Saturday, January 28, 2012

Listening list

I've been meaning to do this for a while, here is a round up of some of what I have been listening to and enjoying over the last month or two:

A.P reworks Muslimgauze: The sheer size of Muslimgauze's discography makes even the thought of trying to tackle his ouvre too challenging. This EP, however, is an excellent point of entry, with A.P putting his signature on 4 tracks from the Muslimgauze library. The combination works perfectly, A.P adds a lovely ambience and tempo to it all.

Andy Stott - "Passed Me By / We Stay Together": The name of the first of these perfectly describes what happened with me, these albums really did pass me by last year. I am not sure what it is was, but all the praise for these actually turned me off checking them. It was only after a very trusted friend implored me to listen, combined with the appearance on this on a wide range of different EoY lists, that I ordered the double CD version. I am glad I got over my prejudices because these are really special. The praise is deserved. Stott is carving out his own universe, and it is one that is thoroughly captivating. 

Pulse Emitter - "Cosmic Images" and "Spiritual Vistas": Pulse Emitter has a sound that really appeals to my tastes. The deep, meditative droning atmospheres are perfect for the sore, tired brain. This stuff is fantastic late at night, or the day after going to a club. This is music to soak up. Gorgeous stuff. Very excited about his forthcoming LP on Aguirre.

1958-2009 and Earn - "A Following Shadow": Beautiful shimmering ambiance from Matthew Sullivan. The A1 on the 1958-2009 LP is particularly sublime. My wife also picked up a big batch of tapes from his label, Ekhein, and I have been enjoying making our way through them. Some excellent stuff. So far the stand out has probably been Greg Davis' "Schumann Resonances".

Prurient - "Bermuda Drain": Perhaps my most listened to release over the last 2 months. As I said before, the screaming in it definitely is a bit of a barrier, but if you can work through it, you will be rewarded. This album really reminds me from a scene in "Punch Drunk Love" where Adam Sandler says, "your face is so beautiful I just wanna smash it, just smash it with a sledgehammer and squeeze're so pretty." Also"Time's Arrow" is a very good companion piece to the album, so I would suggest checking that too.

HTRK - "Work (Work, Work)": This has been getting a lot of love recently, seems like a lot of people (myself included) discovered it from some EoY lists. What I really like about this album is how complete it is. It fits together so well, there are no weak tracks, it is just the right length. It feels like something where the artists achieved their vision.

Craig Leon - "Nommos": Discovered this through Raime's EoY list. Looks like it is a sneaky repress and there are not many copies floating about. If you can, grab one, it is totally awesome. It is from 1981 and it very much feels of that time, but in the best possible way. There is a beautiful simplicity to the machines, the tracks have quite an open, expansive feel to them.

Sapphire Slows - "Melt" and "True Breath": Sapphire was a guest at our last chill out party, and I talked about her then, so not much to add here. I really love both of these EPs. Very impressive stuff considering she has only been making music for about a year. Her tracks are well balanced, they definitely have a pop element, but it is not overdone. Sweet, warm music.

Donnacha Costello – "12 Days": This is the special digital release project that Donnacha did over the Christmas / New Year period. 1 ambient track per day for 12 days. Of these I'd say there are 3 gems, which show Donnacha at his absolute best. These 3 tracks - "From Nowhere", "Losing Battle" and "Just Because" - I have been playing on a very regular basis. A great little project and excellent value (it was only 10 euro or something ridiculous).

Tim Hecker - "Dropped Pianos": I held off buying this for a while simply because I am not a big fan of piano based music. I am glad I got over that, though, as this is excellent. It has that powerful, arresting feel common to Hecker's work but is not as intense as "Ravedeath".

Pete Swanson - "Man With Potential": Bit abrasive at times, but still very listenable. It gets better as it develops too, the first track is the weakest, and the last one is my favourite. This strikes me as an excellent example of the kind of music Dave was talking about in his "post-techno' piece.

Pete Swanson & Rene Hell – "Waiting For The Ladies": The Swanson track is in a similar vein to the "Man With Potential" release, while the synths of Rene Hell are much warmer and more inviting. I had a really beautiful moment the other night walking through the snow listening to the tracks from Hell. Strong release.

