Thursday, 1 September 2022

Bandcamp Recommendations (Sept 22)

Bandcamp Fridays have finally returned! If you're looking for some inspiration for great experimental music to buy tomorrow - here's my latest roundup of recommendations...

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Emilian Gatsov - MFPWNWFOI (2021) 


GENRE : ambient, electronic, drone, modern classical
RECORD LABEL : Mahorka

Here's an album of dark beautiful trance-inducing night time music from Bulgarian artist/composer Emilian Gatsov whose mostly known for his soundtrack work for theatre and performance.

Based around the idea of eliminating all external stimuli and listening without distraction (something we should all do more often in this noisy modern world), this album lulls you into a nocturnal atmosphere of swirling ambient melancholy and drifting drones, right from the opening seconds. It sucks you in and makes you to turn inwards and concentrate. The music is delightfully meditative and ethereal. I also love how minimalistic it is at times, whilst maintain its depth and power. These electronic loops never get boring, predictable or tiresome. A truly immersive listening experience. Brilliant album.

Mahorka are a wonderful little label that specialize in all kinds of experimental noise and intriguing sound art. If you like this album, you should explore their Bandcamp page. 

Stream/Download the album here...

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Le Morte d'Abby - I Am (2022)


GENRE : dance, techno, electronica, ambient, downtempo
RECORD LABEL : Triplicate Records

I am very picky and selective when it comes to dance/techno music. It needs to have a certain kind of emotional quality to it to stop me in my tracks and pay attention. I'm glad to say that this new album by Le Morte d'Abby does just that. It is truly sublime.

Le Morte d'Abby is the solo electronica project of Abigail Lentz. I previously did a write-up for her album, 'Is This Machine Recording?' which was a weird warped lo-fi synth affair.
In this album (her debut release for the inimitable alt-electronica label Triplicate Records) Lentz has created seven songs of sweeping dance tracks that are bright and vibrant, yet melancholy and downtempo at the same time. 
In these songs, shimmering waves of euphoric ambience drift over vast glistening ethereal soundscapes and infectious downtempo techno rhythms that simultaneously lift you up and bring you down.
There's an obvious sadness to it, which is probably why I like it so much. It reminds me of the melancholy dance music that I loved as a child. 
I don't know if this technically qualifies as techno music, and I don't really care. What I do know is that it's awesome. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Colonial Skyway - Evening on Earth (2022)

 

GENRE : drone, ambient, soundscape, minimalistic
RECORD LABEL : Submarine Broadcasting Co.

This is a slow brooding meditative drone album that I find simultaneously desolate and comforting. It's one of these strange yet admirable examples of music where not much happens...and you don't want anything to happen. It's great the way it is. You're content to just let its non-invasive sound drift quietly through the vacant spaces of your psyche, and help you on your merry (or not-so-merry) way.

Colonial Skyway is the solo project of Matthew Anderson. The songs that comprise this album provide an ideal soundtrack (and accompaniment) to a lonely peaceful walk through a small factory town after working hours. Its beautiful minimalism is wonderfully reflective, but at the same time quite cold and eerie. The gentle sounds of mechanization and industry constantly thrum away, causing a vague but undeniable uneasiness in the listener. Great album. I love the artwork too.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Paweł Doskocz/Wojtek Kurek - npm (2021)


GENRE : experimental, improvisation, sound art, free jazz
RECORD LABEL : Czazska Records

This is an album of wild improvised free-form jazz jams from Polish collaborative duo Pawel Doskocz  (electric guitar) and Wojtek Kurek (drums). The music is intense and energetic, erratic and unnerving, unpredictable and fun. 
The unbridled shimmery dissonance of Pawel's guitars and the thunderous pounding and frantic clacking of Wojtek's drums ricochet wildly off the walls of the Beskid Maly summer house that these two seasoned experimental improvisers recorded it in, back in 2019.

Listening to this album feels like a procession of spiders scuttering across the surface of my brain, on their way to some strange unknown destination...but rather than horrify or disgust - this music is actually wonderfully immersive and trance-inducing. 
Kurek's drum patterns and rhythmical sensibilities give this album such a unique groove and bounciness, and there's enough melody from Doskocz's frantic guitar playing to avoid the sound becoming overly harsh or abrasive. There is enough beauty amidst the chaos and noise of these intricate jams to make for a highly enjoyable album. Rather than assaults - this album dances in fits of epileptic zeal. Brilliant stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Nikki Sheth - Sounds of Mmabolela (2021)


GENRE : experimental, sound art, field recordings
RECORD LABEL : Flaming Pines

This is a hot and humid sound journey through the bushveld on the border of South Africa and Botswana. It was recorded by the internationally recognized sound artist & composer Nikki Sheth on a field recording residency in Mmabolela in 2017, and released by Flaming Pines in 2021.

This debut album of hers is dark, murky and mysterious, but also peaceful, serene and utterly alluring...with an array of ambiguous well-sculpted sonic abstractions and subtle murmured drones penetrating the collective voices of the natural world. In this wonderfully exotic soundscape I hear hippos, frogs, and a multitude of various insects and birds - singing, humming, squawking and screaming away in the trees, bushes, pools and rivers of Mmabolela. 

Despite the hot humid stickiness of (how I imagine) this particular environment to be,  this album has a lovely ambience that would soothe even the most savage beast. It's a delightful aural adventure into a part of the world where nature undoubtedly still remains supreme. Beautiful stuff.

Stream/Download the album here :

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The Broken Cradle - You Are Here and I Am Yours (2021) 


GENRE : modern classical, ambient, instrumental, electronic
RECORD LABEL : self-released

This is an album of beautiful, delicate and touching piano-led pieces by Eric McLean (a.k.a The Broken Cradle) who lovingly blends modern classical compositions with ambient electronica to create lush meditative soundscapes that are reflective and comforting.

'You Are Here and I Am Yours' is an introspective and heartfelt album based around the themes of family, mortality, loss and the joy of life - a musical love letter from McLean to his children. The gentle and emotive piano playing is accompanied by soft swirling airy ambience that not only creates wonderful sparkly atmospheres and textures of their own - they also help elevate the central chords and melodies that drive these compositions. 

The overall effect of this album is tender and soothing to the ears and to the brain. Exactly the kind of music we need in times like these. Great album.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Alessio Dutto - Solar (2022) 


GENRE : dark electronica, dark ambience, noise, drone
RECORD LABEL : Veinte 33 Records

This is a dark, dramatic and haunting electronic noise record from Italian artist/composer Alessio Dutto. In this album, Dutto has combined cinematic dark ambience, ferocious power electronics, foreboding Carpenter-esque synthscapes and tidal waves of sweeping fuzzed-out drones to create a highly emotional and wonderfully cathartic listening experience.

