A holiday in the sunny, geriatric climes of Gulf Coast Florida has recharged Make Your Own Taste, so this March allow me to unveileth unto thee a selection of lovely recordings that have come my way so far this year (or came to me sometime in the last year and I just got around to listening to them :<). We can likely expect a part 2 later in March with some more gems for you to peruse.
Scott Lawlor and Earlyguard – Abstraction
No one asked me to listen to this, I just felt like it. Earlyguard and Scott Lawlor are two of the finer ambient composers kicking around these days, so a collaboration between the two was bound to be good. Earlyguard does a ton of great long-form work, while Lawlor is more of a dabbler with successes in a few ambient subgenres. This 45-minute long-form track is everything you want in a pure ambient piece, a nice bed of bass drone with shifting pads skipping in a shiny fashion over the top. About 3/4 of the way through, very Steve Roachy sequencing kicks in to provide a rhythmic element. Shimmery, shiny, lovely lighter ambient that I will be playing with regularity. A nice one indeed from the We Are All Ghosts netlabel.
Mirada – Mesa
Again, I just sort of came across this release, which is pure light ambient. I’m pleased to see Mirada has a number of releases for me to explore. This three-track album is also sort of Roach-y in that it’s an expert pad exercise in airy tones that do indeed call to mind the wide-open, blue-sky spaces of the American Southwest. The 22-minute “Mesa” is a little darker and has some piano on it similar to a Jon Jenkins style, and the 31-minute “Erosian” is pure pad drone. A really lovely album of classic sounding ambient, available “pay what you can”. Play it after or before Roach’s Dynamic Stillness and you’ve got hours of desert tranquillity ahead of you.
K Wilson – Visiting Place
Visiting Place is a cool album of modern sound art ambient (yes, that means I’ll make the obligatory 12k reference — I’m nothing if not consistent). “Closure” is a dense, claustrophobic cloud of midtempo roar that makes for a hypnotic 11.5 minutes. “Califone” and “Types” feature some nice little plucky guitar tones mixed in with field recording-type rattling (this is where I throw in the 12k ref…). “Treatment” starts as pure noise ambient with a staticky wall of sound that slowly dissipates into a chaotic but peaceful mélange of sounds, including more unidentifiable field recordings. A nice album, as good as anything else you’ll hear in the sound art field these days.
frogtoboggan – Roanes
Aside from a delightful name, this project has also produced some pretty nifty minimalist music. Roanes is led led off by “On the Boat”, a 31-minute piece of ultra-minimalism featuring sounds like sticks being rubbed together and sparse gong-like (gamelan, apparently) or plucked sounds, which gradually increase in intensity before ending in a flurry of mechanical noise. Not for those in search of quick stimulation but if you like Steve Roden, Richard Chartier, those sorts of cats, then this is up your alley. “In the Sea” and “Songing” recall the bell-like sounds of old sixties tape music, whereas “Fintrane” is a cacophony. Very interesting avant-garde music for you adventurous sorts.
eyesix – Limerence
Another fine release on the Sparkwood label, this is a pleasant and uniform listen that combines tranquil electronica with busy but subtle, glitchy beats. You could shake your booty to a couple of the tracks, but the mood is easily reflective, involving and challenging enough to avoid things going the way of coffee shop background music, considering the presence of moodier numbers like “Lacuna” and “Helix Fields”, which are quite lovely post-rock/ambient tracks. The latter is a very beautiful short piece of calm symphonic ambient. While beats aren’t really my thing and I could have used a couple more beat-free tracks on this album (just a personal preference), the creative use and arrangement of the rhythms is actually one of the more impressive things about it, so if you like IDM, you will be impressed too.
Ruairi o Baoighill – Walpurgis
I continue to receive a surprisingly high quantity of dark ambient releases, ranging from ho-hum to stunningly creative. This one is more toward the latter than the former end of the spectrum. There is a genuine atmosphere of ancient menace about this recording, which features the standard bassy pads and crash-bashy noises typical of the genre, but also some interesting use of manipulated plainchant and other twisted vocals that adds a distinct personality to the proceedings. It’s definitely a complete noctural trip that dark ambient and avant-garde fans will not want to miss. Very impressively evil. Not a new album, but I was asked nicely.