Friday, December 3, 2010

TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2010...

(1). SOPHIE HUTCHINGS "Becalmed" [Preservation]
http://www.preservation.com.au/releases/sophie-hutchings/




















(2). TAPE AND BILL WELLS "Fugue" [Immune]
http://immunerecordings.net/fugue/




















(3). HESSIEN "Home Is Where The Ghost Is" [Handstitched*]
http://www.handstitched.net/





















(4). NEST "Retold" [Serein]
http://www.serein.co.uk/releases/sere001/nest-retold


















(5). CLEM LEEK "Holly Lane" [Hibernate]
http://www.hibernate-recs.co.uk/releases/hb19/hb19.html




















(6). DANNY PAUL GRODY "Fountain" [Root Strata]
http://rootstrata.com/release/RS57




















(7). OFFTHESKY "Hiding Nature" [Home Normal]
http://www.homenormal.com/releases/offthesky-hiding-nature


















(8). ERIK K.SKODVIN "Flare" [Sonic Pieces]
http://www.sonicpieces.com/releases/sonicpieces009.htm




















(9).MARCUS FISCHER "Monocoastal" [12k]
http://www.12k.com/index.php/site/releases/monocoastal/


















(10). TALVIHORROS "Music In Four Movements" [Hibernate]
http://www.hibernate-recs.co.uk/releases/hb13/hb13.html


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

MDAC024: Monthly Discerning Audio Chart, November 2010

Marta Mist - Fawn/Marta's Lament

http://martamist.bigcartel.com/product/fawn-martas-lament-cd

Danny Saul - Kinison-Goldthwait
http://www.hibernate-recs.co.uk/releases/hb21/hb21.html

Marcus Fischer - Monocoastal
http://www.12k.com/index.php/site/releases/monocoastal/

Darren Harper - Receding Edge
http://darrenharper.bandcamp.com/album/the-receding-edge

Machinefabriek - Toendra
http://boomkat.com/downloads/360611-machinefabriek-toendra

Philip Sulidae - Lux
http://impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab015.htm

Alessio Ballerini - Blanc
http://www.zymogen.net/releases/zym026/
Hessien - Home Is Where The Ghost Is
http://www.handstitched.net/

Greg Davis and Machinefabriek - Drape
http://www.homenormal.com/releases/gareth-davis-machinefabriek-drape
Wil Bolton
http://www.hibernate-recs.co.uk/releases/hb22/hb22.html

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

MDAC22 - Monthly Discerning Audio Chart, September 2010

The Green Kingdom - "Prismatic" [Home Assembly Music]
http://www.homeassemblymusic.com/releases%20-%20HAM004.php

Solo Andata - "Ritual" [Desirepath Recordings]
http://www.desirepathrecordings.com/releases/

P.Jorgensen - "Soundtrack_Remixed" [Under The Spire]
http://www.underthespire.co.uk/releases-buy/p-jorgensen-soundtrack_remix/

Andrea Ferraris and Matteo Uggeri -"Autumn Is Coming, We're All In Slow Motion" [Hibernate]
http://www.hibernate-recs.co.uk/releases/hb20/hb20.html

Joshua Carro - "A Cyclic Symphony" [Somehow Recordings]
http://www.somehowrecordings.co.uk/shop.html

Seaworthy and Matt Rosner - "Two Lakes" [12k]
http://www.12k.com/index.php/site/releases/two_lakes/

Sophie Hutchings - "Becalmned" [Preservation]
http://www.piccadillyrecords.com/products/SophieHutchings-Becalmed-Preservation-70224.html

Clouwbeck - "From Which The River Rises"
http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2010/08/clouwbeck-from-which-the-river-runs/

The Gentleman Losers - "Rural Route Number Five" [Rural Route/Standard Form]
http://thegentlemanlosers.standardform.org/

The Inventors of Aircraft - "As It Is" [Resting Bell]
http://www.restingbell.net/releases/rb088-as-it-is

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Audio Gourmet present...Various Artists "Hidden Landscapes"


Audio Gourmet netlabel venture has gone from strength to strength over the last few months since its creation - with a series of 15 minute 'teabreak' EPs by talented sound artists from accross the globe:
http://music.audiogourmet.co.uk/

I myself put together a full album release up for sale via the 'full albums' tab on the website:
http://music.audiogourmet.co.uk/album/decompose

I've also been working on mixes throughout the year, supporting lots of my favourite artists with my giant tracklists:
http://www.audiogourmet.co.uk/Mixes.html

And now, my attention turns towards winter with a new venture - the curation of an Audio Gourmet compilation album featuring some of the finest ambient/drone/electro acoustic/sound design artists from around the world.

So far, the provisional line-up is as follows:
Christopher Hipgrave
Damian Valles
Fabio Orsi
The Green Kingdom
Hessien
Ibreathefur
M.Ostermeier
Maps and Diagrams
Martin Herterich
Nicola Ratti
Offthesky
Philip Sulidae
Pillowdiver
Spheruleus

This line-up is subject to change, although hopefully everyone will be able to get a track in to make for one of the best ambient compilations on the market...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Kyle Bobby Dunn - "Rural Route Number 2"

After the breathtaking recent release of the mighty 'A Young Person's Guide To Kyle Bobby Dunn' on Low Point, Kyle Bobby Dunn returns via Damian Valles' Rural Route imprint. With the lengthy 'AYPGTKBD' adopting a light and refreshing pallette of sound throughout much of its duration, here we are transported to somewhere different, through this much more mysterious listening environment. Dunn's work for Rural Route delves through its two ghostly tracks to haunted horizons, intended to sonically depict his personal experiences and memories of various places he has visited.
I for one thoroughly enjoyed his Low Point album and find myself going back to it regularly for repeated listens. Here with Rural Route number two, I am overwhelmed by this talented and emerging artist's ability to craft different textures and moods within his soundscapes as each release comes out. Kyle Bobby Dunn is up there with the very best at the moment and it would be foolish to miss out on these two eerie and immersive masterpieces. He is able to weave in such a wealth of depth and attention to detail to what is essentially minimalist music. Both tracks are outstanding as ever but for me, the pick of the pair has to be Senium II with its beautiful melancholy arrangement of softly fading chords. This track could loop to stretch out the remainder of a full CD album and I would still thoroughly enjoy every second of it. The music just seems to hang and gives a sense of time being drawn out.

Thoroughly impressive work that comes with my highest recommendation...

Monday, August 2, 2010

MDAC020 - Monthly Discering Audio Chart, July 2010

A few particularly pleasant listens from the month of July during 2010:

Kyle Bobby Dunn - "Rural Route Number 2" [Rural Route]
http://kylebobbydunn.standardform.org/

Field Rotation - "Why Things Are Different" [Hibernate]
http://www.hibernate-recs.co.uk/releases/hb18/hb18.html
Loren Connors - "Hell's Kitchen Park"
http://boomkat.com/vinyl/317549-loren-connors-hell-s-kitchen-park

Antonymes - "31" [Experimedia]
http://www.antonymes.bandcamp.com/

Saito Koji - "Tokyo Morning Loop" [Resting Bell]
http://www.restingbell.net/releases/rb085-tokyo-morning-loop

Finglebone - "23" [Rural Colours]
http://www.ruralcolours.co.uk/releases/rc003/rc003.html

Sheriff - "Sail, Sail, Sail Away" [Kning]
http://boomkat.com/downloads/318274-sheriff-sail-sail-sail-away

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Spheruleus 'Play My Tape' Mix


Track List:

Saddleback – Gerroa Thursday
Shaula – Gate Of Fulfil
Takeshi Nishimoto – Memory 4am
Brunk – Radiostoring
Mark Templeton – Pattern For A Pillow
The Green Kingdom – Into The Magic Light
Offthesky – Desert Poly
Damian Valles – The Rome Walkabout
Manrico Montero – One Minute For The Sun
Tim Hecker – October
Herzog – Lately, I’Ve Been Dreaming Of Drinking Sound From A Fountain
Marcus Fischer – Antarctic 3
Goldmund – The Gardener
Steven R.Smith – Valuska
Loren Connors – Many Miles More
Danny Paul Grody – Fountain (Field Recordings Extract)
Marcus Kuerten – Torcedora
Christopher Mcfall – The Persistance Of A Breakable Memory
Ekca Liena – The More I Add To Another (Spheruleus Remix)
Nest – Trans Siberian (+ Spheruleus Acapella Vocal)
Rafael Anton Irisarri – A Thousand-Yard Stare
Spheruleus – Hanging
Spehruleus – Disintegrate

Text:
After two recent full length mixes 'Marooned' and a mix for Hibernate Records, Harry Towell (aka Spheruleus) tones down the trademark hefty tracklists to create this mixtape for Earzine, a Russian web magazine.

