Tuesday, 16 May 2023

Bandcamp Recommendations (May 23)

Hello everyone. I've been pretty quiet on the blogging front lately, for various reasons...

But anyway - here's my latest list of Bandcamp recommendations for you. I was meant to publish this weeks ago, but life kept getting in the way...

Without further ado...


Bipolar Explorer - In The Hours Left Until Dawn (2023) 

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

This is an album of nocturnal dreamscapes, filled with restless shadows and dim pulsating lights to guide you on your way. Embarking on this long, winding, hallucinatory sound journey is like entering a dark labyrinth of ghostly atmospheres, psychedelic meanderings and mysterious whispers...

Bipolar Explorer are an experimental dream-pop band based in New York City, and this is their latest release - a sprawling 2-hour long double-disc album, which is a bold and ambitious move to make in the year 2023, but this band have done it well.
'In The Hours Left To Dawn' is a haunting and immersive listening experience. Musically, it's an eclectic and psychedelic hotpot of moody shoegaze, laid-back alt-grunge, dirty post-rock and experimental sound art. The band use effects-laden guitars, moody basslines, spoken word poetry, ambient synths, airy drones, abstract field recordings, swirling vocalizations, percussive instruments and trippy audio manipulation techniques to create these gorgeous shimmering soundscapes that both haunt and comfort. They require a certain amount of patience, calmness and endurance to fully appreciate...but if you let it play out in its entirety, it's a very rewarding listening experience.

'In The Hours Left Until Dawn' is an album of pure atmosphere and feeling. It's totally indulgent, but not sickeningly so. It's an epic accomplishment, and a gorgeous work of art that contains pop sensibilities, trippy experimentations and everything in between. Ideal introspective listening for the long quiet hours of the night. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the album here...


Lisa/Liza - Breaking and Mending (2023) 

GENRE : psych folk, Americana folk, singer-songwriter, acoustic pop, 
RECORD LABEL : Orindal Records

Beautiful, tender and emotional minimalist folk music that gently meanders along...like a slow winding river through a hazy valley at dawn. Deep personal loneliness, trauma and pain - transformed and distilled into sweet, delicate vessels of quiet radiant beauty. This album is a peaceful search for recovery and redemption, a hushed musical journey through one individual's complex internal landscapes... 

Lisa/Liza (a.k.a Liza Victoria) is an alternative singer-songwriter from Portland, Maine, whose work tends to be roughly categorized as raw, stripped-down, heartfelt psych-folk. She has released a bunch of albums independently, as well as through independent record labels.
'Breaking and Mending' was written in response to chronic physical illness, isolation and trauma, and also as a way to process and cope with these personal hindrances.
These songs are extremely raw and intimate - full of fragility and vulnerability, frustration and tension. Written with diary-like honesty, they expose all kinds of uncomfortable truths and quiet pains that most people choose to shy away from...but despite the dark and difficult subject matter of this album, Victoria seems to be seeking ways towards a safe place of comfort and healing. 
This music is completely stripped down to mostly just a voice and guitar, with just the delicious addition of pedal steel in one song. This is the style and format of songwriting that I think Lisa/Liza does best - lone strums, lazy arpeggios and lots of silences in between, with her beautiful voice drifting delicately over the music...
Whilst the tone and mood of this album may be slightly less haunting and psychedelic than previous releases of hers, I feel that this one radiates a wonderful brightness, and has an overall more tidy and lush sound.

'Breaking and Mending' is a dreamy, candid and cathartic folk album - full of mystery, tenderness and raw visceral emotion. It's a compelling and therapeutic reflection on the challenges and difficulties of coping with a debilitating illness in a troubled world, and a wonderful collection of songs from a wonderful songwriter whose work never disappoints. Great stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...


Liis Ring - Homing (2023) 

GENRE : ambient, lo-fi, singer-songwriter, psych folk, field recordings
RECORD LABEL : Canigou Records / Breton Cassette

This is a beautifully meditative album of soft lo-fi ambience, drifting airy vocals, psych-folk meanderings and minimalistic electronica, that hovers gently above a bed of gorgeous field recordings and delicate audio hiss.

Liis Ring is a sound artist, musician, photographer and bird watcher based between Tartu, Estonia and Göteborg, Sweden. This album of hers was released in collaboration with both Canigou Records & Breton Cassette. It's a subtle, gentle, dreamy, lo-fi affair that seeps into your consciousness and being, enveloping you entirely in its warm comforting embrace. 
Based on the idea of a returning to a home in a metaphysical sense, both the sound and the physical packaging (photography) of the album ''can be seen as fragmented memories from an ongoing search for a definition of home''. 
This music is full of the conflicting emotions that's inevitably inherent in such a theme. In these songs, Ring conjures up feelings of longing, confusion, acceptance and quiet joy, using a variety of musical instruments, field recordings and her own voice. Throughout the course of this album you will hear guitar arpeggios ringing out into the ether, muted percussive sounds banging away subtly and hypnotically, ambient breath-like synths, pulsing electronica, delicate flute notes (whether organic or synthetic, I can't really tell) and Ring's soft vocal fragments drifting softly around these beautiful soundscapes, all against an intriguing backdrop of various nature field recordings, mundane street noises and human chatter.  

'Homing' is an aural testament to the complex and contadictory nature of the human condition, and the search for whatever we define as ''home''. The songs that comprise this album have a very raw improvised feel to them. Whether they're improvised or not, I don't know... but what I do know is that they're permeated with a fragile beauty that stops you in your tracks and makes you want to slow down and give it the attention it deserves. A delicate masterpiece. Excellent stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...