Despite the sheer power, brooding menace and full-blown malevolent fury in this music - it is also undeniably melodic and beautiful, and makes for a highly enjoyable and brilliant listening experience. Fans of Rafael Anton Irisarri, Tim Hecker & Ben Frost will love this one.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Nouvelles Lectures Cosmopolites - Non-Lieux (2022) 


GENRE : experimental, modern classical, dark ambient, noise, field recordings
RECORD LABEL : Lotophagus Records

This album consists of one 50-minute long experimental noise piece by French artist Julian Wa - a.k.a Nouvelles Lectures Cosmopolites. 

The atmosphere of this music is dark, eerie, unsettling and ever-so-slightly sinister. It's an abstract merging of ominous sound art, dark ambient/drone and modern classical. The listener gets taken on a brooding ambling adventure through a strange twisted environment. A large part of the album is taken up by suspenseful electronic pulses and swells, but it meanders into urban field recordings and beautiful cinematic neoclassical segments - led by mournful piano chords and accompanied by yearning violin. A very long but very rewarding listening experience, if you give it the time and patience it deserves.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Somnoroase Păsărele - 0RT0 (V​-​VI) (2022)


GENRE : experimental, abstract, sound art, electronica, noise
RECORD LABEL : Beach Buddies Records

This latest installment in the ongoing ORTO series by Romanian experimental artist SOMNOROASE PĂSĂRELE (a.k.a Gili Mocanu) is an intricate and baffling sound journey into strange and disturbing unknown territories. In this 2-song release, sound signals are transmitted through dark tunnels of time and space - unreceived and never to return.... 

Complex patterns of surreal and fractured electronic pulses mingle with fluttering waves of threatening noise to create an eerie and unnerving, yet intriguing and undoubtedly original listening experience. I also find this music very claustrophobic, but Mocanu doesn't keep you in this dark unsettling environment long enough for you to want to run to the nearest exit. It's just right. Wonderful noise art.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Bandcamp Recommendations (Aug 22)

Here's the latest roundup of great albums that I've been listening to these past few weeks. These recommendations span a variety of different genres, but you'll probably notice that the majority of them fall into the experimental/instrumental category. It's not intentional - it's just my current taste and the particular phase I'm going through right now.

If you like what you see/hear, please support these great artists by purchasing their albums on Bandcamp and/or sharing their music on social media.

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Conducive - Global Makeshift Wounds (2022)


GENRE : experimental, sound art, noise art, field recordings, ambient, sound collage
RECORD LABEL : Veinte33 Records

Here's the latest release from the great Veinte33 records, and in my opinion - one of their very best.  Conducive is a new experimental sound artist. This debut album consists of two 20-minute long immersive noise pieces that suck you in and don't let go. These are fascinating sound collages made up from airport field recordings, various industrial machinery and very subtle melancholic ambient drones.

Sit back, relax and allow wave upon wave of deeply entrancing, constantly-evolving noise sweep you up and carry you away to other plains. What amazes me about the album is how utterly noisy it gets, whilst never crossing into that harsh/abrasive/deafening territory. This is hypnotic sound art at its finest - a beautiful bridging of mesmerizing abstract noise, field recordings and dreamy ambient bliss. I think I'm going to be spending a lot of time with this album... Excellent stuff, especially when you're high.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Ali Murray - Passing Through The Void EP (2022)


GENRE : dream folk, ambient pop, dream pop, psych folk, dark ambient, shoegaze
RECORD LABEL : Dead Forest Records

Here's the new EP from one of my favourite artists/songwriters that no one knows (or really seems to care) about - the reclusive Scottish songwriter/musician Ali Murray

This EP consists of 3 dark psychedelic dream-folk songs that sound like they were borne from the jagged sea-battered cliffs and barren moorlands of his native land - the Isle of Lewis. Murray's breathy tenor drifts sadly and sweetly against an ethereal backdrop of sprawling dark noise, melancholic ambience and classical instrumentation that ebbs and flows within these beautiful reverb-laden dreamscapes. An incredible EP that's over far too quickly from one of the best undiscovered songwriters out there that never fails to deliver the dark dreamy goods.

Stream/Download the EP here...

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Wiley Soule - Like Kaiju Vermin EP (2022)


GENRE : harsh noise, drone, field recordings, dark ambient, industrial, drum & bass
RECORD LABEL : self-released

Sometimes I hear a release that I love, but I choose to not write about it because I struggle to find the right vocabulary and terminology to do the music justice. This EP by experimental electronic artist Wiley Soule was definitely one of them. After several listens and a lot of humming and hawing, I decided to write a few meagre lines about this because it's too damn good to not be included on this list of recommendations.

This 3-song EP is a dark deranged cinematic head trip...a dazzling and confusing amalgamation of fractured bass-driven techno, haunting ambience, swirling musique concrete, erratic glitchy electronica and all kinds of chaotic sound samples and abstract field recordings - dripping and trickling and swooping across imaginary sonic landscapes and hallucinatory dream worlds. Incredible sound design and a truly original vision. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the EP here...

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Divider Line / The Creeping Man - You Are Not Alone In The Kiln (2022)


GENRE : experimental, noise, drone, field recordings, soundscapes
RECORD LABEL : Preston Capes

Dark ominous rumblings and dread-filled atmospheric tensions herald forth this new collaboration album between two experiment noise artists on the Preston Capes label. Before listening to this album I was only familiar with a small fraction of The Creeping Man's output, and none of Divider Line's... so I didn't really know what to expect, but I was immediately enticed and drawn into these creeping sweeping cinematic soundscapes - filled to the brim with nightmarish tension and grim suspense, and peppered with The Creeping Man's unmistakable use of old-timey Americana voice samples from (what I'm guessing to be) old educational documentaries and films. 

Something I really admire about this collaboration album is the restraint and discipline that both artists use in creating these atmospheres - they way they don't feel the need to crowd these spooky barren soundscapes with melodies and sounds. This music is slow and patient, and breathes its darkness across empty audio plains. It also has some moments of melodic beauty along the way, which are both well-placed and short-lived. Great album.

Stream/Download the album here...

https://prestoncapes1.bandcamp.com/album/pct-03-you-are-not-alone-in-the-kiln

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Hunki Dori - Reverie (2021)


GENRE : experimental, jazz, psychedelic, new age
RECORD LABEL : Ingrown Records

This is one of these unassuming albums that starts as one simple thing, and gradually evolves into something so much more. It treads all kinds of weird wacky psychedelic territories along the way, whilst maintaining its high quality, consistency and fuzzy charm.

