Dark, cinematic and modern classical ambient. Deaf Centre
build upon their highly respected reputation with this latest
release of deep, brooding ambience built around the organic
richness of cello and piano. The rustle and flutter of recorded
disturbances periodically contrast the sonorous reverberation
of bowed strings and the muted rumble of bass hammers. There
is often a sense of enormity wherein the shadow and disquiet
of Deaf Centre's sonic thundercloud is at times touched
by the brightness of echoing piano such that delicate beauty
drifts all the more touchingly against so tenebrous a backdrop.
Between the weight and sobriety of the longer recordings
Erik Skodvin bows a lone cello with such intensity that
every drag and push of hair on wire rings out with creaking
fidelity. Otto Totland's solo piano in turn has a plaintive,
haunting attraction; huge, slightly distant bass notes and
soft percussive pedal motions underscoring the elegance
of the higher notes. The concluding track Hunted Twice rings
in the memory with a nostalgic interplay of strings and
ivories that hangs in the air long after the album concludes,
leaving the listener with a restless yearning - ready for
a further journey into sonic chiaroscuro.
is an appropriate murky ambiguity and classy simplicity to
the artwork here. The cover image presents vertical strands
with faint hints of light threaded across darkness except
for the lower left quarter. Here an illuminated pale blue/orange
form hides behind the hanging strands or perhaps is projected
upon them. This lustrous focal region is hazy, undefined such
that it could be any one of a number of lurking things. The
rear cover image is similar; this time symmetrical in form,
contrasting in hue; a grey blue form to the left, orange right.
Within, the central spread is flat brown black: titles alone
and small on the leftmost panel; recording information and
brief thanks rightmost.
2004 Deaf Center delivery of Neon City set Norwegian musicians
Erik Skodvin and Otto Totland on a steep upward trajectory
that has seen the duo gathering intense appreciation for
their somber soundscapes and inevitably inspiring various
imitators. Further releases: the 2005 full length Pale Ravine;
separate projects Svarte Greiner and Nest have added to
the magnetic gravity and mystique of the duo. Owl Splinters
has a lot to live up to and the high quality studio recording
and engineering evident here seems to provide the required
step upward. Hard to believe the guys entered the studio
with little in the way of fixed plans and managed to create
Owl Splinters in just three days. The beloved lo-fi textures
of previous material are developed with impressive high
fidelity attention to atmospheric detail and striking clarity.
If you have enjoyed previous Deaf Centre recordings, Owl
Splinters will surely not disappoint. You can listen to
the music at the Type
Records website you can buy the album at Boomkat.
+ Larkian +Les Poissons Autistes
Electro ambient with post-rock leanings and traditional
hints. This self titled album draws together some diverse
sounds from remote collaborators and stirs them into a viscous,
meandering melange. Under an experimental ambient umbrella,
the seven recordings here roam through lulling layered dronescapes;
heavily effected guitar and crunchy slow beats that suggest
a bit of 80s vinyl spinning at 16rpm; peculiar folk-noise
fusion where European yesterdays haunt wistful electronic
cycles. Often there is a sense of nostalgic depth not just
from the echoes of recycled retro sounds but from overlaid
noise and haze submerging other forms far below as if recalled
distantly, uncertainly. On the few recordings where beats
are present, these are mostly restrained, distant affairs
eroded and muted into hazy softness. Other passages establish
faltering cadence from the gathering of atmospheric intensities,
rhythmic momentum ebbing and flowing in and out of sync.
A truly cool card envelope holds this disc. Matt black ground
with a sharp spiderweb of radiating grey threads emanating
from the central title. Two panels, track titles with associated
times on the rear. Inside consistent grey/black line visuals
frame the various text sections: credits and thanks and a
break down of artist input for each recording. The disc is
neatly slotted into a lateral compartment in the right hand
Swiss projects unite via the medium of file sharing to present
a unique electro-acoustic collaboration. Guitarist, composer
Julien Baillod aka Bio, guitar alchemist Cyril Monnard aka
Larkian and Les Poissons Autistes, Philippe Simon and Stéphane
Babey release their shared vision through three:four records.
There are seven mid-length tracks in all, ranging from just
over five minutes through to around ten and a half. The three:four
records website provides more information including a
link for listening to each track.
Agebjörn - The Mountain Lake
Ambient groove and spacey electronica.
