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Ambient / Downtempo / Dreampop

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Loscil
Endless Falls

I wandered into the office yesterday, late and a little hungover and was greeted by some arresting and deeply comforting audio. Scott Morgan's Loscil project was responsible for gently easing my brain back into reality. 'Endless Falls' begins with the sound of rainfall, I just love the chaotic nature of the rhythms of raindrops so it's a winning op...view item »

Tim Hecker
Ravedeath 1972

This isn’t the brutal sensory blast that the amazing title might suggest. It’s creepy pipe organ/piano/synth drone music, recorded in a church in Reykjavik. Super unnerving, but equally beautiful and engaging. It’s one of Hecker’s best works for sure, and is released on double LP and CD on Kranky....view item »

Jessica Bailiff
At The Down-Turned Jagged Rim Of The Sky

Well, if there's a label you can trust to be honest in their press releases it is the quite wonderful Kranky, one of the few internationally renowned labels of great stature that commands respect through releasing fantastic, exciting music. They'r...view item »

Windy & Carl
We Will Always Be

Windy and Carl are back with their first album in three years. Nice to see that there are some people who still take their time over these things. This husband and wife team have created some astounding sonic architecture in the past with their neofolk-inflected minimal-ambient drone. Af...view item »

Benoit Pioulard
Hymnal

I have only a small number of things in common with our lord, our leader, our saviour Philip Leigh and one is an absolute adoration of a previous Benoit Pioulard album ‘Lasted’ which I said way back in 2010 was “where wistful songwriting meets evocative warped ‘70s Polaroid nos...view item »

Tim Hecker
Dropped Pianos

Apparently Tim is at the top of his game and has been for years accordingly to the press release. Slightly confused by that sentence...I would say that he's made some excellent records over the last few years and Ravedeath 1972 is nothing short of brilliance. Dropped Pianos is 9 tracks w...view item »

Bonobo
Days to Come

This album will definitely fall through the cracks even though it's easily one of 2006's best releases. While DJ Shadow is running around out churning out hypha garbage, Bonobo weighs in with this masterpiece, full of lush orchestrations, dope beats and excellent vocals. Days to Come gives you that late 90s trip-h...view item »

Justin Walter
Lullabies and Nightmares

Ahh this seems to be soothing our collective minds and brightening up what’s otherwise a miserable, drizzly, late May afternoon. Walter uses the EVI, or Electronic Valve Instrument, a 1980s synthesizer/horn hybrid, to create meditative tracks brimming with warmth and soul, interspersed with interludes that occasionally recall ...view item »

Hiss Tracts
Shortwave Nights

Two debut albums in the space of a month from Constellation. When was the last time that happened? The LP of angular indie rock from Montreal's Ought is very good of course, but this Hiss Tracts one is a different kettle of fish entirely (I don't mean it's bad!). It's a droney affair from the veteran superduo of Dav...view item »

Kreidler
ABC

Dusseldorf based post-rock pioneers Kreidler are now in their twentieth year on planet music, along with bands like Tortoise and Do Make Say Think melding the sounds of Krautrock, prog rock and electronica to create a whole new genre, Many copyists have followed since then bu...view item »

Cleared
Drown

Tone-worshipping Chicago duo Cleared are back this week with another LP of their distorto-drone compositions, mixing electronics, guitars, and lots of sounds whose original sources are pretty much anyone's guess. After starting out with a passage which is certainly guitar sounds, they drift into a kind of dystopian ambience that is both deeply...view item »

Laraaji
Remixes (Bee Mask, Ela Orleans, Sun Araw and Motion Sickness Of Time Travel)

Four remixes of classic Laraaji compositions by four big playas in the realm of contemporary ambient and experimental music; Bee Mask, Ela Orleans, Sun Araw and Motion Sickness Of Time ...view item »

connect_icut
Small Town by the Sea

Dropping field recordings over simple and pleasant beats, connect_icut’s newest release should be both accessible and enticing to a broad audience. WIth layers and structures slowly peeling away and revealing themselves through the ethereal pads, Small Town is sure to please the existent fans and create a few new ...view item »

