Thursday, 28 September 2023

*Currently On Hiatus*

Hello everyone,

Some of you already know that I'm currently taking a break from blogging. I've posted about it on Twitter, but the algorithms are fucked on there, so I don't actually know if it's been getting through to people. Anyway, I decided to make an official blog post for anyone who's wondering why I haven't been posting anything for the past few months. I thought I could just quietly disappear for a while, but I'm still constantly getting submission emails and DMs, so I feel like I should explain a few things to my readers, and to the artists/labels that have been kindly sending me their latest releases...

A few months ago I decided to take a temporary break from blogging due to a crisis in my personal life, which led to me having a mental breakdown. I couldn't find any time, energy or enthusiasm to discover new music, nevermind write about it. Instead I found myself seeking comfort and solace in a lot of my old favourites, or just total silence... I was also growing increasingly disillusioned and frustrated with the state of social media, the devaluation of music, and people's attitude towards media outlets (all taking and no giving)... so I decided to take some time to sort out my personal life, and think about how to move forward regarding Fog Songs.

I really love discovering music (new and old), and I love writing about it (even though my writing skills are pretty limited), which made me start Fog Songs in the first place. It began as a little side hobby, and my own platform for ''vomiting my opinions''. I never thought it would spread the way it did... and while I'm happy it did - it also put a tremendous amount of pressure on me, which didn't exist in the beginning. All of a sudden I was getting flooded with submission emails from artists and labels...

I try not to encourage or discourage submissions. The majority of music I've written about on my blog has been my own personal discoveries, and I really hate disappointing people (which is inevitable when you accept submissions) and that is why I don't openly encourage it. On the other hand, I do occasionally write about submissions I receive, and have discovered some great music that way. I'm genuinely really grateful to anyone that sends me their music, whether I like it or not, and whether I end up writing about it or not. So that's why I'd never discourage submissions either... Right now I just need to take some time to work on my own personal health and wellbeing before I start blogging again. 

So in the meantime I won't be logging into my social media accounts or checking my DMs. I can still be reached via email, and I will still listen to all the music I get sent... but I very likely won't respond. If you're an artist/label looking for coverage, and you want it done in a quick timely fashion -  you'll likely be disappointed. If you just want to send me your music with the acceptance that I may write about it at some future point - feel free to get in touch. I believe that all good music is timeless, and I fucking hate how these days music is deemed ''irrelevant'' if it's older than a few months. Whenever I do return to blogging - I'll be writing about whatever I want, whenever I want. Hopefully it won't be too long...

Thank you so much to those who read my blog and send me nice emails, especially those who have no skin in the game. And thank you to all those who Like and Share my reviews on social media. It's the only way a tiny blog like mine will grow in this current (difficult) musical climate. Finally, thank you to all the amazing artists and bands and labels who send me their work, and appreciate my little write-ups. I'll be back with you soon!

- Fog Songs

Monday, 3 July 2023

Bandcamp Recommendations (July 23)

Hello everyone. I'm back after a brief (and much needed) hiatus with a new list of fantastic Bandcamp recommendations for you. Some of these reviews were written weeks/months ago, but I was unable to find the time, energy and mental focus to publish them. I'm feeling a little better now, so here we go...


Cassie Wieland & Vicky Chow - HYMN (2023) 

GENRE : contemporary classical, experimental, ambient, chamber music
RECORD LABEL : Cantaloupe Music

A beautiful and heartfelt journey of minimalistic classical piano, fuzzy granular synthesis and shimmering ambient dissonance... full of tenderness, fragility and peaceful melancholic yearning...

Cassie Wieland is an Illinois-born and Brooklyn-based composer. Wieland masterfully experiments the relationship between intimate and massive sound worlds to achieve the “hand-made” sound she is often looking for: imperfect, but intentional.
Vicky Show is a highly-acclaimed Hong Kong/Canadian pianist who is based in Brooklyn. She has collaborated with numerous composers, artists and ensembles in the field of contemporary classical music. 