This mix is still CD length as with the others, yet it focusses more on featuring a selection of ambient tracks that have particularly resonated with Harry over the years. The music has become the focal point for this, rather than quick harmonic transitions - although due care and attention has been paid to making it as smooth a mix as possible.

The mix opens with classical piano ambience from Saddleback before heading slowly through occasional guitar moments, most notably a 1993 classic by Loren Connors. Interluding these are various ambient releases and the stunning 'October' by Tim Hecker. The mix closes with Spheruleus pieces and remixes, with a track from recent album 'Decompose':

Enjoy!



MDAC019 - Monthly Discerning Audio Chart, June 2010

Well, it's all starting to get a bit too much - virtually a part time job! I'm not complaining, because immersing myself in all things 'good music' is what I do best. But unfortunately, this reviews section is going to have to be scaled down a little. I am not going to chop it out of my to-do list all together, as I have always maintained a belief that it is important to show appreciation and support for fellow artists and labels. Just, with the Audio Gourmet netlabel growing, a new release from me and a lot of extra promotion work occupying the bulk of my time, it means I am going to struggle to compile a list of ten albums a month and write a couple of paragraphs for each one.

So, instead of scrapping it altogether, I have decided to list the ten albums/releases as normal and simply link to where you can download or purchase a copy, so that you can form your own opinion. You never know - perhaps this will be better than me rambling on and on about how great an album is! Just one click, and you can make up your own minds!

Anyway, here is June's picks...

CHRISTOPHER HIPGRAVE - Slow, With Pages Of Fluttering Interference [Low Point]
http://www.low-point.com/LP037.html

MAPS AND DIAGRAMS - Cubiclo [Fluid Audio]
http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2010/03/maps-and-diagrams-cubiculo/

WARMTH TERMINAL - Getting Close [Hibernate]
http://www.hibernate-recs.co.uk/releases/hb15/hb15.html

BEGINNINGS - Waiting On The Weather [Rural Colous]
http://www.ruralcolours.co.uk/releases/rc001/rc001.html

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Hawk Moon Records: Volume One [Hawk Moon]
http://hawkmoonrecords.bandcamp.com/

LUCETTE BOURDIN - Rumors From Cypress Town [Earth Mantra]
http://www.earthmantra.com/release-detail.php?id=133

VARIOUS ARTISTS - One Minute For The Sun [SEM/IOD]
http://omfts.bandcamp.com/

MARTA MIST - Distance/Skeletal/Union
http://www.hibernate-recs.co.uk/releases/hb16/hb16.html

SPHERULEUS - Decompose
http://music.audiogourmet.co.uk/album/decompose

Friday, July 9, 2010

Spheruleus - "Decompose" Review by Fluid Radio team

REVIEW ON FLUID RADIO, BY ALEX GIBSON:"When dealing with a release structured solely around the concept of physical disintegration, it would be a fair assumption that the material would be foreboding and gloomy – but not so on the album ‘Decompose’ by Spheruleus, recently released on Audio Gourmet. Based around the idea of organisms of all types breaking down into another form over time, the eight tracks are thematically constructed from what appear to have been carefully built loops and layers of field noise. These are in turn deconstructed in a process of “decomposition”, forming new pieces in their own right.
Proceedings open with “Corroding”, which sets the stage for the hour to follow. Both cavernous and aquatic, it introduces the mood and tone of the layers used in all tracks. The texture sounds are gritty without being abrasive, and are used to good effect in creating an environment best appreciated through headphones late at night. What appear to be guitar notes chime in a circular motif throughout, creating a subtle melody blending with well placed layers that rise and fall in both sides of the speakers.
As the process of disintegration is a long and slow one, most pieces are aptly lengthy, most being the best part of ten minutes each – the size of each track really captures the listener, and the album as a whole represents a real journey that envelops and commands attention. It wasn’t until the third or fourth listen that I even registered the absence of a defined bottom end – which is an entirely appropriate decision by the artist, given the subject matter. An exploration of graceful degradation rightly should not carry too much weight?

A few of the standout tracks are “Decay” – an even and percussive pulse which hints at a crescendo never quite arriving, swaying with well placed guitar flares, micro noise and almost perceptible layers. “Disintegrate” conjures an image of time lapse film of fallen birds becoming one with the earth, and “Recycling” alternates between metallic and organic tones – you can hear the fingerprints on the empty drink cans as they’re sorted to be melted down, moving towards the furnace.

Harry Towell and his brother Stuart have developed between them a statement on the ephemeral and transitory nature of the world we move in today.
Audio Gourmet’s recent releases have been based around the concept of “teabreak” length listens, slices of music that can be digested in 15 minutes or less – this represents a move towards “lunchbreak” length portions of music of an hour or more. The teabreak EP’s have been free downloads, however the “Decompose” project is a paid download due to the seemingly considerable time and effort that has gone into producing it. It’s as good a 5 pound download as one could hope to find as well, with striking cover art by French artist Eric Lacombe (Monstror). It’s available in the multiple file types (lossless included) that you’d expect from Bandcamp. It come up well in the 320k MP3 files I grabbed, but would doubtless shine even brighter as FLAC.
“Decompose” sat well in most environments – it was the first thing I listened to in the morning, and steadied my nerves before a demanding day at work – it wiped it away once I was done, and was also worthy of the complete attention given to it late at night. I’m uncertain as to how it was mastered, but it plays well both in headphones and hitting the air. It also displays one of the traits that good records possess – it changes form with every listen, and by concentrating on one particular part of the spectrum, another part displays itself in a way that it hadn’t previously.
As the tracks have been developed out of musical parts that have been treated and broken down, they retain a hint of their former shape. There’s a lot of implied melody, where after you’ve finished listening you’re left with a phrase that wasn’t actually there, but was a combination of parts operating in tandem to create the part in between your ears.
Can’t wait for the next one."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


'Decompose' was originally conceived as an album project when I got thinking the about method in which I create ambient music. Typically, I would perform or 'compose' a melody on an instrument and record this take when I was happy with it. Then, the next step is to record another harmonically compatible layer with a different instrument. This will continue with up to four or so compositions and then I would begin to 'decompose' them into an abstract ambient/drone soundscape.

As I began to gather the tracks for 'Decompose' my attention turned to the track titles and that's when the concept of the album began to branch out to reference and portray the seemingly endless cycle of the world around us. When an organism ceases, it decomposes and becomes part of something else - it will rot into the soil and the disintegrating fragments will eventually take form as something else. This is not just the case with living organisms; it is also the case with everyday house hold objects, buildings and seemingly everything. The world will naturally recycle - very little disappears completely.




Special thanks to my brother Stuart, who performed the guitar samples that helped form 'Decay' and 'Rots To Nothing?'

Artwork by Eric 'Monstror' Lacombe. Visit http://monstror.blogspot.com/ to view more of his superb artwork. With the album concept in mind, throughout the recording process I would constantly refer to this album cover image for inspiration. I'd like to thank Eric for allowing me to use his work for this album and also, for the artwork on my albums 'Frozen Quarters' and 'Tales From The Labyrinth".

