Headphone Commute Reviews (April)


18. Apr. 2010, 11:30

It's been a couple of months since our last update, and a few things have definitely happened... First of all, our regular mixes have been turned into a Podcast. So make sure to subscribe and specifically check out the latest installments: Our Shelter, Our Tomb, April Ambient Mix, Later, and At Home With Home Normal among the many. We've also covered some labels. Check out the label profile for LINE and Home Normal. Last month we introduced a new feature called Sound Postcards. Check out minute long audio images that are better than any picture... We've also celebrated 100 Interviews on Headphone Commute, and that's a big deal!!! As usual, we would appreciate a comment or two, and recommend that you Subscribe to RSS Feed. And don't forget to visit the main site at http://www.headphonecommute.com - we now have samples for each album reviewed!


William Basinski - 92982 (2062)

Late in 2009, William Basinski had released his eighteenth album, Vivian & Ondine, on his own imprint, 2062 Records. But my mind still holds on to the haunting melodies of his release prior, simply named after a single day, more precisely September 29th, 1982, culminating in the numerical representation of 92982. This is a document of a single night of work, which would eventually spawn a direction that Basinski would explore further. Deep from the archives, we hear Basinski's experimentation with loops that would eventually earn him critical acclaim with the four volumes of The Disintegration Loops, recorded the same year, only to be released twenty years later. Basinski's music is characterized by repeating loops of magnetic tape, playing endlessly on his reel-to-reel, saturated with reverb and short lived time delays. About a year ago, in April 2008, I met Billy at the Resonant Forms festival in Los Angeles. There, I witnessed his impressive live performance. That moment is still alive in my memory, and is recalled with his music. On a table there are two Norelco reel-to-reels, one tin box full of tape loops with a "Tootsie Rolls" logo, and various cylindrical objects. Basinski fishes out long and winding snakes of tape, and feeds them through the magnetic heads, stretching out the remainder of the loop between cups, cones, upside down water bottles and vases. These proceed to play, endlessly, through effects and faders on the mixing board. Only the hiss of the tape reminds me of this dying technology, which is still very much mechanically alive, in Basinski's hands. About the revival of 92982, Basinski writes: Something from a long time ago... in Brooklyn, 351 jay street... A fruitful evening in the studio... Home at last after a day of work at the answering service... answering phones for calvin klein, bianca jagger, steve rubell, and all the other somebody people... in our space station: home in my studio experimenting live. James is in the adjacent studio painting masterpieces. Roger is in the front, gluing old shoes on canvas and painting them orange... I'm clicking the old norelcos back and forth between channels... all the windows are open. The sound is spreading all over downtown brooklyn mixing with the helicopters, sirens, pot smoke and fireworks... Indeed, as if recorded from his apartment window, along with the sounds of a passing helicopter, Basinski reconstructs the moment in these countless organic repetitions of captured time in brief glimpses of aural mementos. These bounce back and forth within my headphones, within the walls of my apartment, or a glass jar of memory, intended to be preserved for another winter, when one feels cold and tired. On Disintegration Loops, the music slowly crumbles until the magnetic signals dissolve, erased through their repetitive playing, leaving a permanent snapshot of their demise. On 92982 the music lives on, with the purpose, one would imagine, of being imprinted in our minds forever. In Musicophilia, a book by Oliver Sacks, a chapter titled Brainworms, Sticky Music, and Catch Tunes explores the cognitive science behind the music that plays in our heads, over and over. "This endless repetition [...] suggests a coercive process, that the music has entered and subverted a part of the brain, forcing it to fire repetitively and autonomously." Somewhere fifteen minutes into 92982.4, I get stuck in that place, and can't tell when the song ends. The moment captured by Basinski back in 1982 continues to live in my mind. And that is the best compliment I can furnish.

See also Two and a Half Questions with William Basinski


Yann Novak - The Breeze Blowing Over Us (Infrequency)

Infrequency Editions is a sub-label of Dragon's Eye, the latter owned and operated by Yann Novak himself. The label was originally founded by Jamie Drouin and Lance Olsen, but after a brief hiatus, and introduction to Novak, it merged with Dragon's Eye. Originally concerned with documenting live performances and sound installations presented through public concerts at a local gallery in Victoria (British Columbia), Infrequency also releases ambient and minimal studio compositions, as is the case with this recording. The Breeze Blowing Over Us is based on a simple recording of a fan, during one of the hottest days in Seattle. This recording is transformed into a 38+ minute composition that layers organic and synthetic sounds into a thick, brooding, drenched with tropical haze, and tense composition, with a slow movement of mechanically distributed air, worthy of its original title. The piece begins with a moving onslaught of dense textures, inching its way into the foreground at a crawling pace. Muffled sound waves, resembling a pitched down ocean, or the rumbling of a gigantic vehicle passing through an underground tunnel, are offset by distant, high frequency robotic screeches of an alien species. I proceed with caution in the darkness, and feel ahead what must be the door handle. I guess this is where I enter. Suddenly, I'm fighting through the thick vegetation of sound. Soon I come out upon an opening, where the chords crawl up a mountain in a melting drone of lava. This expedition with sound enters a sacred circle of open mouths and stretched out hands, to lift the trapped spirit into the cloud of white noise, only to be spilled again in a form of frequency rain, at the foot of the mountain. The atmosphere of this recording is tightly wound, condensed, drenched in suspenseful emotions, with a slight tingling of uneasiness. Some may even find this unsettling - but not I. I love dark and spooky. Descending deep into abandoned caverns of sound is my part time sport. For the same reasons that one replays those eerie horror movies, I return to Novak's world, time and time again. Check out Novak's extensive discography, with many limited and archival recordings of live performances on Dragon's Eye. His attention to detail with the work on a label, and persistence at reinventing his sound has finally been rewarded - Novak has been noticed by Richard Chartier and is scheduled to release an album on Line in September of 2010.