Sontag Shogun
Tale

Sontag Shogun create lovely chilling pieces of piano based neo-classical music but fill them to the brim with found sounds, snatches of dialogue and field recordings. The opening title track is a beautiful piece of piano bliss, a simple recurring motif that recalls the sweetness of Max Richter or Dusti...view item »

King of the Mountains
Zoetrope

Melting your awareness into a pool of goo with King of the Mountains. Zoetrope is the next instalment from the Mancunian producer. Taking beat making and electronic soundscapes in his own direction, Phil Kay sculpts his own brand of blissed out & ethereal kruatrockish electronica. Full of synthesised ...view item »

David Newlyn
Disintegrating Suburban Dream

I'm having another of my early morning ambient sessions. This time the man easing me from sleepy confusion into another week's review onslaught is David Newlyn, whose new CD 'Disintegrating Suburban Dream' I've just played twice through with a blank, glazed look on my face as I sup my coffee. Newlyn is making ambient texturescapes which ...view item »

Christopher Bissonnette
Essays In Idleness

Canada's Christopher Bissonnette has opted to limit himself to a single home-built synth on this hazy LP of languorous drones and tones, in search of, in his own words, "a more tactile approach to sound generation". I'm having a nice time with it. It's languid and quite cosmic but still with that '70s-ish feeling of physicality to it, man and ma...view item »

Inventions
Inventions

I've had a lot of "challenging" music to review today, which I don't mind in principle but after a few hours it can really clog up your brain. Here to give me a little mental clean-out and loosen me out for more oddness, though, are Inventions. I'm pretty confident they won't be too freaky because it's a collaboration from people involved with t...view item »

Christopher Tignor
Thunder Lay Down In The Heart

This is Christopher Tignor's second record (after Core Memory Unwound) under his own name - after recording - Slow Six & Wires Under Tension. (it's his 7th full length release) This is a good record, I think it might be a very good one. Excellent restraint, build up, and release. Some of the most beau...view item »

Sparkling Wide Pressure
A Heart Is The Hardest Thing To Find

Sparkling Wide Pressure continue to deliver lo-fi drone constructed out of enthralling riffs, sideways synth glare and bottomless chords that appear at crucial, empty moments. A Heart Is The Hardest Thing To Find sounds like a marine dive into a trench that lights up after hours of darkness....view item »

Dino Spiluttini & Nils Quak
Modular Anxiety

Synth drone fans will like this one - Nils Quak and Dino Spiluttini take a side each to showcase their modular synth tweaking prowess over ten tracks, all pressed onto a shiny gold slab of vinyl. I’m listening to Spiluttini’s side first, bursting into action with the desolate and slightly industrialised ambience of ‘Anxiety&rsq...view item »

The Splendid Ghetto Pipers
Die Gute Besserung

With a name like The Splendid Ghetto Pipers, you don’t know what to expect. But it certainly isn’t an epic hour-and-a-half long drone fest, which is exactly what Die Gute Besserung is. Recorded live, the CD takes you through layers and layers of noise, static, hauntingly subtle melodies and tenderly quiet gu...view item »

Talvihorros
Eaten Alive

Here is a brand new record from the Scottish composer Ben Chatwin aka Talvihorros who has already released a series of well received records over the past half decade. Here he moves somewhat in a more electronic direction and as with many other manipulators of sound in the current climate the ghost of Joh...view item »

Sunn O))) & Ulver
Terrestrials

I'm coming to the home stretch of this week's review marathon and running out of time so I have to make the frankly jarring aesthetic leap from the earnest '80s tweepop of Helen and the Horns straight over to this slow-burning slab of theatrical dirgery from Sunn O))) and Ulver. Thankfully this is one of the records where you already know what i...view item »

A.R.C. Soundtracks
Archive: Volume One

The Little Crackd Rabbit label bring you this latest full length from A.R.C. Soundtracks, in the past they have remixed the likes of Aiden Baker and Fuzzy Lights, they produce a sound of gloomy twisted folk drone with odd sounds of tribal percussion and fuzzed out guitar and sy...view item »

Benoit Pioulard
Hymnal Remixes

Benoit Pioulard is the alter ego of American singer / songwriter Thomas Meluch. Releasing music prolifically since 2001, 2013's 'Hymnal' is his most recent recording. Here it is given the remix treatment by a plethora of mix magicians, lending a new vibe to Pioulard's experimental folk sound. Double CD on Lost Tribe Sound. ...view item »