Euan Dalgarno - ZasquintE (2023) 

GENRE : modern classical, electronic, cinematic, drone
RECORD LABEL : Not Yet Remembered

Euan Dalgarno is an artist, musician & composer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. This album is a bit of a darker and slightly more unnerving affair compared to his previous release - the wonderful Swimitrupl.
Full of sweeping compositions, intricate arrangements and soaring cinematic grandeur, 'ZasquintE' finds Dalgarno experimenting with dark orchestral classical music, haunting drones and post-industrial electronica in such refreshing and exciting ways. 
From intense, powerful, heart-wrenching cacophonies of staggering sound to quiet, delicate segments of arpeggiated solo piano...these songs move and vary like the contours of mountains.
The melodies dance and drift through these lush soundscapes, whilst the various musical instruments sweep and interweave with one another, creating rich harmonious swells of sheer beauty, or stuttering walls of eerie dissonance.
Emotionally, this music is a mixed bag. It has an undeniable broody autumnal sadness to it, but also a child-like playfulness. It's permeated with an intimate abundant joy, but also has a slightly sinister creepiness. And during certain moments of the album the whole thing just seems absurd, confusing and hauntingly abstract...never allowing you to settle or wallow in one simple emotional state for too long.

'ZasquintE' is a beautiful (and slightly demented) work of towering majesty. This album stands as a fever pitch in the world of experimental contemporary classical music, and an ideal accompaniment for quiet solitary walks in the countryside. 

Stream/Download the album here...


seah - spectres & clouds (2023) 

GENRE : ambient, drone, soundscape, sound art
RECORD LABEL : Somnimage

Here's an album of three shimmering ambient dreamscapes inspired by the movements, textures, patterns, aspects and characteristics of the clouds above. And like the clouds and all their various formations - these compositions are wispy, vaporous, rippling, undulating and (as the title suggests) spectral.

seah (a.k.a Sea Heikes) is a multidisciplinary artist, musician, lecturer and researcher based in Bradley, Illinois. In this album, seah gazed up to the skies and found ideas for these beautiful and unique sonic expressions. Everyone knows that clouds are a playground for the imagination, and a reminder that we human beings are not the center of the universe. Cloud gazing (or cloudspotting) is a serene, wistful, theraputic and hypnotic way to stay tethered to the natural world, and feel at one with it.
Musically, this album sits comfortably in the ambient noise realm, as opposed to the deep dark atmospheric sound art of seah's previous work, 'Conduits of the Hydrosphere', which is an album well worth checking out. These long rippling drones, ethereal synth chords and fuzzed-out ambient noisescapes are so misty, dreamy and immersive... and it's all over before you know it. Again, like the clouds, these pieces are continually moving, appearing and disappearing, sometimes wispy and airy, sometimes dense and gloomy and threatening...

'spectres & clouds' is a floaty and fascinating album. Its contemplative and meditative nature will fill you with awe and wonder, and also a sense of vague unease. It's also a reminder of sheer beauty of the clouds above, and the constantly moving shapes that filter the light and shift the colours of this world.

Stream/Download the album here...


LYLA FOY - Year of the Black Water Rabbit (2023)

GENRE : minimal pop, pop rock, singer-songwriter, electronic
RECORD LABEL : self-released

This is the wonderful new album from English London-based artist/musician Lyla Foy - a gorgeous collection of minimalistic pop songs that are simple, heartfelt and infectious. Musically, it's a mixture of jangly guitar pop and dreamy 90s'-inflenced electro pop, with Foy's honeyed vocals soaring beautifully over the mix. 
Written in the wake of her father's death, Foy spent some time observing and documenting changes within herself and others around her, and contemplating the meaning of life and death, which is very apparent in both her honest wistful lyricism and the bittersweet dew-kissed melodies that are the central focus of these sparkling pop gems. 
From the dazzling arpeggio-driven pop rock of opening song 'Anywhere', to the laid-back reggae-tinged ballad 'My Addition', to the darker broody rhythms of 'Insignificant', this album simultaneously comes across as a misty-eyed reflection on grief, and a quietly euphoric celebration of life, elevated by its rich radiant production. It honestly reminds me of good 90's pop music, which I'll always have a soft spot for. A lush and beautiful pop album that begs for repeated listens. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the album here...


Pulvil - Asura (2023)

GENRE : ambient, drone, dark ambient, electronic
RECORD LABEL : Decaying Spheres

This is an album of rich dramatic drone music from 18-year-old Canadian artist Pulvil (a.k.a Logan Scott). Thunderous and airy, soaring and fierce - this ambient music comes at you and engulfs you with an almost oceanic power and intensity... 

'Asura' is an album full of sweeping gritty noise, dark plaintive melodies, heavy atmospheres, fuzzy textures and a ferocious yet vulnerable beauty. Created using mostly guitars and synths, these cold walls of emotional sound blow heavily across empty voids, stuttering and trembling, causing the entire soundscapes to quiver and quake along the way. I find these songs to be simultaneously troubling and comforting, abstractly haunting yet wonderfully cathartic.

'Asura' is undoubtedly an emotional yet highly enjoyable listening experience. The heavy atmospheres, the beautiful melodies and the dark luscious textures are captivating and cinematic. Marvellous stuff from such a young musician. 

Stream/Download the album here...


Veryan & The Lonely Bell - Night Flight (2023) 

GENRE : dark ambient, drone, electronica, shoegaze
RECORD LABEL : Shady Ridge Records

This is an aviation-themed split album between two reclusive Scottish ambient/electronic artists - Veryan & The Lonely Bell - both of whose music I was already a big fan of, so I knew this was going to be a treat...

'Night Flight' is a haunting and turbulent journey through stormy night skies. It consists of two 20-minute long compositions - one from each artist, both conveying dark night flights over the Scottish highlands by an unknown and unnamed pilot.

