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: http://lowlightmixes.podbean.com/mf/web/p59x58/beyond_this_window.mp3
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: http://www.restingbell.net/releases/rb075-first-summer-and-the-running-dream
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: http://www.and-oar.org/moar_catalog_moarp32.html
PETER BRODERICK & MACHINEFABRIEK - "Blank Grey Canvas Sky"
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: