Ambient Electro-Acoustic Jazz Review

Anagrams – Blue Voices

The musical journey of Anagrams, a collaboration between Shy Layers’ JD Walsh and Atlanta multi-instrumentalist Jeff Crompton, unfolds in their debut album, “Blue Voices.” Co-founded by Philip Sherburne and Albert Salinas of Balmat, Anagrams emerged from a shared appreciation for Shy Layers’ distinctive Balearic pop, leading to the creation of an album that defies easy categorization.

“Blue Voices” may initially appear to be a departure from the electronic landscape associated with Balmat, but it’s a sonic exploration that beckons listeners into a realm that hovers between ambient and non-ambient, depending on the listener’s frame of mind. Walsh and Crompton, brought together in 2016 when Walsh relocated to Atlanta, approach their collaborative music with a shared appreciation for ambiguity. Crompton, a seasoned jazz player, humorously remarks, “I like it because it’s not jazz,” while Walsh appreciates it precisely for its jazz-like qualities.

Crompton, deeply rooted in Georgia’s improvised and experimental music scenes, contributes his skills on alto and tenor saxophone, clarinet, electric piano, and organ. On the other hand, Walsh, known for his work as Shy Layers, embraces his experimental side, wielding acoustic and electric guitars, electric lap steel, bass, Moog Matriarch, modular synth, and programmed drums. Together, they weave a tapestry of richly textured layers and abstract tonal assemblages.

Throughout the 11 tracks of “Blue Voices,” subtle echoes of diverse influences emerge: the atmospheric twang reminiscent of Daniel Lanois’ pedal steel, the mercurial modal runs characteristic of Ethio-jazz, the late-summer calm reminiscent of Fuubutsushi, and the versatility akin to the explorations of musicians like Patrick Shiroishi and Sam Gendel. However, what truly defines “Blue Voices” is the adventurous spirit of two musical minds finding a common language in an uncharted shade of blue.

The album captures the essence of a collaborative journey, as Walsh and Crompton allow their restless musical imaginations to shape the sound spontaneously. “Blue Voices” becomes a testament to the beauty found in the process of creation, where two voices meld into an exploration of an unexplored musical territory, resulting in an album that is as enigmatic as it is compelling.

Ambient Beats Review Synth

Sea of Suns – Sea of Suns

Sea of Suns EP is reminiscent of Boards of Canada’s distinctive style, effortlessly transporting listeners to a dreamlike realm where nostalgia and futurism coalesce. The artist (of the same name) weaves together intricate electronic textures, ethereal melodies, and sampled drum loops, creating a sonic landscape that feels simultaneously familiar and otherworldly.

Our favourites being the second half of the EP, where the sample loops give way to bring focus on the melodic elements.

Out now via their Bandcamp

Drone Review

Kloob & Onasander – Goês

This new release from the consistent Dutch drone connoisseurs Winter Light, brings a long player of dark sonic landscapes which envelopes the listener in a haunting and immersive sonic experience. Eerie, ambient tones create a sense of foreboding and mystery, as if navigating through the shadows of an unknown realm.

Out now via their Bandcamp

Ambient Drone Review

Take Me There – One Day Soon (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

This December 1st, the official soundtrack for the post-apocalyptic short film “One Day Soon” by Elias Jönsson (aka Take Me There) will be released via Bandcamp.
The delicate interplay of soothing melodies and gentle pulses transports to a serene realm, evoking a sense of calm and introspection.

Avant Garde Experimental Field Recording Musique Concrète Review

T. Jervell & ChromaDots – Faksfjord / Fragsfjord

Gorgeous hand-printed cassette sleeves, which accompany the raw, crunchy dadaism of T.Jervell and ChromaDots with their magical wooden machines. Limited tapes available now at SteepGloss Bandcamp

Sounds from an old wooden house situated in the rural North Norwegian countryside, as heard by a Norwegian and an Irelander.

Field recordings, found sounds, and Tetrax recorded on a Sony M-670 microcassette recorder, in Faksfjord summer 2022.

On Faksfjord the source material is cut up and rearranged utilizing an 8-bit hardware sampler, in Gravdal, Lofoten.

A collection of hiss and crackles, textures, and sound.

Fragsfjord involves breaking down the sounds found on the Faksfjord tapes to their smallest form and organising these sonic fragments using sections of the original recordings as a source of triggers, while recapturing them within a new space, in Munich.

Ambient Electro-Acoustic Review

Night Gestalt – Staring Light

I recently stayed in a caravan on the rugged Norfolk coast and the promo of this album accompanied my trip. I ended up listening to it multiple times (on headphones) and was totally drawn into the prepared pianos and those crystal flurries that pierce through. Lovely stuff, an amazing mix + master.