With extra special thanks to friends, labels and fellow artists that have helped support both the Spheruleus project and the Audio Gourmet label

Rural Colours


Just thought I'd inform of a new netlabel/label run by Hibernate Records owner Jonathan Lees. It will contain free high-quality releases focussing on the exerimental folk, ambient and drone genres, available for free download through the website.
There is also a subscription option available, which will buy you a pack of three 3" CDrs and access to mp3s as soon as the masters arrive!

So far, we've had two superb releases from Beginnings and Listening Mirror...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Movement 1 by Audio Gourmet Netlabel

http://soundcloud.com/user5563922/movement-1 

Forthcoming piece by Spheruleus...artwork by Eric Lacombe (Monstror) http://monstror.blogspot.com
Methods:
Recorded and treated compositions of piano and zither.
Additional accent melodies ran through granular synthesis and treated further to create lulling ambient drones

Spheruleus - Marooned (Volume One)


Marooned is a new annual mix CD project from Harry Towell, who is also known for running the Audio Gourmet label www.audiogourmet.co.uk and for his sound design work as Spheruleus.
For Volume One, the Marooned series kicks off with a whopping sixty tracks all mixed seamlessly and harmonically into an immersive ambient collage. It features sections of deep drones, glimpses of modern classical and is altogether a sleepy selection of ever expanding ambient moments. For those who are very much interested in ambient music, this will be a great mix of both familiar and unfamiliar works. For those who are relatively new to ambient music, this should be the perfect introduction to this wonderful style of music. Please support and read up about the artists and labels who have formed part of this mix.

TRACKLIST:
01 Vincent Kuhner “First”
02 Pillowdiver “Eleven”
03 Foci’s Left “Regurgitated Impulses” (David Tagg Remix)
04 Rim “Gusts Of Sand”
05 Michael Trommer “Wallace Stevens”
06 Ian Hawgood “The Marbled World”
07 Arcticology “Forest”
08 IJO “Stomm”
09 Darren Harper “Leaves and Piano”
10 Offthesky “Burning Of Pella Soleil”
11 Jannick Schou “Polar Drone”
12 Damian Valles “Ridge and Furrow”
13 Andrew Thomas “Hazer II”
14 Pausal “Fall On Certain Accents”
15 Parhelion “Forgotten Outpost”
16 Stray Ghost “Part Six”
17 David Velez “Lev”
18 Fabio Orsi “Part One”
19 Jacob Newman “Slow Wave Dreaming”
20 Maps and Diagrams “The Melancholy Of The Weavers”
21 Gareth Hardwick “London”
22 Christopher Hipgrave “Go With The Loops”
23 Warmth Terminal “They Sat Down And Sighed Happily”
24 Rafael Anton Irisarri “Hopes and Past Desires”
25 Pawn “Bottom Of Bottle”
26 Ian Hawgood “Sulci”
27 Hessien “Neroli Orange Blossom”
28 Herzog “Congratulations, Here’s Your Mountain”
29 Exuviae “Luminosity”
30 Heezen “Intro”
31 Christopher Willits and Ryuichi Sakamoto “Umi”
32 Richard Moult “Procyon Over Beinn Airigh Charr”
33 Ennio Mazzon “De La Lutte”
34 Robert Fripp and Brian Eno “Wind On Water”
35 Mark Templeton “Pigeon Hurt”
36 Ibreathefur “Waking Up Sync”
37 Olan Mill “An Obedient Ear”
38 Talvihorros “And Then They Walked Into The Sea”
39 Tobias Hellkvist “Sore”
40 Rameses III “Clouds King”
41 Harold Budd and Clive Wright “Damask, Then”
42 Mountains “Below”
43 Carl Sagan’s Ghost “Hallowed and Hungry”
44 Spheruleus “Opaque”
45 Brian Grainger “Brittle Harvest Memory”
46 Oathless “Der Flug”
47 Taylor Deupree “Snow, Dusk, Dawn”
48 M.Ostermeier “Lost Weekend”
49 Jasper TX “A” (Remix by Xela)
50 Ithaca Trio “Catching Monkeyes”
51 Bohren & Der Club Of Gore “Welten”
52 Shaula “Ghost Of Me”
53 Hiroki Sasajima “Roukoku”
54 Chihei Hatakeyama “Under The Sun”
55 Christopher Hipgrave “Bright and Fluid As Mercury”
56 Letna “Jezera”
57 Jasper Leyland “It Swept”
58 Svarte Greiner “Ullsokk”
59 Svarte Greiner “The Black Dress”
60 Spheruleus “The Tide On Blakeney Point”

Friday, June 11, 2010

Audio Gourmet Netlabel - new site!

Just a very quick announcement - for those who have been enjoying the releases on the Audio Gourmet Netlabel blog...we have a new address! This comes courtesy of Jonathan Lees from Hibernate Records and can be visited here:

http://www.audiogourmet.co.uk/

From now on, the blog will be disused and eventually deleted when the crossover is fully complete. Please use this new address as your first port of call for new releases.

Next up on the label, we've an EP from the SubVersions blog writer under his new production Foci's Left. This features two of his own productions spanning the last three years and a collection of remixes from David Tagg, Darren Harper and Spheruleus.

After this, we have a three track EP from talented experimental jazz guitarist Alvari Lume. This Finnish artist is extremely talented and sees the Audio Gourmet netlabel adding diversity to the music policy as its catalog expands. This EP will be titled 'Ennen', meaning then in Finnish and is a collection of older works from the artist. Forthcoming as a future release will be another EP from Alvari Lume, titled 'nyt', meaning now in Finnish. This is a collection of experimental pieces he is working on now...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Spheruleus Mix for Hibernate Records




Been meaning to post this one up for a while - I spent an awful long time compiling and mixing together this CD length mix for a recent Hibernate Records night that featured performances from Simon Scott, Machinefabriek, Clem Leek and Relmic Statute. This mix was given away for donations towards the artists on the night and has been uploaded to Mixcloud by Hibernate's label owner Jonathan so that all may listen.

The ideas in my head whilst making the mix were to put together a cross section of ambient music styles that I have particularly enjoyed over the years. These include Drone, Modern Classical, Electro-Acoustic and Field Recordings pieces. The next big thing I wanted to include in this mix was harmonic mix transitions, which allowed me to quickly fade between tracks that were harmonically complimentary to one another. This is an approach that I am keen to build on with another mix lined up. The approach has meant that I have been able to maximise the amount of material used. I made sure that a piece from each of the performing artists on the night was used and have also included a few works from my own production catalog.
I'd like to particularly draw attention to my track 'Feldspar' recorded under my Spheruleus production alias. This is part of a forthcoming album 'Clandestine' that will be released on Hibernate Records at the end of the year.

Anyway, enough waffle - here's the tracklist:
01 Spheruleus (Various field recordings)

