Friday, September 25, 2009

P Jørgensen - To - Low Point CD

Crumbs, it’s a new Low Point release! And what a cracker it is as well. Having only heard a couple of samples thus far and being impressed with those, I’m stoked to be enjoying the whole album now.

It’s a piece of work that is instantly striking due to some awesome sound design and sublime textures which continue throughout the CD. Consisting of short-ish, focused tracks, the way these snapshots of sound are put together is an object lesson in fluidity and atmosphere. Ranging from the powerful to the minimal, the relaxed to the intense and pretty much every flavour in between, I’d really hesitate to call this a drone album per se, but there are undeniable elements of drone throughout – it’s just that it’s so expansive and deep and the transitions between the work so seamless that it feels like more than that; an ever-changing single work, of you like.

Punctuated quite brilliantly around half way through by a delightful field recording piece with twittering birds and natural sounds, it then glides gracefully into the final stages with a resonant bell style texture that grows in intensity towards the penultimate track before quietening down and drifting away in a haze of true beauty. I’m absolutely smitten with this work I have to say that for fans of acts like Celer or the naturalistic works of Andrew Deutsch this really is something to savour.

A huge recommendation on this one. Wonderful.

Check it out here...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chihei Hatakeyama - The River - Hibernate CD

Ah yes, Chihei Hatakeyama; a purveyor of quality electronic and organic music if ever I heard one. It gives me great pleasure to bring you this lovely release on the young, but already incredibly mature Hibernate label.

From the off you know exactly what this is going to be about – and it really doesn’t disappoint. Chihei has provided another delicious cocktail of gentle processing and guitar based works that have a lovely soft and warm feel to accompany you on these increasingly autumnal evenings. Serene and pastoral passages of sumptuous sound form a robust backbone for Chihei to work with as he softly plays with resonances, textures and instruments to give everything a magical feel. The slightly raw feeling of the recordings plays to the strengths of this type of ambient music by giving you an earthy layer of sound that acts like a cushion for the gorgeous melodies whilst framing the tracks at the same time.

One of my favourite aspects of this album, apart from the music of course, is the titles of the tracks themselves. They have simple quality to them that amply reflects the sounds and there’s a quiet poetry to both that’s immensely appealing.

As you probably already know I’m a fan of Chihei’s work and I’m an equally big fan of this super label that’s being curated with love and attention to detail. Do yourself a favour and enjoy some luscious and thoughtful music from this brilliant artist. Superb from beginning to end.

Check it out here...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Coldstream - Alarums - Under The Spire 3" CDr

Another new Under The Spire release this week and this time we find ourselves face to face with two utterly exquisite tracks on a 3” CDr from Coldstream. Seriously, if you’re into the deeper, slightly darker side of drone / organic soundscapes, this is an absolute must I would say.

Kicking off with the wonderful seven minute title track you’ll find yourself treated to a low-key, impeccably designed and fluid work that gently ebbs and flows throughout with a deliciously hypnotic two chord progression (my favourite type, if I’m honest). I love the way the chords always resolve into each other as they have that timeless minor 7th feel that makes them instantly moody and full of emotion. They roll on and on, yet it never feels relentless – indeed, when the track finishes you almost feel as if it could have gone on for way, way longer without ever losing their focus.

The second track is a super eleven minute track that’s built in a different way, yet retains a thematic similarity to the first piece. That is to say it’s deep, earthy and beautiful. Gliding gracefully into the territory of beatless shoegaze you can really hear elements that recall a band such as, for example, Slowdive, yet it has a more stripped back, contemporary feel to the simple, effective composition. It’s beautifully put together and has, once again, a totally natural flow that builds up to the middle of the piece and then ever-so-slowly fades away again.

Compelling and delightful, this is a splendid release indeed. Limited to 100 copies – so don’t delay! Superb.

Check it out here...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Yui Onodera - Entropy - Trumn CD

Originally released in scant quantities in 2005, this stunning work from the wonderful Yui Onodera gets a timely re-issue here on the newly formed Trumn imprint out of Tokyo. What this proves (as if it needed proving) is that Onodera has been ploughing his own furrow in a low-key way and, in a lot of respects, is only receiving the plaudits he deserves. I know that I feel like I came to the party a little late. But, I’m here now and ‘Entropy’ is exactly the kind of album that I love to sit back and collapse to, or work to, or just sit and daydream to.

It has an ethereal, drifting quality and the variety of the pieces is lovely. Once again, it’s the sort of album that you could call drone, and indeed there are plenty of subaquatic textures and muted chords here, but there’s more in the shape of more experimental sounds and recordings that punctuate those more ambient moments. That’s the beauty of this – one moment you’re submerged in a filtered down, bubbling sound and the next there’s an uplifting, sublime chord awaiting you before adding in a gentle guitar and then something a little more abstract. Predominantly, though, Onodera is all about the feeling and mood and the one thing that’s common throughout every track on this album is the fact that there’s always a delicate and fragile beauty residing within each piece.

The combination of music and absolutely wonderful oversized packaging with beautiful printing mean this is an item you’ll be enjoying for years to come. A big warm welcome to Trumn here at Smallfish – and what a way to kick things off. Highly recommended for fans of the deep side.

Check it out here...