The Mountain Lake is a warm, melodic album with an obvious
love of sci fi themes fuelling many of the compositions.
Airy synth pads and dreamy washes float around invitingly
uncluttered phrases, various layers of harmony interacting
with each other in question and answer or deftly entwined.
Agebjörn's nostalgic appreciation for the 1980's is
evident in both the sharp synthesiser arrangements and the
retro drum machine beats; however, this looking back is
balanced Janus-like with futuristic audio imagery, smooth
cinematic scenery and blissful, floatational reverie.
Mountain Lake arrives in a jewelcase with a two panel insert.
The front cover presents a vertical horizon that is appealingly
ambiguous; heavy, dark mass to the left; effulgent silky green
to the right. The rear cover reveals something of the source
of the front image: here we can see the green light to be
the sky interrupted by mountainous forms, the waters of a
night time lake barely breaking the darkness. Again shifted
by ninety degrees, this photograph backs the track list, footed
by website details. Within, a soft focus greenscape presents
a lengthy discussion of the project to the left: to the right
a discography and an appropriate poetic quote.
musician Johan Agebjörn has a pretty substantial discography
to date that can essentially be split into two main projects:
the electro ambient side (of which The Mountain Lake is
the latest release) and a 'neo-italo disco studio' project
featuring singer Sally Shapiro. For this album Johan has
returned to Lotuspike to follow up his Mossebo collection
of 2008. The thirteen tracks on The Mountain Lake explore
personal themes, taking the title from the English language
translation of the Göteborg suburb where he lived between
the years 2007 - 2009 when the album was under development.
The album features collaborative input from Sally Shapiro
and Lisa Barra on vocals, as well as Glass Candy, NeonCoil,
Sylwia van der Wonderland and remix guru Steve Moore. You
can listen to tracks at Spotted
Peccary or at http://www.johanagebjorn.info/.
Prowling, energetic electronic downtempo. The initial impression
given by Kinetic is one of controlled aggression balanced
fastidiously against a languid, cyber-punk sense of brooding
cool. The bold, acidic sound palette is full of elastic
zaps, muscular synth tones and gutsy bass lines. Bright
melodic patterns, gated airy threads and lush pads glide
through the growling machinery; often these are quite beautiful
in stark contrast to much of the raw energy of the rhythmic
content. The juxtaposition of harsh, gritty frameworks,
dark shadowy imagery and dreamy themes built around downtempo
bpm's results in a surprising overall serenity. Kinetik
has a very professional feel to it, exquisitely produced
and intricately crafted; excellent dance floor material
with sufficient class and character to reward the home listener
I have only the promotional electronic version
of this release and so have only seen the above left cover
image. An appropriately synthetic android profile with a
sensual poise fills the front cover. The introspective mechanoid
gazes downward comprised of complex graphic details and
is the project of American Northwest producer/songwriter
Rain. He released the debut album Sub Conscious back in
2004 on Waveform Records. A three track vocal oriented EP
entitled Luminous appeared last year featuring Alyssa Palmer
on Rain's own Native Harmonix label. There have also been
a series of singles on various compilations. Now we have
the full length ten track sophomore album. The artist's
own comments explain: "This album is a reflection of
the times we are living in … hard and aggressive,
lush and beautiful, kinetic, frenetic, distorted, ever changing
… but with each passing moment, a chance to move through
life and make it a better place than we found it."
You can find this release at phutureprimitive.bandcamp.com
as a digital download as well as all the usual outlets.
Should you want a physical copy - catch the promotional
live shows where a limited number of discs will be distributed.
- Inspirational Power
Downtempo psychill, lush electronica and acoustic performance.
Inspirational Power opens with a gentle, beatless melodic
piece built around a cycling, sequential pattern; distant
male vocals hang wordlessly in the bright Autumn air; warm
atmospherics; tranquil harmony. Chronos appears to be revelling
in the beauty of digital sound on these tracks: gradual
developments and expansive interludes in no rush to a final
destination; beats that seem to inhabit the music rather
than dominate; attractive melodic phrases and the intertwined
twinkle of arpeggiators. There is a distinct sense of a
musical journey to the album as the earlier restfulness
develops into more climactic pieces with heavier grooves
around the midway mark. Finally the music ascends spaceward
via the synthetic sci-fi tones and philosophical musings
of Optimistic Future and the meandering, ethereal, beat
free concluder Forgiveness.
