30 January 2011

Hummingbird - our fearful symmetry (2010, Fluid Audio)

Eleven instrumentals, forty-six minutes, from a musician, who apparently released already several records but who decided to stay anonymous for this project, it is a very limited debut release (100 copies) on Fluid Audio. "Our Fearful Symmetry"is a nicely conceived trip through the usual modern ambient genre mixing traditional instruments with effects, digital sound sources and processing, in order to find coherence, authenticity, depth and melancholic seductiveness.

28 January 2011

Without Time - trap (2010)

Belarus is not the place where you would expect an indie band to appear, somewhere between Europe and Russia, but here we are and Without Time is a young band (started in May 2010) with "Trap" as their first released song.

Without being totally original, "Trap" is a promising  demo song, showing a combination of keys, effects,  androgynous vocals and guitars.

References which pop up in my mind while listening to this song would be potentially Pia Fraus (Estonia), Mew (Denmark), or Ariel Kill Him and Jeniferever (Sweden).

Circle Bros - haven (2010, Morc)

Circle Bros is the solo project of Wim Lecluyse (also behind the Morc label). "Haven" is apparently is first album after 10 years, but not a proper one per se because it compiles pieces composed at first for other releases. 

It reminds me of certain tracks by Roy Montgomery, Grouper or Flying Saucer Attack but minus their noisy, windy, melodic and sometimes emotional dimensions. 

27 January 2011

Samn Johnson - shades (2011)

Samn Johnson is a composition student at the University of Michigan. This is his self-released debut album and one might be afraid "Shades" would sound too academic or awkward into feeling the gap between classic instruments and modern influences.

26 January 2011

Edgar Wappenhalter - on the beach (2010, Morc)

Edgar Wappenhalter is the assumed name of Steve Marreyt, a Belgian musician also ex-member of experimental psych-rockers Sylvester Anfang II, this LP follows several tape-releases on labels like Goaty Tapes, Cabin Floor Esoterica andYoung Girls Records.

"On The Beach" is his vinyl debut, where he explored in straightforward approach psychedelic folk-rock with a few drones traces. An obvious point of comparison for me would be Drekka, or a much more austere and much less seductive Grouper.

Winter's Day - winter's day (2010, Morc)

Winter's Day is a collaboration between Dawn Smithson and Aaron Martin. Two ethereal folk songs (see This Mortal Coil, Heidy Berry, Jessica Bailiff or Grouper) with clear, slow and icy vocals over minimal guitar lines and string arrangements, in the atmosphere of an empty church.

25 January 2011

Still Corners - don't fall in love/ wish 7" (2010, Great Pop Supplement)

Like an hybrid between Sambassadeur, Julee Cruise and Memoryhouse, but with an even stronger love for all things dream pop, ethereally folk and translucently psychedelic, this London quintet is deeply seductive and gives no other choice than immediate adhesion. 

23 January 2011

Whitesand/Badlands - seeding the clouds (2010)

A few weeks months after the review of their debut 7inch, now I decide to give a try to their debut full length and quickly I'm assailed by almost the same comparison ideas, from The Swirlies to Eleventh Dream Day, from Savage Republic to Unwound and maybe now with some common points with the Pale Saints, minus the graceful urgency of Ian Masters 's vocals.

22 January 2011

Concern - cæsarean (2010, Slow Flow)

"Cæsarean", is the first full length by Concern (aka Gordon Ashworth, from Oregon, USA), released on the Japanese label Slow Flow records, after several shorter releases on different labels - one is included here.

You can relate his music to the ambient / drone genre, but he stays away from the electronic & digital side of the genre, composing on  piano, clarinet, banjo, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, chord organ, harmonium, springs, bass, pedals and using extensive tape manipulation. 

20 January 2011

Woodworkings - i tried to write you a letter (2010)

A limited edition one sided cassette release, handmade packaging, 30 minutes of music, with only 26 copies. Promising new work of Kyle Woodworth but which fails at challenging his "we sit on floors we stand on chairs" full length.

19 January 2011

Talons' - songs for boats (2011, Own)

All his previous albums and EP's have put Talons' on orbit, and now from a geostationary position he delivers his first fully masterpiece and totally achieved full length. Not that his records were not collections of gems and jewels, but now, here, the sound production and the science of refinement have brought him to a new level where he freely discuses with pairs in my record collection like The Red House Painters, Owen or Spokane.

16 January 2011

Inverz - songs (2008, Granny)

Having enjoyed his net release "Slow", on Phantom Channel, I was curious to return back in time and discover this previous release.

And "Songs" is far from being a disappointment, Savvas Metaxas, based in Thessaloniki, Greece gave here too a strong impression, assembling layers and layers of sounds from various sources ( electric and acoustic guitars, synthesizers, field recordings, loops, electric piano, an old tape recorder, melodica, and samples) merging all of these to achieve mineral and ground textures, reaching a rare coherency.

15 January 2011

The Field Mice - skywriting + singles (1990, LTM)

Second volume of the anthology of Field Mice, released on LTM, “Skywriting + singles” presents their mid-career. There isn't early fulgurations or moving fragile shyness and the crepuscular beauty of their comet's tail is absent too. It's the belly of the band, where they do what they really are, confident in their style, their summer and early harvest season. Before autumn and winter and after sewing and germination.