Our skyward journey begins with 'Above Colonsay' by Veryan. It's a dreamy constantly-evolving abstract composition of sustained Celtic-sounding drones, whistling airy ambience, swelling synth chords, hypnotic percussive hits, crashing thunder sounds, pilot coughs, engine noises, fluttering electronica and (what I think is) subtle guitar feedback. This tracks brilliantly and evocatively conveys the uncertain feeling of drifting and swaying through thick cloud above unknown lands in a questionable aircraft, not knowing when or even IF it you're going to reach your final destination...

Part Two is 'End of the Sky' by The Lonely Bell, which a darker and more overtly ominous affair. This composition is filled to the brim with sadness and dread, and sonically suggests that the pilot of this story has a tragic fate. In this track we are in the midst of a terrifying thunderstorm. It consists of thunderous rumblings, violent winds, pattering rain, cockpit warning noises and roaring engine sounds, all against the dramatic and epic backdrop of dark shuddering drones, electric cello, ghostly ambience, ethereal synths and howling guitar loops. It fills one with the overwhelming feeling of being violently buffeted by the elements, and plummeting down towards a sad and bitter end. 

'Night Flight' is a frightening yet beautiful album of rumbling ambience, ominous drones, dark brooding electronica and dreamy atmospheric textures that soars to unholy heights, and hovers unnervingly over vast barren lands...leaving the listener suspended in a highly emotional state of terror and awe. A magnificent split album by two supremely skilled soundscape artists.

Stream/Download the album here...


Glacial Anatomy - Field (2023)

GENRE : ambient, drone, noise, soundscape
RECORD LABEL : Florina Cassettes

Glacial Anatomy is the solo ambient music project of prolific Texan artist/musician Greg Nunn. Inspired by the shadows of trees and their individual unique shapes (''like paths in a field''), this album is a collection of sweeping fuzzed-out atmospheres and meditative ambient textures that are really intense, noisy and powerful... yet at the same time soothing, dreamy and blissful. These walls of static drones constantly dip and swell and drift through these vast majestic soundscapes, tugging at the heart strings with their intense emotions as they make their way towards some unknown distant horizons. In this album, Nunn has successfully managed to weave a delicate balance of sadness and a peaceful type of joy.

'Field' is a noisy, beautiful and immersive collection of soundscapes that will appeal to fans of all types of ambient music. It's a marvellous journey of fluttering tones, wave-like drones and emotional noise. Great music for zoning out and getting lost in deep introspection.

Stream/Download the album here...


Sofi Paez - Circles EP (2023) 

GENRE : modern classical, minimalistic, solo piano music
RECORD LABEL : self-released

Sofi Paez is a young Costa Rican pianist that currently lives in Berlin, Germany. This debut EP of hers consists of two minimalistic modern classical solo piano compositions, full of raw tension and emotion. These pieces are delicate yet powerful, tranquil yet slightly troubling. Her arpeggiated melodies ebb and flow like rivers, meandering dreamily through empty the landscapes of the heart. 
The atmosphere of this music is contemplative, serene and nostalgic...imbued with a distinct sense of sadness and longing. An ideal soundtrack to the quieter moments in one's life.

'Circles' is a short but marvellous EP of raw emotional piano music, stripped bare of all distractions. The beautiful dark melodies, the delicate harmonies and the reflective atmospheres that Paez has created are all that's needed. A quietly spellbinding EP. Lovely stuff.

Stream/Download the EP here...


Wednesday, 5 April 2023

Bandcamp Recommendations (Apr 23)

Hey guys. Here's my latest list of brilliant Bandcamp recommendations for you all...


Hana Stretton - Soon (2023) 

GENRE : lo-fi folk, psych folk, field recordings, experimental
RECORD LABEL : Brierfield Flood Press / Restless Spring

This is unique, mysterious and endearing collection of songs that drift languorously somewhere between lo-fi psych folk, avant-pop and field recordings. 

Hana Stretton (a.k.a Hana Williams) is an Australian-British multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer, and this is her debut album. It's a fuzzy and meditative journey through warm hazy fields, bathed in gentle morning glow. These songs are subtle and tender, hushed and intimate, airy and dreamy, baffling and intriguing... In this album, Williams has managed to strike a wonderful balance of straight-up (albeit unconventional) delicate acoustic songs, quiet piano croons, vocal lullabies and ambient instrumental passages... all to the beautiful backdrop of nature field recordings. This music floats slowly and softly on warm spring breezes. Whilst William's vocals and lyrics tend to remain pretty buried within the mix, this somehow adds to the ethereal beauty and abstract quality of this album's atmosphere.

'Soon' is a stunning album of quiet intrigue and sleepy splendour. These songs are magical dreamscapes, full of beautiful melodies and subtle enchantments. A strange but wonderful listening experience. Brilliant stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...


Hania Rani - On Giacometti (2023)

GENRE : modern classical, piano music, experimental, electronic
RECORD LABEL : Gondwana Records

This is an album of beautiful and delicate piano music, composed in the solitude and isolation of the Swiss Mountains. These compositions are wonderfully enchanting, eerily poignant and achingly tender. 

Hania Rani is a pianist, composer & musician who was born in Gdansk (Poland) and splits her life between Warsaw (where she makes her home) and Berlin. This album was written as a film score for a documentary on the art and life of Alberto Giocometti, who was a legendary Swiss sculptor, painter, draftsman and printmaker. You can read the backstory and Rani's own artistic statement about the album at the Bandcamp link below...
Composed in the surrounding silence of the Swiss Mountains, these recordings are minimalistic and bare, yet gorgeously sweeping and cinematic, invoking feelings of tender longing and plaintive drift. These pieces are centred around Rani's delicately dampened piano playing, and subtly accompanied by soft swells of cello and glistening sparse electronics. The simple chords and improvised melodies fill the soundscape like gently falling snow, lulling the listener into a sweet surrender.

