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Ambient / Downtempo / Dreampop

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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 »

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 »

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 »

Oubys
Positronium_EP

Belgium dark ambient label Testtoon treat us to a remix EP featuring extended cuts of 'Positronium II' the highlight of Ouby's Testtoon debut 'Terra Incognita'. Here we're treated to a Substance remix of the track as well as two variants by the artist himself. The substance mix is a dark,...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 »

Anduin
Stolen Years

Wow! This looks great! All exquisitely printed foldy card sleeves replete with eight double-sided two colour prints that are all stunning. Like good enough to frame. Pretty packaging aside, this album has a heart-breakingly frustrating story behind its genesis. Jonathan Lee, the man behin...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 »

All Sides
Dedalus

All Sides:'Dedalus' (Make Mine Music) Eleven tracks housed in a card sleeve with its very own felt blanket. And you'll need a blanket to wrap yourself in when you've copped your ears around this kind of doomy, drifting, droning guitars and electronics hybrid. The lads in the office are reminded of Philistine in places, Muslimguaze or a kind of outf...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 »

Revglow
9th Chrysalis

Ah I'm in my new spot. The sun rising over the ring road, a berry-covered Cotoneaster covered in bindweed as eye candy. On the stereo we have an album by Revglow which if you were blind or purposefully didn't look at the cover you'd swear was a new album by Conquering Animal Sound, so ...view item »

Capricornus
Halation

I'll take a step back into calmer pastures now. The ever-reliable Infraction have sent us a pile of new releases. Well, two. And because i've pulled a ligament in my leg and am chair-bound, i'm review king for the day. I'm gonna try beat my record and review anything that isn't nailed down in the office. But first I'll try Capricornus. What is l...view item »

Vincent Kuhner
No Minute Gone

Delving back into the drone/sound-art world I find myself with an enigmatic CD by this chaplet. I'm suddenly getting the sound of a compressed toy train ricocheting around my head, now some rustling and tinkering, some guitar drone that somehow resembles the beautiful sound of singing bowls...now I'm down into some industrial cesspit listening t...view item »

Brian Eno and the words of Rick Holland
Drums Between The Bells

His last album got a mauling by the egg-head brigade for being stuck up a tree meditating whilst wearing falafel and goat cheese sandals and a kaftan, all the while refusing to acknowledge 20+ years of electronic musical progress. I thought it were OK, a bit dull at times with the occasional promising excursion into deep moody sonic territor...view item »

Prop
Nebula

here is a 7" by Prop which is nice rhodes piano and questionable twiddling bass. The next track veers into miniature, sweeter Squarepusher territory. Final track funks a bit too much but has interesting sounds and beats. Nebula is 7" only on Inventing Zero records....view item »

Roman Ruins
Pastor/al

Everything on this label comes on coloured wax with download codes. That's because they care about you. Instantly you feel loved and that's no bad thing. This oranged up beast is one of the chillwave variety. Smothered in 80's synth washes and that acceptable cheese sound of chill wave I'm immediately thinking Washed Out and folks like Toro Y Mo...view item »

J-Walk
Another Lover

J-Walk has a new 7"/CDs out on East West called 'Another Lover' Now I can't really say anything about this record that may be of any use except that it's everything you've never wanted in your life....view item »

Simon Whetham
Velvet

This artist has had releases on Trente Oiseaux, Entr'acte, Install, Mystery Sea and Dragon's Eye Recordings amongst others. 'Velvet' is comprised of a single twenty-seven minute composition which was achieved through field recordings in South Wales. It's very difficult to identify t...view item »

offthesky
Hiding Nature

Offthesky next. After a conceptual dronework for the Tokyo Droning offshoot, Home Normal unleash another stuttering, meandering, "twinkle chirrup & glitch fest" called 'Hiding Nature'. It sounds at one point like pretty chimes and elements of fine glass percussion are being played with by an amorphous blob monster from the planet Nexi...view item »

Emphemetry
A Lullaby Hum For Tired Streets

Ahhhh close my eyes and I'm transported from this dingy office into green pastures as opener 'After Catalunya' evokes pastoral scenes with its delicate ambience and meandering almost folky guitar. This is the work of the talented Richard Birkin Of Derby who plays guitar, piano, loop pedals and also sings. You just get the feeling that an inc...view item »

Christopher Hipgrave
Slow, With Pages Of Fluttering Interference

Time to wrap yourself up in a warm ambient drone blanket courtesy of Christopher Hipgrave. This is Dan's 3rd album (is it OK if I call Christopher Hipgrave 'Dan'?) and here he continues his foray into all things ambient, drifty, click, crackly and droney. Most importantly this is one of the warmer enveloping ambient drone albums I've heard in a ...view item »

The Third Eye Foundation
The Dark

Aw man, the dark lord Matt Elliott is back with a brand new epic new album on Ici D'ailleurs. After a big hiatus from recording as the TTEF, filling in the gap with a few ace solo albums, he's back! It's fantastic too. In a nutshell it's full of swirling melodies laid over drum 'n' bass beats. It sounds like he's carried on with the orchestral b...view item »

Porn Sword Tobacco/Downstate
Split

Pork Sword Tobacco... Ahem sorry Porn Sword Tobacco have a split 3" CD with Downstate and it's one of those sweet Awkward Silence jobs, the likes of which we've not seen for a wee while. The PST stuff is ultra dreamy sounding with hints of dare I say it the Hauntological style. Did I really just say that? Oh what have I become, I'm going to pu...view item »

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