Hunki Dori is the solo experimental project of musician/composer Dorothea Tachler. This album is bright and vaporous, fun and soulful, demented and dreamy, sweet and surreal... it's a sonic journey through the Korean side of Tachler's family life. 
Whilst the fundamental core of this music is definitely rooted in experimental lo-fi pop, it branches and swirls into other wacky areas of free-form jazz (accompanied by various brass and wind instruments), hazy new age electronica, lo-fi folk and baffling field recordings of Korean conversation and laughter. 
Despite the craziness - the feel of this music is warm, bittersweet and fun... It's a gorgeous treat of an album, and a beautiful contribution to the world of avant-pop. Highly recommend.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Floated - Sizzle EP (2022) 


GENRE : electronic pop, vaporwave, ethereal, R&B
RECORD LABEL : Totally Real Records

This is an amazing chill pop EP from film composer & ex-bassist of Frankie Cosmos - David Maine (a.k.a Floated), and the latest offering of the wonderful little tape label, Totally Real Records.

In the five songs that comprise this debut EP, Maine takes us on a short and luxurious sonic journey through a lonely vaporous dream world. Combining and meshing soft sensuous R&B balladry with ethereal electronic pop and plaintive cinematic soundscapes, it wraps the listener in a beautiful blanket of heavenly chill. 

This is not your average predictable pop artist, nor another ambient vaporwave artist... Floated employs his various skills, talents and experiences to tap into something more special and unique. Although the music is fairly simple, the lush production is not. And neither is the emotional impact of the songs. I highly recommend this awesome little EP.

Stream/Download the EP here...

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Sophie Stone - Amalgamations (2022)


GENRE : experimental, modern classical, minimalist, concert music
RECORD LABEL : Sawyer Editions

I'm a huge fan of minimalism - in music and in general. This album by English experimental composer/artist Sophie Stone is minimalist contemporary classical music taken to its glorious peaks, and sometimes beyond... 
It consists of four different compositions (viola, organ, cello & piano) of the same graphic score, performed by four different musicians between 2018 and 2022.

These performances are slow, quiet and constantly evolving. Sounds emerge out of nothingness, like some lonely form of life. The notes are fragile and sparse, overlapping and repeating, sustained and stretch out towards unknown horizons in these vast empty spaces that Stone has skillfully created. The overall effect is haunting and ominous, simmering and tense, shadowy and stark, cathartic and undeniably beautiful.
 
'Amalgamations' is a quiet and intense listening experience. It forces you to slow down and surrender yourself to its bare vulnerable beauty. Brilliant album. 

If you like this, you should explore the rest of the Sawyer Editions discography. They've released lots of weird and wonderful experimental/improvised contemporary classical music.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Eric Mingus & Catherine Sikora - The Zuzax Protocol (2022)


GENRE : experimental, improvisation, jazz, blues,
RECORD LABEL : Fort Evil Fruit

This is an album of wild improvised guitar & saxophone duets from longtime collaborators Eric Mingus and Catherine Sikora. I wasn't familiar with either of these artists before listening to this album, so I approached it with fresh innocent ears...which didn't stay innocent for long once the glorious sonic assault began...

The guitar sounds are dirty, raw and completely exposed and bare. Mingus' strings are mashed and bashed, plucked and stabbed, bent and sustained...allowing the notes and melodies to constantly rise to wild cacophonous screeches and then fall back down in tired resignation. And within the empty spaces and echoes of Mingus' guitar playing, Sikora's back-alley jazzy saxophone flourishes breathe sweet soulfulness into the mix. These jams are totally organic and raw, natural and pure... 

Mingus and Sikora don't feel the need to hide behind any walls of noise, or use any fancy production techniques to make this album pretty and clean, and I admire that very much. I love it just the way it is. It's a genuine improvised collaboration between two disciplined musicians who aren't shy to express themselves on their instruments, yet there's no overcrowding. The silences on this album are just as important as the musical notes. Excellent album.

Fort Evil Fruit is an awesome Irish tape label that specialize in releasing a lot of odd experimental/avant-garde music. Go and check out their Bandcamp page. It's a bounty of great experimental noise.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Tremosphere - Memoirs of A French Garden (2022)


GENRE : alternative rock, psychedelic, dream pop, shoegaze
RECORD LABEL : Slugg Records

I've been meaning to check this album out for months, and I'm so glad I finally did. Tremosphere is the sister band of the awesome Bipolar Explorer, and consists of two out of its three members. Whilst Bipolar Explorer are more of a dark psyched-out trippy textural soundscape outfit, Tremosphere lean more towards moody pop-oriented minimalist alt-rock.

Their sound is undoubtedly and unashamedly heavily tinged with the 90's alt-rock/shoegaze sound, but not in a cheesy contrived ''retro for the sake of retro'' way... their delivery seems totally authentic and sincere. The noisy post-rock guitars are minimalistic and raw, and the French-accented vocals are sultry and dreamy and beautiful.
In this album, Tremosphere incorporate the fuzzed-out dreamy psychedelia of Mazzy Star, the femme guitar-driven shoegaze pop of Lush, and the wistful downbeat alt-grunge of The Cranberries into their own unique vision and take you on a special top-notch dream ride.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Lalén Ríos Luna - Vouchsafe Me More, Soundpicture (2022)


GENRE : experimental, avant-garde, sound art, improvisation, noise
RECORD LABEL : self-released

Lalén Ríos Luna is a very prolific experimental sound artist that releases music under the umbrella of Porous Collective - a vast and impressive body of work that's well worth exploring (or at least dipping into) if you're a fan of improvised abstract noise art.

Listening to this album makes me feel like I'm tangled in the wires of some kind of dark futuristic alien computer lab - incapacitated and forced to witness and surveil the chaotic hive of strange artificial activity surrounding me. 
The textural soundscapes that make up this album are filled to the brim with unsettling atmospheric vibrations, zapping swirling laser frequencies, eerie robotic clunking, digital bleeping, dark rumblings and a plethora of other unknown sonic abstractions - ricocheting off the walls before disappearing completely. 

The overall vibe is disturbing and claustrophobic, but so abstract and impressionistic that I can't even begin to guess what the artist was trying to achieve with this album, but it's challenging and unique and powerful. Highly recommended. 

Stream/Download the album here...

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Sunplus - Soft Printing Machines (2022) 


GENRE : experimental, lo-fi, ambient, drone, noise, glitch
RECORD LABEL : Canigou Records

Here's some sweet glitchy free-flowing ambient music from dreamy Spanish cassette label Canigou Records. Sunplus is the solo music project of Rob Shields, who recorded this album while living alone near the coastline of South Wales.

The first thing that caught my attention was how accurately the music portrays what the album title suggests. Upon clicking play, I was immediately enraptured by the beautiful merging of soft clicking mechanical sounds and liquidy synth melodies - dripping, bubbling and cascading all around me like gentle rain. The atmosphere of this music is so beautiful and calming...yet unpredictable and abstract. I love it.

Stream/Download the album here...

