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Grouper
The Man Who Died In His Boat

Well it's always nice when an artist you love casually unearths an entire album of unreleased material. Liz Harris is a favourite of many of us here, we love her somnolent ethereal ghost-folk and grainy drone-scapes to bits. As these tunes are from the 'Dragging a Dead Deer...' sessions they fall largely in t...view item »

Tim Hecker
Ravedeath 1972

There's certain music that I find near impossible to "review" at work - analysis & contemplation needs to be done in an environment where there are near to no distractions and somewhere where you can amp it up to your hearts content. Like what i'm doing now with Tim Hecker's new one, my enjoyment enhanced further avec cup o' tea in hand! I'v...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 »

Grouper
Grid Of Points

Grouper -- or ‘Ghostly’ Liz Harris, as I sometimes call her (although this sentence is the first time I’ve done that, in writing anyway) -- is back with another exceedingly beautiful record. On Grid Of Points, Portland Liz follows up one of my favourite albums of 2014, ‘Ruins’; a record that was born of a d...view item »

Tim Hecker
Radio Amor

A new opportunity to experience the earlier work of beloved dronester Tim Hecker with this reissue of his 2003 second album Radio Amor. This one is focused and powerful, wi...view item »

Tim Hecker
Haunt Me, Haunt Me Do It Again

This guy's well good as I'm sure you well know. This was his debut album, released almost a decade ago, and in the time since its release the number of people trying to straddle the boundary between ambience and noise has grown to fairly insane levels. Nonetheless, even amidst the currently hyperoversaturated market, there's always time for Timm...view item »

Tim Hecker
Mirages

'Mirages' is one of ambient musician and noise thrill-seeker Tim Hecker's earliest works, originally released in 2004. Back in the days of its initial release, Alien8 described the record as a "death metal ambient classic in waiting", which sums up the harsh, often dissonant soundscapes Hecker was interested in making in his early days. This rec...view item »

Stars Of The Lid
The Tired Sounds of

Repress of Stars of the Lid’s 2001 neo-classical drone album, The Tired Sounds of. The way this album ebbs and flows is unlike much you’ll hear from music. It has far more in common with waves beating against a shore. The glacial pace of its changes suggest a timelessness. It sounds massive, and I feel.. small. ...view item »

Helen
The Original Faces

As time trundles slowly onward, so does my uneasy relationship with Liz Harris’ final Grouper album ‘Ruins’. Though it first felt like a different kind of drone pop discombobulation, I’ve come to see the record as a profound collection of accidental ballads, the type that sound as if Harris i...view item »

Christina Vantzou
No. 4

Thank you, hell. Having booted us out of the soul-sucking eternity that was ‘No. 3’, Christina Vantzou returns with another startling record in her ambient classical series, offering a more focused meditation performed by herself and collaborators Angel Deradoorian, ...view item »

Stars Of The Lid
Gravitational Pull vs The Desire for an Aquatic Life

Before it was beautiful it was dark, like dusk, and there was fog. Stars of the Lid went on to make two gorgeous, sunshined drone classics in ‘Refinement’ and ‘Tired Sounds’ -- both so hopeful and lovely that they often got compared to the narrative driven music of post-rock -- but once there was disquiet. Their second re...view item »

Grouper
Ruins

Beginning with a solemn slow tattoo of muffled bass drum and field recordings called 'Made of Metal', Grouper's mooted final album under this piscine moniker is a stark and intimate affair. The majority of Liz Harris's followers are now aware that 'Ruins' is, largely, a piano-based album recorded three years...view item »

Dedekind Cut
Tahoe

Fred Welton Warmsley III aka Lee Bannon aka Dedekind Cut further refines his ambient (previously released on Hospital Productions and Hollow Ground) into more graceful, serene terrain and has found a suitable home with Kranky. The ghostly choral vocal wisps on opener ‘Equity’ are like wandering through an abandoned cathedral,...view item »

Belong
Common Era

Oh my god. I've been waiting years for this to come out. It's only 5 years since their breathtaking debut which is still being regularly played at home though it feels like an eternity. One thing you know for sure is that when a band makes an album that good and doesn't do another one for 5 years then it's gonna be good. In this day and age of f...view item »

