December 20, 2011
Phos Hilaron – Break In The Sun Till The Sun Breaks Down
Sunshine Ltd. has been, without a doubt, one of the most exciting tape labels to watch in 2011, with each of its releases baring subtle revelations in the field of electronic experimentation and ambient beauty. The most recent release on the label also happens to be the most epic offering yet: Phos Hilaron’s blindingly psychedelic Break In The Sun Till The Sun Breaks Down. And don’t worry, the music has got enough mystery and intrigue to justify its wordy, expansive title. Recorded in a church by “two brothers who haven’t seen each other in quite some time”, Break in the Sun explores a world of sonic brilliance that just illuminates the space it’s in, until everything seems as pure as the snow-white album cover.
November 18, 2011
Josh Mason – Temple Bell
Temple Bell isn’t the first lush, ambient release of the year to divulge itself in the concepts of memory and meditation, but it might just be the most effective of echoing that feeling of drifting into the subconscious, with one’s thoughts becoming increasingly choppy and disconnected with each deep breath. Josh Mason’s world involves spontaneous bursts of buzzes and beeps intertwined with breezy acoustic guitar strums, melodic riffage, and reverberating tones. At times, Mason’s bittersweet electronic emotionalism recalls the sweeping dronescapes of Fennesz, albeit with a more fragmented edge. Comprised of six pieces, all lasting under five minutes, Temple Bell never overstays its welcome and, like a good night of sleep, ends before you’re ready to move on with your life. Just blissful music.
August 17, 2011
Smyth – Senescence
In today’s world where most ambient tape releases are inspired by the depths of space or the distant future, Senescence stands out as an album whose focus is set squarely on the earth beneath our feet: its composition, its history, and its beauty. That Smyth is able to take these elements and convert them into music so wide-eyed and fascinatingly vast is certainly a credit to him and his ear for sound and texture. The eight pieces on Senescence work together and form an album with no discernable narrative or structure but one that still manages to leave a lasting and powerful impression. In other words, it’s a deeply spaced-out and down-to-earth tape.