Here is the blurb:

Night Gestalt wants to create simple, transparent music. Music that is as straightforward to experience as light. And as beautiful.

With his new album Staring Light he takes the idea even further. The music was recorded during the spring of 2022 with the aim to follow the light as the days in Sweden became longer and longer – investigating the different shades and gradients of the coming spring – and in the music. Now the ritual will be completed with the release of the music exactly one year later – mirroring the recording of the songs, and once again following the light.

The first single – False Azure – is released on the spring equinox (March 20) – and the album on the summer solstice (June 21) – those magical 24 hours consisting of one endless bright summer night.

The album is spacious and quiet, using a few selected synthesizers and a small piano.

“I sort of promised myself to never record an album with a piano again. But then I was intrigued to see how much I could change the process and still end up with the sound of a piano. And it was a lot! The piano is prepared with tape and small parts – think John Cage or Aphex Twin. And played with thumbs and fingers as much as with the keys. On top of that, it’s heavily processed with effects”, says Night Gestalt.

Night Gestalt started as a love affair for arpeggios, and Staring Light is staying true to the idea. Apart from one song, there is only one note at a time throughout the whole record.

“I love how arpeggios are so simple and yet consist of everything needed to make interesting music: rhythm, melody, harmony, and sound. And I love how you can hear every note. Nothing is hidden. The music is not trying to be anything it’s not, or trying to show off. It just exists, just like light.” 

Ambient Electro-Acoustic Experimental Review

Audio Obscura – The Xenakis Station

Interesting, washed-out radio fuzz trades places with intermittent synth, chimes and drum loops, giving a distinctly haunted vibe. Sometimes nudging towards BoC’s bleaker moments (ala Tommorow’s Harvest), The Xenakis Station keeps things tense, without going full darkside.
Not sure if there is any reference to composer Iannis Xenakis here, as the music is certainly not similar, other than in name.. Curious!

Either way, here is the accompanying release blurb:

The Xenakis Station. A long abandoned research station. A place always officially denied. The place now a fiction where shards of disputed truth remain.

The location, still not declassified. Remnants destroyed.

Last winter we got a phone call to say graffiti on an abandoned building on Redpoint Sound states” ‘Xenakis broadcasts were made here’ but official enquiries are still met with silence.

Release Date: 06/10/2023
Via: Woodford Halse

Ambient Drone Minimal Review Synth

Luke Sanger – Shared System Research Project

After a couple of years intensely researching, saving (and selling), in 2015 I finally ordered this instrument. The excitement was real and I was totally ready for a complete paradigm shift in making and performing music and the Shared System filled that role, inspiring many records in the process. However in that time, I haven’t made a full release completely focused on it.

All the tracks on this album were recorded in single takes using the Make Noise Shared System and an external spring reverb.
Composed in June – August 2023, the motive for recording this album was to focus and build on ideas that would only briefly surface during fleeting moments in a live performance or undocumented jam, giving priority and space to develop those themes.
Anyway, hopefully the music will tell it’s own story, but the gear and background info is there for anyone interested!

Ambient Experimental Review Synth

S.Costa – The Radiant Point

Lovely selection of 7 works centred around the Yamaha TG33, Buchla Easel Command and OP-1 for sequencing. There’s a positivity and familiarity in the harmonic content throughout these tunes, while still still sounding very much it’s own.
Some tracks feature Laurie Spiegel-esque Buchla arpeggiations floating in and out of the stereo field, balanced with some more shiny FM-centric pieces.

Ambient Beats Drone Experimental Minimal Review Synth

V.A – Partials III (Frequency Domain)

Frequency Domain 3/2/23

Frequency Domain making a welcome return to the fold in 2023 with a string of releases announced, starting with part 3 in their partials various artists series. Featuring familiar names to the labels as well as some new faces, the comp covers a range of styles, but keeping the F.D deepness we’ve come to love and expect.

“We said we’d never do another label comp (as it’s a lot of work), but we’re over the moon with how this one’s turned out. The third edition of our Partials series curates 18 new tracks over two sides of a C90 tape. There’s music from Frequency Domain artists Luke Sanger, Mücha, Jo Johnson, Apologist, Polypores, Datassette, Linnley, Plant43, Quiet Clapping and Matt Whitehead, plus label friends Loula Yorke, Fields We Found, Virusmoto, D1G and Golden Shields. The release also features a handful of collaborative projects between FD artists, appearing here as Trappist, Blue Lamps and Spiral Wrack. All proceeds from the compilation will support the work of UK NGO, the Refugee Council.”

Out Friday 3rd Feb via their bandcamp