See also Two and a Half Questions with Yann Novak


Alva Noto - For 2 (Line)

Following a triumphant 2009 and two of the most notable releases of the year (Xerrox Vol. 2 and Utp_ with Ryuichi Sakamoto) Carsten Nicolai, aka Alva Noto, returns with a second installment of compositions devoted to creative personalities from a number of different fields. Coming four years after the first one, For 2 features compositions dating as far back as 2003, although most are from around 2007. For 2 confirms that Nicolai’s music has become more and more orchestral in recent years, for lack of a better word, and not as heavily anchored in the glitchy beats of Transform and the Transall series. Although the micro beats, squelches and static continue to be among the defining characters of Noto’s music, there’s more going on all around them than there used to be. Of course, Nicolai has been rubbing up against modern classical music in his collaborations with Ryuichi Sakamoto going back as far as 2002 so this is no sudden revelation. But it feels like there’s more weight to his recent solo output as well. His two Xerrox volumes are a case in point. So is opening track "Garment (for a garment)". The sonic identity is intimately familiar - sonar beeps, white noise and minimal glitch. But halfway through, the cellos enter, providing the emotional depth that has often been absent from Nicolai's sterile soundscapes. It's a terrific track and simply put, the blend of the electric and organic just sounds great. Understandably, since For 2 is a compilation of material composed for many different occasions, there's a lot of variety on offer. There's the field recording-based "Villa Aurora (for Marta Feuchtwanger)", with birdsong and airplanes flying overhead. The dark and oppressive "Stalker (for Andrei Tarkovsky)" features Russian dialogue, presumably from the film of the same name, and is reminiscent of Kreng's L’Autopsie Phénoménale De Dieu. On the other end of the spectum, there's the bright and luminescent "Sonolumi (for Camera Lucida)" and the rhythmic beeps of "T3 (for Dieter Rams)". But on the whole, the tone of For 2 is contemplative and atmospheric. This is a fascinating and rewarding collection and it makes you want to dive in and explore the connection with the people to whom the music is dedicated. I must admit that most of the names are unfamiliar to me, although I know Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky and have heard of Phil Niblock. But the others drew a blank. So I thought it would be worthwhile to flesh out the context a bit. As Carsten Nicolai said when I interviewed him last your for Headphone Commute (see Two and a Half Questions with Carsten Nicolai): "I think, personally, that it’s not really necessary for the listener to know the full background of the concept... The listener can just enjoy and listen without any preconception... If you want to know more, if you want to have a really detailed view, you can go deeper and you can explore several levels of the piece. It can be enjoyable to be able to see the background of the piece..." So while it's certainly not essential to know the stories to enjoy the music, it does add an extra dimension. And those familiar with Carsten Nicolai's music know that "concept" is virtually his middle name. I have therefore added some info on the devotees here below, which may be of interest to those wishing to "go deeper". It's well worth the journey.

See also Two and a Half Questions with Carsten Nicolai


TU M’ - Monochromes Vol. 1 (Line)

Monochromes Vol. 1 is the first volume of archival installations by the Italian multimedia duo, Rossano Polidoro and Emiliano Romanelli, performing under the moniker TU M'. The name, taken from Marcel Duchamp's same titled painting, is a French expression in which the verb is missing (tu m’…). This literally translates to "you [...] me", where the missing verb must be provided by the viewer (of the painting), or, in this case, the listener. The album, released on Richard Chartier's LINE Records, features the first four (out of nine) audio compositions, created for "two laptops, two mixing boards, two loudspeakers, one video projector, [and] one room." These pieces were recorded live at Vico Santa Chiara Studio, Città Sant’Angelo, Italy in the summer of 2008. For the installation, the duo create an atmosphere where "sound and light vibrations reverberate inside the room, blending together in an enveloping monochrome, that creates an atmosphere to be contemplated." The visuals, available as excerpts on the TU M's website, are composed of drawn out monochrome landscapes, resembling distant mountain silhouettes and sluggish geometric figures, visible in change and movement only through sporadic skipping through the captures. Attempting careful observation, or trying to make out patterns that are not there, is futile. It's like watching yourself age in the mirror. It's like watching the clouds... The audio compositions paint the same picture. Over a slight white noise hiss and endless loops, the melody swells in ambient waves of sound, sparkling in the light of distant piano notes. Like the waves of an ocean that have been crashing against this beach for thousands of years, and many years to come, this music is new and ancient - it exists _all_ the time, somewhere completely on its own, only to be summoned into this moment with the press of a button. The sounds fade in and out with the rhythm of my breathing. Inhale soft pads. Exhale minor chords. Let this pattern wash away all worries. And when the [almost] 30 minute track ends, the melody is still there, in the background of my mind. To round off this exploration of space, sound, and light, intertwined together to create this minimal composition, the duo includes a quote by Jean Cocteau: A poet always has too many words in his vocabulary, a painter too many colors on his palette, a musician too many notes on his keyboard. Check out previous numerous releases by TU M' by rummaging through their sound and visual works, carefully catalogued on their website. Their project under the name of Steno, for example, describing themselves as "a world made up of second-hand music", is released on their own, Mr. Mutt label, which, not coincidentally, is the name Marcel Duchamp signed on the upside down urinal, and named his found art as Fountain.

See also Two and a Half Questions with TU M'


Cell - Hanging Masses (Ultimae)

Frenchman Alex Scheffer, aka Cell, is an Ultimae regular, having contributed tracks to many of the label's compilation albums, including the excellent Fahrenheit series. Yet, Hanging Masses is his first album for the label and only his second overall, not counting a couple of notable live releases. I've always honed in on Cell's tracks; he usually manages to hit a really sweet spot, mixing a deep slowly developing ambient/downtempo vibe with catchy hooks and wet, shimmering synths on top. Yet, his prior full-length, Phonic Peace, released by Indica in 2005, was not my cup of tea. Too much of the sort of pseudo Indian mysticism that just rubs me the wrong way. Like a lot of other people, I was energized by the music coming out of Britain's Asian underground scene in the mid to late '90s - Talvin's Singh's Anokha album in '97, State of Bengal, Joi, Cornershop and the like. But for some reason I then developed a real aversion to the fusion of traditional Indian and electronic music. Don't know why. Thankfully, Hanging Masses is more in line with his live releases - Live at Glade Festival 2005 (Sofa Manifesto, 2007) and Live at Kumharas - Ibiza (Ultimae, 2007) - only even more mellow and low key. According to Ultimae's press release, the album "constitutes in the artist's heart a homage to Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream and Steve Reich." The connection with Reich is not obvious but Eno and TD are definitely in attendance. Cell is not a man in a hurry. He's content to slowly fill in the sonic landscape, sprinkling it with gently euphoric glimpses of light. Even when the 4/4 kick drum makes an appearance, typically about half way through a song, the pace never exceeds a leisurely stroll. The experience is akin to lying in a field, gazing at the cloud formations for hours and then suddenly deciding to get up to take a walk through the enchanted forest nearby. The restrained but propulsive groove, such as on the mesmerizing title track, ensures that it's a captivating experience. Recommended for all followers of Ultimae's roster, including Aes Dana, H.U.V.A. Network, Solar Fields, and Hol Baumann.

See also Two and a Half Questions with Cell


Nest - Retold (Serein)

As the snow blankets the ground, and the earth hibernates in preparation for a new cycle of life, gentle sonic frequencies vibrate our outer shells, to keep us warm throughout the season. The sound of Nest is simple, contemplative, intelligent and incredibly gorgeous. Kicking off 2010, and in a sense a brand new decade, Retold is sure to capture your heart and set the bar for all the modern classical compositions to come. The album strikes your soul with its beauty from the very first track, and you are immediately immersed in the soothing sounds of piano, strings, and tender electronics. Crafted cinematic soundscapes are at the center of the production, setting up the mood and feelings to become the soundtrack to your daily life. Boomkat properly places Retold into its Home Listening category, and I say we should have a Work Listening genre as well – the music of Nest is the only thing that carries me through the insanity of this empty day at work, molding the wasted time into a positive ripple, one note at a time. Retold is the first physical output by a British netlabel, Serein, which has been releasing digitally since 2005. Nest is a collaborative project of the label owner, Huw Roberts, and Otto Totland, who along with Erik Skodvin (Svarte Greiner) releases as the beloved Deaf Center on Type. And it seems that the first release will set the stage for all of the label's future output. Serein, following in the footsteps of another netlabel, Miasmah [which, not coincidentally, is run by the above named Skodvin], is hoping to take up some real estate among our shelves of preciously collected masterpieces. And with Retold, I think it has convinced me to shove a few aside. The album itself could be divided into two parts. Its first half compiling the previously released six tracks on Nest EP (Serein, 2007) in a newly re-mastered form. And the second is made up of new compositions. Musically, however, the story flows, inseparable by medium and time. Between the sound of rain and soft piano keys, the music seeps with melancholy, slowly rolling down my cheek, in a tear of solitude and acceptance. This is how things must play out, I guess, in an intricate web of patterns and cycles, with one action setting off the next, including thought and motion. And since this is the first physical release, a quick nod to the packaging. A six-panel digipack with design by Roberts contains a solid red disc, with no etching or writing of any kind. The spine of the cover has an echo of the same color in a small square next to the catalog number. I'm going to go completely on a whim here and guess that the subsequent releases will have a similar pattern. That would be neat. Fans of Biosphere, Deathropod and of course Deaf Center will enjoy this release immensely, as well as followers of everything touched by Peter Broderick, Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Helios, Jacaszek and Ólafur Arnalds. Need I say more?

See also Two and a Half Questions with Nest


VA - Pop Ambient 2010 (Kompakt)

Kompakt Records kicks off the new year with the tenth installment of its annual Pop Ambient series — a decade of densely layered drones, tones, and sounds, showcasing the best artists making music in modern classical and ambient genres. The compilations are curated each year by label head and music legend, Wolfgang Voigt (aka Gas), and have basically been a staple in my morning and late evening playlists for an entire decade. The musical discoveries I have made because of this yearly release are unparalleled — over the years the series has acted as a who’s who in forward thinking electronic compositions that aren’t concerned with beats, bass, or the dancefloor. Artists like Marsen Jules, Klimek, Andrew Thomas, Markus Guentner, Donnacha Costello, Triola, and Thomas Fehlmann have all been mainstays throughout the decade long series, and all artists I respect and adore. A quote from press release: Newcomers may ask - so what is POP AMBIENT? A genre? Possibly. A statement of musical mindset? Absolutely! [...] Throughout POP AMBIENT's editions, the music has evolved ever so naturally - almost characterizing the blossoming of the floral arrangements that have graced the series covers year after year. [...] We say this every year but POP AMBIENT 2010 is a defining moment for the series - a change in pace but a familiar face for those that have been yearning for our annual remedy. The opening track for the 2010 edition starts with quite possibly the best Marsen Jules track I have ever heard. The aptly titled “The Sound of One Lip Kissing” sweeps from right to left channel and builds around a single dark and reverberating chord that is accompanied by the hesitant tinkle of piano to amazing effect. Brock Van Whey is welcomed into the Pop Ambient family this year and lulls listeners with two beautiful tracks under his bvdub moniker. “Lest You Forget” follows the opening track and offers a sense of air and light, after Marsen Jules’ somewhat ominous beginning. Van Whey also closes the album with the sprawling “Will You Know Where to Find Me” that features haunting vocals and rich delay that peacefully dissipates as the 17-minute track comes to an end, leaving you calmed and happily brooding. Kompakt’s own Dettinger, returns with “Therefore” his first new song in nearly a decade – a smooth and droney track, that features a slight hi-hat shuffle buried in the mix. Label head, Wolfgang Voigt also shows up with the excellent “Zither und Horn”, which sounds like nothing I’ve heard from him before. It’s a pastoral and string-based track that feels more traditionally “song-like” in its composition, and much different than his work as Gas. Offerings from DJ Koze, The Orb, and Jürgen Paape are equally as strong, and overall, this is another sterling edition to an already fantastic oeuvre of ambient music. Check it.

See also Two and a Half Questions with Wolfgang Voigt


Frank Riggio – Anamorphose (Spectraliquid)

Like a hungry spider, returning to its nest of venomous eggs, the effect-rich sound of Frank Riggio crawls up your skin, and sinks its fangs in to open up a healed scab beneath your scalp. This album is dark, cinematic, enormous and elaborate. It is absolutely impossible not to compare Riggio to Amon Tobin - so let me just get the similarities out of the way. Saturated with samples, dense percussion, and intense micro-programmed twists and turns through the intricate passages, Riggio seems to have taken the path where Tobin veered off to persuade a more experimental sound. So let us leave Tobin in the studio, composing another video game soundtrack, and turn our ears towards Riggio, who sprung up from the underground last year, like a fresh poisonous mushroom after an acid rain. Hailing out of Epinal (France), Riggio has been producing music since the age of 18. His influences include the above mentioned Amon Tobin, DJ Shadow, and Bonobo. In 2007, Riggio released his debut LP, Visible in Darkness. Soon after, his second digital LP, Symmetric Human Door, appeared on Australian net label, Omelette (available for free). He followed it up with another free digital 7-track release, Noise Thinking (Omelette, 2009), and in December, the Greek label, Spectraliquid, gave us the best Christmas present one would want - the third album from Frank Riggio, Anamorphose, available completely for FREE! What? I would have gladly paid money for this! I guess the motivation here is to fall in love with Riggio's sound - since he's got a fourth album on the way on Spectraliquid out in late Spring of 2010. And falling in love with this trip is easy! Full of orchestral stabs, agitated strings, and an arsenal of acoustic and digital percussion, Anamorphose is the lost score to my newly found nightmares. With nostalgic passages, scratching at my memory of abandoned dusty films, the beat treads on, like a rusty tank, smothering your neighbor's obscene American Girl doll into the cold oily mud of reality with its metal claws of freedom, fake lipstick and all... Apple orchards wither, as seen through the sepia filtered lens of an aged camera, then sink into the putrid ground to reveal the lonely scarecrow, its empty mouth dangling by a thread, in which the spider made its nest. The sound is so raw, I can draw these images all day. And the production is superb! The album is so good, it's tough to pick a favorite track! I mean, if I didn't tell you that this isn't Amon Tobin, I bet you wouldn't even know. Even the cover art for this and other albums along with the font, resembles the artwork of Supermodified (Ninja Tune 2000) and Foley Room (Ninja Tune, 2007). And I point that out with the greatest respect. While some may turn up their nose with accusations of a copycat, I happily proclaim - bring it on! More imitations of Amon Tobin, Aphex Twin, and Autechre (just to start with 'A's). These are the roots of evolution of music as it splinters into a million little pieces of sound. Permutations, anyone?

See also Two and a Half Questions with Frank Riggio


B.J. Nilsen - The Invisible City (Touch)

I have to admit that I'm mildly surprised by where my musical preferences are taking me these days. Until recently, I didn't really have much patience for drone and noise music. I found it intriguing but I couldn't really wrap my head around it. Now I find myself increasingly gravitating toward these more abstract forms of music, especially if they incorporate field recordings. There's something primordial about this music, as if it allows you to engage with some elementary force deep within. The sharp edges that I used to find grating are now so deeply satisfying. Am I hearing it differently? I don’t know. But I do know that for me, listening to music like B.J. Nilsen's seems to slow the passage of time. Gradually, the sounds combine to build a scene that remains constant over an extended period of time, giving you the time to peel away the surface and submerge yourself in the substance beneath. It really focuses the mind. It's what I imagine meditation must be like. B.J. Nilsen is one of the shining lights of the treasured Touch label roster and a luminary of electronic drones and field recordings. I just recently discovered his stunning last album, The Short Night (Touch, 2006), and his latest, The Invisible City, is another high water mark. Nilsen has traveled as far afield as Japan and Portugal for the source material for his field recordings and the track notes provide fascinating insight into the building blocks of Nilsen's compositions. Along with the electronics, acoustic instruments (Hildur Gudnaudottir makes another appearance on [pitch-regulated] viola) and processors he uses, Nilsen lists the recorded sound sources. And so, “amplified chair dragged across floor”, “window shutters”, “steel whistle coffeepot” and “birdsong” place their indelible mark on the opening track Gravity Station. A few minutes in, underneath a steady thick metallic drone and the hum of vibrating electrical lines, you can just barely make out what sounds like the weaving tones of a Middle Eastern flute – something you might hear off in the distance in a busy sun-drenched Arabian market. Or is it my imagination? Then, halfway through the almost 17 minute track, the chair and shutters lurch loudly and rudely across the sound field, heralding a rather menacing and doom-laden finale. A frantic chorus of birdsong whips things into a frenzy before the end comes with desperate bursts of twisted noise. What does it all mean? I don’t know. But on the whole, Nilsen's sound sculptures – which seems to me a more fitting description than “music” – are ominous. If they are indeed a representation of some aspect of city life, then it must be of an urban underbelly. Of dark things that lurk underneath the surface, like the high-pitched static squeals in Scientia that recall rats scurrying around the sewers beneath our cities. But more than anything, the music evokes industry and technology, from churning motors and machinery grinding to a halt in Phase and Amplitude to a burst of a fax transmission at the beginning of Virtual Resistance. Digital data snaking its way through the invisible passageways that lie behind the walls of our constructions. The ironic thing is that many of the field recordings originate in nature. Bumblebees, wasps, birdsong, flapping wings, crows, rain, footsteps on snow, “dead trees leaning against each other”. But they are usually manipulated and processed to such an extent that they are unrecognizable. Nevertheless, they bring life, depth and movement to a cold and hard backdrop constructed of wires and steel. And together these elements form remarkable sound sculptures that will undoubtedly stand the test of time.

See also Two and a Half Questions with B.J. Nilsen


Broken Note - Terminal Static (Ad Noiseam)

For those of us who have been forced to stem our vinyl intake, it's nice when a label like Ad Noiseam swoops in and neatly collects a slew of great dubstep 12"s from multiple sources. Terminal Static, featuring tracks released on Ruff, Damage as well as Ad Noiseam, is such a collection -- a near-comprehensive taste of London producers Eddie (aka Kidnappa and one half of 16 bit) and Tommy, together known as Broken Note. Imagine dubstep strung up and gutted by space marine rastas, with tense atmospheres, roaring bass lines and raging tempos that can go neck-and-neck with the likes of Excision, Rotator and DJ Hidden, and you come somewhat close to nailing the sound. Pigeonholing it as "darkstep" does a disservice to its unhinged nature. Each track is its own mechanized beast. A rogue unit. Halfway through "Meltdown" the gears noisily shift from a tribal deathmarch to frenetic drum'n'bass warfare. "Pyrotek" machineguns its way into breakcore/gabber territory. The grime of "Dubversion" (which Hecq later re-calibrates in a chop-shop fashion) is caked on so thick, it's a wonder its tank treads still move. Everywhere is the reek of corpses and napalm. This isn't a stealth mission. This is an all-out, take-no-prisoners invasion, chainguns and flame throwers blazing. Were you to send "Zealot" back in time, Terminator style, to anyone listening to Bloody Fist Records or Digital Hardcore Recordings, they'd immediately surrender... after soiling themselves. The future is frighteningly advanced. Broken Note has seen to it. Stop crying and get up, soldier. Terminal Static is the debut release by the duo on Ad Noiseam. In addition to the above mentioned Hecq remix, the CD contains a rework by Enduser appearing on the album as I Am The Sun. Check out Broken Note's previous 12", Let 'Em Hang / Meltdown (Ad Noiseam, 2009), War In the Making / No Struggle (Ruff, 2008), and Fueling The Fire EP (Damage, 2008). In addition to the above mentioned names, this release is recommended for the likes of Reso, Innasekt, King Cannibal, and Hektagon.