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SANA OBRUENT - A Star Sinks Into A Sea of Art (2022) 


GENRE : dark ambient, shoegaze, drone, soundscape, cinematic
RECORD LABEL : Self-Released

Here's the latest breathtaking guitar-driven release from the talented and prolific ambient artist Sana Obruent who never fails to deliver great haunting soundscapes.

This album is a delicate and poignant dance of light and dark. Muted notes and shimmering melodies rise and flicker like candle flames within the deep ghost-filled soundscapes that the artist has skillfully constructed. At times peaceful and serene, and at other times unsettling and foreboding... this album had me engulfed and enraptured from start to finish. A beautiful dark ambient treat for these troubled times.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Heavy Cloud - Memoria (2022) 


GENRE : drone, field recordings, noise, sound collage, ambient, electronic
RECORD LABEL : Histamine Tapes

This is a deep and poignant textural exploration of the human memory - the absurd and confusing nature of its recall, and the way it affects us emotionally. In this album, Heavy Cloud has created glitchy fragmented electronic loops, stuttering white noise and abstract fractured sound samples that float uneasily on a beautiful bed of decaying synth ambience and vinyl hiss. 

This music is both challenging and calming to listen to. I found myself completely enveloped by the interesting textures and tones, and the ethereal dream-like quality of these sound collages that lay torn and scattered across the entire foundation of this album like scraps of old partially forgotten stories from the annals of personal history. A strange and broken, yet wonderfully-enticing kaleidoscopic journey through one individual's complex and intricate memory... and an all-round brilliant album.  

Stream/Download the album here...

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David Wallraf - No War (2022)


GENRE : noise, post-industrial, electronic, field recordings
RECORD LABEL : Brachliegen Tapes

Нет Войне means 'No War' in Russian, and it's the loud bold title of the latest album from Hamburg noise artist/theorist/researcher/author David Wallraf - freshly released on experimental noise label Brachliegen Tapes just a couple of days ago.

This album is a dark violent stormy affair (and rightly so, given the grim and sadly relevant theme/message) but it is also a deceivingly melodic and musical one. Right from the opening of the first song, the listener is assaulted with the sound of dramatic war-like drums, dark blowing spectral noise and a repeated electronic melody line that (dare I say) sounds like a metallic rock riff, but repeated over and over in a satisfyingly hypnotic way that lodges itself inside your brain... 
The album as a whole is a raw, frightening, trance-inducing, post-industrial noise-dub assault that rattles and shatters... a visceral reaction to the tragedy and hopelessness of war, and a great soundtrack for these dark times.

P.S All proceeds of this album go to Nash Svit - an organization that helps protect the LGBQT community in Ukraine. You can read more about it on the Bandcamp page.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Sunday, 10 July 2022

Experimental Noise Recommendations (July 22)

Here's my latest list of experimental noise recommendations. My words hardly do these albums justice. Just listen to them and support these great independent artists and record labels...

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Mathoms -The Woe Trumpets (2022)


GENRE : sound art, experimental, noise, dark ambient, electronica
RECORD LABEL : Decaying Spheres

Mathoms is Mathew Tomkinson - a multidisciplinary sound artist based in Vancouver, and this is his extraordinary debut album. It's an audiovisual exploration of the hidden quiet subtexts found within the grim metaphor of apocalypse. Beginning as a critical study of the cataclysmic and dystopian soundscapes found within the golden era of disaster cinema (the 1970s, of course), it naturally morphed into something a lot more personal and frightening once the pandemic hit...

This album conjures up terrifying images of falling ash, slow-motion train wrecks, burning buildings, rising seas and other forms of chaos and calamity. It's a dark sprawling sonic exploration of end times. The nightmarish atmosphere of this album is made up of oppressive analogue electronics, desolate textures, disturbing cinematic impact hits, ominous Carpenter-esque synthscapes, calm mournful drones, shimmering ambience that quavers like atmospheric vibrations, abstract field recordings, swells of explosive white noise, along with some bits of organic instrumentation... constantly bouncing back and forth between dark unsettling stillness and abrupt climaxes.

But rather than wallowing in gloom and despair - this album exists as a reality check and an awakening. It focuses on the idea of a better world. It's a beautiful work of art, and a joyous listening experience. Another great release from Decaying Spheres.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Vongoiva - Jatuli Observatory (2022) 


GENRE : dark ambient, sound art, drone, experimental, modern classical
RECORD LABEL : Flaming Pines

This is a dramatic and stunning merging of experimental visual/sound art and drone music that was recorded on a tiny Finnish island called Jurmo (which has a population of only a dozen people) during a 5-day long winter storm. 

Inspired by Finnish folk tales, the audiovisual duo of Heikki Lindgren and Ville Westerlund have created an album of dark frightening oceanic ambient soundscapes and violent whirlwinds of hypnotic noise, shot through with some haunting viking (Jouhikko) violin. 
This is deeply immersive patient listening. The collective sounds are both archaic and new - water trickling and gurgling over rocks, stormy winds battering barren coastlines, aqueous stones being tossed about and slammed against each other, sweet birdsong and other cold desolate island field recordings... all against a shadowy musical backdrop of rich cinematic drones, minimalistic electronica and howling tortured violins. This is a dark tempestuous Nordic treat for the senses. Great stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Amy Cutler - Gutter (2021)

GENRE : experimental, electronica, field recordings, abstract, soundscapes
RECORD LABEL : Misophonia Records

Dr Amy Cutler is an experimental geographer, musician and filmmaker who makes B-movies for humans and non-humans alike based on fieldwork.

This is her second album. It's a strange and perplexing journey through dense intricate cobwebs of deranged sound. At times playful, at times morose, at times utterly freakish and demented... it's an intriguing audio swampland and an emotional hotpot. 
Written and recorded during the 2020 lockdown isolation, Cutler uses a variety of conventional (guitars, electronics) and unconventional (VHS, a windscreen wiper!) sounds to aurally portray the madness and loneliness of the world that's come to an abrupt standstill. This is an artist particularly adept at using found sounds to create such rich interesting atmospheres and warped musical textures. Highly recommended if you're seeking a unique and awesome ambient listening experience.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Clay Monke - Pour l'amour Des Insectes (2022)


GENRE : ambient, sound art, field recordings, glitch
RECORD LABEL : Vivarium Recordings

I had decided that I was going to like this album before I had even heard it, and it certainly did not disappoint! It's predominantly an album of field recordings - a love letter to the insect world, to all things small and great, but it's also a very melodic and musical listening experience. Throughout the songs on this album you will hear the mighty cacophonous buzzing, chirping and alien-like wails of the natural world, to a splendid backdrop of vaporous ambient music. This album combines some of the best elements of experimental sound art with futuristic cyber pop electronica to create these rich hazy textures and immersive walls of beautiful drone that is so engulfing and satisfying. 

