening indeed...

DUCCU - "Midnight Run"
I've been sifting through some Deep House numbers and music to walk and smile to as summer sets in. This one has that chilled out summer House vibe to it, through and through. Deep keys, short vocal sample, jazzy keys and a deep gritty bassline. Not much is known about Duccu, but this track was released for a compilation on Swedish label Dealers Of Nordic Music back in 2006. 79p in iTunes, you just can't go wrong for the summer if you like your Deep House.

LOCO DICE - "The Lab"
As most House heads will know, NRK have just released a Circo Loco mix CD that has been causing quite a stir. Loco Dice has compiled CDs that you can buy it either as a mix CD or as an unmixed compilation. There's a lot of good music in this compilation and like many, I've been listening to my copy ever since it came out. But for those that aren't familiar with this, it is well worth your money if you're into House music or have been a fan of the ever renowned Loco Dice. He seems to be really exploding on the scene with growing intensity, without compromising his choice of records or production.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

AGCD 035 - Audio Gourmet - "Forgotten Fragments of Sound"

This collection of drones, field recordings and other experimental sounds is a collection of works that had either been forgotten about or just didn't quite fit in with the album project I'd been working on at the time of creation.

This collection is for those who enjoyed darker Audio Gourmet material from when we first started, to those who like weird, dusty Ambient elements and those who are keen on experimental soundscapes, field recordings and electronically treated instrument takes.
Perhaps you want to listen to what could have been part of an interesting album concept? Perhaps you are intrigued at listening out for unfinished sections of abandoned projects? Perhaps you are wondering what you can add or change about the pieces?

Perhaps you'd like to use them somehow for your own productions as an artist? They are yours, for free - to do with them as you wish.

THE LINK: (FREE Download)


001 'Stomata'
"When I first got into Ambient in a big way, I became very much awe inspired by nature. I would spend hours just walking around the countryside, listening to my growing collection of Ambient drones on the iPod. It inspired me to record an album themed and based around trees. I still like this idea, but unfortunately it was never thoroughly carried through in the end. So to open an album full of odds and ends, here is a piece I created using a harmonica, a tape recording dictaphone and a cheap mic. Back in the early days...."

002 'Drone 008 as EFB'
"Living in the same house as my brother Stuart, I can often hear the quiet distant drone of him playing his several guitars. I started to grow increasingly interested in trying to capture the essence of what I could hear through the wall in my room and how I could utilise Stuart's guitar in my Ambient production work. I recorded several compositions of his and began to experiment. For those that enjoyed the debut album from the two of us as 'Spheruleus', it is clear to see how for this project, I became less interested in diluting his guitar compositions to quiet, hazy soundscapes; Spheruleus shifted the focus to make the focal point the actual instrument itself.
So this is an old example of how I would approach making dusty Ambient drones from one of his compositions."

003 'Continue' (Instrumental)
"This short piece is the instrumental version to the first track in which I began experimenting with the human voice. I've not included the vocal version...since I am not entirely happy with it! Rest assured, I am not eliminating the prospect of using my vocal chords as a means of experimenatl sound design and audio art....
So, in this short track, I used another snippet of Stuart's guitar composition and draped it over a dusty bed of field recordings and hissy drones from my old tape/dictaphone recorder."

004 'Tearoom Ambience'
"Earlier this year I was lucky enough to meet a particularly special female person, whom I have taken to very much and wish to remain firmly acquainted with for as long as physically possible. A short while into our wonderful relationship, it was uncovered that both of us appreciated the finer things in life, and had developed an insatiable desire to consume copious amounts of tea.
So we paid a visit to England's marvellous capital city to a tea room of which I shall not specify, and drank what is probably the best blend of tea you could possibly imagine. Not only this, we were delighted to have been treated with an exquisite grand piano performance to further enhance what was a truly wonderful afternoon.
Never being one to miss an opportunity to capture 'that sound', I seized the moment with my digital recorder to hand. This recording preserves that afternoon so well, it almost feels as if I'm there, each time I listen to it."

