Wednesday 3 August 2022

Bandcamp Recommendations (Aug 22)

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

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


Conducive - Global Makeshift Wounds (2022)

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

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

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

Stream/Download the album here...


Ali Murray - Passing Through The Void EP (2022)

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

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

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

Stream/Download the EP here...


Wiley Soule - Like Kaiju Vermin EP (2022)

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

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

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

Stream/Download the EP here...


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

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

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

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

Stream/Download the album here...


Hunki Dori - Reverie (2021)

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

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

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

Stream/Download the album here...


Floated - Sizzle EP (2022) 

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

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

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

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

Stream/Download the EP here...


Sophie Stone - Amalgamations (2022)

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

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

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

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

Stream/Download the album here...


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

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

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

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

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

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

Stream/Download the album here...


Tremosphere - Memoirs of A French Garden (2022)

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

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

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

Stream/Download the album here...


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

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

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

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

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

Stream/Download the album here...


Sunplus - Soft Printing Machines (2022) 

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

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

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

Stream/Download the album here...


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

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

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

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

Stream/Download the album here...


Heavy Cloud - Memoria (2022) 

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

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

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

Stream/Download the album here...


David Wallraf - No War (2022)

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

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

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

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

Stream/Download the album here...


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