shifting mood here is often one of deep serenity and unhurried
reverie. The intricacies of the beats are frequently offset
by drifting ambient progressions and mesmerising evolving
repetitions. There are spacey sections in places where the
electronics take on a more sinewy, sharper-edged nature. Occasional
global elements introduce touches of earthy exotica; most
prominent on the folk remix of Sky Path: here flamenco style
acoustic guitars juxtapose tribal drumming and Indian vocals
before the track breaks wide open with an Irish reel played
on distinctive uilleann pipes. There is even a progressive
section with flute improvisation and a brief but distinct
nineteen seventies vibe that arises during Deus Ex Machina.
jewel case presentation, Inspirational Power is fronted by
a sharp graphic image of running figures upon interconnected
cogs. Bold, black, dynamic - stare long enough and the whole
things aches to move - set against a sleek icy grey ground
that reflects the man machine in the foreground. The rear
cover tracklist includes writing, production and collaborative
credits laid out over greys and gears familiar from the flip
side. Within, the double page spread of the insert is a rich
presentation of photographs and text. There are performance
shots highlighting the acoustic/electronic blend of Chronos'
music with colourful instruments displayed and engrossed players
at work. As well as the usual contact and technical details
there is an interesting paragraph of background information
on the artist.
musician and sound designer Nick Klimenko delivers his third
album as Chronos. Having collaborated back in 2009 with
Catalizer on the Ajana release Quid est Veritas? he now
follows up his debut solo of 2007 Steps to the Greater Knowledge.
For Inspirational Power Chronos has turned to the Beats
& Pieces label. There are ten tracks in all here that
rise out of restful introspection gradually into dynamic
downtempo psychedelia and global chill before floating right
off through the stratosphere into infinite space. This album
reveals Chronos to be a multifaceted project with both carefully
crafted studio work and live performance aspects in evidence.
The depth and colour of sound benefits from Nick's work
developing virtual instruments and sound libraries as well
as his collaborative relationships that give rise to some
engrossing instrumentation threaded through the electronica.
WILL LIKE THIS ALBUM
Inspirational Power is one of those electronic
albums that transcends the usual genre limitations; promotional
material rightly claims that "it explores the paths
between ambient, chillout, ethnic music and psychedelic
hypnotic trance vibrations." Fans of colourful, deeply
chilled psytrance will enjoy this release, so too will those
with an interest in global dance music. The Beats
& Pieces website holds listening material if you'd
like to see for yourself.
Eclectic downtempo and IDM with subtle classical elements.
Sharp, contemporary electronica and fractured downbeat grooves
unite this gathering of blissfully experimental artists.
Quite a cerebral sound here as the tracks range from tranquil
glitchscapes to dissonant drones and blip flecked noise.
Jazz and lounge elements inhabit a few pieces, yet bent
to the extreme, given new shape, submerged within a bed
of welling bed of disquiet, amid hi-tech peripherals and
crystalline programming. There are some blissful, drifting
passages along the way such as the hazy, soft focus guitar
meandering of Helios' Stasis and the spacious EVAC collaboration
with Rena Jones on What Once Was West. Field Rotation combines
evocative environmental recordings with deliriously effected
strings, sparing piano touches and airy electronics on Life
As A Paper Sail Boat as the album winds down into serious
dreaminess. The Moving Dawn Orchestra's Your Light pretty
much has the listener floating blissfully with its ethereal
atmospherics and lilting melodic subtleties; building to
a climactic ascending conclusion in readiness for the excellently
titled final track Cloud Architecture from Phidelity.
just have the digital promo copy of this release and so have
only seen the cover artwork displayed above left. A muted
grey blue graphic of receding hills with a distinct depth
of focus highlighting the pair of central integers. Simple
11 is the first compilation album delivered via Rena Jones’
own label Cartesian Binary Recordings. For this project a
number of familiar names were gathered: Funckarma, Helios,
EVAC, Komposit, Hands Upon Black Earth, Ben Milstein, Phidelity,
gasp, The Moving Dawn Orchestra, Field Rotation and the Abominable
Twitch. To add to the appeal Rena Jones herself supplies strings
that lace evocatively through the music at various point on
the album. For me the collection begins with something of
a US feel, recalling Native State releases and then meanders
toward Europe toward the latter half of the thirteen piece
set as a more timeless quality emerges. The Cartesian
Binary website holds a Soundcloud for the album so treat
yourself to a listen.