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Neo-classical / Classical / Orchestral

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Nils Frahm
Spaces

Nils Frahm executes beautifully moving piano based compositions with marked ease, though the live experience is somewhat informed by the environment. This reissued collection of tracks presents the perceived value Frahm bestows upon these, celebrating his collaboration with chance, space and philosophies of the ...view item »

A Winged Victory For The Sullen
A Winged Victory For The Sullen

Here's a dream marriage in floaty heaven! Adam Wiltzie from Stars of The Lid and Dustin O'Halloran have a new thing and this is it. Initially it sounds like how you'd expect it to sound. O'Halloran tinkling away on the old ivories and Wiltzie making some orchestral majestic sounding drones in the background. So far so good. At times it goes all ...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 »

Olafur Arnalds
...And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness

Well that Icelandic neo-classical chapster has provided the goods once again. I've missed almost all his previous soujourns into stripped-back melancholia, I wasn't quite prepared for this feast of calming dreamscapery, occasional elegant post-rock textures & lashings of lush chamber instrumentation however! He seems to be vastly gifted this...view item »

Daniel Bjarnason
Over Light Earth

Here’s the second solo album from Daniel Bjarnason, the Icelandic composer who you may know from his collaborations with the likes of Ben Frost, Sigur Ros and Valgeir Sigurdsson. This album collect...view item »

Nils Frahm & Anne Muller
7fingers

Hoorah  - its a sunny day and instead of working my fingers to the bone packing your delicious records I've been allowed to do the reviews. Treats are in store too for you if you purchase this new Nils Frahm and Anne Muller CD. Muller produces beautiful music using cello and other stringed instruments whilst Frahm chips in with delightful c...view item »

Jherek Bischoff
Composed

Leaf have scooped up a nice li'l record here from Jherek Bischoff - a Seattle based composer and arranger who has collaborated and performed in groups as diverse as ...view item »

Cousteau
Sirena

Cousteau have a new album in the record racks called 'Sirena' its sophisticated pop for posh people. Sounds a bit like the Tindersticks or Grand Drive and has trumpets parping and strings…er ….stringing....view item »

S. Carey
Hoyas

I'm loving the first track on this EP from Bon Iver sideman S. Carey. He builds the track slowly using subtle electronics and whispered vocals but it all reaches a wonderful l...view item »

Illuminine
#1

This is the debut album release from noisemaker Illuminine aka Kevin Imbrechts (Mosquito). Holed up in his bedroom with a guitar and a selection of effects pedals, Illuminine has been experimenting with sound for years to produce this sharp, economical, post rock, post noise-rock record that grew conceptually from a lo fi guitar album into the s...view item »

Damian Anache
Capturas del Unico Camino

Oh, there’s a lot going on here. Where to begin? So, there are some acoustic instruments played by Damian Anache and he also makes sounds “generated with his mouth” - it’s kinda like throat singing, or just someone saying “aah” for the dentist. There’s also a computer playing an algorith...view item »

Red Cable Sunday
Prelude To The Nocturne

Red Cable Sunday is the artist name of Denis Fernando who has a 7"/ CD single out on Fidelista Records which precedes the forthcoming 'The Stolen Hours' album. It's a genuinely lovely and heartwarming piano piece full of emotion and drama. The label says "... evoking George Gershwin, Michael Nyman, Philip Glass, Max Richter and Debussy al...view item »

Michael Price
Entanglement

This is the first album proper from Michael Price, composer of the music to the BBC’s ‘Sherlock’. The list of recording media used on Entanglement reportedly includes mobile phone, vintage microphones, and 1940s magnetic recording device: Price is very much interested in the context th...view item »

John Metcalfe
The Appearance of Colour

Expansive electro-acoustic compositions from composer John Metcalfe. Having written string arrangements for the likes of Morrisey and The Pretenders, The Appearance Of Colour showcases an alternate side to his style. With a polyrhythmic bent leaning towards Reich and Glass, this involving album brings to mind the solo w...view item »