Christina Vantzou
No. 2

As our resident drift-core/neo-classical/everythings-ok-electronica expert is in hospital with a malfunctioning gall stone, I have been passed this weeks slower releases to pore over. Forgive me though as I have the attention span of a gnat, I couldn’t even sit through the entire Bruno Mars performance on t...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 »

Loscil
Sketches From New Brighton

Right-o, over the past two or three years this man here has become a bit obsessed with Vancouver's Loscil. I really liked his last Kranky opus 'Endless Falls' but there's something s...view item »

Grouper
A I A

This is a 2 x CD re-issue of Liz Harris 2010 two part album subtitled 'Dream Loss' and 'Alien Observer'. Now Grouper is one of those artists who has a very distinctive sound. She basically writes solemn hymn like compositions and slathers them in so much dusty detrius that the melodies get los...view item »

Charalambides
Exile

Ace! A new Charalambides CD! Five years in the making this baby has been. Considering a human child takes 9 months to be born from conception you'd expect this to be good and on first listen I can confirm that is the case. The core duo of Tom & Chrstina Carter are aided and abetted by...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 »

Disappears
Pre Language

Three albums deep, and Disappears are establishing themselves as more than just that-band-with-that-guy-from-that-other-band, as they proficiently bash out precisely tailored and deceptively sophisticated minimal indie rock with enough attention to detail to keep you noticing new things o...view item »

Lotus Plaza
Spooky Action At A Distance

I once thought that all Deerhunter had fake names. I mean, Lockett Pundt is no more a real man's name than Lotus Plaza. Maybe that's his sister. No, once again i'm now gonna piss off loads of people and say quite brazenly that I prefer Mr. (none intended) Pundt's solo outings more than the overhyped and often yawnsome Beerhunter, the band ...view item »

Windy & Carl
Songs For The Broken Hearted

After much deliberation this week involving many dubious considerations & stifled laughter we banged Windy & Carl's new CD on to stall the tidal wave of giddy mania & shredded nerves that ensued whilst trying to decide on AOTW. And you know what happened next? The office was swathed in a calm zen-like atmosphere of blissed out melan...view item »

Stars Of The Lid
And Their Refinement Of The Decline

STARS OF THE LID are back after a long hiatus with a brand new 2CD (vinyl to follow). And Their Refinement Of The Decline sees them in total blistering form. Well as far as Stars of The Lid could ever blister..... it's just about the most breathtaking ambient moving music you'll hear this side of the River Wharf. It's well floaty.... it's l...view item »

Justin Walter
Unseen Forces

He plays the wind synth. What in the hell is a wind synth, you ask? Well, as far as I know, it’s an instrument beloved by Sun Ra’s masterful friend Marshal Allen. Its name suggests something once futurist now coated with dust, a sci-fi antique of the music world. Since its original use in the ‘70s, ...view item »

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 »

Brian McBride
The Effective Disconnect (Music Composed for Vanishing of the Bees)

The latest installment of McBride's surprising move from prolific Fulham goal poacher to ambient pioneer extra-ordinaire is this stunning soundtrack to the documentary "Vanishing of the Bees". I joke of course, this Brian McBride has long been known as one half of consistently appealing minimalist beauty-drone merchants Stars of the Lid. There r...view item »

Steve Hauschildt
Where All Is Fled

Remember Pokemon Emerald? That was a good game. You play as Steve Hauschildt and your rival is called Mark McGuire; Professor Oak is also there, struggling to listen to drone. Since the dissolution of that band/video game, McGuire’s been making lofty beat music like a more reserved M...view item »

Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada EP

Godspeed's most succinct document, Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada consists of two compositions -- one named "Moya", dedicated to one of the band's founding members, which builds around intricate orchestration towards a simple, cathartic climax (hey dudes, it sounds simple, but it's post-rock). "Bl...view item »

MJ Guider
Precious Systems

MJ Guider is Melissa Guion’s hazy, pastoral electronica project. ‘Precious Systems’, she states, is “inspired and influenced by the landscape in and near New Orleans, particularly the juxtaposition of the natural with industrial and commercial constructs as they reflect life here.” So naturally, opening track &lsquo...view item »

