31 December 2010

Gareth Dickson - the dance (2010, Sleeping Man)

In the Gareth Dickson discography there is a balance between folk songwriting and guitar experimentalism - mixing folk tradition with avant-garde electronic music influences - and on "The Dance", the latter approach seems prevalent in terms of artistic and sensitive exigencies.

30 December 2010

Saito Koji - tokyo morning loop (2010, Resting Bell)

Saito Koji is a musician from Japan, specialized into long monotonous and minimal drone soundscapes stretched to the limit and beyond.

29 December 2010

Scott Wells - day songs (2010, Root Strata)

Four untitled tracks of five minutes, soft electric guitar droning odes sprawling on the ground like crystals of frost.

"Day Song" should be reserved to headphones only attentive listening, as every tiny detail in the background takes part into the fragile harmony and alchemy. You almost hear the fingers, picks or other objects rubbing the strings, and resonating, reverberating inside the contemplation room.

28 December 2010

Concern - truth & distance (2009, digitalis)

Concern is solo project of Gordon Ashworth - brother of Owen Ashworth aka Casiotone For The Painfully Alone -, exploring a world of instrumental ambient drones anchored to a vivid and emotional reality.

27 December 2010

Corey Fuller - seas between (2009 Dragon's Eye Recordings)

Born in the United States, Corey Fuller spent most of his youth in Japan, before returning for a few years in Washington state, to study and start his adult life, and finally return to live and work in Japan.

26 December 2010

The Ghost of 29 Megacycles - love via paper planes (2009, Sound & Fury)

There can be just a small difference between authentic and generic and "Love Via Paper Planes", the debut LP from The Ghost of 29 Megacycles - an Australian three-piece, with Greg Taw (vocals/guitars), Karen de San Miguel (vocals/drums) and Matt Aitken (organ), balancing between Perth and Melbourne - could be too quickly assimilated to the later.

23 December 2010

Brooke Manning - bride + loom (2009)

It was recorded in her living room, in Toronto, the evening of August 21, 2009, in one take and most of the instruments were "improvised" or "played on the fly".

It's a small, miracle, from someone who seems to not care to much about guidelines and archetypes, and so she let her songs fall from the sky, unfolding themselves slowly on the ground, caring only about the spontaneity of atmosphere and interpretation, about being lost into it.

22 December 2010

Danny Paul Grody - fountain (2010, Root Strata)

First solo album for Danny Paul Grody, a musician from San Francisco who was a founding member of both Tarentel and The Drift, two feet in the post-rock reservoir of the Temporary Residence label.

19 December 2010

Martin Herterich - recordings 070401-070521 (2007, Hwem)

"Silent Fields" (2009, Kesh) has been an important recent musical discovery so the exploration of his back catalog is the next step.

Martin explained that on this record, he wanted to explore "the possibilities of the grand piano as a droning instrument, by pitching, timestretching, processing piano samples" and adding field recordings.

18 December 2010

Solo Andata - iatunes #003 (2006, Hefty)

Slowly imposing themselves on the foreground of the ambient electronic scene, through three albums so far, this Australian duo of  Kane Ikin (from Melbourne) and Paul Fiocco (from Sydney) began in 2006 with this debut EP on Chicago label Hefty records. 

17 December 2010

The Green Kingdom - twig and twine (2009, Own Records)

Each new release by Michael Cottone (from Detroit, Michigan) finds a home on a new label so far and "Twig and Twine" is no exception.

Along the way, his instrumental ambient music, mixing electronic and acoustic instruments isn't changing much, only slowly evolving towards higher degrees of refinement.

16 December 2010

Jodi Cave - for myria (2007, 12k)

Debut album on 12k for Jodi Cave, a UK sound artist coming from a small town near Sheffield.  Minimalist but not austere, “For Myria” is like a collection of pencil drawings on a blank sheet. 

Handwritten words or sketches you invited to interpret or decode. Textures seem to be more important than narration. The use of microscopic sounds with a natural interface is a kind of continuum – an Arian's thread - on “For Myria”, much more than episodic atmospheric layers.

15 December 2010

Taiga Remains - ribbons of dust (2008, Root Strata)

Taiga Remains is the solo project of Alex Cobb. Released at first as a series of three 3-inch CDR on Alex Cobb's own label Students of Decay, “Ribbons of Dust” has been reissued on Root Strata. 

14 December 2010

Arroes - self-titled EP (2010)

Arroes is the solo project of Will Roud, a young songwriter from Canterbury, South Island of New Zealand. He is also a member of Coate whose first EP will be released early 2011.

He offers here four songs on acoustic guitar, with sometimes drums or field recordings.  While it may sound rough, wearing the heart on sleeve and obviously emotional, he manages to reach something disarmingly honest and fragile.