Actual Taped Voices
The Sound Of The Phantom Whistle

Lord,  I’m tired. Tired of a non-sleep. Tired of a croaky throat, tired of a coffee hangover. Yes, I get hangovers off coffee....and pizza. However, this 12” record is really getting me motoring. Oh cock this is good. Right then, first up what is it? Its by Actual Taped Voices and here they 'Present the Sound of the Phantom Whis...view item »

Antidrom
Antidröm

Ooooh. This is dark, mysterious and just a little bit frightening. Basing themselves somewhere in the middle of the fens, Antidrom take the eerie bleakness of such surroundings and infuse them into a music that slowly unfurls itself using grainy, crumbling synth and disjointed drum machine. I don’t know what frightens me about the ...view item »

Jessica Bailiff
Jessica Bailiff

Jessica Bailiff is a lady. She's made a few albums before and is mates with Low. Her new album on Kranky is a lovely surprise. Its nice shimmery acoustic music thats somewhere between Low and Hope Sandoval. We like this a lot here.........view item »

Thisquietarmy
Hex Mountains

Thisquietarmy is Eric Quach, with Scotty Rooney on drums, bassist Dorian Williamson and vocalists Émilie Bresson and Jeanne Peluard for this album. Post-rock,booming drone soundscapes meet thundering drums and eerie shrieks. Double 180g coloured vinyl on Denovali as well as CD. Definitely a headphone albu...view item »

Rion
Fireflies

Mmm... no noise. This ambient CD is very quiet. I’ll go and check if it’s playing. No it isn’t. Oops. Ok I can hear things now! Rion is Ryo Nakata (aka Ryonkt and the chap who runs the Small Fragments label) and Ian Hawgood (who is Ian Hawgood and he runs th...view item »

Tim Hecker
Virgins

Virgins? I wonder what virgins have to do with this sonic soup? Hecker released an album a couple of years back called ‘Dropped Pianos’  - a phrase which kind of sums up the second track here, the spiralling-off-the-rails-maelstrom of ‘Virginal1’. It begins with the sound of a piano tumbling down a never-endi...view item »

Alabaster Falcons
Alabaster Falcons

Just 50 editions of this produbbed clear tape were released, a self titled album from Alabaster Falcons which utilises a variety of collected sounds including running water, breath, and what sounds like player piano creating bold, strong imagery of shimmering, sparkling light, refracted through prisms, ascension and the art of Z...view item »

Mark Tranmer
How Scarlet The Leaves

Ooh, a new Mark Tranmer LP! The older folks amongst you may remember him from Gnac and The Montgolfier Brothers from the late ‘90s who were popular back in the day (and still should be now!). This is his first al...view item »

Hybernation
Object Studies - Metal

Here’s an album with a self-explanatory title. This CD, which comes in a beautiful folded card cover with an actual signed and numbered etching on the front, contains a series of studies made by Stuart Bowditch, aka Hybernation, where the sound for each track has been sourced from a single metal object. It really is that simple. It...view item »

Red Stars Over Tokyo
Melody Attack

Beautiful double LP gatefold sleeve from Belgian electronic artist Red Stars Over Tokyo, with his usual brand of trancey hypnotic IDM, ‘Melody Attack’ is almost vintage sounding in its bleeps and bloops but still retains a futuristic element to the world of ambient dance music, its influence...view item »

Colorlist
Sky Song

Chicago post-jazz duo Colorlist are back this week with their first album since 2010’s ‘A Square White Lie’. The formula here is light analogue synth drones and woodwind breezing over gently puttering drums. It’s surprising how full-sounding their textures are considering there are only t...view item »

Audela
NBPN

Ambient-heads with long memories will be aware of Audela’s Black Death series, of which this is part 7, coming a mere four years after 5 and 6 dropped in ‘09. Here we have a CD with bonus limited 3” CD in which we stare into the void with them once again in yawning expanses of frosty darkmospherics with static hisses and metall...view item »

Melodia
Saudades

This is the debut on Own Records from Melodia, a duo consisting of Federico Durand and Tomoyoshi Date who decided to make music after touring their own solo projects together, the press release doesn’t really tell me much about this record...view item »