'On Giacometti' is a dreamy and soulful journey of quiet contemplation and pensive reverie. It's a beautiful exploration of the power of space, and a captivating album of gentle compositions that simulatenously sooth and haunt. A great modern classical work of art.

Stream/Download the album here...


Cober - Beautiful Dissent (2023)

GENRE : pedal steel, singer-songwriter, ambient folk, alternative folk
RECORD LABEL : East Cape Calling

Here's an album of stark and minimalistic compositions, centred around the hazy and tranquil sounds of the pedal steel guitar. The chords and melodies drift slowly and dreamily through soft lonely soundscapes...comforting like a warm embrace.

Cober is the solo music project of Sheila V. Bommakanti. She creates lush and otherworldly music utilising pedal steel guitar, and minimalist song structures. In this album, Bommakanti was drawn to the pedal steel guitar as her vehicle of choice for taking us on this wonderful slow-moving ambient folk journey. Embellished with subtle yet tasteful effects, the steel strings alter between repeated melodic patterns to intriguing improvisations. These songs are mostly instrumental occasionally accompanied by her fragile and soulful voice, but primarily focused in on the airy and ghostly sounds of the wonderful steel strings - bending and blending notes into each other to create luscious swells of tranquil ambient noise. There is also some 6-string & 12-string acoustic guitars in there, as well some subtle flourishes of electric mandolin, bass and synth to fill out theis sweet sonic environment.

'Beautiful Dissent' is a sublime and alluring album of heartfelt stripped-down compositions performed on such a marvellous musical instrument. The sound that Bommakanti creates with it is gorgeous and captivating. Highly recommended.

Steam/Download the album here...


Ali Murray & Cornelius Corvidae - Split EP (2023)

GENRE : psych folk, gothic folk, acoustic pop, singer-songwriter
RECORD LABEL : Dead Forest Records

Here's a wonderfully dark split EP of haunted psychedelic folk songs from two unique and underappreciated songwriters who live on opposites sides of the globe - Ali Murray from Scotland, UK & Cornelius Corvidae from Minnesota, US. All four songs (two from each artist) are stripped down and minimalistic, wonderfully raw and bare... 

The first half of the EP consists of two spooky cosmic folk horror songs from Cornelius Corvidae. Gothic and surreal, eerie and stark - these songs seem to sprout from the shadows of strange buildings, misty mountains and creepy alleyways. I love how the music seems to pay tribute to 70's trippy psych-folk whilst maintaining contemporary pop sensibilities, resulting in such a unique and alluring sound. Haunting arpeggiated acoustic guitars battle with swirling spooky synths while Corvidae's vocals and words paint twisted images of tormented individuals lost in gothic landscapes.

The two songs from Ali Murray are more gentle and dreamy, but steeped in just as much frustration and sadness as the songs that came before. They seem to drift over grey barren fields, and enrapture the listener with their wispy mournful ambience. Loneliness and desolation are a trademark part of Murray's sound, and these two songs are a brilliant example of this. Delicately-plucked acoustic guitars and shimmering synths lay the dreamy sound foundation over which Murray's wistful vocals tremble and soar majestically. A beautiful blend of dark psych-folk and moody dream-pop.

This is a delightfully haunted EP of two criminally unrecognised singer-songwriters doing what they do best. Great stuff. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the EP here...


Ekin Fil - Dora Agora (2022) 

GENRE : experimental, ambient, musique concrete, drone
RECORD LABEL : Helen Scarsdale
This is an album of spectral ambient guitar compositions from Turkish artist/producer Ekin Üzeltüzenci (aka Ekin Fil) that ripple and drift dreamily through barren soundscapes of a dark hazy solemnity. Veiled in lonely haunted atmospheres, these songs are a poignant mixture of ethereal drones and raw eerie psych folk. 

With the exception of a couple of wonderful shoegazey electric guitar instrumentals,  the central focus of this album is stark strummed acoustic guitar, with the ghostly accompaniment of spooky organs, wistful synthesizers and of course Üzeltüzenci's enchanting voice, which floats in an out of the shadows in a misty and vaporous fashion, sonically blending with the instrumentation so meticulously. The music is structureless and minimalistic and bare, lending itself entirely as a beautiful backdrop to still moments of deep introspection and lonely thoughts.

'Dora Agora' is a wonderfully haunting and meditative listening experience. Its shimmery sound design, ghostly atmospheres and fractured arrangements embed themselves within your psyche and ring out with an airiness that's not of this world. A stunnning album, and another great release from the Helen Scardale label.

Stream/Download the album here...


Kathleen Frances - Through The Blue EP (2023)

GENRE : moody pop, minimalist pop, piano, singer-songwriter
RECORD LABEL : sevenfoursevensix

This is a delicious little EP of sparse minimalistic pop ballads, intimately centred around vocals and piano. Songs filled with betrayal and loss, beauty and sadness, nostalgia and hope...

Kathleen Frances is a songwriter and producer from Bristol, England. In this stunningly reductive and bare debut EP of hers, carefully-arranged arpeggiated piano melodies and Frances' sullen baritone voice intertwine and mingle into rich delicate songs that both mesmerize and comfort. The EP goes through an interesting range of emotions, with Frances' deep soulful voice at the forefront (where it definitely belongs) whilst the music itself sits firmly and nicely in that piano ballad territory, which is evelated by its lush production. The tone of these songs are moody and sombre, but not gloomy. The heartbreak, uncertainty and dread is cleverly juxtaposed with a certain calm acceptance, and the quiet hope that things will get better... 

A beautifully broody EP. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the EP here...


Tiny Microphone - Other Cities (2023) 

GENRE : pop rock, singer-songwriter, indie pop
RECORD LABEL : self-released

Sometimes I get in a certain mood where the only music I crave is good, simple, hooky pop music. I knew within seconds of playing this album that it not only satisfied that craving, and ticked all the right boxes for me - I also knew that I'd be back for more, and more, and more...

