September 5, 2011
Aquarelle – Sung in Broken Symmetry
There’s a lot to love about Sung in Broken Symmetry, the new album by Aquarelle. It’s musically brilliant, with haunting melodies evolving throughout the course of each track. It’s also sonically stupefying- an awe-inspiring listen that washes over you, reverberating coolly in your head. Warm and spacious guitars – both electric and acoustic – build and collapse with flashes of cello and pedal effects until it all just sounds like one massive echo. Think Endless Summer made for the September-flood-set. And, on the impeccable Students of Decay label, Sung in Broken Symmetry comes equipped in a gorgeously designed sleeve with the first 50 on crystal clear vinyl. Highly recommended!
Aquarelle – “With Verticals”
August 26, 2011
Lawrence English – The Peregrine
The Peregrine is the name of a poetic work of fiction by author J.A. Baker published in the late 60s that details one man’s fascination and obsession with a species of birds. The Peregrine is also the name of a new album by modern-classical/ambient monolith Lawrence English that details English’s fascination both with the book and with its subject. In fact, English even spent time with the falcons himself to research the album. And most importantly, The Peregrine is a gorgeously composed and awe-inspiring listen that complements English’s monumental body of work and adds to it another treasure trove of sonic bliss. A triumph.
Lawrence English – “The Peregrine (album preview)”
August 19, 2011
Outer Space – Last Vacuum Days Vol. 1
File this one under the ‘ACT FAST’ category… for those of us who blinked last week, Mimaroglu has got some copies of the bestselling new Outer Space record on esteemed Cleveland workhorse Wagon‘s new ‘Limited Series’ sublabel. Pressed on 200 awesomely decorated 12″ LPs, Last Vacuum Days Vol. 1 culls together some Outer Space outtakes and rarities that sound 100% more like alien transmissions than any other artist’s outtakes and rarities collection. Needless to say, it’s a stunning release- one that is a total treasure, both in sound and appearance. Grab it while the grabbing’s good!
Outer Space – “Last Vacuum Days Vol. 1 [album preview]“
August 16, 2011
Clams Casino – Instrumentals
With last year’s release of a Lil B album on drone alcove Weird Forest, the gap between the two hyper-prolific worlds of limited-edition ambient music and #veryrare mixtape hip-hop has become smaller and smaller. This year’s shining arbiter between worlds is beatmaker-to-the-gods Clams Casino, whose name has appeared on releases from both Soulja Boy and Triangle Records. Earlier this year, Clams made waves with his free digital-only Instrumentals album and now it is getting the double-vinyl treatment via real-class-act Type Records. This is instrumental hip-hop at its most psychedelic, woozy, and delirious - in other words, a perfect fit for readers of this blog.
Clams Casino – “Illest Alive”
August 15, 2011
Emuul – Drawing of the Line
Here is an album titled Drawing of the Line. It is important that Kyle Iman, aka Emuul, makes this distinction right away: he is referring to not the line itself but the drawing of it. Much like the image on its album cover, the music on Drawing of the Line might take a little time to expose its true form. Iman’s minimalistic synth compositions can come across blurry and formless upon first listen, but over time, Iman’s music reveals its haunted and transcendant beauty. Listening to this record is like watching a great painter at work: a blank canvas becomes filled with color and life right before your eyes. Huge recommendation.
Emuul – “Big Clouds”
August 1, 2011
Offthesky – The Beautiful Nowhere
Even if it seems like a cop-out to describe ambient music this way, Offthesky’s latest LP, The Beautiful Nowhere, makes for an insanely meditative listen. Whereas seemingly all ambient music tends to make room for listeners to clear their heads and space out, Offthesky does so in a more direct and decisive way. Veering away from the popular pattern of ambient synth music, Offthesky works mainly with acoustic instruments and organic sounds – a softly picked acoustic guitar, a sweeping cello, a lightly tapped piano – and the results are gorgeously haunting. In other words, all you have to do is put the record on, get in bed, and Offthesky will do the rest for you.
Offthesky – “Whittling You Little Lights”
July 26, 2011
Keith Freund – Constant Comments
You might know Keith Freud best from his work in good-times husband-and-wife duo Trouble Books, who you might know from their beauteous work with ambient guitar legend Mark McGuire earlier this summer. But all you need to know about Keith Freund right now is that he’s got a fantastic new LP out on vinyl mecca Experimedia’s own label. And on said LP, you can revel in the gentle brush of overlapping electric guitars, the relaxing harmonies of wind chimes, the faint sound of children laughing, and pretty much all else pleasant in this world. This one isn’t available until August 5, but you must order now to secure a limited green vinyl copy.
Keith Freund – “Constant Comments (album preview)”
July 22, 2011
Charlatan – Triangles
It’s only been a moment since Brad Rose last blew everyone’s mind under the Charlatan monicker with the still-awesome Voyager tape on Overland Shark. And now, Brad’s back to remind us all why he’s the undisputed king of all things synth. On this incredible slab of Digitalis vinyl, Brad presents the most melodic, moving, and mind-melting moments of his career – a spiritual and meditative album unlike anything we’ve heard from him yet. Front to back, it’s just a killer work: all rippling arpeggios and echoing 808 beats, shifting keys and tone like the rising tide. Surely, it’s one of the best things I’ve heard all year and comes with the most urgent of recommendations.
Charlatan – “Lime Beauty” (video by Moduli TV)
July 13, 2011
Elm – Nemcatacoa
Fresh out the gates of the unstoppable tape label Sweat Lodge Guru comes this vinyl reissue one of Digitalis‘s most sought-after limited-CD releases. Featuring dark and monolithic recordings from Barn Owl‘s Jon Porras, Nemcatacoa is a dense, moody, and supremely affecting listen. It’s also just about the closest thing to a metal album we’ve heard yet from the Barn Owl camps - this is heavy stuff we’re talking about here. And now, presented for the first time on wax and mastered by the massively talented James Plotkin, Nemcatacoa is alive in ways it never was before. If you like your music slowly crawling toward you in the dark before it grabs you by the throat, then you simply have to hear this one.
Elm – “Nemcatacoa (album preview)”
July 6, 2011
Daniel Klag – Weird Fiction
If there’s one word I would use to describe Weird Fiction, the new LP by New York sound artist Daniel Klag, it’s “weird”. The album is not weird in the Ferraro-ian abstract soundworld sense of the term, but rather, it is weird in its ability to shift between dreamy ambience and buzzing noisiness in the blink of an eye, without sounding like some amateur’s collage work. Instead, the whole album is startlingly cohesive and brings to mind the quiet transcendence of Josh Burke’s more long-form work. Additionally- on limited edition colored vinyl with gorgeously illustrated artwork- Weird Fiction is undoubtedly an impossible album to ignore.
Daniel Klag – “With Domes and Pinacles the Dream Arose”