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: http://ripplesrecordings.webs.com/
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: http://www.offthesky.com/works.htm (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.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Sundummy here - thanks for the plug!


Feel free to drop me a line (see www.sundummy.com for contact info and discography) if you're interested in any of the out-of-print stuff.