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NUM - Memory Machine (2018)


GENRE : avant-garde, electronica, sound art
RECORD LABEL : Dinzu Artefacts

NUM is an Iranian experimental electronic duo consisting of Milad Bagheri & Maryan Sirvan, and this is their 2018 release on the Dinzu Artefacts record label - a deep resounding exploration of memory and the complexities of the human mind.
  
Haunting and ominous rumbles, dark pulses, broody abstract oceanic ambience and frightening cacophonous swells make up this tumultuous journey of an album - divided into two parts. Voice, flute, electronics and field recordings comprise this exquisite work of dark abstract beauty. These individual elements are barely distinguishable within the sound, which truly reflects the way our minds retain memories and play them back to us - murky, erratic, strange and confusing as hell.

This album digs deep into your conscience and leaves you haunted and spellbound, in the most wonderful way. 

Stream/Download the album here...

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Quiet Clapping - The Abbey of the Black Hag (2021)


GENRE : experimental, noise, sound art, drone, minimalism
RECORD LABEL : Woodford Halse

Inspired by Irish witches and haunted places, this album is a slow eerie noise meditation on the dark mythology and folklore that surrounds the infamous banshee (that otherwordly female spirit that heralds the death of a family member by her terrifying wailing) and the various places that she was known to haunt around the Irish countryside.

Quiet Clapping is the experimental noise project of Jonathan Deasy. Using turntables, dubplates, guitars, organs and a cello - he has created an album of slow, spooky and extremely unsettling soundscapes that move like an ominous fog emerging from dark haunted forests. 
The sound is ancient and contemporary, rustic and cultivated, distressing and dreamy... It slowly scratches and pulses and breathes its way into your psyche, to the point where you inevitably feel that awful need to look over your shoulder, for fear of dark figures and other horrific things that may be heading your way...

This a great immersive noise record. Its frightening and mournful atmospheres will haunt you and eventually engulf you, in the best possible way. Another great release from the brilliant Woodford Halse label.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Nobuka - Miniature (2022)

 

GENRE : musique concrete, avant-garde, jazz, cinematic, drone
RECORD LABEL : Difficult Art & Music

Nobuka is the lo-fi experimental electronic music project of Michel Van Collenburg. This album is a deep abstract textural exploration of the psyche - fleeting memories, transient thoughts and all the strange complexities of human feelings and emotions. These 22 compositions are erratic, unnerving, confusing and frightening... yet absurdly beautiful. 
Musically, it's a cacophonous whirlwind of free-form jazz, abstract ambience, field recordings, musique concrete, modern classical and avant-garde sound art. These short minimalistic arrangements will creep and crawl into your psyche, constantly shifting between being comforting and utterly distressing...

'Miniature' is a slice of beautiful madness that gets better with each and every listen. It's a strange but splendid aural journey into the abstract dimensions of a troubled mind. 

If you're looking for more challenging experimental music, you should take a look at the other releases from Difficult Art & Music.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Draaier - The Town That Was Murdered (2021)


GENRE : experimental, noise, dark ambient, soundscapes
RECORD LABEL : Submarine Broadcasting Company

This is a bleak and disturbing noise record. It was written as a homage to a book of the same name by Ellen Wilkinson about the horrific dismantling and ruination of the small industrial town of Jarrow (England) during the 1930s, in the years leading up to the rise of Hitler...

The atmosphere of this album is dark, violent and harrowing... as it should be. Howling swirling ambience, bursts of angry static, fierce rumbling drones, sorrowful synth melodies, glitchy electronics and violent industrial noise makes up the tense and frightening soundscapes. It is the sound of devastation, anger and injustice. Listening to this music fills me with overbearing sadness and dread, but I love it. Highly recommended.

While you're at it, you should check out the other releases on the Submarine Broadcasting Co. Bandcamp page. Lots of excellent stuff to explore on there.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Lemon Trio - Ombra Rossa (2022)


GENRE : avant-garde, jazz improvisation, experimental, free jazz
RECORD LABEL : Mute Ant Sounds

Recorded live in Paris, this is an album of 3 improvised free form jazz compositions and experimental sound art. The whole thing is one big interplay and interweaving of fractured and fragmented sounds - banging and twanging, screeching and whimpering... a soft yet unnerving battle of organic noises, making the performance feel like it's constantly on the verge of total collapse.

Like in all good live shows - the musicians onstage and the crowd are feeding off each other's energy, and you can really hear/feel that in this album. As chaotic and fearsome as these compositions are, the band are somehow able to lock in with each other and end the set in the same way that they begun. Amazing.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Sophie Sleigh-Johnson - Nuncio Ref! (2022)


GENRE : experimental, noise, field recordings, tape play
RECORD LABEL : Crow Versus Crow

This album is mental. Comprised of a variety of found sounds, field recordings and tape musique concrete - this is a baffling yet intriguing sonic assault of surreal British radio & TV snippets, eerie psychic readings, demented news reports and fragments from an unearthed transcript of Leonard Rossiter's lost Mystery Play. But it also contains some musical elements - mashed and bashed beyond recognition - and lots of bizarre and compelling sound manipulation and noise experimentation. The spoken voice samples alone are utterly fascinating.

I can't explain to you what this album is. You'll just have to experience it yourself in all its weird and glorious surreality. It's so good.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Odd Person - Flowers of Arcadia (2019)


GENRE : experimental, noise, ambient, new age, drone
RECORD LABEL : Ingrown Records

This album chills me out and makes me sweat at the same time. This is beautiful minimalistic electronica music, performed against a backdrop of exotic jungle noises, tropical field recordings and miscellaneous abstract sounds. Within seconds of pressing play I was seduced by the serene and intoxicating soundscapes of that were filling my ears. All the beautiful birdsong and waterfalls sounds, the mysterious shimmering ambience and the meditative synthscapes make for a peaceful slice of plaintive electronica. And what beautiful artwork...

Stream/Download the album here...

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The Unknown Sound Collective - Phantoms (2021)


GENRE : soundscape, noise, dark ambient, industrial, drone
RECORD LABEL : Xtelyon Records

The Unknown Sound Collective is an experimental music project led by Elena Botts - a published poet, visual artist and multimedia conceptual artist. She also releases solo material under her moniker Mourning Dove.

The album is a dark swirling abyss of spooky vocal ambience, unsettling industrial drones, abstract rumbling and wavering white noise. The overall effect is both frightening and beautiful. The dark trembling ghostly atmospheres of these four eerie pieces of music, along with Botts' haunting melodies and cryptic spoken words will haunt you and comfort you throughout its duration. Awesome.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Saturday, 9 July 2022

Bandcamp Recommendations (July 22)

I'm back with an attack! Here is the first of two recommendations lists I'll be posting this weekend. I've been listening to so much incredible music lately that I feel the desperate need to share.