This collaborative album aurally explores the theme of connection, and is musically centred around solo piano and electronic experimentations. It consists of four longer compositions and two short interludes.
The album begins with a lonesome minor chord played on the piano, sustained and repeated over and over again, with subtle changes and melodic variations occuring as the piece evolves. Beautiful reverberations and peaceful echoes fill the soundscape. As the song progresses, you will eventually hear dulcet ambient tones, drifting and swirling through the atmosphere. The piano chords intensify and a choppy delay effect makes the additional flourishes dance throughout the song's dramatic climax.
Then things simmer down for the first quiet electronic interlude, full of beautiful bleeping melodies...
Track 3 begins with gorgeous bittersweet arpeggios being played quickly and repetitively... until higher staccato variations emerge from the mix, giving the piece a bit more colour and urgency, along with some kind of frantic reverse-delay ambient effect which makes the whole thing very mesmerizing and cinematic.
In Track 4 the piano notes tinkle and descend in rapid succession like heavy rainfall, accompanied by (what I think is) some shaker-like percussive sounds, until the dramatic crescendo of the song comes where powerful piano chords and howling sorrowful vocals fills the air...
The second interlude of this album consists of an organ-like ambience with wonderful rippling textures and tones.
The final track consists of plodding fuzzed-out grainy piano chords, thumping repeatedly through the composition while another piano layer comes in and taps out a haunting, creeping, dissonant melody over it. By the halfway point, these syncopated lead melodies become richly harmonious together. As the album gets closer and closer to being over, these lead parts quieten down before dreamy ambience and ghostly choral vocals float into the mix and carry us to the end...

'HYMN' is a quietly captivating and richly evocative album of minimalistic piano compositions and electronic textures and timbres. A beautiful mixture of contemporary classical, atmospheric chamber music and experimental ambience. Brilliant stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...


Manja Ristić - Awakenings (2023) 

GENRE : experimental, sound art, ambient, field recordings

Ethereal drones, eerie piano notes, mysterious noises and soft rippling ambience drifts solemnly through the air over placid waters in a strange desolate landscape. The atmosphere is tranquil and calm, but also somber and tense. The lonely motions of the water allow for quiet contemplation, child-like wonder and deep introspective thought...yet there's a darkness gurgling away, just below the surface of all things...

Manja Ristić is a Serbian violinist, sound art, field recordist, poet, curator and researcher. A sick talent and an incredible artist. 'Awakenings' is an album of beautiful sound poetry and haunted ambience, made using hydrophone & contact microphones (in various different locations around the Balkans), violin, abandoned pianos, a toy synth found in the garbage and an array of found objects.
The eight compositions that comprise this album are dreamy, serene, melancholic and strangely playful...with a vast array of underwater recordings taking up the foreground of the mix. You will hear water trickling and gurgling over aqueous rocks, gently rippling and swaying, rushing rapidly through narrow channels, whirling and swirling through drains, sloshing and reverberating through caves, and sometimes crashing violently against everything its path. 
The music that Ristić has layered over these field recordings is minimalistic and subtle, evocative and atmospheric. Mournful organ-like ambience, tingling bells, glistening chimes, sparse piano notes and an array of percussive object sounds dance and ricochet about in quiet freedom and slow sullen beauty...

'Awakenings' is a beautiful, poignant and haunted sound journey. The mournful tones, mysterious watery textures and plaintive soundscapes that Ristić has created in this album are wonderfully immersive and emotionally engulfing. This is exquisite sound art, and a delicious aural treat. Great stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...


Aphir - The Halo is Shapeless (2023) 


GENRE : dark ambient, cinematic, choral, electronic, soundscape
RECORD LABEL : Art As Catharsis

Here's a stunning album of dark cinematic choral music...

