V/A – Ous Mal Is Dead . . . Long Live Ous Mal

Olli Aarni, the Finnish mastermind behind Ous Mal, has made some enormously captivating and engrossing music throughout the years, inspiring many of the most influential faces in ambient music today. A few of these faces appear on Ous Mal Is Dead, a gorgeously fluid remix album on the unstoppable Australian label Preservation. Contributions from artists such as Black Eagle Child, Nova Scotian Arms, and Motion Sickness of Time Travel explore the versatility and complex beauty of Ous Mal’s music and the understated power of his recordings. As Aarni explores new sectors of music under the Nuojuva monicker, Ous Mal Is Dead stands as a beautiful representation of some of his most brilliant work as interpreted by several of his most talented peers.

Deep Magic – “Parveke (Deep Magic’s Fatal Wound)”

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Wes Imel - Rickshaw Driver

Here’s one of those 17-minute CD-Rs that also happens to be one of the most delightful pieces of sonic poetry to grace my speakers all year. Featuring 3 gorgeous and glacially paced slow jams from Chicago sound-master Wes Imel, Rickshaw Driver is said to be a “‘psycho-electro-acoustic tone poem about the communality of the global human spirit”. For those of us who are less concept driven, believe me when I tell you – this thing simply sounds amazing. It’s a record tailor-made for early mornings – a veritable antidote to Monday morning blues – carefully unfolding into its own universe of positivity. To be honest, though, I’m just listening to this thing all the time. Enormously recommended.

Wes Imel – “Riding”

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Rambutan – The Temple of Echo

Eric Hardiman’s music as Rambutan exists mainly in darkness, with bursts of reverb-soaked guitar drone extending throughout noisy passages of tape loops. Over his past dozen-or-so releases, Hardiman has really mastered his craft and most of his latest albums (namely Outside, released by No Kings a few months back) have approached “total perfection” status. So this hour-long CD-R released on Hardiman’s own label, Tape Drift, is nothing short of revelatory, combining three tracks from a recent limited edition Hobo Cult Box Box Set with seven brand new recordings. It should come as no surprise that this release comes HUGELY, HUGELY recommended.

Rambutan – “Shoreline”

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UUUUUU – The Astral Travels

From the spectacular Canadian label Private Collection comes another wonderfully cosmic experience, this time a CD-R transmission from Scottish psychic Derek McArthur’s UUUUUU project. Aside from carrying the most impractical name outside of the witch haus house, UUUUUU creates truly gorgeous and transcendent music – all layered guitars ascending through twinkly, meditative synth supernovas. It’s really just incredible music – an epic 75 minute journey that keeps you immersed the whole way through. Not to mention, the artwork is some of the best I have seen all year. In short, The Astral Travels is the real deal.

UUUUUU – “Dowsed in Theory (excerpt)”

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Sean McCann – Prelusion

Apparently just churning out one new release wasn’t enough for drone star Sean McCann, and neither was just running one label. In response, the face that launched a thousand tapes has just started a new imprint and is celebrating its creation with Prelusion – a brand new CD-R release. McCann has certainly got his style down to a science, and he’s always interested in going new places. Prelusion is, therefore, another beautiful step toward full on new age composition, with some truly gorgeous meditations and instrumental pieces. Keep an eye on the Recital site to grab all of McCann’s older releases and, inevitably, a boatload of new ones.

Sean McCann – “Our Silhouettes (excerpt)” MP3

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Nova Scotian Arms – Sacred Drift

It’s no secret that I believe that Grant and Rachel Evans are doing some of the most exciting things in the music world right now. Hooker Vision, the label they run together, has put out many of my favorite tape and CD-R releases of the past few years and their collaborative musical project, Quiet Evenings, has resulted in nothing but sublime audio transcendence on every release. Grant’s solo project, Nova Scotian Arms, is currently on an especially wild streak of spectacular releases. Best of all is his newest one, Sacred Drift, a wholly immersive set of breathtaking tape-loop experimentation that ranks among the finest sets of music I have heard all year. I was fortunate enough to get to speak with Grant about this new album. Click on to read all about the new album, his new projects, and the upcoming NSA-vinyl release on Digitalis.

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Sky Stadium – The Lodge

Here’s some warm, fuzzy ambient synth music to soundtrack extended periods of time spent staring at the sky and questioning your existence. Sky Stadium offers glacial-paced tones that hit from all angles- constantly washing you in the purest of natural-minded drones. Electronic music rarely excels in being so unabashedly celebratory and entirely meditative at the same time. You can never have enough of these sorts of tapes!

Sky Stadium – “Silverado” (MP3)

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Also available from the world of Sky Stadium is Blue Horizons - a brief set burned onto individually labeled Sony-brand 3″ CD-Rs, a similarly beautiful and inviting collection.

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V/A – Old Frontiers compilation

This is exactly what I started this blog for – awesome new label Old Frontiers is raising funds for future releases with this fantastic compilation of great artists pressed on unique, handmade cassettes and CD-Rs. 58 minutes of some of the most exciting acts in the esoteric, underground music scene in Canada contributing their wildest vibes, this is surely one of the oddest and most satisfying listening experiences you’ll have all year. Everyone wins here. Spend guiltlessly!

Purchase.

Sparkling Wide Pressure – Fragments of a Sound I Can Not Erase

Beautiful new long-player from Frank Baugh aka Sparkling Wide Pressure, released on his self-run label Kimberly Dawn. This is emotional and nostalgic ambience, fragile and powerful at the same time. Highly recommended.

Also available is a fantastic 3″ CD from Paintings for Animals, an epic and naturalistic narrative of drones.

Sparkling Wide Pressure: “The Time That Is Right”:

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