Spanning various genres, from post-hardcore to R&B to psych folk...here are some awesome albums and EPs you should definitely check out. 

* Tomorrow I'll be posting a list of Experimental Noise recommendations.

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Proper. - The Great American Novel (2022)


GENRE : post-hardcore, alternative punk, emo rock, prog rock, queer punk
RECORD LABEL : Father Daughter Records / Big Scary Monsters

Proper. are a proudly queer black punk trio from Brooklyn that I randomly came across while I was investigating the wonderful Father/Daughter Records Bandcamp page.

I had never heard of Proper. before. It was the intriguing album title that caught my attention. I decided to give this a listen and was instantly reeled in by the fearless honesty, the raw bare emotion and the furious unbridled passion of this band's sound - both musically and lyrically. 

Musically, it's a fierce assault of blistering post-hardcore, 00's Midwestern-style emo, abrasive alt-punk and melodic metalcore. The lyrics are fearlessly confessional. It's the story of modern America told through the lens of a young queer black person that isn't afraid to confront ugly truths and tell it like it is, without any concerns for comforting the listener. It deals with tough subject matter - the prevalent (and relevant) themes being racial injustice, identity crisis and the apathy and aimlessness of the American youth, whilst retaining a healthy amount of universal appeal. I love it. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Thursday, Anberlin, Brand New & At The Drive-In.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Gone - Fever Dream (2022)

 

GENRE : post-grunge, slowcore, shoegaze, alt-rock 
RECORD LABEL : Heavenly Creature Records

Here's some slow fuzzy ethereal post-grunge from Scotland. This album is a dreamy hotpot of slow plodding alt-rock, melodic post-hardcore and pensive shoegaze. Think Deftones meets Codeine meets Slowdive, and you might get a decent idea of what this sounds like. Plenty of beautifully dissonant guitar chords ringing out, melodic basslines, broody drum patterns and breathy vocals. It makes me think about walking alone through the tenement blocks and industrial estates of Glasgow on a sad grey Sunday morning. Excellent album from Heavenly Creature Records, who are an excellent little label.


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David Colohan - Where The Leaves Fall First (2022)

 

GENRE : minimalist folk, ambient, soundscape, alternative folk, psychedelic folk
RECORD LABEL : Cruel Nature Records

This is a slow beautiful trance-inducing minimalist folk album from Irish songwriter/musician David Colohan. Consisting of two long meditative pieces of progressive pastoral folk music that softly tug at the heartstrings, it conjures up rural scenes of serene stillness and vast empty landscapes. Created using a variety of organic instruments, such as softly strummed acoustic guitars, melancholic harmoniums, yearning violas/violins and fragile male/female vocals - this music is filled with ancient longing. It shimmers and swells and speaks to us of an ambiguous and haunting loss.

This is a beautiful immersive record, bridging the gap between experimental psych folk and dreamy minimalist ambient music. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Dead Beats - End of Time EP (2022)

 

GENRE : R&B, soul, experimental, electronica
RECORD LABEL : Vivarium Recordings

The latest release from Vivarium Recordings is a murky liquidy R&B EP from a Massachusetts-based electronic artist called Dead Beats. This EP consists of five ethereal pop songs about desire, love, loneliness and longing. The silky wistful vocals emerge dreamily out of shimmering walls of lo-fi electronic synth pads, giving the songs a sad yet sensual vibe... whilst retaining its psychedelic vapor weirdness. Recommended for fans of Jamie Woon, The Weeknd & Inc.


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Mouth Washington - Remiss (2021)

 

GENRE : post-hardcore, post-punk, noise rock
RECORD LABEL : Repeating Cloud

Here's some ripping roaring noise rock chaos from Portland melodic post-hardcore band Mouth Washington. From what I've heard, there was a lot of tragedy and pain behind this album. Not only artistically/conceptually, but also within the band itself...

The album tells the true story of a Maine woman (Constance Fisher) who drowned her three children in a bathtub in 1954, was institutionalized, got released and institutionalized again until 1973 when she escaped from hospital grounds and drowned herself. 
And if that's not grim enough - the lead guitarist of the band (Will Herd) died tragically and unexpectedly, soon after the making of this album. This was his final legacy and his swan song.

This band has a fierce brutal punk energy, which I love. It's a noisy and uncompromising, visceral and cathartic, melodic and chaotic post-hardcore album that's well worth your time and energy. Their sound is constantly unpredictable and unconventional, treading on some experimental territories that most rock bands don't go near. Highly recommended for fans of Fugazi, Touche Amore and Raein.

Stream/Download the album here...

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The Honeysuckle Steamboat - Echoes of Paradise (2022)

 

GENRE : alternative folk, psych folk, folk rock, indie folk
RECORD LABEL : Vard Records

Get your tickets ready and come aboard The Honeysuckle Steamboat! Here's some good summery alternative folk-rock for you. The 3 songs that comprise this debut EP are fun, quirky, sweet and catchy as hell... with a subtle twisted underlying darkness that makes it slightly unsettling. A compelling mixture of 70s psych folk and contemporary bedroom pop. Great music for gazing into a nice babbling brook on a calm summer's morning.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Snowhore - Everything Tastes Bad (2021)


GENRE : pop rock, indie rock, indie folk, bedroom pop
RECORD LABEL : Devil Town Tapes

Snowhore are a minimalist power pop trio from Philadelphia, centered around songwriter/vocalist Veronica Isley. They play wistful lethargic bedroom pop - perfect for sad summer days. The vocals are beautiful, and the instrumentation is minimal and sparse. Isley clearly has the pop sensibilities of certain acts from the 60s/70s, but it's delivered with a punk energy and a raw garage rock style production. Although Isley's form of songwriting is pretty damn downbeat - this album is a real joy to listen to, from beginning to end. 

If you're seeking great lo-fi power pop songs about tumultuous relationships and youthful apathy, look no further. This is a delicious pop treat that you'll want to return to again and again. 

Stream/Download the album here...

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Nancy Gaffield & The Drift - Wealdon (2020)

 

GENRE : experimental, psych folk, progressive, spoken word 
RECORD LABEL : Skep Wax Records

This is a collaborative auditory exploration of the rural Kentish landscape - specifically the marshland of The High Weald down to the sea at Dungeness. This particular area of the land is only a few hundred years old, and may only last another few hundred years, due to the rising sea levels...