005 'Desiduous'
"With a similar direction to the first track 'Stomata', Desiduous was constructed using treated harmonica as a drone instrument as part of my would-be tree album. The light recordings were taken of gentle taps upon the wooden part of a ukulele, to add subtle punctuation to this short soundscape."

006 'Debris'
"You may or may not know, that in February I had a sleep album out on under my guise 'Eyes Flutter Beneath'. There are five reduced volume drones designed to create sleepy, dream-inducing brainwaves for the listener.
"This track, 'Debris' is the track that never made it. It was actually the first track I'd made for the album and serves as the main inspiration for it. So for what reason was it not to be included in the release? Looking back...I have no idea!! It fits the mood perfectly and I actually regret not fitting it in on the release. I guess, being the first track, it was the one I'd heard a little too often and grew impatient with.
Much of the accents, recordings and hum are taken from my work place, on what was a very wet and rainy day."

007 'Return To Reality'
"Subconscious Substance rounded off my debut year as an Ambient producer and in my opinion, is my best contribution in that glorious year for Audio Gourmet. This track here just couldn't quite fit in anywhere as I struggled to make it work. Looking back, however, I realise just how subtly complex this Ambient drone is...and how with just a little work, it could have made the final tracklisting and stood out on that album."

008 'Apocalypse #4'
009 'Apocalypse #3'
010 'Apocalypse #1'
"For some time at the beginning of 2009 I started working on ideas for a Dark Ambient side project themed around the apocalypse. Yet, with 'Inside The Dream Laboratory' and 'The Disguised Familiar' released early that year, there just wasn't the time to finish this project. So I have decided to include these last three pieces for you to wonder what could have been and revel in the darker, dingey side of the Ambient world..."

cover image taken by B.Day in a recent trip we made to the Bakewell area, in the Peak District

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Audio Gourmet is now accepting submissions!!!!!!!!

Under the guise of Audio Gourmet, I've been running this simple blogspace site to share music of a diverse nature from myself and friends since 2007. With each blog post, I 'release' a 'CD' of generally downloadable music material. The CD count is currently at 34 disks worth of music and is centered around various forms of experimental and electronic music. The main impetus for all of this, is to try and help other people get into this weird and wonderful music and to want to learn more about a multitude of styles and genres.

I've decided, after having spent a very long time working on tracks, mixes, albums etc largely by myself, that I'd like to open the opportunity for others to contribute from around the world. So as from now, I shall be accepting submissions from other DJs/producers/artists with a view to having a feature dedicated to them on the site. This will obviously include a brief biography and more information on the contributor. Over the last couple of years, I've drummed up interest from accross the world and there is sufficient traffic for it to be of interest to my fellow music connosieurs. It's certainly not a global phenomenon as yet, but it is nevertheless an opportunity to get your work heard and store a download link/tracklist to it.

So, to clear just a couple of things up before I leave it up to you:

Firstly, since this is and always has been a hobby born out of sheer enthusiasm for me, there are no financial benefits involved. I certainly can't afford to pay anyone for their contributions, since this is not a music label per se; more a portal of free stylistic expression and experimentation...

Secondly, the music will have to adhere to a rough music policy. I'll give everything a willing listen, but I don't want to just accept anything and everything. Please don't be offended if I deem your work unsuitable for Audio Gourmet; just because one chef may not be keen on using certain ingredients in their cookery, it doesn't mean they aren't valid ingredients for others to enjoy!

A rough guide to the sort of styles I am after is as follows:

Deep House
Tech House
Minimal House/Techno
Chillout/Downtempo/Trip Hop/Lounge
Ambient/Drone/Electro Acoustic
Liquid Funk
Abstract/Experimental Forms
Instrumental Organic/Acoustic music
Field Recordings/Phonography

So to submit some material, whether it be a DJ mix, an album or otherwise, email me at

Warm regards,
Audio Gourmet

Monday, May 18, 2009

AGCD034 Harry Salsava "Journey Through The Deep 2009"

Back in the summer of 2006, I recorded a mix CD called Journey Through The Deep - an excursion through strange audio patterns and textures, themed around a leisurely House beat. After receiving a lot of good feedback from this, I've long since been trying to create 'volume 2', if you will, to no avail.Finally, after hours of scouring through records, I've managed to come up with this hour-long mix of excellent deeper House cuts from the last decade. The approach to mixing this was exactly as I'd approached that first mix Cd back in 2006:

