Tuesday, April 1, 2014

We have moved!

 Irregular Crates

The Audio Gourmet blog has now finished - you can read about music on our new blog Irregular Crates by clicking HERE or clicking the image above.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Bruno Bavota - La Casa Sulla Luna (Review)

La Casa Sulla Luna is an album by Naples, Italy based pianist Bruno Bavota which was released in February this year. It sits comfortably within the modern classical genre with the press release likening to artists such as Dustin O'Halloran, Nils Frahm and Olafur Arnalds. However, whilst Bavota's work fits comfortably alongside these talented musicians - his sound is perhaps less modern classical, in the sense that there is no electronic processing or experimental trickery. Instead, it strives for a purer sound with the piano obviously placed at the fore. Unlike the scratchy, scuffling textures to be heard on Nils Frahm's Felt or Goldmund's Malady Of Elegance, La Casa Sulla Luna is rich classical music.

A first glance at the album packaging, you will notice the tracklist is in Italian. and it also seems by little coincidence that the cover artwork is predominantly in Italian blue. La Casa Sulla Luna manages to retain the heritage and culture of the artist whilst also offering a universal tapestry of wordless recordings. The tracks are positive, filmic and breathe a sense of nostalgia, as if recalling long-forgotten day-dreams during hymn practice at a school assembly.
The album is presented simply, with Bruno's piano always in focus and at times, accompanied by cello and violin by Marco Pescosolido and Paolo Sasso respectively. The opening tracks are solo piano and gradually, the strings fade in and out as the tracks pass by. There is an undeniable sense of melancholy throughout this album, but somehow it avoids being maudlin. The recordings are also playful without being sickly-sweet.
For me, the album is at its best when Cielo Blu Notte comes in - a piece which begins slowly, with deep cello riding underneath the atmosphere before the violins drive the track home.

In terms of a theme, La Casa Sulla Luna means the house on the moon. Without researching further into translating the tracks from Italian and working from the album title alone, it hints at an otherworldly, out of this world encounter. However, the record feels like an inherently human, firmly earthly experience. Perhaps the house on the moon is a metaphor, to allow you to imagine your own living space becoming detached from the world. As if our daily struggles were left at the door so that our homes may float up into the atmosphere whilst we consider our earthly problems from an outside perspective; La Casa Sulla Luna provides the perfect soundtrack. {LISTEN / BUY}

Bruno has recently given further insight into his musical influences on Grounding Sounds and it comes as no surprise that O'Halloran, Arnalds and Helios are all included. There are many other interesting inclusions crammed into his show - check it out by clicking the Mixcloud player below

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sima Kim & Elintseeker - Café Air [Audio Gourmet]

As there are not quite so many free EPs coming out on the Audio Gourmet netlabel now, I thought that it would really make sense if I started posting links to them on this blog...here's the latest; click play above to listen or download, at your leisure! It's a pay-what-you-like download - so if you feel like donating, to keep everything ticking over then a huge thanks! Otherwise, feel free to grab it.


AGN071 Sima Kim & Elintseeker - Café Air

"Café Air EP is the result of a collaboration between Far Eastern artists Sima Kim and Fuzz Lee (Elintseeker) who hail from South Korea and Singapore respectively. Both artists have previously had material released via Somehow Recordings and Mu Nest and their differing approaches to sound art join as one in this EP. 

Both artists are used to performing live and this experience is not wasted on their combined studio effort, which uses the space sensitively. Café Air was recorded with Sima writing and arranging the piano melodies which were passed to Fuzz, who added guitar, field recordings and additional processing. 

A café is usually a meeting place, where conversation fills the room. Café Air strives to create an atmosphere familiar to anyone who has visited a small café alone to find it empty, as accidental sound fills the room and the vacated space gives way to empty thoughts. 

Throughout the three recordings, the delicate sound of the piano is gently cradled with atmospheric detail, allowing the mind to haze over into a day-dream state. The fifteen minute restriction imposed by an Audio Gourmet EP does little to force Café Air along its path at pace. Instead it lies unhurried; time stands on end, emptiness prevails"


released 18 June 2013
Written and produced by Sima Kim and Fuzz Lee
Artwork by Harry Towell

Flying Ibex - Habits [Bomb Shop]

Habits is London based band Flying Ibex’s sophomore album, released by the Bomb Shop imprint. It seamlessly blends exotic musical influences from African, Brazilian and Reggae with pop and indie-rock sounds. Habits is characterised by complex drum rhythms, licks of guitar fed through delay pedals and lead singer Barnaby Keen’s unique and unmistakable voice. 

From the offset, the warm and catchy Maracatu-infected vibes of ‘Two’ are a clear nod towards simple, playful Pop before the brilliant ‘You Dared Me’ changes tact with delay-drenched dub reggae. Throughout the record, the blend of styles and influences shuffles to the fore; each battling for the lead without ever throwing the music off its course.
As Habits negotiates its eleven tracks, you’ll note how bright the music feels without ever becoming saccharine, for this is a record that fits perfectly with summer and warmer climate. 