Aphir is the music project of esteemed Melbourne artist/producer Becki Whitton. In this album, Whitton has created a collection of dark ambient tracks comprised solely of vocal layers, which have been electronically manipulated and exquisitely produced to create a haunting and immersive album of lush meditative soundscapes. 
In these compositions, cacophonies of voices weave and intermingle into a vast array of tones, textures, rhythms and atmospheres... drifting, fluttering, shimmering, floating, blowing and rumbling through this dark and mysterious world. These recordings originated from a series of live improvised vocal loops, which were then sonically sculpted in real time. There's a feeling of desperation and urgency in these songs, and a strong sense of deep emotional turmoil driving it along. The sound is simultaneously heavy and airy. Just press play and allow all the soaring angelic voices to guide you to heavenly (or perhaps unholy) heights.

'The Halo is Shapeless' is a beautifully mesmerizing album. The densely-layered voices, the richly crafted arrangements, the intricate melodies, the haunting atmospheres, the funereal ambience and the powerful production makes for a dramatic and transcendent sound journey. Brilliant stuff. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the album here...


Ayany Jowi - The Raging Buffalo (2023)

GENRE : African Music, Fiddle Music, Orutu Music, Traditional
RECORD LABEL : Dagoretti Records

Ayany Jowi was one of Kenya's most famous fiddle players, and one of the original pioneers of ''Orutu Music''. He was called ''Jowi'' which translates to ''Wild Buffalo'' in English. He was named this after his wild and uncontrollable nature, which is utterly reflected in the way he played the fiddle in this set of rare recordings. These recordings were created as individual singles throughout the 1970s, which have been lovingly restored and remastered by the wonderful Dagoretti Records for the wide world to hear and enjoy.

'The Raging Buffalo' is a collection of raw, frenetic, intense and mesmerizing performances that consist of Ayany Jowi on orutu (a vertical one-stringed fiddle) and vocals, with minimalistic percussive backing. I'm not sure what specific instruments or vessels are used to make these percussive sounds, but it doesn't really matter. These thumps and rattles provide a powerful and trance-inducing rhythmic foundation for Jowi to enrapture and hypnotize the listener with his beautifully captivating fiddle playing and mindblowing vocal performances. Even without understanding the words, the passion and intensity of these songs will make you want to get off your feet and dance, or at least sway violently from side to side in wild demented fashion. The rapid poetry, cacophonous chanting, exquisite orutu melodies and explosive percussion takes hold of your entire body and spirit, and fills you with the joy, zest and exhilaration of life.

This is a wild, visceral and fascinating album of recordings filled with joyous rapture and (possibly) some kind of divine intoxication. The lo-fi sound quality adds to its unique charm and authenticity, and brings out the spirit of these organic recordings. A beautiful and thrilling album by one of the most important figures in Kenya's (and African) recorded music. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the album here...


Broken Chip - Bells (2023) 

GENRE : ambient, lo-fi, minimalist, drone, electronic
RECORD LABEL : Flaming Pines

This album is a gorgeous miniature world of soothing miniature sounds, floating on a sparkling sea of soft crackling ambient fuzz, and gently caressed by warm sleepy breezes...

Broken Chip is the solo music project of Australian artist/musician Martyn Palmer. 'Bells' in his latest release. It's an album of beautiful minimalistic lo-fi ambient music, mainly centred around the glockenspiel, with some atmospheric electronic accompaniment.
As the title suggests, the sound of this music is bell-like - vibrating, chiming, clinking, ringing...
Throughout the course of these seven fleeting compositions, Palmer takes us on a peaceful dream journey of fluttery tones, rippling grainy textures, hypnotic audio hiss, sweet soothing melodies, gentle drones and soft subtle percussive hits. Whilst the performances are fairly simple on the surface, there's quite a lot of micro-movements and wonderful subtleties happening within the compositions, adding some lovely intricacy and depth to the ambient musical atmospheres. And the whole thing is over before you know it...

'Bells' is a short, dreamy and delicate collection of soft, emotional, fuzzed-out soundscapes that shimmer and resonate within your mind. There's a distinct lack of warm summery ambient music in my collection...and this album really hit the spot for me. It will definitely be revisited too. Great stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...