(1) Strictly vinyl only
(2) Mix on the fly, with no additional editing
(3) One take, with no practice runs
(4) Keep it deep, techy and trippy

001 Murmur - "Magnetic" /2008/
002 FURRY PHREAKS - "Tearful" /2004/
003 CRAIG NELSON - "Am I In Love With You" //
004 ALLAND BYALLO & THE SOUL MONKEY - "Hang On" [the soul monkey's vision mix] /2005/
005 BAAZ - "Connect" /2007/
006 OMAR S - "Miss You" /2003/
007 TOM CHURCHILL - "Crossed Wires" /1998/
008 MARKUS FIX - "Call" /2008/
009 PEACE DIVISION - "In My Mind" /2008/
010 MARK HENNING - "Where Are You Going" /2009/
011 ROBERT DIETZ - "Witness" /2009/
012 CHRISTIAN BURKHARDT - "Tres" /2009/ comes in, before a nasty needle-skip finale....

(Small image taken on a mobile telephone device, in the summer of 2006. Roughly at the time of the original Journey Through The Deep mix CD)

Monday, May 4, 2009

AGCD033 - Liquid Jazz Project - "Land Of The Forgotten Dubs"

These eight tracks were salvaged from the depths of my hard-drive and were all written somewhere between 2002 and 2006. The music was created purely by arranging and playing with a large collection of audio samples, to create experimental electronic forms.
There is an overall dubby feel to these tracks and they will be enjoyed by fans of the eclectic and the psychedelic.

001 Causeway
002 Causeway (Lifted Drum Version)
003 Daddy Long Legs
004 White Gold
005 Street Rage
006 Accross Minds
007 Much Ado
008 Colours

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

AGCD016 (RE-ISSUE) - Harry Salsava "Journey Through The Deep"

This project was originally stored on what was an old site merely streaming this classic mix CD 'Journey Through The Deep'. Now, I've managed to find the mp3 file of it and have stored it on the archive forever...

001 TACKLEHEID - "Co Co Maca Stick"
002 CHRIS COCO ft. PETER GREEN - "Albatross" (King Britt Scuba Mix)
003 FURRY PHREAKS - "Lament For A Dead Computer" (Part Two)
004 BLU MAR TEN - "Numbers"
005 KARMASTRY - "El Chakra"
006 MOMENTS OF SOUL - "Delicious" (Dub)
007 SMOKESTACK - "Radio Chamber"
008 Q-BURNS ABSTRACT MESSAGE - "Innocent" (Magik Johnson Guilty Mix)
009 DADDY J & THE FACE - "Electric City"
010 ABICAH SOUL PROJECT - "The Young Are The Future"
011 ELITE FORCE - "Tribe Vibe" (Dub)
012 JOHN DAHLBACK - "Parkdancer"

For those that want to read the original blogspace notes from last-year's post, here is a direct link:

AGCD032 - Harry Salsava "TechHouse Demo Mix, April 2009"

It has literally been months if not over a year since I've been able to record a mix CD that I feel satisfied with sharing. I've only just bought the hardware/software to be able to record the output from my mixer and I'm still getting to grips with it.
This mix here is 45 minutes of Tech-House/Techno and is packed with some B-sides, personal classics and recent purchases. Unfortunately, due to the fact that my mixer is ancient and less than adequate, a couple of the mixes are slightly off. What's worse, is that I've not quite worked out how to rid that dreadful feedback/hum that you can hear at the that will be something I plan to work on for future mixes.

In the meantime, since I like the records in this mix very much and they are reasonably well put together, I've decided to include it as an Audio Gourmet CD release.