02 Clem Leek - "Snow Tale #1" [Experimedia, 2010]
03 Pawn "The Creak Of The Chair" [Cotton Goods, 2010]
04 Ithaca Trio - "Dragon Sleeps Well" [Under The Spire, 2010]
05 Nicola Ratti - "Dew and Curfew" [Anticipate, 2008]
06 Damian Valles - "A Wake Pattern" [Resting Bell, 2010]
07 Seaworthy - "Ammunition 2" [12k, 2009]
08 Spheruleus - "Feldspar" [Hibernate, Unreleased]
09 Inverz - "Slow" [Phantom Channel, 2009]
10 Andrew Thomas - "A Dream Of A Spider" [Kompakt, 2010]
11 Sylvie Walder and Entia Non - "Un Soir D'Octobre" [Resting Bell, 2008]
12 Letna - "Crossing The Bridge (Novisad)" [Zymogen, 2008]
13 Dirac - "Bantu" [Spekk, 2009]
14 Offthesky - "Still Water Tear" [Audio Talaia, 2009]
15 Hildur Gudnadottir - "Elevation" [Touch. 2009]
16 Maps and Diagrams - "Savannakhet" [Yuki Yaki, 2009]
17 Hauschka - "Cardiff" [Karaoke Kalk, 2007]
18 Sawako - "Wind Shower Particle" [12k, 2008]
19 Chihei Hatakeyama - "The Dance Of The Sea" [Home Normal, 2010]
20 Julien Neto - "Farewell" [Type, 2009]
21 Jasper TX - "Harrisburg 2" [Under The Spire, 2010]
22 Asher - "14" [Room 40, 2009]
23 Machinefabriek - "IJspret 1" [Self-Release, 2009]
24 Yui Onodera - "Entropy 2" [Trumn, 2009]
25 Sleeping Me - "Cradlesong" [Hidden Shoal, 2009]
26 Zvezdara - "Le Temps Nest Pas Importanti Ici" [Standard Klik, 2005]
27 Offthesky - "Hand Held Lightly" [Home Normal, 2010]
28 Arve Henriksen - "From Birth" [ECM, 2008]
29 Jasper Leyland - "Taken" [12x50, 2008]
30 Rameses III - "Across The Lake Is Where My Heart Shines" [Type, 2009]
31 Mountains - "Interlude" [Apestaartje, 2007]
32 Akira Kosemura - "Guitar" [Someone Good, 2010]
33 Ryonkt - "Toy Camera" [Experimedia, 2009]
34 Tobias Hellkvist - "Sore" [Home Normal, 2010]
35 Pausal - "One Watery Lens" [Barge, 2010]
36 Simon Scott - "The Old Jug and Drum" [Miasmah, 2009]
37 Fabio Orsi - "Part 3" [Slow Flow, 2010]
38 Kyle Bobby Dunn - "The Tributary (For Voices Lost) [Moodgadget, 2009]
39 Spheruleus - "Moss" [Under The Spire, 2010]
40 Andrey Kiritchenko - "Let Oneself In" [Spekk, 2009]
41 Relmic Statute - "Exploratory Notes" [High Linear Music, 2010]

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

MDAC018 - Monthly Discerning Audio Chart, May 2010

Obviously this month I've been particularly busy setting up the Audio Gourmet netlabel - which has posed me with an issue for when writing my reviews each month...should I include reviews about E.Ps released on my label in this section? I've thought long and hard, and decided not to do so, since an element of promotional bias will start to creep in and that's not why I write about music. So, here are ten albums/E.Ps/mixes that I've particlularly enjoyed listening to during May.

TALVIHORROS - "Music In Four Movements"
I have known for a few weeks that I would eventually have to sit down to write a review about this magnificent record. I've wrestled with how I can best do it justice for much of the month and it would seem that I am not the only one. If you take a look around the internet, this record out now on Hibernate is getting a lot of deserved attention. And rightly so - this really is a stunning piece of work.
Talvihorros is the project pseudonym of Ben Chatwin and he uses an array of instruments to form the backbone of his work that covers a range of experimental frequencies. The concept behind 'Music In Four Movements' is to provide a musical exploration of studies Chatwin carried out on suicide, particularly drowning, capturing the essence of the thoughts and feelings one might have had whilst embarking on ending their life. A bleak, doom laced concept for an album, but those of you that like your ambient on the lighter side, don't be put off. For this record, despite its obviously daunting theme has plenty of empowering and deeply atmospheric moments. It is at times positive and triumphant amongst all of the murk and gloom.
Most of the tracks that make up these four movements are longer-form, yet not linear in structure or direction. The music of Talvihorros is constantly changing, evolving - full of twists and turns to serve as a truly immersive listening experience. Never does it become a predictable listen, even after having listened several times. The depth of this record is indescribable and I believe that in 'Music In Four Movements', we have a true classic that people will look back on and smile about for decades to come.
One thing is for certain, it is because of magnificent music like this that I am happy to continue my existence on this planet. An album that comes with my highest recommendation.
http://www.hibernate-recs.co.uk/

KYLE BOBBY DUNN - "A Young Person's Guide To Kyle Bobby Dunn"
Spread over two discs, 'A Young Person's Guide To Kyle Bobby Dunn' is an epic and immersive ambient album of the highest quality. Four tracks on the first disc will be pieces familiar to those who purchased 'Fervency', released last year on Moodgadget. The rest of the material are works by this talented New York based ambient music composer, written at around the same time as 'Fervency'.
Dunn arranged for a selection of classical musicians to record for this album and then set about his process of digitally retreating these takes into an environment of soundwashes and delicately crafted drones. The whole album is beautifully restful stuff and will take quite some time for the listener to get to grips with. It is full of charm and requires time to truly get to know it as a whole, which is one of the truly wonderful things about this type of music. The record is mostly quiet and unobtrusive, gentle and softly paced - it is easy to just slump back and daydream whilst listening to these works. My personal favourite piece has to be 'Empty Gazing' - the orchestral rearrangements in this piece epitomise the slumped-back listening state you'll no doubt adopt throughout your listen to 'A Young Person's Guide To...'. This is a stunning collection of some of the very best ambient drones I have heard for some time and you'd be a fool to miss out on this - at just £9.50 for the two discs! Head over to LowPoint now to check it out: http://www.low-point.com/LP033.html

PADANG FOOD TIGERS - "Go Down, Moses"
Another excellent release from the ever consistent Under The Spire label; here we are treated to a three track E.P from a relatively unheard of artist. That is what has been so fantastic about Under The Spire as a label - label owner Chris has been selecting a blend of established artists such as Rameses III, Zelienople and Jasper TX and releasing their work alongside new and relatively unheard of talent. Here with Padang Food Tigers' release, we have a record in the latter category.
This painfully short E.P is evidence that there is still a wealth of superb artists emerging in the scene and things are as healthy as they have ever been. 'Go Down, Moses' opens with the title track , which fuses field recordings with banjo and piano composition. Secondly, 'Wandering Souls' is the track that was originally posted on Under The Spire's Soundcloud account and is a track that sums up the overall demeanour of the E.P - short, sweet and breezy. Closing the record is 'Corn Stem King', my personal favourite piece. More delicate, relaxed instrumentation with an ending that closes using environmental field recordings.
This is just how I like my music - raw and acoustic with the subtlest of electronic treatment. I've been enjoying this all month and if there are any copies left lying around - I strongly suggest you get one purchased. I wonder whether the Padang Food Tigers will be releasing a full album...?
http://www.underthespire.co.uk/

HESSIEN - "Hessien E.P"
May has seemed to be the month of the E.P - I started my Audio Gourmet netlabel, purely focussed on releasing short E.Ps and there appears to be quite a lot of shorter records out at the moment. That said, this eponymously titled excursion by Hessien has been floating around since the beginning of the year and it's only since learning of its existence courtesy of a Fluid Radio that I've downloaded my copy.
Hessien are a duo from Australia and England respectively and have other releases out of equal quality, such as the brilliant 'Skurjn'. Much of their work is available for an attractively priced download from their Bandcamp site or a physical copy can be obtained through Hand Stitched.
The E.P itself flows superbly as a whole and is absolutely full of tonal texture and carefully woven detail. Glitchy vintage crackling and subtle electronic effects punctuate genrle drones and electro acoustic guitar melodies. This is wonderful stuff - short, sweet and very listenable indeed. It would be very silly to miss out on this one...
http://handstitched.bandcamp.com/

OLAN MILL - "Pine"
Serein as a label has had a recent overhaul and moved away from its netlabel roots. It is now a full label, releasing at a slow and steady rate to allow each record to fully sink in. First up, spearheading a big year for the label was Nest's 'Retold' and next is this wonderful collection of modern classical ambient pieces from Olan Mill.
'Pine' is a record full of cinematic soundtrack moments; epic and beautifully paced throughout, it is simply breathtaking. To create these film-score like compositions, Olan Mill's Alex Smalley and Svitlana Samoylenko used piano, violin, pipe organ and guitar. This is so delicately crafted, that I believe it is going to be talked about for some time and is likely to be a classic in many a playlist. Despite its short timeframe of just 35 minutes, it just seems to hang suspended in time and will leave you feeling utterly refreshed. What a stunning debut from this pair of musicians...a must buy for all.
http://www.serein.co.uk/

