Friday, January 23, 2009

MDAC003 Monthly Discerning Audio Chart, January 2009

Another month passes - the very first one of the year in fact! As you will discover, the month has been largely a netlabel-listening affair. This is of course a bonus for blogspot readers, as I've linked directly for easy download...enjoy!

HAMMOCK - "Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow"
This album was inspired by the live performances of Hammock, and treads more towards pure Ambient territory than in previous releases. I've been aware of Hammock for some time, but until this, I'd never really given them much of a chance. If the future holds more of the same on the horizon, then I'm definately switched on! This is blissful Ambient music at its best - up there with some of the drone masters! Worth downloading the whole album for full appreciation...

After scouting around for some new netlabel material recently, I came accross this! Psychedelic madness from Colombia...I really like the use of electronic sound manipulation and real, unusual instruments. It's deep, it's dubby but yet some of the most psychedelic stuff I've heard in a long time; madness! I've singled this track out as the real winner, but it's worth looking around for some of the other stuff too, as it all delves a range of texture.

ALEX TIUNIAEV "Two Beautiful Days"
Two superb deep dronescapes from an excellent Russian producer. Seemingly minimal and slow in nature, it's easy to overlook the sheer level of detail and expertise weaved into this Ambient album. Strange vocal washes, subtle tones and feint glimmers of ancient tribal instruments all build a fantastic meditative journey for the listener...
At time of writing, this is the latest release on netlabl Earth Mantra. This a wealth of brilliant Ambient tones of extremely high quality available for free download here; it'd be foolish for a fan of the genre not to stop by for a look round:

STEPHEN PHILIPS - "Lightness Of Being"
The prolific, multi-directional drone 'sculpturer' Stephen Philips backs a recent dark release on with this delightful album of light textures. The idea was to directly oppose the dark release with something much lighter and optimistic. All four tracks are long-form Ambient drones with subtle change and detail.
Dark Winter is a very well laid out netlabel with some fantastic darker releases available, and has always been a place I check back to periodically to download some new material. Its newly set up sister label Endless Ascent has handed a talented Philips his first chance to release on the label.
Download here:

TRENTMOLLER - "The Forest"
From my DJing days, I've bought a lot of Trentmoller's dancefloor friendly material for gigging as his production is always top notch. Since getting into Ambient, a lot of my friends in House music have encouraged me to check out Trentmoller's 'Ambient' work. I've always shrugged this off as I have obviously delved much deeper into the drone genre. So finally, I've been looking into this area of Trentmoller's production work; whilst I wouldn't classify much of it as Ambient, I've really enjoyed his intelligently programmed IDM stuff. 'The Forest' is in particular a firm favourite - its sheer level of detail is mesmerizing, and its such a beautifully warm track too!!

SLOW - "Room Phive"
I'm always checking back to the Resting Bell netlabel for new Ambient material, and recently I've particularly enjoyed this four-tracked Slow release. Whilst not entirely pure Ambient/drone as such, it's gentle and subtle enough to warrant a download having had a quick scan through. Upon closer inspection, the 'non-ambient' aspects reveal themselves as delicately programmed detail of the highest standard!
The album effortlessly spans a few of the experimental/abstract electronica sub-genres and is generally a compelling listen throughout. The real winner for me is 'Pool'. It's very deep music that will be a firm favourite for me in the forseeable future!

ENTIA NON - "Escarpments"
Now then! What a spectacular discovery! Upon download and first listen to this E.P, I've been downloading much of James McDougal's previous material and have thoroughly enjoyed every tiny micro-second of sound. His programming and ability to weave delicate tones are overwhelmingly well programmed. There's a quite few artists in the netlabel that are unbelievably talented, and McDougal is certainly one of them. This release deserves a special mention, as it's introduced me to the exquisite work Entia Non.
His production is and will be something of a huge influence to me as an Ambient artist - was actually listening to some of his work whilst I was out field recording, and just found it so inspiring!

MEL - "So"
'Mel' is a new direction for netlabel artist called Aogu Yoshida. I've previously downloaded a lot of his On14 stuff, and have long been enjoying those electro-acoustic compositions. Now as Mel, Yoshida has begun to sculpt drones and tones in a new direction. This is an excellent album for introspective, contemplative listening. Subtle rhythms add punctuation to a delicate electronic masterpiece.
Test Tube, as many will be aware, is a prolific netlabel with over 150 free high-quality releases. This in particular can be downloaded from the following link:
I agree with Pedro Leitao on the stand-out track recommendation - Swee is an excellent release that for me, just sums up a cracking album!

MOVE D - "Looking For Grasshoppers"
Lush deep broken-beat affair from an old Move D album 'Pop For Dwoozle". Move D is genre-hopping producer David Moufang, whom I've been following for a while; I patrticularly enjoyed his self-titled Solitaire album in the late nineties. As Move D, Moufang is nothing short of prolific, with loads of material available on various labels spanning nearly 15 years.
So plenty of stuff to get to grips with, but I recommend starting here with this laid-back groove.

KIT WATKINS - "Music For The End"
Having read the write-up for this Earth Mantra release, I was persuaded to take the plunge and download this longform hour-length release from 2008. I'm yet to explore further than this release, but Kit Watkins has produced several projects for Earth Mantra. This one is extremely gentle new-age Ambience of excellent standard. Watkins is an accomplished instrumentalist, but is also capable of arranging it all with some subtle drones. It is great for background listening, relaxed lounging on rainy days or night time pre-sleep meditation.

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