13 December 2010

Football, etc. - away game / XXL 7" (2010, Count Your Lucky Stars, strictly no capital letters & Keep It Together)

Honestly, I was kind of skeptical about Football, etc. and their revival of the Midwest 90's emo scene, even with a female vocalists, more than obvious references to Mineral, Sunny Day Real Estate or Rainer Maria can be limitative.

11 December 2010

Plastic Flowers - beko_63 (2010, Beko Dsl)

Synth-pop melancholic songs under heavy Factory / Sarah Records UK indie pop influence (Felt, The Smiths, The Cure, Field Mice, The Sundays, New Order), Plastic Flowers is the solo project of Sean Earl Beard (vocals, guitars, and programming), coming from Tallahassee, Florida.

10 December 2010

Fireflies - club 7 002 (2010, Bubbletone)

Lisle Mitnik is back with two delicious songs on a new netlabel, Bubbletone Discos, dedicated to the release of free digital singles.

Two recent recordings of Fireflies songs written a few years ago. This is sweetly melancholic and delicately twee, at first sight they seem harmless and mild, but if you give more attention a feeling of sentimental nostalgia slowly invades you. 

09 December 2010

Anois – tree house whispers (2009, Aerotone)

The northern Germany duo kept the netlabel diffusion for their first full-length, even if the quality of songwriting and production would have deserved a proper CD release.

Comparisons with Komeit, Ida or A Weather are obvious, with their mix of folk pop with electronic sounds, for a collection of melancholic melodies.

08 December 2010

The Ghost Of 29 Megacycles - the hummingbird dream (2010, hellosQuare)

Almost 31 minutes. 2 tracks. "Part 1" is a long slowly evolving drone of 24 minutes, while "Part 2" and a dreampop postshoegazing contemplative song with reverberated low vocals, close to 7 minutes.

The Ghost Of 29 Megacycles is an Australian three-piece, with Greg Taw (vocals/guitars), Karen de San Miguel (vocals/drums) and Matt Aitken (organ), balancing between Perth and Melbourne and this is their second release after a debut album called "Love via paper planes'.

07 December 2010

Hills Are Mountains - ep (2007, Stroboscopic / Reverb Worship)

A limited release, maybe no more than 50 copies, a short and temporary existence with continental constraints (two young musicians who met while studying Sonic Art at Middlesex University), based for a time in London, Hills went and now is gone with this single self-titled EP as a trace.

06 December 2010

Two Bicycles - valerie (2010)

Better know for his chillwave project Teen Daze, this young Canadian musician from Abbotsford, British Columbia, also owns a darker quiet melancholic side explored with his alternate project Two Bicycles.

Listening to "Valerie", it's hard to guess it is the same songwriter as stylistically we are sitting in the ambient folk field, certainly closer to artists like Songs of Green Pheasant, Grouper or to some Glenn Donaldson projects (Birdtree, Ivytree, Olivetree).

05 December 2010

A Broken Consort - crow autumn (2010, Tompkins Square)

New works for Richard Skelton under the A Broken Consort, compiling previously released "Crow Autumn (part 1)" (2007) and "Crow Autumn Part 2" (2009) along three new compositions for a now regular and coherent 7 tracks and 45 minutes long album.

This is the kind of classical, contemplative and cold but emotional atmospheres you would imagine easily as part of the ECM New Series catalog, as Richard Skelton seems follow other aims than musicians belonging to the usual contemporary electronic / ambient / drone / experimental scene. 

04 December 2010

A Wonderful - light hearted dark days EP (2007)

A Wonderful is the recently not so active, and I hope in the future not totally unactive solo project of Tim Wilson, an indie songwriter from Rochester New York.

"Light hearted dark days", now offered as a free download, is a 4 songs EP recorded during one night in his parent's basement and released in 2007 as 30 mini disc copies. As the legend says, a lot of coffee and whiskey involved, but as the result truly admits, a lot of talent, sensitivity and nuances were too included.

03 December 2010

Matt Rösner - repeat (Miatera, 2010)

No trace of melody on these six tracks and 43 minutes of music by this Australian electronic music composer. Listening to "Repeat" you wonder why, so far, Matt Rösner hasn't found home on the Touch label as he shares an even more ascetic idea of minimalist than a paragon like Oren Ambarchi.

22 November 2010

Antonymes - 31: before the light fails pt.1 (2010)

Basic, minimal, schematic, pure, simple and efficient.  "31: Before The Light Fails Pt.1" is like having one very good idea and intuition and translate it quickly with spontaneity.

This is one of these instants you'll would like to last for hours, days, and maybe weeks, a feeling of contemplative plenitude which will make you feel great, appeased and quiet.

