July 10, 2011

richard a ingram – Happy Hour

A year on from the release of his impressive solo debut, Consolamentum, Manchester-based musician Richard A. Ingram returns with another slab of implacably sombre cinematic electronic music. Released once again on the excellent White Box, Happy Hour is a particularly bleak and oppressive affair, with which Ingram continues to explore intricate textural soundscapes and arrange them into a powerful soundtrack.
Articulated around four lengthy tracks, ranging from ten-and-a-half to fifteen minutes, each with their own intense tone and mood, Happy Hour is at once extremely disturbing and deeply haunting. If some of the sound sources used on Consolamentum occasionally revealed their provenance, the murky atmosphere which spreads over the whole of Happy Hour corrodes those used here until they become totally unidentifiable, appearing in more advanced stages of decay as the album progresses. Formed of dense stormy clusters of sounds, distorted and granular, which almost imperceptibly change from one drone structure to another, Agile Drone is a harrowing atmospheric piece which becomes even more unsettling when it is subjected to hammering blows in its later part. The mood lightens up slightly with Truncheon Tree as a heavy dub sequence appears to hover in between worlds, as if in suspension, its warm aftershock pulsating throughout the whole piece. This happens at such a slow rate however that it seems to develop outside of reality, as if it was punching through thick layers of smoke. It takes almost half of its ten minute course for the motif to come into full focus, and its backdrop continues to grow for some time after that, until it unexpectedly collapses upon itself, leaving the original dub motif to slowly crash and burn.
The album then reaches a very different stage with Chaos Fortifier and Retro Morph. While quite different in their respective narrative, both pieces rely on vast sonic spaces, filled with environmental sounds and noises, miniature textures greatly amplified, every crack and bump magnified to reveal their ugly reality. These particularly austere soundscapes are swept by chilling air currents, their relative peace disturbed by what could be trains in the distance (Chaos Fortifier) or ebbing and flowing urban sprawl (Retro Morph). While the former is almost entirely devoid of any musical aspect, except for a very faint motif, perhaps a voice calling out for help or a looped fragment of incidental music, toward the end, the latter resonates with seemingly disjointed notes which eventually form, for a time at least, some kind of vague melodic structure. In its later part, it is as if the sound of a bowed guitar had been slowed down so much that all subsisted of its primal form was a low hanging hum.
Even more so than with his debut album, Richard A. Ingram has created here a truly absorbing soundtrack, its dark and oppressive soundscapes, while undoubtedly of their time, serving a much more grandiose and timeless purpose. Ingram has very convincingly moved on from the unsettling tones of Consolamentum to experiment with much more ambitious set ups. Highly recommended.themilkfactory

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richard a ingram – Happy Hour

July 5, 2011

Marsen Jules Trio – Les Fleurs Variations

Label: Oktaf
Genre: Ambient, Neo classical

Minimalist electronics and neo-classic drapes. The echo is not so distant. Five years ago, the German Marsen Jules ventured on the language of Molière. Noble and slight, his album Les Fleurs remains this day one of the most beautiful manners to observe the morning dew. Since, time inexorably changed. Marsen Jules took some years, went up its own label and left the solitude of the studio for the collective adventure. Laptop, violin and piano. The flesh returns stealthily. Accompanied with Anwar Alam and with Jan-Philipp Alamplein, Marsen Jules thus becomes trio. Tuned to this first tour of stoking, its universe of ice-cold winds wins at it obviously in heat and density. Everything takes place in the detail and the lighting there, only spaces of freedom were granted to the sources of origin. Certainly, the territory is already conquered but the flight is made this time of night, so modifying the perception and the firm memory of past. Without upsetting totally the bases of a centred music.

July 5, 2011

Nicholas Szczepanik – Amaranthine

Label: Self Released
Genre: Ambient, Drone

Ante Algo Azul consists of 12 pieces; each will be released on a 3″ CDr limited to 100 copies. The set will be sold as a subscription and each piece will be mailed individually, as it is finished. Each piece will be handwrapped in paper and, at times, a piece may also include other keepsakes like photographs, poetry, etc…

This is the fourth piece of this remarcable project.