I do plan on making future CDs that are much tidier and of better quality, but for now here is something to get to grips with in the meantime:

001 Mountain People "Mountain 005.2"
002 C-Soul "Verbal Competition"
003 HippE "Chunky Tool"
004 Tigerskin "Push The Patton"
005 Kriece "Nozomi"
006 Martin Woerner "Sun Dried"
007 Dan Berkson and James What "Onika"
008 SLG "Sleepless"
009 Shlomi Aber "Sekur"
010 Kriece and Basek "Submission"

Friday, April 24, 2009

MDAC006 - Monthly Discerning Audio Chart, April 2009

This month saw the release of my Soluable Jazz Session mix CD, which I'd bought a lot of music for. It'd be all to easy to just compile a chart featuring all of those excellent tracks...but that would just be lazy. I've been listening to plenty of other records this month and so I've taken a bit of time on this sunny Friday afternoon to talk you through some of the stand-out pieces from my record collection this April...

I was drawn to this since I've got a bit of Balzan's material in my collection...and this one's something different from him as he joins forces with Luallan Cardona. It's more up-tempo than his usual work, deep dreamy synths swell over some simple House beats. The real treat is when it takes a break half-way through to reveal that lazy guitar section which is set at half-time...

KEMETIC JUST - Highways and Mindwaves
There was a small record shop that I used to frequent as a young lad, in Peterborough. On reflection it wasn't particularly brilliant, but given that it was only down the road and I was young and impressionable - it sufficed. There is not a lot of music I bought back then that I still listen to nowadays, since my tastes have differed somewhat. Yet this record here is something different; I've been listening to this soulful House cut since 2002 and still don't get tired of it! An absolute classic in my record collection.

OSBOURNE - Hydragilm Exit
I've been looking into the sounds of Osbourne, and much of it seems to be of a more 'electro' disposition - which is something that I tend to steer clear of, if I'm honest. This cut, however, is much, much deeper and is nice to listen to when the sun is shining! It's classic deep House music with a nod towards Larry Heard's style of production. So if Osbourne's likely to write anything else along these lines, I'd be very willing to hear it...

Picked up this CD since the concept seemed an interesting spectacle. Fusing music of organic and orchestral nature with synthetic electronic manipulation....a paradox that has provided a window of experimentation ever since electronic music began. Carl Craig, something of a techno master, reconstitutes this beautiful classical music with tasteful yet boundary-expanding craftmanship.
Well worth a listen, is this - particularly my personal favourite 'Movement 6'.

Two big artists amalgamate to create sonic beauty, fusing electro-acoustic guitar work with intricate soundscapes. Rothko provides this guitar work and Yokota supplies the backdrop.
To someone that is more used to listening to popular music forms, the guitar sounds will rise to the foreground in this piece. And rightly so, as they set the mood and feel to the track. But if you try to push these to the background, you will notice Yokota's delicate soundscaping shine through and add subtle accents to further enhance the mood of the track.

When I download netlabel albums, I usually have a subconscious list of labels to check. Some labels will have regular releases and others will not release for months. I've been checking back at Zymogen for months after I'd particularly enjoyed their Offthesky release. So I was extremely excited when I noticed Nicola Ratti's 'esope' became available to download.
And, what's more, it really doesn't disappoint. This is just how I like my soundscapes - field recordings, drones and instrumentation, delicately woven together as an untold story. I've listened to this a lot over the month - it is just superb. This release comes with my highest recommendation:

BLACKFISH - Pacific Harbour
This track was brought to my attention at a recent downtempo/funk/House set by Pat Unwin of Dig Deep. I remember him dropping this one early on, and it just filled the room with a nostalgic haze...It's just such a smooth, languid track and I just had to ask him who it was by... cheers Pat.

DIFUSION - Second Future
Deep broken groove here that's just perfect for those summer months. Lots of sounds to soak yourself into; funky bass, broken beats, deep keys, mellow flute, subtle vocals....excellent music! Whilst it's quite deep and dreamy piece, it's still funky and up-beat enough to spin at a party...

Dorian Concept's production style sees a unique style of instrumental Hip-Hop pushed towards experimental and glitch realms. Some of this wasn't really my bag, but this cut treads a slightly different pathway...Nice laid-back beats with a powerful synth sound over the top; it's simple but VERY effective!