OFFLAND - "Anniversary E.P"
After particularly enjoying Offland's last release 'The Commute', I was excited to see that this 'Anniversary' E.P has recently come out on Resting Bell. For this release, Tim Dwyer has ditched the longerform piece style used in 'Commute' in favour of this collection of short works capturing recordings made at his wedding.
This capturing sound process is something that I have long been interested in as a sound designer myself. I find it fascinating that you can record a selection of sounds and then have these saved permanently to preserve that timeframe and environment permanently to trigger nostalgia over future listens.
This is at its most powerful for the person making the recording and for those present, as they will be able to distinguish what the different sounds represent.
For those not present at the time of the recordings on this E.P, we still have a collection of ambient pieces that are a relevant listening experience to enjoy - each piece is accompanied by drones and soundscaping to add an extra listening dimension. More great music from Resting Bell and more from Offland. Download here:
http://www.restingbell.net/

HAROLD BUDD and CLIVE WRIGHT - "Little Windows"
Harold Budd has become one of the instantly recognisable figures in ambient music over the years and is famous for his work with the likes of Brian Eno and Robin Guthrie. Here with 'Little Windows', we've a delightful album of many depths, showcasing Budd's work alongside Clive Wright. The album itself is the third part of a trilogy and only one of the tracks is a full collaboration between the two artists. The rest of the album is split between tracks from each artist and it showcases their own individual talents at creating experimental ambient music. Budd has the last three tracks reserved for his minimalist piano compositions that he is so revered for. The main ingredient to this album is the fact that each artist is allowed to express themself individually, which creates a varied palette of sounds for the listener to indulge in. It never becomes samey and is literally full of interesting tones to get your ears round.

OFFTHESKY - "Du Soleil"
Resting Bell have been consistently putting out top quality netlabel music for a few years now and this seems to have intensified over the last couple of months. Release after release has been absolutely spot on - it seems they can do no wrong.
Here we have a re-release of works from the prolific and immensely talented sound designer from Kentucky, Jason Corder. Under his OffTheSky moniker, he has won many fans and admirers over the years and is widely regarded as one of the top sound designers in the world.
This record features some material from an earlier release and is accompanied by a collection of remixes towards the end. The level of attention to detail from Corder is as meticulous as ever - over the course of this record there is just so much to listen to! Drones, dound washes, instrument manipulation, clicks, crackles, noises, field recordings, weird vocals and effects. Despite this level of detail, the works still retain a beautifully immersive feel - hazy, dreamy and at times, otherworldy. It is easy to get lost and ignore the wealth of detail that Corder has painstakingly woven into this record. This is astonishing ambient sound design and the fact that it is free makes it all the more unmissable.
http://www.restingbell.net/

ANDRES KRAUSE - "Move Ground"
Because of its expense, I rarely buy vinyl these days. This is one of the main reasons that I gave up DJing in fact and I felt that simply buying CDJs just wouldn't be the same. Still, I've always loved vinyl and have my turntables set up permanently.
Despite the general expense putting me off, something really drew me towards this record by talented German sound designer Andres Krause, packaged in beautifully designed sleeve artwork. I think in fact, the combination of this stunning artwork, the audio samples on various websites and the write ups all helped clinch the sale. There is an air of mystery about the whole thing that really intrigued me.
Once the record arrived, I stuck it on the platter and allowed the Cologne-based environmental sounds to emanate he room. Field recordings are used an awful lot these days in ambient sound design - but what really has me interested is when they are used to transform the lsitener to a far away environment and give me the sense of actually being there. Krause uses his recordings to do just that.
Whilst field recordings provide the focus for much of this excursion, they are accompanied by the gentle hum of ambient drones used tastefully throughout. This record will have you going back again and again...for years to come. Its subtletly is its appeal...

THE LOWLIGHT MIXES - "Thru The Field"
Despite my blog entry earlier in the month, I thought I'd give this superb mix from the Lowlight Mixes a few words as I am very grateful to Dave for his consistent support of my works as Spheruleus.
This mix is centered around field recordings and environmental sound recordings with vague musical interludes. The mix will transport you slowly to many a far away environment, through subtle tonal moments and occasional drone washes. Another excellent mix from the Lowlight mixes...download here:
http://lowlightmixes.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Lowlight Mixes - Thru The Field

Another wonderful mix from The Lowlight Mixes here:

http://lowlightmixes.blogspot.com/2010/05/thru-field.html

The mix is in the field series - a collection of mixes based on field recordings and recorded sound.
In the mix, Dave has selected a couple of older Spheruleus pieces as well as a new piece featured on the Rust E.P. He also closes the mix with a track from Darren Harper's Momentary E.P, also on the Audio Gourmet Netlabel.

Check it out!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

NEW!! Audio Gourmet Netlabel


Hello all! I have been exceptionally busy this week - I've only gone and set up my own netlabel haven't I?
I guess this has always been on the cards and a direction I've been increasingly heading towards for some time now.
The main thing that makes the Audio Gourmet netlabel a little different is its release concept:

"To showcase a collection of short albums and E.Ps that can be listened to in full during a standard working tea-break."

Each Audio Gourmet netlabel release will be no longer than fifteen minutes and not much shorter than fourteen. As it says above in the label mission-statement, this has been set so that listeners can download quickly, and listen to the works of talented ambient artists and sound designers all within the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee and have a slice of cake. Many of you will yearn for a refreshing listening experience on occasions when you simply don't have the time to sit down and listen through an entire album-long release. So, let the Audio Gourmet Netlabel be your portal for that quick recess period, and may you feel refreshed and inspired after listening!

The other benefits of this label include:
  • Quick upload process - means I can get an E.P uploaded during a lunch-hour. Should be two or three releases out a month at the very least.
  • Short timeframe means artists are able to get an E.P made quicker than a usual release.
  • Gives artists a window to maybe try something different or collaborate as an experiment
  • An artist can supplement a full album release with a free E.P to promote their main project. Could serve as the 'bonus material' accompanying E.P
  • I will do everything I can to promote the artist - the release section will include a 'further reading/links' header, which an artist can supply me with information on anything else they want to promote and also links to biographies, discographies, other releases and general information. I want to build a community and support as many different individuals interested in the ambient music scene as possible.
So there you have it - head over to the netlabel site on the link above, and download its very first release: an E.P from myself, under my Spheruleus guise...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Lowlight Mixes - Driftage



Just a quick post to inform of this cracking new mix up on the Lowlight Mixes blogspot. The track 'Orchid' from my current Spheruleus album 'Frozen Quarters' has been selected for the mix, amongst good company from the likes of Pausal, Windy and Carl, Fabio Orsi, M.Ostermeier and other great pieces of work.

Here is the link to download this hour of excellent music for free:

http://lowlightmixes.blogspot.com/2010/04/driftage.html

Sunday, April 25, 2010

MDAC017 - Monthly Discerning Audio Chart, April 2010

GARETH HARDWICK - "London 220109"
The ever expanding Under The Spire catalog continues its high-quality output policy with this near half-hour contribution from Low Point label boss Gareth Hardwick. I've only recently received it through the post and have been listening to it an awful lot so that I can include it in this month's review section. I often find that as much as I want to support the label wherever I can, I end up writing a few words about UTS releases when they have near enough sold out! So got in quick with this one.
I didn't need long to decide whether this piece would be included this month, since Gareth is a top artist and I'd already enjoyed listening to the samples on the UTS website. The half hour arrangement of drone washes, guitar sounds, field recordings and carefully drawn out atmospherics is ever-changing and full of slowly evolving detail. Rather than being a linear drone written for background listening purposes, Hardwick has carefully sculpted this piece into something that is interesting and detailed enough to serve for a conscious listening experience. I am aware from the release notes that this is in fact a release of part of a live performance, I gather at London hence the title. It opens up with eerie atmosphere based passages before expanding to that slowly evolving dronescape.
I remember cycling along earlier this week as I listened to this, and being forced to smile that special smile that signifies I'm listening to something that is simply overwhelming. I dare say I'll be coming back to this one a lot over the forthcoming years...