July 5, 2011

Nicholas Szczepanik – Not Knowing (For Eliane Radigue)

 

Label: Self released
Genre: Ambient, Electronic, Neo classical

Ante Algo Azul consists of 12 pieces; each will be released on a 3″ CDr limited to 100 copies. The set will be sold as a subscription and each piece will be mailed individually, as it is finished. Each piece will be handwrapped in paper and, at times, a piece may also include other keepsakes like photographs, poetry, etc…

This is the first release of this serie

July 5, 2011

Hiroki Sasajima – Joya No Kane (self release, 2011)

1 Joya No Kane 16:14

New Year’s Eve. Buddhist temples ring their bells 108 times at midnight. This tradition is called joya no kane which means “bell rings on new year eve’s night.” The rings represent 108 elements of bonno, defilements, or Kilesa in Sanskrit, which is said people have in their mind. The bells are rung to repent 108 of the bonno.
Hiroki Sasajima

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July 5, 2011

Taylor Deupree & Christopher Willits – Live In Japan, (12k, )

1 Deupree & Willits – Untitled (24:02)
2 Christopher Willits – Untitled (18:10)
3 Taylor Deupree – Untitled (27:24)

Performance live enregistrée au Yamaguchi Center for Arts le 26 juin 2004…
Taylor Deupree + Christopher Willits Live In Japan, 2004 is the first release in 12k’s new Limited Series. Issued in a numbered edition of 500 cds, Live In Japan, 2004 has been created as a document of Deupree’s and Willits’ performances at the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM) in Yamaguchi, Japan during their 2004 tour and is being released to support their 2005 tour of Japan. It will first be made available in Tokyo on June 18th at the Shibuya Uplink Factory and will continue to be sold throughout the 9-day tour. Any remaining copies will then be made available in 12k’s online shop and at future live shows from the artists.

Live In Japan, 2004 features 3 live recordings from YCAM on June 26th, 2004. The first piece is a collaborative improvisational set between the two artists, borrowing textures and styles from each of them, not unlike their previous two critically acclaimed releases Audiosphere 8 (Audiosphere/Sub Rosa, 2003), and Mujo (Plop, 2004). However, new directions are taken into pulsing and repetitive frameworks, more intense than either artist is commonly known for. The second track is Christopher Willits’ own performance capturing his signature live, folded guitar work and the third track is a micro/ambient set from Deupree utilizing not only computer-based sounds but live, processed melodica as well as real-time room recording manipulations.

ChristopherWillits.com

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July 4, 2011

Ryoichi Kurokawa – Ground

July 4, 2011

MIKA VAINIO – Black Telephone of Matter


Veteran Finnish electronics maestro and one of the most fascinating producers of our times, Mika Vainio returns to the Touch label, the recent home of some of his most uncompromsing work. Last years ‘Oleva’ and the preceding Pan Sonic album remain examples of the finest electronic albums of the last few years, but they were surely also some of his most accessible. For ‘Black Telephone Of Matter’ we hear the contrarily noisy and contemplative side of Mika, no beats, but plenty of completely devastating aural views surveying vast abstract landscapes. ‘Roma A.D 2727’ weaves sinewaves sculpted into brutally effective and nerve stimulating squalls. ‘Silence Traverses Des Mondes Et Des Endes’ opens with the horrific cackle of a murder of crows before sharply focussed bass blasts with ever encroaching proximity and unrelated shards of textured noise dynamically ascend before crashing to point zero. If you’ve ever experienced one of his frightening but life affirming live shows, the album’s centre-piece ‘Bury A Horse’s Head’ should help you relive the life-changing intensity of his powerful drones with 11 mins of austere oscillator experimentation, only you’ll have to turn the volume up for the full body tactile effect. Paralleling this is the set’s other extended composition ‘A Measurement Of Excess Antenna Temperature At 4080 Ml/s’. A reduction of excess to the bare minimum of electronic hum with brain massaging waves of subbass that’ll make your eyeballs vibrate if you’re paying attention on good headphones. Nobody else comes close to this man’s sonic imagination or level of execution, this is another essential purchase for fans of cutting edge sonics and good music everywhere. Immense.

MIKA VAINIO – Black Telephone of Matter

June 29, 2011

Fabio Orsi – Wo Ist Behle?