Machinefabriek with Monika Bugajny - Recytle (2023) 

GENRE : experimental, classical, electronic, ambient, clarinet music
RECORD LABEL : self-released 

Machinefabriek is the musical nom de plume of Dutch musician/sound artist and graphic designer Rutger Zuydervelt. 'Recytle' is his latest album - a collaborative album with clarinetist Monika Bugajny. 

In this wonderfully inspired album, Bugajny reinterpreted and recorded eight classical pieces (namely Poulenc, Brahms, Copland, Horovitz, Messiaen, Stravinsky, Debussy & Arnold) on the clarinet, which Zuydervelt then manipulated and reworked into his own unique style of experimental electronica. 
The end result is a densely immersive, eerily emotive and beautifully haunting album, full of rich poignant melodies and tense atmospheres.
As stated on the Bandcamp page, these are not faithful renditions of these classical pieces - more like reimaginings. You may recognise the original score in the cut-up fragments and flourishes of Bugajny's exquisite clarinet performances, but they've been transformed to create these abstract ambient soundscapes. I can't claim to understand the technicalities of what Zuydervelt has done to these recordings, but I found myself getting completely immersed in the stretched out reverberations, sustained echoes, ethereal delays, swelling drones, shimmering dissonance, swirling distortions and glitchy electronics...along with the other additional musical embellishments that lift up and enhance these compositions.

'Recytle' is an outstanding work of experimental manipulation, reductionism and restraint. Machinegabriek's minimalistic approach to this project makes for these slow meditative atmospheres, in which the notes and chords can breathe and ring out within the soundscapes. It's a quietly introspective album - full of dulcet tones, rich timbres and rippling textures. And it's the perfect length. Ideal for quiet reflective mornings or night time reveries. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the album here...


Blessed Are The Hearts That Bend - Edgelands (2023)

GENRE : modern classical, ambient, field recordings, post-rock
RECORD LABEL : Spectral Industries

Blessed Are The Hearts That Bend is the solo project of London-based musician & filmmaker Luke Seomore. 'Edgelands' was inspired by a place of the same name, where the city and the countryside melt into each other, and become one and the same. It is the place where Seomore spent his childhood years.

In this album, Leomore has created a collection of huge majestic soundscapes filled with soaring classical instrumentation, beautiful subtle field recordings, heart-wrenching ambience and poignant echoes of cinematic post-rock. Cacophonous strings, pretty birdsong, sustained guitar notes, howling echoes and dark rippling tones all rise skywards towards the heavens, evoking and conjuring all kinds of strong images and haunting atmospheres of ghostly places that have been long forgotten and left in a dilapidated state.

This music moves in slow dramatic waves, ebbing and flowing, sweeping you along on its mysterious journey, tugging at the heart strings all the way. It feels triumphant yet utterly haunting at the same time. It constantly treads a fine line between sadness and hope, which makes for such a powerful and emotional listening experience.

'Edgelands' is an album of rich, expansive, beautiful soundscapes from someone who's clearly as much a filmmaker as a musical artist. This is music for intense introspection, nostalgic reflection and wonderful immersion. Highly recommended. Brilliant album.

Stream/Download the album here...


Daniel Alexander Hignell-Tully - I Hope They Let Us Hunt Like Men In The Next Life (2023) 

GENRE : experimental, avant-garde, contemporary classical
RECORD LABEL : Difficult Art & Music

Daniel Alexander Hignell-Tully is a composer, performance artist, and researcher from Lewes, UK. The initial idea for this album started as a graphic score composed in the Italian wilderness, during a residency at a repurposed candy factory. You can read the story at the Bandcamp link below...