Bruno Sanfilippo
Upon Contact Reworked

‘Upon Contact Reworked’ is a collaborative work from Bruno Sanfilippo that features some of the most highly acclaimed artists from the electronic music scene including Francesco Giannico, Olan Mill, Leonardo Rosado, Jorge Haro, Quivion and Hior Chronik in which an original piece written for piano is re-envisioned by each artist....view item »

Olafur Arnalds
Broadchurch Original Soundtrack

The original soundtrack for the popular BAFTA award winning crime series Broadchurch, released in conjunction with the second series. Combining the best music of both seasons, it follows on from the digital-only release of last year. All music is written and composed by Icelandic multi-instrumentalist Olafur Arnalds and it's fit...view item »

Craig Leon
Bach To Moog

Oh no it isn't! Oh yes it moogingly well is! It’s Johann Sebastian Bach set to moog synthesizer. Produced by Craig Leon, with the exception of strings every sound on the album is driven out of the bizarre and wonderful moog, which celebrates it’s 50th anniversary in 2015 and also the 10th anniversary...view item »

Gareth S. Brown
Iron Henry

Where do I start with this New Year gift from the gods? Having known Gareth S. Brown for years as a mesmerisingly confrontational DJ, occasional member of Leeds legends Hood & all round lovely guy, us lot at the towers have felt most priveliged to be exposed to his debut album proper, "Iron Henry" for the last few months. Misplaced Music suppl...view item »

Peter Broderick
These Walls Of Mine

Ah, Peter Broderick. Instead of actually getting on with a proper album that might elevate him to the stratospheric class of the neoclassical-tinged folk musician he continues his idiosyncratic path of releasing vaguely ‘concept&...view item »

Ryan Teague
Last Known Position

A single track from Ryan Teague’s last album is expanded and extended into an evolved form of the original on this EP release on Village Green. Minimalism as played by synthesisers. Furthermore, he has enlisted remixers to try their hand at the track: Plaid, Errors, and The Field...view item »

William Ryan Fritch
Leave Me Like You Found Me

Walking through the far reaches of modern classical music, William Ryan Fritch’s sometimes lures us further in with little bits of post-rock tension. Our ears twitch and rise as we recognize a growth behind the pretty melodies, something building. Leave Me Like You Found Me will only have 450 copies, all of which ...view item »

Peter Broderick
Float 2013

Minimalist composer Peter Broderick originally released 'Float', his debut record, in 2008. A showcase for his versatile talents and penchant for traditionalism, 'Float' depicted Broderick mixing together folk, neo-classical and pop disciplines as if it were the norm. The record is now getting a second release as 'Float 2013', a version tha...view item »

Lubomyr Melnyk
Evertina

Known for pioneering a playing style he has coined "continuous music" -- in which he plays notes on the piano faster than a grindcore drummer gets through blastbeats, with as much seamlessness as wind on an autumn day -- Lubomyr Melnyk's name has become synonymous with the outer edges of avant-garde music. His new EP, Everti...view item »

John Cale
The Academy In Peril

Ex-Velvets member and founded John Cale used 'The Academy In Peril' to think outside of the punk rock box and make music informed by classical and instrumental compositions. It answers a fundamental question of life: what would it be like if John Cale played with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra? 'The Academy In Peril' plays high and low at the ...view item »

Ryan Teague
Block Boundaries

Ryan Teague is one of those savvy neo-classical types who's able to deftly steer between acoustic and electronic approaches to composition, synthesising the two into emotive soundscapes that move between ambience and melody. 'Block Boundaries' has elements of other composers attached to it: it recalls Steve Reich's 'City Life' and Max Richter's ...view item »

Federico Albanese
The Houseboat and the Moon Reworked

The Houseboat and the Moon Reworked is a series of collaborations between Federico Albanese and various producers. These pieces combine elements of contemporary classical and film music with all sorts of electronics thrown into the mix. What is left is highly expansive and intense soundscapes, which float and drive to v...view item »

Balmorhea
Balmorhea

Post-rock/chamber pop group Balmorhea consits at its core of duo Rob Lowe and Michael Muller. This self-titled debut showed off a very young incarnation of a band interested in serene arrangements and plenty of supplementary orchestration, and while it was initially self-released by the band, their friends at Western Vinyl now offer it up as a f...view item »

Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler
Slant Of Light

Neo-classical meets electronic on 'Slant of Light', a collaboration between two artists in different experimental disciplines. Jeff Zeigler utilises synths and guitars, and is accompanied in the composing department by harpist and ambient musician Marry Lattimore. She serves as the melodic bedrock for Zeigler's heady, layered works....view item »

Christina Vantzou
No.1

Christina Vantzou has worked as a visual artist alongside Stars of the Lid and the Dead Texan (where she contributes as a musician also). but makes potent ambient through the orchestral process as well. No. 1 is her first solo record, a ...view item »

The Eye of Time
Acoustic

THE EYE OF TIME is the Solo-Project of French musician Marc Euvrie. Euvrie's musical development is deeply connected with the French DIY punk and hardcore scene, though he has been classically trained as well. He started to play piano being 9 years old, composed his first pieces with 15 and studied cello at the conservatoire after finishing scho...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 »

Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra
Live On Planet Earth

The Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra is one of Alien Transistor’s craziest and biggest acts, always going their own path, somehow defining a route between the 18 of them. Known for their work on label buddies the Notwist’s work, they also draw their own weight: Live On Planet Earth was recorded live and is m...view item »

The Alvaret Ensemble
Skeylja

A collaboration between Dutch Frysians and Icelanders, Skeylja is a soft, haunting collection of songs that all seem to ooze the greyness of the North Sea. With horns that stir memories of ships passing by in the distance, this album will leave you in weary nostalgia for the lonely lighthouse where you spent so many winters by yourself,...view item »

Kronos Quartet
A Thousand Thoughts

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of legendary string quartet Kronos Quartet, A Thousand Leaves is a wide-ranging compilation of works from their vast oeuvre of reinterpretations. Covering a vast geographical range these 15 pieces go a long way to showcasing their talents and eclectic tastes. A fantastic entry point...view item »

Carly Paradis
Hearts To Symphony

This album gets to the heart. It begins, middles and ends with sublime assurance: the sound is big, bold and meaningful........... i listen to it, late at night. Norman insists that i write at least 300 characters, but i have said enough. People talk too much about music. I encourage you to buy this album and to support the people involved in ma...view item »

Joan Cambon
Reshaping the Seasons for Kaori's Body

This is an interesting piece of music made for contemporary dance, each track of which represents a different part of a dancer's body (Kaori Ito), with titles like 'Plexus', 'Lung', 'Hair', 'Blood', 'Chest', 'Hand', 'Ears', etc. There are 11 pieces in total and they're constructed from samples of Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons', hence the title. ...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 »

John Matthias
Geisterfahrer

Ah, John Matthias the physicist. I’m familiar with Matthias as he’s collaborated with some pretty high profile artists over the years (Radiohead, Coldcut etc) but I wasn’t aware of his prolific solo work, probably due to me not being much of a folksy type. ‘Gei...view item »

Lo-Fang
Blue Film

I tried to review this record yesterday. I really wanted to like it, 4AD have put out a lot of things I really like, both in the past and more recently, but they seem to have dropped the ball a little here. Lo-Fang is the alias of Matthew Hemerlein and this album is full of sweeping, brooding, cinematic pop with falsetto vocals and violins and s...view item »

Piano Interrupted
The Unified Field

Denovali presents the second album from Piano Interrupted, the duo of Tom Hodge and Franz Kirmann. True enough, piano is the central instrument of The Unified Field (a baby grand piano, as it happen), but it is constantly rubbed up against electronic and string textures. Thoughtful work, available on both CD and coloure...view item »

Kronos Quartet & Bryce Dessner
Aheym

Dessner is an avant-garde classical composer, he is known mainly for being a rock guitarist and improviser. Little riffs of his guitar can with a new perspective evolve into such repeating and embellished phrases as "Little Blue Something" (my favourite track), which was influenced by Early Music and European folk tunes. Its abstraction and mant...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 »

Littlebow
Pi Magpie

Littlebow’s previous CD on Second Language, ‘The Edge Blown Aerophone’, impressed our Phil and Brian so much a couple of years ago that they bestowed our coveted album of the week trophy on it. This week Katie English (Isnaj Dui, The Owl Service) and Keiron Phela...view item »