M.OSTERMEIER - "Lakefront"
It only took a few seconds of listening to the samples on the Hibernate Records website before instinctively ordering myself a copy of this superb album. Ostermeier is a new name as far as I am concerned, although I am told that he has another excellent record out on Parvo Art.
I've listened to Lakefront all the way through several times throughout the month and I can vouch that this is a stunning piece of work right the way through. Essentially, you could describe this as an album of piano based moments. Although, such is the painstakingly attentive sound design from this artist there is more than enough additional substance to give it that obvious edge when compared to against many of the piano-based albums that are about. It would in fact be fair to say that this isn't a piano-led album - the piano passages serve as mere moments that are part of Ostermeier's overall sound collage. The album is full of detail and intelligent design - you'll soon get lost in what could easily be one of the releases of 2010. A must buy for any fan of ambient music.

RYONKT - "North Small Town"
Next up on Hibernate is a superb short album from young Japanese artist Ryo Nakata under his Ryonkt banner. This album feels like a miniature sequel to his last release on Under The Spire 'Window To The Room', with its gentle, relaxing collection of drones. However, rather than 'North Small Town' being just a further extention of previous output, it has a couple of unique features.
Firstly, although there are four separate untitled pieces, interestingly they all feel harmonically related. These pieces could perhaps have been arranged into a single longformer but instead, they have been left as four individual segments - each with their own subtle nuances in character.
The drone construction is typical of Ryo's familiar style - deep, atmospheric, but always melodic. He has also used a very slight hint of field recordings as with his Under The Spire release. Although, with this record they heighten as the album draws to a close on 'Untitled 4' with what seems to be a snow footprints recording.
The other key ingredient to this short album is the provision of mastering duties from Jannick Schou. He has brought an element of power to Ryonkt's drones which add a new slant to his work. I found that in 'Window To The Room' the drones were quiet and gentle which would induce a sleepy listening state. Schou has really added that element of power to these works to encourage more constant conscious listening, whilst still allowing the listener to reduce the volume at will for a more restful state.
More superb work from a superb artist. What more would you expect?

TOBIAS HELLKVIST - "Evolutions"
Ian Hawgood's Home Normal label is a trusty port of call for most who are keen on the modern ambient scene as he has a forward thinking music policy and selects works from some of the best sound designers in the world. This is whether they are familiar names like Jason Corder's Offthesky project or works from Hawgood himself, or whether they are new and emerging names. Tobias Hellkvist is more of an emerging name - at least as far as I am concerned, and here he turns in a solid ambient/sound design albums that is up there with some of the best material to come out on the label. Hellkvist has crafted a truly magnificent album spanning from gentle soundwashes, through lush guitar accents and other instrument manipulations. The album serves up a varied palette of sounds that will keep you interested and likely keep you going back for more helpings for years to come. There's been a lot of stuff out on Home Normal this month, and in particular, this for me is a 'must purchase'.

FABIO ORSI - "Winterreise"
Italian drone master Fabio Orsi has had this album out on Slow Flow for a few weeks now. I only got round to downloading it at the beginning of the month and I've been enjoying this one all month. 'Wintereisse' is an album of six parts, fusing unusual and almost choral drones with gentle field recordings and hushed instrument sounds. Orsi is an obviously talented artist with an interesting approach to ambient music, who is able to make his drones feel that extra bit different and unique. The one thing that I am very much looking forward to, is listening to this winter themed album in context later in the year. The one thing with writing a season-based piece of work is that by the time a label can release it, it may come out off-season, as with this. But this is a solid effort anyway - you'll still enjoy it during the summer and my goodness, it will sound excellent when winter eventually comes round again...

RELMIC STATUTE - "Abscon (5.L) Ditus Ianua"
I'm still always keen to keep an eye on netlabel releases, as I know that there are some talented artists out there who are happy to give their music away for free. However, when I discovered that Relmic Statute has an album out on High Linear Music, I was particularly excited. Dave Horner, a British artist, has had releases on a few labels including the likes of Hibernate and is renowned for his live performances. His music is tape-loop manipulation based and fuses finely-woven deep drones with field recordings and instrument takes. This album features four mid-length tracks that span through these sound sources in an exploratory fashion, taking your head through a cloudy, lulling journey as you listen. The opening piece is awash with restful beauty and evolving layers of sound and is a track that I am particularly fond of - but the favourite has to be 'Exploratory Notes' as the guitar use in this is just mindblowingly beautiful. The fact that this album is free means that this really can't be overlooked if you're interested in extremely good ambient music.
SUSTAINER - "Distancia"
An unfamiliar name emerged on the Audio Talaia netlabel earlier this month as this two track E.P from Sustainer is available for free download. The fact that mastering duties were done by Ian Hawgood was enough to seal the need to at least listen. And these two mid-length pieces certainly don't disappoint. Two shimmering ambient drones that are sure to push all the right buttons available free of charge to anyone who should want them in their music collection. I check the Audio Talaia label every couple of months and give the back-catalog releases a listen to see if there's anything I've missed out on - and this release in many ways is amongst the labels finest audio excursions to date. Sustainer is a name I have added fondly to my list of artists to keep watch on and I look forward to future projects from this talented Spanish artist.

ASUNA & OPITOPE - "Sunroom"
'Sunroom' sees the collaboration of the industrious Chihei Hatakeyama and musician Date, treating us to a feast of sunny electro-acoustic ambient pieces. I first listened to this album on a day off, as I cycled through local villages on a hot sunny day. Unfortunately, my tyre burst when I was six miles from home...As I waited for my lift to arrive, I remember wandering around the countryside whilst listening to this album - thinking, this is likely to be my summer listening companion for quite some time.
In parts, this is a light melodic drone affair, delicately punctuated by gentle electro-acoustic instrumentation. At other times, the instrumentation takes the lead to provide almost song-like melodies.
Although with similarities, as far as this record is concerned, this is a different direction for Hatakeyama. With Date, he explores the instrument based route as the main ingredient to this sun-drenched excursion. Only in the last track 'Column Of Air' are we provided with an example of the sort of drone work that is typical of Hatakeyama.
This is a bright, optimistic and summery ambient album that comes with my strong recommendation.

DAMIAN VALLES - "Bow Echoes"
I was aware of Damian Valles' presence in the Under The Spire back catalog and although I have been able to flick through samples of the release on various distribution websites, I have missed the boat in terms of purchasing a copy. If karma exists however, then I must have been particularly well behaved of late, as Valles has released a wonderful album on one of my favourite netlabels, Resting Bell. It's without doubt one of the very best albums to come out in the netlabel scene of all time and it is an album with the strength of character to stand up aside works by the likes of Fennesz, Pillowdiver et al.
The key to a good ambient album could be depth, personality or simplicity; it could be many things. In the case of 'Bow Echoes', it is its varying palette of electro-acoustic tones, drones and recordings. This record is absolutely brimming with character from the sun-drenched opener to the dreamy ambient drones it closes on. The audio speaks for itself and from first listen to this, you'll soon agree that Damian Valles is a name to watch out for in the scene. Even further enhancing this Creative Commons netlabel release is the addition of an accompanying video for the first track.
This is a very very fine netlabel release package overall - it would be criminal to miss out on this one.
PAWN - "A Hum Of The Library"
I'm sure it annoys people that I write a couple of paragraphs that could be enough to encourage a purchase of an album, only for you to find that said album has since sold out. However, how could I not include something as good as this? And besides, when I began writing these mindless ramblings on this very blog some time ago the initial purpose was to basically list the ten albums I have personally enjoyed. Well this has been something of an instant classic and I'm sure it's not just myself who'll be saying this. Pawn is the work of Japanese artist and in this particular album, he teams up with gifted British cellist Danny Norbury for the track 'The Book That Is Never Read'. Norbury's composition is simply beautiful as ever and tinged with the depth of melancholy only the cello can conjur. The rest of the album sees mainly short pieces ranging from delicate piano deconstructions, field recordings and lulling drones. Closing 'A Hum Of The Library', is a nine minute drone with a constant ventilation hum. Overall, the works cover a range of ambient styles and the library-themed narrative is strong and interesting. This album was extremely limited and sold out very quickly - any future output from Pawn is to be met with high expectation if this is anything to go by.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hibernate Recordings Showcase on Fluid Radio...