See also Two and a Half Questions with Broken Note


Jega - Variance (Planet Mu)

It took almost nine years for Dylan Nathan to return to the scene with his intelligent breaks and glitchy melodies, slapping it across the entire IDM spectrum under his Jega moniker. There were some hiccups in this release - the album leaked back in 2003, and Nathan chose to pull back the tracks, refile the scraps, and rearrange the bits into his third full length, double disk release, Variance. Here and now, Nathan brings back the vigor with which he left us with Geometry, once again selecting Planet Mu as the label of choice for his experimental beats. It's tough to approach the review of this album, especially since it spans across two discs and 18 tracks! I'll get right down to it, and skip the first volume altogether, which is melodic electronica and light IDM. The only reason I am jumping over the first disc, is because with the amount of great music on this double volume, I want to get straight to the goodness. Apologies for that, but I do not mean to send a wrong signal. So with your permission I'm moving on to the darker side of Jega, because the second disc is where he truly shines. Here, the random palette of synth melodies is replaced by the darker strand of electro, that breaks its jagged tooth against the broken beats. Atmospheric pads still linger in the background, while the front-lines are dominated by impeccable rhythm structures and a heavily processed dose of virtual effects. Synthesis geeks will be proud to hear their brains being tweaked through the naughty twists of Jega's ridiculously time-consuming production. I have a feeling that it took Nathan nine years to release this album simply because he chose to tweak every possible VST plug-in out there and throw each and every one of them into the mix. Variance is like a detox manual for DSP junkies on a thousand ways to mess up the beat. Listening to Latinhypercube I find myself cringing my nose and going "What in the world was that?" Drilling rhythms decompose into voices, into flashbacks of a bad trip, into sick mental sound too crippled to dance. A few tracks (like Aerodynamic and Kyoto) remind me of Chris Cunningham's short film, Rubber Johnny, where an erratic and delusional mutant child is dancing in his wheelchair to a spasmodic beat of Aphex Twin's "afx237 v7" track taken off of his album drukqs (2001, Warp). Looks like Cunningham may have a new challenge! For the full background on Nathan's history, see my Headphone Commute flashback to Geometry where you will learn of his releases on Skam and Matador, as well as his influence on Mike Paradinas (µ-Ziq) and the beginnings of Planet Mu. This album is a must have for fans of Autechre, AFX, Wisp, Squarepusher, Clark and all things juicy erratic. Come and get your fix.


Lusine - A Certain Distance (Ghostly International)

Has Lusine turned almost pop? Well, not quite. If so, then pop music has never sounded so good! But peel back the vocals from the foreground, appearing on a few tracks by Vilja Larjosto and Caitlin Sherman, and we are left with the good old electronic sound of Lusine, known for his lush ambient soundscapes, organic catchy melodies, and solid punchy beats. With his 9th full length album, A Certain Distance, Jeff McIlwain continues to evolve his production skills, articulate composition, and unique staple sound, creating a downtempo album, with a lighter upbeat feel. Jeff has been releasing music on a variety of prominent labels, entering the spotlight since his 1999 debut, L'usine. When his music reaches InterContinentaL barriers, he appends an ICL suffix to his alias. Hence, all of his releases on the German Hymen label are under Lusine ICL, including my absolute favorite ambient marvel, and a top favorite of Headphone Commute's from 2007, Language Barrier (Hymen, 2007). The Lusine moniker appears mostly on all domestic labels, such as Ghostly International. Over the contemplating chord progression and occasional vocoder phrases, familiar elements introduced in the above mentioned Language Barrier, appear in a subliminal field of sound. These are the ambient pads, accented with microscopic percussion bits, creased into crumbled lo-fi beats, and smoothed out on a sonic surface. Just as the vocoder maps the frequencies of sampled voice over synthesized chords, Lusine succeeds in "mapping human emotions via technology". The Two Dots EP released by Ghostly prior to the album, has set expectations for Certain Distance, with its memorable hook completely consuming my auditory memory until I admitted my defeat on Headphone Commute's 20 EPs of 2009. The rest of the tracks on the album, deserve a 12" EP each on their own. Each is a unique exploration of the marriage between organic and laptop, downtempo and dancefloor, tech house and pop. Highly recommended.

See also Two and a Half Questions with Lusine


Mr. Projectile - To The West (Semisexual)

Mr. Projectile... He's back! After a five year silence, Matthew Arnold returns with his fourth full length album, To The West, and thrusts it right back up in our $%@#ing faces. The last time I marveled at Arnold's intricate IDM production skills was back in 2004, on the beloved Merck label with his release, Sinking. Following that, there was a two-track 12", Momentary Lapse Of Sensitivity (Semisexual, 2005). In 2007, Merck closed its doors, and for years I mourned the loss of the artists left stranded amidst the disintegrating landscape of dying labels. Until finally, out of nowhere, Arnold drops another bomb on his very own Semisexual imprint, for all the hungry ears. The sound will always find the way. Laced with a few short ambient pieces, To The West plays like a trip through a slinky, wobbling down the psychedelic stairs. Using a few of familiar sounds that my ear got accustomed to from Sinking, Arnold teases us with a few intelligent progressions and then slams a dark electro beat, full of 303-esque acid bass and dazzling arpeggios. Expert knob twiddlers will pick up on the analog sounds of Nord Modular and the unmistakable flavor of x0xb0x (pronounced "zocks box" by the way). Although I can't name the sounds of a drum machine (I'm not that good), the percussion is solid, tight, and very satisfying, ranging from the above mentioned electro patterns to the unrestricted domains of IDM. Arnold's beatless pieces are just as satisfying. Leaving Burning Man uses an accented bass line to set the progressing melody beneath the swirling ambient sweeps. And the mind bending twists of glitching and stuttering rhythms of Information Doubling nod to the sound of Autechre with that hidden gem that only reveals itself upon repetitive listens. And then there is my nostalgic love for all the scents of 303, that gets satisfied with an occasional prairie dogging of sound hiding just beneath the surface. And while the beat carries the movement forward, hazy melodies break through electrified cobwebs of sound to leave their unforgettable imprint. Delicious. Although, as of this writing, the Semisexual label's page is reduced to a sparsely updated blog with past touring schedules, the album can be picked up from a handful of digital outlets, like Addictech. And seriously, while shopping, don't forget to add Sinking (Merck, 2004) to your cart - you will not be disappointed - the album is still in my rotations after all these years.

See also Two and a Half Questions with Mr. Projectile


Richard Skelton - Landings (Type)

Richard Skelton's songs don't tell a story. They describe a place, a landscape. No... that's not quite right. They're more like a part of the landscape. On Landings, his remarkable new album, the rugged and earthy texture of the strings, gentle guitars and densely layered assorted acoustic instruments, all played by Richard himself, meld with field recordings of babbling brooks, the breeze and bird song. It all feels like it emanates from the same source. The songs on Landings don't contain much in the way of development. No build-up, no climax, no resolution. Instead each song is a portal into a particular setting... or state of mind. You step in, breath in the fresh air, the breeze ruffles your hair and all you can do is marvel at Mother Nature's handiwork. Landings is the product of four years of recordings that Skelton did in Lancashire's West Pennine Moors in Northern England, close to where he grew up. When originally released on his own Sustain-Release imprint, the CD was accompanied by a book with the same title that collected Skelton's writings, including diary entries, word lists, poetry and prose fragments from 2004 to 2008. Together, the writing and the music were his way of trying to engage with the landscape. Unfortunately, the book appears to be sold out but Type has thankfully rereleased the music. There's an undeniably mournful undertow to the album, a reflection of the rugged nature of the Moors no doubt, but it probably also has a lot to do with the fact that the album is dedicated to his late wife, Louise. In a recent interview with Title Magazine, Skelton explained that to him his music is an intensely private thing. In addition to being a way to connect with a place, it's a vehicle through which he deals with his loss and memories. There's a strong sense of ritual about the way he approaches this endeavor. He buries his strings deep in the soil, he takes stones from the ground in a particular place and knocks them against the body of his violin. This may not make a very tangible contribution to the recordings but the ritual is an important part of the act of making the music. There's something so solemn and beautiful about this process, and it displays an incredible dedication and commitment. Skelton has released music under a number of guises in recent years - A Broken Consort, Carousell and Clouwbeck. Landings is the second album in a row that he releases under his given name. A sign that he has well and truly come into his own.