21 November 2010

Sunday Parlours / Anois - split ep (2007, Poni Republic)

Free split ep between two duo/couples from Germany, which I both enjoyed through previous releases, this record is even better than expected.

And only bands with a similar structure can be conceived as references and these four songs are made in their own essence to please fans of Komeit, The Secret Stars, Ida, A Weather or even Empress / New North Wales.

20 November 2010

Sonmi451 - ruis (2010, Slaapwel)

Sonmi451 is  the project of Bernard Zwijzen, from Hasselt, Belgium and while the name is taken from a novel (David Mitchell’s novel “Cloud Atlas” another reference seems obvious, Shuttle358 but I don't know to which extent as it is the first time I listen to his music.

18 November 2010

Very Secretary - best possible souvenir (1997, Mud)

There is something unique with Very Secretary, like an emo version of slowcore with occasional interesting math-rock rhythms and a rural summer quality. But at the same time, their music never becomes completely or totally extraordinary. “Best Possible Souvenir” was their debut album and is more tense and dynamic than their second and final record, “Standing on the shade”. It sounds very close to American Football and Gloria Record debut ep's but without song as strong as theirs.

17 November 2010

The Album Leaf - into the blue again (2006, Subpop)

While I'm still totally found of the first releases of The Album Leaf, this albums leaves me undecided and skeptical as there are too many weaknesses and not enough assets.

16 November 2010

Federico Durand - elin (Imoto, 2008)

With "La siesta del ciprés", released on Spekk in 2010, Argentinian ambient musician imposed himself as a particular, unique and poetic sensitivity, but it wasn't his coup d'essai.

His first album was released two years earlier on Imoto, on a smaller UK and less visible label and stayed more or less completely anonymous until now.

15 November 2010

Karate – unsolved (2000, Southern)

Karate is no more and among the six studio albums, it's difficult to pinpoint a favorite and it's simply complicate to have one because there is none I can adhere to completely. 

Lots of jazz-rock / math-rock / punk-rock oriented tracks and only a very few completely balanced and sensitive.

14 November 2010

Taylor Deupree - January (2004, Spekk)

Taylor Deupree (b. 1971) is a sound artist, graphic designer, and photographer residing in New York, he is also behind the record label 12K which focuses on minimalism and contemporary musical forms.

There is a blunt radicalism with his music, in the sense that with his actions, works and positions in the minimal, experimental, ambient electronic forms of music, he imposed himself and emerged naturally as a major figure, strangely much more as an obvious reference than as a musician through his records. Taylor Deupree is a land-cleaner, a pioneer, with a keen interest towards theoretical, abstract and prospective sound structures and textures. 

13 November 2010

Rivulets - stray songs: 2000-2010 (2010)

"Stray Songs", a digital-only release, compiles every single and comp track released by Rivulets from 2000-2010, including rare, live and alternate versions of Rivulets songs, and covers of Sparklehorse, Big Star, Palace Brothers, Codeine, Jandek and Remora songs.

12 November 2010

Padang Food Tigers - born music (2010, Under The Spire)

Padang for piano and organ, Food for field recordings and their subtle and authentic processing of atmospheres, Tigers, for the guitars, banjo and other strings.

We are accustomed to the capacity of versatility of Rameses III, Padang Food Tigers, two thirds of this UK formation (Stephen Lewis and Spencer Grady) cannot really take us by surprise.

11 November 2010

Mike Tamburo - beating of the rewound son (2005, Music Fellowship)

Now Pittsburgh-based, Mike Tamburo was born in 1977 in New Kensington, PA. In the late 90s Mike founded the band Arco Flute Foundation, and a few years later Meisha, both instrumental bands with releases on The Music Fellowship and many shows behind the counter. Finally both bands broke up, leaving Mike to pursue a  solo career.

10 November 2010

M. Ostermeier – chance reconstruction (2010, Tench)

After short releases on Parvo Art and Hibernate, M. Ostermeier is back at home for his first full length, first release on his new sublabel of Words on Music, Tench.

09 November 2010

Minimilk – sa trace silencieuse – (2008, Phonic Kidnapping)

Minimil is Remi Parson (A Place for Parks, Electrophonvintage, Badr, The Sunny Street) adding french vocals to an acoustic guitar with bossa nova accent played by Sébastien Linares. 

08 November 2010

Hammock - raising your voice... trying to stop an echo (2006, Darla)

When you listen to Hammock it becomes quickly certain that they owe some debt towards bands like Windy & Carl, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, Album Leaf, Harold Budd or Auburn Lull, as they translate their music into something directly enjoyable and there lays probably their "emo" part, this ability to convey strong and warm, ecstatic and melancholic, blurry and dreamy emotions, in a way not really dissimilar with what Appleseed Cast did on their "Low level owl" double ep or the kind of blissful shoegazing Pia Fraus  offers.