"Orgelvärk: en stadig samling svensk synthmusik": The subtitle for this recent compilation on Minimal Wave translate as "a solid collection of Swedish synth music" but this is a big understatement. A really fantastic release. I want to buy a lot more from Minimal Wave than I end up doing because it feels like most of the releases have some killer tracks, but then quite a few that have not aged so well. There certainly isn't that problem here, lots of great '80s synth music from the Swedes to enjoy.

Joachim Nordwall – "Ignition": Dark, droning, pulsating ambient music. The digital version is just one track that goes for about 50 minutes, which works well, allowing Nordwall builds a captivating and immersive atmosphere. You can get the whole release in wav format for just £1.66 from Junodownload. This is ridiculously good value. Trust me, buy it.

Last of all are two collaborative debut albums from friends of ours: Voices from the Lake (Donato Dozzy and Neel) and Sendai (Peter Van Hoesen and Yves De Mey). Neither album are that surprising, each do roughly what you'd expect them to do: VFTL is diving ambient techno, while Sendai fuses their shared interest in sound design with some latent techno sensibilities. I am completely biased but I really like both of these releases and I think each have managed to successfully execute their respective visions. Looking forward to getting physical copies of both of these. From memory I think both albums are out in the next month or so.

Ok, that's it. All of these releases are recommended. Let us know if you have any tips on things to check.


  1. i think you're underrating voices from the lake!

  2. Good call on the Craig Leon reissue. I picked up a copy at Rockit Scientist in NYC a couple of weeks back. However, it appears to be a bootleg one with cheap artwork and scratched out runout etchings. Anyway.. great record tho!

  3. Thanks for the recommendations Chris, looking forward to checking them out. Most of what i've been listening to can be found in many of the best of 2011 lists. If I made a list it would've included these two which I think a lot of people passed over:

    Thanet: Receiving Calls -
    Has a sort of 90s ambient vibe.

    Diamond Catalog: Magnified Pallette -
    Left field abstract percussion, rather unusual sound.

    I was also cautious about Passed Me By, but it won me over. Havn't heard We Stay Together yet.

  4. Thanks for the recommendations. I gave Prurient another shot after it didn't quite work for me after the first listen but this time it clicked. Killer release. Also orderd Dropped Pianos since Ravedeath is basically my personal album of 2011. Despite all the hype around it: Check out Oneohtrix Point Never's Replica if you haven't. It's pretty damn good.

  5. Passed me by, eh, passed me by too, probably for similar reasons to yourself. A real shame as I'm totally besotted with both releases at the moment. I'm done with waiting for Voices from the Lake, cannot wait to get my hands on it!

  6. By the way, thanks for the previous pointer towards the Kuedo album, it actually clicked for me pretty instantly and I've got it on constant rotation at the moment.

  7. Nice recommendation post, I look forward to checking some of that stuff out. I'm going to see Tim Hecker live next week because of last year's mnmlssg praise of his album(s). I do wish you would have posted about the Donnacha Costello project sooner though! It sort of sucks to find out about it now that it is too late. His track 'Rebuild' on the Composure compilation is one of my favourite tracks from last year. So I want to ask, (although the answer will probably pain me a bit to read), is the 12 Days project anything like 'Rebuild'?

  8. @ stephen: if it seems like i am underrating the VFTL album i am just a bit wary about how to treat it here. i wrote the promo blurb for the release and i am also doing the japanese liner notes. so basically i am the VTFL promo whore. no need to do it here too!

    @ pato: planning on getting to OPN eventually but i really have not connected with much of his music to date. there are other people from that scene i find far more interesting. but i will give his new album a shot at some point.

    @ ALP: unfortunately for me a couple of tracks on '12 days' are getting near the quality of his 'rebuild' track. donnacha advertised the project through twitter and i think it was on the RA feed too. shame you missed it!

  9. This is my listening list aka my last Boomkat order:
    ATOM TM, Cold Memories, 2CD
    KANE IKIN, Contrail, 7"
    RAIME, Hennail (Second Edition), 12"


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