This album was performed by a trio of musicians - Kev Nickells & John Guzek on violins, and Daniel Alexander Hignell-Tully himself on synthesizer and piano. Even though the players were bound by a strict meter, these performances were semi-improvised, and you can really tell. There's a certain amount of openness, spontaneity and freedom to the sound that lends itself really well to the concept and sonic environment of these pieces.
The album is comprised of three compositions - the title track (split into two parts) and the final track, which is a minimalistic solo piano work.
On Tracks 1 & 2, duelling violins and subtle synth atmospherics paint stark lonely images of empty landscapes and barren plains. The music is heavy with tension and unsettling tones of danger and dread. Violins scratching, squawking, squealing, buzzing, moaning and groaning their way towards some unknown finishing line...while woozy warbling synth notes colour the background with their weird rippling tones. I really love that eerie theremin-like woowoowoowoowoowoo sound that keeps drifting in and out of the soundscape. It reminds me of a spaceship landing in a 50's sci-fi movie. 
There's plenty of emptiness and space in these compositions for the violins to either ring out or stop abruptly, and so much rich interesting variation within the physicality of the playing. There's dissonant weaving, dreamy legato, violent strikes, haunting trills and flourishes, desolate staccato plucks, agonized scraping, eerie spiccato, muted strums and more... with lush cavernous reverberations that beautifully enhance the atmospheres. Tully's additional synth/piano parts are subtle, subdued and delicate - wonderfully complementing the violins while bringing their own dark dramatic flair. 
Track 3 is a solo piano composition, and a suitably quieter and more reflective way to follow-up the previous two tracks. As the title suggests, it's a percussive style of playing which involves a lot of bouncing, tapping and thumping of the keys...with constantly fluctuating rhythms, tempos and intensities. The rugged unadorned bareness of this piece leaves a lot of room for the natural ambience to ring out, and the imagination to run wild... 

'I Hope They Let Us Hunt...' is a dark, haunting and cinematic album of free-form contemporary classical music and avant-garde sound experimentation. The evocative title alone makes me think of the premise of a Black Mirror episode. The music is full of frightening tension, creeping dread and stark drama... but it's also beautiful, captivating and strangely meditative. Great stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...


Cabbaggage - There was smoke for a whole month (2023)

GENRE : psych folk, outsider art, lo-fi folk, field recordings
RECORD LABEL : Human Geography Recordings

A collection of 22 twisted quirky lo-fi recordings, sequenced and blended together into a bizarre and beautiful concoction of haunted freak folk, nostalgic avant-pop, off-kilter singer-songwriter songs and psychedelic sound art.

Cabbaggage is the music of experimental Canadian musician/songwriter Levi Kempster. Although pretty difficult to pigeon-hole or define into any particular genre or category, his previous works fall somewhere in between dreamy modern classical music and avant-garde sound experimentation.
This latest album of his is simply summarized by the artist himself as ''songs about growing up''.
There's a lot going on in these recordings - hazy acoustic pop, poignant balladry, gothic psych-folk, avant-garde guitar fingerpicking, muffled spoken word, demented sound samples, abstract field recordings, etc... all against a noisy backdrop of loud audio hiss and various creepy textures.
Kempster's vocal delivery is also impressive, unique and unpredictable - from the hushed mellow baritones of 'A Star (Go Out)' to the warbling falsetto of 'Never Again (Will I Love You)' to the wailing yells of 'Welcome (To Heaven)' ...

'There Was Smoke For A Whole Month' is a raw, visceral and captivating album of lo-fi avant-folk songs, crooning piano ballads and abstract sound collages about the complexities, frustrations, difficulties and weirdness of growing up in this world. There's a strong sense of apathy, confusion and strange nostalgia that permeates through this long winding collection of recordings which I find both haunting and endearing. I also feel that the spirit of Jandek definitely runs through this music, but it's more melodic and pretty, and a lot easier on the ears. Great album.

Stream/Download the album here...


Evadnè - Green Cat's In The Back (2023) 

GENRE : lo-fi folk, dreampop, electronica, experimental
RECORD LABEL : Adventurous Music

Evadnè is a 20 year old English/German singer-songwriter that lives in London, UK. This EP consists of four stripped-down dreamy folk songs, centred around guitar, piano and Evadnè's voice...with some subtle electronic flourishes and manipulations adding some additional colours to this sonic palette.