See also Two and a Half Questions with Richard Skelton


Rameses III - I Could Not Love You More (Type Records)

After a string of releases and collaborations on various labels over the last few years, London based trio Rameses III released I Could Not Love You More on the always intriguing Type imprint in the fall of last year. It is a soothing and pastoral album full of lush drones and ambient soundscapes. Combining acoustic guitar, lap steel, loops, voice, synths, and field recordings of idyllic summer days, Daniel Freeman, Spencer Grady and Stephen Lewis, have composed a relaxing and intimate album reminiscent of Brian Eno, Helios, Mountains, and Klimek. Like all good ambient and modern classical, there’s a sense of weightlessness to Rameses III’s music, yet there’s still an inherent feeling that a band is playing this music — it’s not overly produced, it’s soft and very organic. Tracks like “All Shall Be Well” and “Cloud Kings” play up the trio’s love for sprawling drone, while tracks “Across The Lake Is Where My Heart Shines” and “No Water, No Moon” are more song-like in composition, where the instruments maintain their sonic shape, rather than morphing into a whir of sound. The album conjures up a sense of nostalgia that I cannot quite put my finger on. Listening to it makes me feel a closeness to the past, a nearness, a uniformity even, to a forgotten yearning from years before. The beach side samples in “No Water, No Moon” reminding me of summers come and gone — the soft strum of guitar creating a wall of white nostalgia, visceral feedback reverberating in my ears — as the band’s use of haunting vocals brings me back to the surface of my present, and I realize I’ve just totally zoned out on the streetcar and missed my stop completely. Such is the beauty of music, and such is the aural allure of Rameses III’s I Could Not Love You More, which ranks as one of the best ambient, modern classical albums of 2009. Check it.

See also Two and a Half Questions with Rameses III


RJD2 - The Colossus (RJ's Electrical Connections)

Producing for over a decade, Ramble Jon Krohn, aka RJD2 is back with his fourth full length studio album, and all of the hype lives up to its expectations! With intricately cut up samples, funky percussion and original soul vocals, Krohn crafts an album full of tracks that have originally captured my attention back with Deadringer (2002, Definitive Jux). Two years later, Krohn has absolutely swept me away with his original take on instrumental hip-hop with Since We Last Spoke (2004, Definitive Jux). In 2007, Krohn got signed to XL and released The Third Hand, which is also available as an instrumental-only version. Getting signed on a major label landed Krohn on the road, touring extensively for two years. The mixed reviews and the constant performing must have been tiring... In 2009, he decided to take it easy, launch his own label, RJ's Electrical Connections, and get back to his original sound. This move is definitely welcome. The Colossus is the first new album for his label, on which he already re-released the extended version of The Horror EP, enhanced with a second disc full of live footage and the making of the music video; and a boxset of 12", reissuing Deadringer, The Horror, Since We Last Spoke, and Tin Foil Hat. The latter is a super nice limited release for all the collectors, titled 2002-2010. The Colossus is immediately solid, fresh, and welcoming to an audience looking for those soulful sounds and laid-back beats. Featuring vocals from Kenna Zemedkun, Phonte Coleman, Aaron Livingston (as well as a few of his own), and the raps of The Catalyst, Illogic and NP, the album lightly skips across songs and instrumentals, demonstrating that Krohn feels back at home, in his own studio, on his own label, doing exactly what he always loved to do! With The Colossus, RJD2 is back, and fans of instrumental sampled funkadelica will not be disappointed! Be sure to also dig up RJD2's obscure funky 39-track mix, Your Face Or Your Kneecaps, also known as Poorboy Lover Megamix, if you can find it in the archives. If you've never heard RJD2 before, prepare to fall in love if you enjoy DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, Blockhead and Prefuse 73. And... start with his earlier output and work your way up to The Colossus.


Beta Cloud - Lunar Monograph (Laughing Bride Media)

It's easy to write about beautiful music. When the ambient pads wash over the gentle picks of a guitar and the distant eavesdropping of radio frequencies, it's easy to write. When the soft piano chords are smothered in a generous dose of warm reverb, spreading over the field recordings of a rainy city street, it's easy to write. When the music itself draws on the images of time slowly passing by as the world is drowning in the Sea of Tranquility, it's easy to write. It's easy to share these words with you about the music of Carl Pace, because it simply speaks for itself. And these words are just the outcome. Composing under the Beta Cloud moniker, Pace has had the pleasure of performing and releasing music with Aidan Baker - An Open Letter To Franz Kafka (2007), and Lull - Circadian Rhythm Disturbance (2008), all being published on Laughing Bride Media. But forget about name dropping for a second, and get immersed in the ethereal drift of weather torn sounds. In between the frequency currents, Beta Cloud's third full length album, Lunar Monograph, stands out on its own, setting up the mood for all the ambient sounds of 2010. The tracks on the album are named after the large, dark, basaltic plains on the Earth's Moon, known as Lunar Maria. This is where the titles for Marsh of Sleep, Sea of Rains, Bay of Billows, and the above mentioned Sea of Tranquility come from. The latter, a 21+ minute ambient soundscape, full of blissful white noise, bird sounds, and acoustic wind, is drenched in a strumming of a shoegaze guitar, organic chords, and ghostlike sounds of the sleeping world. A stunning mediation on our natural satellite. To reveal more of the concept behind the album, Carl Pace explains: in a broad sense, [the album] addresses our own perceptions of our lives; the world around us, the moon above, and what lies beyond that; the waxing and waning of our own personal existences. and in a very broad sense, it addresses the concept of 'lunacy'. there's a quote from carl sagan on the inside sleeve of the disc that reads: "We knew the Moon from our earliest days. It was there when our ancestors descended from the trees into the savannahs, when we learned to walk upright, when we first devised stone tools, when we domesticated fire, when we invented agriculture and built cities and set out to subdue the Earth. Folklore and popular songs celebrate a mysterious connection between the Moon and love." i think that sums it up nicely. The Lunar Monograph, or a concise study upon this very specific single subject, has been composed in the span of about three years. The result is an album with ideas borrowed from live performances, studio pieces, and field recordings, folded neatly into a sonic package, and delivered directly onto the doorstep of your soul. For the source of the material, Pace compiled recordings of "some of the beautiful things in life that we take for granted every day due to sensory overload, subway chatter of several voices in NY and Toronto that become one cacophonous and expressive voice in the process, beautiful thunderstorms that lull us to sleep on summer nights, the sounds of birds in my garden that i watch flourish and wither without fail every year, fireworks displays where people gather almost instinctively to realize that there is something greater than we out there. and others..." With the artwork by Chase Middaugh, and mastering by James Plotkin, Lunar Monograph will surely please the fans of Tim Hecker, Lawrence English, Simon Scott, and of course, Taylor Deupree and his 12k output. If I'm doing another Best of 2010 list the same way next year, then Lunar Monograph, will surely get filed under my Music For Bending Light and Stopping Time category. Highly recommended.