Pillowdiver - Tony On A Bike - Under The Spire 3" CDr

Following on from Pillowdiver’s excellent recent album for 12k comes this lovely little 3” CDr from the rapidly expanding Under The Spire imprint. If you heard ‘Sleeping Pills’ you’ll be thrilled to find out that this gorgeous four-track EP is very much along the same lines – and it’s a real treat for the ears.

Using guitars as the main instrumentation, Pillowdiver constructs deep, evocative soundscapes that sit somewhere between the sculpted sound of 12k and a slightly more shoegaze kind of feel (think Lightsway, Dawn Chorus Ignites or some of the older Televise material). These pieces have an easy flow and a cunning way of introducing melodies into the bountiful chords whilst using background processing and effects to keep everything in exactly the kind of ball park I love. The title track itself, along with the last track, ‘Black Metal Dream’ are super examples of that blend and while the guitars strum out the tunes the lightly droned-out accompaniment really combines with them to give it an earthy and organic feel. In fact the last track even has an incredibly subtle, pulsating 4/4 kick underneath everything to give it even more movement. The third track, ‘Nine’, is a rapturous noise of effected, gained up guitars and even drums that collide to make a slow, driving and quintessentially beautiful shoegazer of a track – really awesome stuff.

All round it’s another brilliant release for this label and something to really enjoy from this talented producer. Limited to a paltry 150 copies and on the strength of how quickly the 12k album flew out, definitely one to snag while you can. First class.

Check it out here...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Segue - Grey - Tokyo Droning CDr

I’m very pleased to bring you the second release from Home Normal sister label Tokyo Droning and this time we find ourselves in the very pleasing company of Jordan Sauer, aka Segue.

I really like his work for the numerous labels he’s produced for and I think that this set of tracks is absolutely natural for TD in every possible way. From the pastoral guitar-led opening track through a series of gentle, meditative and always melodic pieces this is a finely focused and very friendly album indeed.

It’s an interesting to contrast to Offthesky’s release as that was all about the flow of melodic and dissonant drone whereas this is much more of an ‘album’ if you know what I mean? Each track has its own character and they really do take in a wide range of styles yet with a common theme of the organic running through them. There are subtle drones, lovely warm textures, exquisite guitar licks and melodies, the occasional foray into a slightly more traditional electronic sound and even some naturalistic field recording based works – and at this point I have to give a special mention to ‘Futures’ which is, if I was absolutely pushed into choosing one, probably my favourite track. It features some gorgeous ethnic style background recordings along with a slowly growing texture and even a hint of what sounds like cello or violin - lovely. There’s plenty going on but in a low-key and beautifully realised way that actually, I have to say, gets better and better each time I hear it (and that’s quite a few times I can tell you!)

Quite apart from the fact that this is limited, once again, to 100 copies and TD is an ace label, this truly is an album to savour from a very talented artist. Really, a wonderful piece of work.

Check it out here...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Autistici - Complex Tone Test - Kesh CD

Audiobulb head honcho David Newman provides us with another very compelling full length album, this time on Simon Scott’s superb Kesh imprint. It’s no secret that I loved his previous CD on 12k and it’s therefore fairly unsurprising I’m sure to discover that this is also a beautifully realised set of tracks as well.

What I really like about Autistici is the variety that he manages to cram into not just the album as a whole, but even the tracks themselves. Combining electronics, found sounds, field recordings, organic instruments and some utterly awesome 3D stereo effects, you’ll discover an entire world of music here. From the gentle flute-led intro track and into the syncopated, almost techno-sounding ‘Meticule’ right through the evocative ‘Resonating Wire’ and beyond, there’s a fascinating sense of exploration and discovery at each and every turn.

This isn’t just a lovely album with a seemingly innate sense of melody that shines through, oh no, this is an experimental work of huge substance that constantly finds the comfortable and homely in some unlikely places. There are times where the sounds almost overwhelm, and yet it always holds back a little, allowing you some room to breathe and get accustomed to the atmospheres that evolve.

From just plain gorgeous through to hallucinatory and tense, this really is a journey into sound that’s as exciting as it is relaxing. A paradox, then, in some ways, but considering the pedigree of the artist and label it should come as no surprise that this is an utterly exceptional album. A real experience and something that I’d urge you to check out and enjoy. Pure quality.

Check it out here...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Aaron Martin - Grass Wounds - Under The Spire 3" CDr

I do like a spot of Aaron Martin you know. Last thing was the Mobeer release and that was marvellous so it’s rather nice to have this absolutely exquisite little 3” CDr from Under The Spire landing on my doorstep today. I feel like classifying it as electronic / organic / classical, but to be honest I don’t really want to make up yet another category on the site so this will have to do.

It really is a blend of beautiful classical influences though and has a thoroughly modern feel to it with gorgeous arrangements and beautifully atmospheric string playing. The cello, as you’d expect, plays a large role in creating the deep sound that runs throughout the five pieces and whether it’s a straight-up piece of melodic beauty or more of a cinematic soundscape or experimental work there’s a really tangible sense of the sound always being anchored to the cello.

Tense, at times dramatic and at others just really sublime, this is music to savour from a consistently brilliant artist. If you know his work you’ll want to be all over this gem and if you don’t know him I would urge you to check this out immediately. As ever this is a limited run so they won’t be hanging around for too long I suspect. Really quite superb.

Check it out here...