Young Magic
Melt

Some decent quality experimental pop music from the NY based trio. Pulling in vibes from all over the place yet maintaing an album that is fully cohesive. There's elements of Fly Lo's Brainfeeder style hip-hop fused seamlessly with lovely vocal harmonies, west African rhythms and 60's psychedelic pop elements. A super lazy comparison would proba...view item »

Washed Out
Paracosm

After the genre-defining ‘Life of Leisure’ EP  it was difficult to know where Washed Out (aka Ernest Greene) was going to go. Sadly the answer as provided by debut album ‘Within and Without’ was largely “unimpressive one-dimensional limpness”. The sort of record that jus...view item »

Ten
Triangle Of Hope EP

With cut up mountains on the tape inlay, you may have a feel for what to expect, and you would be right: huge and expansive soundscapes, organic samples cut up to match the the record’s purpose. ten’s minimalist composition are unmovable and majestic on this Traingle of Hope tape release....view item »

AUN
Alpha Heaven

I remember seeing Sonic Youth years ago and it was possibly the worst gig I've ever been to. Utter self-indulgent toss. The only highlight was my mate shouting "F**k she's got a trumpet now" when Kim Gordon emerged brandishing the offending item. I only mention this as the press release mentions Sonic Youth in their "for fans of". This r...view item »

Pan American
Cloud Room, Glass Room

Yo. Anyone out like sleeping? Know what I’m saying? Great isn’t it. Alas, it seems I don’t do it anymore. It’s a drag I guess and something that makes it harder to enjoy records like this as listening to the utterly gorgeous opening tune my eyelids are drooping, my body shutting down...zzzzzzzzz. It’s a wonderful wa...view item »

Red Stars Over Tokyo
Crossing A Frozen Sea

Here’s a 12” single which is longer than most albums, featuring an “extended all night version” of Red Stars Over Tokyo’s ‘Crossing A Frozen Sea’ on one side, and a 20-plus minute remix by the German collective Magazine...view item »

Mandible Chatter
Grace

Experimental weirdness from Mandible Chatter on this reissue of their 1993 album Grace. A mishmash of all sorts, from shrieking to out of tune fairground ride music, always looking to unnerve or make us misstep. Drone and abstract composition using acoustic guitars as well as a medley of assorted sounds. On Magnanimous on CD....view item »

Two People in a Room
Endless Bummer

An ‘Endless Bummer’ by Two People in a Room could create a frisson of excitement if thought about a certain way, not that this album is likely to soundtrack any affairs of a carnal nature. It’s a duo of Berlin-based people Michelle and Rene. Rene is the man from ...view item »

Ekca Liena & Spheruleus
Mapping The Boundary Layer

Ekca Liena and Spheruleus team up for an ultra atmospheric collaboration that is literally about atmospheric conditions. Yes, that’s right - the duo have taken the theme ...view item »

Arcam
August

This is another of those CDs with slowly swelling passages of ambience, ranging from nearly-nothingness to more rousing and immersive passages. In the quiet parts if you close your eyes and exercise your imagination it's almost like you're not listening to anything at all. Fans of ...view item »

Mirrorring
Foreign Body

Listening to this in the noisy office yesterday I was a little underwhelmed as it just blended into ambient background noise under the sound of tape guns and people shouting...I was a little at a loss as to what I was going to write about it. ...view item »

Year Of No Light & Thisquietarmy
Year Of No Light & Thisquietarmy

On this record France's semi-ambient post-metal noodlers Year Of No Light have teamed up with Montreal semi-ambient post-metal noodler Thisquietarmy for a whole LP of immersive doomy jams. Each band throws in a single long comp...view item »

Teen Daze
Four More Years / Tour EP

Teen Daze is the kind of band name that makes me do a little sick in my mouth. That aside I'm not having too much trouble with this compilation of Jamison's 2010 EP releases. It's Chillwave. It's Glo-fi. It's easy to define (and listen too) electronic music much like Washed Out, Memory Tapes and Neon Indian, ie; the professional, slic...view item »