In this album the poet Nancy Gaffield has teamed up with experimental band The Drift to create these haunting long drawn-out psychedelic soundscapes that paint an evocative picture of the place that inspired its creation. 
Bass guitar effectively used as the sound foundation of these pieces, which is wonderfully backed up and coloured with a variety of other instruments including harmonium, melodica, and clarinet, along with other non-musical instruments like shingles & bracken. 
The music is progressive and semi-improvised, and is used as a dark pastoral landscape in which Gaffield's spoken word poetry sits comfortably in. Gaffield's observational and meditative poetry takes us on unique emotional journey through the histories and present state of the marshlands, and everything in between. It is both grounded and dreamy, simple and complex, cerebral and visceral...

Overall, this is a beautiful and disturbing exploration of a troubled corner of the Kentish landscape, and a great album. It's like 60s/70s-inspired psychedelic folk meets cinematic post-rock meets experimental sound art.

Stream/Download the EP here...

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Non Pathogen - Dead Words EP (2022)


GENRE : industrial hardcore, doom rock, noise punk, metalcore, experimental electronica
RECORD LABEL : Imploding Sounds

Here's some dark misanthropic industrial hardcore music from Scotland. According to the Bandcamp blurb, this project was borne from the overwhelming anger and sadness that has plagued the individual behind it throughout his entire existence, and you can tell...

This debut EP is a brutal hate-filled noise assault - combining elements from industrial electronica, alternative doom rock, hardcore punk, metalcore and harsh noise into walls and walls of hideous yet glorious noise. Wild and uncontrollable down-tuned guitars, wailing synthesizers, electronic drum loops and piercing screams and yells are all fighting to be heard at once - the end result being a noisy doom-laden mess that's all over before you're even able to catch your breath.

This is a dark and frightening musical catharsis. Definitely not for everyone (especially those easily triggered by harsh ugly truths) but if it hits - it hits hard, and begs for repeated plays. A baffling and brilliant debut EP from a deeply troubled and tormented soul.

Stream/Download the EP here...

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Oblivion Orchestra - Scene To Scene (2021)

 

GENRE : alternative folk, atmospheric folk, singer-songwriter, indie rock
RECORD LABEL : self-released

Oblivion Orchestra (a.k.a Josh Allen) is a singer-songwriter, but this certainly isn't typical singer-songwriter music. Though the central focal point of the sound is a lone strummed acoustic guitar and Allen's vulnerable voice, it's completely surrounded by a heavily-layered sonic blizzard of atmospheric reverb-laden cellos that constantly soar and sweep and fall around these bare simple pop compositions.
Allen self-admittedly can't play the cello... but he is also a sound designer and film composer, which is very evident in the execution and production of this album, and the fact that he is not a trained cellist makes for interesting listening, and a unique aural treat. 

As a big fan of both dreamy minimalistic singer-songwriter music and immersive ambient/drone music, this album feels like a soft gentle kiss from someone strange yet familiar. If you crave hazy blurry Americana-style folk with cinematic soundscapes, look no further. 

Stream/Download the album here...

Sunday, 19 June 2022

Ambient/Drone Recommendations (June 22)

I've compiled another list of great ambient/drone recommendations for you all....

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Galya Bisengalieva - Aralkum (2020)


GENRE : modern classical, ambient, drone, electronica
RECORD LABEL : One Little Independent Records

Galya Bisengalieva is a Kazakh-British modern classical composer/violinist who has collaborated with a bunch of famous musicians (including Thom Yorke and Frank Ocean) and is currently the leader of The London Symphony Orchestra.
This is her debut solo album. It's a concept album about the tragic and devastating shrinking of The Aral Sea in Central Asia. Satellite images have shown that the Eastern basin has completely dried up, and is now sadly referred to as The Aralkum Desert.

The music is dark, dramatic and expansive...like the visible ecological disaster that's threatening this large beautiful body of water. Sad yearning violin parts ebb and flow over a rich haunting sea of slow brooding ambient electronica. The musical elements that comprise these compelling soundscapes are a mixture of atmospheric electroacoustic classical instrumentation (strings, contrabass flute), rumbling downtempo beats, saturated ambient textures, field recordings and minimalistic (often glitchy) electronica that are often playing out in strange conflicting rhythms.

This album is a vast and pensive journey from start to finish. If you relax and allow yourself to get immersed in this haunting and murky oceanic ambience, your patience will be rewarded tenfold. Great album.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Leena Lee & Vania Fortuna - Niebla (2022)


GENRE : experimental, sound art, ambient, field recordings, Mexico
RECORD LABEL : Flaming Pines 

This is a wonderful sonic study/meditation on the quetzel bird. The quetzal bird is the sacred bird of the ancient Mayas and Aztecs, and is currently the national emblem of Guatemala. They are an important part of the cloud forest ecosystem and are in danger of extinction.

In this beautiful and inspired project, the collaborative duo of sound artist/researcher/teacher Leena Lee and vocalist Vania Fortuna (both from Niebla, Mexico) decided to do a sonic exploration of the deep entanglement and connection between ourselves as human beings and the natural world. They have used sound, field recordings and the human voice to specifically explore the listening and composing practices of women, while heightening and spreading ecological awareness.

This is an emotional, spiritual and deeply immersive album of quiet melodies, subtle whispers, glistening ambience, misty soundscapes and slow manifestations of human emotion. It is the reflection of a magical place, and the human and non-human relationships that naturally co-exist there. This music is intimate and alluring, patient and complex...and beautifully rewarding. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Jeannine Schulz - Luminous (2021)


GENRE : ambient, soundscape, post rock, neoclassical
RECORD LABEL : Polar Seas Recordings

Mournful and muted notes rise and fall, backwards and forwards within this shimmering sea of fragile audio hiss. The frequencies dance and mingle with each other - sometimes swelling to majestic heights, other times disintegrating and dissipating entirely...

German artist/musician Jeannine Schulz has created an album of beautiful grey undulating dreamscapes using minimalistic instrumentation. Sweeping and pulsing synthesizers are mixed with slow sorrowful post-rock guitars, executed with a wonderful subtlety and finesse, allowing the emptiness to breathe... Great album.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Thomas Ragsdale - Sonder (2019)


GENRE : ambient, dark ambient, techno, electronica, soundscape
RECORD LABEL : Soundtracking The Void

Thomas Ragsdale is a musician/composer from Yorkshire that specializes in a wide range of cinematic electronica and atmospheric techno. In this album he has created stunning widescreen colour-drained soundscapes that feels like you're being sucked into long grey windy tunnels, not knowing what kind of a world you're going to emerge into at the other end. The rich textures, the intricate sound design and the deep trance-inducing atmospheres of these four long pieces are dark, chilling and wonderfully captivating. 

This is the first album I've listened to of his, and I'm really looking forward to checking out more. Incredible stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Sangam - Hope You Don't Leave (2022)


GENRE : dark ambient, dark electronica, dystopian, dreampunk
RECORD LABEL : Decaying Spheres

Here's a beautiful dark downtempo electronic ambient album from Manchester artist/producer Sangam. As the album title and song names suggest - it's a musical portrayal of heartbreak, longing, regret, anger and grief. 