Tiny Microphone is the music project of Portland-based singer/songwriter Kristine Capua. With this album, Capua has constructed and arranged a beautiful collection of simple infectious pop rock songs, full of yearning and quiet joy. 
Musically, it's a rather delicious mixture of jangly guitar pop and slow shoegaze-y indie rock, with the central focus of the songs being Capua's beautiful honeyed vocals and bittersweet lyricism. The sparse instrumentation of these compositions, along with the lush sparkly production make these songs burst forth in such a glorious and radiant light. I also found the moods and emotions throughout the album to be delightfully balanced, and makes for a really satisfying listening experience.

'Other Cities' is a delicious slice of poppy goodness, and a dazzling and wonderfully comforting collection of songs. If you can't at least enjoy the song 'Lighting A Fire', then there's something seriously wrong with you. Fantastic stuff. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the album here...


Delphine Dora - Live @ Igreja Santa Isabel, Lisbon (2022)

GENRE : experimental, drone, psychedelic, folk, improvisation
RECORD LABEL : self-released

Delphine Dora is a prolific musician, composer and improviser from France. This album (if you can call it an album) consists of a series of beautiful and haunting vignettes that were performed live in a catholic church and sequenced into one 24-minute long composition. 
Dora's solo performance is mainly centred around her exquisite organ drones, and occasionally embellished with stunning vocal loops and subtle field recordings, which gives the whole thing a bit of a psychedelic folk flavour.
The atmosphere of this recording constantly fluctuates from being dark and elegiac to being rather meditative and sweet. The minimalistic arrangements, improvisational organ flourishes and free-form structures are spellbinding and breathtaking. The music itself is like a desperate cry coming out of some unknown darkness.

The raw power and beautiful dynamics of Dora's playing, along with the majestic reverb of the church makes for a soaring and transcendent piece of music that enraptures you completely and leaves you wanting more. A gorgeous release from a brilliant artist. Delphine Dora is a force to be reckoned with in the field of experimental improvisation.

Stream/Download the album here...



GENRE : drone, industrial noise, noise, ambient noise

Click play on this album and allow dark, swirling, haunting drones, shimmering feedback and monstrous waves of squalling industrial noise herald you towards surreal inner landscapes of bleak foreboding and ominous terror, which Blood Rhythms consistently do so well.

Blood Rhytms is the collaborative duo of renowned noise artists Arvo Zylo & Leslie Keffer. The creation of this album came about after the loss of a loved one. These sinister drones and waves of immersive noise are slowly-mutating and hypnotic, howling and growling away as they gradually intensify and become a wild raging tempest of sound. 
Apparently there are ''healing frequencies'' contained within the sound, proving that it's not all doom and gloom. On the contrary, this album can be the perfect antidote to coping with unspeakable loss, if you let it.

'GOOD GRIEF' is a bleak and unrelenting journey through a terrifying world of desolation and dread, a hallucinatory excursion into the deep dark pits of grief and loss... and a damn good album. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the album here...


Willebrant - Scott Was Here (2023) 

GENRE : lo-fi ambient, drone, guitar music, soundscape
RECORD LABEL : Shady Ridge Records

Here's a collection of calm reflective compositions made from mostly soft arpeggiated guitars, subtle field recordings and floaty synths. Gentle, breezy melodies and serene swells of luxurious ambience languish and drift, slowly and peacefully, creating these beautiful and meditative soundscapes to completely lose yourself in...

Willebrant is the ambient/field/drone project of Naarm/Melbourne bassist and producer Karl Willebrant. In the nine brief and fleeting compositions that comprise this album, Willebrant tried to capture the solace of his surroundings during the quiet tranquil hours of the day - namely early morning and evenings. These songs are quietly contemplative, gently emotive and dreamily smooth...mixing glistening fingerpicked acoustic guitar/ukelele melodies (slightly reminiscent of Jim O'Rourke or Mark Kozelek) with soft fretless bass drones, sparse piano notes, beautiful field recordings and placid lo-fi synth ambience. 

'Scott Was Here' is 23 minutes of soft tranquil beauty. A dreamy and reflective soundtrack to the quiet moments in a noisy and hectic world. Great album.

Stream/Download the album here...


The Humble Bee - Susurration (2022)

GENRE :  piano music, modern classical, lo-fi, tape loops, ambient

This is an album of beautiful airy lo-fi piano music - quiet and fragile, minimalistic and delicate, subtle and devastating... soft tender melodies, drifting and slowly dancing through dust-filled rooms before disentegrating into nothingness...

The Humble Bee is the solo music project of Craig Tattersall who is an artist/composer from Salford, UK. This album is centred around two long-form ambient piano compositions, and mixed with tape loops, gentle field recordings of Autumn birdsong and soft ethereal ambience. The lo-fi hissing tape noise and fractured performances give this music the feel of something delicate and ephemeral, teetering on the verge of total collapse...of something being lost forever...
Its sparse melodies, captivating atmospheres and quiet transitions tug at the heart strings, and have a wonderfully spellbinding effect that draws you in close and doesn't let go for its entirety.

'Susurration' is a beautifully hushed dreamscape of brittle memories and deep yearning. This brilliant and emotional collage of lo-fi modern classical, poignant sound art and crackling ambience makes for a deeply immersive and emotionally intoxicating listening experience, and an album that you're going to want to listen to over and over and over. Great stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...


NV-9 - Echoes in Tile (2023)

GENRE : ambient, drone, abstract, soundscape
RECORD LABEL : Drale Records

This album consists of two 15-minute improvisations of swirling ambience, melancholic drones and ethereal melodies, echoing off tile walls and merging into soft, sad, beautiful textures.

