Music Reviews

Celer: Another Blue Day

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 25 2017
Artist: Celer
Title: Another Blue Day
Format: CD + Download
Label: Glistening Examples
“Another Blue Day” is a beautiful expression of simple relaxation. A succinct arrangement of gentle, faintly reed-organ-like synthetic tones wash and ebb back and forth with supreme patience, while… that’s it. This release neither provides nor needs anything else.

The straightforward, deeply soporific tone continues for 42 minutes, easily enough to lull all but the most agitated of minds into a relaxed state- or full-on sleep. Sometimes it’s so quiet you begin to suspect you’ve paused it by accident.

It’s split into two parts (“Another Blue Day”, “And Another”) and the second part has an extremely subtle difference in tone that’s barely noticeable- somehow it’s marginally more fragile, with quicker changes in tone a small step in the direction of conventional melody. But save for an interlude of silence that separates the two, you would be hard pushed to tell that the second part has started.

The epic simplicity of “Another Blue Day” if you’re looking for a musical expression of lying in the grass and staring at length up at a cloudless sky. And sometimes that’s all you need.

TenHornedBeast: Death Has No Companion

 Posted by Andrea Piran (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 24 2017
Artist: TenHornedBeast
Title: Death Has No Companion
Format: CD
Label: Cold Spring (@)
Rated: *****
Even if it's not a really known name, the project of Christopher Walton has already a considerable discography and it's based upon a form of dark ambient based on drones with some noises to color the plain audio field. This new release collects three long track where it's the quality of the writing the real center of this release rather than experimentation.
The beginning of this release is set by "The Wanderer" a long track based on drones which ebb and flow creating a sense of something changing but, at a closer listening, there's a work of perspective as when one drone is on the foreground, the other act as an accompaniment and this procedure is enacted as a loop with an hypnotic effect. The silence in which "The Lamentation Of Their Women" is immersed when the initial loop emerges creates a sense of tension that is further enhanced by the noisy samples, that are drones of short duration, used in loop until in the final part of the track the elements are juxtaposed creating a sort of false catharsis. "In Each Of Us A Secret Sorrow" closes this release mixing the structure of the first two tracks creating a track that in his stillness has a sort of narrative that capture the listener's attention.
Whilst it's a release deeply rooted in a known form, there's a work upon it that creates something that escape boredom in every way. A remarkable release.

Ashbed: The Eyes of the City are Mine

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 23 2017
Artist: Ashbed (@)
Title: The Eyes of the City are Mine
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
'The Eyes of the City are Mine' is the 5th release from Nova Scotia's Ashbed, the dub/industrial/dark ambient project of David Tatlock. A few years back I reviewed Ashbed's previous album, 'Machines of Slavery' fairly positively. I can honestly say that not much has changed in Ashbed's style; it still sounds Scorn-like with dark ambient electronics and beats. As opposed to 'MOS' which had 23 tracks, this one only has 16 which is fine with me. The first four tracks are completely instrumental and off to a good start with industrial dub grooves, subwoofer shaking sub-bass and strange, mysterious electronic atmospheres. Things change up for "speak no truths," the first track with vocals and and melodic arranged synth accompaniment. Vocals are delivered in hoarse, whispery speak-singing style. This is really nice and adds some welcome diversity. After that Ashbed heads deep into subterranean dark ambient on the title track. No beats there. On the following tracks, a funny thing happens, at least by my perception. The beats seem to become less interesting and the atmospheres more-so. On track 8, "instability" there are spoken word samples of a woman (possibly women?) indicative of something weird happening, and likely not something good. The deeper you go into 'The Eyes of the City are Mine' the more nightmarish the music becomes. You also have to understand that the pacing is quite downtempo. Sometimes the drums get quite sparse as on "i wouldn't do that' where the industrial atmosphere is quite dominant. There is a sea-change on the next to the last track, "need," where the pace picks up a bit and it starts to sound like a song with some melodic content and kind of straight ahead drumming. No vocals though. Last track "entering" is kind of song-like as well with some melody. It's an intriguing album that the one-sheet says "best listened to at 4:20." You can either take that as AM, or with a nice strain of herb. Whichever, it's bound to put some bizarre thoughts in your head.

Hanetration: Gavia EP

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 18 2017
Artist: Hanetration
Title: Gavia EP
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
The “Gavia EP” is a mixed bag collection of four solemn, short, downtempo bits of experimental electronica that stick together slow, organic rhythm patterns with sparse synthetic organ notes, drones, grumbles, and found sounds. Each track has its own character which is either diverse or inconsistent depending on what you’re looking for.

First track “Ponta” is quite lightweight and has a lot of wobble and warp on it that makes it feel strangely drunk. It’s followed by “Cygni”, a much darker piece with a deep and heavily distorted drone and a steady, slightly limp kick drum that feels like a particularly unpleasant hangover.

“Zorile” lightens the tone again, removing the drone and adding ethnically flavoured woodwind of some kind (I’m afraid I don’t recognise the instrument, I probably should) into something that feels almost like journeyman folk. Final track “Kofuor” switches to a tense, rapidly wobbling drone over an unsettling ambience with some alienating spoken word elements.

Currently available as a free download, without even the option of paying for it and therefore guilt-free as you don’t even have to enter “$0”, there’s no reason not to check this EP out. It feels a little like a sampler rather than a coherent EP, but as a sampler it’s very strong.

Dino Spiluttini: To Be A Beast

 Posted by Levi Jacob Bailey (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jul 13 2017
Artist: Dino Spiluttini (@)
Title: To Be A Beast
Format: LP
Label: Cut Surface (@)
Thumbs up for these to-the-point presentations of hazy, damaged synth recordings. Heavy compression, tape hiss, and airy pads that remind me of cues from Drive or a barely-functioning This Mortal Coil cassette. The feature I appreciate the most is the tasteful restraint shown in the brief run-times. Many artists tackling this sort of material usually find it necessary to build on an idea for an irritatingly long time, only to repeat the core concept into obsolescence, until I'm relieved to hear it end. Spiluttini knows that attention-spans have been thoroughly dismantled in our culture, and takes the listener promptly in and out of each environment. Even with noticeable gaps between these tracks, there remains a sense of smooth transition that tempers the brevity, with an admirable sense of flow and continuity. Not interested in lulling the listener into a nap or disinterest, though, Spiluttini offers startling bits on the second side, trading in the dreamy flow for moments of harsh noise; white washes, screeching highs, and crunchy disintegration, even deciding to end the release with a squeal instead of a breath. Over-compression and tape damaged loops like these have been thoroughly explored on releases from labels like Tri Angle, but when it's handled this well, it can feel like new ground again.. These are expertly delivered sonic landscapes by an artist who has obviously done his homework in the genre while giving important consideration to our modern, overexposed ears. The press sheets included with this release dared to namedrop Basinski as a comparison, but Spiluttini does not disappoint. I would only note that I have, on occasion, found Basinski to be a bit long-winded for my tastes, whereas "To Be A Beast" was an effortless, rewarding experience. I look forward to exploring more of Spiluttini's discography.

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