I made it my mission, after a rather busy period of my life, to dig into the MYOT inbox and start going through all the emails I’ve received. Those artists who gave me an easy way to listen are getting listened to. This inbox archaeology has turned up a rather large amount of stunning recordings deserving of mention. Hence parts 1 and 2 for this month. I continue to be astounded by the sheer average quality of what I’m receiving. I’m not easy to please, I assure you.
Here’s a selection of recordings for you to check out. Some of these have now been out for a little while, and due to my laxness, I have only just heard ’em. Don’t let that stop you from hearing them too!
Ambient Music: FB – November 2013
This is the second in the monthly series from the ambient music Facebook group, which is packed with talent. Disclaimer: I have a track on this album, titled “Taklamakan”. So let’s not talk about that. The rest of the album, as with the first, is a very well-selected bunch of lovely ambient music on the spacier end of the spectrum. Can’t really pick highlights, since I like it all, but “Sun Portal” is a great track, as is the cosmic opener, “Blinking Lights”, and the dark ambient “Cold”. This album is FREE, so get it. Great work again by the compiler, Neal Gardner.
Jeremiah Pena – Fragmentations
Pena’s album is quite stunning and very varied. “Detached and Fading” tends toward dark or space ambient, while some tracks are quite beat-heavy in the psych techno style of Solar Fields (“Mechanical Industry”). Others are sound art-influenced (“Abyss”), while yet others are almost soundtracky or proggy, such as “Rendered Patterns” with its drumbeat, dramatic distorted guitars and tinkling piano. All of it is wonderfully produced with rich, full sound. Really a great release.
Adam Quinn – Millennium
Quinn’s album is a lovely set of pieces that tend toward the quieter sound of modern ambient/sound art, like, say, Taylor Deupree’s recent work. The pieces range from extremely delicate (“Slouching Towards…”) to bigger, hazier slabs of scratchy sound art (“Zanzibar” and “Goodbye, Dark Tower”). A couple also have beats, the sub-bass thump of “Somnambulist” and the Aphex Twin-ish IDM of “Dome Syndrome”. An unprepossessing but very satisfying and tranquil release that I’m certain almost any fan of modern ambient will love. Hard to believe it’s free!
DigitalSimplyWorld – Tout devient la musique
This more experimental album is quite delightful and varied in its own way. “One light day from home” features birdcall field recordings and deep dark ambient synth. Other tracks are extremely experimental in a sci-fi way (“Konradopulosuss” and “Tout deviant la musique” would fit well on the Blade Runner soundtrack with their bleeping sounds), while “Fin de siecle” features rattling percussion sounds worthy of Robert Rich and Ian Boddy’s percussive recordings. Pretty neat stuff!
Vapour Night – Vapour Night
Scottish songwriter Ali Murray, normally of a folkier style, returns with a full-band sound on this new project. The first track, “Knowing It’s the End” has impressive gothy guitars and a mordant but catchy melody. Would fit well on a Peter Murphy recording. However, there’s a lot of variety here, with the more electro pulse and delayed guitar licks of “The Pulse”, and the early Cure vibe of “Night Flower” (with a slight but appealing Celtic twist). “Until We Fall Away” is more danceable electro and the instrumental “Below Zero” is a nice slice of techno-ey ambient. The obligatory (to me, anyway) closing dramatic piece, “Cruel Weather”, goes from delicate synths and broken chords to a satisfying shoegaze frenzy by the conclusion. Definitely an essential release for you darkwave post-punkers out there.
Another Neglected Hobby – Sleeping With the Window Open
I’ve covered this act before (here). This latest release is quite experimental and does indeed appear to be a concept album on the theme of sleep. Hence, while the music is experimental, there’s a somnambulant throb, even on “Cadence” and “REM Sleep”, which have mesmerizing underlying beats. “Night Patterns” is more conventionally dark ambient in sound. Rattly and clattery sounds weave in and out of the pieces, like sounds heard in the distance at 3 a.m. An excellent album that rides the line between dark ambient and sound art, and another strong release indeed from ANH.
Wings of an Angel – Cult of Personality
We (me) at MYOT just LOVE long-form ambient, so we (I) were (was) pleased to find this in my inbox. What a lovely hour of music this is! This is at the pretty, inspirational, light ambient end of things, which I love just as much as dark ambient. In fact, the towering, misty, angelic synths of this piece recall the classic days of early ambient, artists like Iasos as well as Steve Roach’s nineties soundscapes like Darkest Before Dawn and Slow Heat, and also the current work of artists like Phillip Wilkerson. That is very high praise, believe me. I enjoy this to bits and will be investigating this artist’s work further.
This EP’s title is a heart symbol, but damned if I can be bothered to figure out how to make one of those. This is electronic dream pop, and super pretty indeed. The lady vocalist has an appropriately airy, breathy, ethereal tone. The instrumental “Wake Up” is very beautiful — hell, it all is. Complex retro beats and swoopy synths are the order of the day here. It’s a lot like the White Blush release, in fact, though perhaps even further at the dream pop end of things. For fans of the Cocteau Twins, most def, and if you like that 4AD sound, you will loooove this.