I am just far too late with this post about a live Fluid Radio broadcast from Hibernate Recordings label manager Jonathan Lees, showcasing a selection of tracks from forthcoming releases. Unfortunately, I am that late with my post about it that the mix has since been broadcast live and you will have missed it - that is, if you rely solely on me as the informer of such goings on.
Fear not however, for the mix is still available for listening at the following link:

http://www.mixcloud.com/FluidRadio/hibernate-recordings-showcase/?utm_source=widget&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=flash_links&utm_term=title

It seems that we have a wealth of fantastic material to come out of this already well-established British label. There are some artists on the forthcoming Hibernate roster that will be new to many, and others that are familiar. Either way, the future release schedule is one to look out for as each album comes out. This is a superb collection of music as you'll hear for yourself if you click the link above...

Also, worth me pointing out that a piece from my next album 'Clandestine' is featured as track ten on this mix. Many thanks to Jonathan for taking my album on and for including a piece in the mix.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spheruleus - Frozen Quarters (Reviews)

BOOMKAT:
"Spheruleus is an ambient composition project from young Lincolnshire-based sound designer Harry Towell, collecting fourteen pieces that all in some way feature recordings made in and around the artist's locality, making for music that serves as "an attempt to preserve and capture my day-to-day environment". Towell's music fits perfectly within the Under The Spire universe, not only evoking the sort of misty lusciousness that's become the imprint's calling card, but even calling upon the mastering services of previous UTS contributor Ian Hawgood (curator of the Home Normal imprint) who helps cast a frosty sheen over the album. There's a little more instrumental substance running through this edition than on some of the label's prior outings, and opening cut 'Vignette' recalls the scratchy, lo-fi and wintry melodies of Finnish soundscaper Hannu, while 'Solution' provides a similar feel, crinkling through ghostly music box figures. The flow between instrument-focussed content, field recordings and processed drones imbues the record with an especially compelling and varied arc, one that goes to extremes at times: apparently Towell clambered into a skip to record some of this to capture the right sort of natural reverb he was looking for. Now that's commitment for you. Taking an entirely different angle, 'Crescent' and 'Colophon' come close to Leyland Kirby or Caretaker-style looped reminiscences, emerging from an auditory fog - something that only amplifies the stealthily emotive character of the record. If there's one defining factor to these Under The Spire discs it's surely their accessibility, and their tendency to render abstract drone music an approachable and enjoyable experience - often even to the unconverted. This has seldom been more true than in the case of Frozen Quarters, an album full of evocative frequencies and atmospheric designs. Recommended."

SMALLFISH:
I’ve been listening to this new release on Under The Spire a lot in the last week and I have to say it’s not only a fascinating piece of work, it’s also incredibly beautiful - possibly the most beautiful release on the label so far in fact. There’s just something about it that I can’t quite put my finger on and the way it’s lingered in my head long after playing it is testament to the attention that’s gone into it. Essentially the work is a series of mediations on the more naturalistic side of electronic music – the more organic end, if you will. Beginning with a deeply atmospheric and very oriental sounding piece it soon delves into some incredibly lush and fragile sounding tracks that move effortlessly between textured drone and melancholic, melodic works. Each seems to have its own unique micro-fragment of time and, although there are overarching themes here, each track is a work unto itself. Simply a stunningly fine album in my opinion that gets better with every single listen. Mastered by Ian Hawgood and limited to 150 numbered copies… you know what to do! Highly recommended

NORMAN RECORDS:
This is the work of Harry Towell who has used lots of field recordings from his local environment. I've joked in past reviews that records sound like they were made in a skip, but this chap has actually recorded some sounds in a skip, using its natural reverb. This is ultra chilled with some warm melodic elements derived from trumpet, harmonica, zither and guitar. This really is lovely soothing stuff that I guess sort of fails in the ambient category. Post-ambient perhaps??? This guy is talented and he makes some sublime sounds. Ltd hand numbered edition in the usual house style arigato-pak.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hibernate Recordings presents an evening of dimly lit soundscapes and shimmering melodies...

Wednesday May 19th 2010 @ Hole In t’ Wall, Hangingroyd lane, Hebden Bridge

8.00pm, free entry.

Simon Scott [www.myspace.com/o3o3o]
Simon is the former Slowdive drummer who puts out international experimental music with integrity on his label KESH Recordings. Through Simon’s dimly-lit soundscapes, we encounter shimmering melodies that gather and disperse through apocalyptic rhythms, surrounded by layers of harmony that hover over found-sounds. Simon has also collaborated under the moniker Seavault (Morr Music) with A.Ryan from Isan, and also goes under the name Televise.

Machinefabriek [www.myspace.com/machinefabriek]
Machinefabriek (Rutger Zuyderveldt from Rotterdam, Holland) is amongst the finest experimental/electronic artists of recent years – his ultra-prolific back catalogue showcases his ability to perfect classical ambience, organic drone soundscapes, electronic minimalism and cathartic noise, and he has been hailed as one of the most interesting new experimental musicians by the Wire magazine.

Clem Leek [www.myspace.com/clemleekofficial]
Clem Leek is a musician & composer from the South East. He has just completed his MA in Music Composition an is now releasing his first E.P, ‘Through the Annular’ on Schedios Records. Clem draws his influence from a number of sources, from the minimalist composers Steve Reich & Philip Glass and also such musicians as Keith Kennif, Max Richter, Matt Hales and many more, creating a beautiful mix of piano melodies and subtle instrumentation, all set to the crackle of a 78" record.

Relmic Statute [http://www.myspace.com/relmicstatute]
Relmic Statute is Leeds-based artist David Horner, who assembles lulling, grainy soundscapes based on the splicing of field recordings collected from cassettes and old 1/4-inch tape.

Spheruleus [www.myspace.com/spheruleus]
Interluding the performances of the artists listed above, Harry Towell (Spheruleus) will be playing some of his favourite ambient/drone/electro-acoustic records from over the years.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

AGCD039 - Harry Towell "A Familiar Pattern" (Spring Drone mix)


The familiar pattern of changing seasons brings us spring - leaves are slowly returning to the trees and new life is upon us. The weather ranges from warm and sunny intervals to outbursts of rain.
Plenty of inspiration for basing an ambient mix around spring - and so here is heady collection of the sleepiest drones you're likely to hear, to serve as the soundtrack to your spring.

This mix opens with a short and musical piece by Tape and Bill Wells, before heading off down a drone based representation of spring. At times, it is bright and cheerful and at other times, it is cloudy and overcast.
The above photograph was taken by myself in Lincolnshire, UK on a pleasant spring afternoon.


TRACKLISTING:
001 TAPE AND BILL WELLS - "Fugue 4"
002 TAYLOR DEUPREE - "Weather"
003 LEXITHIMIE - "Discolor"
004 JACOB NEWMAN - Strings and Keys"
005 SPHERULEUS - "Untitled"
006 SHAULA - "Sea Of Trees"
007 KYLE BOBBY DUNN - "Mobiles (There Is No End)
008 Tu'M - "Monochromes 2"
009 MORGAN JENKS - "Gemini (It's You)"
010 NEST - "Amroth"
011 TOMASZ BEDNARCZYK - "Shimokita"
012 ANDREW THOMAS - "1000 Pinholes In A Black Paper Sky"
013a CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA - "Jade Green River"
013b JASPER LEYLAND - "It Swept"
014 COUNTERSPARK - "5.28"
015 YUI ONODERA - "Synergetics #2"

Throughout this mix, you will be able to hear various field recordings. Some were recorded myself, others were actually part of the recordings used and others were created by the following artists:

DAVID VELEZ
SCOTT SHERK
HIROKI SASAJIMA

Let me know what you thought of this mix, and whether you were able to stay awake whilst listening...
Cheers,
Harry

MDAC016 - Monthly Discerning Audio Chart, March 2010

'Review' time again! That monthly blog post where I pretend to be a music journalist. There's been plenty out since the start of 2010 - March is no exception. Not all of this month's material is new however - I've been prompted to revisit memory lane a few times this month and I've also been scouring back-catalogs too, for those gems I may have missed.

