Avant Garde Drone Experimental Minimal Review

MINING – Chimet

Crafted from weather data collected during a storm sequence off the south coast of the UK in October 2017, the album is a mesmerizing 74-minute journey through the elemental forces of nature. Craig Kirkpatrick-Whitby and PJ Davy’s sonification of the data, combined with Matthew Bourne’s intuitive piano and cello improvisations, results in a powerful, meditative, and immersive sonic experience. With each note, ‘Chimet’ encapsulates the ebb and flow of the storm, offering a captivating blend of tension and serenity that resonates on a primal level.

Released 8th March via Leaf Label

Ambient Drone Review

awakened souls – if you feel lost

Surprise package from James and Cynthia aka ‘awakened souls’.
5 tracks of carefully considered drones, created on 6 string bass, synth, guitar, vocals and synth.
Out now via bandcamp

Ambient Review Synth

Loula Yorke – Volta

Refining her setup and sound, Lou has been beavering away over the border in Suffolk on a more minimalist approach to her compositional process. Channeling early Kosmiche sensibilities, with a modern twist, Yorke conjures mesmerizing, arpeggio-driven realms that beckon listeners into the cyclical embrace of time itself.

Ambient Electro-Acoustic Review

Sedibus – SETI

Navigating the cosmic expanse, this ethereal odyssey unfolds within the embrace of Orb OG’s Alex Paterson and Andy Falconer. ‘SETI’ emanates both cold darkness and radiance, as if aboard a candlelit spacecraft meandering through the infinite cosmos, where the duo, in communion with acoustic instruments and nostalgic samples, transcend the boundaries between the familiar and uncharted realms.

The journey unfolds as a rootsy, folky, electronic, processed, minimalist, and composerly voyage, defying earthly categorizations. Dr. Paterson, reflecting on the album’s genesis, reveals the organic synergy with Falconer, describing their collaboration as an easy and intuitive exploration of musical ambiance.

Released: 23rd February 2024

Ltd edition blue LP / Ltd edition orange LP / CD / download / stream via Orbscure Recordings

Documentary Minimal

Tones Drones and Arpeggios – The Magic of Minimalism

Ambient Beats Documentary Dub Electro Synth

Modulations: Cinema For The Ear (1998)

Modulations is a feature-length documentary that captures a moment in history where humans and machines are fusing to create today’s most exciting sounds.

It traces the evolution of electronic music as one of the most profound artistic developments of the twentieth century. By cutting back and forth between avant-garde composers, Kraftwerk’s innovative synthesizer drones, Giorgio Moroder’s glacial Euro-disco, Afrika Bambaataa’s electro-funk, and Prodigy’s current worldwide superstarstardom, Modulations celebrates, replicates, and illuminates the nomadic drift of the post-human techno sound.

The film examines the kids who have turned the turntable into a musical instrument, disillusioned disco lovers who created acid house out of primitive synthesizers, Motor City mavericks who saw the drum machine as their escape route out of urban neglect, and a generation of British youth who transformed these blips and bleeps into dance floor anthems of their own alienation.

Modulations provides a sense of history and context in which today’s electronic music can be understood. It entertains the converted and remixes the mindset of electronica’s nay-sayers.

Avant Garde Experimental Minimal Synth

Benge – Forms 16

This is an album exploring the interplay between random events and deliberate human intervention, something which, in the electronic music field, I call cybersynthesis. I saw it’s creation as being analogous to creating pictures using the medium of Watercolour, whereby the various pigments are allowed to flow randomly in water with the hand of the painter guiding the proceedings with an eye on satisfying various criteria. These criteria define the artist’s intention. The work is the result

The music was made on the Serge Modular Paperface system, with most of the modules being made in the early-to-mid 1970s. However, one panel of the nine used is a modern unit formatted to the Serge standard, made by the British synthesiser manufacturer Loudest Warning. This panel was assembled on my instruction, a service happily provided by the manufacturer, and contains cybernetic functions that I felt were lacking in the other modules in my system, but which fit in with the spirit of the Serge. They were designed to aid in the composition of self-generating melodic and rhythmic patterns

These functions are as follows:

Two Gated Comparators, each one slightly different from the other. These modules take in pitch data, and hold it in memory to be passed out at a sequentially gated step, with up to 8 steps. They create a semi-random series of notes and gates and can be used in conjunction with other modules such as the Quantizer

Window Comparator: This takes a clock input and puts out up to 8 new gates based upon a range set by external CV. It can be used to create complex rhythmic patterns which again are semi-random in nature

And-Comparator. This takes multiple gate events and outputs a new gate only if all inputs fire together. It is useful for selectively thinning out complex events into simpler rhythmic events, also known as rhythmic quantizing

The Slope Detector takes any variable CV and generates various gates depending on the rise and fall time of the input

73 EG. A complex envelope generator based on the original Serge design from 1973. It allows voltage control over most parameters and also generates extra gate outputs under voltage control. In cycle mode it can be used as a complex VC-LFO

Having this extra panel added to my system has opened up the compositional potential of the instrument to a very large extent. All of the melodic elements you hear on this album were generated using what I call ‘cybersynthesis’ principles, which is a fascinating area of electronic music that I have greatly enjoyed exploring on this record

Download form Bandcamp includes full colour 10 page PDF booklet!


Luke Sanger updates Jiffy 16-second looper for Norns

Five years after its inception, Sanger’s Jiffy Looper reaches v.1.2. The 16-second audio looper for the Monome Norns ecosystem is designed to provide a quick and fun looping addition to your app collection.

The recent additions include a complete code overhaul and full midi mapping implementation across all parameters, opening up the usage to those with midi foot pedals and other external controllers.