I don't know anything about NV-9, and it doesn't really matter. Their debut album 'Echoes in Tile' is a mesmerizing abstract ambient album that seems to have gone completely unrecognized. Performed and recorded in a tile room (which is evident in the atmosphere and reverb of the music when you hear it), these two tracks are mostly comprised of guitars and synths playing simple melodies, which have been looped and stretched across the duration of these two magnificent dreamscapes. Perfect music for thinking and reflecting...

'Echoes in Tile' is a sweeping and hypnotic album of immersive dronescapes that beg for repeated listens. I admit that it's an odd decision to want to perform and record ambient music in a tile room (of all places) but it gives the sound that unique and distinctive quality which helps separate this album from everything else. An emotional and meditative listening experience. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the album here...


Sunday, 26 February 2023

Bandcamp Recommendations (Feb 23)

Hey guys. I'm back after a bit of a quiet spell. January was a very busy month for me and I simply couldn't get enough writing/reviewing done during this time, so I bypassed it completely. 

Anyway, here I am with another list of amazing Bandcamp recommendations for you. Enjoy!


The Lonely Bell - Ghost Town Burning (2023)

GENRE : dark ambient, drone, electronic, shoegaze
RECORD LABEL : Blackjack Illuminist

'Ghost Town Burning' is a somber and vaguely apocalyptic vision of a dark and desolate world. The music moves like a thick slow-moving fog that gradually envelopes the lost lonely wanderer who finds themself far away in a strange and isolated place. The solemn majesty of these songs penetrate deeply and invoke feelings that often go unchecked, and linger long after the final notes have faded into a misty oblivion...

The Lonely Bell (a.k.a Ali Murray) is a dark ambient artist/musician from the cold windy Isle of Lewis, which is located in the far north of Scotland. This album consists of two 20-minute long dark nebulous dreamscapes of haunted sullen beauty and meditative surreality. Wave upon wave of ghostly drones and slow rippling ambience gradually builds and sweeps over the land. It feels like watching some sort of cold wintry time lapse footage... 

The music was created using mostly guitars and synths, but unlike most of The Lonely's Bell previous work, there's some subtle (and tasteful) female vocal loops buried in the mix, fighting to cut through, which gives the whole thing a strong sense of desperation and yearning. A beautifully haunting and deeply immersive album from an artist who never disappoints.

Stream/Download the album here...


Lottie Sadd - a practice in taking up space (2023)

GENRE : contemporary classical, experimental, improvisation, sound art
RECORD LABEL : Sawyer Editions

Here's an album of quiet improvised performances on various organic instruments, captured in their raw natural state on whatever recording device was available at hand. Gracefully fluctuating between poignant melodic contemporary classical music and surreal avant-garde sound art, these improvisations paint vivid pictures of the ephemera of life. It's a study of the very nature of sound itself. As the artist herself states in the album description : ''does the act of recording change the nature of a thing?'' An interesting question...

Lottie Sadd is a Leeds-based interdisciplinary composer/performer who experiments with improvised sound works, moving image and text. In this album, Sadd entices the listener into her quiet and tender world of decadent space and subtle wonder. Whilst the recordings are raw, minimalistic and bare, the compositions themselves are warm, dreamy and achingly beautiful...

The five pieces that comprise this album were performed on piano, a string instrument (of which I can't identify) and voice...and set to a hypnotic backdrop of gentle birdsong and everyday life sounds, which creates an undeniable sense of earthly realness to the meditative atmosphere of the album. The discipline and restraint shown in these performances is impressive and admirable, and seems to be a consistent thread throughout all the releases on the Sawyer Editions label. 

This album is an alluring and captivating work of art. Ideal for these quiet introspective moments, looking out the window and watching the world go by...

Stream/Download the album here...


Brad E. Rose - Annular Silhouettes (2022) 

GENRE : ambient, drone, soundscape, electronic

This album is one 42-minute long composition of minimalistic soft-focus ambient drift. Tendrils of long-sustained muted tones wrap around the ethereal atmosphere of the piece and rise skywards towards the light, slowly mingling and merging with one another before dissipating entirely... 

Brad E. Rose is a prolific Tulsa-based artist & musician that's released many albums under many different monikers. In this album, Rose has created an introspective and melancholic musical ode to Tulsa - the place where he grew up. It was created and recorded in the house where his grandparents lived for two decades, just a few minutes walk away from his childhood home. 

The sense of place and the idea of belonging (both geographically and spiritually) seems to be a central and pivotal theme of 'Annular Silhouettes'. It is a subtle and poignant meditation on existence, memory and the space that one occupies during their brief time on this earth. 

This album is not only a love letter to Oklahoma, it feels like an ode to life itself. A calm and captivating listening experience, and a beautiful contribution to the world of drone music. Click play and let slowly pulsating rippling tones and soft dreamy textures lull you into a gentle introspective trance. Beautiful stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...


Linda Rum - Friede (2023) 

GENRE : modern classical, solo piano, minimalist
RECORD LABEL : Moderna Records

This is an album of gorgeous minimalistic piano compositions to calm your troubled soul. These soft tender chords and infectious melodies paint beautiful images of a peaceful world, a childhood dream, a place we all deeply yearn for...

Linda Rum is a German musician/composer, and this is her stunning debut release on Moderna Records. I've always been a sucker for minimalistic piano music, and the fourteen vignettes that comprise 'Friede' completely stole my heart. The mood that Rum has created on this album is playful and peaceful, joyous and melancholic, intimate and cinematic... 
Stripped down to nothing but the bare lonesome sound of the piano - the chords and melodies frolic and sway in a playful and endearing fashion, like a garden of flowers in a sweet summer breeze. This album is so gentle and captivating, and the compositions are so brief and fleeting... the whole thing is over before you know it, leaving you wanting so much more...