JASPER TX "A Voice From Dead Radio" (Remixes)
First up and straight to the top of this month's list is Dag Rosenqvist's new release on Under The Spire. It is a collection of old works remixed by what can only be described as a selection of the biggest names in the scene. Added to this, Dag is of course a big name himself and here, this marvellous 2 x CD release has come out on one of the best labels around at the minute. Under The Spire has decided that for this one, they'd drop their usual Arigato package in favour of this fully printed CD with stunning artwork from Oscar Jacobsson. They really have gone all out with this album and most importantly, the music itself certainly hasn't been compromised. This entire package as a whole is a truly amazing piece of work. You might now struggle to get hold of it, since it's more or less sold out already...
For me personally, the highlights of this tremendous release are the remixes by Pillowdiver, Simon Scott and Steinbruchel. Seaworthy and Zelienople have turned in superb reinterpretations too, as the two longer tracks on this remix CD.
Potentially a candidate for album of the year...

ITHACA TRIO - "Tesla Versus The Night"
As many are becoming increasingly aware, Under The Spire are a label releasing consistently top-notch material as each month passes. This label is really starting to turn heads throughout the scene and upon a purchase of any release, it is easy to see why. This release by the Leeds based collective is no exception - it stands proudly in the label's catalog and is every bit the shining example of the sort of fine music we have come to expect from Under The Spire.
Opening with 'Dragon Sleeps Well', we are treated to a laidback and gentle arrangement of carefully treated electro-acoustic manipulation that is a perfect example of just how talented the Ithaca Trio are. There are many passionate ambient music enthusiasts that have never heard of them - which is difficult to grasp, as upon first listen this sounds as good as the work you'd associate with established scene heavy-weights and seasoned veterans of the genre.
Unfortunately, it looks like Under The Spire have more or less sold out of this one - but I strongly recommend keeping an eye on the Ithaca Trio. If Tesla Versus The Night's anything to go by, they have a bright future ahead of them...

NICOLA RATTI - "From The Desert Came Saltwater"
This is by no means a new piece of work, but often I find myself scouring label back-catalogs and artist's previous works to see whether I'd missed something special.
Missing this 2008 masterpiece until now is not something that I'm proud of - especially since Ratti's 'Esope' released the same year by Zymogen has been such a firm favourite for me, even to this day.
So, this aside, I now have the album and can confidently recommend this as another Nicola Ratti masterpiece and as a prominent feature in my record collection.
This record is just full of detail - it is almost song-like in tone and structure at times, although before this becomes too familiar it treads forward to take on yet another twist in a different direction. There are field recordings littered carefully underneath a bed of electro-acoustic manipulation and composition and before long you'll hear for yourself that Ratti is a genius sound-designer - carefully manipulating a host of sounds into a gentle and relaxing listening environment. I'm not sure whether he has anything new in the pipeline - but for now, if you're not already familiar with his work, then this one is not to be missed.

TAPE AND BILL WELLS - "Fugue"
This short, sweet record sees the collaboration of two extremely talented sets of musicians. Swedish post-rock band Tape join forces with folk musician Bill Wells to blend a selection of relaxed acoustic/electro-acoustic compositions.
The four-track release features guitar, an organ, other instruments and some gentle appliance of electronic effects. It is difficult to tell by listening who plays what - but I think this is irrelevant. I am a fan of Tape as a band - but at times their output can be a little saccharine in places for my taste.
Here, with Bill Wells, they allow their work to adopt a more low-slung and melancholy approach - which suits me fine! All four pieces are absolutely beautiful, none more than 'Fugue 4', which serves as a crescendo piece to close this short album. I have been bowled over by this superb release and I dare say you will be too...A must, is this.

MACHINEFABRIEK - "Ijspret"
It is dificult to write anything about Rutger Zuyderveld without instinctively using the term prolific or anything vaguely synonymous with the word. I, like many interested in the experimental electronic music scene am indeed familiar with most of his consistently interesting work.
The reason I have this month chosen to highlight this older release of his is that he is performing in May at the Hole In The Wall pub in Hebden Bridge and I myself shall be in attendence. So as that exciting prospect draws nearer as each day passes, I have spent much of the month checking back over some of his releases. This little masterpiece stood out more than most - I like the way it is such a short album yet full of tiny detail. It says so much in such a short space of time, without ever feeling hurried. I like how I am able to spend a 15 minute break at work, listen to the album in full and feel completely refreshed as a result.

ELAN MEHLER QUARTET - "Scheme For Thought"
In recent weeks, my side-project search for late-night ambient jazz has been leaking into my review sections with the recent addition of Bohren & Der Club Of Gore et al to my record collection.
So, here with 'Scheme For Thought', I can present the perfect example of the sort of sounds I am collating as I near a collection large enough for me to construct a mix. This album represents exactly the style of jazz I am particularly fond of. As a record, it is certainly not new to me. I first heard it played a few years back on a Gilles Peterson radio show and I have been thoroughly enjoying it ever since.
It is a few years old and many will already know of this delightfully relaxing jazz record. My recent inspiration to craft an hour-long jazz mix ha urged me to dig this classic out again. And a real classic indeed it is...

ASHER - "Landscape Studies"
Another album I'd missed somehow - despite the fact that I am familiar with the artist. This album of mid-length minimal drone soundscapes is one of the sleepiest, most restful albums I've heard - and that's saying something! The drones are gentle, lightly atmospheric, feature gentle hiss and subtle unobtrusive field recordings. It reminds me in some ways of the sort of minimal ambient drones you'd expect to hear from recent Ryonkt output, such as his 'Window To The Room' release on Under The Spire. I strongly recommend picking up a copy of this album - especially if you're in need of a good rest! The real beauty with 'Landscape Studies' is that it is very difficult to concentrate fully on it and you're likely to fall asleep before hearing the album consciously in full. So it will take a lot of listens to really get to know the album fully. Which, given its simplicity and minimal approach is a really special thing.

FENTON - "Pup"
Under the pseudonym 'Fenton', Shuttle 358 wrote the album 'Pup' some time back with a view to focus on sound design centred around guitar. I was still thrashing out techno back in the days that this was released, so I missed it. No harm in checking back down the back-catalogs to see what I'd been missing out on...I think the main reason I've not given this album a good listen before now is because of the less than evocative track titles. The album is called 'Pup', there are tracks entitled 'Bunny' to name but two examples. But what's in a name?
'Pup' is actually an album full of exactly the kind of lazy ambient sounds I'm constantly searching for. And it has been there all along, throughout my search for fine ambient music. So I have made a resolution to try and judge less by its proverbial cover...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spheruleus - "Frozen Quarters" Available now!!!


Hi all,


Just thought I'd send out a message to inform that the new Spheruleus album 'Frozen Quarters' is available now from Under The Spire Records.

The album consists of 14 short tracks of electro-acoustic music spanning various moods and tones. It features field recordings of everyday sounds, instrument compositions from various sources and moody treated ambient drones.
It can be purchased as a pre-order from Under The Spire now fom the following link:


www.underthespire.co.uk


Thanks to everyone who has supported me over the years, to Chris at Under The Spire for releasing this, Eric for the stunning artwork and to Ian Hawgood who's done an excellent job mastering these works.

TRACKLIST:
001 Vignette
002 Moss
003 Green
004 Solution
005 Mist
006 Appliance
007 Orchid
008 Crescent
009 Hanging
010 Autumn
011 Glass
012 Gossamer
013 Frozen
014 Colophon