Thursday, November 5, 2020
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Schleinz is certainly no slouch; his catalogue is lengthy. But his work as Tristan Magnetique, in which he has limited his arsenal to only the CZ-101, is quite beefy in and of itself. His first outing bearing this particular brand was spread across a whopping three cassettes, while this bad boy spans two spools. This is an auteur who understands what the ambient music aficionado wants: a lot of music in lengthy passages to support inner exploration and nocturnal meandering. And this is what we have been given.
Thursday, September 3, 2020
Ambient wizards David Cordero and Pepo Galán capture the beauty of southern Spain with this collaborative effort for the always fabulous Muzan Editions imprint. Hailing from opposite sides of the Strait of Gibraltar – Cordero from Cádiz and Galán from Málaga – the two have whipped together a series of haunting meditations from fluid and evaporating tones.
Sound-making objects seem to be whisked away like grains of sand in the wind, their remnants only fleetingly discernible behind layers of drone and obfuscated melody. On “After the Pains”, piano notes resonate outward, only to return as obliterated husks of melancholy. What might be processed birdcalls is manipulated such that the warbles become a lonely, alien cacophony. Dreamy tones weave these elements into a blanket of nostalgia and warmth. What should be frightening becomes beautiful.
With “Deva”, the duo begins with a swirling fog of glittering drones. The amorphous cloud eventually crystallizes into a delicate polyrhythm. Patterns of vibraphone-like tone dance about in a sprightly display of vigor. The hypnotizing piece slowly dissolves into silence. “When the Light Disappears” is ironically a gleaming ball of dreamlike tone that slowly unfurls into a gaseous nebula of colorful, intermingling textures. This, the lengthiest piece on offer, is a perfect capstone to this fine collection of ethereal soundscapes.
The artists themselves have a few copies of this dreamy cassette left on their respective Bandcamp sites. Digital drift can be acquired via the label’s Bandcamp. Either way, this is a must-have for lovers of the drone.
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Thursday, July 9, 2020
It’s been awhile. Forgive me. It’s been a little crazy around these parts.
These days, we’ve been listening to an incredibly evocative piece of music. This particular composition is imbued with the essence of water. Entitled POOL, it was crafted from many smaller loops of water sounds, assembled into a series of 7 stories, which then coalesced into the ultimate 25-minute long piece. It was born in the midst of waves and droplets, mists and torrents. It is fluid yet crystalline. Malleable yet structured.
The product of Argentinian composer, radio producer, and sound artist Sol Rezza, POOL was commissioned by the Chile-based Tsonami Festival. There, it was presented as a radio piece that was “based on the notion of the power of transformation of the element of water, as a continuum that balances one of the life cycles of our planet, and the one that is being radically affected by climate change.”
Not coincidentally, the 7 narrative elements that comprise the piece seamlessly waft into each other, the liquid-sourced field recordings melding with more abstract electronic sonic elements. Icy rhythms and glacial drones exist alongside each other, creating an emotional churn. Peaceful, then excited, harmonious, then vigorous; the cycle repeats across a titanic 25 minutes.
For the digital release, which is accompanied by a 5-part graphical score, Rezza has included each of the 7 segments as unique tracks to investigate on their own. It’s here, where each idea is encapsulated within its own small space, that one can really investigate the essence of POOL itself. A listener can interrupt the flow, perhaps to focus on the heightened boiling of “Loop III”, or maybe to ruminate on the melancholy piano of “Loop IV”. Each section can be interrogated and enjoyed apart from the others.
You too can absorb the fluidity of POOL, both as a mammoth composition, and as a series of vignettes. Head over to Sol Rezza’s Bandcamp and choose your entry point into this aquatic adventure in sound.
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
When this little blog first took flight, the first ink spilled was for a self-titled cassette by a project named Isness. Half of the Isness duo is Oakland-based musician Matt Robidoux, a coastal transplant who ran with Sunburned Hand of the Man when he was located nearer to the Atlantic Ocean. He is a purveyor of fine songcraft, and Brief Candles – his latest tape – totally spills the beans with respect to his deftness in musical ideation.
There are 17 performers other than Robidoux who are credited as being involved in these compositions, which were realized over a 2-year period beginning in 2017. Each individual lends their distinct musical signature, playing loosely within the framework that Robidoux has assembled. “Rose Room” leads the proceedings, as the composer croons atop a scrappily strummed guitar and wobbly wind instrument melodies. The piece swoons, staggers a little bit and tumbles around before collapsing entirely. Taking a completely contrarian position to the preceding piece, the instrumental “Little Wall” is a tightly wound composition, complete with a staccato section in which each instrument pierces the silence with its voice. I sense the influence of Gastr Del Sol here, but I could be wrong.
Robidoux sways between weirdness and complete control across the length of this tape, and it’s actually quite refreshing. Veering between precision and looseness allows for subtle shifts in tone as each piece reveals itself, piquing our interest over and over again. One particular piece that exemplifies the complete array of sensibilities is the epic “Reflection Space”, which begins with an understated synth warble before morphing into something almost completely motorik in nature a la Neu! Then the horns enter, stumbling over each other in an attempt to freak everyone out. Robidoux attempts to calm things down with his soothing voice, which only heightens the intensity even more. This track alone is worth the price of admission.
Robidoux still has copies of this imaginative and attention-grabbing cassette, so steer your ship over to yonder Bandcamp and slap a few bucks down for this one. You’ll thank me later.
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
The Aural Canyon label is no stranger to this little blog of ours, mainly because we have much love for their delicious brand of audio bliss. Our orbits are very aligned with theirs, and we eagerly anticipate each new release from the imprint. This particular cassette has been rattling our ear drums for awhile, and it is a shame that we haven’t had the bandwidth to spill any ink about it in months past, because it’s so damn good!
Modular synth wizard Grainger Weston is behind the moniker With Great Care, and this is his debut. It’s a pretty epic release, though – so well-tuned as a matter of fact that it’s hard to believe this guy hasn’t been cranking out synth-scapes for eternity. Or maybe he has, and this is the first time that he’s dared to attach his incorporeal emanations to a physical form. One can never be sure…
This is the kind of modular jamming we love around here: the music carefully balances a mix of ambient hues behind a melodic foreground and fractured loops that coalesce into tide pools of undifferentiated sound. Such weirdness can create a kaleidoscopic effect, as can be heard on “Swim”, in which oblique patterns emerge and recede almost constantly as the lengthy piece unfolds. At other times there is an unnerving, extraterrestrial vibe that takes hold. The alien atmospheres of “Horizon” with its glitchy lexicon is exemplary of such an unearthly mode.
Unique in its execution is “Blue”, in which a sprightly – almost pachinko-esque – melody is sparsely peppered over a barely present hum. It’s like Weston is jamming freely on his modular, really exploring the outer reaches of melody, tone and timbre. The whole thing is thrilling. As a matter of fact, the entire tape is a stunner from beginning to end – definitely one that we will be jamming while under quarantine, and beyond.
Aural Canyon have copies of this expansive and entrancing cassette over at their Bandcamp, so grab yourself a copy, hunker down, and drift away on clouds of synth.