Earthen Sea
An Act Of Love

Big, sweeping, ebbing and flowing waves of sound emanating from the machines of Earthen Sea; my current treat and offering from the nice people at Kranky. Jacob Long’s alias and muse describes itself as ‘dub techno’ -- and indeed, things become more dubby and techy as the record progresses. Fro...view item »

Anjou
Anjou

Here we have a much anticipated project from former Labradford boys Mark Nelson and Robert Donne who are also joined by Steven Hess who worked with them for Pan American. Anjou is a completely new creation though with an emphasis on more minimal compositions mixing ambient drone and electr...view item »

Jonas Reinhardt
Jonas Reinhardt

Gosh this Jonas Reinhardt self titled CD on Kranky sounds right up my street with its delicious analogue synthesizers recalling prime 70's electronic music. The drum machines sounds are fantastic. The production has a huge amount of warmth and the vintage sounds simply put are celestial. The synths are literally weeping at me through the airwaves. ...view item »

Boduf Songs
This Alone Above All Else In Spite Of Everything

This Boduf Songs LP is well whispery. Don't recall ever hearing Boduf Songs but from the minute the needle hits the wax i feel compelled to take the whole Boduf Song vibe very seriously. Musically, we are talking super minimalism. Tracks are recorded with a singular microphone and are primarily made up of one instrument and a vocal that generall...view item »

Demen
Nektyr

Fresh from Stockholm, it’s time for Demen to shine with loveable indie pranksters Kranky records. Nektyr is the debut album from Irma Orm, who hails from a city rated high on both the ‘quality of life’ and ‘clean air’ scale. So she’s made an album of depths-plumbing, spooky...view item »

Loscil
First Narrows

I tell you what, I like that Strategy CD on Kranky. Great stuff. Here's a new one from Loscil also on Kranky who I think has something to do with Strategy. Anyway its very similar. Lovely blissed out ambient dub in your Pole, Fax, Labradford vein. Very nice indeedly-doodley....view item »

Anjou
Epithymia

OK, so all I knew beforehand about this release -- on the ever-reliable Kranky label -- was that Anjou are two of ambient post-rockers Labradford. For their second LP, Robert Donne and Mark Nelson have teamed up once again to deliver an album full of synthetic electronic sounds and organic swells. The rec...view item »

High Plains
Cinderland

The office ambience is pretty chilled at the moment (following the drumming-and-mallet fest of a famous YouTube Japanese-ambient-classic vinyl reissue assaulting the workers’ ears early this morning).  I thought I’d grab this window of opportunity to review something altogether more soothingly stringed and brooding. It’s t...view item »

Steve Hauschildt
Strands

In an attempt to match the popularity of his last record on Kranky Where All Is Fled, former Emeralds synthman Steve Hauschildt looks at ropes. That’s right, the inspiration for this latest one Strands is some rope. It’s easy to see the comparison with a bit of the ol’ imagination, the different electronic seq...view item »

Steve Hauschildt
Sequitur

This is the second solo album for Kranky from Emeralds' Steve Hauschildt following on from the excellent 'Tragedy & Geometry'. From opener 'Interconnected' it's clear we're in for another bliss out into the sublime with lush, warm and highl...view item »

Benoit Pioulard
Sonnet

The American not actually called Benoit Pioulard can’t escape the drone. Getting lost in a strong mood seems to be his ultimate liquor, with some extreme potency present in our much-plugged most recent podcast. The fading tones of ...view item »

Bowery Electric
Beat

Let's face it, we're inundated with re-issues. 'Lost Classic' albums that have been unearthed to be given a new lease of life many years after the release date. Some good, some bad, some purely as a quick cash grabber but here we have an absolutely essential re-issue. On this album the New York based duo superbly matched trip-hop influenced beat...view item »

Christina Vantzou
No. 3

Muffled quietists Kranky have been having a banner year, delivering Steve Hauschildt’s new kosmische reality to our doorsteps, offering us fan fiction pitches like “what if Grouper made shoegaze?” and gracefully letting ...view item »