These recordings are filled with ghostly whispers, haunted echoes, eerie reverberations, dreamy ambience and soothing audio hiss...with slowly-strummed acoustic guitars, melancholic piano and Evadnè's hushed and vulnerable vocals cutting beautifully through the fuzzy mix. I don't know what these songs are about, but they seem deeply personal and introspective in nature. The heaviness of Evadnè's words, and her heartfelt delivery of them permeates its way right through the hazy atmospheres of these lonesome ambient environments.

'Green Cat's In The Back' is a gorgeously fragile mix of eerie psych folk, lo-fi shoegaze and fuzzy ambience. The minimalistic musical arrangements, along with Evadnè's enchanting voice and raw production makes for a haunting yet soothing listening experience, and an awesome little EP from a young natural talent. Great stuff. 

Stream/Download the EP here...


Fletina - Causal EP (2023) 

GENRE : sound art, field recordings, avant-garde, noise, sound collage
RECORD LABEL : Here Free Press

This is the debut EP of mysterious Scottish sound artist & field recordist Fletina - recently released on the Here Free Press label, digitally and on limited edition CD.

'Causal' consists of three intriguing audio collages. These collages are made up of a vast array of raw organic audio fragments and subtle sonic particles that probably don't belong in the same soundscapes, but this artist manages to bring them together and blend them seamlessly and fluidly, creating eerie abstract sound environments that feel quietly ominous yet strangely soothing. The foundation of these compositions are primarily made from room sounds, environmental noises and natural acoustic phenomena, over which Fletina has layered all kinds of non-musical sounds - some distinguishable, some not so much... 

In these bizarre and wonderfully immersive soundscapes you will hear quiet scrapes, eerie rumbles, radio static, desolate echoes, cellotape squeaks, air blown through hollow vessels, toys rattling, doors opening, water sloshing, mechanical devices humming, cicadas chirruping, varying frequencies of audio hiss, soft percussive sounds, the pitter-patter of a shower, distant birdsong and countless other objects being shaken, ripped, crackled, shuffled and banged.

'Causal' is a subtle, eerie and hypnotic EP of rich atmospheres and surreal sound phenomena. The mesmerizing auditory elements contained with these quietly unsettling soundscapes drift, dance and reverberate beautifully, which makes for such a captivating and immersive listening experience. A wonderful debut EP from an intriguing new sound artist.

Stream/Download the album here...


Mollbury Medical Research Centre - The D7 Project (2023) 

GENRE : experimental, avant-garde, noise, drone, ambient, medical science
RECORD LABEL : Sensory Leakage

This is one of the most disturbing and unsettling albums I've ever listened to. What scares me most is what's NOT being said here. It's what is (possibly) implied by the song titles/sounds/atmospheres that really disturb me.

I don't know what Mollbury Medical Research Centre is exactly, and I don't think I want to know... but artistically it's an experimental, avant-garde, dark ambient drone project with all kinds of eerie unsettling futuristic sci-fi soundscapes mixed with creepy field recordings.
This is the excellent debut album from Mollbury Medical Research Centre. It was originally self-released back in early 2022, but it's been recently re-released by the experimental label Sensory Leakage. The seven compositions that make up this mini-album sound like they were conjured, created and recorded in some sort of haunted medical lab. These cold, sterile, clinical soundscapes are filled with the scraping and rattling of medical equipment, the eerie shuffling of hushed, secretive human activity, broken and tortured transmissions, electrical pulses and blips, erratic wails of distortion, non-human vocalizations, psychedelic noise experimentation, sinister sonic abstractions, deep ominous drones and dark melancholic ambient music.

There's a miasma of sadness, terror and dread that imbues its way throughout this entire album...but it's also a mysterious, intriguing, unpredictable and captivating album of dark soundscapes and wonderfully unsettling atmospheres. Excellent album. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the album here :


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 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...