Press play and let the dystopian soundscapes and swelling waves of electronic sadness wash over you and engulf you entirely. Though the music itself is very synthetic, the sorrow and heartache conveyed within the sound is very organic and real. These songs clutch at your heart and squeeze tightly, and it feels absolutely blissful. 
Perfect music for night time walks in the pouring rain, wallowing in your own emotional pain and suffering...or simply just sitting around, staring out a window, reflecting on what could have been...

Decaying Spheres are a fantastic little record label that release all kinds of dark dramatic ambient goodness - both digitally and on limited edition cassette tapes. If you like this album, you should definitely check out the rest of their releases.

Stream/Download the album here...
https://decayingspheres.bandcamp.com/album/hope-you-dont-leave

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Euan Dalgarno - Swimitrupl (2022)


GENRE : modern classical, cinematic, experimental, IDM, dark ambient
RECORD LABEL : Not Yet Remembered

Here's a beautiful and unique modern classical album from Edinburgh-based musician/composer Euan Dalgarno - the latest signing to the wonderful Not Yet Remembered record label.

Right from the opening notes, this music twists and circles and soars like strange magical birds over quiet secluded forests that have been undisturbed by human beings for a long time. This album is very rhythmic yet soothing, triumphant yet haunting... a wondrous whirlpool of unpredictable yet infectious rhythms, playful wind instruments, sweeping string sections, glitchy IDM and beautiful choral voices that ebb and flow with a powerful yet subtle majesty.
The repetitive and additive rhythms and structures are slightly reminiscent of Phillip Glass or Steve Reich, whilst also having the soaring crescendos and sensibilities of more contemporary acts like Sigur Ros, Radiohead and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Great album.

(I wasn't too sure whether to include this one in this recommendations list, given that it's definitely more modern classical than ambient/drone...but it's close enough! Not going to overthink it.)

Stream/Download the album here...

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Andy Cartwright - Form Less Ness (2022)


GENRE : ambient, minimalist, sound art, experimental
RECORD LABEL : A Quiet Room

Here's a beautiful work of ethereal fluidity. This music is both melodic and abstract, dancing formlessly and fragile in its own aqueous soundscape. It splashes and gurgles like water in a ghostly container, whilst whispering and howling like air in some sort of otherworldly ventilation duct. 
The original source material for the sounds Cartwright creates is ambiguous and pretty much unrecognizable (at least to my ears), but from doing a bit of my own research I discovered that the album contains personal field recordings captured during trips to the Alps and Nepal. Very interesting.

As the Bandcamp blurb states, this music balances on the verge between ambient music and sound art. Whilst undoubtedly abstract and formless, it's melodic and soothing enough to be enjoyed as a dreamy ambient album, in all its strange delightful vulnerability. Awesome stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Autumna - Linden Home Range (2021)

 

GENRE : ambient, minimalist, electronica, field recordings, musique concrete
RECORD LABEL : Shady Ridge Records

Shady Ridge Records consistently serve up splendid aural treats, and here's a great example of beautiful ambient splendor. Autumna self-describes this album as a sound diary of a 3-week holiday in the South of France, and an analogy of the relationship between a visitor and his surroundings.

This music is full of peaceful reflections and fragmented glimpses into the unspoiled beauty of the natural world, and all its hidden places. The tranquil ambience, nature recordings and pastoral sound collages that comprise these 8 tracks tell us stories of serenity and escape. It brings to mind images of still waters, sweet birdsong and majestic open spaces... this album is a great getaway from the stresses and worries of everyday existence, and such a joyful listening experience.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Veryan - Hiraeth EP (2020)

 

GENRE : electronica, ambient electronica, dark ambient, downtempo, shoegaze
RECORD LABEL : self-released

Here's a spectacular dark little EP from Scottish electronica musician Veryan. It's aptly named 'Hiraeth' - a mysterious and evocative Welsh word that has no English equivalent, but likens it to a feeling of homesickness/nostalgia tinged with grief and sadness over the lost or departed, which includes a ''home'' you can never return to...

However anyone wants to define the word 'Hiraeth' -  Veryan successfully manages to encapsulate and convey her own musical interpretation of this ambiguous feeling in the four songs that comprise this stunning little EP. It's a short but wondrous journey through the dark lonely tunnels of the human heart. Veryan combines cold cinematic electronica, dark ambience, ethereal shoegaze and sparse post-rock guitars to create these rich expansive beautiful soundscapes. 

This is the perfect soundtrack to a lonely night drive, or a winter walk across a frozen expanse, or simply indulging in some intense introspection. This music speaks loudly to those who are lost and slowly learning to let go of a past that may have never even existed in the first place....

Stream/Download the album here...

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Bipolar Explorer - Forests, Voices, Coastlines, Dreams...(2021) 


GENRE : experimental, post-rock, dark ambient, shoegaze
RECORD LABEL : Slugg Records

It's time to close your eyes, open your heart and allow yourself to indulge in this gorgeous swirl of spellbinding psychedelic ambience. Mesmerizing voices and atmospheric guitars emerging from the depths of misty forests and the heights of darkened mountaintops amidst the pulsing of ominous drones, nature recordings and hypnotic swells of both organic and synthesized noise. 
As the title of the album suggests - this is the sonic interweaving of nature, human emotion and the metaphysical. A glorious head trip of post-rock psychedelia, hallucinatory English/French poetry, dreamy ambience and deeply immersive noisy soundscapes.

Something I really admire and respect is the guitar player's discipline and restraint throughout this entire album. His minimalistic use of simple tremolo'd chords and feedbacking loops of noise are powerful and alluring and atmospheric. It complements the mood of this music perfectly. The playing and tone kind of reminds of David Roback (Mazzy Star), heard in a completely different context. All the instrumentation and vocals on this album are wonderful and executed with such intelligence and finesse.

This music requires a lot patience... but it's such a rewarding and satisfying listening experience, if you give it the space and time it deserves. 

Stream/Download the album here...

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Ninth Sign - Presence (2022)


GENRE : ambient, drone, meditative, ethereal, electronic
RECORD LABEL : self-released

Wordless mantras, slow breaths, deep quiet meditations on the present... Not much happens in this album, and you don't want it to. As soon as you click play, you realize within seconds that you've found a beautiful place - a sanctuary of wonderful stillness and tranquility. This music is all about savoring the moment, and giving your whole self to the here and now...

This album of lush beautiful ambient/drone music helps forget our past mistakes and future fears. Ninth Sign has created these glistening dreamscapes that forces the listener to slow down, breathe deeply and make the best of the present moment - something we all need to do more often. Lovely album.

Stream/Download the album here...

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