'Friede' is the German word for 'Peace', which is a very fitting title for these collection of songs. It's an album of beautiful and life-affirming piano music - a delicate dance of joy and sorrow, and everything in between. An emotional and calming listening experience. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the album here...


Norio - Somebody (2022)

GENRE : ambient, minimalistic, modern classical, electronic, post-rock
RECORD LABEL : Hush Hush Records

This is an album of minimalistic ambient electronica from Japanese filmmaker, documentarian and musician Norio (a.k.a Noriaki Okamoto). The nine beautiful compositions that comprise this album are tremulous and fuzzy, shimmering and iridescent, glistening and calm, reductive and bare...

Norio's work is influenced by the art of subtraction, reducing his artwork to its essential elements to create a rich, immersive, vivid painting. This simplistic and minimalistic approach works wonderfully in this album. The compositions are intimate and bare, yet cinematic and powerful. The beauty of this music lies in its stark and delicate simplicity. 
Norio's sound is a unique and refreshing amalgamation of IDM electronica, minimalistic ambient, modern classical, dream-pop and post-rock. While the album is mostly instrumental and predominantly focused on Norio's emotive piano playing and fuzzy electronics, there are some dreamy guest vocals in there that help cleanse the aural palette. 

'Somebody' is a tender and emotional listening experience. It's full of gentle and hushed tones of melancholic beauty, vibrant electronic soundscapes and rich cinematic atmospheres. This is not your typical ambient album. Despite its reductive and downbeat nature - this music soars to dramatic heights, and captivates in all the right ways. A wonderful and comforting album for long rainy days.

Stream/Download the album here...


Kate Moore - Revolver (2021)

GENRE : contemporary classical, experimental, soundtrack

This is an album of dark, sparsely-orchestrated, haunting compositions written for a dance installation, and performed by a small ensemble of virtuosic contemporary classical musicians. Inspired by kinetic physicality and movement, the polyrhythmic figures/structures and tense dynamics of these pieces, along with Moore's penchant for merging objects and matter with the invisible world of sound in her music makes for a brilliantly broody and suspenseful sonic environment to let go of everything for a while, and be taken away by the sullen beauty and lonesome drift of this album.

Kate Moore is an Australian-Dutch composer, sound artist & musician based in the Netherlands. Originally written for The Restraints (a dance piece by Autralian artist Ken Unsworth), 'Revolver' is an emotional and evocative journey of slowly-evolving classical compositions that enrapture the listener with their hypnotic and dream-like atmospheres. 
The eight pieces that comprise this album come alive and dance in a lonesome ghostly fashion. The arrangements of these songs are pretty minimalistic and bare, but the dark arpeggiated melodies, the weeping tones and the powerful dynamics make for a stunning and haunting listening experience. 
The feel of the music goes from being eerily subdued to soaring majestically in a sweeping spectral bliss. A wonderful and intoxicating modern classical album. Highly recommended.

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Karen Vogt - Losing The Sea (2023)

GENRE : ambient, drone, soundscape, vocal ambience
RECORD LABEL : Mare Nostrum

This is a gorgeous ambient love letter to the sea, and a heartfelt sonic expression of the distant longing to be near it. It's a theme close to my own heart - one that resonates deeply with my own personal relationship to the ocean. I listened to this album while staring out at the sea near my home, basking in its sheer power and beauty, imagining what it would feel like to not have it so near and dear...

Karen Vogt is an Australian artist, vocalist and musician living in France. She mainly uses her voice and guitar to create atmospheric, ambient and experimental compositions. In this new mini-album, Vogt harnesses her natural talents (along with guest guitarist/filmaker Guillaume Eymenier) to create her own little ocean of ambience that ebbs and flows, melodies that tremble and shimmer, and tones that glisten and sparkle and ripple like the vast bodies of water she likely carries in her heart. Fuzzy swells, tremulous guitar notes and gentle breezy vocals float and swirl around these tranquil soundscapes. This music dazzles and stirs emotions and feelings that may have been lying dormant and unacknowledged for a long time.

'Losing The Sea' is a beautiful and poignant album of soothing sounds and dreamy ambience that wonderfully captures the yearning to be close to the ocean, and the meaning and significance of something that was so integral to the artist's Australian upbringing and youth. It's also a wonderful aural reminder of why I love the sea so much, and why I personally need to have it in my life. Great stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...


Kagami Smile - Obscured Face (2023)

GENRE : dark electronica, dark ambient, drone, noise, shoegaze
RECORD LABEL : Decaying Spheres

Shuddering walls of dark ethereal noise, melancholic drones, swelling ambience, minimalistic techno and pulsing electronica...punctuated by a ghostly airiness that makes for surreal and meditative listening.

Kagami Smile is the ambient dreampunk music project of Ryan Hill, who was born in the United States but currently resides in Shenzhen, China. In the five immersive compositions that comprise this captivating album, Hill has created grainy textures of rich decadent fuzz, fractured percussive sounds and somber rumblings that paint stark images of lonely urban dreamscapes, filled with blurry lights and faded silhouettes. This music is like cinematic soft-focus, a deep yearning, a nostalgic dream....

'Obscured Face' is a dark and beautifully immersive work of art. Powerful and haunting, this album makes walls rumble and shake in its sheer force and unrelenting visceral emotion. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the album here...


Lila Tristram and The Last Dinosaur - Black and White Memories Ignited by the Scent of Springtime Explode in Colour (2022)

GENRE : psych folk, modern classical, chamber pop, experimental
RECORD LABEL : Modern Aviation

This is a collaboration album between vocalist/songwriter Lila Tristram and experimental musical collective The Last Dinosaur. It consists of five sparse, minimalistic, slow-moving compositions of a fragile and delicate beauty that surrounds and gradually envelopes the listener in its unique ghostly shroud. Combining elements of psychedelic folk, modern classical and chamber pop into a glorious hotpot of subtle experimentation, this music dances in a slow and mesmeric display of ethereal catharsis. 