TERJE PAULSEN - Twenty Feet For Buddha
A new Resting Bell netlabel release is always something of great excitement for anyone who is into the Creative Commons Ambient/drone scene...and this longform piece from Terje Paulsen doesn't let this excellent label down. It is a beautiful, gentle, meditative piece that is perfect for introspective listening or set at low-volume to induce sleep...enjoy:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

AGCD031 Liquid Jazz Project "The Soluable Jazz Session" (Mix CD)

This excursion into laid-back jazzy sounds sees the Audio Gourmet blogspot CD collection rise to 31 pieces; one for each day of a full calendar month! It also sees the resurrection of my old guise 'Liquid Jazz Project', a project name reserved for nu-jazz, downtempo, soul, funk and jazz music styles. This CD serves as a demo mix that I might hand out to prospective bars to secure a gig - it has been designed to showcase the sort of music I might play in a stylish cocktail bar, for instance...


One important note, is that given the software I used to mix the CD, it has not been beatmatched or blended as such. Despite the transitions being simple and quick, I tried to program them as smooth as possible and to the best of the program's ability.

001 Senseque "Days Like This" (Attic Tree Remix)
002 Paradice "Worry Breaker"
003 Domu "Message To Omar"
004 Flashbaxx "Voodoo Therapy"
005 Soulphiction "Used"
006 The Mighty Bop "Ride Away"
007 Mr Scruff "Bunch Of Keys"
008 Ameaba "Salty Tears" (Atjazz Remix)
009 Umod "Tromboline"
010 Nanami Togarashi "Orange Peel"

Please support these artists by downloading other works by them...

Friday, March 27, 2009

AGCD030 - David Saker "In My Thirties But Still Dancing Like A Gooner" (mix)

After he swanned off sunning in Bermuda for a few years, I've been left very much to my own devices as a DJ. It's of course been an excellent and worthwhile experience, but much thanks is owed to David Saker for giving me a few gigs and learning me 'bout House!!

So I'm pretty chuffed to be able to feature a mix he put together at the tail end of last year on this blog.

It nods towards Francois K et al, towards the acid House movement and stays true to David's trademark House music sound...and of course, is impeccably mixed as ever!!


1) Mark E – Human (Original Mix) (Runnin Back)
2) Shur-I-Kan – 287 (Original Mix) (Dark Energy Recordings)
3) Ron Trent – Journeyn2u (Original Mix) (Futurevision Records)
4) Wipe The Needle – The Rhythm, The Drum (Vinyl Edit) (Deeply Rooted House)
5) Brothers’ Vibe – Like It Used 2 B (Altered Vibe Mix) (Mixx Records)
6) Franck Roger – Mind Illusions (Original Mix) (Earthrumental Music)
7) Dominic Martin & Hiro – Dom In Tha Groove (Original Mix) (Tronicsole)
8) X-Press 2 – Muzik X-Press (Original Mix) (Skint Records)
9) Franck Roger – Passages (Original Mix) (FR Productions)
10) Jack Coleman – Relax (LilRoj Remix) (Sub Sensory Recordings)
11) David Alvarado – Aurora (Original Mix) (Bomb Records)
12) Chez Damier – I Never Knew Love (Made In Detroit Mix) (KMS Records)

Again, no imagery for this! Perhaps David will grace us with a nostalgic image from the past? Would be great if he could dig us an old one from the days when we graced the same turntables....!

AGCD029 Harry Salsava "Gruenerot"

Here is a single, short piece of IDM/electronic 'music'. It has a sketchy, loosely defined rhythm and is loaded with an unusual arrangement of effects and samples. It took a while to make, but the objective was not to work it into anything too rigidly structured and to steer clear of tidy categories. It is designed with these media-dictated structures that inhibit stylistic experimentation in mind, and to rebel against them.
Once we rid ourselves of these over-marketed confines, we're able to be truly experimental as an artist...

This is an insight into the world of anti-pop:
"music designed for mass consumption is ditched in favour of a collection of noises that do not make sense, nor do they pretend to.Pure experimentation, rebelling against any rigid structures that are all to often assumed by the general consumer."

NOTE: Again, with my lack of any real design skills, this track goes without any accompanying imagery...if anyone has any ideas, let me know!!