Loscil
Monument Builders

Aah, lovely glacially chilly electronica for the onset of freezing bloody Winter. The office feels very much like the open warehouse it (sort of) is, and here is my appropriate soundtrack for the next half-hour or so. Scott Morgan -- Loscil -- how fucking prolific is he? Well, very I’d say. A Quickly scanning his Discogs reveals Morgan has...view item »

Felix
You Are The One I Pick

Felix was a purveyor of smooth euphoric chart house numbers in the 90's such as the awesome 'Don't You Want Me', which was almost as memorable & catchy as the Human League number one smash of the same title. Felix in the 00's is also a Notts based M/F duo specialising in sparse, fragile, & wistful chamber pop that flutters, swoops & mea...view item »

Benoît Pioulard
The Benoît Pioulard Listening Matter

Perfect for the onset of Autumn is the latest missive from Portland based multi-genre explorer Beniout Pioulard (aka Tom Meluch) . I imagine where he lives the the Pacific North West the leaves are currently all manner of colours and he’s perhaps made the perfect album for trudging through them.  This is ...view item »

Forma
Physicalist

I’ve eaten a lot of vegetarian scotch eggs today and I’m ready to do it: I’m ready to make one of Phil’s coveted Music Is A Lot Like Food analogies. Forma, they’re a lovely proposition of ambient, but with a kosmische coating that invites melody, rhythm and a general spinning of the musical axis. The drones, and the...view item »

Godspeed You! Black Emperor
F♯ A♯ ∞

Leftfield even to the post-rockers of its heyday, and arguably the crowning jewel in Constellation's long canon of experimental rock music, 'F A Infinity' still surprises me. Godspeed You! Black Emperor became something else after this record: more structured, and sensitive to the symbiosis of their rock and ambient actions. On their debut ...view item »

Loscil
Plume

*This is a re-issue opf the CD only 2006 album. Read Brian's review from back those heady days when we were allowed to smoke in the office* Loscil next then. I like the sleeve. A red & white striped chimney spurting smoke that looks like it's fallen of the top of ...view item »

Christopher Bissonnette
Pitch, Paper & Foil

The people from the fine art world that decide to make music are actually really good at ambient-ish stuff. Christopher Bissonette did exactly that, transitioning from weird assemblages of shape toward sound that’s as hard to make out but totally full of colour and detail. Oh and did I say modular synth? I feel like it’s obligatory t...view item »

Jonas Reinhardt
Powers of Audition

Kranky is another label with barely a mis-step to its name. Here is the second album by Jonas Reinhardt which has a synthetic, synthesized feel recalling those late 70's/early 80's behemoths of synth rock Jean Michel Jarre and Vangelis. The likes of Trans Am have veered into this territory on occasion in later years but I'm really not sure about it...view item »

Ken Camden
Dream Memory

Dream Memory is a full musical portrait of someone thoughtfully gazing up into the night sky. Massive sweeps of synth set the controls for the heart of the sun, joined by hovering voices, sparse guitar and more synth on the way. Maybe it’s a typical image, the synth as a ponderous space object, but try listening to a track called ...view item »

Valet
Nature

The opening track ‘Sunday’ on this unassuming looking album sounds so much like a track off Slowdive’s ‘Pygmalion’ that you can see why the people at Kranky snapped the Kit Kat when they heard it. It features washes of Cocteau’s-like guitar, ethereal vocals soaring away before op...view item »

Disappears
Irreal

Immune to the ceaseless, stubborn world they’ve created and hungry for your fear, Disappears have constructed a new monument called ‘Irreal’. It’s a vampiric post-punk album that buries its listener in riffs so repetitive they feel like drones, and it also features an unwavering baritone that gets close to my idea of an O...view item »

Loscil
Sea Island

I'd say out of all the modern ambient practitioners that Loscil is one of the most idiosyncratic, so much so that he pulls a lot of similar tricks throughout his discography which either means you only need one of his albums or you've got to have them all in greedily in your mitts. Scott Morgan is his name and welcome to his pulsating amorphous ...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 »