07 November 2010

Talons' - rustic bullshit (2008, Bark and Hiss)

Balance is delicate. Musical alchemy is a capricious phenomenon.

While the two first release of Talons' already reviewed here were impressive (“Falls Chagrin” (2005), “Shitty Emo”(2006)), this particular one seems to miss gaining the same level of intensity for me.

06 November 2010

Mountainhood - brother the cloud (2008, Reverb Worship)

A limited release, 50 CDR copies of it, on an obscure experimental indie label, solo project of Michael Curtis Hilde, living in New York, playing as Mountainhood and previously as Almaden. It could be one more of these folk artists mixing their basic songwriting with experimentation but it's just not that.

05 November 2010

Antonymes - beauty becomes the enemy of the future (2009, Cathedral Transmissions)

Antonymes is the solo project of Ian Hazeldine, a Wales-based UK musician, who is creating instrumental piano & keyboard  ambient pieces, layered with additional electronics and buried  in an ocean of reverb. 

You picture desolate natural landscapes, rainy days under gray skies, low lights and bare trees, decomposing leaves on the ground and a wind carrying away endless masses of clouds.

04 November 2010

Rivulets - d e m o s (2010, Silber Media / 2000)

In 2001, just before his first album, I discovered Rivulets on MP3.com, a kind of ancestor of Myspace and Bandcamp were musicians were able to feature this music. 

03 November 2010

S. Carey - all we grow (2010, Jagjaguwar)

It's a good think to see Secretly Canadian's alter ego Jagjaguwar returning to this kind of music both labels defended a few years ago, from Patrick Phelan to Richard Youngs, from South to Spokane, from Early Day Miners to Havergal.

02 November 2010

The Morning Paper - it's getting clearer (2008, Skipping Stones)

I was 17 when I first heard Field Mice's 7 inch “September's not so far away”. 17 years later, the beauty of The Morning Paper's first album left me speechless, in a close state of emotional effusion. 

01 November 2010

Karaocake - rows & stitches (2010, Clapping Music)

If she was American, Camille Chambon would be , probably, from the West Coast, somewhere between Seattle, Portland and Olympia, sharing shows with artists on K Records and similar labels.

She is French and after a few self-released records , which, I sadly missed and never heard of, she is making the jump with a "real" album on a "real" label with "real" musicians, "real" melodic & accessible songs, a "real" production and it's a remarkable artistic product which escapes the d.i.y. attitude typical to the style which often offers only generic stuff.  "Row & Stitches" is as a whole an unexpected surprise.

31 October 2010

Scott Tuma - not for nobody (2008, Digitalis)

The first time I've heard of Scott Tuma, it was in 1996. He was the bassist (also one of the guitarists, I suspect) of Souled American and I felt in love with their last album “Notes Campfire”, a gem of these years were Palace Brothers, Songs:Ohia or Appendix Out were still, pure, and at their beginning. On this album Souled American was already exploring new territories and listening backwards to their discography was next deceptive because their previous records were much more traditional.

But listening to Scott Tuma now I have the impression he was the one longing for these new landscapes because it's there that he settled in his solo career.

30 October 2010

Mineral - The Complete Collection (2010, Fatbone)

During the second part of the nineties and the early years of the new century, I've listened to the two Mineral album a ridiculously high number of times ("The Power of Failing", 1995 and "EndSerenading, 1998). 

I remember myself ordering the 7inches, tracking down the compilation tracks on Napster, all of them finally included here, all things remastered, except the absence of one track, Sadder Star, which was in fact their only weak one. 

29 October 2010

Sun Kil Moon - admiral fell promises (2010, Caldo Verde)

Technically, this is not a Sun Kil Moon album but a solo Mark Kozelek one and as he admits, the trick is to sell that way much more albums.

"Admiral Fell Promises" is just Mark Kozelek singing and playing on  a nylon-string guitar. But somewhat, the context and the style are different and more subtle than on previous solo albums, so this new release stand somewhere between solo and band material.

28 October 2010

Duster - apex, trance-like (1998, Skylab Operations)

Described as a long lost and underestimate American lo-fi slowcore trio, Duster never really fitted with the established archetypes of the style.

27 October 2010

Vio/miré - january 2009 (2009)

I don't know what makes me the most melancholic, the songs or the songwriter. Brendan Glasson has got such a, ouch, sensitivity that you wonder how such treasures have managed to find their way to your ears without disappearing into the ether. To the point I could become almost believe in the existence of careful divinity somewhere above.