MDAC005 - "Monthly Discerning Audio Chart March 2009"

You may have noticed, that rather than posting a chart at the very end of the month, I post it 5 or 6 days before the month expires. The reason for this, is so that if I'm running late and can't get one written in time, I've a few extra days to work on it!
I actually struggled to get a full chart written this month!!! I have of course, been listening to lots of music...but I've mainly been spinning old House classics and working on a mix CD. So in way of Ambient, experimental forms, it's been a quiet month. (Excuse the pun).

But! The few pieces I did get chance to listen to have been extremely pleasant on the ear, as you will learn....I've included a couple of albums from friends in the netlabel scene, so please support them!

ENNIO MAZZON - "Muffled"
First up is my friend Ennio from Italy, a keen netlabel artist. He sent me this album at the beginning of the month, which is out on Spanish label Audio Talaia. I've heard some of Ennio's material before; much of which is powerful Ambient and noisy drones. But this album induces moments of contemplative solitude and sheer desolation, yet still staying true to his classic production method. It's a very well put together album, which I'm sure fans of Ambient will love:

Between Brandon Lewis of The Nature Of Light and myself, we've been chatting about our projects and the possibility of getting some material out as a unit for months. We've both been far too busy on our individual projects and have been struggling to get a chance to produce a collaboration. But here is what Brandon's been busy on: his album 'Atropos', a dense exploration of treated guitar work and gritty industrial soundscapes. It's a compelling listen, lightly straddling between the noisy and the plain beautiful. Enjoy it here:

LOW LIGHT MIXES - "Shadows At Midnight"
I've been downloading mixes from both The Lowlight Mixes and the Hydrogen Cafe for a couple of years now. Both blogsites offer tastefully created CD length mixes of a relaxed nature, done in a professional manner. Being an avid fan of jazz, mainly of a subtle melancholy disposition, I jumped at the chance to download this hour-long jazz mix! Very interesting listening music, is this:

MARKUS FIX - "Collection E.P"
I'll happily publicise the fact that I'm working on a deep/tech House mix CD at the minute, but I'm keeping the subject of which relatively quiet. Be assured, however, that a track from this Markus Fix E.P is to be featured somewhere within this mix! I'm a big fan of Fix's stripped back percussive style, which keeps from being too cluttered; just good House music put simply.

CAVALIER - "Ride 'Em E.P"
On the tip of the House E.P, here's a cracking deep package from Cavalier. My pick of the bunch would be 'The Beat', as it's exactly the kind of Deep House I'm into spinning; something similar to the sort of records Ray Valioso/Agnes would play too.

PAVONINE - "Pavonine"
Here on Webbed Hand Records, is wonderful dark Ambient music from Pavonine. It's so cleverly put together and is every bit the compelling listen. There's so much subtle detail to get to grips with, that it's easy to forget that you're actually meant to drift off to space when listening to this stuff!!!!
Download here:

EMERALD ADRIFT - "The Blue Flower"
This album is available from the very professional netlabel, Earth Mantra. It is light Ambient with a new age feel and is a fantastic restful experience. Quite often stick this one on repeat as a sleep playlist and find myself waking up to it at 7am! It is well worth the download and is available here:

EREMOS - "Ubi Caritas"
After a month of retracing steps on the Webbed Hand netlabel, here is an older piece by Eremos. It's a collection of beautiful guitar pieces by the talented Mike Farley, patchworked together in an exquisitely delicate manner...
I listened to this album a lot when it first came out last summer, and as spring is emerging, I was out walking and listening to this again last week. I listened to every second of the album and it is excellent! The beauty of netlabel audio, is that it doesn't sell's the link:

ELUDER - "Drift"
Drift is a word stereotypically associated with Ambient music. So does the title live up to the cliche? Absolutely. There are few albums that personify this word better than this release by Eluder on Archaic Horizon. It's perfect for a long walk in the outdoors, through fields and woodland. It's perfect for lounging around, restoring your strength. And it's perfect for low-volume consumption as you drift off to sleep...This is going to be a big classic for me.

GORDON EDGE - "Trumpet Funk"
As I've mentioned, this month has been about sifting through my many House records. Here's an old slice from excellent producer and trumpet player Gordon Edge. Nice deep keys, a solid beat and fantastic trumpet work!