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 »

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 »

Tara Jane O' Neil
Where Shine New Lights

I'm in the home stretch of this week's reviewing marathon but time is running very short so you'll have to excuse my hurried review of this new Tara Jane O'Neil album, a record which was clearly made to be savoured by people who have enough time to sit back, turn off their phone, pour their favourite drink and properly enjoy it. Tara Jane has be...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 »

Disappears
Era

Disappears are back with, what is it now, album number four? They don’t have Steve Shelley among their ranks any more nowadays but they’re still peddling that same brand of psychedelic indie rock with lots of repetition and touches of goth and no-wave and krautrock. It’s a very cool combination ...view item »

Ken Camden
Space Mirror

Kranky Records used to be one of my favourite record labels back when they had artists like Bowery Electric and Labradford on their roster. These days I’m a little out of touch with the Chicago label so this seems like a nice way to get me 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 »

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 »

Oren Ambarchi & Robin Fox
Connected

Oren Ambarchi has released countless records this year, both solo and collaborative works. He appears to be unstoppable at the moment and has unleashed some real gems. Fellow upsidedown land cohort Robin Fox is also a great artist in his own right. A master of the...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 »

Dreamscape
La-Di-Da Recordings

Is this the point where surprise re-issues of long forgotten bands passes into complete and utter insanity? Dreamscape barely merited a blip even on the demo/tape scene of 1989 and their biggest claim to fame, apart from a review in the Bath Star newspaper, was that two of the band formed Secret Shine, one of the stalwarts of the second wave of ...view item »

Felix
Oh Holy Molar

An odd signing for Kranky in that they are a) a trio from England and b) tend towards a particularly flavoursome chamber pop rather than the ambience that dominates the label. Built around the piano and cello of main person Lucinda Chua (also a Stars ...view item »

Low
Things We Lost In The Fire

The new Low LP needs that new word to describe it once again. Absolutely marveltastic it is. Glory be the new Low LP for it has to come to save us from mediocrity and lameness. Lush beautiful songs that make you want to cry and jump for joy at the same time. Confusing emotions I...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 »

Tim Hecker
Harmony In Ultraviolet

Tim Hecker now. On Kranky, finest purveyors of sonic avant-rock & deep, spectral space folk (not to mention incredibly absorbing mood music) Ant likes this so much he's floating around the office on an invisible carpet. I'm afraid to say this lovely sounding CD, 'Harmony in Ultraviolet' would probably be AOTW if it weren't the...view item »

Benoit Pioulard
Lasted

There's barely a bad record out this week. How are you going to pay for it all? Credit Card is the answer. Buy now - worry later. You'll want this one too, its chirruping, pointy acoustic guitar meanderings, clangy percussion, homespun but fantastic melodies - this aint half as ambient as I was expecting from its sleeve and the op...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 »

Implodes
Black Earth

Surprising one this. I've heard of guitarist Ken Camden because I loved that kosmische-styled slab of vinyl that came in last year but now his complete Chicago-based brotherhood/collective have erm...Imploded onto the scene with this rather superb long player. I especially love the shifting, hazy, spangled s-s-s-sound of this record because it g...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 »

Labradford
Prazision LP

Labradford's debut 1994 release 'Prazision' is probably their least satisfying record, but is still very much worth checking out if you are serious about your post-rock. Opener 'Listening in Depth' is pretty dark with its deep drone and scratchy rhythm. It recalls the stunning Virgin compilation Ambient 4: Isolationism, which was so groundbreaki...view item »

Pan American
White Bird Release

I remember a while back I had my eye on some Pan American album or other but I never got around to a purchase and I can't say it's something I've ever cried myself to sleep over. Perhaps it's because I've always found them to be almost the definitive solid Kranky band, all their releases are good but I don't think any of them are spectacular. White...view item »

Low
Secret Name

Low are masters of restraint. Up until and including their fourth album “Secret Name” they had seemingly worked with the right producers. Their first two albums were produced by Kramer who had squeezed the best out of Galaxie 500, and you can hear their influence in Low’s early work. “The...view item »

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