See also Two and a Half Questions with Beta Cloud


Sound Bytes

OK. I give up. There is just no way that I can cover all of the wonderful music out there. There's just not enough time! But I still want to tell you about all of the amazing releases that come across my desk. So I'm introducing a new feature on Headphone Commute. It's simple and straight to the point. I'll call it Sound Bytes. A few quick thematic vignettes and mini-reviews of some of my favorite releases. So let me kick off this feature with three recently enjoyed EPs.

Clem Leek - Snow Tales (Experimedia)
First up is a five track EP from Clem Leek. Consisting of four numbered Snow Tales and a remix, this collection of modern classical and ambient pieces is a sublime journey into the mind of this up-and-coming musician. Each piece has been composed in just two days, while Leek was observing the snow falling outside of his house. The release is accompanied by six beautiful photos, that Leek took with his Polaroid camera as soon as it started snowing. I close my eyes and listen to the tales. Somewhere in the background there is a roll of thunder. Ambient soundscapes, stringed instruments and endless pads swirl beneath the gentle piano keys and drifting vocals to evoke the feelings of stillness, falling, and contemplation. Oh, and did I mention that the EP is available as a FREE digital download from the one and only Experimedia? What else can one ask for? Don't forget to also grab Clem Leek's debut EP, Through The Annular, which is available from his own label, Schedios, and his bandcamp page. Also, looks like Clem Leek will be performing alongside Simon Scott and Machinefabriek on May 19th, 2010 (more info). Fans of Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Nils Frahm and Keith Kennif will surely enjoy.

Rafael Anton Irisarri - Reverie (Immune)
This is the second EP by Rafael Anton Irisarri on the Thrill Jockey distributed label, Immune, and I'm already all over it. His last EP on the same label was a beautifully packaged two-track 7" vinyl, titled Hopes and Past Desires. With only three tracks, Irisarri crafts one of his best releases. Seductively constrained musical phrases, barely audible scratches, and incredibly tender piano notes encompass sorrow, longing, and nostalgia. Although three years apart, Reverie seems almost an echo of Irisarri's similarly titled debut full length, Daydreaming released on Miasmah. "Für Alina", the third 13+ minute track on the EP, makes me feel like I'm eavesdropping on a piano confession, sharing intimate moments of deep solitude through a lens of a vast ambient distance. This piece is a rework of Arvo Pärt's likewise titled "Für Alina" - I'm pretty sure that Irisarri must be a fan of the Estonian's tintinnabuli style. And... now that it's not a secret anymore (since even Wikipedia quotes it), I'll be happy to reveal that Irisarri's side project is none other than The Sight Below, for which you must have read many praises already on these and other pages. Speaking of which, be sure to also pick up an upcoming TSB release in collaboration with Simon Scott, titled It All Falls Apart out on Ghostly International in April, 2010.

Simon Scott - Nivalis (Secret Furry Hole)
And that last sentence was a perfect segue into a new release by Simon Scott - a 16-minute single-track piece, released on a 3" mini CDr by Secret Furry Hole. This is the second release by Scott after his critically acclaimed Navigare (Miasmah, 2009). As interesting as it is, the EP was also written during a heavy snowfall late last December in Cambridge. Nivalis is Scott's "tribute to the winter, the snow and the beauty of how the seasons change here in England". Swells of strings are drowned in low-fi field recordings of Scott removing ice and snow from his doorstep, repetitive hypnotic patterns of organic soundscapes, and the distant, barely audible, subtle vocals. I mean, if you have to go out and shovel some snow, you might as well have Nivalis on, as a soundtrack. If not, go out and stare at the reflection of the moon, and slowly drift between the spaces. This is all there is - between the now and always - the isness. The EP is available directly from the label, but hurry - it is limited to only 200 copies! Be sure to also pick up other goodies from the label. Open your wallet and grab some limited releases by Buzz Aldrin, Hauschka, Glenn Johnson, Peter Broderick, His Clancyness, and the debut label release with collaboration by Library Tapes / Machinefabriek / Fabio Orsi / Die Stadt Der Romantische Punk - with compositions based on a sampled symphony by Henryk Gorecki.

Tortoise – Beacons of Ancestorship (Thrill Jockey)
Post-rock darlings Tortoise release their first album of new material in 5 years and it’s a complete return to form. Sounding like the proper follow-up to 2001’s Standards (Thrill Jockey / Warp / Spunk), Beacons of Ancestorship truly is a prog album. It is dirty and crisp, sounding like it was recorded underwater and in an air-tight studio at the same time. And as always, their sound is undefinable – dub, post-rock, lo-fi, electronica, dance, spaghetti western, jazz, classic rock, punk, it’s all here in a tight 45-minute set. What more can I really say? Tortoise’s musical influence really knows no bounds. They are one of the best bands in the biz and one of my all time faves. Catch them on their belated North American “Beacons” tour in early 2010. Love it. Beacons of Ancestorship is out on Chicago's Thrill Jockey label.

Mountains – Choral (Thrill Jockey)
Brooklyn duo Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp have released my favourite ambient/modern classical album of the year. Mountains are up there with Marsen Jules and Loscil for me, because with Choral they have crafted a beautiful album that expertly blends the organic with the digital – seamlessly meshing acoustics with electronics to fantastic effect. I have been lulled to sleep by this album more than any other this year, but have also enjoyed it in the early mornings, and while reading and writing. Their live show at The Music Gallery in Toronto was one of my favourite live shows of the year. Using guitars, synths, accordion, melodica, voice, two Powerbooks, and lots of other toys, they created a whitewash of introspective and hypnotizing ambience. Choral is also out on above mentioned Thrill Jockey. They also have self-released their Tour CD as well as another limited edition CDr, Etching, which has been repressed by Thrill Jockey on vinyl.