Fans of Languid Gongue, will already be familiarized with the auditory softcut zones reached by feeding synths into Jiffy whilst manipulating the speed and dub parameters 😉

More Jiffy updates and other new Norns apps are expected from Luke this year. Stay up to date on Jiffy development at and at Github.

Minimal Review Synth

Egil Kalman – Forest of Tines (Egil Kalman plays the Buchla 200)

Behold the enchanting Buchla symphonies, woven by the mystical hands of Egil Kalman, a maestro of otherworldly melodies. In this magical opus, Kalman guides us through realms where traditional harmonies intertwine with the ethereal. The mystical additive wave folding timbres, originating from the enchanting ELECTRIC MUSIC BOX, Series 200, resonate throughout the very fabric of these compositions.

Bandcamp for the vinyl (only a handful left!) and digital.


Interview: Joseph Branciforte (greyfade)

To coincide with his recent record collab with Theo Bleckmann, the gorgeous new ambient record named LP2, we had a chat with Joseph Branciforte – an electronic music magician and owner of possibly the most elegant and spotless record label on the planet – greyfade.

How would you describe your musical style as Joseph Branciforte & Theo Bleckmann?

I’m terrible at this kind of thing, but the writer Philip Sherburne recently described it as “oval reworking meredith monk” — or something to that effect. it’s improvised music created with voice, electronics, Fender Rhodes piano, and different analog & modular synthesizer elements. very texturally focused, but with a compositional bent & harmonic exploration that one might not usually find in traditional “ambient music.”

Can you share some insights into your collaborative creative process? Are you working remotely or in person?

this collaboration began with a series of completely improvised live performances between vocalist Theo Bleckmann and i back in 2018. so the foundation of the music (and the albums LP1 and LP2) has always been the two of us improvising together in a room. that said, I tend to spend a lot of time editing our recorded materials, so there is also an element of meditation/post-production involved, at least on the recordings. that is mostly me alone at my studio, sending versions to Theo to get his thoughts as things progress.

in a couple of instances on LP2, I decided I wanted to orchestrate things more explicitly, so I transcribed the improvisations and wrote some parts that Theo came back in to sing. but that was very much the exception. it’s usually very spontaneously created with a bunch of sifting to find the most compelling bits.

What software and hardware do you use in your music production setup, and how do these tools contribute to your sound? 

I’ve used a lot of different tools throughout the years, but the backbone of my setup for this music is the Fender Rhodes electric piano and a live looping system that I built in max/msp (or, earlier, pure data, back when I was using a critter & guattari organelle). the looping system does some very simple & specific things that I’ve always wanted in a hardware looper, but have never been able to find off-the-shelf. it allows for multiple asynchronous loops to be running simultaneously, all with independent playback speed, playback direction, stop/start points, panning, hpf / lpf cutoff frequencies, and a couple of aux sends. so it’s sort of like a multichannel mixer that has an independent looper on each channel.

using looped materials provides a built-in sense of harmonic & thematic unity, but the ability to vary the loop lengths and zero in on smaller sounds and patterns allows me to really react to what Theo is doing, which is often quite dynamic. it helps move the improvisation forward in interesting and unexpected ways, rather than being locked into a static environment for 45 minutes.

How do you approach sound design and synthesis as a duo, to create unique and distinctive sounds in your tracks?

I’ve known Theo’s music for many years, so the choice of collaborator is probably the most important element of “sound design” in this case. because theo has such a harmonically rich voice & a wide range, I always think in terms of “framing” the voice… moving toward the edges of the spectral canvas… super low and super high frequencies… and keeping my sounds drier and more precise. if I’m always in the middle register and using a bunch of effects, things can get soupy quickly. That informs my choice of sound sources, spectra, envelopes, etc.

Could you talk about your mixing and mastering techniques? What are some of your go-to plugins or effects?

I mix with a hybrid setup, using a DAW like pro tools with plugins, plus a variety of outboard gear as inserts, aux sends, or 2-buss processors. I’m a recording engineer by trade, so i really like to pay attention to how sounds are recorded on the way in. For the records with Theo, we tracked his voice with a pretty complicated chain including 3 microphones (chandler redd, aea r84, copperphone), each multed to different compressors, and then his looper and effects chains recorded to their own stereo tracks. so mixing becomes less about inventing a sound, than it is about blending the sources you already captured. it’s a similar approach to my looping setup, where different elements are recorded onto different tracks, which allows some flexibility in mixing.

I like analog tube compressors for voice, like the Chandler rs124, Highland Dynamics bg 2, and Acme Opticom. for the 2-buss, I use a dangerous liaison routing unit with a dangerous s&m, thermionic Phoenix compressor, neve 33609, and API 5550 eq on inserts. I’m a big fan of outboard spring reverbs like the Benson studio tallbird, the Roland space echo’s built-in spring, and other tanks that I have routed through a doepfer eurorack spring reverb module. also a big fan of using guitar pedals when mixing. plugins never really excite me that much, but I use all the regular stuff… uad, fabfilter, soundtoys, etc.

Are you planning on performing this material live?

there are some shows in the works, yes!

What’s next?

I’m currently editing a duo album I recorded with a great Belgian keyboard player named Jozef Dumoulin. jozef really influenced my approach to using the Fender Rhodes piano with effects, and so it’s a real thrill to be able to make an album with him. That should be out sometime later in 2024. 

my record label greyfade is heading into its sixth year and we’ve got at least 3 large-scale records coming out in 2024. one is a project that i produced, arranged, and recorded for Taylor Deupree that will be jointly released by greyfade and his label 12k in April. the other two are follow-up releases from greyfade artists Kenneth Kirschner and Christopher Otto that I recorded and produced. all three projects will arrive in a new album release format that I’ve been working out over the last few months, as an alternative to vinyl and CD.

LP2 is available now on vinyl and digital via the label’s website and Bandcamp.