I guess I’ve gotten to the point now where people are reading my blog, so huzzah to me! But with great power comes great responsibility, and now that I’m getting contacted by musicians, I must listen. And not surprisingly, many of the submissions I am receiving are quite good. This proves what I’ve always said: the only thing keeping the world from being flooded with great music is the music industry, deciding what the hell everyone should like.
Well, you don’t have to listen to them any more. You need to fire up your browser and start looking to make your own taste! Clever, I am.
I’m playing catch-up a bit, but I owe these nice people who sent me messages some comments about their music, in order that you should come to love them. I’d rather give everyone deserving of praise a nice paragraph or two than assume I’ll have time to do full reviews of everything, then never do it.
Let me emphasize that these are recordings I liked. I’m not going to review something just because someone asks me to, as compassionate as I may be (or wish to be, at least).
Please check these artists’ work out and support them if you can.
I will start doing this monthly…though I’m still playing catch-up and some February listens will leak into March. And January too, probably…
Click the album title for the link.
Sima Kim – Miscellaneous (from 2011 t0 2012)
This name-your-price collection from Kim is the work of a major new talent. It’s a very, very pretty assortment of delicate, almost childlike pieces, some piano-based, some with field recordings, and a couple with sweeping synth sounds. The sparseness of the sound is very appealing, as Kim knows how to properly integrate silence as a sonic component in his work. For fans of Sawako and Chihei Hatakeyama this will be a real find. And this is just an assortment of leftover tracks!
Makunouchi Bento – Swimé
This is not a new album but is new to me, so it may be new to you. This is some way-out shit that owes as much to avant garde composition as it does to anything we’d call “ambient” in the most commonly used sense. It does indeed have an Eastern feel to it. There’s some bamboo-sounding percussion, mysterious bells, some skronky horn sounds, and a piece that sounds like Fred Frith jamming with some some wind chimes. A very distinctive and creative release that I was impressed with.
Michelle Cross and Joe Frawley – Dolls Come to Life
This is a collaboration between an electronic musician and a singer-pianist, with a unifying concept (dolls!). I’m a bit of a sucker for piano, so it didn’t take much to get me interested in this. It’s a very low-key affair with some great ambient textures as well as some stately piano. Cross has a nice, unadorned voice that reminds me of Tori Amos. Amos does have a pleasant voice, so that’s a compliment. The highlight track is “Marionette”, a dramatic ballad which also features some flute. A classy union of the ambient and singer-songwriter aesthetics.
Total Normal – Tales of the Expected
Not a freebie but perhaps one you’ll find worth paying for. I’m not really the type to enjoy beat-oriented stuff, but this album is a lot of fun, a mix of cool, jazzy samples that’s understated to be enjoyed not just by fans of “IDM” but also those who enjoy Biosphere and other such delicately beaty acts. But it’s the weird mix of old-timey Parisian vibes with ultra-modern sampling and funky breaks that makes this one distinct. An interesting and super-professional-sounding album.
Another Neglected Hobby – Glimmer
Also not a freebie, but a very solid release, this is something we all know and love: drone. This is an album of metallic sounding, mysterious and eerie drone textures that should please fans of Vidna Obmana no end. Definitely a good soundscape effort by an artist who has a future in this specialized end of the ambient spectrum. The other two releases on his Bandcamp site are equally pleasant.