14 January 2011

Trouble Books - gathered tones (2010 Own)

Trouble Books are back with another, this time shorter, album, taking even more distance with the old indie scene of previous decennia and their playful melodies.

Not that they embraced ambient soundscapism direction as under the blanket, the songs are there, lovely, twisted, shifted, reluctant to follow furrows, doing a bunk instead every time they feel close to déjà-vu.

13 January 2011

Úrsula - mejor seguir al silencio (2009, Foehn)

Fourth album for this Spanish duo, formed by David Cordero and Juan Luis Castro, and a long love & hate fascination relationship for me as a listener and fan. 

I enjoyed their two first albums but the darkness of their third one, "Autoayuda Emocional" forced me to take some distance and it's with delay that I finally discover their fourth one (a fifth one has been released recently).

Chauchat - songs for scaffolding (2009, Unread / Monototone Tapes)

Eighth album already for Tyler Whitney's project, here teaming with Erik Sahd, recorded during summer 2009 in an old candy factory located in his hometown of Lancaster, PA.

When you've got a trajectory of more than ten years and a strong personal artistic integrity, you can't really deviate, just develop more control to your songwriting, put behind you your lo-fi years and sound more professionally indie.

12 January 2011

Bio + Larkian + Les Poissons Autistes - self-titled (2011, Three Four)

A collaboration of three Swiss post-rock / ambient / experimental projects, released on a French/Swiss label. What surprises me first is the ironic humor with the titles of the tracks which contrasts sharply with the seriousness and the cold atmospheres of the compositions.

Except on Three:Four Records, I wouldn't have been surprised to discover this record on other labels like Where Are My Records, Temporary Residence, Kranky or Strange Attractors Audio House, as they share this sense of grandeur and darkness while avoiding most of the clichés related to post-rock and offering instead nice musical trips in various backgrounds.

10 January 2011

Snowstorm - snowstorm (2009, Monotone Tapes)

After a few tapes under his own name, finally Kevin Huelbig Jr decided to update his songwriting from bedroom lo-fi towards more ambitious melodic intimate indie folk pop. 

While staying in known and already referenced regions, Snowstorm delivers a few gems of extraordinary efficiency.

09 January 2011

Black Sea Storm - onca onsuz (2010, Garibay)

Black Sea Storm is the solo project of Ali Deniz Ozkan, of Channing Cope and Shere, playing bass and singing in both bands.

For his solo project, he is expanding his palette, with guitar and drums but there is also a shift with the vocals, from English to Turk, on this first three tracks release.

08 January 2011

Pasture - composite (2010, Silent Farm)

Playing ambient/drone music with a name as Pasture, you can only have a pastoral touch and here it would be about the sunniest days of summer spent in the countryside.

It's the solo project of Joseph Yonker, also member of Willamette, a trio, whose first album on Infraction Records seems endlessly postponed. 

"Composite", his debut album, is highly ecstatic, euphoriant and well I have to admit ... totally orgasmic.

07 January 2011

The Green Kingdom - prismatic (2010, Home Assembly)

New album and, once again, new label for Michael Cottone, this time with a bonus remix CD (The Boats, The Declining Winter, Part-Timer, Northerner, Inch-Time and Bvdub).

While his previous record, "Twig & Twine" left me wanting a more definite direction, "Prismatic" fills me delight. Sounding even more refined than is previous works, it is both more comfortable and more atmospheric, the ambient background is stronger than never but you are fulfilled with fragments of melody.

06 January 2011

Dustin Wong - infinite love (2010, Thrill Jockey)

Strange object, double CD (one called "Brother", the other "Sister") with a DVD to accompany the music.

Thirty instrumental tracks for 81 minutes of music,with no obvious progression or narrative content, mostly a collection of technical exploration of a previously definite style of guitar music. 

05 January 2011

Woodworkings - "we sit on floors we stand on chairs" (2010, Futurerecordings)

Fifteen years ago, Kyle Woodworth, from Baltimore, Maryland - sometimes helped by friends here, - may have recorded a melancholic folk lo-fi album.  Different times, different era, he is exploring a very personal, adventurous vision of ambient, electronic, neoclassical and post-rock influences, with obvious references like Arvo Part, The Stars of the Lid, Sigur Ros, or Hammock.

04 January 2011

Inverz - slow (2009, Phantom Channel)

From Thessaloniki, Greece, comes this net-release and third album by Inverz, solo project of Savvas Metaxas (also behind the Granny Records label).

"Slow" seems particularly influenced by Fennesz or Pan American, and you wouldn't be wrong adding the name of Chihei Hatakeyama to the short list.

02 January 2011

Tiny Fireflies - epop 005 (2010, Eardrums Pop)

Tiny Fireflies is a joint band / couple made by Kristine from Tiny Microphone (and Very Truly Yours) and Lisle Mitnik from Fireflies (and Very Truly Yours).

01 January 2011

Autumnleaf - the foot (2011, Wood/Water)

Four people band from Fukuoka, Japan, formed in '06, Autumnleaf release their second album on the independent label Wood/Water. 

Their aesthetic lineage is pretty obvious and pervades their music to the core. They are probably fans of artists such as American Football / Owen,  Hammock, Very Secretary, Ida, Julie Doiron, Idaho, The Album Leaf, Ariel Kill Him, Death Cab For Cutie, Last Days of April or This Town Needs Guns, and they selected their more soft, playful and sensitive side.