The tracks that stand out as immediately strong on first listen are ‘You Dared Me’, ‘Something Was Cured’ and the longer, more subdued ‘4th of May’. With no more than a couple of listens to the album in sequence, you may well find yourself hooked. The track order is arranged in such a way that the at first less obvious pieces become firm favourites and a thoroughly engaging listen from start to finish; always retaining your interest and attention.

You can check out samples of all tracks from the album and purchase either as a CD or download via the Bomb Shop: {LISTEN / BUY}

Thursday, May 23, 2013


The blog hasn't been particularly active these last couple of months, as I've been busy. So I thought I'd make a post updating on some new projects I have been setting up.

Firstly, not a particularly new project - I've recently revived the Tessellate Recordings label which I considered folding last year after redundancy. Last month, we released a massive 2 hour compilation which was curated as an attempt to raise money to 'save' the label. Well we have reached the target and now have the funds required to press forward with a series of limited edition CDs! Work has already started on the first of these and we've also spruced up the web-page too to prepare for it. You can check out Tessellate Recordings by clicking the following link: www.tessellate-recordings.com

Secondly, I have set up a new digital label called Warehouse Decay Recordings, which I am curating alongside Pleq. It is a big tangent from my usual involvement with the Ambient music scene, as the label will be dedicated to various forms of Deep House and Techno. However, several of the releases will be by artists you'd normally associate with ambient music, operating in a different mode. We began releasing at the beginning of April and already have a busy schedule going forward.
Check it out here: http://warehousedecay.com/

With all of these projects, I have made the obvious decision of steadying the release rate at the Audio Gourmet netlabel. I am still passionate about making free EP releases and the label is very much alive, but releases will be much less frequent than in previous years. We've got some real quality lined up for release this year so stay tuned! Most recently, we released the superb 'Cadder Falls' by Caught In The Wake Forever. Take a look at Audio Gourmet here: www.audiogourmet.co.uk

I have been working on a new project called Grounding Sounds for the last year and I've finally decided to buy a proper domain name and make a go of it, after strong initial interested. The series sees artists, musicians and labels presenting a 1 or 2 part mix of their all-time favourite music across all genres. It is aimed primarily as a bit of fun - something different and interesting to listen to as you surf the web. It is hoped that it will point people in the direction of obscure music they might not have heard before.
You can get stuck into the shows here: http://groundingsounds.com/

Finally, with all of these new projects, you might be wondering what is happening with my solo work as Spheruleus? Well I have been working on some exciting material for the future but in the meantime, I decided to revisit some odds and ends on my hard-drive to see whether I could put some of it together as an album. I wasn't sure any of it would fit, but somehow, I managed to edit/sequence them to be pretty coherent as a collection. I recently set up a Spheruleus Bandcamp account so that I could host my full discography in one place, so I wanted to make something exclusive for it. You can check out 'Clearings' by clicking play below:

Bruno Fleutelot - Ozo Viv [Eglantine Records]

We see reissues occur regularly in all styles of music and often, already widely known records are re-packaged, re-branded and re-contextualised to drive further sales.
However, the limited nature of low-run CD and vinyl pressings coming out of small labels means that very few people on this planet will be likely to hear the recordings. Sometimes, old releases can drop off the radar as labels close down or move forward and there can be little trace of them ever having existed.
Fortunately in the case of Bruno Fleutelot's 'Ozo Viv' originally released on Im Lauf Der Zeit in 2005, Eglantine Records have decided to re-issue the album - giving it another chance to have its say, with a new audience.
Fleutelot's discography spans back to 1998 with 'Private' and his work as a musician even longer. Bruno is a man of multiple projects whether it be flying solo or as part of duos and bands. For the last ten years, he has plied his trade in producing soundtracks for short films and documentaries as several live performances.