Hailing from the coastal city of Taranto in southern Italy, Fabio Orsi has, in the space of barely six years, collated a considerable body of work, scattered on various labels (A Silent Place, Ruralfaune, Low Point, Priviledged To Fail…). Beside a number of solo releases, he has collaborated with the likes of My Cat Is An Alien, Mamuthones, Seaworthy or Valerio Cosi to name but a few. Finding inspiration in the pre-war recordings of Alan Lomax, Orsi’s work, often based on field recordings which he processes into evocative soundscapes, attempts to document his surroundings.
Having recently moved to Berlin, where he found himself in the midst of the German capital’s harsh and cold winter, this is very much what he does here. Working with sparse electronics, which he loops into vast hypnotic progressive pieces, Orsi appears to reflect the icy weather with equally wintry sound formations. If he had simply stuck to loops, Wo Ist Behle? would have been a very desolate affair. Instead, he develops here slow evolutive soundscapes, which, although often appearing irremediably static, continuously develop and change, through imperceptible nudges of modular synthesis. Like anonymous shadow-like bodies moving through a thick freezing fog, these alterations are too slight to register and be acknowledged for definite, yet they undeniably exist and actually prove essential to the balance of the record.
Perhaps the most haunting piece on here, Loipe 1 is a masterful slice of hypnotic electronic music. Opening with a heavy drone, Orsi slowly brings a pulsating loop nearer the surface over the next few minutes, then, from the halfway mark, applies a second, much sharper loop, over it as the backdrop becomes more expansive. As the track progresses, it becomes criss-crossed with acerbic sonic streaks until the whole piece eventually dies down twelve and a half minutes in. Clocking at almost fifteen minutes, Loipe 3 is of an even more cosmic disposition, but while basing himself once again on a hazy drone, Orsi chooses here to focus almost entirely on its evolutive characteristic. As more components are introduced, from tonal nuances and astral winds to rhythmic sequences, there are hints of dreamy electronic textures pioneered by Rubycon-era Tangerine Dream.
Although much shorter, Loipe 2 and 4 are equally as atmospheric and spellbinding, their sprawling soundscapes almost entirely obliterating their more restrictive scope. Of the two, the latter is the more sombre, its vaporous backdrop, placed in sharp contrast to the much more linear pulses which are left floating above it, appearing like an ominous storm cloud brewing in the distance.
After the calm progressive aspect of the first four tracks, Loipe 5 comes as something of a shock. Here the electronic textures are simply used to wrap incisive guitars in effects, creating something more akin to shoegaze than to kosmische, creating a clash with the rest of the album, as if Orsi was doing this to bring his audience out of the torpor he instilled on earlier pieces.
Wo Ist Behle? is an uncompromising record which sees Fabio Orsi moving away from using field recordings and experimenting with documenting his environment with artificial sounds instead. The result is, quite simply, nothing short of breathe-taking.

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June 28, 2011

Biosphere – N-Plants

News of a new Biosphere record is always exciting, but it’s not normally as freaky as this…

The following text is taken from the intro to the album on Biosphere’s label, touch.

Geir Jenssen (Biosphere) writes: “Early February 2011: Decided to make an album inspired by the Japanese post-war economic miracle. While searching for more information I found an old photo of the Mihama nuclear plant. The fact that this futuristic-looking plant was situated in such a beautiful spot so close to the sea made me curious. Are they safe when it comes to earthquakes and tsunamis? Further reading revealed that many of these plants are situated in earthquake-prone areas, some of them are even located next to shores that had been hit in the past by tsunamis.

A photo of Mihama made me narrow down my focus only to Japanese nuclear plants. I wanted to make a soundtrack to some of them, concentrating on the architecture, design and localizations, but also questioning the potential radiation danger (a cooling system being destroyed by a landslide or earthquake, etc). As the head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said: “the plants were so well designed that ‘such a situation is practically impossible’.

The album was finished on February 13th. On March 17th I received the following message from a Facebook friend: ‘Geir, some time ago you asked people for a photo of a Japanese nuclear powerplant. Is this going to be the sleeve of your new coming album? But more importantly: how did you actually predict the future? Kind regards, David.”

It’s extremely haunting listening to some of these tracks, with everything that happened in mind. ‘Sendai’ especially, has a repetitive alarm/siren sample which seems to evoke a serene sense of destruction and panic. Weirdly though, not all of the tracks are melancholic and dark, and it doesn’t seem like you’ll finish up feeling saddened over the whole affair. Instead, (and as Geir intended), this music is about the industrial structures and surroundings, which at the time, may have represented something entirely different to the comparison we now make.

As with most Biosphere productions, there’s a range of pure ambient and more electronic moments, which overall make for a highly anticipated full length. For now, we’ve just got the sample below, but it’s on my pre-order list – shipping begins 22nd June. See the release details on touch for links and more information.

1. Sendai-1 (08:01)
2. Shika-1 (07:54)
3. Jy-1 (05:31)
4. Ikata-1 (05:05)
5. Monju-1 (02:42)
6. Genkai-1 (06:37)
8. Monju-2 (03:58)
9. Fujiko (04:56)