Tristram's gentle and whispery vocals are the central focus of these compositions, and sit perfectly in the unique landscape of this album. Simultaneously tender and eerie, her hushed tones and delicate melodies provide such beautiful intimacy against the wonderful backdrop of sparsely-played classical piano notes, softly sweeping strings, dreamy flourishes and trills of clarinet/flute, nature field recordings and atmospheric guitar loops that all help colour these exquisite soundscapes.

This album is wistful and downbeat, yet comforting and captivating. It's a beautiful work of art, and a wonderful display of musical talent. Brilliant stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...


Aleksandra Słyż - A Vibrant Touch (2022)

GENRE : drone, minimalism, contemporary classical, experimental
RECORD LABEL : Warm Winters Ltd.

This is an album of powerful minimalistic drone music, full of slowly-unravelling tensions and haunting electro-acoustic vibrations that are equally frightening and beautiful.

Aleksandra Słyż is a Polish composer whose recent work explores the physical phenomena and energy of sound, and the connections between acoustic instruments and modular synthesis. 
In this album, Słyż has created three long-form compositions of rich dramatic drones that shimmer with eerie dissonance and tremble with an unbearable tension. The melodies bend and warble, the tones (and microtones) subtly shift and evolve, and the drones ring on and on, soaring majestically into the air, never to return...

This music is like a slow-moving ocean of sound, and the atmosphere is ghostly and solemn, full of yearning and loss... but it's also a captivating and exquisite listening experience.
Backed by a quartet of outstanding musicians (on alto saxophone, violin, viola & cello), Słyż has successfully sculpted out her own unique amalgamation of organic classical instrumentation and dark ambient electronica that rattles, reshapes and challenges our pre-conceived notions of what this type of music should sound like. It's a sonic exploration of the microtonal variations and deep resonances that can be heard and felt within these lush minimalistic dronescapes. 

'A Vibrant Touch' is a subtle yet complex study of movement sonification, and an intense and fascinating album of a dark dissonant beauty. Great stuff. Highly recommended. 

Stream/Download the album here...


Blush To The Snow - Cascades (2023) 

GENRE : ambient, drone, soundscape, electronica
RECORD LABEL : Healing Sound Propagandhist

Here's an album of sweeping foggy drones and melancholic misty ambience, filling vast and colour-drained dreamscapes with intense feelings of longing, and a hazy nostalgia for another time and place. It's a bleary-eyed reverie, a pensive meditation on one's relationship with a particular location and environment, and how we carry it in our hearts wherever we go...

Blush To The Snow is the ambient / drone project of Japanese-American producer William Creason, who's also the co-owner of Not Yet Remembered Records. I've written about a few of his earlier albums that were released through his own record label, and I was happy to see that his latest release has come out through another awesome ambient label - Healing Sound Propagandist.
This album was inspired by a picture of the dense marine fog and coniferous forests located in Pacific Northwest of the U.S, and the immense feelings of saudade it conjured up within the artist. The six compositions that comprise the album are minimalistic and mirage-like in atmosphere. They whoosh like wind, flutter like snow, and blanket like the fogs they were inspired by.

'Cascades' is a broody and ethereal album of grey immersive soundscapes. The music is just how I imagine the coastal sea fog from the Pacific Northwest to be - chilly, eerie, vaporous, dramatic, ghostly, slowly-enveloping and hauntingly beautiful. Brilliant stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...


Lalén Ríos Luna - And the Sky Fell Down on Fresno (2022)

GENRE : avant-garde, experimental, musique concrète, sound art
RECORD LABEL : self-released

Lalén Ríos Luna is an avant-garde artist/musician and experimental improviser from Fresno, California. He has created and released a massive body of work under Porous Collective. Lalén Ríos Luna's music is an intelligent and meticulous blend of avant-garde sound art, abstract electronica, musique concrète and haunting sound design.

In these compositions you will hear puttering drones, crackling static, gurgling rumbles, sinister squalls of noise, low frequency humming, electrical glitches, erratic clattering, metallic swells and choice moments of sweeping somber ambience, and (what I think are) manipulated and fractured piano chords -  cutup and disseminated throughout these abstract sonic environments. 

The atmosphere of this album constantly expands and contracts, and seems to be permeated with some kind of mechanical breathing, which makes the whole listening experience rather eerie and unsettling. Yet there's moments of an almost tranquil beauty to be found in there, especially in the last track 'The Falling Sky'. I would highly recommend this album to fans of experimental noise music and avant-garde sound art. A great listen.

Stream/Download this album here...


Conducive - Modern Prophecy EP (2023)

GENRE : experimental, sound art, drone, noise, dark ambient
RECORD LABEL : Veinte33 Records

This is a fleeting abstract sound journey through what I gather to be the busy urban streets of some unknown Spanish-speaking city. The voices of mundane everyday existence mingle with haunting drones and terrifying squalls of ominous industrial noise to create the unbearable tension and general unease that awaits some kind of oncoming apocalyptic event.

Conducive is the music project of British sound artist Julian Miller. In many ways this EP sounds like a sequel to his previous EP - 'Hidden Canals', which focused on the busy streets and dark underbelly of France. Whether that was the intent or not, I don't know... but what I do know is that this is magnificent and wholly powerful sound art. In this EP you will hear the common street sounds and voices of city inhabitants, vendors and casual passers-by mix with the broody dark ambience, abstract field recordings and hypnotic noise of Miller's unique artistic vision. The end result is one of pure calamity, and unfathomable dread.

'Modern Prophecy' sounds like a herald of doom, a dark hallucinatory dreamscape that was once an ordinary urban environment...aurally captured in this short yet stunning 3-song EP. Great stuff.

Stream/Download the EP here...