Sleeping Me – Lamenter (Phantom Channel)
Sleeping Me is the moniker of guitarist Clayton McEvoy who makes sweeping ambient compositions that are reminiscent of Stars of the Lid, Harold Budd, and Brian Eno. McEvoy uses only guitars and an array of pedals to create his droned out sound. The result is a relaxing and dulcet lull that is perfect for morning coffees or an absorbing book before bed. McEvoy also put out an album entitled Cradlesongs (Hidden Shoal) earlier this year, but it is hard to find, so I have not heard it in its entirety. However, if Lamenter is any indication, it too is sure to be ideal listening for shoegazers, just in the horizontal position. Lamenter is available as a free digital release directly from Phantom Channel (see web releases on the label site). While you're there, be sure to grab a few goodies by Konntinent, Language of Landscape, Inverz, and Ian Hawgood.

Bonobo - Black Sands (Ninja Tune)
Simon Green returns with his fourth album as Bonobo, and it's more incredibly solid, future jazz material. With Days To Come (Ninja Tune, 2006), Green was bit by the vocal bug, and the vocals were the showpiece of that album. With Black Sands, he still has some vocals, but not as many, and they're more reeled in to be in balance with the beats (he's also using Andreya Triana as his muse, instead of Bajka). Speaking of the beats, you can tell Simon's been listening to some of the wonky instrumental hip-hop that's been coming out, as things get more hyper-active than ever on tracks like "Kiara", which feature chiptunes and cut-up vocal samples playing off each other. But this is not a wonky album. Green layers these sounds with Eastern influences and the ever-present jazz sounds to make this a work firmly entrenched in his style, just amplified a bit by current events in hip-hop. The basslines on this album are some of Bonobo's best. "Kong" and "The Keeper" rival anything on Animal Magic (Tru Thoughts, 2000). A good mix of old and new from Bonobo, and another wonderful album.

Bibio - The Apple And The Tooth (Warp)
Stephen Wilkinson, aka Bibio, continues to churn out quality, in what has become his breakout year. Two albums and now two EP's - this one with 4 new tracks and 8 remixes, it's basically another full length. The new tracks start the show, and are fantastic. The title track perfects the folk-hop template while maintaining an energy most releases in this style can't compete with. It bleeds directly into "Rotten Rudd", which slows things down before becoming an anthemic sing-a-long. "Steal The Lamp" retreats from a Jaga Jazzist style opening into a Squarepusher style d'n'b freakout at the end, showing that Bibio still has more sounds he's willing to tackle. On the remixes side, highlights are Lone's effort, which throws the original sounds into a blender to create a smoothed out hip-hop groove. Leatherette's cut-up, pitchshifted version of "Lover's Carvings" takes some getting used to, but its lounge feel is too cool to be denied. Another highlight is Bibio's own rework of "Palm Of Your Wave", which takes the original tune to new heights. Another excellent release. Pick up your copy directly from Warp.

Kelpe - Cambio Wechsel (DC)
Kel McKeown returns with his third album after Ex-Aquarium (DC, 2008). I first became aware of Kelpe with his debut album Sea Inside Body (DC, 2004). His aquatic themes and pure electronic sound were very captivating. When he returned four years later with Ex-Aquarium, the aquatic obsession was still there, but an influence by actual instruments totally transformed his sound (in a good way) in that it almost sounded like two different artists. Cambio Wechsel seems to have merged the sounds of those two albums. He also pulls some retro funk samples into the mix in a very compelling way. It seems to blend perfectly into his sound's aesthetic. Squelchy bass is the backbone of Cambio Wechsel, which gives the album a much more hip-hop vibe than Ex-Aquarium (which came across as more folktronic to me) but Kel takes it away from the normal dirty hip-hop setting as much as is possible, converging it with the aforementioned funk, as well as folk, jazz, psychedelia, and kraut-rock. The overall effect is funky without being clubby. It's a totally new sound, and that's what Kelpe has been missing before, its own sound. With Sea Inside Body, it sounded like a lot of other IDM at the time. With Ex-Aquarium, it sounded like Four Tet. With Cambio Wechsel, it sounds like Kelpe. Available from D. C. Recordings.


last.fm artist and label cloud mentioned in the above post: William Basinski, Richard Chartier, Bonobo, Bajka, Bibio, Jaga Jazzist, Squarepusher, Lone, Kelpe, Yann Novak, Taylor Deupree, Overcast Sound, Alva Noto, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Tu M', Cole Pierce, Cell, Aes Dana, H.U.V.A. Network, Solar Fields, Hol Baumann, Tortoise, Mountains, Marsen Jules, Loscil, Sleeping Me, Konntinent, Language of Landscape, inverz, Ian Hawgood, Stars of the Lid, Harold Budd, Brian Eno, Nest, Deaf Center, Svarte Greiner, Biosphere, Deathprod, Peter Broderick, Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Helios, Jacaszek, Ólafur Arnalds, Clem Leek, Simon Scott, Machinefabriek, Nils Frahm, Keith Kennif, Rafael Anton Irisarri, Arvo Pärt, The Sight Below, Buzz aldrin, Hauschka, Glenn Johnson, Peter Broderick, His Clancyness, Library Tapes, Wolfgang Voigt, Gas, Marsen Jules, Klimek, Andrew Thomas, Markus Guentner, Donnacha Costello, Triola, Thomas Fehlmann, Brock Van Wey, DJ Koze, The Orb, Jürgen Paape, bvdub, Frank Riggio, Amon Tobin, DJ Shadow, Aphex Twin, Autechre, Vladislav Delay, Lulu Rouge, Yagya, Trentemøller, Hammock, Konntinent, B.J. Nilsen, Broken Note, DJ Hidden, Enduser, Hecq, Reso, Innasekt, King Cannibal, Hektagon, Jega, AFX, Wisp, Squarepusher, Clark, Lusine, Lusine ICL, Mr. Projectile, Richard Skelton, A Broken Consort, Rameses III, Brian Eno, Helios, Klimek, RJD2, Cut Chemist, Blockhead, Prefuse 73, Beta Cloud, Aidan Baker, Tim Hecker, Lawrence English, Ninja Tune, LINE, Tru Thoughts, Warp, Dc, Dragon's Eye, Ultimae, Thrill Jockey, Spunk, Phantom Channel, Serein, Type, Miasmah, experimedia, Immune, Kompakt, Spectraliquid, Spekk, Touch, Ad Noiseam, Planet Mu, Ghostly International, Hymen, merck, XL, Definitive Jux, Laughing Bride Media


  • airfigaro

    If it weren't for your reviews, I would never know what new artists to search out and enjoy. Keep up the excellent work.

    23. Apr. 2010, 21:42
  • faas-

    thanks, i enjoy reading these, keep it up.

    4. Jun. 2010, 11:22
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