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/e.ps 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 months....you 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 agree...download 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 listening...it 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.
THE LINKWOOD FAMILY - "Miles Away"
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.
PHILIP WILKERSON & TANGE - "Ege Denizi"
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.