Angele David-Guillou
Kourouma

Ooh, this is lovely, it’s quite soundtracky piano-led stuff from someone I’ve never heard of, Angele David-Guillou, and it’s making me think of Yann Tiersen and Ralfe Band’s scores to ‘Amelie’ and ‘Bunny & The Bull’ respectivel...view item »

Adrian Corker
Raise

I’ve had some very pretty music to review today, and this CD is no exception. It’s a lovely bit of restrained neoclassicism from Adrian Corker, who Phil is already aware of because of Corker/Conboy but I haven’t encountered yet because my time in audio retail has been much shorter than his. This is a very nice CD though...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 »

Directorsound
I Hunt Alone

Sufferers from aulophobia need to be aware that there is a lot of flute work in the opening tracks to this album. Likewise if you also have fear of accordions and carefully plucked acoustic guitars, I’d stand well clear. The album is a series of complex instrumental pieces which waver in and out of focus. ...view item »

Michael Price
A Stillness

This is a four track EP from composer Michael Price who from the sounds of this works within the parameters of a very ‘nice’ take on neoclassical composition. Utilising just a string quartet the record starts with a still drone before emerging into the type of wandering, warm chamb...view item »

Nils Frahm
Screws

Lately everyone’s favourite contemporary ivory-tinkler Nils Frahm has been in the wars, suffering a broken thumb earlier in the year (hence the ‘Screws’ of the title) which rather swiftly put the brakes on his upwards momentum. Fi...view item »

Snow Palms
Intervals

My Friday morning malaise is immediately broken by a quick glance at the press release and a realisation that this is the work of David Sheppard (Phelan/Sheppard/Ellis Island ...view item »

Luciano Berio / Mike Patton
Laborintus II

With each of Mike Patton's solo releases, I have no idea what to expect, and Laborintus II is no different. The description of Laborintus II sounds like a madlib: Experimental rock vocalist and pioneer Mike Patton has released an avant-garde poem from the 1960's about the work of Inferno author Dante Alighieri that tries to communicate the autho...view item »

Piano Magic
Life Has Not Finished With Me Yet

They say great things come to those who wait. Or in musical terms the more you battle on, the more rewarded you will be. Having pretty much cut any musical career I had short years ago in order to spend more time watching football and eating cakes, I really admire bands like Piano Magic ...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 »

Keith Kenniff
Branches

Keith Kenniff aside from having one of my favourite names in pop music (okay, it's not pop music) is also known as Helios and Goldmund...ie. he's a busy lad. Here's his first album proper under his name (bar a soundtrack called 'The Last Survivor' which featured tracks as him and Goldmund)...view item »

Ryan Teague
Field Drawings

Ryan Teague sounds like an interesting fella. A minimalist composer, producer and arranger based in Bristol, Teague's film and TV credits boast work for Coca-Cola, Subaru, Universal Music Group and the BBC!! Not frickin' bad going, sir. Nice to see he's also found the time to ...view item »

Tindersticks
Claire Denis Film Scores 1996-2009

It's a lovely thing we got here, the complete Claire Denis film scores by our fave mumblers. Except there's relatively little mumbling to be found throughout this collection. Another side to the 'Sticks is more evident, their love of cinema and the power of incidental music to heighten & enhance the impact of a scene. It's lovely to know cul...view item »

Olafur Arnalds
Another Happy Day OST

It's a well known fact that I like Olafur Arnalds. Perhaps as well known as that water is wet and without it we'd all be very thirsty. So, pretty well known then. I grabbed this all excitedly and here I am writing a review. This is the soundtrack to 'Another Happy Day' which features Dem...view item »

Matthew Bourne
Montauk Variations

Undoubtedly a superior tinkler of the ivories, I'm finding this album just a little sophisticated for my tastes. Bourne's up and down that keyboard, showing the flair and dexterity that would come from someone who won the 'innovation' gong at the BBC Jazz awards in 2002. It plays a jazzy ...view item »

Rachel's
Selenography

Firstly we have a new album by the magnificent Rachel's. It has 19 tracks on it and on first listen it sounds utterly compelling. For the uninitiated this is a neo classical collective from Kentucky who make some of the worlds most gorgeous music. It's all pianos and cellos, violas and violins that take your breat...view item »