Widesky
Phase Portrait

Ah another day, another drone. This time its courtesy of a man called Seth from New Mexico who utilises the wide open spaces of his home state to create textured ambient soundscapes. Or in the words of one other Normans employee who shall remain nameless (clue: starts with 'P' ends with 'hil')...view item »

Steve Hauschildt
Tragedy & Geometry

This chaps name some of you may recognize as a member of Emeralds. While fellow band Members Mark McGuire and John Elliot's solo outings have been much celebrated, Hauschildt's solo work has largely remained under the Radar. I guess that is about to change as this record he's made for Kra...view item »

Thieves Like Us
Berlin Alex

Well here it is, Thieves Like Us's long-lost “ambient” album. In '04 the synthpop trio recorded this intriguing journey into electronic textures and late night melodies. To be honest, calling it ambient seems a bit misleading because in reality this is essentially a beat-led sl...view item »

Sundae Club
Technostalgia

New on Technostalgic Tunes we have a CD by Sundae Club. Oh I remember this  - its nice. The nearest comparison is Lemon Jelly - the first track has a lovely lady vocal and a tune the size of Swansea. The other tracks are instrumental, a bit jazzy in places -occasionally reminiscent of something which might slip out ...view item »

C. Spencer Yeh
1975

Loving the photos of a completely fucked piano on the cover of this album for starters, really evocative imagery and the colours are great. Aside from that, the music on this CD is not what we've come to expect from Mr Spencer Yeh, who we know best for his playful screeching free jazz/n...view item »

Small Black
Photojournalist

Not the best song off the album but a good example of what they do which is determinedly in the chillwave bracket - basically its China Crisis playing in a wind tunnel, the B side is a Best Coast cover thus making Best Coast the most mentioned comparison band over the past two weeks, probably because everyone is starting to sound/look like ...view item »

The Dead Texan
The Dead Texan

The Dead Texan - S/T CD/DVD Set on Kranky C- Hopefully referring to Dubya....;o) This is someone from Stars Of the Lid &Aix Em Klemm. FB- I heard this yesterday & I thought it were bloody lovely. C- Track 2 is like a big delicious lemon meringue pie FB- More like a really expensive slice ...view item »

Sandro Perri
Impossible Spaces

You may be more familiar with Sandro Perri's work under the Polmo Polpo moniker. I missed the boat on his previous material under his own name so this is actually the first I've heard of it. He's certainly moved on since putting out his drone classic 'Like Hearts Swelling' a decade or so ...view item »

Talkdemonic
Ruins

Ruins is an awesome progression from Eyes At Half Mast. It's full of rich textures: distorted violin, loops, keyboards, and synthesised guitars. There's a new blend of grunge and grittiness with an extra layer of sonic goodness. You'll either love it or hate it (based on reviews I’ve come across). Fans of Do Make Say Think, Godspeed You Bl...view item »

Chubby Wolf
Turkey Decoy

The Celer juggernaut shows no sign of stopping with this hundredth posthumous release of the year (Queen have nothing on these guys). These are the final solo recordings from the sadly deceased female half of Celer, Danielle Baquet-Long, and it is what you might expect; a series of haunt...view item »

Celer
Mane Blooms

You know when I first clocked this ‘Mane Blooms’ 7” by Celer I must admit that I had my reservations about how suitable their music is/how it would translate to the format. However after a few listens I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s actually really cool. The record serves as a kind of counterpart to the excellent ‘Brittle’ CD re...view item »

Reigns
The Widow Blades

Mention the words “concept album” to the musical layperson and you can expect the same reaction that someone like me might give when finding out that you've been invited to a wife swapping party at Harry Redknapp's house...one of fear, mild curiosity and abject ...view item »

Vizion Centaur
Epochalypse

I'm not sure how sensible it is to review on an empty stomach but as my tea is in the oven and I have time to kill I thought I'd give it a go. If I have any problems I'll let you know. This has an amazingly psychedelic sleeve which is what drew me to the release. It's insanely cosmic which ...view item »

Bengalfuel
Lowe

Not a big fan of 3" CDs. I always lose them you see. They're not large enough to be used as drinks coasters either. I like this Bengalfuel 'Flower EP' series however, which has just reached its third instalment with 'Lowe' - another cracking four-tracker!...view item »

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