The atmospherics in Ozo Viv's opening track Mare Moscoviense would imply a heavy listen lies ahead. Do not be fooled from this first glimpse! What lies ahead is a magnificent set of recordings that come highly recommended. There is a wealth of texture and differing moods that will retain your interest if you allow yourself to listen in full. Such is the diversity of the palette, several other artists come to mind as I listen
After a briefly pensive moment that opens the record -littered with guitar effects - scrapes, screeches and sustained electric guitar texture, a clearer guitar sound is welcome in Mare Fecunditatis. The press releases cites Labradford as an reference and I certainly felt this here, and in other areas of the record. Palus Nebularum is no exception from this, returning with more of the atmospheric guitar effects, this time given warmth by deeper drones underpinned with a paralysing sense of melancholy. Once the subtle haunting female vocal comes in, I was reminded of Svarte Greiner's fabulous Knive album and from here, Ozo Viv truly has its grip on my ears.
Mare Marginis allows the guitar to return to focus - with Bruno's playing feeling a little sinister, especially with the electric guitar feedback creeping in and out. Onto track five and the monolithic Mare Smythii carefully adds a brooding presence to Ozo Viv. It is hard to believe it is just three minutes long - perhaps attributed to the slow guitar playing and the sheer level of attention to detail. Sinus Roris adds a darker tone to the album and here I was reminded a little of Johann Johannsson's Miners Hymns - with the feel of the distorted feedback and static.
The noise and power is turned down to allow some silence to creep in at times in Mare Humorum; a respite that does not detract to the prevailing effect of the record. In the second half of the track, a drum and louder guitar sound kick in suddenly, adding a well-timed, well-executed twist to breathe life back into the steadily decaying ship that we had been sailing. It doesn't last long and the closing moments end quietly to carefully introduce the beauty of Oceanus Procellarum, the album's shortest piece.
Enter Mare Australe, a piece which opens out with flickering vintage ambient synths before taking you on a  journey mapping the sounds of a decaying piano. Here, Sylvain Chauveau came to mind for a moment before I stopped trying to compare this fabulous record to that of others. The power and effect of this album strikes me hard here - it is made all the more powerful by listening to the full spectrum of sounds preceding and it feels like an epiphany. Mare Tranquillitatis opens with sounds of crashing waves and the lightest moments of guitar on the album. This is very well placed indeed following the heights of the previous track. French spoken whispers pan in either ear as it lushly plays through. In Marc (Pt 1, 2 & 3), this record must end. This piece is included as a bonus track not on the original record and since listening to Ozo Viv for the first time is in this configuration, it does not feel like a bookend at all. I remember Aidan Baker's For The Sea And Shore as I listen to these closing moments and glance back at the titles of the tracks that make up Ozo Viv.
I notice a prevailing link to the ocean, assuming my dormant mind informs me correctly that 'Mare' is sea in Latin. There is no reference to a theme or concept in the press release and I am too lazy to take a crash course in Latin for me to work out the track titles. Here lies a true sign of a powerful, well produced album - it has an ability to translate the artist's ideas and concepts through the compositions. Without the faintest knowledge of what Ozo Viv is about, I am able to understand fully and connect with it.

Bruno Fleutelot's Ozo Viv comes with my highest recommendation. There is so much to it, that I could write for hours about it. Already, I feel I have missed some key points - not least the stunning artwork and packaging that Eglantine have put together in collaboration with Aurélie Brouet.
As I touch upon the physical aspects of the record for a moment, I return to where I began this review...it is available in another limited run of just 300 copies! {BUY / LISTEN}

Monday, March 4, 2013

Darwin Raymond - Somewhere The Sun Shines Brightly [Analogpath]

Analogpath have developed a knack of consistency in their approach to releasing high quality ambient and experimental music. Not only is their standard hand-stamped recycled packaging and artwork printed to traditional Japanese rice paper a tried and tested format, the music contained within each disc is always of high quality. The label has not been active for long but already they've managed to deliver us excellent albums by the likes of Pillowdiver, Celer and Stray Ghost to name but a few.

The latest album out on this fabulous imprint is by Darwin Raymond, entitled 'Somewhere The Sun Shines Brightly'. Having spoken to Darwin when he assembled a fifteen minute EP for Audio Gourmet, I had an inkling that once Tetsuo had signed him up to Analogpath, his work was likely to be good. Not least because  I associate quality with both, having worked with them.
I was lucky enough to get hold of a reviewer's copy and I have to say whilst I enjoyed the sample on the label's website, I was bowled over by the sheer excellence contained within the eight tracks that make up Somewhere The Sun Shines Brightly on first listen.
For some reason, I had expected the murkier, dark drones that Darwin had concocted for his EP on Audio Gourmet so when I first played the CD, I was struck by the great beams of light that emanate from the music.

Somewhere The Sun Shines Brightly implies a longing for the sun, for warmth and better days. It hints that the conditions in which it was recorded were not so bright. However, this record is so full of warmth and radiant brightness that it is difficult to imagine that it might have been created under a dark cloud, during dull weather or at the depths of despair.
The guitar is nearly always a warm instrument, and this becomes the focal point for this album. Darwin's playing here is used in several different approaches - for warm droning texture, as discernible passages of melody and as bent or slide notes. These give a great diversity to the album, to set it apart from others who have attempted similar themes. The tinge of melancholy throughout keeps it from being saccharine. The all-round execution is so good, that it's difficult not to draw comparison to one of the all-time great ambient albums 'I Could Not Love You More'. Of course, it is different in many ways and has its own voice but I felt reminded of it at several points during the album.

In summary, this is an album that will fill the room with its light, with or without the sun. I have a feeling I will be listening to this all summer long and likely returning to it some more once winter returns.