Yann Tiersen
Skyline

Many (perhaps most) of Yann Tiersen's fans became familiar with him from his soundtrack to the film 'Amelie.' The score consisted of mostly pre existing compositions, and the result was unforgettable. I think it is the moment most of us fell in love with Yann. As much as I miss the early Yann sound, I like the fact that he changes as an artist a...view item »

Mike Patton
The Solitude Of Prime Numbers

I find continuity with this album and his broader portfolio of work. This is an evolutionary step overall coalescing his entire body of work with an emphasis on composition and arrangements than any vocals. Which are there but buried in the shadows of the various scores. This seems more mature, in as much as he seems less interested in pushing t...view item »

Lanterns On The Lake
Gracious Tide, Take Me Home

Christ, if you'd told me a few years ago that Lanterns on the Lake would not only get signed to Indie behemoths Bella Union and be touring the world and elsewhere I'd have literally eaten a horse. It's not that they are not a good band, they are expert at producing a sound, somewhere between Mazzy Star and ...view item »

Balmorhea
Constellations

Is Balmorhea a sudden, urgent shifting in the bowels when visiting the country home of our gracious Queen? Like, OMG does she have gold leaf bog roll or what? What if I use a full roll? Will I get billed? What if the bailiffs come round and kick my door in? Just because I've had a dump on Lizzie's throne!!! Worries aside for now as I investigate th...view item »

Tupolev
Towers of Sparks

Now for some Austrian free-post-classical-rock-jazz. Oh yeah baby. You know you want it. Right in yer ears, all the way. Easy does it! There! How do you feel? What? Your blinking brain hurts? Oh dear, I think I pushed it in too far. Now let's see, if I can just ease it out a tad.....there we go! How's that? Better you say? You like the violin? W...view item »

Phelan Sheppard
Harps Old Master

Here I have the second album by PHELAN SHEPPARD of State River Widening fame, entitled 'Harps Old Master', proudly released on the Leaf label. This is a very beautiful and hypnotic album which would make a lovely film montage to stroke the head of a loved one to. This is a great study of the relationship between the heav...view item »

Palm Springs
No Hurt Like A Broken Heart

Twinkling, pulsating melancholy from PALM SPRINGS who craftily veer between (the quiet side of) Early JAMC, Belle & Sebastian, Cranebuilders & Tindersticks to create a very sweet & majestic album. Lush orchestration over yearning vocals, songs that occasionally recall a folksy downtempo Field Mice to these...view item »

Ten
Lowlands

This 6 tracker is my first thing today and is quite welcome to my ears. A dusty low-down cello leads a melancholy waltzer of an opener with its slow thumping/chinking percussion bringing to mind a doomed jailbird having a final dance with a prison officer before the gallows have his damaged soul. A wistful chamber piece follows, strings & pi...view item »

Yann Tiersen
Dust Lane

Most well known for his score of Amelie, you often forget how famous Yann Tiersen really is. An almost household name but one that seems to happy to wander along the fringes of music being quietly influential. This is his first album on Mute and if you are expecting minimalist twinkling you've come to the wrong place. Its produced by Ken Th...view item »

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
White Lunar

Warren Ellis from Dirty Three and Nick Cave from Nick Cave have spent a bit of time together in recent years doing fantastic film scores and here we've got a double CD collection of them, presented in a handsome gatefold-style pack along with some selected odds and ends. I've seen a few of the films involved (which include John Hillcoat's The P...view item »

Sagittarius
Songs From The Ivory Tower

Westphalian composer Cornelius Waldner has recorded an exquisite album of German romantic music, featuring an array of talented contributors, with lyrics from classic German poets like Gottfried Benn and Stefan George and contemporary poet Timo Kölling. Some might compare this musically to Current 93's Soft Black Stars, or Penitent's Beauty of Pai...view item »

Virgin Passages
Distance

Rachel's
Music For Egon Schiele

An emotional, ethereal journey. Parts of which are refined and parts very rough. Beautiful music nonetheless and an interesting interpretation of an individual's life and works....view item »

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